Contents of the RFP-18.TXT file
* R E A D I N G F O R P L E A S U R E *
* Issue #18 *
* August/September 1991 *
* Editor: Cindy Bartorillo *
* Reviews by: Cindy & Drew Bartorillo, Carol Bream, *
* Jack Curtin, Dan Ellis, Howard Frye, Carl Ingram, *
* Peter de Jager, Darryl Kenning, Janet Peters, Robert *
* Pittman, Peter Quint, Carol Sheffert, Annie Wilkes, *
* Robert Willis *
* "Books I've Been Meaning To Read" *
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
What's News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Books I've Been Meaning To Read . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Lost Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
Good Reading Periodically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437
Mainstream Fiction Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 548
Nonfiction Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 751
The Natural World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 753
The Computer Bookshelf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 911
Seeking Serenity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1370
Loompanics Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1619
Murder By The Book (Mystery Reviews) . . . . . . . . . . . 2464
Loosen Your Grip On Reality (SF & Fantasy Reviews) . . . . 3394
Frightful Fiction (Horror Reviews) . . . . . . . . . . . . 4267
Welcome to RFP #18. I think there are more good reading suggestions in
this issue than ever before. At least it seems that way to me--I've
had a lot of fun in the past two months reading many of the books
you'll see talked about here. And it doesn't look like the good news
stops here; the fall lineup I've been hearing about sounds really
great this year. (Last fall was pretty much a disappointment all the
way around. Or was I just in a bad mood for 4 months?) While I've got
you here, let me pass on a few notes:
SUBSCRIPTIONS: I've been getting questions about subscriptions to the
print edition of RFP. The bottom line is: send me $2/$4/$6 and I'll
send you the next 1/2/3 issues. I don't like to make promises any
further ahead than that. Remember, the very best way to get RFP is to
give your computer a modem and download each issue for free. See our
Distribution Directory for a BBS near you, or call The Baudline II to
get RFP from us directly.
ADVERTISING: We don't accept advertising, but if you send us a copy
of whatever it is you have to sell there's a good chance we'll mention
it in the next available issue of RFP. We will mention it, and
possibly review it, if 1) It's some kind of text or is book-related,
and 2) It strikes us as something RFP readers might want to know
about. Be sure to include the necessary ordering information.
WHERE TO SEND THINGS: If you want to send books, information, or
other materials to RFP, address them to:
Reading For Pleasure
103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303
Frederick, MD 21702
Watch for issue #19, due to be released October 1, 1991. This will be
our annual Halloween Issue, and we hope to have a lot of scary
recommendations for your fall reading list. Right now it's difficult
to imagine fall--the temperature yesterday was near 100 degrees. If
the computers don't melt, see you next time.
* You probably don't want to miss THE MEDIEVAL HOME COMPANION, a
September release from HarperCollins. It's a translation of a 14th
century manuscript with a new husband's instructions to his bride on
proper conduct in marriage and management of a household. Sure to be a
conversation starter for months.
* BLACK COCKTAIL, a novella by Jonathan Carroll, is due to be released
by St. Martin's in September 1991 as a stand-alone hardcover. If you
haven't fallen under the Carroll spell yet, check it out. You can find
out more about his books in RFP #15, when he was one of the Featured
* The Turner Tomorrow Award top prize went to ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn,
who got $500,000 and will have his book published in January 1992 by
Turner Publishing and Bantam.
* Bantam has purchased world rights (all permissions except for film)
to the memoirs of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf for a sum estimated at
more than $5 million.
* Just when you thought you'd never hear "Iran-Contra" again, Wiley
bought the North American rights to the inside story as told by Maj.
Gen. Richard V. Secord. According to Secord's agent, "He's going to
clear his name by revealing everything he knows, including rolling
over Reagan and Bush for their participation." The book is tentatively
titled HONORED AND BETRAYED: MY SECRET WARS and is being co-written by
Jay Wurts (WHEN HEAVEN AND EARTH CHANGED PLACES).
* BEFORE AND AFTER, a novel by Rosellen Brown in which a 17-year-old
son in a seemingly average family is charged with murdering a
neighbor's child, has been optioned by GPEC (Guber Peters
Entertainment Corp.) for Meryl Streep to star in and Barbet Schroeder
(REVERSAL OF FORTUNE) to direct.
* Jay Brandon's RULES OF EVIDENCE, about a black lawyer who defends a
white cop accused of a racial killing, has been optioned by Universal
for a film starring Bill Cosby.
* Have you heard about the Writers' Helpline? Any writer can get
marketing tips 24 hours a day for $2 per minute by calling
900-988-1838, ext. 549.
* HarperCollins bought world rights to I HOPE: REMINISCENCES AND
REFLECTIONS by Raisa Gorbachev, scheduled for release in early
September. The book is a series of conversations between Mrs.
Gorbachev and Soviet writer Georgy Pryakhin and contains 28 pages of
photographs chosen by the subject herself.
BOOKS I'VE BEEN MEANING TO READ
by Cindy Bartorillo
We all have a list like this, don't we? Books you feel you SHOULD read
for one reason or another, or books that sound good but somehow you've
just never quite gotten around to them. We conducted an informal
survey around RFP Central and came up with the following short list.
Are some of these books on your list too?
WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy. Yep, we start out with the big one, and
I do mean BIG. Everybody is always droning on about how this is the
greatest novel ever written, but gee! Did it have to be that long? And
the characters--not only are there a kajillion different people, they
all have unpronounceable looong names. All I can tell you is that real
people (not college English professors) who have conquered these
initial prejudices say that it's all worthwhile. The story is
magnificent and the characters actually settle into identifiable
patterns after a while. Nowadays everybody seems to like these huge,
sprawling epic novels. Well, this is the original; the one they're all
trying to duplicate.
something SHAKESPEARE. Shakespeare is virtually a synonym for
culture. Even the ol' Lethal Weapon himself has felt the urge to prove
his craft with HAMLET. So why haven't you been reading your
Shakespeare? Mostly it's the weird language, but the fact that it's
poetry doesn't help either. A bit too MUCH culture all at once, don't
you think?. Here's a few recommendations from those who've been there:
1) Stick to the good stuff. Even Shakespeare could be boring. Start
with HAMLET, then go on to OTHELLO and KING LEAR. For a comedy, try
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE or MEASURE FOR MEASURE. 2) Get yourself a good
copy of the play you want to read. Many swear by the Folger Library
series, but anything with easy-to-use explanatory notes will do. With
a little initial help, you'll find you develop an ear for the language
and you won't need the notes after a while. 3) About the poetry--just
ignore it. Just pretend it's prose. Don't EVER read it in nursery
rhyme cadence. 4) Shakespeare must be heard to be truly appreciated.
Why not read the plays aloud to yourself?
MOBY DICK by Herman Melville. This is supposedly one of America's
greatest contributions to World Literature. But did it have to be
about some old coot and a whale? And why does it have to be such a
long story with such small type? Inside word is that this is not only
a very exciting book, but is an education in literature all by itself.
It's nearly impossible to read the story of Ahab and Moby Dick without
finding and interpreting deeper levels to the surface plot, even if
you've never thought about things like that in your life. And this is
without some boring professor putting you to sleep every Tuesday and
Thursday for 90 minutes. The big trick to MOBY DICK is to hang in
there for 100, maybe 150 pages, to let the interest level sneak up and
1984 and ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell. These are a couple of those
really embarrassing books that everyone just seems to expect you to
have read. They talk about Big Brother, the Thought Police, and some
animals being more equal than others, without explanation or citation,
just KNOWING that anyone who can read knows what they're talking
about. The good news is that both of these books are very quick reads.
You can catch up on your social theory in just a day or two's
DAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens. Another huge book. And you ever
notice the non-answer you get when you ask someone what it's about?
"Well, this guy has a rotten childhood, grows up anyway, gets a job,
gets married, then realizes he screwed it all up and becomes a
writer." Not much of an advertisement, is it? The inside scoop on this
one is: pretend you're watching a soap opera, and enjoy the secondary
characters. You'll really enjoy meeting the Micawbers and the
Murdstones, wonderful Peggotty and the ultimate creep, Uriah Heep. The
episodic, rambling structure of the story won't seem so weird if you
think of it as a soap opera like DALLAS or DYNASTY.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien. The two big hurdles to
reading this story cycle are the page count and the fact that this is
"just" a fantasy. It just doesn't seem very adult; doesn't fit in with
the serious intellectual image we have created for ourselves. Maybe it
would help to concentrate on Tolkien and his accomplishment here.
Tolkien was a serious academic; he taught Anglo-Saxon literature at
Oxford, for goodness sake. And in THE LORD OF THE RINGS (and
associated works) he "merely" created an entire world, complete with a
language system, history, anthropology, geography, and literature. You
may never meet another mind as creative as Tolkien's. Give yourself a
treat someday and spend some time with hobbits, elves, dwarves,
wizards, orcs, and ants.
Once you get started with this, it's difficult to know where to stop.
If you'd like a little help with your reading selections, be sure to
get yourself a copy of...
AN ENGLISH LIBRARY: Sixth Edition
edited by Nigel Farrow, Brian Last, Vernon Pratt
(Gower Publishing, 1990, $29.95, ISBN 0-566-05818-9)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
The first edition of AN ENGLISH LIBRARY was published in 1943, the
fifth arriving in 1963, so this is the first update in over a quarter
of a century. As editor Nigel Farrow says in his Introduction,
"AN ENGLISH LIBRARY is for everyone who likes reading books. It has
been compiled with one objective: to identify the books from the
classical and modern heritage that will extend your enjoyment of
AN ENGLISH LIBRARY has over 2500 titles, arranged in 15 categories,
selected by a panel of readers who "write, teach or publish books for
a living but read them for enjoyment". This is one reference book for
readers that makes no apologies for the joy of reading; you needn't
excuse your reading with rhetoric derived from Literary Criticism. "If
a book is listed in these pages it is because it has given an
experienced reader real pleasure, not because it fits a particular
critical theory of literary excellence."
This volume is like having a circle of fellow readers to exchange
views with any time you like. Agree with them, argue with them, and,
most importantly, allow them to make suggestions for you. It's
difficult not to fall under the charm of AN ENGLISH LIBRARY when Nigel
Farrow makes statements like,
"Reading is not a competition: challenge yourself but do not waste
valuable time reading without enjoyment."
Entries are arranged into the following categories: Fiction, World
Literature in English, Children's Literature, Poetry, Drama,
Biography, Autobiography, Essays and Other Prose Writings, Travel,
Literary Criticism, History, Philosophy and Other Writings on Morals
and Religion, The Bible, Fine Arts, and Reference. For the serious
reader who really enjoys reading, this volume is indispensable.
Here's a sample entry:
Kurt VONNEGUT Jr. (1922- )
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE 1969
A powerful work inspired by Vonnegut's own experience on emerging from
an underground slaughterhouse after the horrific bombing of Dresden in
World War II. Bill Pilgrim comes to see the tragic absurdity of life,
a feature of all Vonnegut's novels, but seldom realized by his
( LOST STORIES )
( by Peter de Jager )
The book reviewed this time must stand alone as I could not find a
another book like it. If I were forced to chose another it would have
to be ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE by Pirsig. This is by
no means a "Lost Story" so it is outside the domain of this column.
(On the other hand... if you have not read ZEN... then get a copy. It
will get you thinking in new ways.)
Another reason for the single review this issue is that I had planned
to do reviews of two totally different books. The first was THE HAB
THEORY by Allan W. Eckert. The second was THE JESUS FACTOR by ?... My
problem is that I cannot find a copy of THE JESUS FACTOR anywhere!
This makes it a true "Lost Story", one I have been searching for high
and low for weeks.
The reason why these two books were chosen is they both create
theories that at first sound ludicrous... but which force us to ask
"Could it? naw..." If anyone has a copy of THE JESUS FACTOR they would
be interested in loaning me for a short period, please contact me via
CompuServe (ID: 70611,2576). I would like to have these reviews ready
for the next issue of RFP.
THE STARSHIP AND THE CANOE
by Kenneth Brower
Published 1978 by Holt Rinehart & Winston ISBN 0-553-12451-X
This is not a "story" in the traditional sense. It is more a biography
of father and son. Freeman Dyson and his son George. The father is a
nuclear physicist who wants to ride to the stars on Orion, a
spacecraft powered by nuclear explosions from surplus atomic bombs.
The son builds silent canoes and lives in a tree house besieged by
On one level, the dual biography is just that, a tale of two men on
different paths. There is little in common between these two
One is determined to reach the stars both for himself and for mankind.
He is searching for new frontiers. He finds potential in comets,
asteroids and possibly other planets. He solves ecological problems by
creating trees growing hundreds of miles into space.
His son seeks solitude on the west coast of America, traveling from
southern British Columbia to Alaska in a homemade 32 foot canoe. The
rooms of his home are scattered along the coast, from a single room
treehouse 60 ft in the air to a rock cabin existing only in his mind.
These men have little in common other than blood and eccentricity.
On another level the two biographies could be of the same individual.
One possessed with great vision, determination and compassion for this
planet. They are both geniuses, one in the hard sciences and the other
in life. They both suffer (? are blessed with) tremendous imaginations
leading them to different lifestyles.
THE STARSHIP AND THE CANOE is a musical narrative. Kenneth Brower has
a poetic turn of phrase (although I suspect that the poetry came
sometimes from the subjects rather than the author), he also plays the
two men against each other in subtle counterpoint. The father amongst
the Stars, the Son amongst the Waves.
I have two copies of The Starship and the Canoe... if you cannot find
a copy, I will send you one of mine... on one condition: you send it
to the next person on the list I send you. You see, I expect to
receive more than one request for a copy, if we pass it on with loving
care... maybe it won't be a lost story anymore? Contact me on
Compuserve. Happy reading!
GOOD READING PERIODICALLY
reviews by Cindy Bartorillo
Observing and Confronting the Enigmas That Surround Us
Issue No. 1
The most interesting magazine I've discovered lately is WONDER, an
"irregular" periodical devoted to intellectual inquiry. The first
issue has articles on graphic artist M.C. Escher, Raised Planting
Fields (an ingenious agricultural technique resurrected from the mists
of pre-history), the idea of a Space Tower (a physical connection
between Earth and space along which we could travel without rockets),
and Part I of a history of cartography. The magazine closes with a
section called "Voices From The Past", in which good ideas get a new
airing: quotes from Albert Einstein, The Bill of Rights, and Leonardo
da Vinci's Canon of Proportions.
The entire magazine is printed on very heavy, slick paper; the type
size is large and very easy to read; and the whole issue is filled
with beautiful black and white illustrations. The M.C. Escher article
alone contains 18 of his prints, including a two-page layout of his
famous "Metamorphosis". The cartography article has many lovely map
reproductions as well. Also, each article comes with a short list of
sources for "Further Information", in case the text has fired an
WONDER costs $5 (plus $1.50 shipping) for each issue, $100 for a
lifetime subscription. Send your money to: Ziggurat Press, Box 394,
Sound Beach, NY 11789.
1 BIT SHOE #7
$1.50 from: David A. Walbridge, 2760 Louisiana Ct. #9, St. Louis Pk,
This is a poorly produced home-grown magazine of words and
illustrations that is really interesting. The informality of its
production is part of its charm, and lends a sense of spontaneity to
the whole production. This issue is devoted to art, and includes
"The key to creating is letting yourself. no talk of what on artist is
or isn't or who your teacher said had pontential or who took the best
classes, but just doing it. Just create. It is important to separate
the editing function from the creative one. the two cannot exist
simeltaneously. let them take turns."
Beyond the art thoughts, and the reproductions, there are random
ideas, letters, hand-written add-ons, all adding up to a very
entertaining package. Why don't you send David a little money and let
him show you what he's been up to lately? He says that issue #8 should
be out by July 1, 1991.
Next year will be the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus'
discovery of the Americas (if you don't count earlier discoveries). As
you might imagine, loads of big events are planned in celebration; but
not everyone is in a festive mood--particularly those who know
something about the real story of Columbus. Hint: He wasn't quite the
great guy you read about in your grade school textbook. Two new
magazines are dedicated to countering the hypocrisy of the 1992
anniversary celebrations: huracan, Box 7591, Minneapolis, MN 55407
($15 for 4 quarterly issues); and Native Nations, 175 5th Avenue,
Suite 2245, New York, NY 10010 ($20 for 12 monthly issues). This
information was found in Utne Reader, a fantastic magazine that you
all should try (Utne Reader, Subscriber Services, PO Box 1974, Marion,
OH 43306-2074; $18 for 6 bimonthly issues).
Wigwag has died, and will be sorely missed.
THE VILLAGE IDIOT
If you enjoy short fiction and poetry, you might want to check out THE
VILLAGE IDIOT, a triannual collection of fiction, poetry, artwork, and
reviews. The issue I saw, #13 May-August 1991, even included an essay
called "On Isolation" by Gabriel Monteleone Neruda. The fiction was
several cuts above average, and the whole magazine was a pleasure to
read. "Jet Fuel" by Cindy Rosmus evoked the lives of the inner-city
poor with both sensitivity and cynicism. "It's Hell to Die Rich" by
Jess Willbanks is a touching story of two west-coast hobos. And "Bundt
Cake or Coffee Cake" by Elizabeth Mathes penetrates the American Way
of Death, and hypocrisy. Issue #14 should be out by the time you read
this. Single copies are $3, a three-issue subscription is $7.50. Send
your money to THE VILLAGE IDIOT, Mother of Ashes Press, PO Box 66,
Harrison, Idaho 83833-0066.
THE SPEAR-SHAKER REVIEW
THE SPEAR-SHAKER REVIEW is a quarterly magazine devoted to the
proposition that Shakespeare wasn't who we think he was. Many people
now believe that the "Shakespeare" plays were written by Edward de
Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Each issue of THE SPEAR-SHAKER REVIEW
carries a full complement of articles written by scholars in the
vanguard of Oxfordian research, carefully edited to be entertaining as
well as informative. The issue I saw (May 1991) was very interesting;
I particularly liked the cover piece about six known "signatures" of
Shakespeare. Having the signatures reproduced with the article made
the information very easy to follow. If you'd like to get in on the
fun, send $24 for 4 issues to: Spear Shaker Press, PO Box 308,
Napanoch, NY 12458.
MAINSTREAM FICTION REVIEWS
by Nicholson Baker
(Grove Weidenfeld, 1990)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
I chose Nicholson Baker's first published book, THE MEZZANINE, as one
of my favorite three books of all the ones that I read in 1989. It's
the story of a man who breaks a shoelace, goes to the men's room, then
leaves his office to get his lunch and eat it outside. During all
this, our hero ruminates about the inventor of Jiffy Pop, whether the
electric hand dryers in restrooms are really more sanitary, why straw
wrappers are so tight now, the incredible engineering of milk cartons,
why shoelaces break... You get the idea. The "subject" of the book is
the trivia of our everyday lives, and the hero has many fascinating
thoughts about these ubiquitous bits of popular culture.
ROOM TEMPERATURE is similarly structured. Now our hero is a young
married man with a new baby, and the "plot" here is sitting with his
baby (called "the Bug") on his lap and alternately feeding her and
watching her sleep. While she goes about her tiny baby business, our
hero contemplates her, his wife, air currents, playing the French
Horn, how to tell what someone's writing by the sound the pen makes on
the paper... Many of the same pleasure of THE MEZZANINE are present
once again in ROOM TEMPERATURE, but I didn't enjoy the second book
nearly as much as I did the first. For one thing, the subjects
discussed were less interesting to me. Too many pages were spent on
nose picking and pet names for defecation, subjects which may have
some temporary interest to immediate participants, but whose
fascination doesn't travel well. Other subjects, such as playing the
French Horn, or wind instruments in general, were simply foreign to
me, in contrast to the universal nature of the subjects in the first
book. The other problem I had was the lack of plot. Now I realize that
THE MEZZANINE didn't have much of a plot either, but it did have SOME;
enough to give the book a bit of structure, to give the words a sense
of forward motion. ROOM TEMPERATURE has much more of a WAITING FOR
GODOT feeling about it, a senselessness, formlessness. Still
interesting, you understand, but not nearly as much so as THE
MEZZANINE. Nicholson Baker has another book out now, U AND I, which is
definitely on my reading list as well. He's an author that deserves
careful watching--and reading.
THE BIRD WHO CLEANS THE WORLD and other Mayan Fables
by Victor Montejo, translated by Wallace Kaufman
(Curbstone Press, June 1991, $24.95)
Sent out as a scout after the Flood, the buzzard forgot his mission
and, overcome by hunger, ate carrion: his punishment was to eat only
carrion from that day forward, thus cleaning the world. This and other
Jakaltek Mayan folk tales, first told to the author by his mother and
the elders of his Guatemalan village, have a deceptive simplicity and
charm while they deal with weighty themes like mutual respect,
creation, nature, and ethnic relations and conflicts. Available for
the first time in English and illustrated with Mayan images, they
speak eloquently of an ancient culture and are sure to delight readers
of all ages.
(Curbstone Press, 321 Jackson Street, Willimantic, CT 06226)
FORCE OF GRAVITY
by R.S. Jones
(Viking, June 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-670-83591-9)
review by Howard Frye
Many writers have discovered the advantages of creating a lead,
point-of-view character who is mentally ill. Some examples are:
Dostoevski's THE DOUBLE, Shirley Jackson's THE BIRD'S NEST, Ken
Kesey's ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, Sylvia Plath's THE BELL JAR
(I'm not sure this one counts as an artistic choice), and Edgar Allan
Poe's THE TELL-TALE HEART. The eyes of the psychologically disturbed
see things that others don't see, and give the writer a chance to
illuminate life from a different perspective. And when the mentally
ill character is as unfortunate and charming as FORCE OF GRAVITY's
Emmet, the resulting tale is fresh and captivating.
Poor Emmet began life being bounced from parent to grandparent, with a
mother who invaded his life only sporadically. Now he's living alone
in New York City, but it's not quite the city most of the other
inhabitants live in. Emmet's city looks more like NYC reflected in a
funhouse mirror: people appear ominously out of nowhere, spy on Emmet
from hidden locations, speak incomprehensibly. Emmet will only eat
carrots, but realizes that this sounds "crazy", so he creates large
and lavish imaginary meals to tell his psychiatrist about at every
meeting, not-so-cleverly hiding his aversion to food by talking about
Emmet's equally unhappy dog howls whenever he leaves the apartment, so
he adopts a cat to keep the dog company. It hardly comes as a surprise
to the reader when this doesn't work out very well. Intimidating store
clerks cheat Emmet when he pretends to be a foreigner who doesn't
understand American money. And a massive burglary presents Emmet with
an invasion of privacy that would disturb even a more psychologically
balanced individual. Through it all Emmet is kind and generous,
struggling to cope with world that gets larger as he gets smaller.
"Literature was my next love. Until I became loosely acquainted with
critical theory, which struck me as a kind of intellectualism for its
own sake. It always seems that one has to choose literature or
critical theory, that one cannot love both."
---from HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT by Whitney Otto
THE OLD MAN AND MR. SMITH: A Fable
by Peter Ustinov
(Arcade, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55970-134-X)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
The Old Man is a portly guy in robes and tennis shoes. Mr. Smith is a
smaller dark man with a nasty temper and an odor of sulphur. In case
you haven't recognized them yet, they are God and Satan, the renowned
stars of ancient texts and Broadway musicals, and they have come to
earth to take a look around, to see what we've done with His creation.
Almost immediately they get into trouble, when the concierge of a
hotel asks the Old Man for His name. The concierge isn't very happy
with the answer, "God". He becomes happier when the Old Man gives him
thousands of dollars which He has just pulled from the pocket of His
robes, but the local bank declares the bills to be counterfeit. Now He
has the FBI on His trail, and the Old Man and Mr. Smith must flee.
The pair visit locations all over the globe and talk to a diversity of
human beings: a forest ranger, a prostitute, a TV evangelist, the
President of the United States, a First Secretary in the Kremlin, a
panel of rabbis, a Japanese billionaire, and a group of Indian holy
men. As you might expect, this broad canvas allows Peter Ustinov to
display his famous wit on a rainbow of subjects, and the author's
intelligence is what keeps the story from being a one-note joke.
The Old Man finds it odd that Americans find it easier to believe the
pair are Soviet subversives, or even aliens from outer space, than
that they are God and the Devil. And when the Old Man performs actions
that are clearly beyond the ability of humans--are those actions
"tricks" or "miracles"? There is some discussion that they are
miracles simply by virtue of the identity of the performer. For anyone
else, they would be tricks. At another time, the two disappear from
one location with the intention to reappear at an agreed upon second
location, but something goes wrong and they wind up at an alternate
destination. Are God's powers limited? And when significant occurrences
at the alternate location bring up the question of whether the
"mistake" was meant to happen, one must ask: Meant by whom?
Along the way, there are bits and pieces of verbal sagacity that make
you want to take notes, and Ustinov works hard to keep the Devil from
getting all the good lines. I liked the thought that "Perfection is
one of those concepts that looks so foolproof in theory, until
practice turns it into a contagious yawn." And my favorite
word-painting comes when the saintly are described as those "with
sickly little smiles of imminent omniscience."
Author Peter Ustinov, or more correctly Sir Peter Ustinov (Queen
Elizabeth knighted him in 1990), has written a novel that is witty and
wise. He's created a view of mankind that sees the flaws with great
humor and yet still feels optimism with the warmth of a fond parent. A
modern Renaissance man, Sir Peter has performed in more than 50 films
(winning an Oscar along the way), and is the author of more than 25
works including fiction, drama, essays, travel writing, and
autobiography. THE OLD MAN AND MR. SMITH is his third novel, and we
can only hope that there are many more to come. Recommended.
KNOPF REDESIGNS AND RE-LAUNCHES "EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY"
The classic hardcover library of the world's great books returns this
fall from Knopf. Each volume will be 5" x 8-1/4", have anywhere from
240 to 1,008 pages, be priced from $15 to $20, and will have
gold-stamped cloth bindings which will vary in color according to era
or genre (20th-century books are blue, poetry is sand colored, etc.).
The first titles, being released in September of 1991, are:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
The Woman In White by William Wilkie Collins
Typhoon by Joseph Conrad
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Poems by John Donne
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Childhood, Boyhood and Youth by Leo Tolstoy
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Germinal by Emile Zola
***> THE NATURAL WORLD
THE PRIVATE LIVES OF GARDEN BIRDS
How to Understand the Everyday Behavior of the Birds in Your Backyard
by Calvin Simonds
(Globe Pequot, April 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-87106-315-8)
review by Howard Frye
Author Calvin Simonds is an ethologist, a behavioral biologist who
examines nature from the point of view of the organisms that live in
it---a fitting choice for a guide to the lives of the birds you share
your backyard with. Charming essays cover the personalities and
lifestyles of: Mockingbirds, Swallows, Blue Jays, Chickadees, Song
Sparrows, English Sparrows, Phoebes, Crows, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and
PRIVATE LIVES is for people whose interest in birds falls somewhere
between field guides and comprehensive ornithological tomes. You care
enough to have gotten some sort of field guide and identified at least
a few of the more popular species around your house, maybe you've put
up a feeder, maybe even a modest birdbath, but you're not quite ready
to go for a graduate degree in bird biology. You'd like to enhance
your understanding and enjoyment of the birds around you, but you're
not willing to devote months of study to the task. What do you do? Get
Calvin Simonds' THE PRIVATE LIVES OF GARDEN BIRDS.
Simonds will explain why robins are always hopping around your lawn
while other birds stick to the bushes and trees. You'll find out that
blue jays often live in extended families, and why they will empty a
feeder faster than any other bird. You'll learn why your garden is
probably "owned" by a song sparrow, and why a chickadee is the bird
most likely to eat right out of your hand. Simonds' prose is a
pleasure to read, and his fascinations are infectious. THE PRIVATE
LIVES OF GARDEN BIRDS is sure to add to your enjoyment of your own
little patch of outdoors. Recommended.
THE PRIVATE LIVES OF GARDEN BIRDS is available at your local bookstore
or order directly from Globe Pequot Press (138 West Main Street, Box
Q, Chester, CT 06412; 1-800-243-0495; in CT, 1-800-962-0973) and
please include a $3 shipping and handling fee.
THE GARDENER'S YEAR
A Practical Guide to Gardening in Rhythm With Nature
by John Ferguson & Burkhard Muecke
(Barron's, March 1991, $29.95, ISBN 0-8120-6184-5)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
As an amateur gardener, I've spent the usual amount of time worrying
about average first and last frost dates, average monthly rain inches,
average number of sun days, etc. You get your facts and figures, you
study the seed and plant catalogs, and you carefully make your
selections and allot each plant a space around your home with the
precision of the Army Corps of Engineers. Then you find that, once
again, the only one who hasn't studied the facts and figures is Mother
Nature, who acts on any whim that comes her way, and makes a mess of
all your plans.
As Ferguson & Muecke figured out, the problem is that we're using the
Gregorian calendar (a human construct) to regulate our manipulation of
a natural process. Why not use a natural calendar? And that is exactly
what they've done in THE GARDENER'S YEAR. Ferguson & Muecke have
defined nine gardening seasons, and their starting and ending times
are based on nature's own signals, not artificial calendar dates. And
because these seasons are timed by nature, the gardening information
and advice included here is valid for every reader, no matter where
they live or how unusual the weather is in any particular year.
In clear and elegant prose, the authors take you through an entire
gardening year, describing plants from all over the world that you can
use in your garden, as well as giving well-illustrated instructions on
all necessary garden chores. There is also careful consideration given
to the use of environmentally safe herbicides and pesticides. With 70
beautiful color photographs and 280 color drawings, THE GARDENER'S
YEAR is several levels of quality above the standard gardening book,
making it especially suitable as a gift.
KEEPING THE HARVEST
Preserving Your Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs (Revised & Updated)
by Nancy Chioffi & Gretchen Mead
(Storey/Garden Way, April 1991, $10.95, ISBN 0-88266-650-9)
review by Howard Frye
Here is everything you need to know about preserving fresh fruits,
vegetables, and herbs in one volume. The authors talk about freezing,
canning, curing with brine, drying, root cellaring, pickling, and
turning your fruits into jams and jellies. Part I discusses each
method in detail, with clear general directions and charts. They tell
you how to plan ahead for your food supply, give recipes for jams,
jellies, pickles, relishes, and even a quick-to-make whole wheat
bread. Part II is where you go when you have a specific food to
preserve--it gives individual directions for each vegetable, herb,
fruit, and berry. All the information is clearly explained, nicely
illustrated, and easy to find. KEEPING THE HARVEST is a first-rate
reference book for gardeners and food lovers.
A Bounty of Tips From America's Best Gardeners
by Shelley Goldbloom
(Globe Pequot, May 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-87106-399-9)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
34% of households grow vegetables (31 million households)
--National Gardening Association, Census Bureau
Shelley Goldbloom canvassed gardeners from all over to assemble this
cornucopia of helpful hints. Arranged by subject area, each tip is
covered in just a few sentences, making this perfect for bedside or
garden-side browsing. Every gardener worth his aching back knows that
there are very few hard-and-fast solutions to a garden's many
problems. What works for your neighbor may not work for you. With the
hundreds and hundreds of ideas in GARDEN SMARTS, you're sure to find
something good to try, no matter what the particular problem is.
Suppose your houseplant has suffered culture shock, or your tomato
plants have cutworm. Perhaps you're ready to try something new, like
composting, or a mulch made from old newspapers. When you buy a manure
for your garden, is it cow manure you want or horse manure? And I just
know you'd love to find out what Emily George does with cauliflower
and her old pantyhose.
GARDEN SMARTS is a comprehensive compilation of helpful advice on:
preparing your soil, composting, starting plants from seed, mulching,
watering, fertilizing, tool choices, getting rid of garden pests,
growing herbs, taking care of your trees and shrubs, growing beautiful
flowers and making your cut flowers last longer, garden folklore,
harvesting and cooking, and special chapters on two of the most
popular plants: tomatoes and roses. Some of the most ingenious ideas
you'll ever come across are waiting to be found in the pages of GARDEN
GARDEN SMARTS is available at your local bookstore or order directly
from Globe Pequot Press (138 West Main Street, Box Q, Chester, CT
06412; 1-800-243-0495; in CT, 1-800-962-0973) and please include a $3
shipping and handling fee.
If you have *any* interest in gambling, or gaming in general, you must
ask GAMBLER'S BOOK CLUB for their catalog. It's huge! They have more
books on gaming that I thought existed, and they even carry computer
software and videotapes. Here are just some of the divisions in their
catalog: Baccarat, Baseball, Basketball, Blackjack, Casino-General,
Craps, Football, Gin Rummy, Greyhound Racing, History, Jai Alai, Keno,
Lotteries/Sweepstakes, Magic, Management & Dealing, Poker,
Probability, Psychology, Roulette, Slots, Sociology, Video Machines.
They even have a large section devoted to fiction with gambling
themes. You can write to them at: Gambler's Book Club, 630 South 11th
Street, Box 4115, Las Vegas, NV 89127. Or you can pick up the phone
and call for a catalog at 1-800-634-6243.
***> THE COMPUTER BOOKSHELF
USING TURBO PASCAL 6.0
by Ben Ezzell
(Addison-Wesley, May 1991, $26.95, ISBN 0-201-57774-7)
review by Robert Willis
I'm always on the lookout for a good reference book on Turbo Pascal.
There are a decent number of them out there (though they often appear
to be drowning in a sea of C language books), but the only one that I
ever actually bought was Borland's Turbo Pascal Tutor for version 4.0.
This was a nice book/disk set that I still use today when I need to
look up an element of the language that I don't use very often. It had
a lot of examples that you could use to "cookbook" together an
application. Most of the other Turbo Pascal books that I looked at
were either of an introductory level, too specific in focus, or were
straight reference works (and since Turbo Pascal comes with adequate
documentation, I didn't need a reference book). Recently, I had the
opportunity to review one of two Turbo Pascal books. After flipping
through them both, I grabbed USING TURBO PASCAL 6.0 as it appeared to
be the more useful of the two. I think that I made a good decision.
The book is 770 pages long, including the index. It starts out at an
introductory level, with chapters on installing Turbo Pascal 6.0,
using the integrated programming environment, and entering programs.
Then it starts getting interesting. The chapters are set up such that
each one covers "how to do something" - using numbers, manipulating
strings, using disk files, and so on. The organization and naming of
the chapters makes it very easy to find information. There are a lot
of examples. There are a number of demonstration programs that use the
concepts covered previously in the book. There is good coverage of
graphics, again addressing practical issues such as business graphics
and Graphic User Interfaces (GUIs), including mouse routines. Finally,
there is a lot of useful information on object-oriented programming,
both general and Turbo Vision-specific.
If you are looking for a comprehensive book on "doing stuff" in Turbo
Pascal, with a good amount of reusable code, I will recommend USING
TURBO PASCAL 6.0 as a solid buy.
STUPID PC TRICKS
17 Insanely Great Programs to Make Your PC More Fun (Disks Included)
by Bob LeVitus with Ed Tittel
(Addison-Wesley, March 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-201-57759-3)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
"...some of our criteria for selecting programs for this book were
that candidate programs be time-consuming, addictive, or have little
or no socially redeeming value in addition to being as mindless as
There are some computer owners/users who take great pride in
announcing that they have never played a computer game; have never
even contemplated using their computer for anything but the sober and
serious uses for which it was obviously intended. This book is not for
those people. This book is for people who like a little fun in between
spreadsheets, a few fireworks between electronic messages. People who
like to explore the diversity of their own interests and the
For instance, if you think your computer's graphics capabilities are
wasted on word processors, how about trying a few of the graphics
programs in STUPID PC TRICKS? My cat likes EXPLOSIV, a program that
simulates colorful fireworks explosions on your screen, while I prefer
the the delicacy of KALEIDOSCOPE or GR. All three are mesmerizing to
watch, and I've used them to freshen burnt-out brain cells. For those
who like a more intellectual slant to their graphics, there's
SPIROPLOT, a computerized version of Kenner's Spirograph, and RREALM
(Recursive Realm), a fractal graphic generator. Both are easy to use
and difficult to quit.
You also get to see some of the IBM PC's limited sound capabilities.
WILLTE plays The William Tell Overture by Gioachino Rossini, for the
full three minutes and 12 seconds (Ctrl-Break will get you out if you
can't take any more). SSB plays the Star-Spangled Banner, all four
verses, and highlights each word at the appropriate time so you can
sing along. And BUGLE offers a menu of 20 different bugle calls and is
educational as well as fun to play around with.
Several programs could be categorized as Fun Applications. Like
ADULATE, which presents you with compliments whenever you feel you
need them. You can customize the data file for your own taste. And
SAYINGS will put a pithy saying in a pretty box in the middle of your
screen, perfect to run in batch files. Make your own file of sayings,
quotes, funny lines, etc., for the most enjoyment. And MLPUSH is a
deceptively simple dice game that is fiendishly addictive.
There are also programs that are genuine "tricks". Or should I say
pranks? Like FOOL, best described as an operating system with an
attitude. Customize it for best effect on the victim. TRIP makes the
characters on the screen start turning hallucinogenic colors. BUGRES
has bugs that "eat" whatever is on your screen at the time (hitting
any key restores the screen, and the victim's temper). ANNOY is a good
bureaucratic operating system--it constantly demands passwords and
hurls abuse. The funniest trick is PARASCAN, a parody of viral
detection programs. You even get to see PARASCAN literally "fight" the
virus, with graphics and bar charts. Absolutely hilarious. But my
favorite program for a classic practical joke use is MUTANT. Run this
on someone's machine and they'll start getting little rattles and
whirs from their computer. The beauty is the subtlety of it: the
sounds are occasional, low-key and very realistic. Sounds like the
bearings on your hard drive are just starting to wear out.
To run these programs you'll need an IBM PC or compatible computer,
512 KB RAM, and a hard drive. The disks that come with the book are
5-1/4", but you can send in the coupon in the back of the book for
3-1/2" disks. The graphics programs will obviously look best on the
better monitors, like EGA, VGA, or even SVGA. Several of the programs,
like PARASCAN and BUGRES, run too fast on today's high-speed machines
and would benefit from slowdown software.
STUPID PC TRICKS is a lot of fun. Some of the programs are good to
keep around for occasional fun with a new victim, like PARASCAN or
MUTANT. Others are nice to keep handy for personal recreation, like
SPIROPLOT or MLPUSH. And others even have, pardon the expression,
serious uses, like SAYINGS (you can have it print safety warnings or
legal disclaimers) or EXPLOSIV (makes a good screen saver). At the
back of the book you get coaching on floppy disks and the management
of Terminate and Stay Resident software (TSRs, which describes many of
the programs included), as well as a glossary of important terms. Any
way you look at it, STUPID PC TRICKS is a great gift item, especially
if you give it to yourself.
WORDPERFECT 5.1 ON-LINE ADVISOR version 1.1
from Sybar Software
(Sybex, $29.95, ISBN 0-89588-934-X)
review by Janet Peters
Have you ever used a TSR program? They load somewhere in a dark corner
of your computer's memory and lurk there even when you've gone on to
some other program. You may not see it, but the TSR is still there.
Sybar Software's ON-LINE ADVISOR packages (currently available: DOS
3.3, WordPerfect 5.1, Lotus 1-2-3 2.2, and Harvard Graphics, all
priced at $29.95) are all TSRs. Like a reference book that's always
handy when you need it, ON-LINE ADVISORs help you use popular software
and they do it when you really need it---WHILE you're using the
Installing my WORDPERFECT ON-LINE ADVISOR took about 3 minutes, and
then all I did was type WPADV. The ON-LINE ADVISOR loaded itself, then
ran my WordPerfect, which it found all by itself. Now I'm sitting at
the computer looking at the usual WordPerfect screen, blank except for
a few cryptic letters and numbers in the lower right. Following the
very brief instructions, I hit Alt-/ and was looking at the beginning
of what turned out to be a HUGE index. Getting to any particular entry
can be accomplished by scrolling or paging through the list or by
beginning to type a particular word you're interesting in, say
MARGINS. As soon as I hit M I was looking at the beginning of the
index entries beginning with the letter M. Hitting A brought me to the
start of the MA entries. And so on.
Once you've found a promising index entry, hit ENTER to arrive at that
portion of a large reference book; for that's what the ON-LINE ADVISOR
really is, a book. From there you can ask for a different sub-heading,
or some related topics, or you can automatically jump to a previous
entry that you had been looking at. Pressing ESCape backs you out of
what you're looking at and repeating it will make the ON-LINE ADVISOR
disappear and you're back to WordPerfect, right where you left it. You
never have to worry about forgetting a command at the wrong time;
ON-LINE ADVISOR is there whenever you're in WordPerfect (provided you
started everything with WPADV). And like a well-behaved TSR, the
ON-LINE ADVISOR removes itself from your memory when you quit
Also in the package is a book, WORDPERFECT 5.1 INSTANT REFERENCE. It
seems that the Sybar people have thought of everything. They knew that
you'd be so taken with the clear instructions that you'd want a
printout of them to read away from the computer, so they saved you the
bother. All that great help is available to you ON-LINE, or off. This
is the most comprehensive computer software reference utility I've
ever seen and deserves to be a standard feature of every office.
(Sybar Software has site license arrangements for companies that want
multiple copies.) Highly recommended.
A Programmer's Guide to Reserved MS-DOS Functions and Data Structures
by Schulman, Michels, Kyle, Paterson, Maxey, and Brown
(Addison-Wesley, December 1990, $39.95, ISBN 0-201-57064-5)
review by Robert Willis
Back when I was in high school, the students in my physics class had
the chance to buy a copy of the "Rubber Handbook" at a discount price.
Most of us ended up buying this huge brick of a book, which was
published by CRC (the Chemical Rubber Company, hence the name) for
scientists and engineers. It had a huge amount of information, more
than we (and most people for that matter) would ever use. Still, it
was nice to have around, since it was THE reference work on physical
quantities, and you never knew when you had to look up the atomic
weight of palladium or find the formula for osmosis of gases through a
UNDOCUMENTED DOS has the same feel to it. It is subtitled "A
programmer's guide to reserved MS-DOS functions and data structures",
and it's no lie. It is THE reference work on the hidden workings of
DOS on the IBM-PC (and compatible) family of computers. It is 694
pages long, and includes 2 (high-density) 5 1/4" disks loaded with the
code from the book AND a bunch of utility programs, including a neat
hypertext version of Ralf Brown's "interrupt list."
Most of this book is, like the Rubber Handbook, way over my head. The
examples are in C and assembly language, neither of which I use much.
I doubt that I will need to use any of the undocumented calls in my
programs. Given all that, it is still an impressive work, and as my
programming skills improve, I will be going back to it. If you are a
system-level programmer on PCs and are stretching the limits of DOS,
you need this book.
DOS POWER TOOLS: Techniques, Tricks and Utilities
Revised for DOS 5.0, 2nd Edition
by Paul Somerson
(Bantam Computer Books, July 1991, $49.95, ISBN 0-553-35464-7)
review by Dan Ellis
This massive (over 1,000 pages) reference book is the one volume that
every IBM PC or compatible computer should have right next to it. To
begin with, *all* DOS versions are covered, up to and including the
brand-new 5.0. And the author walks you through a DOS 5.0 installation
that comes with an "uninstall" procedure, "for those who have learned
the hard way never to trust a DOS version number that ends with a
DOS POWER TOOLS also covers all levels of expertise. Each subject is
explained from kindergarten level through post-graduate work with a
consistent spare patience and clarity. You just stop reading when
you've reached the limit of your interest. A sensible organization,
table of contents, and an index help you locate specific subjects with
ease, and the Quick Reference section in the back provides ready
access to DOS 5.0 commands, as well as those of EDLIN, DEBUG, and
There is also comprehensive coverage of disks, files, and filenames;
just about everything anyone could want to know about hard disks; hex
numbers; computer keyboards and tricks for their taming; EDIT, EDLIN,
DEBUG, ANSI and other DOS drivers. And one whole section is reserved
for Power User's Secrets. It covers batch techniques; the DOS
environment; screen tricks; EGA, VGA, etc.; and a whole clutch of
And did I mention the disks included with the book? You get three
disks containing over 100 "utilities that DOS forgot". There are
memory managers, keyboard manipulators, find programs, font programs,
TSR managers, sort programs, a file compressor, enhanced versions of
regular DOS commands, etc. Unless you have a modem and regular access
to a good BBS source of utility files, these DOS POWER TOOLS disks are
life savers. You're sure to find that at least a dozen become a part
of every day's computer use.
The cover of DOS POWER TOOLS says that it's the "All-Time Bestselling
Book/Software Package", which I can certainly understand. It's the
one-volume reference book that can replace probably all the others you
have laying around your office. Recommended.
UNDERSTANDING DESKTOP PUBLISHING
by Robert W. Harris
(Sybex, 1991, $24.95, ISBN 0-89588-789-4)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
This book is aimed at the growing crowd of people who are getting into
some kind of publishing, but who have no training in the field. In the
old days we all had to go to a professional publisher to get something
nicely printed, but today we have affordable computers and desktop
publishing software. The only thing we don't have is expertise. It's
like the guy sitting in the middle of a pile of bricks and trying to
"wish" them into the shape of a house.
UNDERSTANDING DESKTOP PUBLISHING is divided into three main sections.
The first subject covered is the most crucial: how to design an
attractive page. What font should you chose? What size? How should the
paragraphs be formatted (left flush, right flush, or justified)? What
should you do about margins? Every suggestion and recommendation comes
with examples, so you can see for yourself what works and what
The second section discusses how to make your documents easier to read
and understand. There are guidelines to writing clearly and
effectively, how to organize the ideas and information in your
document, and how to make the best use of art. Again, examples
accompany each suggestion, and I found that in many cases, the
illustrations told me considerably more than the text.
The final section covers the advanced subject of how to use a document
to accomplish your purpose. How to direct the reader's attention to
the items that are most important, how to highlight, focus, and
emphasize. How to persuade, and how to instruct. In the final chapter,
the learning process is broken down into its component stages
(attention, intention, retention) and each is related to design
elements that will facilitate the process.
UNDERSTANDING DESKTOP PUBLISHING practices what it preaches: it's
attractively arranged and the information literally jumps off the
page. By being about document design in general, and not tied to any
particular piece of software (or even any particular computer),
UNDERSTANDING DESKTOP PUBLISHING fills a real need and addresses a
rapidly-increasing audience of amateurs with more technology than
MASTERING TURBO PASCAL 6
by Scott D. Palmer
(Sybex, 1991, $27.95, ISBN 0-89588-675-8)
review by Drew Bartorillo
MASTERING TURBO PASCAL 6 is designed as a fast-track way for you to
learn practical programming skills in Turbo Pascal 6, as well as in
other versions of the Pascal language on computers from PCs to
mainframes. If you want to catch up on the latest techniques, it also
helps you to develop fundamental skills in object-oriented
programming. Whether you are a beginner who's never written a program
before, an experienced programmer who needs a quick authoritative
introduction to Turbo Pascal, or a student in a college or university
programming course, MASTERING TURBO PASCAL 6 will help you acquire the
knowledge, skills, and insight required to write the programs you
In addition to standard topics such as graphics, data structures, and
file handling, MASTERING TURBO PASCAL 6 looks at how to design and
debug your programs. A special chapter shows how to add sound and
music to your programs, and also develops a toolkit of general-purpose
routines that you can use any time you need them. Each chapter in the
book is summarized and provides review exercises. Solutions to
even-numbered review exercises are given to enable you to evaluate
your progress in learning Turbo Pascal.
The following chapters are presented in the book:
-> A First Look At Turbo Pascal
-> Programming and Program Design
-> An Overview of Pascal Programming
-> The Turbo Pascal Development Environment
-> Simple Data Types
-> Simple Pascal Statements
-> More Advanced Pascal Statements
-> Structured and User-Defined Data Types
-> Procedures and Functions
-> Using Turbo Pascal Units
-> Pointers and Dynamic Allocation
-> Handling Text Files
-> Typed and Untyped Files
-> Debugging Your Programs
-> Graphics in Turbo Pascal
-> Accessing DOS Services
-> Elementary Data Structures
-> Elementary Algorithms
-> Sound and Music Programming
-> Creating Turbo Tunemaker
-> Concepts and Techniques of Object-Oriented Programming
-> Introducing Turbo Vision
As can be seen from the above list of chapters in the book, MASTERING
TURBO PASCAL 6 is a very comprehensive training and reference document
for the Turbo Pascal programmer. I did find one thing lacking in the
book, though. There is a total disregard of the subject of using
overlays and the overlay unit in your Turbo Pascal program. A statement
is made, "Because of its specialized application for very large
programs, we will not discuss the overlay unit any further in this
book." Well, I have some serious reservations about this statement.
After all, the title of the book *is* MASTERING TURBO PASCAL 6. The
overlay unit is a VERY powerful feature of Turbo Pascal and should be
fully documented in any comprehensive reference document. Considering
the level of detail in the rest of the book, the lack of discussion of
overlays is kind of strange. (Overlays ARE covered in USING TURBO
PASCAL 6.0 by Ben Ezzell; see review above.)
IF I HAD A HAMMER: Women's Work
In Poetry, Fiction and Photographs
edited by Sandra Martz
(Papier-Mache Press, $11, ISBN 0-918949-09-2)
This timely and informed collection expresses women's feelings,
experiences and beliefs about their work and creativity in a variety
of fields ranging from the artistic to the domestic and professional.
The 77 contributions evoke the rewards and challenges of being a woman
in America's changing social and economic life. (Papier-Mache Press,
795 Via Manzana, Watsonville, CA 95076)
WHEN IS A PIG A HOG?
A Guide to Confoundingly Related English Words
by Bernice Randall
(Prentice Hall, June 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-13-955212-X)
review by Carl Ingram
Here is the perfect book for resolving arguments, solving crossword
puzzles, improving your vocabulary, and having a great time just
browsing. Bernice Randall will help you distinguish between monkeys
and apes, and between pigs and hogs. (A pig becomes a hog when it
passes 120 pounds in weight.) She'll explain the difference between
mist and fog. Each pair of words, along with any other related words,
are discussed in entries that range from a few sentences to several
When does a speech turn into a lecture? What's the difference between
a burglary and a robbery? Between beer and ale? Morality and ethics?
Is there a difference between an insect and a bug? How do you refer to
someone who's passed the bar? Are they a lawyer or an attorney? Or
perhaps a solicitor, a counselor, or even a barrister? And then there
are the terms that aren't synonyms, but are so difficult to keep
straight. Quick now, which is port and which is starboard? How about
warp and weft? Tweeter and woofer? Flotsam and jetsam?
WHEN IS A PIG A HOG? is divided into eight main sections: Human and
Not So Human Beings (for instance: vagrant/tramp); Here and There
(Cape Canaveral/Cape Kennedy); Things (frankfurter/hot dog); Concepts,
Actions and Other Intangibles (refund/rebate); The Arts: Fine and
Otherwise (oratorio/cantata); Nature and Science (black hole/white
hole); Our Bodies and Medicine (epidemic/endemic); Organizations and
Institutions (Weather Bureau/National Weather Service). There are also
two appendices: Gods and Goddesses in Greek and Roman Mythology, and a
Geologic Time Chart. And an index of terms in the back makes this a
perfect reference volume you can use in a jiffy. WHEN IS A PIG A HOG?
is an enjoyable and educational book for the entire family.
THE COMPLETE WHOLE GRAIN COOKBOOK
by Carol Gelles
(Donald I. Fine, May 1991, $12.95, ISBN 1-55611-237-8)
review by Carol Sheffert
In the attempt to lead healthier lives, people are trying to find ways
to put more fiber into their diets--to aid digestion, help prevent
colon cancer, lower cholesterol levels, and just generally get away
from high-fat foods. It doesn't take long to realize that one of the
best ways to a higher fiber diet is through whole grains. But, having
been brought up on meat and potatoes, hamburgers and french fries, and
pizza-with-everything to go, most of us don't know a whole lot about
whole grains. That's where Carol Gelles' THE COMPLETE WHOLE GRAIN
COOKBOOK comes to the rescue: over 500 pages that will give you not
only a comprehensive education in grains, but will provide you with
loads of specific recipes for their use, each recipe complete with
it's calorie-count and amount of cholesterol, sodium, and fiber.
You'll get a glossary of all the important grain terminology. What
does "whole grain" mean? What's the difference between wheat germ and
wheat bran? What does it mean when the box of barley says "pearled"?
You'll find out how to buy grains, store them, and cook them. And what
kitchen equipment you should have. Part II covers the major grains:
wheat, rice, and corn. Part III covers the minor grains: barley,
buckwheat, millet, oats, rye, and wild rice. Part IV covers the
unusual grains: amaranth, Job's Tears, quinoa, teff, and triticale.
Emphasis throughout is on the practical day-to-day use of whole grains
to enhance health and be pleasing to the taste. THE COMPLETE WHOLE
GRAIN COOKBOOK is indispensable to those seeking a healthier way of
***> SEEKING SERENITY
FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to
Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
(Delacorte, June 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-385-29897-8)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
"...don't we all tend to fill up our days with things that just HAVE
to be done and then run around desperately trying to do them all,
while in the process not really enjoying much of the doing because we
are too pressed for time, too rushed, too busy, too anxious? We can
feel overwhelmed by our schedules, our responsibilities, and our roles
at times even when everything we are doing is important, even when we
have chosen to do them all. We live immersed in a world of constant
"When it comes right down to it, the challenge of mindfulness is to
realize that 'THIS IS IT.' Right now IS my life."
FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING is a very clear and comprehensive description
of the program at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of
Massachusetts Medical Center, told by an extraordinarily understanding
man. Dr. Kabat-Zinn has encountered quite a variety of people at the
clinic, with all sorts of physical and emotional problems, and the
reader of FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING can certify that he has been paying
attention to his patients. His rational, understanding yet unemotional
prose describes the techniques clearly and engagingly, with a full
measure of respect for the intelligence of the reader.
The core of the program is meditation and mindfulness, and while Dr.
Kabat-Zinn mentions that the meditation exercises are based on
traditional Buddhist practices, the techniques described in FULL
CATASTROPHE LIVING have been shorn of all dogma, mysticism, and mumbo
jumbo. Each exercise is a gem of simplicity, within the grasp of the
most unspiritual Western reader. Indeed, the entire program is
disarmingly simple--the wonder is that our culture has gotten so
caught up in trivialities that we need someone to come remind us what
life, and the enjoyment of it, is all about. With simple meditation
and mindfulness exercises and practical wisdom (your illness is not
you; there is more right with you than wrong with you; etc.), Dr.
Kabat-Zinn covers 450 pages with solid, helpful advice.
The title, FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING, by the way, comes from the movie
ZORBA THE GREEK. When asked if he'd ever been married, Zorba reply is
something like, "Am I not a man? Of course I've been married. Wife,
house, kids, everything...the full catastrophe!" Dr. Kabat-Zinn uses
the phrase to describe everything that modern life means: family,
work, hobbies, television, ringing phones, deadlines to meet, duties
and obligations to fulfill, expectations to live up to, etc.
You can use the book alone to follow the Stress Reduction program, or
you can get audio cassettes and/or videotapes to help out. (I am using
the book and an audio cassette that I made myself. As I type this, I'm
entering my third week of the initial 8-week program.) FULL
CATASTROPHE LIVING is the best book of its kind that I have ever
encountered, with the clearest and most accessible explanation of
meditation practices. Highly recommended.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Stress
Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and
Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Preventive and
Behavioral Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
He is internationally known for his work using mindfulness meditation
to help medical patients with chronic pain and stress. Many health
professionals have trained with him and several clinics have been
established that are modeled on his program.
THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER: The Classic Chinese Book of Life
The Authoritative New Translation by Thomas Cleary
(HarperCollins, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-06-250184-4)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
"Naturalness is called the Way. The Way has no name or form; it is
just the essence, just the primal spirit."
So begins this new translation of a classic meditation manual. For
many years the only English version of this text has been a
translation of a seriously flawed German translation. Now Thomas
Cleary, the foremost expert in translating classic Chinese and
Japanese texts (THE ART OF WAR, THE TAOIST I CHING, etc.) has rendered
this beautiful and powerful manual of enlightenment for
"This text, like all of Cleary's work, shows that these Eastern
classics have a depth of intelligence that can enrich any serious
Western person. Until Cleary, these books have too often been shrouded
in a mist of mystical allure and vague sentiment: Cleary is finally
making them authentically available. In giving this particular text of
extraordinary density and subtlety its first definitive presentation
in English, Cleary has done a great service in opening THE SECRET OF
THE GOLDEN FLOWER to as much true understanding and application as
diligent attention can allow."
---Jacob Needleman, professor of philosophy, San Francisco State Univ.
Beautiful thoughts captured in a beautiful book.
FLOWERS FROM THE FOREST: Meditations
by Swami Nirmalananda
(Viswa Shanti Nikethana, 1991, Rs. 12/-)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
"Breath being synonymous with life, we live as long as we breathe and
we breathe as long as we live. While exhaling more slowly, gently and
rhythmically than during inhalation, and even after breathing out and
holding without strain before breathing in again, the steady "mental
gaze" should be fully focused on the Heart and this process should be
repeatedly done until the mind gets merged in the Self. This is the
way to experience the sublime state of freedom from the known, the
highest form of inner serenity and the indescribable state of Peace
FLOWERS FROM THE FOREST is a book of essays by Swami Nirmalananda,
each a gem of wisdom and gentleness. I like to read several chapters
aloud into a tape recorder, to play back while I walk/meditate. The
essays draw my mind into a calmer place, while at the same time
pointing to certain aspects of existence that it would benefit me to
think about in greater detail. There are other books, both by and
about Swami Nirmalananda, available, but you'll have to get them from
India. If you'd like to have a copy of FLOWERS FROM THE FOREST, or
other materials from Swami Nirmalananda, go to your bank and get a
check made out in rupees. FLOWERS FROM THE FOREST costs 12, and you
should allow extra for postage. Even if you don't wish to order
immediately, you should always include an International Reply Coupon
(from the Post Office) for the return postage of a letter. Write to:
Swami Nirmalananda, Viswa Shanti Nikethana, B.R. Hills--571313,
NO TRICKS IN MY POCKET: PAUL NEWMAN DIRECTS
by Stewart Stern
(Grove Weidenfeld, 1989, $10.95, ISBN 0-8021-3238-3)
review by Howard Frye
"The camera is so much closer than an audience looking at a stage that
it wants more detailed performances from the actors...when Joanne
pleads with Tom to get a gentleman caller for Laura, for instance,
she'll need to find a multiplicity of colors for her pleading. Her
intention can't be just TO PERSUADE. She'll need other active verbs to
support that--AMUSE, ALLURE, BEGUILE, BULLY, PUNISH. She'll have to be
pushy and beckoning, sweet and cagey, all under the banner of TO
Required reading for anyone interested in serious drama or the nuts
and bolts of directing a motion picture. Playwright Stewart Stern
attended all twelve days of rehearsal for the 1987 film of Tennessee
Williams' THE GLASS MENAGERIE and records the actions and the words in
this fascinating study. We get to eavesdrop as director Paul Newman
coaches his wife Joanne Woodward playing Amanda Wingfield, Karen Allen
as her crippled daughter Laura, John Malkovich as her narrator-son
Tom, and James Naughton as Laura's gentleman caller. It's a small,
fairly claustrophobic play, with a small cast, and cinematographer
Michael Ballhaus struggles mightily with the small space. We get to
watch as Michael and Paul argue, as Jim and Karen struggle to breathe
new life into characters they've played before, and as John
experiments artistically with the tortured Tom Wingfield.
Stern says that Paul Newman's character isn't easily captured on the
written page, and indeed, this isn't a tell-all book for the
starstruck. But for everyone who has ever wondered about the process
of acting and directing, of how a handful of disparate artists can
somehow come to create a harmonious whole, this is the finest book
I've ever read. Stern captures it all for the reader, the silly and
the profound, the agonies and the ecstasies. Sometimes Stern himself
doesn't understand what is happening, but he records it faithfully
anyway and lets the reader attempt an interpretation. Every page comes
alive with the artistic effort of bringing the play to the big screen,
and you'll come away from NO TRICKS IN MY POCKET with a greater
respect for everyone involved. Highly recommended.
Stewart Stern is a long-time friend of both Paul Newman and Joanne
Woodward, and is the author of many critically acclaimed screenplays,
including REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, THE UGLY AMERICAN, TERESA, and
RACHEL, RACHEL. He received an Emmy in 1976 for his teleplay SYBIL.
A Comprehensive Guide to Treatment and Prevention by a Survivor
by Betsy Wyckoff
(Station Hill Press, Barrytown, NY 12507; September 1991)
Hardcover: $21.95 ISBN 0-88268-110-9
Paperback: $9.95 ISBN 0-88268-126-5
review by Cindy Bartorillo
An indispensable volume for the migraine sufferer, in which author
Wyckoff has gathered together seemingly all known possibilities for
the treatment and/or prevention of migraine headaches. As a reader who
has been fighting migraines for over a quarter of a century, I can
only regret not having something like OVERCOMING MIGRAINE many years
earlier. I have already managed to decrease the frequency and severity
of my headaches with the information in this book, and have a long
list of further ideas to experiment with. The chief value of this book
lies in its collation of possible migraine therapies--you will
probably be very surprised at how many avenues of treatment there are
Wyckoff covers drugs that are of interest to migraine sufferers, from
an over-the-counter herb that has helped many to the high-tech calcium
channel blockers. She also covers the relationship between diet and
migraines, and the many foods and ingredients that have been shown to
cause headaches in certain people. Another chapter is devoted to
nondietary migraine triggers like environmental factors (barometric
pressure, wind, intense sunlight, pollutants, etc.), as well as
stress, medicines, vitamins, etc. Also covered is the connection
between hormones and migraines, the problem of "mixed" headaches, and
the challenge of finding the right doctor to help you. There are a few
pages devoted to the exploration of nonstandard therapies like
hypnosis, biofeedback, acupuncture and the like, and Wyckoff ends with
a basic program for you to follow in discovering the best treatment
and prevention for your own situation. Helpful appendices provide the
reader with a table of migraine drugs, with doses, precautions, and
side effects; "The Physiology of Migraine"; a list of headache
clinics; and a list of migraine associations. All of this valuable
information is presented in less than 100 pages, with not one
unnecessary word. Absolutely essential reading for migraine patients.
COMMON-SENSE PEST CONTROL
Least Toxic Solutions for Your Home, Garden, Pets and Community
by William Olkowski, Sheila Daar and Helga Olkowski
(Taunton Press, June 1991, $39.95)
There are ways to wage a safer war on household and garden pests with
COMMON-SENSE PEST CONTROL. Chemical pesticides may provide temporary
relief, but often at a long-term cost. Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) is the modern approach to controlling pests with environmentally
sound methods. IPM has proven effective in solving agricultural pest
problems for over 30 years, and has made great strides against urban
pests in the past decade. These scientific advancements are now
available in a landmark book geared to the non-professional. Written
in layman's language, COMMON-SENSE PEST CONTROL is the definitive
reference on IPM. It presents all the steps necessary for a successful
IPM campaign, and control procedures are explained step-by-step
(including new discoveries such as pheromone traps and insect-grown
regulators). Each of the 36 chapters includes scientific references
and suggestions for further reading. Appendices on resources and
suppliers, and a complete index, are included. Printed on recycled
paper. (The Taunton Press, 63 South Main Street, Box 5506, Newtown, CT
***> LOOMPANICS UNLIMITED
Loompanics Unlimited is both a publisher and a seller of controversial
and unusual books. You can get what they demurely call "The Best Book
Catalog in the World" by sending $5 to: Loompanics Unlimited, PO Box
1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. If you'd like to order any of their
books mentioned here, send the list price plus shipping and handling
($3 for 1-3 books; $6 for 4 or more). When you order a book, the
catalog is free.
by Harold Hough
(Loompanics Unlimited, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 1-55950-067-0)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
Like Charles Long's books discussed in RFP #17 (HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT
A SALARY and LIFE AFTER THE CITY), FREEDOM ROAD is essential reading
for anyone searching for an alternate lifestyle. In contrast to Long's
books, however, author Harold Hough has a missionary's zeal in
explaining not only how to live the "Freedom Road lifestyle", but WHY.
Hough believes in freedom and feels that the United States has
seriously compromised the intentions of our Founding Fathers. To avoid
the tyrannies of modern America, he advocates living in an RV
(recreational vehicle) with no fixed address. Without a regular
address, a person can more easily fall through the cracks, which is
exactly what Hough encourages the reader to do.
Beyond the politics and dialectic, however, there is a core of hard
information in FREEDOM ROAD. Hough explains the Freedom Road lifestyle
in great detail: how to get ready for it, how to find the right
vehicle, where to go, how to live cheaply, how to get money, how to
maintain contacts with the rest of the world. There are specific
recommendations and suggestions in each category (there are even some
recipes for cheap and nutritious food), and he expands his concept to
include two special Freedom Road lifestyle subgroups: the retired, and
the Freedom Road as temporary sabbatical.
No matter what your particular circumstances, you are sure to find
much to think about in FREEDOM ROAD, and the specific information
included is easily co-opted for your own customized use. For the
reader who is not content to be handed a way of life by parents,
society, or mass media, FREEDOM ROAD is a core volume of your
TAKE NO PRISONERS
Destroying Enemies With Dirty and Malicious Tricks
by Mack Nasty
(Loompanics Unlimited, 1990, $10.00, ISBN 1-55950-043-3)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
Carrying the disclaimer, "This book is sold for informational purposes
only. The publisher will not be held accountable for the use or misuse
of information contained in this book.", TAKE NO PRISONERS can be
understood immediately as a Controversial book. And this is not false
advertising. Mr. Nasty takes his philosophical stand early in the book
"Although some people feel that 'forgive and forget' is the best way
to handle hurt, it's adult and mature to hold a grudge and seek
retaliation. If someone's hurt you, you have a right to hurt him back.
Being honest enough with yourself to admit you want revenge is a sign
The "tricks" outlined in this volume are certainly dirty and
malicious. Some are pretty nauseating. There's even a warning on the
back of the book that says, "WARNING: Some of the techniques described
in this book will make you sick to your stomach." They're not fooling.
Having no intention of giving you any examples from the book, lest I
put ugly ideas into your fevered brain, I'll simply give you Mr.
Nasty's characterization of the contents:
"The techniques described in this book are heavy-duty. Some are
designed to harm or maim your target, or frame him for a serious
crime. Others will cause expensive property damage. Still others will
cost him large amounts of money, directly or indirectly."
TAKE NO PRISONERS might serve its most valuable function in being a
great litmus test for the depth of your anti-censorship convictions.
If you can read this book and honestly say that you believe that
Loompanics Unlimited had the constitutional right to print this book,
then you are definitely anti-censorship. Me? I can say it, honestly,
but I sure can't say I'm happy about it.
THE ANARCHIST'S GUIDE TO THE BBS
by Keith Wade
(Loompanics Unlimited, 1990, $8.95, ISBN 1-55950-037-9)
review by Dan Ellis
Computer bulletin boards are one of the hottest topics in computers
today, and author Keith Wade says they're too good to be left to the
computer nerds. You can find almost anything on electronic BBSs:
dating services, witches, political dissidents, ham radio people,
authors, criminals, crazies, comedians, aviators, lawyers, doctors,
experts on virtually any subject you can name. You can talk to
hundreds of people all over the world, often without making even one
long distance phone call. On most BBSs, access to people is even
conveniently categorized for you. Want to talk to people interested in
science fiction? There's very likely an area already set up
exclusively for SF fans.
One of Wade's core ideas here is The Five Hundred Dollar Anarchy
Machine. He figures $500 is an average entry figure for a minimal
system capable of calling BBSs, and it's an Anarchy Machine because of
the opportunities available by being "online". Have something to say?
Something possibly a little radical? You can reach thousands of people
on a computer BBS. Would you like to get to know others with your
interests? Your chances of doing so will never be greater than on a
BBS where so many people gather daily and form into groups. You can
"eavesdrop" on a group first, to see if they're really your kind of
people, then step up and say Howdy when you feel comfortable.
You say this sounds great, but you know nothing about computers? Never
fear, THE ANARCHIST'S GUIDE TO THE BBS explains everything you
absolutely have to know, yet without confusing computer jargon. Even
if you've never been friendly with a computer before, this GUIDE (and
a few bucks) will get you online in short order. This guide is superb
at explaining both how to use computer BBSs and why you would want to.
ALTERED AMBITIONS: What's Next in Your Life?
by Betsy Jaffe, Ed.D.
(Donald I. Fine, May 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-266-1)
commentary from the publisher
* Is there room for improvement in your career/life balance?
* Is it time to rethink your '80s ambitions?
* Do you wonder if you can enhance your relations--at home and at
* Does your health or energy level have you concerned?
* Do you need a change of lifestyle?
ALTERED AMBITIONS offers solutions to these and many other complex
questions professional women face today. The '70s and '80s brought
with them a whirlwind of change in almost every facet of our
lives--careers, relationships, our culture and lifestyles, our health.
And these changes will continue to accelerate in the '90s--in fact,
change may be the only constant we CAN count on.
ALTERED AMBITIONS is the PASSAGES for the new decade, a practical
guide for navigating these fluctuating times, addressed especially to
working women who feel pressured by the media to "have it all", yet
are disappointed that their achievements don't match the ambitions
they once set for themselves. ALTERED AMBITIONS shows how to think
strategically in this age in which careers and lives need to be
MANAGED, not just allowed to go on. Using examples of how different
women have dealt effectively with shifting lifestyles and employment
markets, as well as exercises and questionnaires to help you identify
and achieve your personal goals, ALTERED AMBITIONS can be the key to
your own best future.
PARLIAMENT OF WHORES
A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government
by P.J. O'Rourke
(Atlantic Monthly Press, June 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-87113-455-1)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
If this book had been our textbook back in Social Studies class, I
might have paid more attention. I might also have learned something.
P.J. O'Rourke, certainly one of the most flexible journalists working
today (he's been a travel writer, a columnist for AUTOMOBILE magazine,
Foreign Affairs Desk Chief of ROLLING STONE, he's even written an
etiquette book), has now crafted his most impressive book yet. He
explains, he rants, he jokes, he bemoans, he even has a few words of
praise now and then. You get witticisms like:
"A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only
a fool trusts either of them."
"The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make
"Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then
they get elected and prove it."
"Freedom is its own punishment."
One of the section headings captures my thoughts exactly:
Our Government: What the Fuck Do They Do All Day and Why Does it Cost
So Goddamned Much Money?
P.J. introduces the idea of U.S. foreign policy with a core concept:
"Whatever it is that the government does, sensible Americans would
prefer that the government do it to somebody else."
In the pages of PARLIAMENT OF WHORES you'll read about P.J.'s theory
about our "dictatorship of boredom", how special interest groups (or
as he calls them, the Perennially Indignant) work, what he found in
Panama, what he found in Pakistan, and what he found on the streets of
Washington D.C. at 2 AM. You'll follow him into a drug dealer's house
of squalor and be at his shoulder as he accompanies the Guardian
Angels in a raid on a crack house. You'll discover how the three
branches of government work, and why they don't. And you'll get
perhaps your first clear and concise explanation of agricultural
subsidies, the federal budget, the S&L mess ("When buying and selling
are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold
are legislators."), and Social Security.
PARLIAMENT OF WHORES is laugh out loud funny, and at the same time
manages to be balanced reporting. This is not just a humorous diatribe
about how screwed up they are in Washington--P.J. O'Rourke really
comes to grips with the ins and outs of our government: what's wrong
with it and why, and what's right and should be appreciated more. When
you stop laughing you start thinking, "You know, this crazy guy's
right!" Like a certain breakfast cereal, this is good-tasting stuff
that also happens to be good for you--PARLIAMENT OF WHORES is an
education. Highly recommended.
And 81 Ways to Make Americans Smarter
by Steve Allen
(Prometheus, June 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-87975-650-0)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
"Mountains of evidence--both in the form of statistical studies and
personal testimonies--establish that the American people are suffering
from a new and perhaps unprecedented form of mental incapacitation for
which I have coined the word DUMBTH."
If you've been thinking that people don't seem to be as smart as they
used to be, Steve Allen says you're right. He says he's been noticing
the encroaching "dumbth" since the early 1960s. Somewhere along the
line we stopped caring about effective methods of thinking and stopped
teaching them to our children. Like a contagious disease, faulty
reasoning is overrunning our country, and if you think it hasn't made
a difference you haven't been paying attention. We are accustomed here
to the attitude that if things are bad HERE, just imagine how they are
in OTHER countries, the unstated assumption being that the U.S. is
certainly best in all things. Now we must adjust to the concept that
the U.S. is at pretty much the bottom of the global pile in
brainpower. Soon our national image will include our characteristic
stupidity (if it doesn't already).
"In another instance, a teacher of juniors and seniors in a high
school raised the question of what tribes had invaded England. Among
the guesses were the Aztecs and the Jews."
"And as of the beginning of 1989, approximately one-third of America's
high school students could not locate the United States on a map of
But, as Steve Allen argues, it's not simply that we're ignorant of
facts--the most dangerous aspect of dumbth is that we've lost the
ability to reason properly. He points to the rising tide of hate-
related violence (prejudice, in case you haven't noticed, is
flourishing today), people who mistake actors for the characters they
portray, and our inability to deal rationally with major issues like
the arms race, nuclear power, capital punishment, abortion, the
homeless, and (coming full circle) the crisis in the schoolhouse.
Mr. Allen's book is divided into two sections: The Problem, where he
provides the above-mentioned "mountains of evidence"; and The
Solution, where he lays out his suggestions of "81 Ways to Think
Better". Incidentally, Mr. Allen's careful use of language, which I
have found discordant and awkward in his fiction, is used to great
effect here. The clarity and precision of his phrasing is a delight to
read--he never overstates his case nor does he permit himself bouts of
emotionalism. The first half of the book is an effective, logically-
structured argument of his premise.
The second half, the 81 rules, should be required reading by all
members of every household. Some are very general, others are very
specific, all are worthy of careful consideration. My personal
favorite is No. 34: "Decide to continue your education until death".
Now THOSE are words to live by. And DUMBTH could very well be the most
important book you've ever read--don't miss it!
A few excerpts:
"Which of the following is true about 87 percent of 10?"
(A) It is greater than 10.
(B) It is less than 10.
(C) It is equal to 10.
(D) Can't tell.
Half of the students tested answered the question wrong, obviously
having failed to grasp the point that 87 percent--of anything at all--
cannot possibly be equal to all, or 100 percent, of it."
"Incidentally, readers should by no means infer that, in writing such
a book, I am presenting myself as a supremely reasonable authority,
any more than they should assume that a clergyman who delivers a moral
sermon is necessarily himself saintly."
"Several years ago, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
hired a private consultant, Rockwell International, to find out how
many private consultants HEW had in its employ. From an original price
tag of $378,147 Rockwell's contract had reached a cost of $2,200,000."
"A telephone receptionist for a New York publishing company,
responding to a request to speak to an executive, said, 'He don't work
here no more.'"
"We must inculcate a respect for wisdom and not put such heavy
emphasis on material or financial accomplishment. Man was not put on
this earth primarily to have hit record albums, to be utterly
irresistible to the opposite sex, to get rich by any means, however
unethical, or to wear the tightest possible jeans. Every other society
in history that has accomplished anything of lasting importance has
perceived such simple truths."
Birth, Death, and the Human Predicament of Being Biological
by E.J. Applewhite
(St. Martin's, June 1991, $24.95, ISBN 0-312-05944-2)
commentary from the publisher
Searching for answers to the most fundamental questions--"What is
Life?" "What is Death?"--E.J. Applewhite, longtime collaborator with
Buckminster Fuller and coauthor of Fuller's SYNERGETICS, looks to
science and its vast wealth of facts and findings. By defining
processes of nature, will we someday also conquer our mortality? Or
create forms of life that will never die?
In PARADISE MISLAID, Applewhite journeys through a dozen science
disciplines--molecular biology, entomology, physics and chemistry
among them--hoping to draw some conclusions about our human condition.
He collects--and sometimes dissects--the theories of scientists in a
series of provocative and cohesive essays. No topic is too humble
(there's a section on Ants & Instinct) or too lofty (Human
Consciousness) for Applewhite, who served with the CIA for 25 years
before retiring as Deputy Inspector General several years ago.
Throughout PARADISE MISLAID, he probes the theories of noteworthy
scientists, including Jonas Salk, James Lovelock and Freeman Dyson,
and addresses topics from viruses to robotics.
His insatiable appetite for detail enlivens his stately discourse: he
explains, for example, if each water molecule in a snowball were
"magnified to the size of a pea, there would be enough snow to blanket
the whole surface of the earth equal to the height of the Eiffel
Although each of the essays in the book is distinct and interesting on
its own, taken as a whole, they create an impressive body of
knowledge, and present a cohesive argument on the predicament of being
human. More importantly, he casts a critical eye on the concept of
heaven, on afterlife, and on our desire to attain immortality. Like
science popularizer Carl Sagan, he reminds us of the vastness of the
cosmos, and the small but significant role of the human race.
by G.X. Jupitter-Larsen
($4 postpaid from: N D, PO Box 4144, Austin, TX 78765)
review by Peter Quint
Poet-philosopher Gerald Xe Jupitter-Larsen wrote these 34 essays over
the last ten years. They are fresh, frustrating, tantalizing, and
attack subjects from a sideways perspective that keeps the reader off
balance. Each isolated paragraph is like a Zen koan that you can allow
your mind to bounce off of for awhile.
"When the mind reacts, it isn't reacting to matter or nothingness. It
reacts only to its own measurements of matter and nothingness. The
mind only effects the cross sections of the mind."
Jupitter-Larsen has also done work under the name of "The Haters",
named that because "any other title would have been just as equally
inappropriate". He has released several cassettes, singles, and other
audio objects such as "Oxygen Is Flammable" (1990), which is a record
that is played by pouring water over it.
NOT FOR PACKRATS ONLY
How to Clean Up, Clear Out, and Dejunk Your Life Forever
by Don Aslett
(Penguin/Plume, May 1991, $9.95, ISBN 0-452-26593-2)
review by Janet Peters
The only sure things in life: death, taxes, and junk. Where does all
this crap come from? And why is it still here? There is stuff in my
purse that I'm absolutely SURE that I've never seen before. Who sneaks
in and puts linty Live-Savers in my handbag? And why am I keeping
them? I have a drawer in the kitchen that defies description: it's got
rubber bands, nut picks, keys that go to no known locks, expired
coupons, plastic reusable tops for soft drink bottles no longer made,
a lump of sticky stuff I really don't want to think about, a dog
collar for a pet that we almost got, etc. The really bad part is that
there are a few needed artifacts in that drawer, but it takes about 10
minutes to dig them out each time they're needed.
I could go on forever about the junk in my life, which is why
professional cleaner Don Aslett has been moved to write a second book
about this knotty problem. (His first book about junk was CLUTTER'S
LAST STAND.) In the pages of NOT FOR PACKRATS ONLY you'll find not
only hundreds and hundreds of specific tips and helpful suggestions,
but quite a bit of psychological support, for this is quite an
emotional issue. If you don't believe that, go through your home with
a close friend (better yet, a spouse) and try to agree on what's
junk and what's a family heirloom/work of art/valued memento/etc. Or
just try to toss the entire contents of a box/closet/drawer that you
haven't used in years. Can't do it, can you? There is no end to the
psychological justifications for holding on to junk, but the costs of
junk (which Don Aslett explains carefully) are enormous: time, money,
and negative energy like guilt. It's a nasty job, but follow Don
Aslett's advice and you'll get through it, and be a better (certainly
lighter) person for it.
A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage
by William Safire
(Doubleday, 1990, ISBN 0-385-41301-7)
Fumblerule: A mistake that calls attention to the rule.
--> A writer must not shift your point of view.
--> Make an all out effort to hyphenate when necessary, but not when
--> It behooves us to avoid archaisms.
--> In their writing, everyone should make sure that their pronouns
agree with its antecedent.
--> Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
A Patchwork of Feminist Humor and Satire
edited by Gloria Kaufman
(Indiana University Press, July 1991)
Hardcover: $29.95 ISBN 0-253-33141-2
Paperback: $14.95 ISBN 0-253-20641-3
review by Cindy Bartorillo
The original stereotyped feminist was a strident, angry-faced woman
who was forever causing problems. Her favorite brand of humor was
probably pictures of disemboweled male chauvinist pigs. Now that the
general paranoia has evaporated and common sense is making some
inroads in the overall chaos, the term "feminist" isn't quite the
onerous label it once was, and newstyle comediennes like Rita Rudner,
Ellen Degeneres, and Elayne Boosler have proved that "feminist humor"
is not an oxymoron. IN STITCHES collects some of the best (meaning
funniest and most profound) of the feminist humorists in a collage of
essays, poems, quips, cartoons, and comic strips. Contributors
include: Margaret Atwood, Mary Kay Blakely, Ellen Goodman, Guerilla
Girls, Nicole Hollander, Alice Kahn, Alison Lurie, Jane Wagner, and
many more. There are even a few men allowed to participate: Dave
Barry, Berke Breathed, and Jules Feiffer.
Open up IN STITCHES to any page, any page at all:
EASY is an adjective used to describe a woman who has the sexual
morals of a man. (Nancy Linn-Desmond)
Men were taught from childhood to be aggressive; we were taught to be
nice. Men are encouraged to go for it; we are encouraged to lose
weight. (Alice Kahn)
There is certainly plenty of evidence which supports the notion that,
while age may have a positive effect on wine and cheese, it will cause
a woman to become invisible. She will disappear from the culture. She
won't be offered starring roles in movies or be needed to sell any
cars/tools/luggage/etc. She won't be featured on runways, or
billboards, or posters, and what possible reason could an older woman
have for showing up on a beach? (Mary Kay Blakely)
It was so cold I almost got married. (Shelley Winters)
How many of you ever started dating someone 'cause you were too lazy
to commit suicide? (Judy Tenuta)
IN STITCHES is the funniest thing since pink eye shadow. You might
also want to hunt down the 1980 collection called PULLING OUR OWN
STRINGS edited by Gloria Kaufman and Mary Kay Blakely. (If your
bookstore can't get IN STITCHES for you, write to: Indiana University
Press, 10th & Morton Sts., Bloomington, IN 47405, or get your credit
card and call 1-800-842-6796.)
COLLISION AT HOME PLATE
The Lives of Pete Rose and Bart Giamatti
by James Reston, Jr.
(HarperCollins, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-06-016379-8)
review by Drew Bartorillo
COLLISION AT HOME PLATE is the combined biography of the banned
baseball player, and convicted felon, Pete Rose and the late
commissioner of baseball Bart Giamatti. It is fitting that both
biographies are contained in one book in that it was Bart Giamatti who
had Pete Rose banned from baseball for gambling on his own team. A
parallel is drawn in the book between their lives, beginning with
their parents and ending up with Pete Rose being banned and Bart
Giamatti's death. COLLISION AT HOME PLATE is extremely well written
and full of baseball facts and history. Since Pete Rose played most of
his career with the Cincinnati Reds, the book is full of information
about the modern-day Reds.
Normally, I tend to avoid biographies but, due to my love of the game
of baseball, decided to read COLLISION AT HOME PLATE. I found the book
to be VERY disturbing and difficult to finish. The passages in the
book about Pete Rose were very depressing. I still remember going to
my first baseball game at the old Connie Mack Stadium in North
Philadelphia to see the Philadelphia Athletics play. Since then, I
have been an avid baseball fan and, in fact, truly enjoyed watching
Pete Rose play. I never realized, until I read COLLISION AT HOME
PLATE, what a truly horrible human being Pete Rose was. When he was
banned from baseball I really felt sorry for him and regretted the
possibility that this magnificent baseball player might never be in
the Baseball Hall Of Fame. After reading COLLISION AT HOME PLATE I
don't feel sorry for him at all and, in fact, feel that he didn't
receive nearly the punishment he deserved for the crimes he committed.
If you are a true baseball fan, by all means pick up COLLISION AT HOME
PLATE and read it. It will fascinate you and keep you entertained for
hours. If you are a Pete Rose fan, and do not know much about his
personal life, you might want to stay away from this book. It can
destroy any illusions you had about this baseball "superhero" and
leave you feeling very cold toward him.
What Television Tells Us About Our Lives
by S. Robert Lichter, Linda S. Lichter, and Stanley Rothman
(Prentice Hall, June 1991, $24.95, ISBN 0-13-026824-0)
review by Howard Frye
"Marx once charged that history is made behind the backs of the
individuals who think they are shaping it. In the age of television,
history is reshaped before our eyes without our noticing it. The goal
of this book is to reveal this process by providing the first
comprehensive guide to the meanings and messages of prime time."
WATCHING AMERICA is a product of the authors' ongoing study of the
effects of the communications media on society. They perceived a need
for an examination of televised material that went beyond the
much-publicized counts of violent acts or sexual innuendos. They saw
that television, watched by the average American for more than four
hours every day, has become a part of our reality set and that the
content of the shows we watch, both the obvious messages and the
underlying assumptions, affect who were are and how we behave.
"During the past four decades, television has transcended its role as
mere entertainment to become a potent force shaping everyday life."
"The full force of television's impact is rarely felt in a single
program or even a single season. It is the long-term result of
exposure to an artificial reality so pervasive it has become a major
part of the social environment."
"Our thesis is that television started as an agent of social control
but became an agent of social change."
To create this impressive guide, the authors examined the
content--characters, plot, political and social themes--of a randomly
chosen sample of 620 prime-time shows, 20 from each of 30 seasons from
1955 to 1986. The results of their study show how the fantasy world of
TV has depicted American society in the home, at work, and in the
public square. Each chapter in the book examines how a major theme on
prime-time has developed over the past three decades. Taken together,
they chronicle the changing treatment of groups such as businessmen,
government officials, law enforcers, ethnic minorities, and other
major social groups.
WATCHING AMERICA is laudable not only for the depth of its research,
but for the appealing nature of the prose. What could have been a dry
and stuffy treatise of statistical minutiae is actually an absorbing
discussion of what has become a major factor of American life. Indeed,
for Babyboomers like myself, the history of television is in many ways
the history of my life: I remember wondering both Who shot JFK? and
Who shot JR? I remember the living room of Rob and Laura Petrie as
well as I remember my own childhood living room.
"The medium creates a kind of hyperreality, a shared fantasy world
that merges with and sometimes even replaces the more mundane world of
real life for millions of Americans."
WATCHING AMERICA is an intellectual examination of our "shared fantasy
world", and you may be very surprised at some of the findings. For
instance: Situations in which parents exercise control over their
children have INCREASED in frequency over the last 30 years. Also,
women are still outnumbered by men on TV, and are still more often
portrayed as younger, having less authority, and working at
lower-class, lower-paying jobs than men. WATCHING AMERICA is Highly
DALI: THE SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM COLLECTION
Introduction by Robert S. Lubar
Foreword by A. Reynolds Morse
(Bulfinch Press/Little Brown, May 1991, $45, ISBN 0-8212-1810-7)
review by Carl Ingram
"Of a cubist picture one asks: 'What does that represent?' -- Of a
surrealist picture, one sees what it represents but one asks: 'What
does that mean?' -- Of a 'paranoiac' picture one asks abundantly:
'What do I see?' 'What does that represent?' 'What does that mean?'
It means one thing certainly, -- the end of so-called modern painting
based on laziness, simplicity, and gay decorativism."
The art reproduced here ranges from 1917 to 1974, an extraordinary
span of time and styles. Dali, born in Spain on November 5, 1904, was
a painter, a poet, a novelist (HIDDEN FACES, 1944), and he designed
furniture, jewelry, and textiles. His outrageous public persona was
possibly the first example of performance art. His draftsmanship was
superb--many elements in his pictures are as clear and detailed as a
photograph, and yet no Dali work has ever been confused with a
photograph. Watches melt, "still life"s move, body parts demonstrate
grotesque plasticity. And the titles of the pictures are wonderful
too. One of my favorites is, "Telephone in a Dish with Three Grilled
Sardines at the End of September".
The dazzling reproductions in this volume are a treat for the eye and
a delight for the intellect. Study Dali's 'paranoiac' work and faces
pop out at you and scenes shift before your eyes. Despite Dali's
longevity and brilliance, few studies of twentieth-century art spend
more than a paragraph on him. Why? Probably because he's so difficult
to pin down. No matter how you divide up the categories for
classifying artists, Salvador Dali is the one who is always left over
at the end. Throughout his career Dali's art mutated as he made new
discoveries, tried new ways of seeing, expanded his horizons. He will
forever be known as the man who painted dreams, and his work will be
fresh and exciting as long as there are people who dream.
The 159 oil paintings, drawings, and watercolors in this volume
represent the Morse Collection of the Salvador Dali Museum in St.
Petersburg, Florida. They represent more than 50 years of collecting
by A. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor.
"The crowds flock to see my paintings and will continue to do so
because their instinct obscurely and amazedly suspects that my works
hide treasures of blinding authenticity that nobody has yet perceived;
artistic treasures that will be more and more coveted..."
[There is a useful chronology of Salvador Dali's life in the back of
DALI: THE SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM COLLECTION. If you'd like to know more,
check out DIARY OF A GENIUS and THE UNSPEAKABLE CONFESSIONS OF
SALVADOR DALI, both by the artist himself.]
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUTH AND OPINION
How the Misuse of Language Can Lead to Disaster
by Timothy J. Cooney
(Prometheus Books, June 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-87975-668-3)
review by Howard Frye
This charming volume is a longish essay that borrows from a variety of
disciplines--linguistics, logic, psychology, sociology--to make the
point that much of the dissension between peoples throughout history
has been the result more of sloppy speech than genuine hatred. By
stating an opinion as if it were a truth, a matter of verifiable fact,
we needlessly infuriate others. Why do we do this? For a variety of
reasons: to sound forceful, to sound sure of ourselves, or, more
insidiously, because we actually believe that our position is "right".
Most of us will passionately defend, with arms if need be, a Truth;
few of us would harm another over an opinion. Disaster strikes when we
are unable to tell the difference between the two. Mr. Cooney shows
the reader how to determine if any particular position is a matter of
truth or a matter of opinion, and demonstrates through examples that
if we would all just speak a little more carefully, mankind's future
might be a bit brighter.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUTH AND OPINION is a delightful volume of
philosophy accessible to anyone, a book with an important message,
expressed by a man of extraordinary verbal grace. In my opinion, you
should definitely read this book. You'll enjoy it, and you'll benefit
from it. You can't ask much more than that.
FIRE FROM ICE
Searching for the Truth Behind the Cold Fusion Furor
by Eugene F. Mallove
(Wiley, June 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-471-53139-1)
review by Carl Ingram
First things first: What is fusion? According to my Funk & Wagnalls,
in physics fusion is "a thermonuclear reaction in which the nuclei of
a light element undergo transformation into those of a heavier
element, with the release of great energy". The last part of that
definition is what makes fusion such an important subject: anything
that creates "great energy" is intriguing. The first part of the
definition is the good news/bad news dichotomy. The good news is that
this transformation would result in energy that is unlimited,
inexpensive, safe, and environmentally sound. The bad news is that the
most successful fusion reactor we know of is a star, and star-like
temperatures are pretty tough to handle. They can vaporize trees,
buildings, and nuclear physicists.
This is why the world was rocked when Stanley Pons and Martin
Fleischmann, highly respected research chemists from the University of
Utah, announced in March, 1989, that they had achieved nuclear fusion
in a simple table-top experiment at room temperature. If their results
were true, the world's energy problems were over. (Ironically, within
hours of the announcement, the Exxon Valdez left port on its way to
dumping 11 million gallons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound.
If cold fusion became a reality, there would be no more need for oil
All over the world scientists scrambled to recreate Pons and
Fleischmann's experiment, with very little success. Later it was
discovered that Pons and Fleischmann had failed to document the
details of their work completely, and had bypassed conventional
routine for scientific discovery. Was this all a hoax? The celebration
quickly became a scientific scandal, with several key members of the
scientific community declaring that cold fusion was either the
delusion or brilliant scam of Pons and Fleischmann. One day we had
discovered the secret of inexhaustible, cheap, clean energy; the next
day we had nothing. Where was the truth to be found in all this
Eugene Mallove's FIRE FROM ICE examines the entire history of cold
fusion research and provides an insider's view of the scientific
community. He takes a look at the rift cold fusion drove between hot
fusion and cold fusion scientists, and the infighting, misinformation,
competition, favoritism, and allegations that it caused. He delves
into the media's hostile attitude towards cold fusion and the series
of events that ultimately resulted in Pons and Fleischmann being
dismissed from their jobs and ostracized by their peers. Mallove also
tells why he believes many of today's qualified, gifted scientists who
are intrigued by cold fusion refuse to get involved.
In FIRE FROM ICE, Mallove takes the controversial position that cold
fusion is not a fantasy or a fluke, but a compelling possibility with
great potential that demands immediate attention. He tells why cold
fusion is unlikely to receive the research funds it deserves, and
reports on the latest successes international scientists have had.
FIRE FROM ICE is an important book for those who follow current events
and science, and for anyone concerned with the environment and the
future of our planet's natural resources.
THE COLUMBUS QUINCENTENNIAL
We're going to be awash in Columbus mania in 1992, and the publishing
industry is getting started this fall, with dozens of books about
Columbus and related subjects. Here are some of the books you'll have
to choose from:
Isabella of Castile by Nancy Rubin (St. Martin's, Oct, $24.95)
Fourteen Ninety-Two by Barnet Litvinoff (Scribners, Sep, $22.95)
Discovery: Exploration Through the Centuries by Eric Flaum (Smithmark,
The Columbus Papers w/narrative text by Columbus scholar Mauricio
Obregon (Macmillan, Nov, $100)
The Discoverers: An Illustrated History of Man's Search to Know His
World and Himself by Daniel J. Boorstin (2-volume reprint w/550
illustrations, 200 in full color, Abrams, Nov, $75)
The Log of Christopher Columbus translated & annotated by Robert Fuson
(reprint, Tab Books, Oct, $14.92)
Conquest of Eden 1493-1515: Other Voyages of Columbus by Michael
Paiewonsky (Academy Chicago, Feb, $34.95)
Columbus: The Great Adventure by Paolo Emilio Taviani (Crown, Oct,
Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus by Samuel
Eliot Morison (reprint, Little Brown, Oct, $24.95)
The Voyages of Columbus by Lorenzo Camuso (Marboro Books, Sep, $7.95)
Christopher Columbus: The Voyage of Discovery 1492 by Samuel Eliot
Morison (Marboro Books, Sep, $12.95)
The Mysterious History of Columbus: An Exploration of the Man, the
Myth, the Legacy by John Noble Wilford (Knopf, Oct, $25)
America Discovers Columbus: How an Italian Explorer Became an American
Hero by Claudia Bushman (University Press of New England, Spring
The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian
Legacy by Kirkpatrick Sale (reprint, Plume, Sep, $12.95)
Kingdoms of Gold, Kingdoms of Jade: The Americas Before Columbus by
Brian M. Fagan (Thames and Hudson, Oct, $24.95)
Seeds of Change (Smithsonian Books, Oct, $39.95/$24.95)
The Columbus Encyclopedia (2 volumes, Simon & Schuster, Oct, $175)
Columbus and the Age of Discovery by Zvi Dor-Ner & William Scheller
(Morrow, Oct, $40, TV tie-in)
Columbus: For Gold, God and Glory by John Dyson (Simon & Schuster,
Oct, $35, TV tie-in)
And Some For Young People:
Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus by Peter Sis
(Knopf, Aug, $15)
I, Columbus: My Journal edited by Peter & Connie Roop (reprint, Avon,
The Log of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage to America in the Year
1492 As Copied Out in Brief by Bartholomew las Casas, One of His
Companions (reprint, Dover, Oct, $5.95)
Christopher Columbus: From Vision to Voyage by Joan Anderson (Dial,
Christopher Columbus: The Great Adventure and How We Know About It by
Delno & Jean West (Atheneum, Sep, $13.95)
If You Were There in 1492 by Barbara Brenner (Bradbury, Sep, $13.95)
All Pigs on Deck: Christopher Columbus's Second Marvelous Voyage
(Delacorte, Oct, $15)
Garfield Discovers America by Jim Kraft (Grosset & Dunlap, Mar, $9.95)
I Sailed With Columbus by Miriam Schlein (HarperCollins, Oct, $13.95)
I Sailed With Columbus: The Adventures of a Ship's Boy by Susan Martin
(Overlook, Oct, $17.95)
The Boy Who Sailed With Columbus by Michael Foreman (Arcade, 1992)
The Canary Who Sailed With Columbus by Susan Wiggs (Panda Books, 1989,
A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus illustrated by John & Alexandra
Wallner (Holiday House, 1990, $14.95)
The High Voyage: The Final Crossing of Christopher Columbus by Olga
Litowinsky (reprint, Delacorte, 1991, $14.95)
The Cut & Assemble Columbus's Santa Maria in Full Color by A.G. Smith
(Dover, July, $5.95)
YESTERDAY WE SAW MERMAIDS by Esther Friesner is set in 1492 and is
about a ship of Spanish nuns diverted by a naughty genie to the far
side of the Atlantic. It is bound with Lawrence Watt-Evans' THE FINAL
FOLLY OF CAPTAIN DANCY and printed as a Tor Double for September
COLUMBUS A LA MODE by Robert Wechsler is a collection of parodies in
which the author recounts major events in Columbus' life as other
writers might have. His decision to make the voyage is told as Anne
Tyler might, his wife's gruesome death is described in the manner of
Stephen King, etc. Other writers whose styles are lampooned include
Kurt Vonnegut, Art Buchwald, Ann Landers, Kitty Kelley, John Updike,
Dr. Seuss, and Mille (First Dog). Look for this book April 1992 from
OCTOBER WINDS by Susan Wiggs (Tor, Oct, $4.99) is a rather different
account of Columbus. According to this fictional account, when
Cristobal Colon appeared for the first time before Queen Isabel, "his
appearance struck her like a thunderbolt, causing her heart to quicken
against her stiff bodice and her fingers to clench around the tassels
of her cushion."
# MURDER BY THE BOOK #
editor: Cindy Bartorillo
Murder By The Book is a division of Reading For Pleasure, published
bimonthly. This material is NOT COPYRIGHTED and may be used freely by
all. Catalogs, news releases, review copies, or donated reviews should
be sent to: Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
Frederick, MD 21702.
? IT'S ALL A MYSTERY TO ME ?
? by Jack Curtin ?
So here we are again. As it turns out, I'm not going to be able to
deliver on all the things I promised last time due to a couple of
major time-consuming personal matters that have turned this summer
into a horror show. But we'll find some things to talk about here, yes
we will, and we'll begin with the latest entry in what is rapidly
becoming one of my favorite P.I. series.
Moroni Traveler, Robert Irvine's Salt Lake City private eye who is a
"fallen angel" to the Church of the Latter Day Saints which controls
that city--indeed, that state--is back for his fourth case in CALLED
HOME (St. Martin's Press, 1991, $17.95). I've always had a soft spot
for the Mormons--in a mystery sense, that is--because it seems to me
that their church-dominated society offers the best opportunity this
side of the Catholic Church for using the crime story to explore
questions of power and morality and the place of religion in our
lives. I remember a book called PROPHET MOTIVE by an ex-Mormon named
Cleo Jones which appeared about a decade ago and dealt with the murder
of an old-line Mormon Bishop in a small Utah town, which I enjoyed
immensely. I don't think the book ever went to paperback and I never
heard of Cleo Jones again, but I found the setting intriguing and
eagerly picked up Irvine's BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD, which introduced
Traveler in 1988.
Over the course of two ensuing novels (THE ANGEL'S SHARE and GONE TO
GLORY), I've grown familiar with Traveler, his father Martin (who, in
fact, is not his father at all), his ex-wife Claire (who is more than
a little crazy), his friend Willis Tanner (a power broker in the
Mormon hierarchy) and several offbeat and often very funny characters
who populate their world. Serious books all, but with a touch of humor
CALLED HOME is, as they say, a whole 'nother smoke. It opens with
Traveler on trial for assault: he broke the leg of one of a trio of
young thugs hired by Claire to beat him up. He's acquitted, and his
father has already signed him up for an out-of-town case to get him
away from things for a while. That takes him to the town of Wasatch, a
totally Mormon town, to investigate the apparent suicide of his
client's wife. Since Wasatch is in the area where Claire grew up, this
also provides an opportunity to try and find out why she is the way
she is and whether or not the son she says Moroni fathered in their
last time together actually exists and can be found. But there was
another recent suicide in Wasatch, Moroni learns, and the women of the
town are severely agitated by some secret issue and nobody seems to
want him around.
A shocking and unexpected murder brings things to a head and turns
Traveler's investigation into a very personal matter. There are others
with a claim on the killer, however, and it is their final vengeance
that ultimately brings things to a conclusion. By novel's end,
Traveler is still in search of a son who might not even exist and has
given his word that he "owes one" to his powerful Mormon friend, two
plotlines that promise further delights in a series that just keeps
* * * * * * * * * *
About the only thing that is going to save this feature from being a
regular paean to the works of Mitchell Smith, I suspect, is that the
man has only produced two novels to my knowledge (under his own name,
that is, there is indication in the author's note of the original
paperback edition of the title about to be discussed that he has done
a whole slew of paperbacks under various aliases). I raved on and on
about his STONE CITY last time around, and I'm here to tell you that
its predecessor, DAYDREAMS (reissued in April by Signet/Onyx at $5.99)
comes very close to being an even better read, missing out only
because it seems to lose its sense of pacing--if not excitement--in
the closing sections.
DAYDREAMS is the book that people like Wambaugh and Caunitz are
supposed to be writing, an extraordinary thriller set in New York City
and featuring some of the most memorable cops and killers you'll ever
meet on the printed page. The story is this: beautiful prostitute
Sally Gaither is found horribly murdered in her apartment, tied to a
chair after having been sexually abused and left to scald to death in
a steaming shower. Since Sally apparently had some sessions with some
really, really big wigs (including the sitting Vice President of the
United States), the very top men in the NYPD and a ruthless, if
somewhat inept, crew from Washington DC are extremely fearful that
something might turn up--an appointment book, perhaps--that would open
doors they would just as soon stay closed. They have no desire to
solve the case; they just want the lid kept on.
As a result, the case doesn't go to Homicide or Major Crimes; it is
given instead to the Commissioner's Squad, a decidedly minor
departmental outpost, specifically to maverick cop Tom Nardone and his
female partner, Ellie Klein, whose career in the Department has been
less than spectacular. Nardone and Klein aren't about to be
sidetracked, however, and keep on turning up evidence and pushing
things to the point where the DC team tries to slow them up, with
As is STONE CITY, this is hard-hitting, often shocking stuff. Smith
pulls no punches, often detailing the most intimate bodily functions
in some detail, using the language and the attitudes of the street to
full effect, painting acts of violence in cold, graphic terms. For
example, a pair of lengthy letters that the dead woman wrote to her
high school age daughter (who was fully aware of her mother's
occupation) are truly startling documents, offering a series of
opinions sure to appall the vast majority of readers--and set them
thinking just a little bit.
DAYDREAMS is often gruesome, sometimes almost hilarious, completely
unforgettable. Mitchell Smith is a writer to watch.
* * * * * * * * *
IF I WERE A PUBLISHER....Ah yes, if only I had the power to bring back
into print some overlooked masterpieces. This will be a regular
feature around here, as announced last time, and the nominee for this
installment is DEADLY WEAPON by Wade Miller, originally published by
Farrar Straus in 1946 and in paperback by Signet thereafter. This
forgotten thriller, with its most unusual and unexpected ending,
should be one of the genre's classics and instead has been shamefully
One of the major benefits to be gained from working at a store where a
significant number of the customers are amateur experts in mystery
fiction is that they become a great resource to be plumbed. It was as
a result of a lengthy conversation with one such gentleman that I
decided to give Miller a try (another benefit of working in a mystery
bookstore is ready access to all this good old stuff). "Wade Miller,"
by the way, was a pen name for a writing team of Bill Miller and Bob
Wade, who also wrote as "Will Daemer," "Whit Masterson" and "Dale
Wilmer." My intent was to look at the team's series of six "Max
Thursday" private eye novels, but DEADLY WEAPON came first and I'm the
kinda guy who cares about that sort of thing, so...
Wow! This one is a keeper, folks, with an ending that you won't see
coming and won't forget. Private eye Walter James is in a San Diego
burlesque house getting set to confront the man he has come from
Atlanta to see. That man is murdered in his seat before that meeting
happens, setting off a series of action packed events that carry the
reader along so swiftly that there isn't time to consider all the
dangling plot threads or oddities (I'm not sure we ever learn who did
kill the man in the theater, for example, but that isn't important by
book's end). James and the aforementioned Clapp, working together in
an uneasy alliance, uncover an expanding crime web having to do with
the smuggling of marijuana from Mexico, but a mysterious killer
thwarts their efforts at finding the person behind it all.
I won't say any more here, lest I give away any of its secrets, but
this is highly recommended--if you can find a copy.
* * * * * * * * *
Due out just around the time this review appears is THE SONG DOG
(Mysterious Press, $17.95), the eighth in James McClure's estimable
series of South African police procedurals starring Afrikaner CID
lieutenant Tromp Kramer and Bantu sergeant Mickey Zondi. And I make my
judgment of the quality of the series based upon this one book; I've
not read the earlier books but went out and got them as soon as I
finished THE SONG DOG--it's that good.
Actually, if you are going to come in late on a series (something I
hate to do), this is just about the perfect situation to do so: THE
SONG DOG is actually a prequel to the other books, a jump back in time
to when Kramer and Zondi first met. I'm sure that there are all sorts
of inside references and jokes here that I did not catch, not being
familiar with the other stories, but I can always come back and reread
this one once I'm up to speed.
The time here is 1962, and Kramer is sent to a backwater town in
Zululand after a young housewife with something of a "reputation" and
a respected police officer are blown to bits when dynamite destroys
her isolated home. Her jealous husband is certainly a suspect, but
then again, he might well have been the target since he was supposed
to be home that night. As Kramer investigates (and chafes over the
incompetent police and medical personnel on the scene), he keeps
stumbling over Zondi, who is tracking down a killer of his own. I
presume that the relationship between the acerbic Kramer and the
carefully clever Zondi and the pointed but neatly underplayed
depiction of South African customs and attitudes are the heart and
soul of all the books; that's why I rushed out to get them. Highly
Jack Curtin is a freelance writer and editor currently working on a
mystery novel set in Philadelphia's wealthy Main Line suburbs and
eking out a living writing book reviews of crime and mystery titles
for a variety of publications. He also recently began working part
time at the Whodunit Book Store in Philadelphia. Jack invites
comments, arguments or suggestions for future column subjects and can
be reached via CompuServe (ID # 72437,506), fax (215-896-9503) or good
old U.S. mail (1008 Black Rock Road, Gladwyne, PA 19035).
Portions of this column have (or will) appeared in MYSTERY *FILE and
BEACHCOMBER magazines in slightly different form or are adapted from
unsigned reviews which appeared in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY or KIRKUS
1991 SHAMUS AWARD NOMINATIONS
The Shamus Awards are given out by the Private Eye Writers of America,
and will be presented at Bouchercon XXII in Pasadena.
BEST PRIVATE EYE NOVEL:
A Ticket to the Boneyard by Lawrence Block
"G" is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton
Poor Butterfly by Stuart Kaminsky
Polo's Wild Card by Jerry Kennealy
Dead Irish by John T. Lescroart
The Desert Look by Bernard Schopen
BEST FIRST PRIVATE EYE NOVEL:
Kindred Crimes by Janet Dawson
Body Scissors by Jerome Doolittle
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
The Stone Veil by Ronald Tierney
BEST PAPERBACK PRIVATE EYE NOVEL:
Bimbo Heaven by Marvin H. Albert
The Queen's Mare by John Birkett
Rafferty: Fatal Sisters by W. Glenn Duncan
Made in Detroit by Rob Kantner
The Blue Room by Monroe Thompson
BEST SHORT STORY:
"Naughty, Naughty" by Wayne D. Dundee
"Cigarette Stop" by Loren D. Estleman
"A Poison That Leaves No Trace" by Sue Grafton
"Battered Spouse" by Jeremiah Healy
"Final Resting Place" by Marcia Muller
"Bypass for Murder" by Dick Stodghill
AMERICAN MYSTERY AWARDS
The American Mystery Awards are voted on by the readers of MYSTERY
Traditional Mystery: THE GLADSTONE BAG by Charlotte MacLeod
Romantic Suspense: GOODNIGHT, MR. HOLMES by Carole Nelson Douglas
Police Procedural: VESPERS by Ed McBain
Crime Novel: WHISKEY RIVER by Loren D. Estleman
Private Eye Novel: JACKPOT by Bill Pronzini
Paperback Original: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE F. SCOTT FITZGERALD by David
Espionage: COUNTDOWN by David Hagberg
Short Story: "A Poison That Leaves No Trace" by Sue Grafton
Fan Publication: The Armchair Detective
Television Series: L.A. LAW
Movie: PRESUMED INNOCENT
Scholarly Work: JOHN DICKSON CARR by S.T. Joshi
1991 EDGAR AWARDS
Edgar Awards are given out by the Mystery Writers of America.
Best Mystery Novel: NEW ORLEANS MOURNING by Julie Smith (St.
Best First Novel by an American Author: POST MORTEM by Patricia
Daniels Cornwell (Scribner's)
Best Original Paperback: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE F. SCOTT FITZGERALD by
David Handler (Bantam)
Best Fact Crime: IN A CHILD'S NAME by Peter Maas (Simon & Schuster)
Best Critical/Biographical: TROUBLE IS THEIR BUSINESS: PRIVATE EYES
IN FICTION, FILM, AND TELEVISION, 1927-1988 by John Conquest
Best Short Story: "Elvis Lives" by Lynne Barrett (EQMM, September)
Best Juvenile: STONEWORDS by Pam Conrad (Harper & Row)
Grandmaster Award: Tony Hillerman
Robert L. Fish Award: "Willie's Story" by Jerry F. Skarky (AHMM)
Special Edgar: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CRIME by Jay Robert Nash
WHO KILLED PRECIOUS?
by H. Paul Jeffers
(Pharos Books, June 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-88687-538-2)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
Do you remember, early in the movie (or Thomas Harris' novel) SILENCE
OF THE LAMBS, when Officer Starling (Jodie Foster) takes a
questionnaire to Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins)? She puts it in
a tray that passes through into Lecter's cell. That questionnaire was
one of the research tools developed in the FBI's Behavioral Science
Unit that operates out of the FBI training facility in Quantico,
Virginia. The BSU is part of a more comprehensive entity called the
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC). SILENCE OF
THE LAMBS is, of course, fiction, but the questionnaire, the BSU, and
the NCAVC are all very real. WHO KILLED PRECIOUS? is a fascinating
look behind the scenes at the people who have created some of the most
modern law enforcement techniques available to the police.
The BSU has done research into a variety of criminal types, starting
with serial killers and working through mass murderers, rapists, child
molesters, arsonists, and terrorists. They use carefully constructed
questionnaires to acquire psychological information from known
criminals. This information can be added to the general knowledge of
criminal psychology and used to create "personality profiles" of
criminals based on their crimes. When local police need help, they
send the case file to the BSU, who view the crime as a "symptom" of
the criminal's personality. With the array of psychological knowledge
available to them, they can give the police an idea of what kind of
person they should be looking for, how the criminal could best be
caught, and sometimes they even help with the prosecution of the
suspect (as they did in the Atlanta Child Murders case). They're not
infallible, but in the nation that contains three-fourths of the
world's serial killers, most of which are never caught, they provide
some of the best hope we have for the future of law enforcement.
Author Jeffers examines the work of these extraordinary and
controversial agents by following some of the actual investigations,
including Ted Bundy, Wayne Williams, the Green River Killer in
Washington State, the mysterious explosion aboard the U.S.S. Iowa, and
many others. You'll find out why questionnaires are no longer given
one lone agent, and you'll hear about the Son of Sam slayings in David
Berkowitz's own words. WHO KILLED PRECIOUS? is an engrossing look at
the way law enforcement professionals attempt to deal with the
criminal mind, and makes a very interesting companion volume to Thomas
Harris' SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.
NOTE: There was a short-lived television show a couple of years ago
called UNSUB (Unknown Subject), which was about people who do exactly
what the BSU does, only the television characters seemed to visit the
scene of the crime more often. The show was very intense, and more
intellectually oriented than an action or exploitation drama. Which is
probably why it failed to catch on. But it occurs to me now that UNSUB
was simply a TV show ahead of its time--pre-SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.
Right now I would think you could sell such a show rather easily. It's
too bad--I really liked that show.
THE NEW MURDERERS' WHO'S WHO
by J.H.H. Gaute & Robin Odell
(International Polygonics, March 1991, $14.95, ISBN 1-55882-093-0)
review by Howard Frye
THE NEW MURDERERS' WHO'S WHO is a magnificent one-volume reference
book for anyone interested in real-life murders. Each case is covered
with a succinct entry, alphabetized by the murderer's name (when
known), that covers all the pertinent facts clearly and briefly. Along
with the entries come many, many illustrations--very few pages are
devoted solely to prose. There are pictures of murderers as well as
victims. There are contemporary drawings, wanted posters, and
newspaper clippings. There are photocopies of letters, envelopes, and
incriminating prescriptions. You'll see Dr. Cream's medicine case as
well as Dr. Crippen's dug-up cellar. Most of the classic photographs
are here as well: the pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Borden's bodies, the
famous shot of Ruth Snyder in the electric chair, and the particularly
gruesome photo of Marie Kelly, a Ripper victim. One picture I hadn't
seen before was of Sir Harry Oakes' burned body.
In the back of THE NEW MURDERERS' WHO'S WHO there is a fabulous
bibliography of true crime books, 1,032 in all, made more incredible
by the knowledge that it represents the actual library of author
J.H.H. Gaute. And that's just the beginning. Each entry is linked to
this bibliography with a list of numbers of each true crime book that
contains material about that case. This is an enormous boon to anyone
who needs or wants to research a particular case. Want to become an
expert on H.H. Holmes? Just follow the numbers to the bibliography and
make yourself a reading list. You say your library doesn't have all
the books? No problem--just head to the next section, "Specialist
Booksellers" to find a whole list of people who can help you track
down the books you need. And, as a final aid to the serious true crime
buff, there's a Classified Index, in which you'll find the crimes
listed by method (Axe, Asphyxiation, Axe, Blunt Instrument, etc.). In
addition to the murderer or case name, the nationality is listed,
which might lead you to a study of national trends.
Readable, fascinating, horrifying, informative--THE NEW MURDERERS'
WHO'S WHO is a must-have for every true crime buff.
* FALSE COLORS by Miriam Borgenicht (St. Martin's), about two
stepsisters enmeshed in a coverup of their mother's murder, is being
made into a movie. Anjelica Huston reportedly will play one of the
PRESUMPTION OF GUILT
by Herb Brown
(Donald I. Fine, May 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-259-9)
review by Carol Bream
Strange, eerie, weird, frightening!
Could it happen? Has it happened? Will it happen again?
In the news over the last decade we have been made aware of the
problem of child abuse. Frequently the witnesses in these horrifying
reports are the children themselves. And just as frequently the
question comes up as to whether or not the impressionable child has
been coached by some adult just looking for a "cause".
PRESUMPTION OF GUILT takes this theme and, telling it in the child's
voice, produces the ultimate horror. Who is guilty and of what becomes
the overwhelming question, and then how this guilty knowledge affects
the various characters becomes the sad conclusion.
Although the purpose of the book is to entertain, one cannot help
thinking of the social ramifications of cases which have come to our
courts with the same or even less justification. Because child abuse
is perhaps the most heinous of crimes, we hate to see a perpetrator go
free, but can we justify the ruination of an innocent person's life
because of this hatred?
INSPECTOR CROSS: Crossword Capers & Mystery Word Teasers
review by Cindy Bartorillo
I can already hear your question: Is this a mystery or a puzzle book?
Actually, it's both. INSPECTOR CROSS is a new line of mystery puzzle
books from Lombard Marketing, Inc. (45 Wintonbury Avenue, Bloomfield,
CT 06002) that you should find in your local bookstore or gift shop.
Each book is available as a wire-bound high-quality puzzle collection,
or packaged with a pencil, eraser, sharpener, and clue pad in a gift
box. Each book contains twenty original mysteries and twenty matching
puzzles--solving the crossword puzzle will help you solve Inspector
Cross's mystery (and occasionally vice versa). The mysteries are
short, turn on a significant detail, and the word puzzles are a good
selection of medium-to-difficult challenges. This is absolutely the
perfect gift for a sick friend. (Hint: Give the Gift Edition and
everything they need is right in the box.) The mysteries capture the
imagination and provide a framework for the word puzzles, which give
your brain a workout. Wonderfully diverting. As I type this there are
two volumes of Inspector Cross Mysteries:
Volume 1 contains five mysteries in each of four themes: Murder on the
Menu, Occupational Hazards, Medical Mayhem, and Final Sales. Ages:
12-Adult. Difficulty Level: Easy-Difficult
Gift Edition: ISBN 0922242267 Book Only: ISBN 0922242240
Volume 2 contains five mysteries in each of four themes: Melodious
Murders, Looks Can Kill, Catastrophes, and Transparent Thrillers.
Ages: 12-Adult Difficulty Level: Easy-Difficult
Gift Edition: ISBN 0922242275 Book Only : ISBN 0922242259
Inspector Cross Mysteries are created by award-winning writers Henry
Slesar and Alan Robbins and famed puzzle designer Stanley Newman.
by Michael Mewshaw
(Poseidon, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-671-73204-8)
review by Carol Sheffert
"For what is crime after all but a form of betrayal? Whether he kills
or robs, cheats or embezzles, a criminal is somebody who violates the
trust of others. And what is a true-crime writer if not somebody who
makes a career out of betraying betrayers?"
Tom Heller is a true-crime writer who specializes in family murders.
He's been living in Italy with his Italian wife of 15 years and his
two sons, but his brother and father are still in Maryland. When his
brother calls to tell him that their father has been shot and is in
critical condition, Tom flies home to confront ghosts and old guilts.
Within days his father dies and there are two more local shooting
fatalities: the father and son of his college girlfriend. Immediately
Tom suspects what the police can't possibly know--that there is a
connection between the three murders, and that that connection is Tom
This is an odd book. On the one hand, Mewshaw writes an involving
story of past mistakes that come back to haunt current lives. The
clues are strung out enticingly to keep the reader turning the pages.
On the other hand, the main character, our "hero" Tom, is treated
abysmally. He is portrayed as pretentious, stupid, and as having a
huge appetite for humiliation. He solves nothing, and only proceeds
from one embarrassing mistake to another, degrading himself and
proving that he is the same immature idiot he was back in college.
This is particularly strange since author Mewshaw is also a true-crime
writer, making it tempting to draw parallels between author and
fictional character. Possibly Tom Heller was meant to be seen as comic
relief, but I found it distressing to have so little respect for the
point of view character, particularly in what was otherwise such an
intriguing murder mystery.
by Margot J. Fromer
(Berkley/Diamond, September 1991, $4.50, ISBN 1-55773-580-8)
commentary from the publisher
Amanda Knight is director of nursing at JFK Memorial Hospital in
Washington, DC. When the chief physician is found with a scalpel
imbedded in his throat, Amanda begins asking questions--too many
A novel that reveals the hidden dangers of hospitals, SCALPEL'S EDGE
will make you think twice about checking into a place where danger
seems to lurk in every corner.
Author Margot Fromer is a nurse and knows how murderous things can get
at JFK Memorial.
A CLASSIC ENGLISH CRIME: 13 Stories for the
Christie Centenary from the Crime Writers' Association
edited by Tim Heald
(Mysterious Press, June 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-89296-456-1)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
In his Introduction, editor Heald says that the guidelines he set down
for this volume were that the stories be set between the two world
wars (what is known as the Golden Age of detective fiction), contain
whatever the author perceives as being the essence of the "classic
English murder", and each story must have a corpse. Not all of the
stories kept to the guidelines, but most did, and most are delightful.
Each author interpreted their chore differently. Margaret Yorke chose
simply to write a mysterious story in the tone of the 1920s or 1930s
in her entry, "Means to Murder", which relates the murder of a woman
from the perspective of her small son. Some others decided more
specifically to recreate the popular "puzzle" nature of Golden Age
mysteries, with an emphasis on noticing small details. Examples of
these stories include: Peter Lovesey's "The Lady in the Trunk", which
used the classic clues of train times to help solve the crime; and "A
Fete Worse Then Death" by Paula Gosling, in which a murder at a small
town church fete occasions the airing of some rather dirty linen, and
the placement of a deadly candied cherry. Another small town is the
setting for Catherine Aird's "Cause and Effects", wherein a man
murders his wife in front of a dinner table full of guests. And in a
further Golden Age touch, the solution has its origins in a classical
"Wednesday Matinee" by Celia Dale is set in the show business of the
period, with many of the standard character "types" present. I just
wish the solution was arrived at by logic instead of confession. Liza
Cody chose to emphasize an aspect of Golden Age mysteries that most
fans would rather ignore--the rather intense national chauvinism and
religious intolerance of the period. Her story "Spasmo" makes good use
of perspective to tell the story of an appalling little boy. It's the
most serious of the selections.
All the rest of the selections make direct use of Agatha Christie's
style and characters, either explicitly or implicitly. The amateur
crime solvers of David Williams' "Smoke Gets In...", Diana and Berty,
are dead ringers for AC's Tuppence and Tommy. And my favorite entry,
HRF Keating's "Jack Fell Down", not only gives us an obvious
Poirot-substitute for a detective and a nursery-rhyme based mystery
(as AC did so often), but we get all of AC's band of merry suspects:
The obnoxious busybody, the dimwitted ingenue, the horsey matron, the
stiff peer, and the pudgy and pretentious almost-peer with
expectations. Delightful story.
The funniest selection, hands down, is "Holocaust at Mayhem Parva" by
Julian Symons, with characters drawn from a mystery boardgame, classic
AC poisons, and a sleuth named Miss Harple, the Wise Woman of the
village. Symons even puts himself in the story, as The Author, to
match wits with the great Miss Harple. I won't tell you who wins.
Other lighthearted selections are: "All's Fair in Love" by Susan
Moody, which lacks a real murder, but keeps to the tone of the period
beautifully. Editor Tim Heald also has a story here, "Experts For the
Prosecution", which is a literary toast to AC, and reminds us how
curious it was in that era when amateur crime solvers were accorded so
much more respect than the professional variety. Simon Brett's "A
Little Learning" is the most unusual entry of all--it's a purported
doctoral thesis on "The Literary Antecedents of Agatha Christie's
Hercule Poirot", complete with loads of pseudo-research and other
academic silliness. And then there's "Good Time Had By All" by Robert
Barnard, in which we learn that there was as much ratiocination going
on behind the scenes of a Poirot mystery as there was in his little
A CLASSIC ENGLISH CRIME is a delightful collection for all Golden Age
fans. Some of the stories will appeal more than others, but there
isn't a clunker in the bunch. Recommended.
'GROUP PORTRAIT' OF WOMEN WRITERS TO GO INTO ARCHIVE
The emergence of a new breed of female heroes in popular
fiction--specifically, the strong-minded women who now appear in many
contemporary mysteries--is being documented for posterity.
In a joint endeavor of Sisters in Crime and the National Women's
History Project, women mystery authors have been asked to respond to a
questionnaire about their protagonists and provide information about
themselves for the NWHP archives. These materials will be turned over
to NWHP in a ceremony on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, CA.
The event is scheduled for 2:30 PM on Sunday, August 25, and will be
co-sponsored by Mills College's Women's Study Group. Speakers will
include representatives of both Sisters in Crime and NWHP, as well as
award-winning mystery author Nancy Pickard.
A summary of information from the survey will be made available at the
Mills College event, according to project co-chairs Mary Bowen Hall
and Sarah Andrews. All Sisters in Crime members writing stories with
female protagonists were asked to respond to the questionnaire. More
than a hundred authors returned information about themselves and their
protagonists, and a small comparison group of male authors was also
"We've created a group portrait, a word snapshot of women protagonists
at this moment in time," Hall said. The report summary will be
available after August 25. Anyone wishing a copy should send a
stamped, self-addressed envelope to Sisters in Crime, 16 Woodgreen
Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95409.
Sisters in Crime was founded in 1986 to further the careers of women
in the mystery field, and to promote recognition of their contribution
to the field. Membership is open to anyone interested in furthering
these purposes; requests for membership applications should be sent to
the organization at 6040-A Six Forks Road, Suite 163, Raleigh, NC
The National Women's History Project, which just celebrated its tenth
anniversary, promotes increased awareness of multicultural women's
history and has become a major resource for educators, librarians and
journalists. Copies of their Women's History Resources catalog may be
requested by sending a postcard to NWHP, 7738 Bell Road, Windsor, CA
95492, or by phoning 707-838-6000.
Walking the Thin Blue Line--One Cop's Story of Life in the Streets
by Cherokee Paul McDonald
(Donald I. Fine, May 1991, $18.95, ISBN 1-55611-246-7)
commentary from the publisher
After surviving a harrowing tour of duty in Vietnam, Cherokee Paul
McDonald returned home with the knowledge that he derived satisfaction
from combat with an enemy who did bad things to good people. So he
became a cop. Serving as a Florida policeman, he watched Fort
Lauderdale change from a laid-back tourist town and Spring Break teen
heaven, to a drug and criminal-infested urban nightmare. His
experiences on the street changed him forever.
BLUE TRUTH is McDonald's story of the day-to-day pressures that make
or break a cop on the street. He explores the motivations that drive
men and women to enlist in the ongoing, uphill battle to make society
safe through a series of emotionally charged vignettes, all told with
gritty realism, as in his description of a struggle with an armed
"...there we are, on our knees, face to face, chest to chest, with the
gun in between, covered with our hands...With all the twisting and
turning I know that barrel is pointed up...up into our faces or
chests, and I know when I pull the trigger the slug is gonna either
rip up through one of our skulls, or punch its way through one of our
chests...He's grinning and pulling and I can feel my hands
McDonald discusses one of the most unexpected dangers of his career:
its impact on his personal life. Unable to separate his emotional self
from his facade as a policeman, McDonald's marriage failed, and he
cracked. After ten years on the force, and despite a psychological
evaluation telling him he could still be a cop, McDonald resigned.
Of McDonald's searching self-portrait, author Lawrence Block writes,
"Several former police officers have turned to writing and their job
experience has served as the stuff of strong fiction. In BLUE TRUTH,
C.P. McDonald has done something far more daring...the result is a
scorching, devastating book. McDonald as a cop was tough and tender,
caring and vicious. McDonald as a writer is unsparing, unapologetic,
and dead honest. BLUE TRUTH is not a pretty story...but by God, you
won't stop reading it."
[Cherokee Paul McDonald is also the bestselling author of two police
novels, THE PATCH and GULF STREAM.]
OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES
by Susan Rogers Cooper
(St. Martin's Press, 1990)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
Chief Deputy Milton Kovak of Prophesy County, Oklahoma, gets a call to
come to Lois Bell's house, a small two-bedroom place in a middle-class
neighborhood. Inside he finds unbelievable squalor and filth (piles of
used diapers, backed-up sink, bathroom floor covered with excrement),
along with 5 dead bodies: Lois, her husband, and their three children.
All appear to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The car in the
garage has the ignition switch turned on, the tank is empty, and the
door from the garage into the house is ajar. No one has a mark on them
except for Lois, who has suffered a blow to the head.
Milton Kovak knew Lois as the perfectly ordinary bank teller he
enjoyed an occasional banter with. Now, because of his job, he has
been thrust into Lois' life without her permission, and must try to
make some sense of where her life had taken her. He soon finds that no
one knew any more about Lois, her husband, or her children, than he
did. Ordinary middle-class people living ordinary lives. But why did
they live like that? And why did they die like that? And why do they
have nothing in the house that refers to a life before they moved to
The puzzle in this mystery is among the most captivating I've come
across in a long time. And while the solution is not quite as nifty as
the mystery, it was pure delight to spend time in Prophesy County with
Chief Deputy Milt Kovak. And I was happy to discover that there are
two previous Milton Kovak mysteries: HOUSTON IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR
and THE MAN IN THE GREEN CHEVY.
BEYOND THE GRAVE
by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini
(Carroll & Graf, 1986/1991, $3.95, ISBN 0-88184-731-3)
review by Carol Bream
Pronzini is always readable, enjoyable, and frequently unique in his
plots. BEYOND THE GRAVE is no exception. This paperback edition can be
completed in one sitting and is a delight. The plot, which involves
the search for a number of art objects hidden in the 1840s and looked
for first in 1886 and again in the present, is revealed through
flashbacks from the present to those earlier times. In the first
search a detective is the searcher, and in the present time it is a
museum curator. One male and one female. Although the search for
hidden antiquities is not a new plot in mystery fiction, the setting
of California and the double time frame is new in my experience. I
highly recommend this as a good mystery to while away an evening.
GOOD NIGHT, SWEET PRINCE
by Carole Berry
(St. Martin's, 1990)
review by Janet Peters
Bonnie Indermill, working as an office temp, is assigned to help out
briefly at the Gotham Ballet Company. The Russian Bolshoi Ballet
happens to be on tour and appearing nearby, along with ballet
superstar Nikolai Koslov, the "Reigning Prince of Ballet". Do you
already have a hint of who gets bumped off?
Bonnie's temporary job becomes permanent when Niki (as his friends
call him) comes to her to defect and winds up joining the Gotham
Ballet, apparently at her urging. Niki enters the story amid much
drama and fanfare, sticks around long enough to make everyone either
love him or hate him, then, on cue, gets himself killed. The story
then becomes a circus of artistic temperaments, youthful passions,
pushy parents, KGB, drugs, and wounded pride.
GOOD NIGHT, SWEET PRINCE is a light, enjoyable slice of the ballet
ONCE AND ALWAYS MURDER
by Orania Papazoglou
review by Carol Sheffert
"The rich have their own schools, their own stores, their own parties,
their own clubs. They talk to each other, and no one else. Born rich
in Greenwich, you could reach adulthood without ever having come in
contact with anyone who made less than a quarter-million a year, and
with all your illusions intact."
This is the fifth mystery to feature crime novelist Patience (Pay)
McKenna, and is my favorite of the lot. I thought the whodunit element
of the story was the strongest in this novel. The suspect list was
large enough that the clues could be clearly presented, and small
enough that an attempt to figure it out yourself is worthwhile. I
actually sat down and tried to reason through the plot twists to
discover the identity of the killer--I didn't succeed, but I did have
fun trying (do I get any credit for coming close?).
Pay McKenna is going home to Waverly, Connecticut, with romance
novelist best-friend Phoebe. McKenna is going to marry Nick Carras
(see the previous novels) in her home town, where there is a load of
family to come to terms with, and Phoebe is seven months into a
difficult pregnancy. Pay's family consists of the usual assortment of
crazies, coots and crabs, the worst being Great-Aunt Felicia, who,
SURPRISE!, doesn't live too long. It was enjoyable to spend more time
with McKenna and Phoebe, even if it was only 179 pages. I missed the
usual emphasis on the book world, but the mystery was so intriguing
I'm not going to pick nits.
It was an old tradition in the theater that tragedies end with a death
and comedies end with a marriage, which makes ONCE AND ALWAYS MURDER a
comedy. But then, comedy didn't mean the same thing back then that it
means today. Today comedies are side-splitting farces; originally
comedies were simply happy, upbeat stories--which fits ONCE AND ALWAYS
MURDER precisely, and is why I will continue to look forward to the
next Orania Papazoglou mystery.
"Every murderer I ever knew was stupid. Not just stupid about one
thing, the thing they got caught on, but about lots of things. As far
as I can figure out, you have to be stupid to commit murder to begin
DEAD MEN DON'T GIVE SEMINARS
by Dorothy Sucher
(1988, St. Martin's Press)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
I had serious reservations about Sucher's DEAD MEN DON'T MARRY (review
in RFP #13), but there were enough enjoyable elements that I picked up
this earlier mystery, apparently the first. I'm very glad I did,
because this story is much more satisfying than the followup--maybe
this is another example of the Sophomore Jinx (great first tries are
so often followed by disappointments).
Vic Newman and his boss Sabina Swift are at a summer gathering of
physicists in Vermont. Sabina's husband is a physicist, you see, and
they are taking advantage of the symposium to get in a small free
vacation in beautiful surroundings. That's what THEY think, but we're
not surprised when tensions among the group seem unusually high, nor
when one of the star attendees drops dead. Sabina and Vic get a case
to solve just in time to prevent their return to Washington, D.C.
The big names at this gathering are Herv Moore-Gann and Saul Sachs,
who won a Nobel Prize together and for some unknown reason haven't
spoken in years. Unexpectedly they both show up, possibly because Saul
is terminally ill. Moore-Gann makes a big show of publicly reuniting
with Saul, and within minutes Moore-Gann drops to the floor, having
been fatally poisoned with digitalis (a medication that Saul takes).
Did Saul kill him? Why was the poison put in an alcoholic beverage,
when everyone knows Moore-Gann didn't drink? And why *was* he drinking
an alcoholic beverage, anyway? Was it true that Moore-Gann had stolen
the ideas of fellow-physicist Leo Pesnik? Why is Judith Wiley so
nasty, and why does everyone tolerate her? One of the first things we
find out, on digging into Moore-Gann's past, is that his name was
originally Harvey Morgan. That he changed his name from Harvey Morgan
to Herv Moore-Gann tells us a great deal about the murdered man, and
will ultimately help Sabina sort out the tangled lives that led to
violence in Vermont. A very enjoyable mystery.
COPP ON ICE: A Joe Copp Thriller
by Don Pendleton
(Donald I. Fine, May 1991, $18.95, ISBN 1-55611-235-1)
review by Drew Bartorillo
The city of Brighton, CA, a sprawling coastal community on the eastern
edge of the Los Angeles Basin, is in deep trouble. The Mayor has been
murdered, the Police Commissioner has just resigned and the Police
department is full of corruption. Enter our hero, Joe Copp, who is
just the man to clean things up over the weekend. One of the City
Councilmen, an old friend of Joe Copp's, asks him to "temporarily"
take over the job of Police Commissioner and try to straighten things
up. Of course, he probably only has the weekend to do it so he better
get hot! Copp finds that there is corruption at all levels of the
Police department and eventually finds ties between this corruption
and an international "money laundering" ring. As soon as Copp takes
over, the ex-Police Commissioner is murdered and a string of other
cop-murders begins. But our hero proceeds to kick more than his share
of butt and, oh yes, gets the girl along the way.
COPP ON ICE is your typical hard-boiled police procedural, written by
the author of the popular Executioner series. It so happens that I am
an old Mickey Spillane/Mike Hammer fan and really enjoy this type of
book. I found COPP ON ICE to be very enjoyable and easy to read. I
look forward to reading other Don Pendleton books. (Other Joe Copp
novels are: COPP FOR HIRE, COPP ON FIRE, COPP IN DEEP, and COPP IN THE
by Ronald Munson
(Pocket Books, July 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-671-73024-X)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
1. Locate prey
2. Study behavior
I think it's safe to say that you won't find a more exciting or
compellingly believable thriller than Ronald Munson's NOTHING HUMAN.
With a seamless background of realistic detail, the author weaves a
captivating narrative about three strangers drawn together: the
Jaguar, a serial killer; Eric Firecaster, the cop out to get him; and
Jill Brenner, next on the Jaguar's list of women to kill. Distinctive
as their roles are, Ronald Munson forces the reader to confront their
similarities by emphasizing each of the three in their role as Hunter.
Even Jill, who must use her father's lessons to track the Jaguar if
she is ever to be free of fear.
The story begins as the second mutilated body is found. Both bodies
are female, both are headless and have been horribly slashed, and
neither murder scene offers any real clues. The only hint the cops
have is a mysterious telephone call one of the women received shortly
before her death--the caller said, "Beware, the jaguar is on the
prowl" and hung up. The police decide to be on the lookout for women
reporting odd harassments, which brings their attention to Jill when
she reports receiving a box of lilies tied with a black ribbon in a
hangman's noose. Jill and Firecaster barely have time to acknowledge
their mutual attraction before the Jaguar makes his next move and all
three are locked in a life-and-death struggle.
The character of the Jaguar is fascinating. His childhood was
agonizing, but now he's good-looking, bright, well-dressed, and
charming. He's exactly the kind of person you would be most likely to
talk to at a party. Which is exactly what makes him so dangerous. (In
my mental movie, I cast Rutger Hauer as the Jaguar.)
Ronald Munson teaches at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and has
been a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School. He is the author
of books on logic, philosophy of science, and medical ethics, but
NOTHING HUMAN is his first work of fiction.
[I loved this comment about writing for a living made by Jill Brenner
in NOTHING HUMAN: "It pays about the same as panhandling, but you
don't have to spend as much time being nice to people."]
< LOOSEN YOUR GRIP ON REALITY >
<< Editor: Darryl Kenning >>
Loosen Your Grip On Reality is a division of Reading For Pleasure,
published bimonthly. This material is NOT COPYRIGHTED and may be used
freely by all. Contributions of information, reviews, etc. should be
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"MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES" is, as I remember, an ancient
Chinese curse. I think we live in one of the most fascinating times in
history. Think about it. If you could go back in time to live in any
other era, which one would be better/more interesting than this one?
Remember it was only a few short years ago that almost everyone who
was wounded in war died! Until this century, most people never
traveled more than a few miles from home. Worse yet, before the
printing press there was nothing available for most people to read.
All that is well and good I hear you say, but our weapons can easily
destroy the earth, we might be well on our way to doing irreversible
harm to our planet, and our world is been turned upside down - values
mean nothing anymore, the family is disintegrating, and everything is
generally going to the devil! Well true say I, and all that is part of
the larger picture of what's going on in our society and our world
that makes it so interesting.
I believe that we are, as Alvin Toffler has been preaching for several
decades now, in the midst of a societal change that is so vast and
sweeping, that is so all-encompassing and pervasive, and generally so
incomprehensible to us in our daily lives, that I am amazed that
anyone has been able to figure it out at all. There are of course a
lot of similarities to the industrial revolution in England. The
wholesale rearranging of the economic system and the vast shift of
both populations and employment to mention just a few items. But one
thing that sets this apart from that era is our communications and the
glut of information, and even more importantly the speed of events.
I suspect that in 25 or 30 years students will read about these times
and say things like "That would have been an exciting time to be
alive!" Again, well yes, but..... It sure is hard to see what's going
on in our day-to-day lives as they are wrenched and twisted beyond any
usual shape; it's even harder to maintain a personal equilibrium in
these times. There are days when I don't think I can can bear to hear
(and see the graphic pictures) about another famine in some place I
can barely find on the map. And that tells me that I need to learn to
filter the information more (or find a program to do it for me). But
interesting, Ah yes!
If you are suffering from a sense of dislocation and bewilderment, it
would be worth your while to pick up a copy of Alvin Toffler's latest
book, POWER SHIFT. It will provide some fascinating insights into the
basic restructuring that is occurring in our world today and will
continue for at least another decade or two. I doubt the effects will
be fully understood or appreciated for another century.
We DO live in interesting times indeed and in spite of the daily
problems it causes me, I can't think of another time I'd rather live
in...Now if we were talking about visiting, but that's another RANDOM
By the way....
HAPPY BIRTHDAY N3F!
1991 is the 50th anniversary of THE NATIONAL FANTASY FAN FEDERATION
(now generally know as N3F). That's pretty remarkable - a fan
organization that relies on volunteers to staff and run a pretty
complex and sophisticated organization. It is interesting to note that
among the founding members in 1941 were: Ray Bradbury, Damon Knight,
Cyril Kornbluth, Bob Tucker, and Donald Wollheim. If you are
interested in more information about N3F (and don't be thrown by the
word FANTASY in the name - it has interest group areas from computers
to time travel), write : William Center, 1920 Division Street,
Murphysboro, Ill, 62966-2320, and be sure to mention RFP and LYGOR.
1991 LOCUS AWARDS
Awards are voted on by the readers of Locus magazine. Subscriptions
are $35/$48 for 12 montly issues (1st class/2nd class) delivered to a
US address. Send to: Locus Publications, PO Box 13305, Oakland, CA
Best Science Fiction Novel: THE FALL OF HYPERION by Dan Simmons
Best Fantasy Novel: TEHANU: THE LAST BOOK OF EARTHSEA by Ursula K.
Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel: THE WITCHING HOUR by Anne Rice
Best First Novel: IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND by Michael Flynn
Best Novella: A SHORT, SHARP SHOCK by Kim Stanley Robinson
Best Novelette: ENTROPY'S BED AT MIDNIGHT by Dan Simmons
Best Short Story: "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson
Best Nonfiction: SFWA HANDBOOK edited by Rusch & Smith
Best Collection: MAPS IN A MIRROR by Orson Scott Card
Best Anthology: THE YEAR'S BEST SF: SEVENTH ANNUAL COLLECTION edited
by Gardner Dozois
Best Magazine: ISAAC ASIMOV'S
Best Editor: Gardner Dozois
Best Artist: Michael Whelan
Best Publisher: Tor/St. Martin's
GHOST FROM THE GRAND BANKS
by Arthur C. Clarke
(Bantam Books, December 1990, $19.95, ISBN 0-553-07222-6)
review by Darryl Kenning
Those of you who follow LYGOR at all will know that I rarely review
hard bound books, not that I have anything against them you
understand, but with the amount of reading I do I long ago decided to
stay with paperback books. This one I found while browsing one of
those itinerant booksellers that go around the country hawking
overstocks at a price often less than my usual fare. How could I
resist an Arthur C. Clarke book?
One of Mr. Clarke's fortes has been to look at the relatively near
future and to propose a world that is recognizable in some almost
eerie ways. In this case as the year 2012 approaches, several
commercial interests decide to raise the TITANIC on the 100th
anniversary of its sinking (April 16, 1912).
An intricate web is drawn around the people who will be crucial to the
effort as AC chronicles the events that shaped their lives to produce
the critical mass that is needed to complete the equation. Along the
way the reader is treated to a great exposition about the Mandelbrot
Set (the M-SET from here on in). Not only does he provide some
interesting comments in the story but also gives us an appendix with a
nice, clearly written and SIMPLE explanation of the whole thing. I
agree with his analysis that we have only just begun to see the
results of the M-set in our daily lives and the implications of this
reasonably simple bit of mathematics will probably be far reaching.
But I digress.
I enjoyed the story, the projections into the close future, and the
way he handles the characters. In short, while not a great book, one
that fulfils all the expectations I had when I spotted the author's
name on the book.
KQ = 4
THE DARK BEYOND THE STARS
by Frank M. Robinson
(Tor, July 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-312-85166-9)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
"If you knew that you and your fellow crew members were the only life
in the entire universe, with what concern and respect would you treat
The spaceship ASTRON has been searching the galaxy for signs of
extraterrestrial life for 2,000 years, without success. Whenever a
planet is found that might sustain life, they send an exploration
party to the surface for an examination. On one such survey,
17-year-old crew member Sparrow falls from a cliff and only barely
survives. He wakes up in the ASTRON's sick bay with total amnesia of
anything before landing on the planet, and must face many baffling
perplexities. Why does fellow crew member Thrush hate him? Who tried
to kill Sparrow in the sick bay? Why does the captain take such an
interest in him? And why, though it seems very important to certain
members of the crew that Sparrow regain his memories, will no one help
him in that task?
In addition to Sparrow's mysteries, we find that the ASTRON has now
approached the Dark, a wide stretch of nearly empty space that will
take a hundred generations to cross. Captain Michael Kusaka is
determined to cross the Dark, convinced that life can be found on the
other side, despite the facts of the ASTRON's circumstances. After
2,000 years, all equipment is threadbare, and the population on board
is slowing decreasing. Most of the crew is convinced that there is no
alien life to be found and that crossing the Dark is a suicide
mission. They want to return to Earth. They want Sparrow to help them
mutiny. Why is Sparrow so important, and what are the memories hidden
in the depths of his mind that some people long for him to remember,
and others fear?
I can't recall another story so rich in surprises. Just when I would
think I knew where the plot was headed, another astounding revelation
would send everything off in another direction. Frank Robinson has
written a story of rich detail, intellectual depth, and emotional
charm. This is what entertainment should be. Do not miss THE DARK
BEYOND THE STARS.
edited by Andrew M. Greeley & Michael Cassutt
(Tor, July 1991, $24.95, ISBN 0-312-85025-5)
commentary from the publisher
Andrew M. Greeley, author of bestselling fiction and the recent
critically acclaimed nonfiction book, FAITHFUL ATTRACTION, has
collaborated with producer/screenwriter Michael Cassutt, whose work
has been published in major SF magazines, to edit SACRED VISIONS, a
collection of SF works focused on Catholic backgrounds or themes.
With a goal of creating a book that would be both entertaining and
also relevant to questions of faith and religious issues, the editors
selected twelve pieces of short fiction that fit both criteria. Among
the classics included in SACRED VISIONS are the short novels, "A
Canticle for Liebowitz" by Walter M. Miller, Jr. and "A Case of
Conscience" by James Blish. These two classics are reprinted in their
original form, along with "Trinity" by Nancy Kress.
In addition, there are stories by both Catholic and non-Catholic
writers that create a sense of wonder important to all science fiction
writing, while also raising universal questions of Catholic faith or
ethics. Some of the other stories in SACRED VISIONS include work by
Anthony Boucher, Jeff Duntemann, James Patrick Kelly, R.A. Lafferty,
and Robert Silverberg. Four new works, by co-editors Greeley and
Cassutt, Gene Wolfe, and Jack McDevitt were commissioned especially
for this anthology.
ISAAC ASIMOV: HIGHLIGHTS OF A CAREER
(This is from ROC SF ADVANCE, which you can get by sending your name
and address to: NAL, Science Fiction Department, 375 Hudson Street,
New York, NY 10014)
1930 The first issue of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES hits the newstands;
because of the word "science" in the title, a ten-year-old boy in
Brooklyn is able to convince his father that it's wholesome reading.
1934 Asimov's first publication, a humorous essay in the BOYS HIGH
1938 Letter published in ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION; first story
rejected (sold to AMAZING for $64).
1940 "Robbie," first robot story, published in AMAZING; Asimov opens
first savings account.
1941 First "Foundation" story published.
1946 Visits South Seas courtesy of US Army.
1949 Asimov publishes PEBBLE IN THE SKY, his first SF novel;
appointed Instructor of Biochemistry at Boston University.
1950 I, ROBOT published. Asimov learns to drive.
1952 BIOCHEMISTRY AND HUMAN METABOLISM, his first nonfiction book.
With McCarthyism at a peak, Asimov publishes "The Martian Way," an
1957 Russians send up Sputnik; Asimov vows to devote more writing to
1961 WORDS FROM THE MYTHS, 41st book, published in time for 41st
birthday. Yuri Gagarin orbits Earth; like Asimov, he's from Smolensk.
1963 Asimov wins first Hugo, for essays in FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION.
1965 Asimov tries to turn down job of novelizing FANTASTIC VOYAGE but
1966 Hugo awarded to Foundation Trilogy as Best All-Time SF Novel
1968 30th anniversary of Asimov's first professional sale.
1970 First Honorary degree, Doctor of Science, Bridgewater (Mass.)
1971 Hugo and Nebula for THE GODS THEMSELVES, after 15 years of
writing only nonfiction.
1973 Asimov obtains first passport, at age 57, for trip to Canary
1976 ISAAC ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE launched.
1979 Asimov promoted to full Professor at Boston University.
1982 FOUNDATION'S EDGE continues series.
1983 ROBOTS OF DAWN weaves together Foundation and robot themes.
1985 Grand Master Nebula Award.
MATCH THE AUTHOR WITH HIS/HER PET
(Answers at the end of LYGOR)
(This is from ROC SF ADVANCE, which you can get by sending your name
and address to: NAL, Science Fiction Department, 375 Hudson Street,
New York, NY 10014)
1. Michael Bishop (UNICORN MOUNTAIN)
2. Eleanor Arnason (A WOMAN OF THE IRON PEOPLE)
3. Ellen Datlow (editor of ALIEN SEX)
4. Lew Shiner (SLAM)
5. James Blaylock (HOMONCULUS)
a. Liz the cat
b. Leroy the 'gator (deceased)
c. Pomeroy the carp
d. Spud the gerbil
e. Seymour the stuffed sheep
THE PAPERBACK BOOKSHELF
by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn
(Baen Books, July 1991, $5.95, ISBN 0-671-72052-X)
review by Darryl Kenning
Take an Earth that has blamed technology for all its troubles and
turned its back, with a vengeance, on the only possible hope of
salvation as the glaciers advance relentlessly, well into the United
States. Mix in a failing space station, the last bastion of freedom
and technology. this provides the basic elements of FALLEN ANGELS. A
better teaming of authors I can't imagine for a rousing Science
Fiction story cast in an almost classical mold.
As if these ingredients are not enough, leaven with a group of harried
and almost outlawed SF fans holding one of the rare Cons, then fold in
the crash landing of a ship from the space station after having been
shot down almost as an afterthought, and the story takes on a whole
new dimension. Not surprising given this array of talent, the story
works well, has enough inside jokes for even the most jaded SF reader,
and literally drags you along to meet some improbable (but not to
those of us in Fandom) characters on a trek across the country.
Too often there is a sense of mild disappointment in this kind of
collaboration as the sum of the whole is somehow less than the sum of
the parts. In this case, the sum ends up being greater - no mean feat
when you consider the earned stature of the authors. This is an
outstanding book to take for that day when you want something special
to read - if you can wait that long.
KQ = 5
WOLF AND IRON
by Gordon R. Dickson
(TOR, April 1991, $4.95, ISBN 0-812-50946-3)
review by Darryl Kenning
After I finished reading WOLF AND IRON I went to my bookshelves and
looked at the huge number of books I've collected that Gordy Dickson
has written. As I gazed over the titles, there were almost none that I
said "Yes, but I really didn't like that one..", in fact most stand
out in my memory as pretty darned good books - even his early titles.
WOLF AND IRON may just be one of the best books he's done to date.
It is a story, on a very basic level, of survival, personal growth and
adaptation. But what makes this story and book unique is the Mr.
Dickson's long standing habit of good solid research. Even if the
introduction hadn't been largely about the research into social
patterns of wolves, the detail that is used to describe the patterns
of behaviour and interaction would have been the tip-off to even the
casual reader. The story is the odyssey of a man's journey across the
continent, his almost accidental "teaming" with a wolf, his growth and
change from a techno-dependant 20th century academic into a real
survivor that uses knowledge and available technology to enhance
As is common with the best of Science Fiction, while the story happens
to take place in America after the collapse of civilization, it could
just as easily have taken place almost anytime, in almost any
location. And that is a statement about the talent of the author. I
have read a LOT of novels with the "Trek across ruined...(fill in your
own)". In spite of my high regard for Dickson's writing abilities I
didn't expect to be swept along so strongly in the story, or to be so
empathetic to the main characters. This is a Master Storyteller at
work using an incredible array of talent and research, all of which
blend together in what will probably be one of the best stories of the
year (it was originally published in May of 1990).
Find it and start reading at once, but a word of caution; don't start
unless you are able to devote quite some time to it because you won't
want to put it down!
KQ = 5
GO TELL THE SPARTANS
by Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling
(Baen Books, June 1991, $4.95, ISBN 0-671-72061-9)
review by Darryl Kenning
Most readers will recognize the partial quote that makes up the title
of this book. It is another in the loose series of novels about
Pournelle's "Falkenberg's Legion". This novel ties back to another
recent one (PRINCE OF MERCENARIES) and fills in the details in the
universe and time so carefully built up in JP's Mercenary series.
As I've come to expect, the mix of expository writing and a tightly
woven military action adventure works very well. The collaboration is
seamless, and the details that make the military novel work so well
that you can taste the power gun discharges have remained intact.
JP has an uncanny knack of using the Vietnam experience to its
fullest, and pounds the lessons learned so painfully home again and
again - almost slipping them in unnoticed. Yet he produces a rousing
story filled with the lessons of war, and the stories of individuals
and how they react to the mind-numbing effects of real combat. Not the
least of the story has to do with the difference between the
professional soldiers and the society that spawned them and the
societies that use them - and the effect they have on both.
This one is worth your while even if you don't usually read Military
SF. It's sure to entertain, but will also start you thinking in some
unexpected directions. And I'll bet you pick the book back up in a
year or two to reread it again. Need I say more?
KQ = 5
THE SHIELD OF TIME
by Poul Anderson
(TOR, July 1991, $4.95, ISBN 0-812-51000-3)
review by Darryl Kenning
The Time Patrol! How many of us cut our SF teeth on the glorious
stories by Poul Anderson about the brave men and women fighting to
preserve their timeline from the deliciously strange effects of
tampering - both accidental and deliberate. Picking this book up was a
bit like seeing a friend from years ago suddenly appear at a party
across the room. I hesitated a bit before picking up the book because
I was sure that I'd be disappointed.
Let me put your mind at ease. Poul Anderson has retained the magic
that made him so much fun to read in years past. This is almost a
classical story, and yet I felt none of the disappointment that has
happened before in similar circumstances. The story was just as much
fun to read, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Not deep, not particularly
complicated, but with enough romance to stir the soul and a sense of a
particularly gifted author who has not lost the ability to pull me
into his story. If you are not a fan of time travel and PA's earlier
books this probably won't be quite as much fun, but if you've never
read one then you should.
KQ = 4
THE GATEWAY TRIP
by Frederik Pohl
(Ballantine Del Rey, 1990)
review by Darryl Kenning
This is an oversize paperback edition of short stories and vignettes
of of the "Heeche". The book itself is extensively illustrated by
Frank Kelly Freas which adds a great deal. This is a series of stories
about the "Heeche", visitors to our corner of space a long time ago,
who after leaving tunnels and some artifacts - some extremely useful
and some just totally bewildering - have disappeared.
These are stories more in the 1950s style of storytelling, with some
cute twists, all eminently readable. By the time the mystery is
unravelled, the reader has travelled a long way in space and time. A
nice pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.
KQ = 3
THE HARRIERS Book 1: WAR AND HONOR
by Gordon R. Dickson, Chelsa Quinn Yarbro, S.N. Lewitt, & Steve Perry
(Baen BOOKS, April 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-671-72048-1)
review by Darryl Kenning
This is another "first book" in what the authors and publisher
obviously hope will become a neverending series using the shared world
concept. The basic premise and social construct was created by Gordon
Dickson, who is one of the better qualified authors to do so.
The league of human worlds has long since moved beyond Earth and is
controlled from the HUB, a large artificial world. To enforce the
dictates of the government of the League two military forces have been
created: The Grand Harriers, an elite military force designed to
protect the power of the government, and the Petit Harriers, a rough
and tumble group designed to go planetside and mix it up when the bare
knuckles are needed.
The tension between the two groups is obvious from the start, as is
the possibility for a wide variety of adventures. This book has three
stories connected by the shared world, and it is clear that the
authors enjoyed considerable latitude. This has the potential to
become a light reading series that will survive for some time.
KQ = 3
JULY 1991 TITLES FROM TOR BOOKS
SATI by Christopher Pike ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-51035-6)
I once knew this girl who thought she was God. She didn't give sight
to the blind or raise the dead. She didn't even teach anything, not
really. On the other hand, she didn't expect to be worshipped, nor did
she ask for money. I don't know, maybe she was God. Her name was Sati
and she had blonde hair and blue eyes.
For all who meet her, Sati will change everything. Sati may change
everything for you.
Christopher Pike is a bestselling author of young adult fiction;
SATI is his first adult novel. He currently lives in Los Angeles, and
when not writing he likes to run, meditate, and study astronomy.
THE SHIELD OF TIME by Poul Anderson ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-51000-3)
Anderson's first TIME PATROL novel in 35 years. The Time Patrol is a
far-future organization charged with the responsibility of preserving
history itself from those who would tamper with humanity's timelines.
Threatening the fabric of history and humanity are the Exaltationists,
a cult of megalomaniacs who aim to change history and rule the
timelines forever. Manse Everard, unattached agent of the Time Patrol,
travels anywhere in time and place where the Exaltationists threaten.
In THE SHIELD OF TIME, Manse Everard teams up with Wanda Tamberley,
a Time Patrol recruit from 1980s California. Manse and Wanda's
adventure ranges from before the Pleistocene era, to medieval Italy,
to the present. SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE called it "an absolutely
joyous ride through time."
TROIKA by Louise Cooper ($4.50, ISBN 0-812-50799-1)
TROIKA, the fifth volume in Louise Cooper's mystical INDIGO series,
follows the princess Indigo, who holds the Earth's heart for ransom.
In TROIKA, Indigo's magical lodestone leads her to the North, and to
lost love and madness. To survive, Indigo must confront her own worst
fears, and her greatest challenge. "A far, far above average fantasy
series." --FEMINIST BOOKSTORE NEWS
LIFE ON THE BORDER ed. by Terri Windling ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-50824-6)
Human power and Elvin magic meet and intermix in Bordertown, once a
great American city, now a mecca for the dispossessed for both ancient
races. From the rich mansions of Dragon's Tooth Hill to the mean
streets of Soho and the bustling wharves of the Mad River, the city
thrives on surprise. Businessmen deal, artists dream, and the children
of Men learn Elvin magic while the youth of Elfland flock to the
allure of rock and roll. Welcome to the Borderlands, but watch your
step; magic runs wild in the streets.
LIFE ON THE BORDER includes stories by today's most popular modern
fantasists. Charles de Lint brings us were-creatures, Ellen Kushner
tells of a coming-of-age. Also contributing are Craig Shaw Gardner (of
BATMAN fame), Midori Snyder, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Kara Dalkey,
Michael Korolenko, and Bellamy Bach.
HASAN by Piers Anthony ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51348-7)
Set in the time of Sinbad the Sailor, Hasan, a naive youth seeking
riches, falls under the wing of an evil alchemist who enslaves him.
Escaping to a hidden jungle palace, he falls in love with and kidnaps
the beautiful Sana, daughter of the king of the jinns. Sana escapes
him, and while Hasan pursues her, he meets a medley of magical beings.
A cap of invisibility, a rod of power, an army of jinns, and the
rousing of the volcano god add to the climactic battle against the
forces protecting Sana.
BERSERKER'S PLANET by Fred Saberhagen ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-50981-1)
Five hundred years have passed since the combined fleets of humanity
met and broke the berserker armada at Stone Place. But though the
human victory was total, one of the killer machines--weaponless, its
star drive a ruin--managed to limp to secret sanctuary on a planet
called Hunter's World. Over the years since then a new cult has arisen
there, a cult dedicated to Death as the only and ultimate Good. For
Hunter's World has become---BERSERKER'S PLANET.
TOR DOUBLE #31 ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-50265-5)
SILENT THUNDER by Dean Ing / UNIVERSE by Robert A. Heinlein
In SILENT THUNDER, a new short novel by Dean Ing, the year is 1997
and the U.S. government is using Nazi technology to manipulate its
people. Dean Ing is the bestselling author of THE RANSOM OF BLACK
In UNIVERSE, the Ship was all anyone had ever known. Ancient
writings referred to a "trip" and a "destination", but no one on board
knew what these strange words meant. The Scientists and Engineers
dismissed these tales as primitive fables, suitable only for the
naive. A man was born, lived, died, and went to the Converter--all
else was superstition. Or so Hugh Hoyland thought. Then a slingshot
caught Hoyland offguard, and the young Scientist learned about life
among the Muties--and that there might be life beyond the Ship.
CONAN THE UNCONQUERED by Robert Jordan ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51400-9
Davinia, the beautiful mistress of the king of Turan commissions
Conan to steal priceless jewels from the stronghold of the Cult of
Doom. But the powerful necromancer Ghandar, who leads the Cult of
Doom, has made Davinia part of his evil plans to seize the throne of
Turan. Conan must defeat the necromancer and his legions of the dead
to save the Kingdom, Davinia, and his own life!
AUGUST 1991 TITLES FROM TOR BOOKS
ORION IN THE DYING TIME by Ben Bova ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-51429-7)
Third in Bova's bestselling Orion Trilogy, ORION IN THE DYING TIME
takes our immortal hero and throws him back in time to confront his
eternal enemy in the ages when the dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Orion,
an immortal warrior created by the gods, faces the archetype of Satan
in a tale that moves from the Pleistocene era to a burning distant
planet, from the Garden of Eden to the farthest future.
HENRY MARTYN by L. Neil Smith ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-50550-6)
A grand space adventure by the author of THE CRYSTAL EMPIRE, HENRY
MARTYN is a swashbuckling, star-spanning epic of space piracy set
against the bloody power struggles of vast interstellar empires. In an
adventuresome style, L. Neil Smith tells the story of Arran Islay, a
young man who has declared war upon those who brutally destroyed his
family. Taking the name of his murdered friend Islay becomes the
pirate Henry Martyn, inspiring undying loyalty from his followers and
hatred of those he fights.
THE MISTRESS OF THE JEWELS by Diana L. Paxson ($4.99, ISBN
From Diana L. Paxson, author of THE WHITE RAVEN, comes the first
tale of the Westria Saga. After the collapse of technological
civilization, a magical world has evolved. The medievalists have taken
over, creating a pastoral culture on the West Coast. Environmental
consciousness--symbolized by the religion of the Jewels--gives mankind
the ability to remain in harmony with the natural world.
When the beautiful young Faris meets King Jehan, they fall in love
and marry, blessed by the four forces of nature. All is peaceful in
Westria, until jealousy strikes the king's most loyal counselor.
WHITE WING by Gordon Kendall ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51770-9)
The mother of all battles has decimated the Earth. Only a handful of
humans remain to carry on the fight against the alien Sejeidi. These
brave men and women are the WHITE WING, an elite force of space
fighters which takes no prisoners and prefers death over surrender.
Now a powerful enemy of the galactic League is determined to brand the
Wing as traitors, discrediting what's left of the human race. But the
honor of the Wing is not so easily compromised. (Author Gordon
Kendall, a distinguished analyst of aviation and foreign affairs,
holds a Ph.D. in Government from Yale. WHITE WING is based on his
studies of the Israeli Airforce.)
THE MASK OF THE SUN by Fred Saberhagen ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51357-6)
Mike Gabrieli isn't surprised when his brother Tom disappears, just
annoyed. Then Mike discovers an ancient solid gold Aztec mask hidden
in a can of red paint, and becomes caught up in a terrifying whirlwind
of action. The artifact uproots Mike from his comfortable 20th century
life and casts his as a pivotal player in a war being fought from the
16th to the 23rd century--and beyond. The mask is the key to victory,
but the victor remains unknown. Is it the Spanish Pizzaro, the
unimaginably ruthless 23rd century Tenokas, the 16th century Incas, or
Esperanza, the reappearing man whose loyalties can only be guessed at?
What are the secrets of the mask and the fate of its possessor?
CONAN THE FORMIDABLE by Steve Perry ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51377-0)
Conan lays dreaming of the wealth he will encounter within the gates
of the fabled Shadizar, but wakes in the sudden rush of a
night-shrouded bandit attack. Conan's mighty strength and
battle-hardened skills are not enough to defeat his attackers, who are
no regular road-side criminals, but peons of the huge Jatte, a coldly
logical race which occupies the desolate region near the Karpash
Mountains. They seek to imprison Conan as part of their quest for
knowledge of humankind. Those who would bind or slay Conan the
Cimmerian find that they face an opponent more fearsome than their
worst nightmare could conjure--they face CONAN THE FORMIDABLE!
/: KQ :
: : THE GATEWAY TRIP :
: : Frederik Pohl...........3 :
: : THE GHOST FROM THE GRAND BANKS :
: : Arthur C. Clarke........4 :
: : FALLEN ANGEL :
: : L Niven, J. Pournelle, :
: : M Flynn.................5 :
: : THE MERCENARIES :
: : B. Baldwin..............3 :
: : THE HARRIERS :
: : created by G Dickson, :
: : Dickson, Yarbro, Lewitt :
: : Perry..................3 :
: : GO TELL THE SPARTANS :
: : J. Pournelle and :
: : S M Stirling...........5 :
: : THE SHIELD OF TIME :
: : Poul Anderson..........4 :
: : WOLF AND IRON :
: : Gordon R Dickson.......5 :
: : :
: : by darryl kenning :
ASK UNCLE HAL 9001
Test the enormous RAM database of UNCLE HAL, the new and improved
model 9001 beta.
Unfortunately, someone left a book of "one-liners" on the scanner
that UNCLE HAL had been using and now we can't get him to stop
printing out these things. Does anyone know when the model 9001 D will
--> Reality is for people who can't face science fiction.
--> Friction is a drag.
--> Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
--> The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
--> Clones are people two.
--> White dwarf seeks red giant for binary relationship.
--> The attention span of a computer is only as long as its electrical
STAR TREK EPISODES
Stardate Title Seq Air Date
-------- ----- --- --------
ORIGINAL AIR DATE SEQUENCE:
Unknown The Cage (color) 0 01/01/01 (Pilot - never aired)
Unknown The Cage (color & b/w) 0 01/01/01 (Roddenberry comments)
1513.1 The Man Trap 6 09/08/66
1533.6 Charlie X 8 09/15/66
1312.4 Where No Man Has Gone Before 2 09/22/66
1704.2 The Naked Time 7 09/29/66
1672.1 The Enemy Within 5 10/06/66
1329.1 Mudd's Women 4 10/13/66
2712.4 What Are Little Girls Made Of? 10 10/20/66
2713.5 Miri 12 10/27/66
2715.1 Dagger of the Mind 11 11/03/66
1512.2 The Corbomite Maneuver 3 11/10/66
3012.4 The Menagerie Part I 16 11/17/66
3012.4 The Menagerie Part II 16 11/24/66
2817.6 The Conscience of the King 13 12/08/66
1709.1 Balance of Terror 9 12/15/66
3025.3 Shore Leave 17 12/28/66
2821.5 The Galileo Seven 14 01/05/67
2124.5 The Squire of Gothos 18 01/12/67
3045.6 Arena 19 01/19/67
3113.2 Tomorrow Is Yesterday 21 01/26/67
2947.3 Court Martial 15 02/02/67
3156.2 The Return of the Archons 22 02/09/67
3141.9 Space Seed 24 02/16/67
3192.1 A Taste of Armageddon 23 02/23/67
3417.3 This Side of Paradise 25 03/02/67
3196.1 The Devil in the Dark 26 03/09/67
3198.4 Errand of Mercy 27 03/23/67
3087.6 The Alternative Factor 20 03/30/67
3134.0 The City on the Edge of Forever 28 04/06/67
3287.2 Operation: Annihilate 29 04/13/67
3372.7 Amok Time 34 09/15/67
3468.1 Who Mourns for Adonis 33 09/22/67
3451.9 The Changeling 37 09/29/67
Unknown Mirror, Mirror 39 10/06/67
3715.0 The Apple 38 10/13/67
4202.9 The Doomsday Machine 35 10/20/67
3018.2 Catspaw 30 10/27/67
4513.3 I, Mudd 41 11/03/67
3219.4 Metamorphosis 31 11/10/67
3842.3 Journey to Babel 44 11/17/67
3497.2 Friday's Child 32 12/01/67
3478.2 The Deadly Years 40 12/08/67
3619.2 Obsession 47 12/15/67
3614.9 Wolf In The Fold 36 12/22/67
4523.3 The Trouble with Tribbles 42 12/29/67
3211.7 The Gamesters Of Triskelion 46 01/05/68
4598.0 A Piece of the Action 49 01/12/68
4307.1 The Immunity Syndrome 48 01/19/68
4211.4 A Private Little War 45 02/02/68
4768.3 Return To Tomorrow 51 02/09/68
2534.0 Patterns of Force 52 02/16/68
4657.5 By Any Other Name 50 02/23/68
Unknown The Omega Glory 54 03/01/68
4729.4 The Ultimate Computer 53 03/08/68
4040.7 Bread And Circuses 43 03/15/68
Unknown Assignment: Earth 55 03/29/68
Third (final) Season:
5431.4 Spock's Brain 61 09/20/68
5031.3 The Enterprise Incident 59 09/27/68
4842.6 The Paradise Syndrome 58 10/04/68
5029.5 And The Children Shall Lead 60 10/11/68
5630.7 Is There In Truth No Beauty? 62 10/18/68
4385.3 Spectre Of The Gun 56 10/25/68
Unknown Day Of The Dove 66 11/01/68
5476.3 For The World Is Hollow And... 65 11/08/68
5693.4 The Tholian Web 64 11/15/68
5784.0 Plato's Stepchildren 67 11/22/68
5710.5 Wink Of An Eye 68 11/29/68
5121.0 The Empath 63 12/05/68
4372.5 Elaan Of Troyius 57 12/20/68
5718.3 Whom Gods Destroy 71 01/03/69
5730.2 Let That Be Your Last Battlef'ld 70 01/10/69
5423.4 The Mark Of Gideon 72 01/17/69
Unknown That Which Survives 69 01/24/69
5725.3 The Lights Of Zetar 73 01/31/69
5483.7 Requiem For Methuselah 76 02/14/69
5832.3 The Way To Eden 75 02/21/69
5818.4 The Cloud Minders 74 02/28/69
5906.4 The Savage Curtain 77 03/07/69
5943.7 All Our Yesterdays 78 03/14/69
5928.5 Turnabout Intruder 79 06/03/69
MATCH THE AUTHOR WITH HIS/HER PET
1-d Michael Bishop/Spud the gerbil
2-e Eleanor Arnason/Seymour the stuffed sheep
3-b Ellen Datlow/Leroy the 'gator (deceased)
4-a Lew Shiner/Liz the cat
5-c James Blaylock/Pomeroy the carp
ANVIL OF STARS by Greg Bear (sequel to THE FORGE OF GOD)(Warner)
THE MERI by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff (Baen)
FOOLS by Pat Cadigan (Bantam)
WORLDS ENOUGH AND TIME by Joe Haldeman (Morrow/Avon)
COVER PLAN by James Hogan (Bantam)
RESURRECTION by Katharine Kerr (Pulphouse/Bantam)
THE EXILE OF ANA by Michael P. Kube-McDowell (Ace)
PEOPLE OF THE MESA by Ardath Mayhar (Berkley Diamond)
SONGSMITH by Andre Norton & Anne C. Crispin (Tor)
HUNTERS OF THE DAMNED by Nick Pollotta (Ace)
LAST CALL by Tim Powers (Morror/Avon)
SPIRAL DANCE by R. Garcia Y Robertson (Avon)
THE FIRST BOOK OF CHAOS by Michael A. Stackpole (Roc)
COMING IN RFP #19:
THE DRAGON REBORN (sequel to THE GREAT HUNT) by Robert Jordan (Tor)
STREET MAGIC by Michael Reaves (Tor)
THE ADVENTURES OF DOCTOR ESZTERHAZY by Avram Davidson (Owlswick Press)
THE INFINITE KINGDOMS by Michael Rutherford (Owlswick Press)
ANITA by Keith Roberts (Owlswick Press)
Plus a Few Surprises!
* FRIGHTFUL FICTION *
Editor: Annie Wilkes
Frightful Fiction is a division of Reading For Pleasure, published
bimonthly. This material is NOT COPYRIGHTED and may be used freely by
all. Catalogs, news releases, review copies, or donated reviews should
be sent to: Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
Frederick, MD 21702.
BRAM STOKER AWARDS NOMINEES
The Stoker awards are given out by the Horror Writers of America. This
makes a mighty good reading list.
Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale (Ziesing/Bantam)
Funland by Richard Laymon (Onyx)
Mine by Robert R. McCammon (Pocket)
Reign by Chet Williamson (Dark Harvest)
The Revelation by Bentley Little (St. Martin's)
Nightblood by T. Chris Martingale (Warner)
Dark Father by Tom Piccirilli (Pocket)
Blood of the Children by Alan Rodgers (Bantam)
"Bestseller" by Michael Blumlein (F&SF Jan 1990)
"The Langoliers" by Stephen King (FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT, Viking)
"Stephen" by Elizabeth Massie (BORDERLANDS, Avon)
"Entropy's Bed at Midnight" by Dan Simmons (Lord John Press)
"Pelts" by F. Paul Wilson (Footsteps Press)
"The Loneliest Number" by Edward Bryant (PULPHOUSE #7)
"The Calling" by David Silva (BORDERLANDS, Avon)
"Back Windows" by Steve Rasnic Tem (GAUNTLET)
"But You'll Never Follow Me" by Karl Edward Wagner (BORDERLANDS, Avon)
"From the Papers of Helmut Hecher" by Chet Williamson (LOVECRAFT'S
The Brains of Rats by Michael Blumlein (Scream/Press)
Four Past Midnight by Stephen King (Viking)
Prayers to Broken Stones by Dan Simmons (Dark Harvest)
Houses Without Doors by Peter Straub (Dutton)
Horror Literature: A Reader's Guide edited by Neil Barron (Garland)
Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In by Joe Bob Briggs (Delacorte)
The Weird Tale by S.T. Joshi (University of Texas Press)
Hollywood Gothic by David J. Skal (Norton)
Dark Dreamers: Conversations With the Masters of Horror by Stanley
Three Novels of Horror and the Fantastic
by Dana Anderson, Charles de Lint, Ray Garton
(Tor, July 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-312-85180-4)
review by Annie Wilkes
The dust jacket of CAFE PURGATORIUM says that "Experts and writers
agree that the short novel length is the ideal form for the horror
story, allowing the writer to maintain the demanding intensity of
terror while developing a gripping tale." You can prove the truth of
that theory by reading these three novella-length bits of dark
Dana Anderson's "Cafe Purgatorium" tells of an abandoned night club
that serves as a sort-of halfway house for the dead. When Jack Bellows
buys the building to open a restaurant, he discovers his new tenants,
falls in love with one of them, and then all Hell breaks loose. It's a
dreamlike story in which the laws of reality are constantly shifting.
The next novella is "Dr. Krusadian's Method" by the dynamic Ray
Garton, whose first novel, LIVE GIRLS, has become a cult classic.
Richard and Dani Campbell have many problems--life has been a
disappointment, which gives them an excuse to drink too much and take
their frustrations out on those around them. Their son Jason has only
two problems: his mother and his father. Sometimes their frustrations
put Jason in the hospital. But that was before Dr. Krusadian came to
help. In one night Dr. Krusadian will change the lives of all three
Campbells--permanently. Just wait till you hear about Dr. Krusadian's
method. A wonderful story.
Bringing up the rear is my favorite of the three: Charles de Lint's
"Death Leaves an Echo". I read the entire story at 90 mph; I just
couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Michael Shiel wakes up from a
nightmare to find his wife Annie gone. But it's not just Annie, it's
everything in the house that was connected with her. Their king-size
bed has changed into his old double bed, her toothbrush is missing as
well as her dresser, her magazines, her favorite frying pan. The entry
for Annie's parents is missing from Michael's phone book, as are those
of all her friends. A fevered call to his best friend elicits the
information that Michael has never been married. But he can remember
all six years of his relationship with Annie... Anyone who can put
down a story that begins like this is unreachable.
CAFE PURGATORIUM is definitely a Best Buy. Highly recommended.
* Stephen King has been having trouble lately. First he gets sued by
Anne Hiltner, who claims that he stole MISERY from her. Then some nut
breaks into his house and claims to have a bomb. King and his children
were out at the time, but Tabitha King was there. She fled to a
neighbor's house and called the police, who arrested the man. (The
bomb turned out to be fake.) According to King's assistant, Shirley
Sonderegger, the man had been around before claiming that King stole
the idea for MISERY from him, and that it is the real-life story of
his aunt, Anne Hiltner. Just in case you figured this story was about
to make sense I have to tell you that Anne Hiltner claims not to be
related to the fake-bomb wielder.
SAINT PETER'S WOLF
by Michael Cadnum
(Carroll & Graf, June 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-88184-728-3)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
"Perhaps if a person lived as a werewolf for a long time, he would
evolve into a new sort of being, neither typically human nor a
Once again award-winning poet and novelist Michael Cadnum illuminates
a horror archetype, this time tackling the shape-shifter, or werewolf.
Most storytellers use archetypes as a convenient shorthand; they say
"werewolf", then all they have to think about are battle pyrotechnics
and a heartrending way for the werewolf to get killed in the end.
Cadnum has used the werewolf as a canvas for his own painting about
the meaning, structure, and purpose of life.
Benjamin Byrd has been chased by a recurrent nightmare since
childhood, a dream of being tracked by some unseen beast of the night.
That dream finally catches up to him in the form of a beautiful set of
silver fangs, an artifact with a dreadful history and an irresistible
lure. Once Ben gives in to the fangs, his evolution has begun, and
soon he is no longer entirely human.
"I was in my garden when I woke. There was no confusion. I knew what I
had done. I knew it all, the feeding in Golden Gate Park, the romp
with the wolves. There was no horror, now, because what had been human
in me was diluted. I was no longer what I had been. I was changed."
On a superficial level, SAINT PETER'S WOLF is classic werewolf drama;
a bit more complex than we're used to, more emotional depth, but the
physicality we expect to find is there, along with the convulsive
transformation scenes. At night he experiences the expansion of his
sensory organs as a wolf, and during the day he falls back into the
narrow, half-conscious life of an average human being. But on another
level there is only one large transformation, and it lasts for over
300 pages--the slow evolution of Benjamin Byrd into something
"neither typically human nor a beast". In slow, subtle stages Ben
changes, and must not only adapt to his new identity, but must forge a
new relationship with all members of the animal kingdom. At one point
he decides, "A human is such a slight thing, really." Slight, maybe;
but also deadly.
SAINT PETER'S WOLF is a sensual experience disguised as a novel,
magical and unforgettable. It is a werewolf story, a love story, and a
maturation story. Don't miss it. Michael Cadnum is one of the finest
writers to work in the horror field in the last couple of years. You
should also look up his 1990 novels, NIGHTLIGHT and SLEEPWALKER. (If
you've already read those, you may pick up a couple of oblique
references to them in SAINT PETER'S WOLF.)
The Second of a Three Book Thematic Sequel to THE KEEP
by F. Paul Wilson
illustrated by John & Laura Lakey
(Dark Harvest, July 1991, $19.95)
commentary from the publisher
In THE KEEP, F. Paul Wilson introduced us to a timeless evil entity.
That same entity returned to us in embryonic form in REBORN.
Now it is twenty years later. The sensational horrors in the Hanley
mansion have been forgotten by the public, but their effects linger,
spreading like slow ripples across the surface of a lake, echoing down
the years to today. For REBORN was only the beginning. The entity is
still at work, destroying anyone it touches, dragging them down to
death and ruin...
Will Ryerson, a man with a mysterious past, seeks out a new life at
Darnell University in North Carolina and safety from the horrors that
once pursued him. Graying, bearded, pony-tailed, highly educated, he's
found peace as a groundskeeper, a peace that is about to be shattered
as his past seeks him out.
Lisl Whitman, blond, brilliant, an associate professor in the math
department at Darnell, finds her low self-esteem bolstered by a torrid
love affair with Rafe Losmara, a darkly handsome graduate student.
Even when their lovemaking takes a sadomasochistic turn, she finds it
impossible to say no.
Others are inexorably drawn into an ever-expanding web of violence,
deceit, eroticism, and death: Everett Sanders--Lisl's friendly rival
in the department who has his own secrets; Renny Augustino--a New York
cop still obsessed with a five-year-old murder case--the brutal
mutilation of a child; and Mr. Veilleur--now pushing ninety, the old
man finds himself involved once again in an age-old battle he thought
he had ended half a century ago.
REPRISAL is F. Paul Wilson's darkest vision yet, a nightmarish tale
that plumbs the nether regions of the human soul.
A deluxe, slip-cased, limited edition of 450 numbered copies signed by
both author and artists is $39, if any are left. A specially-bound
edition of 26 copies, lettered A thru Z, in a hand-made solid mahogany
slip-case is $125, if any are left.
Postage: Add $2 for first book, $1 for each book thereafter.
Dark Harvest, PO Box 941, Arlington Heights, IL 60006
by Rick R. Reed
(Dell Abyss, July 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-440-20855-6)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
Joe MacAree is obsessed with the taste of human blood and has already
murdered five women when this novel begins. He's married to a
beautiful model whom he loves, but the barrier he has erected between
his new life and his tortured past is wearing very thin. And despite
the brutal nature of his crimes, Joe's largest fear is that he may no
longer be entirely human.
In case you hadn't noticed, this is the year of the psycho killer,
thanks mostly to Thomas Harris, his novels RED DRAGON and THE SILENCE
OF THE LAMBS, and the recent hit movie of the latter. I've come across
more crazed killers on the written page in the last 10 months than in
the previous 5 years. As you might expect, some are obviously written
in haste to take advantage of a fad. But others, like OBSESSED, use
the psycho killer story to communicate some penetrating ideas about
What distinguishes Rick Reed's treatment of the serial killer theme is
the way in which he enlarges the scope of the story to include many
others touched by Joe MacAree's mental illness. We come to see that
the victims of a killer are not all in the morgue; that the ripples in
the pond flow out to change many people's lives. We meet Joe's wife,
the family of one of his victims, a private detective hired by his
wife to track him, and the policeman in charge of catching him. We
also meet another wounded soul: a wheelchair-bound woman whose
injuries are nevertheless mostly within her mind. A woman whose mental
illness will be attracted to and will resonate with Joe's.
All of these people are victims, and they are all victimizers. They
feel pain and they cause pain. Is mental illness catching? Is it all
just a matter of degree? Is the problem not within the psycho killer's
mind but rather loose in the streets of our modern civilization?
OBSESSED is a fascinating exploration of a serial killer and his
extended family of victims. The enlarged scope deprives the story of
the claustrophobic intensity of a Thomas Harris novel, but gives the
reader much more to think about. It's scary, and disturbing.
by Michael McDowell
(Dell Abyss, August 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-440-20886-6)
review by Cindy Bartorillo
Here's another thoughtful dark fantasy from Dell Abyss. The nameless
narrator of TOPLIN is a psychiatrist's delight: he's obsessive,
compulsive, paranoid, delusional, and probably 15 other things that I
don't know enough psychology to pick up. He only wears black and
white, has six nearly-identical suits which he refers to as S-1, S-2,
etc. He has twelve shelves of cookbooks, a combination lock on his
front door, and he can't see colors. The story begins when he needs a
special spice for Today's Recipe, and decides to stop in a store that
he passes going to and from work every day. For the first time,
however, the store is closed, with a sign that says: "Death In The
Family. But Come Back Soon." Obviously this is a lie, and the lie
disconcerts our narrator to such an extent that he decides to eat in a
nearby restaurant that he's never been in before, the Baltyk Kitchen.
In the restaurant he finds Marta, a very ugly foreign woman who works
there. Our narrator realizes that Marta wants to die. She's so ugly,
of COURSE she wants to die. And he must help her. It is now obvious to
him why the grocery store pretended to be closed, forcing him to come
to the Baltyk Kitchen so he could help Marta.
Every word of TOPLIN is told in the first person, through the eyes of
our disturbed narrator. This gives the story a surreal texture, and
prevents the reader from getting any kind of psychological bearing. In
most stories about psycho killers, the author allows you to see just
how demented the killer is by contrast with the perspective of the
"normal" characters. But Michael McDowell denies the reader this
safety line, and the only recourse is to float along beside the
narrator, uneasily looking for details that may indicate where
delusion stops and reality begins.
The narrator shuns human company, and yet seems surrounded by
grotesques: his girlfriend Annie, who constantly reinvents her life;
delivery boy Howard, who shoots small animals and life-size cutouts of
women; the hermaphroditic maintenance man; a drunken priest; and the
Fuggits, a street gang with 'Tempus Fugit' on their leather jackets.
Even the stray street people he meets are crazy. Is the entire city
populated by lunatics, or is it only our narrator? Which way is up?
TOPLIN is a disquieting story from a delusional mind, and the eerie
black & white photographs of Harry O. Morris are a nice accompaniment.
Very good reading.
Is your Dell Abyss collection complete? Here's a list:
THE CIPHER by Kathe Koja (February 1991)
NIGHTLIFE by Brian Hodge (March 1991)
DUSK by Ron Dee (April 1991)
SPECTERS by J.M. Dillard (May 1991)
PRODIGAL by Melanie Tem (June 1991)
OBSESSED by Rick Reed (July 1991)
TOPLIN by Michael McDowell (August 1991)
MASTERY by Kelley Wilde (September 1991)
* HOWLING MAD by Peter David (Ace), a romantic comedy about
werewolves, is being made into a movie called MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU.
THE WITCHING HOUR
by Anne Rice
(Alfred A. Knopf, 1990)
review by Robert A. Pittman
If you have enjoyed reading any of Anne Rice's books from the vampire
series, you will move to a new level of spellbinding story telling as
her tale of witches unfolds. In writing about witches, she follows her
usual practice of creating characters with such care and detail that
they easily become real and reasonable deviations from humanity's
norm. The reader quickly accepts the premise of the existence of
witches and does not resist their presence as a plausible part of a
broad history of a family and an organization. The family around which
the story develops is the Mayfair family and the organization is The
The first of the Mayfair witches appears in Scotland in the late
sixteen hundreds. She is followed by a second generation witch who
lives in France and a third generation witch who lives in the
Caribbean. The fourth generation of the Mayfair family moves to New
Orleans in the early eighteen hundreds where they quickly establish
themselves as prominent, powerful, wealthy, and peculiar members of
the community. We know the Mayfair family through the eyes, ears, and
writing of the Talamasca, an organization founded in the thirteenth
century and dedicated to tracking and investigating paranormal
individuals and activities. In the vampire series, there are brief
references to the Talamasca as observer and recorder of vampire
activities, but in THE WITCHING HOUR, it takes on a major role as the
primary story teller through its history of consistent study of the
Mayfair family members.
Anne Rice has a skilled capacity for making her supernatural
characters attractive and believable by investing in them the physical
and emotional strengths and weaknesses that are common to a normal
sample of humanity. The reader gets to meet a range of Mayfair
witches; a playful witch, an ethical witch, an amoral witch, a witch
who is a business management expert and even a witch who is physically
handicapped. We are also introduced to a strange force or presence
which "lives" in association with each of the witches across several
centuries. Its existence is sustained with the acquiescence of the
witches, but it also augments and compliments the special powers that
are characteristic of witches.
When you finish reading THE WITCHING HOUR, you will feel that you are
somewhat of an expert on witchcraft and you will feel comfortable but
still a bit cautious in dealing with witches. You will not, however,
feel complacent. Anne Rice ends her story with a surprise bang! She
entwines the witch, The Talamasca and the "strange presence" in a
cliff hanger dilemma that demands a sequel. I am certain it will be
written and I can hardly wait to read it!
written & read by Stephen King
commentary by Robert Pittman
Recently a friend sent me a recorded book written and read by Stephen
King titled THE GUNSLINGER. The cassette jacket describes it as the
first part of a much larger work called THE DARK TOWER and mentions
that THE DARK TOWER was "previously available only in a limited hard
cover edition." The implication is that in the future, other parts of
the series will be issued in audio format. The story is recorded on
four cassettes, has a total playing time of six hours sixteen minutes
and retails for $29.95. No recording date is given, but I suspect it
has been on the market for several years.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading many of Stephen King's novels and
stories and admire his ingenuity and the creative uniqueness that he
displays in crafting his tales of horror. In listening to THE
GUNSLINGER however, I had to struggle to find even the slightest
kinship to the usual standards one expects in the works of Mr. King.
The story is constructed around an extended chase (primarily on
horseback) across a desert-like area of the southwest. The gunslinger
is chasing a character defined by the author only as the "Man in
Black." During the chase, the gunslinger encounters other characters
and his relationships and interactions with them provides the
sustaining story line. Among these other characters is a hermit-like
subsistence farmer who offers the gunslinger lodging for several days,
and at the same time, imposes on him with lengthy philosophical
posturing. He also visits a small isolated town which is populated
with a mixture of greedy, grasping people and the listener is treated
to a variety of heroic encounters during the stopover. We find still
other characters along the way, some of whom are difficult to
understand in relation to the total story. There is a young boy, for
instance, who the gunslinger finds along the trail. The story
grudgingly reveals that the boy comes from the near future where he
was killed in an auto accident. It does not, however, make clear how
or why the boy arrived in the time/space dimension of the gunslinger
or just what purpose he serves in the story.
Somehow, close to the sixth hour of listening, the gunslinger is
successful in his chase and comes face to face with the "Man in
Black." For the listener, it was a disappointing climax - there was
little in their final encounter to give meaning to the chase or value
of the catch.
THE GUNSLINGER is fantasy and in this format, the reader or listener
should be prepared to accept the unusual and different and should put
his own imagination to work as a means of building bridges to new
possibilities and potential realities. Listening to this story did not
trigger my imagination - the plot was too thin to follow. The
definitions of time and space were vague and elusive. The supporting
characters often seemed inconsequential or unrelated to the story. It
is by no means clear, but I believe that Mr. King meant this work to
be an allegory, with the gunslinger representing good, the "Man in
Black" representing evil, the young boy representing innocence, the
town population representing greed and violence and so on. An allegory
requires a moral, but even though I listened intently, I could find no
moral concepts arising from the interactions between the gunslinger
and the "Man in Black."
As a reader, Stephen King is a mixed bag. His enunciation is faultless
and his pace is easy to follow and understand. A somber, somewhat
mournful style of delivery though, leads the listener to frequent
states of inattention. At times I found it necessary to reverse the
tape and recapture the narration at a point where my daydreams had led
me astray. Often Mr. King would read in character; that is, speak the
passages in the voice of a woman, a boy, or any other who might be
obviously identified by sound. Using this technique, he was less than
successful - his effort was more parody than mimicry. In this
recording he could by no means be judged a bad reader; he was just not
up to the standards of the experienced professional one usually hears
on audio tapes.
To summarize, when the last tape clicked off, I felt a sense of
relief. It was almost like finishing an unpleasant chore - you're glad
it is over with and would like to forget it!
written & read by Richard Sutphen
(Spine-Tingling Press, $9.95, ISBN 0-87554-475-4)
review by Annie Wilkes
For the first time I can really appreciate how enthralled people were
by radio dramas in the 1930s and 1940s. As a Babyboomer I missed all
that and generally figured that radio dramas were only popular because
there wasn't any television. Now I think I was wrong. BONE THROWER is
a captivating 90-minute audio drama, with lavish 3-D sound effects. I
meant to listen to it in several stages, but couldn't bring myself to
turn it off. The story begins with Hannah and Jeffery driving through
the Arizona desert. We know immediately that something isn't quite
right with Hannah, because she's squatting on the passenger seat of
the car humming along with Indian drums on the radio. Forcing Jeffery
to stop next to something dead in the road, she does something pretty
disgusting, then shoots Jeffery for not being more cooperative. Soon
we find out that Hannah had recently bought a turquoise bracelet that
formerly belonged to an old Indian shaman. Now Hannah (or is it
Hannah?) is loose on the Arizona highway, and no one who crosses her
path is safe. The sound effects are nicely varied and well-integrated
into the story. Riveting.
Richard Sutphen has written 12 psychic investigation books, and after
years of exploring actual occult horrors he is now writing fiction
about the dark side of real potentials. BONE THROWER's premise is
based on a true case history from Sutphen's book UNSEEN INFLUENCES
(Pocket Books, 1982).
NOTE: Parents should be aware that, while BONE THROWER makes a very
enjoyable story for all ages, the end of the tape contains an excerpt
from another Spine-Tingling Press tape, FREAK LINK. This excerpt
contains some explicit sex and a touch of profanity, making it at
least something you should review first.
FREAK LINK: Two Erotic Horror Thrillers
written & read by Richard Sutphen
(Spine-Tingling Press, $9.95, ISBN 0-87554-474-6)
review by Annie Wilkes
The two dramas on this tape, while not quite as enthralling as BONE
THROWER, are enjoyable and provide the listener with further variety
in audio drama. FREAK LINK concerns a type of mental link achieved by
participants at a psychic seminar. Each member of the audience has
been paired off with a stranger, taken into hypnotic trance, and
"linked" psychically. Susan, married and a mother, has been linked
with Frank, a recently-divorced trucker. The psychic bonds are
dissolved by the man conducting the seminar, but at the crucial moment
Susan has a coughing fit and "wakes up" without have the link broken.
Soon she's scratching her armpits, belching in public, using foul
language, and just generally not acting like the respectable lady she
is. More like, oh, say, a truck driver. Funny at first, the humor
wears off quickly when Frank's personality is found to have a much
darker side. I didn't care for the ending much, but the story had a
lot of intensity. (The package says that "The mental link described in
FREAK LINK is an actual group hypnosis process Sutphen has conducted
with over 30,000 people in psychic seminars. It works for over 90
percent of the audience.")
GREATER GOOD is the story on the flip side, about Mitchell and Amanda
and a mountain in Arizona. Mitchell, you see, has studied the record
and determined that aliens will land on this specific mountain in
Arizona at midnight on a specific night. He convinces girlfriend
Amanda to ride out there with him to greet them when they arrive. When
asked what he will say to the aliens, Mitchell altruistically says
that he wants to get the answers to Earth's major problems, which
should be easy for such obviously advanced beings. Not only does
getting to the Arizona mountain prove unusually difficult, in the end
Mitchell gets more logic than he really wanted to hear. It's funny,
and the sound effects are very good.
If your local store doesn't have BONE THROWER and FREAK LINK, write
to: Spine-Tingling Press, Box 186, Agoura Hills, CA 91376.
--->--->--->---> PETER QUINT READS THE MAGAZINES
Editor: Joseph K. Cherkes
This was another good issue of the very reliable HAUNTS. Here's a
quick take on the stories included:
"The Web On Creque Bayou" by Tom Elliott -- Man vs. mutational beastie
in the Louisiana Bayou. Nice rendering of setting, and icky too.
"The Dream Chair" by Bob Brown -- Two pages of depression.
"Darkling" by Robert E. Cook -- If you think your life has been ruined
by your mother, wait till you hear about Gordon.
"Archangel's Song" by K.A. Harbour -- Supernatural tale of Ireland
with a terrific illustration by Judith Holman.
"Nemesis" by Frank Ward -- A clever idea about God and Satan, but I
can't help thinking it could've been given a less contrived treatment.
"The Tethered Goat" by Miklos Hunyedi -- Another supernatural story
that evokes legendary themes. How do you feel about sex with a goat?
"There Are Faeries" by J.J. Pettijohn -- Affecting sentimental tale
that recaptures the emotional intensity of Tinkerbell's near-death in
PETER PAN. (Remember? "Clap if you believe in faeries!")
"I Think That I Shall Never See" by Scott Edelman -- A man overcomes
his grief over his wife's suicide with the help of the tree she hung
"Gotcha!" by Joyce H. Swenson -- A practical joke on mom that would
have made a great "blackout" skit on Rod Serling's NIGHT GALLERY.
(Remember that? What was your favorite story?)
"The Librarian" by Lance Shoeman -- Kenny knows that the horror that
killed his two brothers is pretending to be the new town librarian. A
good short story, but I think it would make an even better novel. Sort
of Clive Barker by way of Lovecraft with a lengthy stopover at Ray
"They Swim Upstream" by Gregory Nyman -- Wally's babysitter has
convinced him that alligators prowl toilets for food, just waiting for
someone to come close enough to bite. Now Wally won't use the
bathroom. The humor of the situation is offset by Wally's very real
anguish, which is nicely balanced by the ending.
The "Sinister Cinema" column by Lisa Lepovetsky discusses the
transition of a story from book to screen, using as examples THE
SHINING by King/Kubrick and THE HAUNTING by Jackson/Wise.
You can get the next four quarterly issues of HAUNTS by sending $13 to
HAUNTS, PO Box 3342, Providence, RI 02906-0742. Send $3.95 plus $1
postage for just one issue.
INIQUITIES: The Magazine of Great Wickedness and Wonder
Spring 1991 Vol. 1 No. 2
The fiction in this second issue isn't *quite* up to the standards of
the first, but it's close, and the variety is still good.
"Another World" by Ramsey Campbell -- Another of his depressing
stories of religious insanity and a decayed near-future society. Good,
but a downer.
"The Slimelight and How To Step Into It" by Robert Hood -- The only
story I can think of that can make you laugh and puke at the same
time--and is enjoyable throughout. Has a cute illustration drawn by
"The Last Snowman" by John B. Rosenman -- A pleasant tale about the
power of religion. The author writes well from a child's perspective.
"A Short Guide to the City" by Peter Straub -- I got all the way
through this before it hit me that there was no plot.
"Getting Dead" by William F. Nolan -- A vampire is trying to die.
Humorous, but a bit weightless.
"Turf" by Brian Hodge & William Relling, Jr. -- A powerful story about
street gangs with a horror twist.
"Hot Orgy of the Caged Virgins" by Elizabeth Massie -- Good evocation
of back-country Virginia, but sadism doesn't bear the weight of a
story as far as I'm concerned.
"Place of Meeting" by Charles Beaumont -- This is the best story in
the issue, an old Beaumont tale dusted off for their "Resurrections"
feature. If this is your introduction to Beaumont, enjoy. There are a
whole lot more where that came from, and George Clayton Johnson
mentions a few sources in his introduction.
Now to the nonfiction. The first issue had an extensive interview with
John Skipp, and this issue has the promised interview with his
partner-in-splatter, Craig Spector. Like Skipp, Spector is good at
coming up with quotables:
"Someone once asked me, 'don't you have nightmares writing that kind
of stuff?' and I replied, 'No. YOU have my nightmares.'"
"...the fact that REALITY ITSELF is little more than a default setting
in the delicate chemical balance of the brain."
"Personally, I'm not writing horror because it's this year's favorite
flavor. I feel like I'm tapping into something vital, both in myself
and in the culture...Besides, fear is a renewable resource. Last time
I checked, it was still pretty damned scary out there."
If you've been running out of ideas at the video store, Bill Warren
has some suggestions for you in his "Slaughter" column. "Lansdale
Raves!" filling 6 pages with opinions, pulpwooders, and weird stories.
Included is the origin of his story, "The Phone Woman", from NIGHT
VISIONS 8. J.K. Potter contributes not only the cover of this issue
(talk about 'eye teeth'!), but two full-page scenes from his
forthcoming graphic novel, LOUISIANA BREAKDOWN. Tom Elliott edits a
page of horrific items from the news and Linda Marotta has a nice book
review column. S.P. Somtow's column "A Certain Slant of 'I'" is great;
he seems to have Harlan Ellison's ability to ramble on forever and be
absolutely fascinating. Finally, there's a pretty lame article about
the connection between rock 'n' roll and horror. Other than a few book
suggestions and a few good quotes from Schow, Skipp, Spector, and R.C.
Matheson, this piece doesn't have much to say. The conclusion reached
in the article is that books and music are qualitatively different,
which I think I could have figured out anyway. I'll forgive
everything, though, if it gets a few more people to read George R.R.
Martin's ARMAGEDDON RAG.
How does this magazine manage to pay the bills? They print Ramsey
Campbell, Peter Straub, interviews with top names, and put all (almost
100 pages) on heavy slick paper with loads of illustrations. This is
phenomenal for a brand-new magazine. Remember the cheap paper and poor
design quality we put up with for years in TWILIGHT ZONE? The guys
that do INIQUITIES will either get rich or go out like a white dwarf
gone nova. I sure hope they can hold it together, because INIQUITIES
seems to be our best bet for a big-time horror magazine. (Next issue
will have Ray Bradbury, Douglas Winter, Steve Rasnic Tem, R.C.
Matheson, and David Schow!) To get your INIQUITIES, send $4.95 (one
issue) or $19.95 (four issues) to: INIQUITIES, 18030 Brookhurst St.,
Suite 14, Fountain Valley, CA 92708.
Summer 1991, Ramsey Campbell Issue
Vol. 52, No. 4 Whole No. 301
Of course, after I make a fuss about INIQUITIES having big names,
WEIRD TALES comes along with Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, and
Stephen for-gods-sake King in one issue. Of course WT isn't really a
horror magazine, it's more of an odd fantasy anthology. Sort of, I
guess you could say, weird tales.
There are four Campbell stories here: "The Same in Any Language",
"Bait", "The Change", and "A Street Was Chosen". If you've managed to
avoid Ramsey Campbell so far, this is a great way to give him a try.
There is a good interview with him too. Robert Bloch updates the
vampire story once again with his "The Bedposts of Life". And the
Stephen King entry is "It Grows On You", an older story and not one of
his best, but worth reading all the same.
Filling out the issue are stories by Charles D. Eckert, John R.
Little, Andrew Seawell, Bruce Bethke, Darrell Schweitzer & Jason van
Hollander, Juleen Brantingham, James Irving Ross, and Keith Taylor.
There is also poetry, a book review column by John Betancourt, and a
great drawing of Cthulhu done by Allen Koszowski. I'm particularly
looking forward to issue 302, which will be a special William F. Nolan
issue, and also will have a Brian Lumley story. (#303 will be the
Thomas Ligotti Issue and #304 will be the John Brunner issue). Get
WEIRD TALES by sending $24/$46 (for 6/12 quarterly issues) to: WEIRD
TALES, PO Box 13418, Philadelphia, PA 19101-3418.
by Andrew Neiderman
(Pocket Books, July 1991, $4.95, ISBN 0-671-70454-0)
review by Peter Quint
Drake and Cynthia Edwards are a happily married couple with two
incredibly wonderful children. Drake works hard as an insurance agent,
a job which he doesn't particularly care for, but tolerates because it
supports the family he loves. He is also beginning to suffer the first
real onslaught of the aging process. This makes it easy for Paul
Stoddard to recruit him into Leon Enterprises, a company which markets
only one product, a miracle cosmetic cream called Youth Hold. Youth
Hold not only erases wrinkles, when used regularly it actually stops
the aging process.
Not surprisingly, every employee of Leon Enterprises, including Mr.
Leon himself, is young and energetic. When Cynthia notices the
dramatic change in her husband's appearance and behavior, she decides
to check on some former Leon Enterprises employees, particularly the
man who supposedly recommended Drake to the company. What she finds
are a series of mysterious deaths and soon she fears for her entire
THE IMMORTALS is a rousingly well-told variation on the old Fountain
of Youth story, with a considerable dash of STEPFORD WIVES thrown in.
The 1950s-style family was a strain on credibility, as was the
old-fashioned gender roles portrayed here. When supermom is faced with
superdad's bizarre and insensitive behavior, she spends much too long
just waiting for his mood to improve, teary-eyed and wondering if he's
having an affair. This is a story of a male fantasy clashing with
female paranoia: the men, represented by Drake, are having WAY too
much fun; which is suspected by the women, represented by Cynthia.
(There are female characters enjoying the benefits of Youth Hold, but
they are either bimbos or men in dresses.) Andrew Neiderman's
narrative skill carries the day, though, as it did with his other
great stories like PIN and THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE.
RECENT RELEASES FROM TOR BOOKS
VAMPIRE JUNCTION by S.P. Somtow (July, $3.99, ISBN 0-812-52596-5)
With his snow-white skin, black hair and eyes, vampire Timmy
Valentine becomes rock's newest sensation and pop icon. His album
rockets to the top of the charts; his concert tour is a huge success.
But Valentine's two thousand years as an eleven-year-old is beginning
to weigh on him. Unknown to him, a group of sorcerers hunger for his
destruction, and Valentine will need all of his supernatural strength
to combat them.
("The most fun I've had with vampires since Ray Garton's LIVE
GIRLS!" ---Drew Bartorillo)
TOR SF Double #36:
CONJURE WIFE / OUR LADY OF DARKNESS by Fritz Leiber
(August, $4.99, ISBN 0-812-51296-0)
CONJURE WIFE: A junior-grade academic, awash in university
politics, discovers that his wife Tansy's hobby ISN'T perfumery (as
he'd thought), but magic. Actually, she thinks she's a witch, and
furthermore believes that her spells are all that come between him and
spells cast upon him by the other faculty wives. He convinces her to
throw away her hexes and charms. But the other wives are not affected
by his superstition...
OUR LADY OF DARKNESS won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel upon
its first publication in 1978. In it, Leiber tells the story of a
recovering alcoholic who is mourning his dead wife in a San Francisco
residential hotel. After he falls in love with a young flute player
downstairs, he and the flutist become enmeshed in an unexpected legacy
of strange and terrible magic, in a haunting spell embedded in the
street plan of San Francisco.
HOWLING GOOD BOOKS
If SAINT PETER'S WOLF by Michael Cadnum (see our review this issue)
has got you slavering for more werewolf drama, just check out a few of
these bestial books:
THE WEREWOLF OF PARIS by Guy Endore (1933). A classic novel of an
unlucky lycanthrope, a victim of circumstance and bad genes. He is
given a chance at redemption by his lover's self-sacrifice, but things
still don't work out too well.
GREY SHAPES by Jack Mann (1937). This was the second novel in Mann's
Gees series, with a lycanthropic theme.
THE WHITE WOLF by Franklin Gregory (1941). A Pennsylvania perfumer
learns that his daughter has become a werewolf, and a boy who loves
her is in similar danger, unless she can be caught and killed.
DARKER THAN YOU THINK by Jack Williamson (1948). A second human
species, Homo lycanthropus, is trying to take over. The plot concerns
an investigative reporter who is charmed by a female werewolf.
Considered by many to be one of the classic werewolf stories.
INVADERS FROM THE DARK by Greye La Spina (1960). A widow
knowledgeable in the field of the occult battles a female werewolf for
the soul of a young man. Published by Arkham House in 1960, this was a
revised version of a 1925 serial from WEIRD TALES. The paperback
edition was retitled SHADOW OF EVIL.
THE WOLFEN by Whitley Strieber (1978). Wolfen are not quite
werewolves, but are a separate species of carnivorous humanoid wolves
who balance society's scales by preying on the corrupt and evil. The
plot deals with a homicide investigation of one of the wolfen kills.
This was Strieber's first novel, and was made into a decent movie.
THE NIGHTWALKER by Thomas Tessier (1979). An American Vietnam veteran
living in London discovers that he is slowly changing into a werewolf.
Told from the perspective of Bobby Ives, the shapeshifter himself,
this is one of the best werewolf stories, and is too often overlooked.
THE HOUSE OF THE WOLF by Basil Copper (1983). Another great period
piece from Basil Copper and published by Arkham House.
THE GODFORSAKEN by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (1983). Yarbro had a very
successful historical series about her vampire Saint Germain; this is
a similarly historical rendering of a werewolf: Rolon, heir to King
Alonzo. Set during the Spanish Inquisition, it's large and lavish, but
sometimes a bit slow.
THE TALISMAN by Stephen King & Peter Straub (1984). This
collaborative novel covered a lot of ground, but one of the most
memorable characters was a childlike good-natured werewolf named Wolf
(Right here and now!).
THE DARK CRY OF THE MOON by Charles L. Grant (1986). The second
volume of a trilogy set in Grant's fictional small town of Oxrun
Station (the others were THE SOFT WHISPER OF THE DEAD, 1982, and THE
LONG NIGHT OF THE GRAVE, 1986). All three were published by Donald M.
THE WOLF'S HOUR by Robert R. McCammon (1989). A horror novel set
during World War II concerning one Michael Gallatin, British spy and
werewolf, who can infiltrate enemy lines better than any mere human.
One of McCammon's most popular novels.
COMING IN RFP #19 -- THE HALLOWEEN ISSUE!
The Big Four:
Stephen King--Robert R. McCammon--Dan Simmons--Dean R. Koontz
Choice titles like:
HANGMAN by Christopher A. Bohjalian
BOY'S LIFE by Robert R. McCammon
UNDER THE FANG edited by Robert R. McCammon (The first anthology from
The Horror Writers of America)
THE SHAPE UNDER THE SHEET: THE COMPLETE STEPHEN KING ENCYCLOPEDIA by
Stephen J. Spignesi
THE STAKE by Richard Laymon
DESCENT by Ron Dee
MASTERY by Kelley Wilde
HORROR COMICS: THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY by Mike Benton
SOMETHING STIRS by Charles L. Grant