SFRA newsletter

SFRA newsletter

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SFRA newsletter
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Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
Science Fiction Research Association
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[Eugene, Ore
Science Fiction Research Association]
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Science fiction -- History and criticism ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
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University of South Florida Library
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S67-00068-n176-1990-04 ( USFLDC DOI )
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Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
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SFRA NEWSLETTERApril 1990, No. 176InThis IssuePresident's Message (Hull)2N.B. (Barron).5SFRAConference Update (C&P Lowentrout) 9 Recent and Forthcoming Books (Barron) 6 Science&Science Fiction at AAAS (Madden)10CurrentWorksinProgress (SFRA Members)12Feedback14Editorial(Harfst) 16Reviews:Non-Fiction: Harris,Olildnm's live-ActionMusiaJl Films (Klossner) .17Fiction:Chalker, DermIS at RairJXMI Bridge(RunIc)...........................18Dean,Whimofthe Dragon (Hitt)19DeCamp, Honorable Barbarian (Letson).,.,.,.,20DeChaocie,Castle Kidllapped(Osborn)21Douglas,SevenofSwords:Sword&Circlet3(Thompson)22Drake, Waugh,&Greenberg,eds.,Space Itifalltry (Reynolds). ............22Gardner,SlavesoftheVolcaJloGod(Osborn)23 Gnut,11/ Willow(Jan/ell (Hit) 24 Harrism, BiD,dIe Galactic Hero (Urderlrill) ..................................24 Lawheal,MUir (Sullivan)25Lovecraft,eta1.,Tales ofdleCrJuilJUi MydlOS(Michaels) 2fj Niven&Barnes,1J,eBarsoom Project(Underhill) 27Rawn,Melanie, SuJllWuler'sFire (Strain)28Scb:>w,Seeillg Red(UIDIanI) ............................................ '19 Silverberg, In Allathe rCOUlltry(Michaels) 30 Smeds,1J,eSchemesofDragOilS(Hitt)...,32Tarr, Af3"Magica(Wytalbroek) ............................................33Young Adult:Christopher,Prince,Bumillg lAnds, Sword (WyterDroek) 34


2SFRANews/etter, No.176,April 1990TheSFRANewsletterPublished ten tImes a year tor the Science Fiction Research A.ssoclatlon bv Alan Newcomer. Hypatia Press. Eugene. Oregon. Copynght@ 1989by SFRA.Editorial correspondence: Betsy Hartst. Editor. SFRA Newsletter. Arts. Communications.&Social Science Division, Kishwaukee Coliege, Malta.II60150(Tel. Send changesofaddressand/or Inqulnes concerning subscriptions to the Treasurer. listed below.SFRA Executive CommitteePresident Elizabeth Anne Hull Liberal Arts Division William Rainey Harper College Palatine, Illinois60067Vice-President f'-Jeil Barron1149Lime Place Vista. California92083Secretary DavidG.Mead English Department Corpus Christi State University Corpus Christi. Texas78412Treasurer ThomasJ.Remington English Department University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls. Iowa50614ImmediatePastPresident William H.Hardesty English Department Miami University Ox1ord.OhiO45056PastPresidentsofSFRA ThomasD.Ciareson(1970-76)ArthurO.Lewis. Jr.(1977-78)JoeDeBolt(1979-80)James Gunn(1981-82)PatriciaS.Warrick(1963-84}DonaldM.Hassler(1985-86\PastEditorsoftheNewsletter Fred Lerner(1971-74)Beverly Friend(1974-78)Roald Tweet(1978-81)Eiizabeth Anne Hull(1981-84)RichardW.Milier(1984-87) .RobertA.Collins(1987-89)PilgrimAward Winners J.O. Bailey(1970)MarjoneHoo9Nicolson(1971) Julius Kagarlitski(1972)Jack Wililamson(1973)I.F. Clarke(1974)Damon Knight(1975)James Gunn((1976)ThomasD.Clareson(1977)BrianW.Aldiss(1978)Darko Suvin(1979)Peter Nicholls(1980)Sam Moskowitz(1981)Neil Barron(1982)H.Bruce Franklin(1983)Everet1Bleiler(1984)SamuelR.Delany(1985)George Slusser(1986)GaryK.Wolfe(1987)Joanna Russ(1988)UrsulaK.LeGuin(1989)


SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 19903President'sMesssageTHE CRUELEST MONTHYesterday'smailbrought correspondence from Takayuki Tatsumi in which he mentions that February is the cruelest month in Japan, the weather being so bitterly cold. Ha, thought I, Tokyo cold?--he should know what cold meansinChicago! We know how to doreallycold! But then I thought again--we had the warmest February everon recoro this year, so perhapsourwinter was very like Tokyo's--at least this year--after all. This led me to wonderjusthow much wearealike in other ways. The differences sometimes seem to overshadow the similarities among human cultures, but the similarities maybefar more important than the differences in the long run. It's not just thatweshare one planet--geography does vary a lot, after all, and some people may view the greenhouse effect as a benefit rather than a threat. Oneofthe questions I asked on mysfmidterm exam given last week was whether the stories inTales from the Planet Earthreveal that people in various countries around the globearemore alikeormore different. Naturally I told my class that this is not a question with a rightorwrong answer; their grades would dependonthe evidence they supplied from the stories to support their position. Withjustone dissenting opinion, all my students defended the idea thatwe'remore alike inourhumanity, and they wrote persuasively. I suspect that literature could not articulate across nationalorethnic boundaries without recognizing shared human values. This week also brought correspondence from Ellen Pedersen in Denmark, Fernando Porta in Italy, and Larisa Mihaylova in Russia. I suddenly realize that oneofthebest' perqs"ofthe presidencyofSFRA, in my opinion, is the opportunity to become better acquainted withsfpeople all over the world. Thinkingofthe perqsofthe presidency leads me to think about all the officers and the elections process which we willbefollowing in the next few months.Ourbylaws stipulate that the Immediate Past President (Bill Haniesty) shall serve as chairofthe Nominations and Elections Committeeandsupervise the balloting process. To helphim,I have appointed the following people: Carolyn Wendell, Peter Brigg, Charlotte Donsky, andHodsZaki.Ifyou are willing torunfor oneoftheofficesofSFRA, why not notify oneofthe committee members? Anyone not slated may still petition tobeonthe ballot,ofcourse, but I recommend you make your availability known. The committee is charged with finding at least two candidates for each office, and this is never an easy task.


4SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 1990For the election results tobedecidedinNovember, the date for receiving ballotshasbeenset as31October, which meansthatthe committee'snominations shouldbepublishedintheJunelJuly newsletter; the final ballot shouldbein the September newsletter.Ifyouwantto learn more abouttheduties for each office, talk. to the presentofficers.Theideal person for any office shouldbethekindofperson who works well with others; access to computers/word processing and support from your employer, whilenotabsolutely necessary, certainly helps for all the offices also.Ihave also appointed Tom Clareson, Ellen Pedersen, Virginia Allen, and RobLathamto work with Bylaws Review Committee chair, William Schuyler, askingthemto clarify procedures regarding the president's appointmentofa new newsletter editor when the previous editor resigned prior to the normal endofhisorhertermofservice, a situation which arose last year. Specifically: should the new editorbeappointed for a full three-year termoronly for the unexpired termofthe previous editor?Ifthere are any other issues concerning the bylaws which you think needattention, please let oneofthesepeople know. Iwillbeteaching my science fiction course in the fall forthefirst time inourHonors Program, asanevening course. I've always regardedmysfclass asanhonors caliber course anyway, but itwillnowbeofficially limited to those bright, hard-working, high-achieving students whoqualifyfor the Honors program, and the evening scheduling should permit some over-25 students to enroll who normally wouldbeprevented by their work schedules. This fallI willinclude attendance at Windycon aspartofthe Honors enrichment, and for a repeat in the fallof1991Ihope to have the students attendtheworldconinChicago.Iamcurious about other SFRA members who have taught similar courses and would like to hearfromanyone who would care to share a syllabusorexperiences.I'mlooking forward tothechance tomeetwith and talk. to manyofyou with whomI'vebeencorrespondingthis past year attheannualmeetinginJune.Ifyou haven't already made your reservations, pleasedosoas soon as possible. See you in Long Beach? --ElizabethAnneHull


SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April1990N.B.COMPLETE SOLARIS IS STILL DULL, PRETENTIOUS5The printofAndrei Tarkovsky'sSolaris released in the U.S.in1972wascutby about a fourthofits 165 minute length--preswnablybythe distributor--and received very spotty distribution. All the cuts were presumably restored in the print I recently saw at a local outletofthe Landmark chainofartfilmtheaters. Ihadmoderately high hopes, basedonthe commentsofPeter Nichollsinhis The Worldof Fan/osricCwma (1984): masterly...pacedmore slowly than we are used to in the West, and it is only fair to say that someofits viewers have left baffled and sometimes bored. Alas, after enduring thefilm,I have to agree with the entry in theSFvolumeofPhil Hardy's Aurumfilmencyclopedia: Itis interestingtonotethat both 2001 andSolarisoffer intellectual banalities clothed in cinematic splendor...a confused humanist philosophy. ', The Russian soul was leaking badly, especially as the fllm nearedits ambiguous conclusion. I was remindedoftwo quite disparate things during the screening. The first was Churchill's1939quote regarding Russia: .. Itis a riddlewrappedin a mystery insideanenigma." The secondwasWoody Allen's LoveandDeath, which effectively parodied pretentious bores likethis fllm. Tarkovsky, who died in exile in 1986, was a widelyadmireddirector. Cineastes mayfindmore merit inhiswork than I do,ifSolarisis even approximately typical.Hyou still wanttosee this, you'llneedtofinda theaterorcampus fllm society to screenit, since it'snotavailableonvideotape.EATON EVENTSThe Winter1990newsletterofUC Riverside's Eaton Collection noted the establishmentofa Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research in the CoUegeof Humanities andSocialSciences, along with a Center fortheHistoryofIdeas. The Eaton collection is the cornerstoneofthe ftrst center,andGeorge Slusser's efforts as its curator over some yearshasled to his appointment to the regular faculty. A summaryofthe then-forthcoming April Eaton conference, a short piece by Greg Benfordonhisfilmingofconversations withthreeBritish astronomers, including Stephen Hawking, a summaryofcurrent research usingtheEaton resources, asummaryofa scheduled TexasA&Mconference,anda descriptionofthe exteosive Verne materials conclude the issue.-Neil Barron


6SFRA Newsletter, No. 176, April 1990RECENT AND FORTHCOMING BOOKSDateofpublication is tentative. Yearofpublication is 1990.(P)indicates publication confirmed.REFERENCEBarron, Neil, ed. Fantasy Literature: A Reader's Guide. Garland, February (P).. Horror Literature: A Reader's Guide. Garland, February (P).-----Brown, Charles N.&William G. Contento, comps. Science Fiction, Fantasy,& Horror: 1984. Locus Press, May._____. Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror: 1989. Locus Press, June. Burgess, Michael. Reference Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy. Li braries Unlimited, Spring? Collins, Robert A.&Rob Latham, eds. Science Fiction andFantasy Book Review Annual 1989. Meckler, February. Moonnan, Charles and Ruth.AnArthurian Dictionary. Academy Chi cago, April.HISTORY&CRITICISMAsimov, Isaac&Martin H. Greenberg, eds. Cosmic Critique: How & Why10Science Fiction Stories Work. Writer's Digest, March. Barker, Clive. A Hymn to the Monstrous. William Collins, February. Clareson, Thomas D. Understanding American Science Fiction 1926-1970. UniversityofSouth Carolina Press, June. Ellison, Harlan. The Harlan EllisonHornbook. Mysterious Press, August. Garber, Eric&LynPaleo. Uranian Worlds: A Reader's Guide to Alterna tive Sexuality in Science Fiction mid Fantasy. Rev. Graham, KennethW.,ed."Vathek" and the EscapefromTIme,Bicentenary Evaluations. AMS Press, Winter. Guthke, Karl S.11reLast Frontier: Imagining Other Worlds, from the Copernican Revolution toModemScience Fiction. Cornell UP, July. Hoyt, Olga Gruhzit. LustforBlood:TheConsuming StoryofVampires. Scarborough House, July. loge, M. Thomas. ComicsAsCulture. Univ. PressofMississippi, January. Ioverso, Mary Beth. The Gothic Impulse in Contemporary Drama. UMI Research Press, Winter(P).Jones, Stephen&KimNewman, eds. Horror:The 100 Best Books. Carroll& Graf,Spring. ReprintofXanadu, 1988 edition. Joshi, S.T.TheWeird Tale. Univ.ofTexas Press, April. Kolnai, Aurel.The Utopian Mind. Athlone Press, distributed by Humanities Press, late 1990. Langford, Michelle K., ed. Contoursofthe Fantastic [essay from the 8th ICFA]. Greenwood, May.


SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 19907Matthew, Caitlin.Arthur and the SovereigntyofBritain: King and Goddess in the Mabinogion.Penguin, May. 1st U.S. ed. McCaffery,Larry.Across the Wounded Galaxies: Interviews with Contem porary American Science Fiction Authors.Univ.ofIllinois, July. McCord, William.Voyages to Utopia; from Monastery to Commune, the Searchforthe Peifect. Norton, January. Pierce, John J. Odd Genre[4th&last in series]. Greenwood, late 1990. Saciuk, OlenaH.,ed.n,eShapeofthe Fantastic: SelectedEssays from the Seventh International Conference on the Fantasticinthe Arts.Greenwood, February. Shippey, Tom A., ed.Essays and Studies 1990[annual devotedtoSF].John Murray, distr by Humanities Press, late 1990. Spinrad, Norman.Science Fiction in the Real World.Southern Ill. UP, July. Van Hise, James. Monsterlands: Horror in the' BO'sPioneer Books,January. Walker, Nancy A.Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasyinthe Contemporary Novel by Women.Univ.ProofMississippi, April. Wolf, Leonard.Horror: A Connoisseur's Guide to Literature and Film.Facts on File, March. Reprintof1989 edition.AUTHOR STUDIES[Barker]. Jones, Stephen, ed.Clive Barker's ShadowsinEden.Underwood Miller, May. [Carroll]. Lovett, CharlesL.Alice on Stage; a historyofthe early theatrical productionsofAlice in Wonderland.Meckler(P).[Carroll]. Lovett, CharlesL&StephanieB. uwis Carroll's Alice:AnAnnotated Checklistof the Lovett collection,1865-1988.Meckler(P).[Chesterton]. Cohen, Michael.Gilbert: The ManWhoWasG.K. Chesterton.Paragon House, March. [Clarke]. Clarke, ArthurC.Astounding Days.Bantam Spectra, March. Reprintof1989 Gollancz edition. [Gilman].Lane,AnnJ. To"Herland" and Beyond: The Life and WorkofCharlotte Perkins Gilman.Pantheon, April. [Grimm]. Tatar, Maria. The Hard FactsofGrimm's Fairy Tales.Pantheon, March. [Harrison]. Stover, Leon.Harry Harrison.Twayne, March. [Heinlein]. Heinlein, Robert A.Grumbles from the Grave,ed. by Virginia Heinlein. Ballantine, January (P). [Hubbard]. Atack, Jon.A PieceofBlue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and LRon Hubbard Exposed.Carol Publishing Group, July. [King]. Van Hise, James.Stephen King &: Clive Barker: The Illustrated Guide to the Mastersofthe Macabre.Pioneer Books, January. [Koontz].MWlSter,Bill.Cold Terror: The WritingsofDean R. Koontz. Underwood-Miller, August.


8SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 1990[Le Guin]. Cummins, Elizabeth.Understanding Ursula K.LeGuin.UnivofSouth Carolina Press, June. [Lewis]. Wilson, A.N.C.S. Lewis: A Biography.Norton, January. [Morris]. Kirchoff, Frederick.William Morris: The Constructionofa Male Self,1856-1872.Ohio University Press, April. [poe]. Poe, Edgar Allan. The Short FictionofEdgar Allan Poe:AnAnnotated Edition.Universityoflllinois Press, February. [Tolkien]. Tolkien, J.R.R. The LettersofJ.R.R. Tolkien.Unwin, March. Reprint.FILM&1VBarker, Clive.Clive Barker's Nightbreed.Collins, August.______. The Nightbreed Chronicles.Titan, February. Briggs, Joe Bob.Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In.Delacorte, March. Brunas, Michael. John Brunas&Tom Weaver.Universal Horrors: the Studio's Classic Films,1931-1946.McFarland, Spring. CineBooks.Fantasy and Science FictiOn Films.CineBooks, Fall. Corman, Roger&Jim Jerome.How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime.Random, May. Grey, Rudolph.NightmareofEcstasy: The Life and ArtofEdwardD.Wood, Jr.Feral House, June. Haining, Peter.Doctor Who:25Glorious Years.Virgin Books, July. Reprint. laValley,AI,ed.Invasionof the Body Snatchers,Don Siegel, Director; Rutgers UP, January(P).Mank, Gregory William.Karloff &: Lugosi: The Storyofa Haunting Collaboration,Witha Complete FilmographyofTheir Films Together.McFarland, February(P).McCarty, John. The ModemHorror Film.Citadel, May. Rebello, Stephen.Alfred Hitchcock and the MakingofPsycho: American Gothic.Dembner, March. Van Hise, James, ed. The BestofEnterprise Incidents.Pioneer Books, April.________ The Trek Crew Book.Pioneer Books, January. Yule, Andrew.11leUnmakingofBaron Munchausen.Applause Theatre Books, Spring?ILLUSTRATIONBurke, Fred.Clive Barker, Illustrator.Eclipse Books, January. Giger, H.R.H.R. Giger's Biomechanics. Morpheus International, Sum mer. Text translated from earlier Swiss edition.-NeilBarron


SFRA Newsletter,No.176, Aprill9!XJ Science Fiction Research Association Annual Conference XXI"SFin the Future: ThereandBack Again with SFRA XXI"9THE PROGRAM: Sheila Finch, Richard Lupoff, Frederik Pohl, Susan Shwartz, Lewis Shiner, Judith Tare, Harry Turtledove, Jack Williamson, SF screenwriter Harry Kleiner, story editor Max Headroom,andwriter Michael Cassutt will be among the SF professionals attending. We willbeannouncing others who will be in attendanace as they give us defmite commitments. We have received many paper, session,andpanel proposalsandthough we are now past the deadline for submis sions we still have a few spaces left. We will make every effort to accommodate late submissions, but get those ideas to theLandofLA now! Send proposals to us at1017Seal Way, Seal Beach,CA90740. BOOK DISPLAY: To celebrateSFRA's "Coming ofAge,"Neil Barron will be organizing the book display this year with a special emphasis upon the"HighlightsofSFScholarship 1930s-1940s."Wealso expect to have a dealer's area, with a selectionofnewandused paperbacks. There willbea signing period for guest authors. THE VENUE: SFRA XXI will meet June 28-July1,1990, at the Hyatt Edgewater Hotel in Long Beach, California. Located in the picturesque Long Beach Marina, the hotel is less than a five minute walk from dozensofrestaurantsandshops, two multi-screened movie theaters, oneofthe best beaches in southern California,andthe longest sportfishing pieronthe West coast. Through Super shuttle(213-417-8988), the hotelisinexpensively connected to the transportation nexesandmajor attractionsofthe Southern California region. CONFERENCE FEES AND COSTS: Full conference membership will be $80 to June14,$85 thereafter,andincludes the costofthe Pilgrim Award Banquet, conference trip, the nightly hospitality suiteandthe other conference events to be announced. PLEASE NOTE: Those wishing togoon the conference trip (a visit to the full-scale mock-upofthe Freedom space stationandthen into LA to see the IMAX film', The Dream is Alive," shot', onorbit' by the shuttle crews) must register by JuneI.Daily memberships will be $20 ($10 college undergrads. $5 high school students), Banquet: $25. Please help us plan accurately by registering early. The Hyatt Edgewater Hotel has offered us ratesof$68perday, singleordouble. The Hyatt has also offered to extend its conference rates for those who would like to stay on after the conference. --ChristineandPeter Lowentrout Conference Directors


10SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 1990Report on the Technical Session,Science&ScienceFiction,at the AAAS 1990 Annual Meetingby James R. The 156thAnnual ofthe American Association for the Advance mentofScience (AAAS) was held inNewOrleans, Louisiana, 15-20 February 1990. As partofthe meeting, I organized what is called a"technicalsession"onthe subject: Science & Science Fiction. A"technicalsession" is one having less general interest than a"symposium"but more than a workshop. ,. The session was held Tuesday,20 February, in the Grand Salon 10ofthe Hilton Hotel;ourroom was the smallestofthe rooms available for the numerous sessions held throughout the meeting. Participants were Dr. Jack Stocker, professorofChemistry at the UniversityofNewOrleans; Kathleen Edgeworth, instructor in Computer Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; Jessica Scott, Science department chairman, Jackson High School, Jackson, Lou isiana; and, Valerie Smith, doctoral candidate in science education, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. The session was tape recorded by Wayne Coskrey, Starry Productions. Dr. Stocker's presentation, "What Every Science Teacher Should Know About Science Fiction," consistedofdefinition.c;oftenns, abriefhistoryofthe field,anintroduction to fan activities with emphasisonconventions, and a slide showofmagazine covers illustrating major themes in science fiction. Edgeworth's paper,"Computersin Science Fiction: Reality versus Perception, discussed the treatmentofthe computer in science fiction literature versus the actualityofcomputers from their early development to the present varietyofmainframes,Pes,and artificial intelligence. Covered in literary treat ments were the computer as friend and co-conspirator inTheMoon Is a Harsh as mentorinCoils,and the computer gone amokin" I Have No and I Must Scream." Scott and Smith jointly presented their paper,"TeachingScience with Science Fiction," which dealt with theuseofscience fiction to construct a highly networked mental schema in the student. Effective strategies for teaching concepts through reading, motivating children to read, and examining valuesandsocial issues along with methods specifically for teaching science conceptswerecovered. Along with their paper, abooklistofappropriateworks (read bythe presenters) was distributed. When the session began at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the last sessionofthe last dayofthe annual meeting,wehadabout 40-45 inouraudience. As the three


SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 199011hour session proceeded,ouraudience dwindled as folkS had to leavetocatch their airline flights home. Whenweconcluded, about a dozen hardy souls remained. Radio interviews with EdgeworthandStocker were conducted by Discovery Radio outofVancouver, Canada during the courseofthe presentations. Membersofthe 2061 Project (AAAS project for science educationandliteracy) attended the sessionandwere most eager to talk with ScottandSmith following the conclusionofthe formal presentations. With the increasing need for science educationandthe resulting science literacy in the U.S. population, anyand all available tools shouldbemade available to the K-12 science teacher. This year's technical session wasanattempt to begin to address the useofscience fiction in the science classroom.Itis my suggestion that the SFRA seek to sponsor future sessions dealing with science and science fiction at the AAAS annual meeting. Future AAAS Annual Meetingsareas follows:1991(l57th): 1992 (l58th): 1993 (159th): 1994 (l6Oth): 15-19 February, Washington,D.C.7-12 February, Chicago 11-16 February, Boston 18-23 February, San Francisco While it is a privilegeofmembership in the AAAS to propose symposia, sessions, and workshops at the annual meeting, membership in the organization is not requiredofthose presenting papersorparticipating in the sessions.Ifa presenter wishes to attend solely to present a paper and not attend any other sessions, a one day complimentary membership canbegranted by the AAAS. Proposals for symposiums, sessions, and/or workshops for the followingyear'smeeting are usually due about a month after the closeofthe current year's meeting. I believe therearesufficient dual members (both in SFRi\ and AAAS) that, using the resourcesofthe SFRA, future sessions at the AAAS wouldtumout tobemore fruitful than this year's. Copiesofthe Edgeworth paper ($.65 in U.S. postage stamps) and the Scotti Smith paper&book list ($.85 in U.S. postage stamps)areavailable throughl.R.Madden, P.O. Box 18610-A, University Station, Baton Rouge, LA 70893. Audio Tapes ($8.00 plus $2.00 SIH for two 9O-minute cassettes)ofthe presentation are available from Wayne Coskrey, P.O. Box 82060, Baton Rouge, LA 70884. The American Association for the AdvancementofScience, 1333 H Street, NW, Washington DC 20005, describetheorganization: "Founded in 1848, AAASisthe world's leading general scientific society, with 132,000 individual members and291affiliated societiesandacademies covering the spectrumofthe natural and social sciences, engineering,andmedicine. AAAS offers its individual members a voice in the larger scientific community through its


12SFRA Newsletter, No.176, April 1990publications, meetings, and programs. Membership in AAAS includes the weekly journal SCIENCE and the opportunity to participate in oneof22 sections that embrace the basic fieldsofscience and engineering. Members can also take part in programs to increase the public's understandingofscience, improve scienceandmathematics education, safeguard human rights,andaffect public policy." --James R. MaddenCall for Program Ideas: Context IIIContextm,a conference tobeheld Sept. 28-30, 1990, at the HiltonInnNorth, Columbus, Ohio 43085,isseeking suggestions for program ideas built around your favorite areasofinterestorrelated to scheduled guests--eharles Sheffield, Susan Shwartz, Hal Clement, Lois McMaster Bujold,andMary Ellen Wessels. Please send suggestionsorinquiries to Liz Gross, 5878 Lakebrook Blvd., Columbus OH 43235-2725.orphone 614-889-0436 after 8:00 PM Eastern Time.Current Works in ProgressHere is the second installmentofSFRA members'descriptionsoftheir current critical, literaryandscholarly projects. Allen, David L.: None directly related to SF. Two articles on the impactoftechnologyonindependent study by correspondence. Barrow, Craig: Utopianism&TI,eDispossessed(With my wife, Diana). Casebeer, Edwin F.: Articleon Salem's Lotdelivered as a paper at the Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Collins, WilliamJ.:Revising my dissertatiion on Alternative History for submission to publishers. Crossley, Robert: BiographyofOlafStapledon, under contract to University PressofNew England. Dietz, Frank: Comparative studyof German andAmerican nuclear war fiction. Donawerth, Jane L.: Collectionofessays with Carol Kolmertenonhistoryofwomen's utopias and science fiction as a tradition; bookonscience fiction by women.Dunn, Thorn:Rich Erlich and I are finishinganupdated bibliographyofhuman-machine interface for Greenwood Press. Eekhaut, Guido: Novel about Berlinin1930's, Movie script. Elkins, Charles: with Martin Harry Greenberg--two books-{;ollection ofcritical essaysonRobert Silverberg,andJ.G. Ballard.


SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 199013Elsbree, Langdon: Bookonritual passages andnarrative patterns, with implications to SF. Erlich, Richard D.: With Thomas P.Dwm and others:Clockwork God(des):listsofworks useful for the studyofmachines and mechanized environments in SF. Also,LeGuin. Farley, James K.: Complete F&SFmagazine index on computer disk. Fowler,Douglas:Literary criticism bookonE.L. Doctorow whose second novel was SF,Bigas Life.Francavilla, Joseph: HistoryofSF,StudyofPoe and Kafka. Gordon, Andrew: Wish upon a star: the science-fiction and fantasy filmsofGeorge Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Hardesty, William H.: Textual studies in SF, specifically Zelazny'sDream Master.Hicks, James E.: Along with Alexandra Olsen, Iam examining the revision process from short fiction to novel inA Canticlefor Leibowitz. Hughes, David Y.: EditionofH.G.Wells'Warof Worlds with Harry Geduld, (Indiana, Bloomington). Kennedy, Veronica M.S.: Nikolai Tolstoi and Anthony Burgess. Krulik, Theodore: The Amber Sourcebook; itisa concordanceofall the Amber novelsofRoger Zelazny. Landon, Brooks: Representationofmemoryincontemporary culture. Mallet, Daryl: BibliographiesonA.E. van Vogt, Jack Vance; comprehen sive bibliographyonfanzines. Marchesani, Joseph:OnSabbatical Leave: willbein Japan April-June 1990 to meet with Japanese fansofSF. McGuire, Karen: Article on Vampire image in King and Stoker; surveyofhorror writers. McInnis, John L.: H.P. Lovecraft. Miller, Fred: Thematic analysis ofscience-fiction short stories. Molson, FrancisJ.:Developmentofchildren's SF. Philmus, Robert M.: A variorum critical editionof TheIsland ofDr. Moreau.Pierce, JohnJ.:OddGenre,(4th volume in Imagination and Evolution). Reginald, Robert: A Reference Guide to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Forthcoming from Libraries, Unlimited. Roberts, Robin: Bookonfeminism and SF. Rose, Michael D.: Describing15million-year-old ape bones. Trying to develop a (post-Modem) hermeneuticsofanhistorical science. Roth,Lane:Editing, translating for, and writing forArchetypal ImagesinScience Fictionfor Greenwood Press. Rutledge, Amelia A.: Reprints for Teaching, program published by the U.ofToronto Press. Sanders, Joe: CollectionofessaysonSFfandom (editing).


14SFRA Newsletter, No. 176, April 1990 Scarborough, John: a bookonGreek&Latin originsofmedical&biological tenninologies (SF figures from time to time as illustrative); Greek&Roman eye-salves; translation (fromtheGreek)ofDioscorides' Materia Medica. Searles, A. Langley: Publisherof Fantasy Commentator magazine. Shirk, Dora M.: Compiling complete bibliographyofnon-fictiononSF searching for any fanzine articles,orany from unusual sources. Touponce, William F.: Bookon Isaac Asimov for Twayne. Willingham, Ralph: Ph.D. dissertation: research into playsofSFand the natureoftheir production to disprove the notionthatSFcannotbesatisfactorily staged. Wolf, Milton T.: Book on Charles N. Brown&Locus.FeedbackEditor:I'mafraid your editorial question in the Jan/Feb Newsletter is going to strike non-academics in the field as pretty naive. It's just more evidence, in fact, that we all live in ivory towers, bemused and bewildered by the practical causesofthings.Ifyouhadbeen readingLocus,listening to Ellison, Silverberg, and legionsofother writers, reading Richard Curtis and Charles N. Brown,you'dat least know better than to ask the question. Partofwhat's wrong with today's science fiction is what's wrong with the publishing industry in general, to wit: it's been boughtup(again and again, resoldandresold) by the corporate conglomerates, whoseCEO'scouldn't care less what's in the product as long as it makes money. Literary meritisthe very last criteria these days--the bottom lineisall that's considered. Witnesstherecent demiseofPantheon, the Random House imprint that rasWy continued to publish deserving books whetherornot they made money. Pantheon's obituary made the news magazines--similarSFimprints don't. Becauseofthis, the marketing people are totally in chargeofall the publishing houses. Editors don't lastiftheydon'tproduceaneasily marketable, predictable product.Asliterary agents know, editors want two things only right now: big namesandproven categories. Books by new authors rarely get published,andthen onlyifthey canbesold as "just like Heinlein, just like Bradbury, justlike"whoever elsehasbeen selling well. .If truly differentandoriginalSFbookbyan unknown author couldnotpossibly be publishedbya mass market house today. Genre SF, despite its recent media attention, is never topofthe line at any publishing house(thatwillbea cookbookora cartoon collectionora celebrity"autobiography")though a certain amountofit can alwaysbeexpected to sell at modest profits, with littleorno promotion. But it, too,hastobe safely handled. "


SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 199015So what we get is moreofthe same. Seriesareespecially safe--if the first book sells well, the restareeasy to market. Fansarethe backboneoftbis operation,andwhat fans ask for (have always asked for) is"anotherone just like the last one, only different." They aren't critical--we're the critics--and they keeponbuying variationsonthe same drivel as long as they get moreofthe fantasy worldthey'reintent on escaping to. The industry caterstothis,ofcourse, now more than ever, So thoseofus who admire the truly original, truly provocative, marvelously liberating classicsofSF'spastareuptheproverbial creek.Anoccasional miracle does happen sometimes, but that's what it will take from nowonto duplicate anyofthe breakthroughsofSF'spast. Dena Brown was right:SFdid better when it was in the gutter.Ithasbeen the victimofits own media success" during the past decadethe moguls now take it just seriously enough to consider its potential for profit.Andlike Hollywood producers, theyaren'tvery smart--if" Rocky" was a big success, let's have fivemore"Rockies," right? Enter the packager, the marketing man (of limited vision, to say the least) who orders the writer to produce just what he thinks he can sell to some publisher. Packagersarelegion.Fora while, they producedmore' 'big promotion" items than the regular editorial staffs. We have serieslike' Isaac Asimov Presents"anddozensof "in the worldof'series, all capitalizingonname recall among fans, allofthem lousy, allofthem selling well becausethefansdon'tknow shit from Shinola. Consider a rarity, a new writer whoisalso a true artist, a man like Dan Simmons, for example. He won the World Fantasy Award years ago for his first novel,SongofKali,published by a small house named Blue Jay, which folded shortly afterwards. At the time, hehadthree morenovels' in the can, but despite his critical raves nobody would publish them.Ittook the combined effortsoflegionsofinfluential people (like EllisonandSilverberg) to finally gethima mass market audience. Then suddenly the books all came out at once.Locuscalled 1989 "The yearofDan Simmons," because again the books got rave reviews. Butifthey don't start selling like hotcakes, Simmons willberight back where he started. Your question, you say, was prompted by reading a few hundred reviews over the past few months. I figureI'veread close to five thousand reviewsof newbooks"over the last decade (in connection with Fantasy Review,SFRA Newsletterandmy annual, which is now going into its third edition).Itis altogether a soul destroying experience, which could only have been worseifI'dhadto read all the books themselves. Sturgeon's law needs updating--about 99 percentofgenre books these days are crap. Butourjobisstill tofindandpreservethebest ones. Reading the Panshins'World Beyond the Hilldid tempt me, though, to say it mightbetime to close the bookonSF,admit it died creatively a while ago (cyberpunk is retread stuff, old wine in plastic day-glo bottles, as many critics have pointed out), and start evaluatingthecontribution wbich the pioneers made to American fiction.


16SFRANewsletter,No.176,April1990But I am also temptedto paraphrase the Fourteenth BookofBokonon: ,'What Cana Thoughtful Man Hope for Science FictiononthisEarth,GiventheExperienceofthe Past Decade? Absolutely nothing. ',--Robert A. Collins{Editor's note:Thequestionmayhavebeennaive, as youindicate,but it wasput forward as a generaitypeofquestionthat mightdrawforthsomecommentary-which it did.BH.}Dear Editor: I usually enjoy the apt headings for the reviews in the SFRA Newsletters. But the" PotboilerorComic Spoofl" for Marion Zimmer Bradley'SHeirsofHammerfeli,her first book in five years--because shehasbeen writing under the hardshipofhaving sufferedseveralstrokesduring this time--really hit like a tonofbricks. How about some sensitivity insteadofcruel humor? --ElsieB.Wollheim{Editor'snote:Iamsincerelysorrythat theMarlonZimmerBradleyreviewheadingwasoffensivetoyou,' it wasnot intendedtobecruel humor.Theheading, as usual,wasdrawnfrom the commentsinthereview.Personally,I think it isan extremely raretalent that can write a spooforaparodyofhis/herownwork and that it isa complimenttosuspect that a writer is skillful enoughtodothat.Oneexampleofsuch a clever writer whospoofshisownformula and style as well as otherwritersisWimamGoldmaninBrothers.Additionally,IadmireBradleynovels,especiallyCatchTrap,MistsofAvalon, and Firebrand.Again,myapologies.BH.}EditorialI would like to explain the delaysinreceiving Newsletters this springsemester.OnFriday after Valentine's Day, I fellonthe ice, sprainedandtore ligaments in my hip. Consequently I wasoncrutches for the next five weeksandconsiderably slowed down. I walked alone for three weeks. Then I tookourDalmatian tothekennels for boarding while we were awayoverthe week-end. She decided that she wasnotstaying thereandtook out fortheentrance. Since I wasonthe other endofthe leash, I suddenly became theanchor dragging along the floor. Yes, it was back to crutches again, for I fractured my pelvis. I shouldbeafoot in another weeks.AndI do apologize forthedelays.-BetsyHarfst


SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 1990ReviewsIN onFictionIUnacknowledged Fantasy17Harris, Thomas1. Children's Live-Action Musical Films.McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 1989.193p. $24.95 he. ISBN 0-89950-375-6. Harris points out that children's films, including the fifteen big-budget works considered in his book, have received little critical attention. Even two children's musicals which have taken their places among the most popular films ever made,111eWizardofOz(1939) andMary Poppins(1964), have rarely been analyzed except in reviews that appeared when they were frrst released. Fourteenofthe fifteen films discussed herearefantasies and the fifteenth,Hans Christian Andersen (1952),is a biographical film about a fantasist, but they are rarely mentioned in books about fantastic films. Only tenofthe fifteen are among the 700 fUms in Peter Nichols'sTheWorldofFantastic Films (1984).While fantasy/film criticsareuninterested in juvenile films, Harrisisconcerned with the films only as "the mergingoftwo very populargenres",the musical and the children's film.It.isapparently a coincidence that Harris chose fifteen fantastic filmsandomitted such major nonfantasy children's musicals asOliver!(1968) and Annie (1982). He mentions the fantasy ingredients in the fUms rarely and usually without enthusiasm.Forinstance, he defends the importanceofthe long Kansas frame story and the all-a-dream ending inTheWizardofOzand says that to presentOzwithout a return to Kansas would have been"completelyludicrous" and"simplychildish". He regrets that Dr. Seuss in his screenplay for the surreal5000 FingersofDr. T(1953) was permitted "to indulge his taste for queer situationsand characters" with results which he feels were ''too sinisterorjust plain weird for most tastes." Juvenile musicals have varied enormously inquality.Harris is very favor able aboutOz,PoppinsandWilly Wonkaandthe Chocolate Factory(1971);hasmixed feelings aboutThe5000 FingersofDr.T,Tom111umb(1958) andChitty Chitty Bang Bang(1968); dislikesHans Christian Andersen, Doctor Doolittle (1967), Bedlawbs and Broomsticks(1971), TheLittle Prince(1974)and The Slipper and the Rose (1976;anddetestsBabesin Toyland (1961),Pufnstuf(1970), Alice's Adventuresin Wotuler/and (1972)andPete's Dragon(1977). I feel he somewhat overratesOz andPoppins,undervaluesDr. TandTom Thumb,andhaslittle reason for his enthusiasm for the sadistic, sentimentalWilly Wonka andfor Dick van Dyke's notorious performance inPoppins.


18SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 1990More serious than these differencesofopinion is Harris's insistenceonheaping personal abuseon fllmmakers. Herefers to Sam"Goldwyn'stalent,ifit maybedescribed assuch", the performances" (in5000 FingersofDr.1) ifindeed they canbelabelled as such,"andthe"feebleminds"ofthe MakersofBabes in Toyland. He even declares his"hatred"for the latter fUm. These outbursts mark Harris asanemotionalfilmbuff rather than a reliable critic, which is a pity, since mostofhis judgments are sensibleandbasedoncareful research.Inaddition to criticism he provides informationonthe productionofeach fUm andsynopsesofall thefilmsexcept four whicharebasedonfamiliar stories(Oz,Alice, The Little Princeandl1,e Slipperandthe Rose,basedonCinderella). Despite Harris's limited perspective, his work shouldbeconsulted by anyone interested in either fantastic mediaorjuvenile fUms. -MichaelKlossnerIFictionIAction Series BeginChalker, JackL. Rainbow Bridge.Ace, NY, September 1989, 375p. $17.95 hc. ISBN 0-441-69991-X. (The Quintara Marathon,No.1). TheDemons atRainbow Bridgeis Book 1 in Chalker's latest series, the Quintara Marathon. Chalker turns out series while other authors write novels. Readers familiar withhisworks will recognize allofthe following themes: body modifications,all-powerful governments, sexual dominationoffemales, mental powers, and super-science/magic.Inaddition, one frequently fmds evil alien life forms thattumout tobesomething quite different at the end. Sometime in the far future, Earth, which was about to setupa galactic empire, finds itself in the pathofthree far more powerful empires. Unable to resist their combined power, the humans find themselves split up among the three. One empire was The Exchange, a freewheeling capitalistic union controlled by the Guardians,orat least that was what they were called. No onehadever seen one, and their orders supposedly were communicated through a ruling council. Power belonged to the wealthy,andambitious citizens spent their time working at becoming wealthy. The Mycohlians, a raceofparasitic beings, dominated the second empire, which was organized along brutal social darwinismlines:power came to those who succeeded in their tasksandalso to those who managed to assassinate their superiors. The third empire,theMizlaplan, was a religious fundamentalist grouping, dedicatedtospreading their beliefsthroughoutthe universe.TheMizlaplan were also extremely powerful hypnotists,andanyone"converted"by them, stayed converted. Each mistrustedanddisliked the others, although the Exchangeandthe


SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 199019Mizlaplan agreed that the Mycohlians were thoroughly evil. Aside from this, the three had only one point in common. All three empires, including mostoftheir subject races, had a legendofthe homed demon, which was depicted astheembodimentofevil, aseachempire defmed evil. At the timeofthe story,anExchange research team has discovered onanunexplored planet a strange building, which appears tobea doorway into another universe and which contains beings which appear tobedead demons. Their call for helpismonitored by the Mizlaplanians and the Mycohlians, and since thisisstill unclaimed territory,orat least undefended territory, the two become interested. Each empire sends an exploratory team to the planet. Upon arrival, each discovers that apparently the demons were onlyinstasis and, when freedorresurrectedsomehow, immediately proceeded to slaughter the research team. Now the Demons were nowhere to be found, and the teams make ready to go through the doorway.Inthe first volume, Chalker describes the three teams in operation imme diately prior to being sent to the Demon installation. Each team has at least one human and a mixtureofalien species,eachwith special talents and liabilities. Overall, approximately one-thirdofthe book is devotedtoeach team. Consequently, this volumeisreallyanextended introduction to the series.Onthe basisofthe first volume, I highly recommend this series to those looking for action-oriented and tightly plotted works. This couldbeoneofChalker's best.-FredRunkTrilogy ConcludesDean, Pamela.TheWhimof the Dragon.Ace, NY, 1989. 328p.$4.50pb.Thirdvolumeofthe Secret Country Trilogy. ,,' Mom,'said Laura,'Theyall speak Shakespeare there'" (325). Thisistrue, but unfortunately not so well as Shakespeare did which leads to confusionofthereader.TI,eWhimof the Dragonis the third partofPamela Dean's Secret Country Trilogy.Ms. Dean finally manages to tieupthe loose ends from the other partsofthe trilogy but itisa tortuous journey. The action winds round-and-round and does not move forward until page 256. As in the first two volumesofthe story, the action is sharedbyTealpeople, five cousins: three from Australia and two from Illinois, and their mirror images in the fantasy landofthe Secret Country. TheTealpeople dream up a game and the poweroftheir imaginations awakens theirmirrorimages in fantasy land.Inthefirst partofthis volume, the real children have returned home but are asked to return to the Secret Country to help solve problems that were created by their arrival in the Secret Country.Thelast four chaptersofthe bookarebetter. Ms. Dean writes as though she hasfinallyfigured out where the story is going and...she gets there.Theendinghasawonderful twist andiswell done. --AnnHitt


20SFRANewsletter,No.176,April 1990 Fifth Prime PlaneDe Camp,L.Sprague. The Honorable Barbarian. NY, Del Rey,luly1989. 240p.,$16.95. ISBN 0-345-36091-5.This isdeCamp's fifth book setonPrime Plane, a universeoffto one sideofours. Threeofits predecessors(TheGoblin Tower,1968; The Clocksof Iraz, 1971; The Unbeheaded King,1983)follow the travelsof10rian the clockmaker and sometime king and adventurer, while a fourth(TheFallible Fiend,1973)concerns the demon Zdim, magically drafted from his native Twelfth Plane for serviceonthe Prime. In this volume, 10rian's nephew Kerin, to avoid a"crossbowwedding," is sent East tofmdthe secretofa clock escapement, accompanied by Belinka, a Tinkerbell-like Second Plane spirit appointed by his erstwhile girlfriend to protect his chastity. De Camp has always presented the charactersofromance, whether historicalorfantastical (or, as inLest Darkness Fall,historical-fantastical) as ordinary folk, less concerned with having adventures than with trade, local government, avoiding taxes, and other down-to-earth pursuits. But adventures are what they get, thanks to the natural (and supernatural) marvelsoftheir worlds, the varietyofhuman (and nonhuman) cultures, and plainbadluck. Kerin's travels accordingly puthimin the wayofanamorous witch-woman, a jealous sea-captain, pirates, robbers, mages helpful and harmful, demons and familiar spirits, a princess, and a magic rope (the better to rescue the princess). The plot is loose and picaresque, complete with a chance meeting with a courier whoisKerin's near-double and who entrusts a parcel tohim,allowing Kerin entree intotheimperial courtofthe Prime Plane's China analogue. Which brings me to a problem with this book: the Prime Planehasbecome a bit too much like Earth. Finding real people--and real politics, business, and sanitation--in the imaginary gardensoffantasy has always been oneofthe major pleasuresofdeCamp' s work, but here the geography and ethnographyofthe Prime Plane have come to echo ours too much. Kerin travels from a late-medieval Europe (Novaria) to a para-Malaya toanalmost-exactly-China, and especially in this last the fit to our world in history and customs (right down to the red buttonsonthe mandarin's hats)is too tight. The lossoffantasy exoticism, though,ispartly compensated bythefundeCamphaswith Chinese--excuse me, KuromonianImperial bureaucracy, as in the home officeofKerin's guide:theForeign Barbarian Sectionofthe BureauofInternal Travel ControloftheDepartmentofRoads, Canals, and Shipping.Iteven supplies thejokeburied in the book's title: Kerin, as a Westerner, is officially a barbarian; as a courier is entitled to standard respectful address, thus"honorable barbarian."


SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 199021Predictably, Kerin marries the Princess Nogiri and makes his fortune. What is predictable only in adeCamp novel is that theseareindependentofeach otherthe princess is penniless (but a treasureoflevel-headed common sense and probably brighter than her husband) and the fortune consistsofthe details ofthe clock escapement, which will pay for his university tuition.DeCamp is incapableofwriting a dull book, even in the Nth iterationofa series written in a thoroughly commercial subgenre.Byrefusing to play it completely straight with the fur jockstrap rulesofolder sword-and-sorcery,hemanages to play to newcomers as well as jaded, long-time readers who think they've seen it all.-RussellLetsonA VictimofCurrentEventsDeChancie, John.Castle Kidnapped.Ace Books, NY, November 1989. 216p. $3.50 ph. ISBN 0-441-09408-2.Castle Kidnappedis the third volume in DeChancie's Castle Perilous Series, followingCastlefor Rent andCastlePerilous.Itisanenjoyable fantasy series, constructed around Lord Incarnadine's enonnous, magical castle that contains 100,000 rooms that open into 100,000 other worlds. DeChancie tells his tales with a grace and humorthatisoften missing in fantasy works.Thiscurrent volume, however, falls somewhat short, a victimoftiming morethananything else. InCastle Kidnapped,Castle Perilous is falling apart because the magic that undergirds it is threatened by the HostsofHell. Lord Incarnadine must battle these Hosts, and the confrontation between the two is meant to parody the ColdWarposturingofthe United States and the Soviet Union. Appearingonthe heelsofthe demolitionofthe Iron Curtain and improved U.S.lU.S.S.R. relations, this major sectionofCastle Kidnapped seems dated, anachronistic--ajokethat is no longer funny. The novel's subplots, describing the various adventuresofvarious characters in various worlds,arenot strong enough to overcome this flaw. The conclusionofCastle Kidllappedreveals that the various worldsofCastle Perilous exist only becauseofthe Castle.Thatin mind, future novels involving Lord Incarnadine and Castle Perilous still hold great promise, for DeChanciehasthe ability to keep his readers both interestedandentertained in the magical playground hehascreated with the Castle Perilous series.-RickOsborn


22SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 1990A Fragmented FamilyDouglas, Carole Nelson. Seven ofSwords: Sword &: Circlet3. TOR, NY, February, 1989. 408p. $18.95 he. ISBN 0-312-93142-5.Inthis, the third novelofthe SwordandCirclet fantasy series, not only do Irissa, the Torloc Seeress,andKendric the Wrathman confront their old enemy, the Wizard Geronfrey, yet again, but the childrenofall three, bornandgrown to adolescence since the events inHeirofRengarth(1988), also find themselves drawn into the conflict.Ina desperate attempt to heal Kendric, who is dyingofpoison, Irissaandtheir two children set out to recover his lost swordofpower, but they encounter Geronfreyandhis shadow "son" on the same search. Their rival claims are resolved in a climactic conflictofmagic power. The author's fondness for splitting characters into two continues, with the result that some figures on her tapestry are insufficiently developed. Yet this fragmentation is an important aspectofthe novel's concern with the need to reconcile divisions, both internalandexternal.Itis a concern that leads to the explorationofthe tensions found in family relationships,andit yields some livelyandhumorous bickering between the characters. This patternofdivisionandreconciliation needs tobeworked out with more care, but its presence makes for an interestingandworthwhile series. --Ray ThompsonMilitary AdventuresDrake, David, Charles Waugh,andMartin H. Greenberg, eds.Space Infantry.ACE, NY, November 1989. 244p. ISBN 0-441-77747-3. Another collection from the Waugh-Greenberg anthology factory, this one issued under the auspicesofveteran David Drake. Like its sisterbooks(Space fighter, Supertanks, Body Armor: 2()()(J), Space Infantrycomprises someofthe bestandbrightest militaryscience fiction writers, resulting in atour de forceofcombat, weaponry,andoff-world adventure. CriticsoftheSFcombat genre willfmdtheir usual targets here, while adherentsofthe genre will no doubt enjoy the stories for those very same criticisms.Theoldest story inthecollection, "The Rocketeers Have Shaggy Ears," still holds its own as a from-tbe-hip adventure.Theplot is simpleandeffective: a shipwrecked crew strugglestostay alive in an inhospitable 'Venusian rainforest.Whatkeeps" Rocketeers" freshandinteresting, however, is its World War IIverite.The dog-face determinationofthese shipwrecked soldiers slugging it out against environment, enemy (aliens),andtheir own fears, betrays, as Drake points out in his introduction, a knowledge found only through professional experience.


SFRA Newsletter, No. 176, April 1990 23 Although there are many Vietnam-era stories here, the only sobering meditation onwaris offered by Fritz Leiber in "The FoxholesofMars,"a psychological studyofone soldier's ideologicalandmental breakdownandmessianic (a la Hitler) return. Both Gordon DicksonandDavid Drake have stories featuring their trademark soldiers: the former, typically, provides a lesson in tactics, featuring his elite Dorsai in "Warrior"; the latter chronicles the actionofColonel Hammer's interplanetary mercenaries in"Code-NameFeirefitz," a storyofthe relationship between twobrothers-Juma,a former Slammer, trying to follow his religionofnon violence; Esa, a Slammer captain, trying to policeanuprisingand forced to confront his brotheronissuesofideological propriety. Two stories work with relativistic time distortion, Stephen Goldin's" Butas a Soldier,ForHisCountry,"andJoe Halde man's oft-reprinted"End Game." Although Haldeman seems now to own the relativistic war story, Goldin's entryhasmuch to recommend itandjustmay be the more complete extrapolation. The collection also includes stories by Pournelle, George R.R. Martin,andMichael Shasra. Space Infantry will appeal to most SF combat enthusiasts, those not too dazzled by the lureofhigh-tech Japanese battle mechs. Others who have bought the book for oneortwo stories not in the reprintmill deserve for their money a more perceptive, thematic introductory essay.--BarryReynoldsSmile When You Read That, PardnerGardner, Craig Shaw. Slavesof the Volcano God. Ace Books, NY, October 1989. 213p. $3.95 ph. ISBN 0-441-76977-2. Slavesof the Volcano Godisreel oneofGardner's Cineverse Cycle.Init, Roger Gordon discovers that films have notjustbeen creationsoffancy but are actual reflectionsofvarious worlds from the Cineverse. Exploring these various worlds requires a Captain Crusader Decoder Ring. Roger, who just happens to have such a ring, joins forces with other movie heroes to rescue his girlfriend Delores, who is trying to prevent the villainous Dr. Dread from ruling the Cineverse. Dr. Dreadisresponsible for The Change which altered moviesandis the reason modem movies are inferior to earlier, vintage films. Reel one carries Rogerfrom the Western world, where he must face a desperate outlaw gang, to the jungle universe where he must contend with native hordes in need ofhuman sacrifice. Gardner's previous fantasies, TheEbeTILzum Trilogyand The Balladof Wunter, have been noted fortheirhumorandhigh spirits. TheCineverse Cycle can only add to his reputation. It's a fascinating concept: a writerofgenre fiction playing with the generic iconographyofanother popular art,film.Theresultismore cliches than you can shake a stickat.As for me,I'mespecially looking forward to the time RogerandDeloresfindthemselves in the X-Rated -RickOsborn


24SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 1990A TaleofMaturation and JourneyGrant, Kathryn. The Willow Garden.Ace, NY, 1989.196p. $3.50pb.V. 3ofTheLandofTen Thousand Willows.In The Willow Garden,the third bookofherseries, TheLandofTen Thousand Willows, Kathryn Grant brings the Emperor Ty-Sunandhis bride-to-be, Blessing Dunncaster. hometohis kingdom. Theirs is a perilous journey fraught with dangers from poison bats, crabsandworms encasedinsea shells,andthe continuing menaceofthe Darkness. The group literally goes through hell to get to Ty-Sun's kingdom. For those who have notreadthe first two volumesofthe series, Ms. Grant integrates the characters into the backgrowxlandfits them into the story and explains why they are where they are. Finally the forcesofthe Darkness and the forcesofthe emperor meet. The battle and its outcome, the methodsofachieving victory, and sorting out all the complicationsareunique and fantastic. The Willow Gardenis a storyofmaturation and journey. The seventeenth century setting will please those fans who enjoy the contrastsofthen and now. Ms. Grant uses a few historical characters, Oliver Cromwell for one, who give depth and strength to her tale. Ms. Grant, in this tale, exhibits strong religious prejudice, prejudice more against organized religion rather than any specific denominationofChristianity. Sheisequally criticalofRoman CatholicsandPuritans, two denominations available in seventeenth-rentury England. She is also a bit unkind to Ty-Sun who must be a Buddhist.Fromher extensive knowledgeofancient China, it maybepresumed that sheisa Taoist. The dragons in her story are Oriental rather than the cruel, mean Westernkind.Ms. Granthasleft openings for a continuationofher series.Infact she has left several ways to go.Itwillbeinteresting to see which she chooses.--AnnHittEntertaining SF ComedyHarrison, Harry.Bill, the Galactic Hero.AvonBooks,NY, July 1989. 236p. $3.95 ph. ISBN 0-380-75661-7.Bill, the Galactic Herois more than the usual humorousSFwe've come to expect from Harrison. Itisoutright comedy. It is more far-fetchedthananyofthe Stainless Steel Mouse books and in fact reads more like the Xanth series by Piers Anthony with a bitofLarson's"TheFarSide"thrown in for good measure. The book follows the exploitsofBill,anunlikely hero drafted into the militaryandsentona nearly hopeless mission.Inthe courseofhis travels, Bill and his motley companions run afoulofliving metal monsters, little green meo--er,


SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 199025 lizards--and a conglomerationofthinly disguised parodies ranging from Burrough's Barsoom (complete with Jonkarter and Deja Vu) to The Wizardof Oz. Becausethebookisso loaded with one-liners and rapid-fire humor, itisdifficult to read cover-to-cover. Taken in small pieces, however, it provides innumerable chuckles and several downright guffaws.Bill, the Galactic Herofalls shortofHarrison's other,morecomplicated works, but stands alone asanentertaining SF/Comedy.Ifyou'relooking for cheap laughs, countless puns and numerous groaners, try this book.Ifyou prefer the more (relatively) sophisticated humorofStainless Steel Ratand the likes, look elsewhere. --BrianJ.UnderhillKing Arthur as ChristianLawhead, Stephen R.Arthur.Crossway Books, Westchester, IL, 1989. 446p. ISBN 0-89107475-9. $10.95 Book Three in the Pendragon Cycle. The Pendragon Cycle,Taliesin(1987),Merlin(1988), andArthur(1989),isnow complete. Stephen R. Lawheadhaswritten a Christian fantasy using, as its major structure, the Arthurian legend, and as its minor structure, the legendofAtlantis. This is a massive undertaking whichhasresulted in 1200-plus pagesoftext.InTaliesin,the fleeing Atlanteans become the Fair FolkofBritish lore and legend.InMerlin,Aurelius, Merlin, and Uther Pendragon begin the various processes that will enable Arthur to unite Britain.InArthur,the eventsofthe familiar story occur in a more-or-less familiar way. Mostofthemainpointsofthe story are there: Arthur's unusual birth, the sword in the stone, Ector andCai,Bedwyr, the Ladyofthe Lake, the Fisher King, Lot, Medraut, Morgain, and Avalon. Lawhead, however, makes some changes, the most significantofwhich fall into line with the depictionofArthur as a followerofChrist whose battle cry is "For the Holy Jesu and Britain!", who tells Bedwyr, "I saw a land blessedofthe Living God where all men lived as kinsmen and brothers," and who holds his most important feastsonthe Christ's Mass day. This Arthur's birth was legitimate, and this Arthurhasno incestuous relationship with a half-sister (which makes the prophecy that his own son will killhimseem outofplace).If,as it seems, oneofLawhead'smainpurposes was to write a Christian fantasy, hehasallowed that purpose to deflate the Arthurian story.Inthe end, Arthur's dream for Britainisnot ruinedbycumulative misdeeds (including hisownincest), but by Arthur's untimely absence from Britain which allows Medraut (Morgain and Urien's son in this version)totry to take over. The senseoftragedy in Malory, Tennyson, T.H.White, and even Lerner and Loewe isnotpresent in Lawhead; and otherthananinterest in whowinsorloses, thereisvery little emotional investmentby the reader who comes away from the trilogy essentially unmoved.


26SFRA Newsletter,No.176, April 1990 Lawhead does make some nice movesinthis trilogy, especially with the Welsh Celtic materials, butT.H.White is better for fantasy, Rosemary Sutcliff for realismlhistoricity, Marion Zimmer Bradley for the Christianl 'Pagan" conflict,andTolstoy for the epic;andallofthem make the readercaremore about the characters than Lawhead does. Recommended for die-hard Arthurians and/or Christian fantasy readers only. --C.W. SullivanillThe FallofCthulhu?Lovecraft,H.P.andDivers Hands,Talesofthe Cthulhu Mythos.Sauk City, WI:ArkhamHouse, 1990. 529p. $23.95 he. ISBN 0-87054-159-5. The so-called Cthulu MythosofH.P. Lovecraft is oneofthe oldest jokes in weird fiction. Unfortunately, it's one repeated ad nauseum by too many people with no gift for telling it.InLovecraft's lifetime, the "Mythos" (a term that Lovecraft himself never appliedtohis stories) was the calling cardofa small fraternityofWeird Taleswriters: Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, August Derlethandothers created a common mythology through their fiction by mixingandmatching extradimensional monsters, necro mantic textsandother props with conspiratorial glee. It didn't bother Lovecraft that mostofhis colleagues were better atborrowing namesandphrases from his work than capturing someofits unique cosmic character.Bythe timeofhis death, though, their contributions outnumbered his own,and they became the norm by which the Mythos was measured. Today, the Mythos is considered less a vehicle for exploringMan'srelationship to the universe (the underlying themeofLovecraft's fiction) than a game anyone can playifthey use the proper set pieces. Not surprisingly, modem Mythos fiction gets,andusually deserves, the samekindofrespect accorded Star Trek novels.Itwas August Derleth, Lovecraft's publisher, who gave the Cthulhu Mythos its name, codified its common elementsandwrongly promoted it as a sortofsupercharged versionofthe Christian Mythos. Derleth's official manifesto for the Mythos canbefoundinhis introduction toTalesoftheCthuUluMythos,a 1969 Arkham House collection that mixed liberal portionsofwork by Lovecraftandhis compatriots with tales by Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumleyandother membersofthe second generationofMythos authors. Mostofthat volume's contents have remained intact for this"revised"editionofthe book, brought out aspartofthe centenary celebrationofLovecraft's birth. However, the few changes thatArkhamHouse editor James Turnerhasmade are significant.Inhis new introduction, Turner reinforces a point that S.T. Joshi, Richard Tierneyandother Lovecraft scholars have argued for years: that''the essenceofthe Mythos lies not in a pantheonofimaginary deities nor in a cobwebby collectionof


SFRA Newsletter.No.176. April 199027 forbidden tomes, but rather in a certain convincing cosmic attitude." This attitude, which arose from Lovecraft's despair over Mankind's seeming unimportance in the cosmic schemeofthings, canbesummedupin his own words as "the fundamental premise that common human lawsandinterestsandemotions havenovalidityorsignificance in the vast cosmos-at-Iarge." The storiesofhis thatwethinkofas Mythos fiction were Lovecraft's attempts to distill the incomprehensibilityofthe cosmos into alien entities whom human beings could only temporarily elude. Their true momentof"cosmic"horror comes when characters are forced to acceptthehuman race's predicamentandacknowledgethatthere is no way outofit. Curiously, the seven new stories Turnerhasadded to thebook(fourofthe original18have been dropped) come no closer to expressing this attitude than do the leftovers by Derleth, Henry Kuttner, Frank: Belknap Longandothers. BrianLumley's"Rising withSurtsey,"Karl EdwardWagner's"Sticks," Stephen King's"Jerusalem'sLot,"Fritz Leiber's "The Horror from theDepths,"Philip JoseFarmer's"The Freshman," RichardLupoffs"Discoveriesin the GhooricZone"and JoannaRuss's"My Boat"arecompetent, and sometimes engaging stories, butallare more intentonworking inoraround the Mythos tradition than dealing with Mythos metaphysics. Why did Turner put together a book whose contents seem at odds with the philosophic principles he stresses? I think the answer canbefound in his reference to the collection as "Works that have been influenced by the Cthulhu Mythos." Turner reserves the term 'CthulhuMythos"exclusively for Lovecraft' s stories. He seems tobesaying thatifone doesn't limit the Mythos in this way, then one mustfinda definition that admitsallso-called Mythos stories-Lovecraft's as well as thosethatlag far behind in conceptualizationandquality. As the wide varietyofTurner's and Derleth's selections show, such a definition, evenifpossible, wouldbeso broad as tobemeaningless.Ina back-handed way, this book turns the general understandingofwhat constitutes Mythos fiction against itself to expose its deficiencies.Itbegs the question whether we should even consider the Cthulhu Mythos, as it is usually handled, a legitimate subgenreofhorror fiction.-RichardMichaelsA Return toDream ParkNiven, Larry andSteven Barnes. The Barsoom Project.Ace Books (The Berkeley Publishing Group), NY, September 1989. 34Op.$4.50pb.ISBN0-441-16712-8.17leBarsoom Project;while the title conjuresupimagesofa return to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars, the book is somethingevenbetter-a return toDreamPark, the high-tech Disneylandoftomorrow. Niven andBarneshave outdone themselves with The Barsoom Project.Rarely does a sequel capturethemagicoftheoriginal,but The BanoomProjectsurpassesDream Parkfrom beginning to end. The aweofthetechnological wonders is still there, the Game iseven better than before andthemystery and intrigue is delicately woven into the fabricofthe entire book.


28SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 1990All the elements that madeDream Parka gamer's dream-come-true are back. lbis time the Game begins in the frigid north where the gamers must stop a Cabalofevil sorcerers from destroying the world. Lovecraftian horrors, Eskimo magic, even a triptothe netherworld make foranexciting adventure. OutsidetheGame,aninternational groupofdignitaries has gathered at Dream Park to learnofa dramatic and far-reaching plan to colonize Mars--the Barsoom Project. But chiefofsecurity, Alex Griffm, has too many loose ends to believe the meeting--or the Game--wiU go smoothly. Why was a DreamParkactor muroered in oneofthe Games? Whoistrying to killaninfluential Ambassador and why? Has a double agent infiltrated the Dream Park personnel?Isthe premature deathofoneofthe Garners a computer erroror has someone cracked security there as well? The answers to these questions are buried beneath a weboflies, false IDs, deceit and treachery existing in a world where reality and fantasy are difficult to keep apart. The Barsoom Projectis a sure-fire winner by a pairoffme writers whose collaborationsarenothing shortofdynamite. Don't miss it. --BrianJ.UnderhillDragon Prince Conclusion?Rawn, Melanie. SunTUlllU!r's Fire:(Dragon Prince, Book111).DAW Books, February 1990. 479p. $4.95 ph. With this, Melanie Rawn concludes herDragon Prince trilogy--or does she? The characters and story told inTheStar Scrollarepickedupa few weeks after its conclusion and then move nine years forwaro in a seriesofepisodes to the concluding contest between a white magic-wieldingfaradhiand a sorcerousdiarmadlJiin the personsofPol and the eldest grandsonofRoelstra, the villainofTIleDragon Prince.The intervening episodes report two other conflicts as well: the rebellionofa few loros against the High Prince Rohan, and the rivalryofthe young cousins, Andry, High PriestofGoddess Keep, and Pol, the High Prince's heir. Tins rivalry is unresolved as Sunrunner's Fireends so that it, with the potential for trouble that the remaining undetected diarmadhim pose, offers possibilities for a fourth, and even a fifth, volume.Ifsuchareplanned, this reader hopes Rawn will spend a little more time developingthe secondary characters who affect the actionsofthe central ones. For instance, Sionell, whomwesaw suffering from a young girl's crushonPol inTheStar Scrollis first shown as beginning to recover from that crush and, athernext appearance, is happily married elsewhere and a mother, though still with some concern for Pol. How did this happen?Wearenot told. Again, Sioned commu nicated with the dragon Elisel in the last pagesofTheStar Scrollbut that dragon never reappears except as a name, though other dragons and individuals interact to influence the plot peripherally.


SFRA Newslener, No.176,April 199029 All three books have the same plot pattern. In the first three orfour hundred pages, a large numberofcharacters move arOWld the stage and there is much talk to carry the plot further. The last hundred pagesaredevotedtoa physicalormagical battle between Rohan and Roelstra (The Dragon Prince), Maarken and Masul(TheStar Scroll)andPol and Ruval (Starunner's Fire).Thelast twenty pagesorso tie up loose ends but leave a few to initiate weaving a plot forthenext volume. Readinganyonevolumeofthe trilogy is a satisfactory way to pass a dull weekend. One could just as well read anhistorical novelofthe Middle Agesora dynasty novelofAmerican industry because Rawn mutes the fantasy elements so well.-PaulaM. StrainSplatterpunkSchow, DavidJ.Seeing Red.TOR, NY, January 1990, 268p. $4.95 ph. ISBN 0-812 50019-9. Seeing Redconsistsoffourteen short stories: elevenofself-styled" Splat terpunk" author DavidJ.Schow's previously published pieces and three heretofore unpublished stories. Also included is a laudatory" Introduction" to Schow's work by T.E.D. Klein, fonner editorofTwilight ZoneMagazine and oneofthe editors who first accepted Schow's work. Schow, whose fiction appears in horror anthologies (e.g., John SkippandCraigSpector'sBooko/theDead(Bantam,1989]),isperhaps most recognized by SF readers for The Outer Limits: The Official Companion(Ace, 1986)--a studyofthe justly famous television seriesofthe early60's-whichhe wrote with Jeffrey Frentzen,andfor the collectionofcinema-related horror stories he edited,Silver Scream(Tor, 1988).Heis most recently representedbyNew Line Cinema'sLeatheiface: VieTexas Chainsaw Massacre3.What is little known about Schow, however,isthat hehaswritten "at least16novels under pseudonyms," according to John Stanley, who interviewed Schow for the San FranciscoChronicle"Datebook"(January 7, 1990,24). Though the notionofa"Splatterpunk"aesthetic is problematic primarily becauseofthe absenceofany"canonical"works that canbecited-the"Introduction"to the previously mentioned SkippandSpector anthology seems closest to a coherent manifestoofthe school-one can identify several characteristics: the extreme violenceofthe action (mutilation, stabbing, dismembennent, and other grislyfonDSofdeath), aheavyrelianceonthe pictorial and explicit in the depictionofthe violence, andanindebtedness to popular media, particularly Hollywood films.Theunacknowledged precursorofsuch prose strategies,ofcourse,isStephen King. Heismost certainly the one horror/fantasy writer working today who wields the most influence over his epigones. In Schow's story,"LonesomeCoyote Blues," for example, the call lettersofthe ghostly radio station which canbeaccessed only by doomed musiciansareKXKVI: thoseofCliff Robertson's radio station in theOuter


30 SFRA Newsletter, No. 176,April1990 Limits episode' The Galaxy Being. "Onestoryisominouslyentitled''ComingSoon to a Theatre NearYou,"a reference to the oft-seen slogan which accompanies movie trailers. Schow certainly revealsanimpressive knowledgeofHollywood history andisanavid fanofpopular culture (as manyofhisfellow"SplatPack"writers also seem to be).Whatthis means is that Schow's work occasionally panders to a reader ship, raised largely (perhaps even exclusively)ontelevision and Hollywoodfilms,seeking cheap thrills.Asa result, it canbeoccasionally derivative: witness" Blood Rapeofthe Lust Ghouls"andthe predictable Visitation. ', Side by side with such stories, however, is the impressivestory"Red Light," winnerofthe World Fantasy A ward in 1987, and the heretofore unpublished "Incident ona Rainy Night in Beverly Hills" which utilizes the motifsofconspiracy and paranoia and would therefore interestSFreaders. Particularly skillful is the oxymoronicaUy titled Pulpmeister, a story which, I think, reveals Schow's own ambivalent attitude toward his own writing,andthe fmal story, "Not From Around Here," is nothing shortofa small triumphofwhich Lovecraft wouldbeproud. The valueofSeeing Red, it seems to me,isthat it is paradigmaticofthe stateofcontemporary horror/fantasy, paradoxically seeking literary merit through a vocabularyandan aesthetic borrowed from popular media, particularly Holly wood fUms andtelevision.Onemight imagine Schow as the verbal equivalentofcinema's George Romero. Like Romero, he is seeking a popular support while seeking, atthesame time,moreambitious goals. --SamUmlandOfT-SeasonSilverberg, Robert. In AnotherCountry/C.LMoore. Vintage Season. Tor, NY. 200p. $3.50ph.ISBN 0-812-50193-4. To celebrate the successful revivalofthe "science-fiction double"--two short novels by two different authors packaged as a single book-Tor Books has published Robert Silverberg's sequel to the novella" Vintage Season" as the second halfofitsSFDouble No. 18. Before discussing Silverberg's achievement, a bitofhistoryisinorder. Vintage Season" first appeared in the September 1946 issueofAstounding Science-Fiction underthename Lawrence O'Donnell. At the time, it was oneofthe worst-kept secretsinscience fictionthatO'Donnell was the collective pseudonym for the husband-and-wife writingteamofHenry KuttnerandC.L.Moore. Although today we accept the O'Donnell stories as mostlytheworkofMoore,"VintageSeason" isnotinconsistent in tone with" Mimsy Were the Borogoves," a 1943 collaboration published underthepseudonym Lewis Padgett that is thought tobelargelytheworkofKuttner.Botharetime travel stories, and both brilliantly evoke a senseofwonder throughtheexperiencesofcontemporary characters confronting


SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 199031the incomprehensible future."VintageSeason" is told very much like a mystery story. It concerns Oliver Wilsonandhis relationship with a manandtwo women to whomherents his house for the monthofMay. After befriending the unusual trio, Wilson begins to suspect that theyaremorethan just the foreignersonvacation they pretend to be. Eventually,hediscovers that they are time travelers who', do"different time periods as casually as contemporary vacationers "do" Europe. Only atthestory's climaxisit revealed why Wilson's guests so eagerly sought his home.Onecan'tdiscussIn Another Countrywithout disclosing the endingof "Vintage Season":it turns out that this particular Spring is a "vintage season" in which a cataclysmic event is to occur, and that Wilson's home isanideal vantage point from which to observe it. Although the catastrophe takes Wilsonandothersofhis time completelybysurprise, it is already old news to the time travelers. The impactofMoore's story depends onourseeing the visitors from the future less as callous opportunists than as people who accept, and try to make the most out of, the inevitabilityofhistory. Inevitability is very much the themeofIn Another Country,whichisnot so much a sequel to"VintageSeason" as a parallel story (although Silverberghasupdated it to the80's,a jarring revelation that immediately raises questions about why a technologically sophisticated society is so ignorantofthe earthshaking events to come). It, too, tellsofa triooftime travelers in town for the vintage season, but this time from their pointofview. Thus, in Silverberg's hands,Moore'stime travel story becomesananthropological study, in which people from the distant future examine the artifactsofthe 20th century. Mostofthe time travelers have the attitudeofugly Americans abroad, but one, Thimiroi, is sensitive to the fragile beautyofour era. So smitten ishethat he falls in love with a period woman (paralleling a similar love-that

32SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 1990 1bis isnotto say that In Another Country is a methodical book. Silverberg probably has written as good a follow-up to"VintageSeason as wearelikely to see, but his novel doesn't leave us feeling thesame sad senseofloss we experience at the conclusionofMoore's original. Considering that what's lost is everythingthepeopleofourcentury hold dear, that's a pretty significant shortcoming. --Richard MichaelsHigh FantasySmeds, Dave. TheSchemes o/Dragons.Ace, NY, 1989. 246p. $3.50pb.Inthe second volumeofTheWarofthe Dragons series Dave Smeds has created a high fantasy taleofsuspense, mystery, illusion, and humor. The kingdomofElandris is in the third generationofa war against the evil human forces controlled by Gloroc, the dragon. Alemar Dragonslayer, powerful wizard and sorcerer has died leaving his son, Keron, as kingofElandris and his grandchildren, twins Alemar and Elenya, to fight the dragon. Keron has little,ifany sorcerous talent and the twins power is much diminished from thatoftheir grandfather. Alemar Dragonslayer had talisman, "the gauntlets...which were made specifically to fight the childrenofFaroe and Triss [ancestorsofthe current menace, Gloroc]" (101). The twins share the gauntlets because neitherisstrong enough to wear them both. Struth, the Frog goddessofElandris, uses a magic spell tofwdanother as strong as Alemar Dragonslayer. She finds Toren who is from a distant partofthe kingdom, a remote place without a written languageoranoral history. Toren is a memberofthe Vanihr tribe who live in "The Wood. When Toren asks Struth why he was chosen tocarryout the fight against Gloroc, Struth tellshimhe has the"energypattern [that] most closely matches thatofthe great wizard....With proper training you may be able to use his gauntlets." (101) The structure Mr. Smeds uses is interesting and different. Heistelling parallel stories, the first: the captureofToren, his journey to Struth's temple, and his training as a wizard and sorcerer. The second taleisofthe twins, Alemar and Elenya, and their continuing battle with the forcesofGloroc. The chaptersdonot alternate each time but the stories unfold well.Oneother interesting thing Mr. Smeds explores is the method usedbyToren's tribe, the Vanihr, to insure that the historyofthe tribe is passed from one generation to the next.As the young peopleofthetribe reach maturity, they participateina ritual led by the shamanof the tribe. During the ritual the shaman implants a totem containing that person's personal historyallthe way back to his original ancestors. The totemisactually internalized through the mouth.Toren'stotemisa tortoise and in order to control Toren and makehimaccompany his


SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 199033captors to Struth, the captors remove Toren's totem. They forcehimto drink a potionandthe totem is calledoutandcomes outofhis mouth. Losing his totem upsets Torenandhe is forced to go to Struth because only a godcanrestore the totem.Itis as though Mr. Smeds were dealing with a computerandthetribal history comes packagedandready to use. When Toren fmally gets his totem restored, his ancestors are quite upset withhim.They are upset that hehasleft ,. The Wood"and taken up with strangers. ,. The voice that shouted most loudly was thatofhis great great-grandfather....He called for his descendant to rememberthecode, hold to the ways thathadserved the tribe generation after generation, to purge himselfofforeign tongues, ideas,andloyalties....Toren reoriented a small connection in hismind.His great-grandfather's voice vanished from the din....Quickly he searched,andfound that everypartofthat ancestor's experiences remained, accessible to his call.II(140)Wonderful, just wonderful. This is a good bookandthe third volume is awaited with pleasure.--AnnHittHistorical Fantasy Original, EngagingTarr, Judith.Ars Magica. Bantam, NY,1989. 276p. $3.95 pb. ISBN 0-553-281453.Judith Tarr is becoming quite a prolific writer, with a new novel coming out every one to two years. Oneofthereal dangersofbeing prolificisthat one's novels sometimes come to look like multiple variations on thesametheme. Tarr, however, avoids this danger, as she seems to have an endless streamoffascinatingandoriginal ideas.Tarr'slatest novel,Ars Magica,is a good exampleofher active imagination. Differing substantially from her other writings to date,Ars Magicaishistorical fantasy, based on the lifeofa real person, GerbertofAurillac, who was crowned Pope in 999. Wherever possible, Tarrhasfollowed history. But since there is a great deal about Gerbert that is not recorded, shehasallowed her imagination free play to fill in the gaps, constructing a dynamicandcomplex character in Gerbert with his passion for anykindoflearning, whose career she follows from its humble beginnings as lowly peasant monk through Archbishop to Pope.Inthe novel, Tarr attributes someofGerbert's success, though certainlynotall, tohisknowledgeanduseofmagic, which he first learns in Spain, while still a monk. Using a time in history when even astronomyandsome branchesofmathematics were considered tobemagic by manyofthecommon people, Tarrhaswoven historical, Dark AgesIignorance together with genuine scientificandmagical knowledge to create a fascinating studyofwhat might have existed to help a young peasant to climb the papal throne. All that Gerbert faces, fromthetemptation to learnthemagicartsin the first place, strictly forbidden bythechurch,ofwhich heis


34SFRA Newsletter,No.176,April 1990a servant, to his temptation to use his arts to destroy those who stand in his path,is made real and believable, asishis loyalty to his masters, and the loyaltyofhis disciple, Richer, to him. The major characters in the novel are vitally and realistically portrayed; so is the historical setting and backgroundofthe novel.'Thiscombination creates a liyely and captivating story. The chief weaknessofArsMagicamay, however, stem from the fact thatTarrisbecoming so prolific. The greatest problemisthe actual writing. Itisnot even,notalways clear,notalways consistent in quality. The style is not bad; Tarr is a good craftsman,onthe whole. But thereareplaces where the movementsoractionsofthe characters are obscure, places where one does not feel completely satisfied,oris not completely sureofwhat is happening. These lapses weaken the story at times, leaving the reader mildly puzzled. But they are not great lapses, norarethey frequent, so they do not greatly impede the reader's enjoymentofthe novel.ArsMagica,onthe whole, is a good read.Itis enjoyable and engaging, and its charactersareinteresting and complex, although the novel is not profound nor thought-provoking.Fora long winter's evening by the fire,ora summer's day by the lake, this novelisjust the thing.--LynnWytenbroekIYoung AdultViolent Young Adult FantasyChristopher, John.V,e Prince inWaiting.Collier Books, NY, 1989. 218p. $3.95pb.ISBN 0-02-042573-2. Christopher, John. Beyond theBurning Lands. Collier Books, NY, 1989. 216p. $3.95pb.ISBN 0-02-042572-4. Christopher, John.V,eSwordofV,eSpirits.Collier Books, NY, 1989. 212p. $3.95pb.ISBN 0-02-042574-0. Whateverhaspossessed Collier books to republish this trilogy by a usually good writerofadolescent science fictionisnotstated anywhere. The series is accoinpanied by no publisher's letterofexuberanceorapology, and very few accolades are printedonthe back covers.Thislack is probably due, rightfully, to a lackofenthusiasm by readers for this dreary, violence-packed trilogy centeringonwar. The seriesisfullofviolence. Blood and gore clot the scenes from very early in the first novel,V,e Prince inWaiting.Not counting the innumerable deathsofwarriors, the death tollisstaggering. The worst thing isthepointlessnessofallthis


SFRA Newsletter, No.176,April 199035bloodshed. The series would have been much better left alone.Itis badly written(Ihave read the first chapterofthe first book half a dozen times and still have no idea what the conversation between Luke and Rudi the dwarf isallabout). The characterizationofallmajor characters is totally inconsistent and almost unremittingly dreary, which is not acceptable in any novel. The central themeisviolence, but whether the author is saying that violence is the only thingofvalue in life, and that tobetrue men, we mustallbeas violent as possible whenever possible (all womenaresimply dismissed as objectsofadorationorcontempt by men),orwhether he is making some sortofhalf-hearted statement against violenceismost unclear.Itseems that his point is the former, that a worldofunremitting violence is the bestofall possible worlds, and one that we should seek with determination.Ofcourse treacheryandlies, something that almostallthe characters in the novel indulge in consistently, are a corollary to this theme, and seem tobeequally supported by the author. I found this trilogy tobedeeply disturbing, because I cannot believe anyone inoursupposedly enlightened times could possibly write a seriesofnovels upholding violenceandwar as the ultimate good, yet I cannotfmdenough evidence to read this trilogy in any other way. If Christopher is resting his case on the unlikableness ofhis heroII,hehasbuilt a very poor case, because Luke is quite likable for abouthalfthe trilogyandthen hejustbecomes unbelievably stupid. Soheis not strong enough as a villain to makeananti-war theme likely. This series is fullofinconsistencies,ofaborted themes,ofpoorly conceived charactersandofdreadful writing.Itis certainly the worst series I have come across in many years for either adultsoryoung adults.Andit is a very poor representationofanotherwise quite good writer.Itshouldbeavoided atallcosts.--J.R. Wytenbroek


SFRANewsletter No. 176 Betsy Harst, Editor Arts, Communications & Social Science Division Kishwaukee College Malta,IL60150-9699


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