SFRA Review

SFRA Review

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SFRA Review
Alternate Title:
Science Fiction Research Association Review
Science Fiction Research Association
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[Eugene, Ore
Science Fiction Research Association]
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Subjects / Keywords:
Science fiction -- History and criticism ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
serial ( sobekcm )


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Place of publication varies.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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S67-00104-n218-1995-07_08 ( USFLDC DOI )
s67.104 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Issue 1218, July/August 1995 IN THIS ISSUE: SFRA INTERNAL AFFAIRS: President's Message (Sanders) Minutes of Meeting Between Members of SmA and IAFA at the Annual ICFA (Gordon) Corrections/Additions SmA Members & Friends Editorial (Sisson) 3 3 4 5 5 NEWS AND INFORMATION 7 SPECIAL FEATURE: "The Worlds of David Lynch": Lavery, David (Ed). Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to 7Win Peaks. (Davis) 11 Gifford, Barry. Hotel Room Trilogy; and Lynch, David. David Lynch's Hotel Room. (umland) 13 SPECIAL FEATURE: "Lovecraft the Man": Lovecraft, H.P. (S.T. Joshi, Ed). Miscellaneous Writings. (Anderson) 17 Squires, Richard D. Stern Fathers 'neath the Mould: The Lovecraft Family in Rochester. (Bousfield) 20 Barlow, Robert H. and H.P. Lovecraft (S.T. Joshi, Ed). The Hoard of the Wizard Beast and One Other; and Joshi, S.T. & David schultz (Eds). H.P. Lovecraft Letters 7b SaJIlJel Loveman & vincent Starrett (Kaveny) 21 REVIEWS: Nonfiction: Barron, Neil (Ed). Of Wonder, 4th Edition. (Kaveny & Bogstad) 23 Heller, Steven and Seynour Chwast. Jackets Required: An Illustrated History of American Book Jacket Design, 1920-1950. (Barron) 27 Kessler, carol Farley. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: her progress toward utopia with selected writings. (Orth) 29 Korshak, Stephen D. (Ed). A Hannes Bok Showcase. (Albert) 34 McCarthy, Helen. AniIoo J : A Beginner's Guide to Japanese Animation. (Klossner) 35


SFRA Re\liew#218. July/August 1995 Scheick, william J. (Ed). The Critical Resp:Jnse to H.G (Huntington) 36 Schlobin, Roger C. and Irene R. Harrison. Andre Norton: A primaIy and Secondary Bibliography (Bogstad) 38 silver, Alain and Janes Ursini. More Things Than Are Dreamt of: Masterpieces of Supernatural Horror -from Mary Shelley to Stephen King -in Literature and Film. (Albert) 39 Spivack, Charlotte and Roberta LYnne Staples. 7he Ccmpany of Canralot: Arthurian Characters in Ranance and Fantasy. (Thanpson) 40 Stable ford Brian. Algebraic Fantasies and Realistic Romances: More Masters of Science Fiction. (Stoskopf) 42 Umland, Samuel J. (Ed). Philip K. Dick: contenp?rary Critical Interpretations. (Farber) 44 Veldman, Meredith. Fantasy, the Bomb, and the Greening of Britain: Romantic Protest 1945-1980. (Henderson) 46 warren, Alan. Roald Dahl: From the Gremlins to the Chocolate Factory, 2nd Edition. (Sullivan) 49 Weisser, Thomas. Asian Trash Cinema: The Book. (Klossner) 50 Fiction: Asaro, Catherine. Primary Inversion. (Kelley) 53 Conner, Michael. Archangel. (Taormina) 54 Di Filippo, Paul. The Steampunk Trilogy. (Stevens) 55 Frank, Janrae, Jean Stine and Forrest J. Ackennan (Eds). New Eves: Science Fiction About the Extraordinary fVanen of 7bday and TbllDrrow. (williams) 56 Jacques, Brian. The Bellmaker. (Camnilleri) 57 Morris, Kenneth (Douglas A. Anderson, Ed.). The Dragon Path: Collected Stories of Kenneth Morris. (Terra) 58 Smith, Cordwainer (George Flynn, Ed.). Norstrilia. (Pierce) 59 Smith, Cordwainer (Janes A. Mann, Ed.). 7he Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith. (Sandner) 61 Stableford, Brian. Firefly, A Novel of the Far Future. (Lewis) 62 Sturgeon, Theodore (Paul Williams, Ed.) The Ultimate Egoist, Volwne 1: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon. (Stevens) 63 windling, Terri (Ed). The Armless Maiden and Other Tales of Childhood's Survivors. (Lindow) 64 Zanger, Molleen. Gardenias Where There Are None. (Hollinger) 67 2


SFRA Re\liew #218, .lily/August 1995 SFRA INTERNAL AFFAIRS PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE As you'll see by the minutes printed below, there recently was a meeting between members of the executive committees of the SFRA and the International Association on the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA). It happened one morning at the 16th ICFA, in a hall near the registration booth so that IAFA's new president, Bill Senior, could race back to the booth to answer emergency questions. Very informal: extremely relaxed. Looking at the people assembled, I had trouble imagining why I'd been nervous before the meeting -after all, many of us were members of both organizations, participated in both conferences, etc. Our common reaction seem3d to be "Why haven't we done this before?" Now actually is a good time for organizations with overlapping interests to cooperate. For one thing, tight funding is hurting libraries, faculty travel budgets, and publications. At the same time, new opportunities for research are opening, thanks largely to electronic communication. As Shaw says in the preface to Major Barbara, danger and hope go naturally together. It's too early, of course, to guess what can come out of cooperation between SFRA and IAFA. It was good, though, to participate in the brainstorming that March morning and to realize how many possibilities we can discover together. I haven't had a chance to do follow-up letters to professional or semi-professional magazines (or, for that matter, to write for the first time to Crank or Century) about the possibility of obtaining copies for classroom use. For the record, however, Aboriginal SF is anxious to work with us if and when they get back on schedule; Interzone is very underfunded and unwilling to deal with "u.S. bookstore sharks (who have bitten us more than once in the past)." See you in Grand Forks. -Joe Sanders MINUTES OF MEETING BETWEEN MEMBERS OF SFRA AND IAFA AT THE ANNUAL ICFA March 25, 1995. Present: Joe Sanders, Len Hatfield, Veronica Hollinger, Bill Senior, Joan Gordon, Milt Wolf, Chip Sul livan. 3


SFRA Rewew#218, .kJ1y/August 1995 The meeting convened at 9:00 a.m. First, all present agreed to an exchange of directories, and Joe presented the SFRA directory to Len and Bill. Len added that the directories can be searched electronically as well, and that an exchange of the directories on disk \lIQuId also be in order. Second, all present agreed to the idea of cooperative publishing ventures. IAFA has had problems with its arrangement with Greenwood, while SFRA is presently enjoying a smooth relationship with Borgo. Further, George Slusser of the Eaton Conference is having publishing problems. By networking among the two, possibly three, organizations, more members would have publishing opportunities. veronica suggested an inter-association publishing committee. The rest of the meeting revolved around publishing ideas. The following points were made: JFA needs ITOre submissions, so Joan suggested looking to IAFA paper sessions, including graduate student papers. Veronica pointed out that 25% of sF Studies is hustling for papers at conferences, Bill suggested an exchange of conference announcements in each other's programs, and Joan suggested exchanging conference announcements in each other's newsletters. Then Len, speaking in "the voice of the electron," suggested founding an electronic journal, Veronica added that it could be inter-associational, and all agreed that such a journal should have a joint peer review process. Post-Modern Cui ture was suggested as a good model for a reputable, peer-reviewed electronic journal. Len would be willing to serve as home base for a jointly-produced electronic journal, and Veronica and Joan also wanted to be involved in the project. On the electronic front, Veronica observed that S-F Stud ies will be on CD-ROM by next year. Len said that IAFA has a home page with conference and paper calls, and that this could be a joint venture between the t\IIQ organizations. Milt suggested investigating a small membership cut for members of both organizations and, at least, starring the names of dual members in the directories. The meeting adjourned cordially at 9:45 a.m. Respectfully submitted, Joan Gordon, Secretary CORRECTIONS/ADDITIONS I'm afraid there are several corrections for #217. I remember reading an editorial in a back issue of the Review, 4


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 which I believe Betsy Harfst wrote; she said she always hoped to produce one perfect issue during her stint as Editor, but never did. I'm beginning to know what she means. The first correction, and the one I'm most embarrassed about, is that I neglected to include Edgar V. MCKnight, Jr.'s name with his feature review of the two works on Kurt Vonnegut. I nonnally put a byline at the beginning of feature reviews (as opposed to the end, as with the shorter reviews), but in this instance I skipped right over that little detail. I hope Edgar will accept my apologies. More of which go to Peter Nicholls, whose name I incorrectly spelled as Nichols (#217, p. 11). Again, not very excusable -especially with The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction staring down at me from the shelf over the computer where I type the Review. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, edited by John Clute and John Grant, is listed in #217 with a publication date of September 1995. Mr. Clute writes: "As long ago as last November, John Grant and I realized that the book planned -at 450,000 words maximum -simply wasn't going to be long enough to begin to cope with the subject-matter; and we therefore agreed with Little Brown to delay publication from September 1995 to approximately April 1996, which would allow us to go to 700,000 words. We're now haring after that total." -Amy Sisson SFRA MEMBERS & FRIENDS Karen Hellekson married Mike Johnson on October 15, 1994 in Lawrence, Kansas. EDITORIAL You may notice this issue is set in a different typeface. The reason is that PDQ's printing process (essentially a fancy photocopier -unsophisticated, but much less expensive, and hopefully adequate for our needs) made the usual typeface a little too dark in #217. So we'll try this, and if it doesn't work we'll try something else. This font (Courier) is also 12 point but appears somewhat smaller than the New York font I'd been using -this issue is 72 pages, but was 80 before I switched fonts. Guess that will save some money too. Hopefully it won't be too hard on the eyes. A few other changes have been happening around here. Paul Abell has gone off to Washington DC for a few months for 5


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 a contractor position in the aerospace field, so the proofreading may be spottier than usual this tima around. I tried but after proofing the 7 and 8-point type at Locus all day, :i: 'm not sure how well I did with the Review. One change I'm very happy about: I have a new software package that allows me to use IBM and/or DOS disks on my Macintosh. If you use a computer to type your review, I would be very grateful for a disk as well as the hardcopy. I will mail the disk back with the next book I send you to review. This new program (Macintosh PC Exchange) should be able to read any program that's not really obscure. When in doubt, save it as text or ASCII. Of course, e-mail submissions work just as well, and I'll always take hard copy if that's what you have to offer. But, boy, was I glad not to have to type the whole directory. Bob Ewald sent me the disk, and all I had to do was make minor adjustments. Instead of including publishers' addresses with the reviews, I'm including a list at the back of the issue of the smaller publishers whose books are reviewed here. With so many books by the same publishers (Greenwood, Necronomicon, etc.), it uses up a lot of space to include the address with each review, and sometimes just a few words make the difference where the page breaks occur. One of these days, when I have a computer with enough memory to handle it, I'll see about getting pagemaker -that's what we use at LOCUS, and I just love its flexibility. The selected forthcoming book list will appear next issue. Believe it or not, there just weren't that many books which I haven't listed in previous issues -not enough to justify the extra page, anyway. Michael Klossner sent me a brief note regarding Anatomy of Wonder (reviewed on p. 23). Because the 4th edition does not contain the extensive coverage of untranslated foreign language fiction which appeared in the 3rd edition, Michael suggests libraries may wish to keep the 3rd edition on hand. I received the note too late to actually change the review, and had to be content with mentioning it here. And finally -I hope to see you all in Grand Forks. I've scheduled things so both the Review and the Directory will be ready in time for me to take them to the conference, so those of you who attend will have them a little early. The rest will be mailed when I return, so I won't waste postage mailing to the people I'm going to be seeing anyway. Happy Reading, Amj 6


SFRA #21 8, July/August 1995 NEWS AND INFORMATION CONTRIBUTORS NEEDED I am currently editing entries for the three volumes on British science fiction and fantasy writers I am compiling for the Dictionary of Literary Biography. A few entries remain unassigned. I encourage SFRA members interested in writing on any of the following to contact me about details: Walter de la Mare, E.R. Eddison, Anna Kavan, Garry Kilworth, Tanith Lee, Josephine Saxton, Joseph O'Neill, Ian Watson, Dennis Wheatley, James White, and S. Fowler Wright. My address is 112 Castlewood Lane, Elgin SC 29045-8708; I can be reached at 803-771-4642 during the day and at 803-736-3116 evenings or weekends. Darren Harris-Fain PAT CADIGAN IN LIVERPOOL Following her appearance at the Virtual Futures '95 Conference at the University of Warwick, Pat cadigan -the most recent winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novel Fools -began a mini-tour around the UK. After addressing a seminar at Birmingham University, she visited the university of Liverpool where the science Fiction Foundation Collection has its new home. At a meeting in the University Library, Pat read an extract from her novella "Death in the Promised Land", at present only to be found on US Online, and answered questions about her work and SF in general. The event was organised on behalf of the MA course in Science Fiction Studies, recently established by the University of Liverpool, but was open to all interested parties and despite being held in the middle of exams, the reading attracted a good audience. They bought copies of the increasingly scarce hardback Synners and were pleased to hear that Fools was now in its second printing. Pat's coast-tocoast tour of the UK next took her from Liverpool to Hull, to meet the Hull Science Fiction Group. Andy Sawyer TWO FANZINES FOCUS ON PHILIP K. DICK Between August 1983 and December 1992, the Philip K. Dick Society produced 30 issues of a newsletter edited by Paul Williams, Dick's literary executor, containing discussion of Dick's work, publication of some short unpublished work of Dick's, and notices and reviews of publications, films, the-7


SFRA Re\.iew #218, July/August 1995 atrical works and music derivative from or influenced by Dick. Since that time, two separate fanzines have been occasionally published which also focus on Dick. Radio Free PKD: The Bomeopape for readers of Philip K. Dick, published by Noel Productions (27068 S. Lapaz #430, Aliso viejo CA 92656), costs $12 for four issues. For Dickheads Only (FDO), published by Ganymedean Slime Mold productions (PO Box 611, Kokomo IN 46903), costs $5 for four issues (although a note in issue No.5 threatens that "we will have to raise that to $10 if we don't start getting sone money in"). Both contain reviews, discussion, and news concerning Dick and his work. FDO has had the announced intention of publishing issues focused on each of Dick's novels, although the most recent one contains a section with four essays focused on the Dick short story "Beyond Lies the Wub". Both are worth reading for information that is occasionally not readily available anywhere else. Bernard J. Farber FANDOM COMES CHEAP Greenwood Press is kindly offering Science Fiction Fandom (Joe Sanders, Ed.) to SFRA members at a 20% discount. Members should call 1-800-225-5800 for credit card orders and nention Source Code F227 to receive the discount. PEAKE The spring 1995 (Vol. 4 No.2) issue of Peake Studies features three articles, as well as reviews of the Mervyn Peake Society's Peake Papers and a book about artists, a film director and a composer during World War II in the UK, who participated in patriotic activities, unlike Peake, who "resisted with the utmost energy" (the British army found him unsatisfactory as a trained killer). New and reproductions of Peake drawings fill out this 48-page issue; $25/ for subscriptions to G. Peter Winnington, Les 3 Chasseurs, 1413 Orzens, Vaud, SWitzerland. -Neil Barron TIMELIHES OF THE ARTS AND LITERATURE ._is the name of a 711-page book by David M. Brownstone and Irene M. Franck (HarperCollins, 1994, $30). The categories include literature, visual arts, performing arts (through 1499, theater, variety, music and dance thereafter), 8


SFRA Rewew#Z1a, July/August 1995 and film and broadcasting from 1920. A highly selective list of world events provides the context for the cultural events listed. Such books reward browsing, often to answer the questions, .. I wonder if they included (overlooked)..... The boOk is current through 1992 and includes a 59-page index of personal names. The genre SF authors listed in the first half of the alphabet are few: Aldiss, As imov Auel (1), Bradbury, E.R. Burroughs, Clarke and Heinlein. Surprised? I expected to see Lem because of his international reputation. Of course there are related figures included, such as Lord Dunsany and Stephen King, and figures important in SF's history such as Huxley and Orwell. And paging through the index gives one pause -why more entries for Gerhart Hauptmann than James Joyce? Nevertheless an interesting compilation. -Neil Barron 9


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 10


SFRA Rewew #21 8, July/August 1 995 SPECIAL FEATURE: THE WORLDS OF DAVID LYNCH Lavery, David (Ed). Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 1995, 292 pages, softcover, $18.95, ISBN 08143-2506-8. I should begin this review by admitting that I am a fan of TWin Peaks and have been anticipating the publication of a volume such as Full of Secrets for some time. Edited by David Lavery, whose Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the space Age may be familiar to SFRA readers, this collection of smart essays theorizing the cultural event of the television show TWin Peaks is worthwhile to scholars in our line of work for three related reasons. Twin Peaks itself contained a quirky element of the fantastic, and the analyses of the fantastic, both direct and occasional, within such essays as "Desire Under the Douglas Firs: Entering the Body of Reality in Twin Peaks" and "Bad Ideas: The Art and Politics of TWin Peaks", are in themselves noteworthy. Perhaps more importantly, however, Full of Secrets may serve us both as an example of popular culture scholarship and, interestingly, as an object of study in its own right. Lavery's collection is a showcase of critical theory of sorts, and its diverse analyses could provide an exemplar (of sortS) for similar work in science fiction and fantasy studies. The thirteen essays approach Twin Peaks from diverse and often conflicting critical and theoretical perspectives. In a nutshell, Lavery has pulled together historical and formalist analyses of Twin Peaks's plotting and musical score; critiques of David Lynch et al.'s general ideology and specific sexual politics; feminist, psychoanalytic, and Foucauldian excursions into the show's semiotics; an ethnography of the interpretive community that the show occasioned on the Internet; and a multi-author, multi-perspective group-discussion of the show's relation to postmodernism. In the main, each author approaches Twin Peaks as a distinctly theorized object of study, together producing a thoroughly mixed accounting of this early '90s cultural legion. Twin Peaks is thus tacitly feminist or overtly "reptilian," subversive or conventional, postmodern or proto-fascist. The volume's authors are implicitly concerned with examining the particularities of genre and aesthetics in Twin Peaks, and thus echo similar concerns in science fiction studies. This implicit project is handled, collectively, with a significant breadth of coverage; Lavery is to be com-11


SFRA Relliew#218, July/August 1995 nended for gathering a handy critical tool box, even if some what uneven and overstocked with psychoanalytic treatnents. Only one essay in FUll of Secrets deals with the role of the fantastic directly: Diane Stevenson's "Family Romance, Family Violence, and the Fantastic in 7Win Peaks". Following Todorov, Stevenson posits that the fantastic is alive and thriving in Lynch's postmodern telescape, filling a cultural void opened by the recent prominence of family violence and child abuse in American discourse. The fantastic in 7Win Peaks represents the postmodern uncertainty surrounding the causes and effects of family violence. It is an interesting argument, and, like many of the essays, more or less incom nensurable with the other treatnents offered alongside it. This incommensurability is immediately demonstrated in Diana Hune George's essay, "Lynching women: A Feminist Reading of 7Win Peaks"; the author lambastes Lynch et al. for the very point that Stevenson is making. Dealing implicitly with the aesthetic of the fantastic in popular nedia, George reads the fantastic as repressive rather than representative, masking the reality of violence in Anerican culture rather than dealing with it. While Full of Secrets is not primarily a study of the fantastic, but rather an accounting of a cultural event, such differing appraisals of the fantastic penetrate the volume. Lavery's collection, then, interests me not only for its particular analyses, which are an able and quarrelsome bunch, but as an object lesson in critical treat nents of the fantastic within critical scholarship at large. FUll of Secrets is an object lesson in postmodernism as well, treating the role of aesthetics and genre in postm:xiern art in diverse and differing ways. As scholars of science fiction wrestle with notions of aesthetics and genre, and seriously consider the genre's relation to the postmodern (not to mention the fantastic), this volume may be of tangential (but always connected!) interest for those pursuing the dense intersections of the above. Difference is a hallmark of postmodernism, and FUll of Secrets not only engages it theoretically in its object(s) of study, but is itself somewhat of an example of it. The tension implicit and even explicit between many of the critical stances represented in this volune can be a delight or, perhaps, less of a delight to experience, depending on one's own critical temperament. In this regard, I would have appreciated sone interaction among the various stances, some self-reflection by the authors on the differences in their edited, collective midst. Each of the essays stays squarely within its critical or theoretical frarnework; crossfertilization of some form, additional commentary or even di-12


SFRA Relliew#218, July/August 1995 alogue, would have complicated these positions nicely. As FUll of Secrets was over three years in the making, feedback may have proven problematic to produce, and certainly would have been contentious at points, but could have been pursued and would have surely added to the critical value of the collection. The volume'S concluding multi-author discussion/essay, presenting an informative, almost introductorylevel dialogue on the nature of postmodernism via TWin Peaks, only begins to point in such a direction. While I wouldn't say that this collection is a major contribution to media and postmodern cultural studies in general, Full of Secrets is a savvy critical accounting of a singular cultural event. However, I introduced myself as a fan of TWin Peaks, and I'd like to conclude that FUll of Se crets engaged me as a fan most of all. Interestingly, Lavery does not seem to draw a distinction between fan and scholarly interest in his editing (does this make him, too, a postmodern?), evidenced not only by his fannish introductory essay but also by the massive trivia-research apparatus that follows the critical essays. It is rumored that two VCRs died during the construction of the 50-page scene-by-scene synopsis of the show's 30-episode run that concludes the volume, along with lists of cast, directors and writers and a calendar of TWin Peaks events. FUll of Secrets is not a must-read for SFRA scholars, but it certainly can be a useful one. Recommended as a source for, of course, Lynch work as well as contemporary media studies, and as an object lesson, for all who want one, in popular culture criticism that treads in the fantastic. -Richard Davis Gifford, Barry. Hotel Room Trilogy. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, April 1995, 76 pages, hardcover limited edition (signed), $29.95, ISBN 0-87805776-5; softcover, $12.95, ISBN 0-87805-777-3. David Lynch's Hotel Room. Japan: Pony Canyon Laser Disc, PCLP-00506, 1994, 101 minutes, color, CLV, stereo, cx encoded, ,631 (approximately $64.00, available through Music by Mail). Hotel Room was a short-lived television series that appeared on HBO in January of 1993. The executive producers of the series were David Lynch and Monty Montgomery. Three pilot programs for the series were aired; two of the three were written by Barry Gifford. Gifford, you may recall, is the author of wild at Heart, which was filmed by David Lynch in 1990 and starred Nicolas cage and Laura Dern. wild at Heart 13


SFRA Rewew #218, July/August 1995 won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year while Lynch was rising to cult fame as a result of the Twin Peaks television series. Barry Gifford has, in fact written six Sailor and Lula novels, although, as a result' of Lynch's film, wild At Heart is certainly the most well-known. (The film is hardly a faithful adaptation of the novel, however.) He has written many other novels as well, several volumes of non-fiction, and numerous collections of poetry. The University Press of Mississippi has published Gifford's Hotel Room Trilogy, which contains "Tricks" and "Blackout," the two episodes directed by David Lynch for the HBO series (the trilogy was evidently commissioned by Lynch as well). The third play of the trio, "Mrs. Kashfi," remains, so far as I know, unproduced. "The only rules regarding composition" of the plays, Gifford informs the reader in the "Preface" to the trilogy, "were that the action take place in specific years... and be set in a particular New York City hotel room (numbered 603), the corridor .ilnrcEdiately outside the room, and the hotel lobby." I suppose the precursor to Hotel Room Trilogy would be Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit, as each of the three short plays depicts the strange, disturbing, often violent, and finally unredemptive journey of guests who temporarily pass through hotel room 603. One is tempted to say that room 603 (6x3=18=6+6+6) functions as a kind of purgatory, but this claim simply cannot be supported by the action in the plays. It is closer to hell, though not precisely in the Sartrean sense. The first of the trio, "Tricks," is about Mr. Boca, a middle-aged man who checks into room 603 with a young prostitute named Darlene. Obviously nervous, Boca immediately orders a bottle of booze while Darlene lights up a joint (the play is set in 1969; I suppose marijuana has become ineluctably tied to the '60s in popular stereotyping). Downing a couple of tall drinks, Boca now has the courage to fulfill the sexual exchange with the prostitute -but at that moment there is a knock at the door, and Lou enters, a middle-aged man whom Boca seems to know well but who poses some undefined threat to him. Boca notices Lou's irnroodiate interest in the young prostitute, and begins to plead with LOU, saying, "You can't, Lou. Just can't, not now," and later, "Lou!. .. This isn't. .. this is not right!" Lou eventually has sex with her, but only after Darlene -at Lou's request -re-enacts her role as high school cheerleader (which apparently succeeds in arousing Lou). Boca, immobilized, watches in tOrIlEnt. This sort of grotesque moment is recurrent in Lynch's work. The theme of sex between different generations func-14


SFRA Rewew#21S, July/August 1995 tions as a violation of the incest taboo, central both to Twin peaks but also to the feature film derived from that show, Fire Walk With Me (1992). Moreover, one of the pivotal moments in Wild at Heart concerns Lula's molestation by a family friend whom she knows as her "uncle," and later in that film the child-like Lula, as a sexually active adult, is all but seduced by a grotesque older man, Bobby Peru. Scenes such as these have been controversial in Lynch's work, to be sure; my point is that a key episode in "Tricks" covers familiar territory. The title of the play, "Tricks," is a pun on the slang term for a prostitute's profession, but also on the action of the play, as one is lead to believe Lou is really Boca's double, his shadow self. The concluding moment reveals Boca's arrest for the murder of a woman named Felicia Boca, an event which he cannot remember, nor can he recall that his name is really Louis Holchak. Boca is not Boca but lal. The second play, "Blackout," is set in 1936, and concerns a young couple, Danny and Diane, who have come to New York City to see a doctor for ambiguous reasons, and who happen to be staying in room 603 during an electrical blackout (the term also alludes to the trauma-induced memory loss and disorientation suffered by Diane). The dialogue between the couple is as elliptical as the best of Hemingway (e.g., "Hills Like White Elephants"). Though the back story is difficult to reconstruct, it would seem that Diane is emotionally disturbed as a result of an (entirely implausible) event in which their small boy drowned in a lake while she and Danny were in the midst of frantic lovemaking on the beach. Ostensibly suffering from horrible guilt and emotional trauma, Diane has evidently become infertile, and the couple are in New York to see a doctor about treating her infertility. But this is only the apparent story. There is relentless, seemingly nonsensical dialogue concerning the "Chinese." For instance, Danny has picked up Chinese food to eat and talks about the Chinese restaurant he was in when the blackout occurred. The bellboy mentions Chinese guests in the hotel, Diane fears they are going to see a Chinese doctor, and refers to a vision in which a "Chinese fish" spoke to her, and so on (there are too many textual citations to list here). Moreover, Diane claims to remember Danny being "away in the Sea of Red." This repeated image of "the Sea of Red," sometimes also called the Red Sea, is of course highly equivocal, and seems to refer to China (as in Communist, or "Red China"), but also to the violence of their son's "drowning." Diane recalls the "Chinese fish" telling her about her and Danny's six children, but also recalls a vicious remark uttered by an acquaintance of hers that "some people don't deserve to have kids, anyway," apparently in 15


SFRA Re\.iew#218, ..lily/August 1995 reference to her being a poor mother and allowing her son to "drown." China has a strict policy regarding birth control, has had institutionalized abortion for a number of years, and has ignored the regular practice of infanticide by its citizens who wish to dispose of unwanted females. Diane's fear of a Chinese doctor, coupled with her vision of a "Chinese fish" talking about her six children whom she believes she is now unable to have, suggests that her oracular utterances refer to a subtext which is firmly anti-abortion, and would seem amenable to Lynch's confessed conservatism. (I realize the play is set in 1936, before the birth control regulations in China were enforced, but it is only in a parenthetical note that Gifford specifies the year of the setting. The text of his play does not indicate a year; indeed, room 603 seems to exist in a timeless reality. Moreover, setting the play in the past is only a smokescreen by Lynch.) Yet I leave the issue of subtexts for others to decide. Fortunately, the pilot episodes of Hotel Room are available on an import laser disc from Japan (and also on video domestically). In "Tricks," Boca was played by Harry Dean Stan ton, Lou by Freddie Jones (John Merrick's cruel "owner" in Lynch's Elephant Han [1980] and Thufir Hawat in Dune [1984]), and Darlene by Glenne Headly. In "Blackout," Danny was played by Crispin Glover (for him, a remarkably subdued performance) and Diane by Alicia witt (last seen as a small girl in Dune as the young Princess Alia who dispatches the Baron Harkonnen). "Blackout" is significant in that it demonstrates that Lynch is capable of extremely sensitive direction, also revealed years ago in The Elephant Han. Apparently there is a truncated version of "Blackout" available on the domestic video that runs some 30 minutes, but the Japanese import contains the complete and preferable -45 minute version of the episode. The laser disc also contains the second of the pilot episodes, the superb black comedy "Getting Rid of Robert," written by Jay McInerney and directed by James Signorelli, and starring Deborah Unger and Griffin Dunne, turning in a great performance as a slimy Hollywood rake. Given the high cost (with correspondingly high quality) of the import laser disc, however, only those extremely interested in Lynch's work will find it worth purchasing. The same can be said of Gifford's Hotel Room Trilogy, though in the case of the paperback, cost is not a factor. This collection of plays, however, is also interesting because it revresents the work of a writer generally recognized as a novel 1st rather than playwright. Lynch scholars will find it It.Urth having. Samuel J. umland 16


SFRA Rewew #218, July/August 1995 SPECIAL FEATURE: LOVECRAFT THE MAN Lovecraft, H.P. (S.T. Joshi, Ed). Miscellaneous Writings. Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House Publishers, February 1995, 570 pages, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 087054-168-4. The publishing firm Arkham House was founded in 1939 August Derleth and Donald Wandrei in order to preserve 1n hardcover format the writings of their friend and fellow Weird Tales writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937). In the nearly sixty years since its founding, Arkham House has published numerous collections of writings by and about Love craft, including The Outsiders and Others (1939), Beyond the Walls of Sleep (1943), Marginalia (1944), Something About Cats (1949), The Shuttered Room (1959), The Shunned House (1961), Dreams and Fancies (1962), Collected Poems (1963), The Dark Brotherhood (1966), and Selected Letters (five volumes, 1965-1976). These collections include a great variety of Lovecraft's writings from juvenilia to the mature, polished stories for which Lovecraft is rightly renown, from amateur press essays, poems, and letters to travelogues, literary criticism, and reminiscences of Lovecraft by friends of the late master. In short, they are a hodge-podge of gems and disappointJoonts. In the mid-1960s, August Derleth assembled Lovecraft's collected fiction in three standard volumes: The Dunwich Horror and Others (1963), At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels (1964), and Dagon and Other Macabre Tales (1965). A fourth volume of Lovecraft's revisional tales (that is, works written or rewritten by Lovecraft to a greater or lesser degree for paying clients), The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions, appeared in 1970. After August Derleth's death in 1971, Arkham House has continued on in a different direction, publishing rather more science fiction than horror, but it has never lost sight of its original purpose, nor has it ever neglected the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Beginning in the mid-1980s, the Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi re-edited the three basic volumes of the writer's collected fiction from Lovecraft's surviving handwritten manuscripts, thereby removing literally hundreds of errors and misprints, many that had perpetuated endlessly from early magazine appearances. The three re-edited volumes came out in 1985-86, followed by a similarly re-edited Horror in the Museum in 1989. 17


SFRA Re\4ew#218, July/August 1995 Miscellaneous writings is a long-awaited and long-overdue addition to the re-edited standard four volumes of Lovecraft's writings. It is decidedly a mixed bag -almost as hodge-podge a collection as any of the long out-of-print (and high-priced in the rare book market) books edited by Derleth, but it is much bigger and more all-encornpassing of the various types of Lovecraft's writings. It is an excellently edited and produced book, and the touch of adding illustrations from the very rare amateur press journals to which Lovecraft contributed, and photographs of Lovecraft and his friends, adds considerable charm and value to the book. Even the dust-wrapper evokes just the right professional yet homey feel -a simulated marbled paper, with a holograph page in Lovecraft' s own hand ac cooqxmying the essay on the "History of the Necronomicon". Following a short introduction by Joshi, the volume is divided into nine sections, each of which has a further illuminating introductory note by Joshi. The first two sections, titled "Dreams and Fancies" and "The Weird Fantasist", include some of the best material in the entire volume, ranging from Lovecraft's four prose poems, his amusing essay in pseudo-scholarship "History of the Necronomicon", his "ColIUllonplace Book" containing notes and ideas for possible use in future stories, an essay "Notes on writing Weird Fiction", and an essay on the works of Lord Dunsany. Lovecraft's philosophical writings appear in the three subsequent sections: "Mechanist Materialist", including essays mostly on metaphysics and aesthetics; "Literary Critic", containing Lovecraft's literary criticism outside the domain of weird fiction; and "Political Theorist", assembling Lovecraft's p0-litical writings. A long section ("Antiquarian Travels") of travelogues follows, covering places Lovecraft visited around New England, the mid-Atlantic states, Virginia, and as far south as Charleston, South Carolina. To the general reader as well as the Lovecraftian scholar, these travel writings are probably the least interesting items in the entire volume. The seventh section, titled "Amateur Journalist", contains some of Lovecraft's essays written for the United Amateur Press Association or the National Amateur Press Association. (These essays remind one of the many squabbles and imbroglios found in fandom of any sort.) The volume concludes with two sections, "Epistolarian" and "Personal". The former includes some of Lovecraft's letters not contained within Se lected Letters, and the latter includes Lovecraft's autobiographical writings and some other personal essays. Lovecraft's literary standing is unlikely to be enhanced by this volume. Even Joshi admits in his introduction that "Lovecraft's essays are by and large not intrinsically inter-18


SFRA Review #218, July/August 1995 esting", and that "Lovecraft's essays and hence, the majority of the works included here were written before 1925, and in all charity must be called apprentice work". Frankly, LQveCraft, who in his last years rejected many of the conservative and insular views expressed in the essays collected in the volume, would probably be horrified by the exposure given to these early pieces, particularly the political essays. It is a regrettable circumstance that Lovecraft wrote so few essays late in life as compared to the number he wrote earlier. The scholar (or editor) interested in Lovecraft and his life cannot be faulted for bringing these writings to light, but they must be read in a proper perspective. When in January 1937 Lovecraft himself was sent by his young correspondent Willis Conover a typed copy of a long letter Lovecraft had written to Edwin Baird, then the editor of Weird Tales, in January 1924, Lovecraft responded (in a letter written six weeks before his death in March 1937): "Well -about that damn letter -I gape with mortification at its egotistical smugness, florid purple passages, ostentatious exhibitionism, ponderous jauntiness, and general callowness. It wouldn't be so bad if I had written it at thirteen or twenty-three -at at thirty-three! What a complacent, self-assured egocentric jackass I was in those days!" (quoted from Lovecraft at Last, p. 226). One suspects that Lovecraft would not feel differently about the majority of this book. To be honest, Miscellaneous Writings is at times fascinating, amusing and enlightening, but also embarrassing, racist, and (frankly) boring. Too often certain flaws in character (such as perceived racism or anti-semitism) are used in a reductionist way to label and damn a person unconditionally. Such charges have at times been levelled at Lovecraft, and some of the statements in this book are only likely to add fuel to the controversy. Nevertheless, Miscellaneous Writings is a welcome milestone in approaching that whirlwind of complexities we know as H.P. Lovecraft, author of such classics as "The Colour Out of Space" and "At the Mountains of Madness". Anyone interested in studying the man behind the fiction will relish this book, despite its blemishes. In closing, I'm very pleased to relate that Arkham House has recently announced for publication in the next few years two further Lovecraft volumes that will undoubtedly take their place with Miscellaneous Writings alongside the standard Lovecraft volumes: a comprehensive collection of Lovecraft's poetry, edited by S.T. Joshi, and a collection of memoirs by Lovecraft's friends, edited by Peter Cannon. Douglas A. Anderson 19


SFRA Re\.iew#218, July/August 1995 squires, Richard D. Stern Fathers 'neath the Mould: The Lovecratt Family in Rochester. West warwick, Rhode Island: Necronomicon Press, 1995, 60 pages, booklet, $7.95, ISBN 0-940884-704. In the introduction to this genealogical essay, Squires poses a question that he never successfully answers: Why bother researching the Rochester Lovecrafts? H.P. Lovecraft, the writer of weird tales, lived all his life in Providence, Rhode Island. He never visited Rochester nor met the relatives who lived there. Lovecraft's letters suggest that he knew little of his father's side of the family. Lovecraft's father, Winfield Scott Lovecraft, grew up in Rochester, then moved to Providence, where he worked briefly as a salesman for the Gorham Silver Company. Shortly thereafter, Winfield began to hallucinate. Suffering from what squires speculates was late-stage syphilis, Winfield was institutionalized in 1893 when his son was three and died five years later at the age of forty-four. Though HPL (as he called himself) claims to remember his father's cultivated British speech and formal way of dressing, he probably, Squires observes, confused stories he was told with actual memories. Far more closely allied to the family of his overprotective mother, HPL made slighting and erroneous statements about the Lovecrafts -errors that Squires takes pains to correct. HPL's great-grandparents, Joseph and Mary Lovecraft, moved from Devonshire, England, to Rochester in the late 1820s or early 1830s. This pamphlet describes the major events in the lives of their six children and their families. Squires draws on historical documents and literary works to place them in the context of nineteenth-century Rochester, a city that the Lovecrafts, industrious, civic-minded business people, helped to shape. Squires argues that the Lovecraft family's contributions to the city have been unfairly eclipsed by Susan B. Anthony, Hiram Sibley, George Eastman, and other more prominent residents. Squires unconvincingly attempts to show similarities between the entrepreneurial Rochester Lovecrafts and their reclusive, economically naive, literary descendant. Squires states, for example, that one great-uncle's membership in the Order of Odd Fellows would have appealed to HPL's love of mystery and secrecy. Such corrments, however, only underscore the gulf between HPL's extroverted paternal relatives and HPL himself. This genealogical essay on H.P. Lovecraft's Rochester forebears would interest Rochester historians and genealo-20


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 gists. Squires has consulted newspapers, city records, and works of local history; he relates infant deaths, near drownings, civic accomplishments, and the arrest of a respectable matron for shoplifting. His pamphlet, however, sheds little light on either the life or the. works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is, furthermore, disconcerting to the Lovecraft aficionado that Squires gives equal space to the families of all six of Joseph and Mary's children rather than fore grounding George, HPL's direct predecessor. So many names and relationships are introduced in a brief space that I, for one, was at a loss to keep them straight. -Wendy Bousfield Barlow, Robert H. and H.P. Lovecraft (S.T. Joshi, Ed. ) The Hoard of the Wizard Beast and One Other. West Warwick, Rhode Island: Necronomicon Press, 1994, 29 pages, booklet, $3.95, ISBN 0-940884-67-4. Joshi, S.T. & David Schultz (Eds). H.P. Lovecraft Letters 'Ib Samuel Loveman & Vincent Starrett. West Warwick, Rhode Island: Necronomicon Press, 1994, 62 pages, booklet, $5.95, ISBN 0-940884-68-2. The Hoard of the Wizard Beast and One Other, a reproduction of the previously unpublished original manuscripts for "The Hoard of the Wizard Beast" and "The Slaying of the Mon ster", is an interesting little item for the Lovecraft compIetist. The facsimile-reproduced format allows the reader to take part in the evolution of H.P. Lovecraft's input into the two short Robert H. Barlow stories. At the time they were written, Barlow was a seventeen-year-old fan in whom Lovecraft took sufficient interest to share in collaborations. On its own, the work is not of great interest. But at the same time, the process of interaction and unfolding by which Lovecraft adds his creative touch is indeed an interesting one. Lovecraft, by his additions, modifications and diction, shows us how critical word choice can be (think of Mark Twain's sentence, "There is only one word difference between lightening and lightening bug."). It is clear to me that, although many have aspired to be Lovecraft over the last two generations, there was in fact only one HPL. This pamphlet, which allows the reader to easily compare HPL's craft to that of Barlow, emphasizes this distinction. Another item from Necronomicon press, H.P. Lovecraft Letters 'Ib Samuel Loveman & Vincent Starrett, shows yet another side of Lovecraft. The editors of this collection of letters make the strongly worded statement ... until the reader has seen these letters in their entirety, a final judgement on Lovecraft the man cannot be made." This is pretty strong 21


SFRA Rewew #218. July/August 1995 stuff to say about a 62-page booklet that barely fulfills Library of Congress page-count criteria to be cataloged as a book. Nevertheless, taken at face value, I feel the statement is correct in that this collection of letters does enhance our view of Lovecraft because it allows us to contextualize him in terms of what was going on in the post-WWI literary world. This collection presents us with a Lovecraft who felt the existential despair of Kafka as he awaited, almost with welcome anticipation, his own annihilation and release from the tedious prison of his own existence. One beholds not the architect of a horrific universe of ancient gods, whose cold draconic eyes contemplate human frailty, but rather Lovecraft as his own worst nightmare. He presents himself in this letter collection more than in any other of his writing, as none other than the protagonist of T.S Eliot's "Love Song of J Alfred Profrock." These letters show us a Lovecraft whose life was in fact measured out in coffee spoons, a man who would not go out to visit his fellows because he couldn't afford a thirty dollar suit to replace the one which was stolen. More and more as I read through these booklets, I felt that at least some of the horror in Lovecraft's work resides in the day-to-day life of his protagonists rather than in his depiction of some ancient and universal evil. I was glad to review these two items together, because the first brings me back to Lovecraft as much as the second, and leads me to reflect on the generosity of this man who had so little. I look forward to making a more considered final view of Lovecraft the Man, perhaps by pulling all of the Necronomicon Press material together in a manner sOllething like what follows below. Perhaps Lovecraft searched for the same humanity as Kafka -the same humanity Kafka told one of his biographers he sought to first depict in words, with the hope that after the process of depiction the feeling would follow. It is apparent that the pain of Lovecraft's marginality shows in his correspondence with Samuel Loveman and Vincent Starrett, who (to paraphrase Pierre Bourdieu) had access to the literary fields of power. This is something Lovecraft was deprived of but, I think, wanted in his lifetime. I think he wished for it, if for no other reason than it might have allowed his marriage to survive. As I have said in previous reviews of Necronomicon Press offerings, I would recommend both these items broadly to all those who seek artistic insights into a sensitive individual. They are a must to be included in any 19th and 20th century research collection. Again, my only suggestion for 1mprovement is a hard-bound form suitable for libraries. -philip Kaveny 22


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 NONFICTION REVIEWS Barron, Neil (Ed). Anatomy Of Wonder, 4th Edition. New Providence, New Jersey: R.R. Bowker, 1995, 912 pages, hardcover, $52.00, ISBN 0-8352-3288-3. The fourth edition of Anatomy of Wonder will serve its readers -fans, students, teachers, and scholars of science fiction -in different ways depending on the purpose to which it is put. In a very large library research collection, it is a tool which may be used as an access point to gain an overall picture of the science fiction field; it might serve as a starting point and gateway to direct the reader to other works for more elaborate and detailed information. As long as it is understood as such, rather than as an end-point, AoW is a very successful book. Since the series was conceived nearly 20 years ago as a readers' and teachers' advisory tool, and as a means of developing a core collection of the best books in the field, a number of important events have taken place. perspectives have changed and our expectations have evolved with them. What this means is that we require new levels of awareness and perception on the part of those upon whose judgement we rely. This is particularly true in the case of a respected work such as AoW which, in the case of a small collection budget, may be the only guide to science fiction available, or perhaps the only reference book owned by an individual without access to a major library. Bearing this in mind, we are sensitive to the extent that AoW is responsive to collection development issues that have come to the forefront in the last decade: equitable gender representation, multiculturalism and diversity of life styles and choices, all of which science fiction has historically addressed, even if they are more pervasively found in contemporary SF. Since we are librarians, we also felt it necessary to evaluate AoW according to certain agreed-upon conventions to which a reference work, readers guide, or collection analysis aid should conform. First, and perhaps most importantly, is it organized in a manner in which patrons will be able to use it? The first rule for a reference tool, be it, book, CD or something else, is this: if it is too complicated to use, or if a proper introduction is not given in the work's prefatory material, people will not use it no matter how valuable the information it contains. 23


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 So, we took AoW for a "test drive," using it for several hours to try to find answers to typical reference questions. Some of its features are indeed handy and quite useful; for example, there is a chart which documents the sources of information on fiction authors and editors represented in the text (Sources of Information, pp. 595-611), linking the choice of authors to ten reference works in the field. This allows one to find sources of further information on individual authors. It also allows us to examine the selective criteria that were used either explicitly or implicitly to include or exclude works. For the prospective purchaser or user, the following indicates the organizational framework of AoW, which we feel represents a number of very good choices on the part of the editor. The first section, which recommends primary literature, is preceded by "How to Use this Guide Effectively", "Preface", "Contributors", and an Introduction. Several sections have become traditional since the second volume, while others have been added specifically for this edition. The main sections are: "Emergence of Science Fiction: The Beginnings Through 1915" by Thanas D. Clareson "Science Fiction Between The Wars: 1916-1939" by Brian Stableford "From The Golden Age to the Atanic Age: 1940-1963" by Paul A. carter "The New Wave, Cyberpunk and Beyond: 1963-1994" by Michael M. Levy and Brian Stable ford "The Speculative Muse: An Introduction to Science Fiction Poetry" by Steve Eng "Young Adult Science Fiction" by Francis J. Molson and Susan G. Miles. "Science Fiction Publishing and Libraries" by Neil Barron "General Reference WOrks" by Neil Barron "History and Criticism" by Gary K. Wolfe "Author Studies" by Michael A. Morrison and Neil Barron "Science Fiction in Film, Television and Radio" by Michael Klossner "Science Fiction Illustration" by Walter Albert and Neil Barron "Science Fiction comics" by Peter M. Coogan "Science Fiction Magazines" by Joe Sanders "Teaching Science Fiction" by Dennis M. Kratz "Research Library Collections of Science Fiction" by Randall W. Scott The last section of the book gives us various useful listings, all by Neil Barron, which include: Best Books; Awards; Series; Series Index; Translations; Organizations; 24


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 and Conventions. The indexes (Author/subject, Title, and Theme) both make the rest of the work much more accessible and make up for some of its textual absences. This is especially true of the Theme Index which lists, among other themes, that of supermen/women.. There are no theme subheadings for the multicultural questions, however. Does AoW comply with the first rule of reference? The overall answer is yes; we found it quite useful in leading us to information sources for work we have in progress. The sections are clearly labelled, indexed and cross-referenced so that the resources in the book can be fully utilized. However, the "Sources of Information" section was somewhat disappointing. The ten standard sources are well-known, but they also have the same weaknesses as AoW, some of which could have been adjusted with a corrective work such as Sharon Yntema's More than 100 Best Science Fiction Novels by Women, which allows the reader to seek further information outside of possible gender stereotypes to fill important gaps in research. And since, to our knowledge, there is as yet no work on multicultural SF, one would have hoped to find this issue addressed in Barron's otherwise excellent work. The very authoritative nature of AoW results in a kind of CatCh-22; that is to say, some will consider the absence of information about an author as an indication of that author's lack of importance, or the inclusion of a work a signal that it is that author's "best." And while AoW will be used for its complete and accurate lists of the Nebula, Hugo, and other award winners, even this feature suffers from a kind of selective vision in that it does not include newer awards, such as the Tiptree, which attempt to expand the evaluative criteria by which excellence is judged. Of the essays and annotated bibliographies that make up the body of the work, only one is done by female authors -and, stereotypically, this is the section on Young Adult science fiction. Of the other essays, the best proportional representation of women's contributions to the genre is found in the section by Michael Levy and Brian Stableford, where titles by women authors make up one in five entries. In the Young Adult section, as can be expected, women authors represent one in three entries. In the other sections they make up one in 18 or 19. Therefore, before a collection is built, we highly recommend that the librarian acquire a book such as Yntema's. It also seems that in its attempt to cover comics, illustrations, and media, AoW simply spreads itself too thin -this space might have been used to list additional works by Suzy McKee Charnas, who has written five significant SF nov-25


SFRA Rewew #218, July/August 1995 els since Walk To The End of the world (the only one represented here), or by Octavia Butler, who has had such a central impact on the field. And why exclude such people as R.M. Meluch, who has published at least ten novels, or Megan Lindholm and Rachael pollack, whose works have becone so significant in the '90s? While we are delighted to see at least one novel listed for so many excellent female writers, and to see the completeness with which the works treated herein are verified, indexed and explained, it is clear that this reference book is only adequate at explaining them should you choose to look for more information in that area. It is not representative as a collection development or a curriculum development implement. It would take too long to compare selective criteria for male and female authors, but we suspect that "obscurity," as a reason for exclusion, was far more commonly applied to female than male authors. At least the text provides a facilitative method for determining this with its various lists and comparisons. But the evaluation again is skewed by the criteria themselves, that seem to rely on the knowledge and goodwill of a non-representative sample of critics. We are reluctant to take on another large and emerging issue, that of multiculturalism, but even a cursory examination of the titles offered and excluded verify that this is another "blind spot" for the current editorial staff. While a few authors who are sensitive to this issue or who are themselves people of color have found their way into the work, their numbers are by no means representative. Only one work of Laurence Yep, his first, is mentioned. Two of Somtow's made the cut, but where is Frank Chin? The diversity of life-styles has always been a central theme in however we would like to see more representations of SF's potential to explore this theme which has been around since the days of wells. But first let us give credit where credit is due. All of the essays and selections are well-researched and complete as far as they go. They provide a number of tools useful to the scholar, such as overviews and periodizations of the history of SF. For example, Mike Levy and Brian Stableford are correct in their contextualization of the new wave of they note how the Vietnam War polarized such writers as Heinlein into the pro-war and Ellison into the anti-war factions. So again we ask, what has happened to the feminist and black cultural movements that also characterized that time, and were in fact even represented in Star Trek episodes of the late 1960s? OVer the years many explanations have been given for why women do not appear in such bibliographies, but the overrid-26


SFRA RelAew#218, July/August 1995 ing correlation is always between the gender of the individuals making the selections and the selections that are made. It is not that the individuals making selections are not well-intentioned. They can explain carefully, as they have done on many occasions, why there was room for only the "best" and not all those others, and this usually derives from the definition of "science fiction" that sonehow so many novels by wonen fall outside of. So where is Atherton, cynthia Felice, Natalie Hennenberg, R.M. Meluch? well, they just aren't central to the perspective of the male editors, often because of this definitional difference. It is also important to point of that this annotated bibliography is heavily weighted in favor of novels and much of the ground-breaking work in SF is done in short stories, such as Tiptree's "The Women Men Don't See" or Russ's "When it Changed", representative of both gender and political climates of the Vietnam era. Surely a work that includes sections on science fiction comics and television could find a way to acknowledge the importance of short stories to this genre. Illustrations, comics, and SF in film, television and radio are all vast issues that cannot be adequately dealt with here, and so are better left to another work. In conclusion, we are aware that fair plays demands that we review that work that has been written and which has received laudatory reviews in other sources such Booklist, Voice of Youth Advocates, and even on the new Books-In-Print Plus CD-ROM product used by so many libraries. We only seek to indicate areas where more work needs to be done by users of this book in order to form a complete picture of science fiction as a genre. with the advent of CD-ROM technology, we look forward to the appearance of this work in a format such as "Womens Studies Encyclopedia", priced in about the same range. This will allow the inclusion of additional material without distracting from what is already there, and make that materially even more fully accessible. -Philip Kaveny and Janice M. Bogstad Heller, Steven and Seymour Chwast. Jackets Required: An Illustrated History of American Book Jacket Design, 1920-1950. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, May 1995, 144 pages, softcover, $19.95, ISBN 0-8118-0396-1. Several years ago I wrote to a number of specialty fantastic fiction publishers and urged them to consider entering their best designed books in the annual competition sponsored and juried by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AlGA). So far as I know none did, or if they did, no book won even an honorable mention. Are such publishers comfortable in a 27


SFRA Rewew#218. July/August 1995 self-created ghetto, populated by fans with limited graphic horizons, who are happy to settle for the predictable SF, fantasy or horror images? I don't know, but I suspect the demands of commerce have long since overpowered any artistic impulses by jacket designers. And hardcover jackets are undistinguished, paperbacks are a magn1tude 'WOrse. Whether the art directors or designers of fantastic fiction jackets could learn -or, more pointedly, profit from this survey of three decades of American book jacket design is doubtful, but it might give them some courage to depart from the depressing formulas that appear to govern their choices today. Certainly they could have few better teachers: Heller is a senior art director at the New York Times and editor of the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design, and Chwast has long directed the Pushpin Group of graphic designers. When literacy was not common, the upper classes often bought books and had them custom bound, usually in leather, often with a family crest. The British publisher Longmans introduced the plain dust wrapper in 1833, which 'WOuld be removed on purchase to reveal the leather or silk binding. There was considerable resistance to the idea of a designed jacket, especially one that covered an attractive binding and that was not designed to be discarded. As literacy became relatively widespread in the west beginning in the mid-19th century, and steam-driven presses made large print runs economical, book publishers, like their magazine counterparts, began to recognize the marketing advantages of attractive jackets, although it was not until around World War I that they became commonplace. As the authors note, it wasn't art or design that promoted the use of jackets, but rather "blurbs" -a 'WOrd presumably coined by Belett Burgess, a humorist and illustrator whose use has been traced to 1910. European art movements, such as futurism, Bauhaus, and art deco, had a heavy influence on design, as is evident in the 270 examples included here. Following a ten-page introduction are 80 pages of color reproductions of fiction hardcovers, grouped by type: general fiction, war, westerns, thrillers, mysteries (the largest category), humor, places, adventure, romance (another large category), manners, politics, poetry, juveniles, and historical fiction. This is followed by 13 pages for nonfiction. The work of six designers is then discussed (one of them, Arthur Hawkins, Jr., has a nice cover of Last and First Men). Designer and title indexes and a short bibliography conclude this 9 1/2 x 10 inch book, itself attractively designed, although its own "jacket" is a bit too self-conscious. 28


SFRA Re\.iew #218, July/August 1995 There's a two-page spread (front and back covers) of the 1935 first edition of Finney's The Circus of Doctor Lao, done by the inimitable Boris Artzbybasheff. There are a few books by Wells, but it wasn't until after 1950 that SF book jackets (and paperback covers) became cOIlllTDn and as undistinguished as they are today. For this later period see Thomas L. Bonn's Under Cover: An Illustrated History of American Mass Market paperbacks (1982) and, for a trip through a sewer, Steve Holland's The Mushroom Jungle (1993), a history of postwar British paperback publishing. As you flip the pages the general impression, not surprisingly, is one of old-fashioned design, much of it unavoidable (e.g., jazz age flappers, or books from the '30s with a distinct proletarian whiff) since jackets are of course tied to their contemporary milieu. Dated or not, many are striking and will reward the historian of popular taste. If your interest is largely limited to the textual content, you'll pass. -Neil Barron Kessler, Carol Farley. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: her progress toward utopia with selected writings. Syracuse University Press, March 1995, 315 pages, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 0-8156-2644-4: softcover, $16.95, ISBN 08156-0304-5. This book is an academic study of Charlotte perkins Gilman, who wrote one of the most famous of American feminist utopias. Gilman's Herland was published in 1915, but until recently it was forgotten, along with most of Gilman's other reformist fiction and non-fiction. Now Gilman is one of the great names in American literary utopias. Kessler herself has written about her several times, most recently in an essay in Donawerth and Kolmarten's Utopian Science Fiction, reviewed in the March/April 1995 issue of this journal. Kessler's book is really two books, as its title clearly indicates: it begins with four chapters discussing Gilman in a biographical setting and then offers fourteen short selections of Gilman's writing. The reprints are mostly fictional "pragmatopias" (do-able reform scenarios) which lead to Gilman's popular utopian novel Herland. The author, Carol Kessler, is a well-known scholar of utopian and women's literature and a professor of English, American Studies, and Women's Studies at Penn State's Delaware County Campus. Her new book is part of a series devoted to utopianism and communitarianism, and appropriately for that series aims at a "cultural" rather than literary or historical study of 29


SFRA Re\.few#218, July/August 1995 Gilman. Kessler hits her target, showing us how Herland grew fram a rich soil of reformist ideas and personal experiences. As stated, Gilman is best known for Herland, though her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" has earned an even higher reputation among readers with a literary or feminist bent. Kessler's book focuses on the utopian element in Gilman's work, though she gives ,due attention to Fabian socialist protest and certainly to what we would today call "feminist" issues in Gilman's work. Kessler is well aware of the ambiguities surrounding "utopia" as a label. She warns us that much of Gilman's writing was meant by its author as social engineering, as a "guide" to a new and better society. However, Gilman's major work, Herland, is like most successful utopias a probe or exploration of possibilities. rather than a blueprint. Sometimes, in Kessler's enthusiasm for her subject, she forgets her own careful original distinction be tween "plan" and "probe." What's good about this book? First, I was happy to find that Kessler wrote a book as clear and direct as Gilman herself was, at least as we meet her in Kessler's story. There is an occasional bit of jargon ("contextualizes," "conflicted") which her editor should have caught, and her study is not as simple, as "fully available to any woman who wants to engage it," as she hopes, but in general, Kessler stays out of deep water and murky prose. She throws in nu merous references to Bakhtin and various feminist critics, but they are raisins in the pudding, and don't have much to do with her analysis, which is straightforward and not ideological at all. If in the end her book was not provocative or surprising, that didn't trouble me at all. Instead, I was glad she lead me to her conclusions by sensible steps. The biographical survey which occupies the first four chapters is sensitive and interesting. Kessler clearly connects Gilman's life to her work, and makes the connection interesting, showing how the literary utopia grew from personal experiences combined with social imagination. She is less successful when she tries nobly to find intellectual and political depths in Gilman's public writing and private correspondence. The Gilman Kessler discovers for us is an intelligent and introspective woman, but she seldom reaches beyond the conventions of her time and class, and her story provides no special heroic model. Instead, it is the story of someone much like other intelligent reformers of her generation. John Updike's proposal that "there are no heroes anymore; either everyone is a hero or no one is" might fit Gilman as much as anyone else. 30


SFRA Rewew#218. July/August 1995 Kessler's narrative of Gilman's difficulties with finding a public forum for her writing is especially interesting. This is essentially the story of how Gilman built her own forum somewhere between the confrontational politics of the shriller Marxian Socialists and .the booster ism and small town insularity of the genteel women's clubs. Several times Gilman turned to publishing herself in the Forerunner and the books she spun out of it. The similarities between her struggles and those of many other writers who sought a popular audience as American publishing turned from genteel magazines to the mass market reveal our intellectual past. Kessler's survey also helped me understand how to read some of Gilman's lesser-known writing, such as the carefully constructed Gilman presents in the autobiography she wrote at age 75, which reveals, as Kessler writes, "discrepancies between it and other extant documents." Gilman was always constructing -and reconstructing -her life. Kessler traces the processes by which this worked. What problems are there with Kessler's book? In one way I'm not the right reviewer for this book, because I have no quarrel with it. I found no big errors of fact or judgment, no nasty jargon or blinkered ideological views. But it is part of my job as reviewer to note limitations in the work I review -after all, that's what will make you keep reading -so I will suggest some blind spots in Kessler's portrait of her subject. Gilman stereotyped and sometimes discriminated against men, and Kessler ignores this sexist strain, while at the same time expressing frequent dismay at Gilman's equally obvious ethnocentrism. First, the ethnic problem. Kessler seems surprised even embarrassed -to report Gilman's patronizing and prejudiced opinions about foreigners, Jews, and Afro-Americans, and her overt approval of Social Darwinism. Kessler calls this casual and chronic racism "dystopian," while at the same time earnestly urging the necessity for diversity of ideas and visions. Kessler seems stuck in the dilemma of how to support diversity of belief for those whose beliefs do not match her own. Gilman did display ethnocentrism and xenophobia, and her opinions grew more fixed with age. The selections from Gilman which Kessler includes are evidence, as the author delicately puts it, that "Gilman is not truly supportive of cultural diversity." If this sort of endemic ethnocentrism bothers you, then you may not want to read Gilman or to ask your students to read her, and Kessler is right to warn us. However, such a standard for editing the past would prevent us from reading Hemingway, Faulkner, Clemens, and most other 31


SFRA Rewew #218, July/August 1995 canonical authors. Kessler repeatedly expresses embarrass Dent at finding clay between the toes of her heroine. Before we blane Gilman beyond due Deasure, we should re uember her tines. She was a girl in oakland at the sane tine Jack London was a boy, and they imbibed similar folk beliefs. Her feelings about other ethnic groups were not virulent, just patriarchal, if that is not too absurd a word here. She hoped to improve their lot, as long as they kept their place. "Diversity" would have seemed to Gilman a strange word for race and class differences. Lynching of African-Americans (mostly males) was at its highest between 1885 and 1904. Her generation sprouted Henry Goddard's Eugenics Movement and William Simmons's reborn Klu Klux Klan as well as Bill Hay wood's IWW and Suffragist saints like Isadora Duncan and Margaret Sanger. Reform -radical, sometimes nativist -ideas were a part of Gilman, just as she was part of her tine. I think Kessler is unjust in suggesting Gilman should have written a utopia more like Marge piercy'S Woman on the Edge of Time. The necessary changes had not yet been made. No doubt it is true, as Michelle Green writes in similarly criticizing Octavia Butler, that "relatively few utopian feminists seem able or willing to tackle even their own tendency to ignore, erase, and oppress human difference." But whose utopia is Berland, anyway? I don't want to live in someone else's utopia, so why does Kessler expect Gilman to want to li va in hers? Kessler also offers some readers -me anyhow -a minor problem in her sometimes strained treatuent of Gilman's attitudes toward men, especially as she expands Gilman's "pragma.topias" to become abstract criticisms of patriarchal hegemony and other feminist bugbears of our own day rather than Gilman's. Kessler shows us that in SODe of her utopian fiction before Berland, Gilman "realized possibilities for more egalitarian gender roles," and that seems, from what I have read of Gilman, to say it well enough. I was particularly interested in some of Gilman's reworking of marriage, in which she uses the old patterns of Courtly Love to the advantage of women, who are in her fictional world just as entitled to lovers as are men. Nothing very daring Gilman published in family magazines -but still, an attempt to move the patriarchal mountain. Kessler is less balanced in her willingness to ignore Gilman's stereotypes and sexist values in Berland, with its heritage of "infuriated virgins," descended from the dark Mother. Other feminists -not Kessler have criticized women utopians for insisting on keeping a "closed family structure," but again, we should judge Gilman in the context of her times and her audience, mostly the 32


SFRA Re\.iew#21 a, .1J1y/August 1995 readers of commercial magazines -rather than by today's fem mist rules. What opportunities did Kessler miss? In the end, I was struck not at how extraordinary the Gilman she presents was, but rather how much she was a wOman of her class and generation, a human being borne on the stream of her tiIoo. This is the theme emphasized by Ann Lane in her recent and authoritative biography of Gilman (To Herland and Beyond). Perhaps the most distinctive revelation in this book is Gilman's membership in the Missionary Generation -she was a contemporary of Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Upton Sinclair, and Lincoln Steffens, and a card-carrying member of John Jay Chapman's "salvation anny of militant benevolence." She found in Jane Addams's (another Missionary) Hull House the imperfect but real model for her hopes of voluntary (and in effect feminist) utopian communities. Born at the very beginning of her cohort in 1860, she exemplifies their virtues and reveals their limitations in her life, especially as the moral vision of post-Civil War North expired in the intricate business of the modern industrial state. Gilman was extraordinary in her energy and abilities, but typical in her experiences and dreams. Certainly Gilman is worth our attention. Arthur Lewis cheerfully listed her in a recent review in this journal among the great utopians, one with: "Bacon, Bellamy, Campanella, Gilman, More, Morris, Plato, and Wells." This is too much: if we must guess who the classic American utopians will prove to be, Piercy, Le Guin, and Robinson look like larger figures for the future than Gilman. But there is no question that Kessler's subject was an interesting and significant writer in the history of reform and utopian thought. Her popularity continues to grow today. I count over one hundred articles on her in the last ten years, and no doubt another half dozen have popped up on the MLA database since I looked. Despite Kessler's careful consideration of Gilman's reformist and utopian ideas, one opportunity for further study of Gilman's utopian work appears because she focuses largely on the social rather than the literary nature of Gilman's work on the ideas rather than the form. We still need more attention to Gilman's fiction as it fits into her times and into the tradition of utopian literature. Good as Kessler's book is, it slights these aspects of Gilman studies. Whatever might still be done, I finished Kessler's Charlotte Perkins Gilman feeling that I had learned a lot about the development of a significant American writer, and that the next time I taught Herland it would be a much richer 33


SFRA #218, July/August 1995 book. If I did not find any new paradigm of critical sensibility nor any doubtful new critical scheme, I am grateful. Kessler sets herself the task of showing how a significant feminist American utopia grew out of the personal and professional experiences of Gilman's life. She succeeded. I "participated in the process" as the fourteen selections Kessler re-printed led me to discover, along with Gilman, the way to Herland. This is an essential book for anyone interested in Gilman, and a useful one for anyone interested in American utopian fiction, or in the intellectual history of America as we changed fran a frontier society to a \\'Qrld pc7or.'9r. Michael Orth Korshak, Stephen D. (Ed). A Hannes Bok Showcase. Lancaster, pennsylvania: Charles F. Miller, 1995, 88 pages, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 1-885611-05-6; softcover, $17.95, ISBN 1-885611-06-4. "Bok", the artistic pseudonym of Wayne Woodward (1914-1964), first appeared on a drawing in 1934; in 1939, the artist signed his first cover for Weird Tales as "Hannes Bok," initiating a professional career that was to flourish throughout the 1940s. Bok's appearances in the pulps were markedly reduced during the early 1950s, coinciding with the death of the pulp era and his own disenchantment with the field. His final years were spent in seclusion in his New York City apartment. He died of an apparent heart attack on April 11, 1964, his body only discovered when a neighbor called the police after trying to reach the artist. Bok and Virgil Finlay were undoubtedly the two artists most admired by science fiction and fantasy fans in the 1940s, and both were perfectionists who \\'QuId not be hurried and had difficulty meeting editorial deadlines. Finlay's career, however, spanned some 35 years, while Bok was active for only 15 years, with a production that was, as Korshak puts it, "modest." That adjective might also describe Bok's reputation in spite of Gerry de la Ree's 1978 collection of black-and-white illustrations in Beauty and the Beast: The Art of Hannes Bok, and the championing of Bok by Emil petaja, of the Bokanalia Memorial Foundation, during the '60s and '70s. That situation has changed for the better with the publication of A Hannes Bok Showcase, the second of two collections of Bok's artwork. (The first, A Hannes Bok Treasury, also edited by Stephen D. Korshak, was published by Underwood-Miller in 1993.) In the earlier collection, the color 34


SFRA Re\.iew#21 a, July/August 1995 and black-and-white works were alIrost equally represented; in the Showcase, there are 8 full-color reproductions and 80 black-and-white illustrations. Where Finlay's human subjects -often based on photographs of film personalities -are representational, Bok's figures are highly stylized, often appearing to be sculpted rather than drawn or painted. His alien creatures and terrestrial monsters are rarely frightening. They look like creatures drawn from a bestiary inspired by Dr. Seuss or S.H. Sime, the noted illustrator of Dunsany's early fantasies. There is a vein of whimsy that is never mined to excess and a humor that seemed never to desert Bok's pen, even during the later years of his pulp work, when his romantic optimism was darkened by the many frustrations he experienced in his dealings with editors and fans. Unlike Finlay, whose best work was the black-and-white interiors he did for Weird Tales in the '30s and for the Popular Publications reprintings of Munsey classics in the 1940s and early '50s, some of Bok's most striking work consisted of color magazine covers and book jacket illustrations. He was also an accomplished writer who both completed the text of and illustrated two unfinished Merritt manuscripts, a designer of masks, and a sculptor in wood, as well as a tireless correspondent who, Petaja estimated, spent half of his working day at his correspondence. The respect writers had for Bok is evidenced by the affectionate introduction by Frederik Pohl in the Showcase and by Ray Bradbury in the Treasury. Korshak's introductions document both Bok's life and work, and in the Treasury Korshak is particularly persuasive in confirming the sometimes questioned relationship of Bok with Maxfield Parrish. The Treasury also includes a bibliography of secondary sources and four color plates relating to the Parrish relationship. These two Bok volumes and the ongoing Finlay series from the same publisher are a rich resource for researchers and fans, and they keep alive the impressive art of a period that is too often ignored or dismissed. -Walter Albert McCarthy, Helen. AnimeJ: A Beginner's Guide to Japanese Animation. London: Titan Books, 1993, 64 pages, softcover, .99, ISBN In only 64 heavily-illustrated pages, Helen McCarthy changed my opinion (based on very limited experience) of anime, or Japanese animation. Like many Westerners, I had assumed that the wild plots and characters in anime were a 35


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 reaction against Japan's orderly, rule-driven, group-centered society. McCarthy, on the other hand, finds anime to be very Japanese the films emphasize teamwork, disdain selfish indi and are rooted in traditional Japanese folk art, the samurai heritage, the nanga (comic books), Japan's defeat in World War II, nuclear martyrdom, and Japan's status as "the biggest consumer of science fiction in the world" and the m:>st "technophiliac'" society. I had considered the films violent, pessimistic, and apocalyptic, while McCarthy finds them optimistic and often hum:>rous. I had associated anime exclusively with SF, but McCarthy explores several other genres including fantasy, mystery, children's films, and even pornography. McCarthy notes an abundance of positive women characters in anime. Like many Western fans, she especially enjoys the Dirty pair, Kei and Yuri, scantily-clad girl agents whose fighting techniques are so destructive that when they are assigned to bodyguard a client, his property and liability insurance rates go sky-high. Japan produces more animated films than any other country. McCarthy briefly describes and provides filmographic information for about 100 theatrical, made-for-TV, and madefor-video films. Bruno Edera' s FUll Length Animated Feature Films (1977, o.p.) describes forty-three Japanese features, with no apparent overlap with McCarthy. Steven R. Johnson's viewer's Guide to Japanese Animation (1987, o.p.) is even shorter than McCarthy at forty-eight pages. Stuart Galbraith's Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (1994, see SFRA Review #209) excludes animation. Kay Reynolds's Robotech Art 1 (1986) and Robotech Art 2 (1987) concentrate on a single TV series. McCarthy's bibliography lists eleven fan magazines (two U.S., two Canadian, three British, two French and two Italian) and five books (two Italian, two on manga, and a 1992 book by McCarthy, a catalog for an anime season at a British art theatre). McCarthyacknowledges that Anime! is a cursory introduction to the field and hopes that it will soon be supplemented by "bigger, m:>re detailed" books. Even when those larger books appear, Anime J should be retained for its infectious enthusiasm and its dozens of sharply-reproduced illustrations. Michael Klossner Scheick, William J. (Ed). The Critical Response to H.G. Wells. westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1995, 256 pages, hardcover, $55.00, ISBN 0-313-28859-3. Though it is organized in terms of responses to works of Wells listed chronologically, this collection is not to be confused with Patrick Parrinder's H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage. Scheick's curious anthology testifies to a learned 36


SFRA RelAew #218, July/August 1995 affectation for wells, but it is random and arbitrary and has little use as a reference tool or as a history. The book is unclear whether it is documenting The Critical Response or attempting to formulate one. The wells works give an impression of order, but there is no discernable logic to the selections. We begin with a two-paragraph review from 1895 of The Wonderful Visit, which compares the book with Grant Allen's The British Barbarians. The next year, 1896, calls up three-and-a-half pages on Doctor Moreau from Bergonzi's 1961 book; The Invisible Man (1897) is covered in a brief contemporary review. Then War of the Worlds (1898) generates another contemporary review and a long (11 pages), previously unpublished essay by Allan Chavkin on Saul Bellow'.s Mr. samm ler's Planet, which focuses on Sammler's idea of Wells and juxtaposes War of the Worlds and the Holocaust. The pattern, if that is what one can call such a seemingly random collection, persists throughout the book. In this scattering there are some fine responses that most Wellsians will not have seen. Janet Gabler-Hover's previously unpublished essay studying the Wells-James friendship and quarrel in terms of a psychoanalytic understanding of their different relations to sexuality is particularly to be reconunended. Gabler-Hover' s strength is a sense of the full intellectual presence of both James and Wells. She gives alert and insightful readings of the sexual implications of James's circumlocutions and of Wells's devastating metaphors. Also to be noted are a solid original piece by John Reed on Wells and Mrs. Humphrey ward, some extravagant and entertaining puffs by Arnold Bennett (1917) and Rebecca West (1915), and, from 1908, a beautifully haughty and profoundly conservative anonymous appreciation of Wells that treats his So cialism as foolish bad form. As the presence of Grant Allen and Saul Bellow in the opening selections suggests, the anthology is as much concerned with writers and thinkers who influenced Wells or were influenced by him as with Wells himself. In a three-page passage from the Experiment in Autobiography which serves as a preface to the "Critical Responses," Wells recounts his early influences and early reception, when he was often praised as the second Dickens, second Bulwer Lytton, second Jules Verne. Yet, as the passage shows, Wells himself objected to this technique for categorizing an important new artist. In his introduction, Scheick raises the issue of influence at some length, and while he is aware of Wells's irritation, nevertheless he seems convinced that, "since no author ever creates in a vacuum," it follows that the best way to understand him is by identifying his precursors and epigones. 37


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 Almost one quarter of the pages in The Critical Response are given over to three essays by Catherine Rainwater that epitomize the concern for influences. Two, discussing "the Re-vision of Poe" in Wells's early and then his late fiction, have been previously published. While Wells clearly was familiar with Poe's work, he was also widely read in English and Continental literature, in the Gothic tradition, and in the popular genres. It is artificial and distorting to treat Wells as if he 1Nere always responding to Poe. In Rainwater's narrow universe any spooky, Irorbid, intense, transcendent, or exotic effect is "poe-esque," as are untrustworthy narrators and any acknowledgenent of problems of meaning. In the third essay, previously unpublished, Rainwater relates Ellen Glasgow to Poe by the same method. According to Rainwater, Glasgow found Wells "dull," but because she owned five Wells novels and The Outline of History, Rainwater will read her as negotiating the conflicting views of Poe and Wells. Any reader who knows Wells will have observed that The Time Machine, the work that from its first publication has generated the most extensive and enthusiastic critical response, is not mentioned in the 1895 entry. It is a sign of the eccentric approach to this anthology that, just as it will devote many pages to Poe, Bellow (or rather, Artur Sanun ler, a fictional character) and Glasgow, it will without explanation ignore except in passing wells's IroSt faIroUS work. John Huntington Scblobin, Roger C. and Irene R. Harrison. Andre Norton: A primary and Secondary Bibliography (Updated edition with a preface by Andre Norton). Framingham, Massachusetts: NESFA press, 1994, 92 pages, softcover, $12.50, ISBN 0-915368-64-1. When I was in seventh grade in 1963, the school librarian had a contest to see who could guess which popular science fiction author was really female. Her hint was to look for an A. My two favorite writers 1Nere Andre Norton and Robert A. Heinlein; my guess was that Robert's name was really Roberta, but my favorite novel was Norton's Star Man's Son 2250 A.D. (1952), also released as Daybreak 2250 A.D. And I just could not imagine how such an adventurous writer, with such great male and female characters who were every color of the rainbow, could be female. Norton's work has fascinated me since I began reading (and reading science fiction, a simultaneous phenomenon), in 1957. Roger C. Schlobin and Irene R. Harrison have put together a bibliography of Norton's fiction and non-fiction, as well as selected reviews and critical works about her fic-38


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 tion, that is the fulfillment of any Norton enthusiast's fondest wish as well as an invaluable reference tool for the critic of Andre Norton's fiction or contemporary science fiction. The main text is arranged in chronological order by publication year, with notes and multiple entries about alternative publication dates. For example, Daybreak 2250 A.D., it tells us, was also bound with Beyond Earth's Gates and published in 1953. Any completest would find this list very useful, especially as it is updated to November 1994. Several added features make it even more useful and interesting. In addition to the chronological list of fictional works, there are lists of critical works by Norton and about Norton, and a wonderful set of appendices. Appendix I divides her fictional works by genre (Fantasy, Juvenile Fantasy, Science Fiction, Juvenile Science Fiction, Historical and Adventure, Gothic, Mystery, Biography, Poetry, Collections, Anthologies), the divisions being decided upon both by publication information and, apparently, decisions of the bibliographers. Appendix II is a compilation by series, sequels, and related works, useful to those of us who want to read all about a fantasy or science fiction world at one time or know in which "world" a single work is set. This is followed by a Primary Index, an alphabetized title list of Norton's fiction and non-fiction, a Secondary Index, and an alphabetized author list of critical works about Norton, the latter two of which refer to primary parts of this bibliography. As an added bonus, the Norton-preface and Schlobin-introduction are added to Harrison's discussion of her research which produced this update, for which she is to be congratulated. This book will occupy a primary spot on my bookshelf and be useful for years to come. -Janice M. Bogstad Silver, Alain and James ursini. More Things Than Are Dreamt of: Masterpieces of Supernatural Horror from Mary Shelley to Stephen King -in Literature and Film. New York: Limelight, 1994, 226 pages, $20.00, ISBN 087910-177-8. Restricting their study to works originally published in English and excluding the vampire -already covered in their earlier study The Vampire Film (Limelight 1993) -Silver and Ursini also limit their examples of supernatural fiction that have made their way to films to those they consider to be "prototypical" and "classic." The greater portion of the book is devoted to narrative treatments of such authors as Mary Shelley, "the other" Bram Stoker, Poe, Lovecraft, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Machen, and M.R. and Henry James. A chapter on "selected modern classics" in-39


SFRA Relliew#218, July/August 1995 cludes Fritz Leiber's Conjure Wife, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Stephen vincent Benet's "The Devil and Daniel webster", Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, and the inevitable Stephen King, represented by The Dead Zone. A filmography gives credits for the films discussed in the text, and foreign-language films are not subject to the language ban imposed on the literary texts. In their introduction, the authors admit that their choice is limited by space considerations and the "vagaries of critical inclinations." Thus, their work is not a comprehensive study of the supernatural in either the novel or film. The inclusion of Machen is curious, since they admit that none of his works have been adapted for films, but they justify his inclusion on the grounds that his works are "visual" and contain "palpable horror," qualities that filmmakers "like." In addition, they include Stoker's The Jewel of the Seven Stars and The Lair of the White Worm, neither of which fits into the authors' category of literary classic. However, the authors' candor about the idiosyncratic nature of their work is disarming, the discussions are intelligent, and their choice of films -in which they deftly separate the wheat from the chaff -is excellent. The book is generously illustrated with well-chosen stills from the David Del Valle Archive, and will probably be of more interest to film buffs than to literary or film scholars. -Walter Albert Spivack, Charlotte and Roberta Lynne Staples. The Company of Camelot: Arthurian Characters in Romance and Fantasy. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1994, 162 pages, hardcover, $45.00, ISBN 0-313-27981-0. Charlotte Spivack has published a number of books, mainly on fantasy literature, and in this study she and Roberta Sta ples turn their attention to Arthurian tradition, which both have already written about extensively. Their subject is characterization, which they feel has been paid "surprisingly little attention" (p. 1). To rectify this omission, they "have chosen to deal with eight important IOOmbers of the company of Camelot, in each case looking first at mythic medieval configuration, then exploring their diversified manifestations in modern popular fiction" (p. 3). They thus consider genres beyond the romance and fantasy announced in the sub-title, although these are their main focus. After a general introduction, a separate chapter is devoted to each figure in turn: Merlin, Morgan Ie Fay, Kay, Gawain, Guenevere, Lancelot, Mordred, and Arthur himself.


SFRA Re\.few#218,.AJIy/August 1995 This study offers valuable insights into the treatment of the characters in m:>st of the m:>dern novels examined, particular T.H. white's Once and Future King and Rosemary Sut cliff's Sword at Sunset, and the entire chapter on Guenevere shows the authors at their best. By contrast, Thomas Berger's Arthur Rex is less well served; indeed, the discussion on Meliagrant's abduction of Guenevere contains several factual errors that distort the reading. We are told, for example, that "Lancelot suddenly appears and kills the giant [Meliagrant]" (p. 52), whereas Lancelot is in fact released from imprisonment by Meliagrant himself, who is a knight, not a giant. Although disturbing, such lapses are rare in discussions of modern novels. Regrettably, the medieval material fares much worse, as the following examples dem:>nstrate: there is no evidence in Malory for the claim that Merlin chooses Igerne to be Arthur's mother before Uther falls in love with her (p. 14); the giant slain by Kay in "Culhwch and Olwen" is not Olwen's father (p. 48); nor is the Gawain-poet a contemporary of Malory (p. 61); the Lancelot translated in The mance of Arthur is the poem by Chretien de Troyes, not the vulgate romance (pp. 78, 93); and the fight in which Lancelot kills Agravain in Malory is hardly big enough to be described as a "battle" (p. 114). Such errors of detail are frequently matched by the omission of important information. Why Gawain's offense in retaining the girdle in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is "minimal" (p. 60) is not explained, nor is the deeper significance of his ultimate success and failure. Some statements, e.g., "Gawain's reputation as a fighter and a lover seems well earned in Malory" (p. 61), badly need to be clarified to avoid misleading the unwary reader. These faults undermine confidence in the discussion of the medieval literature. To make matters worse, the authors jump too readily to sweeping conclusions based on insufficient evidence. More careful footnotes might have helped, but few are provided to support arguments. Only half a dozen articles are cited, and among the books omitted are such important works as The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. A wider consultation of critical studies might have helped to fill in some of the gaps and to avoid some of the more misleading claims, the most annoying of which is the repeated complaint about characterization in earlier works, e.g. "the character of Arthur is rather flat and perfunctory ... no personal or inner struggle" (p. 129). This misunderstands the role of the figures found in medieval romance -they are representative types, not individualized characters as in the m:>dern novel, and the struggle is externalized into a psychomachia, not waged internally. 41


SFRA Re\04ew#218, .kJ1y/August 1995 Such problems are unfortunate, for the book offers a ber of useful ideas on the subject of the characterization of figures rooted in tradition: the development from archetypes to more complex Characters, and from traditional dualism to contradictory personalities; and the application of Jungian theory to figures like Mordred. It is well to recall, however, that a vast number of texts have been omitted from this study. Other patterns may be readily discerned therein that augnent and IOOdify those offered here. Ray Thanpson Stableford, Brian. Algebraic Fantasies and Realistic Ro mances: More Masters of Science Fiction. Milford Series popular writers of Today, Volume 54. San Bernardino, California: Borgo Press, 1995, 124 pages, hardcover, $25.00, ISBN 0-89370-183-1; sOftcover, $15.00, ISBN 089370-283-8. Brian Stableford's Algebraic Fantasies and Realistic Romances is a collection of seven essays which had been previously published in Foundation magazine between 1980-85 and in Interzone in 1989. Four essays deal with the little-known writers John Gloag, Edgar Fawcett, M.P. Shiel, and Bob Shaw. Since they aren't well-knOwn, Stable ford uses numerous excerpts from their works to familiarize the reader with the material in question. He also uses a number of quotations from others locating these writers in the prehistory of science fiction and the history of ideas. This effort serves to pique the reader's curiosity and encourage her to read sooe of the \\IOrks in question. Even though some of the points and ideas may be a bit difficult to follow initially, Stable ford summarizes succinctly the various points and what they mean in the essays' conclusions. This adequately pulls the essays together and Clarifies anything the reader had difficulty following. Stable ford also leaves the merit of the works and/or writer to the reader's discretion. He advances his case persuasively but also recognizes alternative viewpoints as possibilities. In "The Future Between the Wars: John Gloag", Stable ford looks at Gloag' s work in the context of war in SF between the two world wars. Stable ford notes that Gloag "was one of the few important writers of speculative fiction who was on active duty during the Great War,._" (p. 9). This, Stable ford 9learly believes, gives Gloag a better inSight into the whole Stable ford goes on to comment on how Gloag and the novels are affected by the thinking and events of the time. 42


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 Bob Shaw is seen as a writer who works against the SF mold in "Algebraic Fantasies: The Science Fiction of Bob Shaw". Shaw is younger than Gloag and was first influenced by an A.E. van vogt story which appeared in Astounding. According to Stableford, both Shaw's reverence for van vogt and his background apparently predispose Shaw to work at cross purposes with the formulas of science fiction. Shaw is also a successful humorist. Stableford draws a picture of SF's prehistory in "Realistic Romances: The Fantastic Fiction of Edgar Faw cett". Fawcett was a writing contemporary of H.G. Wells. only five or six of Fawcett's books fall into the realistic romance category, but Stableford finds them significant for Fawcett's unique use of contemporary ideas which became portant in science fiction. Fawcett's realistic romances also created an ambiguous situation in that it is never entirely clear whether the events depicted really happened or were hallucinations or nightmares. "The Politics of Evolution: Philosophical Themes in the speculative Fiction of M.P. Shiel" portrays an author whose personal philosophy pervaded his work. This is interesting since Stable ford describes Shiel as "a writer who deliberately dealt with bizarre characters and peculiar situations, and who took a delight in startling his readers with unusual rroral judgeroonts and evaluation" (p. 73). Shiel's philosophy was that scientific progress is paramount; this allowed Shiel to create characters with flaws, since they weren't important in themselves but rather as proponents for the philosophy. In the final three essays, Stable ford admits that he "attempts to compensate for ... occasional esoteric ism with my contributions to 'The Big Sellers' series" (p. 9). Since this material is more contemporary and well-known, there is less description and quoting from the materials and more analysis. In "Galactic Hitch-Hiker: The Sudden Rise of Douglas Adams", Stable ford notes that Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was already popular as a radio show. However, Stable ford concedes that is obviously has broader appeal to have sold so well and in so many volumes. It is essentially humor, and therefore Adams's popularity may be hard to sustain. In Stableford's opinion, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency offers the best hope for Adams's continued success in spite of the reversal of its sequel, The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul. The "Dirk Gently approach", it seems to Stableford, has the best opportunity for expansion into other novels. In Stableford's estimation, another interesting contemporary author is Stephen Donaldson. His Chronicles of Thomas 43


SFRA Re\oiew#218, July/August 1995 Covenant the Unbeliever is a case study in the perseverance of an author. The material was rejected by forty-seven publishers before it finally saw print. Those publishers who were interested wanted Covenant's handicap softened; they didn't believe readers would identify with a leper. In addition, the Hordant's Need books were almost rejected because the main character is a woman. Stableford sees promise in Donaldson's work. Finally, in "Animal Spirits: Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' Video," Stable ford argues that the content of the video is inherently less dangerous than its opponents believe it to be "Because it is self consciously nightmarish it is a story about nightmares, not a nightmare itself, and what it says about nightmares is partly a decoding of their nature and symbolism" (p. 113). Stableford goes on to point out the connections the video makes with popular culture and movies that are a part of this commentary on nightmares. Stable ford's analysis is cogent and compelling, an interesting perspective. This slim volume is a useful addition to any fan's SF reference works, and is certainly worth reading. Sherry Stoskopf Umland, Samuel J. (Ed). Philip K. Dick: Contemporary Critical Interpretations (Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy, No. 63). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1995, 228 pages, hardcover, $55.00, ISBN 0-313-29295-7. This worthwhile new collection contains eleven individual essays examining the work of Philip K. Dick from a variety of perspectives, along with a brief introduction by Professor Umland, a primary and secondary bibliography, and an index. All but two of the essays are original to this volwre. Without in any way questioning the merits of Carl Freedman's essay, "Towards a Theory of Paranoia: The Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick", which leads off the volume (and originally appeared in Science Fiction Studies, 1984), one could question its inclusion here. Freedman's essay is already widely available in book form, having previously been reprinted in On Philip K. Dick: 40 Articles from ScienceFiction Studies (R.D. Mullen, et al., Eds.) It is, however, an overview, and undoubtedly placed here for that reason. The only other previously published essay, Merritt Abrash' s "Man Everywhere in Chains: Dick, Rousseau, and The 44


SFRA July/August 1995 Penultimate Truth", appeared first in foundation (Spring 1987), and its reprinting here should provide it with a well deserved wider audience. Hopefully, its inclusion will also spark further discussion of Dick's 1964 novel, The Penultimate Truth, which Abrash correctly states has been "routinely dismissed as a minor work, worth no more than passing mention," despite the depth of Dick's attention in that work to the "social and political setting" of the society he portrays. In his introduction, Professor Umland expresses the hope that the book will "appeal to a wide readership," reaching both the academic audience seeking a "sophisticated theoretical reading" of Dick, as well as offering "sufficient exposition for all students and a popular audience." That ambitious goal, perhaps not surprisingly, is far easier to aspire to than to achieve. Scholars are far likelier to find all the essays in this volume accessible, given the level of language utilized and the references to the insights of political, literary, and philosophical theorists such as Jacques Lacan, Noam Chomsky, Louis Althusser, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Jacques Derrida, which (understandably) assumes a general familiarity with their frcureworks. Students are likely to find the book challenging (in the positive sense of the word). But in all honesty, I'm afraid any "popular audience" of Dick's work will find it rough sledding. An essay by Neil Easterbrook ("Dianoia/paranoia: Dick's Double 'Imposter''') focuses on one of Dick's early short stories, "Imposter", (Astounding, June 1953), and explores the extent to which some frequent Dickian themes (such as "am I human? Or am I just programmed to believe I am human") were already present in his earlier work. I was especially pleased to read Rebecca A. Umland's "unrequited Love in We Can Build You", which presents a perspective that may prove very useful, as she suggests, in barking on some critical studies of Dick's as yet "largely unexplored" so-called "mainstream" novels, which (aside from Confessions of a Crap Artist) were unpublished during his lifetime, although actually products of his earlier career. (The most recently published, Gather Yourselves Together, only finally appeared in 1994, leaving only one existing Dick novel, Voices from the Street, yet unpublished). Another essay, "What Is This Sickness?: Schizophrenia and We Can Build You", by Dick biographer Gregg Richman, also discusses the novel We Can Build You, comparing and contrasting it to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, two Dick novels in which androids, and the relationships of humans to and with androids, playa major role. 45



SFRA Re\.-few#218, July/August 1995 thesis that, like the knelling of a leaden bell, quickly begins to pall. As suggested by the title, the structure of this work is tripartite. After a lengthy introduction -where Veldman outlines her working definition of romantic protest and a first chapter devoted to an outline of this protest tradition before 1945, the book is fairly evenly distributed between J.R.R. TOlkien and C.S. Lewis, the British CND (the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) and the early British eco-activist movement. As Veldman asserts in her introduction and reiterates all too often, the thread binding these seemingly unrelated topics together is their underlying romantic assumptions. An often naive belief that Britain was a better place in the past (especially the Medieval past); a conviction that Britain was unique; an affirmation of a non-empirical, nonmaterial reality; a belief in the effectiveness of the individual; and an affirmation of the importance of community; these ran deeply through the lives and works of Tolkien and Lewis, the speeches and action of the CND, and the writings and activities of the various early Greens. The most disappointing section of this study is the analysis of the lives and works of TOlkien and Lewis. TO be honest, Veldman does warn her readers in the general introduction that she is performing a cultural, not a literary, critique. Her interests are, therefore, less in what Narnia and the Shire mean themselves than in what they mean as a part of their creators' unease in and protest against post-war Britain. Her observations about the fictional and critical works of both of these authors are painfully obvious. Bluntly, Veldman is saying nothing that observant readers could not glean for themselves. TOlkien's anti-technological stance is legendary, and the anti-materialism of both Lewis and TOlkien follows from their well-documented religious beliefs. Few readers may be acquainted with Lewis's war-time chats, but a better view of the extra-fictional aspects of the careers of these two writers can be found in one of the many studies devoted to them, such as Carpenter's The Inklings. Her evaluation of the impact these two writers had, not only on the counter-culture, but also on "main stream" middle-class mass culture is worthwhile, but Veldman missed an important and humorous opportunity by not mentioning Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings, which is itself a wicked critique of both materialist mass culture and the counterculture. Ultimately there is very little in section one for the serious student of fantasy, especially those who have dedicated time to Lewis or TOlkien. The next two sections are, for me, more interesting, if a trifle tedious in spots. However, my engagement with Veld-47



SFRA July/August 1995 Greening of Britain, could be useful to those studying either anti-Bomb sentiment and nuclear paranoia in Science Fiction or the new sub-genre of ectopias. In fact, Veldman's discussion of Schumacher could be a critique of Ernest Callenbach's Ectopia and Ectopia Emerging. On the whole, this work was unsatisfying not because of sloppy scholarship -the work has extensive and exhaustive footnotes, a useful bibliography and a good index; rather, this study is unsatisfying because it is written down. Veldman, probably in an attempt to make her dissertation more approachable, made obvious points more obvious. Unless a reader truly wishes to read about the histories of the CND and the FoE in-depth, Veldman's central thesis can be easily grasped by reading the general introduction and conclusion and the brief introductions and conclusions to each of the three sections. Little other work is necessary. -Suzette J. Henderson warren, Alan. Roald Dahl: From the Gremlins to the Chocolate Factory, 2nd Edition. Milford Series Popular Writers of Today, Volume 57. San Bernardino, California: Borgo Press, 1994, 128 pages, hardcover, $25.00, ISBN 0-8095-2001-X; softcover, $15.00, ISBN 0-8095-3001-5. Alan Warren's updated edition of Roald Dahl, which first appeared in 1988, pays homage to and provides a critical perspective on a writer who, the author cogently argues on and off throughout the volume, has been both misplaced and overlooked by most critics who deal with contemporary fiction, popular or elite. Warren suggests that Dahl's prose is most like the prose of John Collier and Saki, but he also sees O. Henry in the background and mentions Ernest Hemingway, the latter cited by Dahl himself, as an important influence. Hemingway's pIe, according to both Dahl and Warren, is largely responsible for the "economy of words" in Dahl's fiction. Warren argues that Dahl has been misplaced or overlooked because of his use of humor and horror, the grotesque writing which has linked him to popular fiction, and because of the "mastery of style" which makes his writing appear effortless. But the most misleading aspect of Dahl's stories, according to Warren, is the concentration on plot, the way in which each element of the story fits together -an element overlooked by critics searching for psychological or sociological "meanings" in literature. Warren organizes his study in two stages. The bulk of the book is a four-chapter examination of Dahl's short stories, children's fiction, novels and nonfiction books, and media adaptations. These chapters follow a brief introduc-49


SFRA July/August 1995 tion and a biographical essay, and they are followed in turn by two chapters on what Warren considers Dahl's major themes: the marriage group, which examines mis-matched couples, and the ogre, an anoral figure who is also an expert in a particular field. The book also contains a chronology of Dahl's life, a bibliography of his work, and a secondary bibliography of articles and books about Dahl. Despite minor production errors (most jarring for the reader are the periods which should be commas), this is an excellent survey of and introduction to Roald Dahl and his work. Warren argues that Dahl deserves wider appreciation and better critical treatment than he has thus far received. I would say Warren has a good case and has made it well. -C.W. Sullivan III Weisser, Thanas. Asian Trash Cinema: The Book. Kingwood, Texas: ATC/ETC Publications, 1994, 187 pages, $19.95, no ISBN. Once again, fans have blazed a filmographic trail where scholars lag behind. ATC/ETC publishes two fan magazines devoted to foreign B films, Weisser's Asian Trash Cinema and Craig Ledbetter's European Trash Cinema. Weisser's book describes about 700 films, almost all from Hong Kong, the B film capital of Asia: a few are from Taiwan or Southeast Asia. Most date from 1985 to 1993. According to Weisser's useful genre index, 187 titles are horror, 99 fantasy and five SF. The rest are mainly action films or pornography: however, many of the films indexed as action have fantastic elements. Hong Kong horror has three tendencies: films based on traditional Chinese folk beliefs such as hopping vampires (a recent article on Chinese horror in Fangoria was titled "Night of the Hopping Dead") and ghosts who are indistinguishable from the living: conEdy which Weisser calls "goofy" and "slapsticky": and extreme, sadistic gore, the fantasy counterpart of the extravagant violence of Hong Kong gangster films such as John Woo's The Killer (1989). Weisser reports that the most extreme horror films in Asia, if not the world, corne from Indonesia: his description of Tjuit Djalili's Mystics in Bali (1989) persuasively bears out that claim. His choices as the best Hong Kong fantasy films are Ronny Yu's Bride With White Hair (1993), Ching Siu Tung's Chinese Ghost Story (1987, with two sequels), Ching's Witch from Nepal (1987), Ching Chung Wu's Magic Spell (1990), Lau Chang-wei's Mr. Vampire (1984, with six sequels), Lau's Spooky Family (1989), and Yuen Cheung Yan's Wizard's CUrse (1992). 50


SFRA Rewew #218, .Allyl August 1995 Weisser's entries provide data, nationality, director, a rating, usually the names of stars, and a terse, fannish appraisal. His favorite accolades are "outrageous" and "incredible". "It's trash and I love it" is a typical com ment. Weisser is incapable of analysis but he is incredibly erudite and can discuss such esoteric subjects as "Jackie Chan's transitional period." In addition to the genre index, Weisser provides a director index and many black-and-white illustrations. Most of the films can be obtained from Video Search of Miami. Asian Trash Cinema: The Book is the first work to open for Westerners a new 'WOrld, a bustling Asian B Hollywood with its own stars, directors, hits, classics, legends, and gossips -a world likely to be altered beyond recognition when the people's Republic takes over Hong Kong in 1997. Michael Klossner 51


SFRA Re\.'iew#218, July/August 1995 52


SFRA RelAew#218, July/August 1995 FICTION REVIEWS Asaro, Primary Inversion. New York: TOR, March 1995, 317 pages, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 0-312-85764-0. primary Inversion is Catherine Asaro's first novel, coming from a strong background of short fiction. Her experience as a physicist also adds credibility to the science in her work. Primary Inversion is set in a distant future, where three human empires vie for position in the galaxy. The first are the Skolians, whose leaders are a family of genetically engineered psions. The key to the Skolians' power is a mental web that instantaneously connects all their worlds, making the whole Skolian Empire instantly aware of the actions of their enemies. The second civilization is that of the Traders. In the Trader Empire, a small group of sadistic Aristos rule absolutely, while most of the population lives only to serve these Aristos. Finally, the Allied Worlds of Earth are fairly content to maintain their guard while playing the Skolians and the Traders off one another. The story centers on Sauscony Valdoris, the "Primary" of a squad of psionically linked Skolian fighter pilots, and, not incidentally, the heir apparent to the Skolian throne. While on a neutral Allied world, Sauscony meets Jaibriol Qox, the previously unknown heir to the Trader Empire, who also turns out to be a psion. sauscony recognizes that Jaibriol, being the only Trader with mental abilities, is a direct threat to the Skolian Web. After joining their minds together, Sauscony discovers that Jaibriol is a kindred spirit and falls in love with him. With her duty to Skolia weighing heavily on her, Sauscony now must decide if she is to be Jaibriol's lover or executioner. Asaro has done a fine job presenting a sweeping view of humanity's future in a fragnented galaxy. She has integrated a political landscape with plausibly presented technologies such as neural enhancement implants, artificially intelligent computers, and a rational system for faster-than-light travel. Also, the central characters of Valdoria and Qox are full and well-rounded. The problems with the book, however, come with her character's actions. These people are supposed to be the creamof-the-crop of the Skolian and Trader races, but they keep doing stupid, irresponsible things. If Sauscony and Jaibriol are supposed to be the "star-crossed lovers" of this story, 53


SFRA Re",ew#218, illy/August 1995 their path toward self destruction is not a very clear way of portraying this. Additionally, the secondary characters of the book are rather shallow, some of them being just thrown away. This is especially evident in the case of Rex, Sauscony's squadmate/fiance, who is crippled, apparently to provide Sauscony with added angst in her life. Catherine Asaro is Qbviously an author with great potential -potential which, unfortunately, is not fully realized in primary Inversion. George Kelley Conner, Micbael. Archangel. New York: Tor, February 1995, 352 pages, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 0-312-85743-8. using current interest in and fear of AIDS, killer viruses, and vampires, Michael Conner has fashioned an intriguing alternate universe as a backdrop for a story of a mysterious killer, a diabolical medical-political conspiracy, and a pirate radio broadcaster known as the Archangel whose programs provide news and hope for a beleaguered and steadily shrinking population. The year is 1930, twelve years after the end of the Great War, and the Hun, a contagious and usually fatal hemorrhagic fever caused by a German biological warfare weapon run amok, has decimated the population of the world. In an ingenious twist of fate, only those with African blood, including Amer ican blacks, are immune. In Milltown, a relatively healthy Midwestern community, photojournalist Danny Constantine stumbles across evidence of a vampire who sucks her victims dry of blood. But he must struggle with a police department indifferent to the crime and an editor uninterested in printing more alarming news. Danny creates an uneasy alliance with Dooley Willson, a black policeman waging his own struggle against the envy and prejudice of the white populace, and becomes suspicious of Dr. Simon Gray, who has come to Milltown to set up an institute dedicated to treating and curing the Hun. Danny also becomes attracted to heiress Selena Crockett, who seems unaccountably enamored of Dr. Gray. The outcome of the pedestrian plot will quickly become obvious to the reader. But this novel's real strength lies in its strong sense of time and place. Conner evokes the slow-paced small town life of the 1920s, and layers over his setting a social commentary on the trials of forced integration in an alternate world where downtrodden blacks know that if they are patient, the whites who discriminate against them


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 will die of Hun and leave the blacks in control. A subplot involving the Ku Klux Klan and a white baseball player, angry at being forced to compete on the same field as blacks, affords a nice look at how fundamentally good people can be warped by fear and prejudice. Conner writes well and keeps the plot moving vigorously to its foregone conclusion. Though his characters are little more than stereotypes, they are engaging people to spend a few hours with. Agatha Taormina Di Filippo, Paul. The Steampunk Trilogy. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, April 1995, 363 pages, hardcover, $20.00, ISBN 1-56858-028-2. The three stories which make up this book are loosely related in that they all take place in an alternate 18th century -but one that is completely different than that imagined by most writers. The characters themselves are both historical and completely imaginary, with some derived from various fictional works. Two of the stories have been previously published. All three stories have frankly sexual themes, as well as other material that may be objectionable to some readers. In fact, it's probably safe to say that there is something here to offend almost anyone. In spite of that, the stories are entertaining and, for the most part, historically correct (always excepting such things as a uranium-powered locomotive). In "Victoria", a young queen, not yet crowned, disappears and is replaced on the throne by a genetically altered newt. While the search for the real queen goes on, she is being "educated" -voluntarily -in a local brothel. "Hottentots" deals with the famed naturalist Louis Agassiz and the presence in of Lovecraftian creatures. It also reveals a somewhat less appealing side of Agassiz's personality. "Walt and Emily" unites Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, and tells of their amorous adventures in another dimension, where they run across the future Alan Ginsberg. The stories provide a great deal of detail, and are wellwritten and amusing. In spite of the nature of the material, they are worth reading. W.O. Stevens ss


SFRA Relliew#21B, July/August 1995 Frank, Janrae, Jean Stine and Forrest J. Ackerman (Eds). New Eves: science Fiction About the Extraordi nary Women of Today and 7bJlk)rrow. Stamford, Connecticut: Longmeadow Press, 1994, 427 pages, hardcover, $14.95, ISBN 0-681-00525-4. It has now been more than twenty years since Beverly Friend published "virgin Planet" (Extrapolation, December 1972), an acerbic analysis of the portrayal of women in SF, and Pamela Sargent her ground-breaking women of Wonder anthologies (Vintage, 1975). Although SF still tends to be male-centered, far more women are now writing and reading it than in the early days. So at first glance, New Eves would seem like an anthology whose time has cone and gone. New Eves in many ways duplicates Women of Wonder: it covers a much longer time span from 1918 to the present -but includes almost all of Sargent's authors. Like Women of it begins with a historical account of women SF writers starting with Mary Shelley and arranges the stories chronologically. But the optimistic tone of New Eves is very different from Sargent's sober evaluation. To my mind, the editors present an unrealistically positive view of the opportunities for women writers in SF. Although they do describe the "freezing out" of women writers during the 1930s, their admiration for Gernsback and Campbell leads them to exaggerate the opportunities for women to publish in magazines. I note that this anthology does not include a single story published in Astounding/Analog during Campbell's lifetime. Although Campbell did sometimes encourage women writers (I was thrilled as a teenager to receive a very supportive letter from him), the market did not really open up for them until the advent of Galaxy and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the '50s, and even then it was hardly the "explosion" the editors claim. By the '70s, themes of sex, gender, and homosexuality did indeed become acceptable subjects for both wonen and nen. However, the editors' contention that women readers became dominant in the '70s because bookstores moved from the street to the mall, where women do most of the shopping, I find disputable, to say the least. (For one thing, mall chain bookstores don't carry SF magazines, just acres of imitative fantasies.) The stories in New Eve are drawn almost entirely from American magazine fiction, undoubtedly a reflection of Forrest Ackerman's long-time interest in the pulps. Each one is prefaced by a helpful introduction. Although they are grouped by decades, a closer look reveals that quite a few are out of chronological order (two stories from the mid-'BOs in the '70s section) and some dates are wrong. If there is a reason for this re-ordering, it is not explained. The volume 56


SFRA Relliew#21 a, July/August 1995 is also very carelessly proofread -Anne McCaffrey's Get off the unicorn turns into Gods of the Unicorn, for example. However, none of the stories duplicate Sargent's selections in Women of wonder, and except for a few well-known ones, like Le Guin' s "winter King", they are out of print and unobtainable. The stories themselves vary in quality but are well worth reading, if only for the ways in which they reflect the conventions of their time and genre. Hazel Heald's abused wife reminds one of Dorothea Lang's portraits of rural poverty, Margaret St. Clair's Dona is the '40s wife who is too dumb to understand math, and Zenna Henderson's humans and aliens are '50s housewives who support but never openly contradict their thick-headed husbands. Others challenge the assumptions of a male-centered world. The sex-role reversal stories of Francis Stevens and Evelyn E. Smith are both delights, Leslie's Perri's "Space Episode" is a savage put-down of male heroics, and Anne McCaffrey's "Changeling" questions the validity of the nuclear family. All the women are portrayed sympathetically -no wicked stepmothers or vampires. Although it breaks no new ground, I consider this generous selection of thirty-two stories well worth the unusually low price for a hardcover book. RecoI!1lTended. Lynn F. Williams Jacques, Brian. The Bellmaker. New York: Philomel Books, 1994, 336 pages, $17.95, hardcover, ISBN 0-399-22805-5. Loyal readers of the Redwall series will enthusiastically applaud yet another long-awaited, riveting tale by Brian Jacques. This one, titled The Bellmaker, includes both old and new characters. For those who never read a "Redwall" book, this novel can be picked up and absorbed easily. Jacques's instant ability to grab the reader's attention and keep it to the end will make readers want to seek out his other books. This particular adventure unfolds on the night the warrior mouse Martin brings a message in a dream to Joseph, the Bellmaker. Joseph learns that he and five other Redwallers must undertake a journey to help his daugher, Mariel, and her corrpanion, Dandin. So begins a quest full of action and suspense as Joseph travels across dangerous seas and perilous lands in an effort to help Mariel and Dandin free the creatures of Southsward from the evil claws of Nagru, a foxwolf who has taken over Castle Floret. Jacques is a master storyteller; his vivid descriptions and sense of intrigue blend to produce a story lively with 57



SFRA Re\liew #21 8, July/August 1995 novels, stories and other works were written and published there. Anderson's introductory essay does an admirable job of presenting the basic facts and events of Morris's life. Given the close association between Morris's writing and his life within the Theosophical movement, however, it sheds surprisingly little light on the religious philosophy that so obviously pervades the stories in this collection. There is no discussion of the tenets of the sect at all, and any reader unfamiliar with Theosophy is left to only guess at Morris's themes and intentions. And while Morris is often cited as an influence in the development of modern fantasy, we are given little information about how accessible these stories would have been to people outside the Theosophical community. Ten stories were collected in The Secret Mountain and Other Tales (1926), but most of the others in The Dragon Path have not seen print since their original serial publication. Stylistically, Morris's prose is filled with exotic imagery and ornamentation. His writing is mannered but graceful. It is strongly reminiscent of the weird fantasy of Clark Ashton Smith, though the imagery is not so dark, the mood not so morbid and brocx:ling. A more modern comparison in style might be made to the writing of Tanith Lee. As mentioned earlier, these are often rather quiet tales, and so the style tends to come to the forefront. Because of this, Morris's stories tend to assume a certain monotone quality when one reads more than a few at one sitting. The quality of the individual stories some are well-written but rather insubstantial vignettes, but others are very fine. Those interested in the work of an important early figure in the development of modern fantasy will find this collection to be of considerable interest. And anyone looking for an introduction to the work of a forgotten master will find it here. -Richard Terra Smith, Cordwainer (George Flynn, Ed.). Norstrilia. Introduction by Alan C. Elms. Framingham, Massachusetts: NESFA Press, 1995, 249 pages, hardcover, $20.95, ISBN 0915368-61-7. It has been nearly 40 years since Cordwainer Smith (Paul M.A. Linebarger) began work on what would become his only science fiction novel, Norstrilia. The writing history of this novel is an incredibly tangled one, and its publishing 59


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 history equally tangled which helps explain why we had to wait until 1995 for a definitive edition. NESFA Press, which has previously been known mainly for its SF magazine and anthology indexes, and livres d'occasion of writings by guests of honor at New England SF conventions, has established its credentials as a scholarly publisher here. With the advice and assistance of Alan Elms (whose own work-in-progress is Linebarger's biography), George Flynn has gone over the text carefully to correct the errors and omissions that crept into even the 1975 Ballantine paperback, which was supposed to have been authoritative. As I have written elsewhere, the conception of this novel changed radically from the false starts of 1957-59 under the working title Star-Craving Mad. And as Elms points out here, the manuscript that Smith finally submitted was too long for publication as a single book under the limitations of the commercial paperback industry at the time. What followed was the appearance of separate chunks of Norstrilia in magazines and short paperbacks, with additional material written to disguise the fact that these were only fragments of a larger work. Almost anything by Smith is a pleasure to read, and in restoring the authentic text of Norstrilia, Flynn was faced with the problem of what to do with the material written for the magazines and initial paperbacks. It doesn't belong in the novel, but it surely does belong in an appendix, which is exactly where he has placed it -all carefully annotated to let us know where it was spliced into the basic text. But he has gone beyond that: there are instances where crucial lines appeared in magazine versions, but not in the manuscript of the "complete" novel Ballantine relied on, although the context shows that they clearly belong in a definitive text. These lines have been restored, and are also bracketed in the appendix to show why they belong in the passages they relate to. Reviewing Norstrilia at this point seems alm:>st as superfluous as reviewing Shakespeare (as opposed to new productions of his plays). Linebarger had proven in Ria and carola that he could write straightforward (one hates to use the overworked "conventional") novels. After all the false starts of star-Craving Mad, he simply chose not to follow that path in Norstrilia. There is still the central story about the Norstrilian boy Rod McBan and how he bought Old Earth, but as Smith himself might say, we already know that story fran the start. 60


SFRA Rewew#21S, July/August 1995 Much of the fascination of the novel is in its asides how Jeanjacques vomact came to be sentenced to Conditional Conditional, Paul's encounter with a Crime of Public Opinion, Lord Roderick Eleanor's induction into the Instrumentality, and so on. Several of these tie in with related stories, contributing to a kaleidoscopic view of Smith's bizarre vision of the distant future. It's like nothing else in science fiction, and now we can finally read it all as Smith intended it to be read. John J. Pierce Smith, Cordwainer (James A. Mann, Ed.). The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith. Framingham, Massachusetts: NESFA press, 1993, 671 pages, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 0-915368-56-0. Cordwainer Smith, the pseudonym of paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (1913-1966), was a master stylist, his lyrical writing evoking a "future history" of the Instrumentality of Mankind comparable to Olaf Stapledon's "future history" in scope and realization. Smith's sense of the mythical invites comparison to a small, diverse group of writers whose work also has an undercurrent of the mystical: C.S. Lewis, Philip K. Dick, and Arthur C. Clarke. Smith's work was visionary and influential on the New Wave of science fiction. Nevertheless, his \\'Ork is largely unknown. Smith wrote most of his science fiction from 1955-66. Since that time, his short stories have often been out of print and difficult to find. (The business of SF has never been kind to those authors who primarily write short stories.) Fifteen years have passed since the last partial collection of Smith's work appeared in two volumes, The Best of Cordwainer Smith (1975) and The Instrumentality of Mankind (1979), edited by John J. Pierce. (Pierce adds an informative introduction to this new omnibus edition.) I highly recommend this collection. For those who are unfamiliar with the bulk of Smith's work, this edition presents all of his mst well-known stories, including "Scanners Live in Vain", "The Ballad of Lost C 'mell", "The Dead Lady of Clown TOwn", "The Game of Rat and Dragon", "On the Storm Planet", and many others. This edition allows for an assess ment of the depth and scope of Smith's future history and his work as a body. For the Smith scholar, this collection includes two previously unpublished works: "Himself in Anachron" (scheduled, as it has been for twenty years, for release in The Last Dangerous Visions anthology) and a rewritten "War No. 81-Q" (whose original, also included here, has been unpublished since 1928). The original manuscript of 61


SFRA .1Jly/August 1995 "Scanners Live in vain" is also used to correct the text as published. David Sandner Stableford, Brian. Firefly, A Novel of the Far Future. Classics of Fantastic Literature, Number One. San Bernardino, California: Unicorn & Son, Publishers, 1994 (distributed by Borgo Press), 136 pages, hardcover, $27.00, ISBN 0-89370-376-1; sOftcover, $17.00, ISBN 089370-476-8. Think of a quest theme, actually, two quest themes, a last man theme, a philosophic discussion of the meaning of human life, and an apocalyptic description of the last days of Earth and Time, all described in flowing, colorful, and sometimes florid terms, and you have some idea of what this fantasy is about. Matthew tells the story of the search of his younger brother John -who calls himself "the Firefly ... Because I reject this torpid world and cast a light of my own" -for a man who has traveled through time. Firefly hopes to learn from this man how to return to the past, "To the Golden Age ... Before the human race began to die ... to the days when we owned the stars". Matthew, seeking only to protect his unworldly brother, believes the quest is hopeless and tries often and unsuccessfully to persuade John to accept reality and end their journey. Moving always westward, through deserts and mountains, small villages and farmsteads, they meet not only the local inhabitants, but several strange personages: a small man who says he is the Sun, Alvaro of the Brotherhood of the Afterman, a youth who loves his shadow but warns others against theirs, and a "statue god," as well as many skeptics who can help them little with their search. Nevertheless, they do find their quarry, learning to John's great disappointment that while there is no going back in time, it is possible to walk into the future. There, the man who walked through tim3 proposes, "You can prolong the dying of man, so that out of the dying can come a new life... the Afterman". John will not listen, but Matthew discovers that the man had not physically xooved his body ("Tim3 nnved quantitatively through me"), that time does not always flow at the same rate, and that a drug is responsible for this process. In Part Two, after a long stay at the monastery of the Brothers of the Afterman, Matthew and John are joined by two of the Brothers in using the drug to continue their new quest, to find the Afterman. Their journey takes them through, and past, numerous strange and confusing visions of landscapes, dreams, cities, lakes, and seas, and at last, 62


SFRA Re\liew#218, ..kJIy/August 1995 through chaos to the end of time. Here Matthew, the last to survive these hazards, realizes that all has been encompassed in himself, that he, dying, is "the triumph of the Afterrnan". Much of this book is difficult and confusing. The quest of Part One has the advantage of depicting happenings in a world that is strange but real; that of Part Two emphasizes soaring flights of philosophic speculations. Derivative passages are common: e.g., the sea of blood of Chapter XXI is reminiscent of The Time Machine, and the powerful image of the Afterman as imago may well owe something to Clarke's Childhood's End. There are a few typos (it's for its, for example) and problems with the printing (in several cases, lines at the bottom of one page are duplicated at the top of the next). The book held my interest, sometimes with difficulty becaues long flights of description, speculation, and shifting between dreams and reality got in the way of the plot. I was puzzled and disappointed by the discrepancy between this and other Stable ford works in which the philosophic speculation to which he is prone is more carefully integrated into the story. My attitude changed drastically, however, when I read the concluding "Author's Note" and learned that the book "is based on a series of fragments written" when Stable ford was 16-18 years old and revised only a few years later. Stableford's own criticism of the story's faults is stronger than mine. Firefly thus becomes evidence of early talent, and is worth keeping if only for that reason. In the end, despite the misgivings noted earlier, I rather liked the book. -Arthur O. Lewis Sturgeon, Theodore (Paul Williams, Ed.). The Ultimate Egoist, Volume 1: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1994, 387 pages, hardcover, $25.00, ISBN 1-55643-182-1. This volume is the beginning of an ambitious and long overdue project: to collect and publish all the short fiction of Theodore Sturgeon. This will require some eight to ten volumes. The first volume is an auspicious beginning, although it will undoubtedly disappoint some people who will expect to find their favorite stories included. There are several ways to approach such a project, and Williams has chosen to take the simplest and most logical -to publish everything in chronological order. Unfortunately, this means that the first volume contains the earliest work, written while Stur geon was still learning his craft, and it will therefore con-63


SFRA Rewew#Z18, illy/August 1995 tain some stories which are not his best \\'Ork. It also means that most of the favorite stories will appear in later volumes. Since this volume ends with an October 1940 publication ("Butyl and the Breather"), it would seem that most of the "Golden Age" stories will appear in volumes 2 and 3. In fact, of the 46 stories contained in this volume, less than a dozen will be familiar to most people. Many of the stories have never been collected in fact, quite a few have never been published in any form. Nevertheless, this is an interesting collection, and the extensive Story Notes are invaluable to the scholar (as well as interesting to the non-scholar). There are some surprises here: the poem "Thunder and Roses" -published in the classic 1947 story of the same name -is here shown to have been originally written in another, unpublished story. In fact, that story was not only never published, it was, in fact, completely unpublishable -just because President Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving. With three introductions (by Bradbury, Clarke, and WOlfe) and the Story Notes, in addition to the almost half-a-hundred Sturgeon stories, this volume is a worthy addition to anyone's library and is heartily recOllllV,mded. -w.o. Stevens Windling, Terri (Ed). The Armless Maiden and Other Tales of Childhood's Survivors. New York: Tor, 1995, 382 pages, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 0-312-85237-7. A five-time World Fantasy Award winner for her editorial \\'Ork, Terri Windling is outstanding in her ability to produce masterfully crafted original fantasy anthologies. She is also known for her excellent "Year's Best" collections, coedited with Ellen Datlow. Windling, however, is not content to rest her career on previous successful recipes. Secure in her ability to entertain, she has now turned her focus toward teaching and healing. The AInUess Maiden is her most ambitious anthology to date. Herein she guides her readers like Hansel and Gretel through the dark and terrifying forest that is the evil adults do to children. As abuse survivor herself, Windling knows the horrors of the journey intimately. In her "Introduction" she writes, "This is a book about but, even though it is full of fairy stories, it is not a book for children." Here are tales where nothing is bowdlerized, glossed over, or made nice. The powerful evils of physical and sexual abuse are graphically described, but there is meaning and purpose in their presentation. Windling means the book to be powerful 64


SFRA Re\liew#218, July/August 1995 medicine for those who have experienced abuse and have not yet corne to terms with it. She writes, "It is all too easy to get lost in that wood, stuck in the rnindset of victimiza tion." Thus, she has carefully chosen forty-six stories, essays and poems with believable characters who free themselves of the evil spells of betrayal and abuse, find their way out of the woods, and throw off their donkeyskins, the clothes of the victim. These characters become heroes of their own lives, living if not happily ever after then at least with the freedom and wisdom to live happily if at all possible. windling advises us that "The works contained herein have been woven together to form a journey in themselves, and while it is the usual anthology reader's practice to read stories in a random order, I hope you will consider letting this book lead you on a path from start to finish, into the wood and out again." Throughout the journey Windling marks the trail with insightful notes and introductions more enduring than breadcrumbs. Thirty-one of the selections are original material. Noteworthy among them are Munro Sickafoose's dark fantasy, "Knives", about evil and the redemptive power of folk tales Steven Gould's "The Session", wherein a rather unconventional therapist attempts to heal Snow White's post-traumatic stress disorder through Rogerian techniques and and Nancy Etchernendy's modern fairy tale of love and disability, "The Lily and the Weaver's Heart". Fifteen selections are reprinted, including powerful and unsettling poetry by Louise Gluck, Lisel Mueller, Anne Sexton, and Sharon Olds. Out standing among the reprinted stories are Peter Straub's retelling of "The Juniper Tree", wherein an emotionally neglected seven year old boy is seduced and molested by a man in a theater, and Joanna Russ's classic inner child story, "The Dirty Little Girl". Charles de Lint's tragic tale, "In the House of My Enemy", was written for this anthology but. first published in Dreams Underfoot, a collection of stories all set in his magical North American city, Newford, where magic works but not well enough to save an abused teenager from the very real terrors that haunt her. Among the other contributors of fine stories and poems are Emma Bull, Caroline Steverrner, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Patricia A. McKillip, Susan palwick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kara oalkey, Tap pan King, and Jane Yolen. The volume concludes with a valuable recommended reading list containing abuse-related fiction, poetry, fairytales, and non-fiction. The book is aptly titled The Armless Maiden. Of the original material, Midori Snyder's retelling of "The Armless Maiden" provides thematic structure for the anthology. Some times called "The Handless Maiden" or "Silverhands", the tale has been told in many languages and many cultures. In each 65


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 version, an innocent young woman is maimed by a powerful male family member. There is usually a wicked female figure as well, someone jealous of the beauty and innocence of the maiden. In each version, the maiden's hands or arms are brutally cut off to symbolize the systematic destruction of her beauty and innocence as well as her ability to care for herself and act assertively in the world. In the real world she would bleed to death, but, since the magical world of folk tales tells more about the life of the mind than the life of the body, she does not die but is saved through the magic of her innocence. In Snyder's retelling, the maiden's tears staunch the bleeding and heal her wounds. Protected and nurtured by the animals of the forest, she sets out on a journey to recover what has been so horribly taken from her. Midway through the story she recovers her hands, which in some versions are now silver, and is rewarded by the love of a prince; but it is not until she fully confronts her betrayal that her healing is complete. As Windling tells us in her introduction, "Adults are capable of hurting children. They do it, and they do it often. Psychologist Alice Miller suggests that children are often neglected and abused because their parents were neglected and abused themselves. Repressed pain creates a kind of emotional arrnlessness, an inability to reach out emotionally to others in need. Parents who have repressed their own pain and suffering during childhood now callously inflict the same on their own children. In Breaking Down the wall of Si-1ence' Miller writes, "Only once we have become capable of empathizing with the feelings of the abused child we once were, and rejecting the mockery and criticism of our adult selves, do we begin to open the gates to truth. Only then can we also stop being a danger to others." Just as Snyder's maiden regains her hands in order to save her child from drowning, Wind ling believes that in sharing the stories presented in this book, the reader, now emotionally armed, will turn away from tabloid stories of serial killers and Satanic rings to notice and reach out to the troubled child next door, the one who "flinches when you touch her arm," the one "you hear crying herself to sleep every night." perhaps by putting it last, she hopes we will be like the powerful Native American grandmother in Will Shetterly's fine short story, "Dream Catcher", who by heeding her dreams is able to save her grandchild from victimization. Windling writes, "All acts of political change must begin with an act of imagination. I want to re-irnagine this country as a place in which no child is left hungry, sick, or cringing alone in terror." A final note: Most of the contributors have given up payment for their stories to agencies offering shelter, coun-66


SFRA Rewew #218, July I August 1995 seling and medical care to abused children. A portion of each book sale will aid the work of an organization in Tucson, Arizona for troubled families and children at risk. Sandra J. Lindow Zanger, Molleen. Gardenias Where There Are None. Tallahassee, Florida: The Naiad Press, 1994, 168 pages, $9.95, softcover, ISBN 1-56280-056-6. As a ghost story, Gardenias Where There Are None is an uneasy blend of soft-core/feminist eroticism and rather bland Southern Gothicism. TO cut right to the chase, I think that Molleen Zanger has tried to satisfy some quite different and potentially conflicting writing conventions; in the process, she has produced a less than successful novel. This may be the result of a rather inexperienced writer taking on a task for which she is simply not ready. This is not to say I didn't enjoy the book, precisely because it attempts to blend such disparate elements into one novel. It is, however, a fact that the Gothic novel, even the so-called "female" Gothic of writers like Anne Radcliffe, is posited upon a solidly heterosexual basis: sinister male figures and the violence which is always potential in them are responsible for most of the frissons we look for in the genre. Zanger's careful excision of violence, her positive approach to lesbian eroticism, and her revisionary treatment of the time-honored ghost story are to be commended. Unfor tunately, she doesn't offer much in the way of replacement entertainment. The plot is essentially straight-forward: grad student Melanie Myer is drawn to and rents an old house on the outskirts of a small town in Michigan, in spite of an old friend's warning that she's making a terrible mistake. Gradually she finds herself withdrawing; she avoids her classes and cuts herself off from her friends. She becomes aware that the house is haunted by a female spirit, who initially communicates with her through her computer screen. Over time, Melanie learns that the ghostly Camille and her lover, Sam, inhabited her house decades earlier, and that something terrible and tragic overtook them, resulting in Camille's death. As Melanie becomes more involved with Camille's erotic presence, she realizes that Camille wants her to take Sam's place as her lover; part of the unfolding mystery hinges upon the fact that Sam was really a woman. Melanie eventually falls under Camille's spell and withdraws even further into her ghostly love affair, as the house becomes suffused with the scent of gardenias, Camille's own particular perfwoo. 67


SFRA Re\oiew#218, .kJIy/August 1995 The problem with this quite prom1s1Dg set-up is that the dramatic potential of the story is never realized by Zanger, largely due to her rather colorless writing and her deter mined avoidance of anything that might have given an edge to the novel. The story ends anti-climactically, after a series of revelations about Camille and Sam which are interesting but hardly breath-taking. I can't help but suspect that Zanger's concern to control the sex and violence in her novel ltt'Orks against her chosen form (just as it \\'eakens some of the potentially devastating moments in Pat Califia's Macho Sluts, which is the classic lesbian slm collection). Gardenias Where There Are None is an honest effort; perhaps as Zanger becomes a stronger writer she'll be able to produce the novel she obviously had in mind. Veronica Hollinger 68


SFRA Re",ew#218, July/August 1995 PUBLISHERS' ADDRESSES/ORDERING INFORMATION Borgo Press, PO Box 2845, San Bernardino CA 92406 (fax 909-888-4942) Chronicle Books, 275 Fifth Street, San Francisco CA 94103 Fantasma Books, 419 Anerlia St., Key West FL 33040. Greenwood Press, PO Box 5007, Westport CT 06881-5007 (1-800-225-5800 for credit card orders) Charles F. Miller, 708 Westover Dr., Lancaster PA 17601 Music by Mail, PO Box 368, Palm City FL 34990 (1-800-2333000) Naiad Press, PO Box 10543, Tallahassee FL 32302 Necronomicon press, PO Box 1304, west warwick RI 02893 NESFA Press, PO Box 809, Framingham MA 01701 (add $2 shipping & handling) R.R. Bowker, 121 Chanion Road, New Providence NJ 07974 Syracuse University Press, 1600 Jamesville Avenue, Syracuse NY 13244-5160 (315-443-5547) University Press of MisSisSippi, phone orders 1-800-737-7788 Video Search of Miami, PO Box 16-1917, Miami FL 33116 wayne State University Press, The Leonard N.>ns Building, 5959 WOOdward Avenue, Detroit MI 48202 69


70 SFRA Rewew#218, Ally/August 1995 PRESIDENT Joe Sanders 6354 Brooks Blvd. Mentor OH 44060 SECRETARY Joan Gordon 1 Tulip Lane Cammack NY 11725 VICE PRESIDEN!' Milton WOlf University Library/322 Univ. of Nevada Reno Reno NV 89557-0044 TREASURER Robert J. Ewald 552 w. Lincoln St. Findlay 08 45840 IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENl' David G. Mead 6021 Grassnere Corpus Christi TX 78415 SFRA Review Editor 1lmy Sisson Assistant Editor Paul Abell Assistant Nonfiction Editor B. Diane Miller SFRA Review (ISSN 1068-395X) is published 6 times per year by the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) and distributed to SFRA members. Individual issues are not for sale. For information on the SFRA, see the description and application at the back of this issue. The opinions expressed in individual reviews do not reflect the opinions of the SFRA or the editor, but only that of the reviewer. BEN ADDRESS: Please submit reviews, news items, letters, etc. to Amy Sisson, SFRA Review, 3845 Harrison St. #103, Oak land CA 94611-5057, telephone (510) 655-3711, e-mail "sfraamy@". Any format is acceptable: hardcopy, Macintosh or IBM disk. please note the Review has an agreement with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual (Eds. Robert Collins & Michael Levy) under which reviews are exchanged be tween publications. If you do not wish your review to be sub mitted to the Annual, please indicate the same. Typeset by 1lmy Sisson on a Macintosh SE/30, Microsoft Word 4.0. Printed by PDQ Print & Copy, Oakland, California.


SFRA Rewew#218, July/August 1995 THE SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION The SFRA is the oldest professional organization for the study of science fiction, fantasy, and horror/Gothic literature and film, as well as utopian studies. Founded in 1970, the SFRA was organized to improve classroom teaching, encourage and assist scholarship, and evaluate and publicize new books and magazines dealing with fantastic literature and film. Among the membership are people from many countries -authors, editors, publishers, librarians, students, teachers, and other interested readers. Academic affiliation is not a requirement for membership. SFRA BENEFITS INCLUDE: Extrapolation. Quarterly magazine; the oldest journal in the field, with critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, book reviews, letters, occasional special topic issues, and annual index. Science-Fiction Studies. Trimesterly magazine; includes critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, review articles, reviews, notes, letters, international coverage, and annual index. SFRA Review. Bimonthly magazine; an organ of the SFRA, this magazine includes extensive book reviews of both nonfiction and fiction, review articles, listings of new and forthcoming books, letters, SFRA internal affairs, calls for papers, works in progress, and annual index. SFRA Directory. Annual directory; lists members' names and addresses, phone numbers, and special interests. Foundation. (For an additional fee -see next page). Trimesterly magazine; discount on subscription price; includes critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, reviews, letters. AS A MEMBER YOU ARE ALSO IRVlTED TOr Attend our annual meetings, held in a different location each year. Members and guests many of them professional writers -present papers, share information, and discuss common interests, all in a relaxed, informal environment. Much of the significant scholarly literature, available at discounted prices, is displayed. The pilgrim and Pioneer Awards for distinguished contributions to SF or fantasy scholarship are presented at a dinner meeting. Participate in the Association's activities. Vote in elections, serve on carmittees, and hold office. Join the SFRA section on GEnie, where the SFRT (SF Round Table) has a private category where SFRA members meet in "cyberspace" to conduct business, exchange information, or enjoy real-time discussions. Contribute to the "Support a Scholar" program. SFRA members help needy young scholars here and overseas continue their study of SF/F. [Annual membership dues cover only the actual costs of providing benefits to members, and reflect a modest savings over subscriptions to the publications listed above. Your dues may be a tax deductible expense. See next page for application and dues information.] 71


SFRA Re\4ew#218, July/August 1995 SFRA MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION Please mail this completed form with your check for dues, payable to SFRA (U.S. dollars only, please) to: Robert J. Ewald, SFRA Treasurer, 552 W. Lincoln St., Findlay OH 45840. Qyes: U.S.A. canada Overseas Individual 1 $60 $65 $70 Joint2 $70 $75 $80 Student3 $50 $55 $60 Institution4 $80 $80 $80 Emeritus5 $30 $35 $40 If you wish to receive the British journal Foundation (3 issues per year), add $17 ($20 for airmail). 1 all standard listed benefits 2 two members in the same household; two listings in the Directory, but will receive one set of journals 3 category may be used for a maximum of five years 4 all privileges except voting 5 receives SmA Review and Directory This membership application is for the calendar year 1995. This information will appear in the 1995 SFRA Directory. Na11e: Mailing Address: HOlle Phone: Business Phone: Fax nwrber: E-mail Address: My principal interests in fantastic literature are (limit to 30 'NOrds): Repeat last year' sentry ___ 72


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