SFRA newsletter

SFRA newsletter

Material Information

SFRA newsletter
Alternate Title:
Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
Science Fiction Research Association
Place of Publication:
[Eugene, Ore
Science Fiction Research Association]
Publication Date:


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


General Note:
Place of publication varies.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
S67-00058-n166-1989-04 ( USFLDC DOI )
s67.58 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam a22 u 4500
controlfield tag 008 d19711991oru 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a S67-00058-n166-1989-04
0 245
SFRA newsletter.
n No. 166 (April, 1989)
1 3 246
Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
[Eugene, Ore. :
b Science Fiction Research Association]
c April, 1989
Place of publication varies.
Science fiction
x History and criticism
v Periodicals.
Fantasy fiction
History and criticism
Science fiction
Book reviews
Fantasy fiction
Book reviews
2 710
Science Fiction Research Association.
t SFRA Review
4 856

xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
mods:mods xmlns:mods http:www.loc.govmodsv3 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govmodsv3mods-3-1.xsd
mods:relatedItem type host
mods:identifier issn 1068-395Xmods:part
mods:detail issue mods:number 166series Year mods:caption 19891989Month April4Day 11mods:originInfo mods:dateIssued iso8601 1989-04-01


The SFRA Newsletter Publishcd tcn times a year for The Science Fiction Research Associa tion by Alan Hypatia Press, Eugene, Oregon. Copyright 1989 by the SFRA. E-Mail: COLLINS@SERVAX.BITNET. Editorial correspondence: SFRA Newsletter, English Dept., Florida Atlantic U., Boca Raton, FL 33431 (Tel. 407-367-3838). Editor: Robert A. Collins; Associate Editor: Catherine Fischer; Review Editor: Rob Latham; Film Editor: Ted Krulik; Book News Editor: Martin A. Schneider; EditOlial Assistallt: Jeanette Lawson. Send changes of address to the Secretary, enquiries concerning subscriptions to the Treasurer, listed below. SFRA Executive Committee President Elizabeth Anne Hull Liberal Arts Division William Rainey Harper College Palatine, Illinois 600G7 Vice-President Neil Barron L 149 Lime Place Vista, California 92083 Secretary David G. Mead English Department Corpus Christi Statc University Corpus Christi, Texas 78412 Trensurer Thomas .I. Remington English Departmcnt University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa S()6J4 Immediate Past P,'esident William H. Hardesty English Department Miami U niversitv Oxford, Ohio 4S()S6 Past Presidents of SFRA Thomas D, Clareson (1970-76) Arthur O. Lewis, Jr. (1977-78) Joe De Bolt (1979-80) James Gunn (1981-82) Patricia S. Warrick (1983-84) Donald M. Hassler (1985-86) Past Editors of the Newslettel' Fred Lerner (1971-74) Beverly Friend (1974-78) Roald Tweet (1978-81) Elizabeth Anne Hull (1981-84) Richard W. Miller (1984-87) Pilgl'im Award Winners J. O. Bailey (1970) Marjorie Hope Nicolson (1971) .I ulius Kagarlitski (1972) Jack Williamson (1973) 1. F. Clarke (1974) Damon Knight (1975) .lames Gunn (1976) Thomas D. Clareson (1977) Brian W. Aldiss (1978) Darko Suvin (1979) Peter Nicholls (1980) Sam Moskowitz (1981) Neil Barron (1982) H. Bruce Franklin (1983) Everett Bleiler (1984) Samuel R. Delany (1985) George Slusser (1986) Gary K. Wolfe (1987) Joanna Russ (1988)


SFRA Newsletter. No. 166, April 19a9 Don't Read This! In his recent book, 77re Society of Mil/d, Marvin Minsky explains why it's impossible to obey the command above. Ironically, an illiterate (or pre-literate) person has no choice but to comply with the intention of the command, but still can't obey the command in the strictest sense. Minsky also talks about the idea of the mind as a machine, about personal identity, about souls, about the way intelligcnce can arise from non-intelligence, and about our need for free will, even though cause and chance should account for every event we observe. Although I found it fascinating, TIze Society of Mil/d is I/ot a book I would recommend to everyone, only to those who truly are willing to examine their way of thinking about themselves, about their minds and personalities, about human and machine intelligence, and about the nature of faith (scientific faith as well as religious faith), which is to say, I do recommend it to all SFRA members! This leads me to reflect on another book I've just finished reading, 77ze Satal/ic Vel:5es. This novel also has something to say about the nature of faith, but as fiction it makes its points more indirectly -though as for that, both fiction and non-fiction rely on readers having open minds and allow us to choose, if the shoe does fit, whether we want to wear il. Friends who have been trying unsuccessfully to obtain a copy of TIle Satal/ic Verses invariably ask, "Is the book as bad as I've heard it is?" Generally I interpret this question to mean not Is it to /siamics? but Would it "al'e beell a best-seller witlrout t"e Ayatolla"'s bOlll/ty 011 RlIslrdie's life? Almost certainly it would I/ot have been a best-seller without the melodrama of publicity because it is extremely difficult read ing. If you enjoyed and had no trouble reading D/lOlgrell, this may be your taste, but it certainly is not everyone's. It is written in a style enormously precious, such as would make Truman Capote or the latter Henry James seem straightforward. Rushdie's syntax is convoluted, gimmicky (reminis cent of e. e. cummings' carly tricks and James Joyce's Filll/egall 's Wake) and Rushdie shows no respect for any legitimate use of the colon. The book is irreverent toward nearly everything, not just Islam. Alienation Cubed Yet, for all its maddening attributes -I hesitate to call them faults because I cannot imagine achieving the same result with a "clean" style -I am glad I read 77le Satallic Vel:ses. Because the characterization is so rich, it allows me to understand what it's like to be an Indian Islamic living in England, that is, doubly alienated from one's culture and one's heritage, 3


SFRA Newsletter. No. 166, April 1989 to he a stranger in a strange land. The protagonist is, like Rushdie himself, an Indian adopting England as his home, moreover a Moslem rather than a member of the Hindu majority. Considering our ever-shrinking world and the need human beings consequently have to recognize one another's humanity and what it is we share, I wish to understand what it means when the Ayatollah Khomeini promises his faithful followers the reward of martyrdom and heaven (as well as $5 million) for assassinating Rushdie. As an American, accustomed to peaceful protest and to the separation of church and state, I can grasp the concept intellectually, but it so alien to my own patterns of thought and assumptions about the universe that it is difficult to feel it emotionally. TIle Satallic Verses helped me to internalize the mindset of people I might never get to know in any other way. Salman Rushdie showed great courage in baring his soul in this novel, and I recommend it to the membership also. I hope there will be at least one paper devoted to it at the SFRA meeting in Oxford in June. Membership Benefits When I decided to run for President, a number of well-wishers expressed their admiration and appeciation for my courage in taking on responsibility for an organization that has been declining in membership in recent years. Rebuilding our membership is the Executive Committee's uppermost goal for the coming year. Consequently, when Neil Barron suggested at the EC meeting that we eliminate the journals that are now a part of the membership benefits package so we could offer basic membership at a lower cost, the Executive Committee decided to poll the membership to see how you feel rather than simply vote down the suggestion. But there are a number of points I hope you will consider before returning your survey form. The chief financial advantage to SFRA of eliminating journals as part of the basic membership package would be that we would not have to supply journals (at an ever-growing cost) to the honorary members, i.e. past presidents and Pilgrim winners although several honorary members continue to pay their dues every year even though they are not required to do so. Balanced against this possible saving is the fact that Pilgrim winners get very little in a tangible way from their award, making it seem somewhat ungenerous to withdraw these benefits. More important: the two journals give all members an international perspective we might not otherwise have. For those who lind the dues difficult to pay (graduate students or younger scholars) keeping up with the journals may be even more important than for comfortably employed 4


SFRA Newsletter. No. 166, April 1989 academics. This is why SFRA has subsidized full membership benefits for students. In an ideal world I would like to see Foulldatioll added to the basic benefit package, if SFRA were in a financial position to do so, to make our common fund of criticism even more international. For these reasons, I am personally recommending that you endorse retention of the membership benefits package now offered, with or without the addition of other publications as options. If, however, a majority of you feel that SFRA membership will be more attractive at a lower cost without the journals, this is information the Executive Committee needs to know to make tough decisions about the future of the organization. Elizabeth A1IlIe HIIII Presidellt SFRA Membership Benefit Poll A t the January 1989 meeting of the SFRA Executive Commiuee, it was fiUecided to poll all members regarding possible proposed changes in the benefits package. The purpose of any change would be to enhance the appeal of SFRA membership by offering a choice of benefits to accomodate varying interests and budgets. The results of this member poll are advisory only and will be presented at this June's conference for debate and a vote. Any approved changes would take effect in January 1990. Your present benefits consist of a base comprising the overhead expen ses of the SFRA (Pilgrim winner, executive committee meetings, supplies, etc.) and the expenses of a newsletter and an annual membership direc tory. This basic package costs $29. The two journals now provided increase the annual dues to $45 for the most common type of member. The two journals we now offer were selected largely because their appeal is mostly to the SFMs predominantly academic audience and they were the only such journals available about the time the SFRA began. A general news/reviews magazine, Falltasy was added and was un questionably a popular benefit. When it folded in mid-1987 and dues went lip for 1989, the perceived value of the benefits package was significantly reduced. The loss of FR was probably the single most important cause of the decline in membership, although other factors played a part (failure to send out renewal notices regularly, a weak newsletter, etc.). What is now being proposed is a base membership costing $29, as noted above, and your choice of any of seve1l publications whose member cost is 5


SFRA Newsletter. No. 166, April 1989 usually a few dollars less than direct subscriptions. (Your principal reason for joining SFRA should be because you support its purposes; the modest savings should be of minor importance.) If your budget is tight, you can support the SFRA for 2/3 of the present dues and forego the nonSFRA publications. The poll questionnaire inserted in this issue asks you to indicate the relative value you assign to each of the publications described on the attached sheet; samples of the various publications will be on display at the June conference. Samples of the first four are best written for. The last three are sold in many specialty SF/fantasy bookstores. Cillefalllastiql/e is found on many larger newsstands and will provide 8 free sample issue if you identify yourself as an SFRA member. Please reql/est allY lIeeded samples immediatc(v so that you can make an informed choice. If you already subscribe to any of the publications, your SFRA mem bership will simply extend your subscription by one year. When you renew your membership each year you may choose different publications. The decision is yours alone; you are not limited to a fixed benefits package as at present. Only Locl/s and Cillefalltastiql/e are fully selfsupporting from adver tising, subscription anu newsstanu sales. The others are subsiuized to varying uegrees. Would the proposed flexible plan imperil the continued publication of rtral'o/atioll or SFS because of a possible loss of SFRA member subscribcrs? No. Their paid circulation is adequate to absorb any possible loss resulting from this flexible benefits proposal. Heinlein Biography in Progress Leon Stover, professor of anthropology at the Illinois Institute of Technology who wrote the l\vaync study of Robert A. Heinlein, has been appointed the authorized biographer of this influential figure in the history of SF. He has been given exclusive access to the Heinlein archives at the UC-Santa Cruz campus as well to material owned by Heinlein's wiuow, relatives and friends. Although authorized, Stover says his study will be a balanced appraisal, linking Heinlein's life and writings (a "literary biog raphy," as he calls it, following Samuel Johnson). He has ample materials to investigate and is not seeking any help with the biography. A publisher is being sought. Rabkin New Editor at UMI Eric S. Rabkin of the University of Michigan has succeeded Robert Scholes of Brown University as the editor of UMI Research Press's Studies 6


SFRA Newsletter. No. 166, April 1989 in Speculative Fiction series, which has issued about thirty titles to date, most of the earlier ones revisions of doctoral dissertations. Rabkin ex plains: We are committed to pllblishillg olltstallding scholarship across the filII range of speclliatil'e fiction, illclllding science fiction, Gothic fiction, IItopiall fictioll, alld all brallches of the falltastic. We ifll'ite original clitical stlldies 011 wliters from Plato to BacolI, from Poe to Borges, from Edgar Rice BII11"OIIglls to William BlI11"OlIglls, from Asimm' to Lessillg to lIew writers of today. CWTeIlt special illterests ill c111 de fem ill ism, COlllem poral)' sciellce fictioll, alld lIew illterdisciplillal)' examillatiolls offictioll al speclliatioll. Proposals should be sent to Suzan L. Rutledge, Editorial Development Coordinator, UMI Research Press, 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106; telephone 1-800-345-9084 or 313-973-9821. Ellison Chapbook Announced Footsteps Press (Box 75, Roum.ltop, NY 12473) has anounced a May 1989 publication, Footsteps by Harlan Ellison, a chapbook (5 1/2 X 8 1/2 saddle-stitched pamphlet) reprinting the story which appeared originally in Gallely. The introduction is unabridged, and a special author's footnote has been added to this edition. Illustrations are by Ken Snyder. The edition is limited to 582 copies, of which 500 are signed by Ellison and Snyder with a photo of Ellison laid in. The lettered edition is $18, the numbered $13, plus $2 postage. Ohio University Press Book Sale Ohio University Press (Scoll Quadrangle, Athens, OH 4570]) is having a book sale through June 30, 1989, featuring more than 300 titles at discounts up to 90% of list price. Included are Swallow Press and some other subsidiary imprints. Of likely interest to SFRA members are James Schevill's LOI'ecraJi's Follies (Swallow, 1971, $2), the libretto of a musical rather distantly based on Lovecraft's writings; Agaillst the Nigllt, tile Stars: 171e SF of Altl",r C. CI01*e ($3.50 pb); C.S. Lewis: 17rc AI1 of Ellc/lalltmellt (1981, $5); H.P. LOI'ecraft: FOllr Decades of Oiticism (1980, $2 pb); Seeillg Eal1h: Literal)' Respollses to Space rploratioll (1985, $3.50); 171e Natllral Histol)' of H.G. Wells (1982, $7.50). Minimum order is $10 excluding postage and handling. Those interested should request a catalog. -Neil Ba11"01I 7


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 Executive Meeting Minutes January 28,1989 Holiday 11m, Roiling Meadows, IL President Belly Hull called the EC to order at 9:25 a.m .. Present were Hull; William Hardesty, Immediate Past President; Neil Barron, Vice President; Tom Remington, Treasurer; David Mead, Secretary; and Bob Collins, Newsletter Editor. After welcoming the EC, Hull affirmed the need of the members to work energetically, cooperatively, and cordially to solve the many problems facing the organization now. As the By-Laws arc somewhat vague regarding the specific duties of the several officers, the EC dis cussed the roles each officer would assume and the best flow-pattern for communications and data. Barron will concentrate on recruiting new members, Mead will focus on retention and renewal, and Remington will centralize dues and membership data, as well as be the liaison with the journals. Reports: Hardesty reported on the stat us of the Ellison mailer (quiet). Hull will seek clarification of our agreements (copy costs duration of agreements) with SFS and rrrapolatioll. For Martin Greenberg (imme diate past V-P), Hull reported thatliUle tangible progress had been made on establishing an annual award for the best critical article. After some discussion of the need for such an award (Barron doubting, Remington and Collins strongly for), the EC reaffirmed its support of the concept. Greenberg has agreed to serve on a committee to develop and present a proposal for the award to the June 1989 meeting. He will also be asked to respond to questions from members about the Harper & Row anthol ogy (re contributor and desk copies, royalties, etc.). As immediate past Secretary, Hull distributed membership informa tion. She noted the decline in membership, especially foreign members. Mead will make a special effort regarding foreign member renewals. The new category of Emeritus member was discussed. Also discussed was the need to continue asking for occupation amJ employment information on the membership form; it was agreed that we will continue to ask for this information. The closing date for the 1989 DirectOlY will be May 15; updates after that will be published in the Newsletter. Hull, for immediate past Treasurer Charlotte Donsky, distributed financial statements and copies of the non-profit incorporation articles; we are waiting now for the IRS to act in its own time; no legal fees will be paid until the IRS acts. Hardesty reports that the long-delayed collection of criticism, to have 8


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 been edited by Steve Goldman, is a dead issue, although some problems remain regarding long-held permissions. Hull will confer with Goldman, but the EC agreed to withdraw SFRA involvement. Collins reported that the Newsletter costs about $600 per issue, or $6000 annually for the 10 required issues. Costs must be reduced (at present membership levels we can't afford this price); reducing the number of pages and publishing bi-monthly (6 issues annually) were suggested ways to reduce costs. Remington, with the help of Hardesty, presented a projected budget based on current and projected membership figures, noting that we need to increase membership if we are to meet our commitments. A wide-rang ing discussion of the Newsletter's editorial policies, coverage, review and review article length, etc. followed as the EC tried to deal with the cost problem. Collins says 6 bi-monthly issues of 48 pages would be preferable to smaller monthly issues. The possibility of advertising will be explored. The EC decided to reduce the number of pages in the next two issues, to cut off non-paying members after the Feb/Mar issue, and to speak plainly in an editorial about the financial problems of the Newsletter. Members who haven't renewed by March 1 will not be sent back issues of journals. Collins will take care of reprinting corrected membership brochures; he'll get artwork from Hassler. Old Business: The medallions for Pilgrim Award winners were dis cussed. Hull will find out who owns the design rights and whether SFRA has a contract with Elden Tefft to produce the medallions. Mead will try to cost out two possible forms of award, 1) a plaque with a photoengraved Pilgrim Award design mounted on a nice wood panel, and 2) a cast medal with a relief design, engraved on reverse. Hardesty announced the 1989 Pilgrim Award selection committee: Brian Attebery, Adam Frisch, Joan Gordon, and Veronica Hollinger. Hull will answer an inquiry regarding the history of the Pilgrim Award. The EC decided to propose a By-Laws change that will remove the specification that 10 issues of the Newsletter be published annually; Hull will draft the proposal, which will be presented to the membership via the Newsletter for action. Hardesty presented information regarding the plans and arrangements for SFRA XX, the annual meeting to be held June 22-25 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. It was determined that presenters should be members of SFRA. The proposal from Peter Lowentrout to hold the 1990 conference at Long Beach, California was accepted. Hull reports that Brooks Landon has tentatively proposed to host the 1991 meeting althe University of Iowa. New Business: The EC suggested a number of possible university sites for the Clifford Simak archive; Hull will respond to the Simak family's 9


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, Apri/1989 inquiry. There was also a brief discussion of what universities offer graduate study in science fiction. Hull also noted that SFRA is not an official sponsor of the AcTrack at World Con, although members are encouraged to participate. Hull will contact Greg Bear, current president of SFWA, to keep lines open, and she will also try to keep contact with IAFA and PCA. The EC reviewed a proposal from David Hartwell to offer the NY Review of Scie1lce Fictioll as a part of the membership package, deciding that present financial problems prevent its acceptance. Neil Barron presented a proposal from Hal Hall for an SFRA-published or subsidized book of Pilgrim Award speeches, but for now cooperative publishing and meeting ventures are rejected on financial grounds. (At 6:15 p.m. the meeting was adjourned until 9 a.m. January 29.) A Hull/Hardesty motion to pay the airfare and hotel costs of the EC was passed; a Hul\JMead motion to pay phone charges was approved. A Mead/Hardesty motion to accept the By-Laws changes drafted by Hull passed; they will be included in the next Newsleuer for membership consideration prior to the June meeting. Barron presented a proposal to revise the membership brochure. After discussion of details, some changes were made. These include estab lishing a fee structure for the Emeritus status of membership (created by the last By-Laws revision); the Emeritus will pay at the student rate and receive only the Directory and Newsletter. Barron will revise and inform the EC hefore the new member brochure is printed. Barron also presented a series of proposed recruitment lellers. After some discussion and modification, these were approved. Barron presented a proposal to offer the members a "menu" of options rather than the current fIXed package of dues plus subscriptions to \'trapolatio1l and Scie1lce Fiction Stlldies. The EC determined to poll the membership on its preferences, the compiled data to be presented to the membership at the June 1989 meeting as a basis for discussion/action. The EC advised President Hull regarding a number of committee appointments. 10 The meeting was adjourned at noon, January 29, 1989. Respectfil/()1 submitted, David G. Mead SecretOl),


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 The Shape of Films to Come By Ted Krulik February 1989 -I was pleased to receive several responses to my query in the November 1988 issue of the SFRA Newsletter concerning the opening (and closing) of the movie "Nightfall." Vince Kohler, a member who is a staff writer on 17w Oregolliall in Oregon City, Oregon, wrote to me and included a review of "Nightfall" by his colleague Ted Mahar. Mahar's review is, to understate the case, a "negative" one, and Vince's comment in his letter sums it up succinctly: "I heeded the warning of our able reviewer, Ted Mahar, and did Dot see the film." I received two more responses to my query about the movie version of Asimov's "Nightfall." John J. Pierce of Bloomfield, New Jersey charac terized it as "sort of a cross between a third-rate Masterpiece 17watre production and the kind of treatment NBC gave 17le MaTtiOli Chrollicles." On the other hand, Norman J. Brandt of Boynton Beach, Florida was impressed with the technical aspects of the movie: "the set work, cinematography, editing, and the like." Mr. Brandt went on to say, "The acting was very good, but nothing that really lit any fires. The screen writer, however, took some considerable liberties with the story. After all, there probably is not really enough material in 'Nightfall' as a short story to fill out the screenplay of a two hour movie." I am grateful for receiving these comments from Vince Kohler, Norman Brandt, and John Pierce. The precipitous fate of the film, which is now out on videotape I understand, has led me to contemplate my own concerns and interests about science fiction literature transfered to film. Why do we, as teachers, care about SF movies? How do these films serve the "cause" of science fiction? I don't have any solid answers to give, but I would like to share these ponderings. First, I must refer, for the first time in this column, to television. The latest incarnation of "The lWilight Zone," as a half-hour series, has almost none of the creative talent that made the former hour-long series work. In its new form, it is a bland and pale imitation of some of the "story concepts" of Rod Serling's original series. However, one recent episode was based on a classic little story that has been deservedly anthologized in numerous SF collections: "The Cold Equations" by Tod Godwin. The teleplay was written by Alan Brennert, one of the few names I remember from the hour-long format, and it starred Terence Knox and Christianne Hirt. Although the episode retained some of the blandness that seems to 11


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 mar nearly all of these new "Twilight Zone" stories, it stayed remarkably true to Godwin's story. There was no happy ending, no platitudes or moral lessons. It stuck to the story. For that very reason, without high dramatics or heroics, it was a wonderful screen transference. In the classroom, we could talk not only about the ethics of killing a person who is innocent of wrong-doing, but also discuss (and debate) the fact that one who acts in blind ignorance must still face the consequences of his (or her) actions. Like the short story upon which it was based, this TV adaptation of "The Cold Equations" allows for that kind of open dialogue. But -do we all agree, as classroom teachers, that movies based on books should be exactly like the books? Should, for instance, the "Twilight Zone" version have done something more, something special, with the story,! If so, what? I told you I didn't have the answers. Second, I enjoyed a few moments of conversation with writer Barry Longyear at the Philadelphia Science Fiction Convention (Philcon) in November, and I asked him about the movie version of his novella "Enemy Mine." When I taught a class in science fiction in my high school a year ago, I showed the movie version of "Enemy Mine," and the class spent time in discussion and in writing about some of the themes relevant to an inner-city Brooklyn teenager. We dealt with the very real issues of racial prejudice, sexual identity, religious and cultural heritage, and the need to bring mutual trust and cooperation to any relationship. The lessons we had before and after viewing the film were worthwhile from both my viewpoint and the viewpoint of my class. Still, as I had indicated to my students, I was not happy with the last third of the film, which brought in human enslavement of the alien "Dracs," and concluded with a typical action sequence with lots of violence. I'm not sure that I convinced my students that this last was necessarily a "bad thing" in the context of the movie. Barry Longyear listened with interest as I discussed my teaching of the movie version of "Enemy Mine," and he confirmed my suspicion that the final third of the film was not from his story at all. He had been quite annoyed at the movie treatment, and said that if the film-makers had stuck with his original story, they would have had a better film. Although I had not read Longyear's story, I had felt, from the first time I saw the movie, that the "Mine" in the title was misused in the movie in referring to a place where the Drac slaves were used to mine ore. The title, as it seemed to me, refered to the amhivalent relat ionship of the human astronaut played by Dennis Ouaid and the Drac played by Louis Gosset, Jr. As Longyear indicated to me, my instinct about that was correct. Unfortunately, it was clear to me why the lilmmakers diverged from Longyear's story: they 12


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 wanted to toss in the heroics and violence to attract my students. Thenagers are hig box-office, and that's what many Hollywood producers are interested in. Meanwhile, the literature becomes subverted. Which brings me to the third point: should we who care so much for the literature place any of our vested interest in Hollywood and SF film? Should we, for instance, exhort our students to watch and analyse new movies in the genre and spend class time in discussion of them? Also at Philcon, I met George R.R. Martin. In one session at the convention, he talked about his experiences in Hollywood. He seems to have fared better than Harlan Ellison, but he related things about the television industry that were eye-opening. As you may know, Martin broke into writing for television with episodes of the new "TWilight Zone" (the former new "Zone," not the latest). Because of his work there, he was hired as a staff writer on the successful series "Beauty and the Beast." Martin attributes his success to playing their game, and he proceeded to explain how this had to be done: you must be available for meetings. Everything is done by committee, and if you're not there, you're out. This is the case if you want to write for television; you must live in the Los Angeles area so you can be there for meetings. The network executives are not interested in a housewife in Ohio who has written a brilliant teleplay. They are only interested in writers who can become permanent members of the staff, who will be there for every aspect of production. If a staff writer is good enough, he becomes a line producer. In that position, you have a great deal of creative input into the show, but you still have to work around the "suits," the network people. One example should suffice to show how the process works. A live audience is brought in to view a taping. Attached to the chairs are buttons that the audience presses to indicate either a positive or negative response. During one early taping of "Beauty and the Beast," the audience responded to a scene of the people living in the tunnels, a scene of great suspense in which they felt much tension, by pressing the button. The "suits" who made the network decisions, interpreted this to mean that the audience did not like seeing all those ragged people in the tunnds, thinking that they were too much like images of homeless people they'd seen on the television news. So the network killed any scenes showing other people in the tunnels. Vincent and Father and one or two other characters were the only ones seemingly to be living in the tunnels. For this reason, the network resisted for a long time the idea of exploring this underworld society, an idea that Martin and the other staff members had hoped they could develop. Although Martin could not speak for the methods used by those in the motion picture industry, this still gives us some idea of the kind of 13


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 resistance anyone who cares for science fiction will have to face. It had occurred to me at the time (1984, I think) that it was shortly after the movie version of DUlle that Frank Herbert had died of a heart attack. I wonder if that process had anything to do with Herbert's death. Anyway, these are my ponderings, and I will be glad to entertain any responses in this column. Perhaps members can address themselves to what is good in SF movies that we can relate to the literature and bring to the classroom. I would be very interested in finding out how others have used film in the SF class. Perhaps someone out there can suggest how our membership could influence the filmmakers in a positive way. I'd like to hear some of these suggestions, and any significant ideas I receive will appear in this column. TIreodore Kit/Uk U. S. Commercial Releases February Paperbacks: CHERRYH, c. J. CYTEEN: TIw Betrayal. $3.95. Warner Books. SF. March Paperbacks: ANTHONY, PIERS. Robot Adept. $4.50. Ace reissue. SF. ------. Bio of a Space I:vrallt: Vol. I: Refugee. $3.50. Avon reissue. SF. BRADLEY, MARION ZIMMER. Stol7l1queelll. $4.50. DAW reissue. Fantasy. CHASE. ROBERT R. S"apers. $3.95. Del Rey. SF. CHERRYH, C. J. CYTEEN: TIle Rebil111. $3.95. Popular Lihrary. SF. ROBERT. Men Like Rats. $3.95. Popular Library. SF. DAVID, PETER. Star TI'ek: 77re Next Generation #5: Sl1ike ZOlle. $3.95. Pocket Books. SF. de CAMP, L. SPRAGUE and FLETCHER PRATT. 77le Complete COli/ pleat Ene/rallter. $4.50. Baen Books. Fantasy. DRAKE, DAVID. Time Safali. $3.50. Baen reissue from Tor. SF. EDDINGS, DAVID. King of tile Mllrgog, Book 1\vo of The Mallorean. $4.95. Del Rey. Fantasy. EDGERTON, TERESA. C"ild of Satlll1l. $3.50. Ace Books. Fantasy. FOSTER, P. T. 77re Vow. $3.95. Leisure Books. Horror. FRANKOWSKI, LEO. 77re Higlr-Tec" Knigllt, Book 1\vo of the Adven tures of Conrad Stargard. $3.95. Del Rey. SF. HUFF, TANYA. TIle Last Wizard. $3.95. DAW. Fantasy. 14


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, Aprl/1989 ------. C/lild of tire Grove. $3.50. DAW reissue. Fantasy. INGRID, CHARLES. Alien Saillte, Book Four of the Sand Wars. $3.95. DAW. SF. KILIAN, CRAWFORD. Eyas. $4.50. Del Rey. SF. MARKS, LAURIE J. Deland tile Mislead. $3.95. DAW. Fantasy. MARSHAK, SONDRA and MYRNA CULBREATH. Star Ih!k #9: 1Jlangle. $3.95. Pocket Book reissue. SF. MARTINE-BARNES, ADRIENNE. Tile Sea Sword, fourth in the Swords series. $3.50. Avon Books. Fantasy. McCAMMON, ROBERT R. 17ze Wolfs HOllr. $4.95. Pocket Books. Horror. NORTON, ROBERT. Rituals. $3.95. Fawcett Gold Medal. Horror. POURNELLE, JERRY. PIlllCe of Mercenaries. $3.95. Baen Books. SF. ------. 17le MerceIlOl),. $2.95. Baen reissue. SF. ------. Higll Jltstice. $2.95. Baen reissue. SF. SHEFFIELD, CHARLESProtellS Unbolllld. $3.95. Del Rey. SF. SHINER, LEWIS. Desel1ed Cities of tile He0l1. $4.50. Bantam/Spectra. Fantasy. SPRINGER, NANCY. 17le Hex Witcll of Seldom. $3.50. Baen Books. Fantasy. ------. Cllallce and Otller Gestures of 17le Hand of Fate. $3.50. Baen reissue. Fantasy. STERLING, BRUCE.lslallds in tile Net. $4.50. Ace reissue. SF. VAN SCYOC, SYDNEY J. Featller Stroke. $3.50. Avon Books. Fantasy. April Paperbacks: ADAMS, TERRY A. 17ze Master of Clio os. $4.50. DAW. SF. ------. Semiellce. $3.50. DAW reissue. SF. ANTHONY, PIERS. Cllaillillg tile Lady, second in The Cluster series. $3.50. Avon reissue. SF. ASIMOVE, ISAAC. Preillde to FOlllldation. $5.95. Bantam/Spectra, pre viously a Doubleday he. SF. BAEN, JIM. New Destillies: Vol. VII. $3.50. Baen Books. SF and science fact. BRUMMELS, J. V. Diles Ex Macllina. $3.95. Bantam/Spectra. SF. CAIDIN, MARTIN. P,lson Silip. $4.50. Baen Books. SF. CHERRYH, C. J. CITEEN: 17le Vindication. $3.95. Popular Library. SF. CLAYTON, JO. A Gatllering of Stones concludes the Drinker of Souls trilogy. $3.95. DAW. Fantasy. ------. Ddnker of SOli Is $3.95. DAW reissue. Fantasy. ------. Bille Magic. $3.95. DAW reissue. Fantasy. 15


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 COULSON, JUANITA. Legacy of E0I111, Book 1Il of Children ofLhe Stars. $3.95. Del Rey. SF. DeCHANCIE, JOHN. Castle for Relit. $3.50. Ace Books. Fantasy. DICKSON, GORDON R./m'aders. $2.95. Baen reissue. SF. DRAKE, DAVID, ed. Space Gladiators. $3.95. Ace Books. SF. ENGDAHL, SYLVIA. Ellchalltress from tile Stars. $3.95. Collier reissue. YA SF. ------. TIle Far Side of Evil. $3.95. Collier reissue. YA SF. FAWCETf, BILL. Gllardialls vf tire TI,ree: Vol. aile: Lord of Cragsc/aw. $3.95. Bantam/Spectra. Fantasy. FRIEDMAN, MICHAEL JAN. DVllble, DOllble. $3.95. Pocket Books. SF. GERROLD, DAVID. A Rage for Rel''lIge. $4.50. Bantam/Spectra. SF. GREENBERG, MARTIN H. and ROSALIND M. GREENBERG. Plralltoms. $3.95. DAW. Horror anthology. GREENHALGH, ZAHRA. $3.95. Ace Books. Fantasy. HEINLEIN, ROBERT A. RemIt ill 2100. $3.50. Baen reissue. SF. KERNAGHAN, EILEEN. TIle SOI'Sell Witclr. $3.50. Ace Books. Fantasy. KRESS, NANCY. All Aliell Liglrt. $3.50. Avon, previously an Arbor House hc. SF. MciNTYRE, VONDA N. StOlfarel'S. $3.95. Ace Books. SF. MORRIS, JANET. H'roes ill Hell. $3.50. Baen reissue. Fantasy. ------, ed. Proplrets ill Hell. $3.50. Baen Books. Fantasy shared world anthology. PIKE, CHRISTOPHER. Remember Me. $2.95. Archway Paperbacks. YA Supernatural. SCITHERS, GEORGE H. and DARRELL SCHWEITZER. Allotller ROlllld at tile Space Bar. $3.50. SF anthology. SHAW, BOB. Orbilslille. $2.95. Baen reissued from DAW, SF. SILVERBERG, ROBERT. At Willter's Elld. $4.95. Warner Books, previouslya Warner hc. SF. STERN, STEVEN L. He..\'. $3.95. Pocket Books. Horror. WATT-EVANS, LAWRENCE. Niglrtside City. $3.95. Del Rey. SF. WURTS, JANNY. Sorcerer's Legacy. $3.95. Bantam/Spectra. Fantasy. WYLDE, THOMAS. D,: BOlles: Book 3: Galllkall Blood. $3.50. Ace Books. SF. lrade Books: ANDERSON, MARGARET J. D11Iid's Gift. $12.95 hc. Random House. YA Fantasy. April to, 1989. APSOTOLOU, JOHN L. and MARTIN H. GREENBERG. TIle Best Japallese SF St0l1es. $16.95 hc. Dembner Books. SF anthology. Hi


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 March 30, 1989. ARONICA, LOU, SHAWNA McCARTHY, PAT LoBRUTIO, and AMY STOUT, ed. FilII Speetlllm II. $19.95 he. Doubleday. SF anthology. April 1989. Isaac AsimOl"s SF Magazille: 7}'allseelldelltal Tales. $8.95 trade paper. Starblaze. SF New Age anthology. May 1989. ASIMOY, JANET and ISAAC. Nork)': DowlI to E011". $13.85 he. Walker. YA SF. April 3, 1989. BLACKWOOD, GARY L. 77w Dyillg SIIII. $13.95 hc. Atheneum. YA SF. April 1989. BRETI, BRIAN. 17re FI/llgus Gardell. $14.95 hc. Thistledown Press. SF. BUTLER, OCTAVIA E.lmago. $19.95 hc. Warner Books. SF. May 16, 1989. CARD, ORSON SCOTI. Prelltice AII'ill, Book Three of the Tales of Alvin Maker. $17.95 he. Tor Books. February 28, 1989. CROWLEY, JOHN. Aegypt. $8.95 trade paper. Bantam/Spectra, pre viouslya Doubleday he. Fantasy. March 1989. ------. NOI'eit)'. $8.95 trade paper. Doubleday. Fantasy. May 1989. DORAN, COLLEEN. A Distallt Soil: KJlig"ts of tIre Allgel. $6.95 trade paper. Starblazc. Fantasy graphic novel. April 1989. DOUGLAS, CAROLE NELSON. Sel'ell of Swords, Sword and Circlet #3. $18.95 hc. Tor Books. Fantasy. February 1989. GARDNER, MARTIN. Gardller's Whys alld Wherefores. $19.95 hc. University of Chicago Press. Non-fiction critical text. GOTLIEB, PHYLLIS. He011 of Red lroll. $15.95 he. St. Martin's Press. Fantasy. April 12, 1989. HICKMAN, STEPHEN. 77re Af1 of Stephell Hickmall. $12.95 trade paper. $40.00 limited cd. he. signed. Starblazc. Art. May 1989. KATZ, WELWYN WILTON. 17re 17rird Magic. $14.95 he. MeElderrry Books. YA Fantasy. Mareh 1989. KELLY, JAMES PATRICK. Look Illto the SIIII. $17.95 he. Tor Books. SF. May 8, 1989. Le GUIN, URSULA K. Fire alld Stolle. $13.95 he. Atheneum. YA Fantasy picture book. Mareh 1989. ------. 77,e F011hest S"ore. $16.95 hc. Atheneum reissue. YA Fantasy. March 1989. ------. 77w Tombs of Atl/all. $15.95 hc. Atheneum reissue. YA Fantasy. March 1989. NORTON, ANDRE, ed. FOllrfrom the Wite" World. $16.95 he. Tor Books. Fantasy. February 1989. OLSEN, PAUL F. and DAVID B. SILVA. New Tales of G"ostly Honnr. $16.95 hc. St. Martin's Press. Horror. March 20, 1989. 17


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 PARK, PAUL. Sligar Rain, Vol. 2 of The Starbridge Chronicles. $17.95 hc. William Morrow. SF. May 23,1989. PEEL, JOHN and TERRY NATION. 171e Official Doctor WlIo alld tile Daleks Book. $12.95 trade paper. St. Martin's Press. Nonfiction. April 12, 1989. REEVES-STEVENS, GARFIELD. Nigllteyes. $18.95 hc. Doubleday. Horror. April 1989. SERVICE, PAMELA F. Visioll Qllest. $12.95 hc. Atheneum. YA Fantasy. April 1989. ROBERT SILVERBERG, ed. Robel1 Silverberg's Worlds of WOllder. $J2.95 hc. Warner reissue. SF anthology. April 1989. WOLFE, GENE. Elldallgered Species. $19.95 hc. Tor Books. Fantasy. March 30,1989. WU, WILLIAM F.HolIgon tile Rallge. $17.95 trade paper. Walker & Co. YA SF. March 31, 1989. Requests For Information SF In American Culture: I would like information on science fiction and fantasy writers using 1) Southwestern backgrounds, 2) American Indian themes, and3) Non-nuclear holocaust settings. Please address all responses to: William Willard, Ph. D.; Comparative American Cultures; Washington State University; 111 Wilson Hall; Pullman, WA 99164-4010. Nursing In SF: I am planning a study on TIle Image of Nllrsing ill Sciellce Fie/ioll. Please send titles and other hibliographic information on novels and stories with nurse characters or nursing as a theme to: Linda Thompson, 2423 Agnew Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36106. Call For Manuscripts Other Worlds: Fantasy and Science Fiction. Special Topic for the March, 1990 issue of Tire English JOllnlal .. What are the values, literary and extra-literary, of integrating contemporary fantasy and science fic tion in the literature curriculum? What writers/works/genres are particularly appropriate for readers in middle school,. junior high and senior-high school? What relationship do these bear to the tradition al core of the literature curriculum, especially myths, legends and epics? to modern critical approaches, especially reader-response criticism, neo-Marxism, and feminism? to the goals of "cultural literacy" and "critical literacy"? Recommend instructional materials and critical resources. Deadline: September IS, 1989. 18


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 /Reviews I (Editor's Note: The abridgement of the last two issues has spawned a backlog of reviews covering late '88 and early '89 books one which has recently been increased by the arrival of a large package from my contin gent of reviewers in the UK containing reviews o[ major '88 British titles, Since I assume our readership is eager to see this material, my plan is to spread this backlog over the next two issues, then return, in June, to more timely review coverage. The review-essays we are currently holding will have to wait until we get out from under this load of reviews.] Non-Fiction Misunderstood Genius? Houzereau, Laurent. 771e De Palma Cut: 771e Films of Amelica's Most C01ltrm'ersial Director. Dembner Books (distr. by Norton), NY, 1988, 176p. $19.95 he. 0-942637-04-6. In addition to his two supernatural films, Canle (1976) and 77w Fury (1978), many of Brian De Palma's violent thrillers Sisters (1973), PI/alllom oft/Ie Paradise (1975), Dressed to Kill (1980), Body Double (1984) are considered horror films. Admitting that De Palma's work is "my obsession," Bouzereau defends his hero against charges of plagiarism, misogyny, and sensationalism; claims that De Palma is a genius misunderstood by studios, critics, and audiences; and finds the director's preference [or "visual concepts over a substantial plot" entirely legitimate. Although Bouzereau is often effusive, his analysis of De Palma's techni ques and themes (guilt, voyeurism, doubles) is thorough. Serious students of horror films should consult this one-sided study, but should also seek out De Palma's many detractors in the periodical literature. Micl/ael Kloss1ler Annual Reviewed Collins, Robert A. & Robert Latham, cds. Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Rel/;ewAlI1ll1aI1988. Meckler, Westport, cr, December 1988, ix + 486p. $65 he. 0-88736-249-4. Meckler's Science F;ct;on and Falllasy Book Rel/;ew Annual is the direct descendent of the Rel/;ew. With this book, the editors seek to "provide critics, teachers, researchers, librarians, students and fans with a comprehensive critical overview of the genres of science fiction, 19


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 fantasy and horror." They further state that the book "is geared toward the interests of literary historians rather than book collectors," and aims to provide "a qualitative, rather than statistical, sense of the year's ac complishments." To meet these goals, the editors have included the following contents: of the Year: Orson Scott Card," by Mark Van Name; "The Year in Fantasy," by Charles de Lint; "The Year in Horror Literature," by Michael Morrison; "The Year in Science Fiction," by Michael Levy; "The Year's Research and Criticism," by Neil Barron; a list of Winners in 1987"; a hook review section of "roughly six hundred" reviews (actually, 547) divided into three categories (fiction, young adult fiction, and non-fiction); and a title index. Mark Van Name's profile-essay on Card is an informed treatment of the author, his weltanschauung, and his writing. The piece offers insights and details about Card which are not widely known. Each of the genre surveys is informative and interesting. Each concludes with a list of "Recommended Reading," covering both novels and short fiction. These lists serve well as buyer's guides for both readers and libraries. Given the popularity of these genres, it is reasonable to suggest that the novels and anthologies listed comprise a basic buying list for all high school, public, and college libraries. The review section 373 of the 486 pages is the bulk of the volume. The reviews were written by a staff of over 100 reviewers, and each is signed. The editors sought to review all significant new titles published in the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia. Excluded hy design are reprints, most "packaged" books, and what the editors call "sharecropper" books novels set "in the world of" another author. The editors note the difficulty of comprehensive coverage of the increasing number of small presses (and even some major paperback lines, such as Baen), who are unwilling to provide review copies to an annual volume. Given the long and useful life of an annual such as this, and the likelihood that the better titles in a publisher's list will be reprinted, such an attitude is lamentable. The reviews, ranging in length from 200 to 1500 words. include both summaries and critical evaluations of the books covered. The reviewers are generally well-versed in their genres. As the editors note, the reviewing system is a transfer from the monthly Falltasy Rel'iew magazine. Given the more enduring format of the annual volume, and the ease of access and use compared to scattered monthly issues, the editors might consider including a "further reading" comment in each review, directing the reader to other books of possible interest. Such material would enhance an already valuable resource. This volume offers some features found in other annuals, such as the 20


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 surveys of the year's output in each genre, but it is unique in providing a compact, reasonably complete source of reviews of English language fiction and non-fiction books in SF, fantasy and horror. Given the current lack of any concentrated, relatively comprehensive review source in magazine form, this annual offers libraries a viable alternative in a form which is permanent, easily accessed, and authoritative. It is a recommended purchase for public, college, and most larger high school libraries. -Hal W. Hall Seminal Dystopia Kern, Gary, ed. Zamyatill's We: A Collectioll of Critical Essays. Ardis Puhlishers, 2901 Heathway, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, 1988, 306p. $25 hc. 0-88233-804-8. $11.50 trade pb. -832-3. If one had to single out the three twentieth century dystopias which have been sUbjected to the most analysis, they would have to be HuxJey's Brave New World (1932), Orwell's 1984 (1949), and Yevgeny Zamyatin's Ui!. Completed in 1920, We (i\(}' in Russian) was initially circulated in manuscript (the original's location is unknown), and became the first work to be banned by the Glavlit (Chief Administration for Literary Affairs in the U.S.S.R.), established in 1922. The first English translation, by Gregory Zilboorg, appeared in 1924 (and is now available as a Dutton paperback). Kern calls this translation "old-fashioned and lifeless." The next translation was by Bernard G. Guerney in a 1%0 anthology (published separately in 1970). According to Kern, it best captures tire Irectic, mill d-bogglillg pace of tire migillal, bllt is "ot vel)' reliable for tire plllpose of Iiter01Y Tlris disti"ctio" goes to tire tlrird trallslatioll, tlrat by Min'a Gillsbllrg (Balltam, 1972 !con'ect/y, Vikillg; "OW Q\'ailable as all Am" paperback J). wlriclr steers a middle road betwee" tire stifflless of Zilboorg alld tire excesses of Glle17ley. It is tI,e most reliable for classroom lise. A flew, f0ll1111 trallslatio" by S.D. Ciorall was jllst pl/blislred by Ardis ill Russ;allliterature of the 1920's (1987). The first Russian language edition was published in New York in 1952. But only last year, too late for Kern, was We first published in the U.S.S.R., as a serial in Z"amia (Ball"er), a result presumably of glasnost. Although We has been wrillen about fairly extensively, most pieces appeared in relatively specialized sources, many of them primarily of interest to Slavic specialists. Kern's collection "brings together the best of the old articles, some of the more exciting recent articles and a few other things as well. The intention is to provide a handy sourcebook for interpretations of Zamyatin for professors, students and readers in the general public." The essays are grouped in four sections. The Soviet View 21


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 presents four pieces (two each from the 20's and 60's, two in English for the first time) which, predictably, treat Zamyatin and We with extreme disfavor, in spite of the fact that the book was unavailable in the U.S.S.R. The other three sections present western viewpoints with many critical approaches used. A final section of about forty pages contains short essays and letters by Zamyatin, three of them first published in translation here. Kern's introduction and notes draw on his essay on We in Magill's SW1'ey of Scieflce Fictiofl Literature (1979). The introduction provides a useful plot summary to highlight some of the novel's motifs. All sources for the pieces collected here are carefully cited, usually with comments. A primary and secondary bibliography conclude this sourcebook, which should prove very useful in courses in modern Russian literature as well as SF, history and political science. It should be in all college and university libraries, and is strongly recommended for anyone interested in this seminal dystopia. More Film/TV Credits Neil BOI7'OI/ Lentz, Harris M. Sciel/ce FictiOll, HOImr & Falltasy Film alld Televisiol/ Credits SlIpplemellt: Throllgh 1987. McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 1989, nIp. $55.00 hc. 0-89950-364-0. The first two volumes of Lentz's monumental compilation of genre film and TV credits, also from McFarland (1983), covered works from the earliest period to 1982 in l374 pages and cost $75.00. This SlIpplemellt increases the size and price of the set by two-thirds. In addition to films and TV series released from 11)83 to 1987, it includes films released only on videocassette and many older foreign films, animated films, and films and TV shows marginal to the genre (e.g., M,: Mow, 77lc F(villg NIIII) which were omitted from the first two volumes, as well as corrections and additional information for entries found in the original set. The format of the SlIpplcl7lellt is the same as that of the '83 set. Lentz provides only credits and dales, not description or evaluation. Genre credits are listed for actors, directors, producers, writers, composers, cinematographers, art directors, and special effects and makeup artists. Credits for actors usually include the names of characters portrayed. Entries for films include date, director, actors and names of characters; it is necessary to consult other sources to find out who performed other functions on a film. For most TV series, Lentz includes the titles, broadcast date, director, actors and character names for each episode. Lentz's Credits provide far more complete information on fantastic television than two popular descriptive guides, Gary Gerani and Paul H. Schulman's Flilltastic Telel'isiofl (1977) and John Javna's Best of Scieflce Fictiofl IV (1987). 22


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 Anyone who has found Lentz's first two volumes useful will certainly consider the SlIpplemellt worth its price. Lentz's Credits probably sell mostly to prosperous genre fans. Most libraries will be satisfied with sources that cover all types of films and TV programs, either in onc volume (Leslie Halliwell's Film alld Video Gllide, Tim Brooks' Complete DirectOT), to Plime Time NetwOT* TV Shows, Alvin Marrill's Mm'ies Made for or in large sets (J ay Robert Nash's Motioll Picture Gllide, Larry James Gianakos' Televisiol/ Drama Series Programmillg). Michael Klossner Useful Compendium Levack, Daniel J.H., and Mark Willard, comps. Dillie Master: A Frank Herbel1 Bibliography. Meckler, Westport, CT, 1988, 176p. $45 hc. 0-88736-099-8. Daniel Levack and Mark Willard have attempted to compile a com plete annotated bibliography of the published works of Frank Herbert through 1987. This means that recent collaborations such as 171C Ascellsioll Factor (1988) and other posthumous publications are not included. In his introduction, Levack notes two other areas in which this listing is incomplete: foreign language editions (especially of short stories) and newspaper articles. Though there is a short list of secondary works, it aims at representativeness rather than completeness, and only scratches the surface of the large quantity of writing about Herbert. In addition to the alphabetical annotated lists of published writing, this book contains checklists of series and connected stories, fiction, non-fic tion, magazine contributions, collaborations, verse and other media by Herbert (along with a publication chronology); and a list of the holdings of the manuscript collection at the University of California, Fullerton. A final interesting feature of this volume is the appendix, which contains black and white reproductions of cover illustrations for many of Herbert's books as well as for some of his magazine appearances. While this book is limited as all such volumes must be, it is nevertheless an invaluable tool for the scholar and a useful reference work for readers with a more casual interest in Herbert. Several of Herbert's novels, notably those in the Dillie series, began as shorter works or were originally conceived and published in forms rather different from the final versions. This book can help the scholar begin to trace the permutations of story ideas as they grew into the larger and more complex works we have now. Willard also provides fairly detailed plot summaries of the stories and novels, but has made the odd decision to avoid "giving away" too much of the resolutions, with the result that detail tends to diminish as he approaches the ends of stories. All in all, though, Dillie Master is a useful 23


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 compendium of information about Herbert's literary career. Ten)' Heller Sample and Enjoy Pringle, David. Modem Falltasy: 77re Hlllldred Best Novels. Grafton, London, October 1988, 278p. .95 hc. 0-246-13214-0. There has recently been a virtual plague of books such as this one undeniably subjective and gimmicky and at the same time almost impos sible to review. The fascination of such a compendium is strong: one looks to see if the comments on one's favorites are adulatory enough; one is amazed at the compiler's omissions and inclusions. Pringle has confined himself to novels (except for two linked collections and one novella) published between 1946 and 1987 and originally written in English. His definition of fantasy is wide. It must be said that he has been both scholarly and clever. His mini-articles (two pages on each book) are almost always delightfully succinct and well informed. Clearly the book intends not merely to list and comment but also to teach and suggest; its value lies in bringing out themes and subtexts a reader might have missed and in suggesting esoteric works of which one might not have heard. Thus, amongst the inevitable inclusions (Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, Peter Beagle, Ursula Le Guin, Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber), there are unexpected others ranging from John D. MacDonald to Thomas Pynchon, and including lesser-known names like Andrew Sinclair, Michael Frayn and Brian Moore. It is clear that Pringle's sense of histori cal perspective (or perhaps his heart ruling his head) is what led him to include works by A.E. Van Vogt, L. Sprague dc Camp and Fletcher Pratt, Robert A. Heinlein and Stephen R. Donaldson. In several cases, he prefers to include an author's most famous as opposed to "best" title: so C.S. Lewis' 77re LiOll, lire Wilclr, alld lire Wardrobe over his much superior Till We Hare Faces. On the whole, though, this is a book to sample and enjoy rather than to quibble with. Clllis Morgall Wells' Non-Fiction Revisited Wells, H.G. 77,e DiscOl'clY of tile FlIlllre with 77re COmIlUJII-SeIlSe of World Peace amI 77re Hllmall Adl'elltllre. Edited and introduced by Patrick Parrinder. PNL Press (for the H.G. Wells Society), 1988, GOp. .95 pb. i -85377-0183.1 Order from the H.G. Wells Society, Dept. of Language and Literature, Polytechnic of North London, Prince of Wales Road, London NW5SLB.) This is the first volume in a proposed series which will reprint some of 24


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 Wells' lesser-known non-fiction, thus complementing the Warren Wagaredited H.G. Wells: JOlll7lalislll and Prophecy (1964) and the Robert Phil mus and David Hughes-edited H.G. Wells: Early Writings in Science and Science Fictio" (1975). The lead essay, delivered as a lecture to the Royal Institution in 1902 and subsequently published as a pamphlet, represents an important break in Wells' intellectual development, in which he moved from being a writer of open-ended speculations to assume the role of a prophet determined to calculate as accurately as possible the future course of human affairs. (Professor Parrinder and I disagree as to whether this step should be seen as a ruination or a maturation, but there is no doubt that he was not the same man thereafter.) "The CommonSense of World Peace" rehearses more familiar Wellsian arguments about the necessity of a world state and a cosmopolitan ethos, which here take on extra ironic depth by virtue of the fact that the paper was delivered as a lecture of a literary group in the German Reichstag in 1929. "The Human Adventure" is a brief rhapsodic piece from the Mail; one of Wells' many experiments in lyrical journalism, it too may seem unfairly ironic now that hindsight shows it was penned only a year before that most horrific of human adventures, the Great War. "The Discovery of the Future" is a very important item in the Wells' canon, vital to an understanding of the development of his thought and work, and it is very usefully reprinted here. Anyone with a serious interest in Wells' work ought to acquire a copy of the book, and anyone with an axe to grind in the business of futurological forecasting will find it most interesting as an early allemptto provide a theoretical basis for prediction. Future volumes in the series will, one hopes, recover some equally inter esting material, and I look forward to seeing them. B'la" Stableford Fiction Best, Once More Aldiss, Brian W. Best SF StOlles of BIla" W. Aldiss. Gollancz, London, 1988, 328p. .95 hc. 0-575-04210-9. 1\vo previous books have appeared with this approximate title, from Faber in 1965 and 1971. (There is also Tile Book of Brian Aldiss, published by DA W in 1972. Ed. J The present volume contains a larger and mostly different selection of stories. Whether the range of stories here does justice to Aldiss' breadth of talent is difficult to assess. Certainly not all of his 25


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 experiments in style and subject-matter are reflected, with some story cycles (t he trios of "enigmas" from the 1970's, for example) being omitted. Perhaps the volume of Aldiss' Best FOllfosy St01ies, promised by Gollancz for 1989, will fill some of the gaps, though Adliss' work has always been difficult to categorize and many of the twenty-two stories in the present volume might be termed fantasy. The stories range over more than thirty years; some better and betterknown stories are absent, while some newor forgotten tales have come in. Most of the stories are cerehral in nature, rising above the cliches and hardware of traditional SF to deal with ideas and psychological conflicts. Neglected early pieces such as "The Failed Men" and ''All the World's Tears" (both telling satires) stand up quite well alongside more familiar entries like "Man in his Time" and the Nebula Award-winning Wellsian pastiche "The Saliva Tree." ''An Appearance of Life," in which a researcher is trying to discover the meaning of life from a vast collection of bygones in a museum too large for belief, is one of Aldiss' most memorable stories. The most recent pieces arc three from 1986, including "My Country 'Tis Not Only of Thee" about the U.S. fighting a new Vietnam type war. IThis last title was reprinted in Jack and Jeanne van Buren Dann's L987 TOR anthology III the Field of Fire. -Ed.) Is this the final "Best" of Aldiss' SF? Probably not, since he is still producing stories as clever and fresh as ever. The book is an important retrospective collection, and it would have been improwd by an introduc tion of some kind, justifying the selection. Ollis Morgo" Re-Imagining the American Consciousness Curd, Orson Scott. Prelllice Alvill: 771e Tales of AMII Maker III. TOR, NY, February 11)89, 342p. $17.95 hc. 0-312-93141-7. With Pre"tice AlI'ill, Orson Scott Card confirms what many readers have already begun to understand that the Tales of Alvin Maker series promises to be one of the most important re-imaginings of the American consciousness ever attempted in science fiction and fantasy. The first volume, 50/1 (1987), set during the period of religious revivals and frontier expansion in the early nineteenth century, introduced an alter nate-universe America and a young hero, Alvin Miller, Jr. Red Prophet (1988) momentarily slowed the narrative, covering barely more than a year of Alvin's life, but broadening the scope to encompass not only the struggle among European states for hegemony on a wildly strange yet oddly familiar American continent, but also the conflict between Red and White, between Native American and European interloper. In doing so, the novel penetrated to the depths of one of the most important issues in 26


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 American history: the tragedy of the Indian. And Card accomplished all of these multifarious goals without losing his readers' interest in the plight of a single boy-hero. In Prelltice A Mil this young hero grows up. Apprenticed to a black smith, Alvin must learn to control his own powers through self-examina tion, through his connections with the mystical "greensong" he feels living in the land, and through the tutelage of Miss Larner, his mentor and the woman he is destined to love. But as intriguing and powerfully narrated as this individual story is, Prelltice A Mil also attempts to meet head-on the second great ethical conflict in the American past: slavery. The novel is both private and public, the detailing of a boy's growth into manhood and a nation's growth into moral responsibility for all of its peoples. Card's treatment of slavery is forthright, blunt. often harsh and condemnatory, without degenerating into sentimentality. Card's moral stance is clear; his juxtaposition of the facts of slavery with the ideals of America allows him to create heroes and villains that not only impel the narrative but also become breathing testaments to human frailties amI strengths. And, in a moment of unusual power, Card creates an image of cleansing and transformation that culminates his concern for slavery at the same time that it confirms the underlying religious, mythic sense that characterizes all of the Alvin Maker novels. Card's ability as a storyteller parallels his passion for understanding the essence of the American experience, a balance apparent in his work since his short story ''America'' (1987). In Prelltice All'ill, Card brings his vision closer to completion and sets the stage for the final volumes in the Tales of Alvin Maker: All'ill JOll17lcymall, Master All'ill, and 771e Crystal City. Micllael R. Collil/gs And Having Burning Dreams Carroll, Jonathan. Sleeping ill Flame. Century Legend, London, October 244p. .95 he. 0-7126-2357-4. In just four novels, Jonathan Carroll has established his own distinct kind of fiction, blending fantasy with mainstream writing in a style that is literary yet light, and dealing with material that is bizarre yet emotional. He also draws heavily on autobiographical elements. Sleeping ill Flame is set mostly in Vienna, Austria, where Carroll lives; though complete in itself, it is the middle volume in a looselyknit trilogy which began with BOlles of tile Mooll (1987). It also has links of theme and place with Carroll's second novel, Voice of Ol/r Siladow (1983). Walker Easterling, a young American actor turned writer, lives in Vienna. There he meets a young woman called Maris York, an artist. They 27


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 fall in love, an event most beautifully described. Then really strange, often grotesque things start to happen to Walker. Could these be attributable to Maris' ex-lover, who is pestering her to return to him? No, because he inexplicably disappears from the plot. So how has Walker managed to acquire magical abilities? And who are the strange people who seem to know him when they greet him in the street? Carroll's characters are credible, totally realized. Yet they experience impossibilities, metaphysical ruptures. The result is disconcerting and superbly entertaining. Carroll seems to be improving with each book and is rapidly becoming one of the best fantasy writers around. Ollis Morgan Star's Bright Carver, Jeffrey A, From a Changeling Slar. Bantam/Spectra, NY, January 1989, 355p. $3.95 pb. U-553-27639-5. In his eighth novel, Jeffrey Carver introduces us to several character groups in alternating narrative sequences and gradually brings them together for a conclusion that may fairly be called Stapledonian in scope. This overlapping technique led at least one reviewer to find Carver's Tile Rapture Effecl (1987) a slow-moving letdown after the excitement of his best-received work, 171e InfinilY Link (1984). Now, the excitement is back, prompted by a villainous threat. From a Changeling Slar is a romantic melding of the miniature and the gigantic. The microcosmic component involves the work of "nano-agents" which, like Greg Bear's "biochips" in Blood MI/sic, infest a main character, rendering him something more than human. The macrocosmic features include a study team inside the fabric of the red giant Betelgeuse, a star on the verge of going nova, and a sentience (named Bright) comprised of stellar material. Crucial to the story's development is a human-alien friendship similar to those Robert Heinlein gave his young adult readership in abundance. It is hard to judge the effectiveness of Carver's suspense mechanism when the book's back cover summary reveals too much, but the novel on the whole provides adventurous entertainment without aspiring to philosophy and should please those for whom a sense of wonder need not be achieved by means of cerebral complications. -17lOm DWIIJ Rambo Meets MacMurphy and Mr. Kurtz Cole, 8urt. 17re Quick. Morrow, NY, February 1989, 288p. $17.95 hc. U-688-08478-8. TIle Qllick is a puzzling novel that defies easy categorization. The novel 28


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 begins, like many works of military adventure fiction, by establishing the prowess of its hero in a small battle and then quickly moves on to more incredible exploits. The story is set in a near future where a popular liberation front is successfully opposing the U.S. government. Shaman, the "hero," is a mercenary, gun-runner, and pirate, and predictably superior to the hidebound officers of the military establishment he has left behind. Shaman needs a war and returns home from his freebooting in Southeast Asia to insinuate himself into the conflict on both sides. But Burt Cole tries to make his hero a thinking-man's Rambo, and he leads Shaman on ajourney through the cuckoo's nest into the heart of darkness. Cole's story develops the philosophical ground of his warrior existence a little too obviously, in labored conversations which reveal him as a practicing solipcist, creating the conflicts that he needs as a warrior and addict of close combat. But in creating and managing the insurgency and counter-insurgency in the U.S., Shaman notices that things don't always go according to plan: someone else may actually be "real" and creating a world that impinges on his own. 77le Qllick may best be thought of as a clever and moderately interesting pastiche, rising above the lurid military adventure formula into territory already mapped by Joseph Conrad, Ken Kesey, and Dalton Trumbo in JohllllY Got his GIIII. -Peter C. Hall Childe Cycle's Pilgrimage Dickson, Gordon R. 771e Challtl), Gllild. Ace, NY, October 1988, 428p. $17.95 hc. 0-441-10276-X. This is a "Childe Cycle" novel, the latest segment in one of the most amhitious projects yet undertaken in SF. As planned, Dickson's Cycle will include three historical novels set from the fourteenth to the nineteeth centuries, three novels set in the contemporary period, and at least seven SF novels. To date Dickson has published only SF portions of the Cycle six novels and some shorter pieces that range from the late twentieth to the twenty-fourth centuries. In these works, humans have travelled to the stars but have also split into three Splinter Cultures: the Dorsai (warriors), the Friendlies (faithholders), and the Exotics (philosophers). In 771e Filial Ellcyclopedia (1984) and now in 77le C"alll1yGllild, Dickson has inaugurated the reintegration of (he fragmented human race, the end point of which will mark an evolutionary advance what the author calls Responsible Man, whose preternatural empathy will guarantee ethical behavior. 771e ClWlltl)' Gllild is an unusual entry for the Cycle since it is a direct sequel to 771e Filial Ellcyclopedia, set only three years later; many decades 29


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 separate the earlier episodes. It is unusual also because it is set on Kultis, one of the two planets colonized by the Exotics, who until now have been the most mysterious of the three Splinter Cultures. 17,e Challtl)' Guild is also an original twist on the superman theme: at the beginning, for instance, the superman hero Hal Mayne has decided to give up. Hal, having reached a dead end in his search for a conscious way into what he calls the Creative Universe, has lost his nerve and his faith in himself. Before Hal gives up completely, however, three women -Ajda, an Exotic; Rukh Tamani, a Friendly, and Amanda Morgan, a Dorsai convince him to journey to the newly founded Chantry Guild on the Exotic Kultis. There Hal's immersion in Exotic culture provides the key to his reintegration, which demands that he incorporate within himself the strengths of Dorsai (bravery), Friendly (faith), and Exotic (knowledge) alike. If he succeeds, he will become not just a "full spectrum" human being, but Responsible Man, able to face his enemy Bleys Ahrens and help Tam Olyn find expiation for the tragedy caused in Soldier, Ask Not (1967), an earlier Cycle novel. 77le ClI01If1)' Gllild may not please everyone. Those familiar with the Chi Ide Cycle may find irritating the constant references to events in other novels. Those who enJoyed the Dorsai warrior segments of the Cycle may not like the heavy emphasis here on non-violence. And those who want their SF simple, fast or "hard" may have trouble with this novel's complex rendering of theme, its leisurely pace, or its overt mysticism. Dickson claims to be writing a new kind of novel, the Consciously Thematic Novel, where form and theme interpenetratt! so completely that the thirteen (or more) Cycle novels will eventually consolidate into one gigantic novel. This is a bold undertaking difficult to judge short of its completion. But we can glimpse in this book somt!thing of the effect Dickson envisions: for, just as the Chantry Guild (named after a medieval religious institution whose members were endowed by their survivors to pray for the coming reward of the deceased) compacts past, present and future, so 77le Clralloy Gllild integrates the past (the carlier Cycle novels), the present (Hal's story), and the future (the foreshadowed achievement of Respon sible Manhood, not just by Hal but by the entire human race). We are left, finally, not only wondering what will happen in the next SF segment of the Cycle but also hoping that Dickson manages to finish the whole project. Todd H. Sammolls Not Worth Looking For Dvorkin, David. 77le Seekers. Franklin Watts, NY, October 1988, 283p. $16.95 he. 0-531-15088-7. Close on the heels of his highly successful alternate history Budspy 30


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 (1987), David Dvorkin turns to a more traditional form of SF, the far-fu ture tale, with the Church of the Quest, a villainous theocracy, threatening the Galactic Republic. The Church which believes that God can be found, quite literally, at a finite point in interstellar space has become a powerful political force. Its adherents forsake all nonbelievers, no matter how close former ties have been, to dedicate themselves to the expansion of the new faith. Thus, Melkorn Ayerst's wife, Ellis, walked out on him and their young daughter ten years before the novel opens. But now she has returned to Ayerst's world, Davner, as commander of one of the Church's huge warships, her military mission to conquer and plunder the planet for the greater glory of the Quest, her personal mission to save her child from her father's skepticism. Unlike Blldspy, which featured constant surprises and genuine depth of character, The Seekers is largely formula fiction. Milkorn has a priggish assistant who has designs on daughter Rikki, and a sub-assistant who is bright, courageous and loyal. Guess who wimps out to the religious nuts and who ends up with Rikki? How does poor Melkorn get his daughter back from her mother after she's been kidnapped, as well as save his planet from a religion that resembles Scientology as conceived by Jerry Falwell? By becoming Gary Cooper in High Nooll, and with a little help from a telepathic dinosaur ... O.K., it's not as bad as all that. In fact, the book is a fairly good read, but unless one expects Dvorkin to become a superstar and wants to invest in the first edition, it's advisable to wait for the paperback. I'm disap pointed that the craft and ingenuity the author demonstrated in Blldspy has given way to a formulaic treatment which, pace the jacket blurb, is emphatically flot going to take its place, alongside Blish's A Case of COflsciellce (1958) and Miller'sA Callticle for Leibowitz (1%0) among the classics of theological SF. Dvorkin's next novel should tell us whether he will continue to move up as a writer of great craft and interest, or whether he will be content to turn out pleasant but forgettable fare. Let's keep our fingers crossed. -Bill Collills [Editor'S Note: Dvorkin's next novel has in fact been published, just one month after The Seekers, in an Ace mass market edition; it is called Celllral Heat and it does not look promising (the descent into paperback is itself inauspicious). Curious readers should check for themselves.] Quiet and Stylish Greenlund, Colin. OIlier Voices. Unwin Hyman, London, 1988, 182p. .95 he. 0-04-440165-5. Sequel to the author's T"e HOl/r of tile 17lill Ox (1987), Otller Voices is 31


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 19a9 quiet and stylish, and a little thin on plot. The war against which the first hook is set, is over. Luscany has been overrun by the Eschalan empire, though the invaders keep a low profile, leaving Princess Nelle as a puppet ruler in the capital. For most of the population, life is little changed; to keep the masses content, the Eschalans agree to the holding of the annual winter festival. But the death of an Eschalan herald during the festival, and the consequent persecution of gypsies, sparks a riol. This riot draws together the stories of Princess Nelle and Serin Guille, the daughter of a taxidermist searching for the secret of immortality. Although there are characters common to both books, this sequel stands on its own. The lives of the people are minutely observed; this meticulous detailing gives the people a presence which points up the problems any empire-building state must encounter in allempting to keep order on its furthest frontiers (where an army of occupation is too expen sive to maintain and help takes a long time arriving). In this way, the novel is also a meditation on why empires fail. A book that cannot be rushed as it unfolds at a leisurely pace, Otlrer Voices is recommended for all lovers of literature. -Pal/lille Morgall Timeless Reverie Holdstock, Robert. Lal'OIrdyss. Gollancz, October 1988, 367p. .95 he. U-575-U4374-1. is the brilliant sequel to Holdstock's World Fantasy Award winning Myt/rago Hood (1984), yet the new book stands alone as it deals with a separate myth-cycle. The center of both books is Ryhope Wood, a fragment of the primeval forest that once covered Britain. While maps might suggest that Ryhope is only a few miles across, time and space are altered within its borders. The wood defends itself, turning trespassers about so they cannot penetrate its thickets; those that venture within find their unconscious memories vivified as "mythagos" myth images created by the power of the forest. The further from the edge, the older the myths recreated; at the very center of Ryhope lies Lavondyss, primal source of all myt h. Living in the shadow of the wood are the Keetons, one of whose number, Harry, disappeared into it in /'.(vtlrago Wood. is the story of his sister, Tallis, a solitary child who invents strange stories. Tallis has a preoccupation with discovering the secret names of places, believing that if she crosses a field alone without knowing its true name she will be trapped there. She sees eerie, hooded women lurking at the edge of the wood who whisper to her, telling her how to make dolls and tree-bark masks. Throughout her childhood, Tallis has been convinced that her lost 32


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 brother Harry is trapped in the wood and that only she can rescue him, but not until she is ready and has learned how to open the way to Lavondyss. One of the few direct links this volume has with its predecessor is the character of Wynne-Jones, a scientist who vanished into the wood in the first volume and who Tallis encounters after she has been lured into the wood to save a dying young man. Wynne-Jones becomes her teacher, arming her for what is to come. The two books are linked, at a deeper level, in their theme that within our unconscious minds lie all the great myths of civilization. As Tallis discovers, the mythagos she meets have been created by the passage, through Ryhope, of her brother Harry. Myt//Ogo Wood are themselves mythagos, brought to life by the potent mind of Robert Holdstock. Instead of using leaves and mould to make flesh and bone, the author has used words, and well: his characters are vividly drawn, his story's atmosphere palpahle. Of the two books, I enjoyed more, partly because there is less exposition gelling in the way of the story and partly because of its sense of timeless revery. It would be nice to see this new novel garnering awards as well. It deserves to. -Palllil/e Morgal/ Up the Walls of the World Jeter, K.W. Farewell Holizolltal. St. Martin's, NY, February 1989, 249p. $16.95 he. 0-312-02574-2. Though K.w. Jeter's previous novels have brought him considerable attention and have led to comparisons with Philip K. Dick, Farewell Horizol/tal is not a particularly impressive performance. Jeter has created an interesting world with intriguing possibilities for exploration and ad venture, and he has told his story with energy and surface polish. These strengths draw the reader into this first volume of 77le Cylil/der 71ilog\' and sustain interest, but weaknesses in other staples of good stroytelling make the novel finally disappointing. In the distant future, apparently afler a major war, a gigantic cylindrical building has become like a small planet. The only society protagonist Ny Axxter knows is confined to the upper levels of the side on which the sun shines in daytime. (This area is above the perpetual cloud cover which hides the lower levels and whatever the building rests upon.) The society is divided between contracted workers, bureaucrats and factory laborers inside the building, and seekers of the open life who live on the sides. Various territories on the sides are ruled by paramilitary groups who resemble twentieth-century motorcycle gangs in mentality and regalia and who relate to one another like outlaw cattle barons in the Old West. 33


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 Axxter is a freelance "graffex" artist. He moves about the outside of the building, working through his agent on the inside, to get contracts for designing armor, logos, symbols, and animated decorations for the various small armies. When he accidentally finds evidence that the two most powerful, supposedly rival armies are, in fact, working together (for reasons that are left unclear), his life is endangered. In his various adventures Axxter meets members of mysterious groups from outside his society: inhabitants of the lower levels and of the darker side of the huilding, and the most threatening people from the dead center. He also befriends an angel, a woman apparently of another species who lives floating in the air around the huilding. The hook's main strength lies in Jeter's presentation of this unique world and its denizens. However, the story is weakened by its virtually one-dimensional characters, undeveloped relationships, stilted and ir ritating dialogue, ami unclear motivation. For example, Jeter not only fails to make clear what the two armies are doing in their alliance, he also provides little explanation for their decision to set up an elaborate trap to destroy Axxter rather than simply and quietly killing him. The only explanation offered is that the armies decide to use Axxter as an example of what happens to individuals who challenge their hegemony (an expedient they hardly seem to need), but their trap seems more designed to provide a (weak) narrative justification for Axxter's exploration of un known territory. Farewell HOIizolltal is interesting and entertaining enough to make it worthwhile to look into the forthcoming volumes of the trilogy, but this novel can only suffer by comparison with the best work of Philip Dick and others. Te17}' Heller The World Unglued Jones, Gwyneth. Kairos. Unwin Hyman, London, November 1988, 260p. .95 hc. 0-04-440163-9. Gwyneth Jones is a versatile writer. Kairos is her third adult novel (she also writes excellent children's books under the name Ann Halam). The first, Elldl/rallce (1986), was a fantasy set in a largely agrarian far future Malaysia. By contrast, Escape Plalls (1987) was a high-tech dys topia. Kairos is again different. It has roots in the present-day but is set in the deteriorating society of the next decade. Also crumbling is the relation ship between Sandy and her lesbian lover, OHo. At university, they had been bright-eyed feminists expecting to be in the forefront of social change, but their dreams have faded as a conservative semi-religious organization 34


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 called Breakthru has risen among the general population. What could have been a straightforward and depressing novel of social decay takes a sudden surrealist twist. A superpsychedelic drug, called Kairos, is passed to 0110 by a friend who is unaware of what he has. From here on, the preconceptions of readers as well as protagonists are shoved aside as the world starts to come unglued. Through all the wild events that follow, Jones never loses her sure feel for sharp social comment expressed through an examination of human relationships. Her subject matter is not the stuff of light entertainment, but because she is such a skillful writer, Kairos is a book worth persevering with. Paltlille Morgall Well-Drawn and Intriguing Kimbrel, Katharine Eliska. Fires ofNltala. Popular Library/Questar, NY, December 1988, 324p. $3.95 pb. 0-445-20759-O. The planet Nuala, blessed by the rich trinium ore that attracts off worldcrs and cursed by the high radioactivity that diminishes its natives' fertility, is enjoying a precarious peace among the founding families when assassinations of members of the royal lines throw the ruling Atare clan into chaos. With the stability of his entire planet at stake, the new ruler Sheel, a healer, must consolidate his power while uncovering a conspiracy that permeates both the royal household and the qllaard, a private force sworn to protect the family. Sheel is aided by his faithful personal qllaard Mailan and by Darame, a beautiful offworlder with mysterious ties to Brant, the ambassador who may be at the center of the plot. In Nuala, Kimhrel has created a complex world: plagued by the high radiation levels that cause manifold mutations, the planet'S religious, political and cultural systems have developed in response to its harsh environment. Many line stories might be told against this backdrop. Moreover, all the major characters and many of the minor ones who appear in this novel are welldrawn and intriguing personalities. The novel's one flaw is its needlessly convoluted plot, marked by constant shifts of pointof-view generated by the complicated motivations of the numerous characters. Kimbrel could have avoided this problem if she had maintained a single viewpoint, for this reader would have been perfectly content to witness Nuala's struggle through the eyes ofSheel, or Darame, or even Mailan, anyone of whom could have easily carried the plot. Though this is Kimbrel's second book about Nuala, its events take place long before those detailed in Fire SallcIIary (1986). Kimbrel's ability to create vivid characters and a fascinating world makes one eager for even more stories set on this planet. -Agat"a TOOf7llillo 35


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 Structural Prol>lems Martin, George R.R., ed. Wild Cards v.: DowlI alld Di/ty. Bantam/Spectra, NY, December 1988, 518p. $4.50 pb. 0-553-27463-5. The premise of the Wild Cards series is that an alien virus infested earth and produced two groups of comic-bookish characters: grotesque mutants (Jokers) and super-powered heroes and villains (Aces). This latest visit to the "shared universe" has two major threads: a battle between the Mafia and the Ninja-like Shadow Fists; and the reappearance of the wild card virus. The book is billed as a "mosaic novel": each author's contribution is broken into parts, alternating with sections of other stories, aiming to produce a continuous whole. Though DowlI alld Dirty shows improvement over the last offering in the series, it suffers from structural problems. [The volumes in the series, all edited by Martin and published by Bantam/Spectra, are: Wild Cards,Aces HigIJ,!okers Wild (all 1987), and Aces Abroad (1988). Ed.) Many of the stories are only tangentially related to the major plots. Martin's own offering, the King's Horses," about the Great and Mighty Turtle, is one of the best in the book; the author treats his characters with great care and sensitivity, but his story is not connected to either of the major story lines. Roger Zelazny's "Concerto for Siren and Serotonin" is well-written and full of action, and although it does relate to one of the plots, its version of Croyd Crenson, the Sleeper, differs from that presented by other writers in the book (actually, Zelazny's treatment is superior). Some selections seem to stand alone as independent short stories. Walter .Ion William's "Mortality" is a quick-moving and perceptive tale of the android, Modular Man. Another good one is "The Second Coming of Buddy Holley" Isic), by Edward Bryant; it has nothing to do with either plot, but is very enjoyable. Other entries which stand alone are Pat Cadigan's newwavish to Love" and Stephen Leigh's tough, fast-paced and gory "The Hue of a Mind." A major problem with this book is that the return of the virus, introduced quite late, overshadows the Mafia war, thus unbalancing the whole volume. Some authors try to fill in the narrative gaps while dealing with other characters. Leanne C. Harper follows Mafia boss Rosemary Gambione and the telepathic baglady Bagahond; Melinda M. Snodgrass concentrates on the alien Dr. Tachyon; John J. Miller opens and closes the book with his treatment of the warring factions. These selections are competently written, but have less substance and/or style than those mentioned above, and seem designed primarily as plotfiller. Overall, DowlI alld Di/1y is one of the better offerings in this series and is recommended for readers who wonder what the Fantastic Four or 36


SFRA News/etter, No. 166, April 1989 X-Men would be like with sex and real violence added. Others may find here a lack of depth, though no paucity of action. Laurel AJlderson ll)fol'OS Phil Dick Award Winner McAuley, Puul J. Foul' Hundred Billion Stars. Ballantine/Del Rey, NY, 1988, 282p. $3.50 pb. 0-345-35175-4. A newly discovered planet with strange and unexpected characteristics; a fifty-year-old Federation for Co-Prosperity of Worlds that has come into being (under the leadership of Greater Brazil) following a four-hundredyear Interregnum during which most worlds had fallen into near-barbarism; colonial dissatisfaction with Earth's dominant role; a Federation Navy engaged in a difficult war elsewhere and thus suspicious of all activity, including the efforts of a Federation science team assigned to uncover the enemy's intentions; a protagonist with psychic powers poorly understood by himself and the other humans involved in his story. These are all ideas we have seen before, cliches of modern science fiction. But this co-winner (along with Rudy Rucker's U-etware) of the Philip K. Dick Award for best original paperback SF novel of 1988 [see # 164, p. 8, for a full list of finalists Ed.1 presents variations on these themes that lead to an interesting, well-written story. The astronomical peculiarities of the planet (only a million years old, and slowly rotating too close to its cold MO class sun) and its life forms (flora and fauna from a dozen other worlds) are well-conceived and rationally explained. The Navy's secretive, bureaucratic, and often Brazilian-macho plans, combined with the scientists' desire for knowledge, provide a reasonable background for the dispute over whether there really is an enemy on this world, and if so, whether it has any connection to the powerful enemy the Navy is currently fighting. In the best tradition of action-oriented SF, the gradual unraveling of the secrets of the planet comes about through a combination of intel ligence, courage, and more than a little luck. Much of the suspense derives from examination of the relationship of the "herders," who show only a modicum of intelligence, and their docile "crillers," whom they move from place to place without apparent reason, to the abandoned "holds" hivelike cities, lifeless when the first explora tion teams arrive, that begin to glow atl1ight as the explorations continue. Slow deciphering of written inscriptions reveals the name of the planet, P'thrsn, as well as that of the city buildcrs, Alea, butthe true relationships come clear only through the strenuous, rebellious, often painful efforts of the heroine, Dorthy Yoshida. Dorthy, an astronomer drafted to take part in the scientific expedition, is the best of several well-developed characters. Her early protests against 37


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 conscription give way to a desire to learn all she can about P'thrsn and its inhabitants. A Japanese-Australian given to reading and quoting from, and even carrying a copy of, Shakespeare's SOl/l/ets (at a time when books are almost non-existent), she has been lifted from what would have been a life of poverty and degradation by her Talcnt an empathic ability she does not like to use, and which is misunderstood by most of her fellows. It is something of a flaw that the story's ending involves yet another cliche of the genre -the revelation of a mysterious but implacable enemy that may someday (in a sequel, perhaps?) threaten mankind. Neverthe less, McAuley's story is absorbing, and I am certain that others will also find it so. A,tll"r O. Lewis Retread for Retards Platt, Charles. Free ZOl/e. Avon, NY, January 1989, 233p. $3.50 pb. U-38U-75411-8. The action of Free ZOl/e is almost impossible to summarize: anarchisthippie-computer-nerd free spirits try to preserve their independence despite attacks by fundamentalist city government, carnivorous aliens, gene-altered talking dogs, time-travelling Nazis from Mars ... When Platt says that his novel "includes almost all the major themes that have ever been used in science fiction," he's not overstating. When he goes on to say that it "embeds most of them in the plot," though, he's stretching things a bit; there's not much of a plot here just a torrent of new (old) ideas. In 1986, Platt wrote Less 11/01/ HI/lllal/ (under the penname Robert Clarke), a satirical SF novel in which few of the gags worked.lnFree ZOl/e, he's trying something closer to Norman Spinrad's 11ze //'01/ Dream (1972), a straightfaced exaggeration of the genre's excesses. Spinrad, however, exaggerated SF's misanthropic powerlust so much that it was difficult to imagine the result attracting anyone. Platt's novel is less disturhing; in fact, it's possible to imagine Free ZOl/e being published "seriously," since it reads just like an unusually sloppy paperback original. That must be Platt's basic joke, and people who laughing at the desperate improvisations of hack writers may find it amusing. It reminds me of throwing stones at a retarded cripple. -Joe Sal/deI'S SF or Mainstream? Scarborough, Elizabeth Ann. 11re Healer's War. Doublcdaylfoundation, NY, November 1988, 303p. $17.95 he. 0-38524828-8. 11re Healer's war is the kind of novel easily capable of stirring up the ongoing controversy related to defining SF, to locating the boundaries 38


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 between speculative fiction and mundane fiction. It is an intense novel, a powerful novel, a finely written novel; it is also arguably a realistic, even naturalistic novel working from assumptions about reality more Eastern than Western or, perhaps, more Native American than EuropeanAmerican. Its landscape, its mode of characterization, even its depiction of the Vietnam War experience through the eyes of a nurse stationed "in country" are those evoked by the currently popular television series C"illa Beac", but more brutal, more graphic, and more appalling than Hollywood's deodorized vision allows. Scarborough writes from her own experiences as a nurse in Vietnam, and her narrative resonates with the authenticity of first-hand observation to such an extent that the author makes a point of emphasizing, in her acknowledgements, that the events recorded are a fictional autobiography, not a factual one. The point-of-view character is Lieutenant Kitty McCulley, translated from the innocence of a midwestern upbringing to an army hospital in Vietnam, where she confronts the spectacle of young soldiers "being sent home in body bags, or with their handsome faces melted or blown away, their bodies prematurely aged with disease or terrible wounds, and their idealistic souls turned into sewers." In this context, Kitty, whose first responses are compassion and an effort to care for the wounded whether they are American or Vietnamese, finds herself at odds with a system which at its best provides indifferent care to native civilian casualties and at its worst mandates their destruction. Her need to heal and her intuitive responses to patients' needs capture the attention of Xe, a Vietnamese casualty who is also a holy man and a healer among his own people, and who senses in her the ability to carryon his gift and his calling. In dying, he passes on to her an amulet which becomes a channel for various paranormal powers, including an ability to see auras, a kind of telepathy, and an ability to heal open wounds through concentrated will and em pathy. To the extent that the rest of the story shows Kitty's own growth through her use of the amulet during a progressively more horrible series of events which unfolds after her helicopter crashes trying to save a Vietnamese boy, it can be labelled "speculative fiction." Even so, however, it is not the "magical" qualities of Kitty's amulet one ultimately remembers, but the environmental and psychological context in which these qualities are expressed. Like Lucius Shepard's Life Durillg W0I1ime (1987) and many of the stories gathered in Jack and Jeanne Van Buren Dann's /11 t"e Field of Fire (1987), Scarborough's novel uses elements of the "fantastic" to encompass and mediate the experience of war. A particular strength of 17,e Healer's War is that its protagonist is a female who must deal with events traditionally allocated to the "male" 39


SFRA Newsletter. No. 166, April 1989 realm of experience in a way that is more universal and human rather than gender-specific. What remains with the reader is what would remain after any powerfully written realistic novel embodying the ironies and am biguities of a war undertaken for ideals that don't function in practical applicalion. Through Kitty we wilness murders, execulions, tortures and rapes side by side wilh acts of courage, generosity and nobility of spirit. The experience leaves Kitty damaged, and the reader through her. For her and for the reader, the story functions as both an invocation and an exorcism motivated by the conviction that "il is not too much to ask people to believe and forgive." TIle Healer's War is a book for SF readers and mainslream readers alike. Mal)'-Kay Bray Not Sheffield's Best Sheffield, Charles. Trader's m.uld. Ballantine/Del Rey, NY, November 1988, 27IJp. $3.95 ph. 0-345-34432-4. In a post-holocaust world, several pockets of civilization have survived. The Chills live on the Antarctic Ice Cap and are experts in microcomputer design; the Greasers in South America provide "recreation" of any kind; the Strines are expert in bioengineering, etc. The Traders are the link among all of them, and Trading is here a high art, restricted to a carefully trained elite. TIader's World is the story of a boy rescued from barbarians and trained to be a Trader. Predictahly, the guiding force of the Traders (a machine intelligence called Daddy-O) senses something unusual in the boy and uses him for its own secret ends which turn out to be an effort to save the Earth from another, and devastatingly final, war. Although the shape of the plot is familiar, it has some interesting nd unexpected turns, and the sketches of the various fragments of civilization are well done. Not Sheffield's best, the novel is recommended for an afternoon's entertain ment. -W.D. Stevells Inside the Dragon Griaule Shepard, Lucius. TIle Sealell/lIller's Beallliflll Dallghter. Mark V. Ziesing, Willimantic, CT, 1988, 153p. $16.95 hc. 09612970-8-5. Although he is best known for his brilliant fiction set in Latin America (1987's Life Dllrillg W0I1il7l<', for example), Lucius Shepard has written a variety of fine stories set in other locales. One of the best of these is the Hugo ami Workl Fantasy Award-nominated "The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule" (gathered into the author's 1987 Arkham House collec tion TIle Jagl/ar HI/Iller), which takes place in what feels vaguely like 40


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 nineteenth-century Europe, although it isn't any Europe in our world. The dragon Griaule is more than a mile long, alive, but dormant. A brooding presence, it dominates both the local landscape and the minds of those who live near it. The artist of the story's title literally sets out to paint the entire monster. Not a picture of it, but the creature itself. Shepard's short novel (really a novella) TIle Seale/IIII/ter's Beal/lijill Dal/gllter, which appeared originally in the September 1988 issue of Isaac Asimm"s SF Magazille, is set near, on, and within the Dragon Griaule at some earlier, but unspecified period of its history. ScaJehunting, we learn, is a major local industry, because the shed or chiseled-free scales of the monster are valued for their medicinal properties. Catherine, the scalehunter's daughter, has been brought up in close proximity to the monster, her father even having her sleep on the dragon's back in the hope that she might gain some form of supernatural protection from it. As a young woman she is both a fearless scalehunter herself, a great beauty, and enormously vain. One day Catherine kills a man. It's self-defense -he's attempting rape but it is clear that her own egotism and vanity put her in danger in the first place. Pursued by the dead man's brothers, she flees down the dragon's throat. There she discovers both an entire world of strange creatures and her own equally strange affinity for the belly of the beast. She remains within it for years. When she emerges she is a drastically changed woman. The Sealehl/lIler's Bealllifl// Dal/gllter is a parable of sorts, and Shepard's use of the dragon is intensely symbolic. The creature's body is a microcosm of the outside world. The lessons Catherine learns while inside of Griaule relate directly to the moral shortcomings which led her to enter the creature in the first place. Shepard's art, however, is such that the symbolic structure is never obtrusive. This is a fine, if understated, work of fantasy. It clearly deserves award consideration. [And, in fact, it is a finalist for the Nebula Award for best novella of 1988. Ed.] -Michael M. Lei" Maya Guy Shiner, Lewis. Desel1ed Cities of tire Hemt. Doubleday/Foundation, NY, 1988, 273p. $17.95 hc. 0-385-24637-4. [Now a March paperback, from Bantam/Spectra, at $4.50.) Deselted Cities of tire HeQ/1, Lewis Shiner's second novel, makes use of New Age ideas without making me gag and of Mayan archaeologicval findings without mimicking Pat Murphy's fine TIle Fallillg Womall (1986). It runs at a brisk pace, shows a superb hand with characteri7..ation, and gracefully hides its research and ideas under a bushel of entertainment. [It has also just been announced as a Nebula Award finalist for best SF 41


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 novd of 1988. Ed.] One could find fault with the plot. A former rock superstar time-travels, by way of magic mushrooms, to find (Mayan) god. A Rollillg Stolle journalist covers a revolution in Mexico during the Reagan administra tion. Lots of action culminates with the Mayan Kulkulkan, or end of the cycle (that's when New-Agers gather on heaches and hum). A couple of drips are in love with the same woman. But plot is the least of a good novd, and the deficiencies don't matter much. I sometimes miss characterization in SF even the best SF writers make of their characters saviors, great mythic figures, representatives of their worlds, and/or spokespeople for their authors' visions, usually at the expense of their complex, messy personhood. Frollte,.a (1985), Shiner's first novd, suffered from this difficulty more than many SF novels, yet De.w1ed Cities avoids it superbly. Though the rock star is a medium for the book's message, he is also an addle-pat ed, distracted, gentle and daring person. Carmichael, the journalist, is both shallow enough and insightful enough to ring true. In large part because of the characterization, and also because of a vivid handling of sensory detail, Shiner's sex scenes and battle scenes are very convincing. Behind the skillfully rendered sense world (or maya) of the novel lies research about Maya, ocean arks, and dissipative structures (ala lIya Prigogene). Shiner's sources are noted at the end of the novel, but they are unobtrusively handled throughout (not the case with his first novel), research on Maya never distracting from his novel's maya. Underneath and supporting the rather chaotic plot lies an exploration of equilibrium and cycles, rule and misrule, order and chaos, synchronicity and entropy. I look forward to Shiner's third novel, Slam. His first novel was thoughtful, his second is both thoughtful and well developed; what has Shiner learned by writing Desel1ed Cities which will be put to use in his third effort '! -Joall Gonioll Feminist Post-Apocalypse Original Vonarburg, Elizabeth. The Silellt City. Trans. by Jane Brierley. Porcepic Books, Victoria, Canada, 1988, 209p. No U.S. price available. 0-88878277-2. Set in a post-apocalypse world of mutants and domed cities, The Silellt City initially presents a two-tiered world of decadent, educated city dwellers (who had the wealth and power to hide in radiation-proof cities during the nuclear war some hundreds of years before), and the mutants (descendants of those who had no choice but to attempt to survive outside the protection of the cities). Those on the inside have protected not only 42


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 themselves but all accumulated human knowledge and culture, while those on the outside know nothing but how to survive. Beginning with this interesting scenario, French Canadian writer Elizabeth Vonarburg goes on to explore the birth and upbringing of the heroine, Elisa, in one of the cities possibly the last to have any human occupants. The humans inside the cities have failed to maintain the human race, despite the genetic experimentation with the kidnapped "outsiders." But the cities can live forever, run by their countless android and robotic servants, and Elisa lives in one, along with three other remaining humans. The story continues with Elisa's disillusionment with her mad father/creator's plans for domination of the outside world, her own escape into that world with the help of her "grandfather," and her own designs to genetically reconstruct the mutant human race, wherein most children are born female and kept more or less as slaves in the necessarily polygamous society. How she achieves her end, and how she inadvertantly aids in the revolution of the women against the men, makes for a fascinat ing story. The feminist themes are evident in the plot, but they are not overly obtrusive. Not all the men are evil, and the leader of the women's revolution, Judith, is definitely power-mad. Elisa herself is a most interesting character, very real and believable. She operates from the best motives but frequently has lillIe knowledge from which to act; this creates all sorts of moral dilemmas for her later on, which she responds to in complex and often unexpected ways. She is a strong and richly textured character. Other characters, such as the de mented Paul, the equally mad Judith and the first child genetically designed by Elisa, Abra/Abram, are also well drawn, although none with the subtlety of the protagonist. The novel's selling is realistically presented. In her use of the post apocalypse milieu, Vonarburg has diverged from the usual bleak depic tion, in that earth has not been recently blasted but is on its way back to health after hundreds of years of darkness. The hopefulness of the basic themes, then, sets this novel apart; the story is not naiVely optimistic, but, like the best of traditional SF, it shows real hope for change through scientific (genetic) experimentation. The novel's themes are complex and treated with depth; they include power, the superiority of knowledge versus moral superiority, freedom and halance. The themes are linked to the development of the characters and the plot in a way that is full of fascinating surprises. Although this is Vonarburg's first foray into SF, the style and overall competence of the writing reveal the experience of an author who has won several awards for her other fiction. The story does weaken a bit towards the end, however, where the action and characters get bogged down in philosophical 43


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 speculation on the rights and roles of individuals. But for the most part, The Silellt Cit)' is solid, wellwritlen and interesting. Young Adult Non-Fiction Librarian's Guide 1.R. Wytellbroek Lynn, Ruth Nadleman. Falltasy for Chi/drell alld YOl/llg Adl/lts; all all notated bibliography. R.R. Bowker, NY, 1989, xlvii + 77ip. $39.95 hc. 0-8352-2347-7. The first edition of this lihrarian's guide (1973) provided listings of about 1650 recommended fantasies for children in grades 3-8, with cita tions from fourteen recommending sources. The second edition (1983), half again as long at ahout 450 pages, listed ahout 1700 titles, added additional recommending sources and a hibliography of secondary literature emphasizing the works of seventy-five prominent authors who wrote for children. This third edition is almost twice the length of the second, adding 1600 titles, of which 420 are for children in grades 3-6, 430 for grades 5-8, and 750 for grades 7-12, this last the so-called young adult (YA) category and the cause for the title change. Citations from twenty-four sources are included, and the secondary bibliography includes more than 600 authors as well as chapters on teaching resources, history and criticism, and reference and bibliography. The annotated hibliography of 3300 fiction titles is grouped in ten broad thematic categories (allegorical fantasy and literary fairy tales, time travel fantasy, witchcraft and sorcery fantasy, etc.). Most books are from the twentieth century, all available in English, with horror and SF usually excluded (science fantasy slips in). Because the categories are not mutually exclusive, a large numher of cross-references clutier the text. I'd prefer that these be dropped altogether, reducing the length of the bibliography by a third and allowing the user to rely solely on the author/illustrator, title or topical subject/series indexes. A typical entry includes author (including pseudonyms), title, grade level, which of the three age/grade groups the book most appeals to (as listed above), citations to the recommending sources, and publication information. Sequels/series are listed with the parent entry, and significant awards (Newberry, etc.) are listed. All books were recommended by at least two sources (a rather relaxed standard); R denotes three to four rcommendations, 0 (outstanding) five or more (i.e. books generally 44


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 regarded as classics). I referred to this as a librarian's guide, although Lynn hopes that teachers, parents and students in YA/children's literature classes will use it. As an annotated bibliography and research guide --which is all it claims to be --it's most useful for this narrow audience, although a few will have access to most of the recommending sources. It's much less satisfactory as a selection guide unless you simply want to accept the 0 and R tags. The one-line plot summaries don't tell you the reasolls for the incusion. For that you'd need something like Diana Waggoner's 17re Hills of Faraway (1978), which includes adult fantasies as well. Larger libraries should consider. -Neil Ban'oll YA Fiction Oh Gross! The Eighteenth Century! Rond, Nancy. Allother Shore. McElderry Books, NY, 1988, 332p. $14.95 hc.0-689-50463-2. Nancy Bond has written at least one other SF novel for young adults (17re Voyage Begull in 1982). Allother Shore uses the device of involuntary time travel to explore how today's young people might adjust to the limiting social conventions and real hardships of a frontier community two and a half centuries in the past. The heroine of the story is Lyn Paget, aged seventeen, a summer employee at the reconst ructed fort and village of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where, to give visitors a more realistic experience, all employees dress and act as if the National Historic Park were really in the eighteenth century. Lyn works as a waitress in the bakery-cum-coffee-shop and calls herself, when at work, Elizabeth Bernard, the name of a girl who actually lived in the bakery in 1744. One day, Lyn stumbles on the way to work, recovering to find herself abruptly transported to the year 1744, where everyone accepts her as Elizabeth. Allother Shore shows how Lyn/Elizabeth, and two other involuntary time travellers, adjust to the gradual realization that a return to the twentieth century is impossible. The older woman of the three accepts the situation with grim stoicism, but Lyn's male contemporary is pathetic in his determination to return to the life he knew. His efforts lead ultimately to his death, which, in t urn, helps Lyn/Elizabeth choose "the reality of life" and accept an eighteenth century lover who will share a future with her outside Louisbourg. The two young people, Lyn/Elizabeth and Donald/Gerard, are most 45


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 fully drawn, and the members of their eighteenth century families also have stories the reader will follow with interest. Allotller SIlOre is recommended for its provocative contrasting of the ways of thought and be havior of the two centuries and for the realistic courage of its heroine. Bond tells this story well, but she has not allempted to tell another story which might possibly have proven more interesting: how eighteenth cen tury Elizabeth adjusted to Lyn's life in the twentieth century. That story might have been better science fiction. Pallia M. Straill The Secret Life of Appliances Disch, Thomas M. 771e Bra\'(.! Little Toaster Goes to Mars. Doubleday, NY, 198R, 72p. $11.95 hc. 0-385-24162-3. It is difficult to suggest a readership for this sequel to 77re Brave LillIe Toaster (19R6), Disch's first juvenile book, which was well received when it appeared (and nominated for a Nebula award upon its first publication in 77le Magazille of alld Sciellce Fictioll). The style may be a bit too sophisticated for younger children, and there are no illustrations or juvenile characters. My guess is that parents will enjoy reading both books to more thoughtful grade school children, and adults may simply enjoy them on their own, without the excuse of a child. The price will certainly appear too steep for such slim volumes, if purchased merely as light reading. These are bask ally gift books, at least in hardcovers. Readers familiar with the "nursery magic" which brings to life the dolls and stuffed animals in the Raggedy Ann stories and 77le Vell'cteell Rabbit will not be surprised at what happens in the apartment of a retired Slavic ballet dancer when she goes to Europe on vacation. Her household appliances have a vivid social life. Disch's whimsical imagination is evident in his characterization of the various animated appliances and the appropriate dialogue he supples for each. There is, for example, a German fan which refers to Beethoven's music, while an American AM radio only knows the hit parade tunes. Most marvelous is a hearing aid made for Einstein, which has been privy to the great man's thoughts and has an amazing knowledge of physics. The toaster, a more modest appliance somewhat at odds with the microwave oven (which speaks in a slight lhiwanese accent), becomes the hero of the narrative. While Madame only goes to Europe, her appliances visit Mars. The references to Albert Einstein, planned obsolescence, and the consumer revolt may arouse the curiosity of smarter children and perhaps teach them something as well. However, the book remains an entertainment rather than a genuine allegory or instructional tract, with fine descriptions of Earth and Mars from outer space. The narrative even


SFRA Newsletter, No. 166, April 1989 becomes something of a Christmas tale when Tinselina, an electric Christmas tree angel, sacrifices her real human hair for a worthy cause. After a Martian adventure, the narrative ends happily back on earth in fact, in the good old U.S.A., where convenient appliances abound. This book is no R. U.R., no BraFe Nell' World; its message is that technology is our servant, making our lives comfortable and pleasant. A light enter tainment for holidays or other times, this book defies age categorization. Allelle S. Phy-Olsell A Flavor of Andre Norton Mnyluu', Ardath. A Place of Sill'a Silence. Walker, NY, November 1988, 186p. $15.95 he. 0-8027-6825-3. [Millenium, Book 8] The Millenium series, produced by Byron Preiss Visual Publications, is a worthy effort to create books that are a pleasure to vkw as well as to read. A Place of Silver Silence is beautifully illustrated by Pat Ortega, particularly her cover painting, which was chosen as the favorite piece of art by the members of the North American Science Fiction Convention in 1987. Ortega's depictions of the aliens of the story are welldetailed, believable, and engaging, but she is less successful in portraying the novel's heroine. Still, the illustrations are generally excellent and worth studying even apart from the teh1. The story, though enjoyable, is rather less compelling. Mayhar does create attractive, cuddly aliens. and her depiction of her heroine's isola tion is moving. The plot, how(;\'(;r, is pr(;diclable an unavoidable pitfall, perhaps, in a series that is explicitly devot(;d to exploring "classic" SF themes for a YA audience (in this case, an intelligent alien species residing on a planet that a corporation wants to exploit). The heroine, Andraia, discovers the aliens and fights to protect them. The novel evokes the work of Andre Norton, with its emphasis on a young female protagonist, catlike aliens, and psionic powers. There is little characterization, and the story is quickly and simply told. The SF background is enhanced by a touch of cyberpunk technology humans linked through microchips -and an incident reminiscent of the Piggies' torture of a xc nolo gist in Orson Scoll Card's Speaker for the Dead (1986). These moments situate A Place of Silver Silence in the mainstream of current science fiction. This novel is highly recommended for those who colkct SF in special editions and for YA readers who enjoy Andre Norton's work. Robin Ro/Jc/1S 47


r------' !1 SFR4 Newsletter No. 166 Robert A. Collins, Editor English Department Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL 33432 Non Profit Organization U. S. POSTAGE PAID BOCA RATON, FLORIDA Permit No. 77 DATED MATERIAL PLEASE DO NOT DELAY


Download Options

Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close


Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.


Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.


Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.