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 *         R E A D I N G    F O R    P L E A S U R E          *
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 *                        Issue #13                           *
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 *                 Editor: Cindy Bartorillo                   *
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 *                     HAPPY HALLOWEEN                        *
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 *              Featured Author:   Dan Simmons                *
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CONTACT US AT:  Reading For Pleasure, c/o Cindy Bartorillo, 103
Baughman's Lane, Suite 303, Frederick, MD 21702; or on CompuServe
leave a message to 74766,1206; or on GEnie leave mail to C.BARTORILLO;
or call our BBS, the BAUDLINE II at 301-694-7108, 1200-9600 HST.

NOTICE:  Reading For Pleasure is not copyrighted. You may copy
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printing and mailing costs.

                       ************************

                        DISTRIBUTION DIRECTORY

Here are a few bulletin boards where you should be able to pick up the
latest issue of READING FOR PLEASURE. See masthead for where to send
additions and corrections to this list.

Accolade! BBS     Round Rock,TX  Jack Moore        512-388-1445
Ad Lib            Monroeville,PA John Williams     412-327-9209
The Annex         Dayton,OH      John Cooper       513-274-0821
Beginnings BBS    Levittown,NY   Mike Coticchio    516-796-7296 S
Billboard         Bartlett,IL    Gary Watson       708-289-9808 P
Blcksbg Info Serv Blacksburg,VA  Fred Drake        703-951-2920
Boot Strap OnLine Yuma, AZ       Daryl Stogner     602-343-0878 S
Byrd's Nest       Arlington,VA   Debbie&Alan Byrd  703-671-8923 P
Checkpoint        El Cajon,CA                      619-442-3595 P
Chevy Chase Board Chevy Chase,MD Larkins/Carlson   301-549-5574 P
Computer Co-Op    Voorhees,NJ    Ted Hare          609-784-9404
Daily Planet      Owosso,MI      Jay Stark         517-723-4613
Death Star        Oxon Hill,MD   Lee Pollard       301-839-0705 P
Del Ches Systems  Exton,PA       Peter Rucci       215-363-6625
Diversified Prog  PacPalisadesCA Jean-Pierre Denis 213-459-6053 P
Dorsai Diplomatic Mission  NYC   Jack Brooks       212-431-1944 P
Farmington Valley Hartford,CT    John Walko        203-676-8920 P
Future Tech       Boston,MA      Napier & Moran    617-720-3600 P
Futzer Avenue     Issaquah,WA    Stan Symms        206-391-2339 P
Gentleman Loser   Laurel,MD      Robert West       301-776-0226 P
HeavenSoft        Dayton,OH      John Wampler      513-836-4288
IBMNew            CompuServe     Library #0
Inn on the Park   Scottsdale,AZ  Jim Jusko         602-957-0631 P
Invention Factory New York,NY    Mike Sussell      212-431-1273 P
Ivory Tower       Manchester,CT  Karl Hakmiller    203-649-5611 PS
JForum            CompuServe     Library #8
KCSS BBS          Seattle,WA     Bob Neddo         206-296-5277 P
Litforum          CompuServe     Library #12
Lost Paradise     Washington,DC                    202-370-7795 P
Lynn-Western Newswires BBS                         408-629-4337 P
Magnetic Bottle   Pennsylvania   Bill Mertens      814-231-1345
Magpie HQ         New York,NY    Steve Manes       212-420-0527 P
MoonDog BBS       Brooklyn,NY    Don Barba         718-692-2498 P
MSU Library BBS   St. Paul,MN    Dana Noonan       612-722-9257 P
Oak Lawn          Oak Lawn,IL    Vince & Chris     708-599-8089 P
Poverty Rock PCB  Mercer Is.,WA  Rick Kunz         206-232-1763 PS
Quantum Connec.   PacPalisadesCA Richard W. Gross  213-459-6748 P
Sabaline                         Don Saba          619-692-1961 P
Science Fiction   GEnie          Library #3
SF & Fantasy      CIS Hom-9      Library #5
Suburban Software Chicago,IL     Chuck Valecek     312-636-6694 P
Sunwise           Sun City W.,AZ Keith Slater      602-584-7395
Technoids Anon.   Chandler,AZ    David Cantere     602-899-4876 P
Writers Happy Hr  Seattle,WA     Walter Scott      206-364-2139 P
Writers' RT       GEnie          Library #1
Xevious           Framingham,MA  Nels Anderson     508-875-3618 P
Your Place        Fairfax,VA     Ken Goosens       703-978-6360 P

RFP Home Board (all issues available all the time):
Baudline II       Frederick,MD   the Bartorillo's  301-694-7108
(RFPs downloadable on first call; 9600 HST)

Any board that participates in the RelayNet (tm) email system can
request RFPs from BAUDLINE.

P = PC Pursuit-able
S = StarLink-able

NOTE: Back issues on CompuServe may have been moved to a different
library.

                       ************************

                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  121
What's News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  156
Awards  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  208
THE BRAINS OF RATS by Michael Blumlein  . . . . . . . . . . .  246
SELF-UNIVERSITY by Charles D. Hayes . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292
SAND CASTLES by Lucinda Wierenga with Walter McDonald . . . .  385

Genre Sections:
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Frightful Fiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  424
Loosen Your Grip On Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1227
Murder By The Book  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2068
The Laugh's On Us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2670
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Back Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2789

                       ************************

                              EDITORIAL

Have you ever had a run of bad book luck? Like ten books in a row that
turn out to be major disappointments? I recently went through a string
of losers lately, only breaking out of it with Dan Simmons' HYPERION.
Several people have since told me that they've been going through the
same thing lately--one dreary book after another. Hope your summer
reading has been more successful, but if it hasn't, maybe you can find
something to change your luck in this issue.

By the way, anyone with any book information to pass along is
encouraged to send it to RFP. There are addresses atop each section
where you can reach us---don't be a stranger. Also, if you are a Sysop
who regularly offers RFPs for download, please let me know so I can
add you to our Distribution Directory.

My thanks to everyone who helped put this issue together, and to
everyone who helps to pass this issue around. If you get a few good
ideas for your reading list, all our work will have been worthwhile.
Have a happy and safe Halloween, and we'll see you again in issue #14,
due out December 1, 1990.

                       ************************

NOTE:  I've recently created an index (of sorts) of all the RFP
issues, so that I can see at a glance what we've covered -- and I plan
to keep it up to date as each successive issue comes out. Just in case
anyone else would be interested in seeing the latest index, I've
posted it on our home board, The Baudline II BBS, under the filename
RFPINDEX.ZIP (it will always be the most recent version). It's more of
a personal index than a professional one, but you're invited to call
our BBS and download it if you're interested.

                       ************************

                             WHAT'S NEWS

* Movie news:  Paramount has been so tickled with the boffo box office
of THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER that they recently paid $2.5 million to
buy the filming rights to two more Tom Clancy goodies, CLEAR AND
PRESENT DANGER and PATRIOT GAMES. They've asked the author who did the
screenplay for RED OCTOBER, Don Stewart, to do the same for PATRIOT
GAMES, and they're talking to RED OCTOBER's director, John McTiernan.

* More movie news:  Universal has paid $1.5 million (plus a
"substantial" percentage of the film's gross) for the filming rights
to Michael Crichton's new novel, JURASSIC PARK (Knopf). The movie is
slated to be a Steven Spielberg production. In case you haven't heard
about it yet, JURASSIC PARK is about a theme park that's built around
a dinosaur who has been recreated so perfectly he is actually alive.
Crichton will also do the screenplay (for an additional $500,000).

* If you're a Stephen King fan, you sure don't want to miss the
December issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. For the
first time in over a decade (since the 1977 Harlan Ellison issue, to
be precise) they are devoting the majority of an issue to a single
author. Included will be an original King story, "The Moving Finger",
an excerpt from the upcoming third volume of the DARK TOWER series, a
critical appreciation by Algis Budrys and a King bibliography.

* Are you ready for SF ballet? According to a news item in a recent
Locus magazine, the Huntsville AL Community Ballet and Youth Orchestra
have announced plans to present the world premiere of a ballet, "The
Soulpainter and the Shapeshifter", based on part of Robert
Silverberg's "Majipoor Chronicles". It's scheduled for April 6, 1991,
at the Werner Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, and for further
details you can write to: North Alabama SF Association, Attn: Jack
Lundy, Box 4857, Huntsville AL 35815.

* If that wasn't too much culture for you, be sure you don't miss the
opera, staged by the New York City Opera, based on STAR TREK. If all
goes well, it could show up sometime in 1991.

* I hear that Susan Isaacs' novel, SHINING THROUGH, is being filmed as
I type this (early September) for 20th Century-Fox starring Melanie
Griffith and Michael Douglas. By the way, Isaacs' next novel, MAGIC
HOUR, is coming in February 1991 and will be set in the Hamptons, and
will be about a homicide detective who is in love with a suspect.

* Independent producer Michael Filerman has optioned feature and TV
rights to Evan Hunter's new comic thriller, DOWNTOWN. It's already
available in England, and U.S. publication (by Morrow) is scheduled
for early 1991. (Don't you just hate it when England gets books by OUR
authors first? There should be rules about that.)

                       ************************

                                AWARDS


1990 READERCON SMALL PRESS AWARDS

The awards were given for work appearing in 1989, and were chosen by a
panel of judges consisting of: Thomas M. Disch, John Shirley, Kathryn
Cramer, Paul Chadwick, Jerry Kaufman, Greg Ketter, and Evelyn Leeper.

Novel:  no award
Short Work:  A DOZEN TOUGH JOBS by Howard Waldrop (Ziesing)
Collection:  RICHARD MATHESON: COLLECTED STORIES (Scream Press)
Anthology:  WHAT DID MISS DARLINGTON SEE?: An Anthology of Feminist
             Supernatural Fiction edited by Jessica Amanda
             Salmonson (Feminist Press)
Non-Fiction:  THE DARK-HAIRED GIRL by Philip K. Dick (Ziesing)
Reference/Bibliography:  no award
Reprint:  THE ANUBIS GATES by Tim Powers (Ziesing)
Jacket Illustration:  THE ANUBIS GATES, J.K. Potter, illustrator
Interior Illustration:  S. PETERSON'S FIELD GUIDE TO CREATURES OF THE
    DREAMLANDS, Mark Ferrari and Tom Sullivan, illustrators (Chaosium)
Value in Bookcraft:  RICHARD MATHESON: COLLECTED STORIES
                      (Scream/Press)
Magazine--Fiction:  Interzone edited by David Pringle
Magazine--Criticism:  Science Fiction Eye edited by Stephen P. Brown
                       and Daniel J. Steffan
Magazine--Design:  Science Fiction Eye


1990 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARDS

Lesbian Science Fiction/Fantasy:  WHAT DID MISS DARLINGTON SEE? edited
by Jessica Amanda Salmonson (Feminist Press)
Gay Men's Science Fiction/Fantasy:  SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT by Jeffrey
N. McMahan (Alyson)

                       ************************

                          THE BRAINS OF RATS
                         by Michael Blumlein
                 (October, 1990; $25 ; Scream/Press)

                           review by Cindy

Just when it seemed like we would be buried under an avalanche of
Stephen King and Dean Koontz imitators, we are rescued by someone new.
Michael Blumlein is definitely NOT an imitation anything. Not only is
he a lyrical writer, but he has a creative vision that is at once
personal enough to be original, but not so personal that we can't
follow him on his narrative journeys.

THE BRAINS OF RATS is a collection of Blumlein's short stories, nine
of which have appeared previously in magazines, three of which are
new. I had only read one of them before, a story that was printed in
Twilight Zone Magazine two years ago, and I recognized it instantly.
Michael Blumlein's narratives are like that:  you may be disturbed by
them, but you'll never forget them.

As a physician, it seems fit that Blumlein sees people responding to
the stresses and insanities of modern life biologically. Mutilation is
a recurrent theme in these pieces--as is gender differentiation. The
title story is a fascinating wander along the path that separates men
from women (it was a 1988 World Fantasy Award nominee). The story that
follows it, "Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration: A Case Report",
is nothing less than staggering, and truly indescribable.

THE BRAINS OF RATS is highly recommended for the sophisticated reader
who likes his fiction decidedly dark. It is NOT for children: the
themes are adult and the symbology is disturbing--each copy could
easily carry a warning label "Contents Dangerous to Psychological
Comfort". There are also side effects to ordering this book that you
should be aware of. You'll get a beautiful Scream/Press volume on
acid-free paper (my Scream/Press books are some of the lovliest that I
own--at $25, THE BRAINS OF RATS qualifies as a Best Buy), some
delightfully atmospheric, Victorian woodcut-type art by Timothy
Caldwell, and you just MIGHT get on the Scream/Press mailing list for
a catalog (Scream/Press catalogs are almost as coveted as their books,
and even harder to get).

Give yourself a gift this Halloween and order THE BRAINS OF RATS. Tell
Jeff Conner that Reading For Pleasure sent you.

                       ************************

                           SELF-UNIVERSITY
             The price of tuition is the desire to learn.
                    Your degree is a better life.
                         by Charles D. Hayes
                  (1989, Autodidactic Press, $24.95)

                           review by Cindy

"We may soon discover that all babies are born geniuses and only
become degeniused by the erosive effects of unthinkingly maintained
false assumptions of the grown-ups, with their conventional ways of
'bringing up' and educating their young. We know that schools are the
least favorable environment for learning."
--Buckminster Fuller (CRITICAL PATH)

Charles Hayes, like too many children, was an unsuccessful student
during his years of formal schooling. It wasn't until he became an
autodidact (someone who teaches themselves) that he discovered that it
was the schools that were wrong, not him, and he has enjoyed his
education ever since. He wrote SELF-UNIVERSITY in order to reassure
and encourage others that school isn't the only place to learn.

If you've ever suspected that the formal education you received was
mostly a waste of time (like me), you'll find a kindred spirit in
Charles Hayes.

"We spend hundreds of hours in school studying material of
questionable utility, and virtually no time in attempting to
understand the human needs, drives, motives, and emotions that we live
with every day."

"The mission of SELF-UNIVERSITY is simple: To empower YOU with the
confidence, conviction and desire to create YOUR OWN Self-University."

Don't assume, however, that SELF-UNIVERSITY is largely a long diatribe
against the American school system. It isn't. Indeed, Mr. Hayes
manages to be very understanding and lenient about our methods of
formal education. Most of the book is spent conveying to the reader
his lifelong love of learning and the thrill of intellectual inquiry.
As he puts it:

"Discovering how you learn best is the single greatest self-empowering
principle that you can accomplish. It is a lot like learning to read
maps: once you have achieved that, you can go anywhere."

Charles Hayes also discusses the critical differences between "being
taught", thoughtlessly taken to be a passive experience, and genuine
"learning".

"I came to an insightful conclusion on my own that freedom is PROCESS,
rather than EXPERIENCE. If I had been told this by a teacher in a
classroom, it would have probably passed by as just another fact with
little significance, but to discover such a truth on my own was a
significant learning experience."

Hayes also has a number of helpful hints about managing your
education. For instance, he writes at length about memory, a very
important aspect of learning. What good will it do you to learn
something today if you are doomed to forget about it tomorrow? For
that matter, how many times have you thought of a subject that was
"taught" to you in school, about which you can now remember nothing?
Mr. Hayes gives some very good advice about how to best facilitate the
retention of concepts and details, advice which I have already put to
good use in my own studies. He also devotes considerable space to the
issue of learning on the job, addressing the specific concerns related
to employment.

Finally, I think the major benefit of SELF-UNIVERSITY is way Mr. Hayes
is able to convey the pure exhilaration of learning, a feeling common
to home-grown intellectuals like me (and, I suspect, most of the
people who read Reading For Pleasure).

"John Naisbitt asserted in MEGATRENDS, 'It is truly an exciting time
to be alive.' I believe that for people who have constructed their own
Self-University it has always been and will always be an exciting time
to be alive."

The great thing that Charles Hayes does in SELF-UNIVERSITY is point
you in the general direction, but without laying down a bunch of rules
or imposing his own perspective on you. Your education is just that,
yours. And SELF-UNIVERSITY is the first book I've ever encountered
that not only acknowledges that, but revels in it. SELF-UNIVERSITY is
more than a good book, it's an important book, probably the finest
self-help book you could buy. Don't miss it.

NOTE:  If your local bookstore doesn't have SELF-UNIVERSITY, ask if
they'll Special-Order it for you. If not, write to: Autodidactic
Press, PO Box 872749, Wasilla, Alaska 99687. I'm sure if you sent them
a check for $24.95, plus a couple of dollars for postage, they'd be
happy to mail you a copy.

                       ************************

                      SAND CASTLES: Step-by-Step
               by Lucinda Wierenga with Walter McDonald
                      (Meadowbrook Press, 1990)

                           review by Cindy

Job been getting you down lately? Too many late nights, too many
dinners out of a vending machine? Have you given your permanent
tension headache a name? I've got the perfect prescription for the
harried executive:  a ticket to the nicest beach you can afford and a
copy of SAND CASTLES. Building sand castles is the perfect relaxation
for the 1990s--the authors call it S.A.N.D. Therapy because sand
castling gives you Sociability, Activity, Nonsense, and Daylight.

In the very beginning the secret Sons of the Beach Pledge is revealed:

"I promise to have fun, help others have fun, and unlitter."

"Unlittering", by the way, means to properly dispose of more garbage
than you create, and is a nice thought for a nice pasttime. Looking at
sand castling logically, you really couldn't find a better form of
relaxation: it gets you outdoors, you'll get hours of mild exercise,
you don't need to be wealthy to participate, you get to exercise
whatever moderate amount of creative talent you might possess, and
it's nondestructive to our environment.

And if you were under the impression that building sand castles was
just for children, you've got quite a surprise in store. Start by
checking out the construction on the front cover--you too can build
towers, arches, balconies, even spiral staircases. I think it would be
fun to build settings for your favorite exotic stories and fairy
tales. (The first thing I plan to try is King Arthur's castle, with
plenty of space in the courtyard for jousting practice.) Why not have
the whole family working on scenes from THE NEVERENDING STORY?

SAND CASTLES is highly recommended for what ails you. Throw away your
aspirin and antacid and start castling.


                       *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
                       *                     *
                       *  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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------


FEATURED AUTHOR:

                             DAN SIMMONS


"Sometimes dreams are all that separate us from the machines."
                     --from THE FALL OF HYPERION

"Among those of us who live by, and for, the word; for those of us to
whom good writing is everything; for those of us who despise shallow
and slovenly authors; to those of us for whom writing is a holy chore,
the name Dan Simmons bears great weight. Not only is he one of the few
truly to hear the music, his is a talent that scares us: if he's this
good now, how much higher than the rest of us will he climb when he's
been at it as long as the rest of us?"
                           --Harlan Ellison

"To me, the one saving grace of that benign era before you're first
published is you can write whatever you damn please. I decided not to
stop feeling that way when I started being published."
                            --Dan Simmons

A quick rundown of Dan Simmons' stories to date (see below) will show
you that he has written in a variety of styles on a variety of
subjects, and in at least several genres. It would seem that he is
destined to be one of those authors (like perhaps Ray Bradbury or
maybe Harlan Ellison) who forever resists the convenient pigeonhole.

"I want to write the stories that I'm interested in telling, and so
far none of them have been clearly in one genre or another except for
the 'Hyperion' books--and even that has certain literary ambitions and
is a little murky as to where it belongs."
                            --Dan Simmons

The problem with categorizing HYPERION is that while it superficially
sounds like definite Science Fiction (28th Century, interstellar
travel, exotic futuristic science, etc.), it won't stay within normal
SF bounds. There's a lot of material in HYPERION and THE FALL OF
HYPERION, and you'll be limited more by what you're prepared to get
out of it than by what is there to be gotten. (There's obviously a
better way to say that, but that's the best I can do.) Dan Simmons
truly has "an imagination which can span space and time", to quote
from THE FALL OF HYPERION.

"As the numbers of Simmons titles increase, so does the cumulative
effect. Dan Simmons is an amazingly Protean talent. As does Joe
Lansdale, he seems to write any damn thing that fascinates him, then
seeks out an audience. He finds it."
                             --Ed Bryant

Here's a shopping list for you--and if it were possible to GUARANTEE
that a list of stories contained not one disappointment in the bunch
it would be this list of stories.


                      DAN SIMMONS:  THE STORIES


"The River Styx Runs Upstream"
(Twilight Zone magazine; April, 1982)

I believe this was Dan Simmons' first sale, and it won Twilight Zone
Magazine's First Annual Short Story Contest. A nasty tale about the
crucial distinction between life and death, you can find this story in
the short story collection from Dark Harvest, PRAYERS TO BROKEN STONES
(see below).


SONG OF KALI
(1985, Tor paperback)

"The best first novel in the genre I can remember."
                            --Dean Koontz

"Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist." So begins Simmons'
first novel and the winner of the 1986 World Fantasy Award. SONG OF
KALI is the chilling story of an American man and his Indian wife who
go to Calcutta, where their infant daughter is kidnapped by
worshippers of the god Kali. If you know someone who thinks horror
novels are all ghosts, rattling chains, and Things That Go Bump In The
Night, give them SONG OF KALI, a truly disturbing novel.

The protagonist of the story is Robert Luczak, but the central
character is certainly the city of Calcutta. Dan Simmons had traveled
around India on a Fulbright Fellowship tour, and he recreates the
noise, overcrowding, poverty, and general chaos of the location with
great verve. Reading SONG OF KALI, I could almost smell the fetid
odors of the sinister city.


NIGHT VISIONS 5
edited by Douglas E. Winter
(1988, Dark Harvest)

If you like good horror stories, I'm sure you know all about Dark
Harvest's NIGHT VISIONS series. Each annual edition has all-original
fiction by three different writers. While every volume has been good,
#5 was extra-specially wonderful, with stories from Stephen King, Dan
Simmons, and George R.R. Martin. As you might expect, it was a tough
volume to get. (I pre-ordered my copy by return mail, as soon as Dark
Harvest announced it. A friend ordered about a week later and had his
money returned because they were sold out.) Dan Simmons had three
stories included:

"Metastasis" -- All I'm going to say about this story is that it's
about cancer vampires and it's gross.

"Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell" -- A little bit of
religious philosophy and a whole lot of fun.

"Iverson's Pits" -- The ten-year-old narrator learns about war from an
old soldier. It's about war, and death, and the relationship between
the dead and the living.


CARRION COMFORT
(1989, Dark Harvest hardcover; October, 1990, Warner paperback)

"...absolutely astonishing. Unfailingly plotted and exquisitely
written, Simmons has created a tour de force."
                             --Ed Bryant

"It was a novelette years before, in OMNI, but the images never really
left me. I dabble in art, and this was the equivalent of about a
two-acre blank primed canvas, and I'd done a little sketch down in one
corner..."
                            --Dan Simmons

How many of our ethical standards arise from self-preservation rather
than advanced cultural values? What if those fears for self were
removed? Dan Simmons explores some tough moral questions in this
epic horror novel.

Melanie, Willi, and Nina have the Ability, which means they can take
over another person's mind, seeing and feeling through their
surrogate. The value of this Ability, of course, is that if there
happen to be unfortunate consequences to their actions, the surrogate
must suffer them instead. This is the perfect situation for a
childlike personality: do anything you like with no worries about
responsibility.

Would it be too terribly feminist of me to point out that this is a
typically male fear? Look at the ways in which the sexes traditionally
manipulate the people around them: men use physical force, women use
psychological force. Characters like Conan represent male power
carried to an extreme, and characters like those in CARRION COMFORT
represent female power carried to an extreme. There is evidence within
the story to indicate that Dan Simmons was perfectly aware of the
femaleness of his threat, but outlining my reasons here would spoil
some wonderful surprises.

As you might expect once you see the size of this novel, CARRION
COMFORT covers a lot of ground. In addition to the horrors you'll get
adventure, chase scenes, humor, and social commentary. An epic horror
novel of remarkable control and cohesion.

(CARRION COMFORT just won the 1990 Locus Award for Best Horror Novel,
voted on by readers of Locus magazine. It also won the 1990 Bram
Stoker Award for a Novel, given out by the Horror Writers of America.)

Look for CARRION COMFORT as a Warner mass-market paperback in October,
1990.


"Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites"

This short story can be found in MASQUES III, edited by J.N.
Williamson (1989, St. Martin's Press).


"Carrion Comfort"

The original novella-length version of Simmons' horror epic, which was
first published in Omni magazine, was reprinted in the anthology,
BLOOD IS NOT ENOUGH, edited by Ellen Datlow (1989, Morrow).


PHASES OF GRAVITY
by Dan Simmons
(1989, Bantam Spectra paperback)

"PHASES OF GRAVITY is certainly one of my favorites, a labor of love.
...It is a mainstream novel about an ex-Apollo astronaut having a sort
of belated midlife crisis. He's 52, his wife's left him, his son's
joined a cult in India. He goes on an epistemological quest to try and
sort things out. On his quest he parallels Dante in the PARADISO. He's
moving up through circles of philosophies, from the simply mystical to
fundamentalist religion to rather sophisticated philosophy to the
revelation that his life's been a rehearsal, even landing on the moon.
You've looked forward and looked forward to it, and when it happens
it's just like another simulation. It's not a bad metaphor to deal
with that sort of disillusionment. I'm in my 40s, but I've crashed
into it, and I imagine I'll be doing it again every few years."
                            --Dan Simmons

"The only science-fictional element, of course, is that he was an
ex-astronaut, but that's not why the mainstream audience might have
some trouble with it. It's because the character (and the writer) has
some facility with technology. The man can fly airplanes, he manages
to fly a helicopter, he knows the jargon of space flight, he deals
with engineers, technicians, and test pilots, and there's something
about that that we consider alien to serious literature today. The
English majors and the people who write our literature and the people
who edit the serious magazines and the little magazines make a
conscious decision away from engineering, science. They didn't like it
in college. They've avoided it through much of their lives. It's an
alien land out there for them, so they allow the science fiction genre
to handle it while they write the 'serious' literature of adultery and
getting ahead in the corporate world, etc. Larger issues that have
anything to do with the future of our race and how it applies to
technology are something they don't want to deal with. To me it's an
act of sheer stupidity for the people who are supposedly holding up
the banner of imagination and literature to turn their back on the
space program, on the whole area of how technology affects us, and to
leave it just to science fiction to deal with it. Whatever the
reason--the educational system or the Age of Aquarius or just the
people--I think it's a shame."
                            --Dan Simmons

PHASES OF GRAVITY is a wonderful story that will make you laugh and
make you think. Especially recommended for the over-30 crowd. I'm
going to resist saying any more about this novel not because there
isn't any more to say, but because a plot summary would never give you
the sense of what the story is really ABOUT, and yet what it's really
about is so personal that my own feelings would have little meaning to
anyone else. Read it for yourself and you'll see what I mean.


HYPERION
(1989, Doubleday)

"HYPERION sets up the plot for the second book. Part of the problem
reviewers had with the first book, quite rightly, was: 'My God,
there's a little bit of Asimov in here and it looks like this guy's
playing Larry Niven to a certain extent, and oh lord here comes some
cyberpunk.' That was true, and it was easy with the CANTERBURY TALES
format. Every section had a different voice and a different theme and
flavor. I don't blame the reviewers for seeing different books there,
because obviously anything patterned after Chaucer and THE CANTERBURY
TALES is going to have a disjointed quality to it. I wish I'd gone
more into the political aspects of HYPERION. That's one of the things
I look forward to doing, because I feel that real politics--as opposed
to dredging up some medieval kingdom--are rarely dealt with any more
in science fiction. I could only touch on the surface of what that
future system was."
                            --Dan Simmons

I can recommend right off the bat that you don't start HYPERION until
you have THE FALL OF HYPERION as well; because once you finish the
first you're going to want the second one badly. All together it's
about a thousand pages of peerless storytelling---an imaginative
effort that fits somewhere between DUNE and THE LORD OF THE RINGS in
scope and complexity.

HYPERION begins with a group of pilgrims who have been chosen to meet
with the Shrike, a knife-edged creature known only for causing
gruesome deaths. The Shrike is to be found on the planet Hyperion, in
and around the Time Tombs, a group of mysterious monuments that are
apparently traveling backwards in time, possibly due to "open" in the
near future. Because of the mysteries and dangers of their journey,
the pilgrims decide to pass the time by telling their stories, just
like the travelers in Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES. Those tales make up
the major part of HYPERION, and each one stands alone as an absorbing
story. One of them seemed to be an H. Rider Haggard pastiche; another
had distinct William Gibson overtones. Each story was entirely
different in tone, introducing and filling in each characterization
until, at the end of the book, the reader has become one of the
pilgrims. The characters have become the reader's friends, and the
emotional impact of the events at the end of HYPERION (and throughout
THE FALL OF HYPERION) is tremendous.

(HYPERION just won the 1990 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction
Novel, voted on by the readers of Locus magazine.)


FALL OF HYPERION
(1990, Doubleday)

"The second novel sort of settles down a little more into my style,
whatever that is, and I begin to work out some of the plot kinks, the
untied strings that I left in the first one. I left more than I'd
thought, actually! ... But I knew by the time I finished the first
book that everything would be tied up--though I had no idea how to get
there at that point. I wanted to root the second book a little more
firmly in science fiction rather than have any outstanding elements
that might be considered too fantastic or unexplained. So the second
one proceeds along somewhat more rigorously logical lines than the
first."
                            --Dan Simmons

"I found the themes that Keats had been working on were pretty much
the themes I wanted to deal with. One of them was the supplanting of a
race of gods by another race of gods. Especially in THE FALL OF
HYPERION, that's dealt with in terms of the empire of artificial
intelligence that we create. In HYPERION, the humans [finally] become
aware that they're part of a cybernetic machine that the AIs are
using. Keats dealt with it in terms of classical mythology, and I
dealt with it in terms of classical SF. What if the departing race of
gods doesn't want to depart? Do we have any recourse, any court of
higher appeal? It turns out in THE FALL OF HYPERION there is one. We
do not go gently into that good night--we put up a fight."
                            --Dan Simmons

NOTE:  Bantam Spectra will be publishing a mass-market paperback
edition of THE FALL OF HYPERION in March, 1991.


ENTROPY'S BED AT MIDNIGHT
(1990, Lord John Press $50 35 page novelette)
Only 400 copies printed.

The title is a garbled Shakespeare quotation in which gravity has been
confused with entropy. (The line is from KING HENRY IV, Part I and
goes: "What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight?") In the story,
Robert works for an insurance company where death is a regular part of
his day. He and his wife broke up after the accidental death of their
son, and now Robert is taking his 6-year-old daughter on a vacation in
Colorado, where she wants to ride the Alpine Slide, a heart-stopping
bobsled-like ride down the side of a mountain. His daughter's life
depends on Robert being able to distinguish entropy from gravity.

"In depicting this cerebral problem, Simmons makes it so completely
visceral that his depiction of the Alpine Slide generates more
suspense and dread than any six car-chase movies. ENTROPY'S BED AT
MIDNIGHT is a piece of bravura writing that illustrates the ambitious
heights that contemporary fiction can scale when a fine, honest writer
explores the human heart with tools informed by a solid scientific
grounding in the universe."
                             --Ed Bryant


PRAYERS TO BROKEN STONES
(fall 1990, Dark Harvest)

Short story collection.


OBSESSIONS
(fall 1990, Dark Harvest)

This anthology will contain one Dan Simmons story.


SUMMER OF NIGHT
(January 1991, Putnam)

"It's a horror novel that won't quite be a horror novel. ... The part
that is a little scary to me is that the main characters are children,
and there's been enough of that in the last few years that a lot of
people who would otherwise give a book a try will say, 'God save us
from demon-possessed children, blank-eyed children and all that.' But
for me it's a descent into Ray Bradbury country. I hope this is a
contender for fangs just as sharp as some of his. The entire book
takes place during 10 weeks of summer for these kids. It truly is a
Dante-like descent into hell through summer. For a lot of boys I knew,
going back to school at the end of summer was awful. The closer you
got to the end of August and the resumption of school, the sicker you
felt at the base of your stomach when you thought about it. There's a
certain element of that in the book. The end of summer is like the end
of life."
                            --Dan Simmons


AFTER THAT?

According to Dan Simmons:

"There are plans for another Lord John Press limited edition, this one
with original artwork by me as well as prose, but the title and other
details are not nailed down as of this time."



DAN SIMMONS TALKS TO RFP


Dan Simmons was gracious enough to answer some of our questions, for
which we thank him most sincerely. Here is what he had to say:

RFP:  How do you juggle the duties of writing books and promoting
books? Do you attend conventions? Do you go on promotional tours?

DS:  The "juggling of duties" related to writing books and promoting
books is as follows: 98% of my time is spent writing; 1% is spent
promoting. (The other 1% allows me time for all the rest of life's
joys and demands.)

I attend very few conventions, although I try to make the occasional
World Fantasy Convention and I'll be GoH at next year's ArmadilloCon.
Given my writing schedule for the past few years, I simply haven't had
the time for conventions.

I have designed my own promotional tours, visiting a few favorite
bookstores in various parts of the country -- especially in the L.A.
and Orange County area, where readers have been enthusiastic since my
first book was published. I usually combine signings at these stores
with visits to old friends such as Harlan Ellison, Dean Koontz, and
Herb Yellin (publisher of Lord John Press.)

RFP:  Why has it taken so long to get CARRION COMFORT into general
release?

DS:  CARRION COMFORT was born into difficulties, being delivered to
Bluejay Books in the fall of 1986 a week after that company went
defunct. For almost two years it languished at its "adopted" publisher
before I bought it back and brought it out from Dark Harvest in 1989.

CARRION COMFORT has since been issued in hardcover and trade paperback
from Headline in Great Britain and is on track for an October release
in mass market paperback from Warner in this country.

Given its size and the risk of publishing an "epic horror novel" of
this scope, I'm more pleased with the details of current publication
than bothered by delay.

RFP:  You've published relatively few books and yet you've managed to
cover a lot of literary ground. Aren't you driving your publisher(s)
nuts?

DS:  No, I'm not driving my publishers nuts. One of the reasons I have
more than one publisher is the tremendous diversity of what I write.
The books are doing very well for all of my publishers -- all editions
have sold out, HYPERION has been on the Locus bestseller list for ten
months, and THE FALL OF HYPERION has gone back to print three times in
trade paperback.

Publishers -- at least MY publishers -- are more interested in a
quality product and strong sales than keeping an author "consistent"
in the type of book he or she writes.

RFP:  A new novel, SUMMER OF NIGHT, is due in October from Putnam. Is
it going to be marketed as Horror?

DS:  SUMMER OF NIGHT is listed for October but actually will be
released from Putnam in January of '91. (This isn't due to delays, but
was a mutual decision because of the heavy Simmons traffic in October,
with PRAYERS TO BROKEN STONES coming out in hardcover and CARRION
COMFORT in mass-market paperback.)

SUMMER OF NIGHT, like Dean Koontz's books for Putnam, is being
marketed as "fiction" rather than strictly horror, but the opening
line in Putnam's catalog describes it as ". . . a disturbing tale of
youthful terror and true fear."

RFP:  A collection of short stories, PRAYERS TO BROKEN STONES, is
being released this fall from Dark Harvest. Are these stories
original?

DS:  PRAYERS TO BROKEN STONES from Dark Harvest in October is a
collection of the bulk of my short fiction -- including "The River
Styx Runs Upstream," my first published story and winner of the 1982
First Annual Twilight Zone short story contest -- and will have
reprints from several obscure sources as well as from such stalwart
publications as Omni, Twilight Zone, and Asimov's SF.

The collection will have original introductions (by me) for each of
the stories and these should cast some light on the origin and
background of each bit of fiction. Harlan Ellison is scheduled to
provide a Forward to the book.

Along with reprinted fiction, there will be approximately 20,000 words
of original fiction, including an original novelette and the teleplay
adaptation of my story "Metastasis."

RFP:  Are you going to write a sequel to the HYPERION books?

DS:  There will be a third book for Bantam-Doubleday set in the
HYPERION universe. Titled ENDYMION, the tale will begin almost two
centuries after the events in the two HYPERION novels, but thanks to
the "time-debt" involved with interstellar travel, the daughter of
Brawne Lamia and the John Keats cybrid from the HYPERION books will be
a character.

RFP:  Have you ever published anything under a pseudonym?

DS:  No comment on the pseudonym. Only my future bibliographers will
know for sure.

RFP:  Has there been any talk of filming any of your stories? Would
you care to be involved in turning your own material into a script?

DS:  CARRION COMFORT is currently optioned by Laurel Films. Edward
Bryant and I are collaborating on the treatment and may (stress MAY)
do the screenplay.

Currently there is interest in several of my other books for
theatrical film adaptations, especially SONG OF KALI.

I've adapted two of my stories, "Metastasis" and "Shave and a Haircut,
Two Bites" for the Laurel syndicated series MONSTERS. "Shave and a
Haircut . . ." has been produced and will be aired during the coming
season. (It stars Will Wheaton as one of the teenagers investigating a
"vampire barbershop.")

I've enjoyed doing this modest bit of writing for television and look
forward to doing some film work.

RFP:  What are you writing right now?

DS:  Currently I've just finished work on the film treatment for
CARRION COMFORT and will be taking a few weeks off -- my first
vacation in five years -- before starting work on a novel called THE
HOLLOW MAN for Putnam.

                      =========================

                           WHAT'S GOING ON


* Finally!! Stephen King has delivered the third installment of his
DARK TOWER opus (called THE DARK TOWER III: THE WASTE LANDS) to its
publisher, Donald M. Grant. It will be released in both a signed
limited edition and a regular trade edition, and will be illustrated
by Ned Dameron. It is scheduled for a Spring 1991 release, and Mr.
Grant has asked that no one order the book until he officially
announces it in his brochure. To get on the mailing list, write to:

Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc.
PO Box 187
Hampton Falls, NH 03844

* Forthcoming:  A new horror anthology edited by Douglas E. Winter,
this one called MILLENIUM; a new horror novel, THE WILD, by Whitley
Strieber; BORDERLANDS 2, in the new anthology series edited by Thomas
F. Monteleone; an anthology, METAHORROR, edited by Dennis Etchison;
Richard Christian Matheson's first novel, CREATED BY.

* Universal has purchased an option on John Saul's novel, CREATURE,
about members of a football team who are forced to take steroids.
Unfortunately, the steroids have a nasty side-effect: they turn the
players into monsters.

* J.N. Williamson's MASQUES III has sold to a British publisher, and
American paperback rights are expected to sell soon. I haven't seen
it, but I hear it includes a Dan Simmons story that, by the way, will
also appear in 1990 YEAR'S BEST FANTASY & HORROR.

                      =========================

I didn't always want to be a writer--in fact, there are plenty of days
when I *still* don't.
                          --Chet Williamson

                      =========================

WEIRD BUT TRUE:  Did you know that famous American playwright
Tennessee Williams (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF,
etc.) sold his first story to Weird Tales magazine? It appeared in the
August, 1928, issue and he used his real name, Thomas Lanier Williams.

                      =========================

MOVIE GUIDES:


                           NIGHTMARE MOVIES
                            by Kim Newman
                           (1988, Harmony)


This is a "Critical Guide to Contemporary Horror Films", as the
subtitle says, and is more valuable to a seasoned horror fan than to
the interested newcomer. There are two basic problems. One, the movies
are discussed by category, but the categories are nebulous and
overlapping. Sometimes movies are covered by director, sometimes by
subject matter, sometimes by chronology, sometimes by trends. It's
difficult to place the films you're reading about now in any kind of
context with the films you read about half an hour ago. The second
problem is that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of movies are mentioned
in NIGHTMARE MOVIES, very few get so much as a paragraph to
themselves. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, and see if
you agree with Newman's two- or three-word summations, fine. But if
you're looking for information and hints for future viewing, there's
too much material here that will be of no use to you.

That's not to say that the book is without value. Kim Newman has
obviously seen more films that you or I would probably see in 5
lifetimes, and he's done his homework. His opinions are
well-considered even if you don't agree with them all. And the photos
spread throughout the volume are wonderful, and will bring back many
great memories. For the confirmed horror buff, NIGHTMARE MOVIES will
make an interesting addition.



                  THE OFFICIAL SPLATTER MOVIE GUIDE:
                    More Than 400 of the GORIEST,
              GROSSEST, Most OUTRAGEOUS Movies Ever Made
                           by John McCarty
                      (1989, St. Martin's Press)

Here is a better choice when you're on your way to the videotape
rental place and need some ideas. Loads of great (and not so great)
movies are covered, and they are covered succinctly and are arranged
conveniently. You'll get the "cult" gore-fest films, as promised in
the title, but you also get a generous sampling of more "mainstream"
horror films, so this book is definitely not just for the sickos.

Easily the best all-around guide to the modern horror film.



                  JOE BOB GOES BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN
                          by Joe Bob Briggs
                     Introduction by Wayne Newton
                          (1990, Delacorte)

Just when you thought it was safe to buy a movie review book again,
Joe Bob does it one more time. In case you haven't been paying
attention, Joe Bob is Numero Uno reviewer of drive-in movies, straight
from Texas and not housebroken. Over the last few years Joe Bob has
become famous for his "special" reviewing style (see below), and for
insulting just about everyone. Some people even get upset (like we're
told that the National Organization of Women isn't too keen on the way
he refers to them as the National Organization of Bimbos). But enough
of this indoor bullstuff, let's talk about Joe Bob's new book, which
is another collection of his newspaper columns (for more, see the
original JOE BOB GOES TO THE DRIVE-IN).

Here's how the columns stack up:

First you get a brief inspirational essay where Joe Bob discusses the
great issues of our day, like terrorism, being a Baptist, and the ups
and downs of Jerry Lewis' career. Like, frinstance:

"Stephen King's been rootin around in his wastebasket again, dredging
up old stories he can take over to Dino De Laurentiis and say, "Hey,
Dino, how mucha-roonie?" And then Dino says, "Oh, yes, Stiffen, we
meck in North Carolina." Dino does everything in North Carolina now,
cause he built him a studio out in Wilmington where he only has to pay
400,000 lira an hour. In Americano money, that means a full buck 50."

After warming up, Joe Bob dives right into the Main Feature Review,
which is further divided into the Plot Summary, Itemizations, and the
Judgement. Plot Summaries are often the best part of the review, and
often the humor is as perceptive as it is funny. I particularly liked
his review of THE BRIDE (a slow-paced remake of THE BRIDE OF
FRANKENSTEIN, starring Jennifer Beals as the bride and Sting as the
good doctor).

"While the midget and the monster are off doing a circus act, Sting is
trying to teach Jennifer Beals how to eat, drink, ride a horse, talk,
and flashdance without a stunt double. She keeps saying, "Who am I?"
"What am I?" "Where am I?" and "Is my career starting yet?" And then,
pretty soon it's time for the biggie--monster sex. But Jennifer can't
handle it, cause Viktor, the monster she was made for, is off in
Budapest learning about life from a midget and so she has to wait
another hour or so till the plot can get him all the way back into the
movie. By that time she's almost lost her virginity twice, the
midget's been murdered, and Viktor wants to burn down the set again."

After describing the intricacies of the plot, Joe Bob presents his
famous Itemizations. Here's the rundown on the movie COMMANDO:

"We're talking serious body count: 92. (Okay, okay, it's not INVASION
U.S.A., but they're QUALITY agonizing deaths.) Two breasts. Two
gallons blood. Three motor vehicle chases. Six car crashes, including
four crash-and-burns. Fifteen exploding buildings. Two exploding
jeeps. Exploding boat. Five gratuitous farm-implement deaths. Knives
thrown into 17 different body parts. Arm rolls. Kung fu. Cadillac fu.
Shopping mall fu. Bulldozer fu. Coffee table fu. Drive-In Academy
Award nominations for Arnold the Barbarian, for the scene where he
picks up a phone booth, gives the occupant some directory assistance,
chases him up a mountain, dangles him over a cliff by one leg, and
goes "Whoops!"; Rae Dawn Chong, as the gratuitous stewardess; Vernon
Wells, as a gay-leather-bar Marine; and Mark Lester, Mr. CLASS OF 1984
himself, for directing this sucker."

Joe Bob's final Judgement of COMMANDO:

"Four stars. Joe Bob says check it out."

Sprinkled among Joe Bob's commentary are bits and pieces from "Joe
Bob's Mailbag" and occasional "Communist Alerts". Here's an example of
the rewarding and informative letters Joe Bob gets:

"DEAR JOE BOB:  We been wonderin' how you tally breasts: F'r instance
do two breasts attached to the same bimbo shown at the same time count
as one or two? And how would you count the behemoth boob in Woody
Allen's EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX? (We know you
don't review films from foreign countries like New York.) Also, would
the aforementioned (look it up) scene from SEX count as "breast-foo"?
These are important questions since we want to be sure to get our
money's worth.
Best wishes,
CHERYL & MARK

"DEAR CHERYL & MARK:  Every single hooter, but only once per scene.
Stunt breasts are a separate category."

I'm glad we got THAT straightened out. If you want biting satire, if
you want and American version of Monty Python, if you want reviews of
movies that will never even get MENTIONED in the New York Times---you
want JOE BOB GOES BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN.

Four stars. Cindy says check it out.

                      =========================

                       1990 BRAM STOKER AWARDS

The Bram Stoker Awards are given out by the Horror Writers of America.
This year's winner are:

Novel:  CARRION COMFORT by Dan Simmons
First Novel:  SUNGLASSES AFTER DARK by Nancy Collins
Novella/Novelette:  "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead
                      Folks" by Joe R. Lansdale
Short Story:  "Eat Me" by Robert R. McCammon
Collection:  RICHARD MATHESON: COLLECTED STORIES (Scream Press)
Nonfiction:  (tie) HARLAN ELLISON'S WATCHING by Harlan Ellison, and
  HORROR: THE 100 BEST BOOKS edited by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman

                      =========================

                         LAWRENCE WATT-EVANS
         The Very Proper, Very English Origins of a Nightmare

Science fiction author Lawrence Watt-Evans began his first horror
novel, THE NIGHTMARE PEOPLE (Onyx, July 1990) when he was 8 years old.

"My mother had a lot of old books, and among them were these ancient
hardcover volumes called CHATTERBOX ANNUALS. They ran from about 1880
up until the beginning of World War II. Each volume was made up of a
year, or twelve issues, of "The Chatterbox", an English monthly boys'
magazine. It was a little like "Boys' Life"--articles, stories,
puzzles, that sort of thing."

The CHATTERBOX ANNUAL for 1925 contained a story that made a deep
impression on the young Watt-Evans.

"There was a story called 'The Woodenheads' by a writer named C.L.
Hales. It was what you might call a young adult horror story with a
couple of schoolboy heroes. The idea is that these mysterious
creatures called the Woodenheads do something--I forget just what--to
make everybody in London disappear. Only one family is left: the
parents, the two boys, the maid.

"The Woodenheads look like animated bowling pins with hats. They have
surrounded the city with a dense fog, so that no one can get in or
out.

"The plot is about how this family tries to avoid the monsters and
survive. The stories were illustrated with line drawings and the whole
thing ran through several issues and made up a 15 to 20,000 word
novella.

"The really fascinating thing to me was that the Woodenheads were
totally alien and unfamiliar creatures. They weren't like the usual
horror fare, vampires or werewolves or ghosts, where you know what
they want and how to stop them.

"The story has stuck in my subconscious all these years, since I read
it when I was eight. I didn't see it for years. Then I saw a copy of
the 1925 CHATTERBOX ANNUAL at an antique show, and I had to have it. I
decided it was worth trying to recreate and pass on the terror I felt
by placing the idea in a modern setting.

"Instead of a house in London I made it an apartment complex in the
suburbs of Washington, D.C. Like the Woodenheads, the "Nightmare
People" are totally unknown--and totally evil.

"They have these rows of gleaming metal teeth. In fact, the look of
the Nightmare People was suggested to me by a Michael Whelan painting,
'Smiler With a Knife'.

"They get people when they're asleep, and my protagonist only survives
the first night because his air conditioner is broken--it's a hot
August night--and he can't sleep.

"He thinks he's having a nightmare. But the next day all his neighbors
have disappeared and he's the only human around.

"Anyway, that's the setup. Of course it's my own story but it was
definitely inspired by this wonderful English boys' tale that I read
years ago and never forgot. I have tried to find out more about
Hales--who he was and if he wrote anything else. No luck so far,
though. I've checked the biographical dictionaries, and even posted
messages on computer bulletin boards. I guess the next step is to
start making inquiries among fantasy fans and writers in England."

THE NIGHTMARE PEOPLE was the Onyx horror special for July 1990. Sweet
dreams, everyone.



                 <-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->
                 <                                 >
                 <   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
sent to:

Darryl Kenning                          CompuServe:  76337,740
6331 Marshall Rd.            or         GEnie:       D.Kenning
Centerville, Ohio 45459                 HeavenSoft BBS 513-836-4288
                                        The Annex BBS  513-274-0821
---------------------------------------------------------------------


                            RANDOM ACCESS

One of the things that has long fascinated me is the makeup of those
of us who read and enjoy Science Fiction. I suppose that's because I
started reading it when I was 15 and SF and paperbacks in general had
a somewhat unsavoury reputation (had to buy 'em in drugstores you
know). For a lot of years I really didn't share my love of the genre
with anyone and avoided fandom like the black plague.

One of the joys in comming out of the closet, so to speak, has been
getting plugged into the whole world of Fanzines and some of the
magazines that deal with the more arcane bits of Science Fiction
writing and publishing, like the magazine LOCUS. (As an aside, I
really recommend this magazine which is now available on newstands if
you are seriously into Science Fiction). In the September issue they
ran the results of their annual poll of readers. The caveat is that
they got a 15% return (statisticlly significant) which means 815 folks
responded, enough I feel to give a good cross sectional representation
of the readers of LOCUS and by extension the more serious of the
"FANS".

Over the past 11 years the percenatge of women who read SF has risen
to 25% (and that alone would be a good subject for some serious
study), over half of us are married, the over-40's age group keeps
increasing, home ownership is at 55%, and 96% attended college with
37% having advanced degrees. Respondents averaged 4 paperbacks
purchased a month, 89% started reading SF before the age of 15 and the
first book author most remembered (20%) was Robert Heinlien with Isaac
Asimov number 2 at 7% followed closely by H.G. Wells.

Now I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but I'm still convinced
that we SF readers are the cream of the crop--and frankly I suspect
that it has to do more with enjoying reading and having rich
imaginations than anything else.

                                              dk

As always, your comments, questions, or observations about RANDOM
ACCESS or anything else in LYGOR are welcome, get them to me at any of
the addressses listed on the masthead.

                      --------------------------

                          1990 LOCUS AWARDS

Voted on by the readers of Locus magazine, this year's winners are:

Best Science Fiction Novel:  HYPERION by Dan Simmons
Best Fantasy Novel:  PRENTICE ALVIN by Orson Scott Card
Best Horror Novel:  CARRION COMFORT by Dan Simmons
Best First Novel:  ORBITAL DECAY by Allen Steele
Best Novella:  THE FATHER OF STONES by Lucius Shepard
Best Novelette:  "Dogwalker" by Orson Scott Card
Best Short Story:  "Lost Boys" by Orson Scott Card
Best Nonfiction:  GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE by Robert A. Heinlein
Best Collection:  PATTERNS by Pat Cadigan
Best Anthology:  THE YEAR'S BEST SF: SIXTH ANNUAL COLLECTION edited by
                  Gardner Dozois
Best Magazine:  Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction
Best Editor:  Gardner Dozois
Best Artist:  Michael Whelan
Best Publisher:  Tor/St. Martin's

                      --------------------------

THE PAPERBACK BOOKSHELF


                               N SPACE
                            by Larry Niven
                (TOR, September, 1990, 0-312-85089-3)

                       review by Darryl Kenning

Every once in a while I stumble across a book that is really special.
In this case I was in Naples Florida at a favorite bookseller when I
spotted a copy of N SPACE. I was hooked as soon as I saw it, but when
I started looking through it the hook was truly set. This is a series
of short stories, excerpts from stories and novels, commentaries by
Niven and opening remarks from folks as diverse as Tom Clancy and
David Brin. There are also a number of quotes from a variety of Niven
sources scattered throughout the book.

Now I've read most of these over the years but it was intriguing to
see the stories side by side so that I could spot the differences in
ones I liked and ones I didn't like. The commentary was fun too. It
provided some good insights into the SF writing community and into
Niven himself. My bias on this one is that I do like most of the
things Larry Niven has written over the  years. I do think though that
even if you are not a died in the wool Niven fan you will enjoy the
stories. If you are hopelessly addicted to Science Fiction as I am,
then this book moves up from a good book of stories to a "must have".

In short - keep your eye open for this one and grab it .


                               Score: 5
                  (0 to 5, 0 = don't  5 = must get)



                              WOLF MOON
                          by Charles de Lint

                      review by Joan Panichella

WOLF MOON is an entertaining and amusing little fantasy. It's not
overly ornate or complex.

The book is about a rather unusual werewolf and a quite ordinary inn.
The setting is a world and time X when things were simpler and magic
works.

For a change this werewolf, named Kevin, can control his form. But
whether he can convince his new friends at the Inn of the Yellow
Tinker he means them no ill is yet to be seen. A rather sinister
harper is doing his best to pin several murders on Kevin as "the
ravaging beast".

Kevin is quite an engaging and attractive character. The typical inn
folk are not outstanding but nicely done.

If there were no real surprises in this book there were no flaws
either. I liken it to good home cooking - maybe not overly spiced but
hearty and nourishing.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who'd like a little rest from stark
reality.



                          TOMORROW'S CRIMES
                        by Donald E. Westlake
                          (Mysterious, 1989)

                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

"The Girl of My Dreams" -- Ronald is happier at night than he is
during the day, and Delia is the reason. The ending asks an age-old
question about faithless lovers.

"Nackles" -- A modern Christmas story. Harlan Ellison once wrote a
teleplay of "Nackles" that was intended for the Christmas episode of
The Twilight Zone (the post-Serling TZ). The network bought his
script, then refused to film it, saying, as I recall, that it was
"inappropriate". Was it? You decide. Incidentally, you can read
Ellison's script in this year's Gauntlet magazine or an old issue of
the now-defunct Twilight Zone magazine (sorry, I don't remember which
issue).

"The Ultimate Caper: The Purloined Letter" -- A three-page pun-riden
farce. Reminds me of Asimov's stories when he's in one of those moods.

"The Spy in the Elevator" -- An Ellison-type story about man's
inherent relationship with Truth.

"The Risk Profession" -- A neat little mystery story that takes place
in the asteroid belt. Jafe McCann dies right after coming into a lot
of money. Business partner Ab Karpin is ready to inherit, but
insurance investigator Ged has suspicions.

"The Winner" -- As a prison administrator, Wordman strives to control
behavior, but he fails to recognize the invincibility of the human
spirit.

"Dream a Dream" -- Archaeologist Nora Helm must deal with the dilemma
of modern society's sexual double standard.

"In At The Death" -- Ed Thornburn has problems: he's sterile and his
wife is having an affair. He doesn't know it yet, but suicide is only
going to make things worse.

"Hydra" -- Brief ironical tale of the American attitude toward the
environment. Makes a good, if grisly, Earth Day story.

ANARCHAOS -- This short novel takes up more than half of the volume.
Family black sheep Rolf Malone, currently serving time for
manslaughter in an Earth prison, is due to join up with his successful
brother Gar on the planet Anarchaos (start to say "anarchy", then
midway switch to "chaos") when he gets out. But on his release he
hears that Gar has been killed, the most common fate on Anarchaos
since there are no laws--the whole planet is a Chuck Norris movie.
Rolf decides that he can take care of himself pretty well, and he can
take care of the person who killed his brother even better. What
follows is a tale of survival (physical and spiritual) and of personal
evolution. It's a fascinating and unusual story.



                            THE VOR GAMES
                       by Lois McMaster Bujold
               (Baen, September, 1990 - 0-671-72014-7)

                       review by Darryl Kenning

With THE VOR GAMES, Lois McMaster Bujold continues her stories of the
now infamous Miles Vorkosigan. Using a story that was originally seen
in ANALOG as THE WEATHERMAN, she has crafted the next epsiode in her
ingenious universe, continuing to give depth to characters introduced
in previous novels. Since I had already read the opening (twice), I
had a bit of a hard time getting into this story; but while I was
being surprised by that, suddenly the old Bujpold magic had me happily
entranced and deeply engrossed in the story.

I do like the way she has created the universe--it hangs together
pretty well, and her characters continue to have depth and balance.
It's clear why she has won a number of awards, and I for one am
looking forward to more stories in this universe, particularily with
Miles V.

                               Score: 5

                      --------------------------

                              BOX SCORES

                 .....................................
                /:                                   :
               : : THE FAR STARS WAR, B Fawcett ed.3 :
               : : THE GALACTIC SILVER STAR,........ :
               : :             Kevin Randle........3 :
               : : TOTAL RECAL, Piers Anthony......2 :
               : : TEKWAR, William Shatner.........2 :
               : : DIVISION OF SPOILS, R Green.....3 :
               : : STARSTRIKE, W. M. Gear..........3 :
               : : BLOOD MUSIC, Greg Bear..........3 :
               : : CATHOUSE, Dean Ing..............4 :
               : : THE FOLK OF THE FRINGE,           :
               : :           Orson Scott Card......3 :
               : :                                   :
               : :     by  darryl kenning            :
               : :...................................:
               :..................................../

                    0 = ugh! to 5 worth rereading!

                      --------------------------

* Watch out for a huge 3-volume overview of SF, fantasy, and horror
called ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICA by Lydia C. Marano & Michael Kurland, to
be published by Prentice-Hall. Each volume will have 250,000 words of
cross-referenced information.

* How long will George R.R. Martin's WILD CARDS series continue? At
least through #10, which has just been bought by Bantam.

                      --------------------------

                          FROM THE ARCHIVES

My idea here is that I'm going to pull something off the shelf that I
haven't looked at in a long time but that I think is worth reading
again and report on it for you. Most of this stuff will probably be
out of print but should still be findable as you browse your used
bookstore or maybe even through your library.


                            ALAS, BABYLON
                             by Pat Frank

I really don't remember when I got this book, but I know it was in the
mid to early 60's. When I pulled it off the shelf I found that it was
originally printed in March, 1959 and my copy was essentially part of
the 20th printing! I also know that there was at least one revised
printing made five or more years ago that was "updated". All this
means that you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a copy
somewhere.

For a time I collected, as a sub group of SF, "doomsday" novels. I
finally gave it up during this last round of popularity but I have
over a hundred of them at this point. ALAS, BABYLON is a biblical
quote from Revelation of St John, and its use signals the beginning of
THE war. This however is much more that a WW III novel. It is really
the story of the endurance of the human spirit and survival in an
isolated community in Florida. In one sense it is almost a
how-to-do-it book, but it shows the potential triumph of the qualities
that make us human---and the day-to-day struggles to cope with the
loss of a lot of things we take so much for granted in our society.
I'm not sure if this book would be popular today; part of the joy of
rereading it is the rememberance that it was written in the late 50's
and thus it provides some interesting insights. Of all the books of
this kind that I have or have read, this continues to be the VERY BEST
in my opinion. When you see it, grab it.

                                          darryl

                      --------------------------

                           QUOTES 'N' STUFF

--> In San Francisco, Holloween is redundent - Will Hurst
--> Schizophrenics always have someone to talk to..
--> The future is much like the present, only longer..
--> Nice guys finnish last but we do get to sleep in..
--> One hundred thousand lemmings can't be wrong..
--> Cute rots the intellect..
--> If there is another way to skin a cat, I don't want to know about
        it..

-----> Darryl's 13th law:
        REAL frustration is not having anyone to blame but yourself!

                      --------------------------

                          ASK UNCLE HAL 9001

Test the enormous RAM database of UNCLE HAL, the new and improved
model 9001.


Q.  Whats a "FILK"?

A.  Filk Songs are the folk songs of fantasy and science fiction. They
range from contemporary (The Challanger Disaster), to past real or
imaginary events, and of course to the future. I have heard at least 3
versions of how the name "filk" got its start, and noe of those
stories sound remotely plausable. Filking is done by Filkers mostly at
SF CONs but there are several CONs devoted to Filking exclusivly.

Q.  I heard that a Science Fiction writer was partially responsible
for the screenplay of THE BIG SLEEP. C'mon now - really?

A.  Leigh Brackett (1915-1978) was the wife of Edmond Hamilton and
while she usually wrote adventure SF she did collaberate with William
Falkner on the screenplay you mentioned. She also did them for RIO
BRAVO and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

                      --------------------------

                           ELECTRONIC BOOKS


Several years ago I stumbled across what seemed at the time a radical
new adventure in publishing, - paperless books! J Neil Schulman, whom
many of you will remember as a fine Science Fiction author, has
translated this idea into reality - SoftServ. The following summary was
graciously provided by Neil. In addition I will be reviewing a potpourri
of selections avialable in this format beginning in the next issue. Due to
space limitations we will be including partial lists of the books
available in from SoftServ. Neil, what a GREAT idea!


SoftServ began development of the paperless book concept in December,
1987. In December, 1989, we began a test of it in the SoftServ
RoundTable on GEnie. This test is scheduled to end on September 25th,
when the SoftServ RT will close.

Beginning September 15th, SoftServ will begin several new methods of
marketing. First, instead of marketing our paperless books only in one
RT on GEnie, we will be uploading our paperless books into several
RT's, particularly the Writers RT. The books will be uploaded as ZIP
archives containing an open SoftServ Sampler of a book, which anyone
can read, and a locked file with the entire book, which requires
buying a password from SoftServ. We will be selling the "passwords"
for each book for under $5.

Also beginning September 15th, SoftServ begins operation of The
SoftServ Paperless Bookstore, our own 24-hour bbs, which can be
reached at (213) 957-1176 or (213) 957-0874. The SoftServ Paperless
Bookstore will be a two-line bbs, each one with a US Robotics Courier
HST Dual Standard modem, for modems speeds up to 9600 baud in V.32
(Hayes compatible) mode, and up to 19,200 bps in HST mode!!! The
SoftServ Paperless Bookstore will have unlocked versions of the books
for member of the SoftServ Paperless Book Club to download and pay for
after the download, and versions with the open sampler & locked book
file for non members. Membership in the SoftServ Paperless Book Club
will cost $19.95, and will include a one-year subscription to
SoftServ's two on-line magazines, DisContents (reader- written
reviews) and Pistols at Dawn! (critic-author debates).



THE SOFTSERV CATALOG
VERSION 3.06 - June 21, 1990

The numbers on the left are both the File # of the free Sampler in
Library 10 of the SoftServ RoundTable on GEnie, and the SoftServ
Catalog number if you wish to order the book. If you wish to order any
of these books on either IBM/MS-DOS (5-1/4" or 3-1/2"), Macintosh
(3-1/2"), or CP/M (5-1/4") diskettes, send your check for the catalog
price plus $3.00 per title shipping & handling to:

SOFTSERV ORDERS
P.O. Box 94
Long Beach, CA 90801-0094

Members of the SoftServ Paperless Book Club should include their
membership number. Non-members wishing to order need to include their
full name, home address and verifiable telephone, and Social Security
Number for a free, no-obligation membership in the club. Members may
also download paperless books by requesting delivery to their GEnie
Mail address, or from the SoftServ Paperless Bookstore's 24-hour
bbs.



PARTIAL SOFTSERV CATALOG


Number: 12  Sampler Name: DRAINSMP.ARC
TITLE: THE DEVIL'S DRAINPIPE, a novel by Keith Kirts. SoftServ
Original Synapse Books. (c) 1989 by Keith Kirts. This is a comedy
about nuclear waste, among other things. Is Keith Kirts the new
Vonnegut? Or Tom Robbins 5.0? Or just a guy who likes to write in
coffee shops at four in the morning? The author of SPACE SEX or
TRICKS FOR GOLDFISH returns with this unique novel, establishing
Kirts as a blazing talent. Additional description in SoftServ
Bulletin Board Category 16, Topic 2. $2.50. 275K ARCed; 164K STOMPed.

Number: 16  Sampler Name: DEUCESMP.ARC
TITLE: DEUCE OF A TIME, a novel by Paul Levinson. SoftServ Original,
Connected Editions. (c) 1989 by Paul Levinson. Levinson, a
professional philosopher, media expert, and online educator, departs
into speculative fiction, a time travel adventure spanning from the
21st century back to the Kennedy assassination. A fascinating first
novel. Additional description in SoftServ Bulletin Board Category 16,
Topic 4. $2.50. 208K ARCed; 134K STOMPed.

Number: 18  Sampler Name: WORLDSMP.ARC
TITLE: THE WORLD IN A HURRY AGAIN, a novel by Robert St. Onge Rodi.
SoftServ Original, Robert Rodi, Publisher. (c) 1989 by Robert Rodi. In
1965, two notorious "red" writers return from McCarthy-era Parisian
exile to a suburban town in middle America--a town whose teenagers are
just discovering The Beatles "Revolver" album with its "secret" lyrics
about "doing drugs," and Vietnam War protesting. They're not quite
Dash and Lillian but their invasion guarantees that the backyard
barbecues will never be the same again. $2.50. 307K ARCed; 189K
STOMPed.

Number: 19  Sampler Name: TRYSTSMP.ARC
TITLE: TRYSTS, a novel by William T.R. Mellon. SoftServ Original,
Synapse Books. (c) 1989 by William T.R. Mellon The mysterious William
T.R. Mellon, who disappeared at sea several years ago and is presumed
dead, penned this fictional (?) erotic memoir before his fateful trip.
Additional description in SoftServ Bulletin Board, Category 16, Topic
2. $1.95. 112K ARCed; 73K STOMPed.

Number: 20  Sampler Name: BEASTSMP.ARC
TITLE: THE BEAST THAT SHOUTED LOVE AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD, a
collection of short fiction by Harlan Ellison. The Kilimanjaro
Corporation. (c) 1969 by Harlan Elllison A collection of fabulous
short fiction by the master of the modern fable. Ellison, a multiple
Hugo and Nebla award winner, has broken out far beyond any genre
conventions. His fiction is modern symbolism in the tradition of Poe
and Dostoevski. Ellison's television writing for "Twilight Zone" and
"Star Trek" has also won him Writers Guild of America achievement
awards. $2.50. 297K ARCed; 186K STOMPed.

Number: 22  Sampler Name: CAPRISMP.ARC
TITLE: CAPRICORN GAMES, a collection of short fiction by Robert
Silverberg. SoftServ Exclusive, Agberg, Ltd. (c) 1973, 1974, 1975,
1976 by Robert Silverberg Nine short stories which make
unconventional use of the traditional subject matters of science
fiction, by one of the most accomplished writers in this or any
genre. Silverberg is a multiple winner of both the Hugo and Nebula
awards. "The John Updike of science fiction" -- The New York Times
Book Review. $2.50. 213K ARCed; 133K STOMPed.

Number: 23  Sampler Name: FELLOSMP.ARC
TITLE: FELLOW TRAVELLERS: A Novella and 12 stories by Sharon Lerch.
SoftServ Original, Connected Editions. (c) 1989 by Sharon Lerch. A
collection of award-winning short fiction by a bright new light on the
literary scene. Sharon Lerch's turf is the world and her characters
are all trying to find their way in it. In these thirteen wide-ranging
tales, people travel to Budapest, to Istanbul, to Ghana, or merely
across town. Sharon Lerch's work has appeared in a wide variety of
publications including _The New York Times_. Additional description in
SoftServ Bulletin Board Category 16, Topic 4. $2.50. 171K ARCed; 109K
STOMPed.

Number: 24  Sampler Name: CYBERSMP.ARC
TITLE: ESSAYS ON CYBERSPACE AND ELECTRONIC EDUCATION by Paul Levinson.
SoftServ Original, Connected Editions. (c) 1989 by Paul Levinson. This
collection of thoughtful essays explores the evolution of media and
their expression of human needs, and the creation of an electronically
connected scholarly community that exists in and via some of these
media. Additional description in SoftServ Bulletin Board Category 16:
New From Connected Editions. $2.50. 218K ARCed; 131K STOMPed.

Number: 25  Sampler Name: SPACESMP.ARC
TITLE: SPACE SEX or TRICKS FOR GOLDFISH, a novel by Keith Kirts.
SoftServ Original, Synapse Books. (c) 1989 by Keith Kirts. Emmett
Suckerfield is a screenwriter who just can't seem to get a break. His
wife's left him, his agent is nuts, and his next-door neighbor is an
alien marooned on Earth. Then his life gets *complicated*. Additional
description in SoftServ Bulletin Board, Category 16, Topic 2. $2.50.
288K ARCed; 186K STOMPed.

Number: 26  Sampler Name: HAWK1SMP.ARC
TITLE: HAWK'S LAST CASE, a novel by Red Greene. Book 1 of the "Hawk"
trilogy. SoftServ Original, Synapse Books. (c) 1989 by Red Greene.
Cable P. Hawkins is an L.A.-based-detective who, quite frankly, is
more interested in his love life than he is in detective work, in the
first book of a trilogy. "Applies fresh twists and a sense of newness
to a genre that, itself, has been worked over like a rummy, backstreet
stiff."--Ampersand Magazine. Additional description in SoftServ
Bulletin Board Category 16, Topic 2. $2.50. 208K ARCed; 134K STOMPed.

Number: 52  Sampler Name: FLESHSMP.ARC
TITLE: NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, Book One of the HARBINGER Trilogy
by J.H. Kent Lyons. Harbinger Electronic Writers' Workshop. (c) 1989
by J.H. Kent Lyons. The epic saga of John Harbinger, a former
Washington attorney whose journeys suggest to him the Biblical
accounts of "great tribulation." In Book 1, John becomes involved with
a beautiful red-headed witch, and finds himself drawn into a Satanic
cult. Further description of the trilogy in the SoftServ Bulletin
Board, Category 16, Topic 5. $2.50. 141K ARCed; 88K STOMPed.

Number: 53  Sampler Name: JESUSAMP.ARC
TITLE: THE JESUS CASE, a novel by J. H. Kent Lyons. Harbinger
Electronic Writers' Workshop. Copyright (c) 1989 by J. H. Kent Lyons
An account of the public ministry of Jesus, told in fictional form
from the point of view of his *persecutors*--the scribes and Pharisees
to whom the man Jesus was a troublesome "case" on their docket. $2.50.
180K ARCed; 113K STOMPed

Number: 54  Sampler Name: SECURSMP.ARC
TITLE: SECURITY, a novel by Sharon Lerch. SoftServ Original, Connected
Editions. (c) 1989 by Sharon Lerch. After her mother's boyfriend comes
on to her, Abby, going on seventeen, sees no choice but to leave
Security, Colorado. She heads north on the back of a run-down
motorcycle ... then a fellow in a muddy Mustang pulls up ... and
changes everybody's course. Lerch's writing has appeared in
publications ranging from The New York Times to Chicago Magazine.
Among her writing awards are a fellowship from the New York Foundation
for the Arts, and a resident fellowship at Yaddo. $2.50. 159K ARCed;
103K STOMPed.

Number: 55  Sampler Name: LOOMSAMP.ARC
TITLE: THE LOOM AND THE KEYBOARD, nonfiction, by Gail S. Thomas.
SoftServ Original, Connected Editions. (c) 1989 by Gail S. Thomas.
This study looks at two groups of mostly women working in factory-like
conditions, and contrasts the job routines of mid-19th-century
textile mill workers with computer operators now. Gail S. Thomas
earned the first MA degree in Media Studies entirely by computer
conferencing, via Connected Education and the New School for Social
Research. Her book reviews appear in the Netweaver online journal.
$2.50. 89K ARCed; 59K STOMPed.

Number: 64  Sampler Name: RAINSAMP.ARC
TITLE: THE RAINBOW CADENZA, a novel by J. Neil Schulman. SoftServ
exclusive, Cadenza Communications. (c) 1983 by J. Neil Schulman
Award-winning fiction by the founder of SoftServ. Praised for its
artistic vision and satiric bite, damned for its portrayal of perverse
sexuality--you will either love this novel or hate it. It's the story
of a young 22nd Century woman pitting her artistic skill and courage
against the society that wants her as its sex slave. Full description
in Category 16, Topic 8. "Engrossingly suspenseful ... wickedly funny
and chilling at the same time." --Publishers Weekly. $2.50. 286K
STOMPED; or 480 K in 2 ARCs.

Number: 67  Sampler Name: ONLINSMP.ARC
TITLE: ONLINES: CHRONICLES OF ELECTRONIC DAYS, nonfiction, by Paul
Levinson. SoftServ Original, Connected Editions. (c) 1989 by Paul
Levinson. A series of weekly electronic essays from 1985 onward,
originally published online by the Western Behavioral Sciences
Institute, now exclusively on the Connected Education online campus.
Themes range from computer conferencing to Chernobyl, the Ronnette's
version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" to his "Easter Theory of
Technology." Dr. Levinson is one of the most entertaining professional
philosophers writing today. Replaces Catalog # 61. $2.50. 186K ARCed;
115K STOMPed.

Number: 93  Sampler Name: BIRDSAMP.ARC
TITLE: THE BIRDHOUSE CATHEDRAL, poetry, by William Dubie. SoftServ
Original, Connected Editions. (c) 1989 by William Dubie. A collection
of poems that deal with the journeys of an artistic heart through the
technological landscape. WILLIAM DUBIE is editor of the online journal
Synapse. His poems have appeared in many literary and university
publications, including Yankee and Gramercy Review, and in 1981 Wings
Press published is chapbook, Closing the Moviehouse. A former English
teacher and university lecturer, he is currently an editor at Digital
Equipment Corporation. $1.95. 22K ARCed or STOMPed

Number: 94  Sampler Name: DECISAMP.ARC
TITLE: DECISIONS: COMPUTERS AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS, nonfiction, by
Donald B. Straus. SoftServ Original, Connected Editions. (c) 1989 by
Donald B. Straus. Human ingenuity this century has resulted in quantum
leaps in our ability to move faster, see further, hear better, stay
alive longer, but failed to contribute the wisdom needed to use these
awesome new powers. Straus proposes solutions, including a fictional
projection of how collaborative decision making might be instituted
through 21st century computer usage. Further info in Category 16,
Topic 4.  $2.50. 154K ARCed; 95K STOMPed.

Number: 95  Sampler Name: HAWK2SMP.ARC
TITLE: HAWK GOES HOLLYWOOD, a novel by Red Greene. Book 2 of the
"Hawk" trilogy. SoftServ Original, Synapse Books. (c) 1988 by Red
Greene. In Book 2, Hawk is briefly married to Marsha, love interest
from Book 1, HAWK'S LAST CASE, then divorced. Struggling with alimony
and living in his office, he lands himself a job protecting a movie
mogul against a ring of equipment thieves. Then there's the extortion,
danger, an affair with a beautiful, rich, and married woman ...
Typical of Greene's lightning pace, HAWK GOES HOLLYWOOD is a
rollercoaster ride through Hollywood life. $2.50. 185K ARCed; 117K
STOMPed.

Number: 97  Sampler Name: HARB2SMP.ARC
TITLE: WHAT SHALL BE THE SIGN?, a novel by J. H. Kent Lyons. Book 2 of
the "Harbinger" trilogy. Harbinger Electronic Writers' Workshop. (c)
1988 by J. H. Kent Lyons In this follow up to NOT AGAINST FLESH AND
BLOOD, John Harbinger becomes involved wih the College of the Messiah,
who are building a Temple of Solomon in a California valley. John's
journey takes him to the edge of Biblical prophesies, healers who are
either the Messiah returned or the Anti-Christ, pre-Incan gods, a
hidden underground city, and an apparent UFO base ... $2.50. 181K
ARCed; 109K STOMPed.

Number: 98  Sampler Name: HARB3SMP.ARC
TITLE: THE TIME OF THE END, a novel by J. H. Kent Lyons. Book 3 of the
"Harbinger" trilogy. Harbinger Electronic Writers Workshop. Copyright
(c) 1988 by J.H. Kent Lyons In this apocalyptic finale to the
Harbinger trilogy, John Harbinger is called to the White House to
handle a dire, absolutely secret emergency. Unmistakeably, the end of
the Book of Revelation is coming to pass, with the invasion of Earth
by Satan's minions, followed by tribulations, and a last battle for
control of Earth ... and Heaven? $2.50. 159K ARCed; 97K STOMPed.

Number: 102  Sampler Name: HAWK3SMP.ARC
TITLE: HAWK GETS LIBERATED, a novel by Red Greene. Book 3 of the
"Hawk" trilogy. SoftServ Original, Synapse Books. (c) 1988 by Red
Greene. Is this novel the most male chauvinistic claptrap ever
written? Or something more subtle and wonderful? Cable P. Hawkins is
fed up with being a P.I., but agrees to do a final job for a famous TV
used-car salesman: find a famous abstract painting stolen from the
Women's Liberation Art Auction ... which puts Hawk smack in the middle
of artists and feminists, neither of which he cares a tinker's damn
for. Oh, well, it's his *last* job. Well, isn't it? Replaces Cat #96.
$2.50. 150K ARCed; 96K STOMPed.

Number: 120  Sampler Name: NATSAMP.ARC
TITLE: NATURAL LAW or DON'T PUT A RUBBER ON YOUR WILLY, nonfiction, by
Robert Anton Wilson. Loompanics Unlimited. Copyright (c) 1987 by
Loompanics Unlimited. Robert Anton Wilson is a novelist, poet,
playright, lecturer, standup comic, Futurist, and psychologist. Best
known as co- author of the Prometheus Hall-of-Fame winning
ILLUMINATUS! trilogy, he is also author of the SCHROEDINGER'S CAT
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                      #:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#
                      #   MURDER BY THE BOOK  #
                      #:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#

                      editor:  Cindy Bartorillo

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                          THE SHAPE OF DREAD
                           by Marcia Muller
                       (1989, Mysterious Press)

                           review by Cindy

Sharon McCone has another tough job. She must find new evidence to
help the appeal of convicted murderer Bobby Foster, who supposedly
killed up-and-coming stand-up comic Tracy Kostakos two years
previously, and was convicted despite the lack of a body. McCone finds
that several people close to Tracy really believe that the comedienne
is still alive. Is she? And what was she really like? Was she the
paragon of daughterly virtues that her mother describes? Or was she
the tough, ambitious performer that her colleagues knew?

The most fascinating part of THE SHAPE OF DREAD is the slowly-revealed
character of Tracy Kostakos and the reflection of her in the people
left behind. Her mother is mentally unravelling while waiting for her
daughter to return, and her father turns out to be a nice person whom
McCone starts seeing romantically. Several people benefit by Tracy's
death/disappearance:  Her roommate, Amy Barbour, gets sole occupancy
of an apartment she could never afford on her own. Her chubby
boyfriend, Marc Emmons, replaces her as headliner at Cafe Comedie.
Cafe Comedie owner, Jay Larkey, had been linked with Tracy
romantically and might have gotten rid of her to save his wounded
pride. Larkey's partner, Rob Soriano, is a mysterious figure in dark
glasses, with a wife who is obviously much-taken with Jay. And there's
Lisa McIntyre, lesbian waitress at the Cafe whose private life showed
up in one of Tracy's last comedy routines, and who disappeared at
exactly the same time as Tracy. And let's not forget Bobby Foster,
parking attendant at the Cafe, whose fingerprints (along with Tracy's)
were in a car stolen the night Tracy disappeared, and which was later
found with blood on the front seat.

Much of the tension in THE SHAPE OF DREAD comes from the uncertainty
about Tracy. Is she dead? If she's not dead, where is she? And why
would she not come forward when her friend Bobby Foster is convicted
of her murder? It's always interesting to have a story closely
centered around a character who's not there--remember LAURA? This
story is similar in many ways.

If I had to make one small complaint, it would be the number of twists
at the end. There are about 2 or 3 too many for me--I thought they
muddied the story and were difficult to follow closely. But that's a
very minor quibble with what is otherwise a first-rate mystery, and an
excellent all-around novel.

                     ***************************

                      A FEW HALLOWEEN MYSTERIES

             Bruce, Leo            Death on Allhallowe'en
             Christie, Agatha      Hallowe'en Party
             Crane, Caroline       Trick or Treat
             Disney, Doris Miles   Trick or Treat
             Esteven, John         The Door of Death
             Hart, Frances Noyes   Hide in the Dark
             Thayer, Lee           Hallowe'en Homicide

                     ***************************

You say you're tired of the same old thing? One more body in the
library, one more obese/one-armed/blind/deaf/homosexual detective and
you're going to scream? I hear that what you need is DEADLY SAFARI by
first-time author Karin McQuillan. The reviews have been great (Robert
B. Parker called it "Brilliant"), and you'll be getting in on the
first of a new series character: Jazz Jasper, independent American
tour guide in Africa. Best of all, everyone is saying that DEADLY
SAFARI is *different*, that McQuillan's ability to evoke her unusual
location (she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa) is extraordinary.

                     ***************************

                           LISTENING WOMAN
                          by Tony Hillerman
                   (1990, Harper paperback, $4.95)

                       review by Darryl Kenning

By my count, this is Tony Hillerman's 11th fiction book. It is another
of his beautifully crafted mysteries that skillfully blends the
tradition of the Navajo and the classic mystery novel. I think what I
like most about Hillerman's work is the way I come away feeling like I
have learned something valuable from a national heritage perspective,
while being entertained by a master. When you try to figure out the
story line, and I admit I don't do very well with this series, you
soon realize that your own lack of cultural understanding has gotten
in the way. Interestingly enough, I do not resent the author for
"fooling" with me like that.

At any rate, This is certainly worth getting and reading, whether or
not you are normally a mystery buff, this is definitely worth the time
and money.

                  THE KENNING RATING..............4

                     ***************************

                            VOODOO VOLUMES

            Barrett, Monte        Murder at Belle Camille
            Carr, A.H.Z.          Finding Maubee
            Dickinson, Peter      Walking Dead
            Esteven, John         Voodoo
            Hjortsberg, William   Falling Angel
            Reed, Ishmael         Mumbo-Jumbo

                     ***************************

                         DEAD MEN DON'T MARRY
                          by Dorothy Sucher
                         (St. Martin's, 1989)

                           review by Cindy

Victor Newman returns home after a 6-week absence to find that a
neighbor, a widow who had been a second mother to him, has married
while he was gone. Several hours later he learns that she not only got
married, but two weeks later died in a freak accident--her car was hit
by a train. All signs point to the new husband, who soon disappears.
Vic, who, as luck would have it, is a private detective, finds a trail
of new brides killed when their car is hit by a train, but the husband
proves more difficult to trace.

I don't know how this sounds to you, but I thought the plot was
terrific. Unfortunately, there were some other elements that I wasn't
so thrilled with. The pace was slow, which didn't bother me too much,
but the lack of mystery did. There was never any doubt about whodunit
or howdunit, and the whydunit wasn't much of a surprise either. Not a
bad story, but most people would probably appreciate a bit more
mystery in their mystery.

Another problem I had was the sex and violence. Hold on before you
jump to conclusions: in DEAD MEN DON'T MARRY the problem is not
graphic quantities but tone and literary motivation. The sex content
was mostly embarrassing and the violence, while offstage, was
extremely brutal and rehashed by the lead characters. And none of this
was necessary to the plot. S&V is always a matter of personal taste,
but don't be surprised if you wince occasionally over this mystery.

Dorothy Sucher is definitely an author to watch. She's got a nice
handle on plot and as soon as she can incorporate some mystery, and
maybe a few red herrings, her books could be special. For you old
fogies out there: Sucher's Victor Newman and PI boss Sabina Swift are
faintly reminiscent of Donald Lam and Bertha Cool from the books by
A.A. Fair (pseudonym of Erle Stanley Gardner).



                        A NICE CLASS OF CORPSE
                            by Simon Brett
                          (Scribner's, 1986)

                           review by Cindy

This is the first appearance of Melita Pargeter (MRS, PRESUMED DEAD;
RFP #9), a new detecting character by the author of the Charles Paris
mysteries. The dust jacket copy says: "Melita's late husband of happy
memory and dubious occupation has left her generously supplied with
money, jewels, and a mink coat. He's also left her his skeleton keys,
a revolver, and an irrepressible curiosity." The story begins as
Melita arrives at the Devereux Hotel, a seaside home for those elderly
but still active. The Brett humor is evident as the snooty manageress
worries whether Melita is the "nice class of person" that she
requires. Her worries increase when the day after Melita's arrival one
of the other residents dies in a suspicious tumble down the stairs,
reaching a climax when the dead woman's jewels turn up missing. After
all, it MUST be the stranger amongst them who is guilty. Certainly
none of *them* is a thief?

Melita manages to deal with these suspicions with wit and humor, but
her interest in the situation is aroused, particularly when a second
death follows the first. Brett has an eye for quick and (seemingly)
effortless characterization, and you'll find several wonderful "types"
in A NICE CLASS OF CORPSE. If the mystery isn't one of his best, the
characters are so entertaining you won't mind at all.

                     ***************************

One of the pleasures of writing detective stories is that there are so
many types to choose from: the light-hearted thriller, which is
particularly pleasant to do; the intricate detective story with an
involved plot which is technically interesting and requires a great
deal of work, but is always rewarding; and then what I can only
describe as the detective story that has a kind of passion behind
it--that passion being to help save innocence. Because it is INNOCENCE
that matters, not GUILT.
                          --Agatha Christie

                     ***************************

                       THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY
                           by Kingsley Amis
                          (Mysterious, 1990)

                           review by Cindy

This story was printed in a London newspaper (in 1975, I believe) in
installments, and readers were asked to submit their own solutions by
writing a final installment. All installments are included in this
volume from Mysterious Press, along with two endings: the winning
entry and Kingsley Amis'.

This book is a major example of the theory (or can I say fact?) that
authors write specifically for the manner in which the work is to be
read--and thus a mystery written to be read in newspaper installments
shouldn't be read (or treated) like a novel to be read alone in one
sitting. For a regular mystery novel, THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY is
skeletal. Characters are set up like chess pieces, clues are presented
with great melodrama, and everywhere is the attitude, "There! What can
you make of that?"

OK, it doesn't stand up as a great novel. But, taken for what it was
intended to be, it is a fine mystery novelty. I found it almost
painful to not be able to discuss the case with other people--every
installment cried out to be chewed over at great length with a group.
So my recommendation for THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY comes with this
proviso:  Do try to read it with someone else. Half the fun will be
arguing over the clues.



                            TRIAL BY FURY
                           by E.X. Ferrars
                          (Doubleday, 1989)

                           review by Cindy

This novel really surprised me. I was expecting another Cozy mystery
(my favorite kind), and indeed, TRIAL BY FURY started out normally.
Constance Lawley is a widow living in England. Her son is in New
Zealand and her daughter Irene is living (and chanting) with religious
oddballs in London. She keeps herself busy by working as a temporary
housekeeper, sent to new assignments by Bracklington Helpers.

The story begins as Constance accepts a job with Colonel and Mrs.
Barrows, who need a housekeeper for a week since Mrs. Barrows, who is
80 years old, is just getting out of the hospital after an
appendectomy. They also care for their odd grandson Colin, who is 15
years old but seems much younger. Colin's parents, it is explained,
were killed in a car crash when he was a baby. Colin is a difficult
child, but he dotes on Conrad Greer, a neighbor and antiques dealer
who comes to play chess with him.

Now that the stage has been set, the doorbell rings and (guess who?)
it's Margot, the Barrows daughter and Colin's mother who (surprise!)
wasn't killed in a car crash after all. You see, her baby was Conrad
Greer's, but she wanted to marry Kenneth Pauling, so she dumped Colin
with her parents and ran off with Pauling. Now, 15 years later, she's
changed her mind and run away from him back to her parents, followed
closely by the deserted husband who's trying to talk sense to her.
This proves to be too much for poor "difficult" Colin, who threatens
to kill everyone and runs out.

Sound like a typical domestic drama, doesn't it? Just the kind of
thing you get so often in Cozy British-drawing-room type mysteries.
Imagine my surprise when Constance (remember her, the housekeeper we
started with?) returns from shopping to find the drawing room wall-to-
wall gore. There's Colonel Barrows, Mrs. Barrows, Margot, and Colin;
all shot to death, blood everywhere. The scene is nowhere near as
gruesome as many such scenes in modern books and movies, but its
appearance here is startling and very effective. TRIAL BY FURY is a
very interesting variant on the classic Cozy mystery.

                     ***************************

                        SAY IT WITH WITCHCRAFT

      Anderson, Paul               Murder in Black Letter
      Bell, Josephine              The Upfold Witch
      Burton, Miles                The Secret of High Eldersham
      Carr, Glyn                   The Youth Hostel Murders
      Carvic, Heron                Witch Miss Seeton
      Chesbro, George C.           An Affair of Sorcerers
      Christie, Agatha             The Pale Horse
      Curtis, Peter                The Devil's Own
      Davies, L.P.                 The Land of Leys
      Fitzgerald, Nigel            Suffer a Witch
      Hillerman, Tony              The Blessing Way
      Innes, Michael               The Daffodil Affair
      Johnston, Velda              The Crystal Cat
      Murray, Max                  The Neat Little Corpse
      Tey, Josephine               The Franchise Affair
      Tourney, Leonard             Familiar Spirits
      Upfield, Arthur W.           The Bone is Pointed
      Watson, Colin                Kissing Covens
      Wetering, Janwillem van de   Tumbleweed
      Woods, Sara                  They Love Not Poison

                     ***************************

                        HANG THE CONSEQUENCES
                            by M.R.D. Meek
                           (Scribner, 1985)

                           review by Cindy

It would seem that the last refuge of the medieval knight's code of
honor is the modern private detective. Where else, outside of comedy,
do you find a character who will risk life, limb, and career to right
a wrong? In HANG THE CONSEQUENCES we meet another brave knight called
Lennox Kemp, once a gifted attorney but now reduced to working in
McCready's Detective Agency, one of the more seedy examples of the
breed. Kemp's former wife, you see, had a gambling problem and, purely
to save her reputation, you understand, Kemp raised the cash to pay
her debts by stealing from his law firm. Predictably, he was booted
out, and is now reduced to working as a private detective.

But Kemp's overactive, somewhat illogical, and faintly self-satisfied
sense of ethics are as strong as ever, and now he must find the
wandering husband of Frances Jessica Moss. An attractive young woman
called for him one evening while he was at home with his wife, he
went, and he hasn't been seen or heard from since. This is a ordinary
beginning to a detective story, but unfortunately the novel quickly
becomes a hash of idiocies. Jessica's not telling the entire truth,
you see, to save husband Malcolm's sensitivities. Malcolm, of course,
isn't telling the truth in order to protect Jessica's innocence. And
Kemp must risk his job (tacky though it is) to save the Moss marriage,
despite the extraordinary stupidity of the two principals, because,
don't you know, Kemp has developed a huge crush on Jessica. HANG THE
CONSEQUENCES is an adequate mystery, but the characters are very
tiresome.



                             VANE PURSUIT
                         by Charlotte MacLeod
                       (Mysterious Press, 1989)

                           review by Cindy

Perhaps I should begin by saying that Charlotte MacLeod deserves her
own classification. Her novels are mysteries, yes, but different. You
could say they're in the "cozy" sub-category, but that doesn't quite
get the distinctive flavor either. How about Mystery Fantasies?
Fantastical Mysteries? The point is, you've got to unpack your sense
of whimsey and get it all shined up and ready to go or you're not
going to get in the MacLeod spirit of things at all.

Let's start with Peter Shandy. He's a botany professor at Balaclava
College in New England. He's married to Helen, the librarian at the
college, who seems to be very tiny and always wear pink. Right now
she's working on a research project, compiling information and
photographs of the now-antique weathervanes crafted by Praxiteles
Lumpkin. The problems begin when she photographs the weathervane on
top of the Lumpkin Soap Factory, and within hours someone has torched
it. And as soon as the smoke clears it's discovered that the
weathervane has vanished!

OK, so the fate of the western world isn't hanging in the balance. The
attraction of a MacLeod mystery rests with the characters, and with
the very unusual element of the fantastical. In VANE PURSUIT, for
instance, there is an old woman who lives underground and spends her
days reading classical literature sitting in a tree 80 feet off the
ground. There's also the whale who rescues the good guys and
shipwrecks the bad guys. You really never know exactly WHAT is going
to happen in a MacLeod mystery, but that's just the way her fans like
it. She is definitely one of a kind.

                     ***************************

                           SATAN WANTS YOU

            Carr, John Dickson    Below Suspicion
            Christie, Agatha      East to Kill
            Greeley, Andrew M.    Happy Are the Meek
            Hjortsberg, William   Falling Angel
            Mason, A.E.W.         The Prisoner in the Opal
            Perry, Anne           Paragon Walk
            Rendell, Ruth         The Killing Doll

                     ***************************

                          THE MOTHER SHADOW
                       by Melodie Johnson Howe
                            (1989, Viking)

                           review by Cindy

I usually find that most mysteries today are very well told, the major
distinctions being in the area of plot. THE MOTHER SHADOW is an
exception, because I enjoyed the mystery very much, but the
characterization left me cold.

Maggie Hill is a 35-year-old maybe-writer who is currently working as
a secretary with computer skills for a temporary employment agency.
Her job of the moment is putting Ellis Kenilworth's coin collection
into a computer database. Her job, that is, until Ellis changes his
will (entrusting the only copy to Maggie), then shoots himself. The
new will leaves his $4 million coin collection to a female detective
he's never met, Claire Conrad. After Ellis' death, Maggie joins forces
with Claire (and Boulton, her butler/chauffeur/bodyguard) to find the
new will (now missing) and discover why Ellis killed himself.

The first problem for me was that the psychology of the characters was
unfortunate. Early in the novel, Maggie enters her employment agency
and sees a Mexican woman with a child vainly attempting to get a job.
Our heroine immediately assumes the woman is desperate for a job and
wonders if the woman has never heard of abortion. That thought cost
the character a lot of sympathy throughout the rest of the novel. And
later on, as the sexual tension is reaching a feverish pitch between
Maggie and Boulton, he responds to a sexual overture from her by
assaulting her, scaring her enough that she aims a gun at him, all in
the name of teaching her a lesson. Throughout the story Maggie
compromises her dignity and her principles, usually with the words,
"Oh, hell". And Claire obviously has intelligence confused with
rudeness, and her barrage of insults are tiresome.

The last problem that I had with THE MOTHER SHADOW was the resolution
of the plot. What began so well turns into an unbelievable mush. Just
as an example, the solution to the mystery hinges on the assumption
that incest is more respectible than having a retarded family member.
Readers who don't agree will have difficulty following the complicated
twists in the mystery.



                          PAPERBACK THRILLER
                            by Lynn Meyer
                                (1975)

                           review by Cindy

The start of this book couldn't be better. Sarah Chayse, M.D.,
psychiatrist and lead character, is returning home from a conference
when she picks up a suitably lurid-looking PAPERBACK THRILLER to read
on the plane. Imagine her astonishment as she reads of a
psychiatrist's office being broken into, and the detailed description
of the office is definitely, no doubt about it, her office! She
assumes that her office actually was broken into, and discovers the
Truth over the course of 155 pages. Unfortunately, no part of the book
satisfies as well as the first few pages--the psychiatric insights of
the lead character cause her to vacillate over every small act until
the reader no longer cares. Would it be obsessive to make this phone
call? Was she overly defensive with her boyfriend? Would it be normal
to consider this endless inner dialogue boring? Make the sane choice
and go elsewhere for your mystery thrills.



                         A SERIES OF MURDERS
                            by Simon Brett
                          (1989, Scribner's)

                           review by Cindy

As A SERIES OF MURDERS opens, we get to contemplate the unusual sight
of series regular Charles Paris not only being employed, but having a
cushy, well-paid TV role for all six episodes of a new West End
Television series called STANISLAS BRAID. For those of you new to the
Charles Paris series, he's a middle-aged alcoholic actor who seldom
works and is still married to, but doesn't live with, the
much-more-mature Frances. Charles drinks much more than he should,
makes lots of promises he can't keep, and somehow manages to stumble
across murders (and murderers) on a regular basis (which he always
solves).

The new TV series is based on mystery novels written by W.T.
Wintergreen in the 1930s and 1940s. She is still alive, and haunts the
set of STANISLAS BRAID with her sister, getting in the way and
complaining about every change made in her old books. The cast
consists of:  Russell Bentley, an aging second-rate actor who plays
the master detective, Stanislas Braid; Charles Paris playing the
ever-bewildered Sergeant Clump; Jimmy Sheet, former singing sensation,
playing the helpful chauffeur, Blodd; and Sippy Stokes, a terrible
actress, playing Braid's loving daughter, Christina.

Everyone agrees that Sippy Stokes is not only a truly awful, wooden
actress, but that she is physically wrong for the part. Christina was
written as a blonde, blue-eyed confection, and Sippy is a swarthy,
gypsy type. In any case, everyone but the experienced mystery reader
is surprised when Sippy turns up dead, apparently killed by falling
props. Was it a mercy killing by one of the other actors? Could it
have been Tony Rees, the assistant stage manager, who was lurking
outside the prop room right before Sippy was found? Or is stage
manager Mort Verdon not as congenial as he seems? And why did director
Rick Landor cast Sippy in such an inappropriate role? And why did
producer Ben Docherty go along with it? And isn't TV writer Will
Parton at least partly autobiographical for TV writer/mystery author
Simon Brett?

As usual, this is more of a Charles Paris novel than a standard
mystery. Character creation and interaction is Simon Brett's
specialty, and A SERIES OF MURDERS is another enjoyable romp with
the slightly sleazy Charles. The psychological motivation of the
crimes (yes, Sippy isn't the only casualty) is fascinating, but
unfortunately that is completely relegated to the last few pages,
during the Ellery Queen-style "explanation" at the tail end.



                        MURDER AT THE CAT SHOW
                           by Marian Babson
                      (1972, St. Martin's Press)

                           review by Cindy

Doug Perkins works for the Public Relations firm Perkins & Tate Ltd.
and his current assignment is to handle the PR for the "Cats Through
the Ages Exhibition". Mrs. Rose Chesne-Malvern is the organizer, and
she explains the various exhibitors that will be in the show, the
showiest of which will be a life-size statue of Dick Whittington's cat
cast in gold (but hollow) by Hugo Verrier. Then there's the largest
exhibits, Pyramus and Thisbe, a pair of Sumatran tigers. Among the
more normal sized cats there are: Lady Purr-fect, the Perfection
Hosiery cat; Mother Brown, whose kittens are in great demand
everywhere; Pearlie King, whose biography is selling very well, thank
you; Precious Black Jade, the manx with which Marcus Opal hopes to
start a cattery; Silver Fur, the star of movies and television; and,
Mrs. Chesne-Malvern's own much-neglected Siamese, Pandora.

As all of the characters are introduced, animal and human, one thing
becomes clear--no one likes Mrs. Chesne-Malvern. So it comes as no
real surprise when Pyramus and Thisbe are found munching on her
remains one day. But who would go that far to get rid of an irritating
woman? Her disenchanted husband Roger? Or possibly Mother Brown's
owner, Helena Keswick, who is greatly interested in the disenchanted
Roger? It's all great fun, as usual in a Marian Babson mystery, with
the whodunit element taking a backseat to the parade of characters,
and the backdrop subject. If you've ever lived with a cat, you don't
want to miss MURDER AT THE CAT SHOW.



                      TOURISTS ARE FOR TRAPPING
                           by Marian Babson
                      (1989, St. Martin's Press)

                           review by Cindy

This is another in Ms. Babson's series of Perkins & Tate mysteries,
with Douglas Perkins (and his companion Pandora, acquired in MURDER AT
THE CAT SHOW), Gerry Tate, and faithful secretary, Penny. Their Public
Relations work for a new tour company, Larkin's Luxury Tours, is
facing a crisis. It seems that Tour 79 had one of its members commit
suicide while they were in Europe, now the tour is in England and is
in pretty sorry shape. Half of the remaining members want to call off
the rest of the tour, with 2 weeks left, and get a refund for their
unused portion (a refund the newly started tour company can ill
afford). Trouble is, the touring Americans are so dismal that Douglas
Perkins decides he wants to see them leave, even if it means that
Larkin's Luxury Tours won't be paying his bill.

Before Douglas can get Tour 79 sent home, he is told that the
suicide's death wasn't suicide at all---it was murder. And on top of
that, still another member of the tour is now missing. TOURISTS ARE
FOR TRAPPING is another fast read from Marian Babson, this time with a
slightly disconcerting thud at the end. It's not that the solution is
insufficiently explained, or is unsatisfying. It's just that I'm used
to a bit of debriefing at the end---a short conversation rehashing the
clues, a flippant joke, etc. In this volume, our discovery of the
murderer is followed by a period and a lot of blank space. Even so,
it's an enjoyable, fast-paced mystery (and we discover that in England
cats are allowed to accompany people into pubs and onto public buses).



                          A MOUTHFUL OF SAND
                            by M.R.D. Meek
                          (1989, Scribner's)

                           review by Cindy

As A MOUTHFUL OF SAND begins, series star Lennox Kemp, lawyer and
sometimes sleuth, is approached by wealthy stockbroker Vincent Snape
and asked to prepare a comprehensive report on current matrimonial
law. Not for himself, you understand. But marriages affect a man's
business, you know, and he needs to understand the important legal
points in order to be a sharper stockbroker. Yeah, I didn't buy that
explanation either. But the money was good, and the job was easy, so
Kemp wrote the report, then went on holiday with girlfriend Penelope
Marsden. Coincidentally, they went to Rocksea, where it so happens
that Snape's wife, Mirabel, is recovering from some vague nervous
disorder.

Kemp is soon bewitched by the alluring and mysterious Mirabel, and his
girlfriend Penelope is soon sleeping in the second bed. A MOUTHFUL OF
SAND is more melodrama than mystery, and the tightly-packed gothic
elements would be more enjoyable if they had a firmer foundation. We
get alcoholism, adultery, a bodyless head (and, not surprisingly, a
headless body), lots of dark-and-stormy nights, and even a fatal
boating accident. The lethargic pacing slows the story to a crawl,
though, and Wilkie Collins really covered this ground much better in
THE WOMAN IN WHITE.



                       HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa
                       a                      H
                       H  THE LAUGH'S ON US   a
                       a                      H
                       HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

                  Editor:  Name Withheld By Request

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EXCERPTS FROM:


          MODERN MANNERS: An Etiquette Book for Rude People
                           by P.J. O'Rourke
                       (Atlantic Monthly, 1989)


The world is going to hell. All we can do is look good on the trip.

How much better history would have turned out if the Nazis had been
socially correct instead of true to their hideous theories. They never
would have shipped all those people to concentration camps in boxcars.
They would have sent limousines to pick them up.

The one thing that can be safely said about the great majority of
people is that we don't want them around.

Having children is impolite. It imposes on the peace and quiet of
others and leaves you with less time for that key component of
courtesy, being nice to yourself. But rude things do happen. In fact
they're happening at a horrific rate because the generation that
refused to grow up has finally spawned, resulting in BABY BOOM II--
THE TERROR CONTINUES. Suddenly there are millions of children all over
the place, all of them named Jason and Rachel.

Men have children to prove they aren't impotent, or at least that some
of their friends aren't. And women have children because no modern
woman should reach the age of forty-five without an excuse for failing
in her career.



                          ANGUISHED ENGLISH
                          by Richard Lederer
                                (1987)

This book is a few years old, but it's a classic and is still being
reprinted, so you shouldn't have much trouble finding it. There's a
Dell paperback of it for $5.95 in my bookstore right now. The entire
volume is dedicated to the principle that when Americans try to speak
their native language, the result can be pretty funny. For instance,
teachers have preserved some of the more memorable excerpts from their
students' papers, like:

"The Gorgons had long snakes in their hair. They looked like women,
only more horrible."

"Last year many lives were caused by accidents."

There are examples of the notes students have brought to school from
their parents, as in:

"Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels."

And pieces of court transcripts:

"Q.  Mrs. Smith, you do believe that you are emotionally unstable?
 A.  I used to be.
 Q.  How many times have you committed suicide?
 A.  Four times."

"Q.  Mrs. Jones, is your appearance this morning pursuant to a
deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
 A.  No. This is how I dress when I go to work."

And the notes that people write on accident reports:

"I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel
to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction
going the opposite way."

Here are a few of my favorite examples of classified ads:

"Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it."

"Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!"

"Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children."

There are funny signs:

"(In the offices of a loan company): Ask about our plans for owning
your home."

"(In a Pennsylvania cemetery): Persons are prohibited from picking
flowers from any but their own graves."

And funny headlines:

IKE SAYS NIXON CAN'T STAND PAT

WAR DIMS HOPE FOR PEACE

20-YEAR FRIENDSHIP ENDS AT ALTAR

Well, you get the idea. RFP rates ANGUISHED ENGLISH required reading.
Keep it handy for life's grimmer moments (like right after watching
THIRTYSOMETHING).

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ISSUES AVAILABLE:

#1: Premier issue: 1988 World Fantasy Awards; Books I'm Supposed to
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#10: Earth Day Issue:  Environmental Reading; Featured Author: Thomas
Berger; reviews by Darryl Kenning, Robert A. Pittman, Fred L. Drake,
Jr., Ollie McKagen; Book lists: The Civil War, India, The Middle Ages;
Sharing The Wealth; My Favorite Books of 1989; and the usual.

Supplemental Issue #1:  Baseball Books of Spring 1990. Distributed
along with #10.

#11: Magazines:  Special Coverage of Magazines; Featured Author: Dean
R. Koontz; reviews by Darryl Kenning, Fred L. Drake, Jr., Cherie Jung;
Rotten Rejections; Bram Stoker Awards Nominations; Recent Releases.

#12:  Featured Authors: George Alec Effinger and Evan Hunter (aka Ed
McBain), with bibliographies; reviews by Cherie Jung, Sue Feder,
Robert A. Pittman. This is our first mini-mag issue, with separate
sections devoted to Science Fiction, Mystery, Horror, and Humor.

#13:  Halloween 1990 Issue:  Featured Author: Dan Simmons (including
bibliography and interview); The Brains of Rats; SoftServ Books on
Disk; Sand Castles: Step-by-Step; Self-University; Mysteries for
Halloween; Loosen Your Grip on Reality (our SF&F section); and lots of
news and reviews.

#14:  Christmas 1990 Issue:  Coming December 1, 1990.

                      =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=