SFRA newsletter

SFRA newsletter

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SFRA newsletter
Alternate Title:
Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
Science Fiction Research Association
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[Eugene, Ore
Science Fiction Research Association]
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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 )


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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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S67-00072-n181-1990-10 ( USFLDC DOI )
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SFRA newsletter.
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Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
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SFRANewsletter,181,October1990MembershipFormEnclosedPresident's Message (Hull) 3SERAConference Date Responses (Barron) 5 Currcnt Research (SERA Members) 5 Conferences&Calls for Papcrs (Tilton, et al.) 6 Miscellany (Barron)8 SE Litcrature and USA's National Library (Mayhew) 12 Call for Information (Myers)13REVIEWS:NonFiction:Bartkowski,Fcminist Utopias(Larrier) 13 Beahm, ed.,Stcphcn King Companion(Dudley) 14 Cinebooks,Horror Film(Klossner) 15 Collings,IntheImageofGod: Theme in FictionofCard(Collins) 16 Cummins,Understanding Ursula K.LeGuin(Coliins)17 Florescu&McNally,Dracula Life&Times(Werbaneth) 18 Geist, et al.Popular Cu/turc Collections(Barron) 19 Hardy,VisionsofSpace(C.Morgan) 20 l-lewman, Nightmare Movies:GuidetoHorror Films(Klossner)21Schechtcr,Bosom Scrpent:Folklore&PopularArt(Klossncr) 22 Stanley,WorkofColinWilson(Collings)23Fiction:Aldiss,RomanceofEquator: Fantasy StoriesChapman) 24 Aronica, et al.Full Spectrum2 (Stevens) 26Author's ChoiceMonthly#1,#2:Effingcr&Wagncr(Key)27 Bujold,BordersofInfinity(Stevens) 27 Card,Maps inaMirror:Short FictionofCard(Collings) 28 Card,Xcnocide(Collings) 29 Collins,SunglasscsAftcrDark(Collings) 30Eco,Focault's Pcndulum(Schuylcr)31Gadallah,Cat's Gambit(Shcrman)33Greenberg,Foundations Fric,nds (Wolfe) Hambly,DarkHandofMagiC(Sherman) 3:> Hinz,AshOck(Hall) 36 Kennealv,Hawk's Gray Fcathcr(Tryforos) 37 Kcrr,BrIstlingWood(Wytcnbroek) ;,TheStand,UncutEdition(Sanders) 39 Lindholm, Luckofthe Wheels(Bogstad) 40 LupoH&Coville,Dungcon,I,/I(Underhill)41Masello,BlackHorizon(Gardiner-ScoU) 42 Monteleone, Fantasma (de Lint) 43 Niven, et ai,Man-Kzin Wars/I(Stevens) 44 Norton&Grecnberg, cds.Catfantastic(Sherman) 44 Pournelle,PrinccoJMcrcenarics(Werbaneth) 46 Rusch,Pulphousc III,(Carper) 47 Saberhagen,FourthLostSwords: Farslayer(Heldreth).48Shiner,Slam(Gordon) 49SuIIivan,TheParasiJeWar(Marx) 50 Williams,Solip:Systems(Levy)51 (Langcr) 52 Cook,Wizard's Bane(Berman)53Cooney,TheFog(jordan) 54 LeGuin,fireana Stone(Chapman) 54 L'Engle,AnAcceptable Time(Sherman) 55 Lisle,AfternoonoftheElves(Hemesaath) 56 Maguire,I Feel Like theMorningStar(Levy) 57 Norton,Dareto GoA-Hunting(Martin) 58 Singer,Storm Rising(Donsky) 59


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990TheSFRANewsletterpublished ten times a year for the Science FictionResearchAssociation by Alan Newcomer, HypatiaPress,Eugene,Oregon. Copyright@1990 by theSFRA.Editorial correspondence:BetsyHarfst, Editor,SFRANewslet ter, 2357E.Calypso, Mesa,AZ85204.Sendchangesofaddress and/or inquiries concerning subscriptions to the Treasurer, listed below.SFRAEXECUTIVECOMMITIEEPresident Elizabeth Anne Hull Liberal Arts DivisionWilliamRainey Harper College Palatine, Illinois 60067 Vice-President Neil Barron 1149 Lime Place Vista, California 92083 Secretary DavidG.Mead English Department Corpus ChristiStateUniversity Corpus Christi, Texas 78412 Treasurer ThomasJ.Remington English Department UniversityofNorthern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614 ImmediatePastPresidentWilliamH. Hardesty English DepartmentMiamiUniversity Oxford,Ohio45056 Pioneer Award Veronica Hollinger (1990)PastPresidentsofSFRAThomas D. Clareson (1970-76) Arthur O. Lewis,Jr.(1977-78)JoeDe Bolt(1979-80)JamesGunn (1981-82) PatriciaS.Warrick (1983-84) Donald M. Hassler (1985-86)PastEditorsoftheNewsletterFredLerner (1971-74) Beverly Friend (1974-78) Roald Tweet (1978-81) Elizabeth Anne Hull (1981-84) Richard W.Miller(1984-87) RobertA.Collins (1987-89) Pilgrim Award WinnersJ.O. Bailey (1970) Marjorie Hope Nicolson (1971) Julius Kagarlitski (1972)JackWilliamson (1973)I.F.Clarke (1974) Damon Knight (1975)JamesGunn (1976) Thomas D.C1areson(1977) BrianW.Aldiss (1978) Darko Suvin (1979) Peter Nichols (1980)SamMoskowitz (1981) Neil Barron (1982) H. Bruce Franklin (1983) Everett Bleiler (1984) SamuelR.Delany (1985) George Slusser (1986) GaryK.Wolfe (1987) JoannaRuss(1988) UrsulaK.LeGuin (1989) Marshall Tymn (1990)


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990 President's MessageQUACKSFROMYOURLAMEDUCKWhile waiting fortheresults oftheelections, I needtotie up a few looseendssoIcanhandthereins overtothenewpresident in Janu ary.OneistheappointmentofthePioneer Committee for next year. Iamvery pleasedtoannouncethatVeronica Hollinger has agreedtojoin Takayuki TatsumiandRussell Letson onthatcommittee, which Takayuki will chair for 1991.Ifyouareawareofany1990articleswhichshouldbeeligible by their subject matter but mightbeoverlookedbecausetheyappearinunusual journals for science fiction criticism, please send copiestoall three panel members. Self nominationsarequite appropriate also. Rotating offthePioneer CommitteeisLynn Williams,whoalso served ontheoriginal committee which developedtheguidelines and procedures. Many thanksforall your fine work, Lynnl Iamcurrently working onthecompositionofthenewPilgrim Committee,whichI shouldbeabletoannounceinthenext newslet ter, and I have already received several nominations which I will pass alongtothecommittee. I alsohopetobeabletoestabl ishtheannual meeting site for 1992 (and perhaps even 1993), soifyouareinterestedinhosting a meeting, let me know right away.Onthesubject of meetingsites-I'mjustbackfrom ConFiction andtheWorldSFGeneral MeetinginThe Hague,whereIsawMilt Wolf.Hepromisestosubmit another bid for a futureSFRAmeeting. WorldSFhad bids forits1991 meeting from both ChinaandPoland.Ina Solomon's decision,themembers present voted finallytohold their official General Meeting 20-25 May 1991inChengdu, Sichuan, but also authorized a European regional meetingtobeheldincon junction withtheEuroconinKrakow 9-12 May 1991. It's possiblethatsomehardy souls willmakebothWorldSFmeetings, just assomeof usattendedboththeWorldconandtheNASFiC-butI suspect there willbevery few. WorldSFplans to meetin1992inZagreb, Yugoslavia.IfanySFRAmembers are interestedinattendinganyof these meetings, letmeknowandI will keep you posted as I get more information myself. WorldSFwelcomesteach ers, scholars, and librarians, as well as writers, editors, publishers, il lustrators, booksellers, filmandTVproducers,etc.-anyonewhohas a professional relationshiptoSF.3


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990The WorldSFmeetingwasextremely interesting for newsaboutpublishing in generaloutsidetheU.S., particularlyintherapidly changing Eastern European countries. The changes extend eventothe U.S.S.R. itself: Vitaly Babenko represented a flourishingnewpub lishingventureinMoscowthatcannowexistoutsidetheofficial Writers' Union. I also attended ConDiego (or Con Digeo asitappears atoneplaceinthepocketprogram)inSanDiego-boththeWorldconandtheNASFiC program bookswererife with misspellingsandtypos,butConDiego'sCommitteedidn'thavetheexcuseofworking with a foreign language. The most intriguing errorwasa titleofa book of criticism (familiartomostSFRAmembers) bytheGuestofHonorSamuelR.Delaney, whichcameout as The lewel-Hinged lew, con juringupawholedifferent image. Since Chip Delaneyisa self-pro claimed dyslexic,somewits speculated thatthetranspositions of let tersweredeliberately designedtomake him feel at home. Althoughtherewasnoofficial "Actrack" at either ConFictionorConDiego,amongSFRAmembers attendingtheNASFiC I saw Russ Letson, Takayuki Tatsumi, and Peter Lowentrout.InThe Hague, I also was on a panel with a college teacher from Florida, discussingtheuse ofsciencefictiontoteachslow readers, a programdevelopedby a Dutch publisher. AlthoughwewerescheduledagainstbothJoeHaldeman'sGuestofHonorSpeechanda reading byAnneMcCaffery, this panel drew anaudienceofabouttwenty,soI suspect thereweremany academicswhomight have attended Actrack type itemsiftheywereavailable.Isthere interestinhaving an ActrackatChicon V next year? And speaking of next year, for yourconveniencea membership brochureisenclosedinthis issue ofthenewsletter.AttheExecutive Committee meetingwedecidedtodoa first class mailinginDecem bertothosewhohave not renewed by then, butweurge youtowrite thatchecknowwhileyou'rethinkingofitandletSFRAsavethepostage for more important uses.Ifall goes smoothly withthetran sitionofofficers,wewill aimtogettheDirectorytoallthemembers as quickly as possible afterthebeginning of 1991, and ofcoursetheDirectory willbemost usefultoeveryoneifitincludes allthemem bers. Whileyou'rerenewing, think about suggestions for projectsSFRAshouldundertake.Someofourbest ideashavecomefromthesecomments. Please let us hear youropinion-itmatterslElizabethAnneHull4


SFRA Newsletter,181,October1990SFRAConferenceResponsesThe Questionnaireinthe August/September Newsletter, which didn't reach some members until thefirstweekinOctober, generated 19 responses by21October,about6%ofthe 325 or so membersin1990. Here's a summary of the replies:NumberofSFRAConferences attended:None-5,2-3,3-1,4-2,5ormore-5Ifnone, would you attend a meeting within about 200 milesofyourhome?Yes-4; no-1 Isthe present late June/early July date optimal?yes-10;n0-8A variety of other dates were suggested, but the replies were too fewtoreveal any pattern or strong preferences. The timing may well be as much dependent on the convention director's schedule as on the preferencesofpotential attendees.Would youbewilling to hostaconference?No-12;maybe-6The "maybes" were contingentonhaving adequate support by a de partment or campus, or on timing or other factors. Potential hosts should be aware that adetailed manual with many suggestions and ideasnowexistsforpotentialoractual hosts.PreparedbyPete LowentrQut, Dave Mead, and me, with useful suggestions fromTomRemington,BillSchuyler and others, this should save you time, energy and money.EdraBogle, hostofthe1991conference, has the sole copy andwillpassiton to her successor.Onething you should keepinmindisthat having the "support"ofa campus isn't es sential, although it's often helpful. Having a cooperative and reasonably priced hotel, whichissetupto host conventions,ismore important than campus support.NeilBarronCurrentWorksinProgressSFRATreasurer Tom Remington has forwarded a few more member statements about their current worksinprogress:BRODERICK,Mick,34RossStreet, Northcote,Vic3070, Australia, indi cates that heiswritingThe Apocalyptic Muse,a book length treatment offilmand other texts addressing nuclear themes.CARRICK,Robert, Finca Pielroja, LlanodeAcebuchal,LaAlqueria, Alhaurin delaTorre, Malaga, Spain, notes that heisacquiring permissions5


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990toreprint sf/fantasy storiesinvarious anthologies (classic stories, new writ ers,thebestof1990) in Spanish. HASSON, MoisesA.Casilla3657,CentrodeCasillas, Santiago, Chile, says he is workingonSF&Fantasy pulps in Spanish,andSF&Fantasy in Chile.MANERS,Lynn D.,3622Greenfield Ave.,LosAngeles,CA90034,writes that heistranslating Yugoslav science fiction and possibly willdoan article, a survey of the field. MAYHEW. Joseph T., 7-S Research Road, Greenbelt, MD20770,iswriting the library of Congress' Collections Policy StatementsonSF,tryingtobuild a network to help develop the program, andtolearnwhatisgoing on elsewhere.MULLEN,R.D.,228South 24th St., Terre Haute,IN47803,is co-editor ofScience Fiction Studies.ConferencesandCallsforPapersCHIMERA2:The StructureofMagicCHIMERA2, a small speculative fiction conventiontobe held May 3 5, 1991,isinviting critical papers on this year's theme:theplace of magicincontemporary fiction. Some representative topics: Magic as mysticism and religion; Magic as powerseeking; Rhythm, repetition andfiction-themagic of number; Magic and myth.Weare particularly interestedinseeingpaperswhichdealwiththeworksofthis year's guests. Author guest of honorisJohn Crowley; editor guestofhonorisDavid G. Hartwell; special guest isGeneWolfe;andacademicspecial guestisloan Couliano, authorofErosandMagic in the Renaissance.Submitted papers will be judged by a juryofscholars in the speculative fiction field. Authors selectedtoappear ontheprogram will receive a free membership to the conference. Thepapersselected bythejury willbecomethebasis for panel dis cussion. Rather than being read orally, papers will be printed and distributedtothe membership of the conference. Authorsofselected papers must sign a release for first North American serial rightstoany paper published bytheconference andbepreparedtosubmit their paper on disk.DEADLINEFORSUBMISSIONISFEBRUARY1, 1991. Papers should not exceed 20 typed, double-spaced pagesandshould include an abstract of no more than250words. Authors should submit three copies withname6


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990and any institutional affiliation appearing onlyona separate cover sheet. Institutional affiliationisnot required. Send submissions or inquiries to:LoisTilton, 227 Regent St., Glen Ellyn,IL60137.CHIMERA2 will be held at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield, 1800E.Golf Road, Schaumburg,II.(708605-1234). Memberships are $35 untilFebruaryI,1991,$40 after. For information, contactCHIMERA,doMeida,730Fair Oaks,OakPark,II60302.Lois TiltonTwo Conferences AnnouncedThe13thannualJ.LloydEaton conference will be held 19-21 April 1991 at the UniversityofCalifornia, Riverside. The theme this time, believeitornotisFoodofthe Gods: Eatingandthe Eaten in FantasyandScienceFic whom, how, whereweeat, sleeping potions, vampires, Damon Knights's "To Serve Man,"EatingRaoul-thepotential topics for papers are many. Submit 12-15 page papers to George Slusser, Eaton Conference,Box5900,UCR,Riverside,CA92517,by15November 1990.Utopia:Past,Present, Futuresisthe nameofa conference scheduledfor19-23 June 1991 in Yverdon-Ies-Bains, Switzerland, siteofthe Maisond'Ailleurs, which houses the Pierre Versins collection of utopian and fantastic literature, which will be officially opened at the conference (it was accessible by appointmentona limited basisinthe past). Papers may beinFrench or English. Send paper title and abstract onlytoSlusser, Utopian Conference, as above, by30November, 1990.PCA's Science Fiction/Fantasy Solicits PapersThe Popular Culture Association will meetinSan Antonio, 27-30 March 1991, andissoliciting papers for the SF/Fantasy area dealing withwomenandSF:the familyinthe future; cyberpunk and postmodern culture; the body and technologyinSF/F;and contemporary critical approaches to horrorinliterature and film, although papersonany subject are welcome. Send a 200 word proposal or the finishedpaperorsuggestions for panelstoMartinJ.Wood, English Dept., UniversityofWisconsin,EauClaire,WI54702-4004. The flyerIreceivedcameafterthe10September 1990deadlinefor sub missions, butIsuspect later submissions willbeconsidered(ifin doubt, call Wood).Papers Sought for 12thICFAThe 12th International Conferenceonthe Fantasticinthe Arts willbeheld atFt.Lauderdale Airport Hilton, Florida, 20-24 March 1991. Guestof7


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990honorisGeneWolfe; Roger Cormanisspecial film guest;andPeterMaquaisspecial art guest. Many additional writers, artists, scholarsandeditors will attend.Allproposals mustbepostmarkednolater than15October1990and send to the appropriate division chair. Request a brochure fromordirect queries concerning papersorpanels to:C.W. Sullivan"',English Dept., East Caroline University, Greenville, NC27834.Call for Papers For a Special Issue of Journalofthe Fantastic in the Arts(JFA)onthesubjectRecent Expressionsofthe DoubleMotifin LiteratureandFilmTheeditorsarelooking forcompletedessaysonthedoubleordoppelganger motifinworld literature and film fromthe1960s tothepresent.Weareinterestedindiscussionsofsingle worksorauthors, nationalorre gional trends, comparative studies, and theoretical speculations.Weareopentoawidevarietyofapproachesandsubjectsandareparticularly interested in essays thatcovernewground.Weexpectcontributorstobefamiliar withthetheoretical literaturedevotedtothestudyofthedoubleandto make clear tothereaderwhat"doubleness"means inthecontextoftheessay. Submissions shall follow the newMLAstyleandincludea self-addressed envelope. Return postage is not necessary. Pleasesendessays to: Professor MichaelJ.Larsen,DeanofArts, SaintMary'sUniversity, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA B3H3C3;orto: Professor GordonE.Slethaug,DepartmentofEnglish, UniversityofWaterloo,Waterloo, Ontario, CANADAN2L3G1.Deadline for submissions: September3D,1991.NeilBarronGreenwood Press AnthologyFor a reference anthologyofcritical articlesonsciencefiction-books,short stories, comic books, movies,tvprograms, cartoons,etc.,-forchildrenandadolescentstobepublishedbyGreenwoodPress. Tentative title:Science Fiction and the Young Reader.Proposalsorinquiries only:donotsendcompletedarticles at this time. Mailqueriesto:C.W.SullivanIII,English Department, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC27834-4353.C.W.Sullivan11/MiscellanyUMIResearch Press Ceases PublicationUniversity Microfilms,theparentcompanyoftheUMIResearch Press, hasdecidedtofocus its effortsonelectronicpublishing projectsandwill8


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990dissolve its book publishing unit,UMIResearch Press. Books contracted to be published through December 1990 will appear, but rights to all others have reverted to their authors. The backlist inventory has been and will be soldoff.EricRabkin had been appointed as the successor to Robert Scholes astheeditorof UMI's StudiesinSpeculative Literature, as noted in my market surveyinthe November1989Newsletter. This seriesisa casualty of UMI's demise.ReadingCopiesofReprintsOfferedIfyoudidn'treceive a direct mailing from James Frenkel, consulting editor for the Collier Nucleus mass market paperback reprint series, here's the essential information. A dozen titles had been published through this fall, describedinaone-sheetflyer, includingMan in His Time(Aidiss).Davy(Pangborn),Eyein the SkyandSolar Lottery(Dick), etc.Forinformation or desk copies, write on your school letterhead to Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Ave.,NY1002, Attn: Anne Marie Kennedy, 5th Floor; or phone, 212-702-2033. Your bookstore may order copies by calling 1-800-257 5755.ArkhamHouseRevisitedThe19AugustWashington Post Book Worldhad a shortpieceon Arkham House asitentered its 50th year. Founded by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to preserve and publicize the workofH.P.Lovecraft,inrecent years its director, James Turner, has takenitina different direction. Turner, 45, was a long-time fan offantastic literature and a graduate student at Washington University,St.Louis, working on a dissertation involvingthepagan gods of the church fathers. After "Derleth's death in 1971 Turner contacted the heirs and offered to help.'Onething led to another, and I'vebeenhere ever since.' He still remembersthelookonhis adviser's face when he said hewasquittingtoworkfor-indeedtobecome-ahorror publisher.'Helooked at me as if I had just been convicted of child abuse.'"Copyright&Comics&ComputerEthicsMany readersofthis Newsletter have authored books with copyrightintheir names. More have contributed entries or essays to books and journals, so-called "work for hire", where copyrightisheld by the publisher, whether or not fees or royalties are paid to contributors. And someofyou may have written computer softwareordocumentation manuals. The copyright laws govern all this, and they've changed a lotinrecent years. A February title forMITPress,The Copyright Book:APractical Guide,3rd edition, by Wil liamS.Strong, $17.95, may well be worth your modest investment,in9


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990moneyortime, since it covers all the latest law, including the implications of the U.S. approvalofthe Berne Convention. Randy Scott edits an irregular newsletter,Comic Art Collection,for the RusselB.Nye Popular Culture CollectionattheLibraries, East lansing,MI48824-1048.This collectionisimmense: over55,000comicitems, in cluding scrapbooks containing more than300,000daily comic strips, over 2,000 Golden Age comic books on microfilm, etc. Issue43isfairly typical: a listofgifts received, a lengthy want list, news about collections elsewhere, a Shakespeare comics/clippings bibliography, and reprintsofa few strips.Ifyou're not into comics, tryM.Thomas Inge'sComicsasCulture,a January title fromtheUniversity Press of Mississippi,oneofwhosechapters deals withSFcomics. The recent conviction of a hacker for diddling sensitive fileswasn'tthefirstandwon'tbethelast. A July1990title from MIT Press,ComputerEthics:Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computingby Australian faculty Tom ForesterandPerry Morrison, discusses topics such as software theft, hacking, viruses, privacy invasions, and artificial intelligence. It'sa usefulcurrentsurveywhichsupplementsPatriciaWarrick'sThe Cyber netic Imagination in Science Fiction(MITPress, 1980)andAbbe Mowshowitz's1977text/anthology,Inside Information.Nicholl'sEncyclopediatobeRevisedPeter Nichols and John Clute willbethe co-authors of a revisionofthefirst English-languageencyclopediaofSFpublishedin1979andOPfor several years. Thenewedition willbecompletely reset. Revisionsofex isting text will be thorough, with approximately 150,000 wordsofnewand expanded entries planned. The total length will approach a million words, morethantwicethelengthofJamesGunn'sTheNewEncyclopediaofScience Fiction,1988. PublicationintheUK(and American co-publisherisbeing sought)istentatively set for late 1991. Encyclopedias are by definition collective works, andSFRAmembers areencouragedtowrite John Clute, 221CamdenHigh Street.londonNW17BU, with suggestions for additions, revisions, corrections and improvements (he isnotmaking generalappealfor contributors,butifyou'dliketobe considered, make your case). The editorialdeadlinesare tight, so Clute wouldappreciateyoursendinghim your replies soon after you read this annou ncement.CastingtheFirst Stone? Harlan Ellison, like many peoplewhoattain a degreeofcelebrity, has endured his share of boorishnessonthe partofSFfans.Inthe August 199010


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990IsaacAsimov'sSFMagazine,his essay, "Xenogenesis," recounts the indig nitiesofthoughtlessorvenal fans. The 35 pagesofincident after incidentdon'tmake for pleasant reading for the courteous95%to whom the articleisaddressed("...perhaps this concentrated joltofnastiness will alert you to the other five per centwhoroam and foam among us"). Certainly the actions Ellison describes are reprehensible and unforgivable, but his argument loses a certain moral force when the sourceisconsidered. Ellison's reputationforchurlishnessiswell-known, with many examples documentedinTheLastDeadloss Visions,a booklet by Christopher Priest I discussed in Newsletter 155, February 1988, pages 4-5. The desire tobeassociated with the famous or well-knowniswidely shared, the supermarket tabloids providing abun dant proofofthis. Somerset Maugham aptly remarked many years ago: the prestige you acquire by saying you know famous men or women proves only that you are of small account.SFBiographicalDirectorytobeRevisedThe third editionofTwentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writersisin preparation for publicationin1991 bySt.James Pressinthe U.S. andU.K.New members of an advisory board were being selectedinSeptember, along with contributorsofthe800-1000word entriesonapproximately600writers, manyofthemnewto this edition. Paul Shellings, editor,St.James Press,233E.Ontario, Suite 600, Chicago 60611, 312-787-5800,isincharge of the project. The entries pay $50each(about 5-6 cents a word); the ad visory feeis$75. I declined to participate for several reasons,oneof which you should be aware of. Curt Smith,whoedited the 1986 second edition, saidthepub lisher was very slowtopay contributors and provide promised copiesofthe published book to qualifying contributors.Ifyou wish to participateinsuch "work for hire," as it's called in the publishing trade, I suggest you insistonhalfofyour fee(s) on signing, with the balance paidonreceiptofacceptable copy, notonpublication, whichismonths later.Ifthe publisherwon'tagree to such terms, declinetoparticipate, unless you attach littleornovalue to your knowledge and labor.NewWyndhamEssayThomasD.and AliceS.C1areson have published "The Neglected Fiction of John Wyndham: "Consider Her Ways,"Trouble with Lichen,andWeb,inRhysGarnet andR.J.Ellis, eds.,Science Fiction Roots and Branches: Con temporary Critical Approaches(London: Macmillan, 1990), 88-103. St. Martin'sisthe American publisher.11


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990RecruitaFriendAbout the time you read thisI'llbe completing my two years asSFRAVP.Most ofmytimeinoffice has been devoted to recruiting new members, since about 15-20% of a given year's membersdon'trenew, andittakes a lotofeffort to just keep even. Dave Mead has handled a bulk mailing to members of thePCAand other organization. I hadourrecruitment form reproducedinan issue ofFoundation.And I've sent a large number of letters to peoplewhohave written articles, books, etc. But the best sourceofnew membersisstill you. When yourenew-when,notif-for1991and complete the blue application form, there's a spaceatthe bottom precededbythe sen tence,Please send membership forms to the following persons mayusemynameas areferral.Before you sealtheenvelope, please take a minute to enter at leastonename of someonewhoshares your interestinfantastic literature orfilmbut who isn'tinthis year's directory.Onename from eachofyou means 300+ names and, probably, 30-50new(or rejoin ing) members. Whetherlormysuccessor write your friendsisunimportant. Whatisimportantisthatyouprovide the personal touch.Youdon'thave to wait to renew or use the blue form. I'd welcome names and addresses now so that we can get a head start on1991.I lookforwardtohearing from you soon.NeilBarron1149 Lime PlaceVista,CA92083ScienceFictionLiteratureandtheUSA'sNationalLibraryThe Library of Congressisnow focusing attention onitsresearch archive of science fiction and related literature. Senior Acquisition Librarian JosephT.Mayhew says he will be helping to develop a comprehensive collections policy forLCand to bring into focus exactly whatisneeded to give science fiction its placeinAmerica's national library.Inorder to develop a canon of authors and works essential to a thorough researcharchive of world science fiction, Mr. Mayhew will be consulting with individuals and institutionsoftheSFcommunity. The researchers, critics, publishers, editors, authors, societies, libraries, and others abletohelpinthis effort are encouraged tocontactMr. Mayhew. Any existing work toward definition of essential works and authors ofSFwillbeuseful.Heisalso soliciting helpinthe developmentofcriteriaforevaluating the research potentialofcurrent works ofSFliterature. The Library wantstoexplore sources of criticism, commentary, background, etc. as representedinspecialty presses, trade publications, fanzines, academic publications and12


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990both formal and informal social organizations concerned withSF.Forthe purposesofthisprogramSFisintendedtoinclude allofthe literature con nected through publications, marketing, and classification patterns with the genre (speculative fiction, fantasy, etc.). Informationonnew and forthcoming fictionandgenre-related books and other publicationsisneededtomake the collection current. Mr. Mayhew hopes to participateina networkofthose interestedinthe devel opment ofSF.Information about existing organizations, publications and networks (computer and other format) would be welcome. Please contact: (home) Joe Mayhew, 7-5 Research Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20770; JosephT.Mayhew, Science Fiction RO, Hispanic Acquisitions(E&G),Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540.Call for InformationRobertE.Myers, Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia,isseeking suggestions ofSFshort stories that deal with special aspects of ethics or with ethicsingeneral. This range includes traditional ethical/moral stancesoforthodoxies and deviations from them, ethical/moral analysis of concepts, stances or terms and presuppositions, ethical decision making and conse quences, portrayal of struggles with ethical issues and seeming dilemmasofthe past, present and, of course, the future. Send suggestions to: RobertE.Myers,Box1278,Bethany,WV26032, or phone:(B)304-829-7121;(H)304 829-4542. Thanks for your assistance.REVIEWSNon-FictionAFeminist'sDiscourseBartkowski, Francis. Feminist Utopias, University of Nebraska Press,Lincoln, 1989.198p. $21.50 he.ISBN0-8032-1205-4. Bartkowski provides an excellent explication of the feminist discourseinthe utopias and dystopias written by women. What distinguishes even the earliest works was the active role women playedindetermining their own destiny.Inmany ways Feminists' utopias were, and are, uniqueinthat their dystopian elements are implied rather than the major plot point of the story. This could evenbesaid of Atwood's novel (The Handmaid'sTale)because itisa looking back at the ramifications of thewomen'smovementonour culture. Since the movement has shaped but not changed the paternalistic13


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990 structureofsociety its dystopian elements focusonissues and ideologies rather than just society. Examining works that range from Charlotte Perkins Gilman'sHerlandtoMargaret Atwood'sThe Handmaid'sTale,she relatesthescopeofthework to the feminists' agenda, the historical climate,andits placeinthe feminist cannon. While the utopiasdomake clear the theoretical issues and political strategies of the feminists' movement,endemictothem are their culture which limited, andattimes determined to some extent, their expression. To facilitate the discussion, the bookisdivided into five chapters which scrutinizetwoworks per chapter. The juxtaposition allows Bartkowski to explore the themes of each workinconcert with another, and also with the themes oftheprevious chapters. So, thereisa naturalprogression fromHer/and,where Gilman elevates the roleofmotherhood as the central im petus for her utopia, toThe Handmaid's Talewhere Atwood's central cri tiqueisfocusedonthe implicit notionthatwomencan,andhave been culpable in their own enslavement.InGilman's work, the sexual natureofwomenisnot allowed expression; therefore she turns the paternalistic en slavement of women to their children into a homage to motherhood. Later feminists felt that the issue of reproduction was the factor that limited, and enslaved, women and this would not allow them to include motherhood as something other than a limiting factor. Within the feminists' discourse there had to be a way that women could look at their responses to the issuesofsexuality and children rearing. Atwood then considers, that by shirking this issue,womencouldbecomeeven more enslaved by their reproduction processes.Bynot determining an agenda women then pass the power over themselves to a society which would, if given complete control, be a worse society then the present one. But this bookisboth too complex and inter estingtorelegate to a mere 400 plus words. Simply stated; Bartkowskiisan excellent addition to the critical canon.W.R.LarrierKingfromtheOutsideInBeahm, George, ed.The Stephen King Companion.Andrews&McMeel,. Kansas City, MO. October 1989. 365p.$10.95, pb.ISBN0-8362-7978-6.AsBeahm readily acknowledgesinhis first few pages, Stephen King's vast readership consists of two radically opposed factions: a self-styled'in'group (his cult audience) and what these fans would no doubt term an'out'group (his mainstream audience). Beahm'sCompanionsuffers from the as sumption that all King's general readers aspiretobelong to this inner circle: thus he loads the reader down with more information than a general interest14


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990audience would ever want to know. Examples: valuable print spaceisgiven to a section onKingtrivia, a self-quiz for readers to rate themselves asKingfans (read: fanatics), yetanotherreprintingofHarlan Ellison's verbose and reader-insulting articleonCarrieand the translationofotherKingworks to the screen, and seemingly endless sidebars, which could just as easily have been worked into the main bodyofthe text. The bookissomewhat balanced although not completely redeemed by inclusionsofa more "reader-friendly" type: a short article by King's fellow horror writer, Clive Barker,aninterview withKingscholar MichaelR.Collings, and an interview withKingspecialist DouglasE.Winter, authoroftheStarmont/NAL biography,TheArtofDarkness.Alsoofnoteisa re printingofKing's 1983 interview withPlayboy.Beahm's transcriptionofKing's 1986 Virginia Beach lecture, "Banned Books and Other Concerns," a1987interview from theWaldenbooks newsletterWB,andnumerous reprintingsofreviews, bothofKing's fiction andoffilms basedonhis work. The back cover copy promises appendices useful to the general reader, and to some extent thisisfulfilled with information aboutKingbooksinprint and an informal listing of books written about the author himself. However, the extensive coverageofspecialty publishers and book dealers handling rareKingeditions followed by price guidestoKingcollectiblesisagain aimed directly at King's cult audience, and will nodoubtget only a cursory glance from his general readership.JosephM.DudleyHorror FilmGuide-ForReference Not InsightCinebooks, Inc.TheHorror Film.Cinebooks, Evanston,IL.,1989. 335p. ill. $11.95. pb.ISBN0-933997-23-X. The700entriesinTheHorror Filmhave exactly the same format as the 335,000 films listedinCinebooks's ten-volumeMotion PictureGuide-film,title, a critical rating code, date, nationality, length, colororblack and white, alternate titles, cast and namesofcharacters, plot synopsis, chatty critical evaluation; production credits including producer, director, screenwriter, literary source, photographer, editor and score composer; parentalrecom mendationcodeandMPMrating. Surprisingly this volumeisnot simply a reprint of.the horror film entries from the giantGuide.Entries inTheHor ror Filmare mostly different from and usually longer than those for the same films in theGuide.The levelofknowledgeable but conventional film buff criticismisabout the sameinboth. The chief valueofCinebooks'sHorror Filmisnot as criticism but as a reasonably-priced sourceofreference information. Phil Hardy'sHorror15


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990(1985), U.S. title,TheEncyclopediaofHorror Moviesisthebest critical reference guide and covers 1300 films but provides far fewer technical and acting credits and no character names except those mentionedinsynopses. Best of all, Cinebooks indexes all the producers, directors,screenwriters, authors of literary sources, photographers, editors and composers and many actors;Hardy hasnosuch indexes. The usefulnessofthe indexesislimited by the fact thatTheHorror Film,which covers works from1920to1988, omits films not availableonvideocassette, includingtheFrederic March version ofDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde(1932), theUninvited(1944) and most Hammer films. Also the indexingofactorsisfartooselective. Only well known performers are indexed; unknownswhostarredinmajor films, in cluding the entire castofNightofthe Living Dead(1968), are omitted. The indeXingisnot complete even for such genre stalwarts as Peter Cushing and Barbara Steele. Foreign language titlesinthe alternate titles index are al phabetized under initial articles such as Das,EIandLa.Despite these de ficiencies.,TheHorror Filmiswell worthitsmodest price to libraries which do not have Harris Lentz's more complete but expensiveScience Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film and Television Credits(1983).Michael KlossnerAModelofCriticismCollings, MichaelR.In the ImageofGod: Theme, Characterization,andLandscape in the FictionofOrson Scott Card.Westport,CT:GreenwoodPress, 1990. 208p. $39.95hc.ISBN0-313-26404-X. Thisisa rave review. Collings's studyisnot onlythebest thing ever publishedonOrson Scott Card,itisalso a modelofconstructive criticism. His familiarity with Card's writings, critical as well as creative,isextraor dinarily complete, and his deference to Card's theoretical reservations about "criticks" proves both refreshing and highly productive.Bytreating his own expositionoftheme,landscape and characterization inCard'sfiction as "storiesaboutstories" (following Card's lead here), Collingsisboth dis armingly modest and surprisingly productive. His interpretations are not only creative in themselves, they are uniquely illuminating and often moving as well. Yet they the text and to the author's expressed intentions. Collings obviously understands Card's stance as a writer better thananyoneelsedoinggenre criticism today,andthus heisbetter able (partly, perhaps, because of hisownMormon background) to identify and interpret the "Mormon aspects"ofCard's themes. The resulting studyisin the very best tradition of "reader response" criticism.16


SFRA Newsletter,181,October1990Itisalso a thought provoking book, intellectually stimulating yet lucid and freeofjargon (Chapter 2, "To See the World the Poets Way," has the forceofrevelation);ifitgets the wide audienceitdeserves,itshould radically alter Card's image among science fiction and fantasy readers, and also es tablish for non-genre readers the emergence of a significant ethnic voice. Card's themes, particularlyofcommunity and sacrifice, are important and socially significant and deservethewidest recognition.Asthe possessor of an "epick" imagination (seeking todofor MormonswhatMilton did for Puritans), Cardisunusually ambitious, while his allegoricalor"mythical" approach should be accessible to Christians and "humanists"ofevery stripe (except, perhaps, the mindless fundamentalists). Collings's indexisexceptionally thorough, and the bibliography (cov eri ng aIIof Card's extremely various writi ngs, not just the fantasy and science fiction, and including his published letters and prose essays)isnearly ex haustive uptothe time the manuscript was submittedin1989. Greenwoodisto be commended for the prompt publ ication of this exemplary book. No onewhostudies Card can affordtomiss it. Highly recommended for all libraries.RobertA.CollinsWhatPrice Canonization?Cummins, Elizabeth.Understanding UrsulaK.LeGuin.Columbia,SC: UniversityofSouth Carolina Press, 1990. 216p. $22.95 he.ISBN0-8729 687-2. Thisisa very smallbook-tinypage format, large type, thick paper, less than200pages oftext-asare all the volumes in this "Understanding Contemporary Literature" series. Perhaps for that reason the authors waste very little spaceondeveloping an argument. The books read like long en cyclopedia articles, or perhaps a literate versionofCliff's Notes: hereiseverything the student needs to know about"X."Cummins demonstrates her control ofLeGuin scholarship at every turn, not onlyinthe notes but with frequent quotations from other scholars. The prose styleisstraightforward and direct. The notes, bibliography, and index are impressive.LeGuin's works are organizedforthe reader by their fictionalsettingsEarthsea, Hainish worlds, Orsinia, the WestCoast-asystem which betrays a conventional didacticism. The special features of each "world," along with themes relevant toeach,are economically spelledout. However, some works aredroppedfromthecanon:Cummins ignores threeoftheearly Hainish novels(Rocannon's World, PlanetofExile, CityofIllusions)be cause "the distinction between science fiction and fantasyisless clear"inthem, a consideration that could seem important onlytoa pedagogue.17


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990"Lining it out," as these scholarsdo,isa great "service" forthehasty studentwhoneeds to "getup" an authorora periodina hurry. For such students this book will undoubtedlybeuseful,andthough the editor's preface includes the standard demurrer ("these introductory volumes...donot provide a substitute for the works and authors they introduce, but rather preparethereader for more profitable literary experiences),weall know better. The price of canonizationisusually a not-so-subtle shift away from the "primary works"tosecondary commentaryatleastinthe classroom. LeGuin, with her entry into this series (alongside Edward Albee, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Katherine Anne Porter, John Barth, Carson McCullers, Randall Jarrell, etc .. ) has become a "subject" for serious study.Inmy British survey courses I often refertothe worksonthe syllabus as"monuments"-itseems to capture the ambience surrounding the "canon." Amonumentisa marker for historians, something you "need to know about," usuallyinas few words as possible. After all, how long has it been since anybody readParadise Lostfor pleasure? (Andifyou'vegottoreaditout of some misguided sense of responsibility to the history of English cul ture, why wouldn't you want to save timebyreading the notes and "reader's gUides"first?God forbidoneshould have to plow through the text twiceinorder to understand it.) I seemyjob as a mentorinthese cases as thatofa talking headconnectedtothedata banks designed for "Understanding Milton." Not so in science fiction. For twenty years my students have needed little helpin"UnderstandingLeGuin," and Idonot think they will really need any helpinthe near future. Essays aboutLeGuin meant for the in tellectual stimulationofother erudite readers areonething-Ifind themfun-butredactions of interpretation and summary designed for students are altogether another. ForLeGuin's sake, I hopewecankeep thisbooka secret.RobertA.CollinsDracula:ManandIdeaFlorescu, RaduR.and McNally, RaymondT.Dracula, PrinceofManyFaces:His Life andTimes.Little, Brown,NY, 1989.261p.$19.95 he. 0-316 28655-9. Florescu and McNally are professors at Boston College,whohave vir tually invented the legitimate, scholarly studyofDracula.Forthhis inves tigation of Vlad the Impaler, theyu use a varietyofsources, from contem porary works to Romanian oral tradition.18


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990Asthe title suggests, there are many perspectives of Dracula, variable to be sure but not mutually exclusive. Certainlly this fifteenth century prince was a cruel and sadistic autocrat, but an excellent soldier who frustrated the Balkan ambitions of Mahmet the Conqueror, and a Macchiavellian political operator. This makes him a very complex character. The Germans regarded him as totally evil, a version propagated by lurid pamphletsandbroadsheets turnedoutenmasseonthe newly invented printing press. The Turks, understandably, saw him as a dangerous enemy, devoid of mercy and morals alike,andtothe Russians he was cruel but basicaly just. Romanian folklore holds Dracula tobea nationalist heroinan hourofneed, attempting to rationalize his atrocities, though never really adequately. Not surprisingly, thisisa portrayal enthusiastically embraced by the late and unlamented Ceausescu regime, itself noted for cruelty and chauvinistic nationalism. Using folklore as a basic source holdsitsdangers, as stories told over the centuries tend to become legends, withthebasic facts becoming diluted and altered with each telling. But Florescu and McNally have the discrimination to corroborateandcompareall of their basic sources, acceptingnonecompletely uncritically. After all, they are constructing composite portraits of a controversial psychopath. From the historical Dracula the authors take their inquiry to the vampire myth, starting with Bram Stoker's seminal literary Dracula. With this they shift from Dracula the man to Dracula the idea, and prove equally adept with the latter as the former. Florescu and McNally are academics dedicatedtotreating their subjectinan intellectually rigorous, rational way. They are also fine writerswhomake an esoteric subject accessible and interestingtothe layman, and their fascination withallthefaces of Dracula shines throughonevery page.JamesP.WerbanethpeADirectoryGeist, Christopher D., RayB.Browne, MichaelT.MarsdenandCarole Palmer, comps.DirectoryofPopular Culture Collections.Onyx Press, 2241N.Central, Phoenix,AZ85004, 19889.xi+234p.$48.50.ISBN0-89774 351-2. The Popular Culture Associationisaboutthe ageofSFRA.Ina 1977 issue of the PCA's newsletter, 22 pages were devotedtoan early versionofthis directory,with updatesinlater issues. This lists 612 numbered collec tionsintheU.S.and 55inCanada, alphabetical by state or province, then19


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990by city. A detailed 28 page subject indexissupplemented by an index of collectionsbyname, both of the parent institution and the named specialized collections heldbythe institution. Since I makenoclaims to expertiseinpopular culture, I checked the directory against the 59 library listingsinmyAnatomyofWonder(3rd ed.1987)For unknown reasons only about half the listings were included, al thoughtheintroduction says the compilers searched many standard and specialized library guides.Ontheotherhand, therewerea number of listings of smaller collections unknown to me which willbechecked for the planned 4th edition. The directory's listings are succinct, probably adequateinmost cases to get you started. UCR's Eaton collectionislisted butisnot identified as the Eaton collection, whichishow it's knowntoanyonewhocares. I then checked a few ofthe15 chaptersintheHandbookofAmerican Popular Culture,ed. by Tom Inge (Greenwood, 1988, $55), eachofwhich has a section describing research centers and collectionsofprimary and secondary materials.ThiSbookisa revision and expansion of selected chaptersinthe first edition of Inge's much more comprehensiveHandbookofAmerican Popular Culture,Greenwood, 3 vols. 1978-81; revised 1989, $150/set). The coverage of Geist was spotty. The Inge volumes obviously are known to the compilers;whytheydidn'tmine Inge for leads Ican'timagine, since it's thefirstsource you should turn to for an overviewofdozens of aspectsofpopular culture. Onyx markets almost exclusively to libraries, mostofwhich probablydon'tknow the popular culture field well.Ifthe compilers haddonetheir homework properly, I could recommend this directory.AsitisI'd suggest libraries spend three times as much for the three volume revised Inge, whichisat least five times the lengthandprovides by far the most comprehensive overviewofits subject, including holdings information.NeilBarronRemarkableSpaceArtHardy, DavidA.VisionsofSpace.Dragon's World, Limpsfield,Surrey, November 1989.176p. .95, he. 1-85028-098-3. The most important feature of this magnificent coffee table book of space artisthe pictures: virtually every page hasa full-color painting, nearlyallofthem extremely well reproduced. Also, despite having an interestinthe subject, I found nearly all of the pictures and the majorityoftheartists new to me. This demonstrates Hardy's wide knowledge of the field; it's good to find an artistwhoisan expertonhis predecessorsandcontemporaries. About seventy different artists are featured, with only a handful of illustrations20


SFRA Newsletter,181,October1990being by Hardy himself. The arrangementofpicturesandtext is "onwardandoutward" (an obvious but inescapable approach), beginning with a brief historyofspaceartthendealing, respectively, withspacecraft,spacesta tions,theMoon,therestoftheSolar System (a section containingtoomany similar-looking picturesofMars, Jupiter,andSaturn)andthenthestars. The nextchapter,"SpaceFantasies",istheclosesttoSFas well asthemost startling. Hardy's text is interesting (though obviously aimed at awiderangeofaudience)andmy only grumbleconcernsthepage layouts, with captionstoooften being a pageortwoaway from the pictures they describeandwiththeintrusive natureofseparate "Author Profile"chunksoftextinwhatare technically known as side-bars. I should mentiontheforeword by ArthurC.Clarkeandtheuseful bibliography.Chris MorganFewer PicturesMakea Good Book BetterNewman,Kim.Nightmare Movies:ACritical GuidetoContemporary HorrorFilms.Rev.ed.HarmonyBooks,NY.19898.(U.K.: Bloomsbury, London, 1988).255 p. iIIus.$12.95pb.ISBN0-517-57366-0.Many libraries probably failed to buythe1984 first editionofNightmare Moviesbecause its excellence was belied by its tacky appearance, including text printed in whiteonblack pages andcolorillustrations so extreme they might havebeenrejected by fan magazines likeFangoriaorGorezone.The new edition has clearer printandfewer, much less explicit, black-and-white illustrations. Thereisnownoexcusenottoacquirewhatisprobablythebest, and certai nlythebest comprehensive, surveyofthehundredsofhorror filmswhichhave infested theaters sincethelate 1960s. Newman casts his netwidetoincludesuch marginal horror asDeliv erance(1972),Alien(1979)andeventheconspiracyfilmThe Conversa tion(1974). Heisincredibly eruditeaboutnotonlyU.S.andBritish films but also European films, made-for-TV filmsandevenChineseghosts movies.Nightmare Moviescoverssomuchground it requires a27-pageindexandan 8-page listofalternative titles to give accesstoits215-pagetext. Faced withsucha vastbodyofwork,Newman'sfirst taskistocategorize. He identifiesseventeentypesofhorror films jostling for favor in acrowdedmarket, fromtheremnantsofclassicGothicto"cannibalzombiegut crunchers, Italian style".Onlyone15-pagechapterisdevotedtoslashers. SometimesNewmanisforcedtosimply list several indistinguishable films as examplesofa particular trend,buthealso provides shrewdly observant critiquesofat least300works. AlthoughNewmanissympathetictoexplicit horror, he recognizesthat21


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990after tWenty yearsofextraordinarily heavy output, the genreisrunning lowoninspiration. He finds confirmationofthis inthestrongtrendtowardhumor, either parodic or grim, in horror filmsofthe late 1980s. Several horror comedies have been excellent, but overrelianceoncomedyisa sure signofdecline. Newman's hope for the futureiswhathe calls theUout-ofgenre horror film" such asRaising Arizona(1987),Blood Simple (1984), After Hours(1985) andApocalypseNow(1979). "The conventional horror movie becomes obsolete" as "the physical and emotional overstatementsofthe genre have exploded into the mainstream." Highly recommended for public andacademiclibrariesofall sizes.MichaelKlossnerFromFolkloretoFilmSchechter, Harold.TheBosom Serpent: Folklore and Popular Art.UniversityofIowa Press, Iowa City, 1988. 185p.$17.95.ISBN0-87744-192-1. According to Schechter, popular culture, including most fiction, films, television and comics, has nothing todowith art but a great dealincommon with folklore. These forms should thereforebestudied not through literaryorpsychological analysis but as repositoriesofwell-documentedmotifs found by folklorists in tales from all over the world. MostofThe Bosom Serpentdemonstrates how this theory applies to fantastic films. Schechter shows thatWar Games(1983)isa retellingofthemotifofthe Sorcerer's Apprentice;Carrie(1976) Magical PowersofMenstruation and Virginity;Alien(1979), SnakeinHuman Stomach;TexasChainsaw Massacre (1974),The Forbidden Chamber;Invasionofthe Body Snatcher(1956), Man Into Vegetable TransformationandPlant Causes Magical Forgetfulness;E.T.(1982), Close Encounters(1977) and all versionsofPeterPan,RejectionofAdulthood;TheIncredible Shrinking Man(1957), Tom Thumb and count less other talesofincredibly tiny humans. These films not only share plot elements with thefolknarratives; they also exhibitinvarying degrees the five ingredientswhichSchechter says definepopularentertainment-"sentimentality, moral justice, crude humor,mild pornography and sadism". Urban folkloreofthe kind documented by Jan Brunvand inTheVan ishingHitchhiker(1981) andotherbooksispartofthesametradition. Schechter recounts blood-curdling tales fromThel1Iustrated Police News,a sadistic and gloomy late Victorian crimesheet, which he finds reminiscentofslasher films. His final exampleisthe supermarket tabloid, "the most purely folkloric formofcontemporary subliterature", which offers a bizarre fantasy world to working-class, less-educated women,oneofthe population groups least likely to consume literaryorfilmed fantasy. The incredible22


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990misadventures that befall "moms", "hubbies",and "tots"inthe tabloids are similarto-butfar more outrageousthan-certainStephenKingstories. (Schechter devotes a few pages tothefolklore and sickhumorsur roundingEdGein, Wisconsin murderer and cannibal,whofilled his home with articlesmadefrom human remainsandwhose unbelievable crimes provided indirect inspiration for bothPsycho(1960)andTexasChainsaw Massacre.Some typical "Geiners" are: "What'sEdGein's favorite snack?" "ladyfingers."'Whydothey keep the heat oninEdGein's house" "So the furniturewon'tget goosebumps."InDeviant(Pocket Books,1989),his fine accountofGein's life, Schechter again spends only a few pagesonGein folklore. For a fuller study of Gein lore, see "The Press, Rumor andlegendFormation" by Roger MitchellinTheMidwestern JournalofLanguage and Folklore, Vol.v.,No.1/2,1979.)Witty, often hilarious, eye-opening and recommended.Michael KlossnerResearchRichesStanley, Colin.TheWorkofColin Wilson: An Annotated Bibliography&Guide.)BibliographiesofModern Authors, No.I.Series editor, Boden Clarke. San BernardinoCA:Borgo Press,1989. 312p.$19.95he.ISBN0 89370-817-8'. $9.95pb.ISBN0-89370-917-4.This first volumeinBorgo's ambitious "BibliographiesofModernAuthors" series introduces both the work of Colin Wilson and the Borgo bib liography series. Comprehensively designed and extensively annotated, the book provides an introductory essay, "TheQuestfor Colin Wilson," by Stanley, a chronology of publications and major events in Wilson's life through1989,and substantive chapters devotedtoWilson's books, short fiction, nonfiction, introductions and afterwords, book reviews, other media appearances, and editorial credits. The final third of the text incorporates bibliographiesofsecondary materials (monographs, critiques, profiles, and interviews, short bio-bibliographies, and other related items), miscellaneous entries, excerpts from critical comments about Wilson's works, and a ten page afterword, "Inside Outside: ReflectionsonBeing Bibliographed," by Wilson. The volumeiscomprehensively indexed by title, subject, and au thor;inaddition, items are listed chronologically and indexed by item number, allowing for frequent updating. Withineachsection, Stanley provides a wealth of bibliographical in formation. SectionA,"Books," lists96books, givingfullbibliographiccitations for first and subsequent issues;inthe case of Wilson'sTheOutsider23


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990for example, this supplemental listing includes20titles, including transla tions into Arabic, Spanish, French, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese,Korean, Dutch, Norse, Polish, and Swedish. The entriesconcludewith an "Analytical TableofContents," "Comments," and "Secondary Sources and Reviews" (over40listed forTheOutsider).Asa resultofthis kindofcoverage, well over a third of the total pagesinThe WorkofColin Wilsonare devoted to his novels, but other chapters are dealt withinas much depth and with as much precision.TheWorkofColin Wilsonalso suggests that the series extends beyond the strict confinesofsciencefiction and fantasy. Although Wilson has written fineSFnovels-amongthemTheMindParasites(itemAlO)andTheSpaceVampires(item ASO}-entries range from philosophyTheOutsider)tomainstream novels and books on criminology, biography, literary criticism, and music. Stanley's bibliography does justice to Wilson as a prolific and important contributortocontemporary letters, and simultaneously estab lishes the formatforan important series of such studies; Borgo has published or announced annotated bibliographies of such writers as Brian W. Aldiss, WilliamF.Nolan, LouisL'Amour, StephenKing,Orson Scott Card, Harry Harrison, andIanWatson.MichaelR.CollingsAldissinBorgesLandAldiss,BrianW.A RomanceoftheEquator:TheBestFantasyStoriesofBrian W Aldiss.NY,NY:Atheneum, 1990. 345p. he. $18.95.ISBN0-689-12053-2. Brian Aldissismainly identified with the writing of science fiction (the Heliconia trilogy,Frankenstein Unbound,and so on, and more recently with mainstream fictionLifeinthe West, Forgotten Life),soitcomes as a sur prise to realize that he has also written fantasy.Ofcourse, some of his sci ence fiction(The Malacia Tapestry)lurks on the boundaryoffantasy, but the storiesinthis book are mostly located well withintherichandstoried provinceoffantasy fiction. This collection of twenty-six talesisalso presentedasacompanionvolumetoManin His Time,Aldiss's selectionofhis best science fiction stories, and this divisionofAldiss's short fiction into distinct categories suggests that he has a strong conception of the difference between the two realms. Glancing ateachvolume in turn also produces another tentative conclusion: Aldiss has been moving toward a preference for fantasyinhis short fiction. Most of the storiesinMan in His Timewere from the sixties and seventies, whereas mostofthe storiesinA Romanceofthe Equatorcome24


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990from the late seventies and eighties, several from the recentSeasonsinFlight(1986). (Though the first storyHOldHundredth," appeared in 1960,itcould easily be classified as science fiction rather than fantasy, and the same could be said for acoupleoftheotherearlier works.) The uninitiated shouldbewarned thatthemajor influence on Aldiss's conceptionoffantasyisnotJ.R.R.Tolkien but JorgeLuisBorges,towhomAldiss pays homageinhis introduction. For Borges, the master of Hmagic realism," fantasyisa highly sophisticated exerciseoftheliterary imagination, and styleisas important as substance.LikeBorges, and his greater follower, Garcia-Marquez, Aldiss often blends apparently historical realities with imaginary events. The stories here range from the poetic and contemplative title story to the amusing satireontheological conceptsof"Bill Carter Takes Over." The best stories, for me, tendtobe those that blend romantic settings and events with comic reversals, like ''The GirlWhoSang." However, grim irony seems to make someofthem memorable, like "The Village Swindler," a powerful commentonthe disparity between rich and poor inanIndiaofthenearfuture. Among the other durable tales are "Old Hundredth," with its seriesofsurprising revelations about the follyofhumankind, and the hatred felt for it by other species; and "The Worm That Flies," which uses a Blakean idea for more than mere allusion. The "worm"inthis storyisa metaphor for death, which returnstohaunt sentient life after a long hiatus. Sometimes Aldiss presentsanexerciseinpure irony, like "The Plain, the Endless Plain," where a tribe's epic struggle over several generations seemstosucceed, only toendinsheer futility with its extinction. Yet oddlyenough,evensuch stories seem to be memorable for their art, like a masterful sonata. The range of Aldiss's work and themesisimpressive.Itmight be hard to find abetter-ormorepeculiar-storyevoking the special magic and fun of childhood than ''The Game With theBigHeavy Ball,"ora stronger tale about impending deaththanHJustBack from Java." Sometimes Aldiss's stories are obscure,orany ratedonot yield their secrets easily.Inthis class, I would placeHTheDayWeEmbarked for Cythera," "So Far from Prague," and a few others.Mypersonal favorite.HTheBlue Background,"oneofthe more philo sophical tales, describes the elusive attraction felt by a Balkan peasant for awoodencrucifix in adecayinglocal church. Although this laborerisre spected for his supposed piety, the ironic endingofthe story reveals that his real interest was in the "blue background"ofthe crucifix, which represents a senseofinfinitytothe visionary farmer. The story'sthemeisclearly thatitisnot faith but a longingforsomething unbounded and unmeasurable that25


SFRA Newsletter,181,October1990may redeem a life of toil. It's possible thatinshowing the limits of conven tional piety, Aldiss has written a story thatis"religious"ina much broader sense.Allinall, this a fine collection, and,onesuspects,oneofthebest books that Aldiss has published. Whatever the fate of Aldiss's novels,itseems likely that his short fiction will give him an enduring reputation Butthecrowning might be that Aldiss may be remembered asoneof the century's better au thorsofliterary fantasy, at leastinshort story form.EdgarL.ChapmanSavorSlowlyAronica,lou,Shawna McCarthy, Amy Stout, and Patrick loBrutto,Eds.Full Spectrum 2, Bantam Spectra,NY,May 1990. 548p,$4.95 pb.ISBN0-553 28530-0. Thisisalarge book by any definition. The 27 stories are described as "speculative fiction, whichisa much moreaccuratedescriptionofthe contents than the usual appellation of "science fiction". The contents range from "soft science" fiction to outright fantasy, with every gradation between. Thereisno "hard science" fiction, althoughoneor two storiescomeclose. The authors range from the well-known (e.g., Brin, Mcintyre, Robinson) to severalfirstpublications. With a breadth like that,ina volume of this size, it'sdifficulttoselect particular stories forcommentIt's not surprising that stories such as McDevitt'sWhistle,Brin'sThe Giving Plague,Mcquay'sRe:Generations,and Bear'sSleepside Storygrabone'sattention and remaininthe memory; they have already proven their talents andweexpect good things from them. However, Cleary'sAllOurSins Forgottenishis first publication, and the editors are to becommendedfor finding a substantial new talent. There isn't a bad storyinthe lot although, naturally, some are weaker than others. The story which showsthemost "atmosphere," and which remainsinone'smemory the longest, may well be Steven Popkes' excellentRain, Steam and Speed.Unfortunately, Popkesistheoneauthor not listedintheAbout The Contributorssection, a very unfortunate omis sion. Thisisnot a book tobereadina single sitting; todoso would destroy the impactofthe individual stories, since they aresovariedintoneand content. Rather, it's a book tobesavored a bite at a time, just like a gour met savors an excellent meal.w.D.Stevens26


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990Successful New PublicationsAuthor's ChoiceMonthly#1:GeorgeAlecEffinger.Pulphouse Pub lishing, October 1989, 116p, $?, Trade pb,noISBN.Author's ChoiceMonthly#2:Karl Edward Wagner.Pulphouse Pub lishing, November 1989,101p, $?, Trade pb, noISBN.Author's Choice Monthlyisa new series of publications from Pulphouse wherein the author of the month chooses a handful of stories to be reprinted and provides an introduction discussing why those particular stories were chosen, some genesis to the material,orperhaps both. George Alec Effinger's choices concentrateonhis more humourous output and include a new piece,"CHESS.BAT:A New Wave Story". The other material ranges from stories that appearedinTwilight ZonetoAsimov'sand it'sallmost entertaining. What tiesKarlEdward Wagner's three selections togetheristhat they're all based on dreams, the most successfulofwhichishis "Neither Brute nor Human" which firstappearedinthe1983World Fantasy Convention's Program Book and subsequently won a British Fantasy Award. Both collections make a nice addition to any library and prove to have been excellent choicestolaunch this new series from Pulphouse.Samuel M. KeyEnjoyThisTreatBUjold,LoisMcMaster.BordersofInfinity.Baen Books, October 1989.311p.$3.95 pb.ISBN 0-671-69841-9.Tomany readers,itwill be sufficient to say that thisisanother volumeof"Miles Vorkosigan" stories. To thosewhoare not familiar with Miles, you'reinfor a treat and will undoubtedlywanttogo back and read earlier volumesinthe saga. This book collects three previously published stories, with some narra tive which attemptstoprovide a linkage between them. The linkageisunimportant;eachstory stands onitsown.TheMountainsofMourningisset on Miles' home planet of Barrayar;oneof the few stories dealing with that area.Ina sense, it's a story of crime and deteCtion, but its real value lies inthedescriptionofthe underlying mores of Barrayar, andhowthe planet has shaped the people.Labyrinthdeals with Miles' double mission to Jackson's Whole; ostensibly there to buy arms, heisalso to receive, covertly, a defecting research geneticist with a valuable secret. Naturally, events take a different twist and Miles ends up27


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990spendingthenight with a Minotaur. Finally, in the title story, Miles lets himself be taken prisoner by the Cetagandans and senttoan inescapable prison camp,inorder to lead an escape. The prisoncampisthe ultimateinprisoner-of-war camps;toattempt descriptionina review would be a mis take. To fans of this series,no recommendationisneeded. To those whodon'tknow Miles (or haven't read Bujold), you now have a unique opportunity to find a refreshingnewseries. This book,andthewholeseries is recom mended highly.W.D.StevensCard'sShortFictionCard, Orson Scott. Maps in aMirror:The Short FictionofOrson Scott Card.NY:TOR, October 1990.512p.$19.95 he.ISBN0-312-85047-6. Perhaps best known for such novels as Ender's Game, Speakerforthe Dead, Seventh Son, Red Prophet, and Prentice Alvin, Cardisalso a pro lific short-story writer whose tales, unfortunately, are often difficult to locate. Manyappearedonlyingenre magazines, others in the now out-of-print collections CapitolandUnaccompanied SonataandOtherStories;inCardography (Hypatia, 1987); andinTheFolkoftheFringe(Phantasia 1989).Inaddition, during his early years as a writer, Card wrote a number of stories for non-SF audiences. Now TOR has simplifiedthetaskoffinding these stories with Maps in aMirror:The Short FictionofOrson Scott Card.Except for the storiesinTheFolkoftheFringeandtheforthcoming Worthing volume, almost allofCard's short fiction hasbeencollected, along with autobiographical and critical introductions and afterwords toeachofthe collections's five parts. The stories range from mainstream to religious, from hardSFto high fantasy, from sentimental to horrific. BookI:The HangedMan-TalesofDread"begins with the enigmatic "Eumenidesinthe Fourth Floor lavatory" and ends with his controversial but brilliant "Lost Boys." "Book2:Flux-Talesof Human Futures" offers seven stories written from1978to1989."Book 3: MapsinaMirror-Fablesand Fantasies" incorporates all ofthestories from Cardography, plus "Unaccompanied Sonata" and several others. "Book 4: CruelMiraclesTales of Death, Hope, and Holiness" reprints six others. "Book 5:lostSongs-TheHidden Stories" presents works Card's readers may not have seen beforeormay never see again: "Ender's Game," "Mikal's Songbird," "Prentice Alvin and the No-Good Plow," the 'Byron Walley' Mormon stories, stories from small-press magazines, and an essay reprinted from Foundation.28


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990MapsinaMirrorisa big book butitneeds to be. Card's genius extendsinmany directions, and stories appropriate foronepart of his audience may never be seen by another.Yeteachstory offers unique insight into Card's vision. His Mormon stories reveal human constants through a particular culture and time, whileSFtalessuchas "Kingsmeat"or''The Porcelain Salamander" resonate with ethical, moral, often overtly theological possi bilities. Regardless of category, all are worthwhile excursions into human imagination. To read a Card storyisto risk being changed; to miss a Card storyisto risk loss of possibility and potential.MapsinaMirrorapproaches the status of a definitive volume, valuable not onlyforthe fiction it includes but for the mind it reveals.MichaelR.CollingsAThirdEnderNovelCard, Orson Scott.XenocideNY:TOR {scheduled May 1991}. $21.95 hc.ISBN85056-5.Inan interview publishedinJanuary1987,Card assured readers ofEnder'sGameandSpeakerforthe Deadthathe would write a third Ender novel,Ender'sChildren.Itwould, Card said, "be even more different from the first two thanSpeakerwas fromEnder.It's cosmic Sci-Fi-discovering what everythingismade of, what underlies the laws of the universe, that sort of thing. That novel would have to wait, however, until he felt capable of doing justice to its visionandscope. After four years, hehascompletedthethird Ender novel. Butitisnot quite the novel he envisionedin1987, norisitthe end of Ender's story: there will be a fourth volume.Asdistressing asthatmight betoCard's fans,Xenocideisitself no disappointment. Rather than being a simplistic, linear extension,thenewbook enriches Card's already complex tapestry with additional characters: most notably Han Fei-Tzu and his daughter Qing-jao of the planet Path. Through the adroit balancingofparallel worlds and parallel characters both blessed and blighted by their heredity, Card expandshisnarrative unti I he approaches questions of the nature of the universe itself. Along the way, Card surprises readers withFTLtravel, withthetrue natureofJane's sentience, and an intriguing twist to the phrase, 'Ender's Children.' Some earlier plot elements seem fully resolved, while others are heightened: Jane's implicit death sentenceshouldtheStarways Congress discover her existence, Ender's life-long isolation,andthe threatofthe Starways Fleet and the Little Doctor.Likethe earlier Ender novels,Xenocideasks difficult questions about difficult issues;whenitisdiscovered that the descolada displays intelligent behavior, characters realize that of the five sentient species on Lusitania, at leastone(possible two) must be destroyed29


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990so thattheothers may survive. The wordxenocideceasestobemerelyanepithet applied to the child-Enderof3000years earlier. ArounditCard weavesotherthemes: community, adulthood, family, responsibility, the nature of humanity, even the natureofgods.Yethe never loses sight of his characters as individuals aboutwhomweas readers are invited to care.Xenocidemay lack the tight narrative lineofEnder's Game;itmay lack the focused Christic and sacramental power ofSpeaker for the Dead,butonitsown termsitisas exciting and as stirring as the earlier books.Itssymbolic visionofhumanity stepping outside the universetobecomecreatorsisas powerful as anything Card has yet written.MichaelR.CollingsNewView of the VampireCollins, NancyA.Sunglasses After Dark.NewYork:Onyx[NAL],1989.253p.$4.50 pb.ISBN0-451-40147-6.SunglassesAfterDarkisanambitious and successful first novel.Itisdesignedlycontemporaryhorror, building carefullyon-whilesimulta neously extrapolatingfrom-establishedvampire lore. Like Whitley Strieber'sThe WolfenandTheHunger, Sunglassesassumes the existence of "shadow racesliVinginsecret coexistence with humanity for thousandsofyears" (1 OS);unlike Strieber, however, Collins develops global, cultural manifestationsofvampirism reminiscentofAnne Rice'sThe VampireLestat.Collins'characters-humanandPretender-areenmeshedincomplex websofsophisticated, highly structured cultures that interactinintriguing and dangerous ways. That complexityisperhapswhereSunglassesAfterDarkultimatelyfalters-Collinsattemptstoomuch.Inaddition to the storyofthe vampire Sonja Blue(aliasDenice Thorne,alias[perhapsl "The Other"), Collins in troduces issues as disparate as incest and child abuse; the excessesofcrass and greedy televangelists; the ruthlessness of business tycoons;thecom plexitiesofsocial undergroundsonthe Continent,inEngland, and in theU.S.. ranging fromthelate sixties to the present; mind control; insanity; fearless vampirehunters (including paradoxically, Blue herself); and finally, an entire panoplyofsupernatural intrusions that incorporates child-eating ogres, ghouls, pyrotics, elementals of every classification, and even, inex plicably, seraphim. Although Sonja Blueistold explicitly thatthedownfall of the evangelist, Catherine Wheele,isnot the most important thing Blue must accomplish,thatepisodeforms the novel's structuralandimagisticclimax.Blue's quest to wreak revengeonher vampire-fatherismentioned prominently but never seriouslyattempted-perhapsCollinsisholding that back for a sequel.30


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990Inspite of the sense thatittriestoomuch, that itisat times inordinately complex and elliptically obscure, Sunglasses After Dark nonetheless suc ceeds by creating fascinating charactersanddesigning a viable counter existence for the horrific. Told through occasionally irritating shiftsinpoint of view (including all three of Sonja Blue's alternate personae), Sunglasses buildstoanimaginativeandvisceral conclusion asitworks through the convoluted darkness of the human psyche.MichaelR.Collings[Amuchdifferent version of this reviewappearedinMysteryScenemagazine]Ecoand ReverberationEco,Umberto. Focault's Pendulum. 1988. Trans. William Weaver. San Di ego, Harcourt Brace jovanovich/A Helen andKurtWolff Book, 1989.641p.$22.95 he.ISBN0-11-132765-3. Our narrator, a certain Casaubon, takes nearly half the book to get to a point where hecanbegin to tell us about the work which he thinksiscen tral to his narrative.Itseems that his confederates, Belbo and Diotallevi, are editors for a respectable scholarly pressinMilan. Their paths cross, they diverge, they converge again about ten years later.Atthat point,theownerofthe press, a paradigm of crassnesswhoalso runs a much more profitable vanity press, decides to start a series of books on the occult.Infact, there will betwoseries,onefromeachpress: Belbo and Diotallevi will publish serious scholarship while the vanity press will feed the insatiable market for exposes of crackpot conspiracies. Casaubon, whose studies have prepared him superbly to track down esotericainthis area,issignedonas a kind of research assistant.Itquickly becomes clear thatthemost successful of the books by the Diabolicals, as the three friendsdubthe authors of conspiracy books, involve the Templars, the Rosicrucians, ortheMasons (preferably all threeinsome combination);andifalchemy, magic, jews, jesuits, Cathars,andoccultMoslem sects can be tied in, so much the better. The results are predictably grotesque. Belbo, Diotallevi, and Casaubon decide that they can play this game far better than true believersandsetouttoconstruct a scenario by utilizing all the methods and facts that the occultists use. Indeed, they are determinedtouse more accurateandrigorous standards than their para digms did. What began as a jokeissoon taken more seriously. The trio never quite believeintheir creation, but they become more and more obsessed with it. Eventually, Diotallevi dies of a cancer, a corruption of the organization of the31


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990cells which he believesiscaused by their corruption oftheorganizationofthe historical truth. Belbo disappears. Casaubon witnesses something, butishis account reliable?Anenormous amount of research went into this book.Ecoassembled1500books on the occult plus another 400 old and rare books in preparationforwritingit,ransacking the booksellers of several cities todoso. Thisinturn has spawned a cottage industryinItaly, as devotees workedtodetermine the sources of his information; they have published a dictionary of references.Oneof Eco's epigraphsistaken from Trithemius: Alchemy, however,isa chaste prostitute,whohas many lovers but disappoints all and grants her favorstonone. She transforms the haughty into fools, the rich into paupers, the philosophers into dolts,andthedeceived into loquacious deceivers....The deconstruction which Belbo, Diotallevi, and Casaubon carriedouton their occult sources was a kindofliterary alchemybywhich they pro posedtotransform those leaden tomes into a golden reinterpretationofhistory. No matter that they themselves would not believeit;the Diabolicals would.ButTrithemius was right, and their hoax became a truth which de stroyed them.Itistempting to stop there, and read this book as a deconstruction of deconstruction.Butitisnot so easy todothat.Ifthe stricturesofTrithemius apply to what the Diabolicals were doing,isEcohimself any less foolish for studying them? Hasn't he fallen into the same trap as Belbo, Diotallevi, and Casaubon? Wasitworth the effort of gathering and perusing1900bookstoproduce this one? And what of the pedants who tracked down his sources? For that matter what about us, Eco's readers? Why areweall making the efforttomake sense out of something whichisbyitsown admission nonsensical? The bookis641pages long;ifEcothe deceived has become a deceiver, that oughttobe enough to satisfy Trithemius that heisloquacious. Thereisa sharp stench of paradox here, and knowledgeable readerswhoare so inclined can savor the ironies and contradictions much as a Japanese courtier of the eleventh century savored the nuancesoffragranceinthe gameofincense guessing.Forthose whocan'tbe bothered to trace out the fine distinctions among varieties of absurdity, take heart. This bookcanbe read as a psychological thriller without paying much attention to the detailsofcontending conspiracy theoriesofhistory, anditisvery successfulinthat mode.Infact, that may be the best way to readit.Anyway, evenifthereisnot something here for everybody, thereissomething herefora lot of people. Recommended either as a good read or32


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990as a challenge to your intellectual agility and knowledgeofcertain kindsoftrivia. That'soneofthethings that makes this booksuchan impressive achievement;itworks equally wellinso many different, almost diametri cally opposed ways.WilliamM.Schuyler,Jr.CatBitesBugGadallah, leslie.Cat's Gambit.Del Rey, New York, March 1990,247p.$3.95 pb.ISBN0-345-336478-3. When writing about alien races, the most important and most difficult task facing a science fiction writeristomake them sufficiently alien. No human beingcanreally imagine an absolutelynohuman culture, and ifslhe could, we probably would'nt be able to understandit.Instead, the creator of aliens exaggerates certain human traits enough to create an illusionofalienness that not only entertains, but questionsourcultural assumptions concerning everything from proper table manners to morality.Ifthealienswhatever their number oftentacles-aretoorecognizably humanintheir behavior, the illusion collapses, leaving the message or the plot or the neat scientific idea standing aloneinits ruins.. Cat's Gambitcomes very close to bei ng a very good book about racism and pacifism and blowing the bad guys to kingdom come.Inthe processofcolonizing the known universe,the insectoidKazihaveallbut eradicated the felinoid Orian. A small populationofOrians has escaped to a planet that has so far escapedKazinotice. Thenewplanetistoo cold anddampfor creatures evolved for a desert world, and the raceison the point of dying out. A diplomat's daughter, Ayyah, resolves to follow her father's tales of a world that knows how to keeptheKaziaway,anduse their secrettoregain the Orian homeworld. She enlists the unwilling helpofa human pirate and a long-necked, maned warrior of the lIeveci,andsoon finds herself making decisions and taking actions alien indeed tothepacifist, isolationist culture Gadallah outlinedinher first novel,Cat's Pawn.It's an interesting premise, giving Gadallah ample opportunity to ring the changes on four races' differing attitudestonatural instinct, ritual,andculture. The problemisthat, withtheexception of the buglike Kazi,thealiens justdon'tseem very alien. Gadallah's strength lies in her plotting, whichisfast-paced and exciting, and her visions of alien landscapes. Her characters, however, seem more like spokesbeings for their divergent cul tures than individuals, and Gadallah's ideas about the dilemma of the mo rality of violenceandrevenge show up alltooclearlyintheir debates.Delia Sherman33


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990TheStoriesThemselvesGreenberg, Martin H., ed.Foundation's Friends: Stories inHonorofIsaac Asimov.TOR,NY,September1989.403p.$19.95 hb.ISBN0-312-93174-3.InOrson Scott Card's moving novella "The Originist" (the best story in this highlyenjoyablefestschriftinhonorofIsaac Asimov's fifty years in science fiction, a character speculates about how people absorb stories from their communities and take them into themselves and use these storiestoform theirownspiritual autobiography" (p. 387). The passage provides a wonderfulcodato a collection whichisinevery sense a celebration, not onlyofAsimov but of the wholeSFcommunity which Asimov has deserv edlycometorepresent. The implicit intertextualityofthegenre (which ironicallyisreflectedindebased forminthe various series,towhich Asimov has also contributed with his "Robot City" concept)ishere brought into theopenina collection of seventeen surprisingly thoughtful and almost uni formly affectionate original stories which range from good-natured pastiches to works as thoughtful and serious-minded as Card's. Given a free license to use Asimov's characters and settings,itisnot surprising that no fewer than seven of the authors gravitated toward the robotstories-butnot just to play with the lawsofrobotics, asonewould suspect. To be sure, Hal Clement's "Blot"isan ingeniously worked-out puzzle story that the early Asimov would have been proud of, but other authors take a few more chances. Harry Harrison, sensingtheconnection between the robot stories and classical detective fiction, takes the opportunity to introduce hisownhard-boiledJimdeGriz into the orderly worldofSusan Calvin. Robert Sheckley offers a manic "road warrior" fantasyaboutcar-eating robotsona renegade planet. Getting a bit more philosophical, Poul Anderson sets up the epistemological problemofhow humans convince a robot that they are not themselves robots. Threeauthors-MikeResnick, Sheila Finch, and ConnieWillis-usethe robot milieu to explorethemesofcharacterthatAsimov himself rarely undertook.InWillis's story,anaging Asimovishimself a central character.Anequally aging Asimov shows upinFrederik Pohl's "The Reunion at the Mile-High," a wistful meditation aboutwhatmight have happened had all the Futurians survivedinan alternate reality. Pohlisthe only authortobase his tale in Asimov's life rather than his fiction, but a handfulofother authors alsoeschewthe obvious and craft ingenious tales from less often imitated Asimoviana. Robert Silverberg uses Asimov's thiotimoline as a solution to a problem inherited fromTheGods Themselves.George Alec Effinger,ina particularly hilarious combinationofunlikely world-views, transports his suburban princess Maureen Birnbaumtotheplanetof34


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990IINightfall." Pamela Sargentsets her story in a versionofLijeBaley'sNewYorkwhichseemspartly borrowed also from Heinlein's ''The Roads Must Roll." Edward Hoch offers a Black Widower's talewhichis also ahommageto Harry Kemelman,andEdward Wellen resurrects Wendell Urth for another murder investigation.Perhapstheleast familiar Asimov storytogetthetreatmentis''The Dead Past," for which Barry Malzberg constructs a chilling sequel. Threeauthors-HarryTurtledove, George Zebrowski,andOrsonScottCard-eontributeFoundation stories,andofthese by farthemost effectiveisCard'saccountofthefoundingofthe Second Foundation,whichis also a brilliant meditationonlanguage,community,andthevalueofstories. Nearly allofthestories inthebook are entertaining,butCard'sistheoneI would recommendtoanyonewhowonderswhyscience fiction meanswhatit doestothepeoplewhoenjoy it. There are, wiselyandperhapsmercifully,aspectsofAsimov'sworkwhich are nottouchedupon in these tales;onewill not findthelatest Lucky Starr adventure, for example. Atthesametime, there arenoeasy "shared world" throwaways. Each story reveals agenuineappreciationforsomeaspectofAsimov's imagination,andeachrevealstheinvitingandengaging natureofthe worlds he has imagined. Taken together,thesetales provide a surprisingly insightful exampleofwhatEzra Pound called criticism by new composition;thereismoreheretotell ushowandwhyAsimov's fiction works (and, occasionally,whereitcanbeimproved upon)thananyacademic defense Icanimagine. Appendedtothevolume are introductions byRayBradburyandBen Bova (who reminds usthatmostofAsimov's work is nonfiction)andafterwords by JanetandIsaac Asimov. Asimovseemspro foundly grateful forthefriendship this book represents. He should be.Infact, he shouldberidiculously proudofthis volume.GaryK.WolfeAbusesofPowerHambly, Barbara.The Dark HandofMagic.Del Rey,NY,March 1990,300p.$4.95 pb.ISBN0-345-358-7-4.The Dark HandofMagicisthethird novelintheseriesthatbegan withThe LadiesofMandrign.Itis a verygoodnovel, clearlyandelegantlywritten like all Hambly's books, observantaboutthepoliticsandeconomicsofrunninganarmy, realisticaboutthemoralexpedienciesofmercenarywarfare, insightfulaboutthecomplexitiesofhumanrelationships.LikeThe WitchesofWenshar,itscenterisa mysterythatdrives boththeactionandthe developmentofthecharacters.35


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990Sun Wolf's old mercenary troops have been hired by the Council ofonesmall kingdom to lay siege to the capital cityofa second. But ajobthat ought to have been a perfectly straightforward,iftedious, matteroftunneling under walls has turned into a nightmare of rotten flour, bad beer, and col lapsing siege engines. Suspecting that a wizard's curseisresponsible for this run of phenomenal bad luck, the troop's new captain asks Sun Wolf and his companion Star Hawk to return and apply his wizardly skills to the problem. Eventually the city falls, but bad luck continuestodogthemercenaries, weakening their faith bothintheir new captainandtheir old one.Oneof Hambly's continuing themesismoral responsibility,andthe multiplying relationships in The Dark HandofMagic, both politicalandpersonal, give her considerable scope to exploreit.Thisisthe bookinwhich Sun Wolf finally comes to terms with his love for Star Hawk, with hisownincreasing age, and whatitreally means to be a mercenary soldier. Con sequently, this novelisdarker than the earlieronesinthe series, fullerofquestions thanofanswers, but somehowitisn't depressing.Itsonly weak ness,infact,isthat it's part of a continuing series. Not that I want Hambly to stop writing about Sun Wolf's search for a teacher of magic. I don't. I just wish there was something she coulddoabout the problem of readerswhohaven't readthefirst two books, and therefore lose her referencestopast events and the depth they give the story. Wisely, Hambly doesn't start the book withoneof those dry synopses favored by many series writers. Still, a little more explanation of the high points of Sun WolfandStar Hawk's history would be useful even to those who've read the earlier books.DeliaShermanCaughtintheMiddleHinz, Christopher. Ash Ock,St.Martin's Press,NY,1989. 308p. $18.95 hc.ISBN0-312-03291-9.Inhis first novel, Liege-Killer, Christopher Hinz postulated a post apocalyptic society where the remnants of humanity liveincolonies orbit ing a planetEarthdevastated by a nuclear and biological holocaust. What amountedtothe plot of that novel was a Bladerunner-like searchandde stroy missiontorid the coloniesofbiologically engineered assassins being used by a breedofgenetic supermen, theAshOck,ina bid for domination.InAsh Ock, Hinz revives that scenario to give readers Book Two of what has now been packaged as "The Paratwa Saga." The jacket blurb also an nounces that Hinz is currently working on thethird-andperhaps mercifully-finalParatwa book. AshOcktooobViously suffers from being the second book of a trilogy in-progress.Intrying to repeat the presumably"successful" formula of the36


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990firstnovel, Hinz revives his protagonists from cryogenic stasis and sends the pair of Paratwa-hunters offtodeal with the nextAshOckthreat. The only significant plot twists are that Nick and Gillian nowdonot trusteachother and that theAshOckare using computer viruses to attack the colonies' data bases of technological information. When not repeating the first novel, Hinz dutifully preparestheway for the third. The resultisa novel thatisunre solved and unsatisfying, too obviously the bridge between two other parts of a larger story.Itwould help, of course,ifthe larger story was more than just high-tech action juiced-up for the late-80s through the injectionofliberal doses of sex and violence, but Hinz persistsinwritingina manner remi niscentofan early 70s made-for-TV movie, moving quickly and predictablyfromsegmenttosegment without requiring any thought on the part ofthereader.PeterC.HallNewArthurian TaleKennealy, Patricia.The Hawk's Gray Feather.ROC.NY,1990,400p.$18.95 he.ISBN0-451-45005-1.The Hawk's Gray Featherbegins the Tales of Arthur, another branch of Patricia Kennealy's BookoftheKeltiad. The action takesplacetwelve centuries after the Danaan, heirs of Atlantis, left earth to find a new homeinthe stars. Kennealy places this new cycle1500years before her TalesofAeron, toldinthree previous novels,The Silver Branch, The Copper Crown,andThe ThroneofScone.The current storyistold fromtheview of Taliesin, amemberofthepersecuted Royal HouseofDon. Afterthemurderofhis father bytheArchdruid Ederyn, leader of the dictatorship of the Theocracy, Taliesin goes into hiding with Corlas and Ygrawn. Heistaught warfare and druid lore with Ygrawn's son Arthur. Taliesin becomes a great bard, and invents a secret sign language which assiststheCounterinsurgencythatopposesEderyn; Arthurisgroomed as co-regent with Gweniver,whoisUther's named successor.Bytheendofthe novel Arthur has won the civil war andisabout to become king. But Kennealy leaves some tantalizing questions to be answeredinsucceeding books, including Arthur's stormy relationship with Gweniver; the threat of Marguessan (Morgause); Arthur's troublesomefirstmarriagetothe duplicitous Gwenwynbar, and the fate of their son; and a doppelganger inthenovel's cliffhanger ending.The Hawk's Gray Featherwill be followed bytwoother novels,TheOakAbovethe Kings,andThe HedgeofMist.Science fiction isovershadowedhere by fantasy, particularlyinthebeginning of the novel. Technology has been outlawed by the Theocracy,37


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990but the Counterinsurgency has managed to shield an underground head quarters which conceals a starship and computers; Arthur's knights fight with laser weapons. Kennealy skilfully blends these elements with Celtic legend and magic to make an engaging and well-imagined world. Every writerwhoretells the storyofArthur mustdecidedhowtodeal with Merlin's and Morgan's magic, withGuinevere'sadultery, the Holy Grail, Mordred's parentage, Arthur's demise, and so on. Kennealy hasdonewell so farinreimagining the heroic tale. There are some fine things here, such as Taliesin's friendship for Gweniver and his growing love for Morgan; the gentle and regal Uther and Ygrawn; rousing battles; and some very ac complished prose. The Hawk's Gray Featheristhe beginningofa fine tril ogy and a worthy addition to the Arthurian canon.Laurel Anderson TryforosGood Series Gets Stronger as Writer GrowsKerr,Katharine. The Bristling Wood. Bantam Books,NY.1990,357p.$4.50 pb. 0-553-28581-5. Kerr's new novel, The Bristling Wood,isan excellent novel. The ear lier novelsinthe Deverry series. DaggerspelJ and DarkspelJ, are also good books, well-constructed with interesting, developing charactersandfast moving plots basedona highly original and fascinating premise. However, over the years Kerr's skill as a writer has increased markedly. Although I thoroughly enjoyedtheearlier works, Iwascompletelycaptivated from beginning to end with The Bristling Wood. The old shaman character,Nevyn,isagain heaVily featured. Heisa fine but poignant character as he fights evil century after century, trying to rectify a wrong he committed hundredsofyears before. Weary but indomitable, his wyrd not only binds all the series together, butitalso adds a dimension to his character whichisunusual. This immortal, fighting against ancient evil foes, continually evokes reader sympathy as he tries, generation after gen eration, to train the woman he unwittingly cut off from shamanistic magic, or dweomer, all those long years ago. Century after century he fails andisdoomed to live until he can bring her into her rightful wyrd. Pathosandpoignancy surround Nevyn, but because heisa strong, crusty character, he does not evoke maudlin pity. Instead, his pillar strength promotes coher ence.InThe Bristling Wood, Rhodry and Jill, the "current" manifestationsofNevyn's lost Brangwyn and her lover, develop and grow more thaninpre vious novels. Cullyn, Jill's father and Rhodry's rivalinsome past lives, a man38


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990who fuffilled hiswyrdinthe previous novel, takes a lesser roleinWood.On the otherhand,theincreasingpredominanceofthehalf-elf Salamander, Rhodry's half-brother, raised bytheelves, adds a welcome, lighthearted relief totheotherwise very serioustoneofthese novels, whose sub-plots continually feature small local wars along with Nevyn's penitential quest. Kerrisdefinitely an author to follow.Ifyou have not read her earlier novels,DaggerspellandDarkspell,get them, then readThe Bristling Wood.Allthree are exciting, well-conceivedandinteresting. ButThe BristlingWoodreveals an author growing rapidly, and if itisany indication of whereKerrisgoing, her newly releasedThe Dragon Revenant,also a partofthe Deverry series, shouldbewell worth reading.Kerrisan author worth fol lowing as she has the potential tobecomean important writerinthe canon of serious, literary yet highly readable fantasy fiction.j.R.WytenbroekTheStandinallitsGloryKing,Stephen.The Stand: The Complete Uncut Edition.NY:Doubleday,May1990. $24.95. 1153p.ISBN0-3850-19957-0. Many people have consideredThe Standoneof King's best novels. We've been a little uneasyaboutthatassessment, though. When the novelfirstappeared,in1978,Kinghadn'tbecome a brand name, and Doubleday wasn't sure buyerswouldbe drawntosucha massive volume. Conse quently, the manuscriptwascut severely. Knowing that, we've wondered what was left out:WhatwasThe Standreally like?It'sa relief, then, to have King's preferred (restored and at least somewhat revised/updated) version available at last. It's also a pleasure. The basic storyisthe same,nomajor surprises. But readersofthe shorter version missed thefullpresentationofcharacters. They never had a chance to see the warily loving relationship betweenlarryand his mother.Orthe insane between Fran and her mother.OrTrashy's trek west. Most of the cutting was a matter of omitting details, the massing of vivid, solid specifics that has always beenoneofKing's strengths. There's such a wealthofin formation that somecanbecutwithout ruining the story. But it's good to have the details restored,toknow moreaboutthecharacters andwhat happens t9them. Beyond that,therestored passagesaren'tjust decoration; theydorein force King's purpose. Fran's mother, for example,isan extreme caseofthe blind self-righteousness that led to the arms race thatinturn produced the superflu that wipes out most of humanity. And the new conclusion, showing what happens to Randall FlaggafterLasVegas, amplifies the dark ambigu-39


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990ityofKing's apocalypse.Evenif readersofthe first version aren't startled, they'll find their readingofThe Standenriched. The fact that even a condensed versionofthe novel has impressed so many people shows what a strong, rich storyKinghas to tell. It's not just the convincing details showing people trying to survive the collapseofcivili zation, norisitthe surprisingly deft literary craftsmanship that sets up parts to reinforceeachother.InThe Stand,Kinghas tackled athemewith real moral weight, and he's up to the challenge, his very considerable skillsfocusedonsomething that matters.LikeJob,oneofThe Stand'skey images, King's characters must grapple with an absolute catastrophe that reveals and tests their true natures.Kingfollows this process through unflinchingly, with anger, doubt, and wonder.Inshort, people who've admiredThe Standcan relax: It's as good aswethoughtitwas. Maybe even better. I very strongly, urgently recommendit.Joe SandersAnotherKiNandienTaleLindholm, Megan.Luckofthe Wheels.NY.Ace,1989.247p.$3.95. pb.ISBN0-441-50436-1 Lindholmboundedupon the fantasyscenewith her first three booksaboutKiand Vandien.Inthe mid-80s she publishedHarpy's Flight, The Windsingers,andThe Limbreth Gate.She then shiftedtoa lyrical alterna tive present inWizardofthe Pigeonsand a magical prehistoricinThe Re indeer People(1988) andWolf's Brother(1988).Onenever knows what to expectofher diverse talents.Luckisa return to the easy camaraderie and affectionofKiand Vandien, and their haulage business, but, asinthe first three novels, they managetolandinthe middleofpolitical and social intrigue. Unable to secure a cargo,Kisuccumb's to a merchant's plea to carry his son,whoturnsouttobe a kindofempath, to his brother's house many weeks away. A female stowaway seeking her rebel lover complicates an already difficult journey, especially since her presence involvesKiand Vandien in the cause for which her lover has been hiding from the DukeofLoveran and his sentient-feline mercenary forces, the Brurjans.Weare given a tantalizingly small glimpse of Brurjan imperatives when Vandien joinsoneoftheir fighting groups, just enough to suggest how much the reader will never knowaboutthem. Such attention to elements tangential to the plotofher storiesiswhatmakes Lindholm's works unusual.Itsuggests depthinthe characters andthesocietiesthatentices a reader's imagination.40


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990Kiand Vandien survive this venture, as usual, through their strength, talent and cunning and what Vandien calls the Romni's "luckofthe wheels". They also manage to redeem the self-centered and unscrupulous empath, Goat, on the journey, and his talents proveofimmense help.Infact, he tums out to be moreofa good guy, capableofmore sound moral judgment, than the revolutionaries heissupposedtohave betrayed. The richnessofdetailinlindholm's pre-industrial culture, the circuitous plot and leeway of character development contribute to this novel's success.Itcan certainlyberead in isolation from the earlier three adventures, butifyou enjoy thisone,you'llwanttoread the others.Janice BogstadYouWinSomeAnd...Lupoff, RichardA.Philip Jose Farmer's The Dungeon, BookI:The Black Tower.Bantam Books,NY,1988.354p.$3.95 pb.ISBN0-553-27346-9. Coville, Bruce.Philip Jose Farmer's The Dungeon, Book1/:The Dark Abyss.Bantam Books,NY,1989.322p.$3.95 pb.ISBN0-553-27640-9.The Black Tower,BookI:The Black Tower,the first bookinthesix-bookDungeonseriesisan absolute winner. While the series bears the name "Philip Jose Farmer," none of the books have been written by him, but there are superb introductionsbyFarmerineachofthebooks. BookOneintroduces Clive Folliot, a major in His Majesty's Serviceinlate19thcentury England. Clive setsoutto find his missing brother, Neville, somewhere in darkest Africa, but windsupsearching for himinan other worldly land called "The Dungeon." Clive'squestisboth impeded and aided by someofthe most intriguing and diverse characters evercreatedfrom dwarf-like doglhumans to shape-shifting cyborgs and many more.The Black TowerisreminiscentofFarmer's works (especially Riverworld), but author Richard Lupoff's styleisvariedandoriginal enough to make it clear he does not mimic Farmer intentionally. Rather, the book's setting, characters, plot and atmosphere recreate Farmer's pulpish-adventure fioion-feelthatmakeita joy toread-better,inmanyways,thanevenRiverworld.The only drawback(ifonecan even callitthat) toThe Black Toweristhatitendsina cliffhanger, settingupthe reader for the next book which, unfortunately, falls short of Lupoff's fine work. Nevertheless, this book has found a permanent placeonmyshelf, and likeLordofthe Rings, Riverworld,and others---deserves to be read again and again.41


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990The Dark Abyss,Book 2: After readi ng BookOneof theDungeonseries, Iwasready for another exciting trip into that mysterious otherworld. Unfortunately, Iwasinfor a disappointment.The Dark Abyss,thesecond partinthis series, standsaloneas a fine, even enjoyable, book. However, itisnot meanttostand alone.Itismeanttofitinwith five other books written by four otherauthors-anditdoes not. The problem withThe Dark Abysslies, notintheplot, but inthevariationsinstyle and pace from thefirstbook. Admittedly, thisismybiggest complaintinALLshared-worldfiction-thereaderislulled into a comfort able, steady style, onlytobe thrust into another author's interpretationsofthe same characters. ButThe Dark Abysssimply strays from the first bookintoo many ways for my taste.Evenmore irritating than the variationsinstyle arethesudden changesincharacter personality, abilities, and more. There areevenunforgivable errors thatnowriter should be allowed to commit. For instance, inonescene the partyisbeing dragged toward rocky rapids aboard a boat steered by a rudder. The boatisNOT under power, and yet a seamanisable tosteertheboatthroughtherapidsunharmed-aphysical impossibilitywithoutpower. The onlyredeemingqualityofthe bookisthatitcontinuesthestory beguninThe Black Tower.The mysteries are still unsolved,thecharacters still in peril,andthereaders continue to be pulled intothestory despite Coville's treatmentofit.Allinall, I say:Ifyou'vereadThe Black Towerandenjoyed it, plod throughThe Dark Abyssjust to get on withtheadventure.Ifthe plot and charactersofBookOnedidn'tdoitfor you, skip this one; you'll never makeitthrough thesecondchapter.Brianj.UnderhillLifeandAfterlifeMasello, Robert.Black Horizon.Jove,NY,October 1989. 292p. $3.95 pb.ISBN0-515-10168-0.Black Horizonis a gripping novel, exploringtheafterlifeandtheboundaries between life and death, issues that intrigue allofus as human beings. Giving paranormal powers to an unpretentious, creative character, while showing their personal costtohim,enablesMasellotostructure an instantbondbetweenJack Loganandthe reader; his filialandromantic relationships further involve the reader emotionally, thus heightening the effect of his psychic journeystothe otherworld to recallthedead.42


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990His grandmother serves as an emotionalcenterfor the novel, as Jack wrestles with his powers, pushedonby the totally unscrupulous scientist, Dr. Sprague, a self-serving glory-seekerwhodoes not acknowledge the spiritual dangerofhis experiments. NancyLiu,his assistant, becomes involved on a more-than-professional level with Jack, and the story proceeds as it has beguntoa finely-written conclusion. The artistryofthis novelisnotable; Masello never faltersinhis evoca tion of the familiar and the strange, never losing his holdonthe reader.Fora thought-provoking, beautifully crafted read,BlackHorizonisunbeat able. Highly recommended.Tanya Gardiner-ScottAnEntertainingNovelMonteleone, ThomasF.Fantasma.TOR, June 1989.,277p.$3.95 pb.ISBN0-812-52220-6.Awhileback-whenI was researching thefratellanza(those wiseguys that the media hasdubbedtheMafia) for a contemporary fantasy/thriller I was workingon-Ifound myself wondering why this rich lodeofmaterial hadn'tbeenused by more authors,those working in the sf/fantasy/horror field. The old world philosophies,theamorality,thequixoticromance/danger withwhichthose uninformed in the ugly reality of the mob view these people, seem to make them a perfectbackdrop-especiallyfor a horrornovel. I had fun with my book, and more fun with Monteleone's--mainly be cause Ididn'thave to writeit,I could just sit back and enjoyit.His premiseissimple:whatifoneofthe reasons the wiseguys were so successfulisbe cause the bosses had astregaorwitch workingforthem,onewhocould callupan enemy's worst fears and makeitreal? Monteleone runs with his premise and makesofita very successful thriller. There are confrontations galore between the witch'screation-thefantasmaofthetitle-andthe bad guys.Lotsofjockeyi ng for power with the bosses. We've got a nice Sicilian musician getting caught up with a mob war because they've put a priceonhis cousin's head....Great stuff.Monteleonehas a lean prose styleanda nice senseofcharacter.He'snot afraidtogetdownto the nitty gritty, but hedoesn'twallowiniteither. And there's a crackling good plot going on. But what Ilikebest about the book was his delving into old New York and the storyofour young musician's grandfather as he tries to make a life for himself andhisfamilyinthenewworld. Alwaysanentertaining writer,Fantasmamarks a high pointinMonteleone's careersofar and this reader hopes thatthebooks just keep getting better.Charles de Lint43


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990KnownSpaceSeriesNiven,Larry,with Deanlng,Jerry Pournelle, andS.M.Stirling.Man-Kzin WarsII.Baen Books,NY,August1989.306p.$4.50pb.ISBN0-671-72 036-8.This second volume of stories setinNiven'sKnown Spaceuniverse, and dealing with the war betweenManand theKzin,iseven better than thefirst.There are only two storiesinthis book, but both are superb. Dean Inge'sBriar Patchisan unanticipated sequel to his storyinthe earlier volume, which seemed completeinitself.Inthefirststory, he dealt with intelligent stone-ageKzintifemales; now he does the same with Ne anderthal females, and throwsinsome modern human mutineers to keep the action and suspense going. The two storieswillundoubtedly be combined and publishedasa novel, whichwillbe a welcome addition to anyone's library. Anderson and Stirling combine to tell of theKzintiinvasion and occu pation of Wunderland. Thisisshefirstattempt to look at how the Kzinti might treat the human populace of a conquered planet, and how the human populace might react. It's not toofarfrom what would happeninan all human war; underground rebellion, collaboration, apathy, enslavement. The twist hereisthat the commandingKzintiisan unusual strategist, and the Terran forces believe that his elimination could greatly affect the war's outcome.So,an elaborate infiltration, espionage, and assassination attemptismounted, using a native Wunderlander. This woman, through the effects of time dilation,isonly halfasold (biologically)asher friends who remained on Wunderland, and one of her previous loversisthe collaborationist Police Chief of Wunderland's capitol city. This story alsoiscompleteinitself, but a sequel seems very likely. This series not only sheds new light on a barely mentioned part of theKnown Spaceseries;itisworth readinginits own right. Highly recom mended.W.D.StevensThingsthatGoMeowintheNightNorton, Andre and MartinH.Greenberg, eds.Catfantastic.DAW,NY,1989,320p.$3.95.ISBN0-88677-355-5.Most writerslikecats. Most readers ofSFand Fantasy like cats. What could be more enjoyable,forboth writers and readers, than an anthologyof short storiesallabout cats? Behind Braldt Bralkds' truly wonderful cover painting of an Italian Renaissance tom, editors Andre Norton and Martin44


SFRA Newsletter,181,October1990Greenberg have gathered fifteen cat storiesofvarying genre and tone. They range from the high fantasy of Elizabeth Boyer's "Borrowing Trouble"tothe science fictionofMercedes Lackey'sliSkitty" to the horrorofC.S.Friedman's "The Dreaming Kind." There arehumorousfantasy cats, historical cats, magical cats, and alien cats. Thereisalso, asinany anthology, a rangeofwriting from the competent to the memorable, with most of the stories fallinginthe middleofthe range. The most remarkable story inCatfantasticisClare Bell's "The Damcat."Anengineerwhosejobistoinstall stress monitoring instruments in adammeets a Hopi Indian cliff worker whose partnerisa bobcat. Together they discoverthattheotherIndian workersaretryingtoweakenthedamby cursing it. The plot tellshowthese three unlikely allies defeat the threat to the dam. The backgroundisthe fascinating detailsofbuilding the dam. The themeistrust, inter-racial and inter-species. The storiesfallinto categories. "Damcat"isa storyinwhich a cat helps humans in spiteofhisowninstinctsofself-preservation. SoisC.S. Friedman's "The Dreaming Kind," in which a genetically-altered tom de stroys an ill-considered experimentinthe creationoflife. A certain amountofanthropomorphismisinevitable in a story told from a cat's point of view, but Friedman hascreateda character far lesshuman,and certainly less sentimental, than the kitten hero of Jayge Carr's'Wart."This falls into the categoryofstories in which acatsaves a situation by followingitsnatural instincts to hunt. Both'Wart"and Patricial Saw Mathew's ''The GameofCat and Rabbit" tellofcatswhoridspace-shipsofstranger vermin than any their rat-hunting ancestors dreamed of.Bothare humorous fantasies told from the cat's pointofview, and whether any given reader williikethem or notisvery much a matterofpersonal taste.In"Skitty," Mercedes Lackey solves the cutecatproblem very neatly by making the ship-cat a genetically-altered telepath. Skitty seemshumanbecauseshe'sbeenmadehuman, and yet remains entirely cat-like in her behaviors and tastes. The ghostofDick Whittington'scatpresides over this story, whichisa fine reimaginingofthat time-honored legend, with some nicely alien aliens standing in for the CourtofSpain.Inmostofthe restofthe stories, the animal natureofthecatprotagonistsislimited to their universal fondness for food, warmth, sleep, and affectionondemand.Whetheracatisawizard'sfamiliar, like thecatinArdath Mayhar's. "From the DiaryofHermione,"ora free agent, like the calico tominDonna Farley's "It mustBesome Place," a magic catisvery much like afurryperson.Delia Sherman45


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990AnotherFalkenbergNovelPournelle, Jerry.PrinceofMercenaries.Baen,NY,1989,338p. $3.95 pb.ISBN0-671-69811-7.TheMote in God'sEyeby Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle ranks asoneof the finest science fiction novels ever written.Itisfounded upon an im pressive future history structure, a basically valid scheme,dueto Pournelle's background as a political scientist. He then wrote three other books using this same future, predicated on an American-Soviet CoDominiumandinterstellar travel, followed by complete collapse, then a space empire, more dark ages, and then a second empire.King David's Spaceshiptook place towardtheendofthiscontinuum,inthe same approximate time asTheMote in God'sEye,but most of the author's attention wasonthe twilightofthe CoDominium.WestofHonorandTheMercenarydealtwith Colonel John Christian Falkenberg, and the transitionofhis space marine regimenttoa mercenary unit. These novels are fast-paced combat novels, but with enough erudition and sophistication to put themona higher plane than most worksofthis type.PrinceofMercenariesmarks a returntothedeclineand falloftheCoDominium, andtherole of Falkenberg's Legion. Again, Pournelle por trays the superpower partnership as oppressive and exploitive, though quite casual about it, asitkeeps order among the colonies. Andonceagain, he extolls military virtue, including a welcome stress onthesoldier's subordi nation to legitimate civil authority. However, this book does notcomparewell with anyofthe others.Allthe old ingredients are there, including an interesting story of political andeconomicmachinations, but the mixtureiswrong.Oneof the major problemsisthe inclusionofthe short stories "His Truth Goes MarchingOn"and "Silent Leges," virtually in their entirety. This gives some detail and historytothe characters, and both are fine stories, but thatispart of the problem. They digress and distract from the novel's real plot,andtheydeserve better thantobereducedtomere padding. Arguably,PrinceofMercenariesdeserves better too.Ofall the future history systems I'veencountered,Pournelle'sis my favorite, partially because as a political scientist myself, I can see and identify with the principles with which the author works. Unfortunately, it ismadelesscompellingbythecollapseoftheold Soviet order;itisdifficultenoughtoimagine the Russian Communists ef fectively ruling their current, increaSingly decrepit empire. Extending it into space looks almost laughable, though this was not the casein1974,when46


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990TheMotein God'sEyewaspublished. Thus theworld'sgainisscience fiction's loss.PrinceofMercenariesisofinterest mainly to fans of Pournelle's earlier Falkenberg novels. Most others considering exploring Falkenberg's worldforthefirsttime woulddobetter to readWestofHonorandTheMercenary. JamesP.WerbanethTheNature ofFantasiesRusch,Kristine Kathryn, ed.Pulphouse: the Hardback Magazine,IssueThree:Fantasy.Spring1989. Pulphouse Publishing [Box1227,Eugene, OR 974401], 1989,308p.$17.95 trade he. $50. signed boxed leather ed. [noISBN](OutofPrint) Reviewersapproachcarefully: formisas important as content withPulphouse.Betwixt and between, not quite as convenient as a magazine orasprestigious as an anthology,Pulphousechanges quark-like into a differ ent fundamental genreflavor-sf,fantasy, horror, and speculativefictionwitheach issue. This time, fantasy mixes with straightsfand horror as Rusch claims sheistrying to explore both fantasy as a genre and fantasies of the psyche, but the betting hereisthat she just needs to bulkoutan expensive book with the offerings at her disposal. Rotating theme issues has to be hard enough without making statementsatthe same time.Atfour issues per year this "hardback magazine" prints more short fiction (under novella length) than eitherAsimov'sorF&SFandisfast becoming a much needed entranceway into regular print for names not quite as stellar as the Nebula winnerswhohog the digest-sized pages. Rusch's bottom-line problemisthatoffinding 80-odd stories a year good enough to make youwanttoshelloutabouta buckapieceforthemwithout being able to grab the latest biggies from the top guns. Resourcefully, she pullsoutofher hat a predictably wonderful Michael Bishop reprint andtheteleplay for Harlan Ellison'sTwilight Zoneepisode "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich." She even has Avram Davidson being himselfforfour bizarre pages. Alas, either few other writers are worth reading at that demanding lengthorelse Rusch has an unfortunate predilection for under developed short-shorts and one-note idea stories, too many of which litter the pagesofthis issue.Onenotable exceptionisKenWisman's tone piece,"Inthe Heartofthe Blue Caboose."Bycomparisonthenovelettes shine. William Wu offersanunusual glimpseofAsian-American life and mythology in thedeepsouthin"Pagan Midnight." Janet Kagan already has a cult classicinher "Naked WishFulfillment," exploring the natureoffantasies by wayofa porno movie shoot.47


SFRA Newsletter,181,October1990Easily the best story, however,isAlan Brennert'sliTheThirdSex,"which takes the tired themeofandrogyny and makesitas real as his characters. Roundingoutthe book are three short non-fictionessays-aimedat begin ning writers rather than atSFRAmembers. Back to form again. From other reviews I suspect thisissimplyoneofthe weaker issues. Since, as a limited editionof1250expensive copies,Pulphouseisimpossible to find outside specialtysfstores, recommendations foritmustbemade with caution. The evidence here suggests that a sub scription may not be worth the money.Asa publishing enterprise and a devoutly wished for accessible outlet for writersPulphouseand the other productsofPulphouse Press are admirable and needed. Form and content: a delicate balance. Future issues should decide which way the scales fall.SteveCarperGoodPlotandIdeasSaberhagen, Fred.The Fourth BookofLost Swords: Farslayer's Story.Thomas Doherty, New York, July,1989.252p.$16.95he.0-312-93170-0. $4.50pb.0-8125-5284-9.Ofthe twelve magic blades forged by VulcaninSaberhagen's Swords series, the most fearedisFarslayer, the sword of vengeance. Spun over one's head and released, the sword willflytoitsdesignated target no matter whereorwhatthe targetis.Inan earlier book Farslayer killed a god,andinFarslayer's Story,itproves thatdemonsarenomore immune to its power than gods and humans. This narrative follows Farslayer as itislost in a shipwreck, retrieved by a mermaid, and falls into the handsoftwo feuding families,whouseitfor a nighttimeofslaughter that would have appalled even the Montagues and the Capulets. When newsofthis event spreads, the powerful wizards and noblesofthe land descend on the scene to claim the sword. Among them are a numberofcharacters from previous swords books: Prince Mark, his companion Ben, his nephew Zoltan, and the former SilverQueen,Yambu. Arrayed against themarethe powersofthe master wizardWoodwhose agents in this adventure are Chilperic, the female wizard Tigris, and the demon Rabisu. The story begins with strange events at a hermit's hut on a snowy night, and the significanceofthose events are not revealed until al most theendofthe book. The strengthsofthis novel, as with mostofthe Swords series books, areinits plotting and the originalityofsomeofits concepts.Aswith a good mystery story, the reader keeps following the multiple characters and plot threads to figureoutwhat happened and why. Original are the conceptsof48


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990themermaids as cursed girls andofBlack Pearl being cured long enough to satisfy a wizard's sexual desires. Theconceptofthemagical swords still works well, and Saberhagen's demons have always been among the bestinfantasy.Onthe negative side, character developmentisminimal; Mark andBenhave few distinguishing characteristics, and anyone not familiar with them from the previous books would find them dull indeed.Ofthe new characters, the hermit Grelimer, the Lady Megara, and Cosmo Maolo,whodiesinchapterone,are the most interesting. Readersofthe previousLostSwords books will be satisfied with this one,andnewcomers totheseries will findita good introductiontothe other six current volumes as well as a sampleofthe earlier Broken Lands trilogy. Recommended.LeonardC.HeldrethSuperblyContagiousNovelShiner, Lewis.Slam.Doubleday,NY,1990, 233p. $18.95 hc.ISBN0-385 26683-9.Slamisneither science fiction nor fantasy, butitcould hardly be called mainstream, dealing asitdoes with peoplewhohave rejectedorbeen re jected by the American social mainstream. Lewis Shiner, previously asso ciated with the cyberpunk movement, though that label neverfiteither, has written acompellingnovel which in bothcontentandgenre-fication anarchically refuse categorizing.Slam'sprotagonistisDave, justoutof prison for tax evasion and now trying not to violate the Catch-22 rulesofhis born-again probation officer.Fateand disreputable friends conspire against his efforts but thisisneither tragic nor madcap, though the situationsinwhich Dave finds himself are sometimes sadorfunny:itisanxious. "He'd thought about being free for so longhe'dmilked all the emotionoutofit. There was nothing left but nerves." ThatisDave's state as he copes with his job as caretaker of 23 cats,ashe deals with threats from a couple of bizarre estate hunters, as he handleshisfriend Terell, a parole officer's nightmare, as he fallsinlove and becomes involved with skateboarders. Yes, anxietyisDave's, and the novel's tone. He learns, asdowe, about the cryptocultures beneath our official ones,thesocieties thatoperate outside law and government, about skateboarding, computers, and anarchy. The novel's vividly described localeisGalveston where,weare told, city streets were originally namesbynumber and letteruntil"people got tiredofitand subverted it."IftheanxietyisSlam'stone, subversionisits theme. Howdowesubvert the rules and optout of official cultures? Dave, with no ties and few possessions,isthe perfect man to findout.49


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990Thenovel'sstyle is deceptively simple: lotsofshort declarative sen tences, linear plot construction, and plenty of concrete details.Itseffect is edginess, the short sentences sounding clipped and urgent,theplot rushing headlong throughoneinevitability after another.Likesciencefiction,Slamisa fiction of ideas containing speculation basedonresearch. But Shiner's research and speculationdonot looktothe future. Instead they invite ustoactinthepresent.Slammakes a persua sive case, without ever being heavy-handed, for anarchy as a viable alter nativetoourrule-laden culture.Byshowing people limited by mainstream culture, by showing them astheygo underground into a varietyofanarchicalternate cultures,Shiner revealsnotonlywhypeoplefeel stifled, andwhyanarchy offersanalter native, but how anyone might drop away from the mainstream and entertheunderground. Brooks Landon has describedSlamas a "computer virusofa novel and it's Shiner's revelationofhowas well aswhy,combined with the immediacyofits"simple" style, which make the novel so contagious.Ashedid in his previous novels,FronterraandDeserted Citiesofthe Heart,Shiner provides a short bibliography of someofthe texts he usedinhis re search. This time he provides an address sowecan obtain those texts as well. Thus, the contagion spreads. I foundFronterrastimulating but a bittooobvious in its handlingofideas.Deserted Citiessolved that problem beautifully;itsrelatively minorweaknesswasofplot.Slamisvery tightly constructed.Infact, myonlycomplaint was thatthenovel was so short.At233 pages, though,itonlyseemedshort because of the compell ing plot and urgent style. I just wanted to spend more time inSlam'scornerofmyworld. Thisisa superb book. I'm sending for my Loompanics catalog.JoanGordonReturnoftheTrulyYuckyandClichedAliensSullivan,Tim.The Parasite War.NY:Avon, December 1989.246p. $3.50 ($4.25 Canada).ISBN0-380-75550-5. Tim Sullivanisthe author of a number of fine short stories as well asthenovelDestiny's End(1988), a flawed but extremely ambitious and definitely worthwhile retelling ofthePerseus storyinscience fiction terms. His latest work,The Parasite War,however,ismore reminiscentofhisotherpub lished novel,V:ToConquer the Throne(1987), a spinoffofthemonumentally unimaginative television mini-seriesofseveral years back.V,you will remember, featured anEarthtrampled under the heelofevil alienswholooked like people with lizard's heads.50


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990In The ParasiteWartheEarth has been broughttoits knees byanalienlifeform called a colloid, a blob-like, horrifying and extremely gross creature thatcaninfest ahumanbody, converting it almost instantaneouslytomoreofitself. Alternatelythecolloidcan,if it chooses, takeoverits victim, keepingthehumanform,butcontrollingitentirely.Ifyou'veread much science fiction, Heinlein'sPuppet Masters(1951), Finney'sInvasionofthe Body Snatchers(1955), Wilhelm and Thomas'sThe Clone(1965)comefirsttomind,alongwiththetwofilm versionsoftheFinney novel. Youcanprobably summarizetherest of the plot without any help.Asisalwaysthecasein such stories, a small groupofhumanbeings remains at large fighting an apparentlydoomedguerrilla action against the alien parasite. The book'soneoriginal idea anditsonemystery involves thefactthat all thosewhoappeartobe immunetothecolloids have a historyofmental problems. Sullivanisa more than competent stylist and can write believable horror and action scenes, sothebook worksonthe levelofmind candy, but it'shardto believe thattheauthor isn't capable of better, more original and more ambitious work.MarciaMarxHardwired,theStoryContinuesWilliams, Walter Jon.Solip:Systems.Axolotl Press: Pulphouse Publishing, Eugene, OR. 1989,71p. Price varies, NoISBN.Pulphouseis publishing this novella, a sequeltoWilliams's novelHardwired(1986), as aseparatevolumein six(I)different formats:100Deluxe leather, numbered;300Limited cloth, numbered;500Trade perfect bound; and three different PC-produced versions.Allcopies ofSolip:Systemare signed by the author. Thereisa cover illustration by Donna Gordon, butitisnotparticularly effective. Several, perhapsallofthevarious formats may well be soldoutbefore this review appears, sothoseinterested should probably writetoPulphouse Publishing,Box1227, Eugene, OR97740for informationonavailability and prices. Readers not into the collectionofsmall press editions will find iteasiertosearchoutthestory'sotherap pearance intheSeptember1990 issueofIsaacAsimov'sScience Fiction Magazine:Williams isoneofa numberofauthors (Effinger and Spinrad alsocometomind)who,although not actually part of the cyberpunk movement, have chosen onoccasiontowrite inthatvein.Hardwired,likemanyofthecyberpunk novels, takes placeonandaround a near-future Earthwherethecyborgingofhuman beingsiscommonand a small number of international51


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990corporations rule the roost from Earth orbit. That earlier novel involvedthesuccessful attempt by a revolutionary grouptodeny the orbital corporations complete control of the planet.InSolip:SystemthemindofReno,oneofthe heroesofHardwired,has been implanted intothebrainofa brilliant, but depraved corporate executive, Albrecht Roon. Reno's purpose,ofcourse,istoundermine the orbital corporations still further. This he accomplishes with great skill and dispatch, onlytodiscover that his presence in Roon's disturbed brain has had a warping effectonhim as well. Williams's version of cyberpunkisalways a bit more lightweight than that of Gibson and Sterling.Hardwiredwas a welldonethriller, but lacked the serious intellectual and artistic intent ofNeuromancer(1984)orIslandsinthe Net(1988), andSolip"Systemcontinues, quite successfully, in this manner.Michael M. LevyDelectableTales,PoemsofLesserMagnitudeYolen, Jane.The FaeryFlag:StoriesandPoemsofFantasy&the Super natural.Franklin Watts/Orchard Books,NY,1989, 128p.$15.95 he.ISBN0 531-05838-7 .. Reading that Nurselambfollows a wolf into the living room oftheOld Wolves' Home "sheepishly"inoneofthis collectionoffifteen poems and tales, the words "lovely, lovely, lovely" sprang unbidden. I knew this work would provide delectable fare forallages. I found, however, that the stories far surpassthepoems, well imaginedandreadable as they are. Indeed, a psychoanalytic literary critic might view Yolen'sRedRiding Hood "blushing prettily" as she admitstothe wolf that sheis"really more of a story teller" as probable self analysisandYolen's possible higher regard for the poetic than the prosodic artistry. Yet, Yolen hasno reasonatalltominimize her i mposi ng arrayoftalents. She well deserves the phrase, "richnessofverbal imagery," so often applied to her. Though adults might be jaded bysuch imagesinthepoetry of, for example, Atlasin"immortal torture" longing for some "swift" death, childrenandyoung adults will delightinthose poems with bouncing iambic tetrameter,. easy stanzaic forms, colloquial diction, and a "stumpy humpy" dinosaur. And no reader will forget the "hut [which) strolled through a woods on chicken feet"inthe first poemonthemagicoffairy talesorlater be unmoved by the imageofa middle-aged Beauty con templating growing old with"noregrets"asshe and the Beast "putterinthegardens." Paradoxically, the excellenceofYolen's prose derives from her deft useofpoetic techniques. There are pleasant rhythms achieved by short sen-52


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990tences and brief paragraphs,muchrepetition, charming refrains, fun-filled alliteration, internal rhyme (rarely foundinprose) and rich onomatopoeiainsuch sounds as H even the screamofthe rabbitinthe teethofthe wolf," and vivid metaphors likeHwaterspreadoutinlittle islandsofpuddlesonthe fioor." Further, whileeachtale differs fromitsfellowsinsetting, subject, and moral, Yolen seques gracefully fromonetothenext, creating a wondrous whole. The literal faery flag of the first tale, which still hangs on a castle wallonthe Isle of Skye," prefigures "the red flag"ofthe were-vixen's tail inthesecondwhereJiro, an angry exiled student, goestoa far islandtostudy "calm." The thirdofthesulky, sharp, and angrylateBlossoming Flower, who finds her word of power and changes,isfollowed by a most memorable fourth inwhichFloren,theminstrel, akintoBlossom innameandlesson learned, creates an immortal song. And sothenine tales proceed presenting18lives from roundtheworldwhichare both altered and bettered throughchange-change,the unifyingthemeofthis collection. Yolen'scharmis ubiquitous.Itistheproductofa spirit unafraidtohandle the bloody flagsofmenstruation, cannibalism, miscegenation; of a heartabletolook fromandbeyondeveryangleofthecommon;a mind willingtoexercise the most exquisite careonevery detail with nothing, as Yeats would say, "gone astray." Most highly recommended for all ages.SybilB.LangerYoungAdult No SurprisesCook,Rick.Wizard's Bane.Baen,NY,February1989,31Op.$3.50pb.ISBN0-671 -69803-6.Finally, a fantasy novel designed specifically for pencil-necked geeks.InWizard's Bane,theConnecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Courtplotisrevi talized by substituting RickCook'scomputerprogrammer for Twain's en gineer. Computer wizard William Irving Zumwalt (better known asHWiz")istransported to an ancient worldofmagic in order to assist the good wiz ards of the North against the evergrowing poweroftheDark league. That'sitina nutshell. You knowWizwill winthedayand thedamsel-nobig surpriseinthis novel.Infact,thenovel hasonlyonemajor innovation: a punning senseofhumor only acomputerliteratecouldloveorunderstand. Daemons, de mons,UniX,Emax, worms, Forth, Jolt Cola,andDisney incantations com prise mostoftherunning jokes usedtogive this novel life. With clever chapter titles, such as "Magic for IdiotsandEnglish Majors," you realize the53


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990storyiswritten foreitherreadaholic college studentsorprecocioushigh school computer programmers.Inorder to appreciateWizard's Banein any way,thereader must have both readConnecticut Yankeeandhave some computer literacy. AlthoughRickCook's novel haditsmoments, I personally would rather read Mark Twain's again.Margoleath BermanFlawsinTheFogCooney, CarolineB.TheFog.Scholastic,NY,1989.218p. $2.75pbISBN0-590-41-639-1. PerhapshopingtopiggybackonthepopularityofJohnCarpenter'shorror film, CarolineB.Cooney has chosen, rather inappropriately, to title this first bookofher horror trilogy,TheFog.However, within the book,theevil lurks notinthe fog butintheoceanandinthe formoftwo adults, Mr. and Mrs. Shevvington,theschool principalandhis wife. EachyeartheadolescentsofBurningFogIsland stay the winteronthemainland, board ing with the mainlanderswhoscorn themandgoingtoschool. This year, Michael, Benjamin, Christina,andAnya are boarding with Mr.andMrs. Shewington in their eerie home on Candle Cove where the soundofthe sea reverberates throughoutthehouse. While thetwomale characters are vir tually forgotten,thetwogirls are plunged into danger; Mr.andMrs. Shevvingtondelightinmentally manipulatingandabusingthem.The ethereal Anya nearly meets her death, but sturdy Christina battles against the evil.Onecould forgiveTheFogifitwere merely formulaic, but itisalso very badlywritten-transitionsare omitted, explanations are missing, characters introduced and forgotten, anditis filled with droning repetition.Cooneyalso commitsthegravest sinofall: she omitstheending. Neither evil nor good triumphsandthe readerisforcedto movetothesecond bookofthe trilogy. Nonetheless, a young and undiscerning readerislikelytooverlook these flaws, revelinginthe melodrama, the evil adults, a strong teenager, and the tidbit of romance.Yes,younger adolescents would probably devour this and beg formore-which,unfortunately,Cooneygives them.AnneDevereauxJordanAnotherDragonBitestheDustLeGuin, and Stone.NY,Macmillan, 1989, Illus. Laura Marshall. 29 p. $13.95 he.ISBN0-689-31408-6. Ursula LeGuinisoneofthe most celebrated figures in fantasyandsciencefiction, thankstothe Earthsea novelsandTheDispossessed.But this54


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990slight book for small children will not add muchtoa reputation given lus ter bytheNewberry Award and the National Book Award.FireandStonenarrates a short fable abouttwochildrenwhosave their town from themenaceofa dragon. While the adultscowerand try to hideinapondduringthedragon attack, Min andPodolistentohis roars and conclude that heishungry for stones. They heave rocks at him (despite the protestsofMr. Goose, the mayor), and eventually the dragon, filled with stone, sinkstothe earth .and becomes harmless. The didactic point of this taleisobvious: children should not giveinto panic, even if adults do; instead they must use their brains to deal with fear and menace. However, the storymight have been betterifthe children had been more effectively characterized.Itsstyle seems rather minimalist, evenfora children's book. Nevertheless, the book probably will be entertaining to pre-schoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders, anditmaybeworthitshigh price becauseofthe illustrations bylauraMarshall. Marshall's stylized pictures are the strongest point of the book: her faces are expressive and her useofcolorislavish, though disciplined. Thosewhoremember someofthe children's books of twentyorthirty years ago, and their rather spari ng useofcolor (even favorites liketheCurious George booksseemin memory like black and white films), may find Marshall's work beguiling.EdgarL.ChapmanNotMuchMagicl'Engle, Madeleine.AnAcceptable Time.Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,NY,1989, 343p. $13.95 hc.ISBN0-374-300-27-5.WhenAWrinkleinTimewas first published in 1962, science fiction for a youngadultaudiencewasthinneronthe ground thanitisnow. But whatever the sizeofthe field, l'Engle's story of tesseracts and distant worlds would have stood out. The Murray family and their supernatural friendsMrs.Who,Mrs.Whatsit, andMrs.Which, are memorable and engaging. The plotisexciting,andl'Engle manages to makeitcarry a messageofredemption through loveandfaith without being so specifically Christian thatshe'dalienate a larger audience. More remarkably still, she achieves a mixofreal science, magical science, and mystical Christianity thatisboth plausible and mutually illuminating. l'Engle's latest book,AnAcceptable Time,isthefifthabout the Murrays,andthe first tocenteronthesecond generation.Itsprotagonist, Polly O'Keefe,isthe daughterofthe original heroine, Meg.likeher mother and her grandmother before her, Pollyisa natural mathematician and scientist,55


SFRANewsletter, 181, October 1990intelligent and gifted beyond mostofher peers. l'Engle has made something of a specialty of portraying such adolescents, the most memorable being Meg herself, and the blind pianist Emily GregoryinTheYoung Unicorns.After these unsocial and passionate souls, Polly seems blandandaltogether too obedient and trusting. More interestingisZachary Gray, a beautiful and self centered young man whose fear of death leads himtoput Pollyindanger of herownlife. While she's visiting her mother's parentsinthe Maine woods, Pollyisdrawn by Druid magic into the area's distant past.Incompany with Zachary and an elderly bishop, she becomes a pawnina territorial and religious war betweentwoBronze-Age Native American tribes. Convinced that native magic willcurehis congenital heart condition, Zachary betrays Polly tothetribe that wantstosacrifice her to their bloodthirsty godsinreturn for rain. Polly rescues herself,andthe tribes, while learning about love, both sacred and profane. The plotofAnAcceptable Timeisgood, standard dangerandrescue, with just enough tension and conflict between the major characters tofillthe necessary lullsinthe action. There's some good psychology in this book, but there isn'tmuchreal magic. l"Engle's mostmemorablecharacters have always been hernon-humanones, and inAnAcceptable Time,thechar acters arealltoohuman. The theme, too, seems overstated, perhaps because l'Engle is writing about religion rather than about the ideaofdivinity, as she hasinher earlier books. There's nothing wrong withAnAcceptable Time,preCisely. It's just thatitdoesn'tgive the reader anythingtotakeawayfrom the experienceofreading it.Delia ShermanARewardingNovellisle, Janet Taylor.AfternoonoftheElves.Orchard,NY,1989,122p.$12.95 hc.ISBN0-5313-05837-9. A quietly moving tale about the oddkidonthe block, Janet Taylor lisle'sAfternoonoftheElvesisa socially significant young adult novel with a strong undercurrentofimagined fantasy that helps makeitsmessageof"tolerance" seem less preachy. Nine-year-old Hillary becomes friends with Sara-Kate,thestrangest and poorest girlintown.Sara-Kate claimsthatelves live inherovergrown backyard. Hillary, in turn, imagines that underfed Sara-Kateisan elf herself disguised as a human. Together, HillaryandSara-Kate repairandexpand the tinyelfvillageinthelatter's backyard.56


SFRANewsletter,181,October1990Solid characterdevelopmentofHillaryandSara-Kate make this a touching "buddy" novel.Onthe negative side, Hillary'sotherfriends at school and her parents at home seem to exist only to "question" the value of her friendship with Sara-Kate. Setting or senseofplace provestobeanother strength. Sara-Kate's ru ined backyard does, in fact, seem magical. The ever-abundant patchesofpoison ivy, for instance, could well represent evil to an impressionablechild such as Hillary. Given the author's skillful writing,onecan accept Hillary's half-believing that elvesdoexist.Inthe end, as the reader has known all along, Sara-Kate proves to be a neglected child with a vivid imagination and an uncertain future.Onecan easily imagine Sara-Kate as an outcast until the day she dies. Hillary, on the plus side, shows promiseofbecoming the caring person we would all like to be. A Newberry Honor Award Book for 1990.JamesB.HemesathBuriedAliveMaguire, Gregory.I Feel Like theMorningStar.NY:Harper&Row, 1989. 275p. $14.95.ISBN:0-06-024021-0Ina1985articleinScience Fiction Studies,Perry Nodelman pointed out how frequently plotsinchildren's sf involve movement fromanenclosed space, often some sortofpost-holocaust sealed community, to anopenspace, usually a world gone back to wilderness. The year1989provided at leasttwomore variationsonthis plotline, Caroline MacDonald'sTheLake at the Endofthe IWorld(Dial) andthebookunderconsideration here, Gregory Maguire'sI Feel Like theMorningStar.Maguireistheauthorofanumberofhighly regarded fantasies for children, most notablyTheDream Stealer(1983), although thisis,I believe, his first science-fiction novel. The plotisfairly standard. Sometimeinthe twenty-first century Pioneer Colony, an enormous, underground survival shelter,wasset up to house approximately 1000 citizensofthe stateofMassachusetts in the adventofnuclear war. Although the warisnow four years in the past, the shelter's life-support systems are, at least theoretically, good enough to last forever, and the Colony's rulers show no sign of allowing the inhabitants to return to the surface.Ourstory centersonthree ethnically diverse teenagers,Ella-wellbe havedandhard working;Mart-scornfulofauthority, but notmuchofa thinker; andSorb-theserious one, a thoughtful rebel.Allfeel enormous frustrationdueto the repressiveandseemingly unnecessary rules under which they are forced to live.Alllook for ways to assert their own identities.57


SFRANewsletter,181,October 1990Allacheto returntothe freedomofthesurface. Although Ellaisintellec tually awareofwhat'sgoingonand Mart strikes back through petty van dalism and rule breaking, only Sorb is abletomountevena smallactofeffective rebellion against the rulers,andfor this heispunishedoutofall proportion to his actions.Sorb's fate stirsEllaand Mart to cometohis rescue;e and a confrontation occurs that may blow the closed environmentofPioneer Colony apart. Most oftheevents inI Feel Like the Morning Starcanbe found inotherscience-fiction novels, both those for adultsandthosefor children, but Maguire's variationonthe standard modeliseffective.Itseems clear from the popularity of the topic among young adultsthatthis particular plotline,themove from a repressive closedenvironmenttoanopenenvironment, must strike somedeeperchord, must connectonthe symbolic level with the average teenager's need for freedom fromwhatisperceived as an increas ingly repressive home environment.Inany case the novelisa solidYAread. MichaelM.LevyDisappointing Pawn's-eyeViewNorton, Andre.Dare ToGoA-Hunting.TOR,NY,1990.$17.95he.ISBN0-312-85012-3.Inthis sequel toFlight in Yiktor,Farree's adventures continue as he triestolearn the story of his people and regain his memory With the aidofhis more powerful friendsKripVorlund, Maelen,andZoror, he has a seriesofscrapes, ultimately succeedinginfinding his people and gaining protection for them. Put thus baldly, the plotisnot all that unusual.Onemight thenhopethat skillful telling would carry the story asitoften does in Norton's books, but thatdoesn'tquite happen either. The problem may lie in the choice of naive, relatively powerless Farree as the viewpointcharacter.He (and therefore the reader)isnever quite sure what's going on. Thereisalwaysthesenseoflarger forces at work behindthescenes. Vorlund and Maelen carryonthe sortofadult conversations about "the Guild" that are beyond Farree's (and our) comprehension. He's given momentary, partial insights; he has flashesoffar-seeing, beyond his control. It's meanttogenerate suspense, butitcreates frustration. I suspect young teen readers, forwhomthe book seems designed, will not find the story compelling. The dust jacket callsitfantasy, thoughitisatleast as muchSFexplain ing the disappearance of the "Iittle folk." The expected Norton elements are present:telepathyamongdiffering species, crisp descriptive passages, memorable characters, and a successful quest. But the overall effect is not as satisfying asinmost of her novels.58DaleF.Martin


CharlotteDanskySFRA Newsletter,181,October1990Audience Undefined: A VA/RomanceSinger, Marilyn.StormRising.Scholastic,NY,October1989,215p.$12.95he.ISBN0-590-42173-5.Ayoungmanfalls in love withanolderwoman.Theoutcomeisforeseeable:theprotagonist will lose his lovebutgrowupa betterman.For anadultreaderthisisa trite wellknownplot. Butthereisa differenceinthis fantasymarketedforyoungadults. Bothcentralcharactershavepowers. Theyouth,Storm Ryder, is a sensitive,talentedyoungman, a born musicianandcomposer,whocanseeintothefuturethoughwithoutcomprehensionorcontrol. Thewoman,Jocelyn Sayers,isanEarthMotherfigure,gardener,healerofdogs, birds,andteenagers.Superfluoustothemainthemeofloveandloss,andtomymindspoil ingthestory,istheintroductionof a "Cinderfella"situation fortheyounghero.Nobodyunderstandshimorreallyappreciateshim; hismotherisa lazy floozy with a live-in boyfriend,and,ofcourse,Storm hurts. Yet,thatlonelinessundoubtedlyincreaseshisstrongattractiontothemysteriousneighborwomanwhomhe hadseenhealanabandonedmutt.Heisdrawntoherbythatsecretknowledge.However,formostofthebook, Storm triestokeepaway.After allsheisanolderwoman,twenty-eighttohiseighteenyears. Butwhensheapproacheshimandoffers himpaidwork,whichmeanshe'llbeabletorepairhispreciousCasio synthesizer,and,inspiteofhimself,heacceptstheworkandbecomesenthralled.CircumstancesleadtoaI iaison, explosive,ofcourse.Itis,however,shortastheboyfriendofStorm'smotherspoils everything. Jocelyndeparts.Stormisleftdesolate,with hispreciousmusician'shandsburned.An early visionofStorm'sofanoldwoman,seemstopointtoa possible future reunionofthetwolovers andtoStorm's stabilityandmaturity.Asanadultreader, I readandenjoyedthestory.Itisbeautifully told. Thecontrastbetweenrealityandfantasyunderlinestheplot;thelanguageandactionsoftheteenagersarecaughtdirectly.Yet, a questionkeepsnagging me. Forwhomisthestory written.?Theartist's impression, renderedonthebookjacket,addstothedilemma.Itshows a womanintheforeground releasing ahealedbird.Inthemiddlegroundbetweendimin ishingperspectivelines, a youthfulmalestandswatching.Ifoneistocon sider Jocelynthecentralcharacter,dofifteentoeighteenyear old girls readaboutan "olderwoman"?IfonetakesthetitleStormRisingtorefertoStorm,whatistheimplicationofthepunonhisnameWasthenovel written for thoughtfulyoungmales? Buthowmanyfifteen.toeighteenyear old fellowswanttoreadaboutlove? Adventure,space,sorceryandsword play, yes. But fantasy impingingontheordinary everydayreality?Oneisnot so sure. Thisbookisaromance;thereisnodoubtaboutit. Willyoungadultmaleswanttoread a romance? Iamafraidtheywon't.59




DearSFRAMember,Dueto a miscalculationinthenumberofcopiesrequiredfor this issueofthe Review,wecameupshort adozencopies.Inthepastwecouldhave just printed,foldedandstapled12morecopies. isthefirstoftheissues tobesentoutfor perfect binding,sowehadtohandbindyourcopies.Yournextissue willbeboundproperly.Thankyou, Hypatia Press


PRESIDENT Elizabeth Anne Hull Liberal Arts Division William RaineyHarperCollege Palatine,II60067VICEPRESIDENT Neil Barron1149Lime Place Vista, CA92083SECRETARYDavid G.MeadEnglishDepartmentCorpusChristi State University Corpus Christi,TX78412TREASURERThomasJ.Remington EnglishDepartmentUniversityofNorthern IowaCedarFalls,IA50614IMMEDIATEPASTPRESIDENT WilliamJ.Hardesty,IIIEnglishDepartmentMiami University Oxford,OH45056NEWSLETIER EDITOR BetsyP.Harfst2357E.Calypso Avenue Mesa, AZ85204SCIENCEFICTIONRESEARCHASSOCIATION, INC.TheSFRAistheoldestprofessionalorganizationforthestudyofsciencefiction, fantasyandhorror/Gothic literatureandfilm,anduto pian studies.Academicaffiliationisnot a requirement for membership.Foundedin1970,theSFRAwasorganizedtoimprove classroomteaching,encourageandassist scholarship,andevaluate and publicizenewbooksandmagazines dealing with fantastic literature and film. TheSFRAenrollsmembersfrommanycountries, including instructors at all levels, librarians, students, authors, editors, publishersandreaders withwidelyvaried interests.SFRABENEFITSINCLUDE:*EXTRAPOLA TlON.Quarterly.Oldestjournalinthefield with critical, historicalandbibliographical articles, book reviews, letters,occasionalspecialtopicissues.* Science Fiction Studies.3issuesperyear. Critical, historical and bibliographical articles, review articlesandreviews, notes, letters.International coverage with abstractsinFrenchandEnglish. Annual index.*SFRANewsletter.Ten times yearly (or as directed by the Executive committee). Extensive book reviews, both fictionandnon-fiction; reviewarticles; listingsofnewandforthcomingfictionandsecondaryliterature; letters, organizational news, calls for papers, workinprogress, etc.*SFRA Directory.Annual. Listsmembers'namesandaddresses,phonenumbers, special interests, etc.As amemberyouarealso invited to:*attendourannual meetings,wherepapersarepresented, infor mationisshared,andinterestsarediscussed, allina relaxed, informalenvironment.Muchofthesignificantsecondaryliteratureisondisplayatbargainprices. The Pilgrim Award for distinguished contributions toSForfantasyscholarshipisawardedatadinnermeeting,whichthewinnernormally attends.Manyprofessional writers participateinthe conferences.*participate in the associations's activitiesby voting in elections,holdingoffice,contributingtoorreviewingfortheNewsletter,and servingoncommittees.Theannualmembershipduescoveronlytheactual costsofpro viding benefitstomembers,andreflect amodestsavingsoversubscriptionstothepublicationsprovided.Yourduesmaybe a tax deductibleexpense.Thank you foryourinterestinSFRA.


SFRAMembership ApplicationPlease mail thiscompletedform withyourcheckfordues,payable toSFRAin U.S. dollars only. Mail to: ThomasJ.Remington, English Dept., UniversityofNorthernIowa,CedarFalls,IA50614.Dues Schedule: U.S.CanadaOverseas*** Individual$45$50$55Joint*556065 Student** 354045Institution 65 65 65Ifyouwishtoreceive the British journalFoundation(3issues yearlyL add$14toyourdues.*Jointmembershipisfortwomembersinthesamehousehold,whowillhaveseparateDirectory listings, receivetwocopiesoftheNewsletter,but will receiveonesetofthetwojournals. **Studentmembershipratemaybe used formaximumoffive years. ***For airmailingofDirectory andNewsletteronly.add$15.Mymembershipis__renewal__new__reinstatement(Year youwerelast amember:(19__) (This information willappearintheSFRADirectory:) Name: Mailing Address: _Telephone:[Office] [Home] My principal interests in fantastic literatureare(limit to30words):__Repeat lastyear'sentry. (This information will NOTappearinthedirectory,andis for SFRA'srecordsonly:)Occupation:_ Institutional Affiliation:AcademicDiscipline: ProjectsSFRAshould undertake: Currentworkin progress: (Okay to mention inNewsletter__Yes No) Pleasesendmembershipforms tothefollowingpersons(complete addresses, please). Youmayuse mynameas a referral.


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