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:
S67-00113-n227-1997-01_02 ( USFLDC DOI )
s67.113 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Issue #227, January/February 1997 IN THIS ISSUE: SFRA INTERNAL AFFAIRS: Election Results ...................................................................... 5 President's Farewell Message (Sanders) .............................. 5 Letters (Westfahl, Samuelson, Gannon) .............................. 7 Editorial (Sisson) ................................................................. 11 SFRA ANNUAL CONFERENCE UPDATE .................... 12 NEWS AND INFORMATION .......................................... 15 FEATURES Special Feature: An Interview with George R.R. Martin (Levy) ................................................................. 19 REVIEWS: Nonfiction: Angulo, Maria-Elena. Magic Realism: Social Context and Discourse. (Yule) .................................................... 33 Badley, Linda. Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic. (Morrison) ....................................................................... 38 Greco, Dianc. Cyborg: Engineering the Body Electric. (Orth) ............................................................... 40 johnson, john. Cheap Tricks and Class Acts: Special Effects, l\Jakeup and Stunts [rom the Fantastic Fifties. (Klossner) jointly rcviewed with Vaz & Duignan volumc .......................................... 44 Larson, Randall D. Music from the House of Hammer: Music in the Hammer Horror Films, 1950-1980. (Klossner) .................................................. 46 Magistrale, Tony & l'vlichacl A. ]\Iorrison (Editors). A Dark Night's Dreaming: Contemporary American Horror Fiction. (Anderson) ......................... 47 Roberts, Robin. Anne McCafTrey: A Critical Companion. (Stoskopf) ................................................. 49 SFRA Review # 22 7, pagc 1


Robillard, Douglas (Editor). American Supernatural Fiction: From Edith Wharton to the Weird Tales Writers. (Terra) ........................................ 50 Vaz, Mark Cotta and Patricia Rose Duignan. Industrial Light & Magic: Into the Digital Realm. (Klossner) Jointly reviewed with Johnson volume ............................................................................. 44 Fiction: Bradbury, Ray. The October Country. (Morrissey) ....... 52 Lovecraft, H.P. The Transition of H.P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness. (Kaveny) .................................. 54 Martin, George R.R. A Game of Thrones. (Baker) .......... 56 Pollack, Rachel. Godmother Night. (Bogstad) ................ 57 Tepper, Sheri S. Gibbon's Decline and Fall. (Hellekson) ...................................................................... 58 Windling, Terri. The Wood Wife. (Lindow) .................... 60 INDEX OF 1996 REVIEWS ............................................ 63 PUBLISHERS' ADDRESSES ............................................ 70 SFRA MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION & APPLICATION ...................................................... 71 .'-,'FRA Rcvicl\' #22 7. page 2


Editor Amy Sisson Assistant Editor Paul Abell SFRA Review (ISSN 1068-395X) is published 6 times per year by the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) and distributed to SFRA members. Individual issues are not for sale. For information about the SFRA, see the description and application at the back of this issue. Please submit reviews, news items, letters, etc. to Amy Sisson, SFRA Review, 304 Fairfax Row, Waterford NY 12188; telephone (518) 237-4669; e-mail "". E-mail or disk submissions are preferred although typed hardcopy is acceptable. E-mail submissions can be included in the body of the e-mail message, or attached as a text-only or ASCII stripped file. Disk submissions must be saved as text-only or ASCII-stripped files. Typeset by Amy Sisson on a Macintosh Performa 6205CD. Cover graphic by Alex Eisenstein. Printed by Century Cre ations, Grand Forks, North Dakota. PRESIDENT Joan Gordon 1 Tulip Lane Commack NY 11725 SEc:RETARY Carolyn Wendell English Dept. Monroe Comm. College Rochester NY 14623 V1C,E PRESIDENT Elizabeth Cummins Dept. of English Univ. of l\lissouri-Rolla Rolla MO 65-+01 TREASURER Michael l\l. Levy Dept. of English llniv. of Wisconsin-Stout l\lenomonie WI 5-+751 It'-It'-IEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Joe Sanders 635-+ Brooks Blvd. t'-Ientor Of-! -+-+060 SFRA Rcvicw#227, page 3


SFRA Review # 22 7. page -1-


TIME TO RENEW If you have not already done so, you will soon be receiving SFRA renewal notices in the mail. Please remember to remit your dues promptly to avoid missed issues of the journals. When you renew on time, you save the SFRA, its officers, and the Review editor both time and money! ELECTION RESULTS Congratulations to the new SFRA officers, who will serve on the Executive Committee for the 1997-98 term: President Joan Gordon; Vice-President Elizabeth Cummins; Treasurer Michael Levy; and Secretary Carolyn Wendell. Thank you to the remainder of the SFRA members who ran in the election: Wendy Bousfield, Adam Frisch, Joe Marchesani, and Milton Wolf. Your willingness to serve the organization is much appreciated. PRESIDENT'S FAREWELL MESSAGE A two-year term of office doesn't seem nearly as long, looking back, as it did right after I was elected president. At the time, I recall wondering what I should be doing. Shouldn't a president be doing something? In fact, most of the things we've accomplished during the last two years have been just commonsense responses to opportunities that came along. For example, I hoped to improve relations between SFRA and IAFA, but I can't take credit for the cordiality that's actually developed. The informal trust that had developed over time between individual SFRA and IAFA members was what made it possible for us to talk about cooperating. In the same way, The New York Review of Science Fiction's proposal that it be included in our already-outstanding publications package caught us by surprise; it took us maybe ten seconds to agree. And so on. I can't claim to have had a vision for SFRA Review #227, page 5


SFRA that I've pursued over the past two years; people Pursu ing a Vision make me nervous. Nevertheless, I'm pleased at most of the changes that have taken place. Perhaps our main strength was that we could respond to opportunities. I've been able to depend on an outstanding executive committee: vice-president Milton Wolf, secretary Joan Gordon, treasurer Bob Ewald, and not-so-elder statesman Dave Mead. It's also been good to count on Amy Sisson producing high-quality printed material. All these people have worked hard, fast, and effectively -at unexpected tasks arriving at unexpected intervals. We've also been extremely lucky in the members who've volunteered to serve on com mittees, host annual conferences, etc. Or perhaps it's not just luck. One of SFRA's perpetual concerns is recruiting new members, and that's justified: With natural attrition, we need to keep finding new people just to maintain our strength. But why can't we grow? Especially in a time saturated with images from sf (or sci-fi, if you prefer), why can't the SFRA attract more people? Remembering the utter failure of Amazing Stories (the magazine) to appeal to the audience of Amazing Stories (the tv series), I suspect it's because there's a fundamental difference between the atti tudes of people who passively consume entertainment and people who're willing to try to savor and analyze the things they enjoy. We're the ones who care. There just don't seem to be very many of us. That's not an especially comforting thought, of course, and \ve should be working to help more people recognize the pleasures of serious appreciation. To that end, we have two new teaching 100ls: one is the reissue (and promised expansion) or Jim Gunn's chronology-based anthology of sf, The Road to .)'cicncc Fiction; the other is Visions of Wonder, Dave Hartwell and ]\Iilton Wolf's huge anthology of current sf. Along with this, ]\Iilton is working on a young-adult text anthology that grew out of discussion at the first executive committee meeting I attended -another example of the kind of opportunity that pops up when caring people get together. SFRA needs to improve its internal communications too so that it's easier to share information and reinforce our commitment. By the time you read this, an on-line list-serve should be set up for members (Note: Be sure we know your e-mail address). Next -our own web page. SFR\ Review #221, page 6


We have plenty to do. Looking at the new executive com mittee, though, I'm sure it will do an excellent job -responding to opportunities, involving anyone who wants to participate, and encouraging commitment from present and potential members. Considering how much I respect this organization and its members, I'm very grateful for the opportunity you've given me to contribute my two years of service. The time has gone fast, and it's been fun. Thanks. -Joe Sanders LETTERS Dear SFRA Members: This is a follow-up message to my conference update, in which I hope to address a few concerns about the 1997 SFRAI Eaton Conference. Let me say first that the messages I have received concerning my conference announcements have been uniformly friendly, and I appreciate all the kind words and good advice. The concerns are being expressed by people who have chosen to communicate to SFRA officials, who have in turn relayed their concerns to me. The issues involved are all the portentous ones: time, space, and money. First, the time of the conference, June 23-26, 1997, is Monday through Thursday, and that was deliberately chosen for two reasons: 1) since I was told this was the time of year when all SFRA members were on vacation, it didn't seem to matter whether the conference occurred during the week or on a weekend; and 2) the weekday times are much better for a conference held on the typically-busy Queen Mary, which especially in June is likely to have a lot of weekend activities scheduled. On Monday through Thursday, I have been told by a Queen Mary representative, we are much more likely to receive the lady's undivided attention, to receive special fa vors, to gain access to additional rooms if necessary, and so on. At the moment, having cleared the dates with SFRA offi cials long ago and having signed contracts, we are more or less locked into these dates. If I receive a lot of feedback from members stating that they cannot attend unless the conference is on a weekend, a probable response would be not to attempt to move the conference but rather to extend the conference, adding some Friday and Saturday activities SFRA Review #227, page 7


for people who couldn't come until later in the week. But this is all very speculative at the moment. I'll simply have to hear from members to determine if this is a problem we need to address. Second, regarding time and space, the themes of the conference: a number of SFRA members, it seems, wish to speak at this conference but do not wish to deal with the conference theme. There are a number of things to say. First, I have always recognized that SFRA conferences are traditionally rather loose in their focus, and I have always realized that this conference would probably end up including some papers and activities that were not tied to the conference themes. So if you approach me with a proposal with no discernible relationship to the conference theme, I will certainly listen to you and may be happy to accept your proposal, as I have already accepted two papers along those lines. How ever, I do want to encourage potential participants to pay attention to the Call for Papers. There is first the fact that this is not solely an SFRA conference, but an SFRA/Eaton Con ference, so that George Slusser will have some say about its contents, and George is strictly interested in papers about "Time" for his Eaton track. So, if you approach George with a proposal, make sure that you are dealing with that topic. There is second of all the fact that some SFRA members have expressed an interest in having their papers published under the Eaton aegis; and when we assemble one or two Eaton volumes out of the papers we receive (depending on their quality), we will only be able to consider for publication those papers that address the conference topic. So, if you have any interest in having your work published, it would also be wise to carefully examine the Call for Papers. Finally, there is one simple thing to say about money: at the moment, I don't have any. The seed money provided by the SFRA went entirely to pay the Queen Mary deposit. I expect to eventually accumulate a reasonable budget through registration fees. However, in order to get some marquee names to put in our conference publicity, I have in a few cases committed the conference to paying for hotel rooms and/or transportation (for those few marquee names oIlly, I might add), and there is also the matter of paying for the conference food. If we get anywhere near the numbers of participants that we arc anticipating, there will be enough money for all these things and some left over; but I cannot be sure at this moment that all that money will materialize. For .<.,nv\ Rc"ic\\" #227, page 8


that reason, at this time, I am not being responsive to requests for financial assistance, even from friends. By next March or April, if things go well, I might be in a more generous mood; but in the meantime, if you would like to attend the conference but worry about paying for it, I would first of all encourage you to investigate alternate suurces uf incume. Second, since George Slusser will command a separate budget for the Eaton track of the program, you may wish to try approaching George -but to have any chance of success there, again, you must be prepared to offer him a paper directly focused on the Eaton track theme of "Time." I isolated these comments in a separate message because publicity for a conference should always be upbeat in tone, and I worried that these comments would not sound particularly upbeat. I still want this to be the best SFRA conference ever, I want everybody to come, and I want to be as accommodating and open to everybody as I possibly can. I just wanted to let you all know that there are reasons why I chose a Monday-Thursday time frame, why I keep plugging the Call for Papers, and why I am not sounding particularly generous in response to requests for money. And, if you want to say anything about the conference to me, I hope you will feel free to communicate with me directly, rather than leaving it to Milton Wolf or Joe Sanders to deliver messages. As they will readily testify, I'm a reasonable person; I only threaten to resign once a week or so! So, I hope to see you next June; let me know what you think or what you're planning to do regarding the 1997 SFRAI Eaton conference; and I'll be sending those of you for whom I have an e-mail address another electronic conference update next month. Sincerely, Gary Westfahl Dear Amy, Congratulations to Chuck Gannon on his Fulbright, but I must rebut his claim to receive the first one to study science fiction. My 1964-65 Fulbright to the Freie UniversiUit in [West] Berlin was awarded to study French and German contributions to and critical study of science fiction. My actual dissertation in Comparative Literature, though it was internaSFRA Review #22 7, page 9


tional, included only Anglophone nations: England and the U.S. (and Sri Lanka, as Clarke's home). My research yielded useful background, however, and later contributions to one of Hal Hall's bibliographical projects. I am not certain even my Fulbright was the first for sf study, but Chuck's is not. It is also rash to infer "academic respect" from either example, recalling an old joke against stereotyping Native Americans: "All Indians walk single file; at least the one I saw did." Sincerely, David N. Samuelson Dear Amy: My thanks to David Samuelson for his clarifications. And in light of them, I would like to reemphasize that I was not claiming to be the first person awarded a Fulbright for the purposes of studying SF. Rather, I believe I said that this was something I had been told "by both SFRAns and members of the Fulbright Commission" -and that, quite to the contrary, I suspected that (at the very least) a few travel grants had been issued for such studies. Consequently, I am doubly indebted to David for his note: In the first place, I am grateful (and encouraged) to learn that contrary to what I was told, the connection between SF scholarship and Fulbright Fellowships is a matter of mUltiple occurrences. Secondly, it also indicates that one (myself, in this case) should be thrice-unwilling to believe even well-meaning "experts": certain Fulbright representatives were quite emphatic in their remarks about the lack of prior SF projects; in fact, the information came to me unbidden and unsought. I would also like to clarify an additional point: I do not believe that any single academic grant -or other positive indicator for the study of SF means that academic resistance to the genre is at an end. At best, if positive academic indicators for SF occur in increasing numbers, then one can reasonably infer a favorable trend -and that, rather than any single hopeful instance, is the source of whatever (possibly ingenuous) optimism I feel regarding the expansion of SF studies in the realm of academia. (Hence, I categorized my grant as simply "another positive reading from the omnibus cultural barometer"). I do, however, feel that when taken collectively, SF's increasing presence in college classrooms and academic conferences is encouraging. Of course, as indicated by various commentaries in the November 1996 isSTRA Rcvic\ \. # 22 I page 10


sue of SFS, there are always reverses, and SF's presence in academia is still but a "drop in the bucket," but as illustrated in that same issue -it seems as though the general trend has been one of growth, both in course catalogues and in critical interest. It may well be that my quick, off-the-cuff missive to the Review should have included these more ex plicit qualifications to my enthusiasm, but I trust that any excesses now stand amply moderated. Allow me to once again encourage any and all individuals interested in SF studies in the UK to explore the resources at Liverpool University and its Foundation Archive. The MA program here is very receptive to visiting lecturers (given a modicum of advance notice) and the Archive Librarian, Andy Sawyer, is extraordinary both for his depth of knowledge and his eagerness to help. Sincerely, Charles E. Gannon EDITORIAL If all goes well in the printing process, the cover of this issue should feature a dynamic new look courtesy of Alex Eisenstein. The graphic was designed for the Clareson award, and the membership will vote on its adoption as the official SFRA logo at the annual conference in Long Beach, Califor nia. In the meantime, I am grateful to Alex for the use of this design for our cover. Comments on the design/cover are welcome, and will be forwarded to the new Executive Com mittee and possibly published in the Review. Speaking of the new Executive Committee, congratulations and welcome to the new officers. I look forward to working with you and meeting with you in January. Finally, a resounding "Happy Holidays" to everyone! I just returned from a lovely Thanksgiving weekend at my parents' home in New Jersey and am in quite the holiday spirit. This issue is going to the printer on December 2, and will be taken to the mailer before Christmas, so as long as the U.S. postal service isn't too exhausted by the holiday rush, you should receive this quite shortly after the beginning of the New Year. Happy reading, Amy SFRA Review #22 7, page 11


The good ship Queen Mary remains on course for a rendezvous with members of the Science Fiction Research Association and friends of the Eaton Collection, on June 23-26, 1997 in the port of Long Beach, California. The guest list remains about the same, although Brian W. Aldiss has informed me that he will be unable to attend, and we have added another Guest Artist, Don Davis. All of the other guests previously listed as tentative have now confirmed that, barring unforeseen circumstances, they will be coming to the conference. Here is the complete guest list as it stands: GWEN ALLEY, Guest Artist, specializing in erotic fantasyart GREGORY BENf-ORD, science fiction author of Timescape and Sailing Bright Eternity DAVID BRIN, science fiction author of Startide Rising and Brightness Reef ]\IICHAEL CASSUTT, science fiction screenwriter, former producer of The Outer Limits KATHRYN CRAMER, science fiction editor. co-editor of The Ascent of Wonder DON DAVIS, space artist and science fiction artist SHEILA FINCH, science fiction author of Inflnity's Web and The Garden of the Shaped JA]\IES GllNN, science fiction author of The Immortals and The Listeners DAVID G. HARTWELL, science fiction editor, author of Age of Wonders ] IOWARD V. I IENDRIX, science fiction author of two nov els scheduled for 1997 publication TI]\I POWERS, fantasy author of The Stress of Her Re gard and The Anubis Gates DAVID PRINGLE, editor of Interzone and St. James Guide to Fa11lasy Writers Kl]\1 STANLEY ROBINSON, science fiction author of Blue Mars and PacifIc Edge JOAN SLONCZEWSKI, science fiction author of A Door into Ocean


All these people have agreed to serve on a panel or two, and we hope that some of them, like David Pringle, Joan Slonczewski, Michael Cassutt, and Howard Hendrix, will present papers as well. There are also a number of noteworthy critics who have expressed an interest in presenting papers, including Donald M. Hassler, Frank McConnell, Joe Sanders, William Senior, and George Slusser. Plans for special events remain sketchy, but we are expecting to have an opening night reception on June 23 and a banquet on June 25 for presentation of the Pilgrim, Pioneer, Clareson, Eaton, and Milford Awards; there will also be films of some kind available for viewing and a possible excursion to see the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature in Riverside, California, the largest catalogued collection of science fiction in the world. I will keep you posted on developments. For the benefit of those who may be planning to de velop proposals, I direct you to the Call for Papers in the "News and Information" section. For the record, we have prepared and printed Calls for Papers and registration forms, which SFRA members should be receiving via snail-mail by the end of this month. Sincerely, Gary Westfahl P.S. Guests wishing to make reservations on the Queen Mary now may call their toll-free number 1-800--+372934. (The number listed in previous announcements was, unfortunately, the fax number. Sorry.) Identify yourself as an SFRA/Eaton guest to qualify for the special discount rate. Registration fees $11 0.00 until fo-Iarch 1, 1997 $120.00 March I-June 16, 1997 $l30.00 at the door (or $40.00 per day) SF]?';\ RevieIV #227, page 13


,';FRA Rcvicw # 2 27, page 14


VISIONS OF WONDER SFRA is proud to note the publication of Visions of Won der, a "new definitive anthology of contemporary speculative fiction endorsed by the Science Fiction Research Asso ciation." The anthology is co-edited by SFRA members David G. Hartwell and Milton T. Wolf and published by Tor. The introduction begins: This is the third anthology is to bear the imprimatur of the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), the international organization of teachers and scholars devoted to science fiction. The first two, in the 1970s and 1980s, each used by a generation of teachers, reflected the current concerns of SF and the SF field in those decades. Now, in the 1990s, a new book is needed, this time mixing fantasy and science fiction and using essays to illuminate the fiction. Visions of Wonder is reviewed by Gary K. Wolfe in the November 1996 issue of Locus, and a review in these pages will also be forthcoming. CALL FOR PAPERS The 1997 Annual Conference of the Science Fiction Research Association and the 1997 ]. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, to be held concurrently at the Queen Mary, Long Beach, California, June 2326, 1997, seek paper proposals related to "Worlds Enough and Time: Exploring the Space-Time Continuum of Science Fiction and Fantasy. SFRA Conference Topic: "Space" To the dismay of many, "science fiction" is often equated with "space fiction." For that reason, fanciful tales like Lucian's True History often figure in histories of science fic tion; one popular symbol for science fiction is a rocketship; and fact-based films like !vlarooned and Apollo 13 are still described as science fiction. This persistent association docs raise immediate questions: why does this connection exist? Should it exist? How might it be sundered? SFRA Review #227, page 15


However. one could also embrace this relationship and see space travel as a central expression of the genre's impulse to acquire knowledge and achieve progress --although the venue of space also enables many writers to critique that impulse, as the vacuum of space and alien planets become new backdrops for analysis of human hubris in the face of the unknown. The very ways that we describe space, as a new ocean or new frontier, demand analysis; even in the Earth-bound fantasies of the New Wave, space travel figures as a metaphor for personal exploration of "inner space," as well expressed in j.G. Ballard's famous statement, "The only alien planet is Earth"; and the now-common description of computer networks as "cyberspace" again suggests that space travel has today become both an everyday activity and a powerful icon, in science fiction and in life. We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspects of this topic, or related topics. Please send papers or proposals by April 1, 1997 to this address (early acceptance available): Gary Westfahl The Learning Center University of California Riverside, California 92521 E-mail: Eaton Conference Topic: "Time" Humans have always been fascinated with time. Heraclitus taught that we could not step into the same river twice, but Brigadoon somehow touches our world once and again. The nineteenth century introduced the possibility of time travel, as ]\Iark Twain took us into the legendary past, and H.G. Wells built a machine to explore the distant future. Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Land That Time Forgot underscores the intimate connections between changes in the nature of time and the production or different worlds, as also suggested by stories or parallel universes. Modern fantasies offer powerful images of time slowing down, moving at different rates, or even submitting to the control or the individual will. Such explorations or time have occurred in fantasy and science fiction literature, fairy tales and myths, film and rock opera. The vicissitudes of time, a motif central to science fiction, create worlds without ends, as in Jorge Luis Borges's "The SFlU\ Reviell' #227, page 16


Garden of Forking Paths", and worlds without beginning, as in Robert A. Heinlein's "All You Zombies". And, as we approach the end of this millennium, we reflect on other moments when time itself seemed about to stop or fundamentally alter the universe; at the end of days, will we confront a Paradise Regained or Pamela Zoline's "The Heat Death of the Universe"? We welcome proposals for 30-minute papers on any aspects of this topic, or related topics. Send papers or proposals by April 1, 1997 to this address (early acceptance avail able): George Slusser, Curator, Eaton Collection Rivera Library University of California Riverside, California 92521 E-mail: SFRA Review #22 7, page 17


5,'FRA Rcvievv' #227, page 18


An Interview with George R.R. Martin by Michael Levy [A version of this interview appeared in the August 26, 1996 issue of Publishers Weekly. This version appears here with the permission of both the author and Publishers Weekly.] Levy: Here's that old chestnut that authors generally hate: where do you get your ideas? To put it another way, some writers start out with an image, some writers start out with a character, or a political point they want to make -where do most of your stories start? Martin: That's hard to say. Everyone of them comes from a different place. Ideas are all around you. I've never had any shortage of ideas. It's just a matter of which ones I can develop into stories, and which ones I can find the time to write. I have more ideas right now than I can use between now and the day of my death. Fevre Dream came out of my time in Dubuque, Iowa, and my fascination with history. A Game of Thrones and the high fantasy grew a little bit out of my love of Tolkien and out of historical fiction that I'd been reading and thinking about. I started writing A Game of Thrones in 1991, then put it aside for a couple of years because of Hollywood commitments, so I don't really remember what the first image or idea was. I'm fascinated by the middle ages and medieval history, knights, sword fighting, that sort of stuff, which has an element of fantasy, but is also a real and fascinating part of our history. I did consider doing a straight historical novel about the middle ages and I do love historical fiction, but historical fiction has one big problem for me and that's that if you read a lot of history, as I do, you always know what's going to happen, and I like to be surprised when I read a book. I like to be surprised when I write a book. I don't want to know what's going to happen; I want the author to take me to an unexpected place and to thrill me and shock me and make me laugh and cry. In fantasy I can get SFRA Review #227, page 19


some of the strengths of historical fiction, but without being bound by the shackles of actual history. Being taken to unexpected places has a great appeal to me. Levy: Various critics have commented on the romantic streak in your work. How do you feel about that? Martin: A large part of that came from growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey, and not going anywhere and having to make things up. I built wonderful dreamcastles in my imagination and had these vi sions of what the world was like and what some of these fabled places were like. That runs all through my fiction, a love of dreams, of the romantic vision, and yet the tension and the pain that are caused as you live your life, you have these experiences that are not quite as you imagined. Someone who loves books too much, or lives too much in the world of imagination is going to have this faint sense of disappointment about what life actually brings them. Levy: Romance, and then dissatisfaction with it -that's a major element in A Game of Thrones. You've got the complex panoply of the King's joust, a classic medieval show, but underneath everything's rotten, people are cheating, it's bankrupting the Treasury. I saw that as a really good example of romance tainted. Martin: And of course Lord Stark's daughter, Sansa, is a hope less romantic. That's already caused her a great deal of pain in the first volume, and I'm afraid it's going to cause her a great deal more in the future volumes of "A Song of Ice and Fire". Levy: Did you have any idea when you started how big a project "A Song of Ice and Fire" was going to be? What are some of the problems involved in writing such a long book and series? I\lartin: Well, it takes years of your life; I don't know when I'll be finished with the entire thing. It is a major undertaking. I wish I had the luxury, which I do not hecause I need to make a living, to write the entire series, and then go back and revise it. As I was writ,";FRA Review #227, page 20


ing the end of the first book, I was adding things. New thoughts were occurring to me, and I'd go back and deal with the book, and I'd feather them foreshadowing, for example. And I'm sure that process will continue, only two days from now I'll be in the middle of book three and some wonderful new idea will occur to me, but I needed to plant it in book one, and unfortunately book one will have been out for some time. There are some writers who are able to avoid that. Gene Wolfe, a writer who I vastly admire, is an example of this. He wrote the first draft of his entire "Torturer" series before he sold it. He did exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. But Gene was working as a magazine editor at the time and had another income besides that from his books. So aesthetically, I do wish I could do that. That's the biggest trial and tribulation. But I think the book is working out pretty well, even without that. So let's hope, knock on wood, that it continues. Levy: Your book has several plotlines. Each chapter is from a different viewpoint character. Do you tend to write chapter by chapter, or do you write several chapters from one person's viewpoint? Martin: The latter. And then I rearrange them for maximum dramatic effect. I gained experience in doing this while working on the "Wild Cards" books. In that series each writer has a separate story and they hopefully add up to a whole that's more than the sum of its parts. The third book of each triad that we sold is what we called a "mosaic novel." The first one, Jokers Wild, had six writers involved, and each one had a viewpoint character. Everyone wrote an outline of what was supposed to happen to their character during a 24-hour time period, and then we did all of the chronological homework and saw where the characters crossed paths. We altered things so that everything would work together and the characters could encounter each other. These were all threads of the mosaic. Then each writer wrote his story and I as editor took them and cut and pasted them, so that when you read the stories you're reading first from the viewpoint of Fortunato, what's happening to him at 7:00 in the morning, and then about Dr. Tachyon and what's happening SFRA Review #22 7, page 21


Levy: to him, and the Turtle, and so on. All of these things weave together so it reads like a multiple viewpoint novel. Each character is written by a different writer, with a different way of looking at things. Those were very popular books and very successful. I don't think anyone else has ever done the sorL uf Lhing that we did with "Wild Cards". It also gave me a lot of experience, so when I came to A Game of Thrones, I used many of those same techniques that I learned in doing the "Wild Cards" mosaic novels. The difference is that instead of having six separate writers, they were all viewpoints of me, but I'm juggling my cast of characters in A Game of Thrones the same way I juggled the various "Wild Cards" characters, and I'm trying to do some of the same kinds of things structurally. In both "Wild Cards" and A Game of Thrones there was a lot of moving chapters around and paying careful attention to the timeframe. There are a couple of places in A Game of Thrones where the reader sees the same event from more than one viewpoint. Martin: Yes. That's something we did in "Wild Cards" too, of course. Two writers whose characters have met and had some interaction each would have a different take on it. Levy: Do you have any tentative completion or publication dates for A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter, the second and third volumes? t'-Iartin: Late summer or early fall of 1997 for the next book, although actually there's now another volume before A Dance with Dragons. What's happening is that I ended A Game of Thrones earlier than I had expected, so some of the stuff that I originally intended for the first book is going to be in a second. A Dance with Dragons may be the third book, with The Winds of Winter the fourth. Levy: Do you have a title for the new second volume yet? t'-lartin: I think it will be called A Clash of Kings, but I'm not completely committed to that yet. .\FRA Review #22 I page 22


Levy: What about other writing? You said that you have a couple of other science fiction novels started. Martin: I started a science fiction novel just about the same time I started A Game of Thrones back in 1991, and I wrote 30-40 pages of it. Then I gut the idea for the fantasy and somehow got lured away, and wrote 50-60 pages of that, and then suddenly I sold Doorways. Of course in Hollywood everything is very urgent so I had to put everything else aside and write the Doorways script, and I spent a year producing that. I also have 200 pages of a novel that I wrote back in 1985 called Black and White and Red All Over, a historical horror novel about 1890s New York City and three journalists trying to track down Jack the Ripper, who has come to New York City and is committing serial murders. We tried to sell it in 1985, but no one was interested. So, every time I look at The Alienist on the bestseller list I remember all of these editors who said that no one would be interested in a period mystery-horror novel. I still have to complete that some day. And I have ideas for other science fiction novels too. As I said, I don't really know what I'll do next, but I have plenty of projects begun or ideas for projects. When I get to them, when "A Song of Ice and Fire" is finally completed, I think that it's just going to be a matter of what takes possession of me and what I'm dreaming about at night and when I wake up in the morning. Levy: Any short fiction? Martin: None in the works right now, but if I had a spare moment, there are stories that I'd love to write. It's just a question of there only being so much time and energy. Levy: A lot of people are writing long genre fantasies these days -Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, etc. How familiar are you with these writers and their work? Martin: I've read a substantial amount, yes. I wanted to see what some of the other people were doing so that I could do something different, see what they were SFRA Review #227, page 23


doing well, see what they were doing badly. So I made a conscious effort to read a fair amount. And of course I know Tolkien himself very well. To my mind he still stands head and shoulders above everyone else who has attempted the genre since. Levy: After Tolkien, is there anyone else who stands out for you? Martin: Of the people writing currently, I like Tad Williams The Dragonbone Chair was very accomplished -and I'm very taken by Robin Hobb, whose "Assas sin" series is nicely done. But there are a lot of people who are doing good work. Levy: How do you think that your work, A Game of Thrones, is different? Martin: Well, in a whole lot of ways, some of them pretty minor, some of them major. Tolkien had a great influence on me, but the other influence on "A Song of Ice and Fire" was historical fiction, which I don't think is really true for a lot of the other fantasies that are coming out. A lot of my book has the feel of historical fiction less than it has the feel of fan tasy. One aspect of that is the whole question of the use of magic, which I agonized over considerably. Levy: There's very little of it in A Game of Thrones. Martin: And there's really very little of it in Tolkien if you actually take a look at it. Magic was something that kept tripping me up as I read a lot of these other fantasies. There are various ways of handling it, and I think in the worst of the fantasies, magic is like Marvel heroes' super powers. People are flying about and throwing lightning bolts and they have all these magical wings, and swords and codpieces (laughter). They're just guys with super powers. In somewhat more intelligent books, magic is treated in an almost science fictional manner, as a form of psionic power. John W. Campbell would be com fortable with that sort of thing, I think. He once did Unknown, which was a magazine where magic was treated almost as if it were just unknown science. SFIV\ /{cvic\\' #227, page 2-1-


And some notable and fine works have taken that approach, for example L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt with their "Incomplete Enchanter" series. But to my mind, if magic is subject to laws like this then it loses its wonder, and if magic is too common, it's not very interesting. There's a vast sense of mystery in Tolkien. We don't know exactly what Sauron's powers are, except that they're vast and they're terrible. When Frodo puts on the ring and suddenly Sauron senses him, it's never made explicit why he should be frightened of this, what Sauron can do to him. He's thousands of miles away. In fact Sauron is kept off stage, which I think is very good because in a lot of other fantasy novels, the villain, the dark lord, comes on stage and it's disappointing. Your imagination makes Sauron so much more vast and malignant and terrible than the various dark lords of other fantasies that come on stage. Gandalf uses very little magic -he does fireworks, okay, but when there's a battle he mostly fights with a sword; occasionally he makes his staff flame, like on the bridge with the balrog. Much of his magic is simply wisdom. All of this had an influence on me; I thought about it and I said, I want to keep a sense of mystery and transcendence to the use of magic in my book. I don't want it to be a common kind of thing where you go to magic college, like you're going to barber college, and you learn how to do magic and, gee, it's a simple thing, putting in four ingredients and whipping them together, or putting on a magic ring and now you can shoot bolts of light ning. That seems to trivialize it. It has to be something vast and unknowable and that's what I was groping toward. The readers will have to decide whether I succeeded, but I think that by using magic sparingly and keeping a certain air of mystery about it, that's ultimately more magical than if you just use it as the equivalent of Superman's x-ray vision. Levy: And sometimes it isn't entirely clear whether something is magical or not. Martin: There's a certain ambiguity to it. When a strange thing happens, was it magical or wasn't it? Think about Gandalf's fireworks, though. You can read The Lord of the Rings as many times as you want SFRA Reviclv#227, page 25


and you'll never know whether Gandalf did those fireworks magically or whether he just had a load of Roman candles and firecrackers that he lit off. Tolkien doesn't tell you. There will be more of what is clearly magic in the later books, but I hope to avoid trivializing it. I want to keep the sense of awe and unknowability about it, even on the part of the one character who is eventually going to be a magician. Levy: Several things stood out for me as I read A Game of Thrones. One was the lack of magic. Another was the beauty of the language. You've referred to your kind of writing as writing which allows the reader to just fall through the words into the story, but I tend to think of you as someone who writes beautiful lan guage, language with a lot of color and metaphor and not the kind of transparent language that Isaac Asimov talked about. Perhaps you're, say, somewhere half way between Asimov and Gene Wolfe? Martin: I think it's a fine line that every writer has to walk, and every reader has to walk it too. In books I read, I want to fall through into the story and in books I write, I want the reader to be able to do that too, but I think that beautiful language helps you to do that. With clumsy or stiff language, I can't get through to the story -my mind is noticing that this is an awkward sentence or I think, what does the "he" refer to? I think you have to polish a work so that the reader can fall through the language. F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was an influence, is to my mind one of the most beautiful writers in the English language and yet you fall through into his story: I'm standing on that dock with Gatsby, I can see that green light and feel the water lapping at the piers of the dock. I don't remember the exact words he used to describe it, but whatever those words were, they were evocative enough to make me see that light and experience that scene full of sensory impressions, and that's certainly what I try to do with my own prose. Levy: I was also impressed by what you did with the char acters. It's an enormous cast; you must have thirty major characters in this volume alone. i'-Iartin: Yes, there are a lot of them. Eight viewpoint characters. SFRA Review #22 I page 26


Levy: But they're all different. Each character is carefully differentiated from the others. Stark's children are all individuals, for example. How do you keep so many characters straight? Martin: I don't have any answer to that (laughter). They're all very different people in my head. As I switch from one to another, I change voices. But I think it's important to keep them different; I work very hard at that. Most large fantasy novels need large casts of characters, but it's a failure if you can't tell the characters apart, the sort of thing where you're al ways having to flip back to the appendix and say ing, okay, who was this one now? Oh, now I see. I do provide appendices just in case my handling of the characters doesn't work for someone, but hopefully those appendices aren't strictly necessary. Levy: Even with the secondary characters, you managed to give them a little bit of real life, a few specific touches. There are very few people in the book of any importance at all who are just spear carriers. Even some of the servants who get killed, there's been just enough about them so that you care. Martin: That's important to me. Every character is the hero of his own story. The spear carrier thinks that the story is the adventures of the spear carrier and how he happened to meet the king that day. None of us ever quite expects the role of a bit player. Good fiction needs to be cognizant of that. Every time you write one of these functionary or lesser characters, you should really step back and think, how is he looking at these events? Is he frightened? What sort of person is he? Those little touches that you talk about do matter. Death is very common in fiction and it's very common in life too, of course, but in life death has a lot of impact, it's accompanied by grief, and sometimes in fiction we make too little of it. Every death should have an emotional impact of one sort or another. Levy: Also, not only do their lives matter to the secondary characters, but there are very few people who think of themselves as evil. It's pretty clear who the villains are in A Game of Thrones, obviously, but they're well done and complex. SFRA Review #227, page 27


Martin: It might not be as clear as you think (laughter). I like to surprise the readers and take them in unex pected directions. And that's one of my problems with a lot of the fantasy being done. So much of the contemporary fantasy that we read is just the battle between good and evil, or dark and light, or shadow and day, or whatever. And that's a fictional con vention that to my mind doesn't juxtapose at all with the life we lead. I'm sure most of us think of our selves as good people who would love to fight evil, but finding evil, recognizing evil, is really the hard part, as well as having the courage to fight it. Vil lains don't think of themselves as villains. They see themselves as the hero of the other side, as some one said once. I think that an examination of what is good and what is evil is to my mind far more in teresting than just taking valiant white and evil black and setting them to fighting each other with swords. And I deliberately play with some of that in A Game of Thrones. Levy: Let's talk about Lord Stark. At first he appears to be a classic hero, the Heinlein-style competent man; he's the guy who knows how to do things, but eventually he screws up. He underestimates the enemy. Your heroes make mistakes too. Martin: Yes, they do. Stark is a character who is very con cerned about his honor. He's a good man and an honorable man, but in some ways that is a draw back. He's in his element when he's in his own land, the North, where he rules as almost a king without a crown. I-Ie's not in his element in the pit of political intrigue and infighting and the complex network of alliances and betrayals that's going on at King's Land ing. But history is full of people like that, honor able men who wanted to do right, but weren't quite up to it. That doesn't necessarily mean they were stupid; sometimes the very virtues that we admire in men make them less able to be politically astute. Levy: That makes me think of Jimmy Carter. l\lartin: Yes. I've been reading a lot of history lately. King John II of France, John the Good, was like that. Then about a century later, you have Louis XI, Louis the .)TRA Review #22 I. page 28


Spider. Louis the Spider was a lying, conniving son of a bitch, but he was one of the greatest kings France ever had. He made the country prosperous and defeated the English. John the Good, though, was in love with chivalry and knighthood, and he was honorable to a fault, and he led his country to a tremendous disaster that almost ended France as a nation. After he was captured in battle they had to give away an enormous ransom and half the territory of France to the English to get his freedom. Then when he was freed and the ransom couldn't be paid, he went back to captivity and died there because he was so honorable. But he was a disaster as a king, an honorable, noble disaster. Whereas Louis the Spider was a great king. Levy: Did you have any actual historical figures in mind when you were "casting" A Game of Thrones? Martin: I'd read a lot of history, but there's no one-to-one correspondence. I took bits and pieces and rearranged them. Even in the best of histories we don't really get a full sense of who these people were; we get glimpses of their shadows cast on the screen of history. We see their public actions and occasionally read a letter they wrote. But we don't really know what they said on a particular occasion, what they were like, what drove them. I'm fortunate enough to be able to go inside the characters. That gives me an advantage in explaining things, but at the same time obliges me to make them consistent, whereas with real historical characters, they're full of contradictions. Henry V, the great hero king of England, was noble, bold, all of this stuff, and yet he murdered thousands of captured prisoners. Levy: You described A Game of Thrones somewhere as "historical fiction about an imaginary history." How much historical background is there? Do you have a bible? Is there a set of notes? Martin: I have lots of notes. I published some of them as the Appendix to the book, the histories of each of the great houses, but I have a lot more material about them. There's a lot of it still in my head, that's not down on paper. As long as it's in my head, of course, SFRA Review #227, page 29


I can change it as new ideas come to me, so I like to keep it in my head as long as possible. In subsequent volumes, there will be more appendices though. That again is something I really admired about Tolkien, the appendices, the whole sense of history that he lays out Lhere in The Lord of the Rings. You really do feel that the story you're being told is only part of a greater whole. There's this whole sense of vast age and great kings and leaders and conquerors who have gone before. That's the sort of richness I want to provide in my own book here. Levy: How about the maps? Were they an afterthought? They weren't in the bound galley. Martin: Oh no. I began with the maps. Almost the first thing I did was draw up a list of a few of the more important families. I didn't have the whole thing at the beginning, but I had the Starks and the Lannisters and the Baratheons. Then I drew up the maps and started adding details. They keep getting more and more rich. In fantasy, I know people sometimes criti cize having maps, maybe because it seems like a slavish imitation of Tolkien, but particularly in a book about war in a medieval or quasi-medieval setting, the terrain and the geography are pretty important. They can frequently determine who are friends and who are enemies, and how long it takes to get from point A to point B, and a lot of other things like that. The setting is very important in fantasy in a way I don't think it is to science fiction. When we think of fantasy, we think of places. In Tolkien, you think of the Shire and Minas Tirith, and Mordor, and each of those evokes very strong images. I think setting is an important part of fiction for me; it's one that's often overlooked. I don't like books that are thinly imagined. I don't care if a story's set in an imaginary kingdom that's very romantic and colorful, full of castles and giant trees and waterfalls, or if it's set in Bayonne, New Jersey -I want to see it, wherever it is. Bayonne is full of sights and sounds and feel ings too. You need that vivid sensory input to succeed at what you're doing. Levy: One of the things you do is that you make each lo cale very individual. At the Eyrie, for example, the ,<.,TRA Revie\\' #22 I, page 30


entire description of the trip up the cliff face, and then the prison cells on the cliff that are open to the air. .. that's such a wonderful idea. And the Wall is actually made of ice and 700 feet tall. You do a lot of that. And then there's the preternatural event that threw the seasons out of balance -we're never told what that is. Is that going to come up in later books? Martin: Yes, there will be an explanation of that in the later books. I've always been fascinated by the whole notion of seasons out of balance. You can see precursors of it in some of my science fiction stories of ten and fifteen years ago, which are set on planets with long seasons, long winters and long summers. There are powerful resonances that come with words like "winter" and "fall" particularly. In a world like this -I mean, the Stark motto is "Winter is coming" -if you think about it in terms of what it means to the book, it's very powerful. Winter is not going to last three months. It might last three years or thirty years. That has huge implications obviously for everyone who lives in the seven kingdoms. Levy: Are we going to see enough of the years to come in the series to see the implications? Martin: I certainly hope so. I've read a lot about Antarctic exploration and Scott and all that. These elements will come into play in later books as the seasons change. Levy: Any final comments? Martin: There's a vast audience out there for high fantasy, ever since Tolkien and all of the writers who have come along who worked those same fields, Eddings and Feist and Tad Williams and Robert Jordan, and I hope that the readers of those writers will enjoy my efforts as well, will like "A Song of Ice and fire", but I also hope that people who don't normally read fantasy will come to this book and find things in it that they respond to. That was certainly my intent, to write a high fantasy that would be enjoyed even by people who hate high fantasy. I hope readers will appreciate some of the things we've talked about SFRA Review #22 7, page 31


here, my handling of magic, the strong attention to language and characterization, the effort to make the book less predictable. I think that a lot of contemporary high fantasy falls down because it is too predictable. It's a journey we've taken before. I want to provide a journey we haven't taken before, take the readers to new places, show them things they haven't seen before, things that they will remember for the rest of their lives. I think fiction is at its most powerful when it functions as vicarious experience. I look back on my own past and I can't remember some of the things I did in high school, but I remember some of the books I read in high school, the places that they took me, imaginary places. I remember Gondor better than Jersey City. That's what I'd love to do in this too, take people to a place that they haven't been before, but where they'll be glad to have gone ';FH.A Review #221, page 32


Angulo, Maria-Elena. JvJagic Realism: Social Context and Discourse. New York: Garland Publishing, 1995, 124 pages, hardcover, ISBN 0-8153-1183-4. Magic Realism: Social Context and Discourse offers a brief but well researched and sometimes insightful introduction to magic realism. After opening with a historical overview of magic realism and its critical reception, Angulo treats two central magic realist texts Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Gen anos de soledad (1967, tr. One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1970) and Alejo Carpentier's El reino de este mundo (1949, tr. The Kingdom of this World, 1957) -before turning her attention to three less well known Ecuadorian novels. Although Angulo limits herself to one country's fiction in the second half of her study, in keeping with the broad historical perspective she establishes early on, she selects texts from different eras. One chapter is devoted to Jose de la Cuadra's Los Sangurimas (1934), a very early work in the magic realist vein, and another to two novels from the 1970s: Demetrio Aguilera Malta's Siete lunas y siete scrpientes (1970, tr. Seven Serpents and Seven Moons, 1979) and Alicia Yanez Cossio's Bruna, soroche y los tios (1973). For scholars whose first language is English, one of the book's strengths is that it draws on a host of Spanish-language criticism, bringing to the author's analysis a multinational perspective too often absent from American criticism. Unfortunately, although Angulo's prose is in English and she occasionally translates single words from Spanish, passages drawn from Spanish sources appear untranslated. For some, this will pose problems. Given the study's value as an introductory text, it would be of interest to many scholars not specializing in Latin American fiction. Translations would have been helpful to many and would not have made this slim volume appreciably thicker. Still, the absence of English translations in the text mirrors the unfortunate reality of English-language publishing. Only three of the novels Angulo discusses have been translated into English, and only translations of Carpentier's and Garcia-fvlarquez's novels remain in print. Regrettably, as much as the other works Angulo discusses might deserve an English-language audience and regardless of how much they might offer college-level fiction SFRA Review #227, page 33


classes, translations are unavailable. Nonetheless, Angulo is to be commended for bringing them to our -and perhaps some English-language publishers' -attention. But that is certainly the least of her achievements here. Most significantly, Angulo makes good on her title's promise to place the fiction she discusses in its sociohistorical context, a task that she accomplishes exceptionally well. Her exploration of Voodoo's place in Carpentier's E1 rein a de este mundo (pp. 22-33) treats the novel's supernatural context as successfully as her analysis of the banana massacre in Garcia Marquez's Cien anos de soledad (pp. 40-47) addresses that novel's historical context. Angulo uses the same care in analyzing her other selections, illustrating briefly but with precision how magic realist fiction draws on the supernatural, historical, and political conditions of Latin American cultures to depict the region's reality -or, in some cases, realities, since some characters in these works conceive of reality differently than others, particularly in regard to supernatural matters. That consideration notwithstanding, Angulo recog nizes that magic realism's strangeness derives from more than the juxtaposition of familiar and unfamiliar supernatural belief systems. In addition, magic realism involves the extraordinary, events that, though odd, do not involve magic. Thus, when magic realist characters behave out of the ordinary living exceptionally long lives or fathering remark able numbers of children, for instance -they bring a strangeness to these narratives that derives from hyperbole rather than the supernormal. In recognition of this consideration, Angulo opts to use the term marvelous realism (10 real maraviJIoso) to describe these fictions in preference to magic realism (rcalismo magico). Whik the specifics of the distinction between the two terms might concern only those with a specialized interest in the subject, Angulo's emphasis proves useful in illustrating how magic realism's tendency to embrace both the supernatural and the extraordinary has important implications for our understanding of the non-supernatural, non-extraordinary aspects of Latin American life. Angulo returns to this basic point repeatedly and frUitfully. She explores how popular Christian and non-Christian supernatural folklore functions alongside the Latin American social traditions of violence and machismo in Los Sangurimas to offer a feminist critique of that society. Similarly, Angulo's analysis of Aguilera Malta's and Yanez Cossio's novels makes clear how the fusion of the


supernatural and the historical in magic realism "elucidate[s] social problems of race, class and gender" (p. 75). While such recurring figures in magic realist fiction as the devil or the magician-sorcerer might readily attract readers' attention, they are neither as common nor as central to these novels as characters of earthly origin such as members of the family clan or, more particularly, the patriarch. Nor do the supernatural features of these fictive landscapes overshadow the importance of outside but still worldly influences, from transnational corporations to distant central governments. By the conclusion of her study, Angulo's attention to sociohistorical context and the manner in which it manifests itself in magic realism goes beyond offering important background to commenting on magic realism's intertextuality (pp. 106-107). But while Angulo is an exceptionally good at contextualizing the works she discusses, other aspects of her study are slightly less successful. Angulo's close attention to the history of her terms, although not particularly important to her treatments of the novels, is not without interest. Still, in a study as brief as this one Angulo can pay only limited attention to a limited number of texts. While it would be unfair to criticize a brief study for its brevity, Magic Realism: Social Context and Discourse might have benefited from a decision to move more quickly from background, history, and definition of terms to an actual discussion of primary texts. To a considerable extent, the opening chapter reads more like a requirement met than a chapter effectively rendered. Here most notably but elsewhere as well, the study's format -and sometimes even its prose -resemble that of a dissertation, where the author is expected to demonstrate an awareness and command of ex isting scholarship. That minor rhetorical consideration not Withstanding, Angulo's early attention to factual detail borders on the excessive, sometimes detrimentally so as when facts appear to have been offered as important in and of themselves rather than important in connection with Angulo's broader purpose in writing the study. While an author might know many facts about magic realism, it serves no good purpose to include all or even most of them in one brief study. Despite Angulo's assertion to the contrary, for instance, although Franz Roh's coining of the term "magic realism" in reference to German post impressionism is not without interest in and of itself, neither is it crucially important to an appreciation of either magic realism in general or the works discussed here (p. 3). Moreover, Angulo's brief early men-SFRA Review #22 /, page 35


tion of Roh raises the possibility that magic realism may not be the essentially Latin American fictional form that Angulo suggests. Indeed, if magic realism's roots can be traced to 1920s Germany, one might reasonably wonder how the fiction under discussion in this volume might or might not dif fer from analogous works written in response to sociohistorical conditions in non-Latin American colonial locales. If, as Angulo so effectively asserts, magic realism deals with specific authorial responses to attempts by one people, class, or gender to force foreign socioeconomic conditions or ontological perspectives upon another, magic realism might better be understood not only in relation to Latin America but also in relation to other regions and their parallel literary traditions. Such well known novels as Chinua Achebe's Things fall Apart (1958) or Ben Okri's more recent The Famished Road (1991), for instance, certainly suggest a very likely par allel tradition in a different, former colonial locale: Africa. At times, Angulo also wrestles with terminology and fails to fully recognize the implications of her own statements. Angulo's use of such terms as fantasy, the supernatural, myth, and surrealism, as well as her treatment of these concepts in her arguments, occasionally falls short, suggesting either that her understanding of some of the key ontological issues underpinning magic realism remains incomplete or that her prose incompletely reflects her understanding. In Angulo's defense, while this occasional unsteadiness regarding ontological matters and their related terminology is certainly not a strength, it is not entirely a weakness either. In discussing varying conceptions of reality as studies of magic realism must, it is often a good sign when critics run into some trouble. rritics who use terminology or advance arguments carelessly risk ortllandedly dismissing other people's world views, a lundamental error in light of the fact that such dismissals helped make colonialism possible in the first place. If critics take so much care in contextualizing other people's beliefs within the framework of contemporary critical terminology that they end up finding the terminology is not entirely up to the task, they have at least avoided more serious pitfalls. After all, the alternative might be that they would have been too quick to describe and dismiss other societies' beliefs as superstitions. Nonetheless, one of the central features of magic realist fiction is the encounter between different ontologies, and when critics fail not only to recognize but to take fully into RevielV#227, page 36


account the significance of that fact, their arguments invariably suffer. Fortunately, while Angulo's recognition of the theoretical subtleties of this juxtaposition of ontologies has noticeable shortcomings, they are more subtle than serious. Consider one of her comments about Siete lunas y siete serpientes: "Since the natural and the supernatural are intrinsically interwoven in the fictitious world ... there is no hierarchy of reality" (p. 78). That is, Angulo recognizes that readers will accept that the novel's reality can be understood as representing a self-consistent ontology independent of the real world. While such a statement is certainly accurate as far as it goes, it fails to go nearly as far as it should. Angulo ignores the fact that hierarchies of reality are very much a feature of readers' responses to magic realism. In matters of morality, ethics, and beliefs about the supernatural (including religion), people accept as true very different observations about and conceptions of reality. Bibli cal creationists and evolutionary biologists, for instance, routinely differ on such matters, as do members of Western and non-Western societies. Within a specific community or fam ily unit, reality is generally taken as a given -but when readers consider other constructions of reality they necessarily begin to construct hierarchies. Usually those hierarchies place unfamiliar ontologies far lower than familiar ones. Magic realism poses readers with very basic questions that arise from just this consideration. How can readers give alien ontologies their just due while still subscribing to their own conceptions of reality? To what extent are critics free to ignore the fact that even though no hierarchy of realities might exist in a novel, readers will almost certainly construct hierarchies when they compare the ontologies they encounter in these fictions with their personal ontologies? To what extent can one group's beliefs about the supernatural function in fiction without those beliefs being trivialized? Angulo's oth en'\lise good study would have benefited had she addressed such questions more directly. As she recognizes more than once, to thoroughly contextualize a work of fiction the critic needs to take reader response into account. This she has not always done. This oversight, though, does not take avvay too much from the overall success of the book. While Angulo's greatest strengths relate to her brief. effec tive contextualizations of the works she discusses, the study's occasional shortcomings neither counterbalance its strengths nor seriously detract from its overall usefulness. It might be SFRA RevielV#227, page 37


that Angulo's only serious mistake was to limit herself to so brief a format. Just as literary scholars would benefit if Magic Realism: Social Context and Discourse prompted American publishers to offer more translations of magic realist fiction, they would also benefit if Angulo took the opportunity to more fully develop and articulate her analyses, ideas, and arguments. Nonetheless, what Angulo offers here is a very good start. -Jeffrey V. Yule Badley, Linda. Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, November 1995, 208 pages, hardcover, $55.00, ISBN 0-313-27523-8. In this important but frustratingly flawed book, Linda Badley explores a fundamental shift in recent cinematic horror from supernatural metaphors of suppressed sexuality to natural and surreal images of corporeal fear anxieties about identity and gender that center explicitly on and in the physical body. She contextualizes this shift in the focus of cinematic horror as both symptomatic of and contributing to a larger cultural transformation from models of the self based on Freudian psychoanalysis to explicitly post-Freudian models incarnated in the body. Accompanying this relocalization of self in the body is a deep-seated alienation from the body arising from its commodification by modern market forces and appropriation by medical technology. The acutely self-referential modern horror film articulates this alienation and the attendant confusion and contlict as it devises a language and an iconography for the self under siege. It is not surprising, then, that as a cultural force in the '80s and '90s, the primarily intellectual, print-based tale of terror has all but completely given way to the preliterate, primarily somatic cinematic horror show. In its most extreme incarnation, the slasher sub-genre, all the traditional elements and conventions of storytelling are subordinate to transgressive images of the body in extremis. Badley explores several of these films in chapters organized around corporeal incarnations of the ghost, modern renderings of the frankenstein myth of self-creation and doubling, and re-genderings of the traditional male cinematic gaze. In each chapter she notes a large number of films and discusses .'>TIn Rcvic\I' #221, page 38


a few in detail. To these discussions she brings an armament of sophisticated machinery drawn from cultural criticism, psychoanalytic and feminist film theory, and (especially) gender studies. Many of these readings are remarkably acute e.g., her use of Sartre's theory of the modern fantastic as discourse to show how Tim Burton reconfigures the traditional icon of the ghost into the absurd postmodern "surrealist" Betelgeuse in his 1988 film Beetlejuice. No less impressive is her demonstration of the way zombie films, serial killer movies, and medical horror narratives reconfigure the Frankenstein myth by projecting an objectification of the body into a context of intense alienation. Elsewhere she applies feminist theory -notably Ellen Moer's "Female Gothic" to Brian De Palma's Body Double (1984), David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986), Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves (1984), and Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs (1991), illustrating the radical challenges these films mount to patriarchal cinematic conventions. Following the revisionist views proffered by Carol Clover in Men, Women, and Chain Saws (Princeton University Press, 1992), a book whose influence permeates this one, Badley argues that these directors use "the discourse of feminism" to self-consciously undermine or even subvert traditional cinematic satisfaction. In extreme cases, they overly implicate audiences in the moral corruption their films portray, generating intense gender anxiety. No director has more emphatically or viscerally carried out this agenda than David Cronenberg, and, not surprisingly, Badley devotes a chapter to this King of Venereal Horror. Following disappointingly cursory comments on Videodrome, she uses The Fly (1986) and Dead Ringers (1988) to argue the case for Cronen berg as a radical feminist director. Both films deny audiences conventional visual pleasures in order to reposition and re-gender the male subject as female Other. Both, therefore, postulate an explicitly female gaze focused on characteristically' 80s male hysteria. If all of Film, Horror, and the Body Famasticwere as strong as these discussions, it would deserve an unqualified recommendation (even at Greenwood's typically inflated price). Unfortunately, Badley frequently lapses into grandiloquent academese that obscures or obliterates her meaning. Thus, in the middle of an interesting discussion of body images in postmodern horror films, we find, "David Cronenberg's concept of the 'video Word made Flesh' in his 1982 film Videodrome owes much to Foucalt's Panopticon in Discipline S'FRA Rcvic\\' #22 I, page 39


and Punish and corresponds with Jean Baudrillard's vision in 'The Ecstasy of Communication' (1983) of the human subject as schizophrenic and medium." A few pages later, discussing the fantastic as a language, Badley writes, "Thus the fantastic continually de mystifies and remythologizes. Kristevan abjection is Sartrean nausea presented in a context of Lacanian psycholinguistics and deconstruction." The problem with such passages is not their extensive referentiality or that they must be read slowly and repeatedly; the problem is that under scrutiny they often dissolve into mere words. This devolution of prose into name-dropping jargon-laden reference occurs over and over, derailing some of Badley's most interesting discussions. The net effect is maddening: we re-read and re-read, seeking meaning but finding only argot. I wish Badley had given this book, so rich with potential, a ruthless rewrite. I wish she had expunged all this clatter and clutter so as to allow her ideas to shine forth clearly and coherently. Perhaps her promised sequel, an analysis of horror in print, will realize the potential of this fascinating but flawed book. Michael A. Morrison Greco, Diane. Cyborg: Engineering the Body Electric. Watertown, Massachusetts: Eastgate Systems, 1995, hypertext disk, $19.95, ISBN 1-88451-23-6. This review will not be long. Cyborg was an interesting work to revie\v, but not one I want to keep thinking about. As I worked with it I kept asking myself if what I was reading meant anything, and my answer was always "no." But there was a nagging doubt: Maybe it's me. I'm too old. I'm too dumh. I'm too male. This bright, sophisticated, technically adept young writer might have a great new idea about SF, and I'm just not getting it. However, after I moused around more in the hyper-text and thought about what I found, nothing changed my first impressions. Still, I'll be interested to see if anyone disagrees it would be appropriate to have varied strands of interest for a hypertext document. The outside of the folder holding the 3.5 floppy disk is handsome and dignified, with a picture of Greco, an optimistic but reasonable blurb for the text, and several friendly invitations to call the publisher in case of technical difficul ties in running the hypertext. The invitations were not necSFRA Rcvicw # 22 7, page 40


essary; Cyborg installed itself easily under my W95 system. I do not like programs which install on my hard disk without permission, but at least it was easy, and I was able to jump right into the writing spaces. Cyborg was created with a hypertext writing environment called Storyspace, and in Greco's case, the resulting program has 576 "writing spaces" (phrases, sentences, paragraphs) and 1,286 links between them. The publisher, Eastgate Systems, advertises other works too, both fiction and criticism. For example, they offer Socrates in the Labyrinth, The Dickens Web, and The EJection of 1912 as academic works; several fiction and poetry collections; and Perseus, a giant grab-bag database of classi cal materials. Eastgate's favorite blurb words seem to be "nonlinear" and "broad-ranging," terms which fit Greco's text well enough. The blurb, however, proved deceptive. This is litcrit for the sound-byte generation: trendy, electronic, disjointed, and trivial. Ms. Greco is now a doctoral candidate in MIT's program in Science, Technology, and Society. Cyborg originated as a senior thesis at Brown University in 1992 and as far as I could tell, nothing in her thinking or resources has been updated since then. Almost all the books she acknowledges were published before 1992, most of them in the middle '80s. She seems to favor quotations from Donna Haraway's Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (1991) above any other source, although she also likes Norman Brown and Thomas Pyncheon. Has nothing happened in cyborg research since then? Greco resists stating anything as droit as a thesis. Thesis statements and arguments to support them are masculinist and linear and worse. We are invited instead to browse around in the text boxes and draw our own conclusions. Still, the tone makes her cultural criticism clear even without substance to argue it. The fragments of text could well be background to the new film version of The Island of Doctor Moreau, which John Frankenheimer directed for New Line Cinema in 1996. As the Sayer of the Law character tells humans at the end, "No. No more scientists. No more laboratories. No more experiments. I thought you would be able to understand that. We have to be what we are." Greco has imagined a future, and she does not like it. SFRA RcviclV #227, page 41


What does Greco say she is on about? According to the "why this project" text space: This hypertext examines representations of the body in cyberpunk science fiction, in order to explore how fictional appropriations :md reworkings of technology destabilize traditional notions of gender and identity. By illuminating the contingency of these categories, cyberpunk sf suggests that that which is taken for granted as static and unchanging might conceivably be otherwise. Perhaps this means that writers use technical ideas to create new characters and, in cyberpunk especially, to portray mannish women, and therefore our ideas about who we are and how our sex should act can change. I agree. But now what? Perhaps Greco's prose is vatic rather than merely vacuous, but my eyes were not opened to see any light cast by this or any other passages I found in Cyborg. Essentially, absent the technological jargon, this project is a bunch of random paragraphs of vaguely feminist lit crit connected together by lots and lots of strings. I think it was written for a lark: epater Je bourgeois, that's always jolly fun for the young at heart. Greco and some of her friends sat down one day in the dorm at Brown University and thought what fun it would be to write a bunch of stuff in all the little boxes Storyspace creates, and then open all the random connections they could think of. After that, the only problem was selling the results to academic types as an exciting new thesis, and eventually to publishers as a marketable commodity. Alas, she succeeded in both endeavors. So possibly this text is failed parody? If so, Greco's thesis advisor should be dismissed, because the author does not exaggerate her mockery of pseudo-scholarship enough to get through to dull aca demic" of the sort who write such drivel seriously. In all the boxes I read her sentences are as clotted and cliched as her ideas are fragmentary and cloudy. Why do I say such mean things about Cyborgs prose? You decide. Here's a representative passage: Constituting the cyborg body means writing it. But the cyborg body has already been written or inscribed in a very special way: not only do technological devices mark the cyborg, but they constitute her identity as the interpenetration of organism and machine, fantasy creator and the created fantasy, inscribed writer and her own text. If technol ogy is our fantasy cathexis of the body, the cyborg, as the SFRA Review #227, page 42


product of both bodily reality, techno-fact, and science fiction, is a rootless child sprung from a tradition that cannot claim her as its own. She represents the other -fantastic, monstrous, frightening -that has always already been denied. This makes little sense to me, and that little is banal. l\Iaybe it would be true if technology is a fantasy cathexis, but it ain't. And if cyborgs are rootless, how do they spring from a tradition? Do Russ's David and Piercy's Yod frighten you? I sort of like them. Greco mentions neither of them, maybe because they are male cyborgs created as sex toys by feminist writers? tvlaybe because she doesn't like reading SF? The many advisors Greco lists should be demoted for failing to help her write clear simple prose or shape a new idea. Whether Cyborg offers any idea in cultural or literary criticism would then be obvious. In its present version, I think there is none. Whatever other business we are about in writing works of criticism, we should be seeking to cast light on works of literature, on stories. Greco's Cyborg signally fails this basic test. She mentions several writers and a few novels, but she attempts no criticism of them. Nor does she seek to explain or explore the cyborg character in science fiction. For ex ample, Greco includes a muddy paragraph about Bladerunner, citing Marleen Barr's RetrofItting Blade Runner (1991). But that's as far as it goes -no agreement, disagreement, or analy sis of Barr's book or ideas, nor any more about Bladerunner. It is very difficult to find out what resources Greco used, or what SF she might consider. I could not find any index or search engine which would let me examine any such category. I did look around enough to find mention of some standard fictions. For example, I found an entry for William Gibson's Neuromancer, but as usual all I got was a quotation -no comment, analysis, or evaluation. Likely I'm too old and too Silent Generation for this text. You can test that by running a citation index program (whatever "citations" will be called in those futures) on Greco in ten years, and again in fifty. For now, though, I declare this text uncritical quack, and I forecast it will be promptly and justly forgotten. What Cyborg says will not be of much use or interest to those of us interested in SF criticism. However, the means by which she says it is certainly intriguing, and it's a shame her obvious intelligence couldn't have been focused on some interesting way of using hyper-text for critical purposes. If you're in love with links, this is a work for you. SFRA RevielV #22 I, page 43


Every bit of text is linked to all the other bits in lots of different directions. But if you want to discover what the link means in itself -what Greco wants to tell us -you won't like Cy borg. Click on the mysterious phrase "This time" and you get a link to the full text, "This time it's visceral." A gnomic phrase, but not a gnostic one, at least for me. And that's all there is. In the end as in the beginning (it has neither), Greco's Cyborg is prattle. l'vlaybe it's playful prattle, but prattle all the same. It is interesting in the way a palindrome can be interesting, but not in the way a chiasmus can be. Hypertext is still a tool seeking a use. Michael Orth Johnson, John. Cheap Tricks and Class Acts: Special Ef fects, Makeup and Stunts from the Fantastic Fifties. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1996, 404 pages, hardcover, $49.95, ISBN 0-786-40093-5. Vaz, Mark Cotta and Patricia Rose Duignan. Industrial Light & Magic: Into the Digital Realm. New York: Del Rey, 1996, 328 pages, hardcover, $80.00, ISBN 0-34538152-1. The 1950s were the first decade in which Hollywood made more than a handful of SF films. In Cheap Tricks and Class Acts, Johnson covers all the techniques available to genre filmmakers of the period: mechanical creatures, men-in-suit monsters, props, sound effects, pyrotechnics, puppets, stop motion, mattes, miniatures, makeup, and stunt work. Among the memorable achievements described are the giant squid in Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954); robots Robby in Forbidden Planet (1956) and Gort in The Day the Earth S'tood Still (1951); the giant ants in Them! (1954); the giant water drops and spider in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957); the nuclear explosions and Martian heat rays in War of the Worlds (1953); the meteor bombardment of Metaluna in This Island Earth (1955); dozens of effects from Ray J-Iarryhauscn's first five films; the title creatures from The mob ( 1958), The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), and The Thing li'OIl1 Another World (1951); and work from dozens of H features. Johnson covers all relevant U.S. films regardless of budget or quality, from Forbidden Planet down to Ed Wood features, with brief descriptions of effects in British S'FRA Reviell' #227, page -+-+


(mainly Hammer) films and japanese giant monster movies. johnson's writing is informal and sometimes careless (as when he refers to "invisible footprints" in Forbidden Planet when he means visible footprints of the invisible Id Monster), but his book is comprehensive and full of fascinating accounts of B-budget ingenuity and amusing anecdotes of /:-budget disasters. Leaping forward some two decades, Vaz and Duignan have written Industrial Light and fvlagic: Into the Digital Realm, which focuses on the cutting-edge special effects company founded by George Lucas to do the effects for Star Wars (1977). The authors concentrate mainly on the replacement of expensive, difficult optical effects with the seemingly unlimited potential of digital effects in ILM's arsenal from 1986 to early 1996. The dinosaurs of jurassic Park (1993) are to date the greatest triumph of ILM's creed of "photorealism." By 1994, digital effects were so advanced that scenes with puppet creatures in The Flintstones were shot with rods, wires and even puppet masters visible in the frame; these offending elements were simply wiped out digitally for the release print. The original negative of Star Wars was found to be badly faded and deteriorated, but digital work has returned it to almost pristine condition for its 1997 re-release. The improved speed and lower costs of digital effects have perhaps given George Lucas the needed incentive to resume the Star Wars series so many years after Return of the jedi (1983), so that fans can now anticipate the "first" trilogy, a threepart prequel to the movies that made Lucas a household name. Curiously, in the fifties the best effects were generally seen in the best films, while in the nineties no such correlation exists. The delightful Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) was considered a retrograde project, an optical effects marathon which left its crew exhausted and dispirited, while such routine films as Willow (1988), The Abyss (1989), Hook (1991), Congo (1995), Casper(1995), jumanji (1995), and Dragonhcart ( 1 996) all featured effects breakthroughs. Of course, ILlY! has worked on some good films, and johnson would be the first to agree that most fifties SF films were silly, but comparing the fifties films mentioned in the first paragraph of this review with the ILM films listed in this paragraph makes it easy to conclude that the general quality of genre films has not kept pace with improvements in effects. ILMers, from Lucas on down, protest that they are "filmmakers, not technicians" and that even the most advanced effects are "just tools", but I SFRA Review #227, page 45


fear that filmmakers who use ILM's services have built stories around the new effects more often than the other way around. Both books are crammed with jargon, but at least it is necessary technical terminology rather than gratuitous academese. Vaz has a much-needed glossary; Johnson needs but does not provide such a list of terms. Both have hundreds of quotes from effects artists' discussions of their work. Vaz relies on interviews with ILMers and has no bibliography; Johnson gathers many quotes and data from books and fan magazines and provides a bibliography. Both are heavily illustrated, Johnson in black-and-white, Vaz in color. Readers of each book will gain a thorough understanding of the role of advancing technology in the development of genre films. Another valuable source of information on this topic is Cinefex (1980-), an excellent magazine on the effects in current films. In addition, "l\laking of" books on big effects films are increasingly common. Cinefexeditors Don Shay and Jody Duncan co-wrote both The Making of Terminator 2 (1991, SPRAR 195) and The Making of Jurassic Park (1993, SPRAR 206), while Duncan alone authored The Making of Dragon heart (1996). Rachel Aberly and Volker Engel wrote The Making of Independence Day (1996), about the most spectacular film yet made outside ILM. Other notable titles include John Brosnan's Movie Magic (1974), the most detailed account of effects before the Lucas era; Christopher Finch's Special Ef fects (1984), which is more heavily illustrated but less detailed than Brosnan, and which has an extra decade of cover age; and Thomas C. Smith's Industrial Light & !vlagic: The Art of Special EfTects (1986), which describes ILM's first decade. Libraries collecting seriously on film techniques and the history of genre films need to include Brosnan (unfortunately out of print), Finch, Johnson, Smith, Vaz, and Cinefex. If only one book is wanted, Finch is probably the best choice. Michael Klossner Larson, Randall D. /llusic from the House of Hammer: Music in the Hammer Horror Films, 1950-1980. Scarecrow Filmmakers Series NO.4 7. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow, 1996, 193 pages, hardcover, $32.50, ISBN 0-81082-975-4. No one who has seen I rammer Films' masterpiece, Terence Fisher's Dracula (1958), will ever forget the film's resounding score, composed by James Bernard. Hammer consistently STRA Review # 2 27, page 46


strove for quality on low budgets. Their productions almost always featured excellent set designs and cinematography and usually good leading performances; scripts and supporting casts were often less satisfactory. Larson, author of Alusique Fantastique: A Survey of Film Music in the Fantastic Cinema (1985)' demonstrates that music was one of Hammer's greatest strengths. The studio hired capable musicians, conductors, and sound engineers, as well as serious, classically-trained composers, most of whom had long careers in both film and concert music. A few, including Richard Rodney Bennett, Mario Nascimbene, and Laurie Johnson, became famous. Bernard, who wrote scores for twenty-three Hammer films, has a thirty-four page chapter to himself in this volume. Thirty-four other composers and Hammer's three music di rectors each receive a few pages. Larson, quoting extensively from interviews with the composers, provides brief biographical information on each composer and detailed, specific criticism of their respective Hammer scores. Despite Hammer's low budgets, small orchestras, and tight deadlines, most of them found Hammer a fair, intelligent employer; only a few disliked the experience. Larson is favorable about most of the scores but notes a few weak efforts and reports that Gerard Schurmann's impressive score for The Lost Continent (1968) was ruined by studio editing. fvlost of the scores were sym phonic but several featured atonality, dissonance, electronics, and even experimental music. Although Larson's subtitle speci fies horror, he also covers SF, thrillers, and swashbuckler films. There is a short chapter on TV work, all of it horror. Larson provides a discography but notes that little Ham mer music is available on sound recordings. His book should be consulted while viewing the films -but not before, since he gives away some films' surprises. Larson's book is recommended not only for Hammerites but also for anyone inter ested in horror expressed in music. Michael Klossner Magistrale, Tony & Michael A. Morrison (Editors). A Dark Night's Dreaming: COl1temporaI), American Hor ror Fiction. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1996, xiv + 141 pages, hardcover. $24.95. ISBN 1-57003-070-7. This volume is part of a large series, "Understanding Con temporary American Literature", whose General Editor is SFRA Review #227, page 47


Matthew]. Bruccoli, and Bruccoli himself contributes to this volume a generic two-paragraph Preface about the series. The core of this volume comprises eight short essays, a bibliography which emphasizes American horror fiction published during the years 1988-1994, and an Introduction by the volume's two editors. This book, interesting in every part, is, I think, flawed by its very design. By limiting its coverage to American writers, major and influential figures such as the British-born Clive Barker and Ramsey Campbell are omitted. And by emphasizing bestselling writers whose work can nearly be called mainstream in the realm of pop-culture, other far more interesting and lesser-known names (such as T.E.D. Klein, Thomas Ligotti, and T.M. Wright) barely get a mention. The first essay, "After the Danse: Horror at the End of the Century" by Michael A. Morrison, attempts to fill this void by covering the genre since Stephen King's survey Danse Macabre was published in 1981. It may be the best essay in the book, but it suffers from the same failing as every piece in the volume: it is too short. The next six essays each give an overview to the writings of one particular author. Tony Magistrale illuminates the novels of Thomas Harris. In a short twelve pages Edwin F. Casebeer manages to explicate the innumerable novels of Stephen King, finding in them a gestalt towards balancing opposing reali ties and viewpoints. I-Ience King's readers must resolve these issues for themselves; and thereby if one expects to find a "canned resolution" (as Casebeer calls it) in one of King's stories, one will often find the resolutions to be unsatisfying. Lynda Haas and Robert I-Iaas cover the novels of Anne Rice, finding fascination in the way that Rice has replaced reli gious hl'iief with mythical explanation. Thus in The Tale of lhe Body Thief; narrated hy the immortal vampire Lestat, the critics find that "the telling of the tale, the performance of it, is [Lestat's] only meaning." Bernadette Lynn Bosky writes on "The Fiction of Peter Straub", and Douglas E. Winter covers the horror fiction of William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist and its sequel Legion. (Winter needs to be commended for including a number of illuminating details of Blatty's personal life from his own interviews with the author.) l'vlary Pharr finds a unity hetween the fiction of Whitley Strieher and his sup posed nonfiction such as Communion and its sequels.


The volume closes with another tantalizing piece, Michael ]. Collins's "Culture in the Hall of Mirrors: Film and Fiction and Fiction and Film", on the confused interrelation between the visual medium of horror and the written one. Again, alas!, it lasts only a mere twelve pages. It is unfair to review a book by continually calling attention to what it is not. A Dark Night's Dreaming may not live up to the billing in its subtitle as to covering "Contemporary American Horror Fiction", but what there is in this small volume is quite good. It is mostly free of excessive academic jargon, despite the fact that most of the essays are products of Conferences of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts -a fact which also accounts for the short, standard lengths of the essays. But on the whole this book left me more than a little unsatisfied and wanting more. Douglas A. Anderson Roberts, Robin. Anne fl1cCaffrey: A Critical Companion. Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996, 208 pages, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 0-313-29450-X. This recent addition to Greenwood's Critical Companions to Contemporary Writers series is a truly useful guide to Anne McCaffrey's fiction. This book follows the established format for this series which begins with two general chapters: a biographical chapter and a chapter on "literary history and genres" which demonstrates "how the author's work fits into the larger literary context." The biographical chapter is detailed and interestingly enlightening. In addition to the usual public biographical information, Roberts has utilized e-mail to twice interview McCaffrey and has used those comments both in the biographical chapter and, where relevant, in the chapters on individual series. The second chapter on the genre of science fiction gives the new reader some insight into the nature and history of the genre and prepares the reader for the analyses by explaining what Roberts sees as the major theme of McCaffrey's fiction: the female alien. The rest of the book consists of chapters analyzing the most important, popular, and recent novels in detail. Roberts' book deviates from this patter in that only the third and eighth chapters deal with a single novel. Chapters five, six, seven, nine, and ten deal with series as McCaffrey tends to write more than one novel about a world or set or characters. The SFRA Review #227, page 49


importance of the Pern novels to the McCaffrey canon requires Roberts to devote two chapters to it: Chapter 3 to Dragonflight and Chapter 4 to the Dragonriderseries. Chapter 3 on Dragonflight does contain some inaccuracies involv ing the order or the nature of a few significant plot details; these inaccur

pernatural in American fiction in the late nineteenth and earl v twentieth centuries; rather, it is an anthology of scholarl)' essays on specific writers who produced supernatural works in that period. Those seeking such an overview will find this collection somewhat disappointing, but othenvise there is much to recommend it. Some patience will be required; almost all the authors are given to varying levels of verbOSity, and at times stretch be yond useful scholarship into a dull, plodding scholasticism. In the end, after some mental winnowing, however, the wheat of useful information, historical context, and critical com mentary well outweighs the chaff of plot synopses, dry aca demic writing, and the somewhat disjointed selection of ar ticles that mark this collection. An index would also have been useful, but unfortunately they are frequently omitted in anthologies such as this. The contents include a dry but useful essay by Benjamin f. Fisher on the supernatural stories and novels of [\!ary Wilkins Freeman and Edith Wharton, placing them in the context of American and British supernatural fiction and larger literary and historical developments. As with other essays in this volume, and particularly in the case of freeman, fisher helps bring some interesting and possibly important works forward from the shadows of obscurity to at least the edges of the light cast by scholarly and critical attention. Volume editor Douglas Robillard contributes a brief essay on the supernatural stories of f. [\Iarion Crawford, but it seems like a sketch of a longer, as yet uncompleted examination rather than a polished short look at Crawford's largely ne glected works in the genre. A. Langley Searles offers a straightforward, unembellished presentation on the works of Edward Lucas White and Ilenry S. Whitehead, both of whom are now relatively unknown, despite Whitehead's inclusion with I1.P. Lovecraft ami Clark Ashton Smith in a trio at the time dubbed the "Three [\Iusketeers" of Weird Tales because of their frequent contributions to that magazine. Sam l\Ioskowitz contributes one of his trademark biographical/historical essays, this one focusing on the billerly melan choly life of David H. Keller. [\!oskowitz shows how Keller transmuted and indeed escaped from the nearly unending STRA Rcvic\\' #22 I, page 51


unhappy experiences of his life into the wriiting of many significant stories and novels not only in the supernatural, but also in science fiction. Unfortunately, Moskowitz goes on at greater length than seems necessary, particularly in plot summaries and recountings of the many correspondences between Keller's experiences and events in his works of fiction. Still, given the lack of scholarly attention directed at Keller's fic tion, and his broad popularity and productivity in both weird fiction and SF during his active career, this is probably one of the more useful essays in the collection. S.T. Joshi and James Campbell offer up a pair of essays on H.P. Lovecraft, and while neither brings forth anything particularly new, these are competent critical works that exam ine yet another facet of the rough gem that is Lovecraft. Both are part of the scholarly architecture erected over the past decade or so that portray Lovecraft as a powerful, if flawed, intellectual and philosophical figure in American literature. Campbell's essay is a bit long and overwrought, but otherwise both are interesting contributions to Lovecraft studies examining the intellectual/philosophical framework within which Lovecraft constructed his tales. Brian Stableford's essay on the fiction of Clark Ashton Smith is short but pithy, attempting to trace the influences of Smith's life and literary experiences on his brief career as a writer of some of the most bizarre weird fiction ever penned. While not always entirely convincing in its conclusions, Stableford's essay offers many useful and thought-provoking insights on a major and yet somewhat inscrutable figure in the genre. Overall, there is much useful material here, and I can recommend this collection to anyone with an interest in the development of the supernatural and weird genres in American fiction. -Richard Terra SFRA Revicw#227, page 52


Bradbury, Ray. The October Country. New York: Ballantine, 1996, 306 pages, soflcover, $lO.OO, ISBN 0-345-40785-7. If Reggie Jackson is "Mr. October", then Ray Bradbury is "Mr. October Country". His domain is wonderful, poignant, eerie, macabre, evocative -the perfect imaginative venue to visit in the last two weeks before Halloween when the garden is giving up the ghost and the return of cursed Standard Time makes a mockery of late afternoon. The new Ballantine Books trade paperback (a Del Rey book) is a handsome volume with eleven appropriate black and white sketches by Joe Mugnaini and a typeface that's easy on the eyes. The book features the fifteen original tales from Dark Carnival ( 1947) and the four additional stories that joined them to create The October Country in 1955. It also includes an "all-new introduction by the author." It's clear from even a cursory glance that Ballantine is counting on the author's name to sell this book "Ray Bradbury", in white, eye-catching irregular caps, dominates the cover and dwarfs the title. The stories are familiar to Bradbury scholars and fans. From "The Lake", his first original story (though not his first published piece), to "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone", the tales cover a twelve or so year period during which Bradbury went from being a regular contributor to Weird Tales to be coming the famous and esteemed author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. Some of the stories are dated or flawed, either by language, tone, or subject. "The Skeleton", "Touched by Fire", and "The Crowd" -each built on oblique observation of an everyday or anyday thing -exhibit what is to me lightweight pop psychology. "The Jar", an interesting piece in some respects, displays a Midwesterner's prejudices and misconceptions about life in the rural South. Bradbury is always better when he writes about what he knows, and he knows Mars a lot better than he knows Louisiana. On the other hand, The October Country harbors some vintage Bradbury. "The Lake" and "The Emissary" are artful and touching tales about childhood death; "The Lake" is also an immersion in the bittersweetness of memory and loss, a SFRA Review #227, page 53


theme that would become metaphor in Dandelion Wine. "The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse" is pointed social satire while "There Was an Old Woman", a funny tale of obstinate Aunt Tildy whose refusal to die leads her to reclaim her corpse from a funeral parlor, reads like Flannery O'Connor on a sunnv dav. "The Small Assassin", "Jack in the Box", "Uncle Einar", ind my favorite, "Homecoming", each display Bradbury's talent for probing and elucidating the familiar peculiarity of family life. And there is "The Scythe", a painful modern parable in which Bradbury explains the murderous madness of the twentieth century with the help of the formidable Grim Reaper archetype. Bradburv loves to talk about his work and about writing in general. The newest element in this edition, the author's Introduction, shows how much he enjoys being an elder statesman and icon of the fantastic, and how much he needs -has always needed to be a writer. Titled, "May I Die Before My Voices", this preamble is history, wit, and fancy, exactly what one would expect from its author. Writing about the genesis of six of the stories, he says that he learned "to pay attention to the right, left, or perhaps lop side of my brain" and to the "odd notions" and "strange metaphors" that resulted. He also comments on how the excursion into weird writing prepared him to return to science fiction and author The Mar tian Chronicles. With hyperbolic tongue in cheek he tells us that the classic r-,'lars novel is "five percent science fiction and ninety-five percent fantasy" for which "purists have hated me since." What purist could be that dull? This book is being marketed as "science fiction/horror" according to the spine. Horror, yes, there is some of that. Science fiction? Not a trace. But The October Country is Bradbury through and through: no wonder his name is in such big letters. -Tom Morrissey Lovecraft, H.P. The Transition ofH.P. Lovecraft: The Road 10 Madness. Illustrations by Jude Palencar; Introduction by Barbara IIambly. New York: Del Rey, 1996, 381 pages, sol"tcover, $10.00, ISBN 0-3-+5-38-+22-9. In Thc Transition of II.P. Lovecrai't: The Road to f\/adness, Barbara Hambly, a major author in her own right, has writ ten a valuable introduction to this handsomely (or should I .';J'R.\ Rc\'ic\\' fl22/, page S-+


say horrifyingly?) illustrated collection of 29 H.P Lovecraft stories. Barbara confesses: "I wish I could write like H.P Lovecraft. That's not a fashionable thing to say when writers are encouraged to strive for a 'transparent' style --short, sleek, clear, without massive blocks of descriptive text -and many have taken over the screenwriter dictum of 'no paragraph over three lines long.'" At Windycon, a regional science fiction convention held in Chicago, I asked Julius Schwartz a few questions about Lovecraft. Schwartz was Lovecraft's agent in the 1930s, getting him the staggering sum of $350.00 for At the Mountains of Madness at a time when Lovecraft was getting a couple of cents a word for everything else he wrote. After some reflec tion, Schwartz conjured up for me an image of a very tall, very poor, very human H.P. Lovecraft. Schwartz also noted that of all those who paid tribute to Lovecraft as the creator of the "Dark Fantasy" genre at the World Fantasy Con the weekend before, he was the only one left alive who actually met and knew H.P. Lovecraft. The rest of us have to content ourselves with reading and re-reading the man's work, and the 29 stories contained in this volume, a sample of his work across the span of his lifetime, are as good a place as any to start. Each reader, of course, will get to know Lovecraft a little differently, based on the world view that he or she brings to it. I don't intend to summarize the stories here, because with Lovecraft, as with j.R.R. Tolkien, the tale is in the telling. I was pleasantly surprised as I worked through the stories. Lovecraft is characterized as a stylist who was a master of the expository core dump, as exemplified by some of the detail in At the Mountains of Madness. Yet that same technique allowed him to present us with a core sample from an Alien Universe. It may well be that his struggle for the language with which to describe the horror of his protagonist represents a literary expression of some the philosophical problems of knowledge representation, whether or not the world is real or fictional. Lovecraft's imagery is incomparable. Upon re-reading The Shunned House at four a.m., I suddenly felt like one of his characters. I noticed my office was rather close to an open garbage dumpster and it seemed to be getting cold rather quickly. So I locked the door, although what good that would do against a Lovecraftian apparition brought to life I don't know. It did make me realize that this book is worth its price, SFRA ReviclV#227, page 55


perhaps for At the Mountains of Madness alone. Some have suggested that all of the stories in this collection are not Lovecraft's best. I suggest that it is a matter of reader response, and that this collection is as worthy of attention as other Lovecraft volumes have been. My only suggestion is that this collection be produced in a hard-bound edition more suitable for libraries, because this trade paperback will eventually be read to shreds. Philip Kaveny Martin, George R.R. A Game of Thrones. New York: Bantam, September 1996, 694 pages, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 0-553-10354-7. A Game of Thrones is clad in the raiment of modern fantasy publishing. It comes replete with endpaper maps and an appendix, and heraldic crests adorn the beginning of each chapter. Like many recent fantasy novels, it amounts to a veritable tome in terms of size. One can imagine the ruin such a volume would cause if dropped off a battlement somewhere, as it crashes down onto a hostile critic's thick skull. If that failed to do the trick, the book's sequels would no doubt avenge their kin in due time. A Game of Thrones likewise evinces the comportment of modern fantasy publishing. It trots out a host of characters and provides a galloping narrative, hardly reined in after 650-odd pages. Realpolitik becomes realmpolitik, schemes are hatched, armies clash, and honor is besieged as supernatural forces muster on the borders of the action. Love blos soms, peril mounts, and gawky youths are forced to don the mantle of adulthood. A Game of Thrones is penned by George R.R. Martin, how ever, and the result is not so much stale as stalwart. Here, the author of Fevre Dream (1982) and The Armageddon Rag (1983) pays obeisance to the codes of genre with considerable skill. His tale unfurls in the Seven Kingdoms, following the fortunes of three noble houses through various alarms and excursions. In a sense, A Game of Thrones is a novel of character. House Stark, for instance, experiences the loss of innocence: dutybound Eddard runs afoul of court machinations, young Jon comes to grips with his bastard heritage, and kid brother Bran SF/V\ Reviell' #22 /, page 56


has to deal with a crippling assassination attempt. At House Targaryen, Princess Daenerys undergoes psychological and physical abuse at the hands of her brother before rising to a position of power in exile. Tyrion, an impish dwarf belonging to House Lannister, is representative of the milieu. By turns roguish and just, he careers throughout the Seven King doms, impelled by twists of fortune and the exigencies of intrigue. While not exactly the stuff of legend, Tyrion appears to be at heart a decent man -especially when compared to the assortment of militaristic, at times psychotic, lords with whom he consorts. Rest assured that A Game of Thrones is not entirely bleak. Martin supplies idealistic exuberance and gallantry, as well as colorful locales such as the mountain fortress of House Arryn or the teeming city of King's Landing. And of course, there is Martin's command of the language. "In the dawn light, the army of Lord TY'",in Lannister unfolded like an iron rose, thorns gleaming" (p. 570). Perhaps no sentence better conveys the tenor of A Game of Thrones. In my opinion, its sequel cannot arrive with enough dispatch. Neal Baker Pollack, Rachel. Godmother Night. New York: St. Martins Press, 1996, 256 pages, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 0-312-14606-X. The premise of an earth magic which predates patriarchal religions underlies this newest Pollack novel chronicling the misadventures of lesbian couples and friends. Woven through the tragic lives of two young women, jaqe and Laurie, and their daughter Kate, are encounters with Mother Night, a small woman of indeterminate age who appears alone or in the company of leather-clad biker women. Mother Night has some relationship to death. She can hold it off, deflect it from one person to another, and predict its imminence, but she can only do these things within the limited confines of a sort of cosmic balance sheet if a person is truly brought back from certain death, the balance must be reestablished, and someone else must die. This message is asserted through the early death of jaqe, who was artificially inseminated in order to produce Kate, and through other death exchanges. This is a very personal odyssey, focusing on the relationships between the couple jaqe and Laurie, jaqe and f\[other SFUII Rcvicw #221, page 57


Night, Laurie and Kate as Kate is growing up, and Kate and Mother Night. The characters are charming and interesting in their everyday struggles, even some of the dead who are the young Kate's first friends. Kate's ongoing relationship with Mother Night serves to introduce the philosophical underpinnings of a non-Christian religion which incorporates a cosmology of balance. It also makes space for a number of picturesque scenes, one of my favorites being the one in which dead people come back as street sellers. Pollack's skill in reinterpreting those supernatural signs which are the fodder for patriarchal religions, be they Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Islamic, is here exercised once again. For character, plot, the possibility of introspection, the contrasts found in earth magic, and the reflections of lesbian lives, I recommend Godmother Night. -Janice M. Bogstad Tepper, Sheri S. Gibbon's Decline and Fall. New York: Bantam Spectra, August 1996, 404 pages, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 0-553-10054-8. With Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Sheri S. Tepper weaves to gether the threads of feminism, religion, persecution, and friendship to create another rich tapestry that defies categorization and easy explanation. It's too simple to say that this novel is a bow to Joanna Russ's The Female Jo.Ian and James Tiptree, Jr.'s "The Screwfly Solution", though Tepper does acknowledge these women's voices in Gibbon's. This is a story of anger and loss and finally of hope. Its persuasive women's voices may, I fear, prove off-putting to readers who found the likes of The Female lV/an too strident and preachy, and not at all amusing. The novel's six protagonists -one of each "God loving, God rejecting, man loving, man rejecting, life loving, life re jecting" (p. 359) -mourn the apparent suicide three years before of their college friend Sophy, a woman who changed their lives profoundly with her strength, beauty, and wisdom. But is Sophy gone? One member of the group hears Sophy; one writes down Sophy-like poetry; one sees Sophy out of the corner of her eye dressed in a nun's habit; one sees a statue she created of Sophy dress itself. The year is 2000, and the circle of six realizes that there is a male plot to persecute women. It seems, however, that the missing Sophy is somehow attempting to subvert that plot. One of Sophy's .<.,TR/\ Rc\'iCII" #22 /, page 58


followers tells the six, "There is a great battle brewing. Some perceive it as between God and the devil, light and darkness fighting it out, with earth as the spoils... The battle that's coming isn't between a good male force and an evil male force ... It's between balance and dominion" (p. 282). This novel tells how these six women battle against the force pushing for dominion, a battle that is more than simply men versus women. The theme of unending violence against women (and Tepper's accompanying sermons on the role of women in our society, articulated through various protagonists) is embodied in Lolly Ashaler, a 15-year-old girl who gives birth in an alley and discards the child in a dumpster. Carolyn, one of the six, defends her; the basis of her defense is Lolly's own ignorance about what happened to her and her unpreparedness to have a child. Lolly's trial, really an indictment of our present health-care system, its failure to serve women and children, and its role in maintaining a male-dominated system, pits Carolyn against a lawyer, Jake Jagger, a member of an organization that is literally plotting to get rid of women. They clash first in the courtroom, then out of it when Jagger and the entity he serves, called Webster, come for the six. This novel of reversals turns religion on its ear: what malecreated religions such as Christianity may call evil may actually be good, and vice versa. Sophia, the goddess of wisdom, and Sophy, the missing wise woman, may in fact be the same. Sophy herself is a female Jesus; her people made a body for her and put in the mind of one of their own so she might walk among humankind and understand them. However, when she uncovers the source of the plot against balance and against women, she moves beyond understanding and decides to take action. This Jesus preaches to downtrodden, abused women and brings about a screwfly solution that utterly changes humanity -first physically, then mentally. Gibbon's Decline and Fall is a twenty-minutes-into-the-future novel full of biting ideas about society and religion more direct in its social criticism than Tepper's more metaphorical expressions in her other works. Tepper here shows she can set a science-fiction novel of ideas in the near present rather than the distant future, and the setting and several characters evoke Tepper's detective novels, which she writes under another name. With rich animal symbolism (lizards and apes dance through the novel), hilarious scenes, mysterious setSPRA Rcvicw #227, page 59


tings, and long commentary, Gibbon's is an entertaining and important novel that belies the death of the overtly feminist, in-your-face science-fiction novel. -Karen Hellekson Windling, Terri. The Wood Wife. New York: Tor, 1996, 320 pages, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 0-312-85988-0. Veteran award-winning editor Terri Windling's first novel, The Wood Wife, is a rich and disturbing fantasy about the relationship between art, spirituality, and life. Poet/journalist ]\'laggie Black inherits the Arizona home and papers of Davis Cooper, an elderly, alcoholic poet who has recently died under peculiar circumstances. Maggie leaves both her home in L.A. and Nigel, her controlling ex-husband, and moves to Davis's home in the Rincon mountains to write a book that will perhaps make sense of the poet's life and death. What she finds is a tiny human community dangerously unbalanced by a power struggle between supernatural forces. In that arid but strangely beautiful place, Maggie begins to understand that the boundaries between art and life, natural and supernatural, and past and future are not at all as crisp and clear as she had thought. Rather, the world she enters is haphazardly ruled by shapeshifting spirits who have taken their forms from the brilliant, surrealist paintings of Anna Navarra, Davis Cooper's wife. Though the emotionally driven Navarra has been dead for over forty years, forces tampered with and unbalanced during her life may now destroy the community and Maggie as well. What is most disturbing in this novel is Maggie's response to the danger, her remarkable lack of healthy terror in a world where natural and physical laws seem to be eroding, previously locked doors hang open every morning, keepsakes are stolen, and her home is trashed and defiled. Perhaps losing both parents to a car accident at a young age has prepared ]\laggie to accept the unacceptable, or perhaps the years of being controlled by the rich, philandering Nigel has caused her emotions to be blunted. Whatever the reason, instead of packing up and leaving Davis's strange abode behind, Maggie stays, and with a journalist's curiosity and detachment organizes the poet's papers as a first step in organizing her world. In the process, ]\\aggie begins to meet and know some of the supernatural creatures that live in area: Thumper, the Jack Rabbit girl; Crow, the Trickster; and the White Stag. At one point she realizes that the only way she could write a book .';un ]{c\'ic\\ #227, page GO


about Davis's life would be to change her name to something Brazilian and call it magic realism. Eventually, Maggie, now Black Maggie, unlocks the mystery of Davis's death, falls in love, regains her lost ability to write poems, and plays a part in restoring the balance of nature. Windling's message seems to be that the pursuit of beauty and truth through artistic creation is empty without corresponding life changes. True art, whether it be poetry, painting, or sculpture, reproduces what is emotionally and spiritually real about the world. Correspondingly, those true im ages change the world, a creative interdependency continually occurring as long as there is art and life. This interdependency is called daml11as in the shapeshifter language. Loosely translated, dal11l11as means movement, balance, right ness, and beauty. What is left unexplained is the relationship between abuse and individual power and powerlessness. The Rincon community demonstrates patterns often seen in families where alcoholism and abuse have occurred. Davis Cooper's body is found drowned in a dry wash that has not held water in over forty years. It appears that he has been murdered. However, Tomas, Johnny Foxxe, and Maria Rosa -individuals who are in a position to understand something of what has happened -seem to operate under "no-talk rules." As the very fabric of reality collapses around them, each continues to live in emotional isolation and does not communicate what is known or suspected until Maggie's arrival begins a dialogue. Per haps these characters are emotionally imprisoned by the isolated landscape and it takes an outsider to change the rules. Windling writes, "The Rincons were a secretive range; there were no roads up to the heart of it. To learn its secrets, one went on fooL ... Maggie, too, goes "on foot" to unlock the family secrets, painstakingly trying to make sense of Davis's disordered personal effects. lvleanwhile, after making a Faustian bargain with a supernatural creature called the Drowned Girl, a talented, local artist named Juan becomes emotionally and then physically abusive to Dora, his wife. Like abusive stepparents, Windling's supernatural creatures tend to lack any real feeling for the lives and feelings of the humans they mistreat. It only follows that under such circumstances, abuse begets abuse. Psychological histories are fraught with emotional bargains where abused individuals convince themselves that endurS'FRA RevielV #22 I, page 61


ance has some magical purpose. These bargains tend to be doomed and yet Maggie is able to bargain with Crow, the Trickster, to "walk the spiral path" into the past and return relatively unscathed. Coming on the heels of Wind ling's fairy tale abuse anthology, The Armless Maiden and Other Tales [or Childhood's Survivors, one begins to suspect that Windling has indulged in some magical thinking of her own. The remaining supernatural forces are still far too emotionally unhealthy to bode well for the tiny Rincon human community. Thus the ending, at least for this reader, seems a bit too pat -the supernatural balance too easily restored and the trauma of the real-world events too quickly laid to rest. My fantasy for a denouement would be to bring in a minivan full of therapists and sit down with the human and supernatural characters: "When did you start leaving your body to become something else?" "What secrets do you have that you think you must not share with others?" "Why didn't you talk when things started to go wrong?" Forget about blood sacrifices and catharsis; what any supernatural community needs is a good therapy group. Sandra Lindow .',;nu Rc\'i<.'\\' !i22/. page 62


NONFICTION REVIEWS Aldiss, Brian W. The Detached Retina. (Robert]. Ewald, #221, p.29) Asimov, Isaac (Stanley Asimov, Editor). Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Lifetime of Letters. (Agatha Taormina, #222, p. 17) Atwill, William D. Fire and Power: The American Space Pro gram as Postmodern Narrative. (Edgar V. McKnight, Jr., #222, p. 29) Auerbach, Nina. Our Vampires, Oursclves. (joan Gordon, #224, p. 21) Ballard, ].G. A User's Guide to the A/illennium: Essays and Reviews. (Richard Davis, #223, p. 27) Barlowe, Wayne. The Alien Life of Wayne BarlO\ve. (Walter Albert, #226, p. 21) Beahm, George. The Stcphcn King Companion. (Wendv Bousfield, #223, p. 28) Beaulieu, Trace et al. The MystelY Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide. (Karen Hellekson, #224, p.22) Bendazzi, Giannalberto. Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation. (lvIichael Klossner, #225, p. 47) Bould, Mark (Editor). Strange Attractors: Kicking the Reality Fix. (Milton T. Wolf, #222, p. 31 ) Chion, Michael. David Lynch. (Bob Blackwood, #222, p. 33) Claeys, Gregory. Utopias oFthe British Enlightenment. (Arthur O. Lewis, #222, p. 34) Clute, John. Science fiction: The Illustrated Emyclopedia. (W.D. Stevens, #221, p. 19) Clute, John & Peter Nicholls (Editors). Grolicr Science Fiction: The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Scicncc fiction. (W.D. Stevens, #221, p. 19) Davidson, Cathy N. & Linda Wagner-]\Iartin (Editors). Thc Oxford Companion to Women '.'I Writin}J in the United Statcs. (Neil Barron, #221, p. 30) de Camp, L. Sprague. H.P. Lovecraft: A Biography. (Earl Wells, #224, p. 24) Disch, Thomas M. The Castle of Indolence: On Poctry, Pocts, and Poetastcrs. (Sandra]. Lindow, #224, p. 27) Everman, Welch. Cult S'cicncc Fiction Films. (Bob Blackwood, #224, p. 30) Fabian, Stephen E. Stephcn E. Fabian's Womcn and Won ders. (Walter Albert, #221, p. 31) S'FRII Rcvicw #22 I, page 63


Foot, Michael. H.G.: The History of Mr. Wells. (Robert Cross ley, #225, p. 48) Fowler, Roger. The Language of George Orwell. (Fiona Kelleghan, #226, p. 33) Giger, H.R. Species Design. (Walter Albert, #226, p. 21) Gillett, Stephen L. World-Building (Science Fiction Writing Series). (Barbara Bengeis, #21.4, p. 31) Gilman, Charlotte Perkins (Mary A. Hill, Editor). A journey From Within: The Love Letters of Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1897-1900. (B. Diane Miller, #226, p. 35) Green, Scott E. Isaac Asimov: An Annotated Bibliography of the Asimov Collection at Boston University. (Agatha Taormina, #222, p. 17) Greene, Eric. Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. (Gary Westfahl, #223,p.31) Hammond, Wayne & Christina Scull. ].R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator. (Philip E. Kaveny, #223, p. 35) Hearn, Michael Patrick. W. W. Denslow: The Other Wizard of Oz. (Walter Albert, #226, p. 19) Howlett-West, Stephanie. The Inter-Galactic Price Guide to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror 1996. (Neil Barron, #225, p. 51) Hughey, Ann Conolly. Edmund Dulac: His Book Illustrations. (Walter Albert, #221, p. 32) Joshi, S.T. (Editor). Caverns Measureless to Man: 18 Memoirs of H.P. Lovecraft. (Philip E. Kaveny, #223, p. 37) Kennedy, Edward Donald (Editor). King Arthur: A Casebook. (Edgar V. McKnight, Jr., #225, p. 41) Kessler, Carol farley (Editor). Daring to Dream: Utopian Fiction by United Statcs Women, 2nd Edition. (jane Donawenh,#222,p.36) Krulik, Theodore. The Complete Amber Sourcebook. (W.D. Stevens, #224, p. 32) Lacy, Norris]. Thc New Arthurian Encyclopedia. (Edgar V. McKnight, Jr., #225, p. 41) Latham, Robert A. & Robert A. Collins (Editors). Modes of the Fantastic: S'electcd Essays from the Twelfth International Conferencc on the Fantastic in the Arts. (Veronica Hollinger, #222, p. 21) Ledoux, Trish & Doug Ramney. The Completc Anime Guide: japancse Animation Video Directory and Resource Guide. (l'vlichael Klossner, #226, p. 36) Lem, Stanislaw. Highcastlc: A lv/emoir. (Terry Heller, #222, p.38) SFRA Revic\\' #227. page 64


Lustig, T.]. Henry james and the Ghostly. (Neal Baker, #221, p.34) Manlove, Colin. Scottish Fantasy Literature. (C.W. Sullivan III, #225, p. 53) Matheson, Richard & Ricia Mainhardt. Robert Bloch: Appreciations ()f the Master. (Stefan Dzicmianowicz, #222, p. 40) McCarthy, Helen. The Anime! Movie Guide. (Michael Klossner, #226, p. 36) McGee, Mark Thomas. Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures. (Bob Blackwood, #224, p. 30) Milward, Peter. A Challenge to C.S. Lewis. (Darren Harris Fain, #223, p. 39) Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Spock. (Agatha Taormina, #225, p. 55) Parrinder, Patrick. Shadows of the Future: H.G. Wells, Sci ence Fiction and Prophecy. (Darren Harris-Fain, #222, p. 42) Pederson, jay P. (Editor). St. james Guide to Science Fiction Writers. (Neil Barron, #226, p. 39) Potter, ].K. Horripilations: The Art of j.K. Potter. (Walter Albert, #226, p. 21) Pringle, David (Editor). St. james Guide to Fantasy Writers. (Richard Mathews, #223, p. 41) Ramsland, Katherine. The Witches' Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches. (Wendy Bousfield, #221, p. 36) Ransom, Amy j. The Feminine as Fantastic in the "Conte fantastique": Visions of the Other. (Philip E. Kaveny, #224, p.33) Riley, Michael. Conversations with Anne Rice. (Wendy Bousfield, #225, p. 56) Ringel, Faye. New England's Gothic Literature: History and Folklore of the Supernatural from the Seventeenth Through the Twentieth Centuries. (Philip E. Kaveny, #221, p.38) Rotsler, William (Editor). Science Fictionisms. (Amy Sisson, #224, p. 35) Rushing, janice Hocker & Thomas S. Frentz. Projecting the Shadow: The Cyborg Hero in American Film. (Richard Davis, #226, p. 42) Russ, joanna. To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction. (Joe Marchesani, #225, p. 59) Russell, Sharon A. Stephen King: A Critical Companion. (Wendy Bousfield, #226, p. 45) SFRA Review #227, page 65


Sammon, Paul. Future Noir: The Making of Bladerunner. (Bob Blackwood, #226, p. 46) Sanders, joe (Editor). Functions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Thirteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. (Richard Davis, #222, p. 23) Schmidt, Stanley. Aliens and Alien Societies (Science Fiction Writing Series). (Thomas M. Cain, #224, p. 36) Seed, David (Editor). Anticipations: Essays on Early Science Fiction and Its Precursors. (Richard P. Terra, #223, p. 43) Senior, W.A. Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Variations on the Fantasy Tradition. (Sherry Stoskopf, #225, p. 60) Seuss, Dr. (Theodore Geisel). The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss. (Walter Albert, #226, p. 19) Sneyd, Steve. Flights from the Iron Moon: Genre Poetry in UK Fanzines & Little Magazines, 1980-1989. (Michael M. Levy, #224, p. 38) Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Utopian Literature. (Michael Orth, #222, p. 44) Squier, Susan Merrill. Babies in Bottles: Twentieth-Century Visions of Reproductive Technology. (Suzette j. Henderson, #226, p. 48) Tohill, Cathal & Pete Tombs. Immoral Tales: European Sex and Horror Movies 1956-1984. (Michael Klossner, #226, p.51) Tulloch, john & Henry jenkins. Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek. (Michael Klossner, #225, p. 62) Valentine, Mark. Arthur Machen. (Darren Harris-Fain, #226, p.53) Warner, Marina. From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers. (Sandra]. Lindow, #224, p. 39) Westfahl, Gary. Cosmic Engineers: A Study of Hard Science Fiction. (Michael Orth, #224, p. 15) Wilson, Robin (Editor). Paragons: Twelve Science Fiction Writers Ply Their Craft. (Gary Westfahl, #225, p. 65) Wright, Bruce Lanier. Nightwalkers: Gothic Horror Movies, The Modern Era. (Michael Klossner, #226, p. 51) Wu, Qjngyun. female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias. (janice M. Bogstad, #223, p. 44) SfRA Review #22 I page 66


FICTION/POETRY REVIEWS Aldiss, Brian W. Common Clay. (Michael R. Collings, #223, p.47) Anderson, Poul. All One Universe. (Edgar Chapman, #226, p.57) Anderson, Poul. Harvest the Fire. (Michael M. Levy, #225, p. 71) Bainbridge, Beryl. Young Adolf. (Edgar V. McKnight, Jr., #222, p.49) Berliner, Janet (Editor). Desire Bum. (Joe Sanders, #222, p. 50) Bujold, Lois McMaster. Dreamweaver's Dilemma. (Agatha Taormina,#226,p.59) Butler, Octavia. Bloodchild: Novellas and Stories. (Joe Marchesani, #221, p. 41) Card, Orson Scott. Alvin Journeyman. (Terry Heller, #223, p.48) Card, Orson Scott. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. (Michael R. Collings, #224, p. 43) Clarke, l.F. (Editor). The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914. (Arthur O. Lewis, #225, p. 73) Dalby, Richard. Mammoth Book of Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories. (Wendy Bousfield, #222, p. 51) Dann, Jack. The Memory Cathedral: A Secret Life of Leonardo da Vinci. (Jacob Weisman, #223, p. 50) Datlow, Ellen & Terri Wind ling (Editors). The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: Eighth Annual ColJection. (Sandra]. Lindow, #221, p. 23) Di Filippo, Paul. Ribofunk. (Jeffrey V. Yule, #22 5, p. 75) Dozois, Gardner (Editor). The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twelfth Annual Collection. (Lynn F. Williams, #221, p. 27) Dreyfuss, Richard & Harry Turtledove. The Two Georges. (Edgar V. McKnight, Jr., #224, p. 45) Dumas, Alexandre. Tarry Till I Come. (W.D. Stevens, #226, p.25) Forrest, Jodie. The Rhymer and the Ravens. (C.W. Sullivan III, #223, p. 51) Garfinkle, Richard. Celestial Matters. (Karen Hellekson, #224, p.47) Goldstein, Lisa. Walking the Labyrinth. (Sandra]. Lindow, #225, p. 79) Jeter, K.W. Bladerunner 2: The Edge of Human. (Sam Umland, #222, p. 54) Kandel, Michael. Panda Ray. (Terry Heller, #225, p. 81) SFRA Review #227, page 67


Kessler, Joan c. (Editor). Demons of the Night: Tales of the Fantastic, Madness, and the Supernatural from 19th-Cen tury France. (Fran<;:oise Coulont-Henderson, #224, p. 49) Le Guin, Ursula K. Four Ways to Forgiveness. (Terry Heller, #222, p. 56) Lethem, Jonathan. Amnesia Moon. (Fiona Kelleghan, #221, p.42) Lindow, Sandra. A Celebration of Bones. (Patricia Monk, #225, p. 82) Marlow, Gordon Robert. Vincent's Revenge. (Wendy Bousfield, #224, p. 52) McCaffery, Larry (Editor). After Yesterday's Crash: The Avant Pop Anthology. (Joan Gordon, #222, p. 58) Miller, John & Tim Smith (Editors). Moon Box: Legends, Mystery and Lore from Luna. (Neil Barron, #223, p. 53) Mitchison, Naomi. Solution Three. (Lynn F. Williams, #222, p.59) Morrow, James. Blameless in Abaddon. (Fiona Kelleghan, #226, p. 61) Nagata, Linda. The Bohr Maker. (Linda C. Macri, #221, p. 44) Noon, Jeff. Pollen. (Peter Wright, #224, p. 54) O'Leary, Patrick. Door Number Three. (Richard Davis, #224, p.57) Oberndorf, Charles. Foragers. (Karen Hellekson, #226, p. 63) Owings, Mark (Editor). Orphans of Time, Volume 1. (Gary Westfahl, #226, p. 29) Pearlman, Daniel. The Final Dream & Other Fictions. (W.D. Stevens, #221, p. 46) Pellegrino, Charles & George Zebrowski. The Killing Star. (Michael M. Levy, #221, p. 46) Rand, Ayn. Anthem. (Thomas]. Morrissey, #223, p. 54) Robinson, Kim Stanley. Blue Mars. (George Kelley, #226, p. 65) Rosenblum, Mary. Synthesis and Other Virtual Realities. (Diane M. Poirier, #225, p. 83) Saunders, George. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella. (Neil Barron, #224, p. 59) Searight, Richard F. The Sealed Casket and Others. (W.D. Stevens, #225, p. 85) Sussex, Lucy & Judith Raphael Buckrich (Editors). She's Fantastical: The First Anthology of Australian Women's Speculative Fiction, Magical Realism and Fantasy. (Janeen Webb, #223, p. 56) SFRA Rcvic\\' #22 I. page 68


Sturgeon, Theodore (Paul Williams, Editor). Microcosmic God: Volume II: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon. (W.D. Stevens, #223, p. 55) Thomson, Amy. The Color of Distance. (Patricia Monk, #224, p.59) Turner, Jim (Editor). Cthulhu 2000: A Lovecraftian Anthol ogy. (Douglas A. Anderson, #222, p. 61) Vonarburg, Elisabeth. Reluctant Voyagers. (Steve Lehman, #222, p. 63) Weinbaum, Stanley G. The Black Flame. (Joe Sanders, #223, p.59) Weis, Margaret (Editor). Fantastic Alice: New Stories from Wonderland. (C.W. Sullivan III, #224, p. 61) Wightman, Wayne. Ganglion & Other Stories. (W.D. Stevens, #225, p. 86) Williams, Frank Purdy. Hallie Marshall: A True Daughter of the South. (Edgar V. McKnight, Jr., #226, p. 31) Willis, Connie. Bellwether. (Karen Hellekson, #223, p. 60) SPECIAL FEATURES 1996 Pilgrim Award Acceptance Speech (David Ketterer, #225, p.33) 1996 Pilgrim Award Presentation Speech (Susan Stone Blackburn, #225, p. 31) 1996 Pioneer Award Acceptance Speech (Brian Stableford, #225, p. 29) 1996 Pioneer Award Presentation Speech (Joe Sanders, #225, p.26) 1996 SFRA Conference Report (Michael M. Levy, #225, p. 19) A Hainish Chronology (Peter Brigg, #223, p. 17) The Sound of Science Fiction (Jeff Berkwitts, #223, p. 21) SFRA RevielV#227, page 69


Eastgate Systems, 134 Main Street, Watertown MA 02172 Garland Publishing, 717 Fifth Avenue Suite 2500, New York NY 10022-8101 Greenwood Press, PO Box 5007, Westport CT 06881-5007 (1-800-225-5800) McFarland, Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640 Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham MD 20706 University of South Carolina Press, 205 Pickens St, Columbia SC 29208 SFRA Review #22 / page 70


The SFRA is the oldest professional organization for the study of science fiction and fantasy literature and film. Founded in 1970, the SfoRA was organizeJ Lo improve classroom teaching; to encourage and assist scholarship; and to evaluate and publicize new books and magazines dealing with fantastic literature and film, teaching methods and materials, and allied media performances. Among the membership are people from many countries -students, teachers, professors, librarians, futurologists, readers, authors, booksell ers, editors, publishers, archivists, and scholars in many dis ciplines. Academic affiliation is not a requirement for membership. SFRA BENEFITS INCLUDE: Extrapolation. Four issues per year. The oldest journal in the field, with critical, historical, and bibliographical ar ticles, book reviews, letters, occasional special topic issues, and an annual index. Science-Fiction Studies. Three issues per year. Includes criti cal, historical, and bibliographical articles, review articles, reviews, notes, letters, international coverage, and an annual index. SFRA Annual Directory. One per year. Lists members' names and addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and spe cial interests. SFRA Review. Six issues per year. An organ of the SFRA, this newsletter/journal 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 an annual index. SFRA OPTIONAL BENEFITS: Foundation. Discounted subscription rate for SFRA members. Three issues per year. British journal, with critical, his torical, and bibliographical articles, reviews, and letters. Add to dues: $17 surface; $20 airmail. NEW!!! The New York Review of Science Fiction. Discounted subscription rate for SFRA members. Twelve issues per year. Reviews and features. Add to dues: $20 domestic; $31 domestic first class; $24 domestic institutional; $25 Canada; $33 overseas. SFRA Review #22 7, page 71


ANNUAL SFRA MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS Dues: Individual! joint2 Student3 Institution4 EmeritusS U.S.A. $60 $70 $50 $80 $30 Canada $65 $75 $55 $80 $35 Overseas $70 $80 $60 $80 $40 !all standard listed benefits; 2two members in the same household receive two listings in the Directory and one set of journals; 3category may be used for a maximum of five years; 4all privileges of individual membership except voting; sreceives the SFRA Review and Annual Directory. NOT E: Please add $15 for overseas air mailing of The SFRA Review and the Annual Directory if desired; otherwise these publications will be sent via surface mail. Please mail this completed form with your check for dues, payable to SFRA, in U.S.$ only, to: Michael M. Levy, SFRA Treasurer, Dept. of English, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie WI 54751. Type of membership: $ __ Amount of dues $ ---Airmail for SFRA Review & Directory $ --J'ollIJdaUolJ $ --NYRSF $--Support a Scholar (any amount welcome) $ ---Total enclosed $ ---Name: Address: [-mail: Home Phone: Work Phone: fax: ]\Iy principal interests in fantastic literature are (limit to 30 words) (Repeat last year's entry ): S'J'RA Review #22 I, page 12


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