SFRA Review

SFRA Review

Material Information

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


Subjects / Keywords:
Science fiction -- History and criticism ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
serial ( sobekcm )


General Note:
Place of publication varies.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
S67-00087-n197-1992-05 ( USFLDC DOI )
s67.87 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam a22 u 4500
controlfield tag 008 d19711991oru 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a S67-00087-n197-1992-05
0 245
SFRA Review.
n No. 197 (May, 1992)
1 3 246
Science Fiction Research Association Review
[Eugene, Ore. :
b Science Fiction Research Association]
c May, 1992
Place of publication varies.
Science fiction
x History and criticism
v Periodicals.
Fantasy fiction
History and criticism
Science fiction
Book reviews
Fantasy fiction
Book reviews
2 710
Science Fiction Research Association.
t SFRA Review
4 856

xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
mods:mods xmlns:mods http:www.loc.govmodsv3 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govmodsv3mods-3-1.xsd
mods:relatedItem type host
mods:identifier issn 1068-395Xmods:part
mods:detail issue mods:number 197series Year mods:caption 19921992Month May5Day 11mods:originInfo mods:dateIssued iso8601 1992-05-01


The SFRA Review Published ten times a year for the Science Fiction Research Association by Alan Newcomer, Hypatia Press, Eugene, Oregon. Copyright 1992 by the SFRA. Editorial correspondence: Betsy Harfst, Editor, SFRA Review, 2326 E. Lakecrest Dr., Gilbert AZ 85234. Send changes of address and/or inquiries concerning subscriptions to the Treasurer, listed below. Note to Publishers: Please send fiction books for review to: Robert Collins, Dept. of English, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431-7588. Send non-fiction books for review to Neil Barron, 1149 Lime Place, Vista, CA 92083. Juvenile-Young Adult books for review to Muriel Becker, 60 Crane Street, Caldwell, NJ 07006. SFRA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President Peter Lowentrout, Dept. of Religious Studies California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840 Vice-President Muriel Becker, English Department Montclair State College, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043 Secretary David G. Mead, English Department Corpus Christi State University, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412 Treasurer Edra Bogle Department of English University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203-3827 Immediate Past President Elizabeth Anne Hull, Liberal Arts Division William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, Illinois 60067


SFRA Review #197, May 1992 In This Issue: President's Message (Lowentrout) ............................................................. 4 Conference Update (Lehman) ................................................................... 5 News & Information (Barron, et aU ......................................................... 6 Letters to the Editor ................................................................................... 9 Editorial (Harfst) ...................................................................................... 11 Non-Fiction: Allen, Understanding Kurt Vonnegut (Wolfe) .......................................... 12 Cheyfitz, Poetics of Imperialism: The Tempest to Tarzan (Wolfe) ........... 13 Coates, Gorgon's Gaze: ..... German Cinema, Expressionism, & Image of Horror (Latham) .......... 14 Cumbow, Order in the Universe: Films of John Carpenter (Dziemianowicz) ............................................... 16 Dewey, Adventure Games for Microcomputers: ..... An Annotated Directory (Meyers) ....................................................... 17 Dick, Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1974 (Latham) .......................... 18 Fischer, Horror Film Directors, 1931-1990 (Klossner) ............................. 21 Franz, Individuation in Fairy Tales (Sullivan) .......................................... 22 Stein & Corbett, eds., Psyche's Stories: ..... Jungian Interpretations of Fairy Tales (Sullivan) ................................. 22 Friedman, Mary Stewart (Williams) ......................................................... 24 Latham & Latham, An Annotated Critical Bibliography of William Morris. (Mathews) ......... 26 McWhorter, Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection: ..... A Catalog (Albert) .............................................................................. 27 Miller, Salem is My Dwelling Place: Life of Hawthorne (Heller) ............. 29 Page, Bloodlust: Conversations with Real Vampires (Hollinger) ............. 31 Ray, New Poverty Row: .... .lndependent Filmmakers as Distributors (Moore) ............................... 32 Robinson, Engendering the Subject: ..... Gender and Self-Representation in Women's Fiction (Latham) .......... 33 Rogow, Futurespeak: A Fan's Guide to the Language of SF (Meyers) ........... 34 Silverman, Edgar A. Poe: ..... Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance (Heller) .......................... 36 Smith, Epic Films: ..... Casts, Credits/Commentary on Spectacle Movies (Klossner) .............. 38 Watson & Schellinger, eds., Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers (Barron) ............................... 39


Fiction: Brosnan, War of the Sky Lords (Morgan, P) ......................................................... 42 Brown, Time-Lapsed Man and Other Stories, The (Stableford) ........................... .42 Capobianco, Burster (Kaveny) ............................................................................. 44 Carroll, Black Cocktail (Stableford) .................................................................... .45 Cole, Warlord of Heaven: Star Requiem 3 (Morgan, P) ...................................... .46 __ Labyrinth of Worlds: Star Requiem 4 (Morgan, P) ...................................... 46 Denning, Parched Sea, The (Wells) ..................................................................... 48 Dickerson, Finnsburgh Encounter, The (Gardiner-Scott) ..................................... 49 Dozois, Slow Dancing through Time (Brizzi) ..................................................... .49 Farris, Fiends (de Lint) ......................................................................................... 51 Fowler, Rune (de Lint) ......................................................................................... 51 Franklin, Light in Exile, The (Bogstad) ................................................................. 52 Garnett, ed., Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook: Three (Morgan, P) ....................... 53 Garnett, ed., Zenith 2: Best in New British Science Fiction (Morgan, P) ............. 54 Gay, Mindsail (Morgan, C) .................................................................................. 55 Gemmell, Lion of Macedon (Morgan, P) ............................................................. 55 ___ Quest For Lost Heroes (Morgan, P) ....................................................... 56 Goldstein, Daily Voices (Levy) ............................................................................ 57 Greenland, Take Back Plenty (Stableford) ........................................................... 58 Hambly, Rainbow Abyss, The (Mallett) .............................................................. 59 Harness, Lurid Dreams (Stevens) ......................................................................... 61 Hill, Colloghi Conspiracy, The (Morgan, C) ........................................................ 61 Jones & Sutton, eds., Fantasy Tales S (Morgan, C) ............................................... 62 Jordan, ed., Fires of the Past: Thirteen Contemporary Fantasies (Smith) ............. 63 Marks, Moonbane Mage, The (Bogstad) .............................................................. 63 Meluch, Chicago Red (Bogstad) .......................................................................... 65 Morwood, Prince Ivan (Morgan, P) ...................................................................... 66 Newman, Bad Dreams (Stableford) ..................................................................... 67 Nolan & Greenberg, eds., Urban Horrors (de Lint) ............................................. 67 Pournelle, ed., There Will Be War, Volume IX (Werbaneth) ............................... 69 Priest, Quiet Woman, The (Morgan, C) ............................................................... 69 Rankin, Armageddon: The Musical (Morgan, C) ................................................. 70 Reiling, Silent Moon (de Lint) .............................................................................. 71 Rozzi, Waltz With Evil (Mallett) .......................................................................... 71 Sawyer, Golden Fleece (de Lint) .......................................................................... 72 Shaw, Orbitsville Judgement (Morgan, P) ............................................................ 73 Smith, Contact and Commune (Collins, W) ......................................................... 73 Stableford, ed., Dedalus Book of Decadence (Moral Ruins), ..... The (Morgan, C) ............................................................................................. 74 Strieber, Billy (Dudley) ........................................................................................ 75 Sturgis, ed., Women Who Walk Through Fire, The (Sherman) ............................ 77 Sutton & Jones, eds., Dark Voices 2 (Morgan, C) ................................................ 78 T arr, The Dagger and The Cross (Wytenbroek) ................................................... 80 Wagner, ed., Intensive Scare (Stamm) ................................................................ 81 Watson, Flies of Memory, The (Morgan, C) ......................................................... 82 Wilhelm, State of Grace (Sanders) ....................................................................... 82


4 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 President's Message Waiting for the Millennium Not! I read with great interest Gary Westfahl's essay "A New Campaign for Sci ence Fiction," which appeared in the Spring, 1992, issue of Extrapolation. Most of you will have seen it by now: recapping the freewheeling discussion of the "Future of Science Fiction in Academia" panel at our Long Beach conference, Westfahl argues that we should all push much harder for greater institutional commitment to the study of SF in academia, and he considers strategies and tac tics by which this might be accomplished. Who can doubt there is a problem? All of us have run into (or been at the mercy ot) colleagues who simply will not accept that SF scholarship is valid scholarship worthy of reward. This year, for instance, I applied for early promotion to full professor. I have received the strong support of my department and my dean. But the College of Humanities tenure and promotion committee declined to recommend me, suggesting that I seek a "wider range of well-established journals in Religious Studies for future publication" and that I "consider redirecting [my) energies to establish a community record [read: religious studies community record) of scholarship and creative activity." Of course, I do have a record of religious studies publication and cre ative activity, and as for community involvement, I've been president of the 1300 member Western Region of the American Academy of Religion. The committee seems to have been so startled by the SF references in my Vita that it never really looked at anything else. Strong and blinding prejudices, indeed. Gary suggests an immediate and vigorous response to such ignorance, and my own would surely please him. What to do? We can all agree with the broad goals of the Westfahl essay. I suggest a further discussion of strategies and tactics for accomplish ing those goals at our Montreal meeting and online in CAT 41. To start, the EC can establish a committee of senior SF scholars to lend formal support to junior colleagues when their promotion and tenure processes go awry. Too, there is strength [and safety) in numbers, and concerned SF scholars like Gary Westfahl should be encouraged by all of us to join the SFRA. The SF Foundation is threatened with the withdrawal of all financial support from its sponsoring institution, the Polytechnic of East Londonanother example of the often startling undervaluation of SF scholarship. Please review the letter of Dr. Edward James, publisher of Foundation, which appears elsewhere in this Review and then write to the Acting Rector of the Polytechnic in support of our colleagues. As Dr. James notes, it may not be too late to moderate the school's decision-this is something we can all do now in support of the discipline. Peter Lowentrout


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 5 SFRA 23 Conference Update April arrives tomorrow and we can finally start to think about spring up here. There was a rumour that someone actually saw a bud on one of the trees yesterday. As the snow melts the little treasures left over the winter by the canine corps are revealed in all their glistening splendor. Nature's glo rious fecundity reasserts itself at last, all right! Plans for the conference are still on track. We plan one more mailing at the beginning of May, including a tentative schedule of events and a list of additional guest writers. Hopefully, that will be in time for people still to take advantage of the early registration rate. I would like to correct something from the last Review. While I am get ting very good cooperation from John Abbott College, I haven't gotten any cooperation at all from the Canadian Government. I spent a lot of time go ing through the application procedure for a grant last fall that was ultimately turned down flat. The same thing happened with the British Council. None of my attempts to find outside funding have worked out. So as usual, the conference is running on a tight budget, and it will have to pay for itself. The recession will not dampen our spirits, however. Canada is now fer menting with imaginative alternatives to the world as we know it, and has a constructive role to play in this historic process. After analysing the fan tastic at the conference, hopefully many will be able to stay a few days and experience a little of it in the "joie de vivre" that is the genius of Quebec. June 23 is our national day and is celebrated in an atmosphere a lot like Mardi Gras. Then the Montreal Jazz Festival begins on June 28 which trans forms the city for over a week into an ongoing outdoor concert. A good time is generally had by all. A bientot! Steve Lehman Readercon Small Press Review Readercon, Inc. announces the launch of a new quarterly review jour nal devoted to the coverage of small press publishing in science fiction, fan tasy and other forms of imaginative literature. Primary content of the jour nal will be review of current offerings from small press publishers with emphasis on substantive, well-written reviews (no 'capsule' reviews). Also, a regular column of publisher profiles, in depth coverage of a publisher, their books and how they see their role as a small press publisher will be featured,


6 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 along with a column for publishers, ranging from very specific topic (trading technical 'how-to' information) to the general. Advertising space will also be available. The new editor will be Bryan Cholfin, a small press pub lisher. Editorial address is Box 473, Cambridge, MA 02238; send material for review to: 27R Albion St., Somerville, MA 02143; and send inquiries for advertising or subscriptions to Box 6138, Boston, MA 02209. News & Information The Dedalus Story Continues Dedalus is one of the more interesting smaller British publishers with strength in lesser-known British and European work, much of it reprinted or published in English for the first time. From Robert Irwin's The Arabian Nightmare in 1983, their first year of operation, to today, they have sought out the unusual, some of it in the area of literary fantasy. Recent books include The Black Cauldron ($14.95 paper) by William Heinesen, which the catalog calls a work of magic realism in the form of a war novel; The Architect of Ruins ($14.95) paper by Herbert Bosendorfer, a fantasy; The Green Face ($14.95 paper) by Gustav Meyrink (1916), his second novel, and The Angels of Perversity ($9.95 paper) by Remy de Gourmont, selections from his three story collections, both volumes in the Decadence series; The Oedalus Book of Femmes Fatales, ed. by Brian Stableford, who's written a detailed introduction; and The Oedalus Book of Austrian Fantasy: the Meyrink Years 1890-1950, ed. & trans. by Mike Mitchell. Many Dedalus books are distrib uted in the US by Hippocrene Books, 171 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016. Those listed that are so distributed have a US dollar price following the title. Those that don't may be ordered from any British bookseller. Most are available in cloth and paper editions. -NB Collectors Awards Announced Barry R. Levin, a rather pricey specialty dealer in west Los Angeles, held his 4th annual collectors awards luncheon in February. Harlan Ellison hosted and presented the awards, travertine marble spheres representing planets on talllucite pedestals. The Most Collectible [or Collectable, as Levin prefers to misspell it] Author was Dan Simmons. The most collectible book was The New Neighbor by Ray Garton, an "erotic" novel [Locus's adjective] issued in a 500 copy signed, numbered slipcased edition by Chamal House last year. A special Lifetime Collectors Award was presented to Isaac Asimov, the only recipient unable to accept his award personally. -NB


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 7 More On Comics The 2 February 1992 issue (#46) of Comic Art Collection is now sup posed to be quarterly and is co-edited by Randall W. Scott and new editor Peter M. Coogan, who's pursuing PhD in American Studies at Michigan State, with a specialization in comics and superheroes (ah, vanished canon! ). Coogan asks for contributions of small press and mini-comics from the 1980s to add to MSU's huge collections, descibed in an earlier news item. Coogan also includes a ridiculously lengthy questionnaire for comics schol ars in the issue. If you're such a scholar, write him for a copy: Comic Art Collection, MSU Libraries, East Lansing, MI 48824-1048. -NB C.S. Lewis Workshop The C.S. Lewis Society of Southern California meets the third Wednes day of each month at 7:30 pm in the Faculty Commons Room, Fuller Semi nary, 135 N Oakland, Pasadena. Scheduled for 17-31 July is a summer workshop at St Andrew's Priory in Valyermo, CA. Tuition for the 5 day/4 night workshop with room and board is $250, with enrollment limited to 32 persons, 2 per room. To reserve a space, send $50 (non-refundable after July) to Edie Dougherty, 1212 W 162d St, Gardena, CA 90247. -NB French Study Published A study contrasting the methods of fantasy and SF was recently pub lished in France, Roger Bozzetto's L'Obscur Objet d'un Savoir; Fantastique et science-fiction: deux litteratures de I'imagination. This 280 page book from the Universite of Provence costs FF170 (FFl19 if you have a subscrip tion to the series). Available from M. Le Regisseur des Publications, c.c.P. 9 404 28, Marseille, France. -NB Ultramarine Author Bibliographies Christopher P. Stevens has operated Ultramarine Pub. Co., Box 303, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706, for some years. He's published pamphlet length author bibliographies for several years, several of which I reviewed in Newsletter 185. Recent releases, all titled A Checklist of [author}, include Dick (1991,47 p, $7.95), Jeter (13 p, 1991, $3.95), Powers (15 p, 1991, $3.95), Lucius Shepherd (18 p, 1991, $3.95), Wilson Tucker (18 p, 1991, $3.95), Wolfe (40 p, 1992, $7.95) and Zelazny (47 p, 1991, $6.95). Mod erately useful for those with an interest in their subjects. Hardcover editions are available from Borgo Press.-NB


8 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 Book Sale Ohio University Press, 11030 S Langley Ave, Chicago, IL 60628, issued a sale catalog, good through orders received by 15 June 1992. Among the many titles, these are likely to be of interest to someone interested in fantastic literature. The sale price is in brackets; the regular price in parentheses. All are trade paperbacks unless otherwise indicated. C. S. Lewis: The Art of Enchantment (1981), [$2.00) ($12.95); Against the Night, the Stars: The SF of Arthur C. Clarke (1987), [$3.00) ($9.95); H.P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism (1980), [$3.00) ($15.95); Pynchon's Fictions (1980), [$5.00 cloth) ($18.95); Seeing Earth: Literary Responses to Space Exploration (1985), [$4.00 cloth) ($21.95); Power of Blackness: Hawthorne, Poe, Melville (1980), [$7.00) ($14.95); William Morris: the Construction of a Male Self 1856-1872 (1990), [$15.00 cloth) ($29.95); The Natural History of H.G. Wells (1982), [$5.00 cloth) ($25.95); The Romance of William Morris (1982), [$3.00) ($12.95); Doris Lessing: The Alchemy of Survival (1988), [$5.00) ($24.95). Mininum order is $15, prepaid by check, money order, Visa or MC, payable to Ohio University Press, mailed to address above; in clude a street address instead of a PO box. Add $3 for 1 st book, 75,,each additional book for U.s. addresses; $4 and 75"for foreign addresses, for shipping. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax; Canadians 7% GST. Catalog available from OUP, Scott Quadrangle, Athens, OH 45701. -NB Call for Information Author's inquiry: I am currently writing a book about science fiction and war. I would very much like any information anyone might have on the World War II service of Robert Heinlein, who worked at the Philadelphia Naval Yard as a civilian engineer with OPNav-23 on anti-kamikaze defenses among other things. I am also interested in the World War II service of other science fiction writers and editors recruited bv Heinlein into the Navy Field Service, especially: Theodore Sturgeon, George O. Smith, John W. Campbell, Jr., Jay Stanton, Murray Leinster, L. Ron Hubbard, Sprague de Camp, and Fletcher Pratt. Thank you. Chris Hables Gray, Ph.D., 336 Rail road Ave., Ben Lomond, California 95005


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 9 Letter to the Editor 5 March 1992 Dear Editor: The Science Fiction Foundation at the Polytechnic of East London (for merly the North-East London Polytechnic) is the only sf research centre in Europe based in an institution of higher education. Since its foundation in 1971 it has built up a large library, consisting of original manuscripts as well as books and magazines, and researchers come to it from all over Europe and North America. Its journal, Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction, has been published regularly since March 1972-exactly twenty years-and, after 54 issues, has built up an international reputation. It remains the only academic journal of sf criticism published in Europe and, if I can put in a plug, remains essential reading for any sf researcher. (Members of the SFRA can get it at a very favourable rate, as you will have seen from your renewal forms]) At the one hundredth meeting of the Council of the SF Foundation on February 6th 1992, the Polytechnic announced that it would be withdrawing all financial support to the SF Foundation at the end of the financial year 1992-93 (i.e. in 12 months' time). The Polytechnic, of course, like all other British universities and polytechnics, is under severe financial pressure at the moment. The Polytechnic estimates the running costs at some ,000 per year: most of this is based on the salaries of the two part-time secretaries, plus overheads; only some ,000 relates to the cost of the accommodation of the SFF in the Polytechnic's Library (and I personally believe that the ,000 is a considerable over-estimate of the actual costs). Unless this sum can be found, every year, the SFF will be forced to move, or, if it cannot find alter native accommodation, to disband. The journal can probably survive, since it is largely self-financing, but the future of the SF Foundation as a research centre is clearly in doubt. The Council of the SF Foundation, with the help of the Friends of Foun dation, are naturally now beginning to look into alternative sources of fund ing (and any donations, made out to "Friends of Foundation" and sent to Rob Meades, 75 Hecham Close, Walthamstow, London E17 5QT, United King dom, will be very welcome]), and to look for an alternative home. But some of us also feel that it is not too late to appeal to the Rector (or, currently, Acting Rector) of the Polytechnic to ask him to reconsider. It may be that he


10 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 has not fully realised the national and international importance of the SF Foundation. Perhaps he has not fully realised that it is incumbent upon all universities now (and the Polytechnic will shortly become the University of East London) to develop centres of excellence and centres of research, and how important it is also to be able to boast of areas of uniqueness and dis tinctiveness. The Polytechnic has a distinguished course in Cultural Studies, yet for the last fifteen years has made no effort to use the resources of the SFF in this area: no full-time academic has taught sf at the Polytechnic since Peter Nicholls retired in order to complete the first edition of his Science Fiction Encyclopedia. The management of the Polytechnic do not seem to recognise this waste of a resource: they do not seem to realise that they are the only institution of higher learning outside North America (I stand open to correc tion here by members of the SFRA!) to house such a collection and such a source for teaching and research. I should be most grateful if members of the SFRA could please write NOW to The Acting Rector, Polytechnic of East London, Romford Road, Stratford, LONDON E15 4LZ, United Kingdom, pointing out the importance of the SF Foundation to sf scholarship, and, asking him to reconsider his decision to cease funding the SFF. A large number of letters from distin guished academics abroad has actually worked in the past, and it may well work again. I thank you, on behalf of the SFF Council, for any efforts which you make on our behalf. If the Editor of the Newsletter will permit, I will keep members of the SFRA informed about developments over the next year, which is obviously going to be crucial for the survival of the Foundation. Edward James Editor, Foundation: the Review of Science Fiction Co-Director, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York The King's Manor, York YOl 2EP U.K. [Let's all start a letter writing campaign as well as sending a check, for whatever amount you can spare, to help out in this impending loss to the SF community. We all need to become real Friends of the Foundation, for as John Donne said, fiNo man is an island." That "bell" of economic pressure and indifference to the SF research interests also "tolls" for all of us. BH/ed.]


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 11 Editorial Matters Please accept our apology for the delays in mailing this year's Reviews on schedule. Unavoidably, a series of incidents occurred at the printers in Oregon-quipment breakdowns and replacement part delays, human ac cidents and illnesses, at the same time as an overload of printing arrived. We regret the inconvenience, but the causes were miles beyond our control or assistance. By now you've read the March issue and know that we have moved to Gilbert, a few miles east of Mesa. Our first visitors arrived while we were unpacking a load of furniture. A handsome couple, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, strolled in, talked a few minutes (well, she talked and he listened), and looked us over before they left for their daily swim in the lake, two blocks away. We discovered later that this charming duo who live down the street from us are neighborhood pets. Last year people living on this whole block turned out to help them escort their baby ducklings down to the lake for their first swimming lesson. This house and street are what I would have termed "keepers" when I was a child. The moving is over; we'll "keep" this place. Our new address is 2326 East Lakecrest Drive, Gilbert 85234; the phone number is 602-4978750. See you at SFRA 23 in Montreal in June. Betsy Harfst


12 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 Non-Fiction: Vonnegut Explained Some More Allen, William Rodney. Understanding Kurt Vonnegut. Columbia, SC: Uni versity of South Carolina Press, 1991. xi + 192 p. $24.95.0-87249-722-4. South Carolina's series of dozens of short introductions to modern American writers, under the general editorship of Matthew J. Bruccoli, shares with all other such series the danger of turning into herds of ponies for un dergraduates-which may be OK, since many students doing term papers or book reports want simple explanations, not sophisticated analysis. But such series also inevitably generate books we don't really need-studies that are written to fill a gap in a list rather than to offer any significant new perspec tives on their subjects. William Rodney Allen's book on Vonnegut offers little new insight about this already over-analyzed writer, although his ac counts of the dozen novels he covers are perfectly serviceable and generally free of gross errors of interpretation or detail. Students interested in Vonnegut from a science fiction perspective, how ever, may be amused (or irritated) at the pains which Allen takes to prove that Vonnegut is not, as he puts it, a "sci-fi" writer. Dismissing both Player Pi ano and Cat's Cradle as youthful excesses, Allen portrays Vonnegut as "abandoning" science fiction in order to produce "innovative fictions" such as Cat's Cradle! Later novels such as Jailbird, Deadeye Dick, and Bluebeard are regarded as "superior historical/political/social realism"-a judgment that many Vonnegut readers might question, and one that inevitably gives Allen problems when he gets to Slaughterhouse-5, which he regards as Vonnegut's masterpiece. But Allen has an out: Vonnegut, he says, leaves room for us to regard Billy Pilgrim's time travel as all in his mind. "This sort of "escape hatch' from fantasy into realism is characteristic of the sci-fi genre," Allen claims, although the only example he can think of is Twain's Connecticut Yankee. Later, he has Vonnegut abandoning science fiction again, follow ing Slapstick, only to come up against Galapagos, which Allen astonishingly claims "clearly belongs at the scientific, realistic pole of science fiction". Allen concludes his brief study with a very brief summary chapter, a selective bibliography, and a detailed and useful index (including charac ter names). He barely makes any mention of Vonnegut's short fiction, drama, or essays; and except for an occasional mention of black humor or postmodernism, he makes few attempts to relate Vonnegut to any sort of lit erary context. Except for coverage of the later novels, Allen's book adds little to the earlier introductory studies by Jerome Klinkowitz, James Lundquist,


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 13 and others, and falls short of the kind of stimulating recent thematic studies by Leonard Mustazza and Lawrence Broer. Scholars seeking a more comprehensive overview of Vonnegut's career might want to compare this vol ume to Robert Merrill's Critical Essays on Kurt Vonnegut (1990), which covers as much recent territory, but from a variety of perspectives and with original reviews as well as essays. Gary K. Wolfe Tarzan the Imperialist Cheyfitz, Eric. The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan. NY: Oxford University Press, 1991. 202 p. $27.50. 0-19-505095-9. A couple of years ago, Saturday Night Live featured an occasional skit about Tonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein; its only joke was that all three cul tural icons-at least in their popular movie and TV incarnations-spoke in comically stilted and fragmented sentences. Eric Cheyfitz, an English professor at Southern Methodist whose previous book was a study of Emerson's language, might well have appreciated the skit, because he here provides an elaborate and complex argument that rhetoric has been one of the key de vices for empowering Western cultural imperialism, and that some of the most effective examples of this can be found in the experience of Native Americans and in popular texts such as Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan. He doesn't mention Frankenstein--or any other science fiction or utopian texts, for that matter-although it would seem that there might be much to support his contentions in the history of fantastic literature. For those not familiar with the ways in which poststructuralist lingo has spread to encompass historical and cultural studies as well as literature, the term "translation" in the subtitle of this book probably does not mean what you think it does. While Cheyfitz does address the question of how trans lators historically have distorted native cultures to make them more suscep tible to imperialism, the term takes on a much broader meaning, suggesting the whole range of ways in which Western property-centered values were projected onto other cultures, and by which these cultures were metaphori cally subsumed through language. He takes as his main point of departure Shakespeare's The Tempest, showing how that play is related to the exploration of the New World and how, for example, Caliban is merely an anagrammatic "translation" of "cannibal." But the book as a whole is not a literary study, and Cheyfitz's brief treatment of the one Burroughs novel is presented with a minimum of context and little apparent awareness of Tarzan-type heroes in earlier popular fiction.


14 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 The Poetics of Imperialism, then, is of primarily associational interest to scholars of fantastic literature. Cheyfitz is probably at his strongest in discuss ing the language groups of Native American peoples, and his general ap proach of bringing rhetorical theory to bear on the discovery of new worlds might be of use to students of, say, Le Guin or Delany. But his use of Tarzan is simply as an easy target example of a popular racist/imperialist text, and he offers few direct insights into Burroughs, and none on any specific texts of fantasy or sf. Gary K. Wolfe Legacy of Expressionist Film Coates, Paul. The Gorgon's Gaze: German Cinema, Expressionism, and the Image of Horror. NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991. xiv + 287 p. $49.50. 0-521-38409-5. The Gorgon's Gaze is an ambitious but woefully disorganized study of German expressionist film and its cultural legacy. In five long chapters, Coates pursues connections between the German silent film tradition and literary and cultural modernism, the modern horror film, New German cin ema, American film noir, and (in the most chaotic chapter) contemporary feminist theory, the "art" film of Bergman, and recent German literature. Six appendices, on such diverse topics as "Modernism and the body as ma chine" and "Film noir, Macbeth, and murdered sleep," cap the book. It is unclear why Coates has chosen to tack on these brief musings at the close; considering the scatter-shot quality of most of the book, they could as eas ily have been shoehorned into the main body of the text with no substantial loss (or, for that matter, gain) in coherence or lucidity. Coates states his interdisciplinary purpose in the first sentence of his preface: "This book situates itself on the border of comparative literature and film studies." Unfortunately, the volume is not a fruitful synthesis of these disciplines, but rather a rambling meditation offering an occasionally intrigu ing but more often merely idiosyncratic map of the spreading cultural influ ence of German expressionism in filmic, literary and political culture. Coates attempts to suture the gaps in his argument by means of Freudian theories of repression and the uncanny, Kristeva's model of abjection, and other philosophical and psychological stitchwork, but his theoretical borrowings are ultimately as disorganized and bafflingly allusive as his cultural references. Coates has a febrile and energetic mind that is always reaching to make elu sive connections; once in a while, he lights up the page with a brilliant piece of extrapolative synthesis, but more often than not (as is the case with much of the film tradition he surveys) the spans of darkness outnumber the infre quent patches of light.


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 15 The guiding metaphor-and, indeed, the sole (fitful) organizational prin ciple-of his study is the eponymous glare of the Medusa, a shifting signifier that permits discussion of various topics, from the terror of powerful women to the spectatorial effects of the cinematic apparatus itself. This freezing power, in Coates' analysis, exerts an hypnotic fascination, an uncanny absorption in a paranoiac, destructive cosmos, that can be read throughout the expressionist tradition, from Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau to Jacques Tourneur and Orson Welles to Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders. This tradition is traced as far afield as Ingmar Bergman's Persona and Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49; indeed, Coates sees it as the persistent aesthetic mode of the twentieth century, since "the moment of the uncanny punctuates a transformation, and the sense of the uncanny is widespread in a society that perceives itself to be in tran sition." The baleful gaze of the Gorgon freezes this process of change in its re velatory moments, in works of art. Coates' close readings of these individual artworks are usually engaging and sometimes themselves revelatory (this is especially true when he turns his hand to little-known works, such as Krzysztof Kieslowski's A Short Film About Killing [Poland, 1987) and Margarethe von Trotta's Marianne and juliane [W. Germany, 1981), readings that make you want to get your hands on these films immedi ately), but the transitions between them are often impressionistically obscure. Coates' astonishing erudition actually hamstrings him throughout, since he seems unable to keep from mentioning every cultural allusion he considers even re motely relevant. The section on horror film, "The Sleep of Reason: Monstrosity and Dis avowal" (the section probably of greatest interest to SF/F scholars), is a case in point. Within the first few pages, Coates offers readings of texts as diverse as Racine's Phedre and the movie King Kong, with mentions of Brian de Palma's Carrie, Mary Shelley'S Frankenstein and Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent thrown in for good measure. The overall thesis of this chapter-the way the uncanny experience of Otherness is externalized and demonized in horror cinema-is potentially fascinating, but Coates clutters it up with endless, obsessive cross-references. Still, even in this stew there are occasional nuggets of insight, such as the comparative reading of Don Siegel's and Philip Kaufman's versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers; in the latter, The Other is tolerated, but only so long as it remains Other: The film is inconsistent, failing to realize that by the paranoid logic of extrapolation-well-known to SF fans-one small change in a system [the introduction of extra-human Otherness) is sufficient to modify it entirely and so menace our position within it. The Gorgon's Gaze is almost worth trekking through in search of similar oases of analysis, but, alas, not quite. Rob Latham


16 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 The Films of John Carpenter Cumbow, Robert C. Order in the Universe: The Films of John Carpenter. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990. viii + 2S1 p. $29.50.0-8108-2344-6. John Carpenter is one of the most versatile specialists working in film today. Of the 14 theatrical and television films he has directed, 10 fit into the fantasy/science fiction niche, but no one quite resembles the other. His four science fiction films include a contemporary updating of Howard Hawks' The Thing, the gentle alien invasion story Starman, a ferocious satire of the Reagan years, They Live! and Dark Star, a spoof of science fiction films themselves. Among his horror films, the enormously influential Halloween straddles the border between supernatural and non-supernatural horror, and Prince of Darkness that between fantasy and science fiction. Elucidating a single aesthetic that informs not only these films, but non fantasy efforts like Assault on Precinct 13 and the made-for-television Elvis and films based on Carpenter's scripts would seem a tall order, but Robert C. Cumbow has managed to do so in Order in the Universe, an accessible study of Carpenter's work that errs less in its judgments than its emphases. According to Cumbow, at the core of all of Carpenter's films is "a search for-and confrontation with-new order." Of course, one could argue that a subtheme of all fantastic film (and fiction, for that matter) is the loss and restoration of order. The difference for Carpenter, as Cumbow succinctly argues in his analy sis of the director's greatly misunderstood remake of The Thing, is that "Carpenter's films ... generally begin not with an order that is subsequently disrupted, but with a world in which things are already out of joint." This interpretation allows Cumbow to view the town under a curse at the start of HThe Fog, "the convoluted order of good guys and bad guys in Escape from New York, the social disorder of economic disenfranchisement in They Live! and the disruptive origins that start Elvis on his self-destructive path in the same light as the world of disaffection and distrust in which The Thing takes place. In order to survive in such disorder, Carpenter's heroes and heroines must "adapt to it, or combat it and replace it with a new (not a restoration of the old) order." Using these and several other criteria-notably Carpenter's affection for the western and his acknowledgement of cinematic influences, particularly the work of director Howard Hawks and screenwriter Nigel Kneale-as his measuring stick, Cumbow analyses each of Carpenter's films in chronologi cal order, finding a surprising amount of depth in work that might easily be dismissed as a toss-off. For example, in the team of criminals and policemen trying to hold rampaging gangs at bay in Carpenter's early urban western, Assault on Precinct 13, Cumbow convincingly locates the first expression of


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 17 the "politics of personal heroism" that one sees in films as different as Prince of Darkness, Big Trouble in Little China, Starman, and The Thing: "Thrown together by fate, they are not always good teams, and they often distrust one another; but they do their best by one another, each respecting the others as human beings, and each demanding from others the same courage and loyalty he expects of-and delivers-himself." In smaller films like "Halloween," one sees glimpses of this ethic translated as "individual behavior on the personal level conforming to a meaningful code of human relationships." However, this single-minded approach to Carpenter's work ultimately has its drawbacks. For one, it allows Cumbow to see what he wants and even misdirect the reader. Though by no means an apologist for Carpenter's lesser efforts, he stumbles noticeably in his lengthy study of Prince of Darkness, which he offers as a culmination and reflection of all of Carpenter's work to that point. Theoretically, perhaps; in reality, the film is a mess, a judgment Cumbow indirectly reinforces by presenting it as a work that is best appreciated by those familiar with the entire Carpenter ouevre. Cumbow's attempts to bring coherence to the Carpenter film catalog become a bit tire some halfway through the book, and make it seem as though his subject is incapable of creating anything but populist morality tales that belabor the same theme. One appreciates Cumbow's taking his subject seriously, but Order in fhe Universe is as likely to be a point of departure as a foundation for future Carpenter studies. Stefan Dziemianowicz Fantasy/SF on the Tiny Screen Dewey, Patrick R. Adventure Games for Microcomputers: An Annotated Directory of Interactive Fiction. Westport, CT: Meckler, 1991. xi + 157 p. $39.50.0-88736-411-X. "Should we be reviewing stuff like this?" the editor wrote. Well, as someone who has written computer games, I'm in no position to be snob bish. The great majority of the adventure games listed in this book depend on fantasy or science fiction. And there does seem to be a need for some kind of reference. In Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games, Lawrence Schick (Review 194) wrote, "computer role-playing games is a subject that cries out for a book of its own. I hope somebody's working on it." Patrick Dewey was, as it turns out. How long he's been working, I can't say. This Meckler publication gives no indication that it is anything but a first edition, yet Dewey's introduction talks about "the first edition of this book" in the past tense, and suggests that


18 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 a year or so will see the third edition. The desirability-necessity, evenof frequent revision of a book like this points up two problems not with its content but with its form. First, every aspect of this market is in constant flux. Five years ago, Infocom was one of the most successful publishers of interactive computer fictions; last year it went out of business. Publishers of computer games have been seriously hurt by the popularity of the Nintendo-type machines, despite the fact that the nintendos marked the only backward step I have seen in the utilization of computer abilities. As IBM-clones become cheaper, machines with an MS-DOS operating system came to control a larger and larger per centage of the market, crowding out the manufacturers whose computers used their own systems. Texas Instruments stopped production of home computers; Atari is on its last legs; you can still buy a Commodore-64, but try to find a store that stocks software for it; finally, next time you're in a software store, compare the shelf space given to IBM with that given to Apple, Macintosh, and Amiga put together. What this adds up to is that a work like Adventure Games has to be almost continually revised. But there is that whopping $39.50 price. If this book were an annual issue of a magazine, it would make a lot more sense. But as it stands, what's its audience? It is essentially a buyer's guide, giving the reader the title and type of the game, the publisher, the machines it will run on, the list price (which can almost always be bettered from mail-order houses), the difficulty level, and a brief description of the game. This is just the sort of book Lawrence Schick called for, but now that it has appeared, it is not clear how many readers will want a book at least partially obsolete when it appears and costing as much as one of the games it catalogs. Walter E. Meyers A Soul-Shaken Man Dick, Philip K. The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1974. ed. by Paul Williams. Underwood-Miller, 708 Westover Drive, Lancaster, PA, 17601: 1991. 314 p. $39.95. 0-88733-104-1. $60 boxed ed., -lOS-X, signed by William Gibson, author of foreword. This is the first entry in what is slated to be a series of volumes offering year-by-year gatherings of Dick's letters, part of the on-going small press cannibalization of Dick's literary remains that is beginning to get rather ghoulish. Since it follows up In Pursuit of Valis: Selections from Exegesis,


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 19 Underwood-Miller's last installment of Dickiana (see my review in Newslet ter 193), the choice of 1974 as the kick-off date for the series seems intended to capitalize on the apparently growing New-Agey fascination for Dick's mystical visions, which assailed him in February and March of that year and which the "Exegesis" was his diary-style attempt to codify and analyze. As I said in my earlier review, Dick's best effort to come to grips with that over whelming experience remains the Valis trilogy of novels, to which these two new volumes are somewhat embarrassing footnotes. Actually, the Selected Letters does offer a more sanguine perspective on this experience than did the excerpted "Exegesis," because the give-and-take of correspondence (as opposed to the brooding solitude of journal-keeping) required Dick to confront an understandable amount of skepticism toward his assertion of divine revelation. Surprisingly few of the letters here broach the matter, but those that do tend to take an ambivalent tone, as if Dick was aware that he could not quite trust, if not his own senses, then at least the credulity of his correspondents: "why in mid-March did I acquire paranormal powers of the most noble kind, much like Spinoza had, plus much much more? (I'm kidding.) (I'm not kidding.)" Given the knowledge we now have of Dick's searing visual and auditory hallucinations, one can glimpse be tween the lines of such letters-and those more frequent others complaining of fatigue and mental distress-the reality of a soul-shaken man. These glimpses are often deeply poignant, but they are also, it must be admitted, occasionally rather pathetic. Still, considering the unsettling nature of his experiences, it is a marvel how industrious Dick managed to be in 1974: seeing his first novel in four years, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, through the press, and carefully rethinking the manuscript of his next, A Scanner Darkly; engagedly wrangling with issues of national politics (several letters are to members of Congress, and there are three strange, almost sympathetic ones to a Watergate beleaguered President Nixon); embroiling himself in violent personal and professional quarrels (of which more below); writing avid fan letters (to, for example, Linda Ronstadt and Robert A. Heinlein); not to mention producing the 170+ missives collected here. Dick was, throughout his life, a man of astonishing energy, and the voice that speaks out of even the most depressed, troubled pages is keen and lively. Those critics who believe Dick's visions were evidence of a profound mental instability bordering on insanity are, unfortunately, lent support by some of the other obsessions that gripped him in 1974. The most distress ing of these was his conviction that an international Marxist conspiracy, possibly hatched by the KGB and including Stanislaw Lem, Peter Fitting and


20 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 other left wing intellectuals, was out to get him. Even the warmest of Dick's fans will find it difficult to read his self-serving, vituperative letters (some of them to the FBI) denouncing Lem and others allegedly plotting to financially defraud and politically discredit (perhaps even to kidnap and brainwash) him, without embarrassment and disgust. Editor Paul Williams has omitted some of these letters because they are "either too scurrilous or too repetitive to merit inclusion" and has solicited prefatory statements from Lem and Fit ting giving their calm and compassionate verdicts on the matter, but these deletions and additions cannot blunt the overwhelming impression that emerges from this pitiful episode: that Dick was a delusionary hysteric, and moreover willing to connive with the authorities he otherwise despised in order to protect himself from being labeled a Red (not to mention capable of vicious ungratefulness towards a man who had praised and promoted his work: "I'm madder than hell at Lem. I hope an unseasonal tidal wave en gulfs his entire country.") William's omission of some of Dick's outbursts on this score is com mendable, but some of his other editorial decisions are more questionable. For example, he has elected to include a smug, insulting, sexist and homophobic letter to Joanna Russ responding to her criticism of Dick's anti abortion story "The Pre-Persons"; considering that we cannot know the tone of Russ's letter to Dick, his response seems small-mindedly nasty. Moreover, Williams indicates in a note that Russ returned the letter to Dick unopened, so (presumably) this is the first time she has had the opportunity to witness the attack. Publishing it, I think, is an act of editorial irresponsibility. But then, Williams does not generally show himself to be all that canny an edi tor, reproducing, alongside delightful chats with Philip Jose Farmer, Ursula K. Le Guin and others, drab bits of trivia directed to Dick's landlords and the IRS. Also, he has not seen fit to include a general index (only citations of Dick's literary works are referenced). In his introduction, William Gibson laments Williams's "decision to publish [the letters) in anything less than their terrible human entirety." Even in their current elliptical state, they are, as Gibson admits, often painfully embarrassing. But I must agree with Gibson that, in their moments of star tling insight and angry prophesy, quiet meditation and grim despair, they manage to paint a compelling portrait of "one single soul's passage through savagely lonely country, in the latter half of our increasingly strange century." Fans and scholars of Dick's work, for all that it will disillusion and trouble them, need to own this book. Rob Latham


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 21 Sixty Years of Horror Films Fischer, Dennis. Horror Film Directors, 1931-1990. McFarland & Co., Box 611, Jefferson, N.C. 28640, December 1991. xxii + 877 p. $75. 0-89950-609-7. Fischer's is probably the longest English-language book on horror films. The first 755 pages cover fifty-one major directors, each of whom made at least three genre films, ranging from only four pages on Inoshiro Honda, maker of Japanese monster movies, to over thirty pages each on Roger Corman, Terence Fisher and (surprisingly) Joe Dante. Only eighty-seven pages are devoted to forty-eight lesser figures, including new directors such as Clive Barker; obscure but professional filmmakers; and several of the pathetic hacks who have been attracted to horror films, including H.G. Lewis, Edward Wood and Andy Milligan. This section includes the only woman director profiled, Stephanie Rothman. An eight-page appendix has a paragraph on each of twenty four "classic horror films by non-horror directors", from Carl Dreyer's Vampyr (1931) to Nicolas Roeg's The Witches (1990) and of course Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Together, these three sedions should cover all important movies. However, in addition to the omission of all silent films and the very brief coverage of the films in the appendix, Fischer has little or nothing to say about several films of either critical or commercial importance which were made by diredors he did not profile and which are not in the appendix-King Kong (1933), The Mystery in the Wax Museum (1933), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Wait Until Dark (1967), The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), The Omen (1976), The Fourth Man (1979), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Ghostbusters (1987), Near Dark (1987), Beetlejuice (1988) and Arachnophobia (1990). Almost all significant genre directors are profiled, including several Italian filmmakers; the most important omissions I could think of are John Waters, Alexandro Jodorwski and Kathryn Bigelow. phil Hardy's Horror (titled in the u.s. The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies, 1985) includes silent films and is stronger than Fischer in coverage of foreign titles and movies by directors not associated with the genre. Each chapter includes complete credits for the director, including nonhorror work. The biographical information on each filmmaker is quite brief. The bulk of Horror Film Directors consists of synopses of about 200 films, ranging from a paragraph to five pages each, and Fischer's often detailed critical commentaries on the films and directors. Fischer, a former writer for Fangoria magazine, is highly knowledgeable and opinionated. He quotes extensively from interviews with directors and their colleagues; unfortunately he cites only the titles and not the issues of magazines from which the quotes


22 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 are taken. Most of Fischer's critical judgments are sensible and well-defendec-, although he sometimes falls back on clumsy colloquialisms. He is quite observant about camerawork. Although Fischer is unimpressed by Corman and harshly dismissive of prolific hacks like Jesus Franco, he seeks to rehabilitate some controversial filmmakers such as Tod Browning and John Carpenter. He recommends several little-known films. On the whole, although Fischer appreciates a wide variety of horror movies, I think he is a little too conservative. In particular I feel he underrates Peter Sasdy, Hammer's most unconventional director, and Sam Raimi, perhaps the most promising new director today. There are some annoying proofreading errors and a few major mistakes. Fischer says the female vampire in Vampyr was buried alive; it is the male doctor who suffers this fate. He claims that Frederic March was the only actor to win an Oscar for horror work (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1931), over looking Ruth Gordon (Rosemary's Baby, 1968). Fischer's eleven-page an notated bibliography of books and magazines is valuable, but would have been more so if he had included dates and addresses of the periodicals. The basic books in the field, Hardy's Horror, Kim Newman's Nightmare Movies (1984), David Pirie's Heritage of Horror (1973) and Peter Nicholls's World of Fantastic Films (1984), are all much cheaper than Fischer, with considerably more illustrations and terser, sharper criticism. Fischer offers much more detailed information than any of these and is appropriate for students who need film synopses or studies of directors. Michael Klossner Jung and Fairy Tales Franz, Marie-Louise von. Individuation in Fairy Tales. Boston: Shambhala, 1991. 230 p. $15. 0-87773-525-5. Stein, Murray, and Lionel Corbett, eds. Psyche's Stories: Modern Jungian Interpretations of Fairy Tales. Volume 1. Chiron Publications, 400 Linden Ave., Wilmette IL 60091. 1991. viii + 166 p. $14.95. 0-933029-39-X. Jungian psychological interpretation, like some branches of mathemat ics, is based upon tacit agreement that certain underlying principles must be accepted even though they cannot be proved. In the case of Jungian psy chology, the agreement concerns universal symbols and archetypes which trigger and are triggered by similar psychological patterns of responses in individual human beings. When applied to fairy tales, Jungians argue that


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 23 there are universal patterns and symbols in those tales because they have been created by human minds and continue to express basic concepts with which virtually all humans must or need to deal. Thus, when an item is described as red, a dove appears, or a beheading occurs, it may have the same meaning no matter the tale in which it happens. On a more complex level, the magic tale journeys from "Once upon a time ... to ... and they lived happily ever after!" all have the same basic structure which might be analyzed as self actualization, growing up, and/or the heroic quest. Both Franz's book and the essays collected by Stein and Corbett attempt to show the universalities within the individual tales, especially those universalities concerning the awareness of self. Franz focuses on bird and jewel imagery in an attempt to discuss indi viduation, "the psychological process of inner growth and centralization by which the individual finds its own Self. Unfortunately, before she actually begins that process, she makes some rather poorly considered comments. Her analysis of the differences between northern Europeans, specifically Germans, and southern Europeans, especially the Spanish, is little more than gross stereotyping; and her comments about patriarchal and matriarchal cultural influences in those cultures is out-of-date. In addition, her statement that a toad is able to "dimly see through its moist skin" after its eyes have been destroyed may be based on a toad's melanin response to light but is certainly not an accurate zoological statement (and she does not suggest that she is being metaphoric) concerning a toad's vision. Her analysis of the stories has some similar problems. At one point, she suggests that "no fairy tale end is a solution forever" and goes on to assert that the happy group at the end of the story might yet break apart, that "another story might begin!". To analyze what happens within the story in terms of what she thinks might happen if the story continued argues (1) that human responses are so identical that we all could continue the story and (2) that we would all continue it the same way. No literary critic would approve of this kind of extra-textual criticism. The essays in Stein and Corbett's volume are generally more successful, but there are some problems here, too. In the introdudory essay, "The Struc tural and Archetypal Analysis of Fairy Tales," Joel McCurdy cites Propp's structural analysis of folk tales in support of lung's strudural analysis but fails to even refer to other struduralists---Campbell, Raglan, Degh, and Ranke, for example-whose work would support his argument. Anne Baring's "Cinderella: An Interpretation," however, is a solid survey of the possibili ties within that famous tale. Robert Bly's "The Dark Man's Sooty Brother. Male Naivete and the Loss of the Kingdom" deals with the male Self and its


24 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 quest for actualization. And Ladson Hinton's "The Goose Girl: Puella and Transformation" and Lucille Klein's "The Goose Girl: Images of Individuation" both present solid analyses of the story which fail only in their lack of attention to the horse as a fertility symbol. Both volumes are interesting in their interpretations of specific tales, and both present the reader with much to think about. Both, however, must be read with some care as the psychological analyses are occasionally under cut by questionable statements not always a direct part of those analyses or by important factors not taken into consideration. I cannot recommend these books for readers new to psychological criticism, but the reader with some background will be able to sort through the commentaries and will find materials of value. c. W. Sullivan 11/ A Weak Study of a Popular Author Friedman, Lenemaja. Mary Stewart. Boston: Twayne, 1990. xv + 137 p. $21.95.0-8057-6985-4. TEAS 474. Mary Stewart's novels have always been popular with readers, but they have attracted little critical attention. Moreover, the division between her suspense and Arthurian fiction has meant that what criticism there was fo cused upon one and ignored the other. This makes Friedman's study with its annotated bibliography welcome, though it is unfortunate that she ignores Stewart's juvenile fiction and her novella The Wind Off the Small Isles. What she does offer is an examination of the eleven adult suspense novels and the four Arthurian novels; another suspense novel, Thornyhold (1988), receives only brief mention at the end, presumably because it ap peared too late for full consideration. Friedman deals with each novel sepa rately, providing extensive plot summary and character analysis. Plotting wins praise for the skillful use of suspense, particularly in such favored de vices as the chase; characterization is notable for the development of strong, resourceful women. A brief comparison with Stewart's two major Arthurian sources, Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas Malory, is included with dis cussion of the relevant novels. This is a useful work for its summaries of often complex plots, and for its notice of the types of character that recur in Stewart's writings: the adven turous and compassionate heroines of the suspense novels are so similar that "they merge as almost one character starring in a series of episodes"; neither the heroine nor the reader easily recognizes the villain, who seems charm-


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 25 ing and reliable, and this contributes significantly to the suspense; conversely she "may distrust the good man who seems to be evil, because he is often a mysterious, shadowy figure with questionable motives." This pattern is changed in the Arthurian novels by the requirements of tradition, but strong women remain, even if they occupy minor roles or play the villain, as does Morgause. The study does not, however, pursue the implications of such changes to reach a deeper understanding of how the author has adapted her talents to traditional material-<>r vice-versa. Indeed, thematic concerns are virtually ignored: what vision of life do Stewart's novels present? Do they have one, or is the creation of suspense their sole purpose? Such questions go unanswered in this rather pedestrian and unimaginative study, which is re luctantly recommended to public libraries because of the popularity of its subject. Ray Thompson American Women's Utopias Keulen, Margarete. Radical Imagination: Feminist Conceptions of the Future in Ursula Le Guin, Marge Piercy, and Sally Miller Gearhart. NY: Peter Lang, 1991. 122 p. $30.80 paper. 3-631-42753-0. This scholarly monograph applies the tenets of feminist theory to three well-known utopian works of recent years. It begins with a survey of utopian and fantasy fiction from Plato's Republic to some recent feminist utopias and then goes on to a quite detailed analysis and comparison of Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness, Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time, and Gearhart's The Wanderground. The three books represent three different types of utopian fantasy and also serve nicely as illustrations of the growth in feminist con sciousness from 1969 to 1979. It was evidently written as a master's thesis, and shares the strengths and weaknesses of such writing. It evidences extensive research and contains a useful, if incomplete, bibliography. It is heavily indebted to secondary sources, and was, like most such books, several years out of date by the time it was printed. The author shows a familiarity with well-known feminist critics like Joanna Russ, Marleen Barr, Daphne Patai, and Shulamith Firestone, but was unable to make much use of recent works by Sarah LeFanu, Frances Bartkowski, or Nan Bowman Albinski, and unfortunately seems to have overlooked Carol Kessler's Oaring to Dream (1984) and Lyman Tower Sargent's basic British and American Utopian Literature (1979


26 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 and 1988). Some of her generalizations make one wonder how well grounded Keulen actually is in primary works, especially those written be fore the 1960's. On the whole, the book strikes me as earnest, academic, and rather in clined to beat a dead horse. Was it really necessary to devote two pages to demonstrating that Left Hand of Darkness is science fiction? Do we really need another survey of utopias and feminism, especially one which covers no new material and offers no original conclusions? Readers new to women's fantasies will find it a good place to start for its useful summaries and read ing list, but I believe those already familiar with the field can get along with out it. Lynn F. Williams William Morris Bibliographed Latham, David, and Sheila Latham. An Annotated Critical Bibliography of William Morris. NY: St. Martin's, 1991. vii + 423 p. $45. 0-7108-1153-5. David Latham is Associate Professor of English at the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada), where Sheila Latham is Collections Librarian. They have been compiling annotated bibliographies on William Morris as a biennial feature in The Journal of the William Morris Society since their first careful survey of publications 1978-1980 was published there in 1983. Thanks to their efforts, Morris scholars have enjoyed exceptional biblio graphic access to current writings by and about the multi-faceted Victorian artist who helped define the modern fantasy genre. Then, as if to complete the picture, Gary Aho's comprehensive critical bibliography William Morris: A Reference Guide was published by G.K. Hall in 1985, listing and anno tating "every book and article about WM, as well as those studies that have significant commentary upon his life, achievements, and influence, written between 1897, the year after his death, and 1982." Aho was surprisingly true to his aims in terms of comprehensive listings, though in their new book the Lathams do find a few useful items missing from Aho in the years for which they overlap. As similar as the two books seem, they both have strengths and are two strong reference tools which nicely complement each other. Aho's reference guide, which aims to be larger and more comprehen sive, contains 465 more listings even though it spans fewer years (1873 items for Aho; 1408 for the Lathams). And Aho includes more detailed, critical annotations, while the Lathams annotate only briefly for content and provide no evaluative or critical guidance, other than their selection of an item for


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 27 inclusion, which indicates that the editors have found it useful for students and scholars. They have also chosen to emphasize more accessible (gener ally more recent) sources, so the comprehensiveness of their listings increases as they move toward the present, and they have been able to include recent materials through 1990. At the other end, the Lathams' guide begins in 1854, thereby including a fascinating range of material published during Morris's lifetime which is not listed by Aho, who begins his bibliography with 1897. Unlike Aho, who arranges his guide simply by year of publication, the Lathams classify Morris materials in eight general categories: works by Morris; bibliographies and catalogues; surveys and biographies; aesthetic philosophy; literature; decorative arts; book design; and politics. Indexes by author and subject help by providing multiple entry points beyond the clas sifications. There are 10 entries in the Subject Index under "fantasy genre," for instance, and each of Morris's fantasy novels has its own subheading in the "Literature" category as well with many additional listings. The result is a good selection of sources, usefully arranged and presented in a form convenient for readers, highly recommended for libraries, students and schol ars of Morris. After adding the book to your collection, membership in the William Morris Society, which includes a subscription to The Journal, can keep you up-to-date with biennial bibliographic surveys, and well informed about activities and programs in England, the US and elsewhere. Membership is $16.00 [U.S.) or .50 [U.K.) Details in the U. S. are available from Mark Samuels Lasner, 1870 Wyoming Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 [Phone (202) 745-1927)' or write the British William Morris Society at Kelmscott House, 26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London W6 9TA [U.K.), the home where many of Morris's fantasies were written. Richard Mathews Burroughs Bihliographed McWhorter, George T. Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection: A Cata log. Louisville, KY: House of Greystoke, 1991. 190 p. Illus. Privately printed in an edition of 500 copies. $25 delivered. No ISBN. Order from George T. McWhorter, ERB Memorial Collection, Univ. of Louisville Library, Louisville, KY 40292. George T. McWhorter, curator of the Burroughs Memorial Collection in the Rare Book Department of the University of Louisville, describes the collection on which this catalogue is based as the "largest and most comprehen-


28 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 sive of its kind in any institutional library in the world." There are certainly larger private collections, but the Louisville collection comprises a unique collection devoted to a popular author. This bibliography was begun five years ago and the road to publication has not been an easy one. The catalogue was originally to have been pub lished as a deluxe edition, with all the artwork reproduced in color; then, a commercial publisher accepted it, but Mr. McWhorter withdrew the book when he found that the reproduction of the art work (in black and white) would have resulted in what he felt would be muddy copies that ill-served the artist and catalogue. Finally, he undertook the publication himself, over seeing a team that included Hardy H. Heins, compiler of the basic Burroughs bibliography (Don Grant, 1964), as proofreader. The result is an attractively presented book that is not a substitute-as McWhorter himself admits-for an updated edition of the Heins bibliography, but which includes informa tion of interest for the neophyte fan, as well as more knowledgeable readers and researchers. The entries are arranged alphabetically by title, with successive editions listed chronologically. Information is given for place and date of publica tion, with details on artwork and artist (where known), the original price, and the condition of the item. The Catalog also includes an introduction with listings of the various series written by Burroughs, and appendices of covers of research publ ications and fan journals. Each page of the bibliography has three reproductions of cover art. The reproductions-although they are in black and white-are sharp and clean, and McWhorter has consistently chosen art other than the familiar, often reproduced McClurg/Metropolitan/ERB Inc. jacket art. Thus, he has selected foreign publications, and pulp and paperback artwork. A minor complaint might be that the reproductions are not identified by a catalog number so that it takes some digging to match the art with the reference, but the unfamiliarity of many of the illustrations outweighs this shortcoming. The Catalog is a modest investment in a work that could inspire interest in a more comprehensive ERB bibliography. After over two decades of relative indifference to the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs by publishers and researchers, it might be hoped that the publication of the Catalog and some limited circulation fan publications are an indication of renewed interest in the work of a seminal American popular author. Walter Albert [The sad tale preceding publication is told by McWhorter in the Novem ber 1991 issue of The Gridley Wave, the monthly newsletter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles. In early 1989 he signed a contract with Meckler,


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 29 who promised to publish it from camera ready copy by December at $79.95. Then Meckler sold its SF books to Greenwood Press, which asked that the book be reformatted, copyright clearances obtained, etc. Publication was set for December 1990, but the galleys came with the many photos unscreened, which meant they simply printed as black rectangles. He asked Greenwood to screen the photos or scrap the project; they scrapped it and didn't even have the courtesy to return the camera ready copy he'd sent them. Two of McWhorter's fellow bibliophiles, Ashley King and Mitch Harrison, saved the project. Attentive readers will recall that Meckler was the original publisher of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual, now published by Greenwood. Is there a moral here? NB/ed.J An Extremely Private Man Miller, Edwin Haviland. Salem is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, December 1991. xviii + 596 p. $35.0-87745-332-2. "Biography, like autobiography, is of necessity a fiction." This remark by Miller is more than a commonplace recognition that reality always evades the pursuit of language. Nathaniel Hawthorne is an especially evasive sub ject, in part because he himself understood the unfathomable mysteries of character and its contexts and found his own character one of the deepest of mysteries. Unwilling to have writing other than his own publications stand for his time on earth, Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia Peabody, deliberately frustrated his would-be biographers, burning much correspondence and expurgating most of his personal writing and journals. During his life time, Hawthorne seemed with almost uncanny prescience to form friend ships only with people who would guard his privacy as carefully as he did. As a result, writing a biography that attempts to capture an idea of the man behind the works is no easy task. In Miller's telling, Hawthorne emerges as an extremely private man, unwilling to take even his closest friends into his confidence, a manufacturer and wearer of masks and veils behind which hid a vulnerable and insecure self. Miller notes a number of Hawthorne's ac quaintances who saw his beauty of person as androgynous; some of these, along with Miller, read this beauty as the external sign of his internal being, a 19th-century version of masculine energy enclosing a feminine sensibility. Hawthorne's reticence has challenged biographers, and Miller's is the latest of at least nine major biographical studies to appear in the 20th Cen-


30 SFRA Review, 797, May 7992 tury: George Woodberry (1902), Newton Arvin (1929), Robert Cantwell (1948), Mark Van Doren (1949), Terence Martin (1965, 1983), Edward Wagenknecht (1961), Hubert Hoeltje (1962), and Arlin Turner (1980). Miller's portrait focuses on Hawthorne's personal and family relationships, mainly as they are revealed in surviving correspondence, especially Sophia's with her family and friends. Miller's general method is to locate central themes of Hawthorne's inner life that seem to emerge in his childhood, to elaborate how these themes appear in what is known of his relationships, and then to trace them in his fiction. Hawthorne shares with Melville and Poe the early loss of his father as a central defining event. In Hawthorne's case, the death when he was al most four of his sea captain father made him, his mother and his sisters de pendent on his mother's family, the Mannings. Miller explores persuasively the emotional complexity of the relations Hawthorne experienced growing up with a mother who was unable to show him affection, with sisters who idolized him, with male in-laws who seemed to care for him grudgingly, and often unsympathetically. Among Hawthorne's early tales, Miller sees "The Gentle Boy" as paradigmatic of Hawthorne's family experience and the fam ily themes that dominate all of his fiction. liThe Gentle Boy" is a tale of lithe failure of the fathers ... the abandonment and rejection of children ... of a gentle child unable to live without love." Set against this is another para digmatic story, liThe Artist of the Beautiful," which shows the sensitive soul trying in a hostile world to realize an internal vision of beauty. Miller em phasizes the ambiguity of this tale as revealing Hawthorne's inner doubts about himself, his abilities, and his value, uncertainties that Hawthorne never put behind him. Throughout his life, Hawthorne was never able to settle his family in one location for any long period, never feeling that any place was really home. And he was never able to escape the fear that he would die in the poor house, unable to earn enough to support and protect himself and his family. Miller's biography is a readable portrait of an immensely interesting writer, valuable for its survey of Hawthorne's time and place, for its portraits of his family, friends, and acquaintances, as well as for the additional per spectives it provides on the evasive author himself. Terry Heller


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 31 Interviews With the Vampires Page, Carol. Bloodlust: Conversations with Real Vampires. NY: HarperCollins, October 1991. viii + 192 p. $17. 0-06-016329-1. Page's title is somewhat misleading, since she devotes only five of her eight chapters to individual vampires; taking my cue from her, I'll let them speak for themselves, in their order of appearance. Jack: "People don't want you to drink blood. They want you to drink Nescafe, preferably decaf." Countess Misty: "Each persons [sic) blood does NOT taste the same. Some are hot, some are salty, others have a strong vitaminy taste. These are usu ally the ones whom we call the HEALTH FOOD nuts." Vlad: "1 get to know people for a long time-days and days-before I'll drink from them. No 'one-night bites' for me." Gabriel:"1 should be a real mean sonofabitch and kill a lot of people. And, you know, if I hadn't gotten arrested for killing my grandmother, I would have killed quite a few people, anybody I suspected was bothering me." Shannon: It goes beyond sex. It's really one of the most intimate things you can do." What these five individuals have in common is the fact that they feel compelled to drink human blood (and even Gabriel, who is currently in prison, manages to find "donors"). This, according to Page's definition, makes them vampires; unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily make them attrac tive, articulate, or even interesting. On the other hand, Page does manage to evoke considerable sympathy for those whose life-styles are alternative in a rather distasteful (pun intended) way. More entertaining is Page's catty account of her experiences in Ruma nia as a free-lance consultant during the making of an incredibly boring tele vision special on Dracula and vampires (aired a couple of years ago and best forgotten). I also enjoyed being introduced to Sean Manchester, British vam pire hunter extraordinaire and president of the British Occult Society, who comes across as far less likable and far more disturbed than most of Page's vampires; in his own words, "I'd like to be remembered for developing, indeed revolutionizing, the hand stake." The third odd-chapter-out is an ac count of Page's participation in a quite civilized (under the circumstances) Hunt-a-Vampire Weekend at the Crown Hotel in Scarborough, England. Bloodlust is not as factually informative as Norine Dresser's American Vampires: Fans, Victims, Practitioners, but it provides the kind of personal touch lacking in the earlier study. What else can I say? You'll know if it's for you ... Veronica Hollinger


32 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 A Chronicle of Schlockmeisters Ray, Fred Olen. The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers as Distributors. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1991. xiii + 226 p. $27.95.0-89950-628-3. In recent years there have been a number of interesting and informative books dealing with the history, content, and even major figures in the ever popular horror and science fiction film genres. These have ranged from the general to the specialized, as well as biographical works, including Grainger's American Low-Budget Independent Films in the 1980's: The Exploits of Fred Olen Ray (1990). In The New Poverty Row, Ray presents an insider's view of the ins and outs and ups and downs of this genre that so many of us love so well. Ray's book is a study of six independent companies: Associated Distribu tors Productions, Filmgroup, Hemisphere Pictures, American General Pic tures, Independent-International Pictures, Dimension Pictures, and the author's American-Independent Productions. Ray chronicles their struggles with the major studios during the forties, fifties, sixties, and today to obtain circulation for their movies, many of which were very low budget and of generally poor quality, with little plot, cheap effects, bad acting, but some times lots of blood and gore and even some skin. When they got decent circulation they usually made money, for there was a market, primarily among teens and young adults, especially during the glory days of the drive ins. Due to the stranglehold of the majors and the "creative bookkeeping" of the distributors, the independents increasingly were forced to become their own distributors. Some of them made it-Roger Corman and Ray him self, for example-but they collectively created a cultural phenomenon which has had a lasting impact. Not all of the dozens of movies discussed in detail by Ray were horror or SF but those developed the foundation for a genre which keeps growing and improving as the blood keeps flowing, the terror intensifies, and the special effects get more and more spectacular. To me, it takes no imagina tion at all to see roots for two of 1991 's blockbusters-Silence of the Lambs and Terminator II-in 1970 movies such as Hemisphere's Decoy for Terror and Independent-International's Horror of the Blood Monsters (aka Space Mission to the Lost Planet). Several major stars got their start in such mov ies, such as Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, and Francis Ford Coppola. Others, such as John Carradine and Lon Chaney Jr., finished their careers in these movies, while still others such as John Ashley, John Saxon, and An thony Eisley, never really got beyond them.


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 33 Ray treats his subjects with respect, not surprising since he was and is an independent himself. Indeed, he concludes his book with an interesting chapter on his American Independent Produdions, Inc. Here, as elsewhere, he goes into some detail but not enough on how such movies are made and distributed, the only fault I find with The New Poverty Row. Still, what there is is very good, and the book is strongly recommended for larger film collec tions. J.T. Moore Fine Study of Women's Fiction Robinson, Sally. Engendering the Subject: Gender and Self-Representation in Contemporary Women's Fiction. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991. x + 248 p. $44.50.0-7914-0727-6; $14.95, paper, -0728-4. This is a strong, intelligent feminist study of three major contemporary women writers who have hardly received the critical attention they deserve: Doris Lessing, Angela Carter, and Gayl Jones. Lessing and Carter are authors whose work has often skirted the borders of fantasy and science fiction, and though Sally Robinson never directly addresses issues of genre in her text, her treatment of the radical ways these writers-especially Carter-have attempted to critique the figure of "Woman" in modern culture shows how the mobilization of "fantastic" techniques of representation may have posi tive, progressive implications. Robinson's sensitive, probing discussion of Carter's brilliant postmodern fantasies The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman (1972) and Nights at the Circus (1984) is well worth reading for SF critics interested in how generic material can be made to serve satiric and social-critical purposes. The overall conviction animating Robinson's study is that fictional nar ratives "address readers in gender-specific ways and very often seduce women readers into complicity with the erasure of female subjectivity, seduce women into becoming Woman"-into identifying with a homoge neous, reductive construct which is the product of, and which serves, mas culine desire. In an excellent introdudion, Robinson deploys deconstrudive theory to undermine this normative figure of "Woman" while at the same time warning against a totally negative deconstruction ism which would destroy the very possibility of alternative formulations-of women's self-rep resentation. "It is important to remember that relations of domination do not simply go away when they are deconstructed." Thus, the deconstructive impulse in feminist criticism must be accompanied by a searching program


34 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 of re-construction, a quest for strategies of representing women's identities as complex, multiple, and historically contingent. Such strategies she locates in Lessing's early "Children of Violence" novels, in Carter's lushly baroque fantasies, and in Jones' revisionist explorations of African-American history. All of Robinson's readings are intricate and supple, making use of diffi cult theory without being themselves needlessly difficult. Indeed, rather than simply applying theoretical positions to fictional texts, Robinson often uses these texts to refocus and criticize the theories. For example, her analysis of The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman shows how "Carter's critique of desire as domination works through a literalization ... of the structures of male fantasy underlying traditional ... quest narratives"-a fantasy she also discerns subtly at work in Derridean deconstruction ism. This critique of quest fantasy as necessarily masculinist-as well as Robinson's implicit brief for more radical modes of fantasy (see, for example, her discussion of the function of "masquerade" in Nights at the Circus}-suggest fruitful extrapo lations to the study of genre fiction which, one hopes, other critics will take up in future. In sum, Engendering the Subject is a fine addition to the theo retically-inflected feminist study of contemporary women's literature. Rob Latham Amateur Lexicography Rogow, Roberta. Futurespeak: A Fan's Guide to the Language of Science Fiction. NY: Paragon House, September 1991. xx + 408 p. $24.95. 155778-347-0. Roberta Rogow's Futurespeak shows both the good and the bad sides of amateurism. The author, a professional librarian, quite obviously loves the eccentric world of science-fiction fandom, and she should have limited this book to its games, its garb, and its gatherings. Then we might have had a useful and informed collection instead of a mixture of entries too often ei ther unnecessary, incorrect, or embarrassing. First, unnecessary. Who needs to be told what badge, button, or nametag means at a convention? Or that IBM is a major manufacturer of computers? Or that Earth has one large moon? Other entries are superfluous because they are better handled elsewhere. A term used by fans and nonfans alike with precisely the same meaning-guesstimate, for example--does not qualify as "the Language of Science Fiction" unless it has some direct and necessary connection-such as origination-with science fiction. Rogow seems sometimes to approach this principle: she says of her "aerospace"


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 35 category that many of its terms "originated on the pages of Science Fiction." Of the 64 entries beginning with B, eight are classified as "aerospace" (e.g., birdworks, brennschluss, burn), but if any of these originated on the pages of science fiction, that fact is not detailed here. The danger in defining terms from technical vocabularies is that one may fail to understand them, and Futurespeak often falls prey to this danger. A few examples: the word benchmark does not pass from computer program ming to general use, but just the reverse. Computer virus is not a kind of programming bug, nor is it a malfunction. There are not "several" computer bulletin boards but hundreds, even if we just count the ones with sf as a sole or primary concern-and no fan belongs to all of them. FORTRAN, COBOL, and BASIC might have been the three "most commonly used" computer lan guages fifteen years ago, but I doubt that is true today. The device named a waldo is not limited to, or even particularly characteristic of, the aerospace industry. Even in what we might call the "core" sf vocabulary-those words and terms characteristic of or dealing with literature-many entries are simply uninformed: Futurespeaktells us that Frankenstein is about a "young doctor" whose creature "eventually turns on him and destroys him," written by Mary Shelley during "a strange summer vacation spent in a ruined castle in Swit zerland." H.G. Wells is listed as the "British writer and philosopher, who, with Jules Verne, is said to be one of the founders of modern SF ... Bram Stoker's Dracula is credited with making the vampire a stock character in "SF and Fantasy literature," overlooking nearly a hundred years of enormously popular vampire stories, poems, plays, and even operas before 1898. J.R.R. Tolkien, Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language and literature for most of his adult life, is called "Fantasy author, folklorist, and historian." Rogow says that the phrase, "suspension of disbelief" is "Occasionally amended to 'willing suspension of disbelief,'" apparently unaware that "willing suspension of disbelief" was the original wording and that its author was S.T. Coleridge. If this book is to be revised, the author should concentrate on fan activi ties, of which she has first-hand knowledge. She should get rid of the tech nical terms from astronautics, biology, computers, and so on. She should eliminate material found in every dictionary-for example, that journeyman derives from the French jour-and supply what the general works do not: Futurespeaktells us what a Baxter book is, but not why it has that name. She should forget about terms easily found in other specialized works and concentrate on the ones specific to science fiction. For example, in the entry for Blade Runner, both film noir and replicant appear; film noir rates an entry


36 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 of its own, but replicant has only the general entry android. Finally, she should cite sources: who says, for example, that Forrest Ackermann was the first person to use Sci-FI? Self-protection makes it sensible and giving credit where it is due makes it fair to cite in the entries themselves the sources from which they are drawn. Patricia Byrd's "Star Trek Lives: Trekker Slang" (American Speech, Spring 1978, 52-58) and Bruce Southard's "The Language of Science-Fiction Fan Magazines" (American Speech, Spring 1982, 19-31) are easily accessible models of how it should be done. Walter E. Meyers A Fine Biography of Poe Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remem brance. New York: HarperColl ins, November 1991, ix + 564 p. + 16 p. plates. $27.50. 0-06-016715-7. When Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV surveyed biographical work on Edgar Allan Poe in Research Guide to Biography and Criticism (Research Publish ing, 1985), he noted only one reliable full-length biography-Arthur Hobson Quinn's Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (1941, 1969}-and he faulted it for limited critical judgments of Poe's work. Though excellent biographical information was available in works of G. R. Thompson and Thomas O. Mabbott, there were no really satisfactory full-length narratives of the life of the Poe. Fisher was not the only writer to notice this lack, for Poe scholars in general called repeatedly for someone to step forward with a new biog raphy. During the years that Kenneth Silverman was constructing his answer to this call, others were publishing helpful scholarship, notably I. M. Walker, Burton Poll in, and, especially, Dwight Thomas and David K. Jackson, whose The Poe Log (1987) provided a documentary record of Poe's life. Silverman's Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance is a fine readable response to Fisher and others, characterized by care and restraint, yet copious in information. He finds a few patterns that emerge from Poe's unfortunate childhood and then are repeated in his relationships and his writing throughout his life. Poe's actor father deserted the family shortly after Poe was born, and his popular actress mother died when the boy was two. John and Frances Allan, a prosperous and childless Richmond, Virginia couple, took the child in, separating him from his brother and sis ter. Though John Allan was generous in providing the boy with an excellent education, he proved ambivalent toward the child and never provided the warmth of family love that Poe seemed most to need. Poe became a mag nificent liar and exaggerator at least in part as a means of creating himself


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 37 as a valuable person under these circumstances. His somewhat unusual and very dependent relationships with women also derive from the tensions and complexities of his childhood family experience. Though Silverman recognizes these and related patterns and notes them in nearly every aspect that is known of Poe's life, he does not overwork them. For example, Silverman resists using these themes to speculate at any length about parts of Poe's life on which documents are unavailable. And, while he notes many ways in which such themes appear in Poe's writings, he does not strain to make all works fit the pattern or to make excessive claims to explain the works by means of Poe's life. His usual approach is to summarize a major work and to note ways in which Poe's experiences and concerns appear in it. Also, there is little direct engagement with the multiplicity of interpretations that have grown up around such tales as "The Fall of the House of Usher" or "The Purloined Letter," though Silverman is aware of this material. Such restraint keeps the book accessible to general readers and rather unobtrusively opens the writing to reasonable biographical approaches while not closing off any other approaches. Teachers who use Poe often in the classroom are aware that their stu dents still come to Poe believing that he was an alcoholic and drug addict who imagined and probably wrote most of his works while "under the influ ence." Silverman's biography may help to reduce the incidence of such opinions in the future. Silverman finds no evidence that Poe used opium, except perhaps in the small doses commonly included in nineteenth-century medications. Poe's problems with alcohol were sporadic rather than continuous and seemed to occur when he was under unusual stress and espe cially when he felt separated from his family. It appears unlikely that he wrote while intoxicated since fairly small quantities of alcohol usually ren dered him virtually helpless and then ill. In one way, Silverman's overall impression of Poe's life does not vary greatly from the impression that has been current in scholarship since Poe's death. His life was difficult and sad, characterized by unending struggles against poverty and desperation despite very hard work and by the losses of many important loved ones, as well as by an immense, various, and uneven literary creativity. His desperation and loss drove Poe to self-defeating fic tionalizing and combativeness as well as to alcohol abuse. What seems surprising in Silverman's story of such a hard life is how happy Poe often was, what a pleasant impression he could make on his acquaintances, how well-liked he was by his friends. Hard as he could be to get along with when provoked, as he easily was, still he seems at heart to have been a kind and genial man who, had he found it easier to earn his living, might have been much happier than he was. Terry Heller


38 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 The Mighty Sons of Hercules Smith, Gary A. Epic Films: Casts, Credits and Commentary on Over 250 Historical Spectacle Movies. McFarland & Co., Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640, 1991. xix + 294 p. $35. 0-89950-567-8. In the second volume of his exhaustive set on 1950s SF films, Keep Watching the Skies! (1986), Bill Warren noted the need for a book on the Pepla, the dozens of low-budget muscleman epics made in Italy from 1959 to 1965. Smith provides credits, synopses and critical appraisals for 222 films, including most U.S. and Italian talking films and selected silents set between prehistoric times and the Crusades. Fifty-two are fantastic-thirtyone Pepla involving gods, monsters or Amazons; nine U.S. and British fan tasies, some by George Pal or Ray Harryhausen; seven prehistoric movies; four telling the stories of Adam and Eve or Noah's Ark; and the unclassifiable Fellini Satyricon (1969). The 170 other movies include thirty-one Biblical films not about Adam or Noah and with no fantastic material except Chris tian miracles; eighty-six Italian historical films, mostly Pepla, with no fantas tic elements except preternaturally strong heroes; and fifty-three non-Italian historical movies, many of them major Hollywood epics. An appendix pro vides minimal credits and descriptions for seventy-three other films, including thirty-six Pepla and several big epics, both fantastic and "realistic." Epic Films has all the features common to McFarland's many reference books on B movies-copious, accurate information, an author thoroughly at home with his subject, dozens of black-and-white illustrations and a very complete index. Smith understands the appeal of the Pepla, makes no un reasonable claims for them and states clearly which movies are likely to please Pepla fans and which fail to achieve even that modest goal. He points out that homoerotic imagery is central to the Pepla. (In the farce Airplane (1970), an older man eyes the hero and asks, "Son, do you like gladiator movies?") It is regrettable that Smith consigns a quarter of the films to brief notes in the appendix and that he omits several films, among them Fritz Lang's Die Niebelungen (1924); the many Arabian Nights movies; several Arthurian films including Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), two Connecticut Yankee movies (1931, 1949), Robert Bresson's Lancelot du Lac (1974) and Eric Rohmer's Perceval Ie Gallois (1978); and the sword-and sorcery movies of the 1980s, such as the Conan films (1981, 1984) and Dragonslayer (1981). The latter were probably excluded on the grounds that they are set in fanciful times and places unconnected with real history, but they resemble the Pepla in so many ways that Smith should have compared the two trends.


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 39 Despite these gaps, Epic Films earns its place in large film collections by assembling more information about the Pepla than rival books on costume films. Richard Campbell's and Michael Pitts's The Bible on Film (1981) is the most complete source for religious films. The filmography in Derek Elley's The Epic Film (1984) is more complete than Smith, especially for silents and films made outside Italy and the U.S., but Elley discusses few Pepla in detail. Classics and Cinema, edited by Martin Winkler (1991), discusses only twelve films, half set in the past, half films, such as Superman (1978), set in modern times but reflecting classical themes of heroism. Jon Solomon's The Ancient World in the Cinema (1978) has two chapters on Biblical films, one on mythological movies and one amusing chapter on the Pepla, in which Solomon summarizes their appeal. "They have colorful costumes, imaginative sets, seductive mistresses, burly humor, Mediterra nean scenery, bizarre tortures, nineteen inch biceps, furious battles, likable heroes and the triumph of good over evil. That is what movies are for, some times." Michael Klossner Over-Priced and Editorially Suspect Watson, Noelle & Paul Schellinger, eds. Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers. 3d ed. Chicago & London: St James Press, November 1991. xxv + 1016 p. $115. 1-55862-111-3. The first edition of this reference work appeared a decade ago, the sec ond edition in 1986. This new edition has gone to a standard 81/2 X II inch trim size and added, I'd estimate, about 100,000 words for a total of about 1.1 million. The third edition adds 78 English and 4 foreign language writers, dropping 43 and 4 respectively, for a total of 640 writers, of which 38 are foreign language. The editors were assisted by 32 advisors and 187 contributors, each of them briefly profiled, along with a list of their subjects. The format for each entry has remained unchanged: nationality, birth/death dates, education, pseudonyms, skeletal biographical information and home/ agent/publisher address. SF publications are listed chronologically, novels and colledions separately (short fiction not colleded in individual author colledions is also listed), followed by other publications: novels, plays, verse, other, and edited works. Published bibliographies are then cited, as are locations of MSS and correspondence, then critical books and some articles. Living authors usu ally provided a "comment," followed by a succinct descriptive/evaluative entry in which the subject's writings are discussed.


40 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 Entries range in length from about two columns to eight columns, al though the vagaries of the bibliographical format result in entries whose length is often wildly disproportionate to the author's relative importance. William Dean Howells, for example, has two books cited as SF, with five columns devoted to his other publications. Heinlein has about two columns of SF publications, a third of a column of other publications. Randall Garrett has half a column of SF books, five columns of uncollected short fiction. For the third edition the "major fantasy writers" are integrated into the main body, with the foreign language writers grouped in an appendix. No explanation is given-none could be given-why fantasy writers are included, not only Dunsany, Eddison, William Morris, Peake, and Tolkien, the original five, but many others whose relationship to SF is tangential at bestsuch as Angela Carter, Raymond Feist, Guy Gavriel Kay and George MacDonald. Even when they're included the rationale is mysterious. Is Donald Lawler seriously arguing that Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion are SF, which is how they're listed? St James pub lishes other bio-bibliographic works like this, and they should rigorously exclude writers known mostly or exclusively for their fantasy from this SF book, perhaps creating a separate reference volume for fantasy/horror writers. And for writers legitimately included, the grouping of their books is too often idiosyncratic-see, for example, the entries for Ballard, Moorcock and Simak. I declined to be an advisor because of St James's reputation for slow or no payment to contributors (Curtis Smith, an SFRA member who edited the first two editions, can supply the sad details). I did send some suggestions to the editors as to how the new edition could be improved, such as exluding fantasy writers, adding writers known for their young adult books, omitting the "uncollected short stories" and non-SF listings, etc., suggestions that were ignored. With more than 600 writers profiled, it's obvious that all major and most minor writers were included. Of those dropped, the only one I'd question is L. Neil Smith, who's still fairly active and is surely as "important" as many of the minor writers included. The most significant contemporary omissions are probably Lewis Shiner and Stephen King, two names on a I ist of 198 potential new entries sent me by the editors in September 1990, of which 37 made it into this new edition, including Mary Shelley, who falls outside the book's putative scope. Whoever compiled the list spent some time in cloudcuckooland-Richard Adams, v.c. Andrews, L. Frank Baum, Algernon Blackwood, John Collier, and similar oddities. I suspect that at least some of the inclusions, as well as omissions, resulted from the editors finding, or not


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 41 finding, contributors who could furnish entries in time, always a problem with a complex collective effort like this. The descriptive/evaluative portions of the entries should be sufficient for undemanding readers, who usually won't notice the errors and oddities in the bibliographic portions. A 61 page index of novels and collections des ignated SF, showing author and publication year, is a moderately useful ref erence aid. Much better from a critical standpoint are the rigorously edited detailed essays dealing with 76 of the most important SF writers in Everett Bleiler's Science-Fiction Writers, 1982. Far more comprehensive, although much more selective bibliographically, is the encyclopedia due about spring 1993 (delayed by the confusion following the death of Robert Maxwell, who owned Macdonalds, the UK publisher) edited by Peter Nicholls and John Clute, a revision of the Hugo-winning 1979 encyclopedia. The revised and expanded version is likely to be close to the size of the St James volume but will sell for far less, especially if an American co-publisher can be found to share the production costs. For libraries and readers having the second edition, I'm doubtful if the additional entries, and the revision of the older entries for active writers, is worth the substantial cost of this volume. I think the Nicholls-Clute encyclopedia is likely to be a much better choice, even if you have to wait some months and acquire it from a UK dealer. Neil Barron


42 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 Fiction Straight-forward Adventure Brosnan, John. War of the Sky Lords. London: Gollancz, 1990.252 p. .99. 0-575-04555-8. This is the second volume of a trilogy and as such is infected with cer tain characteristics of middle volumes. First, it is assumed that at least some of the background is remembered. In this case it is an Earth ravaged by the results of genetic manipulation that has gotten out of hand. Settlements are slowly being encroached by dangerous plant life and attacked by mutated animals. The huge airships, the skylords, were originally designed for disaster relief but have become the dominant culture, each being a floating city, ter rorizing and demanding tribute from land-based towns. In volume one, The Sky Lords, Jan Dorvin manages to obtain a brand new airship. She is altruistic and wishes to help the land-based. She finds she is opposed, not only by the controllers of the other airships she has captured, but also by the people she is trying to help. The other strand to the plot in volves Ryn. He is a throwback to the Eloi, scientists who changed themselves so that each might live in his own private utopia. He is brought up without contact with normal humans other than the holograms the computers cre ate for him. Frustrated, he seeks to escape and finds his chance when a group of airships arrives looking for the base where the Eloi live. They want some technology that will enable them to attack and defeat Jan's fleet, which they see as a threat. Naturally, nothing goes to plan for any of them. The first volume presented the complexities of the societies-land-based and within the airships-through Jan's eyes and in an exciting and action packed way. This volume is in parts far more sedate, consolidating the situ ation while setting in motion some of the features which will undoubtedly be explored and enhanced in the final volume. This is not a bad book by any means but is much more of a straight-forward adventure, building on what has gone before with less complexity and fewer new ideas. Pauline Morgan Premature Collection? Brown, Eric. The Time-Lapsed Man and Other Stories. London: Drunken Dragon Press, 1990. 215 p. .50.0-947578-03-X. This is a private press hardcover edition of a collection published in paperback by Pan; in common with most such ventures there is also a "de


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 43 luxe" limited edition for those collectors whose willingness to pay huge pre miums for carefully-manufactured rarities secures the financial viability of this kind of enterprise. Eric Brown is one of a new generation of British writers whose development has been greatly aided by Interzone, and this collection appears to have been sold on the crest of a wave of enthusiasm which followed the success of "The Time-Lapsed Man" in topping the magazine's annual popularity poll in 1989. He is indeed a very promising author, who will certainly produce a good deal of fine work in time to come, but I cannot help wondering if this collection is not a trifle premature. Two of the stories here are original and one is from a semi-professional magazine, and although the novella "The Inheritors of Earth" is perfectly competent, "The Karma Kid Transcends" and "Pithecanthropus Blues" are not conspicu ously good examples of burgeoning talent. It is not unnatural that a writer at the beginning of his career should show the clear influence of contemporary fashions, so it is no surprise to find a good deal of second-hand cyberpunk in "Krash-Bangg Joe and the Pineal Zen Equation" and "Big Touble Upstairs". Less expectable, however, is the rather curious pattern of influences at work in shaping the two best stories here, "Star-Crystals and Karmel" and "The Girl Who Die for Art and Lived", which are heavily romanticised tales of future art and artists seemingly inspired not, as one might expect, directly by J.G. Ballard's Vermilion Sands stories, but by Michael Coney's imitations thereof. The title story is more original, but I must admit to have been disappointed by it (and frankly amazed by the fact that it topped the poll) because it contains a glaring logi cal deficiency. It deals with the uncoordinated time-slipping of a man's various modes of sensory experience, but fails to take into account the fact that our senses-especially sight-are active rather than passive, constantly reacting to the flow of present events. "The Inheritors of Earth" helped to make up for this disappointment because it is a story much more geared to my personal tastes (though not, perhaps, to the tastes of those who think Brown a fashionable writer on the cutting edge of contemporary sO; it is an old-fashioned scientific romance about a Victorian scientist's adventure with his time machine, in which H. G. Wells-mounted upon his beloved bicycle-appears as a character. I would hazard a guess that Pan bought this collection in order to secure an option on Brown's first novel rather than with the expectation of making any money out of it. I suspect that a far more impressive collection might have been assembled had they and the author been prepared to wait for a couple of years, but the publisher's preemptive strike may yet turn out to have been a clever move. Brown has a vivid imagination and is rapidly


44 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 developing a winning way with words; his first novel may turn out to be something special. Brian Stableford Space Opera Capobianco, Michael. Burster. NY: Bantam/Spectra Books, 1990. 247 p. $3.95. 0-553-28543-2. Burster, Capobianco's first published novel, is told from a variety of viewpoints, beginning with a physicist, Jya Mailin, who has just awakened from a fourteen-year hibernation/suspended animation into the world of a generation starship, the Asia. The Asia has been sent from Earth to search for habitable planets onto which humans might expand, a tried and true adventure plot in science fiction narratives, but there the resemblance ends. The habitual reader of science fiction notices first that most of the char acters do not have Anglo-Saxon or even European names. Their names and their descriptions place their heritage in the middle and far-east, as Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese, Czechs and East Indians. There are, of course, also a few people from traditionally Western races, but they are often depicted as lesser in even their own estimation, for, in addition to his temerity in suggesting that the White Race may not inherit the stars, Capobianco boldly follows the outline of the movement of cultural primacy from the West to the East. This is why the ship is called the Asia and why her inhabitants are so diverse. With those very interesting propositions, Capobianco launches us into the tale of a few survivors, set adrift in interplanetary space. Those on the Asia have many problems to overcome. There are the oft explored types of malaise which have been predicted for a generation shiptoo few people (although there are hundreds), longings for Earth and too many opportunities for power-plays. Added to these are the suspicion that Earth has suffered a major catastrophe, brought on by the Sight of a "burst of light", called a Burster, from the close region of the home planet. In the second part of this three-part novel, entitled "The Quiet Earth," a young, rather anti-social man named Peter Zolotin is sent back in a small, fast ship to check on this occurrence, even though it will take him seven years to go and return. This part is named after the ship, but it is not entirely fortuitous. The results of Peter's quest fuel a small rebellion, chronicled in the novel's third part, entitled "Home," a rebellion carried out by the scientists who spent the first part of the voyage in hibernation. It seems, according to this particular encoding of human culture, that those who have spent the now


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 45 twenty-one years awake in the generation ship have fallen into an entropic cultural state, and this is encouraged by the Japanese Captain, Eugenia Taranga. Her orientation necessitates the battle of wills over planetary settle ment and provides the third major conflict of Capobianco's narrative. It should be clear by now that the novel includes sufficient numbers of plots and sub-plots to appeal to a wide variety of tastes and enough SOciological and political speculation to provide interesting characters. It should appeal to the lover of space opera and of solid, realistic writing. Jan Kaveny Idiosyncratic Stylist Carroll, Jonathan. Black Cocktail. London: Legend, 1990. 76 p. .50. 07126-2164-4. Black Cocktail follows the same game plan as all of Carroll's highly dis tinctive novels, first establishing with consummate care a sympathetic cen tral character (who is usually related to a character in one of his earlier works, thus providing a curious kind of continuity), then exploring that character's peculiar and problematic relationship with a second unusual individual, finally resolving this relationship in an extraordinary-often frankly astonishing-fashion. Here, Ingram York (the brother of the heroine of Sleeping in Flame) strikes up a friendship with the charming Michael Billa. As they grow closer, Billa reveals the secrets of his unhappy childhood, when he was saved from the bullying cruelty of his schoolfellows by the bold and charismatic Clinton Deix; but the cosiness of the stories turns suddenly bleak when he reveals that this protection culminated in a murder. Then the mys terious Deix reappears, apparently having been thrown into existential suspended animation at the time of the murder; he is still fifteen years old and his motives are now horribly unclear. Is he conducting a campaign of psy chological warfare against York or is he trying to save York from suffering the same fate as himself? I cannot shake off the uncomfortable feeling that until the author posed this question explicitly, thus making it the pivot of his plot, he had not the faintest idea what the answer was. Once having posed it, though, he was compelled to come up with a suitably bizarre answer, and plucked something out of thin air. To call the metaphysical hypothesis which supplies the answer a deus ex machina would probably be over-complimentary, and to call the abrupt two page coda which follows the astonishing revelation a climax would be a frank misuse of the term. Carroll's strength as a writer has


46 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 always been his description of evolving relationships, which mix the homely and the sentimental with an uneasy seasoning of partly-submerged menace. It is when the menace finally erupts, as it always does, that he has to liqui date his stylistic assets into the hard currency of plot, and it is invariably at this point that he begins to find the going difficult. I must admit that I have not been entirely satisfied with the resolution of any of his works, although Bones of the Moon does ach ieve a reasonable degree of coherency and the highly improbable conclusion of Voice of Our Shadow has the saving grace of authentic nasty-mindedness, but I have never before felt so let down as I was by Black Cocktail, whose ultimate revelation is quite silly and unwar ranted by anything which has preceded it. The abruptness with which the whole ham-fisted scheme is then written off-which makes the story seem like a derailed novel rather than a true novella-merely adds injury to insult. Carroll is a fine and wonderfully idiosyncratic stylist with an admirable gift for engaging the reader's interest in and sympathy for his characters, but it seems to me that he is getting increasingly desperate in searching for ways and means to twist this interest and sympathy to daringly horrific effect, as he is always ambitious to do. He is always compulsively readable, but that adds to the potential for awful disappointment which his plots invariably have when they finally have to face the prospect of explanation and resolu tion. To continue to read his work-as I undoubtedly shall-is to allow hope to triumph over experience, but that is not altogether a bad thing. There is every possibility that he will one day find a Great Idea which will allow him to make full and very powerful use of his assets. Brian Stableford Disappointing Volume Cole, Adrian. Warlord of Heaven: Star Requiem 3. London: Unwin, 1990. 345 p. .99. 0-04-44012-6. _____ Labyrinth of Worlds: Star Requiem 4. London: Unwin, 1990. 341 p. .99. 0-04-440690-8. This series, of which Warlord of Heaven is the third, inches towards a climax. In volume one, Mother of Storms, the natives of Innasmorn decided that the humans who had appeared in the mountains with their metal weap ons and bio-mechanical flying machines should be destroyed. Now they prepare to do battle with the intruders who do not even know they are threat ened. This story loops away from the anticipated bloodshed to follow


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 47 Pyramors, one of the people who have fled to Innasmorn from the alien Csendook. Until now he has been a bit player; here he takes center stage as he returns to the Csendook worlds in search of his lover, who was left be hind in the flight. The Csendook are fearsome warriors determined to exter minate humans (except for those that they can breed and train for fighting). By following Pyramors the Csendook society is explored as well as providing an opportunity to develop the tensions between the different Csendook factions-those who consider humans to be no longer a threat, and those who believe the most dangerous of them has escaped. At first glance, this volume appears to be a diversion with no real rel evance to the thrust of the main plot, which appears to have lost its way in a desire to add an extra dimension. So many of the characters who seemed important in the previous two volumes fade into insignificance, and despite some gems of imagination this volume fails to excite. The characters do exactly what is expected of them and the hoped for surprises do not mate rialize. The series would probably have been better without this volume. Disappoi nting. Highly Original Climax This, the final volume in this series, provokes mixed reactions. It is also difficult to classify as it has elements of science fiction as well as fantasy: the human colonists of Innasmorn use biomechanical flying machines and there are definitely traces of technology in the Csendook culture, whereas Innasmorn itself operates more like a fantasy world. The plot ties together several strands that have run throughout the four volumes and which at the time gave the impression of being time wasters, like the inordinate length of time Pyramors spent working his way through the infrastructure of human/Csendook relations in volume 3, Warlord of Heaven. The climax is quite well handled and provides some of the best action in the whole series. Unfortunately, there is an interminable wait for this to happen. The native Innasmorians have been marching to the gates of the Sculpted City, where the colonizing humans dwell, for the last volume and a half; the Csendook are about to travel from their world to join in the carnage; and the evil powers of Innasmorn are waking up. And all of these need to happen at the same time. Various characters from different back grounds scurry around trying to salvage something from the mess. Probably the series would have worked better if the convoluted tale had been told in a more compact form. This is a pity because the concepts and framework within which the story is set are finally revealed as highly original. Pauline Morgan.


48 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 Outcast Becomes Savior Denning, Troy. The Parched Sea. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, July 1991. 310 p. $4.95. 1-560176-067-2 [Book One in the Harpers series of Forgotten Realms fantasy novels.] Since the fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms has been used for many already-published trilogies, I didn't really expect Troy Denning to spend an inordinate amount of time describing the setting. However, I did anticipate a boring chapter on the Harpers, "the semi-secret organization for Good [that will] fight for freedom and justice in a world populated by tyrants, evil mages, and dread creatures beyond imagination," as one blurb describes them. But, that didn't happen either. What did occur, to my delight, was that the facts of the setting and the attire of the people were vividly depicted in the midst of immediate action. And best of all, in addition to prejudice, greed, and superstition, this high adventure thoroughly considers traditional female roles in a highly religious desert culture. Denning does this last pri marily through a careful portrayal of a young Ruha, whose premonitions of danger are seen as a curse by her Bedine clan. Eventually, to pacify the people, her father arranges her marriage to a young man in a neighboring clan-a clan that knows nothing of her gift of sight-a marriage that for Ruha makes her feel, for the first time in her life, completely blessed. Yet, even through her bliss, she senses tragedy, and it does strike. The Zhentarim, who have allied themselves with reptilian desert marauders in order to gain total control of a trade route through the desert, ruthlessly an nihilate the encampment. Ruha's special powers allow her to hide, but now she is a widow after only three days of marriage. Meanwhile, the Harper, Lander, who had been sent to encourage the scattered Bedine tribes to work together to defeat their common foe, almost perishes. Only when Ruha joins him on his journey does his quest have a chance of success and does Ruha have the opportunity and support to de velop her full potential as a sorceress. Each, a marginal member of society, only together can effect change. In this struggle, a reader can easily join for, though part of a series, The Parched Sea ends without an abhorred cliffhanger. Thus, I look forward with anticipation to more such exciting, self-contained novels in this open-ended Harpers series. Jennifer Wells


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 49 Seventh Century Saga Dickerson, Matthew T. The Finnsburgh Encounter. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991. 352 p. $9.95. 0-89107-604-2. The inspiration for this historical fantasy set in the early seventh century comes from a partial tale-within-a-tale in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. An expansion of the background to, and including, this incomplete story, the novel stands well on its own as an evocative, realistic saga of Anglo-Saxon times, with its deliberately articulated, formal sentences and its exploration of pre-Christian and Christian values at a time of spiritual change. Through a careful buildup of character, the reader learns the codes of Folcwada, High King of the Frisians, and his son Finn, follows the joy of the Danish princess Hildeburh's marriage to Finn, and appreciates these stern, but fairminded people by their own standards. After Folcwada's tragic death, the reader watches Finn step into his shoes, as the novel chronicles the development of various human natures against a lovingly researched period background and world view. In the character of Willimond, Dickerson creates an attractive picture of a bearer of the Christian message, a reason, perhaps for the book's being picked up by a subsidiary of Good News Publish ers. By the time Dickerson picks up the thread from Beowulf(also tying in the contemporary poem The Wanderer) the reader feels so much at home in this world's elegiac values and settings, that the eruption of treachery and bloodshed, so much an aspect of that era of feuds, seems even more destruc tive. This is an excellent example of accessible historical fantasy that recre ates a time, place and world with skill and charm. Highly recommended, not only for students of the period seeking to bring it closer to their own time, but for any reader of historical fiction who values a well-crafted, moving tale. Tanya Gardiner-Scott Valuable Collaborations Dozois, Gardner. Slow Dancing through Time. Kansas City, MO: Ursus Imprints/Mark V. Ziesing, 1990. 253 p. $22.00. 0-942681-03-7. This volume of collaborations between Gardner Dozois and four other writers-Susan Casper, Jack Dann, Jack C. Haldeman II, and Michael Swanwick-contains fourteen stories that range from powerful ("Down Among the Dead Men") to deliciously zany (" Afternoon at Schraftt's"). Dozois, editor of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, is a prize-win-


50 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 ning fiction writer. His collaborators are well-known science fiction writers with an orientation toward literary excellence. The most serious stories explore humanity reduced to survival tactics. In "Down among the Dead Men," a Jewish vampire preys on fellow concen tration camp victims. In "The Clowns," evil clowns visible only to the ten year-old viewpoint character kill off his companions and then come after him. In "Playing the Game," a boy tries to get home to his real parents through a multi-dimensional matrix. "Executive Clemency" shows a politician condemned by the world he destroyed, but unable to comprehend what that world has become. All four deal with illusion and deadly reality. "Snow Job" depicts an ingenious drug scam possible only to time trav elers. "Gods of Mars" explores the delicate distinction between hallucina tion and dreams come true. In "Touring," Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, and Buddy Holly are trapped in an afterlife solaced only by the joy of perfor mance. These stories, though less frightening in premise, still raise philo sophical issues about the nature of reality. In "Slow Dancing with Jesus," an unpopular girl is vindicated by getting the ultimate prom date. Michael Bishop, in his introduction, justly praises this story for artistic ambition. The volume is balanced with three comic masterpieces. "Afternoon at Schraftt's" is a perfect example of how a funny concept can be pushed to hilarity by masterful touches. "Time Bride" shows a nice Jewish girl haunted by her would-be future husband. "Send No Money" is another romantic story, this time about a woman who manages to get the best of a Faustian agreement. In these, and other comic stories in the volume, the theme is the resourcefulness of the individual in conflict with an absurd reality. Scholars and historians of speculative fiction should read this volume for the twenty-two non-fiction essays. All the fiction has appeared elsewhere, mostly in high-paying magazines. But the non-fiction, original here, gives insight into the creative process and methods used by Dozois and his col laborators. In addition to pieces by Dozois, Casper, Dann, Haldeman, and Swanwick, there are essays by Michael Bishop and Pat Cadigan. This should be a part of any serious science fiction library collection, useful to literary scholars and a pleasure to those who appreciate fiction that explores new territory. Mary Turzillo Brizzi


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 51 Vintage Farris Farris, John. Fiends. Dark Harvest Books, P.O. Box 941, Arlington Heights, IL 60006.1990.295 p. $19.95.0-913165-16-6. I've long been an admirer of John Ferris's work, so I was particularly disappointed with his last novel, The Axman Cometh (TOR, 1989). It wasn't that the writing wasn't up to par, nor that the ideas and characterization didn't match Ferris's usual high standards; it was rather the way the whole book just fell apart into a confusing muddle at the end. Happily, that isn't the case with Fiends. This is vintage Farris, tying to gether a long term inmate of a Tennessee mental institution (he isn't crazy, he's just been forgotten there), and two sisters, Marjory and Enid Waller, with an ancient race of vampiric creatures from Norwegian mythology-the Huldufolk, the last children of Eve that she tried to hide from God because they hadn't yet been bathed and who God, in his typical ham-fisted wisdom, curses for all time. Some of the book is set in the past-the early 1900's--but most of it's set in the 1970's where Farris does a wonderful job of bringing not only the Tennessee setting and characters alive, but the sense of that time as well. And it's also got some of the best cave scenes since The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. If you were put off by The Axman Cometh, don't give up on Farris yet. Fiends proves that the previous novel was an anomaly, not a new direction. Charles de Lint Quirky Delight Fowler, Christopher. Rune North Pomfret, VT: Century, 1990, 368 p. .07126-3466-5. The author of Roofworld, one of 1988's best novels (but read the British edition; the u.s. one dropped the last chapter from the book) returns with a novel just as entertaining. The premise isn't quite as charming as Roofworld, which had a whole outcast society living on London's rooftops, but Fowler's other strengths are apparent once more: the wonderfully quirky characters and the sheer delight in the language of his prose. For this outing he posits an ancient runic curse being utilized by the head of a corporation to change the world for the better, and incidentally kill off anyone who disagrees with how he means to do so. The runes have been


52 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 hidden in a shipment of videotapes that were stolen from the corporation's warehouse. These videos contained a prototype of the runes, a primitive form that drives the viewer mad. As a rash of bizarre suicides hits London, two policeman near retirement and a motley band of private citizens begin to puzzle out the source of the runes and embark on a perilous attempt to stop the corporation head before they become victims themselves. Fowler's prose is a treasure trove of startling imagery and wonderful descriptive turns of phrase. By turns dark, by turns light, his novels are a perfect blend of the best in contemporary fantasy and horror, perhaps best summed up by a quote from The Kirkus Review of Books which called him a "Peter Pan from Hell." Charles de Lint Overly Predictable Plot Franklin, Cheryl J. The Light in Exile. NY; DAW, 1990. $3.95. 332 p. 088677-417-9. The interpersonal conflict between a native woman, first known as Cop per and then as Evjenial, and a genetic male who was produced in breed ing vats, personalizes an age-old conflid between good and evil. The Mirlai are ethereal parasitic beings who merge with corporeal ones in order to sustain their lives. The effed of this merging is a heightened sense of awareness, peace and the ability to heal other corporeal beings. In the frame story, they separate themselves from their hosts, the Adraki, because they do not like the way the Adraki have dealt with another race of beings. Thus the Adraki become their enemies. The wound to Adraki pride drives them in pursuit of Mirlai and their new hosts. They have been searching for the Mirlai for hundreds of years, leaving a trail of destruction from planet to planet. The immediate time-frame for this narrative is the last battle between Mirlai and Adraki and the characters mentioned above are their respective tools. Copper is an engaging character in her youth. She survives the myste rious death of her parents, incarceration in a detention house which is really the locus of covert importation of technological wonders to a world that has rejeded them, and eventually becomes a Mirlai host, then called Evjenial the name of the healer that always inhabits that part of the planet of Siantha. As the healer, she is a little too good to be true. Her erstwhile enemy, Rabh Marrach, first known as Twosen, and a master of disguise, is another kind of survivor. He has been forced into the position as valued tool of an unscru-


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 53 pulous intergalactic despot, Caragen, and he plays his many roles of intrigue well, until he meets Evjenial's masters and becomes part of their plan for the future. In many ways a simple story about good and evil, Light attempts to en sconce these virtues first in Mirlai and Adraki and then in Evjenial and Rabh Marrach's master. Caragen works against Siantha at the behest of the Adraki, but also because of his own desires for conquest. Rabh Marrach works to gain enough wealth to buy his freedom and EvJenial works to do good, all simple and clearly understood motives. Thus, while the story is charming and the concept of Mirlai, benevolent parasitic beings, is entertaining, Franklin's plot is predidable. The good Mirlai must triumph over the evil and morally misshapen Adraki. It makes a pleasant afternoon's reading for those interested in stories with a happy ending which focus on social and interper sonal conflicts rather than moral, psychological or even scientific dilemmas. Janice M. Bogstad A Dozen for 1989 Garnett, David S., ed. The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook: Three. London: Orbit, 1990.361 p. .99. 0-7088-8337-0. This book contains twelve science fiction stories which the editor considers to be among the best from 1989. This is, of course, a personal choice and not everyone will agree with it. All have several things in common. All are extremely well written though whether they are good science fiction is another matter. Even Garnett, in his afterword, expresses his doubt as to whether some of them are really mainstream stories. Also, all the stories are by American authors. This is because they are all taken from US publications on the premise that British readers will already be familiar with the stories from British magazines and anthologies. Surely this is a spurious argument as a book claiming to contain the best short SF of the year should take all sources as its hunting ground. The volume begins with a short introduction by lain (M.) Banks which brings the year into focus. Then the stories. The first, "At the Rialto" by Connie Willis, is breathtaking. All the mishaps imaginable that can happen when trying to book into a hotel or find your way round a convention are exaggerated, then laid at the door of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. You need to read it twice to catch up with yourself but it is fun, and the only humorous story here. Others are straight SF, such as "The Gates of Babel" by I.R. Dunn, which takes the premise that everyone has forgotten (or been


54 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 made to forget) about all aspects of space. The few that remember are treated with the same ridicule that the press reserves for UFO spotters today. "Lu nar Triptych: Embracing the Night" by Richard Paul Russo also takes the theme of the end of space travel but for financial reasons. The only story that actually gets off Earth is "Out of Copyright" by Charles Sheffield, and then only as far as Jupiter. Are we becoming so obsessed with the fate of our planet that there is no longer a desire to challenge the universe? Garnett has tried not to be parochial by omitting British writers, but are the writers them selves becoming so in a cosmic sense? Orson Scott Card, Jayge Carr, David Brin and John Crowley all provide gloomy pictures of the future in their sto ries, with Brin and Crowley both portraying characters who find their world difficult to cope with. At the end of the book are articles by Brian Aldiss and John Clute, the latter taking a very brief foray through the novels of 1989. Garnett himself talks about the sources of short fiction for the year before, listing in the appendix all the award winners from the past-Hugos, Nebulas, and lesser ones providing a comprehensive record of what has been considered good SF in the past. Pauline Morgan. A Curate's Egg Garnett, David S., ed. Zenith 2: The Best in New British Science Fiction. London: Orbit, 1990. 220 p. .99. 0-7474-0591-3. Like many anthologies, this is a curate's egg-good in parts. Most of the stories contain at least one very original element and the standard of writing is high. There is the occasional, extremely pretentious story in this vol ume as well as some that are very readable. These largely come from authors who are already well established. Lisa Tuttle's "Dead Television" is one of the best and wanders into horror as she explores the consequences of allow ing the dead to communicate with us. The longest story, "The Cairene Purse" by Michael Moorcock, comes closest to picturing a standard, bleak projection of the near future but includes a tantalizing mystery and leaves the reader wondering. Some stories also include touches of wry humour, such as Brian Stableford's "The Furniture of Life's Ambition"-imagine sitting on chairs grown from a group of cells. You may not enjoy all the stories but there is something for all tastes here, a real showcase for some of the best of British talent, old and new. Pauline Morgan


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 55 Complex, Metaphorical Tale Gay, Anne. Mindsail. London: Macdonald Orbit, 1990. 303 p. .95. 0356-18806-X. Gay is the strongest and most talented of all the new British writers of SF. In this, her first novel, she tells the story of Tohalla, no longer a young woman, who is despised by her close-knit family for an inability to produce lots of children. She has to escape from her background and discover her self as a person before she can learn to achieve happiness. That makes it sound like a love story, which it is, though only in part. The setting is an alien world inhabited by small groups of humans, mostly primitive and mostly warring, the several-generations-on results of a crashed colony ship. More important than this admittedly unoriginal type of background is what Gay does with it. She is a writer of ideas and a great, poetic styl ist. Her descriptions are often beautiful, even if the beauty does occasionally inter fere with the message. She has the knack of creating believable societies in a few pages. Tohalla moves from her pastoral roots (the Green) to a strange, barren land (the Red), where she learns the story of a young girl, Marchidas, and moves on through pain and self-discovery to a more civilized community, where she discovers mindsailing. It's a complex and metaphorical tale, not always an easy read yet absorbing and satisfying. Chris Morgan A Competent Tale Gemmell, David. Lion of Macedon. London: Century Legend, 1990.416 p. .99. 0-7126-3482-7. Superficially, this is an historical novel, but don't be fooled. Granted, the action is set in Greece between 389 and 356 BC and many of the charac ters have historical credence, but all is not what it seems. The eponymous Lion of Macedon is not Philip of Macedonia but Parmenion, one of his gen erals. This is Parmenion's story. As his mother was Macedonian, Parmenion has to struggle against prejudice to prove himself a good Spartan. His tacti cal agility makes him enemies but also gains him the friendship of the leg endary general, Xenophon. It doesn't help that he falls in love with Derae, the sister of his greatest enemy, Leonidas. As a result Parmenion flees to Athens and Derae is chosen as the annual sacrifice, to drown off the coast of Troy, a penance the Greek cities had to pay for the sacking of that city.


56 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 The second part of the novel follows Parmenion's development as a strategist in Athens, and the City States' rebellion against the might of Sparta. Only much later does the young Macedonian king, Philip, ask Parmenion to direct his troops. Many of the events are real and carefully researched but interwoven are some of the themes and ideas that Gemmell has explored in earlier novels. There is Tamis, an interfering seer who thinks she knows best and serves the Source, the godhead familiar from Gemmell's Drenai sagas. Her self-ap pointed task is to prevent the birth of the Dark God, by preventing his conception. She uses Parmenion in this, and also Derae who believes she has life only as long as she remains in the temple grounds. This is the fantasy element of an otherwise historical novel. Also a sipstrassi stone makes a brief appearance, linking the novel to Gemmell's Arthurian and Shannow novels. This is a magical stone that amongst other things, has healing powers. Some of the events seemed very familiar-perhaps a result of roaming Mary Renault territory-but generally he has produced a competent tale, with once again, very convincingly described battle tactics. Pauline Morgan Cracking Good Tale Gemmell, David. Quest For Lost Heroes. London: Century, 1990. 316 p. .95.0-7126-2512-7. In this novel, Gemmell returns to the fantasy world of Legend, The King Beyond the Gate, and Way/ander, the three volumes in the Drenai Saga. The Drenai race are now under the dominion of the Nadir, a race resembling the Mongols of Asia. The story begins when a village is raided and Ravenna is taken away as captive. Kiall is a dreamer and also in love with Ravenna. He vows to rescue her but he has no skill with weapons or any idea where to start looking. It is only by chance that he falls in with the heroes of the battle of Bel-Azar. Naturally events don't happen as Kiall thinks they ought to and during the book he learns more about himself, and life, and gradually ma tures. This is a slight departure for Gemmell as normally he concentrates on older, male characters who have already learnt how to survive in the harsh worlds he creates. The heroes of Bel-Azar are, however, more typical-they are jaded, past their prime, and join Kiall in his quest because they are bored and can't think of anything better to do.


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 57 The quest for the girl is not straight-forward in other ways. They have to venture into other dimensions, and help comes from unexpected places. Gemmell has planted a number of twists and turns, some magical, into the story that only achieve significance towards the end. He has also opened the way for another story in this saga. Compared with the other books this lacks the sheer scale of events that they encompass-there are no massed armies laying siege except in the past of some of the characters-but there is a greater attempt at subtlety. There is a greater emphasis on mysticism, though the main characters, the men of action, show a healthy cynicism for much of it until necessity forces it upon them. The book does not have the raw, unchannelled power of Legend, but Gemmell is still capable of telling a cracking good tale. Pauline Morgan Serious Reading Gentle, Mary. Scholars and Soldiers. London: Orbit, 1990. 192 p. .50. 07088-8344-3. The one thing that connects all these stories is the brilliance of the imagi nation behind them. They are not stories that all readers will have sympathy with as many of them explore complex themes and have undercurrents of arcane knowledge. Two of the stories, "Beggars in Satin" and "The Knot Garden," are precursors to Gentle's novel, Rats and Gargoyles. They bring together the Scholar-Soldier Valentine and the Lord-Architect Casaubon in a world founded on hermetic magic. In the first, Casaubon is having prob lems with the Miracle Garden in the centre of the city. Whatever he construds, becomes corrupt. It is Valentine's arcane knowledge which is sought to solve the problem. In the second, the problem lies outside the dimensions of the Knot garden, a small part of the Miracle Garden. Both stories show some of the aspects that are developed more fully in Rats and Gargoyles, including a preliminary glimpse at the Gods which manifest themselves there. Other stories, ("Anukazi's Daughter" and "A Shadow Under the Sea") are set in the fantasy world that holds the Shabelit Archipelago. Both con sider the actions and motivations of the charaders and although the plots are excellently formed personalities are more important. "A Sun In the Attic," like the CasaubonNalentine stories, takes a sideways look at the development of science. It has an Elizabethan flavour to it, yet there is a certain amount of technology, such as airships, but particular forms of investigation, like


58 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 telescopy, are almost regarded as heresy and quietly supressed for fear that the truths they will reveal will upset the status quo. Other stories are SF or in that hinterland of the unclassifiable. All tend to have more than one level of cognizance to discover and appreciate. Generally, this collection is not light reading but it is worthwhile spending the time getting to grips with it. Pauline Morgan A Unique Voice Goldstein, Lisa. Daily Voices. Eugene, OR: Pulphouse Publishing, 1989.99 p. $4.95 pb, $25.00 hc, $50.00 signed leather he. Author's Choice Monthly, Issue 3. This collection includes five stories, all of which first appeared in Asimov's between 1984 and 1988. Two of them, "Tourists" and "Death is Different" are set in Amaz, the same magical, third-world locale as Goldstein's novel Tourists (1989), although the short story, despite its title, is quite independent of the novel. "Tourists" concerns a man who wakes up to find himself in a hotel room, without his wife and with no idea of where is. Dreadfully confused, he wanders the city, unable to find an American consulate or, indeed, anything to tie him to his past life. Days pass and, acclimatizing to his new, marvel-filled surroundings, the former tourist is gradually transformed into a native. In fact, although he still doesn't know the name or location of his new country, he eventually sets up in business as a tour guide. "Death is Different" involves a woman American journalist who has come to the city to discover the truth about the Communist gue rillas who are supposedly attempting to overthrow the government. Her chance for a major story appears to collapse when the guerilla leader is killed, but his supporters insist that she can still interview him because, in their country, death is different. "Cassandra's Photographs," perhaps the book's best-known story, con cerns an unimaginative college student, Robert, who becomes involved with Cassandra, a woman from a very strange family. Grandfather, for example, worships Osiris, and grandmother, it seems, can take photographs of the future. Robert rejects Cassandra because he finds her life too unpredictable and unsettling. Angered by his attitude, she gives him a pile of photographs supposedly of upcoming events in his own life. He's skeptical of their au thenticity, of course, until, one after another, they turn out to be accurate. Eventually the photographs begin to control Robert's life, with disastrous results.


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 59 Also included in the collection are Goldstein's first published short story, "Ever After," a funny-sad retelling of "Cinderella," and the volume's title piece, "Daily Voices," which involves a woman who, for reasons unknown, has her entire life controlled by a recorded voice that tells her what to do one step at a time. In this story, as in the Amaz pieces, Goldstein leaves the reader up in the air as to why things occur the way they do. Unlike most genre writers, she carefully refrains from explanations for even the oddest events, a tadic she may have picked up from the Surrealists, one of the major influences on her work. The more concrete and traditional genre reader is likely to be uncomfortable with this device, but it adds a mystery and strangeness to the best of her stories that I find fascinating. Lisa Goldstein is one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary fan tasy and science fiction. I look forward to reading more of her work. Michael M. Levy British Space Opera Greenland, Colin. Take Back Plenty. Winchester, MA: Unwin Hyman, 1990. 359 p. .99. 0-04-440265-1. British popular music seems nowadays to be dominated by hits from earlier eras revitalised by their use in TV commercials, and this seems en tirely understandable-perhaps even laudable-to those of us who remem ber them from the good old days. But who would have thought that British science fiction writers--who always seemed to take such pride in maintain ing more dignity than the brash and glitzy American stuff-would suddenly acquire a deep and sincere affection for space opera? Largely thanks to the example laid down by the uninhibited galaxy-spanning extravaganzas of the not-very-pseudonymous lain K. Banks-who, as lain Banks, has established a considerable reputation for mainstream fiction and is therefore Thoroughly Respectable-even the uptightest British sf writer can now contemplate with relative equanimity the prospect of spreading his imaginative wings and launching himself into that Great Playground in the Sky where nice boys didn't used to like to be seen hanging out. They can even win awards for it-Take Back Plenty won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel of 199O-provided that their licences to practise Real Literary Work have never previously been endorsed. The plot of Take Back Plenty sounds slightly feeble in summary: downat-heel, non-white, non-male freelance spaceship pilot in trouble with the cops is hired by ill-assorted bunch of rogues for nefarious purposes which


60 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 are revealed by very slow degrees; pursued by cops, and later by bounty hunters, they crash on Venus and have many other spiffing adventures be fore confronting the alien supremos who have isolated the solar system, at a tea-party on Pluto's dark companion; tacitly at stake throughout is the key which will unlock the cage that bars mankind from the greater galaxy. It is, however, the colourful embroideries decorating the story rather than the basic plot which aspire to be original and endearing, and on whose basis the book begs to be assessed. Take Back Plenty is a fun book which takes great pride in being a fun book, and whose text constantly reminds us that we are having lots and lots and lots of fun, lest we should ever forget that the author is not, repeat NOT, being serious. If it were a TV commercial and not a novel, a fruity voice-over would probably be telling us, with carefully contrived sincerity, that never before has there been a book which has deployed Planet Stories cliches so conscientiously and so cleverly, in such great abundance and with such calculatedly winning charm. The ads which the book does carry are, in fact, ringing endorsements of its triumph penned by British writers who have pre viously tried to do something along the same lines but couldn't quite bring it off: Brian Aldiss (The Eighty Minute Hour) and Michael Moorcock (The Blood Red Game). Aldiss failed because he couldn't bring himself to take the ideas at all seriously, and was obliged to produce a rather slapdash farce; Moorcock because he simply couldn't wait to get to the end of the book and get on with something dearer to his heart. Colin Greenland succeeds be cause he never plunges over the edge into outright comedy, and because he has the patience to decorate his highly-decorated scenery with a host of deft stylistic curlicues as well as the customary flourishes of dazzling primary colour. There is a lesson in this for us all: he who would successfully forge a three pound note should make sure that it is gaudy enough to be absurdly overpretentious; that way he will probably be forgiven the fact that it has no actual purchasing power. British writers have never really been able to write authentic space op era; their galactic empires have always been all-too-evidently second hand. This is not to say that they have not produced good and interesting workthe seedier, somewhat down-at-heel empires which E. C. Tubb, Ken Bulmer and even John Brunner once used to manufacture in such profusion have a distinct charm of their own-but they have always been colonists rather than real soldiers of fortune. Take Back Plenty operates more in the near-contem porary space of such cyberpunkish space operas as Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix and Michael Swan wick's Vacuum Flowers than the wider spaces of the Anderson/Herbert continuum, but there is no sense here of any kind


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 61 of cutting edge; Greenland is a polisher of surfaces and a juggler of estab lished ironies, not a sodbuster. To the American eye, Take Back Plenty is likely to appear as the work of a carpetbagger rather than that of a trailblazer, and it is unlikely to be welcomed in the US as extravagantly as it has been in Britain. But it is fun-lots and lots and lots of fun-and those who like their fun in overlong, overblown and over-inflated dollops will love it. Brian Stableford Exciting but Sparse Tale Hambly, Barbara. The Rainbow Abyss. NY: Del Rey/Ballantine Books, September 1991,295 p. $5.99. 0-345-37101-l. Barbara Hambly has a reputation for good writing, and her latest novel is no exception. The Rainbow Abyss, the first book in the "Sun-Cross" series, tells the tale of an old master wizard named Jaldis and his somewhat bumbling apprentice, Rhion, as they journey through the Forty Realms, searching for a way to save lithe world without magic." Using magic, Jaldis opens"a dark well," a wormhole-type tunnel between their world and other worlds. He hears the pleas of people from a world without magic, which is implied to be our own Earth, a plot element Hambly has used before, and to the benefit of her stories. This book seems to flow very quickly. Though the story covers many years, there is a cohesiveness in the characters and their development that makes the story move well despite the time gap. Usually, Hambly has a good sense of what needs to be described in her tales, giving just enough information about a town or road or fight scene for the reader to feel a part of it, without overburdening the senses. This book, more than her others, seems a bit sparse. There is no deep undercurrent; the subtext is lacking somehow. The events which transpire in the lives of Rhion and Jaldis are very cut-and-dried. Despite this seeming deficiency, Hambly tells a great tale and leaves the reader slavering to read the second book. I'm looking forward to it. Daryl F. Mallett Convoluted Fantasy Harness, Charles. Lurid Dreams. NY: Avon Books, 1990. 187 p. $3.50. 0380-75761-3. Harness has always been a master of the highly convoluted plot, with strange twists and a touch of unreality. This continues the tradition, with a few new ideas.


62 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 Set in 21 st century Baltimore, this is the story of an impoverished gradu ate student whose doctoral thesis-and personal talent-is out-of-body experiences. The remnants of the Confederacy want to reverse the Civil War by making Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg succeed. The key to doing that is to change history so that Edgar Allan Poe completes his tour at West Point and becomes a general who can influence that battle. Reynolds, the student, is to use his talent to find the reason Poe left West Point, and reverse that decision, so that the Confederacy will win out over the Union. However, it seems that Poe also has the out-of-body talent and has his own ideas of how history should take place. A series of "astral" encounters between Reynolds and Poe not only serve as the basis for the novel, they also provide an illuminating look at Poe and his short, tragic life. Harness' books are always worth reading, and this is one of the best he's done in W. D. Stevens Lightweight Fun Hill, Douglas. The Colloghi Conspiracy. London: Gollancz, 1990. 238 p. .99. 0-575-04779-8. After producing several children's SF novels and many non-fiction books, Hill has at last turned to adult SF. The Colloghi Conspiracy and its prequel, The Fraxilly Fracas, (clearly the first two in an open-ended series) are old-fashioned, slightly comic adventure SF. They feature many tradi tional narrative elements (or, if you prefer, cliches of plot and setting). The reluctant hero and narrator is Delmore Curb, who operates his own fast and well-armed spaceship as a courier, transporting illegal packages the length and breadth of the inhabited galaxy. In essence, he's remarkably similar to Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat. Hill's prose brims over with jargon, including Posi for Polyfunctional Organizational and Service Intelloid (the talking ship's computer), Sen Fed for the Sentient Federation, exters for extraterrestrials and Halflight for half light speed, not to mention kilocreds, Galacnet, FedPol, Galactigames and killdroids. His similes tend to be of the "as tangled as a Lybdartian swarmvine" variety. The old-fashioned feeling is added to by the coy attitude towards sex. In The Fraxilly Fracas Curb had a female assistant on board, whom he lusted after to no effed (though later on he did get raped by a particularly malodor ous female). In The Colloghi Conspiracy, he is traveling on his own (though he does come into contact with a media star and lusts unsuccessfully after


SFRA Review, 797, May 7992 63 her) and, eventually, he has a fulfilling sex session with a humanoid alien that Hill describes in wish fulfillment fantasy terms. The plots of the two novels are similar in that in each Curb is offered a great deal of money to transport something of dubious ownership which leads to enormous complications concerning the owners of the objects and various gangs of galactic pirates. In The Fraxil/y Fracas the object was a consignment of longevity elixir so powerful that a tiny dose conferred super human abilities including flight; no less than three gangs of criminals vied for control of it and the resulting fracas was too farcical and formulaic to be credible. The Col/oghi Conspiracy is a little more unusual and entertaining in its plot twists, but the reader shouldn't expect anything more than a bit of lightweight fun. Chris Morgan Reminiscent of Leiber jones, Stephen & David Sutton, eds. Fantasy Tales 5. London: Robinson, 1990.202 p. .95 1-85487-054-8. The mixture continues as before, with both subtle and nasty horror sto ries, some ghost stories and some heroic fantasy. Generally the contents are disappointing, a mixture of second-rate stories by known names and unpolished work by newcomers. The exceptions are by Garry Kilworth and Ramsey Campbell. Kilworth's tale of public services not just out of order but totally and unpredictably out of control, "Networks," is wonderful, making one realize (not for the first time) what a fine writer he is in any genre, par ticularly at shorter lengths. Campbell's is the token heroic fantasy story in this volume; it's strongly reminiscent of Fritz Leiber's work, which is praise indeed. Fantasy Tales remains a good market for the beginning writer of horror, though it is much overstocked with material and publication is often years after purchase. Chris Morgan Hometown Fantasies jordan, Anne Devereaux, ed. Fires of the Past: Thirteen Contemporary Fanta sies about Hometowns. NY: St. Martin's Press, March 1991.212 p. $15.95 0-312-05433-5. This anthology, nominally centered on the theme of hometowns, contains twelve stories, one poem, and Editor Anne Devereaux jordan's story headnotes and general "Introduction." As she reports, "In Fires of the Past,


64 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 each author was asked to create a story set in his or her hometown or adopted hometown-the place that holds their hearts." Her solecism of ref erential multiplication suggests that "each author's ... hearts" could be con fined to a single place or a simple theme. Fortunately, several of the stron ger stories are thematically more complex than the requested hometown trope might imply. At least three of the stories were previously published; most appear in this collection for the first time. My favorite story, Connie Willis's "Cibola," artfully uses a Denver news paper reporter's I've-heard-it-all point of view to reveal an uncanny expla nation for the legendary seven cities of Cibola sought by Coronado. The tales of golden streets and palaces told him by EI Turco, his Pawnee guide, take on new meaning thanks to EI Turco's descendant, Rosa Turcorillo, who lives modestly amidst Denver's out-of-control real-estate development and garish tinted-glass and steel post-modern architectural anarchy. Other above-average contributions include John Kessells "Buffalo," a metafictional story full of nostalgic homage to Kessell's father, to H.G. Wells, and to early SF's function as an entertainment that helped people believe in progress and took them out of their mundane difficulties. Kessell's story includes the past/present and youth/age dualities that also characterize sev eral other stories, including three of the better ones, Karen Haber's 1/3 Rms, Good View," Robert Silverberg's "The Last Surviving Veteran of the War of San Francisco," and James Patrick Kelly's "Pogrom." Kelly's cautionary tale effectively extrapolates from present class and generational divisions to a future Durham, New Hampshire of aged Boomers terrorized by uneducated and economically deprived teenagers. It gives a local habitation to themes of urban decay and underclass violence that have appeared in recent nov els by David Brin, Bruce Sterling, and William Gibson. The remainder of the collection provides too few laughs or chills and is composed of serviceable but undistinguished contributions including: Harlan Ellison's generic ghost fantasy, "Jane Doe #112"; George Alec Effinger's shaggy jinx joke, "Who Dat"; Lewis Shiner's Texas highway twilight-zoner, "Wild for You"; Joe Haldeman's sentimental, space-junkie poem, "Homecoming"; Edward Bryant's version of Jurassic Park set in Wyoming, "The Great Steam Bison of Cycad Center"; Kit Reed's Gothic teen horror story of a tomb in St. Petersburg, "Calling Hours"; Ian Watson's fantasy of Daventry speaking to one of its inhabitants, "The Talk of the Town"; and Jane Yolen's slasher story of the man who collected owl pellets in Hadley, Massachusetts, "Great Gray." Philip E. Smith /I


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 65 Is it SF or Fantasy? Marks, Laurie J. The Moonbane Mage. NY: DAW, 1990. $3.95. 249 p. 088677-415-2. Marks's novels tend to begin with outcasts, Delan in the first novel of this series and Laril in this, the second. There is also a third novel set in this universe of multiple sentient beings, some of whom can fly and who prac tice magic of varying power. Moonbane Mage is a story of true and false love as well as other types of deception. Laril is a young man who cannot seem to fit into his home Aeyrie, t'Cwa, and is constantly disappointing his parent, Ishta. His intense interest in a type of martial art, Quai-du, and his total lack of interest in learning do not fit with Ishta's plans. He is exiled from his home, to almost certain death in the barren lands around it, for violating a tenet of the Aeyrie and physically injuring another of his kind. This pre Cipitates his relationship with a mage and the onset of his own power. Those familiar with Marks's earlier novel will know that Laril is a mem ber of a race called Aeyries, one of several sentient or quasi-sentient races, including Walkers and Orchths (who live on the ground), Mer (who live in the sea) and creatures called onfrit who share the sky with the Aeyries. They live on a relatively barren planet where food and water resources are scarce and have recently evolved a sort of cooperation between the races which might allow them all to survive. This cooperation is largely due to the efforts of a few enlightened members of each race. Laril becomes the unwitting pawn of a mage who wishes to burst apart this alliance and must see his way clear to preventing that tragedy. After his exile, he stumbles into the home of Raulyn, who offers him shelter, food, physical love and a purpose in life. He lives bathed in this love for an extended period, only to discover Raulyn's instrumental view of him. This mage does not hesitate to risk Laril's life in order to rediscover gunpow der and guns to use against the Delan and his Triad of multi-being peace makers. Gradually Laril comes out of his stupor, to the extent that he finds himself in love with an equally imprisoned female Walker, Ysbet. Together they defy Raulyn and chart a path to true heroism and love. Marks's world is particularly interesting because the different races use different types of reproduction and this leads to areas of mutual incomprehension between the societies that have evolved. Aeyries repro duce parthenogenically, but by laying eggs. Walkers reproduce, and at alarming rates, bisexually as do some of the other creatures. The major opposition, however, is between Walkers and Aeyries. This is the baseline Marks uses to delineate alternative societies and chart the path to their co-


66 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 operation. There is just enough variation in the characters, difference and beauty in the setting and complexity in the plot to add up to a good story, but don't ask me to tell you if it's SF or fantasy. Janice M. Bogstad High Level of Accomplishment Meluch, R.M. Chicago Red. NY: Penguin/Roc, 1990. 319 p. $4.95.0-45145034-5. Chicago Red is unl ike Meluch's other works in that it is occurs on Earth. Cataclysmic technological failures in the late 20th century have left Earth divided into virtually non-communicating totalitarian states. Chicago Red is a self-created revolutionary who lives on the continent that formerly held the U.S., but U.S. history has been erased to preserve the roughly feudal arrangement that now prevails. But the novel is by no means only the story of Chicago Red and the revolution in which he is a prime mover. Individuals on all sides of the conflict are dissected, their weaknesses and vanities ex plored as motivation for their actions. While the King struggles to hold onto his throne, it is made clear that too much corruption has surrounded him, mostly due to his own unwillingness to confront it rather than to an evil nature. Between his corrupt officials and his perverted general, Tow, he is unable to justify his rule, though, by the end of the novel, we are no longer sure that the rebel leaders (not Chicago Red, but those above him) are go ing to do any better than he is doing. Kings, Kings' sons, Kings' assassins, rebels and revolutionaries, noble women and clergy, none are what they at first seem. In fact, one is hard pressed to say if Chicago Red or the villain general Tow or the Archbishop Gregory Vandetti, advisor to the King, is the protagonist of this novel, as their loyalties change or remain divided. Each is as tormented by interpersonal loyalties and failures as he is by social injustice. Each fails at some vital interpersonal relationship that fuels his zeal. Chicago Red, himself, is half crazed by the martyrdom of one brother and the manipulation of another. Tow, the arch-villain, has come from a past so sordid that he will do anything to erase it, a talent that the King can use to protect himself from his nobles' ambitions, up to a point. As with her other fine novels, Sovereign, War Birds, and Jerusalem Fire among them, Meluch uses political and social movements to develop fasci nating characters who, while not perfect, are nevertheless inspirational. There are plots within plots, disguise and revelation, and, of course, worlds


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 67 to be won and lost, if that can really be done. And again, the novel gives no easy answers but reinforces Meluch's ongoing exploration of the personal issues that are often at the heart of statecraft. Where many authors struggle to make their characters human, Meluch has moved past that to characters whose complexity of thought and motivation are equally as fascinating as the senings, physical and socio-political, in which we find them. Her novels are always worth reading, but this one has achieved a new level of accomplish ment within the body of her work. Janice M. Bogstad Disappointing Novel Morwood, Peter. Prince Ivan. London: Legend, 1990. 279 p. .99 0-7126-3404-5. There is nothing actually original in this book as it is merely the retell ing of a Russian folk tale at novel length. Prince Ivan is the only son of the Tsar of Khorlov. His three elder sisters have all made spectacular marriages to sorcerers. Now it is his turn to find a bride. He sets out to visit his sisters and their husbands. All suggest that Mar'ya Morevna might be a suitable choice for him. So Ivan wins a bride. Unfortunately, while exploring his wife's cellars, he releases the sorcerer, Koshchey the Undying, who steals Mar'ya Morevna. Ivan tries to steal her back. This is a very simply told story and would probably have been better if it had been shortened and written for children. The adult reader will get more satisfaction reading translations of the original stories. For imaginative books based on Russian folklore it would be better to read C.). Cherryh's Rushalka, or Susan Price's gem of a children's book, The Ghost Drum. Pauline Morgan Patchwork Novel Newman, Kim. Bad Dreams. London: Simon & Schuster, 1990, 281 p. .95.0-671-71721-9. Like Newman's first novel, The Night Mayor, Bad Dreams projects its central character into a deadly dream world whose Creator and Prime Mover seems all-powerful and whose scenarios draw heavily on movie iconogra phy. Here, though, Newman has no recourse to the kind of sciencefictional


68 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 apparatus of ideas which he used to support the notion in the first novel, and the comedy aspects of the dream world are much more muted, though not entirely eliminated. The monstrous master of the present dream-world is a psychic vampire which feeds on the pain and the life-force of his victims; he has played many social roles in the course of his long history, including that of a prosecutor in the McCarthyite witch-hunts. The book's best black comedy sequence is that in which the Monster lunches at Romanoff's with "Tail Gunner Joe" (McCarthy), "the Lawyer" (Richard Nixon) and "the Objectivist" (Ayn Rand). While acting in this capacity he destroyed the morale and blighted the ca reer of a writer named Cameron Nielson, and has now turned his sadistic attention to Nielsen's three children. Following the horrific death of her sister Judi, Anne Nielson sets out to find her killer, and becomes engaged in a desperate race to win enough understanding of the Monster's nature to fight back effectively before he delivers her to an even nastier fate. The early part of the story is set in the sleazier parts of London, and can not quite muster enough conviction in describing the club-and-party scene where the local sado-masochists hang out, but it gathers force after the hero ine steps through a wardrobe into a surreal universe where nightmares lurk at every turn. There is a memorably claustrophobic sequence in the Under ground, and a very effective sub-climax in which Anne finds herself playing a minor part in the movie version of her father's most famous play, and then must live out two alternative lives which follow on from the different versions of its ending. The problem with novels of this kind is that in order to wring a full measure of horror out of the central character's predicament her situation must seem utterly hopeless, and it is very difficult to twist the plot in such a way as to sustain a believable ad of resistance. The climactic confrontation, in which the awesomely powerful Monster must suddenly become vulner able, is difficult to manage in any convincing way. Newman's handling of this problem is not one hundred per cent effective, but it is artful and reason ably satisfying. Taken as a whole, the book is a bit of a patchwork, whose confusion of tones and methods subverts its own intensity, but it provides further confirmation-were any needed-that Newman is a writer of enor mous potential. The acknowledgements section at the end of the book is uncommonly lengthy, and reveals that the individuals listed were evenly split on the question of whether to leave the carrot scene in. I can understand the pressure of the dilemma. (Modesty forbids me to explain; you'll have to read the book.) Brian Stableford


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 69 City Nightmares Nolan, William F. & Martin H. Greenberg, eds. Urban Horrors. Arlington Heights,IL: Dark Harvest, 1990. 246 p. $19.95. 0-913165-54-9. I'll admit to an initial disappointment when I opened this latest anthol ogy edited by William Nolan and the indefatigable Martin Greenberg. Due entirely to my own preconceptions, I'll hasten to add. For whatever reason, the word "urban" strikes me as very contemporary, so I was expecting all new stories, rather than a reprint anthology. The material ranges from a Fritz Leiber story bearing a 1941 copyright, through some early Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson, all the way up to the tail-end of the '80s with fiction by Joe Lansdale, J.N. Williamson and the like. The good news is that Nolan's picked some very strong material-city horrors firmly rooted in the times contemporary to when the stories were written. The prose of much of the early material is timeless and proved fas cinating as a slice of life from another age--l mean, the forties are fifty years in the past now. That's an entire lifetime for some folks. Combined with the more modern stories, Urban Thrills makes for a full rounded experience, allowing us an historical perspective of how we've been frightened by city nightmares over the past five decades. Charles de Lint Military-related SF Pournelle, J.E., ed. There Will Be War, Volume IX: After Armageddon. NY: Tor, 1990.404 p. $3.95. 0-812-54967-8. Through nine volumes now, Jerry Pournelle's There Will Be War has been an intriguing mix of military-related science fidion, short essays on the future, the art and science of war, and even poetry. The face of the earth after a nuclear holocaust is an enduring theme of science fiction, and such mainstream works as On the Beach. Pournelle and company address this in After Armageddon, but also expand the nightmare to include non-nuclear catastrophe. One of the most memorable selections is the anthology's final work of fiction, Norman Spinrad's "Journals of the Plague Years." Spinrad's earth is thoroughly infected with multiple, ever mutating varieties of the AIDS virus, and they damage the very fabric of human society by causing paranoia, distrust and cynicism. Two of There Will Be War's recurring contributors, Edward P. Hughes and Don Hawthorne, have stories in the latest volume as well. In


70 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 "Collector's Piece," Hughes flashes back to the early history of the post atomic Irish village Barley Cross and its lord Patrick O'Meara, late of the British army, and the only known sterile male. Hawthorne's "The Contract" continues the story of a Soviet army unit in a USSR devastated both by bio logical warfare that destroyed fossil fuels, and Communist oppression. Though some elements in Hawthorne's series, such as Soviet military anti Communist nationalism and East German Marxist shock troops, have been undercut by repression in the Baltics and revolution in Eastern Europe, his scenario retains its appeal as an alternate if not future history. The politics of There Will Be War have always been right of center, and After Armageddon continues the pattern. Still, it is a little shocking to read Pournelle's introduction, speculating that with America's crises of infrastruc ture and the environment, perhaps the clean slate of total destruction is not such a bad idea. He's only kidding, I hope. James P. Werbaneth Psycho Thriller Priest, Christopher. The Quiet Woman. London: Bloomsbury, 1990. 216 p. .99.0-7475-0587-X. Here Priest continues with the subtlety of narration and the ambiguity of genre which characterized his two previous novels, The Affirmation and The Glamour. A middle-aged author, Alice Stockton, seems to be the victim of a security cover-up. Her latest book, a biography of six women, has been seized by faceless bureaucrats at the Home Office for uncertain reasons and she is powerless to appeal against the decision; she cannot even discover who has made the order or on what grounds; she is not allowed to keep a copy of the book. At about the same time, her neighbour and best friend (an older woman, Eleanor Hamilton) in the Wiltshire village where she lives alone (except for a cat) has been found dead, apparently murdered. Eleanor's son attends her funeral-but Eleanor had never mentioned a son and he seems to hate her; certainly Alice takes an instant dislike to him. This is a psychological thriller, tense and fast-moving. It contains elements of SF in its background-pollution of some of southern England by a French Chernobyl-type accident and enough small differences to make one believe that it's set in an altemate world. But can (or should) the reader believe everything that appears to happen? At least some of these events are the subjective fantasies of one of the characters. Brilliantly constructed, The Quiet Woman provides a clever and fascinating read with much food for thought. Chris Morgan


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 71 Futuristic Farce Rankin, Robert. Armageddon: The Musical. London: Bloomsbury, 1990. 239 p. .99. 0-7475-0515-2. Rankin's previous humorous fantasy novels, The Brentford Trilogy and The Sprouts of Wrath, are probably too English for an American audience, being set in and around pubs in contemporary London. By contrast, Arma geddon: The Musical is set in the London of 2050. It's a futuristic farce about religion and the media, or, more precisely, about TV as such an important provider of entertainment (and life, especially for most of Britain's popula tion, inhabiting underground bunkers) that it has been raised to the status of a religion and is controlled by an oligopoly of three religion-based networks, notably Buddhavision, headed by Dalai Dan (a real deity). But across the galaxy an alien TV network is doing well (though increasingly less well) out of televising the lives of ordinary humans in their bunkers, as a soap opera. (Yes, there is something of a credibility gap throughout the book.) The plot revolves around the attempts of Rex Mundi, a young Londoner, to get and keep a job as a TV reporter, and around the aliens' plan to improve their ratings (the exact rationale of this argument is a little fuzzy) by bringing Elvis Presley through time from 1958 to 2050. It soon gets very complicated, especially as Rankin tends to throw in charaders and bits of background (probably just for fun) and then forgets about them. Perhaps it's the general silliness of the farce, or perhaps it's the way that Rankin tries too hard to be amusing, but I found very little here to be amused by. The story has been cut up into so many short scenes that one soon gets dizzy from leaping back and forth between groups of protago nists and trying to remember what's happened. The easiest course of action would be to read something else. Chris Morgan Conspiracy Thriller Reiling, Jr., William. Silent Moon. NY: TOR, 1990. 309 p. $4.95. 0-812-50708-8. Reiling's latest is an entertaining conspiracy thriller. The action centers primarily around a pair of reporters-Gillian Woodbury, who works for a network, and Bud Friendly, a newspaper reporter. Unknown to either, their separate investigations-into a ministry and a presidential candidate, respectively-are actually just parts of the same story, the truth of which neither of them realizes until its far too late.


72 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 The above's vague, I know, but this is one of those books that works far better if you go into it knowing next to nothing about the plot. (In other words, don't read the cover copy!) Just let me say that Reiling's written one of those perfect airplane books-I should know, I read it on a flight to Chicago-the kind that has you whipping through the pages to find out what happens next without a great deal of worry about style and such consider ations, nor thinking about how you're floating up in the air in X-tons of metal. In retrospect, let me add that Reiling's done a fine job with his charac terizations, and the plot has a nice zing to it. The prose gets a little too workmanlike in parts-particularly when he's describing the routes that characters take to get from one spot to the other-but never so much as to make you want to get off the rollercoaster. Charles de Lint Depressing Horror Plot Rozzi, P. D. Waltz With Evil. NY: Zebra Books/Kensington Publishing Corp., May 1991. 320 p. $4.50.0-8217-3395-8. Reading many of the horror books being published these days is depress ing. I seem to be reading the same book over and over again, even though the cover indicates otherwise. Whoever made the remark about there only being a limited number of themes available in writing was certainly talking about many horror writers, and Rozzi is no exception. Waltz With Evil tells the story of Rachel Clarkston returning to her home town. The only problem with this is that she has been dead for 150 years. Rachel was raped by her step-father, then killed and buried on the beach after her son Tommy was born. Now, she has returned to claim young Tommy Clarkston, only the current Tommy is really her great-grandson and Rachel is working for the Devil. It's actually much more complicated than this in the book. I have a strong aversion to bad books ... and this book is bad. The writing is good, and the characters are three dimensional people, but there is little development of those characters, the action scenes seem to merely whip by with no suspense, and the parts which are supposed to be scary ... you can see them coming for miles. I also have a stronger aversion to sequels to bad books and this one leaves the larder door wide open for a sequel ... It's not hinted at here, it's coming. And I'd look forward to it if this book was good ... Daryl F. Mallett


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 73 Don't Judge a Book's Cover Sawyer, Robert j. Golden Fleece. Sisters, OR: Questar, 1990, 197 p. $4.50 0-445-21078-8. Lurking behind a generic space opera cover, Robert Sawyer's first novel gives weight to the old adage of not judging a book by its cover, since what we have here is anything but standard genre fare. To begin with, Sawyer tells his story from the first person perspective of an omnipresent starship computer named jason. In doing so, Sawyer does anthropomorphize jason to some degree, but the human characteristics the computer takes on are learned, and in many cases, we're there to see jason learn them. Better yet, jason always retains the logic and linear reasoning of a machine, so that this isn't just an awkwardly-placed human personal ity substituting for a flesh-and-blood character. Second, while Sawyer utilizes the best of sf in his speculations, hardware and the like, the novel is really a murder mystery. Surprisingly, we know who the murderer is from the first page-jason-the story is about how the computer's complicity is slowly unraveled by one of the starship's crew, Aaron Rossman. Except for a couple of chapters devoted to jason's attempts to solve a cryptic alien message-which will appeal greatly to physics and math fans, but for everyone else could have been distilled down to just a couple of paragraphs--there isn't a bad note in this novel. The prose, characterization, pacing, speculation and storyline are so assured, it's hard to believe that this is a first effort. But it is, and I'm sure that we'll be seeing more of Sawyer's work in the future, which is a Good Thing, since we need more writers who aren't afraid to utilize more than typical genre elements. Sawyer has proved himself to be a writer willing to take chances. If he continues to do so in subsequent work, we can be assured of some more fine reading to come. Charles de Lint Interesting Read Shaw, Bob. Orbitsvil/e Judgement. London: Gollancz, 1990.281 p. .95. 0-575-04551-5. This is either the concluding volume of the Orbitsville trilogy, or it is the last section of one book split into three parts, how Bob Shaw conceived it. The story began in Orbitsville with the discovery of the Dyson sphere, a huge structure enclosing a sun and providing a vast area of habitable land. In


74 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 Orbits ville Departure, the second volume, migration from Earth is underway, millions disappearing into the vast spaces of the new world. At the end, the alien constructors of the artifact whisk it into an anti-matter universe. Vol ume three, published seven years later, tells the story from the displaced inhabitants'view. It begins quietly in Orangefield, a place which resembles any midwestern American town. Everyone knows everyone else, and their business. Jim Nicklin is the misfit, a solitary man who is tolerated by his neighbours for his genius at fixing things mechanical. Two things happen to change his life radically: the news, scarcely believed and ridiculed by the locals, that Orbitsville has moved (the displacement into the anti-matter universe), and the arrival of a traveling evangelist and his disciple, with whom Nicklin becomes involved. Each of the charaders is clearly portrayed and credible but there is little to mark the first part of the book as science fiction. Other than setting it could be a fine example of mainstream fiction. However, Orbitsville does not allow itself to fade into the background as bright green lines appear, segmenting the surface. Corey Montane is con vinced that the world is a trap devised by the devil which is about to be sprung and mankind's only hope is to evacuate as soon as possible. Troubles follow from an ambitious ego. Throughout, the book proceeds at a gentle and leisurely pace, the char acters only occasionally exploding into passion, but the narrative is no less absorbing for this. Even Nicklin's emotions, which undergo wild swings, are understated, but this adds charm to the whole. An interesting read from a master of the genre. Pauline Morgan Planet of the Laissez-Faire Molluscs Smith, L. Neil. Contact and Commune. NY: Popular Library/Questar, 1990. 199 p. $3.95. 0-445-20710-8. This first episode in a new Smith series (a sequel has been published; more may be on the way) starts out promisingly. The U.S. has become a Soviet state (the logical extension of liberal politics, of course), more rigorous in its Marxism than the mellower, more practical Russian model, which seems to have survived waves of glasnost. In a desperate search for raw materials, it has resurrected the space program to explore the asteroid belt. The multi-cultural crew includes a crack Marine major who is also female, beautiful and Spanish-American; A Tex-Mex general whose son died in a war


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 75 against "free" South Africa, a goon ish political officer of no perceptible ethnicity, and a wisecracking Russian scientist. The asteroid on which they choose to land, however, turns out to be already occupied by representatives of various alternative-continua Earths in which crustaceans, arachnids, birds and other forms of life evolved intelligence prior to the thus-aborted ascendance of humans to sapient status. Altogether, a swell premise for a galloping space opera of the type that Smith, and few others, can still write. I began to have major apprehensions when, early on, it is revealed that all of the non-humans are raving Libertarians. My fears were justified. Shortly after the central dramatic event of the novel, the murder of the Russian and of one of the molluscs who seem to run the place, the novel turns into an advanced seminar on the virtues of economic self-interest as the only true guarantee of peace, freedom, and prosperity. Smith has gone this road before; after his first novel, a highly enjoyable alternative history ( The Prob ability Broach) in which he described a u.S. evolved from its inception on Libertarian Principles, in which the "political education" of the vagrant from our continuum was a necessary, and lightly-handled, segment of the plot, he wrote two sequels (The Venus Belt and The Gallatin Divergence), which grew increasingly strident in their overt advocacy. Contact and Commune goes further, just grinding to a halt to allow windy disquisitions by the nonhumans and incredibly lame responses by the Marxist-indoctrinated humans. By the time the murder is solved (with a very nice twist to it), it seems secondary. The novel is emotionally complete, in that the unsolved questions, pri marily what the non-humans are doing there, do not need answers within the murder plot. But I fear that the sequel will involve more heavy going. I have no problem with a novel whose political assumptions don't agree with mine, if the politics are at the service of the fiction (most of Heinlein except for the vile Farnham's Freehold!. Smith has put fiction at the service of his politics, as Allen Drury did in the sequels to Advise and Consent and Callenbach did in Ecotopia. Sadly, I can't recommend this novel except to convinced Lib ertarians, who like being preached at. Bill Collins Thorough Analysis of Decadents Stableford, Brian, ed. The Dedalus Book of Decadence (Moral Ruins). Sawtry, Cambridgeshire: Dedalus, 1990. 283 p. .99. 0-946626-63-4. In anthologies, the editor's introduction rarely occupies more than one or two per cent of the book. That Stableford's occupies about thirty per cent


76 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 is not only a source of wonder but, as it turns out, a necessity, because his subject-the writings of the Decadent movement-is so little known. Briefly, the movement began in France with the publication of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal in 1857. Its better known French adherents were another poet, Arthur Rimbaud, and the prose writer Theophile Gautier. Always rather less than a strong literary force, its subject matter tended to be the decay of civilization (especially of moral values) and the expression of extreme sexual license, all approached with an attitude of extreme cynicism. The Decadent "is the victim of various ills, whose labels become the key terms of Decadent rhetoric: ennui (worldweariness); spleen (an angry subspecies of melan choly); impuissance (powerlessness )." There was a small amount of pub lic outcry against this material, but the Decadents in France were not sup pressed; never numerous, they tended to kill themselves off while young through their tortured lifestyles, expiring from the effects of syphilis, tuber culosis and drugs. The movement was at its height in France in the 1880's, merging with Symbolism in the 1890's. In England, Decadence was much less of a movement yet was much more firmly suppressed through the courts, with Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley being censored; it existed, never quite flourishing, during the 1890's, though it was represented by good early novels from Arthur Machen, M.P. Shiel and even H.G. Wells (whose The Time Machine shows the Eloi as a wholly decadent race). Outside France and England there was certainly no Decadent movement as such, though Stableford identifies an odd Russian, Italian and German writer or two with affinities. In the US, literary Decadence was entirely alien to the frontier spirit, though Edgar Allan Poe was a precursor, who had inspired Baudelaire, while, from the 1920's, Clark Ashton Smith wrote in the Decadent tradition. Of the 36 stories and poems anthologized, most come across today as horror or fantasy. Only French and English authors are represented, and Stableford has mostly chosen the work of the obscure and forgotten (hence nothing is included by Gautier or Machen). Obviously Stableford needed to be representative and true to the spirit of Decadence in his selection as well as providing entertainment for the reader. This he has done with some most impressive (though often very brief) stories from, in particular, Jean Lorrain, Rachilde, Remy de Gourmont, R. Murray Gilchrist and James Elroy Flecker. As a brief treatment of a little-known area of literature bordering on horror-fantasy this is an excellent work. Stableford's Introduction is aimed more at the layman than the academic, especially by its style (though it is nonetheless thorough and well-informed) and it makes entertaining reading. Chris Morgan


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 77 True Horror Strieber, Whitley. Billy. NY: Putnam, 1990. 317 p. $19.95. 0-399-13584-7. The job of the horror novel is to show us dark cracks in our society that we don't want to see, cracks where exist things which threaten not only our comfortable way of life, but our very sanity as well. Such a novel is Whitley Strieber's Billy, presenting us with a creature that is neither vampire nor werewolf nor ghost, but something so horrible that these others pale in com parison. Barton Royal is a psychotic child-abductor with the secret knowledge that burnt skin smokes and punctured lungs suck air. Billy Neary is a happy, healthy twelve-year-old whom Barton takes from his Iowa home in the middle of the night, strapping him to a cot in the back of his van as they travel to Barton's house in the Hollywood Hills. There, Barton intends to "tame" Billy, to break his will and make him "his son." Already aware of the severity of his situation, Billy soon recognizes the full depths of his captor's nature when Barton handcuffs him and locks him in the dirty, sound-proof room he keeps for "his boys." After attempting escape, Billy is nearly strangled by restraining straps; later, he is savagely beaten wit.h a whip when Barton puts on wig and dress, "disguising" as his mother to administer "punishment." Strieber tells his story from many angles, increasing the novel's tension with each shift. We are painfully aware of the loss and desperation felt by Mark and Mary Neary when they find their son is gone; we are also aware of Barton's longing for affection and sense the grave secrets of his basement torture chamber (which he cannot even admit to himself). Billy, however, is the character for whom Strieber creates the most sympathy, convincingly creating a twelve-year-old's reaction to his abduction and then skillfully presenting a picture of the boy's shattered mind when he discovers his dead "brothers" in the basement. This is not an easy novel to read, and to sensitive readers will no doubt even prove traumatic; nevertheless, it is a major work that should be expe rienced. The true horror does not, of course, arise primarily from the mas tery with which Strieber creates his characters and their world, although this in itself is considerable. The true horror is that we know, even as we read, such things are actually happening to children all across the country. The triumph of this work, then, is not only Billy's rescue from certain death in Barton's "black room"; it is also that the novel guides us unerringly into those dark cracks, making us aware on a personal level of the suffering these chi 1-


78 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 dren endure. And if a work of fiction can make us re-evaluate our position in the world community and wonder what we can do to help its victims, then it is truly a success. Highly recommended. Joseph M. Dudley Feminist Feast Sturgis, Susanna J., ed. The Women Who Walk Through Fire. Freedom CA: The Crossing Press, (No year given). 275 p. $9.95. 0-89594-419-7. In The Women Who Walk Through Fire, Susanna Sturgis brings together sixteen stories of testing and initiation in which female protagonists confront the rules and limitations of their societies, and in doing so, redefine what it means to be a woman. It is a strong anthology, wider-ranging in its interpre tations of the central theme than such collections commonly are, and boast ing a high proportion of well-written and thoughtful narratives. One of the strengths of this anthology is the variety of the stories. No one reader is likely to find all of them equally appealing, but neither will that reader come away without finding something to like. For splatter fans, there's J.L. Comeau's "Firebird," about a woman SWAT team member and the consequences of living daily with violence. Dark fantasy buffs will like Carol Severance's "Shark-Killer," an heroic tale about a woman-warrior who imagines that she can buy peace, and Phyllis Ann Karr's spooky "Night of the Short Knives," which is something like a Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story with a social consciousness. Those who are fond of social fables will be pleased by Eleanor Arnason's dry and telling "A Ceremony of Discontent," which is a kind of coming-of-age story for the middle-aged, and Rachel Pollack's feminist fairy-tale "The Girl Who Went to the Rich Neighborhood." Many of the stories are overtly political, and the villain in those cases is not a personal enemy, but a pervasive, impersonal system. Elaine Bergstrom's "Net Songs," Rosalind Warren's "The Inkblot Test," G.K. Sprinkle's "Road Runner," and Cleo Kocol's "Picnic Days" all portray varia tions of the dystopia that can only survive at the expense of individual free dom. Deborah H. Fruin's "New Age Baby" gives parents something new to worry about-bringing up their child too well. There are, of course, cases of the writing falling short of the idea, as in the case of L. Timmel Duchamp's "The Forbidden Words of Margaret A.," an interesting but artistically unsatisfying meditation on political and moral oppression. "Sahrel Short Swords" by Ginger Simpson Curry is muddled,


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 79 and Ruth Shigezawa's cautionary tale about the hidden dangers of paradise, "Hills of Blue, an Orange Moon," is so elusive as to be virtually incompre hensible. Some of what I consider weaker stories may be perfectly good examples of fiction that is simply not to my taste. Cathy Hinga Haustein's "Earth and Sky Words," about a mommy-tracked research chemist, for instance, is science fiction only by courtesy. And Merrill Mushroom's "Mamugrande" is only for those who really, really like earthmother moonblood fables. There are also two stories whose excellence is not a matter of opinion. Phyllis Ann Karr's "Night of the Short Knives" is a touch ing and powerful portrait of a young disabled woman who must fight her way out of a ruined mall to earn the right to live and breed. Although told from the point of view of her series characters Frostflower and Thorn, the story is not so dependent on them as to be irritating to readers who are not in the know. The undoubted gem of the collection is Lucy Sussex's "My Lady Tongue," in which an independent-minded young woman from a lesbian separatist ghetto goes out into the world to scout a site for a women's city and meets a man who loves Shakespeare. In Australia, "My Lady Tongue" won a Ditmar Award for the best SF short story of 1989, and it is easy to see why. The story is New Wave SF at its Ursula K. Le Guin/C.j. Cherryh best, beautifully thought out and beautifully written. The narrator is a bad girl, passionate, nonconforming, and entirely charming. The story is worth the $9.95 all by itself. Delia Sherman New Quality Sutton, David & Stephen jones, eds. Dark Voices 2. London: Pan, 1990. 223 p. .99. 0-330-31373-8. It's heartening to see the rise in quality of what used to be The Pan Book of Horror Stories under a new title and new editors. Dark Voices was a "best of" volume from the old series, so this is the first volume of new material. Not that Sutton and jones are strangers to horror editing, having compiled many anthologies singly or together, notably all the issues/volumes of Fantasy Tales. There are a few stories of the old kind-nasty, brutish and short--but also several longer, more original and more carefully considered pieces, all with supernatural elements. Most notable is "Moths" by john Brunner, an excellent tale of sibling rivalry set in France. Even more original is "The Man Who Drew Cats" by Michael Marshall Smith (it defies description, but is well


80 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 worth the price of the book). Then there's "Alive in Venice" by Cherry Wilder, a subtle historical story reminiscent of the foreign scenes in E.M. Forster's A Room with a View. The three reprinted stories, by Ramsey Campbell, William F. Nolan and Brian Lumley, were probably a mistake in what should be an anthology series of all-new stories. Chris Morgan Tarr Becoming Surer, More Exciting Tarr, judith. The Dagger and The Cross. NY: Doubleday: 1991. 474 p. $10.95.0-385-41182-0. The Dagger and The Cross is a sequel to Alamut, Tarr's exciting but lengthy and drawn-out novel concerning the Christian Elven prince Aiden and his adventures in the Holy Land of the Crusades. In the sequel, Aiden spends most of the novel attempting to marry his lady-love, the immortal Muslim Assassin, Morgiana, despite clever and subtle interference from church fanatics who hate him and all his kind. As with Alamut, Tarr again fills the pages with fascinating characters and continual action. In Alamut, Tarr presented Aiden as an exciting character, who carried the reader with him through his charm and wit as well as through the action of the novel. However, he was inconsistently drawn in that novel, and there were times when neither his actions nor his motivations made any sense whatsoever. In this novel, Tarr has done away with those irritating incon sistencies. Aiden is still charming, witty, and exciting. He is also unpredict able, but the unpredictability is written into the character, and works ex tremely well to further delineate him. Tarr, an author who seems to be con stantly growing, has shown a great leap forward with this characterization. Other characters also stand out clearly in The Dagger and The Cross. Alden's first love from Alamut, joanna, is more vividly delineated in this novel, and proves to be a very strong and likable character. His lover Morgiana is also more enfleshed, yet carries all the unpredictability of the fairy-folk, and all the temper. Aiden's brother Gwydion is a lovely charac ter, deeply engaging, while his daughter by joanna, Ysabel, one of his own kind, is totally child yet also something more, something different. At first the welter of characters is quite overwhelming, but they sort themselves out remarkably quickly, at least partly because of the deft characterization in the book. Another development from the last novel is the dialogue. In Alamut, sometimes the dialogue was gratuitous or inconclusive or included series of non-sequiturs, which left the reader puzzled. There was far 100 much dia-


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 81 logue that said far too little, so that by the time the reader had finished the book, exciting though it was, there was a real sense of dragging. That prob lem has been largely overcome in this novel, also. The dialogue is usually appropriate, while the gratuitous verbiage and puzzling, unrelated utterances of the earlier novel have disappeared. The result is a much faster-paced and more enjoyable book, although it is about the same length as the earlier novel. In both this area and in her use of characters, Tarr shows real growth. The Dagger and The Cross does share the strengths of Alamut. The vivid descriptions, making the setting so real that one can taste the dust or smell the trees and flowers continues, and this strange alien land in such a distant time comes vibrantly to life. Both the heroism and barbarity of the age is clearly depicted with all that made it both so beautiful and so ugly. Tarr shows herself a master at setting in both these novels, an ability that makes them very real for the reader. There is no doubt that Tarr is constantly growing stronger as a writer. This last novel is a great success, well-written and thoroughly enjoyable. J. R. Wytenbroek Tales of Medical Horror Wagner, Karl Edward, ed. Intensive Scare. NY: DAW Books, 1990. 303 p. $3.95. (No ISBN given). Gerald W. Page once wrote, "It's very easy for the element of horror to give way to one of sadism, an element that usually has very little to do with horror." Thoughts along this line, and memories of church youth group sponsored Hallowe'en haunted houses featuring maniacal dentists wielding power drills in blood-spattered offices, gave me a qualm or two before I read this collection, editor Wagner's good reputation notwithstanding. These reservations were almost entirely groundless; this collection of tales of medical horror is, by and large, a good one. Its contents consist of the excellent (Dennis Etchison's nightmarish "The Dead line," Jack Dann's "Camps," and Michael Shea's "The Autopsy") and the effective (George R. R. Martin's "The Needle Men" and CM. Kornbluth's "The Little Black Bag," to name just two), with only two that are ridiculous (Jepson & Gawsworth's "The Moving Growth") and embarrassing (Seabury QUinn's reprehensible "The House of Horror")' There are other gems, as well: Stevenson's classic "The Body Snatcher," Richard McKenna's wonderful "Casey Agonistes," and H.P. Lovecraft's under-reprinted (for once) and blackly humorous "Herbert


82 SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 West-Reanimator." I hold no brief for theme anthologies as a type, but most of the contents of Intensive Scare make this a very worthwhile collec tion. Recommended. Michael E. Stamm Sometimes Sharp, Sometimes Slow Watson, Ian. The Flies of Memory. London: Gollancz, 1990. 220 p. .95. 0-575-04873-5. It's the very near future. Aliens, who resemble five-foot-tall flies, are visiting Earth, going out in teams to view its natural and artistic wonders and somehow recording or remembering them. Despite UN supervision, there is some rivalry between US, Russian and English observers to discover the exact nature of the aliens' mission and to unravel their advanced technology. There's an English body-language expert, a Dutch nun, a White House security woman, a Russian colonel. ... The first section of the novel (previously published in Asimov's in 1988) gives the impression of being a spy thriller with only the single SF element. Then parts of Earth disappear-have the aliens remembered them too well?-and part of the city of Munich ends up on Mars, with three people still alive. Watson's great strength as a writer is his ability to take the strangest, most unlikely sounding events and make them plausible, fitting them together with originality and flair. So this novel develops not only in directions that its first section does not suggest, but in ways that no reader could imagine. The fact that Watson uses a different narrator for each of his five sections is a trifle disconcerting, even disappointing for the reader who wants to follow Charles Spark, the body-language expert rather than following what Watson considers to be the main plot thrust. It's a sharp, entertaining book, only occasion ally slowed by heavily discursive scenes. Chris Morgan More Than the Sum of Its Parts Wilhelm, Kate. State of Grace [Author's Choice Monthly #16]. Eugene, OR: Pulphouse, 1991.98 p. $4.95. One of the book reviewers' cliches is "Don't try to read all the stories in this collection at one sitting." In the case of State of Grace, though, you re ally should sit down and read it all, beginning to end, at one time.


SFRA Review, 197, May 1992 83 Wilhelm has chosen unrelated stories written between 1963 and 1988 and unified them by considering them as dream/nightmares during a woman's life. This is a really brilliant notion. Take, for example, "Jenny With Wings," an uncommonly (for Wilhelm) gloopy chunk of adolescent wish fulfillment. It's an embarrassing story by itself-but if it's seen in con text as an adolescent's fantasy it deserves attention for what it reveals about a girl's hopeless yearning. It also sets up beautifully "The Downstairs Room," a grim little story that resembles Perkins's "The Yellow Wallpaper" or what A Doll's House might have been like if Nora never had realized how much she needed to escape her marriage. And that sets up the hilarious, ambigu ous fantasy-delusion of "State of Grace" ... Most of these stories are quite well written, as usual for Wilhelm. Sev eral aren't fantastic-it appears that the woman who unifies these tales finally tames her fancy to an instrument she can use to survive in the real world. Tht:' major thing to notice about the book, though, is how well the stories reinforce each other. What a neat idea, and how well executed it is! Besides the virtues of separate pieces, this is the best-edited collection I've seen in a long time. Joe Sanders


SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION, INC. The SFRA is the oldest professional organization for the study of science fiction, fantasy and horror/Gothic literature and film, and utopian studies. Academic affiliation is not a requirement for membership. Founded in 1970, the SFRA was organized to improve classroom teach ing, encourage and assist scholarship, and evaluate and publicize new books and magazines dealing with fantastic literature and film. The SFRA enrolls members from many countries, including instructors at all levels, librarians, stu dents, authors, editors, publishers and readers with widely varied interests. SFRA BENEFITS INCLUDE: *EXTRAPOLATION. Quarterly. Oldest journal in the field with critical, historical and bibliographical articles, book reviews, letters, occa sional special topic issues. *Science Fiction Studies. 3 issues per year. Critical, historical and biblio graphical articles, review articles and reviews, notes, letters. Intemational coverage with abstracts in French and English. Annual index. *SFRA Review. Ten times yearly (or as directed by the Executive commit tee). Extensive book reviews, both fiction and non-fidion; review articles; listings of new and forthcoming fidion and secondary literature; letters, organizational news, calls for papers, work in progress, etc. *SFRA Directory. Annual. Lists members' names and addresses, phone numbers, special interests, etc. As a member you are also invited to: attend our annual meetings, where papers are presented, information is shared, and interests are discussed, all in a relaxed, informal environ ment. Much of the Significant secondary literature is on display at bargain prices. The Pilgrim and Pioneer Awards for distinguished contributions to SF or fantasy scholarship are awarded at a dinner meeting, which the winners normally attend. Many professional writers participate in the conferences. *participate ;n the association's activities by voting in elections, holding office, contributing to or reviewing for the Review, and serving on committees. The annual membership dues cover only the adual costs of providing benefits to members, and reflect a modest savings over subscriptions to the publications provided. Your dues may be a tax dedudible expense.


Lastname: SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION MONTREAL, QUEBEC 23RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION JUNE 18-21, 1992 ------------------------------------------First:. _____________________ __ Institution: ----------------------------------------Position: -----------------------------------------Street: _________________ -----'Apt.. ___ City: ________ ST/Prov: __ Postal Code: ___ Canadian Funds: Full Early Registration$90 Students$75 ___ __ Registration after May 15$100 Students$85 ___ Daily$35 Students$30 Friday Saturday ______ Awards Banquet only$25 SPAR Tour only$10 ___ u.s. Funds: Full Early Registration$80 Students$70 ___ __ Registration after May 15$90 Students$80 ___ Daily$30 Students$25 Friday Saturday ______ Awards Banquet only$20 SPAR Tour only$10 ___




Invite a Friend to Join Membership Application Please mail this completed form with your check for dues, payable to SFRA in U.S. dollars only. Mail to: Edra Bogle, Dept. of English, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 76203-3827. Dues Schedule: U.S. Canada Individual $60 $65 Joint* 70 75 Student** 50 55 Institution 80 80 Emeritus*** 30 Overseas $70 Dues ___ 80 60 80 Other __ Total __ If you wish to receive the British journal Foundation (3 issues yearly), add $17 to your dues. Joint membership is for two members in the same household, who will have separate Directory listings, receive two copies of the Review, but will receive one set of the two journals. ** Student membership rate may be used for maximum of five years. *** Emeritus receives only the Review. **** For overseas air mailing of Directory and Review only, add $15. This membership is for calendar year 1992. (This next information will appear in the B'5! Directory:) Name:, ________________________ __ Mailing Address: __________________ Telephone: [Home) L> __ __ BitNetNo. ____ [Office) (_) __ __ GEnie Address: ___ [Fax No.) (_) __ My principal interests in fantastic literature are (limit to 30 words): __ Repeat last year's entry. (This subscription form may be copied.) 4/92 (This is NOT a renewal notice)


(The information below will NOT appear in the Directory, and is for SFRA's records only.) Occupation: Institutional Affiliation: -------------------------------(Oiscipl ine:) ____________________________________ Projects SFRA should undertake: Current work in progress: (Okay to mention in Review? Yes_ No_ Please send membership forms to the following persons: (complete addresses, please).You may use my name as a referral.


Download Options

Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close


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


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


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


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