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The SFRA Review Published ten times a year for the Science Fiction Research Association by Alan Newcomer, Hypatia Press, 360 West First, Eugene, Oregon, 97401. Copyright 1992 by the SFRA. Editorial correspondence: Betsy Harfst, Editor, SFRA Review, 2326 E. Lakecrest Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85234. Send changes of address and/or inquiries concerning subscriptions to the Trea surer, 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 Nei I Barron, 1149 Lime Place, Vista, CA 92083. Juvenile-Young Adult books for review to Muriel Becker, 60 Crane Street, Caldwell, NJ 07006. Audio-Video materials for review to Michael Klossner, 410 E. 7th St, Apt 3, Little Rock, AR 72202 SFRA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President Peter Lowentrout, Dept. of Religious Studies California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840 Vice-President Muriel Becker, 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 #198 June 1992 In This Issue: President's Message (Lowentrout) ........................................................................ 4 Recent & Forthcoming Books (Barron) ................................................................. 5 The Shape of Films to Come (Krulik) ..................................................................... 6 News & Information (Barron, et al) ................................................................... 8 Letters to the Editor ................................................................................ 12 Editorial Matters (Harfstl .................................................................................. 13 Appeal & Oscars (Klossner) ..................................................................... 14 REVIEWS: Non-Fiction Easthope, Literary into Cultural Studies. (Latham) ............................................. 15 Amis, Kingsley. Memoirs. (Ruddick) .................................................................. 22 Attebery, Brian. Strategies of Fantasy. (Mathews) ............................................ 24 Bammer, Partial Visions: Feminism and Utopianism in the 1970s. (Williams) ........... ..49 Barrett & Heins, Addenda and Errata. (Albert) .................................................. 17 Benton, Superhero Comics of the Silverage:The Illustrated History. (Latham) .......... 25 Broderick, Mick. Nuclear Movies: A Critical Analysis and Filmography of ............. Intemational Feature Length Films Dealing with Experimentation, Aliens, ............. Terrorism, Holocaust and Other Disaster Scenarios, 1914-1989. (Brians) .............. 27 Cox, The Addams Chronicles: ............. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know. (Klossner) .............................. 28 Engen, Sir John Tenniel: Alice's White Knight. (Albert) ..................................... 29 Filmer, ed., The Victorian Fantasists. (Lowentrout) .............................................. 30 Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-Earth. (Collings) ................................................. 31 Grossberg, et aI., eds., Cultural Studies. (Latham) ............................................. 15 Hawkins, Classics and Trash: Traditions and Taboos. (Kratz) ................................. 32 Hoffman, Hoffman's Guide to SF, ............. Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-92. (Stableford) ............................... 33 Huntington, ed., Critical Essays on H.G. Wells. (Taormina) ............................. 34 Kaler, Anne K. The Picara: From Hera to Fantasy Heroine. (Hollinger) .................... 35 Kies, Presenting Young Adult Horror Fiction. (Levy) ......................................... 36 Kinnard, The Comics Come Alive: A Guide to Live Action Productions. (Hall) .............. 36 McCombs, Judith and Carole L. Palmer ............. Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide. (Bartter) ................................... 37 Morse & Bertha, eds., More Real Than Reality: ............. Fantastic in Irish Literature and Arts. (Sullivan) .................................... 38 Penley & Ross, eds., Technoculture. (Latham) .................................................. 15 Richardson, J. Allen St. John: Illustrated Bibliography. (Albert) ......................... 39 Ross, Strange Weather: Culture, Science, ............. and Technology in the Age of Limits. (Latham) .................................... 15 Simpson, Camelot Regained: ............. The Arthurian Revival and Tennyson 1800-1849. (Williams) .................. .40 Sirius & Mu, eds., Mondo 2000. (Latham)) ........................................................ 15 Taylor, The Fantasy Art of Geoff Taylor. (Stableford) ....................................... .41 Testa, Desire and the Devil: Demonic Contracts ............. in French and European Literature. (Stableford) .................................. .42 Tolkien & Tolkien, The Tolkien Family Album. (Collings) ............................... .43 Wagenknecht, Seven Masters of Supernatural Fiction. (Sanders) ..................... .44 Whitlark, Behind the Great Wall: ............. A Post-Jungian Approach to Kafkaesque Literature. (Taormina) .......... .44 Wrightson, Berni Wrightson: A Look Back. (Stevens) .................................... .45
SFRA Review, 198, june 1992 3 Fiction: Anderson & Beason, Trinity Paradox, The. (Mallett) ........................................ .47 Anthony, Virtual Mode. (Wells) ......................................................................... 47 Asprin, Phule's Paradise. (Lawson) .................................................................. .48 Bellairs, The Face in the Frost. (Strain) .............................................................. 50 Blair, Bright Angel. (Parkin-Speer) .................................................................... 51 Bradley, ed., Sword and Sorceress VII (Strain) .................................................. 52 Brennert, Ma Qui and Other Phantoms. (Sanders) ........................................... 52 Card, The Memory of Earth. (Hellekson) ........................................................... 53 Courtney, Vampire Beat. (Mallett) ..................................................................... 54 David, et aI., Star Trek: The Disinherited. (Mallett) ........................................... 55 Feist & Wurts. Mistress of the Empire. (Strain) ................................................... 56 Gallagher, The Alien Dark. (Mallett)) ............................................................... 57 Vision:. Fire Dream. (Mallett) ......................................................... 57 Gordon, The Mask: The Third book of the Watchers. (Morgan, P) .................... 58 Herbert, Creed. (Morgan, P) .............................................................................. 58 Hughart, Eight Skilled Gentlemen. (Schuyler) ................................................... 59 Kilworth, Midnight's Sun: A Story of Wolves. (Morgan, P) ................................ 60 Lansdale, Stories by Mama Lansdale's Youngest Boy. (Sanders) ....................... 61 Merritt, Dwellers in the Mirage. (Strain) ........................................................... 50 Morgan, Desert Eden. (Ma I lett) .......................................................................... 61 Morlan, The Amulet. (Tryforos) ......................................................................... 62 Morris, The Chalchiuhite Dragon: A Tale of Toltee Times. (Mathews) ........................ 63 Norton, with Griffin, Storms of Victory: Witch World; the Turning. (Strain) ........... 64 Pasechnick & Youmans, eds., The Best of the Rest, 1990: ............. The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy from the Small Press. (Collins, R) ........... 65 Roberson, Sword Breaker. (Becker, G) ............................................................. 66 Sampson, Black Smith's Telling: Book Three ............. in the sequence Daughter of Tintagel. (Morgan, P) .............................. 67 Swithen, Princes of Sandastre: ............. The Perilous Quest for Lyonesse, Book One. (Morgan, P) ................... 68 Vinge, J., The Summer Queen. (Mead) .............................................................. 69 Vinge, V., A Fire Upon the Deep. (Hellekson) .................................................. 70 Warrington, Rainbow Gate, The. (Morgan, P) ................................................... 71 Wells, The Third Book of the Kingdoms: The Way Beneath. (Morgan, P) ............... 72 Wolf, Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? (Lawson) ........................................... 72 Wrede, Mairelon the Magician. (Strain) ............................................................ 73 Young Adult: Cooper, The Sleep of Stone. (Langer)) ............................................................. 74 Modesitt, The Magic of Reduce. (Strain) ........................................................... 74 Po liotta, Doomsday Exam. (Lawson) ................................................................ 75 Velde, User Unfriendly. (Lowentrout) ............................................................... 76 Audio-Video Disney, Fantasia. (Klossner) ............................................................................... 77 Jones, Aliens, Monsters & Me: ............. Fantasy Film World of Ray Harryhausen. (Klossner) .......................... 77 Miyazaki, Warriors of the Wind. (Klossner) ............................................. 78 Otomo, Akira. (Klossner) ................................................................................. 78
4 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 President's Message LA Burning As I write this, LA has been in flames for almost 24 hours. I have just walked the short way to the edge of our ersatz England in SoCal housing complex and looked out toward LA across the miles-wide dead grassy fields of the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. It is sunset and great Mordorian smokes now mix with the smog to cast a pall over the whole basin. LA is burn ing and Long Beach, Cerritos, Hollywood and a dozen other cities nearby. Thank God rioters can't jaunte though the combination of near instantaneous reporting of riot news and our extensive freeway system seems to be producing an effect similar to jaunte riots. Who said SF writers aren't prescient? Must creative cultures be violent? Bester's answer is found in his descrip tion of Gully Foyle's century: "It was an age of freaks, monsters and grotesques. All the world was misshapen in marvelous and malevolent ways. The Classicists and Romantics who hated it were unaware of the potential greatness of the twenty-fifth century. They were blind to a cold fact of evolution ... that progress stems from the clashing merger of antagonistic extremes, out of the marriage of pinnacle freaks." Hmmm ... sounds like late twentieth-century Baroque America to me. While Bester's is arguably an apt description of creative cultures past and present, I suspect (hope and believe) that this is because we are simply not yet wise enough in aggregate to produce a culture that can be deeply creative but peaceful. If there is an evolutionary task set us, it is the development of such a culture in the decades and centuries ahead. Remember to write the Acting Rector of the Polytechnic of East London to throw your support behind the threatened SF Foundation. (See Dr. Edward James' letter in the April issue of the Review for all the details.) I myself hail from a university system that is financially belly up and bloating, and I have seen that such appeals can make a difference primarily because people are so lazy when it comes to writing that when they actually do others take note. Remember Star Trek? I hope you will actually write. You should be receiving this issue of the Review just before the annual meeting in Montreal. Steve Lehman has put together a great program which both continues a number of our ongoing discussions and pulls on the rich and impor tant SF writing and scholarship that has come out of his local area. The Pilgrim and Pioneer committees completed their work in late April, and I've been gath ering in business meeting agenda items from the membership for some time now. Milton Wolf, who is planning our 1993 conference in Reno, will be in Montreal an opportunity to pass on your suggestions for our next meeti ng. The EC has plotted the Scholar Support Fund Raffle the fabulous prize will be announced at the conference. Hope to see you all there! Pete Lowentrout
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 5 Recent & Forthcoming Books Year of publication as shown. (P) denotes publication confirmed. All unconfirmed dates are tentative; delays are common. Most original books have been or will be reviewed in these pages. Reference Burgess, Michael. Reference Guide to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Libraries Unlimited, june 1992. Reginald, R. Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature [Bibliography}: 1975-1991. Gale Research, summer 1992. Possibly 2 volumes. Salmonson, jessica Amanda. The Encyclopedia of Amazons; Women Warrior.9 from Antiquity to the Modern Era. Doubleday Anchor, August 1992. Reprint. History & Criticism Aertsen, Henk & Alasdair A. MacDonald. Companion to Middle English Romance. Garland (P). Baehr, Stephen Lessing. The Paradise Myth in Eighteenth-Century Russia: Utopian Patterns in Early Secular Russian Literature and Culture. Stanford Univ. Press (P). Bailey, Richard W. Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language. Univ of Michigan Press, 1991 (Pl. Has section on language in SF and utopia. Becker, Allienne R. The Lost Worlds Romance From Dawn Till Dusk. Greenwood, August 1992. Bradbury, Ray. Yesterday'S Tomorrow; Obvious Answers to Impossible Futures. Capra Press (P). Clarke, Arthur C. How the World Was One: Beyond the Global Village. Gollancz, UK, May 1992; Bantam, july 1992. jones, Stephen & Kim Newman, eds. Horror: 100 Best Books. NEL, London, july 1992. Reprint. Klaie, Dragan. The Plot of the Future: Utopia and Dystopia in Modern Drama. Univ. of Michigan Press (P). Le Guin, Ursula K. The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. Rev. ed. HarperCollins, May 1992. Reprint of Women's Press, 1989 ed. Morse, Donald E., Marshall B. Tymn & Csilla Bertha, eds. The Celebra tion of the Fantastic: Selected Papers from the Tenth ICFA. Greenwood, August 1992. Nadaff, Sandra. Arabesque: Narrative Structure and the Aesthetics of Repetition in the 1/1001 Nights". Northwestern Univ. Preas (P). Palmer, jerry. Potboilers: Methods, Concepts and Case Studies in Popular Culture. Routledge, February 1992.
6 SFRA Review, 798, June 7992 Ruddick, Nicholas. British Science Fiction: A Chronology. Greenwood Press, June 1992. Ruddick, Nicholas, ed. State of the Fantastic: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Fantastic Literature and Film [11th ICFA. 1990}. Greenwood, August 1992. Scholnick, Robert S. American Literature and Science. Univ Press of Kentucky, July 1992. Sterling, Bruce. The Hacker Crackdown. Bantam, October 1992. Author Studies [Barker]. Winter, Douglas E. Clive Barker: A Biography. HarperCollins, London, November 1992. [Carroll]. Carroll, Lewis. Lewis Carroll: Looking Glass Letters. Rizzoli (P). [Collins]. Heller, Tamar. Dead Secrets: Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic. Yale Univ. Press (P). [Freeman]. Reichardt, Mary R. A Web of Relationships: Women in the Short Fiction of Mary Wilkins Freeman. Univ Press of Mississippi, May 1992. [Hearn]. Cott, Jonathan. Wandering Ghost: The Odyssey of Lafcadio Hearn. Kodansha International, April 1992. Reprint of 1990 ed. [Hearn]. Dawson, Carl. Lafcadio Hearn and the Vision of Japan. Johns Hopkins Univ Press, April 1992. [Hubbard]. Corydon, Bent & L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? Barricade Books, July 1992. [King]. Magistrale, Tony, ed. The Dark Descent: Essays Defining Stephen King's Horrorscope. Greenwood, 1992 (P). [King]. Magistrale, Tony. Stephen King. Twayne, 1992 (P). [King]. Spignesi, Stephen J. The Complete Stephen King Encyclopedia. Contemporary Books, March 1992. Reprint of 1991 edition. [Koontz]. Munster, Bill, ed. The Dean R. Koontz Companion. Underwood Miller, May 1992. [L'Engle]. Gonzales, Doreen. Madeleine L'Engle: Author of A Wrinkle in Time. Dixon/Macmillan, 1991 (P). [Lewis]. Downing, David S. Planets in Peril: A Critical Study of C. S. Lewis's "Ransom Trilogy". Univ of Massachusetts Press (P). [Lindsay]. Power, David. David Lindsay's Vision. Pauper's Press, 17 Melbourne Rd, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 5DJ, UK, 1991. .95 paper. 32 page chapbook. [Moskowitz]. Moskowitz, Sam. After All These Years ... :Sam Moskowitz and His Science Fiction Career, 1992 (P). Niekas Publications, RFD 2, Box 63, Center Harbor, NH 03226, $7.45 delivered. [Orwell]. Meyers, Valerie. George Orwell. St Martin's, 1991 (P). [Poe]. Myers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe. Scribners, September 1992. [Tolkien]. Carpenter, Humphrey. J.R.R. Tolkien. Grafton, UK, January 1992. Reprint.
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 [Tolkienl. Rosebury, Brian. Tolkien: A Critical Assessment. St. Martin's, April 1992. [Tolkienl. Grotta, Daniel. The Biography of j.R.R. Tolkien. Rev ed. Running Press, April 1992. Film &TV Arkoff, Sam & Richard Trubo. Flying Through Hollywood By the Seat of My Pants ... Birch lane/Carol Pub Gp, April 1992. 7 Batman Returns: The Official Book of the Movie. Bantam, June 1992. Gifford, Denis, ed. Mad Doctors, Monsters and Mummies! and Things, Its and Aliens. lobby card poster reproductions in oversize trade pbs. Each .95 from H.C. Blossum, 6/7 Warren Mews, london WIP 5DS, 1991. Hanke, Ken. A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series. Garland, 1991 (P). Harty, Kevin J. Cinema Arthuriana: Essays on Arthurian Film. Garland, 1991 (P). Howe, David, Steve Walker & Mark Stammers. The Doctor Who Handbook: Book 1. Doctor Who Books, UK, December 1992. Hutson,Shaun. Horror Film Quiz Book. Sphere, UK, 1991. landon, Brooks. The Aesthetics of Ambivalence: Rethinking Science Fiction Film in the Age of Electronic (Re) Production. Greenwood, August 1992. Nance, Scott. Bloodsuckers: Vampires at the Movies. Pioneer Books, June 1992. Russo, John. Scare Tactics: The Art, Craft and Trade Secrets of Writing, Producing and Directing Chillers and Thrillers. Dell, August 1992. Schoell, William. Comic Book Heroes of the Screen. Citadel Press, 1991 (P). Senn, Bryan & John Johnson. Fantastic Cinema Subject Guide: A Topical Index to 2500 Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Films. McFarland, spring 1992. Illustration Benton, Mike. Science Fiction Comics: The Illustrated History. Taylor Pub, June 1992. Frazetta, Frank. Small Wonders: The Funny Animal Art of Frank Frazelta. Kitchen Sink Press, 1991 (P). Giger, H.R. Giger. Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Germany, spring 1992. 6 reproductions, 12xl7 inches, $6.98. Hildebrandt, Tim & Jack E. Norton. The Fantasy Art Techniques of Tim Hildebrandt. Paper Tiger/Dragon's World, UK, November 1991. Kirby, Josh. In the Garden of Unearthly Delights: The Fantasy Paintings of josh Kirby. Paper Tiger/Dragon's World, UK, 1992 (P). Pennington, Bruce. Ultraterraneum: the Paintings of Bruce Pennington. Paper Tiger/Dragon's World, UK, 1992 (P). Neil Barron
8 SFRA Review, 798, June 7992 News & Information C.S. Lewis Special Issue A special issue of the quarterly Chesterton Review was recently devoted to C. S. Lewis. According to the Washington Post Book World the contents include Lewis's "A Defence of Chesterton," a series of short essays consid ering parallels between CSL and GKC, a symposium on the Narnia stories (with telling observations by novelist Alberto Manguel and local educator Joseph W. McPherson, who reminds us that "deep down, leading a noble and heroic life is what each child, each person most desires"), a consider ation of Lewis's poetry by W. W. Robson and reviews of books dealing with Lewis and his works. The quarterly is $30/year from St Thomas More Col lege, 1437 College Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N OW6.-NB Bargain Priced Research Index In 1987 Gale Research published Hal Hall's two volume Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Index 7878-7985. By far the largest such bi bliography, the set indexes 19,000 books, articles, interviews, films, etc by author (16,000 citations) and by subject (27,000 entries). Most citations are to English language materials, but about 1400 foreign language entries are in cluded. The emphasis is on SF, but fantasy and horror aren't neglected. Most entries are from the post-1945 period. Originally published for and marketed to libraries, its $175 cost made it prohibitively expensive for almost anyone else. The set is now OP, but Hal has a few sets left, which he's selling for US$60, postpaid in North America by surface book rate (add $5 for shipping if you're overseas). Having a set at home or office will save you many trips to the library, in the unlikely event a local library has a set. Send your check payable to Hal Hall, 3608 Meadow Oaks Lane, Bryan, TX 77802. -NB It was a Dark and Stormy Night. .. Continued You all teach as part of your canon Bulwer-Lytton's Paul Clifford (7830), right? He lives on in It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Final Conflict, Yet More of the Best from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest compiled by Scott Rice (Penguin, $8 paper). Rice founded the contest that invites people to write the opening sentence of an imaginary awful novel. Here are some from the latest collection: "Her mouth said, 'No! no! no! but every other inch of her throbbing body said, 'Yes! yes! yes!' except for her pancreas, which didn't care much either way" and "She raised the barrel of her Browning 20-
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 9 gauge and aimed for Daniel's lower chakras." I will propose to Milt Wolf, who's running the 1993 SFRA conference in Reno that we solicit similar offerings, both from those who attend and those who don't, with a prize for the winner. -NB The Scream Factory When Bob Morrish, one of the three publisher/editors of The Scream Factory, sent me two specimen issues (7, summer 1991, and 8, winter 1991/ 92), I wasn't encouraged by the b&w cover illustrations or the legend on issue 8, "Special Giant Monster Issue!" The last thing I needed was a vari ant of Ackerman's awful if popular Famous Monsters of Filmland. The issues are probably fairly typical examples of low-budget desktop publishing by amateurs, technically more proficient than the fanzines of yesteryear but-in this case-strictly for the horror fiction/film buff who will excuse the illustrations and the chatty in-group quality of the prose. If these issues are typical, the 60-70 page two-column inch magazine is a mixture of book reviews (15-25 in these issues), magazine reviews, short articles (a survey of horror fiction and cinema in the 1980s in 7, of Godzilla films and giant monster novels in 8), free-wheeling commentary by the edi tors and contributors, and some fiction. The fiction may be commissioned, since they say the magazine is closed to fiction submissions but open to nonfi ction and illustrations. I don't see The Scream Factory on Hugo lists any time soon, but what it lacks in finesse, wit or sophistication is partly offset by the enthusiasm of the editors and contributors. Publication is apparently spasmodic. A speci men issue is $6; 4 issues/$20, checks payable to Peter Enfantino and mailed to Deadline Press, 4884 Pepperwood Way, San Jose, CA 95124. -NB Call for Information I am currently working on a ton of projects, most of them involved with The Borgo Press, and need all the help I can get. I am seeking the following: Science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazines and fanzines for a de tailed bibliographic index Hal Hall and I are working on. Everything from Amazing Stories to IASFM; Locus to SF Chronicles; Megalon to Grue. Strange and obscure publications, small press editions, foreign publica tions, or special editions of Jack Vance, Gregory Benford, David Brin, and A. E. van Vogt. Star Trek materials, both published and unpublished. If you have cop ies of scripts (either from the show, or complete scripts you've written but
10 SFRA Review, 198, june 1992 were not published or produced), would you please send a Xerox? These are for a bibliography of Star Trek publications I am working on with Clint Zehner. Thanks for any help you can provide. Daryl F. Mallett Current Projects for SFRA Members MALLETT, Daryl: Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991, by Robert Reginald. Mary A. Burgess & Daryl F. Mallett, Associate Editors. John Hansen Gurley, Richard Rogers, & Paul David Seldis, Editorial Assistants. Boston: Gale Research Company, 1992. (A companion volume to Reginald's earlier version, Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature, 1700-1974, which lists all 1 st edition, English language sf, fantasy, & horror literature published). The Work of Elizabeth Chater. An Annotated Bibliography & Guide, by Daryl F. Mallett & Annette Y. Mallett. San Bernardino, CA: The Borgo Press, 1992. (A detailed bibliography of this romance, mystery, & sf writer). The Work of jack Vance: An Annotated Bibliography & Guide, by Jerry Hewett & Daryl F. Mallett. San Bernardino, CA: The Borgo Press, 1992. (The definitive bibliography of Jack Vance. Jack will be GoH at the 1992 World SF Convention in Orlando, and the book is scheduled to be released in time for the convention). ALA Annual Conference During the Annual Meeting of the American Library Association (to be held in San Francisco, California, June 25 -July 2, 1992) there will be extensive programming that involves Speculative Fiction Writers. There will be a preconference Workshop titled "Science Fiction Readers' Advisory Ser vices" which will feature: Anne MCCaffery, Frederik Pohl, Stephen Donaldson, Bruce Sterling, Janet Kagan, David Hartwell, and others. On Sunday, June 28th, Robert Silverberg and Howard Rheingold will give pre sentations. On Monday, June 29th, the library Information Technology Association (LlTA) President's Program will present three outstanding speculative fiction writers from 2-4 p.m.: David Brin, Bruce Sterling, Hans Moravec. Following there will be a High Tea from 4-6 p.m. where the above three speakers will mingle with the audience. From 6-8 p.m., following the High Tea, there will be a Cosmic Autographing presented by Baker & Taylor with the following illustrious group of speculative and science fiction authors: Jack Vance, Marion Zimmer
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 11 Bradley, Poul Anderson, Karen Haber, Hans Moravec, Howard Rheingold, Kim Stanley Robinson, Elizabeth Forrest, Lisa Mason, Frank M. Robinson,Diana L. Paxson, Kevin J. Anderson, Janet Kagan, Anne McCaffrey, Charles Brown, David Brin, Robert Silverberg. Bruice Sterling, Lisa Waters, Tom Maddox, Thomas T. Thomas Tad Williams, Cheryl Franklin, Pat Murphy, Karen Joy Fowler, Timothy Zahn, Katharine Kerr, Hayford Peirce, Frederik Pohl, and Robert Reginald. Books for autographing will be sold on site in the Grand Ballroom of the San Francisco Hilton Hotel. To obtain your FREE ticket, send a self-addressed stamped #10 envelope by June 17, 1992 to: Cosmic Autographing Ticket Request, Baker & Taylor Books, 652 East Main Street, P.O. Box 6920, Bridgewater, NJ 08807-0920. First come, first served. Hope to see you there! Milton T. Wolf Waterbeds, Anyone? I am researching the development of the waterbed for a client of mine who has been sued by a person who claims to be the inventor of the waterbed. I understand that waterbeds have been written about frequently in science fiction literature. In particular, I recently read the book Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, where waterbeds were discussed in some detail for medical purposes. I am looking for citations to pre-1968 books that discussed this topic and thought that SFRA members may know of books or stories that mentioned this topic in greater detail and may be able to provide citations to specific passages. If so, please contact me at the (213) 622-7700 or at Pretty, Schroeder, Brueggemann & Clark, 444 South Flower Street, Suite 2000, Los Angeles, CA 90071-2921. Mark Garscia
12 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Letters to the Editor: Dear Editor: I would like to point out some facts about the Neil Barron review of my work, Index to Mexican SF Magazines (SFRA Review March 1992). That review is one example of a paradigm always present in the English speaking critics when they analyze works of foreign countries; they show the most complete ignorance about the subject. For instance Mr. Barron analyzed a minor percent of the whole maga zine field in Spanish (those edited in Mexico) and then he concluded that: "no original Spanish language Sf worth reading has apparently ever been published, either in Spanish or in translation." That's completely false as anyone with a little knowledge knows. To demonstrate this statement I wi II give just two facts, which are accessible to any English speaking critic: 1) The magazine Nueva Dimensi6n, edited in Barcelona, Spain, won a Special Award for "excellence in the magazine publishing" in the Worldeon of 1972 at Los Angeles. There were 148 issues of this magazine published from 1968 to 1983. 2) The Argentine magazine, EI Pfmdulo was classified by the Sweden scholar Sam J. Lundwall as one of the three best SF magazines ever published in the world in his article "Adventures in the Pulp Jungle" (1985). On the other side if Mr. Barron would make an effort to read the preface of my work (perhaps not in good English but legible after all), he would notice that this is just a step to my final goal, which is to make a Complete Index to SF Magazines in Spanish, and that the only reason to release this incomplete work is to serve as a way to get the issues I haven't incorporated in my files yet, most of them published in Mexico. By the way, Mr. Barron was so careless in the review that he didn't ob serve that the issues not indexed of Los Cuentos Fantasticos were just 11, not the 18 he mentioned. Probably he confuses the Want List of issues of my personal collection with the ones missing in the Index. I want to finish this letter with a thought that came to my mind while I was writing it: I don't know which alternative is worse, that the critics and scholars just ignore foreign works or that they make reviews without having any knowledge of the subject. Yours truly, Moises Hasson Santiago, Chile
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 13 Dear Editor, I have received the good news about my SFRA membership application from Edra Bogle at the same time that the wonderful issues of the SFRA Review arrived. I am delighted to read the very interesting book reviews and will take my time to go through every page of the Review. I also received Extrapolation and the Science Fiction Studies. Both seem quite interesting but I cannot give my true view on them as I have not had the time to read them yet. I am quite happy to be a member of the SFRA. Sincerely, Philippe REY. 47 chemin des Falquets 1223 COLOGNY Geneva, Switzerland Editorial Matters: Audio-Video "We've come a long way, Baby!" or "The Future is now!" are both com ments that can be applied to changes in this century's music and film pre sentations. When I was a child I saw movies and listened to the radio or a crank operated victrola spin out favorites, Pennies From Heaven or the re frain "Round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows" (Was there a name for that song?). Audiocassettes, videocassettes, or videodiscs were in some far off SF future that Orson Welles might popularize. Advanced technology has moved us from these primitive times into a magical world of exciting new things. And yes, these remarks do lead to another SFRA Review change. The Review is adding a new feature, an audio-video section. Michael Klossner, one of SFRAR's regular reviewers has agreed to edit this expanding area of interest. As editor, I am very pleased to have Michael join our editorial fea ture staff. Betsy Harfst
14 SFRA Review, 198, june 1992 AV Reviewers Sought I am looking forward to my new duties as Audio-Video Editor of SFRA Review. I see no need to discuss in these pages Hollywood movies which are reviewed by dozens of film critics, but I hope to provide information on videocassettes, videodiscs and audiocassettes which are commercially available and of unusual'interest to SFRA members and which are not widely reviewed. Examples are the Japanese animated films Akira and Warriors of the Wind and the documentary Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me : the Fantasy Film World of Ray Harryhausen, reviewed by me elsewhere in this cur rent SFRAR issue. Please write to me at 410 E. 7th St., Apt. 3, Little Rock, AR 72202 to volunteer to review audio-video titles or to suggest titles for review. Those wishing to review should specify what equipment they have access to VCRS, audiocasette players and videodisc players. We especially need re viewers with disc players. There will probably be only a few titles each year that fit the criteria outlined above. With a few alert reviewers we should be able to cover the field thoroughly. Michael Klossner Genre Oscar Sweep The mainstream press has dubbed Silence of the Lambs a "psychologi cal thriller" rather than a horror film, disguising the dominance of genre films at the Academy Awards announced March 30. Aside from awards for for eign films, documentaries and short films, eighteen Oscars were presented, of which twelve were won by genre movies -Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Adapted Screenplay (only the third film in history to win all five top awards); The Fisher King, Supporting Ac tress; Beauty and the Beast, Score and Song; and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Visual Effects, Sound Effects, Sound and Makeup. Of the twenty-four films nominated for one or more awards, eight were genre. They accounted for thirty-four ofthe eighty-four nominations for the eighteen awards. Silence of the Lambs was nominated but lost for Editing and Sound; Beauty and the Beast for Best Picture, Sound and two songs besides the winning song; Terminator 2 for Cinematography and Editing; The Fisher King for Original Screenplay, Actor, Art Direction and Score; Hook for Art Direction, Visual Effects, Costume, Makeup and Song; Cape Fear for Actor and Supporting Actress; Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country for Makeup and Sound Effects; and The Addams Family for Costume. Supporting Actor was the only award for which no genre film was nominated. In addition, special Career Achievement Oscars went to Ray Harryhausen and George Lucas. Michael Klossner
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 15 Non-Fiction Cultural Studies and Science Fiction Easthope, Antony. Literary into Cultural Studies. NY: Routledge, 1991, xii + 202 p. $49.95. 0-415-06640-9; $12.95, pb. -06641-7. Grossberg, Lawrence, Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler, eds. Cultural Studies. NY: Routledge, 1992, x + 788 p. $59.50.0-415-90351-3; $24.95, pb. -90345-9. Ross, Andrew. Strange Weather: Culture, Science, and Technology in the Age of Limits. NY: Routledge, Verso, 1991,275 p. $16.95 pb. 0-86091-567-0. Penley, Constance, and Andrew Ross, eds. Technoculture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1991, xvii + 327 p. $39.95. 0-8166-1930-1; $15.95 pb. -1932-8. Sirius, R.U. and Queen Mu, eds. Mondo 2000. Quarterly. Fun City MegaMedia, P.O. Box 10171, Berkeley, CA 94709-5171. $5.95 cover price; $24/6 issues. Antony Easthope argues that modern literary studies, devised by the so called New Critics and institutionalized in the Anglo-American academy during the '30s and '40s, is now a moribund husk which is swiftly being replaced by a model of cultural studies that is both less elitist (attentive to popular as well as canonical texts) and more analytically adequate (attentive to context as well as text). Easthope borrows the terminology of historian of science Thomas Kuhn to describe the situation: an old paradigm has reached a stage of crisis, ushering in a period of transition during which broad prin ciples are rethought and diverse options considered, eventually resulting in the consolidation of a new paradigm. More than an attempt at historical description, Easthope's book is an active intervention in this process, a po lemical assault on the New Critical tradition and a brief for cultural studies. One need only glance through forty essays assembled by Grossberg et al. to see that there is much to be said for Easthope's assessment of the historical situation: clearly, a new form.of scholarship is rising to challenge the hegemony of traditional literary studies. Following the Kuhnian analysis, it seems to me that we are more clearly in a period of transition than one of consolidation. Though the forty essays go under the name Cultural Studies, one would be hard-pressed to abstract from them a single methodology or animating set of concerns. Though the editors heroically attempt, in their introduction, to throw a blanket over these jostling options, they also frankly admit that cultural studies "in fact has no distinct methodology" save for favoring an analytic practice that is "prag matic, strategic, and self-reflective." Operating on the borders of conven-
16 SFRA Review, 198, june 1992 tiona I disciplines without ever fully participating in anyone, cultural stud ies "could best be seen as a bricolage," a tool-kit approach to cultural ma terials drawing variously on "textual analysis, semiotics, deconstruction, ethnography, interviews, phonemic analysis, psychoanalysis, rhizomatics, content analysis, survey research," etc. The only unifying principle seems to be a commitment to foregrounding the politically situated aspect of intel lectual work, "theoriz[ing] in response to particular social, historical, and material conditions"-a mode of contextualization often lacking in the ap proaches of more conventional disciplines, whose practice is more narrowly "academic." By contrast, cultural studies seeks to address material culture as a phenomenon of lived experience, offering both an analysis and a critique of the conditions of production and consumption informing cultural texts, artifacts, and ideologies. The essays gathered in this enormous--and enormously entertaining volume cover diverse media and historical periods. The two essays of obvious interest to scholars of science fiction are Donna Haraway's "The Prom ises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for inappropriate/d Others," which extrapolates the postmodern politics outlined in her now famous essay "A Manifesto for Cyborgs" (reprinted in her Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature [Routledge, 1991]) to describe "the nature of cyborgs as they appear in recent advertisements in Science [journal]," and Constance Penley'S "Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Study of Popular Culture," which analyzes the complex sexual politics of Star Trek "slash" (j.e., female) fanzines. Haraway's typically ambitious and fascinating essay contains, alongside astute summaries of contemporary advances in pri matologi cal and biomedical research, a searching meditation on the political implications of science fiction (taking offfrom the work of William Gibson and John Varley), which concludes that SF promotes a strategy of reading "closely aligned with the oppositional and differential consciousness" theorized by contemporary feminism. Haraway's argument that SF excels conventional literature in making itself available for radical "rewriting" finds an echo in Penley'S analy sis of the so-called "Kirk-Spock narratives," produced by slash fandom, which imagine a homosexual relationship between those Star Trek princi pals. Penley's concern is to show, through a psychoanalytic reading, how these seemingly homosocial texts provide unique pleasure and even a femi nist message for their female authors and audience (her analysis builds upon, even as it differs from, Joanna Russ's essay "Pornography for Women, by Women, with Love," gathered in Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puri tans and Perverts: Feminist Essays [Crossing, 1985]). Many of the other essays deal with issues of genre, of popul ar versus elite culture, and of modern scientific culture (for example, Andrew Ross's "New
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 17 Age Technoculture"} which are undoubtedly of interest to SF scholars. Since the book is the outgrowth of an academic conference called "Cultural Stud ies Now and in the Future," held at the University of Illinois in 1990, all of the essays are followed, and substantially enriched, by printed excerpts from the discussions they raised at the time among fellow conferees. The result is the most wide-ranging symposium on cultural studies currently available. By contrast, Easthope's book to a narrowly doctrinal tract. Despite its brevity, it is overlong and repetitious. Indeed, all one need really read to get the meat of the argument is chapter 9, "The Subject of Literary Studies and the Subject of Cultural Studies." Most of the rest of the book is either a re hearsal of the thuddingly obvious (how many times do we have to be told that the author is dead?) or assertions of obscure and questionable value. Easthope's goal is to clear away the musty relics of traditional literary schol arship (part I, a superficial history of Anglo-American criticism peppered with predictable assaults on its elitism, its humanism, its organicism, etc.), to show how elite and popular texts can profitably be read together (part II, routine canon-bashing capped by an uninspired comparison/contrast of Heart of Darkness and Tarzan of the Apes), and to provide a coherent ideology for the blossoming field of cultural studies (part III). Part III is the most interesting, and infuriating, section of the book. Even those sympathetic to Easthope's attacks on the New Critical orthodoxy are not likely to agree with his pre scription for an alternative. Basically, Easthope advances a version of psychoanalytic poststructuralism, an agenda that seeks to replace the term "Iiterary work" with "signifying practice." He defends the latter term against charges of mere formalism, while at the same time arguing that it allows texts a "relative autonomy" from direct political or economic determination-a reduction he accuses Marxism, cultural materialism, New Historicism, and discourse analysis of subjecting texts to. Thus, his book is a polemic not only against traditional literary studies but also against other intellectual formations which have clearly influenced the nascent practice of cultural studies (at least as evidenced by the Routledge volume). Rather than arguing (as do Grossberg et al.) that poststructuralism provides merely one set of tools in the bricoleur's kit, Easthope wields it as a weapon against all comers. This ideological jock eying for position renders Easthope's book useless as a true description of a rising movement in contemporary scholarship. Moreover, as perhaps befits his emphasis on signification, Easthope's conception of the field of cultural studies seems limited to obviously "tex tual" materials. Were it not for a brief decoding of a cigarette advertisement, his putatively expansive purview would be limited to popular literary texts and films (media which have been, despite his depiction of literary studies
18 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 as monolithically elitist, incorporated into many conventional literature departments). The wide range of sheer material stuff that crams the Routledge volume's pages is conspicuously absent. This would not be so angering if Easthope's formal analyses of the sorts of texts he has chosen to include were sufficiently sophisticated and arresting, but, alas, they are of ten trite rehashings of familiar readings, seldom embracing the sort of rich contextualization he boasts to be cultural studies' specialty (save for a quirky aside at the significance of Sean Connery's eyebrows in the James Bond films). One gets no sense at all from Easthope's dry pages of the intellectual excitement and political fervor that informs almost every line of Routledge's mammoth volume. Judging simply on the basis of these two books, I think it is safe to say that the Kuhnian model Easthope deploys is inadequate to fully understand the reality of the current situation. If cultural studies is not only interdisciplinary but also, as the editors of the Routledge volume assert, "aggressively anti-disciplinary" in its commitment to a radical eclecticism, then it is not a paradigm at all but a perpetual state of crisis corroding the boundaries of traditional forms of knowl edge. What it emphatically does not need is a mherent (or, let's be honest, semi coherent) ideology of the sort Easthope attempts to give it. By contrast, Andrew Ross's Strange Weather and (as co-editor) Technoculture, like the Routledge volume, offer potent examples of cultural studies of an intellectual practice rather than as a theoretical construct. Ross is one of the most interesting young scholars working in this burgeoning field. Only thirty-six, he has already published five books. The Failure of Modern ism: Symptoms of American Poetry (Columbia, 1986) and (as editor) Univer sal Abandon? The Politics of Postmodernism (Minnesota, 1988) were capable treatments of (more or less) canonical literary and theoretical issues that helped secure his tenure in the English Department at Princeton. Since clinching that position, his works have tended to stray far afield from tradi tional literary studies. No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture (Routledge, 1989) is an uneven but generally fascinating critique of the kneejerk elitism that has historically structured the intellectual reception of mass culture materials and texts--a critique obViously of interest to scholars of science fiction. Strange Weather and Technoculture address science fic tion directly. In the former, Ross shows himself to be both knowledgeable about SF history and sharply alert to its current trends while at the same time seeking to situate the genre within a broad spectrum of materials constitut ing contemporary "technoculture"-a project continued in the latter book (co-edited by Penley, a film studies scholar whose essay in the Routledge book-not to mention her recent Close Encounters: Film, Feminism, and Science Fiction [Minnesota, 19911-displays her own interest in SF).
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 19 Predictably, both books contain chapters on cyberpunk, the one in Technoculture, called "The Lessons of Cyberpunk," written by Canadian SF scholar Peter Fitting. Both Fitting and Ross take cyberpunk to be emblem atic of a widespread cultural response to the growing intersection of high tech and corporate power-a response they view as evidence of a profound spiritual malaise, combining a facile ecstasy over the cybernetic augmenta tion of humanity with a cynical attitude toward the global power that drives these new technologies. Fitting sees the result as "a yielding to the status quo, a surrender to the guarantee that the future will be as bleak as it looks," while Ross stigmatizes it as an ideology of "survivalism in a future world where the rules have already been written in the present." Both compare cyberpunk unfavorably with the feminist utopian SF of the 70s, which, in Ross's view, "embodied the critique of technocratic decision making ... that lay at the core of the New Left's advocacy of participatory democracy"-a critique cyberpunk has jettisoned in favor of a more hard-headed (and hearted) "pragmatism." The overall spirit of this assault isn't new, of course (it draws on similar criticisms featured in the 1988 special cyberpunk issue of Mississippi Review ed ited by Larry McCaffery), but Fitting and (especially) Ross give the knife some subtle and original twists. While Fitting situates his criticism of cyberpunk by means of a few sketchy generalizations-its relationship to previous SF and to postmodern writing, its response to the prosthetic enhancements of the body that cur rently threaten to collapse distinctions between humans and machines-Ross offers a more closely historical reading, linking the writing of Gibson, Ster ling, Rucker et al. to specific trends of the 1980s. An extension of "the sub urban romance of punk" which "fashioned a culture of alienation out of ... parents' worst fears about life on the mean streets," cyberpunk is the perfect ideology of "yuppie gentrification ... the new pioneer frontier of the 1980s, ... splicing the glamorous, adventurous culture of the high-tech con sole cowboy with the atmospheric ethic of the alienated street dick." In this reading, cyberpunk (the work of Gibson, especially) becomes the vehicle for "the remasculinized landscape of anarcho-libertarian youth culture in the 1980s," a streetboy's own adventure filled with "urban fantasies of white male folklore." Ross's reading of cyberpunk's atrophied sexual politics is scathing, hilarious, and generally convincing. Interestingly, Ross's chapter on cyberpunk follows one called "Getting Out of the Gernsback Continuum," a study of American SF of the '20s and '30s that, taking off from Gibson's putdown of its naive technophilia in his own story of that name, undertakes (however guardedly) to defend the legacy of Gernsback from the cyberpunk dismissal. In Ross's view, Gernsbackian SF, unlike cyberpunk, offered the possibility for a critique of scientific cul-
20 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 ture even as it (largely unwittingly) worked to reinforce the technocracy that industrialized science was rapidly erecting (and that cyberpunk "pragmatically" affirms). Ross argues: "At the core of the Gernsback formula was a populist principle that science could be explained and understood byeveryone, and that its name would not be associated with exclusive rhetorical idioms or with obfuscatory accounts of the object world by overaccredited experts." Though Gernsback's "inventor wizards ... had become anachro nisms in the corporate research world of Bell Labs in the thirties," the per sistence of their rugged individualism in pulp SF remarked a dissatisfaction with the regimented conformity of corporate technoculture. Unfortunately, due to the reactionary nature of the inventor stereotype, most of pulp SF's critiques were narrowly conservative, expressing "a nos talgia for the free-enterprise frontier" dominated "by the heroic activities of patriarch-entrepreneurs." Ultimately (and ironically), the Gernsbackian vi sion of scientific progress, detached from its entrepreneurial anthropology, came to provide the ideology of the developing technoculture, but "while it lasted ... [it was] a 'natural' expression of progressive thinking about a better society," attracting writers and fans from diverse dissenting communities, including the left-leaning Futurians whose members eventually produced some of the most social-critical SF of the '50s (notably Pohl and Kornbluth's satirical wasterpiece, The Space Merchants). Ross's discussion of Gernsback and his legacy is one of the most sophis ticated treatments of early American SF available, situating "scientifiction" in a complex cultural milieu (and in the process showing how a cultural studies approach can excel conventional literary-historical methods for the study of genre). Ross's purpose is to show how "the ideological backdrop to the pulps,-the technocratic conflicts over the control and (mis)management of industrial production in a liberal democracy harbored many of the ultimately decisive postwar solutions to the growing antagonisms between labor and capital." To this end, he deftly recreates contemporary debates over the ram pant Taylorization of the workplace, the waning influence of Veblen's vision of a "soviet of engineers," and the rise of Progressivist Technocracy. Before its recuperation as the ideology of technoculture, Gernsbackian SF emerged within this contested terrain as the privileged vehicle of a "critical technocracy." The revival of this critical impulse within technoculture (producing what Ross calls, in his introduction to Strange Weather, "green cultural criticism") is the purpose of both books. Strange Weather examines various intellectual movements-New Age "science" (an expansion of his essay in the Routledge volume), contemporary futurology, computer hacking (a chapter called "Hacking Away at the Counterculture," reprinted in Technoculture), and ecology-seeking trace evidence of the "left tradition of technofuturism"
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 21 Ross discerned in Amazing Stories and which today has gone underground, yielding the global surface to survivalist fantasies like cyberpunk. Technoculture maps some of these underground movements, especially in the arts, offering portraits-cum-critiques of Mark Pauline's Survival Research Laboratories, Star Trek "slash" fanzines (Penley again), Japanese comics, hip hop music, and other phenomena. As a work of cultural studies, it offers (as does Strange Weather) an example of how SF can profitably be studied as part of an ensemble of artistic and social responses to contemporary tech nocracy. Appropriately, Technoculture opens with an interview with Donna Haraway, whose "Manifesto for Cyborgs" provides a politically astute postmodern frame for much ofthe speculation mounted in both volumes. I recommend them to you highly. The terrain mapped in these volumes is, of course, a live and mutating topography which no set of aerial snapshots, however sharply focused, could hope to capture once arid for all. For those interested in following the ongoing evolution of technoculture, I recommend a magazine called Mondo 2000, edited by R.U. Sirius and Queen Mu, and geared for an audience of hackers, head bangers, cyberpunks, designer-drug fiends, New Age mutants, and postmodern fashion victims. (The magazine was formerly known as Reality Hackers, a title which suggests its commitment to the radical manipu lation of experience through chemical and cybernetic technologies.) Mondo 2000 features a kaleidoscopic layout packed with columns on "fringe sci ence" and "smart drugs"; interviews with various apostles of alternative lifestyles (for example, one with Timothy Leary conducted by William Gibson); various articles on the post-industrial music scene; wild computer art graphics; occasional poetry and fiction, often employing cut-up and other collage techniques; and tons of cyborg attitude. An accumulation of polemi cal fragments rather than a journal of sober exposition, the magazine effec tively defamiliarizes conventional views of the human person and its rela tionship to culture and technology. Essays on "Mechano-Eroticism and Robo-Copulation" share space with ads for "Psychoactive Soft Drinks" ("sci entifically-proven hardware and wetware accelerators for your brain!"), all promoting a view of the body as a mechanical construct avai lable for tech nical modification. One does not so such read Mondo 2000 as jack into it. In Strange Weather, Ross identifies the ideology of Mondo 2000 as a "maverick humanism": "The human species is about to get a major upgrade; the cyberpunk will be the inevitable next step in the history of evolutionary forms .... The frontier rhetoric of discovery and creative invention links the LSD spirit of synthetic self-transformation with the technofantasies of cyber netic consciousness." Ross is not entirely sanguine about this merging of '60s counterculture with '80s technoculture, showing how it works to promote
22 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 the corporate interests of nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, whose uses are often politically disturbing. The chic vision of transcendence vended by Mondo 2000 converges with the cynical survivalism of cyberpunk to produce an attitude of individualistic laissez faire complicit with the power of transnational capitalism. For Ross, the cultural studies project mandates a willingness to critique such naive celebrations of technocracy, searching instead for the progressive impulses implicit (if seldom immediately visible) in technological innovation. It is a project science fiction studies clearly could-and should-mbrace. Rob Latham [If you're intrigued by Mondo 2000 but don't want to subscribe, consider a $17 July trade paperback from HarperCollins, Mondo 2000: A User's Guide to the New Edge-Cyberpunk, Virtual Reality, Wetware, Designer Aphrodisiacs, Artificial Life, Techno-Erotic Paganism, and More ... Jack in, turn on, tune out. -NBJ The Dissipation of an Old Fart Amis, Kingsley. Memoirs. NY: Summit Books, September 1991. xvi + 346 p. $25. 0-671-74909-9. Gloria Steinem noted recently that women get more radical as they get older. On the evidence of this volume, the same cannot be said for men especially not erstwhile Angry Young ones. This is not to suggest that Kingsley Amis has become a Placid Old Man, or even a Disgruntled Old Reactionary, though might dispute this latter point. Instead he has become a bore. "Most writers lead dull lives ... and are likely to be boring to read about in any detail," Amis notes in his preface. But this preemptive excuse won't wash in this case. Amis has met the kind of people that it is really quite dif ficult to be boring about, even though he manages it triumphantly in these memoirs. Amis's name-dropping contents page is a crude but effective way of getting the attention of anglophiles and anglophobes alike, both professional and amateur. Here are chapters devoted to Philip Larkin, Lord David Cecil, Anthony Powell, Francis Bacon, Terry-Thomas, Lord Snowdon, Sir John Betjeman, Elizabeth Taylor, Enoch Powell, Roald Dahl, Margaret Thatcher. How pathetic, then, when we discover that if Amis did know one of these luminaries well-Larkin, for example-he has nothing insightful, interesting or even pleasant to say about his subject. How more pathetic that most of
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 23 these. chapters reveal not friendships but the briefest and most superficial of acquaintanceships. It is not hard to see why: again and again we watch distinguished subjects recoil from the at once tedious and offensive Mr. Amis. More pathetic still, the very brief photo insert contains snaps-pre sumably as filler-<>f Robert Graves and Anthony Burgess, even though Amis makes it clear that the former was never a friend and the latter is neither a friend nor even, in Amis's view, readable. Most pathetic of all, however, is the almost total lack of self-knowledge exhibited here. This is best exemplified in, on the one hand, Amis's pro fessed restraint in the chapter entitled "Booze" toward the subject at hand, and on the other hand the sheer sottishness of his views. These are mem oirs so steeped in alcohol that you search for a coaster before laying the book down on a table. Sir Kingsley has had many honors showered upon him-in my view incomprehensibly, but there is no accounting for taste. I was once prepared to grant, however, that one of his more lasting achievements aside from the begetting of son Martin-a genuinely astringent humorist who does not grovel like Dad at the effigy of the appalling Evelyn Waugh-was the foster ing of science fiction as a subject worthy of serious attention. It now seems I was wrong. Amis's real interest in science fiction has always been mini mal-as is his interest in, and capacity for, I iterary criticism. If the readers of this review imagine that their I ibraries will be enhanced by acquiring the memoirs of the author of New Maps of Hell, I can save them the expense. It seems that New Maps was R. P. Blackmur's idea, and Amis' real intention was to show how Americans, whose literature is a "disaster," are "unequalled at art merged or hybridised with entertainment" such as science fiction, jazz and cartoons. Aside from noting how New Maps led to the "undoing" of science fiction by raising it to the status of "culture," Amis has nothing else whatever to contribute to the subject. These memoirs are filtered through a consciousness so drink-soused that to a sober reader any point the anecdotes might once have had seems long lost. Even prurience remains in the end frustrated, because Amis's memory is so unreliable, his verifiable facts so frequently wrong, that his stories in the end have all the credibil ity of a supermarket tabloid. But a few scenes ring truer than others. On page 244, for example, Amis insults a woman called Marilyn. Her quoted response is as follows: "You're a great fat bum .... What you write is a load of rubbish and you can't even speak French. You are extremely boring and very rude and who the hell do you think you are anyway, I'd like to know." I'll drink to that. Nicholas Ruddick
24 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 An Outstanding Work Deserving an Award Attebery, Brian. Strategies of Fantasy. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana Uni versity Press, March, 1992. xiv + 152 p. $22.50. 0-253-31070-9. Last Year Brian Attebery received the Distinguished Scholar Award at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. This honor acknowledged his major contributions to fantasy scholarship, especially his 1980 book, The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature, which has become a standard reference work. His new book is so good they should give him the award again. Attebery combines the energy and enthusiasm of a fan with the intellec tual rigor of a scholar. He writes from such a strong personal commitment to the literature he discusses, and with such clarity of style, that he communicates demanding academic content without ever diminishing a reader's sense of personal involvement with both critical and fictional texts. More over, he places the genre of fantasy (as well the scholarshi p of fantasy) at the heart of mainstream critical theory as he examines traditional and contemporary fantasy texts in light of theoretical approaches from Mikhail Bakhtin, Ger'ard Genette, Seymour Chatman, and various feminist, structuralist and post-structuralist critics. In short, he fosters new ways of reading and under standing fantasy as central and vital literary works. Attebery begins with an overview of the genre, "Fantasy as Mode, Genre, Formula," developing several useful approaches to definition and identify ing common elements in fantasy. He soon enough anchors his general observations by turning to a discussion of the "mental template" for defining fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He points toward an "under lying radicalism of ... narrative" in Tolkien's work, which includes, or even demands active collaboration from the reader. Applying and extending Christine Brooke-Rose's methods in A Rhetoric of the Unreal (1981), Attebery argues that Tolkien employs an "overdetermined rhetoric" which resists al legorical readings, resulting in a rhetoric of the "realistic marvelous" which can produce effects different from either component taken by itself. He also observes that the many layers of Tolkien's "megastory" of Middle Earth prompt ecological and archaeological responses (as well as I iterary re sponses). Throughout the work, Attebery suggests, Tolkien subverts conventions of narrative and the traditional absolutes of plot, character, point of view, and the separation of text and world." Through eight rich chapters Attebery explores the ways in which fantasy challenges and expands conventional notions of literary art. His wide read ing in American studies and folktale traditions imbues his discussions with impressive depth and range. His interest in global political and ecological
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 25 issues sensitizes him to those themes within fantasy texts and leads him to see the mythic dimensions of fantasy aligned with the mythic and utopian impulse: "myth provides more valid models than does history, for history tends to divorce humanity from the natural world, while myth continually reminds us of our place within it." Extensions of the implications of this political discussion thread their way through the chapter on "Women's Com ing of Age in Fantasy" and a consideration of how science fiction and fan tasy genres overlap and interact in a chapter called "Science Fantasy." The book concludes with the assertion that fantasy is an enabling discourse, "so that our own tribal storytellers can resume their proper function ... and recapture the modern world for the imagination." As he develops his theoretical ideas, Attebery never strays too far from specific texts and examples. He is especially effective in his discussions of works by Tolkien, John Crowley, Suzette Haden Elgin, and Ursula Le Guin, but his book is sprinkled with examples and interpretive suggestions about dozens of other writers. Strategies of Fantasy is a book which makes a dif ference in the way you read. Its theoretical dimensions are so arresting that it could convincingly stand out as a major critical milestone. But what I like best is that it returns me to the fantasy texts themselves refreshed and ready to read them again with more complete awareness and pleasure. This is an outstanding book which belongs in any major fantasy collection, and most libraries which include major works of contemporary critical theory will want to have it as well. Richard Mathews More Comic Superheroes Benton, Mike. Superhero Comics of the Silverage: The Illustrated History. Taylor Pub. Co., 1550 West Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75235, 224 p. $24.95.0-87833-746-6. Mike Benton is the author of The Comic Book in America: An Illustrated History (Taylor, 1989), a title I have not seen but one which was widely praised and which at the very least must provide a valuable update to Les Daniels' swiftly aging Comix: A History of Comic Books in America (1971). Since the publica tion of that overall history, Benton has begun spinning out supplementary vol umes devoted to major genres and topics within the comic book universe: last year saw publ ication of Horror Comics: An Illustrated History (Taylor, 1991: Newsletter 193); a volume devoted to science fiction comics is forthcoming. The current book is volume "two" of a planned set covering super hero comics; the "first" volume-in chronological subject, not date of publication-will detail the superhero titles of the "Golden Age" (roughly 1938 to the mid-fifties, from the birth of Superman to the retrenchments of the industry under the assaults of
26 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 congressmen and educators). Volume "two," under review here, covers the "Silver Age," from the mid-fifties to the sixties. The history is itself a narrative of clashing titans: the rival houses, DC, with its graying pantheon including Batman and Superman, and Marvel, which skyrocketed into prominence in the early 60s with its rapid-fire gen esis of new heroes-Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, Thor, the Submariner, etc.-and its canny revivals of old favorites, especially Cap tain America. The central figure in this Marvel-ous explosion is generally considered to be editor-publisher Stan Lee, who is credited (largely on his own say-so) with penning the storylines of all the major Marvel series. This claim has been contested by the artists who worked for Lee, a group he re ferred to paternalistically as his "bullpen." The ace of this staff was undoubt edly Jack Kirby, probably the greatest comics artist ever, who has frequently asserted that Stan Lee never wrote a word of his superhero titles. These conflicting claims were glossed over in Les Daniels' recent Mar vel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics (Abrams, 1991), clearly an "in-house" production. Benton's version includes both view points, but it does not analyze or evaluate them; in fact, it doesn't even present them as contradictory! They are just dropped into the rush of the narrative (which occupies the first forty pages of the book), as Benton dances blithely on to his next point. This is not a critical history, obviously, or even a consistent one. Though the style is, thankfully, less fannishly effusive than Daniels', it has its own problems, amounting to little more than a tissue of trivia strung together with quotations from the principals involved in comics production. These quotes are the most useful and illuminating things in this section (for example, it is easy to read between the lines of Stan Lee's chatty remarks the brazenness of a self-aggrandizing huckster). Following this historical preface are three longer of encyclope dia-style entries, covering "The Heroes," "The Artists," and "The Comics." These sections are the heart of the book, and (along with the copious, glo rious illustrations) its only real claim on our attention. Though the "heroes" section is not as comprehensive as Jeff Rovin's catalog in The Encyclopedia of Super Heroes (1987)-understandably, since Benton's time-frame is narrower-it, together with the artist bios and statistical histories of titles, pro vides a priceless gathering of information. No other single source presents so much material so economically, nor (at least judging by my knowledge) so accurately. The book is capped by a well-organized chronology, bibli ography, and index. Someday someone is going to write a true critical history of comic books in America, and when they do they will undoubtedly rely on Benton's series of guides for an empirical base. Rob Latham
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 27 Unhappy Endings Broderick, Mick. Nuclear Movies: A Critical Analysis and Filmography of International Feature Length Films Dealing with Experimentation, Aliens, Terrorism, Holocaust and Other Disaster Scenarios, 1914-1989. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1991. xix + 219 p. $35. 0-89950-543-0. The McFarland edition of Nuclear Movies is a revised an expanded ver sion of Broderick's self-published filmography of feature films which fiction ally depict nuclear wars or disasters (Northcote, Victoria, Australia: Post Modem, 1988). It lists 854 films, made-for-TV movies and mini-series dra mas, 36 from countries which produced them between 1914 and 1989, with some mentions of films released as late as mid-1991. Thus it complements lists of documentary films about nuclear weapons and lists far more films than Jack Shaheen's spotty and uneven Nuclear War Films (1978). The new edition is considerably enlarged, adds a much-needed index, is graphically more pleasing, and contains a revised introduction and new preface, as well as the original foreword by Dr. Helen Caldicott. The introduction is an invaluable overview of trends in the depiction of nuclear hazards over the years; with such sub-headings as "The Nazi Threat: Real and Imagined," "Mutation and Monsters," and "Nuclear Bond-age." Some of the section titles are more flashy than informative; "Apocalypse, Wow!" covers a mixed batch of films from the eighties including the sensa tional Terminator and the sober Testament. Nevertheless, this essay is an important contribution to our thinking about nuclear war depictions because it makes clear the scope and variety of such films. The filmography itself, arranged in chronological order, is very terse. Each entry contains the following information: Title, date of production or release, production company or distributor, black and white or color, run ning time, names of director, producer, scriptwriter, cinematographer, lead ing players and support players, "plot synopsis" and somewhat haphazard and incomplete cross references. What Broderick calls a synopsis consists in most cases of a one-or two-sentence summary which often fails ad equately to convey the content of the film under consideration. The televi sion adaptation of Judith Merril's Shadow on the Hearth, for instance, is described thus: "Film warns of the need for civil defense in the event of a nuclear attack.'" In many cases the nuclear theme is very slight, as in The 500 Fingers of Doctor T, in which the protagonist "escapes via a nuclear explosion." It could be argued that omitting these peripheral examples would have left room to expand the synopses; but in fact they are very useful in illustrating the pervasiveness of the nuclear theme in popular culture. The fact that
28 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Broderick is hard at work on a companion volume detailing the history of nuclear films also helps to explain the terseness of the plot summaries. This is a reference tool, not a study. The range is very impressive. There are films from such unexpected quarters as Bulgaria, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Thailand. Broderick has traced the "Mad Max/l theme from his native Australia all over the globe into such dark crannies as the postapocalyptic porn film, The Load Warrior. An extensive bibliography, which lacks annotations but which signals studies of special interest, is impressive and unique. The book will prove invaluable to anyone researching nuclear themes in film or television, and should be in every substantial collection of books on the cinema. Paul Brians Neighborhood Ghouls Cox, Stephen. The Addams Chronicles: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Addams Family. NY: Harper Perennial, 1991. xviii + 205 p. $10. 0-06-096897-4. Rarely if ever has American television attempted to create a weekly se ries based on material as sophisticated and prestigious as the Addams Family cartoons. In his introduction to Cox's Chronicles, actor John Astin, who played Gomez Addams on the 1964-1966 series, recalls that he and the other artists who worked on the series were well aware of the difficulties involved in the transition from one medium to another. The magazine cartoons were snapshots of situations; they gained much of their power from what was left unsaid and unshown. By contrast, the TV show had to tell stories and spell out the consequences of actions, all within the bounds of 1960s television censorship. Chas. Addams cooperated with the show by naming his sinister characters for the first time, by writing out his ideas about what made them tick, then by withdrawing and letting the TV workers carry on without interference. Like millions of viewers, Addams was pleased with the results. Fans still recall the ghoulish set decoration (including torture instruments in the playroom), the finger-snapping theme music and such details as Wednesday's running-away note ("Dear Mother and Father, I hate you. Love, Wednesday./I) The Addams Family was a superior situation comedy because Gomez and Morticia (played by Carolyn Jones) were witty, eccentric and playful and loved their extravagant lifestyle and each other. The show was even sensual. Romantic, swashbuckling Gomez went mad with passion ("Ah! Cara mia!/I) whenever Morticia spoke French. The cheaply made series was far sprightlier than the elephantine 1991 film, which had few outstanding assets besides the set design and the superb Christina Ricci as Wednesday.
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 29 Except for the very feeble, almost every fantastic TV series has a cult and a book devoted to it. The Addams Chronicles is better written than most such books and has all the usual contents-interviews with participants, stills and episode synopses. Cox's approach is celebratory and he includes an abundance of trivia, but his work is preferable to James Van Hise's The Addams Family Revealed (1991). Collections that do not need books on individual shows should have Harry Castleman's and Walter Podrazik's Harry and Wally's Favorite TV Shows (1989), which despite its off-putting title combines basic data and sensible appraisal of 2100 shows. The most desirable tie-ins with the movie are two cartoon collections, The World of Chas. Addams (1991) and My Crowd, a reprint of a 1970 book. Michael Klossner Tenniel: A Thorough, Deeply Moving Study Engen, Rodney. Sir John Tenniel: Alice's White Knight. Aldershot, England: Scolar Press, 1991. Distr. by Ashgate Publishing, Old Post Road, Brookfield, VT 05036. ix + 232 p. $75. 0-85967-872-5. Sir John Tenniel is remembered primarily as the illustrator of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. However, in 1865 when he accepted the commission for the first Alice, Tenniel was the chief cartoonist for the English humor magazine, Punch, and had contributed illustrations to numerous books, including the notable edition of the Arabian Nights Entertainments, a project initiated by Tenniel's favorite engravers, the Dalziel brothers. Carroll's original intention was that the artist he selected should undertake the painstaking task of transferring his own Alice illustrations onto wood-blocks for wood-engraving. He did manage, Engen claims, to get Tenniel to "agree to use most of his original manuscript drawing ideas," but demonstrates convincingly the "differences between the true illustrator and the amateur." Carroll was largely able to dictate the placement of illustrations and the passages on which the illustrations were to be based, but the actual drawings are demon strably Tenniel's creation. Their compositional originality can be traced to Tenniel's work for Punch and perhaps to such continental sources as J.J. Grandville's brilliant animal caricatures. Engen's chapter on the difficult CarrollfTenniel collaboration is the ab sorbing centerpiece of the illustrator's biography, but Tenniel's working life as an artist is defined by his 50-year association with Punch. By the time of his retirement at 80, Tenniel was not only the magazine's senior staff mem ber but the most honored of British political cartoonists. Like many illustra tors, Tenniel felt keenly the second-class status to which illustrators were consigned, but his attempts at marketing the originals of his work were largely unsuccessful.
30 SFRA Review, 198/ June 1992 Keith Engen is an authority on Victorian illustrators and illustration, author of books on Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, Richard Doyle and Laurence Housman. He is methodical and thorough, and his achievement is impressive, not for its style but for the massive accumu lation of detai I. There are numerous examples of Tenniel's work, but Engen does not always select an illustration for which a lengthy or enthusiastic commentary has prepared the reader. Still, the selection does documentthe great skill and imagination Tenniel brought to his wood-cuts, and there is a comprehensive bibliography of Tenniel's book and magazine work. Tenniel's fantastic drawings may lack the some of the soaring imagina tion of the fairy drawings of his great contemporary, Richard Doyle. But the superb detail of his grotesques (as, for example, Caliban in a Tempest draw ing) and of his marvelous bestiary, catch the viewer's eye with an accuracy that invests the improbable with the immediacy of the real. Engen conveys the domestic tragedy of Tenniel's life as keenly as the artist's obsessions, and the result is, finally, deeply moving. His portrait of the blind artist's final days is an ironic coda to this tribute to an illustrator whose work spanned much of the 19th century and-in his Alice ill ustrations-survived it, tri umphantly. Walter Albert Subversive Victorian Fantasy Filmer, Kath, ed. The Victorian Fantasists: Essays on Culture, Society and Belief in the Mythopoeic Fiction of the Victorian Age. London: Macmillan, 1991, ; NY: St. Martin's, April, 1991. xviii + 221 p. $39.95. 0-312-05313-4. Kath Filmer has pulled together 14 essays that examine the broader social critical functioning of fantasy in Victorian times. Victorian fantasy has had a profound influence upon literature not just in Britain but internationally, and Filmer's is an international project, with scholar contributors hailing from En gland, Scotland, America, Australia and Germany. The essays included are uniformly fascinating, and Filmer's introduction and the preface by David Jasper are useful both in orienting the reader to Victorian fantasy and in laying bare the theoretical orientation that holds these essays together. That theoretical bias is a common one in SF studies these days: fantasy may not be factual, but it is true and that truth affects us. Jasper refers admiringly to Coleridge's belief that in poetic symbol there is a real revela tion, an epiphany of eternal truths in finite form. Too, fantasy, Coleridge's "Imagination," has a social critical utility. Jasper observes that, while 19th century English social critics had long attacked the use of children as chimney-sweeps, it was Kingsley's The Water-Babies that turned the trick, the practice being made illegal within a year of the book's publication. Filmer
SFRA Review, 198, june 1992 31 quotes from Le Guin's well-known essay "Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?" and goes on to argue persuasively that what fantasy does is "to confront readers with inescapable, perhaps unpalatable, truths about the human condition-cultural, social, psychological and spiritual-and then to posit alternatives which address the particular injustices, inequalities and oppressions with which the writer takes issue .... Far from being escapist, fantasy literature may be at the very least morally discomfiting, its demands uncompromising, its ideals attainable only at great cost-involving self-sac rifice and self-denial, and finally the development and maintenance of an acute social conscience." Good stuff! Would that the bulk of fantasy did all this less fitfully! In The Victorian Fantasists, the subversive power of fantasy to unsettle even our most settled assumptions is shown to be of guiding im portance in fantasy generally, and Victorian fantasy in particular. In R.J. Dingley's "Count Dracula and the Martians," scholarly fans of Bram Stoker's Dracula will find a persuasive consideration of the debt owed by that novel and Wells's War of the Worlds to the then-popular genre of invasion novels. William Morris receives extended consideration in The Victorian Fantasists, with three essays centrally considering his work: Talbot's "Heroine as Hero: Morris' Case Against Quest-Romance," Ken Goodwin's "The Realism of Magic in the Fantasy Tradition of William Morris," and Anne Cranny Francis's very strong "The Education of Desire: Utopian Fiction and Feminist Fantasy." E. Nesbit, Richard Jeffries, Christina Rossetti, Charles Kingsley, and George MacDonald are among the other writers examined in the book. Successful collections of essays present tightly-written, closely argued pieces that consider old problems in a field from new angles, and occasion ally even new problems. By this measure, The Victorian Fantasists is a successful collection. Recommended. Peter Lowentrout Imaginary Geography Fonstad, Karen Wynn. The Atlas of Middle-Earth, rev.ed. NY: Houghton Mifflin, January 1992. xii + 210 p. $17.95 pb. 0-395-53516-6. Although generally wary of atlases of imaginary places, technical guides to the inner workings of equally imaginary starships, and other such (often economically impelled) intrusions of our world into fantasy, I was intrigued by Fonstad's work with Middle-Earth-a meticulously precise term, since the maps and text Fonstad presents incorporate information from the Spring of Arda to the passing of Frodo at the Grey Havens and the coming of the Fourth Age. The entire history of Middle-Earth is recounted in careful draw-
32 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 ings that represent not only Fonstad's researches into Tolkien's texts, notes, drawing, and maps, but also her interpretations as a geographer and cartog rapher. More than just a kind of wish-book for fans, Fonstad's atlas attempts to relate the details of Tolkien's narratives to the requirements, impediments, advantages, and disadvantages that physical landscape enforces on cultures and societies. Her contributions allow a more visual approach to Tolkien's massive tapestry, including not only precisely deduced maps of individual journeys from The Lord of the Rings, not only illustrations of fortresses, homes, inns, and communities, but also re-creations of the major physical alterations of the world itself as recounted in the Silmarillion. Annotated with notes to Tolkien's originals and to Christopher Tolkien's on-going se ries of reconstructive texts based on his father's manuscripts, Fonstad's text does in fact approach as near as possible to meriting the term "authentic"; it is usefu I and i nteresti ng. Michael R. Collings Literary vs. Popular Literature Hawkins, Harriett. Classics and Trash: Traditions and Taboos in High Litera ture and Popular Modern Genres. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990. xix + 219 p. $65. 0-8020-2767-9; $11.95 pb, -6813-8. Classics and Trash provides a strong argument for the val ue of its own guid ing assertion that"a recognition of the continuing cross-fertilization between 'high' literature and popular genres inevitably enhances our understanding and appreciation of both." She provides a series of intelligent, thoughtful readings of works that explore the same basic ideas. In the book's most interesting chapter, she exami nes, for example, the novels The Phantom of the Opera, Trilbyand The Bostonians along with the film The Red Shoes as four "parables of a woman's talent." This comparative reading not only sparkles with insight about the par ticular works but also suggests an approach that could profitably be adapted to a wide range of other juxtapositions of so-called literary and popular versions of the same essential themes. Her discussion raises a larger question, too. Wouldn't we all be better served by thinking of artistic expression as a continuum rather than perpetuating the unwieldy (and I think ultimately invalid) distinction be tween the popular and the artful? I must add that Hawkins deals only marginally with science fiction and fantasy, but the ideas she presents invite extension into these areas. I recommend Classics and Trash both on its own and as an interesting complement to Thomas J. Roberts's somewhat more theoretical The Aesthetics of Junk Fiction (1990; Newsletter 183). Dennis Kratz
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 33 An Eccentric Film Guide Hoffman's Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-92. London: Corgi, 1991. 432 p. .99 pb. 0-552-99478-2. This curious book originates in France, although the contributors (cred ited in very small print atthe foot of p.431) are from nine different countries with a distinct bias towards the Low Countries. The various translators (cred ited in the same modest fashion) were presumably working from several different languages of origin. The result is slightly bizarre, but could prove useful to anyone with a passionate interest in foreign-language films-provided, of course, that they know how to look them up. I searched in vain for a Czech film known in English as "Tomorrow I'll Be Scalding Myself With Tea" but can't actually swear that it isn't there because it may be listed un der its Czech title; the cross-references and the index are not overly helpful in this respect. The coverage of English-language films is decidedly patchy: Predator 2 is in but Predator isn't; that old favourite The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp is in but Here Comes Mr Lawrence and Heaven Can Wait aren't. I valiantly attempted to road-test the guide by looking up four schlock hor ror films which I happened to buy recently from a remainder video store (we all have our vices); three of them-The Attic, Bloodsuckers and Monsters-aren't in and the fourth one turned out, on closer inspection, to be one I'd seen on TV anyhow. Perhaps I was just unlucky, but it doesn't inspire confidence. The mini-reviews are, for the most part, casual put-downs which often give the impression that their writers hate and despise the entire medium. A few examples, obtained from a single page by opening the book at random: "Stut ters along unconvincingly" (The Heavenly Kid!; "Peculiar, amorphous and bad" (Hector); "Neglectable ... with a surprising lack of graphic scenes." (Hell Night); "For lovers of gore and filthy rubbish" (Hellgate). The translators presumably know their French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian, Russian and Polish well enough, but they occasionally have difficulty with their English. There are perfectly good movie guides already available in English, which range from pocket-size all the way to encyclopedia-dimensions. It's not immediately obvious why Corgi felt it desirable to go to France to obtain a new one (which is in a less-than-convenient 9" x 6" format) unless they are trying to anticipate the new wave of international cooperation which is sup posed to follow that much-touted lowering of EC trade barriers which is supposed to be happening real soon now, as they say in fannish circles. Had it been more complete, and better written, its coverage of foreign materials might have made it more useful than its rivals, but as things are its usefulness is limited to providing an eccentric appendix to the guides which give more comprehensive coverage to English-language material. Brian Stableford
34 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 A Duplication of Effort Huntington, John, ed. Critical Essays on H.G. Wells. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1991. xi + 186 p. $38. 0-8161-8856-4. This volume begins with the editor's lucid overview of Wells's life and works and a brief summary of the essays collected herein, followed by a chronological listing of Wells's major writings. Huntington chooses to re print material that focuses attention on three aspects of Wells's career: his debate with Henry James about the proper direction of the novel, his late fiction, and his life. Particular works favored with close readings include Tono-Bungay(1909), The History of Mr. Polly(191 0), The Anatomy of Frustration (1936), and Brynhild (1937). Only two essays take Wells's fantastic literature as their primary subject. Darko Suvin in "Wells as the Turning point of the SF Tradition," excerpted from The Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (1979), discusses the common thematic elements of the early scientific romances and shows how they wrought a transformation in fantastic literature and set a pattern for the science fiction that followed. "The Mood of A Modern Utopia" by Daniel Y. Hughes (reprinted from Extrapolation, December 1977) argues that Wells's use of point of view and the subjunctive mood in the narrative shows Wells's intention to establish "that utopia is not a place but a mode of thinking and a way of placing that mental habit into the fabric of the reader's world." Also of interest to a scholar of the fantastic will be two essays dealing with aspects of Wells's own life. In "H.G. Wells: Problems of an Amorous Utopian," John Huntington briefly discusses Wells's treatment of the female characters in The War of the Worlds (1898) in the context of the discrepancy between Wells's utopian ideals and his own behavior toward women. Nancy Steffen-Fleur points out the gynephobic imagery in the scientific ro mances in "Women and H.G. Wells" (a shorter version of which appeared in Science-Fiction Studies 12 ). Since this volume has an admittedly narrow focus, it does not provide a representative cross-section of Wells criticism and thus would not be very useful to a newcomer to Wells's life and work. Moreover, most of the essays reprinted here are readily available in their original forms; thus this collec tion will probably duplicate material already housed in academic and large general libraries, and its contents will already be familiar to Wells scholars. Much preferable are the original essays assembled in H.G. Wells Under Revision, 1990, that I reviewed in Newsletter 186. Agatha Taormina
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 35 Poorly Written and Superficial Kaler, Anne K. The Picara: From Hera to Fantasy Heroine. Bowling Green, -OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1991.215 p. $39.95; 087972-515-X. $18.95 pb.-516-8. I would like to be able to recommend this study; not only does it repre sent a real labor of love, but it focuses on a potentially fascinating subject, the figure of the picaresque heroine from her first appearances in Spanish Golden Age literature to her transformations in contemporary fantasy. It is unfortunate, therefore, that The Picara is weak not only in critical analysis but also in fundamental writing skills. The result is a text which is both su perficial and a chore to read. Kaler's study aims at both historical overview and generic analysis, but I found only the historical material, specifically her chapter on literary ori gins, of much interest. As her study moves into more familiar territory, the survey format becomes more repetitive and less informative; my understand ing of such magnetic characters as Thackeray's Becky Sharp and Defoe's Roxana, for example, was not much expanded. Kaler's method in six of her ten chapters is to isolate a set of traits-for example, "hunger, avarice, crimi nality" and to demonstrate how various picaresque heroines embody these traits. Not only does such a programmatic methodology produce very unimaginative analyses, but it doesn't seem to matter very much to Kaler whether these heroines appear In Defoe's Moll Flanders, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind or Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Shattered Chain. Where this study should be relevant to readers of fantastic literature is in Kaler's attention to the figure ofthe picaresque heroine as a popular char acter in contemporary fantasy; one of her central observations is that the modern picara is most at home in the fantasies of writers such as Joanna Russ, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Joy Chant, Jo Clayton, and Sharon Green. Too many questions go begging, however, or are only superficially noted. What about the differences in fictions written by male and female writers? What about the differences produced by generic shifts, from realism to fan tasy? And what about the differences between the characters created by a radically subversive writer like Russ and those produced in the much more conservative adventure stories of a writer like Clayton? And, as much as I hate to call attention to it, Kaler's writing is so poor (and there are so many typos in her text) that I'm forced to the concl usion that all the editors at Bowling Green must be on strike. If not, then there's a se rious problem at the Press which requires immediate attention, because someone's not doing their job. Save your money. Veronica Hollinger
36 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Disappointing Horror Survey Kies, Cosette. Presenting Young Adult Horror Fiction. NY: Twayne, 1992. 203 p. $19.95. 0-8057 -8215-X. The traditional Twayne volume tends to suffer from uncertainty concern ing its audience. Some Twayne authors are clearly writing for academics, while others seem to have a readership of college undergraduates or high school students in mind. In its new "Presenting" series, Twayne has at tempted to deal with this problem by asking its authors to focus explicitly on a teenage audience. Kies defines her readership as "teenagers who are cu rious about life and authors and who like to read horror literature." A sec ondary readership consists of "teachers, librarians, and parents who wonder at young adult interests and seek to understand young people better." Perhaps as an unfortunate result of this I imited sense of audience, how ever, Kies has very little to say that will be of interest to adult readers of horror fiction, scholars working in the genre, or, for that matter, the more discerning teenaged reader. Her volume consists of little more than potted biographies, culled largely from previously published material, and brief plot summaries lacking in any real analysis. The book opens with a short chapter on why teenagers enjoy horror fic tion and films. This is an interesting and important question, but Kies's an swer is amazingly shallow: "Kids growing up today deserve fun that doesn't hurt anyone. For a lot of teens, horror literature provides that fun. Horror literature is the same as any other kind of literature-it can be great fun for those who like it, and those who don't like it can choose not to read it. In the end, it's all a matter of taste." She follows this with chapters on v.c. Andrews, Dean R. Koontz, John Saul and Robert R. McCammon, Anne Rice and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, horror fiction centering on Satan ism and cults, Robert Bloch, splatterpunk, and Stephen King. There is a brief conclusion that consists primarily of quotes from King, editor Susan Allison, and Dou glas E. Winter, followed by notes and a partial bibliography. Teenagers may find Kies's plot summaries useful as signposts to further read ing in the genre, though they are I ikely to be turned off by her rather leaden prose style. Readers of this review are unlikely to find the book worthwhile. Michael M. Levy Comics Into Films Kinnard, Roy. The Comics Come Alive: A Guide to Comic-Strip Characters in Live Action Productions. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1991. xv + 237 p. $32.50. 0-8108-2409-4. The Comics Come Alive is a well-produced reference guide to the serial, theatrical film, and television adaptations of newspaper strips and comic
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 37 books. The volume-which covers eighty-seven characters and strips and their adaptations from the silent film era through the end of the 1980s-is arranged alphabetically by character, with the various filmic incarnations of each strip listed chronologically. In addition to the production credits and cast listings, Roy Kinnard supplies useful individual commentaries on the origins of the comic strips and critiques of the adaptations. The volume is copiously illustrated with publicity and production stills, as well as the occasional theater poster. Unlike David Hofstede in his recent coffee table book, Hollywood and the Comics, Kinnard mercifully does not offer plot summaries or attempt a rating system. Instead, Kinnard includes brief notes on the concept of the original newspaper strip or comic book and some sense of how successfully or unsuccessfully it fared in translation to live-action productions. Despite some problems, which include a rambling introduction and sometimes quirky and caustic commentaries on the adaptation, The Comics Come Alive rises above the level of a comic and film buff book and actually can serve as a useful reference guide. Peter C. Hall Atwood Writ Large McCombs, Judith and Carole L. Palmer. Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1991. 735 p. $60.0-8161-8940-4. This weighty, apparently exhaustively thorough reference guide to ev erything written by and about Margaret Atwood-through 1988; provides an enormous amount of information for the serious researcher. McCombs ed ited a previous volume, Critical Essays on Margaret Atwood (1988); this volume supplements and extends that work. It follows G. K. Hall's standard format: after a brief but useful"literary introduction," Atwood's own writings are listed, with foreign-language translations; then every review, article, or commentary on Atwood's work is itemized, carefully annotated. The edi tors promise that they have faithfully abstracted the writers' own texts, since many of these secondary sources are very difficult to obtain. This wealth of material is arranged for easy use. Atwood's own works are listed chronologically, with foreign translations indented under the Ca nadian publication. (No effort has been made to identify first editions.) The "writings about Margaret Atwood" are grouped by year; items are arranged alphabetically by author within that chronological matrix. Two indexes are provided: one to authors of secondary sources, and one to subjects. The latter is undoubtedly the most helpful; not only are the references to Atwood's works well organized-for instance, reviews of each work are
38 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 indexed by country of origin, and then by major topics discussed, like "femi nism, realism, religion" under "Canadian interviews" under The Handmaid's Tale-but so are other topics, like Shakespeare and Thoreau. Under the primary field, the index is indented once quite visibly, but further indents are only marked by the addition of very small dashes, so one must look carefully to observe the system. But the system works. While I cannot imagine even the most dedicated Atwood reader needing this mine of information permanently at his or her fingertips, it forms an invaluable aid to scholarship. It should certainly be acquired by any re search library holding Canadian, women's, or contemporary fiction. Martha A. Bartter As Good a Book of Essays As You Can Find Morse, Donald E., and Csilla Bertha, eds. More Real Than Reality: The Fantastic in Irish Literature and the Arts. Westport, CT: Greenwood, November 1991. xv + 266 p. $45. 0-313-26612-3. More Real Than Reality may be as good a book of critical essays as one will find anywhere. It starts with the wonderfully appropriate title, which comes, editor Morse informs us in his introduction, from painter Jack B. Yeats (brother of W.B. Yeats), one of the artists examined in this volume. Yeats's contention, and Morse's, is that "the fantastic can give us 'things more real than reality'." Moreover, Morse asserts, "Irish writers and artists have always found the fantastic congenial and, even, necessary for their art." The bulk of Morse's introduction, grounded in Hume's Fantasy and Mimesis with examples drawn from the "Circe" chapter in Joyce's Ulysses, builds upon those two premises-as do the rest of the essays in this volume. The essays are divided into four groups, three of them expected and one less so. The first section, "Ancient Knowledge and the Fantastic," contains four essays which discuss the uses of ancient Irish myths, legends, and other materials by W.B. Yeats, especially, and by other writers. The third section, "Uses of the Fantastic by Irish Playwrights," contains four essays focusing, primarily, on J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, Samuel Beckett, and Thomas Murphy. The fourth section, "The Occult, Fantasy, and Phantasmagoria in Swift, Joyce, and Yeats," also contains four essays; three deal with the writ ers mentioned in the section title, and a fourth considers the fantasies of Lord Dunsany. But the second section may be a bit of a surprise; "The Fantastic in the Irish Arts: Theater, Music, and Painting" presents three essays on as pects of the fantastic that literary critics seldom consider. More Real Than Reality is infinitely richer for this section, for it allows us to see that the fan tastic influences other arts in ways that are both similar to and different from the ways in which it functions in literature.
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 39 All the essays in this book are well done, and it would be difficult to pick out anyone for praise (and imply by not picking another that it is less wor thy). Each is well-written, and the bibliography at the end of each essay shows its author to have a background that not only includes such standard references in the fantastic as Hume's Fantasy and Mimesis and Jackson's Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, but stretches well beyond the fantas tic to include art, folklore, epic literature, Jungian psychology, and a host of diverse but applicable topics. However, I must say that Egri's essay on composer John Fields, Bertha's essay on the fantastic in Yeats's plays, and Murphy's essay on the mermaid were among my favorites. Both as an examination of the fantastic in Irish literature and art and as an example of how to conduct such an examination, More Real Than Reality is excellent. My only regret, and a very carping one I realize, is that the select bibliography at the end contains only works on the fantastic-I wanted a list of books on Ireland and the Irish. It is long past time that we had a book this good, looking at a subject so neglected. Highly recommended. c. W. Sullivan III The Legacy of J. Allen St. John Richardson, Darrell C. j. Allen St. John: An Illustrated Bibliography. Mem phis, TN: Mid-America Publishers, Inc., 571 S. Highland Ave., Memphis, TN 38111, 1991. 111 p. $15 + $2 postage and handling, paper. No ISBN. Barrett, Robert R., and Henry Hardy Heins. Addenda and Errata. Privately printed, 1992. 14 p. stapled in stiff paper covers. IIlus. Send "a few dol lars to cover handling and mailing costs" to Bob Barrett, 2040 Salina, Wichita, Kansas 67203. Although James Allen S1. John (1872-1957) is now remembered for his illustrations for book editions and later magazine versions of Edgar Rice Burroughs's work, it is obvious from this copiously illustrated bibliography that he worked in a variety of genres. His magazine work appeared in such diverse publications as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, The Boy's World, Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures and Weird Tales. In addition to Burroughs's illustrations for A.c. McClure, Metropolitan and ERB, Inc., he also did jackets and interior artwork for numerous western and romantic novels. Many fans of St. John's fantasy work will undoubtedly be surprised by the quantity of other work he did, often in styles that are unlike that ofthe familiar Burroughs illustrations. Richardson's bibliography features a wide selection of cover art and interior illustrations from books and magazines-all of it reproduced in black and white-but the back cover has an impressive montage selection
40 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 of striking color cover art, along with a front cover reproduction of the origi nal color artwork for Robert Bloch's "It's A Small World," published in Amazing Stories. The bibliography is presented in two sections. In the first, there is a list ing of book illustrations by author; in the second section, the magazine work is recorded in an alphabetical listing of magazines in which the work first appeared, cited chronologically. Although there is a listing of "uncaptioned" art on page 8, several of the illustrations are either not attributed or have references buried in the body of the text. There is also a further difficulty with the bibliography as "Addenda and Errata," the Barrett-Heins privately printed, 8 1/2 by 11 inch stapled book let, makes abundantly clear. Barrett, a collector of original fantasy art who has published several articles on Burroughs illustrators in fan publications, lists about a dozen St. John appearances not recorded by Richardson and corrects several bibliographical details. The corrections are welcome but they do not seriously damage the usefulness of the bibliography. However, Heins, the compiler of the essential Colden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs (Don Grant, 1964), carefully documents, in chronological order, some 80 incorrect titles, authors' names, dates, and citations. Both Barrett and Heins praise the bibliography, Barrett calling it a "fine" book and Heins referring to it as a "great job." On the other hand, they re fer to the signs of haste in publishing the manuscript. Barrett, more contentious than the even-tempered, methodical Heins, suggests that the sloppiness may have been the result of Richardson trying to get his book out before Heins' own St. John bibliography was published. Whatever the truth of Barrett's charge may be, "Addenda and Errata" does make it clear that Richardson's work should be used with extreme cau tion. It is a pioneering work, but it is also a seriously flawed entry in the undistinguished record of Burroughs fan scholarship. Walter Albert King Arthur in the Nineteenth Century Simpson, Roger. Camelot Regained: The Arthurian Revival and Tennyson 1800-1849. Cambridge: 0.5. Brewer, 1990. .50. Distr. by Boydell & Brewer, Box 41026, Rochester, NY 14604. 293 p. + 16 plates. $79.00. 0-85991-300-7. Until I read Camelot Regained I had been under the impression that the nineteenth century revival of interest in King Arthur had not begun until midcentury and was centered around The Idylls of the King and the pre Raphaelites, with only minor manifestations like Keats's "La Belle Dame Sans
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 41 Merci" appearing during the Romantic Age. Roger Simpson, however, has opened up an entire library's worth of chronicles, poems, plays, novels, and paintings which use the Arthurian myth well before Tennyson. These range from casual references to substantial works like Thomas Love Peacock's The Misfortunes of Elphin and Edward Bulwer Lytton's King Arthur. The remark able obscurity of many of his sources attests to the thoroughness of his re search. Many have not been noted by earlier bibliographers. Simpson organizes his material unconventionally according to the type of writing rather than chronologically or by author: first comes the treatment of Arthur as a historical figure-an approach which tends to reduce the su pernatural elements to a minimum-then the topographical, including local legends, travel writings, place names, and landscapes seen in terms of the literary Arthurian world. Comic versions range from John Moultrie's imita tion of Byron to political cartoons and popular entertainments like the pan tomime. Fairyland allegory, influenced by contemporary editions of medi eval romances, emphasizes dreams, the imagination, and the marvelous. In the light of this mass of contemporary material, Tennyson's role in the Arthurian revival undergoes a substantial reassessment. The final chapter is devoted to his early Arthurian poems such as ''The Lady of Shalott." Simpson deals not only with the published work but with earlier drafts and journals. Rather than the pioneering influence he had seemed, the young Tennyson ap pears as an individualistic and even idiosyncratic poet whose work was actually quite different from that of his contemporaries. However, his use of Malory rather than Geoffrey of Monmouth, Spenser, and Drayton as his primary source helped change the popular attitude toward him, making Malorian material like the Lancelot-Guinevere episode more central than it had been. The book concludes with a series of valuable appendixes covering both literature and art. Although this book would seem to be too specialized for the casual reader, the depth of its research and broadness of its coverage make it a valuable source for anyone interested in either the Arthurian leg end or in nineteenth century literature. Highly recommended. Lynn F. Williams Cheap Wall Art Taylor, Geoff. The Fantasy Art of Geoff Taylor. London, Corgi, 1992. 16 p. .99. No ISBN. At present, Britain's bestselling Tolkien-clones are two series by David Eddings, which appear in paperback editions with covers by Geoff Taylor. What could be more natural, therefore, than to publish a book of poster-sized reproductions of all ten of the covers decorating the various volumes of the Belgariad and the Malloreon, plus half a dozen assorted others? Eddings
42 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 devotees will thus be able to decorate their bedrooms for a mere .99, dis carding all those out-of-date and out-of-fashion pictures of Val Kilmer pre tending to be Jim Morrison. The pictures are 15 1/2" x 11 1/2" and tend to blur a bit at that level of expansion. People who like phallic symbols and mountainous crags with castles stuck on top will probably find something here to delight (or at least amuse) their tired eyes, but I've got Kelly Freas prints on the stairway, Rodney Matthews in the kitchen and Virgil Finlay in the downstairs 100, so I don't think I'll be able to find space for them. Brian Stableford A Blinkered, Jargon-Ridden Study Testa, Carlo. Desire and the Devil: Demonic Contracts in French and European Literature. NY: Peter Lang, 1991. viii + 192 p. $39.95. 0-8204-1439-5. This book is no. 159 in a second series of America University Studies in Romance Languages and Literature. It boasts of being entirely "labor do nated," the author beginning the customary acknowledgements page with the bitter observation that "it has received no institutional support-financial or otherwise." In spite of this ostensibly sad neglect, it is a thorough Iy typi cal member of its academic species. It contains an introductory chapter that talks about diabolical pacts in psychological terms, offering an exemplary analysis of Goethe's Faust as a "Quest for Lost Desire." The three main sec tions of the text then deal with Balzac's La peau de chagrin, Flaubert's La tentation de Saint Antoine and Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. A brief appendix discusses the work of Gerard de Nerval, with particular reference to the work on the Faust legend which he planned but never completed. According to the blurb, the book "asks-and answers-the ultimate question as to 'what it means to give oneself over to Satan' (Baudelaire) in today's post-systematic world, and I am happy to recommend it without reservation to anyone who believes (a) that we are living in a post-systematic world and (b) that the above is the ultimate question. As it happens, I don't. Testa's analyses are basically Freudian in character, making extensive use of Ernest Jones's notion of "oneiric activity," in which nightmares-revealingly characterized as "incubi"-become disguised expressions of un acceptable desires; his use of this framework is not, however, overly narrow, and he deploys it in an intelligent and reasonably sensitive way. Many read ers will find the style of the book hard going; it is fully accessible only to those who have mastered the entire jargonistic vocabulary of modern psy chological criticism. Anyone intimidated or bewildered by the continual casual use of French and Latin phrases will often struggle to catch the author's meaning.
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 43 Testa complains at one point that the works which he is discussing are normally discussed outside the context of the literary tradition of works deal ing with the devil and diabolical pacts, and that this distorts critical perception of their contents. He is right, and it is therefore disappointing to find that his own range of reference is so very narrow. There is no mention here of Cazotte's The Devil in Love, Le Sage's Devil on Two Sticks, or Anatole France's The Human Tragedy and The Revolt of the Angels, let alone Dumas's The Wolf-Leader or Claude Farrere's "The End of Faust". Had the author bothered to look at this wider range of texts, he might have saved himself the embarrassment of admitting that the only I iterary work he knows in which the devil makes good on his promises is The Master and Margarita. Such concentration of attention is, however, entirely usual in most "Ameri can University Studies", which habitually give such preference to depth over breadth that the world's literary heritage sometimes seems to na"i"ve onlookers like myself to be in danger of being reduced to a mere handful of sacred texts, each of which is supported-or perhaps confused-by millions of words of abstruse explanatory analysis. C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la sagesse. Brian Stableford Tolkien's Private Life Tolkien, John and Priscilla Tolkien. The Tolkien Family Album. NY: Houghton Mifflin, January 1992. 90 p. $24.95. 0-395-59938-5. Prepared by two of Tolkien's children to commemorate the centennial of his birth, The To/kien Family Album presents a brief biography of the fantasist's other, less well-known life-his private life as child, husband, father, teacher, scholar. Each page reproduces photographs, news items, and other such memorabilia, accompanied by appropriate text that identifies the items in the context of Tolkien's life. Designed more for fans than for schol ars, the Album nevertheless ultimately adds to our understanding of Tolkien and his works by suggesting links between his life and his art-a photograph of the "real" Sam Gamgee, for example, or reproductions of Tolkien's own illustrations for his fables. Details of his life are equally suggestive-hints of his isolation and loneliness as an orphaned child; photographs of the dev astation of World War I, that immediately bring to mind the pollution of the Shire by Saruman; the hominess of family tea parties in the Tolkien gardens that communicate a Hobbit-like comfort. On each page, we come to know Tolkien slightly better. Brief, well selected, carefully produced, the Album is an interesting and valuable addition to Tolkien studies. Michael R. Collings
44 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 More Summary Than Commentary Wagenknecht, Edward. Seven Masters of Supernatural Fiction. Westport, CT: Greenwood, November 1991. viii + 210 p. $46. 0-313-27960-8. Wagenknecht discusses in separate essays j. Sheridan Le Fanu, Henry james, M.R. james, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen, Walter de I a Mare, and Marjorie Bowen, authors chosen not to illustrate a thesis about super natural fiction, but simply because Wagenknecht feels like talking about them. In particular, he liked de la Mare and Bowen personally, enjoying "a long, warm epistolary inter-course with both./I It's rather refreshing to see a scholar without an axe to grind, one who's willing to put together a book looking at writers grouped together just be cause they're, well, interesting. On the other hand, I miss the urgent purpose that drives S.T. Joshi in The Weird Tale. joshi, too, speaks of picking his subjects (Machen, Dunsany, Blackwood, M.R. james, Bierce, and Lovecraft) because he liked them. It's pretty obvious, though, that he prefers some to others; james, whom Joshi finds thin and unconvincing, is included largely so his accomplishments can be incorporated into Lovecraft's work. Wagenknecht gives a much fuller description of james's fiction, classifying and summarizing each piece, then briefly discussing the man's accomplish ment, and then cutting it off so he can move on to the next writer. Joshi sees the writers he discusses as a group; Wagenknecht is sincerely interested in each separately, and that is how he leaves them. A better comparison might be to Supernatural Fiction Writers, edited by Bleiler, which consists of separate essays about many writers, including all those Wagenknecht discusses except Marjorie Bowen. The essays in Bleiler's collection are, again, interpretive as much as descriptive; that's their purpose and their strength. Wagenknecht gives more detail, but less actual interpretation. None of this is to disparage Wagenknecht's book. He does what he intends, carefully and rather charmingly. It's like attending a series of lec tures by a knowledgeable professor emeritus, who's content to lean on the podium and chat about some things he's enjoyed. Joe Sanders Kafka, Jung, and Beyond Whitlark, james. Behind the Great Wall: A Post-jungian Approach to Kafkaesque Literature. Cranbury, Nj: Fairleigh Dickinson U.P., january 1992. 285 p. $42.50. 0-8386-3427-3. This wide-ranging study begins with the assertion that similarities in the works of Franz Kafka and Carl jung "reflect the limbo that human minds enter when they begin to step beyond their culture./I Though Whitlark ad-
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 45 mits that there is no evidence that either man influenced the other, he sees parallels in their biographies and their world views that can also be traced in other writers whose works can be deemed Kafkaesque. The first part of this volume points out the parallels and contrasts in the lives of both Kafka and Jung, especially their multicultural backgrounds and their ensuing sense of alienation, and then discusses the classical myths and fairy tales, the Judaic writings, and the oriental tales that influenced Kafka's work and also served as source material for Jung. In the second part, Whitlark divides writers influenced by Kafka into "leopards" (such as Eugene lonesco, Thomas Mann, John Steinbeck) whose multicultural backgrounds inspire their search for the meaning of tradition and ritual; "frogs" (such as Albert Camus, Philip Roth, and Julio Cortazar) who emphasize the absence of any clear mythic pattern in their writing; and "ravens" (such as Kurt Vonnegut, Samuel Beckett, Sylvia Plath) whose rejec tion of both the old values and the lack of values leads to a sense of doom and works suffused with references to depression and death. In this section Whitlark briefly discusses each writer's background and publications, and points out any direct or indirect influence of Kafka and Jung on the work. In the last section, Whitlark uses a discussion of the relationship between patterns of communication-which he identifies as repetition, metaphor, me tonymy, and antithesis-and Jung's theory of archetypes to attempt an integra tion of previously presented material. Finally he applies his critical approach to an examination of Kafka's fragment "At the Building of the Great WaiL" The volume is indexed and thoroughly annotated; it also contains an extensive bibliography. Whitlark almost succeeds in making a difficult and dense subject clear, but sometimes seems to be stretching for connections between Kafka and Jung. The most accessible section of the book is the second part, in which Whitlark briefly sketches the lives and works of a wide range of modern and contemporary authors on whom Kafka has had an in fluence. Recommended for academic and research libraries. Agatha Taormina A Superb Reprint Wrightson, Berni. Berni Wrightson: A Look Back, ed. by Christopher Zavisa. Lancaster, PA: Underwood Miller, 1991. 359 p. $34.95 paper, 0-88733128-9; $125 hardcover, -129-7; $175 signed, limited, -130-0. Underwood Miller specializes in quality books, and this is no exception. Lavishly illustrated, and obviously lovingly produced, this book contains hundreds of illustrations, most of them in color. Wrightson's reputation in fantastic illustration is almost legendary, and the work in this book shows that his reputation is deserved. Even those who don't care for "horror" illustra-
46 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 tions, or for mildly pornographic work, can appreciate the talent. This 1991 softcover is a reprint of the 1979 Land of Enchantment hardcover and limited editions, and brings the price in reach of all, without sacrificing quality. For an illustrator whose only formal art training came from The Famous Artist's Course (a correspondence course, well known from its advertising in comic books), and who learned other techniques by borrowing them after seeing them in other artists' work, Wrightson shows a remarkable ingenuity and grasp of composition. Harlan Ellison, who wrote the introduction, is lavish in his praise and compares some of Wrightson's earliest work to that of Hiroshigespecifically, his 1834 "Fifty-three Stages of the Tokaido." That Ellison would take the time to write an introduction, and at a fraction of his usual fee, is indicative of his esteem for Wrightson's work, even with out his paean of praise. The book contains examples from Wrightson's earliest work, done while still in high school, through his latest work-in-progress-for an illustrated edition of Frankenstein. It includes his comic book work (for Marvel, DC, and EC), his successful "Swamp Thing" series, several stories from the Purple Pictography section of SWANK, and many other illustrations, including a number that have not been previously published. In fact, several of the Fran kenstein illustrations shown here will not appear in the final book, for vari ous reasons explained in the accompanying text. Speaking of the text, it is primari Iy in Wrightson's own words as recorded during a number of interviews for the book. Thus, Wrightson's entire career is described, as well as his thoughts and motives for much of what he's done. For a fan of Wrightson's work, or even for an aficionado of fantastic il lustration in general, this book is a must. Even if one doesn't care for the subject matter, the techniques must be admired, and the description of how the drawings came to be is fascinating. All in all, this is a superb book. W.O. Stevens
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 47 Fiction Past and Future Changes Anderson, Kevin J. & Doug Beason. The Trinity Paradox. NY: Bantam Books, November 1991. 325 p. $4.99. 0-553-29246-3. Who says there isn't good science fiction being written? Anderson and Beason certainly disprove that statement. With this latest release, Anderson shows he can move equally well be tween the fantasy world and the science fiction world, and Beason estab lishes himself firmly in the sf community. The Trinity Paradox shows us the I ife of EI izabeth Devane, nuclear pro tester and human rights activist. Demonstrating in front of nuclear facilities isn't enough for her anymore, so she attempts to sabotage the Los Alamos facility. Unfortunately for her, she unleashes powers she doesn't understand and is transported back to the Los Alamos of 1944! There, she decides she can stop the Trinity Project at its origin. She tries to kill Oppenheimer, but fails, and suddenly she finds herself working for the project instead of against it. Teetering between hating the project and help ing it, Elizabeth manages to change the timeline irrevocably. Things do not occur as she (or the reader) will remember from her (our) history. Warning: this book is not for people who are comfortable with the sta tus quo and things being stagnant. Events happen quickly, change occurs even more rapidly, and there is no happy ending. This is a book which will shake your beliefs. Readers will have to be sharp to keep up with all the changes Anderson and Beason make, and will have to search their own consciences at the end of the book to determine whether Elizabeth did the right thing, or what they would have done ... highly recommended! Daryl F. Mallett Suicidal Teen Travels Overlapping Realities Anthony, Piers. Virtual Mode. NY: Ace, December 1991, (Ace he. February 1991) 323 p. $4.99. 0-441-86503-8. Meet Colleen. She appears sweet, intellectual, caring-the most popular girl in her high school; yet, beneath her cool facade is anguish. Envied in school and frightened at home, Colleen believes her life has no true purpose. Meet Darius. He is highly revered; yet, totally frustrated. In his reality, magic is the law, and science is unheard of. Love is a rare occurrence, and marriage usually a commodity. Leaders, such as Darius, must have a suc cession of wives from whom they draw emotional strength. But Dari us wants
48 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 more: he wants a true love as a helpmeet-one who will not be drained dry. Thus he decides to travel the "virtual modes" to find the perfect mate. When he stumbles into our reality and finds Colleen, he feels his quest is over. When, however, he realizes she is suicidal, he disappears before her very eyes-before Colleen has a chance to convince Darius that he has given her impetus for living. Valiantly, she journeys through the "virtual modes" to prove her love and sincerity. Simultaneously, Darius, realizing his grave error in judgment, begins a dangerous second trip to seek Colleen. To readers addicted to Piers Anthony's works, the overlapping worlds that can be crossed in innumerable geometric fashions, the intertwined fan tasy and science fiction elements, the weird characters, the puns, and the emphasis on sex and bodily functions will be familiar and undoubtedly sat isfying. Other readers may be just plain muddled as was this reviewer for whom Book One of the "Mode Series" began in the right "Mode" but quickly deteriorated. Jennifer Wells The Perfect Phule Asprin, Robert. Phule's Paradise. NY: Ace, February 1992, 252 p. $4.99.0-441-66253-6. In this long-dreaded sequel to Phule's Company, Phule and his oddball Omega company are assigned to guard the Fat Chance casino from orga nized crime. The job is billed as "easy duty in paradise," but Phule realizes work is work no matter where you have to do it, and formulates a plan. Half his company goes undercover as casino employees and guests; the thinned uniformed ranks are filled out with actors to avoid suspicion. The level of infiltration is so successful Phule is able to figure out and foil the takeover attempt two-thirds into the book. Realizing too late what happened, the crime boss kidnaps Phule and holds him for a royal ransom in an effort to recoup the heavy losses sustained in the takeover attempt. Rather than crumble in complete confusion, the loyal and impassioned Omega company rallies to the rescue and frees their beloved leader before the end of the day. Phule's diligence to his task and dedication to his troops is so selfless, he denies himselfthe simple pleasures of life, like eating and sleeping. What a guy. It is mentioned so often by so many people that you get the impres sion Phule did not eat or sleep at all the entire mission. Yet he was still able to be in charge and on top of every serious situation and correct it instantly, usually by using his vast wealth. When he learned the casino computer was tampered with he called in the best debugging team in the universe by dou bling their fee. To handle the overbooking in the hotel he hired a new man-
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 49 ager for a "handsome amount." Even with all this spending, Phule ends up turning a profit by becoming part owner of the casino. Asprin must harbor supreme contempt for his readers. The pace of the book is slowed by constant explanations delivered in a condescending tone. The plan to save the casino is perfect, and no room is spared in telling the reader why. The plan's creator is equally lauded; the story plods along through episodes that illustrate either the devotion Phule inspires, the speed of his intellect, or his mother-like care for every person he commands. Phule's only failing is he lets his own welfare go in the interest of providing for others. It would seem Asprin has made sure Phule not only can buy his way around the universe, but buy his way into Heaven as well. Phule's Paradise has absolutely nothing going for it. There is no sus pense; you know all along the plan will work and Phule will be saved. All futuristic technology is the same: holo-phones, holo-cameras, holo-record ers, holo-slot machines, etc. The characters are fanatic cultists worshiping the reluctant god Phule. And the book just isn't funny. Don't be phuled: this book is a complete waste. Jeanette Lawson Women's Utopias, Women's Futures Bammer, Angelika. Partial Visions: Feminism and Utopianism in the 1970s. NY: Routledge, 1992.198 p. $49.95.0-415-01518-9; $16.95 pb. -01519-7. Angelika Bammer's new book is one of the best studies of feminist utopianism I have encountered. Although she is conversant with feminism, deconstruction ism, and all the other ism's of the post-modernist period, she avoids jargon and writes with clarity and insight. Her focus is on the period from the late '60s to the late '70s when imagi native literature most reflected the utopian dimension of the women's move ment. However she goes all the way back to Christine de Pizan's fourteenth century The Book of the City of Ladies to make the observation that although standard utopian literature has "on the whole been inimical to women" there does exist a long women-centered tradition of utopian thinking. She surveys early radical thinkers like Mary Wollstoncraft, and utopians like Mary E. Bradley Lane, Mary Griffith, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, pointing out their pervasive racism, sexism, and bourgeois sensibility. Utopias, she remarks, "are always both of and for their times, and their vision-in every senseis always partial." The feminist utopias of the '60s and '70s are no different, she says, emphasizing the historical context of writers like Joanna Russ and Ursula Le Guin and their differences from East German writers like Christa Wolf and Irmtraud Morgner. Works discussed in detail include Vernea
50 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Stefan's Shedding, Sally Gearheart's The Wanderground, Morgner's Trobadora Beatriz, Helene Cixous' Vive I'orange, and Monique Wittig's Les Guerilleres as well as books like The Female Man, Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time, and Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle which are more famil iar to American readers. Many of the texts Bammer discusses would not normally be considered utopias, but demonstrate the ways in which women writers are redefining the meaning of the word. Although she sees radical feminism as basically uto pian, she points out that this utopianism is only partial-both partisan and limited (as is all utopianism.) American, German, and French feminist writ ers have very different approaches-some looking for a gender-separate world and others for an androgynous one-but they all address the same basic issue, which Bammer sees as the "positioning of the female subject within the patriarchal culture." She concludes with positive hopes for femi nist utopianism and a new kind of thinking which will view utopia as a concrete possibility. In particular she looks to a new concern with issues of race and class which will move utopian thinking from abstract speculation to pragmatic possibility. Definitely recommended for anyone interested in feminism, utopias, and/or the '70s. Lynn F. Williams Macmillan Reprints Bellairs, John. The Face in the Frost. NY: Collier Books, c1969, 1991. 174p. (Collier Nucleus Fantasy and Science Fiction) $4.95. No ISBN given. Merritt, A. Dwellers in the Mirage. NY: Collier Books,.c1932, 1991. (Collier Nucleus Fantasy and Science Fiction) $5.95. No ISBN given. These are the fifth and sixth volumes published in a projected series republishing science fiction and fantasy titles whose publication rights are held by the Macmillan line. Over two dozen titles are announced for the series, with three more scheduled for publication by March 1992. Judging by these two, the series will acquaint younger readers with older books not easily found today. Some of them will be well worth the purchase. The Face in the Frost is just as enjoyable on a second reading a generation after the first. The adventures of Prospero, "(not the one you're think ing of)", and Roger Bacon (yes, that one) are enigmatic, unsettling, amusing. The casual introduction of electric light bulbs and motor cars into a scene previously entirely rural and medieval is no more disturbing than the drunken talking mirror that has the last snore of the story. It is a pity that Bellairs (he died last year) never wrote another adult fantasy but confined himself to children's books.
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 51 A. Merritt wrote at the same time as H.P. Lovecraft, and is equally regarded as a classic by most historians of fantasy. While his work was recommended to me years ago, his The Moon Pool, The Ship of Ishtarand other titles weren't easily found, so Dwellers in the Mirage is the first Merritt book I have read. It shows its age. The story line is no more improbable than other fantasy. The hero tells the story so we get a little feel for his personality and psychology, but the other characters are pasteboard improbabilitie5-specially the two lead ing women (Angel and Siren) and the faithful Indian side-kick who is, of course, killed in the last pages. What really bothered me results from the increase in popular knowledge of geography and ethnography over the past sixty years. No longer can a reader accept that a Norwegian, the Uighurs of Mongolia, and the Indians or Inuits (Merritt is undecided on this one) of northern Alaska speak languages so closely related that the hero can learn two of them speedily because he knows the third. Nor can he accept the possibility of semi-tropical valleys being found in the arctic reaches of the Brooks Range, where the tale is laid. If the reader suspends disbelief long enough, he may enjoy the story. I couldn't. The new series is likely to be uneven, if these two titles are a fair sample. The idea, however, is worth applauding and supporting. Paula M. Strain Home in Space Blair, john. Bright Angel. NY: Ballantine. january, 1992. 290 p. $4.99. 0345-37058-9. This second novel by john Blair confirms and deepens the promise shown in A Landscape of Darkness (1990). Bright Angel is a well-written, thoughtful interplanetary adventure story with believable, interesting characters set in 20632071. Blair is good at evoking both the mysteries of the universe yet to be dis covered and portraying the near future realistically. He employs naturally such casual details as the draining of the Edwards Aquifer in central Texas and a whiteout in Antarctica at a United Nations Coalition Forces base. The adventures range from an unexpectedly cold planet called Comfort to deep space and an encounter with several alien space ships. The basic scientific question of the novel is the sudden onset of a new ice age on earth. (This is refreshing rather than the more usual concern with the greenhouse effect and catastrophic warming of the earth, which is increasingly a focus of alarm in the 1990's.) The mystery of an alien intelligence with vast powers moves the plot along briskly, keeping the reader's interest in the main characters such as james Harris and his father Hugh Carney. The psychological resonance of home in a universe-wide sense is pro vocatively explored as a motif throughout the novel. Blair is aware that lack
52 SFRA Review, 198, june 1992 of knowledge often results in magical beliefs, but he is also good at portray ing a universe of wonders to be explored. A satisfying novel with depth of characterization and theme. Diane Parkin-Speer Heroic Fantasies Bradley, Marion Zimmer, ed. Sword and Sorceress VII: an Anthology of Heroic Fantasy. NY: DAW Books, 1990. $4.50,288 p. 0-88677-457-8. Marion Zimmer Bradley gives us a seventh collection of new stories of women, and some men, living in worlds and times other than that of 1990. With her early Darkover novels, Bradley gave a half twist to the macho genre of sword-and-sorcery to make women the wielders of both magic and swords. Her more-or-Iess annual "Sword and Sorceress" collections provide additional new treatments of the heroic fantasy theme, some highly successful, some less so. She also finds interesting new writers we may watch develop. The opening story of this anthology is "At the Toll of Midnight" by fourteen year-old Stephanie Shaver. Any author might be proud of this depiction of the despairing death of an aging woman pirate. Its ending is a bit weaker than the rest of the tale, but so is the ending of the Kethry-Tarma story the more experi enced Mercedes Lackey contributed. Magery and military expertise are usual elements in these stories but the stories themselves often focus on something else-character growth or clarifica tion. Gary Jonas' "Mending Wounds" and "Warrior's Oath" by Lynne Armstrong-Jones concern themselves with the emotional problems of thei r hero ines rather than their mage or military skills. Other stories, such as Stephen Burns ''The Bridge over Darikill Fell" and "St. George and the Dragon (revised)" by Nancy Jane Moore, bring humor to a genre notably lacking in laughter. Not all the two dozen tales please butthe number ofthose that do will make the collection a good purchase. Paula M. Strain Amphibian Brennert, Alan. Ma Qui and Other Phantoms [Author'S Choice Monthly #171. Eugene, OR: Pulphouse, 1991. 103 p. $4.95 Brennert is one of the notable people who've made the transition to mainstream writer without turning their backs on genre fiction. Most of his time nowadays seems to be spent on TV, but he presents here an interesting collection of older and brand new stories. Brennert's research for an episode of China Beach is used in "Ma Qui," published last year in F&SF. The finished/mangled TV program referred obliquely
SFRA Review, 198, june 1992 53 to the Vietnamese notion that when dead people aren't buried properly their souls wander about as agonized, very dangerous ghosts; the story shows one G.I.'s after-death discovery that everything he'd been told about the war-along with much Western idealism-is mistaken. It's quite cynical and convincing. "Ghost Story" is equally bleak but more confusing. The story seems to be describing degenerate survivors on Earth after starships have evacuated the rest of humanity, especially their bafflement at the projected messages left by the people who abandoned them. Maybe. Since the point is the characters' grop ing uncertainty, the story can afford to stay cryptic. "Stage Whisper," on the other hand, is about opening up, becoming less isolated from others and oneself. Even though it first appeared in the third vol ume of Campbell-nominee New Voices, this is a mainstream story; the ghosts that plague a dying Tennesseewilliamsesque playwright are his own memories and fears. The story is a pretty successful depiction of people growing under extreme pressure. The hitherto unpublished "Futures" takes this concern with human possibility into the fantastic, as the narrator begins seeing people around him as they'll be years in the future. But are these true visions? And could that mean his own future is already determined? Brennert makes it affecting and memorable. I've enjoyed Brennert's work in the past, and it's good to see him dipping back into fantastic literature. It would be nice if he'd contribute more writing to our small pool, but it's good to catch what he does produce as he glides through. joe Sanders New Series Begins Card, Orson Scott. The Memory of Earth. (Homecoming: Volume 1.) NY: TOR, March 1992. 294 p. $21.95. 0-312-93036-4. The planet Harmony had been inhabited by Earth colonists forty million years ago-colonists who fled the charred shell that Earth had become af ter a nuclear holocaust. In order to maintain peace, and to ensure that de struction would not come to their descendants, the early colonists created the Oversoul, a computer that could access the minds of humans and influ ence humans indirectly. The goal: allow humans to evolve until aggression is bred out, and then return them to Earth (which the colonists assume will recover). Thus Harmony has sophisticated technology, but much technol ogy is forbidden it-the concept of flying machines and wagons, for instance. The Oversoul, however, realizes that its systems are failing. Not only that, the humans are still aggressive, and some of the forbidden ideas (large wagons that can transport people, for example) have been made into reality as the Oversoul starts to slip, threatening the stable structure of Harmony.
54 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 The Oversoul, realizing it has to go to Earth to be repaired, must make contact with humans to give them the technology to transport the Oversoul to Earth. Enter young Nafai (NYAH-fie, according to Card's handy pronun ciation guide), a fourteen-year-old youth who spends more time getting into trouble with his brothers than communing with the Oversoul. Nafai's father has a vision of destruction; then Nafai too receives communication from the Oversoul. It needs their help to get the mysterious Index, held by the evil power-hungry Gaballufix. The Oversoul draws Nafai's father and brothers, Elemak, Mebbekew, and crippled Issib, into the conflict as well. Traitors and double dealings abound, pitting brother against brother. The plot of this story doesn't take into account the rich textures Card creates: the complex social system of Basilica, where women contract with men for a year at a time, fragmenting family units in interesting ways and creating intriguing familial relationships. The women, who rule the city, consider the Oversoul a god and are intensely interested in anyone who seems to be able to communicate directly with it. There are naked, dirty wild women who wander the streets who act as free prostitutes and who are of ten gang-raped; yet these same women are honored as speaking with the Oversoul's voice. Basilica is a big, complex city, and Card draws it well. There are some things wrong with this book: the incessant brotherly sniping gets old very quickly; some of the intrigues and revelations are too wildly improbable, and some of the characters too conveniently stupid. But this aside, the richly-drawn The Memory of Earth is the first of a five-book series, and Card has barely just begun to tell his story. Karen Hellekson Unfortunate TV Resonance Courtney, Vincent. Vampire Beat. NY: Pinnacle Books, Windsor Publish ing Corp., 1991. 302 p. $4.50. 1-55817-521-0. "Miami Vice meets Count Dracula" is the unfortunate first impression one gets from this novel, and the impression never leaves you. When an undercover cop is exposed breaking up a demonic cult responsible for murdering virgin girls, he is cursed by the psycho leader of the cult to "the life that is death, the death that is life." Thinking nothing of it in the heat of the moment, Detective Chris Blaze goes undercover on a drug bust, gets shot to hell (a la Robocop), dies, and returns to life as a vampire, in the process wiping out the entire group of drug lords. And then things begin to go wrong. Blaze requests night duty and gets partnered with Reggie Carver, a young, black hotshot cop busted to the night shift ... Miami Vice ... People are being killed and drained of their blood. Blaze and Reggie are on the case. Cops start getting killed, too, and now they're chasing another
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 55 vampire, only this one is older, stronger, and wiser than Blaze. Eventually, the evil vampire goes after-and gets-most of Blaze's friends and col leagues, forcing a showdown at the end of the book. The interactions between characters are interesting, and the action will keep the reader captivated throughout the novel, but it is unfortunate that such a similarity exists between this book and a once-popular (to some) tele vision show. Daryl F. Mallett New Star Trek Book David, Peter, et al. Star Trek: The Disinherited. NY: Pocket Books, May 1992, 261 p., $4.99. 0-67177958-3. Three of the great Star Trek writers, who have each turned out wonderful books on their own, team up to produce this excellent new book in the series. Set chronologically sometime before the television series was supposed to have occurred, (Chekov has just received his commission from the Academy and is a new Ensign on the Enterprise), Captain Kirk and the Enterprise are sent to the Gamma Xaridian system to investigate devastating pirate attacks on Federation colonies. Uhura, meanwhile, is serving on a mission aboard another starship, the Lexington, which also has grave impact on Federation security. Alternating between the storylines of Uhura on the Lexington and Kirk and company on the Enterprise, we are treated to indepth looks at the characters we have come to love. The best scene in the book involves most of the command crew joining forces to pick on McCoy, purposely misinterpreting everything he says. The poor doctor misses their sarcasm and the reader will be in stitches laughing as they picture this scene on the screen. The opening scene is also well done-a heart-wrenching scene which sets the tone of the book, while at the same time portraying individual lives being shattered by the unknown enemy. As Kirk and the Enterprise engage the raiders, Chekov is attempting to prove his worth to the captain, only he manages to screw up badly and get himself dismissed from the bridge and confined to quarters. Throughout the book, the new Ensign's storyline adds an element of personal struggle which many read ers will be able to relate to. Uhura, meanwhile, must not only deal with the new and important mission, but the unfamiliar crew and ship, and hostility from members of the new crew at her perceived intrusion. We also get a good look at two new alien cultures which are portrayed in very good detail. Many times collaborations end up being disjointed-often you can tell where the writers have switched-the style changes, bad copyediting misses changes in spelling of names and places, and the like. So, reading collabo rations may make a reader wary of these mistakes. However, in this book,
56 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 the writing is superb. The story is consistent, the transitions into each storyline makes sense and fits well with what just occurred. The fast-mov ing pace keeps the reader captivated until the end of the book. A must-read for readers already followi ng the series. But if you've never read a Star Trek (classic) novel, pick this one up and try it-you'll get hooked! Daryl F. Mallett Trilogy Concludes Feist, Raymond E. and Janny Wurts. Mistress of the Empire. NY: Doubleday, March 1992. 613 p. $20. 0-385-24719-2. This, the concluding volume of a trilogy, begins a couple of years after the preceding volume ends, and concludes a dozen years later with both heroine and heroes as graying parents. Mara, last survivor of the House of Acoma, was a nubile teen-ager when Daughter of the Empire opened. The trilogy closes with Mara regent to the ninety-second Emperor; a wily survi vor of plots against person, clan, and Empire; and a serious instigator of so cial change that breaks the power of the ruling houses and the Assembly of Magicians. Machiavellian techniques helped Mara, in earlier volumes, to outwit rival clans and gain power and wealth. In this volume, while a disgruntled brother-in-law still plots against her, her real opponents are the Great Ones, the black robed magicians who are outside the law of the Empire. By forc ing them to accept that law, as she does with the aid of cho-ja mages, Mara makes the Game of the Council obsolete and opens an era in which cooperation with Medkiemi, the world of the senior author's Magician series, is possible Mistress of the Empire is not as exciting as earlier books because, a third of the way through, opponents shift from Jiro of the Anasati, to the less defined opposition of the Assembly of Magicians. There are, however, more personal adventures and fewer romantic scenes for Mara than in Servant of the Empire because she journeys outside the Tsurani Empire. Secondary characters we became familiar with in earlier volumes appear here as well but only Lujan and Arakisi survive to the close of the story. All three books can be read separately. Read in sequence, the three follow the career of an interesting woman filling a masculine role in a macho society and doing so in a feminine fashion. Her adventures as related here are no more believable than those of most fantasy plots, but her atti tudes and reactions are real ones, and will be appreciated by women read ers. Paula M. Strain
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 57 Powerful Text and Music Gallagher, Diana G. The Alien Dark. Lake Geneva, WI:TSR Books, 1990. 309 p. $3.95. 0-88038-928-1. ----, Vision: Fire Dream. Blue Fire Productions: Palmdale, CA, De-cember 1991. music album. Diana G. Gallagher is a triple threat in the entertainment world. A Hugo-winning artist, Gallagher also displays her talents here with her first novel, which has something unusual with it ... a music album! Yes, that's right. Gallagher is also a successful songwriter and singer, having had sev eral albums released in the last five years through Firebird Arts and Music. The Alien Dark is a gripping tale of the demise of Earth and all life upon it, told from the perspective of a cat-like alien race which discovers our so lar system. Gallagher does a very good job of combining the alien culture, character development, and interpersonal clashing between the aliens, with the story of Earth's fall. When they arrive in our system, the third planet is completely devoid of life and oxygen, while the second planet has an oxy gen-based atmosphere. The aliens discover, through the photojournalism of one man, how a group of scientists sought to save the future of the human race by seeding Venus with oxygen-producing materials and cryogenically preserving human eggs and sperm in the hopes of alien discovery. Gallagher's disturbing and provoking novel stimulates thoughts of the benefits of scientific research, space development and expansion, environ mentalism, and technological advancement. She offers us, the readers, the chance to say, "Yes, we can try to avoid this catastrophe through recycling and intelligent usage of our resources," and also to say, "We'd better have a contingency plan as well, just in case." The writing in the novel is superb, and it is a shame that this book was released in December ... it didn't get a shot at any awards. Already a Hugo winner for her artwork, Gallagher could have been in the running for the John Campbell Award for best new writer, or the Philip K. Dick Award for best original paperback novel. Hopefully we will see a second book in this series which will tell about the interaction between humans and aliens, and the rebuilding of human civilization. The album Fire Dream has the same distinctive blue and gold cover work as the novel. Of the seven songs, three of them relate to the novel and are great fun to listen to while reading the book. The other songs are trib utes to and remembrances of the Challenger crew who died trying to take the dream into space, and to the Discovery crew who followed in their footsteps. The album and the novel together will stimulate your thoughts and ideas. Daryl F. Mallett
58 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Trilogy Concludes Gordon, Stuart. The Mask: The Third book of the Watchers. London: Orbit, 1990. 368 p. .50. 0-7088-8324-9. As we approach the last decade of the century, the Millenium novel has almost become a new sub-genre of science fiction. This is another, which is a shame because it detracts from the concept brilliantly built up in the first two novels in this series-Archon and The Hidden Watchers-yet it also seems inevitable. At the turn of the century comes the Shift. If Azazel is successful in his machinations it will be the end of the world. Opposed to him is his sister Tiy who is prepared to enlist human aid. The main human players are Chrissa and Sam Joyce. Chrissa was snatched from this world to emerge in 13th century Southern France at the time when the Inquisition was burning Cathars. Sam in attempting to follow his daughter was taken further back to be a prisoner in a sacred grove. He experienced a rebirth as part of his experiences there. Now he is sent back to London as the millenium approaches. Others, including Sam's wife Diane, whose loved ones have also disappeared, are drawn to London. Diane has been living as a recluse in Scotland since her family's disappearance, and unexplained urges force her south, somehow sure that she will find them again. England atthe end of the millenia has changed. It is a much more repres sive society than now and is skillfully developed. Diane and other characters find it difficult to reach the place they know they must, and Sam is be wildered by the differences he perceives since he left. There is also a good deal of mysticism woven into the plot. A good finale to an excellent trilogy. Pauline Morgan Story-Teller's Skill Herbert, James. Creed. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1990.319 p. .95. 0-340-50909-0. Not many authors can get away with informing the reader on the first page that the hero of the novel is a thoroughly unsavory piece of work, "a sleaze of the Fi rst Order." James Herbert does. Joseph Creed is a paparazzo. This is the type of photographer that the celebrated go to great lengths to avoid. His stock in trade is the compromising picture, the shot of the ungainly (backlside of royalty, the stars at their worst. Creed is one of the best of his kind-a fact that makes him despised by the famous and colleagues alikeand this time it leads him into trouble. Secreted in a mausoleum in a cemetery he takes pictures of the funeral of Lily Neverless, a great star in her time. He expects well-known theatre and film personalities to be there. What he
SFRA Review, 798, June 7992 59 doesn't expect is the late-arriving mourner who appears to carry out obscene acts over the newly filled-in grave. His curiosity roused, Creed attempts to identify the man and finds himself the target of various attacks. Someone wants the film back. Creed is a sceptic. He does not believe in the supernatu ral and to begin with he finds plausible, rational explanations for what he sees-like Nosferatu, the vampire, ransacking his darkroom, like his bed being invaded by bugs. Only later does he begin to suspect that there is more involved. Creed is an extremely realistic character. He is unscrupulous, but we were warned of that. He is thoroughly unlikable and it is a measure of Herbert's story-telling skill that our sympathies remain with him to the end. It also raises Creed well above the usual level of dross that pollutes the bookshops under the label of horror. Pauline Morgan Ancient Chinese Detective Fantasy Hughart, Barry. Eight Skilled Gentlemen. NY: Foundation/Doubleday, 1991. 255 p. $10.95.0-385-41710-1. What are we to say of the depraved, degenerate, debased, decrepit de tective Li Kao and his able, affable, assiduous, athletic assistant Number Ten Ox? Master Li is immensely learned; Ox is not. This is fortunate for us, since Master Li must constantly draw on his vast knowledge of the esoteric and supernatural to explain to Ox the significance of their bizarre discoveries, thereby enlightening us as well. Barry Hughart draws on the whole range of Chinese folklore and litera ture in fabricating his stories. "Fabricate" is the word all right, because he also makes up folklore and literature where Chinese authors have unac countably failed to provide him with the necessary texts. In this story, the third which Hughart has given us, he turns his attention to the south. In the middle third of the Chou Dynasty, the Chinese empire expanded greatly as several states voluntarily joined the loose feudal union. The most powerful was the state of Ch'u, based in Szechuan and the middle Yangtze River valley below the gorges. Ch'u is especially important because its cul ture did not have a common basis with those of the Yellow River valley. This "barbarian" culture, however, made an essential contribution to Chi nese culture as we know it. To oversimplify, the culture of the north produced regular, pragmatic, rule-governed behavior, while the south produced flamboy ant shamans and mystics who proclaimed that truth lay in their visions rather than rules. This opposition was incorporated into the ConfucianlTaoist dialectic and became the cornerstone 'of Chinese high culture.
60 SFRA Review, 798, June 7992 A key figure in the culture of Ch'u was the statesman and poet Ch'u Yuan. His poem "Li Sao" is an allegory of politic failure clothed in gorgeous sensuous and erotic imagery. He committed suicide after losing favor with his prince, and the yearly Dragon Boat Festival is said to be a re-creation of the search for his body. Hughart among other things constructs a convincing shamanistic ritual around the traditional Ch'u song "Summons to the soul", but he explicitly rejects the traditional interpretation of the Dragon Boat Festival in favor of one of his own devising. This is the crux of his well designed plot, so I leave to the reader the pleasure of discovering it. Suffice it to say that in the course of solving a series of bizarre murders, Master Li saves the world, as usual. Recommended for anyone with a love of the exotic, or a sense of humor, or a fondness for detective stories. William M. Schuyler, Jr. Wolf Creation Myth Kilworth, Garry. Midnight's Sun: A Story of Wolves. London: Unwin Hyman, 1990. 317 p. .95 0-04-440683-5. Kilworth's previous novel Hunter's Moon was a study of foxes. In Midnight's Sun, he performs the same service for wolves. It qualifies as a fantasy as the wolves not only have their own language and society but also have a history told in legend, including creation myths. The principle wolf of the story is Athaba. He is shown undergoing all the trials of growing up; he witnesses the death of his siblings and learns how to survive in the harsh environment of North America, avoiding hunters of the human kind. Athaba, however, steps outside the conventions of his tribe. When told that his sire, the alpha male, is dead, he has to see the body himself-a normal wolf would have accepted the word of others. Then, attempt ing to free his enemy from the grip of a bear, he is struck by one of its paws. The rest of the hunting party leave him for dead but Athaba recovers, though subject to fits. This helps put him outside the tribe. He is forced to follow behind, mingling with the scavenger crows for food, unable to divorce him self totally from his tribe. This is partly what saves his I ife when the wolf pack is massacred and he finds himself totally alone. He does find a mate but soon after the cubs are born he is captured and flown across country. When the plane crashes he plans to walk back to where he left his mate. He is followed by the only human survivor of the crash. A relationship develops between man and wolf, with Athaba taking the man in as part of his pack and there fore accepting responsibility for him. Some of the plot is slightly whimsical, too many coincidences parade through Athaba's life, but without them there could be no plot and the story
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 61 would deteriorate into a saga of wolf watching. The society of wolves is excellently outlined and little room is left for sentimentality in their precarious lives. This is the kind of book that should be made compulsory reading in any country where remnants of wolves remai n. If there was a greater un derstanding of them, perhaps men would be less trigger happy. Pauline Morgan Blood-Drenched Roots Lansdale, Joe R. Stories by Mama Lansdale's Youngest Boy [Author's Choice Monthly #18). Eugene, OR: Pulphouse, 1991. 130 p. $4.95. Although he opines that the stories in his earlier collection, By Bizarre Hands, give a better idea of what he's doing now, Lansdale cheerfully offers these fifteen stories as examples of how he got started in his present direction. Stephen King's uninhibited, do-whatever-it-takes-to-rock-'em approach to horror, espe cially in wild and crazy guys like The Stands Lloyd Henried and the Trashcan Man, may have nudged Lansdale into motion. Or maybe not. Although these are 'prentice works, Lansdale's own voice is unmistakable: direct, aw-shucks unpretentious, and without a shadow of inhibiting "good taste." He has a real gift for vivid detai I, exaggerating sensations past horror, until the reader's gasps turn to laughter, then slide on into deeper horror: What kind of person am I to laugh at this kind of stuff? This is very uncomfortable and oddly relaxing; even the gaping pit at the end of a Lansdale story isn't daunting to readers, considering what they've already gone through to get there. In the stories collected here, Lansdale is getting his talent under control. Sometimes, as in "Bestsellers Guaranteed," personal resentment makes him push the point too hard; "On A Dark October," though, does a much more subtle job of showing what being willing to do anything for success means. If ''The Fat Man" is a fairly routine that's-what-you-get-for-going-into-the-creepy-house tale, "God of the Razor" is dead-on unbearable. And so it goes. I'd say Lansdale is hitting more often than missing in these stories, and even the less successful pieces are colorful, lively, and cute as a rodeo clown with a switchblade up his sleeve. Recommended. Joe Sanders Heartwrenching Tale Morgan, J.M. Desert Eden. NY: Pinnacle Books, Windsor Publishing Corp., September 1991. 352 p. $4.95. 1-55817-542-3. Desert Eden is described on the cover as "an ecological thriller," and it is certainly that. Set in the near future, there are seven or eight biospheres located around the world for research purposes. When the millionaire spon sor of these "human greenhouses" decides to experiment with biological
62 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 weapons at the remote Siberian biosphere, a lethal bacteria is released throughout the world, killing virtually all human life on the planet. And with the destruction of most of the biospheres by rampaging crowds, only the humans in Biosphere Seven in the Texas desert seem to be left. Throughout the story, the characters develop and grow continuously. Their interactions as they learn to cope with their situation and learn to live, and die, with each other are captivating. There are alternating storylines of survivors in the outside world which keep the reader fascinated as we watch the agony and courage of these wanderers. When one of the members decides to leave to find survivors to return with, things become even more interesting, and the end of the book is not happy ... but it is hopeful. Morgan has written a book which, like George Stewart's Earth Abides, will wrench your strings and make you think about the future of our planet. Recommended I Daryl F. Mallett Exciting Creepy Tale Morlan, A.R. The Amulet. NY: Bantam Books, 1991. 388 p. $4.95. 0-55328909-X. The Amulet is a genuinely creepy tale by new author A.R. Morlan. The heroine, Anna Sudek, is a social outcast because of her family tragedy: fifty years earlier, her great-grandfather killed his wife and mother-in-law with an axe; the older woman's body was never found. His daughter, Lucy Miner, witnessed her grandmother's death and knows much more than she ever told. When a series of grisly new murders takes pla\=e in the town, Anna suspects that grandmother Lucy is behind them. The amulet is an occult artifact passed down to Lucy by her grandmother. It endows its user with magical shape-shifting abilities-but it also possesses its user and drives her mad. Lucy wants to bestow it upon Anna, her granddaughter, but Anna instead investigates the events of 50 years ago and begins to uncover the terrifying truth. Lucy Miner is a truly monstrous creation: whining, manipulative, demanding, smelly, and homicidal. Anna Sudek is difficult to like at first. She is doing her grocery shopping in a dumpster when we first meet her, a col lege-educated underachiever. But she is bright and sensitive, though hurt by a lifetime in a hostile environment, and we come to admire her courage and wish her a better life somewhere else. For her town, Ewerton, somewhere in north central Wisconsin, is run-down, small-minded, and sleazy-just the right kind of place for sordid horror.
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 63 Morlan sometimes overwrites. This is particularly true in the prologue, where she tries to achieve a sense of antiquity. There are unnecessary asides and irrelevant detail, but when the story gets going, it rolls along to an ex citing climax and a very clever way of disposing of the amulet. I look forward to the next Ewerton novel, Summer Shadow. The Amulet is a prom ising debut. Laurel Anderson Tryforos Master Craftsmanship Morris, Kenneth. The Chalchiuhite Dragon: A Tale of Toltec Times. NY: Tor Books, March 1992. ix + 291 p. $19.95. 0-312-85264-9. Kenneth Morris is one of the neglected masters of fantasy. Ursula K. Le Guin praised him in "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie" as one of the three great stylists of the century (in company with E.R. Eddison and J.R.R. Tolkien). His inspired retellings of Welsh legends in The Fates of the Princes of Dyfed(1914) and Book of the Three Dragons (1930), and his brilliant short stories in The Secret Moun tain and Other Tales (1926) earned him this high praise. Now more than fifty years after his death the first book publication of Morris's last, unpublished novel will confirm the accuracy of Le Guin's appraisal. Morris is an inspired, original writer in touch with the mythic wellsprings of the fantastic imagination. The Chalchiuhite Dragon (pronounced "chal-chew-wheat," a type of jade) depicts an archetypal clash of innocence and evil, war and peace, in the pre Colombian Toltec empires of the Americas. It is full of unpronounceable names and the vivid imminence of gods, described in a poetic, lyrical prose which enables Morris to achieve moments of pure disembodied awareness unique in fantasy writing. His writing shines with greatest brilliance as he evokes transcen dent mind-states. As he has a character "approach the Mountain that was God" Morris tells us that "the visible world hardly concealed the invisible that shone and sparkled through it," and he places us astoundingly, convincingly, in the midst of tangible intangibility. The lush natural world is captured in a language correspondingly rich: "The air was soaked with holiness; he could feel the pure meditation of the trees ... The style itself is liquid, shimmering from shadow into light, flowing smoothly from elaborate description into mundane action. Morris can with equal grace render the abstract, cosmic creation of a god and the de tailed vibrancy of ordinary nature. The temptation is to quote at length from Morris, hoping to convey the range and textures of his language, but the greater achievement of his writ ing is the wedding of this lilting, varied prose with philosophical depth and an active share of wonder woven from the history, myth and legends of these splendid, ancient American civilizations. Morris describes himself as a
64 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 "Theosophical propagandist," and indeed The Chalchiuhite Dragon was written for Katherine Tingley, leader of the Universal Brotherhood and Theo sophical Society while Morris was in residence in the Theosophical community and Professor of History and Literature at the Theosophists' Raja Yoga College at Point Loma, California. While the book never smacks of propaganda, Theosophy's strong affinities with mysticism, its allegorical under standing of sacred texts, and its spiritual impulses toward a universal theol ogy revealed through scientific and historical truths do provide rich ground ing for the magic realism of this Toltec tale. Morris returned to his native Wales in 1930 before he had completed revisions of his manuscript, but he mailed the finished work to the archives at Point Loma in 1935. There his typescripts were carefully preserved by Society librarians who helped fantasy scholar Douglas Anderson arrange for this publication and paved the way for Anderson's forthcoming companion volume which will bring into print the collected short stories of Morris. Anderson, who contributes a brief "Afterward" to this novel, promises a more extended study in his introduction to the collected stories. Meantime, we can enjoy this book by a neglected master fantasist who here provides fresh evidence that the power of the dragon and the tales and bel iefs from native myths are as rich sources for fantasy on American soil as they are in England, Wales, or fairyland. And we will enlarge our understanding of the possibili ties of poetic, philosophical fantasy as we see what wonders and inspiring models this master craftsman here has wrought. Richard Mathews Satisfying Tale Norton, Andre, with P.M. Griffin. Storms of Victory: Witch World; the Turning. NY: TOR Books, March 1991 and March 1992.432 p. $4.99. 0-812-51109-3. Witch World history is well-documented by more than a dozen full length books and single stories in half a dozen collections of other tales by Andre Norton. Within the last decade, other writers have been invited to tell what Witch World history they have researched in four more collections. Most of us delight in knowing more about that world. Storms of Victory gives us two more long accounts of events after the defeat of Alizon. The first, Port of Dead Ships, is by Norton herself. The Grand Mistress of Science-Fiction has created an absorbing tale from a familiar recipe. That some of the ingredients haven't been blended quite as well as they might have been is easily forgotten because we meet again Simon and Kemoc Tregarth and their ladies, the Witch Jaelithe and Orsya the Krogan. They are
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 65 joined in a new adventure by the half-Sulcar bastard who becomes the Voice of Gunnora in the closing of an unsuspected gate to other worlds. This gate was located in the sea; Norton suggests that at times it opened into our world-somewhere in the region of Bermuda. P.M. Griffin's "Seakeep" is slightly shorter (by 20 pages) and deals with new characters. There is less direct conflict between Light and Dark, though the unworldly contacts we expect in Witch World occur. Laid in the Dales where places of Power are uncommon, but where human greed creates its own troubles, it is the story of the relationship between a woman Lord of Seakeepdale and the captain of the Falconer company she hired to protect the dale against a neighbor lord wrecking ships for profit. It, too, is a tale that satisfies. News like these two accounts from Witch World is welcome. Paula M. Strain I nternational Selections Pasechnick, Stephen and Brian Youmans, eds. The Best of the Rest, 1990: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy from the Small Press. Cambridge, MA: Edgewood Press [P.O. Box 264, 02238], 1991. $10 ppd. 0-96290666-1. Perhaps the most impressive feature of this anthology is an appendix, an annotated catalog of eighty small press publications, complete with prices and mailing addresses, from which the stories in this collection were se lected. Many of these publications are Australian, Canadian, or British. In fact, on Iy three of the stories included in the anthology were gleaned from U.S. publications; the Australians clearly led the pack with four, while the Canadians contributed two and the British one. The book presents ten stories and a poem (twenty-six "honorable men tions" are listed in a second appendix at the back). It is easy to see why some stories did not appear in popular pulps like Asimov's or F&SF: the stories aren't experimental in narrative technique, but some are clearly literary, even somewhat postmodernist, in theme. Perhaps typical of what I mean is the lead-off story, Terry Dowling's "Mirage Diver," a tale which objectifies, lit erally, the Heideggerian hermeneutical process, through a kind of literary semiotics. It's fascinating yet febrile, an unabashedly literary head-trip (I liked it, but I am painfully aware ofthe inverse relationship between my taste and the public's). Hard SF fans will recognize only two of the stories (the last two, by George Turner and David Tansey) as real science fiction. Both involve alien contacts in deep space; Turner's "Generation-Gap" provides mostly an ex ercise in cultural irony, while Tansey's ... And They Shall Wander All Their Days" speculates on the "design" of the cosmos. Somewhere near this ball-
66 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 park is Geoffrey Maloney's "5 Cigarettes and 2 Snakes," a futurist spoof of a brainwashed "anti-corporate" revolutionary. For the most part, though, the stories utilize the fantastic to "freshen up" humanistic themes, as in Carol Emshwiller's "Peri," the portrait of a brow beaten husband whose despair is lifted by a love affair with a spritely girl child of six. The protagonist's talent for flying is clearlv a metaphor here, as is the nearly overnight maturation of the child. James Allen Gardner's "Muf fin Explains Teleology ... is an "out of the mouths of babes" exercise in cuteness. R.A. Lafferty's "Maleficent Morning" is an exercise in dark humor centered on paradox, but it doesn't quite work. Jamil Nasir's "The Allah Stairs" is similar, but more effective. Garry Kilworth's "Truman Capote's Trilby" is elaborately tongue-in-cheek, a first person account of the protagonist's tragic love affair with a hat-a concept that sounds hilarious, but the execution is somehow anti-climactic. Matt Lowe's "Gooba Gabba" strikes me as the weakest piece, a pointless exaggeration of the legendary melodramatic exploits of "Earnest Hemmingway" (sic, is the misspelling deliberate or illiterate?) in which "Poppa" climaxes a year long sexual debauch with a company of freaks by burning down the circus and blasting the zoo fauna with his elephant gun as the Big Top burns. There's plenty of entertainment here, as well as fine writing, but the biggest "find" is Dowling (three other stories from his collection, Rynosseros, are listed in the Honorable Mention category). Emshwiller is fine, but not news, and nei ther is Turner. The others will need more than the stories represented here to attract serious attention. Robert A. Collins Tiger and Del Series Announced as Tetralogy Roberson, Jennifer. Sword Breaker. NY: DAW, 1991,460 p. $4.99. 088677-476-4. Although Sword-Breaker is the fourth novel in the adventures of Tiger and Del, it can be enjoyed without having read the earlier books. As a re sult of the introspective personal commentary of the character Sandtiger, current happenings are continually linked to previous adventures from Sword-Dancer, Sword-Singer or Sword-Maker. Thus, readers, new to the series, quickly learn Sandtiger (Tiger) is a South ron sword-dancer whose life had become entwined with that of Del, a female sword-dancer from the far North, and that, except for the strength of their combative skills, they had had little in common at first. Nevertheless, Tiger soon became part of Del's obsessive quest to avenge the enslavement of her brother and the murder of other members of her family. Totally singleminded, Del had used Tiger as
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 67 a tool, drawing him into a series of battles against both the mundane and the magical. Yet, though Del acknowledges direct responsibility for the presence of the evil sorceror, Chosa Dei, and his invasion of Tiger, "blame" is not an issue; it is understood that Del did what she felt she had to do. Now, in this final novel, Tiger takes front stage as Tiger and Del travel to enlist the aid of Chosa Dei's brother, the only one with the power to neutralize the evil sorceror before he takes complete control of Tiger's body. Also, Del, having achieved her revenge, is free to assist Tiger in his quest, and, as a com bat team, Tiger and Del are nearly invincible: they escape enslavement, death, and loss of honor. On personal levels, they explore problems created by sexism and sexist attitudes. The fragility in their relationship, growing first from their common interest in sword tactics and later only rather hesitatingly on trust is beautifully developed. This relationship between equals, their growing partner ship, is even more fascinating than the sword and sorcery adventure which serves as its framework. Ultimately, though neither knows what the future holds, both are willing to face that future together. Surely, Roberson is not yet finished with Tiger and Del. Each of the four novels was and is worth reading, but four is by no means enough. Gail Becker Arthur Again! Sampson, Fay. Black Smith's Telling: Book Three in the sequence Daughter of Tintagel. London: Headline, 1990. 275 p. .50 0-7472-3400-0. In some respects this sequence of novels is just another retelling of the Arthurian legend. Fay Sampson, however, has attempted to find a new ap proach. The central figure in all the books in the series is Morgan, Arthur's half-sister, but each is told from the point of view of a different character whose life has been changed by contact with Morgan, and each advances the plot. The first, Wise Woman's Telling, dealt with Morgan's early childhood to the birth of Arthur, from the point of view of the midwife/wise woman who attended the birth of all of Ygraine's children. White Nun's Telling followed Morgan's confinement in the holy community on Tintagel. This, the third volume, takes Morgan into marriage with King Urien of Rheged during the time that Arthur is growing up in the care of Nimue. Teilo the Smith tells this story, the one that contains most magic. Smiths were al ways considered to be magic workers, shaping iron and fire, and practitio ners of the Old Religion, as is Morgan. Teilo is also arrogant. He considers himself Morgan's equal and this is his downfall. In his attempt to prove him self to her, he kills one of her waiting-women. Morgan's revenge is to make Teilo take her place. He flees from his village, accused of killing his wife,
68 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 dressed in women's clothing, and finds he cannot putthe garments aside. For a time he wanders the country-side in a state of madness, but is eventually drawn back to Morgan to become Woman and rarely be set free from her company. Morgan is portrayed as a determined woman, but misunderstood in the legends. She has no enmity for Arthur. She wishes only friendship with her half-brother, but her sisters and fate conspire against her. Even Mordred is not Morgan's son but that of her sister, Morgawse, though Morgan raises him. Under other circumstances, this might be an interesting series, but this is a theme which has become over-used and there is very little new that can be said. Pauline Morgan Too Close to Creation Swithen, Anthony. Princes of Sandastre: The Perilous Quest for Lyonesse, Book One. London: Fontana, 1990.215 p. .99. 0-00-617938-X. This author has spent years creating the fantasy world in which this book is set. It has a carefully worked out geography, unique flora and fauna. The maps are intricate, detailing the political boundaries and naming the hun dreds of families that occupy them. Social history is well chronicled and a language invented. But it is not enough. The care, dedication and effort of this creation swamp the novel making the pace slow and, at times, tedious. Rockall is a little visited Atlantic Island in the early fifteenth century. After the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, Simon Branthwaite is forced to flee his family home-his crime is that his father and elder brother fought on the losing side. The message that he has received from his father is that he is embarking for Lyonesse, that Simon can join him if he wishes, or throw him self on the King's mercy. Simon sees the message as a challenge and tries to follow. Arriving at Bristol he finds there are no ships to Lyonesse and no-one knows when, or if, there will be another, but there may be a ship calling at Rockall. While waiting on the quay to speak to the captain he thwarts an assassination attempt and earns the undying friendship of Avran, younger prince of Sandastre. They journey to Rockall together where Simon has to learn a new language and cope with a totally alien social order (important ladies actually do their own cooking). As a reward, he falls in love with Avran's sister, liven. The plot, besides being sugary in places, is extremely predictable. The device for introducing the book is also overworn-Rider Haggard used it frequently-being a contemporary author translating an ancient manuscript. Unfortunately it does not make a belief in Rockall any stronger; in fact it diminishes it. And the author for all his cleverness has forgotten that while an island can have a unique flora and fauna there will be crossovers. Birds
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 69 such as geese will migrate across the Atlantic, wind-born seeds will colonize even the most farflung outposts. Swithen's mistake is to try to bring Rockall into the twentieth century via his introduction rather than leave it shrouded in mystery and history like Atlantis. He is too close to his creation. Pauline Morgan Highest Order SF Vinge, Joan D. The Summer Queen. NY: Warner Books, 1991. 671 p. $21.95,0-446-51397-0. At the climax of The Snow Queen (1980), Moon Dawntreader Summer became the Summer Queen at Carbuncle, replacing her clone-mother Arianrhod when the Change drove the oppressive Hegemony from Tiamat and brought the Summer folk to power, and the Winters to political obscu rity. She learned that the mers of Tiamat, gentle sea creatures whose num bers have been decimated because their blood is the source of the geriatric 'water of life,' are also vital biological components of the interstellar Sibyl net, whose hardware systems are concealed beneath Carbuncle. Moon must convince the non-technical Summer folk to work with their enemies the Winters to raise the technological level of Tiamat so that when the Hegemony returns at the next Change, a new political and economic relation can be forged to protect the mers and save the decaying Sibyl computer, which links the known worlds. In World's End(1984), BZ Gundhalinu, Moon's Kharamoughi friend and lover, discovered a supply of the Old Empire's stardrive plasma, saving his own besmirched honor, making possible easy interstellar travel, and allowing the Hegemony's early return to Tiamat and the Water of Life. The complex events of The Summer Queen begin some eight years af ter Moon's accession. On Foursgate, BZ Gundhalinu struggles to understand the mutated smartmatter plasma which can restore the Hegemony and Kharamough to Imperial power. At Razuma on Ondinee, the criminal Broth erhood plot the theft of the stardrive, employing Reede Kullervo, who ap pears to be the avatar of Vanamoinen, the Old Empire creator of the Sibyls and the Sibyl net. And on Tiamat, Queen Moon struggles to educate both Winters and Summers in the necessity of cooperation and technical devel opment, and in the midst of all to find some happiness with her husband Sparks and their children Ariele and Tammis. As a consequence of their perfection of startravel and the lure of the water of life, BZ, Kullervo/ Vanamoinen, the Brotherhood, the mysterious Sibylline Survey, and the Hegemony come again to Tiamat, to a final, tumultuous encounter with Queen Moon and the Lady of the Net in the depths of the Pit of Carbuncle.
70 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 With The Summer Queen, Joan Vinge accomplishes what many fine writers, among them Frank Herbert in the Dune series and Isaac Asimov in the Robots & Empire novels, have failed to achieve: a richly plotted, detailed, interesting, thoughtful, unified, humane multi-volume long fiction with well developed, plausible, interactive characters. I particularly like the way Vinge develops her vision of the decent life, and her theme-that life is a lovely/ terrible, joyous/dreadful, fractal unfolding of Order and Chaos-without oversimplification, stridency, or melodramatic ideological pontification. Joan D. Vinge is an admirable writer, and The Summer Queen is (sci ence) fiction of the very highest order. Although you'll have to reread The Snow Queen and World's End in order to fully savor the penultimate tale, you'll be glad you did. Unhesitatingly recommended to all. David Mead Fascinating Alien/Human Novel Vernor Vinge. A Fire Upon the Deep. NY: Tor, April 1992. $21.95 he. 391 p.0-312-85182-0. In the distant future, a group of humans in search of immortality free an evil Transcendent Power, a being beyond computer, beyond human. Such Powers inhabit the Beyond; only rarely, beyond Transcendence do they concern them selves with entities in the Slow Zone, where Beyond technology doesn't work as efficiently. The evil Power that the Straumli Realm lets loose is after somethingsomething concealed in a single human ship that can destroy it. Cut to the Tines world. A human ship crash-lands, and the pack-intelligent dog-beings that inhabitthe world realize something big has just happened to their medieval world. In an ensuing battle, the ship's two adults are killed; their two children, 13-year-old Johanna and 8-year-old Jefri, are kidnapped by opposing Tines factions. Johanna is taken by Woodcarver, a pack of sensitive beauty and intelligence, but Johanna, hating all Tines, refuses to cooperate until an accident makes her change her mind. Jefri is taken by the evil Steel, but believes him to be good. Each sibling believes the otherto be dead; each believes the other Tines faction to be evil. Jefri befriends a young pack of eight, Amdi, who is a math ematical genius (and one of Steel's experiments) and makes contact with Ravna, a human on a distant world. Ravna and some friends, realizing something is on the crashed ship that the evil Power wants, head for the Tines world with disaster close behind: the Power wants them dead, and destroys whole worlds in order to get them. Only a miracle will save them; and once on the Tines world, only a miracle can stop the Power from closing in.
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 71 The interweaving plots of this well-crafted novel are the least of its en tertainment value. The Tine pack-intelligence is interesting: each pack is made of three or four to six members; combined, they have the identity of an individual and human-level intelligence (if not more) and are able to move as a single unit because they are telepathic. Though they lack flexible digits and opposing thumbs, they use their mouths and paws in tandem to grasp objects. Singletons like the Two-Legs puzzle them: how can one be alone and intelligent? The Tines' social structure is built on isolation. Packs can't get too close to each other or the telepathic buzz overwhelms them. Vinge has created complex situations and complex characters and societ ies-and the plot is so interesting that I read this novel in two days. Don't wait for this one to come out in paperback-get it now. Karen Hellekson Best Blackbird Book Warrington, Freda. The Rainbow Gate. London: New English Library, 1990. 381 p. .95. 0-450-49149-8. This is a welcome departure from Freda Warrington's previous books in the "Blackbird" series. It is still fantasy but is set initially in Leicestershire near where she grew up. The principal character, Helen, has just come to terms with the breakup of her marriage when a chi Idhood friend, Rianna, reappears bringing back memories of an imaginary world they discovered in the nearby Bradgate park. Then Helen seems to be transported back there, at first alone to be chased by a strange, vicious creature and then with Martin, a friend. The second experience is far more pleasant as they meet a group of gaily glad people, the Chalcenians, who seem to find immense pleasure in life Rianna begins to make gaudy, bead-clothed dolls which Helen easily sells in her craft shop. Then the people who buy them start dying, including Helen's ex-husband. Helen herself is attacked by a doll and finds herself in deep under ground caves where all the people seem apathetic or sunk into depression. She manages to escape with the help of Cadreis, one of these people. Gradually, Helen begins to piece together the relationship between her own world and the other, Tevera. At one time, people crossed the boundary between worlds easily on their death. Anatevera, Helen's world, and Tevera were alternate places of rebirth, stages in the metamorphic cycle of the peoples. Helen and Rianna are caught up in the misguided struggle of the Domendrans, the underground race, to close the gate and end passage between the worlds. The shifts between worlds are excellently handled and the story neatly and gradually unfolds, providing delightful descriptions of the contrasting ways of life of the people Helen meets as the complex life cycles are unrav eled. This is Freda Warrington's best book so far and deserves reading. Pauline Morgan
72 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Fantasy Quest Wells, Angus. The Third Book of the Kingdoms: The Way Beneath. London: Orbit, 1990. 345 p. .50. 0-7474-0263-9. It matters little if the previous volumes of this series are unfamiliar; enough of the background is given in the early pages to ensure that it can be read in iso lation. If anything, too much is given and the first hundred pages are virtually redundant. Young Kedryn Caitin, who has already saved the Three Kingdoms from the machinations of the dark god, Ashar, agrees to be crowned High King. After the coronation he travels to Estrevan to receive the blessing of Paramount Sister Gerat, High Priestess of Kyrle, Goddess of Light. On the way a leviathan rises from the river and steals his queen, Wynett. Kedryn and h is friends, Brannoc and Tepshen, have to return to the netherworlds (where he went in a previous volume to regain his sight) in order to rescue Wynett before Ashar can trick her into parting with her half ofthe talisman that protects both her and Kedryn from the evil magic of Ashar. The plot is a basic fantasy quest-good versus evil, dark versus light-containing very little that can be called stunningly original. Enjoyment of the story is greatly marred by the author's penchant for using overlong, obscure words, not only in the descriptions where the odd unusual word can sometimes enhance otherwise drab prose, but also in dialogue, which dramatically deflates tension. Pauline Morgan P-P-P-PLEASE! Wolf, Gary K. Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? NY: Villard, 1991.255 p. $17.00. 0-679-40094-x. In this trip though Toontown, Eddie Valiant is trying to stay alive long enough to clear Roger Rabbit's name and investigate Jessica's alleged extra marital affairs. Along the way Valiant meets up with David O. Selznick, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, and a shameless parade of Disney characters, among others, and uncovers a plot involving the formula for "Toon Tonic," a chemical compound that turns toons into humans and vice versa. Even with all sorts of bullets, fists, unbelievable plot twists, and irritating red her rings thrown his way, Valiant solves the mystery, clears Roger, and proves that once again Jessica wasn't bad, but drawn that way. Despite the colorful cartoon cover and the publicist's assertion that this book will "entertain people of all ages," this story is not for children. The levels of violence, alcohol abuse, and implied sex are excessive. If Valiant isn't being punched silly he is drinking away the pain; as the body count rises so does his blood alcohol level. Baby Herman's dialogue is about as foul as
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 73 it can get without using actual swear words; his behavior is inexcusable. Worst of all Jessica is suspected of carrying Clark Gable's love child. Could Wolf scrape any lower for a laugh? Unfortunately yes. Selznick is portrayed as a malevolent crackpot who employs thugs and plans to push Toon Tonic to finance his latest production, a musical comedy starring toons tentatively titled Gone With the Wind. (It is Valiant's idea to shoot it as a straight historical epic; he also suggests Gable and Leigh for the lead roles.) Valiant takes Vivien Leigh on half a date and drops her for Jessica's six-inch-tall twin sister; the scene where they dance is absolutely painful. But the most pathetic episode is the interview with the dead toon who "refuses to die." Murdered by her husband, The Queen of Hearts entered into an extreme case of denial and chose not to die, but rot right in front of everyone. As Valiant put it, she "Iooked like Hell and smelled to Heaven." He might as well have been describing this novel. Who P-P-P-P/ugged Roger Rabbit is a disappointment to fans and parents alike. Skip this book and rent the movie: at least you'll laugh and it will be over in about an hour. Jeanette Lawson Comic Romance Fantasy Wrede, Patricia C. Maire/on the Magician. NY: Tom Doherty Associates, 1991.280p. $17.95. 0-312-85041-7. Mixing two genres as different as the Regency romance and fantasy may not guarantee a successful blend. Wrede has met the challenge twice, with a rea sonably tasty blend in Sorcery and Cecilia with Caroline Stevermer (ACE, 1988) and a very good one indeed with Maire/on the Magician. As a Regency novel, it is laid in England of the early nineteenth century with a street urchin heroine dressed as a boy, the better to live by her wits, and a large cast of characters, largely the members of the town and country gentry. It's fan tasy because the plot action turns on the unraveling of the mystery of the enspelled silver service stolen from the College of Wizardry five years ago. The blend of genres gives stage magic and real magic equal parts in the action, but what makes the meld work is the comedy Wrede uses instead of pyrotechnics. Two scenes just as they are written could be the last acts of farces: an attempted housebreaking in which half a dozen amateur thieves converge on a country house's library, and the closing pages in which two villains attemptto dominate first three prisoners, then five, then seven, then ten as more and more characters arrive on the scene, each with his own conflicting agenda. Wrede also evades the standard ending for Regency and fantasy romances: the heroine has a more likely immediate future as wizard rather than wife. It was fun reading Maire/on the Magician the first time; reading it the second or third will be equally pleasurable. Paula M. Strain
74 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Young Adult I n Love and Revenge Cooper, Louise. The Sleep of Stone. NY: Atheneum, 1991, 138 p. $14.95. 0-689-31572-4. Ghysla, a shape-changer, and last of her kind, falls in love with a mortal, the young Lord Anyr, at a time when the once-parallel life forms of human and grem lin have grown apart. Thus, Ghysla, afraid to show herself as she really is-with her membranous wings, slender body, large owl-eyes, and clawed hands and feet (very much as John Collier visualizes on the jacket)-takes on the appearances of creatures Anyr favors. Until the arrival of Anyr's human bride-to-be, the beau tiful Sivorne, Gysla, in her many guises as a seal, a fallow doe, an eagle, is happy and satisfied with Anyr's affectionate words and caresses. Now, though, the tensions wind to the weeping point as we follow Ghysla from her recent joy, to frustration, to agony, to selfish resolve and further. How she accomplishes her dark desire, employing all the powers at her command, shows Ghysla as a crea ture very different from her literary forebear, ''The Little Mermaid," who, beset by a similar problem, displayed only sunny submissiveness. Framed by a chance encounter between a newly betrothed couple and a lonely, old man who tells the young people why and how the cave, its fountain, and the stone configuration in that grotto gained fame among lovers, this mythic concatenation gains legendary weight and substance. And though occasionally a voice does not ring true, among so many exact and compel I ing tonal ities, the discord is negligible. Perhaps Louise Cooper's diction does not achieve the lyri cal quality we associate with Hans Christian Anderson; nonetheless, her language is, in general, swift and tight. Her greatest strength, though, is that, through the illimitable freedoms of fantasy, she has offered many persons, young adult or older, male or female, a view of the challenge of controlling events and besting a rival. Whoever reads the story to the end will not only read it through tears but wi II encounter an ex traordinary twist of plot and emerge profited with a piece of symbolic gold. Sybil B. Langer New Twist on Old Theme Modesitt, Jr, L.E. The Magic of Reduce. NY: Tom Doherty Associates, 1991. 441 p. $21.95. 0-312-85116-2. Three things make this story worth the attention of fantasy readers of all ages. Most important, the story is complete in this volume: no need to wait to volumes 3 or 5 to find out if "happy ever after" is possible. Almost as unusual, the major character is a boy turning man (he's twenty) who is bored with the placid order of his homeland Recluce and frustrated because his
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 75 "Why is this so?" questions are never answered to his satisfaction. And, third, the white magicians are the chaos-masters, and the black magicians are those who control order. (There are also gray magicians who do a little of both evil and good magic). Two things identify the story as written for young adults. While there is sex, it is muted, not explicit. More obviously, the use of italicized "Wheeeee ... eeeee", "Hsst", "Thunk" and other semi-nouns to convey sounds appeals to cartoon-trained eyes. Lerris and six other people that don't fit into Reduce's mold go on dangergeld-travel in other lands where chaos disrupts ordered life. The major part of the story being told in Lerris's voice, we follow his adventures as he stumbles through the process of discovering who he is, what he can do, and what are the answers that he sought, though some of his adventures are shared by one or the other of the two attractive young women who also went on dangergeld. The Magic of Reduce is a pleasant variation on a familiar theme. Paula M. Strain Role-Playing Game Becomes Novel Pollotta, Nick. Doomsday Exam. NY: Ace, February 1992. 202 p. $3.99. 0441 -1 5866-8. In this novelization of a role-playing game, Ed Alvarez and his psi-squad from Bureau 13, (a secret agency that combats nasty supernaturals, then covers up the evidence) meet a mysterious "unkillable" beast and transport it to a holding facility in a pocket universe. In a matter of minutes the beast escapes, leaving behind few dues and lots of casualties. Alvarez is given a handful of new recruits and is assigned the case. Because the book is based on a game, the characters and the situations must fall within the rules. Wizards and mages are graded on levels of abil ity and can "run out" of magic power. Other characters who have no magic are compensated with some useful skill. The monsters are crazy concoctions typical of mazes: a radioactive Japanese vampire; a mutant vampire-cyborg football team; and a Navy aircraft carrier brought to life. The "boojums", (Bureau code word for supernatural villains), are overcome by discovering each one's specific weakness, and since that could be just about anything, Alvarez and his team hit them with just about everything. This leads to the sometimes amusing blend of ultra-modern super weapons and age-old magic techniques, such as when a "horribly beweaponed motorcycle" is parked near a red shag flying carpet in front of Bureau headquarters. Pollotta, however, tends to focus on the armament aspect. For example, after using more than two pages to describe the heavy artillery cache handled by each individual team member, Alvarez stops to wish they
76 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 had "some real weapons." The high-tech, high-power arsenal doesn't work anyway; the weapons do little more than annoy the incarnations of evil, so such exhaustive (and tiresome) detail serves simply to fulfill an adolescent fantasy, and pad the book. Another shortcoming is the treatment of the ape-turned-human character, Ken Sanders. The first two chapters are from his point of view, but the rest of the book abruptly shifts to follow the first person narrative of Alvarez. Sanders re turns only as a minor member of the team and does little worth mentioning until the end of the story. Except for these small problems, Pollotta does a better than average job in Doomsday Exam. The mystery of the beast is revealed to a satisfying conclusion, the suspense is balanced with genuine humor, and the parameters of the game are not obvious or overly obstructive to the flow of the story. Recommended if you are interested in role-playing games or are looking for something light and different. Jeanette Lawson Enjoyable Role-Playing Yarn Velde, Vivian Vande. User Unfriendly. San Diego: A Jane Yolen Book Harcourt, Sept. 1991,244 p. $16.95.0-15-200906-4. In the unspecified near future, Arvin Rizalli and several of his friends from St. John the Evangel ist School are computer game aces. And the games they like best are those in which their brains are jacked directly into a com puter, where, for an hour (which within the game seems like five days), they move in a computer-generated world that seems utterly real. When this young adult novel opens, the kids are just orienting in a Tolkienesque world, having assumed the personnas of various thieves, fight ers, mages, and elves. Arvin's mother has come along, too, inexperienced gamer that she is. Gathering up what goodies they can beg, buy, and steal from a local village, the players soon set off on a quest to rescue the kid napped daughter of King Ulric the Fair. But if the computer-assigned quest is just a tad predictable, fear not-this is a pirated computer game, absent a number of important safeguards, and things soon begin to go dangerously wrong. As their real quest becomes survival, the kids learn to lay aside the rivalries of childhood and to work together effectively as a group. User Unfriendly is an exciting read for the twelve to fourteen set, a good and meaty adventure. Author Velde interleaves the computer-generated perceptions of the game characters with those of the kids (and the mother), whose game personnas are interesting, occasionally quite humorous, and always persuasive. Peter M. Lowentrout
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 77 Audio-Video Read My Lips-No More Fantasia For years the Walt Disney Company insisted they would "never" release Fantasia (1940) on video. In late 1991, just in time for Christmas, Disney reversed policy and released the classic at "sell-through" prices ($24.95 on videocassette and $99.95 on videodisc) for fifty days only, with a warning that they would "never" release it again either to theaters or on video. A label attached to each cassette stated this was "the final release of the original masterpiece". This threat helped to sell millions of copies. Animation chief Roy Disney (Walt's nephew) plans eventually to produce Fantasia 2, combining some but not all of the original anthology with new segments. It will be interesting to speculate on which of the original segments will remain and whether the new animation will be worthy of shar ing the screen with the old art. The original segments not retained for Fantasia 2 will certainly not be lost. We can probably count on Disney to re lease them separately on video. Disney is adept at selling videos as short as 20 minutes long to the children's market. Perhaps eventually as old tapes wear out and demand reappears, Disney will once more redefine "never" and make the original film available again. In the meantime, the Fantasia videodisc set includes a bonus disc containing Fantasia: the Making of a Masterpiece, a typically immodest but in formative Disney documentary, narrated by actor Michael Tucker practically from a kneeling position. Michael Klossner Documentaries on Fantasy Films Jones, Richard. Aliens, Monsters & Me: Fantasy Film World of Ray Harryhausen. Midwich Entertainment, 1990. 48 min. Video from Cerebus Video, $19.99. Distributed by Movies Unlimited, 6736 Castor Ave., Phila delphia, PA 19149, 800-5230823. This video documentary covers the work of Hollywood's most famous special effects artist, presenting spectacular scenes from Harryhausen's early SF films and his popular fantasies based on Greek mythology and the Ara bian Nights. For some reason, no footage is included from One Million Years B.C. (1966) and The Valley of Gwangi(1969). The video also includes a simple explanation of the stop-motion animation technique, examples of Harryhausen's amateur work and unreleased shorts, and interviews with Harryhausen, his friend Ray Bradbury, his producer Charles Schneer, actor
78 SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 Kerwin Matthews and King Kong animator Willis O'Brien's widow. Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me is uncritical, but the video format makes it a bet ter introduction to Harryhausen than his own superficial book Film Fantasy Scrapbook (1981). Several other video documentaries study fantasy film subgenres or indi vidual filmmakers. The Many Faces of Tarzan (Amvest Video, 1990, 75 min., $19.99) has many glorious scenes from both silent and sound Tarzan movies but unaccountably omits many of the most sensational scenes from the Johnny Weismuller pictures. The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (directed by Arnold Leibovit, 1985, 93 min., $19.99) combines the special effects scenes from Pal's films with testimonials from his coworkers. Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel (directed by Christian Blackwood, 1985, 58 min., $19.99) is somewhat more sophisticated than the Harryhausen and Pal videos. Best of all is Inside Hitchcock (produced by Richard Schickel, 1985,55 min., $24.99), with the director commenting drolly on many of his most famous scenes. "I'm scared of policemen," Hitchcock explains as the traffic cop taps on Janet Leigh's window in Psycho. The video also includes Hitchcock's hilarious theatrical trailer for Psycho. A few scenes-the rape murder in Frenzy, the murder of the East German agent in Torn Curtaif}-are so disturbing even Hitchcock doesn't joke about them. All five videos are enjoyable introductions to familiar bodies offilm. All are available through Movies Unlimited. Michael Klossner Japanese Animation on Video Miyazaki, Hayao. Warriors of the Wind. Takuma Shoten Publishing Co. and Hakuhodo Co., 1984. 95 min. Video from New World Video, $19.99. Otomo, Katsuhiro. Akira. Akira Committee, 1989. 124 min. Video from Streamline Pictures, $29.99. (Both distributed by Movies Unlimited, 6736 Castor Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19149,800-523-0823 and by Science Fiction Continuum, P.O. Box 154, Colonia, N.J. 07067, 800-232-6002.) Japan's animators create fantastic films far removed from the fairy tales and anthropomorphic funny animals of Disney and Warner Brothers. Fea ture length Japanese animated films are shown at only a few art theaters in America but their reputation is growing, especially as major films appear on videocassette. Akira, the most celebrated animated SF film from Japan to date, opens with the nuclear destruction of Tokyo. Thirty years later, Tokyo has arisen, complete with giant skyscrapers, a teeming population and
SFRA Review, 198, June 1992 79 futuristic technology-an immodest reference to the rebuilding of Japan af ter World War II. Four groups---a youth gang, revolutionaries and two fac tions of the government-struggle to understand Akira, a mysterious force none of them can control. Katsuhiro Otomo's screenplay, from his 1800page graphic novel, itself spins out of control toward the climax. I enjoyed the art, as well as the plot, of the realistic first half more than the almost incomprehensible second half. A6kira is violent, imaginative, terrifying and beautiful and leaves most liveaction SF films in the dust. It is one of the few fi Ims (some others are the animated Fantasia, the liveaction Walkabout and the combined animation-and-liveaction Who Framed Roger Rabbit) which can be enjoyed for their staggering visual riches even by those who don't like their storylines. It should be seen not only by fans of animation and SF films but also by readers of serious SF. Unlike Akira, Warriors of the Wind is suitable for children. In a world overrun by the Toxic Jungle, the cleansing winds blow only in the Valley of the Winds, where a peaceful people is threatened by two warring empires. Teenaged Princess Xandra does almost all the fighting and rescuing herself, with little male assistance. She is expert at controlling dangerous monsters without injuring them, but she is less tolerant of aggressive humans. In a very Japanese mixture of pessimism and idealism, Xandra rejects a warlord's plan to burn the Toxic Jungle and reclaim the world for.mankind, arguing that the giant mutant insects of the Jungle have a right to survive. Not as stunning as Akira, Warriors is nonetheless handsomely detailed, although the strange creatures and landscapes and the giant airships and machines are drawn more successfully than the human characters. Some of the English-language dialogue is silly. (According to Cinefantastique, Warriors was badly cut and dubbed by the U.S. distributor, while Akira was dubbed intelligently by the Japanese.) Warriors of the Wind is one of the few antiwar movies to avoid sanctimoniousness and, like all good children's films, can be enjoyed by adults. (Movies Unlimited offers twenty-one videos of Japanese animation; Sci ence Fiction Continuum offers ninety-two, including ten volumes of TV's Astroboy.) Michael Klossner
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