SFRA Review

SFRA Review

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


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


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Place of publication varies.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
S67-00109-n223-1996-05_06 ( USFLDC DOI )
s67.109 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Alin' Review == Issue #223, May/June 1996 IN THIS ISSUE: SFRA INTERNAL AFFAIRS: President's Message (Sanders) ............................................. 5 Letters/Corrections (Nicholls; Cherry) ............................... 6 NEWS AND INFORMATION ............................................ 9 CURRENT & FORTHCOMING BOOKS/ PUBLISHERS' ADDRESSES ........................................ 13 FEATURES Special Feature: "A Hainish Chronology" (Brigg) ........... 17 Special Feature: "The Sound of Science Fiction" Oldfield, Mike, The Songs Of Distant Earth; and Armer, Elinor and Ursula K. Le Guin, Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts. (Berkwits) ....................................... 21 REVIEWS: Nonfiction: Ballard, J,G. A User's Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews. (Davis) ...................................................... 27 Beahm, George (Editor). The Stephen King Companion (Revised Edition). (Bousfield) ....................................... 28 Greene, Eric. "Planet of the Apes" as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. (Westfahl) ........................................................................ 31 Hammond, Wayne G. & Christiania Scull. J.R.R Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator. (Kaveny) ........................................ 35 Joshi, S.T. (Editor). Caverns Measureless to Man: 18 Memoirs of H.P Lovecraft. (Kaveny) ............................. 37 Milward, Peter. A ChalJenge to C.S. Lewis. (Harris-Fain) .................................................................... 39 Pringle, David (Editor). St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers. (Mathews) ......................................................... 41 Seed, David (Editor). Anticipations: Essays on Early Science Fiction and its Precursors. (Terra) .................. 43 SFRA Review #223, page 1


Wu, Qjngyun. Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias. (Bogstad) ........................................... 44 Fiction: Aldiss, Brian W. Common Clay: 20 Odd Stories. (Collings) .......................................................................... 47 Card, Orson Scott. Alvin Journeyman. (Heller) .............. 48 Dann, Jack. The Memory Cathedral: A Secret Life of Leonardo da Vinci. (Weisman) ..................................... 50 Forrest, Jodie. The Rhymer and the Ravens. (Sullivan) ......................................................................... 51 Miller, John & Tim Smith (Editors). The Moon Box: Legends, Mystery, and Lore from Luna. (Barron) ....... 53 Rand, Ayn. Anthem: The 50th Anniversary Edition. (Morrissey) ...................................................................... 54 Williams, Paul (Editor). Microcosmic God: Volume II: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon .. (Stevens) .......................................................................... 55 Sussex, Lucy and Judith Raphael Buckrich (Editors). She's Fantastical: the first anthology of Australian women's speculative fiction, magical realism and fantasy. (Webb) .............................................................. 56 Weinbaum, Stanley G. The Black Flame. (Sanders) ....... 59 Willis, Connie. Bellwether. (Hellekson) ........................... 60 SFRA MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION & APPLICATION ............................................................... 63 SFRA Review #223, page 2


Eait!! Review Editor Amy Sisson Assistant Editor Paul Abell Assistant Nonfiction Editor -B. Diane Miller SFRA Review (lSSN 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 about the SFRA, see the description and appli cation at the back of this issue. Please submit reviews, news items, letters, etc. to Amy Sisson, Editor, SFRA Review, 3845 Harrison St. #103, Oakland CA 94611; telephone (510) 655-3711; e-mail "sfraamy@aol. com". Submissions are acceptable in any format: hardcopy, e-mail, Macintosh disk, or IBM disk (saved as text-only or ASCII). Please note the SFRA Review has an agreement with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual (Robert Collins & Michael M. Levy, Eds.) under which reviews are exchanged between publications. If you do not wish your re view to be submitted to the Annual, please indicate the same. Typeset by Amy Sisson on a Macintosh Performa 6205CD. Cover design by David Garcia of Sir Speedy. Printed by Sir Speedy, Oakland, California. SFRA Executive Committee PRESIDENT Joe Sanders 6354 Brooks Blvd. Mentor OH 44060 SECRETARY Joan Gordon 1 Tulip Lane Commack NY 11725 VICE PRESIDENT Milton Wolf University Library/322 Univ. of Nevada Reno Reno NV 89557-0044 TREASURER Robert]. Ewald 552 W. Lincoln St. Findlay OH 45840 IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT David G. Mead 6021 Grassmere Corpus Christi TX 78415 SFRA Review #223, page 3


SFRA Review #223, page 4


E i in' Internal Affairs = PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE As I type this, I'm getting ready to attend the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts; when I see it in print, I'll be (with luck) polishing a paper for SFRA's conference in Eau Claire. Both conferences should be very enjoyable and valuable. As I've said before, I love the energy of program sessions and participants bouncing off each other. Being forced to choose between overlapping presentations, suddenly realizing the worth of papers I'd expected to be padding around something else I really wanted to hear, making star tling connections -a good conference leaves me on the edge of overload, a clipboard full of scribbled notes for projects I'd been working on or that I'd never imagined doing until now. But we live in strange times. I wonder how long it will be until the first virtual conference, the first time one of the conferences we like to attend becomes available in an electronic package. Looking at our last issue's reviews of two ICFA collections from Greenwood Press and a desktop-puhlished selection of papers from a conference in Britain, it's fairly obvious that the traditional selected-papers collection is at a dead end. Even if the Greenwood collections are appropriately eclectic to represent the range of subjects at an ICFA, as Gary Wolfe opines in a recent Locus, the books aren't focussed enough to attract the attention of many buyers. Consequently, Greenwood puts a very high price on them. Consequently, they sell even fewer copies. Making a more unified collection by selecting papers that reflect some common theme would be possible, just as it would be possible to organize a conference around some theme. Instead, how ever, why not put a whole conference on a CD? Most of the writers have their papers on disk already. True, panels and question & answer periods would have to be transcribed -or would they? I'm being semi-serious about this. One of the pleasures of editing one of those Greenwood collections was having a big pile of papers ready to read whenever I wanted; it was like having access to all the sessions at once. I wound up, of course, creating my own ideal mini-conference. However, it would have been nice to keep everything handy, ready to search SFRA Review #223, page 5


with a few key strokes... And, besides the attraction of the technological potential to preserve the products of confer ences, marketplace necessities may soon give us no alternative. As I say, I appreciate the advantages. I'll still miss the personal interaction. See you in Eau Claire. Joe Sanders LETTERS/CORRECTIONS Dear Editor, In his feature review "The Many Forms of Clute" (#221), W.D. Stevens says of the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, that it is a book "in which Clute also has the primary editorial hand." Probably careless phrasing rather than malice, but untrue. Both the writing of text and the editorial responsibilities in this book were shared so equally that neither Clute nor I know (or care) who wrote the most words or did the most editing. I claim no primacy over Clute nor he over me, and it is wrong of Stevens to suggest otherwise. The order of the names on the cover (which we discussed between us) is merely alphabetical, and put that way round precisely so that nobody would imagine that I was claiming primacy. Alphabetical is neutral. When discussing the CD-ROM edition, Stevens very naturally does not give credit to the third member of the editorial triumvirate who produced the Multimedia version. Natural, because she is not adequately credited on the disc itself. This was Deborah Bassette of Grolier, hard-working and intelli gent, whose responsibility was to control all the add-ons to Clute's and my text, not only sounds and pictures, but picture captions and so on. We think she did a pretty good job. Clute and I neither sought nor were given editorial control of any kind over any of the Multimedia features beyond the basic text, which is substantially updated by us from that of the book version. Best wishes, Peter Nicholls SFRA Review #223, page 6


Dear Ms. Sisson: I have just seen Lynn F. Williams's review of Dozois's The Year's Best Science Fiction (#221) in which she states that the Norton Book of Science Fiction, edited by Le Guin and Attebery, is out of print. I hope that you will be able to publish a correction in the SFRA Review since the Norton Book of Science Fiction is definitely in print, available, and selling, with plenty of copies in stock. We do think your readership is a prime market for the work and we want them to know that we will be keeping the book in print for years to come. I assumed that Professor Williams was misinformed by our warehouse while we were reprinting the work, which may have been momentarily out of stock. Sincerely, Amy Cherry Editor, W.W. Norton & Company SFRA Review #223, page 7


1996 SFRA Annual Conference Eau Claire, Wisconsin -June 20-23, 1996 Janice Bogstad, Phil Kaveny, Michael Levy The 1996 meeting of the Science Fiction Research Associa tion will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire at the Holiday Inn-Campus Areas at 2703 Craig Road, Eau Claire, WI on june 20-23, 1996. Our guests of honor are Pamela Sargent, author of Shore of Women and Venus of Dreams and editor of the Women of Wonder anthology series, and George Zebrowski, author of MacroIife and Stranger Sun and co-author of The Killing Star. Other attending guests include novel ists Lois McMaster Bujold, joan Slonczewski, and Eleanor Arnason, as well as noted futurist Earl joseph. Further guests will be announced as their attendance is confirmed. Our conference theme is SF and the Writer-Editor-Critic. Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski have both had consider able success in all three of these areas. We're thus interested in receiving papers not only on our GOHs' fiction, but also on their work as anthologists and critics, as well as on the ways in which the fiction, criticism, and editing activities of other writ ers have interacted. Other topics we're particularly interested in seeing papers on include the fiction of our other guests, children's and young-adult science fiction, alternative history, gender and science fiction, and alternative futures, both posi tive and negative. For information on papers and programming, please con tact: Michael M. Levy, Chair of Programming, 1996 SFRA Annual Meeting, Department of English, University of Wisconsin Stout, Menomonie, WI 54751; home phone 715-834-6533; fax 715-232-1346; e-mail "". For registration materials and other information write to: SFRA Annual Meeting, College of Arts and Sciences Outreach, University of WisconsinEau Claire, Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004; phone 715-836-2031, fax 715-836-2380, e-mail "sneenl@". SFRA Review#223, page 8


I: tA't'?) and Information CAll FOR NOMINATIONS SFRA officer elections for 1997-98 will be held later this year. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else to run for President, Vice President, Treasurer, or Secretary, please contact: David Mead Humanities Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX 78412 E-mail: "" or "" FOREIGN SCHOLAR SUPPORT FUND CONTRIBUTORS Thank you to the following SFRA members who contributed to the Foreign Scholar Support Fund: Adam]. frisch, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Ursula K. Le Guin, Arthur O. Lewis, Frances D. Louis, Joseph Marchesani, Kevin Mulcahy, Diane M. Poirier, Joe Sanders, A. Langley Searles, Alfred D. Van Buren, Carolyn Wendell, Lynn F. Williams, and the late Elsie B. Wollheim. ClF: THE COUNCIL FOR THE LITERATURE OF THE FANTASTIC The literary marketplace in the United States, and to a con siderable degree in other English-speaking parts of the world, tends to take seriously only products of so-called "realism." Works that incorporate the "fantastic" are dismissed as phenomena of Popular Culture. One of the big losers in all this is the intelligent general reader that discriminating soul who has been brainwashed for nearly a century by market forces that continue to impoverish our literature. It is to correct this imbalance that I, with the help of a good many friends here and in England publishers, writers, and readers who feel cheated, as I do am developing an organization called SFRA Review #223, page 9


CLF, the Council for the Literature of the Fantastic. CLF is just gearing up here at the University of Rhode Island, where I am working with the help of over half-a-dozen dedicated graduate students. Our goal is to try to heal this division in which literary realism sees itself as the stronghold of literary values St. George fighting the dragon of popular culture. Much of fantastic literature, quite undeservedly, has suffered too long the bad rap of providing mere escapism. CLF will fight back by providing major services to small-press publishers, editors, writers, and readers and to anyone else who has a stake in LF, the literature of the fantastic. By employing the resources of a large university and by enlisting the aid of sympathetic "real-world" pros, CLF will promote literary presses and writers and works that, in our best judgment, deserve general public recognition. THE CLF NEWSLETTER: One prong of our attack will be a newsletter -distributed in hardcopy to the degree that we receive funding. The hardcopy edition, initially distributed free, will eventually survive only through subscriptions. Meanwhile, it will be made available over the Internet. Spot lighting the Fantastic in the current marketplace, the newsletter will provide specific services to those of us with a stake in LF, such as (1) responsible, professional reviews -both in house and solicited -of journals and small presses that print LF; (2) interviews with, and articles by, LF publishers, editors, and writers; (3) detailed market news unavailable elsewhere for writers in the field of LF; and (4) other valuable material, much of which will eventually be suggested by our readers. CLF AS CLEARING-HOUSE: Part of the mission of CLF will be to act as a central clearing-house for LF, literally to be come a distribution center for English-language publications that promote high literary standards for LF. Supporting the sales efforts of (mostly) marginal publishers, we will advertise and distribute copies of their wares to anyone interested even offer specially priced roundups of LF-related zines and books. If you are interested in CLF and would like to be on our mailing list, please e-mail me at DPEARL@URIACC.URI.EDU or write me at the Department of English, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881. Daniel Pearlman SFRA Review #223, page 10


SCIENCE FICTION/SCIENCE FACT/SCIENCE FUTURE Seismic Entertainment, a San Francisco-based digital entertainment company, is attempting to make educational sci ence fiction/science fact (which they call "science future") computer/CD products that reflect literary rather than me dia tastes. To do so, they are creating an advisory board of SF and educational writers to assist with setting, characterization, and plot. Advisors to date include Douglas Adams of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, Chris Cerf and Norm Stiles of the Children's Television Workshop, and Michael Frith, formerly with Jim Henson Productions. The first product, with a working title of TRIAD, is scheduled for release in 1997. The principals of the company are both former NASA Ames and Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research ers and Writers. THE SOUNDS OF SCIENCE FICTION Does SF really need another periodical? I think so, and I'm confident you'll agree. Asterism seeks to highlight that area of music where ambient, electronic, dance, psychedelia, fan tasy, and science fiction all come together. The delineation between these types of music and their subject matter can often be vague. Where does mundane dance or psychedelic noodling stop and truly adventurous sound begin? There's not always a clear jumping-off point, and this publication will help to not only explore that demarcation, but also introduce new musicians to the SF and fantasy community. Composing good music is like writing quality fiction. Ten sion, either dramatic or melodic, is necessary, as is the cre ation of a solid narrative and a believable environment. The goal of Asterism is to help the potential musical audience "separate the wheat from the chaff" and thereby accomplish for speculative music fans what the many review columns in other periodicals offer the SF and fantasy reader. Asterism is published quarterly; subscriptions are avail able for $6.00/year (payable to Jeff Berkwits) to: Asterism, Attn: Jeff Berkwits, P.O. Box 6210, Evanston, IL 60204. Jeff Berkwits, Publisher/Editor SFRA Review #223, page 11


The Proceedings of the 1993 Science Fiction Research Association Conference is now available from Borgo Press. Learn why the Sci Fi Channel, as well as NBC and CBS affiliates, covered part or all of the SFRA conference held in Reno, Nevada. Featuring some of science fiction's well-known authors: 1) Frederik Pohl's "The Imaginative Future" 2) Kim Stanley Robinson's "Science Fiction as Fantasy" 3) joan Slonczewski's "Bells and Time" 4) Poul Anderson's "Epistle to SFRAans" 5) Lisa Goldstein's "The Imaginative Future" 6) james Gunn's "Imagining the Future" And some of science fiction's established scholars: 1) Gary Westfahl's "In Research of Wonder: The Future of Science Fiction Criticism" 2) Susan Stone-Blackburn's "Feminist Nurturers and Psychic Healers" 3) Rob Latham's "Youth Culture and Cybernetic Technologies" 4) Bud Foote's "Kim Stanley Robinson: Premodernist" 5) Anne Balsamo's "Signal to Noise: On the Meaning of Cyberpunk Subculture" 6) Mark Waldo's "Mary Shelley's Machines in the Garden" 7) Donald M. Hassler's "Machen, Williams and Autobiography: Fantasy and Decadence" If you like HUMOR and want some good SF laughs: 1) Fiona Kelleghan's "Humor in Science Fiction" is not only excellent scholarship, but a HOWL! 2) Paul joseph's and Sharon Carton's "Perry Mason in Space: A Call For More Inventive Lawyers in Television Science Fiction" is a provocative and highly entertaining examination by two lawyers. 3) Dr. JoAnne Pransky's "Social Adjustments to a Robotic Future" is a tongue-in-cheek tour de force by this self-styled ROBOTIC PSYCHIATRIST, ala Susan Calvin. And if you like ART: The text is enhanced by the works of RODNEY MARCHETTI, and a fine piece of original research by Dr. jane P. Davidson on "A Golem of Her Own: The Fantastic Art and Literature of Leilah Wendell" -a denizen of Anne Rice's New Orleans. ORDER FROM: Borgo Press, Box 2845, San Bernardino CA 92406. Price: hardcover $41, softcover $31. SpeCial price for SFRA members: hardcover $21, softcover $11. SFRA Review #223, page 12


iii!i"'" & Forthcoming Books -This list was compiled primarily from listings in Locus and with assistance from Neil Barron and Michael Klossner. Ad dresses of several of the smaller publishers appear at the end of this list. ART, COMICS & ILLUSTRATION Eggleton, Bob. Alien Horizons, Science Fiction Book Club, 1995. Giger, H.R. Species Design, Morpheus International, 1996. Grant, john & Ron Tiner. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Science Fiction Art Techniques, Running Press, April 1996. jusko, joe. joe jusko's Art of Edgar Rice Burroughs, FPG, july 1996. Suckling, Nigel. Hard Curves: The Fantasy Art of julie Bell, Paper Tiger/Dragon's World (British publication), 1995. AUTHOR STUDIES [Brandner, Gary] Wood, Martine. The Work of Gary Brandner, Borgo Press, 1996. [Davies, Robertson] Grant, judith Skelton. Robertson Davies: Man of Myth, Viking, 1995. [Delaney, Samuel R.] Sallis, james (Editor). Ash of Stars: On the Writing of Samuel R. Delany, University Press of Mis sissippi, May 1996. [King, Stephen] Collings, Michael R. The Work of Stephen King, Borgo Press, 1996. [Lewis, C.S.] Hooper, Walter. C.S. Lewis Companion and Guide, HarperSanFrancisco, March 1996. [Machen, Arthur] Valentine, Mark. Arthur Machen, Dufour Editions, April 1996. [Rice, Anne] Beahm, George. The Unauthorized Anne Rice Companion, Andrews & McMeel, May 1996. [Vonnegut, Kurt] Reed, Peter & Marc Leeds (Editors). The Vonnegut Chronicles: Interviews and Essays, Greenwood Press, january 1996. [Wharton, Edith] Fedorko, Kathy A. Gender and the Gothic in the Fiction of Edith Mlarton, University of Alabama Press. FILM & TELEVISION Anderson, Kevin j. (Art by Ralph McQuarrie). The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, Bantam, 1995. Buchanan, Larry. It Came from Hunger! Tales of a Cinema Schlockmeister, McFarland, Spring 1996. SFRA Review #223, page 13


Duncan, Jody & Janine Pourroy. The Making of Congo, Ballantine, 1995. Johnson, Tom & Deborah Del Vecchio. Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography, McFarland, Spring 1996. Rushing, Janice Hocker & Thomas S. Frentz. Projecting the Shadow: The Cyborg Hero in American Film, University of Chicago Press, 1995. Senn, Bryan. Golden Horrors: A Critical Filmography of 46 Works of Terror Cinema, Heavily Illustrated, McFarland, Spring 1996. Skal, David J. & Elias Savada. Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning -Hollywood's Master of the Macabre, Doubleday, 1995. Tohill, Cathal & Pete Tombs. Immoral Tales: Sex and Horror Cinema in Europe, 1956-1984, St. Martin's Griffin, Septem ber 1995. Weaver, Tom. It Came from Weaver Five: Interviews with 20 Zany, Glib and Earnest Moviemakers in the SF and Horror Tradition of the Forties and Fifties, McFarland, Spring 1996. HISTORY & CRITICISM Clery, E.]. The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, Cambridge Uni versity Press, 1995. Clute, John. Look at the Evidence, Serconia Press, February 1996. Kennedy, Edward Donald (Editor). King Arthur: A Casebook, Garland, 1996. Pederson, Jay P. (Editor). St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, St. James Press, 1995. Robillard, Douglas (Editor). American Supernatural Fiction: From Edith Wharton to the Weird Tales Writers, Garland, 1996. Silvey, Anita. Children's Books and their Creators, Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Slusser, George, Gary Westfahl and Eric S. Rabkin (Editors). Immortal Engines: Life Extension and Immortality in Sci ence Fiction and Fantasy, University of Georgia Press, July 1996. Springer, Claudia. Electronic Eros: Bodies and Desire in the Postindustrial Age, University of Texas Press, 1996. Stableford, Brian. Outside the Human Aquarium: Masters of Science Fiction, 2nd Edition, Borgo Press, 1996. Wullschlager, Jackie. Inventing Wonderland: The Lives and Fantasies of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, ].M. Barrie, Kenneth Grahame, and A.A. Milne, The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 1996. SFRA Review #223, page 14


REFERENCE Frank, Frederick S. Guide to the Gothic II: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism, 1983-1993, Scarecrow Press, 1996. Gillett, Stephen L. World-Building (Science Fiction Writing Series), Writer's Digest Books, 1995. Lacy, Norris 1. The New Arthurian Encyclopedia, Garland, January 1996. Trade paperback reprint which includes a 40-page supplement covering 1990-1995. Schmidt, Stanley. Aliens and Alien Societies (Science Fiction Writing Series), Writer's Digest Books, 1995. PUBLISHERS' ADDRESSES/ORDERING INFORMATION Andrews & McMeel, 4900 Main St, Kansas City MO 64112 Borgo Press, PO Box 2845, San Bernardino CA 92406 (fax 909-8884942) Cambridge University Press, 40 W 20th St, New York NY 10011 Chronicle Books, 275 Fifth Street, San Francisco CA 94103 Dufour Editions, PO Box 7, Chester Springs PA 19425 The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10020 Garland Publishing, 717 Fifth Avenue Suite 2500, New York NY 100228101 Greenwood Press, PO Box 5007, Westport CT 06881-5007 (1-800225-5800) Liverpool University Press, P.O. Box 147, Liverpool, L69 3BX, UK McFarland, Box 611, jefferson NC 28640 Morpheus International, 9250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite LLl5, Beverly Hills CA 90212 North Atlantic Books, PO Box 12327, Berkeley CA 94712 (1-800-3372665) St james Press/Gale Research, 835 Penobscot Bldg, Detroit Ml 48226 Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham MD 20706 Seven Paws Press, PO Box 2345, Chapel Hill NC 27515 Sybylla Feminist Press, First Floor, Ross House, 247-251 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia Syracuse University Press, 1600 jamesville Avenue, Syracuse NY 13244-5160 (315-443-5547) Tachyon Publications, 1459 18th St #139, San Francisco CA 94107 University of Alabama Press, Box 870380, Tuscaloosa AL 35487 University of Chicago Press, 11030 South Langley Ave, Chicago IL 60628 University of Georgia Press, 330 Research Drive, Athens GA 30602-4901 University Press of MissiSSippi, phone orders 1-800-737-7788 Writer's Digest Books, 1507 Dana Ave, Cincinnati OH 452075 SFRA Review #223, page 15


This is a partial list of the footage available from the 1995 SFRA CONFERENCE; more will be made available as soon as the master tapes are converted to a different format. "The Atomic Bomb & the END of WWII" (AI Berger) Opening Ceremonies (Charles Wood, Chair of UND Space Studies; GoH John Brunner; Bruce Farr; Diane Miller; Lisa Mason's "The Elephant and the Netcruiser"; slides how from Artist GoH Robert Pasternak) "Writing Genre Literature" (Jeffrey Carver, John Brunner, Amy Thomson, Ben Bova) "Are Women Taking Over SF and Why Would They Want To?" (Lisa Mason, John Brunner, Amy Thomson, Lynn Williams, Jeffrey Carver) "What Makes a Classic?" (Neil Barron, Ben Bova, Frederik Pohl, Donna Camoesas, Batya Weinbaum) "The State of International SF" (Larisa Mihaylova, Ariane von Orlow, Janice Bogstad, Andrea Bell) "Sex and SF (Has Moral Decay Hit the Lit?)" (Jeffrey Carver, Eleanor Arnason, Sandra Lindow, Amy Thomson, Margaret McBride) "Teaching Literature Through Films War of the Worlds, Blade Runner, Dune (Robert Blackwood) "The State of the Art in Teaching SF" (James Gunn, Jeffrey Carver, Margaret McBride, Christian Moraru) Tapes are $22 each; please send orders to Shawn Miller c/o Diane Miller (1402 4th Ave. N., Grand Forks ND 58203-3145) specifying which footage you want. There will also be a memorial tape of John Brunner, featuring digitized photos by Robert Blackwood and possibly a photo composition of John's work. SFRA Review #223, page 16


"i449 $ Feature = A Hainish Chronology by Peter Brigg This updated chronology of the Hainish and list of Hainish planets mentioned by Ursula K. Le Guin was prepared while I was working on a paper on the nature of the Hainish for the 1995 SFRA Conference. I offer it here with the dual aim of assisting anyone working on these matters and in hopes that I may receive suggestions as to where it may go astray. Please send corrections and suggestions to "". An Updated Hainish Chronology (to 1996) Int!::rnal T!::xt Qrd!::r L:Date Qf Publi!;ation AD 2100 "The Day Before the Revolution" 9 1974 AD 2300 The Dispossessed 8 1974 League of All Worlds Created AD 2368 } The Word for World is Forest 7 1972 LY 18 AD 2640 } "The Dowery of Angyar" 1 1964 LY 290 ("Semele's Necklace") AD 2684 } Rocannon's World 2 1966 LY 334 AD 2700 I} "Vaster Than Empires and 6 1971 LY 350 More Slow" The Coming of the Shing -The Age of the Enemy AD 3755 } LY 1405 AD 4370 } LY 2020 Planet of Exile City of Illusions 3 1966 4 1967 SFRA Review #223, page 17


Internal Thxt QrderiQate Qf PublicatiQn Formation of the Ekumen AD 4623 } "The Matter of Seggri" 16 1994 EY 1334 z AD 4780 } The Left Hand of Darkness 6 1969 EY 1491 AD 4900 } "Winter's King" 5 1969 EY 1611 ?3 "A Man of the People" 14 1995 ? "Forgiveness Day" 13 1994 ? "A Woman's Liberation" 15 1995 AD 51004 } "The Shobies' Story" 10 1990 EY 1811 AD 5120 5 } "Dancing to Ganam" 11 1993 EY 1831 AD 5130 } "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea" 12 1994 EY 1841 I In "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow" there is mention that Rocannon recently reported the discovery of mindspeech. This is the basis for the dating of "Vaster". Le Guin has her chronographer completely stumped here, for the story speaks of a time in the Hainish cycles 93/1333 (a wholly new kind of dating, I think) and it is clear this is within the Ekumen time frame. As there is no Churten flight, as there is the ansible, and as there is an opening section which appears to have occurred pre-NAFAL flight, I have placed the story where it is and assumed that the 1334 can be read as Ekumenical years. If 1334 is an Ekumenical year, then this story actually encircles The Left Hand of Darkness, for the last entry is in 1569. 3 The 1994-95 stories are essentially dateless but precede the churten stories because NAFAL flight is still in use in them. "A Man of the People" begins before "Forgiveness Day" because its events on Hain and Ve take place before the rebellion on Yeowe. But it ends after Solly's story in "Forgiveness Day" because she has been made envoy to liberated Yeowe while NAFAL flight is bringing Havzhiva from Ve to Yeowe. "A Woman's Liberation" also fits inside "A Man of the People". 4 This rough approximation is based on the fact that no one mentions the churten in "Winter's King" and that the Gethenians in the crew seem to have long overcome their fears of flight. SFRA Review#223, page 18


5 "Dancing to Ganam" occurs after "The Shobies' Story" (humans first churten in "Shobies"), but "Fisherman", with its paradoxes centered around the dis covery of the Churten, seems to encircle the other two stories. I have placed it last because its narrator, in old age, Is recounting memories. The above chronology is owed to Ian Watson ("LeGuin's Lathe of Heaven and the Role of Dick: The False Reality as Media tor", SFS #5, March 1975) and to James Bittner (Approaches to the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, Ann Arbor, UMI Research Press, 1984), who has also determined the dates of composi tion of the stories. I have merely attempted to add the more recent stories. The Hajnjsh Planets (36 named) Hain (Davanent) Alb Alterra Annares Asthe (New Tahiti) Beldene Centarus Chiffewar" Cime Ellul Ensbo Faraday Formalhaut II Four-Taurus Ganam (Tadkla) Gao Gde Gethen lao (Four-Tarus) Kapteyn Kheakh New South Georgia o Ollul Orint Prestno (World SS) S Seggri Sheashel Haven Tadkla Terra Urras the Uttermosts Ve Yeowe Werel (Gramma Draconis III) Rocannon's World Winter's King Fisherman Dispossessed Word for World "Vaster Than ... Rocannon's World Dispossesed Left Hand Left Hand Left Hand Rocannon's World Rocannon's World Left Hand "Dancing to Ganam" Left Hand Left hand Left Hand The Matter of Seggri Left Hand Forgiveness Day Rocannon's World Fisherman "Winter's King" "DanCing to Ganam" Word for World ... Left Hand The Matter of Seggri Left Hand "Dancing to Ganam" Dispossessed Dispossessed Left Hand Fisherman Forgiveness Day Planet of Exile SFRA Review #223, page 19


SFRA Review #223, page 20


mI4am. Feature -THE SOUND OF SCIENCE FICTION by Jeff Berkwitts [The following two reviews first appeared in the May 1996 issue of Thirteenth Moon. They are reprinted here with the permission of the author and of Tachyon Publications.] Oldfield, Mike. The Songs Of Distant Earth (Reprise Records 2-45933). Written by Mike Oldfield. Performed by Mike Oldfield and Pandit Dinesh, tablas; Molly Oldfield, keyboards; Cori Josias, Ella Harper, David Nickless, Roame, Members of the "Verulam Consort", and The Tallis Schol ars, vocals. Arthur C. Clarke's book The Songs of Distant Earth has a somewhat tortuous publication history, having first appeared in the magazine IF in 1958 as a short story, then as a movie treatment in Omni in 1980, and finally as a novel in 1986. Mike Oldfield's more recent music-based CD-ROM companion to Clarke's story has had a somewhat similar circuitous trek to its domestic release, quietly surfacing in Europe in 1994, then being re-issued internationally a year later with different cover art and a more sophisticated computer interface, and ultimately appearing in the United States in early 1996. Regardless of the comparably roundabout release histo ries, the 17-song disc is in many ways surprisingly superior to Clarke's 300-plus page tome. Oldfield uses the locations mentioned in the book, from the water-covered planet of Thalassa to the sleep chambers of the interstellar ship Magellan, primarily as a base to build a cohesive and meaningful sonic journey. Unlike Clarke, he is not trying to express any deep message or concrete sense of history; rather, Oldfield is simply attempting to give an audible atmosphere to the locales and conditions mentioned in the novel. His task is not nearly as daunting as creating an entire universe from scratch, with its associated civilizations and worlds, and as a result the music on the album works wonderfully simply as a colorful collection of rock-based, multi-culturally influenced songs. The aural experience is certainly enhanced by SFRA Review #223, page 21


knowledge of the book, but the average listener who knows nothing about the novel will still find the disc worthwhile. The opening song, "In The Beginning", sets the spacial theme with a sampled portion of astronaut Bill Anders famous biblical recitation from the Apollo 8 Christmas flight. With Anders voice floating over a pulsing, synthesized soundbed, the track quickly morphs into "Let There Be Light". This tune, which is by far the best composition on the disc, establishes many of the central leitmotifs of the collection, including throbbing synthesizers, lilting ethnic chants, and a simple but powerful guitar riff. These elements come and go throughout the following songs, floating, melting, and dis solving into each other while simultaneously linking each composition. Modern synthesizers are juxtaposed with ancient voices, and the various singers, especially The Tallis Scholars, who specialize in sacred choral music of the Renais sance era, bring an amazing sense of timelessness to the entire collection. The album itself is structured very much like the novel, with interconnected tracks serving as chapters, each containing various sonic elements that come and go like fictional characters. The disc ultimately builds to a climax during a track titled "Ascension" (also the name of a chapter from the novel). With a running time of 5:48, this cut is the longest composition on the recording and also the most complex. It reunites the many aural characters that have appeared throughout the work as leitmotifs, and serves as a finale before the quiet, relaxing coda, a short number called "A New Beginning" that uses modern synthesizers and ancient tribal chanting to indicate that man's past and future are truly in tertwined. The CD-ROM element of the disc, which only works on Macintosh systems, is unfortunately far less impressive. Once one figures out a short musical puzzle which involves play ing part of "Tubular Bells", Oldfield's most famous composi tion and the theme from the film The Exorcist, there are a number of options that offer short visual interpretations of pivotal portions of the novel. A music video that shows the joys of life on Thalassa, a look at Earth's sun going supernova, and a peek into the Hibernaculum, where the crew of the Magellan sleeps during their centuries-long journey, are the key images, and while they are enjoyable, they add little to one's understanding of either the music or the book. In SFRA Review #223, page 22


fact, given O1dfield's musical abilities and Clarke's specula tive skills, it's a disappointment that this aspect of the collec tion is so comparatively drab. If one ignores the optical element, however, and leaves the visualization of Thalassa, the Magellan, and the rest of the story to the imagination, the music serves as an excellent supplement to the novel. Oldfield has created a sonic journey that is truly aural science fiction, evoking a sense of amazement, hope, and wonder in the listener. It is specula tive music at its best, and like a fine book, rewards the audi ence with countless hours of ear-opening and mind-expand ing enjoyment. Armer, Elinor and Ursula K. Le Guin. Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts (Koch International Classics 3-7331-2 Y6x2). Music by Elinor Armer. Text by Ursula K. Le Guin. Performed by The Women's Philharmonic, JoAnn Falletta, conductor; San Francisco Girls Chorus, Elizabeth Appling, conductor; University of California-Berkeley Chamber Cho rus, Marika Kuzma, conductor; San Francisco Chamber Sing ers, JoAnn Falletta, conductor; and San Francisco Boys Cho rus, JoAnn Falletta, conductor. Years ago, tales that intermingled classical music and storytelling were often used to introduce concepts of symphonic style and composition to young ears. Works such as "Peter And The Wolf" and "Tubby The Tuba" were integral to teach ing youngsters the beauty and subtleties of orchestral music while simultaneously offering interesting and frequently mor alistic stories. Those days of musical innocence have largely been replaced by market-oriented creations such as Bert, Ernie, and Barney, yet for those who yearn for an adult version of these nostalgic stories, replete with full orchestral accompani ment, soaring choruses, and even a political agenda, this two CD set should certainly rekindle warm childhood memories in addition to addressing more mature concerns. The collection ostensibly recounts the ten-year expedition taken by Armer and Le Guin through the Uttermost Archi pelago in the fifth quarter of Island Earth. In this region, music serves as a sustaining life-force, functioning as food and water, a means of communication, a type of procreation, forms of transportation, and in the case of one area, even keeping the ground (which serves as the instrument itself) SFRA Review #223, page 23


afloat. The individual isles, with names such as Gegge, Rohas, Oling, Hoi, and Anithaca, are each devoted to a different use of sound, and are inhabited by various creatures that inge niously interact with their surroundings to create and utilize music. The Geggerets, for example, are so specialized that it literally takes an orchestra of them to keep their land afloat. Ineffable Vibrants, Reedbeeblers, Aerial Yodellers, and Ven tricular Vibrators must all play in harmony to keep themselves and their land alive. Yet all is not life-and-death in the Utter most region -the island of Oling has a brewery that creates an ale so musically potent that, as Le Guin states, "the orgiasts drink, and get drunk, and make love until next Tuesday!" This world is created entirely through the combined ef fects of music and lyrics, with only a small map in the accompanying booklet to assist the listener. Armer, who when not "exploring" with Le Guin is Chair of the Composition Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, intermixes a variety of compositional styles and effects to give each of the locales a unique sonic signature. "The Seasons of Oling" stylistically borrows from Antonio Vivaldi's similarly-themed "Four Seasons Suite", and features a heavy emphasis on strings, while "Sailing Among the Pheromones", which unlike the other selections has no vocal element, highlights a Native American-influenced flute that, when combined with quiet harp and guitar, offers a mesmerizing musical interpretation of the ebb and flow of a sexual experience so meaningful it is beyond words. Le Guin, who is no stranger to writing with music in mind (her Always Coming Home is one of only a handful of books ever issued that included musical accompaniment), uses a number of creative and insightful verbal tricks to get her message, and her agenda, across to the listener. The very first destination she describes, the violin-shaped island of Gegge, immediately indicates to the listener that all is not as it seems, as the term "gegg" is Scottish for a hoax or practical joke. Her geographical depictions throughout the discs are also filled with sly puns, indicating areas such as the Treble Cliffs and the Hoi Sierra, while her lyrical descriptions of the inhabitants are loaded with double meanings. For example: Yet even in Hoi, the mother provides the first food of the infant; and though in the cities formula music is tapefed, SFRA Review #223, page 24


still in villages one hears a mother nursing her baby in the original arrangement. This passage from "Eating With The Hoi" generates mar velous musical imagery while also subtly letting the listener know that the "formula" music of today is at best only pabulum when compared to truly creative composition. In fact, the entire collection is really devoted to preaching about the importance of music. From Gegge, where the septipedal inhabitants need an instrument (in essence an eighth leg, or in musical terms an eighth note, which completes an octave) to stay alive, to the world as a whole, represented in the final composition, "Island Earth" (with its full integration of cho ruses and orchestra, combining all the voices, both human and instrumental, that have been heard throughout the pre ceding seven tracks), Le Guin and Armer have created a com pelling argument that creative and intelligent music is essen tial to human survival. These explorers present their harmonic beliefs with humor, creativity, and grace. They know this fantastical journey has really taken place only in their imaginations, and their presentation, complete with descriptions and mock map, is their way of saying, with a wily wink, that there really is much more to music than simply notes on a page. Through this enjoyable and engaging expedition, that message should be undeniably clear to young and old alike. SFRA Review #223, page 25


SFRA Review#223, page 26


Reviews-Ballard, J.G. A User's Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews. New York: St. Martin's, 1996, 288 pages, hardcover, $23.00, ISBN 0-312-14440-7. Ballard's collection of essays and reviews isn't quite what I expected, for it is precisely that, a collection of 90 short topi cal essays and book reviews culled largely from the British trade press of the past 30 years. Despite its portentous title, there's no new wave supplement to postmodern theory to be found here, although there is a good deal of art criticism, nor anything like a mode of critique styled by Crash, although the sensibilities of Ballard's SF figure throughout the collec tion. For this, I am glad, as Ballard's collection actually does succeed in presenting what I suppose all "author's collected reviews" volumes aim for but rarely deliver: personality. Ballard's saucy essays and reviews are truly engaging, but not so much for what they explain about the objects at hand as for what they tell us about the interesting figure of Ballard. The collection is divided into eight sections film, biography, visual arts, writers, science, science fiction, 'in general,' and autobiography each of which features a cluster of hardto-find book reviews from publications such as Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. The latter sections tend to include equally hard-to-find essays such as "The Diary of a Mad Space Wife" from Vogue (1979), "Time, Memory and Inner Space" from Woman Journalist (1963), "The Car, The Future," from Drive (1971), and of course the New Worlds inner space mani festo. Ninety book reviews clustered topically and broken up by an essay here and there does make for a rather tedious bit of evening's reading, but taken individually they serve as fine respites; read it out of order and on the go. My personal favorite is Ballard's essay on Dali, "The Innocent as Paranoid", for here we come to the real contribution of this collection, Ballard's continued effort to redress "the most sinister casualty of the century: the death of affect." Ballard on Dali becomes, quite rightly, Ballard on Ballard, in so far as Ballard treats Dali's life and work not in wholly his torical or aesthetic terms but, first and always, in terms of its Significance to the culturally situated author. Ballard resus citates the author himself in what he holds to be our at-SFRA Review #223, page 27


once loathed and celebrated Baudrillard-ified culture by in fusing his own critical writings not with objective criteria but with subjective criteria, his own psychology and experience. It is thus fitting that this collection both breaks in the middle and concludes with sections of autobiography. A User's Guide to the Millennium is, not surprisingly, a user's guide to Ballard. There is little difference between Ballard's essays and his reviews. Both are stages for Ballard himself, and it is in this sense that Ballard's collection becomes less of a review volume and a more interesting kind of autobiography. Ballard's mode is to make the book review new by using it as an opportunity to hold forth personally upon the topic at hand, often offering only scattered comments upon the text itself as an aside. His reviews become small essays, and conversely his essays generally function as reviews of modern conscious ness. Injecting himself into his reviews, Ballard's critique can be read as self-critique, a critique of his self-position amidst what he dubs the techniques of the 20th century, "neuroticism, self-indulgence ... love of the glossy, lurid and bizarre." Throughout these writings Ballard adopts a narrative stance familiar to SF readers: something of an outsider who grasps the bigger picture, which for Ballard is likewise an inner picture. Yet far from being introverted, his is also an exhihitionist stance, making A User's Guide to the Millennium a voyeuristic reading experience that perhaps finds its truest expression in a deliberately candid photograph in the Ballard Re/Search volume of the author lying indoors in a sun chair under his aluminum palm trees. Here is Ballard, striving to affect while simultaneously basking in the reconfigured conditions of its recline? Richard Davis Beahm, George (Editor). The Stephen King Companion (Revised Edition). Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews and McMeel, 1995,311 pages, $12.95, ISBN 0-8362-0455-7. This is George Beahm's third book on Stephen King. Besides the first and second editions of the Companion, he has written The Stephen King Story: A Literary Profile (Andrews and McMeel, 1991), a biography tracing King's life from poverty to his emergence as a "Bestsellasaurus Rex." While the three books overlap considerably, Beahm's enthusiasm for King is so infectious, his quotations and anecdotes so funny and telling, that the reader actually enjoys the repetitions. SFRA Review#223, page 28


Like the first edition of The Stephen King Companion (Andrews and McMeel, 1989), the second is a compendium of biographical essays and interviews, histories of the publication of King's books, descriptions of movies based on his work, and discussions of each King book published to date. Both editions of the Companion are divided into three parts, first dealing with King's life, second with publishers and deal ers who specialize in King's work, and third with each of King's books in chronological order. Each edition has delightful photographs: Stephen King hamming it up, movie posters and stills, and book graphics. The second edition has fewer photographs and is some fifty pages shorter. Libraries that own the original Companion should not discard it, when (as I heartily recommend) they purchase the second edition. Missing from the revised Companion is a hilarious parody of King's long novel, It. Written for The New Yorker (Dec. 29, 1986), Charles McGrath's "ID" tells the story of men with chain saws, visible only to one small boy, who cut down all the trees in a Maine town to make mass market paperbacks. McGrath captures King's characteristic situation of a child who perceives a threat to which adults are oblivious. He reproduces King's stylistic tics with such astuteness that his satire becomes homage. The revised Companion also lacks the Eric Norden's June 1983 Playboy interview, in which King speaks with unusual candor about his personal life and sources of inspiration. King even responds to questions of a sexual nature, admitting to drinking-induced periods of impotence and to difficulty handling romantic relationships in his fiction. In recent years, feeling, understandably, beleaguered by fans who intrude on his private life, King has amassed a supply of jokey stock answers to repeated questions. In the revised Companion, "Stephen King: A Chautauqua in Pasadena, California" (1989), records King's evasive responses to questions: '''Where do you get your ideas?' The answer is Utica, New York. There's a used idea shop ... (p. 173). The biographical essays and interviews in the first section tell a Horatio Alger-like story of hard work and adversity rewarded by success beyond anyone's wildest expectations. Deserted by her husband, Stephen's mother barely managed to support two small children through a series of low-paying jobs. A shy but flamboyant student at University of Maine Orono, King majored in English and wrote a column for the SFRA Review #223, page 29


student newspaper titled "King's Garbage Truck." Married with two small children and stuck in a low paying high school teaching job, King continued to write until he finally captured public attention with Carrie, made famous by the Brian De Palma movie. Fame and wealth, the Companion indicates, have enabled King to become a philanthropist who has supported many public projects in economically depressed Maine. He is an eloquent crusader against censorship. The second section is devoted to King's publishers, includ ing the small presses; to book dealers specializing in King's and other fantastic fiction; and to the fannish apparatus, in cluding newsletters and conferences, accompanying the King phenomenon. There is an interview with Stuart Tinker, proprietor of Betts Bookstore in King's home town of Bangor, the foremost purveyor of King collectibles. To someone, like myself, who purchases each King work as it comes out in the format most readily available, Beahm's sensitivity to the ways in which illustration and design enhance King's text came as a revelation. Section three in both editions of the Companion discusses each of King's books in chronological order. In the original Companion, Beahm himself writes the entries, quoting liber ally from reviews, providing plot summaries and off-the-cuff responses. In the second Companion, this section is entirely the work of Michael R. Collings, an English Ph.D who has published six books on Stephen King. Collings, whose expertise is in the epic, believes that King and other twentieth-century writers of fantasy and science fiction continue the form that culminated in Milton's Paradise Lost. The epic, Collings sug gests, is profoundly ethical in its assumption that individual actions make a difference. While never moralistic, Collings' two to three page discus sions of King's works focus on the underlying value system. Collings rates especially highly The Dark Tower novels and The Stand, which have clear confrontations between the forces of Light and Darkness. Collings not only provides astute interpretations of individual novels, but traces the thematic progression of King's work from threatened children (Chris tine, It) to writers menaced by internal and external mon sters (Misery, The Dark Half, Tommyknockers). Collings has written roughly a third of the second Com panion. His analyses of the novels are illuminating and read-SFRA Review #223, page 30


able, harking back to a time before the advent of critical theory, when the aim of the critic was to enrich the reading experience of an intelligent layperson. Complementing Collings's more academic approach, Beahm exudes enthusiasm for his subject and demonstrates an insider's knowledge of Stephen King's self-created public persona. Beahm's and Collings's collabora tion is one of the strengths of the second Companion. Wendy Bousfield Greene, Eric. "Planet of the Apes" as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1996, 247 pages, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 0-7864-0087-0. First books should always be treated with special kindness; and, since Eric Greene's "Planet of the Apes" as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series is apparently his first book, I am tempted to say nothing but kind things about it. And that would not be difficult. The author has studied his subject well: he has watched all the Apes films, television programs and cartoons, has read all the novelizations, magazines, and comic books, has researched the original screenplays and rejected story treatments, has interviewed several of the films' creators and performers, and has examined a wide range of commentaries and critical stud ies. In addition to providing a wealth of information about these texts, Greene develops and supports a persuasive argument that the five Apes films represent first covert, then overt, reflections on American racial politiCS, as they argue for peace ful racial harmony but remain convinced that continuing conflict cannot be avoided. His interpretations of individual stories are generally sound, there are no significant errors, and he more than succeeds in demonstrating that the Apes saga merits critical attention. The book completely achieves its announced objectives and might even serve as a model for other scholarly studies of its kind. Why, then, do I find myself ambivalent about this book? My reason may be parochial: while Greene fruitfully con nects the Apes films to political and racial issues, scientific thought and research regarding humans and primates, and other films and popular entertainment of their period, he fails to place these works in their most obvious context, that of science fiction. SFRA Review #223, page 31


To be sure, he states several times that they are science fiction; he is not afraid to speak its name. But he approvingly quotes Planet of the Apes director]. Franklin Schaffner to the effect that making a science fiction film was the least of his priorities (p. 28); his few general comments about sci ence fiction are banal; and except for two references to Vivian Sobchack's Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film, he does not make use of any criticism focused on sci ence fiction. (Robert Holdstock's The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is listed in the bibliography, but it is hard to say how that was helpful to him.) Tellingly, the Library of Con gress subject headings listed for the book do not mention science fiction, only motion pictures, television, race rela tions, and politics. Scholars looking for studies of science fiction will not find this book; literally, science fiction critics are not part of its intended audience. No one has argued that science fiction films should only be examined by science fiction critics, and no one could ob ject to the attentions of a critic as respectful and diligent as Greene. It should only be noted that, when science fiction is placed in a different context, something is gained, and something is lost. On the positive side, a new perspective can bring new in sights, or new appreciation for previously marginalized works. The science fiction community has tended to enthusiastically praise the first film, Planet of the Apes (aside from some carp ing about its scientific logic, as in John Brosnan's Future Tense: The Cinema of Science Fiction), to be less enthusiastic about the next two films, Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes, and to utterly disdain the last two films, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. This consensus opinion is logical, since the first three films are most obviously in dialogue with science fiction, recalling many of its themes and texts, while the last two films largely lack those resonances. But to Greene, viewing the films as cultural artifacts, the first three films represent an incomplete, perhaps unconscious, effort to grapple with the vexing problems of American race relations, whereas in Conquest and Battle, the creators recognized their true subject and dealt with racial issues in a more forthright and satisfying manner. Certainly, Greene's long and sympathetic analyses of the neglected final films constitute one of his major contributions. SFRA Review #223, page 32


However, by not considering the Apes films as science fic tion, Greene's argument is deprived of certain nuances. When Greene quotes the first film's comment that, while "all apes are created equal," "some apes ... are more equal than oth ers," he misses the allusion to George Orwell's Animal Farm and hence the possibility that, among other things, the film reflects an old preoccupation of science fiction cinema, opposition to communism (though he does detect such a subtext in Beneath). Discussing at length the final glimpse of the Statue of Liberty emerging from a barren landscape, Greene seems unaware that this has long been a standard icon in science fiction, dating back at least to the February 1941 cover of Astounding Science-Fiction, and that the film thus evokes a tradition of post-holocaust fiction where the end of human civilization may be viewed as a beneficial cleansing and opportunity for new beginnings (what Brian Aldiss alternately calls the "cozy catastrophe" or "delightful doomsday"). In fact, while Greene calls the Apes films "dystopian and apoca lyptic" (p. 23), one can see the first film's conclusion as a happy ending: the human race has gotten what it deserved, it has been replaced by a better, if not perfect, ape society, and Charlton Heston may be sinking to his knees because he can finally, shorn of futile ambitions, enjoy some rest, perhaps to drift into serene senility like the hero of George Stewart's Earth Abides, watching a new civilization emerge and accepting his inability to bring the old one back. The bomb-worshipping mutants of Beneath, and the time-travel paradoxes impliCit in Escape, also suggest connections to ear lier science fiction that Greene never discusses. In addition, recognizing that the genre can serve many purposes other than political commentary, science fiction critics rarely feel compelled to find explicit references to contemporary events and concerns at every point in the texts they examine; but Greene is driven to do exactly that, some times with infelicitous results. Consider the book's weakest passage, when Greene attempts to explain "one of the most complicated references in the Apes series" (129), the fact that mutant humans travel in school buses to attack an ape vil lage in Battle. After devoting two pages to dubious interpretations that are clearly implausible even to their author, he lamely concludes that "Even unclear allegory may be evoca tive" (131). But why insist that this is an allegory? Given the theme of education that Greene correctly discerns in the film, the school buses may have simply been thrown in to emphasize the point; searching for connections to conflicts about SFRA Review #223, page 33


school busing for integration is demonstrably fruitless. There is further wasted effort when Greene ponders the racial im plications of the skinlessness of the mutants in Beneath (66-67); isn't "shock value" explanation enough? Finally, insisting that the films offer serious commentary on serious issues, Greene fails to appreciate what may be the most charming aspect of the Apes series (and much science fiction): their spirit of humor and playfulness. After quoting a few jokes from the first film, Greene rushes to explain their serious import (35-36); he does not discuss the funniest scene in the entire film, the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" tableau, apparently because he finds no political subtext in it; and while he notes that the third film is "lighter in tone" than its predecessors (71), that considerably understates the fact that film is for much of its length played as a comedy. It is strange and unfortunate that his indefatigable search for Apesiana did not lead him to the Mad magazine parody of the first four films, "The Milking of the Planet That Went Ape" (Issue 157, March 1973), for it would have provided amusing support for his thesis of a racial subtext in the films. (For example, in the parody of Conquest, a white man de fends the status of apes, declaring "we must perpetuate sla very! We have always needed slaves, and we always will!" An African-American then addresses the readers: "Ever get the feeling you're in the wrong movie?") More broadly, while he documents America's ongoing fascination with the Apes universe, he ultimately fails to account for it: surely, people do not wear ape masks or collect Apes memorabilia only be cause they support the films' advocacy of racial justice or see its characters as wonderful vehicles for political commentary, but more because they are delighted with the sheer otherness of beings that are somewhat like humans and somewhat like apes, the same reason why people wear Vulcan ears and Klingon masks. Even if not a stimulating basis for critical inquiry, this source of the Apes' appeal should be explored. Having described and praised the book's virtues, and having demonstrated that I know a few things about its subject that the author does not know, I have fulfilled the traditional purposes of a scholarly review. As I said, the book accom plishes its own goals, and it should not be criticized for fail ing to accomplish other goals. Still, since this will likely be the only scholarly study of the Apes phenomenon for a long time (perhaps for all time), I wish that Greene had slightly expanded his agenda, perhaps adding a chapter where he SFRA Review #223, page 34


pondered other contexts for these films, and other explanations for their popularity. And I hope that my saying these things does not seem unkind. -Gary Westfahl Hammond, Wayne G. & Christiania Scull. ].R.R Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1995, 207 pages, hardcover, $40.00, ISBN 0-345-748-16-X. Wayne Hammond's and Christiania Scull's collection of J .R.R. Tolkien's graphic work consisting of high quality black & white and color reproductions of over 200 drawings, water colors, book illustrations, calligraphy, and doodles is not a coffee table book meant to sit in one's living room and inspire idle conversation. I am sure, however, that its presence would have at least that effect even on those only marginally familiar with ].R.R Tolkien's works. It is, in my opinion, a book that is meant to be read to pieces, just as we did with Tolkien's fiction when it first became accessible in paperback to those of us who could not afford the hardcovers 30 years ago. This book is meant to read to pieces and contested, reflected upon and returned to, as with any other really good book that you do not put down after the first time through. One returns to the book, as I am doing just at this instant as I turn to page 161, figure 156: Tolkien's rendering of the untitled third page of the (Book of Mazabul} ... "in the three 'pages' from the fragmentary record book of the Moria Dwarves found by the Fellowship in book 2, chapter 5 ... "It had been slashed and stabbed and partially burned, and it was so stained with black and other dark marks like old blood that little of it could be read." The Illustration is more than the words in this case, for the page appears like nothing else I have seen in a book. It is not an object of art but simply an embodiment of the doom of Moria's Dwarves. It is a histori cal document which still speaks after flame and fire and war. It is almost like a rift into another world, of which it was Tolkien's role only to chronicle. Yet Hammond and Scull's text gives us even more to consider as they raise the context of Tolkien's creation of this page. They point out that Tolkien inSisted, but was overruled, that this Illustrated fragment be included in the first edition of Lord of the Rings, along with accompanying text. Seeing it here won me over to Tolkien's point of view, and SFRA Review #223, page 35


forced me to reconsider my position in a critical area. I have tended to think of many of Tolkien's concerns with the final form of Lord of the Rings as a kind of professorial fussbudgetry: it seemed he never wanted to let go of it be cause it was not "perfect." Now, in this case -and surely several others -I feel I was wrong. One wishes Tolkien might have seen this presentation of his art in his lifetime. It is not just the big heroic things that are presented in this work. Tolkien's Doodles, produced on newspapers until close to the time of his death, are equally interesting. As the authors point out, as influenced as Tolkien was by Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites, Rackhamm, and other pre-WWI figures, he and his doodles were right at home with the OP art of the late 1960s. This is consistent with the surge of popularity of his written work on a cultural level in the late '60s. After all, the photograph (not presented in this collection) of the sign "Frodo Lives", painted on the wall around the University of Wisconsin Humanities building while it was under construction in 1969-70, has become almost an embodiment of the spirit of UW-Madison and its sister campus in the late '60s. There is an art in the manner of production and presentation of this book. It is woven together in a way which inte grates it with the details of Tolkien's literary, artistic, and family life, his own words, and even the physical geography of England, stretched across the more than two-thirds of a century that this book covers. Its scope ranges from the early 20th century well into the 1960s. Hammond and Scull succeed because they allow Tolkien's artistic images to resonate with the mind of the reader. I feel that j.R.R Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator is a text which is meant to engage, even ensnare the reader; its effectiveness is due to the manner in which the authors -both librarians, book collectors, and lifelong Tolkien scholars have chosen to weave it together. They themselves should be included in any praise of this book, for, to paraphrase Tolkien, we must not forget the role of the cook in preparing the broth. This is not a modest book in any sense of the word, with a central theme carried through the entire body of the work: "We have long felt Tolkien's art deserves to be as well known as his writings" (p. 7). Although sincere, this sentence is somewhat immodest considering the world-wide impact of Tolkien's writing, and the cultural depth, both academic and popular, that he has penetrated. There are now 648 Modern Language SFRA Review #223, page 36


Association (MLA) Indexed articles dealing with Tolkien's work, and The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings have been translated into a score of different languages. On a different level, the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, invented by Gary Gigax in 1967 and loosely based on Middle Earth, can be credited with giving birth to today's highly profitable F&SF gaming industry. There have been numerous audio, cinematic, and video versions of The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings; unfortunately for Tolkien, with the exception of a BBC Radio Pro duction, most of these were not produced until after his death. I am also aware that licensed interactive CD-ROM editions of these works have recently appeared. There is a great deal of interest in Tolkien on the Internet and World Wide Web, with a number of Tolkien Listservers and Web pages. Yet I can't help but agree with Hammond and Scull. This work goes a long way towards proving their thesis, at least as much as any thesis such as this can ever be proven. If one views artistic creation as anything other than compliance with formalistic criteria, then this work successfully makes their argument. However, I don't agree with all of the authors' assertions. On page 26, they state that Tolkien turned away from his first-hand experience of World War 1's horror. I think not. I see it as the palimpsest underlying many of his figureless drawings with almost barren trees, almost appearing as if made so by shellfire. I feel that Tolkien's graphic art overlays but does not fully mask his and his generation's experiences of "The Great War". Indeed, one feels a strange resonance with H.G. Well's theme of Babes in the Darkling Wood, in Tolkien's immediate pre-World War II work. j.R.R Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator is much, much more than just another pretty book. It represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the life and art of ].R.R. Tolkien. Philip Kaveny Joshi, S.T. (Editor). Caverns Measureless to Man: 18 Memoirs of H.P Lovecraft. West Warrick, Rhode Island: Necronomicon Press, 1996, 54 pages, softcover, $6.95, ISBN 0-940884-83-6. Caverns Measureless to Man, a recent offering from Necronomicon Press, includes memoirs about H.P. Lovecraft by Kenneth Sterling, Samuel Loveman, Fritz Leiber, John SFRA Review #223, page 37


Wilstach, Staurt M. Boland, Muriel E. Eddy, James F. Morton, Edward H. Cole, E.A. Edkins, August Derleth, Rheinhart Kleiner, Hyman Bradodsky, Maurice W. Moe, E. Hoffman Price, F. Lee Baldwin, and G. Julian Houtain. I read these memoirs in a single sitting during a four-hour 200 mile bus trip, between Eau Claire and Madison, Wiscon sin. It was one of those cold, damp, late winter days when raw wind cuts to the bone and the thermometer barely skirts freezing. I believe T.S. Eliot starts "The Wasteland" with the phrase "April is the cruelest month." Looking out at the frozen fields in north central Wisconsin, I think I can honestly say that it is March. Imagine my surprise as I read "Ave actque Vale", Edward Cole's recollection of Lovecraft's funeral. It turned out that Lovecraft was lain to rest exactly 59 years before (on very similar day, at age 46), on March 18, 1937 in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island. He was attended only by Cole and two other relatives. It was an artist's and writer's departure from the world, not unlike that of Faulkner, Kafka, Poe, and others whose art served no master but itself, at least in their own lifetimes. Joshi has done well in presenting these memoirs, some written during Lovecraft's lifetime, others shortly after his death. They are a celebration of Lovecraft's humanity and generosity to those whose lives he touched. Some are, of course, more interesting and compelling than others, but all are worth reading for the added dimension they give to Lovecraft the man, who is not the same as his work, though some would wish us to believe so. For example, in "Lovecraft" by George Julian Houtain, we are presented with a physically robust H.P. Lovecraft who appears to be able to "take care of himself, and go to the line if necessary," a Lovecraft who at age 27 passed the WWI enlistment physical, only to be prevented from serving by his mother's intervention. My mind delights as I think of an alternate history in which Lovecraft witnesses the real horrors of the Western Front, and writes with all his artistry as a Hemingway or a Remarque, for example. The memoir by Fritz Leiber makes it clear Lovecraft's love of writing was based upon seeing his ideas and visions real ized, rather than upon the payment he may have received SFRA Review #223, page 38


for his work. Leiber relates how amazed he was as a young struggling writer when Lovecraft actually answered one of his letters and opened a brief but intensive correspondence. He gave Leiber reams of background material for a novel set in ancient Rome, which makes sense considering Lovecraft's veneration of the neo-classical. It follows that he would have liked to see his vision realized. Space constraints do not allow me to cover all of the mem oirs, some of which have more of a shallow, petty ring to them. I can say that this particular collection works well with the other Necronomicon Press material, particularly Lovecraft's Letters to Robert Bloch. Those letters coupled with the memoirs presented in Caverns present several as pects of a multifaceted Lovecraft. As I return to my own act of reading these memoirs, foregrounding as they do the con sistent themes of Lovecraft's warmth, generosity and humanity, my heart and bones are warmed enough to face another icy day. I recommend Caverns Measureless to Man not only to the Lovecraft fan or scholar, but also to the unfamiliar reader who might want to gain a glimpse into the margins of amateur press publishing nearly three quarters of a century ago. Philip Kaveny Milward, Peter. A Challenge to C.S. Lewis. Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1995, 138 pages, hardcover, $29.50, ISBN 0-8386-3568-7. As a professor of literature possessing an impressive breadth and depth of learning, Peter Milward has much in common with his former professor C.S. Lewis. In fact, the two corresponded after Milward left Oxford University in 1954 to teach in Japan, and the two scholars shared not only a mutual interest in literature but also a deep commitment to Christianity. However, the Jesuit priest Milward and the An glican apologist Lewis fell on different sides of the "Great Divide." While Milward admits to a great affection for and admiration of Lewis's writings, he disagrees on several points with Lewis about literature, claiming that Lewis's Protestant prejudices help to account for what he considers errors or difficulties in Lewis's literary views. Hence Milward's Chal lenge to C.S. Lewis. An additional incentive for writing such a book, he says, is as a balance to the largely uncritical nature of the present state of Lewis scholarship or "the Lewis SFRA Review #223, page 39


industry" (11). Though he attributes Lewis's mistakes or oversimplifica tions or omissions essentially to his Protestant sympathies in fact, he does so with such consistency that this thesis comes to seem reductionistic by the end of this short book Milward's stated intent is not to quarrel with Lewis over matters of faith. In fact, he says, he is largely in agreement with Lewis on the basics of Christian belief. Instead, Milward's purpose here is to explore what he describes as a set of literary blinders Lewis brought to bear due to his inability to see the works he discussed through a Catholic perspective. Nor does Milward take issue with Lewis's creative writings, which he also happily accepts as unproblematic. However, his failure to take Lewis's fantastic novels and stories seriously as expressions of a literary aesthetic (let alone as theological statements), along with the fact that he ignores Lewis's criti cal writings on science fiction and fantasy, reveals a gap in Milward's otherwise thorough survey of Lewis's attitudes about literature. For instance, in a chapter on allegory, Milward writes about Lewis's tendency to downplay allegori cal interpretations of literary works. He notes the seeming paradox of such a belief coming from the author of The Chronicles of Narnia and Till We Have Faces (he doesn't mention the Space Trilogy or The Screwtape Letters, but these would be just as appropriate as examples), but he fails to do anything more with this paradox, instead moving on to the development of this position in Lewis's criticism. Likewise, in his discussion of philosophy in literature, there is a potential paradox between Lewis's penchant for seeing literature as an aesthetic experience rather than a vehicle for the presentation of ideas and what one finds in his own creative efforts, but Milward does even less here with this tension. Indeed, for anyone interested in reading a treatment of Lewis as a writer of fantastic fiction or as a reader of science fiction and fantasy, this is not the place to look. Milward offers thought-provoking chapters on such topics as "The Bible as Literature", "Shakespeare", and "Theology and Poetry", but apart from offhandedly noting that Lewis in person was much like AsIan in the Narnia books, he has almost nothing to say about other interesting aspects of Lewis's multifaceted career. -Darren Harris-Fain SFRA Review #223, page 40


Pringle, David (Editor). St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers. New York: St. James Press, 1996, 711 pages, hardcover, $95.00, ISBN 1-55862-205-5. With the publication of this major reference volume, David Pringle adds another success to his long list of editorial contributions to science fiction and fantasy. As a past editor of Foundation, a founding editor of Interzone, and a widely respected critic whose work includes Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels (1988) and The Ultimate Guide to Sci ence Fiction (1990, 1994), Pringle has helped provide high quality standards and an appropriate literary context for scholarship in the field. Now, with Mike Ashley and Brian Stableford as advisers as well as contributors to the project, Pringle has drawn on the work of 44 other critics (among them, Robert Irwin, David Langford, Rob Latham, Darrell Schweitzer, and Gary Westfahl) to assemble intelligent, short introductory essays on more than 400 fantasy authors. The writers selected are (by choice) overwhelmingly British and American (the guide includes only 11 foreign-language authors). While this may short-change the global importance of fantasy, it enhances the thoroughness of the English-language coverage. Moreover, there is strong inclusion of promising contemporary writers, some of them with only a book or two in print, and good coverage of titles published through 1994. The entry format is arranged to begin with a capsule biography (including literary agent and address), so the volume can serve as a quick "Who's Who" for the field. Following the biographical sketch is a list of works, divided into "fan tasy" and "other" credits, and in some cases selected bibliographical and critical sources. Many of the entries include a paragraph or two of comments from the author, and in each case there is a signed, critical essay. The essays vary in quality, but all of them are at least help ful. The best of them -and there are many strong entries from the likes of Pringle, Ashley, Stableford, Schweitzer, et al. -manage to be succinct, comprehensive, critically astute, and suggestive. Some of the author comments also of fer valuable insights, from single-paragraph remarks by established authors like Joy Chant, Stephen R. Donaldson, Gene Wolfe, and Roger Zelazny to longer 3-or 4-paragraph discus sions from lesser-known writers like Phyllis Eisenstein and SFRA Review #223, page 41


Michael Williams. There are the inevitable errors and typos ("Borge" for "Borges" on the "Foreign-Language Authors" list "dwarfs" for "dwarves" in the Tolkien entry Tolkien was insistent on the latter spelling), though certainly not an unconscionable number. More troublesome to me are the oddly uneven and incomplete biographical treatments of authors selected for inclusion. Gilbert Adair, for example, is author of three fantasy novels (the latest listed is The Death of the Author, Heinemann, 1992) as well as two mainstream novels, a book of poetry, essays, and his translation of the correspondence of Francois Truffaut. However, the only biographical information given is that he is a British journalist, broadcaster, and film critic no birth date, education, family, career, etc. For fantasy authors David Arscott and David Marl (The Fro zen City, 1984, and The Flight of Bright Birds, 1985) there is only one word: "British." And this odd biographical insuffi ciency isn't restricted to British or recent authors. American Richard Brautigan, for example, has only the place and date of birth, and the year of his death. In the case of Brautigan (and others), more complete biographical information could have been easily obtained by the editors, and it would have made this useful feature of the guide more consistently satis factory. Despite a few puzzling editorial calls, the St. James Guide is a valuable resource. Its convenient single-volume format and up-to-date English language coverage make it an excellent supplement or complement to the other essential fantasy reference guides on my shelf: Neil Barron's Fantasy Literature: A Reader's Guide (Garland, 1990) Everett F. Bleiler's Supernatural Fiction Writers: Fantasy and Horror (2 volumes, Scribner, 1985) and Frank N. Magill's Survey of Modern Fan tasy Literature (5 volumes, Salem Press, 1983). There are two more important fantasy reference books due out in late summer: a new four-volume combined edition of Magm's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature under the direction of consulting editor Tom Shippey, and John Clute's Encyclopedia of Fantasy. If your budget is tight, you may want to wait a few months and then assess your best option. But my guess is that each one will have its place. The St. James Guide to Fantasy has essays and comments with sufficient intelligence and staying power that it's hard to believe that even a more lengthy treatment in the Magill vol-SFRA Review #223, page 42


urnes, or a more pithy, cross-fertilized approach in Clute's Encyclopedia would significantly diminish the usefulness of this strong work by Pringle. Richard Mathews Seed, David (Editor). Anticipations: Essays on EarJy Science Fiction and its Precursors. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1995, 225 pages, hardcover, $42.50, ISBN 0-8156-2632-0; softcover, $17.95, ISBN 0-8156-2640-1. Rather than breaking new ground or even laying a founda tion, this volume instead makes a solid addition to the grow ing architecture of scholarship on the origins and development of what we have come to call science fiction. Anticipations contains eleven essays, most of them by scholars from Liverpool University in England (as with several of their genrerelated titles, this Syracuse University Press edition is a reprint of an original issued by the Liverpool University Press). The analytical trajectory traced by these essays follows a fairly traditional chronological path, proceeding from tales of fantastic voyages and visits to utopian communities through the period of the enlightenment and the industrial revolu tion, and into the early twentieth century. Once again, the advent of the scientific method, the introduction of mechanized technology, and their impact on society as a whole are traced out in proto-SF works, as they turn from descriptions of fantastic and ideal worlds to attempts to anticipate and predict the course and the effects of scientific and techno logical development in the real world. It's often easier to find books that reprint the actual text of early SF works than it is to find cogent, well-informed commentary and criticism of such works. The essays collected in Anticipations provide a useful overview of the diversity of eigtheenth and nineteenth-century writings (and a few from earlier eras) that hinted at a new form of fictional exploration that eventually evolved into science fiction and allied genres. Although this collection adds nothing radically new to the scholarship in the field, it does offer different viewpoints and insights on well-known early SF (Shelly, Poe, Verne, etc.), as well as some very welcome discussion of lesser-known or (at least to this reviewer) unknown works. Also welcome is the SFRA Review #223, page 43


conscious effort to include works by women authors. For those interested in early development of SF, this book provides a good introduction. For those already familiar with the scholarship in this area, Anticipations offers new considerations of early SF works, some familiar and some obscure, and well-referenced pointers to sources and earlier commentary. Highly recommended, especially for libraries and for those with an interest in pre-twentieth century work. Richard Terra Wu, Qingyun. Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1995,225 pages, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 0-8156-2623-1. Qjngyun Wu's Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias is a singular accomplishment which succeeds on many fronts. In six chapters she contrasts Western and Chinese utopian fictions from the 16th century to the present. Her four pairs of novels, explicated in chapters two through five, include Spencer's "The Faerie Queen" and Luo Maodeng's "Sanbao's Expedition to The Western Ocean"; Florence Caroline Dixie's "Gloriana: Or, the Revolution of 1900" and Chen Duansheng's "Destiny of the Next Life"; Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Berland" and Li Ruzhen's "The Destiny of the Flow ers in the Mirror"; and Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" and Bai Hua's "The Remote Country of Women". She uses these works to illustrate "three significant transformations, from the negation of rule by women to rule by women through means of male impersonation; from rule by individual women to collective female rule; and from quasi-matrilineality to anarchism operating in accordance with the female principle" (p. 160). This critical text is resplendent with information about Chinese culture which helps the reader understand a thesis explaining the absence of certain types of feminist utopias in Chinese contemporary and historical literature. Wu early explains this as being largely due to the absence of a strong utopian tradition in Chinese literature in general, and also the absence of a connection between a strong women's movement and the literary traditions. Female Rule also introduces Western and probably many Eastern readers to unreservedly neglected works such as SFRA Review#223, page 44


"Sanbao's Expedition to the Western Ocean", "The Destiny of the Next Life", "The Destiny of the Flowers in the Mirror", and the most recent, "The Remote Country of Women," originally published in 1988 and available in English as translated by Wu herself. Unfortunately, most of these works are difficult to obtain, however worthy they may be of further attention. Wu's criticism demonstrates attempts to reinterpret historical and contemporary female Chinese figures and matrilineal cultures in a more positive context, then places the "utopian" fictions based on these Chinese cultural phenomena in the context of many cultures' utopian fiction. It advances a number of ideas about the similarities and differences between Chinese and Western utopias, which are entic ing if not always fully verified therein. For example, having just returned from four months in the People's Republic of China (PRC), I was delighted with the explication of "The Destiny of the Flowers" (Li Ruzhen, 1763-c.1830), based on the rule of the historical Chinese empress, Wu Zetian, the only female ruler in China's history. Near Xian, one of China's oldest cities, one can visit tombs, monu ments, and palace sites occupied in the lifetime of Wu Zetian (624-705) of the Tang Dynasty (A.D.618-907), all of which emphasize her cruel and unnatural actions. In describing "The Destiny of the Flowers", a novel difficult to find in En glish or Chinese, Wu brings to light facts about the positive aspects of Wu Zetian's reign, including the many cultural advances for which Wu Zetian was personally responsible. It is upon these positive contributions that the women's bid for equality in the Imperial exam system in U's novel is based. In addition, Bai Hua's descriptions of the Masuo community of a matrilinear minority people who still live in the PRC and resist as best they can attempts of the communist party to change their "promiscuous" attitudes towards male and female sexuality and the undesirability of marriage -are equally significant in introducing readers to "another" way of organizing a society. In each case, Wu contrasts Chinese utopian works with western ones of similar theme or time period. I found the last chapter contrasting Bai Hua and Le Guin to be the most effec tive. Wu has done some ground-breaking work for subsequent scholars in several areas of literary and cultural studies. SFRA Review #223, page 45


Chinese criticism has historically sought to quantify and control literary phenomena by categorizing in strict numbers. This is a comforting strategy for critic and reader alike. Wu makes use of this trope to tell us that there are "x" kind of female heros in chinese literature and "y" stages of development in the history of utopias, etc. This makes her arguments seem very concrete. Raised in a different tradition, I constantly want to ask "how does she know there are only eight?" (or three or whatever number). But I cannot deny the rhetorical use of such absolutes, and even applaud the unifying gesture of her three stages in the development of feminist utopias, although I do not always accept the logic of her choices. I can already see many applications to which Dr. Wu's criti cal work can be profitably applied in the examination of Chi nese Literature, Utopian Fiction and feminist and cultural studies. This is part of the richness of the book. She has made it possible for many of us to expand on her studies, both by publishing this critical work and by continuing to translate key texts. This work is a must for those interested in the development of utopian fiction, international concepts of feminist futures, Chinese literature, or Chinese-Western comparative methodologies. Janice M. Bogstad SFRA Review #223, page 46


'nH.H' Reviews-Aldiss, Brian W. Common Clay: 20 Odd Stories. New York: St. Martin's, March 1996, 352 pages, hardcover, $23.95, ISBN 0-312-12948-9. Any collection of fiction by Brian W. Aldiss promises to be intriguing, elliptical, and enigmatically complex. More than perhaps any other current SF writer, Aldiss produces not so much adventitious conglomerates of tales, but rather care fully orchestrated variations in theme, character, image, movement, pacing, and meaning resulting in something more than mere collection if slightly less than novel. Rarely simplistic and always infectious through their energy, their occasionally surrealistic grasp of essentials, and their consistently surprising language, Aldiss's stories require almost more (or at least different modes of) concentration than do his longer works. The stories in Common Clay: 20 Odd Stories are no excep tion. Predominantly reprints from between 1992 and 1995, these stories represent cutting-edge Aldiss, still expanding horizons and penetrating depths at age seventy. In his typi cal format, Aldiss has juxtaposed stories, "Enigmas" (tripartite explorations linked by a common theme), and author's notes at times indistinguishable from his fictions. In "Mak ing My Father Read Revered Writings", he states that "It is the responsibility of authors to give their stories a title that invites one in, or at least promises to make matters clear." In these twenty-odd stories (or should it read twenty odd-sto ries?) Aldiss takes his character's advice, often imagistically encapsulating the tale within its title: "The Mistakes, Miser ies and Misfortunes of Mankind"; "If Hamlet's Uncle Had Been a Nicer Guy"; "A Dream of Antigone" (with its perfectly ambiguous balancing of alternate meanings for "of"); "Becom ing a Full Butterfly"; "Traveller, Traveller, Seek Your Wife in the Forests of This Life"; and the horrifically, punningly appropriate "Horse Meat". Each title invites, intrigues, impels -even when the text seems at first light-years removed from the implied subject. At times, as in the "Three Moon Enig mas" and "Her Toes Were Beautiful on the Mountains", also an "enigma," connections between title and tale must be deferred until the trio is complete. SFRA Review #223, page 47


Beyond this, however, Aldiss subtly weaves themes, images, even characters through story after story. His suggestions of meaning become incrementally precise, from the rather abstracted meditation on art in the opening story to his parable for human renewal in the last. Theme intersects with theme: Art and Revolution, Humanity and Cruelty, Creativity and Pas sivity, Myth and Mortality, History and Imagination, Sex and Gender, Male and Female. By the final pages, the reader has moved from the mindless brutality and animalistic fear of "The Mistakes, Miseries and Misfortunes of Mankind": The baby lay in its cot, unmoving, where it had been thrown. Although its mouth and eyes were open, it made no sound. Its tiny fists had jerked back against the bedding and remained clenched. It stayed in that position as if frozen, while day came on. Its father rose, got dressed, and went downstairs to open his hated shop. (p. 27) to Aldiss' epiphany of masculine and feminine combined into an apocalyptic humanity in "Her Toes Were Beautiful on the Mountains": Now a magnificent tree, a great World Tree, and Yggdrasil with sparkling breasts like fruit, rose to utmost heights. Sun light made treacle poured onto the branches that spread above the world. The world responded with a soft radiance. In the world there was light. In one of the branches, a golden nut twinkled. The upper boughs spread even higher, spread like a canopy, pouring milky sap out to the horned moon. In the net of twigs sported comets and the noiseless inhabitants of space. And, with a hint of Prussian blue, Earth at last was joined with Heaven. (p. 332) Common Clay shows Aldiss at his best: inquisitive and assertive, speculative and somber, raucous and ribald all suggesting the extraordinary range of his subject, the cosmic tragicomedy that is humanity itself. Michael R. Collings Card, Orson Scott. Alvin Journeyman. New York: Tor, 1995,381 pages, $24.95, hardcover, ISBN 0-312-85053-0. Orson Scott Card's readers have been waiting long for this fourth book in the "Tales of Alvin Maker" series, which began with Seventh Son (1987) and continued through Red Prophet (1988) and Prentice Alvin (1989). As those books SFRA Review #223, page 48


came out, Card spoke in interviews with apparent confidence about his outline for five or six novels about Alvin, a child with a knack for manipulating matter in an alternative 19thcentury America where lesser knacks are common. In the acknowledgments for Alvin journeyman, Card explains that, having abandoned his original outline, he remained unsure for several years where the series would go. The fact that many of his books begin with acknowledgments shows that Card is especially aware of owing people for help in thinking about and composing his works. Alvin journeyman came right in part through virtual conversations at the Hatrack River Town Meeting on America Online. Several minor characters came to the novel as "roles" who appeared in the electronic Hatrack River, and these characters, invented by Card's readers, may have given the series one of its new directions -in the course of the story, Alvin and Peggy Lamer notice that people with knacks are coming to the fictional Hatrack River, seemingly drawn by Alvin's power. Card also acknowledges characters invented or made concrete by others, notably Goody Trader, who was invented by Card's sometime-collaborator, Virginia Kidd. Alvin journeyman is different from the rest of the series. The first three books are dominated by the menace of the Unmaker, who threatens Alvin as he discovers the extent of his powers and how he can use them against this Unmaker. At stake in the long run is Alvin's creation of a visionary crystal city, a kind of utopia. Those stories are filled with capture and escape, the wonders of discovery about Alvin's powers, and the alternative American setting. By the end of Prentice Alvin, he has achieved mastery, has fallen in love with Peggy Lamer, his protector and teacher, and has begun the task of finding out how to achieve his vision of the crystal city. The novel reveals few new developments, and the dangers Alvin must deal with are less vivid and more humanly complicated than in the earlier books. Alvin is forced to leave his hometown when falsely accused of seducing a young woman. He finds himself in Hatrack River, where he completed his apprenticeship as a blacksmith and where he killed the slavefinder who had murdered Peggy's mother. Makepeace Smith, his former master, charges him with stealing the magical golden plow, Alvin's journeyman project. Before this trial can proceed, the judge must decide whether Alvin should be extradited to stand trial for killing the slave-finder. As this SFRA Review #223, page 49


problem is resolved, Alvin and Peggy marry, and Alvin gets the Red Prophet to lift the curse laid upon those who participated in the massacre of Tippy-Canoe. The main subplot concerns Alvin's younger brother, Calvin. Envious of Alvin's achieved goodness, Calvin runs away to France to learn from Napoleon how to rule people. His adventures bring him into a friendship with Honor Balzac, who returns with him to America. Important historical background for all these events is the growing threat of a war over sla very. At the end of the novel, Alvin has escaped another set of attempts to destroy him, including an assassination plot, but he still does not know how to go about building the crys tal city. Another unresolved question is whether Calvin, also a maker, will finally help or oppose his brother. Though this novel has a more leisurely pace than the others, it too will draw readers into what should be familiar ter ritory, and like the others, it will leave readers eager to see what comes next. Terry Heller Dann, Jack. The Memory Cathedral: A Secret Life of Leonardo da Vinci. New York: Bantam, December 1995, 486 pages, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 0-553-09637-0. Jack Dann's latest offering, The Memory Cathedral: A Secret Life of Leonardo da Vinci, is at once a historical novel and one of the purest fantasy. Dann has written a grand adventure, bearing more than a mild resemblance to Alexander Dumas's The Three Musketeers, but with the fa miliar trio replaced by da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and the young Niccolo Machiavelli. As the book opens, da Vinci is revealed to be madly in love with Ginevra de' Benci. Once da Vinci can establish himself as a great artist, the two plan to marry. But de' Benci's father's fortunes are waning, and he accepts a loan of a thousand gold florins in exchange for his daughter's hand from Luigi di Bernardo Nicolini, a wealthy merchant of the Pazzi family, the chief enemies of the Medicis. At first crushed by what he per ceives as his lover's betrayal, da Vinci struggles to maintain his wits, ultimately concocting schemes to win back his love. Dann's recreation of Renaissance Italy abounds with in-SFRA Review #223, page 50


trigue, sword play, wild invention, and the wonders of mys teries yet to be unlocked. He deftly manipulates the gaps between what is known of da Vinci's life, enabling the artist to created the great machines depicted in his drawings, but at great cost to his own soul. And although the details of Memory Cathedral may not always be completely accurate (Dann freely admits to "nudging history by aging Nicco16 Machiavelli a bit, making him Leonardo's apprentice," among other less noticeable "nudges"), the worlds of Florence and the Middle East jump off the page with surprising immediacy. jack Dann has written precious little since his critically acclaimed novel, The Man Who Melted (1984), being content to merely edit a series of anthologies, much to the loss of science fiction readers in search of mature work. Memory Cathedral marks the return of a terrifically talented writer. Regrettably, the one fault with the book may lay in its pack aging. In seeking to reach a maximum audience, Bantam is trying to market Memory Cathedral for cross-over appeal, much in the same way they marketed Brittle Innings, Michael Bishop's splendid follow-on to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. While Brittle Innings was nominated for several major awards, it was never found by those who would ordinarily have made up its readership, and it quickly passed off the shelves and onto the remainder table. Memory Cathedral seems destined for much the same fate. Find it now before it's too late. jacob Weisman Forrest, jodie. The Rhymer and the Ravens. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Seven Paws Press, 1995, 352 pages, softcover, $9.95, ISBN 0-9649113-0-2. The Rhymer and the Ravens is being promoted as a his torical fantasy novel set in late ninth-century Europe. The historical part includes the Viking raids and settlements in England and the conflict between waning indigenous religions and the growing popularity and acceptance of the new reli gion, Christianity. But for all of the historical backbone and accurate description of life in that period, the fantasy elements in this work heavily outweigh the historical. The novel's title hints at the two main sources of the fantasy elements in this book. The first is the traditional story of Thomas the Rhymer, sometimes also Thomas Rhymer, known most popularly from Child ballad #37; the second is SFRA Review #223, page 51


Scandinavian mythology, for the ravens of the title are Odin's ravens, Thought and Memory. The tale of Thomas the Rhymer, who spends time in faerie and then is "cursed" to speak only the truth, has also been used by other writers, most notably Ellen Kushner in Thomas the Rhymer (1990). In Forrest's version of the tale, Tomas is brought to faerie as the first step in a quest which the queen of faerie hopes will slow the advance of Christianity. Because it both changes people's beliefs and attempts to exorcise rivals, she feels that Christianity constrains the movements of the faerie folk and moves them increasingly further from the world of men. Tomas's time in faerie is fairly brief, and just into the second quarter of the book, he leaves faerie for a quest through the world of men and, finally, into the world of the Norse gods. Tomas is to go to Asgard by way of the sacrificial festi val as Uppsala and steal Odin's ravens, who fly through the world daily and report back to Odin. The theft of the ravens just might disrupt the Viking advances, and the ravens as hostages would give the British (Celtic) faerie something with which to bargain. During the journey, Tomas encounters Alfred the Great, visits Dublin after a shipwreck, and travels by sea and land to Uppsala. The story ends ambiguously after the theft of the ravens; Tomas keeps them and sets out to wander. A sequel, The Elves' Prophecy, is planned. Forrest's use of Celtic and Scandinavian mythology, legend, and folktale is impressive, as is the historical research she has done to make the ninth century come alive. This story will delight those readers, like myself, who are familiar with the traditions within which Forrest is working. My only criticism is that the quest does not proceed very directly. Tomas's time with Alfred the Great and the post-shipwreck trip to Dublin seem to be developed more for their own sake than for any advancement of the quest which they provide. This does not mean, however, that these sections are not interesting or that the action moves too slowly. That said, The Rhymer and the Ravens is a book which certainly should be read by anyone interested in High Fantasy or mythologically-based fantasy. The Celtic and Scandi navian materials have been heavily mined by fantasy authors in the latter half of the twentieth century, and Forrest, who ample of the conscientious use of source materials. But she also tells a good story, full of historical detail and cultural implication. This book should be on the shelf with Kushner's SFRA Review #223, page 52


and Jones's treatments of the Rhymer's story, as well as such Celtic/Christian conflicts as Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. Recommended. C.W. Sullivan III Miller, John & Tim Smith (Editors). The Moon Box: Legends, Mystery, and Lore from Luna. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, December 1995, four-volume softcover boxed set, $29.95, ISBN 0-8118-1060-7. Chronicle books is well-known for its strikingly designed books and other gift items, and this boxed set is no excep tion. Each of the 4.75 x 6.25 inch books runs about 150 pages; the box is about 3.25 x 4.5 x 6.25 inches, with the moon's luminous blue face on each side and gold lettering on a black background. Big Fish Books handled the attrac tive design. Moon Lore is a potpourri of poetry, folktales (including a delightful translation by W.S. Merwin of an Amazonian tale of the moon's creation). Sasha Fenton contributes the long est piece, a summary of the 12 astrological houses (what you are) and the moon's place in each (what you do). The Moon Goddess assembles poems, myths and legends, historical and modern, all linking women and the moon. The Were-wolf collects ten tales "from the dark side of the moon," by de Maupassant, Angela Carter, Ovid, Saki, Petronius, Bram Stoker, and others, with the text printed in white on black pages. Somnium (or, the Dream) and Other Trips to the Moon is the most science fictional of the four volumes, with Kepler's Somnium, The First Men in the Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac's journey to the Moon, Lucian's The True History, and Baron Munchausen's A Second Trip to the Moon. Each volume contains small but effective illustrations taken from many sources, each carefully noted. Biographical notes on all authors are provided, along with acknowledgments of the works from which the excerpts were taken. The editors have made excellent choices, and most of them will be unfa miliar even to the SF aficionado. Although released for this past holiday season, The Moon Boxwould make an outstanding gift for yourself, a loved one, or a friend at any time of the year. Neil Barron SFRA Review #223, page 53


Rand, Ayn. Anthem: The 50th Anniversary Edition. New York: Penguin, 1995,253 pages, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 0-525-94015-4. Facsimile editions of important literary works are often a boon to scholars. A good example is Eliot's The Wasteland. For years the manuscript had drawn scholars to New York, all of them hoping to better assess Ezra Pound's role in the creation of one of the century's landmark literary achieve ments. Unfortunately, the 50th anniversary edition of Ayn Rand's Anthem is not such an occurrence. The text is the same as that of the 1953 Caxton edition, the introduction by Leonard Peikoff is unenlightening, and the reproduction of Rand's reworked 1937 British typescript is not a useful tool for scholars. When I read the text itself, I tried to put myself in the author's shoes. Driven out of her country by a totalitarian regime, Rand had come to the U.S. seeking freedom. In 1937, the chances for a new world order featuring individual liberty looked slim indeed. Even in 1946, a year after the de feat of global fascism, proponents of individualism had little to cheer about, as qrwell's Animal Farm and Nineteen Eightyfour were soon to demonstrate. In just a few years McCarthy and Nixon would be looking for communist sympathizers under the bed, and Ronald Reagan would be saving Holly wood from a Soviet takeover. Given these circumstances, it is easy to understand how a refugee from a country where kindergarten teachers derided misbehaving children by call ing them individualists would have been moved to write a novel in which the first person singular pronoun needed to be reinvented. How far we have come in fifty years. We live in a world where collectivism takes the form of identical airport kiosks in just about every major city on earth. We live in a country where all governmental functions are suspect. This past summer I read an English placement test in which a student argued that the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City was a justifiable act of civil disobedience. Reading about Equality 7-2521 and the Golden One finding happiness in an abandoned state-of-the-art mountain home of some long-dead yuppie does not move me. In addition, the introduction by Leonard Peikoff is no more enlightening and no less idolatrous than Leonard E. Read's introduction to the 1946 Pamphleteers edition. Peikoffs explanation of the book's publication history is technically ac-SFRA Review #223, page 54


curate, but it reads like a discussion of the rise of the New Testament. He writes, "At last, in 1961, about a quarter of a century after it had been written, New American Library issued it as a mass market paperback." Finally the gospel was revealed. More to the point is Peikoffs claim about the importance of the present edition. He writes that close study of the fac simile will benefit the individual reader, that in fact "there is virtually no limit to what you can learn about writing Ayn Rand's or your own." In her introduction to the 1946 edi tion, the author wrote about the changes she had made when editing the book for U.S. publication: "I have reworked some passages and cut out some excessive language. No idea or incident was added or omitted." That is not a description of what compositionists call "deep revision." The editorial changes Rand made did improve the style; effusive verbiage gives way to concreteness on many occasions. But aside from lessons in word choice, there isn't much a would-be writer will learn from studying the facsimile. One of the author's objectives was to make the style less biblical. This she did, yet the text is still the tale of a new Adam escaping from anti Eden with a subservient helpmate. Although this fiftieth anniversary reissue will probably be prominently displayed on the bookshelves of many a survivalist, it isn't likely to advance scholarship. Thomas J. Morrissey Williams, Paul (Editor). Microcosmic God: Volume II: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon. Berkeley, Cali fornia: North Atlantic Books, 1995, xxxiii + 372 pages, hard cover, $25.00, ISBN 1-55643-213-5. This volume continues the ambitious project to collect and publish all of the short fiction of Theodore Sturgeon, estimated to require some eight to ten volumes. The stories are being published in chronological order; this, the second vol ume, covers the period from April 1940 through June 1941. (The exact order of the stories in this volume is somewhat arbitrary, since Sturgeon provided few notes on their com position, but the general order is correct.) The chronological approach may disappoint readers who might hope to find their favorite stories covered in an early volume. In fact, some critics have deplored this approach, feeling that, since the earlier stories may be supposed to be Sturgeon's weakest SFRA Review #223, page 55


(while he was still learning the craft), it may weaken the market and prevent the entire series from being published. There may be some merit to this argument, but there are other arguments in favor of the current approach. The chronological publication allows the reader to appreciate the manner in which Sturgeon developed. The first volume contained a number of unpublished stories, primarily because of weaknesses perceived either by the editors or by Sturgeon himself. This volume contains only two which were never published, although several others have not previously been collected in book form. Perhaps more to the point, the end of this volume (corresponding to June 1941) marks the beginning of an extraordinary period of "writer's block": from that date until the end of 1945, Sturgeon wrote only one story "Killdozer". Thus, this approach allows us to see and appreciate the artistic and conceptual difficulties faced by a writer of SF during science fiction's so-called "golden age". All but two of the seventeen stories here were published in either Astounding or Unknown, the leading SF and fantasy magazines of the period. Several of them are classics, generally acknowledged to be masterpieces. The title story, "Mi crocosmic God", is one of Sturgeon's best known, although the author himself wasn't really satisfied with it. An unfinished early draft of this story is also included for comparison. In addition, there is a wonderful Foreword by Samuel R. Delaney and extensive Story Notes by the editor. This volume, as the first, is an excellent addition to the genre and is highly recommended -to libraries, to scholars, and to any SF fan anywhere. It is to be hoped that North Atlantic will speedily produce the third volume. W.D. Stevens Sussex, Lucy and Judith Raphael Buckrich (Editors). She's Fantastical: the first anthology of Australian women's speculative fiction, magical realism and fantasy. Melbourne, Australia: Sybylla Feminist Press, 1995, 260 pages, softcover, A$22.95, ISBN 0-908205-12-0. She's Fantastical is a timely collection. Speculative writing in its many forms has emerged in recent years as one of the most successful areas for women writers, and it is appropriate that Sussex and Buckrich, funded by the Australia CounSFRA Review #223, page 56


cil, have put together a collection that celebrates the contribution of Australian women to this diverse genre. The anthology is endorsed in a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin, doyen of women's speculative fiction, who stresses the subversive nature of fantasy and its usefulness to feminist critics of patriarchal hegemony. Of the works in this book, she writes that" ... all are rebellious, subversive, critical, or teasing, cheerfully or fiercely knocking the posts out from under the Status Quo" (p. 11). The title itself is a homage to Margaret Cavendish, Duch ess of Newcastle, a mid-seventeenth century proto-feminist who, as Sussex explains, ... was fanciful not only in dress, but also in subject matter" (p. 13). Famous for her odd and unlikely combinations, the fantastical duchess is a fitting patron for this anthology, which, like her wardrobe, contains diverse works of varying success and skill. The catch-all sub title of "speculative fiction, magical realism and fantasy" al lows enormous scope for the anthology, and Sussex sidesteps the issue of any further classification by declaring that" She's Fantastical ignores the frontiers between genres" (p. 15). The contributors represent a cross section of Australian women writers. Well-known authors of science fiction and fantasy such as Rosaleen Love, Phillipp a Maddern, and Yvonne Rousseau rub shoulders with authors more usually identi fied with mainstream fiction, such as Gabrielle Lord and Carmel Bird, and with popular authors of children's litera ture, such as Isobelle Carmody and Nadia Wheatley. The editors have selected a mix of poetry, short stories, and ex tracts from longer works. While most of the pieces are origi nal, the collection includes some reprints, and the historical perspective is acknowledged by the inclusion of some early material, most notably extracts from Henrietta Dugdale's A Few Hours in a Far-off Age (1883), and M. Barnard Eldershaw's Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1947). The works in this anthology tackle universal themes of birth, survival, independence, and interaction in interesting, some times surprising combinations. They range from the unsen timental science of Phillippa Maddern's Not With Love, which describes a chilling future world threatened by a genetically mutating famine virus, through the philosophical question ing of Rosaleen Love's The Know All, to the outright fairytale variation of Isobelle Carmody's The Pumpkin-eater. SFRA Review #223, page 57


Many of the contributors explore associations with the animal world. The best of these stories is Yvonne Rousseau's charming and imaginative "Possum Love", which recounts the travails of a pregnant werepossum in East Gippsland, addressing questions of human ambiguity and providing a most unconventional happy ending. Nadia Wheatley's "Widow Wilberforce and the Lyrebird" tells of two women allegorically seduced by the same dancing bird; while Sue Isle gives us a well told shape-changing fantasy in "A Sky Full of Ravens". This fascination with birds continues in Ania Walwicz's prose poem "Flight", and carries through Gabrielle Lord's slight story, "Angel Jacko". It also appears metaphorically in another of the best tales of this collection, Petrina Smith's "The Angel Thing". Here, a mother and daughter are moved to flee their oppression on a remote farm in order to defend "the angel thing," described equivocally as maybe an alien female or a failed research experiment, from further harm. It is a story which gives a convincing evocation of the plight of damaged humanity. The point of view of the damaged human is picked up again in Carmel Bird's "One Last Picture of Ruby-rose", and again in Leanne Frahm's "Entropy", a chillingly written domestic homage to Zoline's "Heat Death of the Universe", and the closest story in this collection to the horror sub-genre of specu lative fiction. In a science fictional variant on this theme, "The Padwan Affair", Tess Williams elegantly turns the tables on a space pilot, whose night of "bimboing out" in an alien brothel leaves him irrevocably pregnant by "infusive conception." He is left facing a lifetime of single parenthood, marooned with his half-caste offspring on planet Padwan by an unsympathetic space bureaucracy. Surprise, Dad! Sybylla Press has lavished attention upon this handsome book. Deborah Klein's cover art, featuring St. Martha, patron saint of housewives, is nicely executed. The high qual ity paper and inset markers are attractive, but the combination of unusual typefaces with pale blue print is very hard on the eyes. The quality of the writing is understandably uneven across the anthology, with disappointing contributions from some SFRA Review #223, page 58


established writers. But, at its best, it is very good indeed, with some outstanding pieces by newer authors that bode well for the genre. It is a collection well worthy of shelfspace. There is a generosity of spirit in this book, evidenced in Buckrich's conclusion to her introductory remarks, which offers the hope that this anthology will be the first of many to showcase the work of Australian women writers in this important field. It is a hope that I applaud. -janeen Webb Weinbaum, Stanley G. The Black Flame. San Francisco: Tachyon Publications, 1996, xxvi + 202 pages, $26.00 (standard printing; special deluxe editions also available), hardcover, ISBN 0-9648320-0-3. After Stanley G. Weinbaum's death in 1935, so briefly after he'd burst on the SF scene with "A Martian Odyssey," even his previously rejected manuscripts were re-examined by editors who wanted to salvage something to utilize Weinbaum's still-gloWing reputation. Thus Mort Weisinger used The Black Flame to attract readers to the january 1939 issue of Startling Stories, a new magazine that promised to run a complete novel in each issue. And that is the story that was reprinted (with "Dawn of Flame," a companion piece) in a Fantasy Press book and subsequent editions, the one read and discussed by everyone interested in early genre SF. Trouble is, it's not the story Weinbaum wrote. As Sam Moskowitz explains, in one of his typically valu able but fact-clotted introductions, the original manuscript had been rejected by magazine editors because it had too much love stuff and not enough SF adventure; Weinbaum apparently began revising it but was too ill to finish the job. So Weisinger cut the 60,000 word manuscript by 12,000 words and revised another 6,000 to make the story move faster. For example, even a brief comparison of the Fantasy Press and Tachyon versions shows how the male lead was Simpli fied, made into a typical pulp SF hero. Moskowitz quotes john W. Campbell's regret, years after the fact, that he rejected Weinbaum's tale for Astounding: "That story was a little too advanced for my frame of mind during that period, but if I had it to do all over again I would have bought it and I'm sure it would have been a great hit with my readerShip." One of the most fascinating things about seeing The Black SFRA Review #223, page 59


Flame as Weinbaum wrote it is the opportunity it gives us to speculate what the effect would have been if some editor had simply printed it. Would it have encouraged more stress on characterization, less on heroic action? If somebody like Campbell had recognized the opportunity to have Weinbaum's example to show other writers, could the evolution of SF have been nudged forward significantly? Unfortunately, such speculation is the major interest here. This is not a lost masterpiece. Weinbaum was stretching not just beyond his editors' vision but his own grasp. The love interest in The Black Flame, unusual as it appears in SF of this period, is very much in the vein of romance pulps from the same era. And yet -reading this version, observing how it was butchered to make it commercially acceptable, and imagining how Weinbaum might have responded to sympathetic editing, we can't dismiss the possibility that it could have become a masterpiece. That's one of the basic ques tions of SF, after all: What If? Tachyon, Moskowitz, and everyone connected with producing this fascinating, perplexing book deserve our thanks. Recommended. Joe Sanders Willis, Connie. Bellwether. New York: Bantam Spectra, April 1996, 247 pages, softcover, $11.95, ISBN 0-553-37562-8. Connie Willis is known as a deft, humorous writer of amus ingly slight short stories that -somehow -transcend their apparent pointlessness by cleverly forcing together several differen t frames of reference. This characterization of Willis has always driven me crazy sure, she's amusing and acces sible, but there's a reason she's won six Nebulas, five Hugos, and the Campbell, just like there's a reason I have remembered her short story "Death on the Nile" long after I read it. She's more than funny. Willis is a clever, slick writer, with a sure hand for characterization and an eye for the absurd, but she also writes about important things, allowing the mundane and the significant to coexist and engage in a dialogue that changes both. I have always found Willis's themes to be persuasively feminist (they focus on making meaning out of the trivia of women's lives, a theme of Bellwether), but of course I wouldn't think to link this to Gary K. Wolfe's essen-SFRA Review #223, page 60


tially positive review of Bellwether in LOCUS, in which he calls the book "a piece of fluff." True, Bellwether is not big and ambitious, as was Willis's Doomsday Book, since Bellwether is not a novel but a no vella, as were Uncharted Territory and Remake. In fact, it's like reading a fairly long short story, and yes, it can be read in one sitting. But I would not characterize this tightly crafted novel as "a piece of fluff," though Willis writes here in the amusing style of her famous short stories. Willis centers Bellwether around the idea of fads and trends; she also centers the novel around a feminine point of view, and indeed, women are the focus and the controllers of her chaotic systems. It is true, however, that people sometimes mistake a focus on the feminine for triviality. Here, each brief chapter is prefaced by a short paragraph that explains a trend: quality circles, tattoos, the jitterbug, coonskin caps, coffeehouses. The chapters are clustered into sections entitled Beginning, Bubblings, Tributaries, Rapids, and Main Channel, which parallel the protagonist's search for tributaries that lead to a main source and reflect the plot's escalating confusion and, paradoxically, resolution. A first-person narrative without any subplots, this story initially appears unfocused since Willis's central metaphor is that of chaos theory. Bellwether is science fiction because it links human systems to two scientific paradigms: chaos theory and sociological analysis. Chaotic systems abound: Sandra Foster, the protagonist, works for HiTek as a trend researcher. A sociologist and statistician obsessed with finding out what caused the fad of hair-bobbing, Foster works in a relentlessly chaotic environment with bizarre co-workers, most notably Flip, an inept clerk who seems to have an uncanny ability to be on top of every fad; Shirl, Flip's assistant, who everyone wants fired because she smokes, though she's HiTek's only competent employee; and the oddly charming Bennett O'Reilly, the only important male character, a man apparently immune to trends. Other chaotic systems weave in and out of the narrative: a flock of research sheep Foster and O'Reilly work with; the coffeehouse Foster frequents, which changes its theme, name, and beverages as the fads change; and the library, where Foster eschews trendy books about angels and fairies and checks out classics. Foster negotiates all these systems, which she articulates in terms of trends, while trying to find the answer to her hair-bobbing question. Foster attempts to find a clue in the systems around her that SFRA Review #223, page 61


will give her insight into complex systems in the past that led thousands of women to simultaneously bob their hair. Foster's mundane life crashes into the notion of chaotic systems as trivia suddenly takes on significance. The title comes in part from Foster and O'Reilly's need for a bellwether when they begin research on sheep to reach a conclusion about chaos theory. A bellwether is the leading sheep of a flock, often an old ewe, though the word has been extended metaphorically to mean an indicator of trends. Shirl says, "I think a bellwether's the same as any other sheep, only more so. A little hungrier, a little faster, a little greedier. It wants to get to the feed first, to shelter, to a mate, so it's always out there in front ... Just a little bit [in front], so [the other sheep] don't even know they're being led. And the bellwether doesn't know it's leading." Could the bellwether be the answer to negotiating chaotic systems? Could it force random iterations into order? Foster and O'Reilly add a bellwether to their flock in order to control the chaotic sheep. Flip acts as the bellwether of sullen fashion as she shaves and dyes her hair, dresses more and more outrageously, and applies duct tape to parts of her body. The "i" penned onto her forehead is humorously replicated by trendy waiters and metaphorically by Foster's sheep. For Flip is a bellwether in the sheep sense too: she is at the heart of much random activity at HiTek, where she misfiles, loses, throws away, and misdelivers items and thus hastens trends and events. Flip, in fact, precipitates much of the action in Bellwether by ac celerating the chaotic environment. Flip also turns out to be the answer to Foster's trend analy sis problems and O'Reilly's chaos theory problems -because they are, of course, the same problem. Similarly, HiTek em ployees are like the sheep in the paddock. Both are chaotic, 'lncontrollable systems organized by a bellwether who doesn't know she's a bellwether. Can a woman or an ewe lead while under the impression she is following? Can she guide chaos? Will pineapple upside-down cake ever be a trendy dessert? These questions and their attendant focus on fads and sheep, literalizations of leading and following, lie at the heart of Bellwether, which, though an amusing, short book that fo cuses on mundane, woman-centered life, wrestles with much larger issues indeed. Karen Hellekson SFRA Review #223, page 62


THE SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION The SFRA is the oldest professional organization for the study of science fiction, fantasy, and horror IGothic 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 fan tastic 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, his torical, and bibliographical articles, review articles, reviews, notes, letters, international coverage, and annual index. SFRA Review. Bimonthly magazine; an organ of the SFRA, this maga zine 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 ad dresses, 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 INVITED TO: 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 committees, 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 discus sions. Contribute to the "Support a Scholar" program. SFRA members help needy young scholars here and overseas continue their study of SF IF. [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 tax deductible.] SFRA Review #223, page 63


SFRA MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION Please mail this completed form with your check for dues, payable to SFRA (U.S. dollars only, please) to: Robert]. Ewald, SFRA Treasurer, 552 W. Lincoln St., Findlay OH 45840. Canada Individual 1 $60 $65 ]oint2 $70 $75 Student3 $50 $55 Institution4 $80 $80 Emeritus 5 $30 $35 Overseas $70 $80 $60 $80 $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 SFRA Review and Directory This membership application is for the calendar year 1 996. This information will appear in the 1996 SFRA Directory. Name: ________________________________________ Mailing Address: ________________________________ Home Phone: _____________________ Business Phone : __________________________ Fax number: _________________________________ E-mail Address: My principal interests in fantastic literature are (limit to 30 words): Repeat last year's entry ______ SFRA Review #223, page 64


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