************************************************************** 
 *                                                            *
 *         R E A D I N G    F O R    P L E A S U R E          *
 *                                                            *
 *                        Issue #16                           *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                 Editor: Cindy Bartorillo                   *
 *                                                            *
 *    Reviews by:  Travis Adkins, Cindy Bartorillo, Drew      *
 *      Bartorillo, Howard Frye, Peter de Jager, Darryl       *
 *      Kenning, Robert A. Pittman, Peter Quint, Carol        *
 *      Sheffert, Annie Wilkes                                *
 *                                                            *
 *             Featured Author:  Raymond Chandler             *
 *                                                            *
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CONTACT US AT:  Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
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                        DISTRIBUTION DIRECTORY

Here are a few bulletin boards where you should be able to pick up the
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NOTE: Back issues on CompuServe may have been moved to a different
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                          TABLE OF CONTENTS                Line #

Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   120
What's News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   157
Awards  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   249
Lost Stories by Peter de Jager  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   323
Cowboys of the Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   421
Top 25 Fiction/Nonfiction Bestsellers of 1990 . . . . . . .   573
Gallup Poll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   902
Books About the Persian Gulf  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1256
Computer Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1658

Genre Sections:
  Murder By the Book  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1737
  Frightful Fiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3056
  Loosen Your Grip On Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4001

Back Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5021

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                              EDITORIAL

As I type this, it finally looks like we might get a little spring
weather here in Maryland. We've been trying to get some gardening done
around RFP Central, but so far it's either been freezing cold,
raining, or both. Hope it's nice where you are.

I've been meaning to say something about the authorship of the text
included in RFP. Whenever you see uncredited text about a book, the
chances are that it has been written either by the author or by the
publisher. As a free publication we have more-than-usually finite
resources here; most notable is our lack of personnel and time. So we
can't always give every book that comes our way the attention it
really deserves. But nothing is in any issue of RFP because someone
paid us to put it in, it's there because we thought you'd be
interested in reading it. Many books, catalogues, and Press Releases
come our way; we pass along only those that look the most promising.

Our next issue, #17, will be released on June 1, 1991, and is our 2nd
Anniversary Issue. We already have a number of great books lined up to
tell you about, some of which you'll see mentions of in this issue. We
also have two new columns that will debut in #17:  a column about
mysteries you might miss that will be written by Jack Curtin, and a
regular piece about good reading for adults that can be found in the
children's literature section written by Janet Peters.

I want to thank all the writers who have taken the time to get in
touch with me about their work--we appreciate getting the information
and so do our readers. If you have any book-related news that you'd
like to share with RFP, just stuff it in the mail or send us an
electronic message. Our addresses can be found under the masthead on
the first page/screen.

                                ^*^ Cindy

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                             WHAT'S NEWS

* Warner has finally set a date for the release of Alexandra Ripley's
sequel to Margaret Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WIND. Warner Books will
release SCARLETT on September 25, 1991.

* The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has wisely decided to drop
the controversial anti-obscenity pledge that artists were being forced
to sign in order to receive federal grants.

* Most people don't realize that filmmaker John Sayles (RETURN OF THE
SECAUCUS 7, EIGHT MEN OUT, etc.) started out as a writer. His first
novel, PRIDE OF THE BIMBOS, came out in 1975, and his latest, LOS
GUSANOS, will be released by HarperCollins this June. It's about the
history of Cuba, focusing on one family from the 1930s through 1981.
And, as the author says, "...it is also a book about information,
about free will and responsibility--and my feeling that if you are
going to hold people responsible and expect them to exercise free
will, the thing they have to have, and never do, is information."

* This could turn out to be a Don DeLillo year. Not only will his
latest novel, MAO II, be released by Viking this June, but three more
DeLillo novels could show up in theaters this year: LIBRA, WHITE
NOISE, and RUNNING DOG.

* Two years ago, Lyle Stuart sold his publishing business and all of
its imprints (Lyle Stuart, Citadel Press, and University Books) to
Steven Schragis. Now Stuart is starting a new publishing house called
Barricade Books Inc. (PO Box 1401, Secaucus, NJ 07096). The new
company will emphasize controversial books, and begins operations
already owning two. One is THE ANARCHIST COOKBOOK by William Powell, a
book about all kinds of weapons, that Lyle Stuart had published before
and was the only Stuart title that Schragis didn't want (Stuart bought
the rights back for $75,000). The other is ISRAEL: REVOLUTION OR
REFERENDUM by Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane was assassinated several days
after meeting with Stuart to discuss publicity. New titles that are on
Barricade's first list, coming this fall, are: POISON PEN by George
Carpozi Jr., a biography of Kitty Kelley; an "unusual" novel by
Gregory ("Fletch") McDonald; and the autobiography of Eartha Kitt.

* BURDEN OF PROOF, Scott Turow's sort-of-sequel to PRESUMED INNOCENT,
appears destined to be a made-for-TV movie or mini-series, rather than
a theatrical feature like the first.

* Eugene Fodor, founder of Fodor's Travel Guides, died February 18,
1991, at the age of 85. Fodor's famous series of travel books began
with one book: 1936 ON THE CONTINENT, which was the very first
guidebook ever published with the year in the title to ensure
timeliness. Fodor's Travel Guides are now published by Random House.

* Coming this September is the autobiography of Brian Wilson, the lead
songwriter and producer for the Beach Boys. The book will be called
WOULDN'T IT BE NICE? and publisher HarperCollins says it's "searingly
candid". It will tell about Wilson's complete psychological collapse
in the 1970's, violent abuse as a child, his unusual sex life, his
weight problem (he weighed 350 pounds at one point), and his 20 years
spent as a recluse.

* Roald Dahl, master of the macabre as well as a renowned children's
author, died on November 23, 1990 at the age of 74. His adult writing
includes the novel MY UNCLE OSWALD as well as collections of short
stories: SOMEONE LIKE YOU; KISS, KISS; and SWITCH BITCH. Some of his
stories were adapted for the Alfred Hitchcock TV series, and Dahl
himself wrote screenplays for the short-lived-but-highly-acclaimed WAY
OUT. He also wrote screenplays for YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and CHITTY
CHITTY BANG BANG. His stories for children include JAMES AND THE GIANT
PEACH, THE MAGIC FINGER, and the famous CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE
FACTORY (filmed as WILLIE WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY).

* I mentioned in RFP #15 that Jonathan Carroll's BLACK COCKTAIL would
be published someday in the U.S. (my review was based on my British
copy). Well here it is:  BLACK COCKTAIL is due to be released by St.
Martin's as a trade paperback in September 1991.

* Attention Vonnegut fans! FATES WORSE THAN DEATH (nonfiction), is due
in hardcover from Putnam in August 1991, and a paperback reprint of
HOCUS POCUS is on Berkley's schedule for November 1991.

* Michael Bishop's novella, BRITTLE INNINGS, is about Dr.
Frankenstein's monster coming back to earth during World War II
disguised as an outfielder for a minor league baseball team. His
secret is uncovered by his roommate, a mute shortstop, largely because
of his ornate Victorian speech. The story has been optioned for
theatrical development by producer Robert Laurence and 20th
Century-Fox. Can't you just picture Schwarzenegger as the monster?

* Anya Seton died on November 8, 1990, at the age of 86. She was the
author of novels such as THE WINTHROP WOMAN, GREEN DARKNESS, and
DRAGONWYCK.

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                                AWARDS


Awards given by the Association for Library Service to Children
division of the American Library Association:

1991 Randolph Caldecott Medal:  BLACK AND WHITE by David Macaulay
1991 John Newbery Medal:  MANIAC MAGEE by Jerry Spinelli


NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS

Fiction:  THE MIDDLE PASSAGE by Charles Johnson (Atheneum)
Nonfiction:  THE HOUSE OF MORGAN: AN AMERICAN BANKING DYNASTY AND THE
  RISE OF MODERN FINANCE by Ron Chernow (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Distinguished Contribution to American Letters:  Saul Bellow


NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS

Biography/Autobiography:  MEANS OF ASCENT: THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON
  by Robert A. Caro (Knopf)
Criticism:  ENCOUNTERS AND REFLECTIONS: ART IN THE HISTORICAL PRESENT
  by Arthur Danto (FSG)
Fiction:  RABBIT AT REST by John Updike (Knopf)
General Nonfiction:  THE CONTENT OF OUR CHARACTER by Shelby Steele
  (St. Martin's)
Poetry:  BITTER ANGEL by Amy Gerstler (North Point)


NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE

Octavio Paz


PULITZER PRIZES

Biography:  MACHIAVELLI IN HELL by Sebastian de Grazia (Princeton)
Fiction:  THE MAMBO KINGS PLAY SONGS OF LOVE by Oscar Hijuelos (FSG)
General Nonfiction:  AND THEIR CHILDREN AFTER THEM by Dale Maharidge &
  Michael Williamson (Pantheon)
History:  IN OUR IMAGE: AMERICA'S EMPIRE IN THE PHILIPPINES by Stanley
  Karnow (Random House)
Poetry:  THE WORLD DOESN'T END by Charles Simic (Harcourt Brace
  Jovanovich)


ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA

Best Traditional Novel:  RHAPSODY IN BLOOM by Wendela P. Kilmer
  (Silhouette)
Best Long Contemporary Novel:  THE ICE CREAM MAN by Eileen Dreyer
  (Silhouette)
Best Short Contemporary Novel:  NIGHT OF THE HUNTER by Alison Hart
  (Silhouette)
Best Young Adult Novel:  RENEE by Vivian Schurfranz (Scholastic)
Best Single Title Contemporary:  PRIVATE RELATIONS by Diane
  Chamberlain (Berkley/Jove)
Best Series Historical:  SILVER NOOSE by Patricia Gardner Evans
  (Harlequin)
Best Single Title Historical:  THE BRIDE by Julie Garwood (Pocket)
Best Regency:  THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER by Mary Jo Putney (NAL
  Signet)
Best Romantic Suspense:  PERCHANCE TO DREAM by Eileen Dreyer
  (Silhouette)
Best First Book:  OUT OF THE BLUE by Alaina Richardson (Silhouette)
Golden Choice Award:  MORNING GLORY by LaVyrle Spencer (Putnam)
L.L. Winship Award:  AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN by Tracy Kidder (Houghton
  Mifflin)

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                       _______________________
                      <                       >
                      <      LOST STORIES     >
                      <   by Peter de Jager   >
                      <_______________________>

This issue we take a look at two very different stories with a subtle
common element. They focus on what we as individuals can achieve when
we set our minds to the task.
 
All too often we take the attitude that an individual has little, if
any, impact on our society. These stories will entice you to rethink
that attitude. The setting for the first is our recent history, the
other a possible future.

 
                         A MESSAGE TO GARCIA
                    by Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)
            Written: February 22nd 1899, The Roycroft Shop
      (Available through Peter Pauper Press ISBN 0-88988-434-7)
 
This review could easily be longer than the story! 'A Message to
Garcia' is a tiny piece, less than 1,600 words. By 1913, governments
and companies had printed more than 40,000,000 copies worldwide in all
written languages. It is impossible to estimate how many copies exist
today. I read it about ten years ago. It has stuck in my mind ever
since.
 
It is not a 'story' in a traditional sense, more a description of an
incident during the Cuban War. When the Spanish-American War broke
out, President McKinley needed to get a message to General Garcia.
Nobody knew where he was. The closest thing to a mailing address was
'somewhere in the Cuban mountains'. Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan was
the messenger. He delivered the message.
 
What is it about the piece that is so compelling? It does not contain
any detailed character descriptions of Garcia or Rowan. There is no
battle between good or evil, no violence, no sex, no examples of great
prose. What is there about this piece that has prompted people to
print it more than 40 million times?
 
It is 'just' a description of someone taking responsibility for a task
and following the task through to completion. This type of
responsibility was obviously rare in the 1890's. How common is it
today?
 
Several thoughts cross your mind when you read this piece. Firstly you
wish that all people were as reliable as Rowan... and then you ask
yourself a soul searching question. 'Are you as reliable as Rowan?'
 
'A Message to Garcia' has motivational impact. If you want to feel
hopeful about people, if you want to have a role model in a time when
role models are hard to find...perhaps even passe...then read 'A
Message to Garcia', it will only take about ten minutes, but the
impact will last a lifetime.

 
                                 WASP
                    Eric Frank Russell (1905-1978)
                             Written 1957
 
Has a wasp ever got into your car while you were driving? If so, then
you understand the basic premise of WASP. A small irritant can have an
effect larger than it deserves.
 
Russell takes this idea and weaves a superb spy story around it. He
drops a single spy on an enemy planet way behind the front lines.
Supplies him with a bag of relatively simple tricks and leaves him to
irritate the enemy. The effect is wonderful and a joy to behold.
 
The tricks do not include mass mayhem and destruction, that would be
too obvious. Instead, the Wasp does little things. Messages on
windows, taking credit for accidents, creative use of the press and
misdirection of all sorts.
 
The authorities begin to believe a huge underground is operating
against them. To combat this, they start rounding up suspects (thus
creating discontent in the populace). They overreact to the situation,
never suspecting that a single individual is responsible for their
problems.
 
Russell writes a simple story. No sub-plots, no complexities, no
hi-tech, just plain words and a wry sense of humor. WASP is a perfect
example of his style. He brings chaos to an entire planet with only a
few strategically scrawled messages. He could have given the hero a
huge selection of high tech weapons and gadgets, instead he chooses
items that most of us could get our hands on...
 
This of course is part of the attraction in WASP. It becomes a game,
what else could he be doing to annoy the government? You don't just
read WASP, you get involved and cheer for the ultimate underdog, one
man against a planet.
 
WASP is not a serious novel. There are no hidden meanings, it is just
an example of one person winning against great odds. So, next time the
government or the authorities have got you down, pick up WASP and read
about an individual getting the upper hand for once.

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                       COWBOYS OF THE AMERICAS
                         by Richard W. Slatta
        (1990, Yale University Press, $35 plus $2.75 shipping)

Here's what people are saying about COWBOYS OF THE AMERICAS:

"This is an outstanding work. Abundantly illustrated, superbly
organized...It is factual without being pedantic, yet has just enough
wistfulness to make us dream."
(William Dieter, renowned Western novelist, in SMITHSONIAN, Nov. 1990)

"This unique panoramic history is an absolute delight to read."
(Howard R. Lamar, historian of the West, Yale University)

RFP found Dr. Slatta in his office in the History Department of North
Carolina State University and persuaded him to talk to us about his
favorite subject.


RFP:  COWBOYS OF THE AMERICAS is not just another examination of our
national Hollywood stereotype. Can you tell us a little about your
book and what makes it so special?

Dr. Slatta:  Cindy, thanks for taking on interest in COWBOYS OF THE
AMERICAS. You are right. I did not set out to write just another
cowboy book. I chose to work on a very large canvas. I compare the
history and mythology of North and South American cowboys. The effort
seems be be paying off. Most reviews have been quite favorable. The
National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City has honored the book
with its Western Heritage Award for nonfiction. This is a work of
social history, so the focus is on people, working ranch hands, and
how they lived their lives. I examine cowboys of Alberta, Canada and
the American West, Hawaii's "paniolo," Mexico's "vaquero," Venezuela's
"llanero," Chile's "huaso," and Argentina's "gaucho."

I tried to structure the book somewhat like an old Western film. It
opens with quick vignettes that highlight the various cowboy types.
Flashbacks reveal the remote origins of the cowboy as a wild-cattle
hunter. The cowboy hero rides onto the plains. Close-ups show his
appearance, character and values. The camera then draws back for a
sweeping shot of the range rider's environment--the great plains
stretching toward an infinite horizon.

In the heart of the book, I try to evoke the dust, smoke, and sweat of
life on the range. The reader rides along on roundups and trail drives
and eats a meal by a campfire. I take the reader with the fun-loving
cowboy to horse races, saloons, and houses of ill repute. But I also
reveal the harsh reality of frontier racial conflict and Indian wars.

As the movie nears its end, we see rapid changes engulfing the cowboy.
Farmers, foreigners, and new technology push across the open range and
largely end the cowboy's old way of life in the saddle. The cowboy
rides off into the brilliant desert sunset, but his image and memory
live on in myth and popular culture.

I wrote the book for both general readers and specialized,
professional scholars interested in cowboys and frontier life. Many
readers will not be familiar with all the different cowboy types. The
book includes seven photo-essays with nearly 140 illustrations to show
the reader these fascinating characters.

I trust that general readers will find stirring, sometimes humorous
references to cowboys in mythology, literature, and popular culture.
But the book also challenges comfortable assumptions about the
"uniqueness" of US history by presenting evidence of historical
similarities in North and South America.

I try to address several important questions concerning frontier
history. One area of concern is the century-long critique of Frederick
Jackson Turner's frontier thesis. The book does not reject entirely
Turner's thesis. Rather, it modifies it along lines suggested by David
M. Potter ("People of Plenty") by examining the role of relative
natural abundance in shaping cowboy character. I analyze and compare
the contradictory images of plains regions everywhere as desert and
garden.

COWBOYS OF THE AMERICAS challenges the "cowpens" theory of Terry
Jordan (see his TRAILS TO TEXAS) and many others that trace the roots
of western ranching in the colonial Carolinas. My evidence indicates
that the meager cultural trickle from the Carolina Piedmont through
the Old South to the coast of east Texas was a minor sideshow in the
development of the Western ranching industry. Spanish influence from
Mexico dominated and shaped the Western cattle culture. The
Anglo-American cowboy, in my view, learned his trade from Mexico's
vaquero. Spanish terms, equipment, and technique spread from Texas and
California throughout the Western United States, Canada, and Hawaii.

In sum, this book is not a micro-study. It uses a broad, comparative
perspective along lines called for by Spanish Borderlands scholar
Herbert Eugene Bolton in the 1930s. Narrow, regional works can make
important contributions, but broad comparisons enrich our
understanding of history.

RFP:  GAUCHOS AND THE VANISHING FRONTIER (1983) and now COWBOYS OF THE
AMERICAS (1990)--obviously this is more than just a passing fancy for
you. How did you come by your abiding interest?

Dr. Slatta:  First, Cindy, my present location notwithstanding (North
Carolina), I am a Westerner. I grew up in small towns in North Dakota,
Wyoming, California, Oregon, and Washington. I still call Oregon home.
I later studied and taught history in Texas and Colorado. As an
undergraduate, I studied western history and loved it. I still travel
to and explore the West when I get a chance. For example, I hosted
some sessions at the 7th Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, in
late January. I'm helping plan the 1992 program, which will highlight
the Spanish heritage of the West.

I joined the Peace Corps in 1969, trained in the mountains of Puerto
Rico, and worked with residents of a squatter settlement near Panama
City. Work in Panama and travel throughout Central and South America
convinced me that I wanted to learn more about that beautiful but
troubled region.

After an undistinguished two-year stint in the Army, I earned a
Master's Degree in Latin American history from Portland State
University. I continued with doctoral studies at the University of
Texas at Austin. I am a social historian. I focus on how ordinary
people lived, worked, and played. As a work of new social history,
COWBOYS OF THE AMERICAS reveals the real lives of a rural
underclass--working ranch hands who tended cattle in ranching
frontiers of North and South America. I tried to combine social with
intellectual and culture history by comparing the social reality of
historical cowboys with later images in political and popular culture.

RFP:  We've heard that there is another book in the works. Can you
tell us just a little about it?

Americans and people around the world identify the cowboy as a
national symbol. COWBOYS OF THE AMERICAS focuses mainly on the cowboy
as a historical figure in the 19th century. I do trace later cultural
images attached to the cowboy in the final two chapters. My next book,
THE COWBOYING OF AMERICA, takes up the growing cultural significance
of the cowboy in the twentieth century. I'll explore how the cowboy
(and related frontier symbols) have become an integral part of US
political rhetoric, advertising, and popular culture. I believe that
romanticized cowboy virtues and values become embedded in the fabric
of American culture.

As with the COWBOYS book, I hope to provide many illustrations to help
readers visualize what I am talking about. I believe that this
examination will be fun and colorful. I think that it will illuminate
twentieth-century U.S. values. Am I overrating the cowboy's influence?
I don't think so. I will argue that much of Ronald Reagan's immense
popularity stems from his skillful mobilization and manipulation of
what the public perceives as traditional cowboy virtues. Advertisers
and filmmakers have long recognized and cashed in on the cowboy's
appeal to children and adults. And, of course, I'll delve into popular
western literature. Thanks for taking an interest in my work on
cowboys, Cindy. Adios and happy trails.

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                THE TOP 25 FICTION BESTSELLERS OF 1990
                   (according to Publishers Weekly)

1. The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel
2. Four Past Midnight by Stephen King
3. The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow
4. Memories of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon
5. Message From Nam by Danielle Steel
6. The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum
7. The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition by Stephen King
8. Lady Boss by Jackie Collins
9. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
10. September by Rosamunde Pilcher
11. Dazzle by Judith Krantz
12. The Bad Place by Dean R. Koontz
13. The Women In His Life by Barbara Taylor Bradford
14. The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough
15. Dragon by Clive Cussler
16. Longshot by Dick Francis
17. Under Siege by Stephen Coonts
18. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
19. Buffalo Girls by Larry McMurtry
20. A Ruling Passion by Judith Michael
21. Sullivan's Sting by Lawrence Sanders
22. The Golden Orange by Joseph Wambaugh
23. Vital Signs by Robin Cook
24. Bittersweet by LaVyrle Spencer
25. Coyote Waits by Tony Hillerman


              THE TOP 25 NONFICTION BESTSELLERS OF 1990
                   (according to Publishers Weekly)

1. A Life on the Road by Charles Kuralt
2. The Civil War by Geoffrey C. Ward with Ric Burns & Ken Burns
3. The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Heritage by Jeff Smith
4. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
5. Financial Self-Defense: How to Win the Fight for Financial Freedom
     by Charles J. Givens
6. Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child by John
     Bradshaw
7. Wealth Without Risk by Charles J. Givens
8. Bo Knows Bo by Bo Jackson and Dick Schaap
9. An American Life: An Autobiography by Ronald Reagan
10. Megatrends 2000: Ten New Directions for the 1990s by John Naisbitt
      & Patricia Aburdene
11. By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer
      by Victor Ostrovsky & Claire Hoy
12. Get to the Heart: My Story by Barbara Mandrell & George Vecsey
13. Millie's Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush by Mildred Kerr Bush
14. Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball by George F. Will
15. The Cat and the Curmudgeon by Cleveland Amory
16. Don't Shoot, It's Only Me by Bob Hope with Melville Shavelson
17. Trump: Surviving at the Top by Donald Trump with Charles Leerhsen
18. Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt by Harvey Mackay
19. You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen
20. Powershift by Alvin Toffler
21. Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough & John Helyar
22. Dave Barry Turns 40 by Dave Barry
23. Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know by Barbara DeAngelis
24. Martha Stewart's Christmas by Martha Stewart
25. The Wreath Book by Rob Pulleyn

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                    HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT
                           by Whitney Otto
                        (Villard Books, 1991)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

This imaginative and unconventional novel provides insight into the
passages of women's lives through the eight women of the Grasse
Quilting Circle, and metaphorically with seven sets of historical
quilting instructions. The circle includes one woman whose dreams are
pushed aside by marriage and motherhood; two sisters whose love for
each other ultimately transcends betrayal; a quiet, detached woman who
follows her own path despite town talk; a wife who forgives her
husband's numerous affairs; and a half-black, half-white woman and her
daughter who must come to terms with their heritage.

I don't believe it's possible to give you an accurate idea of the joy,
the pain, the vibrant life that is contained in this one short book.
The stories of these women are not just about marriage and family,
they touch on independence, prejudice, the economics of gender, and
war. First-time author Otto shows that a woman's life doesn't always
turn out as advertised, and yet happiness, fulfillment, and peace can
still be patched together from the scraps of her life. HOW TO MAKE AN
AMERICAN QUILT is simply luminous prose--not to be missed.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                              MAGIC HOUR
                           by Susan Isaacs
                        (HarperCollins, 1991)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Magic Hour is the name given by Hollywood to that time just around
dawn, and again around twilight, when the lighting is perfect, and
this image underscores this entire story, illuminating the ways in
which life can be--but seldom is--perfect. Stephen Brady, a native of
Long Island's the Hamptons, went to Vietnam and came home with a major
drug habit which over the course of years mutated into alcoholism. His
drinking got him a demotion in his career as a homicide cop, but now
he's sober and has a girlfriend he's going to marry. Everything is
perfect, except it isn't.

For one thing, he loves his girlfriend, he respects her, he feels a
need for her, but he just doesn't have any FUN with her. For another
thing, big-time movie producer Sy Spencer, in town making his latest
film, gets himself murdered and Brady has to solve this very touchy,
newsworthy case side-by-side with the tiresomely dense and dangerously
ambitious Robby Kurz. And to top everything, Brady finds himself
falling in love with the prime suspect, Sy's former wife Bonnie.

Brady, no more logical than any of the rest of us, reacts with anger
to his obsession with Bonnie and initially works hard to develop the
case against her. Then, once he's got everyone else on the force
convinced of her guilt, he changes his mind and starts to look for
other suspects. But the case proceeds regardless of Brady's
orientation, and the clues pile up, mostly pointing toward Bonnie.
Following the twin threads of MAGIC HOUR--the labyrinth of Brady's
relationship with Bonnie and solving Sy's murder--is a joy from start
to finish. Isaacs' portrait of the movie types is hilarious as well.
(Could this part of the story come from the experience of filming her
first book, COMPROMISING POSITIONS? What happened to that movie,
anyway? The story was so good, and the cast was so talented; why was
the film so lackluster?)

Isaacs has a lot to say in MAGIC HOUR, about addictions and
obsessions, about natives versus "summer people", about class
divisions and pretensions, about the Hollywood power hierarchy, about
what you need versus what will make you truly happy. It's a great
story filled with interesting characters, and I recommend it to
everyone. (I also recommend COMPROMISING POSITIONS, which is not quite
as ambitious as MAGIC HOUR, but is laugh-out-loud funnier.)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                            HENRY FIELDING
                           by Donald Thomas
                         (St. Martin's, 1991)

Henry Fielding is best known as the father of the English novel,
author of TOM JONES and JOSEPH ANDREWS. In fact, he was a man of many
careers. He was a popular playwright, a political and social essayist,
and his legal career culminated in his becoming a magistrate and one
of the founders of the Bow Street Runners, the earliest police force.

Within Fielding lay a powerful intelligence that sought nothing less
than a revolution in English society. Beneath the generous and
good-natured panorama of JOSEPH ANDREWS and TOM JONES lay a vigorous
impetus for change. Scorned for the "indecency" of his writing and, as
a magistrate, for dabbling in "the sinks of vice and misery", Fielding
dealt almost singlehandedly with the great crime wave of the 18th
century in his final years.

From little-known legal documents and unpublished correspondence,
Donald Thomas brings evidence of family feuds and personal tragedy. He
shows Fielding as both the last of an old order and the precursor of
revolution; as the man whose plays brought censorship on the English
stage yet who worked for the overthrow of social corruption; as a
novelist condemned for indecency who was to emerge as a giant of
fiction and morality. And he reveals how the winning and losing of one
woman was the greatest drama of Fielding's life.

(Good, readable material about Henry Fielding is tough to come by,
making this biography essential for any reader interested in the
English Novel. --Cindy)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                       A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE:
                      Past, Present, and Future
                         by Charles Van Doren
                       (Birch Lane Press, 1991)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Representing a lifetime of learning, A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE is a
one-volume examination of every major step in the progress of human
knowledge (although not all steps were in a forward direction). In
fifteen chapters, from "Wisdom of the Ancients", through "The Middle
Ages: The Great Experiment", "What Was Reborn in the Renaissance?",
and "The Twentieth Century: Art and the Media", to "The Next Hundred
Years", Charles Van Doren tells the story of the human thirst for
understanding, and in the last chapter he uses what has gone before to
predict where we are headed in the immediate future.

For the autodidact, the lifetime student, A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE is
indispensable. In addition to providing the grand scope of human
endeavor, this volume makes a wonderful catalogue of pockets of
knowledge. You may find yourself intrigued by Descartes, or the
Industrial Revolution, or the caste system in India. A HISTORY OF
KNOWLEDGE, and a library card, could just be the beginning of the best
learning experience of your life.

Charles Van Doren is the former editorial director of the ENCYCLOPEDIA
BRITANNICA, the author of THE JOY OF READING, and the co-author of HOW
TO READ A BOOK (all of which are in the top ten of my Most Read
reference books). A new Charles Van Doren book is a very special
occasion--be sure not to miss A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE. If you local
store doesn't have it, ask them to special order it for you.

NOTE:  For another perspective on the same general subject, try THE
DAY THE UNIVERSE CHANGED by James Burke. Not as comprehensive, or as
disciplined, as A HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE, but Burke's charm and wry
humor make the book a delight.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

           IN THE COMPANY OF WRITERS:  A Life In Publishing
                       by Charles Scribner, Jr.
             based on the Oral History by Joel R. Gardner
                          (Scribner's, 1990)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

You will have a difficult time finding a more charming and interesting
volume of bookish memoirs. Charles Scribner was born into the
publishing firm that was founded by his grandfather in 1846 and whose
stable of authors has included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway,
Thomas Wolfe, James Jones, Edith Wharton, and many others. When
Scribner first went to work at Scribner's, it was the old world of
publishing, where agents were practically unheard of and where the
corner office of their fifth floor was the home of the legendary
editor Maxwell Perkins, ruling the world of belles lettres with a sure
hand.

Perhaps most astonishing of all is Scribner's objectivity. An expert
in the field of Science History, his intellectual grounding has
enabled him to achieve a remarkably detached perspective. He speaks at
length, and with obvious affection, of Ernest Hemingway, and later
segues into a description of James Jones, none of which is flattering.
And yet when he mentions that Hemingway didn't like Jones either, he
points out with insight and honesty that Hemingway's animosity was
more likely due to jealousy over Jones' success with FROM HERE TO
ETERNITY rather than to the personality defects that irritated
Scribner.

There are delightful anecdotes on every page, and with Joel R.
Gardner's careful handling you can actually HEAR Scribner speaking.
Here's a small sample of Scribner on several authors:

On Hemingway: "Working with Hemingway was rather like being strapped
in an electric chair. All the electrodes were always in place, and it
would need just the flicking of a switch to ruin me."

On James Jones: "Here was a young man who had a real gift and didn't
know exactly what it was for and how best to develop it."

On Charles Lindbergh: "He was the most fussy of authors, living or
dead...To him, every detail in the book had as much significance as if
it were a moving part in his airplane."

On Alan Paton: "He thought of himself as I thought of him--as a
genius."

On P.D. James: "We hit it off immediately...Conversation with her was
entertainment in itself."

IN THE COMPANY OF WRITERS is a delight from the first page to the
last. Highly recommended.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                 CHEERLEADERS CAN'T AFFORD TO BE NICE
                       by Susan Sullivan Saiter
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1991)

CHEERLEADERS CAN'T AFFORD TO BE NICE, the fiction debut of Susan
Sullivan Saiter, is a poignant, humorous and at times heart-rending
evocation of growing up midwestern during the 1950s. Blending irony
with real warmth, Saiter explores familial love and betrayal and the
often illusory promises of the American Dream as she recounts the
antics and aspirations of the Rawson family: Crosby Rawson, the book's
narrator and the pretty and smart daughter who is wise beyond her
years; Ben, Croz' younger brother, who might be a lunatic or a genius,
but is definitely a certified pain in the neck; their father, a tire
salesman who makes Willy Loman's life look secure; and their earthy,
chain-smoking mother who never quite manages to redecorate and wears
too much "Cherries in the Snow" lipstick. These reminiscences of
midwestern youth alternate with the complexities of Croz's adult life
in California, which is dramatically interrupted when brother Ben
disappears in New York City and it is up to Crosby to find him.

With an unforgettable array of characters, always striving for
happiness, success, and a truly American lifestyle, CHEERLEADERS CAN'T
AFFORD TO BE NICE is a remarkable story about America's heartland that
introduces a sparkling new talent.

Susan Sullivan Saiter is a former reporter for the Chicago SUN-TIMES
and a stringer for the Chicago bureau of the New York TIMES. At work
on her second novel, she is the mother of two daughters and makes her
home with her husband, author N.R. (Sonny) Kleinfield, in New York
City.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                            COUNTER STRIKE
                           by Sean Flannery
                  (William Morrow and Company, 1990)
                     review by Robert A. Pittman

It is somewhat surprising but always gratifying how often good writers
anticipate and describe change. Sean Flannery has done this in his new
thriller COUNTER STRIKE. His platform is the story of an assassination
attempt on USSR President Gorbachev. It is to be carried out by a
hired assassin who is an American and is also a veteran of Vietnam, a
sociopath and a holder of the medal of honor. The assassination is
planned and ordered by a high level dissident group in the Soviet
military and is to take place at an international meeting where the
President of the United States will also be present. The plot is
discovered by the Moscow home militia, which is supportive of
Gorbachev, and the race is then on to prevent the killing and to
capture the assassin. The contest pits the "good Russians" and the
"good Americans" against the "bad Russians" and the "bad American."

The attitudes, backgrounds and interests of the various characters
give the author the means of creating situations which express many
representations of change that is currently occurring between the USSR
and the USA. Trust, for example; when the Russian police inspector and
the American detective need to cooperate and share information, they
do not do so easily. They test and probe each other and very
tentatively arrive at a state of harmony in which they can proceed
with their common job. This does not mean to imply that the book
offers a lesson in psychology or drifts into any type of deep message.
It is just a good thriller that sits comfortably in today's
environment of political change between two great world powers.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        GALLUP POLL OF READERS

Some results of a recent Gallup Poll about readers and their reading
material:

Favorite Author Living or Dead:

#1---Stephen King
#2---Danielle Steel
#3---(tie) Louis L'Amour, Sidney Sheldon
#4---(tie) James Michener, V.C. Andrews
#5---(tie) Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, John
Steinbeck, William Shakespeare, Tom Clancy
#6---(tie) Robert Ludlum, Isaac Asimov, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dick Francis,
Alex Haley

Favorite Living Author:

#1---Stephen King
#2---(tie) Danielle Steel, James Michener
#3---Tom Clancy

Percentage Who Have Read A Book By...:

Mark Twain---86%
Stephen King---43%
Herman Melville---24%
Leo Tolstoy---21%
James Joyce---16%
John Updike---12%
Saul Bellow---6%
Gustave Flaubert---3%

48% of Americans read fewer than 5 books in 1990
16% of Americans did not finish even 1 book in 1990
45% of Americans say they "expect to read more in the future"


THE STORY GETS WORSE:  Bookstore sales for December 1990 were
terrible. Compared to December 1989, this past December was down 25%
for hardcovers, 21% for trade paperbacks, and 19% for mass-market
paperbacks.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        THE PERPIGNON EXCHANGE
                           by Warren Kiefer
          (Donald I. Fine, 1990, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-227-0)
                       review by Travis Adkins

Dahoud El Beida, alias David Perpignon, is a half-Palestinian,
half-French, self-taught computer expert and con man. Nearing forty
and having spent the better part of his existence hustling a living
around Europe and the Middle East--pleasantly battling his weakness
for beautiful women and Viennese pastry--Perpignon/El Beida is ready
to bury his Arab identity and live out the rest of his life as a
Frenchman.

Far from a major criminal, but always trying to stay one step ahead of
the law, he boards a flight to Athens--only to find himself in the
midst of a hijacking. After a week-long odyssey of fear and fatigue,
the plane lands in Libya, where he is mistaken for the mastermind of
the hijacking and is embraced (all-too-tightly) by Qaddafi-backed
terrorists. At the same time, he is recruited as a double agent by an
international coalition plotting a rescue operation. Boxed in on all
sides, needing to find a way to save his own life, as well as those of
his fellow passengers, the resourceful El Beida/Perpignon gambles on a
chance to emerge as the hero--and get the swag.

Though the story is a little far-fetched and at times borders on the
unbelievable, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I particularly enjoyed
Perpignon/El Beida's uncanny ability to get into precarious situations
and come away unscathed. The story is well paced and very difficult to
put down. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book an 8.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Horace Bent's award for the oddest title of 1990 (in The Bookseller
magazine) went to THE LESBIAN SADOMASOCHISM SAFETY MANUAL. Runners up
included: KNIFETHROWING: A PRACTICAL GUIDE, WHAT BIRD DID THAT?,
ITALIAN WITHOUT WORDS, and THE TEACH YOUR CHICKEN TO FLY TRAINING
MANUAL. Wow, I'm just not going to the right bookstores.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                               DICKENS
                           by Peter Ackroyd
                        (HarperCollins, 1990)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

"The danger, in outlining the characters of those who make up this
history, is that in some sense we place them within the context of our
own period. In fact everything has changed to such an extent that the
social and economic relations between individuals are not easily to be
recaptured. Nor is the atmosphere and quality of the world in which
they moved--we must think of it as a less secure, a more invidious, a
more ANGULAR, world. If a late twentieth-century person were suddenly
to find himself in a tavern or house of the period, he would be
literally sick--sick with the smells, sick with the food, sick with
the atmosphere around him. It is an unimaginable journey we must take,
therefore, a journey back through time."
                           ---from DICKENS


Charles Dickens is without doubt the most beloved writer in the
English language, and he has created more enduring characters than
anyone except possibly Shakespeare. Now the acclaimed novelist, poet,
and biographer, Peter Ackroyd, has given us what is already being
acknowledged as the definitive biography of this consummate creative
artist.

The story reads much like one of Dickens own novels, with more dark
corners than most readers will anticipate. Ackroyd has studied
original sources and brings together all the people that made up the
private Charles Dickens:  the guilty and lonely child, the
already-famous writer in his youth, the social critic, the performer,
and the burnt-out middle-aged man. You'll discover in these pages a
character more fascinating than any he put in the pages of his
stories, and with Ackroyd's careful and energetic prose you'll enjoy
every page.

Peter Ackroyd has written an earlier biography (T.S. ELIOT), a volume
of poetry (THE DIVERSIONS OF POETRY), criticism (NOTES FOR A NEW
CULTURE), and some absolutely wonderful fiction (THE GREAT FIRE OF
LONDON, THE LAST TESTAMENT OF OSCAR WILDE, HAWKSMOOR, CHATTERTON, and
the recent FIRST LIGHT). His HAWKSMOOR was reviewed in RFP #11.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                             THE MISSION
             by Jerome Tuccille and Philip Sayetta Jacobs
          (Donald I. Fine, 1991, $18.95, ISBN 1-55611-199-1)
                       review by Travis Adkins

Nearly fifty years have passed since Rudolf Hess, Deputy Fuhrer of the
Third Reich, crash-landed in the Scottish countryside. He spent the
remainder of his life in Berlin's Spandau prison, a lasting symbol of
Hitler's ravages. To this day, the reasons for Hess' clandestine
mission have not been revealed. Now, in a tense espionage thriller
reminiscent of Ken Follet's EYE OF THE NEEDLE, authors Jerome Tuccille
and Philip Sayetta Jacobs dramatically uncover the secret behind the
mysterious flight of Rudolf Hess:

Journalist Philip Renfield suspects the true identity of the downed
German pilot who has been recently apprehended. Determined to locate
and approach the man he believes is really Rudolf Hess, Renfield
begins to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Rudolf Hess is locked
in the Tower of London...but what about the man Renfield saw being
spirited away to an out-of-the-way safehouse? Renfield finds he's
become a pawn in a high-level contest of secret diplomacy between Nazi
Germany and Churchill's strife-torn government. As the novel races
toward its climax--and its ultimately shocking revelation--Renfield
realizes he's no longer pursuing a story, he's trying to save his
life, as well as that of the woman he loves.

As a general rule, I try to avoid fictionalized histories because I do
not like the idea of adapting an historical event into something it
was not. However, much to my surprise, THE MISSION did not completely
adulterate history as I feared it would. Nevertheless, I would rate it
only a five on a scale of one to ten. The book was slow-paced and left
me waiting for a climax that never really occurred. The historical
background was quite intriguing and did provide an interesting
foundation upon which the story was built.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                      RED OAKS AND BLACK BIRCHES
                    The Science and Lore of Trees
                           by Rebecca Rupp
      (Garden Way Publishing, 1990, $10.95, ISBN 0-88266-620-7)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

RED OAKS AND BLACK BIRCHES is not a title that would inspire me to
pick this book up for almost any kind of reading that I habitually do.
Nonetheless, I found this an incredible fascinating, and well written,
potpourri of the science and folklore of trees. With a wealth of
information covering 20 varieties of trees, this book should satisfy
even the most ravenous seeker of information. Included are types of
trees from the mighty oak, one of whose uses is to produce corks, to
the towering redwoods. A nicely prosaic description of each--in
non-technical terms--is included. A slice of intriguing historical
data is also included and a dash of seasoning in the form of less
often remembered facts has been stirred in. The nutritional
composition of nuts was fascinating, as was the BTU content from
various trees when used in the stove or fireplace. Occasionally we are
treated to a colonial recipe for pickled walnuts or sycamore wine,
reminding us of how much better our ancestors used the natural
environment available to them than we care to.

I do recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in trees, to
anyone who enjoys a well written book, and especially to anyone who is
a collector of forgotten facts and folklore. It will find a permanent
place on your bookshelf and you will find yourself picking it up over
and over again. I for one am looking forward to seeing more by Rebecca
Rupp.

           This books rates a 5 on my scale of readability
                0 = Ugh             5 = A real keeper

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                           HEART'S DESIRES
                         by Katharine Marlowe
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1991)

"At random moments, often when she was happiest, she'd have a sudden
viewing of that scene. Like a full color slide from someone else's
collection slipped mistakenly into the midst of her own, it would
click into focus and she'd gaze at the carnage, breath held, eyes gone
wide. She'd study the image then force it away, shaking her head to
clear it of those lives, that long-gone horror..."

In HEART'S DESIRES, the literary debut of Katharine Marlowe, childhood
traumas reverberate through the life of a woman who is successful and
happily married with children, but who is unable to fully escape the
dark memories of her past.

Growing up in 1950s Manhattan, the daughter of divorced parents and a
mother who is "ahead of her time", Aly is used to her mom's special
overnight friends--most of them married--but takes an immediate,
inexplicable dislike to one very eligible bachelor, a plainclothes
detective with the NYPD. Left alone with him one evening, Aly's worst
fears are realized. When her mother dismisses Aly's accusation of
abuse as a figment of her young imagination, Aly decides to move in
with her father. Shortly thereafter, a tragic act of unspeakable
violence shatters her life. The memory of this horror haunts Aly
throughout adulthood, affecting her choice of career and men--and
distorting her perception of herself--until she finally confronts the
subconscious truths controlling all she feels and does.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                          FORBIDDEN CHANNELS
                  The Truth They Hide From TV GUIDE
                          by Penny Stallings
                       (HarperPerennial, 1991)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Normally, as you know, we maintain a  high level of dignity and
taste here in RFP. Now, however, the time has come to throw off the
shackles of good breeding and dish some dirt. As the unbridled (but
accurate) cover text says:  "FORBIDDEN CHANNELS blows the lid off the
rumors, the scandals, and the deepest, darkest secrets of your
favorite small-screen stars". What you have here is the NATIONAL
ENQUIRER for college graduates. Who could resist reading about what
the TV stars are like when the cameras aren't rolling--the feuds, the
secret pasts, the plastic surgery. FORBIDDEN CHANNELS has the answers
to these fascinating questions:

What did Eva (GREEN ACRES) Gabor wear under her wigs? (Hint: It
  involves advanced engineering.)
What really went on between takes on the set of HOWDY DOODY?
What was it that Oscar Levant said that got his show canceled?
Who did they originally want to play STAR TREK's Mr. Spock?
Who was originally cast as DALLAS' Bobby Ewing? Pam?
What really went on between Desi and Lucy, Sonny and Cher, Bruce and
  Cybill?
How did Steve McQueen get off WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE?
Did Flipper really commit suicide?

Did you know that these actors used to appear on daytime soap operas:
Ellen Burstyn, Armand Assante, Kathleen Turner, Ted Danson, Sigourney
Weaver, Roy Scheider, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Martin Sheen,
Jack Lemmon, James Earl Jones, Hal Linden, Eva Marie Saint? Did you
know that Dustin Hoffman made TV commercials for Volkswagen?

And the pictures are wonderful. Familiar stars caught in unfamiliar
roles, or as babies or children. Old, old photographs from long
forgotten episodes of live television with familiar faces in them.

FORBIDDEN CHANNELS is the guilty pleasure of Spring 1991, and also
makes a dandy photograph album for all of us who grew up in front of a
television set. Author Penny Stallings is a pop-culture essayist on
THE MacNEIL/LEHRER NEWS HOUR, author of FLESH & FANTASY and ROCK AND
ROLL CONFIDENTIAL, and managing editor of TITTERS: THE FIRST ANTHOLOGY
OF HUMOR BY WOMEN.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                            RUPERT MURDOCH
                          by Jerome Tuccille
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1991)

Now available in paperback, with new and updated information, RUPERT
MURDOCH, by Jerome Tuccille, is the most complete and objective look
at the man many observers call the "Citizen Kane" of his time. While
other Murdoch biographies have been predominantly critical works,
Tuccille, a veteran investigative financial journalist, focuses on the
facts--the hows and whys of Murdoch's deals--and leaves critical
judgement to the reader.

Through interviews with numerous sources both inside and outside the
Murdoch media empire, including a rare session with Murdoch himself,
the author reveals little-known facts about the man behind the public
face, and explores how--in spite of skeptics who claim he is
overextending himself--he manages his widespread international
operations in a remarkably hands-on manner, while continuing to add to
his unprecedented string of successful acquisitions.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

               WORD WATCHER'S HANDBOOK (Third Edition)
          A Deletionary of the Most Abused and Misused Words
                          by Phyllis Martin
                         (St. Martin's, 1991)
                        review by Howard Frye

"All our lives we've been urged to add words to our vocabularies.
Isn't it time we were encouraged to delete feeble phrases and abused
or misused words from our speech and writing?"
                   ---from WORD WATCHER'S HANDBOOK


Going through the pages of WORD WATCHER'S HANDBOOK is by turns
educational (when you pick up new information), embarrassing (when
author Martin condemns one of your long-standing speech habits), and
provoking (when you disagree with Martin's insistence on conservative
and formal word usage). In the "Deletionary" section, containing words
and phrases that should be removed from your speech, I winced to be
reminded that my beloved "hopefully", and "curiously enough" are
ungainly and make many listeners gag. But I think that replacing the
often-heard "aren't I?" with the correct "am I not?" is going to make
most people think you're quoting Victorian poetry.

In the chapter on usage, I was happy to see that Martin confirms the
plural status of "scissors". I've heard several speakers recently use
the word in the singular, even catching one character in a television
show asking for "a scissors". On the other hand, it seems odd to
insist on an old definition of "decimate", to "select by lot and kill
one in every ten". In my vocabulary "decimate" has been modernized to
refer to a more contemporary form of destruction.

My favorite sections of WORD WATCHER'S HANDBOOK are the pronunciation
guides. I don't know about you, but I bet I have hundreds of words
stored away in some corner of my brain, words that I know the meanings
of but I can't use because I don't know how to say them. For instance,
we all know that a wine gets aged (one syllable, long a). But when
referring to an elderly individual is it really correct to say AY-jed?
(Yes.) Do you really pronounce the "k" in knish? (Yes.) Also, lately
I've heard "species" pronounced on TV more often as SPEE-sees, rather
than the SPEE-sheez that I've always said. Who's right? (I am.) And is
"schism" pronounced SKIZ-em or SHIZ-em? (Neither--it's SIZ-em.) There
are also pronunciation guides to French and Italian menu items as well
as place names. For instance: is it New OR-lee-anz or New or-LEENZ?
(New OR-lee-anz.)

With many examples, exercises, and lots of good advice, WORD WATCHER'S
HANDBOOK is just the thing for cleaning up the words and phrases you
use now, and for getting the rest of your vocabulary out of the closet
and into your conversation. Phyllis Martin is also the author of
MARTIN'S MAGIC FORMULA FOR GETTING THE RIGHT JOB.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                     BOOKS ABOUT THE PERSIAN GULF

This list of recommended reading on the Persian Gulf was broadcast on
National Public Radio and has been very popular.

A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East by David
  Fromkin (Holt, Avon paper)
The Rape of Kuwait by Jean P. Sasson (Knightsbridge, paper)
Republic of Fear by Samir al-Khalil (Univ. of Calif., Pantheon paper)
The Modern History of Iraq by Phebe Marr (Westview)
Iraq: Eastern Flank of the Arab World by Christine M. Helms
  (Brookings)
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin
  (Simon & Schuster)
Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf by Judith Miller & Laurie
  Mylroie (Times Books, paper)
From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman (Anchor, paper)
Middle East and the West by Bernard Lewis (HarperCollins)
The Future Battlefield: The Arab-Israeli Conflict by Hirsh Goodman &
  W. Seth Carus (Transaction)
The Persian Gulf and the West: The Dilemmas of Security by Charles A.
  Kupchan (Unwin & Hyman)
Arms & Oil: U.S. Military Strategy & The Persian Gulf by Thomas L.
  McNaugher (Brookings)
The High Walls of Jerusalem: A History of the Balfour Declaration &
  The Birth of the British Mandate for Palestine by Ronald Sanders
  (Holt)
Arabia, the Gulf, & the West: A Critical View of Arabs & Their Oil
  Policy by John B. Kelly (Basic)
The Vanished Imam: Musa Al Sadr & the Shia of Lebanon by Fouad Ajami
  (Cornell Univ.)
Lessons of Modern War, Vol. 2: The Iran-Iraq War by Anthony H.
  Cordesman & Abraham R. Wagner (Westview)
If War Comes: How to Defeat Saddam Hussein by Trevor Dupuy (Dupuy)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                           WHERE ON EARTH?
                    A Refreshing View of Geography
                         by Donnat V. Grillet
                        (Prentice Hall, 1991)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

"Many people say that geography is their favorite subject. Yet about
half of the American young people polled couldn't locate the United
States on a map. Many said that Washington, D.C., is in the state of
Washington or IS the state of Washington. More than a quarter of young
Texans could not name the country that lies "south of the border, down
Mexico way."

Furthermore, as author Grillet points out, this ignorance has some
very real consequences:

"The Dust Bowl of the 1930s reflected a general ignorance of
topography and climate. The killer air-pollution attack on Donora,
Pennsylvania, in 1948 reflected a lack of environmental knowledge. The
discharge of liquid waste in a disposal well near Denver, Colorado,
between 1962 and 1965 led to earthquakes, further demonstrating our
lack of understanding of geology. Building structures on unstable
ground contributed to devastation in the 1964 quake in Alaska."

"Other recent geographically influenced events included the dust storm
in the Iranian desert that aborted arguably the most important US
military mission since Vietnam...the deaths near Mount Saint Helens's
eruptions...the numerous landslides and mudslides and floods in
California...the ongoing fight to clean up toxic waste and air
pollution."

Several groups, notably the National Geographic Society, have decided
to do something about our most overlooked academic discipline. One
example of this push is the National Geography Bee, sponsored
nationwide by the NGS. This book of 14 multiple choice quizzes and 50
map quizzes will help youngsters study for the Geography Bee, and help
adults shore up some gaps in their education.

The quizzes cover such areas as: Agriculture/Food, Animals, Cities,
Climate, Continents, Countries, The Planet Earth, Islands, Landmarks,
Mountains, Natural Resources, People, The United States, and Waters of
the World. In addition, there is a Geographic Dictionary to define
words like biome, equinox, karst, loess, moraine, taiga, etc. And
sprinkled throughout there are pages of "Oddish Facts" such as, "The
western tip of Virginia is 25 miles west of Detroit, Michigan."

Between the multiple choices and the map quizzes, there are about 660
questions in all. I decided to go through the book's tests, and give
my score as representative of the average American citizen who has had
a normal public school education and a little college, and who has
received high grades throughout. I had 327 correct answers, which
author Grillet judged "Very good. You have more than a passing
knowledge of the world." Please notice, however, that I still scored a
bit under 50%, which would have been a flunking grade in any of the
schools I ever attended. (When did they put Suriname in South
America?) I'm planning a trip to the bookstore to buy an atlas
tomorrow, and vow that WHERE ON EARTH? is soon to become one of the
most-thumbed volumes on my shelf.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                       WRITER'S NOTEBOOK PRESS

Writer's Notebook Press is the nonfiction imprint of Pulphouse
Publishing. There are two periodicals being produced by them that you
might be interested in:

THE REPORT:  A writer's magazine, filled with writers talking about
all aspects of writing. Digest-sized, over 60 pages, it is full of the
most recent market information, how-to-write articles, business
articles, and lots of fun and controversy. It's $2.95 each, $10 for
four, and $30 for 12 monthly issues.

MONAD:  A Journal of Science Fiction Criticism edited by Damon Knight.
This is irregular, and only one issue has appeared so far. It's $5 for
trade paper, $15 for the limited cloth, and $18 for a four-issue
subscription.

Send orders to:  Pulphouse Publishing, Box 1227, Eugene, OR 97440.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                    LOVESICK: THE MARILYN SYNDROME
           by Elizabeth Macavoy, Ph.D. and Susan Israelson
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1991)

Marilyn Monroe suffered from it. Millions of women ignore its symptoms
every day and face the consequences of ill-fated romances and
devastating "fatal attractions". LOVESICK: THE MARILYN SYNDROME, which
DIF published on February 15, 1991, is a book for women who didn't
find the valentine of their dreams because of this destructive,
emotional illness that affects those who don't love themselves and
can't accept love from others.

Written by Dr. Elizabeth Macavoy, a psychologist who runs "Women Who
Love Too Much" workshops, and Susan Israelson, one of her recovered
patients, LOVESICK rises above the pack of relationship books by not
only diagnosing the symptoms of this illness, but also providing a
step-by-step recovery plan. Similar to the philosophy behind
Alcoholics' Anonymous, LOVESICK concludes that sufferers will be
lovesick for life, BUT, with preemptive measures, they can spot the
warning signs, avoid the pitfalls of unhealthy romances and even find
true love.

LOVESICK also traces the roots of this affliction--it is often a
product of growing up in a dysfunctional family--as well as some of
the side-effects (such as substance abuse), instructing readers how to
achieve not only healthy love lives, but balanced professional and
familial relationships too.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                 MM II: THE RETURN OF MARILYN MONROE
                            by Sam Staggs
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1991)

In his novel MM II: THE RETURN OF MARILYN MONROE, Sam Staggs combines
intensive research with bold imagination to explore the provocative,
and--as rendered here--startlingly plausible scenario that Marilyn
Monroe is alive and well and living in New York.

Almost eerily capturing her voice and the soft-spoken, smoldering
sexuality that catapulted her to stardom, as well as her
often-suppressed witty sense of humor, Staggs' novel--a lovely "what
if"--supposes that Marilyn's 1962 "suicide" was orchestrated by the
powers-that-were to prevent her from making good on her threat to go
public about her relationship with John F. Kennedy. An emotionally
fragile alcoholic, Marilyn is abducted to a small mining town in
Colorado. But under the strain of captivity, Marilyn surprises
everyone, including herself, by summoning the strength of the woman
she kept hidden inside--Norma Jean. She escapes to New York and,
disguised as a redhead, pursues a serious acting and singing career
under an alias, supporting herself with odd jobs, including
waitressing and clerking at Doubleday's flagship bookstore on Fifth
Avenue and 57th Street... Until a suspicious former colleague appears
and a talent search is launched for the "real" Marilyn Monroe as we
might know her today.

AUTHOR SAM STAGGS DISCUSSES THE MARILYN MYTH:

"Many others have attempted to solve the mystery of what really
happened in August 1962 in Marilyn Monroe's house in Brentwood. But
because I'm writing fiction, not biography or history, I am permitted
to step across the usual boundaries and meet a very different Marilyn
Monroe, one who goes on living into 1963, 1964, 1965... Have I started
something? Is this the next phase of the Marilyn Monroe myth? No one
really wants to relinquish Marilyn. That's why her image is alive
everywhere today--on magazine covers, in advertisements, in the shop
windows of Hollywood, New York and countless other cities. So in a
very real sense Marilyn is alive; certainly her glamour and her
unforgettable image are alive. Every time I walk on Fifth Avenue near
57th Street, I half expect to see a woman in a red wig, with an
unmistakable figure and a dazzling smile, rushing into Doubleday, late
as usual, but pausing just enough to whisper 'Sorry' in that classic
breathy voice and then laugh, mostly to herself."

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                  THE BARNHART DICTIONARY COMPANION
              A Quarterly to Update General Dictionaries
                      David K. Barnhart, Editor
                       (Springer-Verlag, 1991)

As the pursuit of knowledge advances, a new language is created to
express new ideas, concepts and discoveries. The revised editions of
dictionaries cannot keep up with the avalanche of new terminology. On
the leading edge of scientific research, Springer-Verlag expands its
boundaries to include the science of language with THE BARNHART
DICTIONARY COMPANION.

The only publication of its kind in the world devoted to updating
general dictionaries, THE BARNHART DICTIONARY COMPANION has recorded
nearly 4,000 new terms and expressions recently added to the English
language. An essential addition to the modern library, the dictionary
covers: science and technology; the social sciences; business,
economics and finance; the arts; contemporary lifestyle; sports; and
common vocabulary.

Pioneering the classification of knowledge, THE BARNHART DICTIONARY
COMPANION features:

* new words and meanings not in current dictionaries
* word usage and commentary
* explanations of word formation
* variation in forms of entry word
* comprehensive classification of usage features
* word origins explained with attention to related and earlier forms
* quotations from a wide range of literary, scientific, and general
news sources
...and much more!

Send $49 ($60 Institutional Rate) for a 1991 subscription to Volume 6
(4 quarterly issues) to: Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., Attn: Dean
Smith, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Or you can charge it by
calling 1-800-SPRINGER.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                         OFF TO A GOOD START
                      by Mary Ann Bartusis, M.D.
          (1991, Donald I. Fine, $18.95, ISBN 1-55611-186-X)
                       review by Travis Adkins

Getting married should be one of the happiest times in a person's
life. But there are all kinds of hidden pressures that arise in
planning a wedding and honeymoon that can strain even the truest of
loves. To help engaged couples avoid the pitfalls and perfect their
wedding, marriage therapist and psychiatrist Mary Ann Bartusis has
written Off TO A GOOD START:  A Guide For Engaged Couples and
Newlyweds Of All Ages.

Whether you're marrying your first love or your fourth spouse, whether
you are young or middle-aged, starting out with anyone new is always a
new start. Now, for the first time, Mary Ann Bartusis guides couples
through the many concerns of the newly married, including easy to
identify trouble spots such as:

* money questions
* lifestyle expectations
* pressure from parents, in-laws and other family members
* attitudes toward work and education
* career choices
* conflicting work schedules.

As a newlywed myself I was particularly interested in OFF TO A GOOD
START, hoping that it might reveal the secrets of a successful
marriage. Although it didn't reveal any secrets, it did provide
common-sense solutions to problems that couples typically face in
their new life together. I recommend this book not so much for the
advice that it gives, but for the issues it raises.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      THE WORLD BOOK RUSH-PRESBYTERIAN-ST. LUKE'S MEDICAL CENTER
                         MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA
                      Your Guide to Good Health
                       (World Book Inc., 1991)
                        review by Howard Frye

A comprehensive, understandable, and practical encyclopedia of over
4,500 alphabetically-arranged entries (over 1,000 pages) that explain
parts of the body, medical terms, pharmaceuticals, medical procedures,
diseases, seemingly everything anyone would need to know about their
health and its care.

Copiously illustrated, with photographs, charts, and drawings, this
MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA is easy and quick to use. Many first aid
procedures are explained with a series of illustrations, making them
particularly easy to put to practical use. Extra sections in the back
give you help in accessing entries by symptom--useful when you don't
know exactly what to look up. Other sections discuss health care
issues by age group and cover nutrition and exercise.

THE WORLD BOOK RUSH-PRESBYTERIAN-ST. LUKE'S MEDICAL CENTER MEDICAL
ENCYCLOPEDIA is a one-volume health care reference book that will
serve the entire family. Highly recommended, particularly for its
readability.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                                 ACES
                           by Robert Denny
              (Donald I. Fine, 1991, ISBN 1-55611-225-4)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

ACES is a story about the bomber crews that went into German
territory, day after day from 1942 until the end of the second World
War. To a lesser extent it is a story of the dwindling German
resources as well. Mr. Denny, with some discipline, stuck to his
original story throughout the book and was able to keep the reader's
attention well focused. In a way that's too bad, because a number of
comparatively minor incidents and personalities would certainly be
worth additional time and space (perhaps another book?).

In many ways the author seems to have captured the story of the events
taking place on one narrow strip of the broad canvas of the war. The
personalities might have been a bit more defined. It is clearly a
difficult task to write a novel about such a momentous slice of
history with a lot of the heroes still looking down at your
typewriter. In fact the very writing makes it clear that the author
participated in the historic events of that time and place.

Aficionados of this period won't want to miss this one.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        FILMED BOOKS AND PLAYS
      A List of Books and Plays from Which Films Have Been Made
                              1928-1986
                           by A.G.S. Enser
                      ($59.95, Gower Publishing)

FILMED BOOKS AND PLAYS is a unique and valuable reference work,
containing a list of books and plays from which English language films
have been made between the years 1928 and 1986.

The commencing date of 1928 was chosen because from that year on most
films produced for public viewing were talking pictures. This edition
brings it right up-to-date and includes films made especially for TV
and indicates which filmed books and plays are available for home
video viewing.

Add 3% for postage and handling and send to: Gower Publishing Company,
Old Post Road, Brookfield, VT 05036. For fastest service, call
1-800-535-9544 (orders only) or FAX 802-276-3837.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                          CASTING THE CIRCLE
                       A Women's Book of Ritual
                            by Diane Stein
                      (The Crossing Press, 1990)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

I was brought up with the rule that it is generally impolite to talk
about sex, religion, or politics in polite society, mostly because
emotions tend to run rather high in these areas. I quickly realized,
however, that banning these three fascinating topics leaves one with
not much more than the weather and baseball statistics as
conversational pivots, and my generation has suffered because of this
popular rule of etiquette. Many of us find ourselves in lives that
have no visible purpose, and no worthwhile foundation. And some of us,
particularly if we are women, find that the popular western religions
seem foreign to our nature, not the fundamental spiritual base that we
need. CASTING THE CIRCLE addresses just this problem.

Women's Spirituality is a fairly new subject for several reasons. To
begin with, it's only recently that women have had the social and
economic clout to get books by and about women published. And it's
only recently that archaeological evidence has emerged that indicates
that civilization was not always the patriarchy we have grown
accustomed to, nor was God always a Him. CASTING THE CIRCLE is a book
for women who feel a need for spiritual sustenance in their lives, a
spirituality that doesn't punish and demote them for their gender, but
rather celebrates the creativity and nurturing that are the
distinctive features of women everywhere.

CASTING THE CIRCLE gives women a foundation of historical spirituality
upon which they can base their own religious lives. The reader will
discover what is known about the ancient goddesses and the ways in
which women have traditionally manifested their spiritual selves. The
largest part of the book is devoted to women's natural relationship
with the moon and its phases, and to the important spokes of the
Neverending Wheel of the Year and the rituals common to them. Each
ritual is given with specific ideas for songs, words, music, and
symbolic talismans, but Diane Stein always reminds the reader that
each element should be personalized to the needs of the woman, or
women, involved. This is one of the chief attractions of Women's
Spirituality, as I see it---it's willingness to encompass the
individual nature of its practitioners. Where many religions attempt
to mold each person into a single form, Women's Spirituality
encourages each woman to seek what she needs in her own way.

It should be noted that CASTING THE CIRCLE is not the only book
available concerning Women's Spirituality, but it is an excellent
volume to begin with. Diane Stein is the author of a number of other
related books:  THE WOMEN'S SPIRITUALITY BOOK, THE GODDESS BOOK OF
DAYS, etc. And there is a bibliography in the back of CASTING THE
CIRCLE that will give the reader many other interesting titles. I
recommended CASTING THE CIRCLE highly, and is best thought of as a
gift---for yourself or for a female friend.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                         *******************
                         * COMPUTER CORNER *
                         *******************

                 COMPLETE GUIDE TO VENTURA PUBLISHER
                   by G. Keith Gurganus & Gary Katz
           (ScottForesman Professional Books, 1991, $21.95)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

Learning to use Xerox's Ventura Publisher can be very challenging. The
documentation that comes with the Ventura Publisher software package
is very cumbersome and confusing to use. Even after a couple of years
of experience using Ventura Publisher and its documentation, I find it
usually easier to learn a new feature by trial and error than to look
it up in the documentation.

COMPETE GUIDE TO VENTURA PUBLISHER shows you how to use the Ventura
Publisher desktop publishing system. It assumes only a basic knowledge
of computers and requires no previous experience using Ventura
Publisher. Step-by-step tutorials logically introduce you to Ventura
Publisher's commands while showing you how to produce a publication.
After the tutorials, the book discusses advanced Ventura Publisher
topics and continues with a complete reference section to all the
Ventura Publisher commands.

Following is a breakdown of the chapters in the book:

     o  Chapter 1: Preparing for Desktop Publishing
     o  Chapter 2: How Ventura Publisher Works
     o  Chapter 3: Basic Layout with Ventura Publisher
     o  Chapter 4: Creating Large Documents with Ventura Publisher
     o  Chapter 5: Using Ventura Publisher's Built-in Graphic Tools
     o  Chapter 6: Importing Graphics into Ventura Publisher
     o  Chapter 7: Ventura Publisher's Menus and Commands

Appendixes A through E include important information about installing
Ventura Publisher, the Ventura Publisher character set, text
attributes for importing word processed documents, third-party
software utilities for Ventura Publisher, and a printout of Ventura
Publisher sample chapters.

All-in-all, I found COMPETE GUIDE TO VENTURA PUBLISHER to be very easy
to use and a valuable addition to the suite of tools necessary to
master Ventura Publisher. I especially liked the simple graphic and
text explanation that was given to each of the pull-down menus and
each command that is available within each of those menus. Even after
having used Ventura Publisher for a couple of years I found I still
had a few tricks to learn. Appendix D, listing third-party software
utilities available for Ventura Publisher, is extremely valuable for a
source of software that can make creating Ventura Publisher documents
a little less painful. The name of the vendor that produces each of
the add-on utilities is listed. It would have been very helpful if
their addresses would have been listed also.

One serious omission from COMPETE GUIDE TO VENTURA PUBLISHER is any
discussion whatsoever of the features available with the Ventura
Publisher Professional Extension add-on. The VERY powerful tabling
feature is included in this extension along with vertical
justification and others. Mention is made in the front of the book
that the Professional Extension exists, but that is the last time it
is ever mentioned. A TRUE complete guide to Ventura Publisher would
also have included this valuable extension package. The new Gold
versions of Ventura Publisher include the Professional Extension as
part of the basic package. COMPETE GUIDE TO VENTURA PUBLISHER could
have been easily used with the latest version of Ventura Publisher
also if this information would have been included.

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

Coming in Reading For Pleasure #17, The Anniversary Issue, I will be
reviewing two computer user guides written by Richard Maran (both from
Hypergraphics Inc. in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada):

Simplified User Guide for Microsoft Windows 3.0
   and
MS DOS Simplified User Guide

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                      #:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#
                      #   MURDER BY THE BOOK  #
                      #:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#

                      editor:  Cindy Bartorillo

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Murder By The Book is a division of Reading For Pleasure, published
bimonthly. This material is NOT COPYRIGHTED and may be used freely by
all. Catalogs, news releases, review copies, or donated reviews should
be sent to:  Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
Frederick, MD 21702.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Featured Author:

                           RAYMOND CHANDLER
                             (1888-1959)

                  article and reviews by Howard Frye


"If being in revolt against a corrupt society constitutes being
immature, then Philip Marlowe is extremely immature. If seeing dirt
where there is dirt constitutes an inadequate social adjustment, then
Philip Marlowe has inadequate social adjustment. Of course Marlowe is
a failure and he knows it. He is a failure because he hasn't any
money. A man who, without physical handicaps, cannot make a decent
living is always a failure and usually a moral failure. But a lot of
very good men have been failures because their particular talents did
not suit their time and place. In the long run I guess we are all
failures or we wouldn't have the kind of world we have."
        ---Raymond Chandler (RAYMOND CHANDLER SPEAKING, 1962)


Born into a well-to-do family in Chicago, Raymond Chandler's mother
took him to England when he was a boy and he received a classical
education at Dulwich College in London, later attending a business
college in Paris. He worked as a teacher and a freelance journalist
before returning to the United States, and during World War I he
served with the Canadian Gordon Highlanders in France and won two
medals. After the war Chandler lived in Los Angeles, briefly working
as a reporter, then as an accountant, finally becoming a very
successful executive with several oil companies. He married Pearl
Cecily Bowen, 17 years his senior, in 1924, and was devoted to her
until her death in 1954. (Deteriorating health and alcoholism,
possibly caused by depression over his wife's death, took his life
only 5 years later.) It wasn't until the Depression, when he found
himself broke and out of work, that he took up writing, selling his
first story to the pulps (BLACK MASK) in 1933 ("Blackmailers Don't
Shoot").

Chandler wrote 20 novelettes for the pulps, in which the hero was
occasionally nameless, occasionally Carmody, Dalmas, Malvern, Mallory,
and finally became Philip Marlowe. His stories added weight to the
new, more realistic form of "hard-boiled" detective fiction.

One of Chandler's most famous pieces of writing was an essay called
"The Simple Art of Murder", published in the ATLANTIC MONTHLY in
December of 1944. In this essay you will find one of Chandler's most
famous lines:

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is
neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must
be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete
man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a
rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by
inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying
it."

Another insight into Marlowe's character is provided by Robert B.
Parker, whose name appears more prominently later in this article:

"The hard-boiled hero belongs, therefore, not to the Marxist but to
the chivalric tradition--a tradition he shares in this country with
the Westerner. He is not of the people; he is alone. His adventures
are solitary statements. His commitment is to a private moral code
without which no other code makes any sense to him. He regularly
reaffirms the code on behalf of people who don't have one."
     ---Robert B. Parker ("The American Tough Guy" in MURDER INK
                            by Dilys Winn)

You will find that one of Chandler's chief themes was the class system
in America. By keeping Marlowe lower-middle class and having him rub
shoulders with the wealthy, Chandler was able to play the social
critic by highlighting the pros and cons of being wealthy or poor in a
capitalist system. Like Hammett and Hemingway, Chandler wrote about an
unpleasant world in a realistic fashion, creating detective stories
that, while enjoyable, certainly are not escapism.


THE FILE ON PHILIP MARLOWE:

Philip Marlowe was born in 1906 in Santa Rosa, California, and
attended two years of college in Oregon. He began work as an insurance
investigator, eventually winding up working in the L.A. County DA's
office as an investigator, at least until he was fired for
insubordination.

* He's an unmarried white male just over 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, with
  dark hair and brown eyes.

* He can most often be found wearing a hat, a trench coat, and
  horn-rimmed sunglasses.

* He smokes quite a lot--usually Camels, but a pipe helps him figure
  out tough cases when he's in his office.

* He drinks quite a lot, and keeps a bottle in the bottom drawer of
  his desk.

* His office is 1-1/2 rooms on the 6th floor of the Cahuenga Building
  on Hollywood Boulevard. He has no secretary, nor does he have an
  answering service. (His phone number, by the way, is GLenview 7537.)

* His apartment is also on the 6th floor--$60 a month buys him 3-1/2
  rooms.

* He drives a Chrysler and carries a gun in a shoulder holster.

* For fun he works on chess problems and goes to the movies.

* He gets $25 a day plus expenses ("mostly gasoline and whiskey"), and
  he doesn't do divorce work.

TRIVIA:  Raymond Chandler's London solicitor was a colleague: mystery
writer Michael Gilbert.


                            THE BIG SLEEP
                                (1939)

"I'm on a case. I'm selling what I have to sell to make a living. What
little guts and intelligence the Lord gave me and a willingness to get
pushed around in order to protect a client."
                        ---from THE BIG SLEEP

"Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I
came in, although only one of them was dead."
                        ---from THE BIG SLEEP


As soon as I got PERCHANCE TO DREAM, Robert B. Parker's new sequel to
THE BIG SLEEP (see review below), I sat down and reread the original
novel to refresh my memory. You remember THE BIG SLEEP. General
Sternwood, old, sick, and very rich, hires Philip Marlowe to take care
of a blackmail threat for him. Who could forget that first meeting
between the two men in the Sternwood greenhouse? Marlowe sweating in
his shirt sleeves and drinking the General's fine brandy, while the
General sits nearly immobile in his wheelchair. Marlowe likes the
General, which is the start of (now) two books' worth of trouble.

The General tells Marlowe about his family. There's oldest daughter
Vivian, painted as predatory and hard as nails. And there's her most
recent husband, Rusty Regan: a former bootlegger who became fast
friends with the General and disappeared about a month ago. And then
there's the youngest daughter Carmen, who giggles a lot and spreads
trouble wherever she goes. Now the General has received several
gambling IOUs from a man named Geiger, apparently signed by Carmen.
Marlowe figures that there's a hidden agenda here--not only does the
General want the blackmail taken care of, he wants to be reassured
that Rusty doesn't have anything to do with it.

Almost immediately people assume that Marlowe has been hired to find
the missing Rusty, which seems to upset everyone. Despite his initial
decision to stick to the blackmail, Marlowe gets caught up in the
mystery of what happened to Rusty. THE BIG SLEEP successfully juggles
these two main plotlines, making it a more complex, and more
interesting, mystery.

TRIVIA:  THE BIG SLEEP was an created, in part, from two of his early
pulp stories: "Killer in the Rain" (1935) and "The Curtain" (1936).


                      FAREWELL, MY LOVELY (1940)

Moose Malloy, "a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall
and not wider than a beer truck", wants to find his girlfriend Velma,
who disappeared while he was in prison. Reluctantly, Marlowe begins to
look for Velma, and his search will turn up a blackmailer, an elderly
alcoholic with a secret, an Indian, a phony psychic, a crooked doctor
managing a psychiatric clinic, a gambling ship, crooked cops, and
women of loose virtue. But will he ever find Velma? And will he ever
housetrain Moose Malloy?

TRIVIA:  FAREWELL, MY LOVELY makes use of three earlier pulp stories:
"The Man Who Like Dogs" (1936), "Try the Girl" (1937), and "Mandarin's
Jade" (1937).


                        THE HIGH WINDOW (1942)

A rare coin worth $10,000 is missing--stolen, according to Marlowe's
client Mrs. Murdock, by her son's wife. Marlowe has only to get the
coin back and arrange for a quiet divorce for the young Murdock.
Sounded pretty simple, that is until the bodies started piling up.


                     THE LADY IN THE LAKE (1943)

Once again we have a missing female: Derace Kingsley, an executive at
a perfume company, hires Marlowe to find his wife, Crystal. In this
case Marlowe will do much traveling, and will even find another man
whose wife is missing. Chandler often seems fascinated by unlikely
and unsuccessful marriages.

TRIVIA:  THE LADY IN THE LAKE makes use of three earlier pulp stories:
"Bay City Blues" (1937), "The Lady in the Lake" (1939), and "No Crime
in the Mountains" (1941).


                       THE LITTLE SISTER (1949)

The title character wants to find her missing brother, and Marlowe
explores the seamy side of Hollywood uncovering drugs, blackmail, and
murder. In this book you will find the evidence of Chandler's
increasing dislike of Los Angeles, which Marlowe characterizes as
having "no more personality than a paper cup". It is possible that
this antagonism was caused by his experiences as a screenwriter.
(While we're on the subject, you can read more about the horrors of
screenwriting in Harlan Ellison's THE GLASS TEAT, about television,
and in William Goldman's ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. Both are
fascinating reading.) Chandler received Oscar nominations for the
screenplay for DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), written with Bill Wilder, and
THE BLUE DAHLIA (1946)


                   THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER (1950)

This collection includes his famous essay, "The Simple Art of Murder"
(originally published in the ATLANTIC MONTHLY), a story originally
published in the SATURDAY EVENING POST ("I'll Be Waiting"), and eleven
stories from the pulps: "Red Wind", "Finger Man", "Goldfish", "Trouble
Is My Business", "Smart-Aleck Kill", "Guns at Cyrano's", "Pearls Are a
Nuisance", "Nevada Gas", "Spanish Blood", "The King in Yellow", and
"Pick-Up on Noon Street".


                       THE LONG GOODBYE (1953)

Marlowe befriends Terry Lennox, an alcoholic living the high life.
When Terry's ex-wife gets herself killed, he flees to Mexico, where it
is said that he wrote a confession and shot himself in a hotel room.
Marlowe senses a cover-up and his sense of honor forces him to
discover what really happened to his troublesome friend.


                           PLAYBACK (1958)

I haven't been able to locate a copy of this novel, and the only
information available from my references is that the book is not very
good. Whether that's "not very good" for Chandler, or just "not very
good" in general, I don't know.

TRIVIA:  Chandler wrote a screenplay called PLAYBACK, published by
Mysterious Press in 1985.


                      KILLER IN THE RAIN (1964)

This collection contains the other 8 novelettes, which had been
"cannibalized"--Chandler's term--becoming parts of THE BIG SLEEP,
FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, and THE LADY IN THE LAKE.


                       THE SMELL OF FEAR (1965)

This is a short story collection published after Chandler's death that
contains the only story originally written about Philip Marlowe, "The
Pencil".


                            POODLE SPRINGS
                                (1989)

See the review in RFP #14.


                          PERCHANCE TO DREAM
                         by Robert B. Parker
                        (1991, Putnam, $18.95)

"How you been, Marlowe?" he said.
"Nobody's hit me with a sap this month," I said.
"Surprising," Gregory said.
"Month's not over yet," I said.
   ---from PERCHANCE TO DREAM


We all knew that Robert B. Parker could mimic the style of Chandler
when he finished the four chapters Chandler left at his death and it
was published as POODLE SPRINGS (see the review in RFP #14). Now he
not only borrows Chandler's style, his characters, and even one of his
old plots in this sequel to THE BIG SLEEP. In PERCHANCE TO DREAM we're
back with the Sternwoods--the General is gone, but Vivian is still
around, and still just as attracted to Marlowe. Morris the butler is
still there, Bernie Ohls is still in the DA's office, Captain Gregory
is still at the Missing Persons Bureau, and Carmen is still causing
trouble. And casino owner Eddie Mars is back, this time more of an
ally than an adversary.

This time Carmen has disappeared from the sanatarium where she was
getting treatment. According to who you talk talk to, she's either
escaped, been kidnapped, been released normally, or is still there and
just not well enough to receive visitors. Usually the Sternwood money
would be enough to open any doors, but it seems that Dr. Bonsentir,
the man who runs the clinic, has even bigger connections, connections
that have the power to affect even the police. But Marlowe has been
given $1 by Morris to find Carmen Sternwood, so no amount of money or
political pull will scare him off the case.

During the course of this new Carmen Sternwood case, Marlowe will deal
with fraud, police corruption, sexual kinks, and drugs. He'll also
find out about what water rights mean in the western part of the U.S.,
and what they're worth. And Vivian still looks awfully good, and
Carmen is still nothing but trouble.

I liked PERCHANCE TO DREAM even better than POODLE SPRINGS. Parker has
captured the character of Marlowe to perfection, and that's the core
of all the Marlowe stories. Phillip Marlowe is an amazing character.
For one thing, he's enormously self-assured--most insults are
responded to with gentle humor, not defensive anger. And Marlowe's
smart. Not just in the way he is able to solve the mysteries, but in
the way he handles himself and others. He often gets into jams, but
never out of ignorance, it's just that his job requires him to take
calculated risks with some frequency. The only exception to his
understanding of human behavior is in his own relationship with women;
he either sees his own sexual/romantic responses imperfectly, or he's
not sharing his insights with us.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

"The private eye could only have happened first in those years after
World War I, the years of Prohibition. There had always been
aggressive, straight-shooting fiction heroes. But it took the mood of
the twenties to add cynicism, detachment, a kind of guarded
romanticism and a compulsion towards action. The disillusionment that
followed the war, the frustration over the mushrooming gangster
control of the cities, affected the detective story as much as it did
mainstream fiction."
    ---Ron Goulart (in AN INFORMAL HISTORY OF THE PULP MAGAZINES)

"It has been said, and with some justification I think, that the
reason why the pulp detectives were so popular was that the average
American had lost faith in the society in which he or she lived, and
therefore needed heroes who cared about real values--even if they were
only in the pages of magazines."
   ---Peter Haining (in MYSTERY! AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF CRIME &
                          DETECTIVE FICTION)

"The English may not be the best writers in the world but they are
incomparably the best dull writers."
                         ---Raymond Chandler

"Best character and suspense writer for consistent but not large
production, Elisabeth Holding. Best plodding detail man, Freeman Wills
Crofts. Best Latin and Greek quoter, Dorothy Sayers. Writer with best
natural charm, Philip Macdonald. Best scary writer: none, they don't
scare me. But Dorothy Hughes does it the most. Most intriguing
character I can think of offhand, the M.C. in Margaret Millar's WALL
OF EYES. Best idea man: Cornell Woolrich."
   ---Raymond Chandler, in a letter to Alex Barris, April 16, 1949

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                     MYSTERY POSTER NOW AVAILABLE

Want to know what Sara Paretsky's hot-shot private eye, V.I.
Warshawski is up to? Just take a look at SISTERS IN CRIME'S stunning
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Clever, colored artwork gives an intriquing glimpse into the novels
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whom have won Agatha, Anthony, Edgar and Macavity awards.

How will Annie Laurance Darling, Carolyn G. Hart's sleuth, meet murder
in THE CHRISTIE CAPER? Will Barbara D'Amato's Cat Marsala survive
being thrown overboard in HARDBALL? What's the latest with: Susan
Dunlap, Charlotte MacLeod, Lia Matera, Nancy Pickard, Sharyn McCrumb
and some hot new authors--44 of your favorite or soon-to-be favorite
authors in all.

This collector's edition is available for $8 from Sisters in Crime, PO
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discount contact: Murder One at 800-522-5833.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                  WHO WROTE THE ELLERY QUEEN BOOKS?

Most mystery readers know that the byline "Ellery Queen" was actually
a collaboration between Manfred Lee and Frederic Dannay. It has been
revealed recently that in later years a number of their novels were
ghostwritten by others, sometimes by writers well-known in their own
right. As rumors fly about which novels were written by who, and how
much was Lee/Dannay material, Douglas Dannay and Richard Dannay
recently decided to set the record clear about three particular
novels. The following is excerpted from a letter that was printed in
THE ARMCHAIR DETECTIVE (Winter 1991, Volume 24, Number 1):

"THE PLAYER ON THE OTHER SIDE was NOT completely ghostwritten by
Theodore Sturgeon. Frederic Dannay prepared/created a 42-page outline
of the book, and Sturgeon wrote the novel based on the outline.
Manfred Lee then extensively revised the Sturgeon manuscript. There
were also other revisions by Frederic Dannay.

"AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY... was also written from an outline
prepared/created by Frederic Dannay, an outline of 66 pages. Avram
Davidson wrote the novel based on this outline, and the novel was then
extensively revised by Dannay and Lee.

"THE FOURTH SIDE OF THE TRIANGLE was again written from a Frederic
Dannay outline, this time of 71 pages. Again it was Davidson who
finished the novel, and he based his work on the outline. The book was
revised by Lee and Dannay."
                  ---Douglas Dannay & Richard Dannay

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                          STEFANIE MATTESON

                     article by Cindy Bartorillo

There's a new detective now available at your local bookstore---her
name is Charlotte Graham. She's an aging movie star with four Academy
Awards on her mantel and four marriages in her past, or as she
describes herself, "an over-the-hill movie star with a weakness for
manhattans and marzipan". In her early sixties, she's smart, a bit
cynical, and wants nothing more out of life than a good play or film
script.

She was first noticed in bookstores in the pages of MURDER AT THE SPA
(Charter/Diamond, 1990) in which she helps her old friend, Paulina
Langenberg, head of a large company of beauty products and health
spas. Someone seems to be trying to sabotage her spa in upstate New
York with rumors about the radium levels of the mineral waters the
High Rock Springs Spa is famous for. Soon after Charlotte checks into
the spa for the 10-day Rejuvenating Plan a woman dies in her mineral
water bath. The woman was a pill junkie, so death is easily passed off
as heart failure despite the odd arrangement of the body--head
underwater and legs dangling over the end. When another guest dies in
their mineral bath shortly after, with the body in the same position,
we know something is very wrong at High Rock Springs.

Is it Paulina's wastrel son? Or maybe her ambitious nephew? Or is it
part of a corporate takeover by her business neighbor who sells the
bottled mineral water? Even more suspicious is the charming "doctor"
who has no medical license and sells worthless, and very illegal,
injection "treatments" to ward off the effects of aging. Then again,
maybe one of the spa's other employees is dissatisfied or crazy, or it
could even be a psychotic guest.

MURDER AT THE SPA is a terrific mystery, worthy of the Golden Age when
plots were more carefully constructed than is now the norm. There is
little violence, making this a decidedly "soft-boiled" story. (Have
you ever wondered why the hard-boiled stories, with their weaponry,
violence, and cynical plots, are called "realistic"? How many people
do you know who carry guns? How often do you get beat up? I don't
think I want to meet anyone who lives in that kind of reality.) MURDER
AT THE SPA has it all:  intricate and interesting plot, recognizable
characters, and a well-drawn setting. Just the book for readers who
want a good think and an cheerful tone.

Charlotte Graham's next case is MURDER AT TEATIME (Diamond, March
1991), in which she takes a vacation after two years on Broadway and
stays with friends on a small island off the Maine coast. No sooner
does she arrive on the island than she discovers a dog who has
apparently been poisoned. The dog's owner is Dr. Thornhill, a botanist
and collector of rare botanical books. Thornhill has been the victim
of various hostile pranks lately, because of his refusal to sell his
land to the Chartwell Company, who want to turn the island into a
vacation resort. Was the dog killed as a warning to Thornhill to sell
his land? When Thornhill himself is later poisoned, the question
becomes even more important.

Who poisoned Dr. Thornhill's tea? Was it his boozy housekeeper,
jealous of his upcoming marriage? Or his niece, who believed the new
wife would turn her out of her home? Or his daughter and her
hot-tempered husband, afraid that Thornhill would change his will? It
could have been the bookseller Felix Mayer, who stands to make a great
deal of money on Thornhill's death, and who desperately needs it. Or
could it have been Gilley, the destitute lobsterman whose ancestors
gave Gilley Island its name? Once again, Charlotte solves the crimes,
giving a Fourth of July performance that makes a thrilling climax for
the story. MURDER AT TEATIME becomes Charlotte's (and author
Matteson's) second big success.

NOTE:  In addition to the great story, characters, and setting,
Matteson's Charlotte Graham novels also are very educational. In
MURDER AT THE SPA you'll learn about mineral water and what it's like
to go to, and run, a health spa. In MURDER AT TEATIME you can pick up
a few details about lobstering, and quite a bit of information and
folklore about herbs. And both books are punctuated with quotes from
plays. MURDER AT THE SPA reminds Charlotte of Henrik Ibsen's AN ENEMY
OF THE PEOPLE (a wonderful play to read, by the way, just as bitingly
funny as it was when it was written), while MURDER AT TEATIME sticks
to Shakespeare, mostly MACBETH (another great play to read).

Fans of Charlotte Graham will have to wait until this fall (November
1991) for her next case---MURDER ON THE CLIFF, set in Newport, Rhode
Island, the summer social capital of the Gilded Age. The fourth
Charlotte Graham mystery will be set in western China and is
tentatively titled MURDER ON THE SILK ROAD.

RFP managed to catch Charlotte Graham's creator, Stefanie Matteson,
between chapters, and we asked her to tell us about our favorite new
amateur detective. Here's what she had to say:

"Charlotte Graham is a world-famous movie star who turned to Broadway
when her age resulted in a dearth of movie roles. Her career in the
movies and on Broadway has spanned fifty years. Having made her first
movie in 1939, she is a composite of the great actresses of the
forties. I chose Charlotte because I wanted a woman and I wanted an
amateur. But amateur female sleuths who meddle in police affairs seem
to me to have an insignificance that strains the reader's credibility.
In order for a woman to meddle believably in murder, I thought, she
ought to have some kind of distinction, and, distinction, I concluded,
is conferred on women in our society only by age, money, power, or
beauty. (Sad to say, brains don't count, though Charlotte has plenty.)
I chose a legendary movie star because such a character possesses all
of these attributes, plus an appealing dose of glamor. Another reason
I chose Charlotte is the modernity of her life story: although she
belongs to the older generation, her life was shaped by the major
women's issue of today: the conflict between career and family.
Married four times, and with no children (by the time she was
confident enough to stand up to the studios on this issue, it was too
late), she--like many successful career women in other fields--has
ended up facing life entirely on her own. Finally, I chose Charlotte
because of her versatility. As well-known (and as beloved) to several
generations of Americans as a member of their own family, she can be
planted by the author in almost any kind of situation and still retain
the reader's credibility.

"As for my relationship with her, she's a much tougher cookie than I
am. Though she is outwardly gracious and refined, the circumstances of
her turbulent personal life have resulted in extraordinary inner
strength. But at a cost: although she is independent and resourceful,
she is also often lonely and sometimes sad. Also, she is far more
adventurous than I. In the 1930s, my mother, who as a young woman was
beautiful and glamorous, used to fly airplanes as a hobby; I suppose
Charlotte is the fulfillment of my mother's fantasies of what her life
might have become had it taken a less conventional turn. The same
might be said of myself, and probably of my readers as well."

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Here's four more women of mystery you should know about:  Linda
Paulson, Joyce Morden, Jo Davies, and Barb Adams. Collectively they
run Death At Your Door: Mail Order Mysteries, selling mystery books,
audio cassettes, and mystery-related gift items. As they describe it,
"For those of you who are new to our catalogue, we feature women
authors/protagonists and Northwest mystery writers and locales. Our
books tend to fall at the 'cozy' end of the mystery spectrum; we try
to stay away from books with graphic or gratuitous violence and
exploitative sex." They also accept special orders and sell gift
certificates. Write for a catalogue (and I'd enclose a couple of
dollars to be polite) to: Death At Your Door, PO Box 2452, Sequim, WA
98382-2452. They take checks, money orders, VISA, and MasterCard.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                  THE DOUBLEDAY MYSTERY GUILD AWARDS

Book of the Year:  "F" IS FOR FUGITIVE by Sue Grafton
Second Place:  THE CAT WHO WENT UNDERGROUND by Lillian Jackson Braun
Third Place:  THE OLD SILENT by Martha Grimes

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                      A LITTLE GENTLE SLEUTHING
                          by Betty Rowlands
                            (Walker, 1990)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

Melissa Craig, better known to her readers as crime novelist Mel
Craig, has just moved into a small cottage in the Cotswolds. This is a
first, tentative stab at independence for the fortysomething woman,
from her overprotective boyfriend and her domineering agent. Now out
in the country, the only near neighbor is the cottage next door,
inhabited by Iris, a colorful vegetarian artist, and her cat Binkie.
An abandoned shepherd's hut gives Melissa the idea for a new novel,
and soon she's settled into a comfortable routine, interrupted only by
mysterious phone calls for a "Babs", from a young man who sounds very
distraught. The young man desperately wants to meet Babs at "the usual
place". Who is Babs, and why does the man never wait to hear Melissa
tell him he's got the wrong number?

Thinking about these calls and the possible explanations gives Melissa
some more ideas for her novel, and working out the plot of her novel
is giving her more ideas about what is happening in reality. When Iris
finds a long-dead body in the woods, Melissa is soon wondering if it
could be the missing Babs, who disappeared almost a year ago. The
tangling and untangling of real events and the plot of Melissa's new
novel is just one of the pleasures provided by Betty Rowlands first
full-length novel. Another is watching the development of Melissa,
from the uncertainty she displays in the first few pages to the
confident and independent woman she has become by the last chapter.
The language is a delight as well. I have no idea if it's authentic or
not--but if it isn't, it should be.

The only indication of this being a first effort is the pacing, which
is a bit slow, even for a "cozy" mystery. The characters and the plot
are all interesting enough, but the element of suspense could have
been turned up a notch. In any case though, this is a most promising
first novel and readers will surely look forward to many more
mysteries from Betty Rowlands. I know I'd love to read some more about
Melissa Craig (and of course the cantankerous Iris). Recommended.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        THE OLD CONTEMPTIBLES
                           by Martha Grimes
                        (Little, Brown, 1991)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

This is Martha Grimes' eleventh novel featuring Superintendent Richard
Jury of Scotland Yard and his wealthy friend Melrose Plant. This time
there's a new twist--Richard Jury is under suspicion himself in the
death of Jane Holdsworth, who died from an overdose of sleeping pills.
Jury had not only been dating her, but had even purchased a ring to
give to her as a token of the seriousness of their relationship.

Jane's teenaged son Alex is the one to find the body, and he refuses
to believe that his mother committed suicide. He is also worried about
being shipped to Tarn House, where his dead father's greedy family
lives. Alex likes his great-grandfather Adam, but can't stand any of
the others. Apparently Adam Holdsworth doesn't like his family any
better, because he now voluntarily lives at a nearby rest home, where
he meets the delightful, wealthy kleptomaniac Lady Cray.

After Jane's death, attention shifts to the remainder of the
Holdsworth family, a family that has suffered more than their share of
"accidental" deaths and suicides. To find out who killed Jane, and
possibly others, Jury sends Melrose Plant to Tarn House to be a
librarian for the boringly pretentious Crabbe Holdsworth. It takes
Jury, Plant, Alex, Adam, Lady Cray, and the delightfully precocious
11-year-old Millie to solve the curse of the Holdsworth family, and
Martha Grimes' prose style makes getting there at least half the fun.
After an initial detour with an unnecessary plot thread concerning
Melrose Plant and his friends, THE OLD CONTEMPTIBLES settles into top
notch form, adding another success to Martha Grimes' career. Highly
recommended.


THE NOVELS OF MARTHA GRIMES
(All named after real-life English pubs)

The Man With a Load of Mischief
The Old Fox Deceiv'd
The Anodyne Necklace
The Dirty Duck
Jerusalem Inn
Help the Poor Struggler
The Deer Leap
I Am the Only Running Footman
Five Bells and Bladebone
The Old Silent
The Old Contemptibles

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

               The killer was too clever to be caught.
               Charlie was too smart for her own good.
                      She knows how to find him.
                      HE knows where she lives.
             Playing with fire, it's easy to get burned.

               MOTH TO THE FLAME by Kathleen Dougherty
             A Shattering Novel of Psychological Suspense
                           coming in April
         The Berkley Publishing Group, Diamond imprint $4.50

"Terrifying and riveting, Kathleen Dougherty has created that rarest
of entities: a finely-written, ORIGINAL thriller. The most intriguing
blend of crime fiction, sci-fi and horror since FALLING ANGEL."
                        ---Jonathan Kellerman

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                         THE IRISHMAN'S HORSE
                          by Michael Collins
          (1991, Donald I. Fine, $18.95, ISBN 1-55611-185-1)
                       review by Travis Adkins

Hired by the wife of an earnest young diplomat to find her husband,
who has just disappeared from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City,
Fortune stumbles upon a murder at a warehouse that appears to be a
front for a drug-smuggling operation. He is rescued from the ensuing
shoot-out by a suave, enigmatic stranger--the Irishman--who soon draws
him into an international scandal involving the CIA and a Columbian
drug cartel. Fortune's search takes him through the sultry Guatemalan
jungle and builds into a frantic climax in Mexico City.

I must admit when I read the inside cover of this book and found out
Dan Fortune was a one-armed private eye living in Santa Barbara, I
harbored some doubts. The description of Dan Fortune didn't coincide
at all with my idea of a private investigator. Fortunately, I didn't
let my narrow-mindedness keep me from reading this very entertaining
mystery novel. Though this was my first "Dan Fortune" novel, it
certainly will not be my last.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

KILL THE MESSENGER by Elizabeth Daniels Squire was a March 1991
paperback release from St. Martin's. Hope you haven't missed it.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

In any of the Sara Paretsky novels you've read, did you ever picture
private detective V.I. Warshawski as Kathleen Turner? Neither have I.
Guess we'll just have to wait and see how that works out in the
upcoming movie, WARSHAWSKI, directed by Jeff Kanew, screenplay by
David Aaron Cohen.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                           ONE MAN'S POISON
                           by John R. Riggs
                        (1991, Dembner Books)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

This was my first Garth Ryland mystery, and I sure hope it won't be my
last. ONE MAN'S POISON allows us to spend a short time in Oakalla,
Wisconsin, where Garth Ryland owns/publishes/edits the town's weekly
newspaper, and throughout the novel, the focus remains on the town of
Oakalla and it's varied inhabitants. As the story begins, a mild
earthquake shakes up the town, and several days later everyone's water
tastes like rotten eggs. Simultaneously, Rowena Parker reports that
her ex-husband Jimmy hasn't returned her son (little Jimmy) after his
scheduled weekend custody. Sheriff Roberts isn't feeling well and asks
Garth Ryland to help out in finding the little boy.

Garth manages to find little Jimmy all right, but not big Jimmy. And
when he finds the body of Oakalla's most prominent citizen,
now-retired Judge Glick, stuffed into a toxic-waste barrel, the
mystery deepens. What do the toxic-waste barrels have to do with
Oakalla's tainted water? What is in the cave in the Barrens, and who
is it that's hanging around there? Why did Judge Glick all of a sudden
kick his sister out of his house and then retire from the bench five
years ago? Is big Jimmy really little Jimmy's father? Who is the
strange Indian that is following Garth? Garth will need the answers to
all of these questions, and a few more besides, to get life back onto
an even keel in the small town.

The mysteries are interesting, but not as fascinating as the residents
of Oakalla, and Riggs focuses ONE MAN'S POISON on the characters and
their reactions to the various conflicts and questions. A thoroughly
enjoyable story from beginning to end, my only complaint is that the
story wasn't longer. The characters and plot threads could well have
borne the weight of an extra hundred pages (over the given 220), and
some of the plot sped by a bit faster than I would have preferred. I
guess I'll just have to wait for the next Garth Ryland mystery to get
some more insight into the citizens of Oakalla, Wisconsin.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

JUROR by Parnell Hall (reviewed in RFP #15) has been optioned for film
development by Joel Silver at Warner Brothers. Parnell Hall himself
has been hired to write the screenplay

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

HARDBALL by Barbara D'Amato was a February 1991 release in paperback
from Worldwide Library. Hope you didn't miss it.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                         IMMACULATE DECEPTION
                           by Warren Adler
                        (1991, Donald I. Fine)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

"The primary mission of the MPD, was to protect the politicians, the
bureaucrats and diplomats in the nation's capital, protect their lives
and property and their ability to function. The system was
politicized, top to bottom."
               --from IMMACULATE DECEPTION (Chapter 14)


IMMACULATE DECEPTION is the latest installment in Warren Adler's
police procedural series featuring Washington, D.C. homicide detective
Fiona FitzGerald. The first of the series, AMERICAN QUARTET, was named
as one of 1982's ten best crime novels by the New York TIMES BOOK
REVIEW. AMERICAN SEXTET is the only other Fiona FitzGerald novel.

The mystery this time surrounds the death of Congresswoman Frances
("Frankie") McGuire, a right-to-lifer found siting in bed with a glass
of wine spiced with cyanide. An autopsy finds that, despite her
long-standing lack of marital relations with her husband, she was six
weeks pregnant. A case of Immaculate Conception, or is it more likely
deception? Fiona's boss, oddly nicknamed the Eggplant, immediately
declares that his instincts all point to murder, but just about
everyone else is hoping it's simply a suicide.

One of the most fascinating aspects of IMMACULATE DECEPTION is the
working out of the political strands involved in the case. We come to
realize that despite our moral insistance that a human life has ended
and justice must be done, this death is undeniably a political event.
On one level, the police must determine who brought about the death
and prosecute the guilty party if such person is still around. On
another level, the pro-lifers and the pro-choicers are going to have
to deal with whatever happens, minimizing bad press and exploiting the
positive aspects. On yet another level, the Congresswoman's death has
left a vacant seat that some lucky politician will get to fill and
several unlucky ones won't. We come to realize that separating
politics from a death is impossible when that life was devoted to
politics.

Continuing the wheels-within-wheels structure of this story, Fiona has
decided to conceive a child by her current lover without his consent
or knowledge. This gives the McGuire case a particular resonance to
Fiona as she shares in many of the conception/deception issues.
Indeed, the depth of Fiona's character lifts a mundane mystery into
more rarefied territory as she constantly surprises and engages us
with her many strengths and weaknesses. IMMACULATE DECEPTION is not
for the ethically squeamish, but is highly recommended reading for the
rest of us.

Warren Adler, by the way, is the author of THE WAR OF THE ROSES, the
novel from which the film was made. He is also adapting his
forthcoming novel PRIVATE LIES for a Tristar Pictures 1991 release,
and is currently at work on the next Fiona FitzGerald novel, SENATOR
LOVE, to be published in August 1991 by Donald I. Fine, Inc.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

BY SUSAN DUNLAP:  PIOUS DECEPTION (a Kiernan O'Shaughnessy story) is
in Villard hardcover and Dell paperback; TOO CLOSE TO THE EDGE (a Jill
Smith story) is a Dell paperback; A DINNER TO DIE FOR (Jill Smith) is
a Dell paperback; DIAMOND IN THE BUFF (Jill Smith) is a May 1991
paperback release from Dell; and ROGUE WAVE (Kiernan O'Shaughnessy) is
a June 1991 hardcover release from Villard.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                      THE ADVENTURES OF PAUL PRY
                       by Erle Stanley Gardner
                       (1989, Mysterious Press)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

Erle Stanley Gardner is best known as the creator of America's most
famous criminal lawyer--Perry Mason. Relatively few know that before
his long series of PM novels, he had an illustrious career writing for
the pulps, side by side with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler
(and many, many others). This book collects a few of his stories about
Paul Pry, all originally published between 1930 and 1933, and all
appearing in book form for the first time.

Series sleuth Paul Pry is a professional opportunist who preys on
criminals, assisted by Mugs Magoo, an alcoholic one-armed ex-cop with
a photographic memory for faces. Mugs' downfall from the police force
is described with typical economy: "A political shake-up forced him
out. An accident took off his right arm at the shoulder. Booze had
done the rest." Mugs sells pencils on a street corner and fingers
big-time crooks for Paul Pry, who then follows them to see what
they're up to. Paul Pry's genius is such that he not only figures out
what the bad guys are going to do and exactly how they're going to do
it, he also foils their plans and puts himself in line for a large
reward.

But we're not done with Pry's idiosyncrasies quite yet. He dresses
like a dandy and carries a sword-cane, which he apparently knows how
to use. And he relaxes by playing one of his extensive collection of
American Indian drums, an odd practice but one that helps him solve
many perplexing mysteries of the underworld. The Paul Pry stories
won't make anyone forget Perry Mason, but they show earlier stages of
Gardner's career and are an interesting peculiarity in their own
right.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

"I figured out long ago that a negative review meant one of two
things: either the critic doesn't like the kind of thing I do, in
which case I figure who can argue with taste? or the critic didn't
UNDERSTAND what I was trying to do, in which case I say, who cares
what an idiot thinks?"
                        ---William L. DeAndrea

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

             THE BLONDE IN LOWER SIX: Plus 3 Short Novels
                       by Erle Stanley Gardner
                        (1990, Carroll & Graf)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

If you don't think that fiction has to be brand new to be interesting,
you should always keep an eye on what Carroll & Graf are publishing.
They are first rate at finding older material that's out of print and
shouldn't be. Like some of the little-known non-Perry Mason material
written by Erle Stanley Gardner. THE BLONDE IN LOWER SIX, like DEAD
MEN'S LETTERS, brings back a handful of Gardner's stories about Ed
Jenkins, "The Phantom Crook", misunderstood friend of the underworld
and all-around righter of wrongs.

The major offering here is the title novel, an elaborate and sometimes
confusing mystery about mistaken identities and corporate
shenanigans. Ed Jenkins is found in his usual habitat, San
Francisco's Chinatown, as he accepts a job from the head of the
Chinese underground, Soo Hoo Duck. It seems that a woman named Betty
Crofath has important information about about the Japanese military,
information that would be very useful to the Chinese. She is taking a
train from New Orleans to San Francisco and Ed must join the train at
Tucson and keep an eye on her. She'll be easy to find, she's "the
blonde in Lower Six". Unfortunately, the first time Ed catches sight
of the blonde in Lower Six, she's dead. But is it really Betty Crofath
or an impostor? Why do the newspapers say that the dead woman is
Daphne Strate, a woman suspected of embezzling from the chemical
company she worked for in New Orleans?

Ed Jenkins must straighten out this situation, keeping one step ahead
of both the bad guys and the police, and along the way explaining the
American legal system from his personal perspective (a much more
cynical explanation than we get from Gardner's more famous character,
Perry Mason). It's all good fun, as are the other stories ("The Wax
Dragon", "Grinning Gods", "Yellow Shadows"), making it obvious why
Gardner was one of the kings of the pulps. And thanks go once again to
Carroll & Graf for rescuing some more good reading from oblivion.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

             THE NOSTALGIA DEPARTMENT AT HARPER PERENNIAL

Remember Race Williams? He was a very popular hard-boiled fictional
detective (actually I think he might have been the FIRST hard-boiled
fictional detective) created by Carroll John Daly, and he appeared
often in BLACK MASK magazine and in novels in the late 1920s and in
the 1930s. Harper Perennial has bought the reprint rights to the first
two Race Williams novels, THE HIDDEN HAND and THE SNARL OF THE BEAST,
which will appear in bookstores early in 1992.

Now I *know* you remember Ellery Queen, the cerebral amateur detective
created by Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee. Harper Perennial is
planning a major reprint program, starting later this year with
CALAMITY TOWN, THE ORIGIN OF EVIL, THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN, and FACE TO
FACE.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                               THE VIG
                         by John T. Lescroart
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1991)

With DEAD IRISH (Donald I. Fine, 1989), John T. Lescroart won
widespread critical acclaim for his ability to invest characters and
settings with a complex layering of depth and detail, using the
detective story as a means through which to explore the lower depths
of human emotion. Now, in THE VIG, Lescroart's ex-cop, part-time
investigator and sometime bartender Dismas Hardy returns in a major
novel of revenge and betrayal that delves into the murky shadows
surrounding the fine line between appearance and reality.

"Louis Baker gets out of jail today and he's going to kill us both,"
former prosecutor Rusty Ingraham warns his old friend, Hardy. When
Hardy finds the remains of a bloodbath on Rusty's barge in San
Francisco's China basin, he sets out to prove the "obvious"--that
Ingraham was, indeed, murdered by the ex-con. But instead of
formulating a clear-cut case, Hardy stumbles into a convoluted series
of deceptions--as the key suspect becomes a killer's target, the
police react with startling apathy, and Ingraham's body is nowhere to
be found.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

               THE REMARKABLE CASE OF DOROTHY L. SAYERS
                         by Catherine Kenney
                    (1990, Kent State Univ. Press)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Dorothy L. Sayers, perhaps more successfully than any other writer,
combined the detective novel and the more literary, "real" novel in
one volume. She is not only the favorite mystery writer of many
demanding readers, but is the ONLY mystery writer enjoyed by many who
otherwise wouldn't be caught with a detective story on their shelves.
Catherine Kenney's highly readable assessment of DLS's literary
output, THE REMARKABLE CASE OF DOROTHY L. SAYERS, fills a longstanding
need for extended consideration of this eminent writer. This is not a
biography, but an examination of one writer's work.

Kenney's book is divided into three sections. In the first she takes a
long look at Sayers' detective fiction, and spends some enjoyable time
on the question of why scholars and detective stories seem so
inseparable:

"A good detective story IS entertaining, but its peculiar pleasures
are much like those provided by university debating societies, the
rough and tumble of scholarly investigation, the invigorating rigors
of the tutorial and the examination."

Attention is also paid to the critical essays that Sayers wrote about
other authors' work, and all is put in the context of Sayers entire
life, the later years of which she would spend translating Dante and
writing religious drama.

"She once remarked, vis-a-vis her monumental study of Dante, that
there are really only two questions at the foundation of all good
criticism: What is the writer trying to tell us? and What does this
statement mean to us today?"

Ultimately, Kenney concludes that Sayers' influence on the history of
the detective story was considerable, and interprets the stories, and
other critics' evaluations, from her own well-argued perspective:

"At her best, Sayers has no peer as a detective story writer who is
also a genuine novelist...THE NINE TAILORS, GAUDY NIGHT, and just
below them, THE DOCUMENTS IN THE CASE and BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, are
truly great mystery stories, the classics of their kind."

"By the time she wrote GAUDY NIGHT and BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, the element
of detection was so subordinated to other novelistic considerations,
including theme and character development, that some readers felt she
had abandoned the genre. I would suggest that she had redefined it."

Early in the book, Kenney discusses the appeal of Lord Peter Wimsey,
particularly as he appeared in the beginning in WHOSE BODY?--a
stereotypical English gentleman, without being foppish or overly
pompous.

"In Wimsey, ambivalent colonials can have their aristocrat and like
him, too."

In the second section, Kenney studies Sayers as Feminist, not only
looking at her delightful essay, "Are Women Human?", but taking stock
of what her fiction reveals about her sexual politics.

"I am occasionally desired by congenital imbeciles and the editors of
magazines to say something about the writing of detective fiction
'from the woman's point of view.' To such demands, one can only say,
'Go away and don't be silly. You might as well ask what is the female
angle on an equilateral triangle.'"
---Dorothy L. Sayers, in "Are Women Human?", quoted on p. 123

And from Kenney we hear:

"Harriet Vane's search for a relationship based upon equality,
honesty, and mutual respect is the compelling story of achieving a
precarious, hard-won balance between opposing forces that goes beyond
the simple solution of a detective story."

"In its scathing portrait of the Vane-Boyes liaison, the novel [STRONG
POISON] underscores how so-called sexual liberation has tended to
exact a higher toll on women than on men."

"The Vane-Wimsey quartet, especially in its last two books, remains
Sayers's most serious and subtle treatment of sexual politics and the
predicament of modern woman."

And finally, in the last section of THE REMARKABLE CASE OF DOROTHY L.
SAYERS, Kenney examines Sayers' contribution to Christianity, the
major focus of her later years.

"THE DOCUMENTS IN THE CASE dramatizes what she would later argue: that
belief is enhanced by knowledge and rational questioning, and that all
the disciplines, when properly employed, can help make sense of an
often forbidding and mysterious universe."

"[MURDER MUST ADVERTISE] asks implicitly whether pleasure, physical
comfort, and entertainment are the proper goals of human experience,
and suggests that the value of human activity must be judged by some
standard outside the human being."

The appeal of Kenney's book, like that of Sayers' detective stories,
lies in its combination of intellectual sustenance, plain speaking,
and appeal to common feelings. This is not the desiccated autopsy that
literary criticism has made famous, if not popular, over many years.
THE REMARKABLE CASE OF DOROTHY L. SAYERS is an absorbing study of a
talented writer, and is written with great charm and good sense.

"Wide appeal does not necessarily prove artistic merit, of course, but
the common modern contempt for writers who have such appeal does not
prove the opposite, either."

At the end of all her ruminations, Kenney decides, as the reader will,
that the trip was worth it:

"Novelist, essayist, dramatist, scholar, critic, translator,
poet--Dorothy L. Sayers may properly be awarded the title few have
earned: woman of letters."

THE REMARKABLE CASE OF DOROTHY L. SAYERS is highly recommended.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

"Life is like an Italian sausage. You don't want to examine it too
closely and find out what it's made of. It might be awful stuff like
pig's farts and cow dung. Just eat it and if it tastes good, count
yourself lucky."
  ---from NEWSPAPER MURDERS by Joe Gash (pseudonym of Bill Granger)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                          MURDER IMPOSSIBLE
      An Extravaganza of Miraculous Murders, Fantastic Felonies
                        & Incredible Criminals
                 edited by Jack Adrian & Robert Adey
                        (1990, Carroll & Graf)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

It's impossible to read very widely in the mystery field without
coming across the subgenre of Impossible Crimes, a particularly
intellectual, puzzle-oriented form of the classic detective story. As
the editors point out in their introduction, plot is all important
here, with characterization and other literary niceties becoming
mostly irrelevant. To an Impossible Crime fan, the physical problem
and its logical solution is everything. Of course, not everyone likes
Impossible Crime literature. I think, like an appreciation of Agatha
Christie's THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD, it depends on your tolerance
for being stumped (and occasionally tricked).

As an example, take the first story in this impressive anthology: "The
House in Goblin Wood" by John Dickson Carr, generally acknowledged to
be the Grand Master of the Impossible Crime story. With hindsight, I
can see that Carr announces his intention at the very beginning of the
story, he actually told me what was going to happen, and yet I was
STILL fooled. (I was also amazed at the grisly nature of this 1947
story.) Not to imply that I'm particularly difficult to hoodwink, but
it still astounds and delights me to find writers with this much
narrative power.

MURDER IMPOSSIBLE contains a varied selection of criminous stories,
some you'll like more than others. I thought W. Hope Hodgson's
"Bullion!" was too complicated, and I didn't believe the science of
Jacques Futrelle's "An Absence of Air", but I thought Bill Pronzini's
"Proof of Guilt" was wonderful. Pronzini's deceptively simple writing
style highlights the theme without getting in its way.

"The Impossible Theft" by John F. Suter charmed me by being the only
story that I figured out immediately. In "It's a Dog's Life", by John
Lutz, the private detective's sidekick is a neutered female dog named
Samantha, or Sam for short or--wait for it--Sam Spayed. If you like
old-fashioned mysteries with locked train compartments and exotic
poisons, you'll enjoy Sax Rohmer's "The Death of Cyrus Pettigrew". Sax
Rohmer, of course, is best known for his stories featuring Dr. Fu
Manchu.

I thought "Ghost in the Gallery" by Joseph Cummings was a better story
than a mystery, while Edgar Wallace's "The Missing Romney" and Gerald
Findler's "The House of Screams" didn't particularly stand out as
either. All was forgiven, however, for Edward D. Hoch's "The
Impossible Murder", where the crime has occurred in bumper-to-bumper
traffic. George Locke's parody, "A Nineteenth Century Debacle" is fun;
John Dickson Carr's radio play, "A Razor in Fleet Street", is better;
and "Dinner at Garibaldi's" by Leonard Pruyn is better still.

The longest piece in the book, Joel Townsley Rogers' novella, "The
Hanging Rope", reminds me of the clever misdirection of Agatha
Christie at her best, keeping the answer from you by holding it too
close to your nose for you to focus on. Like the purloined letter
hidden in the letter rack, facts become part of the landscape before
you've had a chance to analyze them in the light of the mystery.

One of my favorite's in MURDER IMPOSSIBLE is "Now You See Her" by
Jeffrey Wallmann, which was as educational as it was entertaining.
This is the kind of information that you want to keep in the back of
your mind, just in case someone in your life becomes more troublesome
than they're worth...

MURDER IMPOSSIBLE finishes up with Barry Perowne's captivating "The
Blind Spot", and the very best parody I've ever read--"Chapter the
Last: Merriman Explains" by Alex Atkinson (having some fun with John
Dickson Carr and his series character Sir Henry Merrivale).

One important note about MURDER IMPOSSIBLE:  To any fan of a
particular type of story, anthologies are more often disappointing
than not. Given a finite pool of literature to fish in, fans exhaust
the common stories easily and early, and the common examples of a
subgenre tend to show up in anthology after anthology with irritating
regularity. MURDER IMPOSSIBLE doesn't have that problem, as almost all
of the stories appear in book form for the very first time, a
refreshing change of pace for the weary short story collector.

MURDER IMPOSSIBLE packs a lot of reading enjoyment between its covers,
and is recommended to all.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        TWO BY WILLIAM F. LOVE

Love's mysteries are set in New York City and feature an unlikely
detective duo: wheelchair-bound Auxiliary Bishop Francis X. Regan, an
amateur sleuth with an IQ of 220, and his Special Assistant, Davey
Goldman, a Jewish New York City cop-turned-private-eye.


                         THE CHARTREUSE CLUE
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1990)

A priest awakens one morning in a locked apartment to find his
ladyfriend murdered. The challenge for Regan and Goldman is to find
the murderer before the police find the priest.

                      THE FUNDAMENTALS OF MURDER
                     (Donald I. Fine, June 1991)

Jerry Fanning, a young Fundamentalist preacher, arrives in New York
convinced that the Lord has sent him to convert the entire city to
Jesus. But before he can complete his mission, the police uncover
clues pointing to him as the murderer of four prostitutes and he finds
himself behind bars. Luckily for him, he had met Bishop Regan before
his incarceration. After reviewing the facts, Regan is determined to
prove the man innocent. His razor-sharp mind delves into areas the
police never thought of, and using Davey's contacts, street smarts and
legwork, he sets out to reveal and apprehend the true killer.

Author William F. Love, born and raised in Oklahoma, was a Catholic
priest from 1958 to 1969. Following his resignation from the
priesthood, he married, moved to Chicago and became a banker. He
worked at three banks over the next fourteen years, then from 1984 to
1988 he was a private consultant. In 1988 he began writing THE
CHARTREUSE CLUE, and is now a full-time novelist.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

               RECENT RELEASES AND FORTHCOMING GOODIES

WHO IS JOE MERCHANT? by Jimmy Buffett (a comic mystery coming from HBJ
  in the fall)
KAT'S CRADLE by Karen Kijewski (the third Kat Colorado novel)
ROMAN BLOOD by Steven Saylor (historical mystery set in ancient Rome,
  coming from St. Martin's)
DEAD ON THE ISLAND by Bill Crider (a Truman Smith mystery, from
  Walker)
SWEET WOMEN LIE by Loren Estleman (an Amos Walker mystery, coming from
  Houghton Mifflin)
BREAKDOWN by Bill Pronzini (a Nameless mystery, from Delacorte)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

             COMING IN JUNE (OUR 2nd ANNIVERSARY ISSUE)!!

Reviews of:

CHAMELEON
by William X. Kienzle

When a prostitute is murdered after midnight on the mean streets of
Detroit, it usually isn't front-page news. But when the prostitute's
body is found dressed in a nun's habit outside one of Detroit's
oldest--and at one time most prestigious--Catholic churches, it
strikes the interest of the curious-minded. And when that prostitute
is Helen Donovan, a call girl who numbered among her clientele some of
the city's most powerful figures, and whose sister is the most
influential nun in the Detroit archdiocese, the prostitute's death
takes on a significance that no one can ignore.

Helen's death becomes Father Koesler's thirteenth mystery.


SEA OF TROUBLES
by Janet Smith
(Perseverance Press)

When young Seattle attorney Annie MacPherson boards the ferry for the
San Juan Islands, she has no idea that she's embarking on a sea of
troubles. Her investigation at a luxury resort soon broadens from real
estate legalities to kidnapping and murder. Whether to unravel the
past's tangled secrets, or to sport with kayaks and killer whales in
the deadly straits, that is the question. But it's in suffering love's
slings and arrows that Annie ultimately discovers her outrageous
fortune.


THE LAST PAGE
by Bob Fenster
(Perseverance Press)

A mystery editor is found slumped across her desk, with a rejection
note stapled to her sleeve and a bullet hole through her heart--for
the second time. Does the murder have a personal motive, or is it just
a frustrated writer who can't deal with rejection? The New York City
police captain vetoes an investigation of thousands of suspects, so
Detective Brian Skiles and editor Anne Baker must set a deadly trap to
catch the killer, and to prove the pen is mightier than the sword.


EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS MINE
by Sandra Scoppettone
(Little, Brown, 1991)

In EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS MINE, veteran mystery writer Sandra
Scoppettone introduces Lauren Laurano, a savvy, street-smart, and
socially conscious private detective who is sure to intrigue and
entertain readers from page 1. Not your average hard-bitten toughie,
Lauren is terrified of insects and blood, and addicted to the
chocolate torte at her favorite pastry shop in New York City's
Greenwich Village. She's pretty, funny, fashionable, financially
secure, and lesbian.

With the support of her beautiful psychotherapist lover, Kip, Lauren
must solve the grisly murder of a wealthy young woman--the
incongruously named Lake Huron--who made one too many connections
through a computer dating service. This case is every bit a product of
the high-tech nineties, and Lauren must overcome her computer phobia
in order to follow a trail of clues left via modem and floppy disk.
Matters are complicated still further by the fact that Lake's
supposedly bereaved family is not quite what it seems, and Lauren soon
finds herself involved with a type of violence that is even more
heinous, perhaps, than murder.

In dealing with this complex amalgam of confused family relationships,
greed, and betrayal, Lauren is forced to confront her limits as a
woman, a detective, and a member of a society in which the value of
human life seems to be decreasing at an alarming rate. Yet through it
all, she employs her own brand of zany yet down-to-earth sleuthing and
keeps her sense of humor. In EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS MINE, Sandra
Scoppettone, an Edgar Award nominee, serves up a story that is not
only suspenseful but also full of sly commentary on the crazy, hip
denizens of New York City and the central issues of modern urban life.


                  ...And Maybe Even A Few Surprises!

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                       *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
                       *                     *
                       *  FRIGHTFUL FICTION  *
                       *                     *
                       *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        Editor:  Annie Wilkes

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Frightful Fiction is a division of Reading For Pleasure, published
bimonthly. This material is NOT COPYRIGHTED and may be used freely by
all. Catalogs, news releases, review copies, or donated reviews should
be sent to:  Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
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                             SLEEPWALKER
                          by Michael Cadnum
                         (St. Martin's, 1991)
                      ISBN 0-312-04995-1 $15.95
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

"Michael Cadnum writes with a poet's economy of prose and an intensity
of characterization that would grace the work of far better known
writers in the field. SLEEPWALKER is genuinely chilling, for it is
more than a horror novel--it is an examination of the greatest of
mysteries, death, and the aim of Cadnum's unflinching eye is always
true."
      ---Chet Williamson (author of ASH WEDNESDAY, REIGN, etc.)

Michael Cadnum is an award-winning poet, which is apparent in both of
his novels, last year's wonderful NIGHTLIGHT and now SLEEPWALKER. Both
are spare, lyrical tales of the dark corners of human existence. The
author wields the tools of the horror novel like an experienced
dream-stalker, while expressing his own thoughts and feelings about
darkness, fear, and death. If you appreciate fine literature, whatever
the genre, both of Cadnum's novels are essential reading.

In SLEEPWALKER, Cadnum tells us about archaeologist Davis Lowry,
tormented by nightmares about his wife who recently died, nightmares
in which he walks in his sleep to the point of endangering his life.
Realizing that a change is necessary, he accepts a job from his mentor
Dr. Higg to take over at a troubled dig in Yorkshire, England. Another
old friend, Peter Chambers, has been in charge so far, but Peter's
questionable psychological health, as well as the deteriorating morale
at the site, which is said to be haunted, encourage his superiors to
ask Davis to lend a hand.

It's immediately apparent that this isn't the average dig. Not only do
tools rearrange themselves during the night and accidents happen
regularly, they have discovered a 1200-year-old bog man, remarkably
well-preserved by the tannic acids in the Yorkshire soil. They call
him Skeldergate Man, and he has apparently had his throat cut, adding
yet another mystery to the amazing discovery.

Davis Lowry's presence does little to help the situation. The
accidents continue, the tools keep moving, and Peter Chambers has
several dark secrets that will soon threaten several people. And,
contrary to expectations, scientific Davis Lowry is as disturbed by
Skeldergate Man as the others are. For one thing, even though he is
securely locked in an underground laboratory, the corpse is repeatedly
found on the floor next to the table he was left on, as if he has been
trying to leave the room.

Running underneath the story of Davis Lowry and Peter Chambers is the
major theme of SLEEPWALKER:  death. The archaeological setting allows
Cadnum to talk about death from the perspective of people who make
their living amongst the dead, and the scientific nature of the
archaeologist's pursuit is seen to be of no help in dealing with basic
cosmic issues. Another level of insight is provided by the setting: in
contrast to the common concern over the destruction of ancient sites
by incompetent archaeologists, SLEEPWALKER allows us to see that the
dead are more of a threat to the living than the other way around. In
the end, Davis Lowry must lay his ghosts, both psychologically and
physically. SLEEPWALKER is exciting, disturbing, and though-provoking.
Highly recommended.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                 THE DARK TOWER III: THE WASTE LANDS
                           by Stephen King

This long-awaited third installment in the Dark Tower series is close
to being released. Close enough that if you haven't reserved a copy
yet, you'd better do so RIGHT NOW! It is supposed to be about 25%
longer than THE DARK TOWER II: THE DRAWING OF THE THREE, and contains
12 full color illustrations, including 10 double-page spreads, by
artist Ned Dameron. There is a deluxe edition, limited to 1200 copies,
signed by both King and Dameron, beautifully bound, slipcased, and
numbered....but the method of getting it is so complicated that I
won't go into it here. It's $120, plus $5 postage, handling, and
insurance, and if you really care, get in touch with Donald Grant.

The regular trade edition for people like me is $38 plus $3 for
postage, handing, and insurance, and like I said, if you haven't
reserved a copy yet, you'd better send a check for $41 to Donald Grant
TODAY! Don't waste time asking questions, just send the check. If
you're too late, your money will be refunded.

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

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                       MORE KOONTZ FROM BERKLEY

Berkley Books continues to reprint the works of Dean R. Koontz. Here
is the 1991 schedule, to the best of my knowledge:

Mar:  The Vision
Apr:  Lightning
      The Mask
Jun:  Midnight
Jul:  Shattered
      The Voice of the Night
Aug:  Phantoms
Sep:  Whispers
Oct:  Night Chills
Nov:  Strangers
Dec:  Cold Fire
      Twilight Eyes

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                             PSYCHO-PATHS
                        edited by Robert Bloch
                             (Tor, 1991)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

"If there's any pattern to these tales, their purpose is to explore
the RATIONALE and IRRATIONALE of violent behavior. This anthology was
not meant to demonstrate that if you build a grosser gross-out than
your neighbor, the world will beat a path to your door."
                    ---Robert Bloch, Introduction

You will have noticed that this anthology is edited by a Famous Writer
editor, not an Editor editor. Robert Bloch is the author of PSYCHO
(the original novel, not the Hitchcock screenplay), for which he will
always be remembered, despite the hundreds of other terrific novels
and short stories he has perpetrated in his long career. (Speaking of
his long career, did you realize that he was originally a protege of
H.P. Lovecraft?) In any case, Robert Bloch has been one of our finest
writers of Psychotic-Person Fiction, a notable subgenre of Horror. As
he says in the Introduction to PSYCHO-PATHS:

"Properly presented amidst commonplace but convincing everyday
surroundings, real horrors can be far more frightening than the
fantastic. The credible is always a greater menace than the
incredible, merely because we know it CAN happen and--even worse--it
can happen to US."

But Bloch distances himself from the current trend towards the
excessively violent "splatter" movies and fiction:

"If the intention is merely to shock and nauseate, why write
screenplays when you can run newsreels?"

"One of the apparent misconceptions of the writers [of 'splatter'
fiction] is that describing the infliction of pain or the throes of
death makes their stories realistic. All it does, actually, is
demonstrate that they've been seeing too many movies."

Having outlined his position, Editor Bloch then gives a practical
demonstration with the 17 short stories in this volume. And what
terrific reading this is! All new stories by some of the most famous
names in Horror and a few newer bylines as well.

PSYCHO-PATHS gets off to a humorous start with Gahan Wilson's "Them
Bleaks", a roman a clef obviously written specifically for Robert
Bloch. That's the only funny story, alas, but the other 16 tales are
wonderful nonetheless. Several deal with the theme of Psycho Meets
Psycho, or, no matter how big and mean you are, somebody somewhere is
bigger and meaner:  "A Determined Woman" by Billie Sue Mosiman,
"Kessel's Party" by Michael Berry, William F. Nolan's "Him, Her,
Them", "Kin" by Charles L. Grant, and David J. Schow's "Pick Me Up".

Another popular theme is the Hidden Psycho; twisted people who wear a
mask of sanity in public: "No Love Lost" by J.N. Williamson, "Clutter"
by Brad Linaweaver, "Dreaming in Black and White" by Susan Shwartz,
and Kathleen Buckley's "Waste".

A sweet little girl preys upon sympathetic men in Dennis Etchison's
"Call Home", and "Confession of a Madman" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
demonstrates that it's not a good idea to be TOO ahead of your time.
PSYCHO-PATHS also includes David Morrell's "Remains to Be Seen", in
which fanatic loyalty slides into psychosis; a teenage prank backfires
in "Red Devils" by Hugh B. Cave; and a paranoid artist creates
"nuclear art" in Robert E. Vardeman's "Enduring Art". Edward D. Hoch's
"The Secret Blade" speaks to us about state-sanctioned brutality, and
"Jesse" by Steve Rasnic Tem weaves an impressionistic tale of a
psychotic version of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

Seventeen stories, and not a clunker in the bunch. PSYCHO-PATHS is the
must-have anthology of Spring 1991. You won't be disappointed.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                 RECENTLY RELEASED BY MARK V. ZIESING

             COLD BLOOD: New Tales of Mystery and Horror
                     edited by Richard T. Chizmar

With COLD BLOOD, the World Fantasy Award-nominated editor of CEMETERY
DANCE magazine has gathered a landmark anthology of eclectic stories
meant to reshape the reader's perception of the Horror Genre. Dark
visions abound, to be sure: fear and terror stalk the pages of this
book of previously unpublished stories. But there's a difference.

COLD BLOOD pulses with a sense of dread and mounting suspense, with
mystery and intrigue, with a brooding pace that's refreshingly at odds
with the '80s' in-your-face splatter trend.

Featuring 25 excursions into the blackest part of our souls by F. Paul
Wilson, Chet Williamson, Ronald Kelly, Joe R. Lansdale, John Shirley,
Bentley Little, Brian Hodge, Barry Hoffman, Thomas F. Monteleone,
Ardath Mayhar, Rex Miller, Roman A. Ranieri, James Kisner, J.N.
Williamson, Paul F. Olson, Nancy A. Collins, William F. Nolan, Rick
Hautala, Ed Gorman, Richard Laymon, William Relling Jr., Andrew
Vachss, David B. Silva, Tom Elliot, and including an excerpt from the
new novel by Ramsey Campbell. Introduction by Douglas E. Winter.

Full cloth hardcover binding; full color jacket art by Nancy Niles.

A 500-copy slipcased limited edition, signed by all contributors, is
$75 (if there are any left), and the regular trade edition is $25.
Send check to: Mark V. Ziesing, PO Box 76, Shingletown, CA 96088.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                TERROR ARRIVES BY SPECIAL DELIVERY IN
                             THE MAILMAN
                        (from Roc SF Advance)

Bentley Little's THE REVELATION was greeted with an enthusiasm almost
unprecedented for a first novelist.

"A fantastic read," wrote Rick Hautala, author of WINTER WAKE. "Once
you start reading this book, you'll be up until dawn with your eyes
glued to the pages."

The reviewers were equally impressed. "A vigorous first novel," opined
the usually dour Kirkus Reviews, "with style to please horror fans and
to let them look forward to Little's next."

Little's next is here.

THE MAILMAN (ONYX, Feb. 1991) is a shrewdly crafted tale of terror
guaranteed to increase Little's already stellar reputation.

A small town nightmare in the mode of GREMLINS or TREMORS--black humor
and all--THE MAILMAN is about a postman who is dedicated to his job;
who is not stopped by rain, nor sleet, nor hail--

Nor Hell.

(For more information about Roc SF Advance, write to: NAL, Science
Fiction Department, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                         DOWN WILL COME BABY
                           by Gloria Murphy
                        (Donald I. Fine, 1991)

"[A] tightly woven tale, which will keep readers turning pages in
breathtaking, fascinated horror. Recommended and likely to enjoy brisk
circulation."
                          ---Library Journal

"Murphy shows growing skill...choice creepy material."
                          ---Kirkus Reviews


In the tradition of Mary Higgins Clark and V.C. Andrews, DOWN WILL
COME BABY is a spine-tingling tale of horror lurking beneath a mundane
veneer of domesticity. Twelve-year-old Robin Garr witnesses the
nighttime drowning of her best friend at summer camp, a fatal accident
for which she is not entirely blameless. Back at home, she is plagued
by nightmares and hears her friend's voice whispering eerily in her
ear. Despite the best efforts of her father and of a well-meaning but
prying downstairs neighbor, Robin cannot recover from the trauma. When
it turns out that the neighbor has an ulterior motive for wanting to
get close to Robin, it becomes clear that the real nightmare has just
begun...

Gloria Murphy is the author of THE PLAYROOM, BLOODTIES and NIGHTSHADE
(all published by Donald I. Fine). Publishers Weekly described THE
PLAYROOM as "speedy, direct and engrossing". BLOODTIES was hailed by
The Bookwatch as "a remarkable, fast-paced story...a powerful tale"
and Rave Reviews called NIGHTSHADE "a terrifying journey of murder,
abuse and betrayal. An exciting read." In addition to writing novels,
Murphy has also worked as a public relations writer,
consumer-protection advocate and free lance newspaper columnist. She
makes her home in Ringwood, New Jersey.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                              THE CIPHER
                            by Kathe Koja
                          (1991, Dell Abyss)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

This is the first novel in Dell's new horror line--Abyss, which is a
genuine publishing event because the horror boom is long since over,
and most publishers are discontinuing horror lines, not starting them.
Also unusual is the philosophy behind Dell's new Abyss line. Back when
horror was "in", publishers would print just about anything, which not
only meant that, as usual, we got a lot of garbage, but they were very
open to the new, the bizarre, the experimental. This provided the
horror fan with the occasional rare jewel amongst the glass chips.
Nowadays, however, the horror boom is just a memory and most
publishers are unwilling to take a chance on anything but another
King, Koontz, or McCammon clone. It is to the audience that is most
distressed by this trend that Dell addresses their new line. Abyss
books are for the more literate reader, the reader who is willing to
take a few chances on a new voice, a new style, a new perspective. And
they couldn't have set the tone better than with the release of Kathe
Koja's hauntingly surreal THE CIPHER.

Told entirely in normal English words, and yet refusing to be
restricted by them, THE CIPHER tells of a black hole, possibly a hole
in our world, possibly a hole in one man's mind. It all starts with
Nicholas, who finds the blackness in a storage room in his run-down
apartment building. He shares the find with his girlfriend, the
unattractive and cruel Nakota, who is soon even more obsessed with the
"Funhole" than Nicholas is. But the blackness and Nicholas have a
special relationship. Nicholas has been "kissed too hard by the dark",
and his destiny will be determined by a consuming blackness that has
been reserved for him alone.

The author, Kathe Koja, is described as having been "a bonsai
lumberjack, an oyster cowboy, and a freelance criminologist", none of
which explains the origin of this disturbingly unforgettable tale. THE
CIPHER is easily the most exciting thing that's happened in horror
fiction in the past few years.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                  RECENTLY RELEASED BY DARK HARVEST

          OBSESSIONS: Chilling Tales of Terror and Suspense
                        edited by Gary Raisor

Including fiction by: Dean R. Koontz, Joe R. Lansdale, Thomas F.
Monteleone, John Shirley, Nicholas Royle, Scott A. Cupp, Lori
Perkins, Bill Crider, Edward Gorman, Stanley Wiater, Richard Christian
Matheson, L. Bradley Law, Nancy Holder, C.J. Henderson, Glen Vasey, F.
Paul Wilson, Chet Williamson, Charles L. Grant, Dean Wesley Smith, Al
Sarrantonio, Rick Hautala, Darrell Schweitzer, Edward Bryant, Kevin J.
Anderson, A.R. Morlan, Elizabeth Massie, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Nina
Kiriki Hoffman, David B. Silva, and Dan Simmons.

Illustrated by Roger Gerberding

A limited edition of 500 copies, slipcased and signed by all 30
contributors, is $55 (if there are any left), and the regular trade
edition is $20.95. Add $1 per book for postage and send to: Dark
Harvest, PO Box 941, Arlington Heights, IL 60006

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                             PETER STRAUB
     TALKS ABOUT CRIME, HORROR, ROMANCE AND OTHER LITERARY TOPICS
                        (from Roc SF Advance)

People ask if I'm "moving away from horror." I don't really know how
to answer that.

I think if I wrote a straight romance, they would call it horror. Yet
I've never really thought of myself as part of a genre or a category.
I hate to be reviewed or discussed as a "horror" writer. It means
people don't THINK much about what you are doing.

In KOKO I wrote with no trace of what is usually found in a
conventional Horror novel. The conventions had been left out (except
when they were deliberately put in).

MYSTERY, on the other hand, LOOKS very much like a category crime
novel. Yet when it's been given to traditional crime reviewers, they
usually been baffled and annoyed.

They say it's too long. There's stuff in it that a crime novel doesn't
need. It's too fat.

This is because it's a work on its own terms; it's something else,
something OTHER THAN a category novel. There's a lot going on in
MYSTERY that's not necessarily found in the crime novel.

Not that I don't like crime novels; I do. In fact, I set out quite
deliberately to write a novel with a detective at the center. But I
wanted to question why he was there. What does it mean when your life
is about asking questions? How does it happen?

These questions don't often get asked anymore. Since Raymond Chandler,
they are sort of in our bloodstream. The detective himself is taken
for granted. But I wanted to ask these questions again.

So in MYSTERY my approach was more psychological. I assumed that if
you were a detective, you were born with a question mark over your
head. In MYSTERY Tom Passmore becomes a detective to try to unravel
certain mysteries in his own life.

And in the end he actually does.

On that level, the book is about the mysteries of identity and
society. On another level, it's about a deeper, almost religious
mystery, in the sense of the medieval "mystery plays." It's about the
mystery of what life is really like. Passmore has these moments of
mystic clarity that dog him all through the book. He has to figure out
what they mean.

And in the end, he figures that mystery out too.

I wrote the book in a year. I worked harder than I've ever worked
before. I wanted the book to come out in the year after KOKO, and I
figured that to do that I would have to average ten pages a day, seven
days a week for eight months.

And that's what I did. It was a great experience because I didn't have
time to get in my own way. It just rolled. I realized at a certain
point that I knew the answer even if I wasn't AWARE of it yet.

KOKO was a breakthrough book for me. I felt it raised the level of my
game; I'm proud of it. It sold well in both hard and soft covers, and
I got letters from Vietnam vets who said that in the main I'd gotten
it right.

SHADOWLAND was a real adventure. I wanted to write a story that was
ABOUT stories. I was telling a lot of stories to my young son, fairy
tales; I was just making them up. I realized at a certain point that
unless I wrote them down they would be lost forever.

SHADOWLAND was also, of course, about magic. I wanted to develop what
I'd begun in GHOST STORY. I wanted to work on that point where reality
and fantasy come together, and widen that crack a little. I did some
of the same thing in FLOATING DRAGON; that is, I tried to make the
real world look like an hallucination or a fantasy. I think I
succeeded a little better in SHADOWLAND.

Working with Stephen King was great. He's an amazingly strong and
imaginative writer. I've always cherished his work and we are friends.
I found him insightful, tolerant, and patient. He's amazing because
when he sits down to work, this whole world just jumps into life. At
the end, we were actually writing side by side. It was the only time
I've ever actually written something WITH someone.

The book took a long time, though. It was a tough book and I think we
were both glad when it was finished.

Right now I'm working on a novel called THE THROAT. It follows
naturally from KOKO and MYSTERY, and some of the same characters
appear in it. In a sense it's their completion. All three novels form
a trilogy called THE BLUE ROSE TRILOGY.

Horror? Mystery? I don't know. I've always seen myself as inventing
Peter Straub novels. I think this is what any good writer does. Updike
writes Updike novels, Raymond Chandler writes Raymond Chandler novels.
Book by book I try to work out the way I think and the way I see
things. I get closer and closer to it. One day, who knows, maybe I'll
get it exactly right!

(For more information about Roc SF Advance, write to: NAL, Science
Fiction Department, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. The book
that Peter Straub was talking about, the one he wrote with Stephen
King was, of course, THE TALISMAN.)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
                _____________________________________
               [                                     ]
               [   PETER QUINT READS THE MAGAZINES   ]
               [_____________________________________]


MIDNIGHT GRAFFITI
Winter 90/91 "Apocalypso" Issue
edited by Jessica Horsting & James Van Hise

MIDNIGHT GRAFFITI is not just another horror fiction magazine; the
editors manage to give MG a tone, a flavor maybe, all its own. MG
neither tries to absolve horror by being pretentiously high brow, nor
by being self-consciously low-brow with a Whatthehell kind of
attitude. No, MIDNIGHT GRAFFITI takes it for granted that The Dark
Side, the Weird, the Gruesome, is of interest to sensible adult
people, without breast-beating or apology.

The theme of this issue is the end of civilization, the Apocalypse.
Several writers give their personal fictional take on this subject:
Gregory Hyde gives us "Diary of the Damned", telling us that surviving
a holocaust might be worse than not; J.S. Russell contributes the
incredibly gross "City of Angels", and Neil Gaiman is represented by
"Cold Colours", a longish poem about the "dark magic of technology".

While on the subject of MG's fiction, there is also an excerpt from
S.P. Somtow's upcoming Avon novel, DARK RIVER. I don't know how you
feel about this "novel excerpt" business, but I don't much care for
it. It's all well and good to allow publishers a multi-page "ad" for
one of their books, but readers who begin a tale, whether it be in a
book or a magazine, expect closure, an ending. Excerpts are maddening.
That said, I read a paragraph of Somtow's story by accident, and
before I knew it I'd finished the whole (really rather long) excerpt.
There's something about Somtow's prose, the way every sentence lures
you on, that's irresistible. I was particularly caught by Theo's:

"I guess I'm getting too imaginative again. Like in school sometimes
during finals when I drift away for what seems like a ninety minute
action adventure comedy drama but when I drift back again only a
minute as passed and I'm still trying to answer the same true or false
question."

Remember doing that? S.P. Somtow is as good as Stephen King at
creating recognizable characters that you instantly care about. So you
should probably just save yourself some hassle and go out and buy DARK
RIVER before you start MIDNIGHT GRAFFITI. You won't be able to resist
the excerpt.

But the fiction is outweighed in this issue by the nonfiction. Two
writers give their perspective of a tour through the Alcor Life
Extension Foundation, a cryonics company. You'll found out probably
more than you wanted to know about being frozen, as well as learning
the source behind an episode of L.A. LAW. But the very best offering
of this issue is David Gerrold's essay, "Death of Tomorrow", in which
he compares human civilization to that of the ancient dinosaurs, makes
many strikingly logical points, and finally arrives at an
understanding of not only where the dinosaurs went, but where we're
going as well. It's not pretty.

Alongside all this good stuff, there's the usual good stuff. There's
an interview with Dan Simmons, a guide to apocalypse on videotape,
book news, and depressing news about frogs and British cows. Terrific
reading, not to be missed. (To subscribe, send $19.95 for four
quarterly issues to: Midnight Graffiti, 13101 Sudan Road, Poway, CA
92064.)

                  :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

CEMETERY DANCE
edited by Richard T. Chizmar
Winter 1991 Joe R. Lansdale Special

First the fiction:  "Layover" is a nice little morality piece by Ed
Gorman. "The Laughing Man" by Gary Raisor presents his solution to the
divorce problem, but is not one of Raisor's best stories. Andrew
Vachss wrote a short-short for CD called "Joyride", violent and
surprisingly intense for it's length. "Julian's Hand" by Gary Brandner
is another anatomical horror piece, but much better than those kinds
of stories usually are. Joe R. Lansdale has two pieces here: "Drive-In
Date", a nasty play made from an even nastier short story (said story
to be found in NIGHT VISIONS 8 from Dark Harvest); and "Bestsellers
Guaranteed", about what desperate writers would do for success. "Pig's
Dinner" by Graham Masterton wins the Gross-Out Award for this issue,
although Bentley Little's "The Town" comes a close second. Bill
Pronzini relates the making of a vampire in "Thirst", and Ronald
Kelly's novelette, "The Winds Within" gives us a serial killer with an
obscure motive. There are also excerpts: one from DARK TWILIGHT by
Joseph A. Citro, and several small ones from HOTTER BLOOD edited by
Jeff Gelb and Michael Garrett.

There are three interviews: Part 1 of a two-parter with Peter Straub,
one with Joe R. Lansdale, and one with Joseph W. Zarzynski, monster
hunter. There are also columns from Ed Gorman, Matthew J. Costello,
Paul Sammon, a very difficult trivia quiz by A.R. Morlan, and review
columns by Ed Bryant and Lori Perkins. All in all, another fine issue
from CEMETERY DANCE, but not *quite* as great as the last one was.
Treat yourself to a CD subscription by sending a check payable to
Richard T. Chizmar for $15 (four quarterly issues) or $25 (8 quarterly
issues) to: Cemetery Dance, PO Box 16372, Baltimore, MD 21210.

                  :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

HAUNTS
edited by Joseph K. Cherkes
Fall/Winter 1990

This issue of Haunts contains their usual fine assortment of horror
fiction and poetry, as well as a few short nonfiction pieces, but this
time I want to focus on just one author's material. The first three
short stories in this Fall/Winter 1990 issue constitute a trilogy by
Anthony Gael Moral. Remember that name, because this is one great
horror writer. In his hands the ghost story is revitalized and given
an immediacy that I haven't felt since I read my first examples as a
child.

The first installment is "Call FOrdham 5-7197", which introduces
world-class photographer Michael Drawbore, his fiance Margaret, and
his long-dead grandmother, Wilderleigh Drawbore, who raised Michael.
During the process of moving, Michael discovers an old 1944 dime that
he had saved from his childhood--the dime his grandmother had given
him to keep so that he could always call her when he was in trouble.
As Rod Serling would say, that dime becomes Michael's personal door
into the Twilight Zone.

The next story is called "Dark Eyes", about Margaret's encounter with
nonliving beings, and "Sad Songs" finishes the trilogy and the story
of all three of our major characters. Although the material works well
as a trilogy of short stories, I can easily imagine it being turned
into a fine novel. THE DRAWBORE TRILOGY is a chilling read, and is
worth getting as a Back Issue if you missed this particular HAUNTS.
Send $4.95 (the $3.95 cover price plus $1 postage) to: Nightshade
Publications, PO Box 3342, Providence, RI 02906-0742. You can save
yourself some hassle by sending another $13 for a subscription for the
next four issues. HAUNTS is one of the best creepy fiction magazines
around today.

                  :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

SKELETON CREW
November 1990 issue

Liberally laced with death metaphors and wordplay (column and article
titles like "Deaditorial", "Killing Note", "Last Writes", etc.),
SKELETON CREW is a thin, slick magazine of horror fiction, interviews
and miscellaneous verbiage from England. The first column was by their
U.S. correspondent Phil Nutman, and was about Frank Miller and his
involvement in the movie ROBOCOP 2. I thought the article was overlong
and it gave more consideration to the ROBOCOP saga than most adults
would say it deserved.

The next piece was a very long interview with writer Neil Gaiman, the
theme of which was: What artifacts would you take into the Afterlife
with you? I didn't have much faith in this as an interesting subject,
but Neil Gaiman's conversation proved me wrong. In addition to
generally interesting discussions of various cultural subjects, Gaiman
also threw off the occasional quotable quote:

"On a gut level I don't believe I'll ever die. This is probably sheer
ego, but I don't actually have any plans to die and I think it would
be a very bad idea."

"Actually life as a kid was a desperate battle to avoid being taken to
see THE SOUND OF MUSIC...How could anyone inflict that on a child?"

"Stephen Sondheim is someone for whom I have infinite respect. He's
not only a terrific song writer, but he's a man who can make words sit
up and beg."

The first sample of "Crewci-Fiction" in this issue of SKELETON CREW
was "Those of Rhenea" by David Sutton, an atmospheric Lovecraftian
tale of old gods who are still active on the Greek island of Delos.
This was followed by an article by Stan Nicholls about Iain Banks,
author of THE WASP FACTORY and the recent USE OF WEAPONS, in which
Banks describes his artistic background and working methods.

"Portfolio" reproduces artwork by Dean Ormston that is not quite as
misty as Dave McKean's, not quite as stark as Clive Barker's--a couple
of the pieces have real power. "Clean" by Richard Holland is a crawly
story about obsession, "Tiff" by Des Lewis is a haunting short-short
about the desperate lives being lived behind the facades of an average
small town, and "Amorph" by Stuart Palmer tells of the blobish
nightmare of a scarred veteran.

The remaining articles: "Picking the Bones" by Di Wathen looks at the
horrific in children's literature, Dave Reeder's "Film Crew" takes an
appreciative look at FRANKENHOOKER, "Apocalyptic Thinking" records Dr.
Christian Lehmann's conversation with Alan Moore, "Dead Write" is a
cantankerous essay about horror from Joel Lane, and "Dicing With
Death" contains advice for the novice role-playing gamer from Liz
Holliday.

The coverage in SKELETON CREW is slanted just a tad toward the
teenager, but the material is interesting and it's always nice to get
articles and fiction drawn from a different pool. If all you've read
are American magazines, you need to expand your horizons a little, and
SKELETON CREW is not a bad place to start. Subscriptions are currently
$54 U.S. for 12 issues, to be sent to the U.S. Subscription Agent:
Wise Owl Worldwide Publications, 4314 West 238th Street, Torrance, CA
90505.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                     A ROBERT R. McCAMMON UPDATE

May 1991:  Pocket Books will publish his last novel, MINE, in
paperback. It's about the search for a kidnapped baby, and will retail
for $5.95.

August 1991:  Pocket Books will publish UNDER THE FANG, the first
Horror Writers of America anthology, edited by McCammon and Martin
Greenberg.

August 1991:  Pocket Books will publish his new novel, BOY'S LIFE, in
hardcover. This is a non-supernatural thriller about a 12-year-old
boy's life in 1964.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                          CHRISTOPHER MOORE

Christopher Moore's first novel, PRACTICAL DEMONKEEPING, is about a
man who looks 20 but is really 70, and has spent the last 50 years
traveling around the United States trying to find an incantation that
will get rid of a people-eating demon who's been with him the whole
time. The book was sold for movie development even before it was
bought by a publisher--Disney Studios' Hollywood Pictures will make
the movie and St. Martin's Press will publish the book. Moore wrote an
"author's bio" for St. Martin's, part of which was printed in Leonore
Fleischer's "Talk of the Trade" column in Publishers Weekly, and which
we reproduce here:

"I wrote the entire first draft of PRACTICAL DEMONKEEPING at the
counter of a local coffee shop while wearing a pair of deck shoes that
I bought from a Cuban in Key West who swore on his sister's virginity
that they belonged to Ernest Hemingway. I am currently working on my
second book, COYOTE BLUES, which is the story of an American Indian
businessman who is visited by the trickster god, Coyote. I am also
working on a science-fiction (cyberpunk) screenplay entitled
NECROPOLIS, which is being done purely to take my mind off the hype I
am getting from people in Hollywood. (Hype is California's main
export, you know.) I am taller than Jay McInerney, I wear less makeup
than Tama Janowitz, and if I had to, I could probably tear the shit
out of Saul Bellow. I do not have a drug or alcohol problem but I am
willing to develop one if you think it will help in marketing.
Although I am thirty-three, I can pass for twenty-five if you need to
do the 'hot young writer' pitch to someone."

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                   AN INTERVIEW WITH NANCY COLLINS
                     (courtesy of Roc SF Advance)

Q:  When did you decide to become a writer?
A:  That makes it sound like I had a choice in the matter. I'm
convinced that just before I was born, Nature sat me down and said,
"You'll be REALLY good at telling stories, but not a heck of a lot
else, kid." As far back as I can remember, I was always writing for my
own amusement. My mother has a story I drew when I was three--before I
was literate--depicting the unrequited love of a taxi for a bus. I
always assumed I'd end up being a writer, although I had a couple of
childhood flirtations with wanting to be a cowgirl and a disc jockey.
Not at the same time, mind you. I actually WAS a DJ for a while, on a
community radio station in Memphis. (I was also a DJ at the college
radio station where I attended university for two years, but that
doesn't count, since it was probably the ONLY campus radio station
that broadcast nothing but E-Z Listening.) I've held a number of
low-paying menial jobs over the past twelve years, and I'm glad I've
finally attained my true station in life because I'd probably have
become more depressed than I was already.

Q:  Who are your favorite writers and who was the biggest influence on
you?
A:  I'd have to break that down into two or three categories, since I
don't have the same tastes now I had as a kid (thank goodness). My
EARLIEST influences were Dr. Seuss, Madeline L'Engle, L. Frank Baum,
and whoever it was that wrote the original "Raggedy Anne" stories.
When I was in Junior High, I started getting into Zenna Henderson,
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Harlan Ellison, and Robert
Anton Wilson. When I was in college, during the late 70s and early
80s, I started reading Michael Moorcock, Robert Bloch, Stephen King,
Richard Matheson, and Shirley Jackson. Lovecraft was also a big
influence, but I didn't discover him until fairly late--around my
mid-twenties. Now I read a lot of J.G. Ballard, Flannery O'Connor,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, William S. Burroughs, and William Kotzwinkle.

As to who was the biggest influence on me, I'd have to say John
Shirley, since he's the one responsible for tutoring me in the "do's"
and "don'ts" of professional writing. I learned a lot from him in
terms of style and aesthetics.

Q:  Who do you consider some of the most under-appreciated writers
currently working in the field?
A:  I'd say John Shirley, right off the bat. He's written some
outrageously original novels over the years, in both the SF and horror
genres. K.W. Jeter is another outstanding writer I don't think gets
the kind of recognition he deserves. Michael McDowell has produced
some of the finest postmodern Southern Gothic novels published during
this half of the century, although he's best known for scripting
BEETLEJUICE. And I stand in absolute awe of Bruce Sterling, who should
win every Hugo and Nebula he's up for.

Q:  What about yourself? How do you go about "being a writer"?
A:  Whenever I hear fellow writers talk about how they get up with the
chickens and work six hours every day, seven days a week, I feel
ashamed of myself for not being more organized. I'm a lazy gal and
tend to have an erratic work schedule. But then, I come from a long
line of people who worked for themselves without a boss hanging over
their shoulder, so I guess I'm upholding something of a family
tradition.

Q:  How do you like living and working in New Orleans?
A:  TEMPTER is set in New Orleans, my adopted home, and I hope I can
work both it and Arkansas, where I was born and raised, into future
works. I feel that calling on personal knowledge of a region you're
familiar with lends an air of authenticity to whatever it is you're
doing. New Orleans is one of a handful of cities in this country that
has its own peculiar mystique. There's a romantic glamour that
surrounds the city, with its voodoo, antebellum splendor, and exotic
Carnival traditions, that lends itself to fiction. But then there's
also the REAL New Orleans, with its equally long history of racial
tension, social injustice and political malfeasance. How could a
horror writer live here and NOT be inspired?

(For more information about receiving Roc SF Advance, write to:  NAL,
Science Fiction Department, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                              PET PEEVES
                           by Annie Wilkes

Why must authors and critics assume that any genre designation is an
insult? I realize that each writer would like to believe that their
work is completely original, like nothing else every printed, but that
makes finding a book in a bookstore kind of tough, not to mention
wading through my collection here in my home. I have put my copy of
Michael Cadnum's SLEEPWALKER in my own personal Horror section, not
because it's lousy, and not because it's content is similar to that of
any other book I own. I shelve it where I do because my mind, like
everyone else's, is naturally adept at pattern recognition, and
because general categories help me find my way around the thousands of
books in this house.

I will grant that some people use genre designations as a shortcut for
thinking, and that for some people (notably authors and critics)
genres are, and will always be, literary ghettos. But stupidity exists
everywhere, and I refuse to be tarred with the same brush.

Another thing:  Why will critics continually criticize a book for not
playing the game correctly, for a song out of tune? This could be a
facet of the Genre Designation Stupidity mentioned above, where a
critic will demand that a book shelved in the horror section resemble
their idea of a Horror Novel. Once again, this is just garden-variety
stupidity, and genres can't be expected to pay for a few morons with
typewriters. Thank you for your attention; you may now return to
whatever it was you were doing.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        ALL THE NEWS OF GRUES

* Andrew Neiderman has yet another book in film development--THE NEED,
a Jekyll-Hyde tale involving a female-male metamorphosis. His next
book is THE IMMORTALS, which imagines what would have happened if
Ponce de Leon had found the Fountain of Youth he was looking for. It's
coming sometime soon from Pocket Books.

* WHISPER...HE MIGHT HEAR YOU by William Appel, reviewed in RFP #15,
has been optioned for a "theatrical feature" (a movie).

* I hear that Stephen King's short story, "Sometimes They Come Back"
(from NIGHT SHIFT) is being made into a TV movie starring Tim
Matheson.

* MASTERS OF DARKNESS III, edited by Dennis Etchison, is due from Tor
in June, and Underwood/Miller (708 Westover Drive, Lancaster, PA
17601) will be releasing an omnibus volume containing all three MofD.

* Next time you're in England, you might want to check out the
Chessington World of Adventures. The amusement park has a horror
theme, with such attractions as the Black Forest Chateau, the
Transylvania Village, and an overhead rollercoaster called The Vampire
(the cars all look like flying bats).

* Forthcoming:  Dean Ing's techno-thriller, THE NEMESIS MISSION, and
Nick Pollotta's military horror novel, DOOMSDAY EXAM.

* AFRAID, The Newsletter for the Horror Professional, has died.

* LITERARY BOOGEYMAN: THE STORY OF STEPHEN KING is an unauthorized
biography written by George Beahm, author of THE STEPHEN KING
COMPANION. The new biography will probably be released sometime this
fall (1991) by Andrews & McMeel.

* Coming soon is the movie version of Stephen King's THE DARK HALF. I
don't have a release date, but I've heard that it was written and
directed by George Romero and the stars are Timothy Hutton, Amy
Madigan, Michael Rooker, and Julie Harris.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                     SOME 1991 HORROR HIGHLIGHTS:

CAFE PURGATORIUM by Dana Anderson, Ray Garton, & Charles de Lint (Tor
  Jul hardcover)
THE VAMPIRE'S APPRENTICE by Richard Lee Byers (Zebra/Pinnacle)
SAINT PETER'S WOLF by Michael Cadnum (Carroll & Graf, Jun)
WAKING NIGHTMARES by Ramsey Campbell (Tor Nov hardcover)
HOME by Matthew Costello (Jove)
WALLS OF FEAR edited by Kathryn Cramer (Avon Oct reprint)
THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR: FOURTH ANNUAL COLLECTION edited by
  Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (St. Martin's Jul)
A WHISPER OF BLOOD edited by Ellen Datlow (Morrow Nov)
SPECTERS by J.M. Dillard (Dell Abyss May)
MASTERS OF DARKNESS III edited by Dennis Etchison (Tor May)
METAHORROR edited by Dennis Etchison (Dell Abyss)
DOWN RIVER by Stephen Gallagher (Tor Nov reprint)
LOT LIZARDS by Ray Garton (Mark Ziesing, summer)
FINAL SHADOWS edited by Charles L. Grant (Doubleday Foundation, Sep
  hardcover & trade paperback)
FIRE MASK by Charles L. Grant (Bantam Young Adult, Apr hardcover)
SOMETHING STIRS by Charles L. Grant (Tor Oct hardcover)
NIGHT ANGEL by Kate Green (Dell Apr reprint)
MADLANDS by K.W. Jeter (St. Martin's Oct hardcover)
BEST NEW HORROR 2 edited by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell (Carroll &
  Graf, Sep hardcover)
FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT by Stephen King (Penguin/Signet Sep reprint)
THE STAND by Stephen King (Penguin/Signet Apr reprint)
BY BIZARRE HANDS by Joe R. Lansdale (Avon Sep)
EVIL DEEDS by Bentley Little (Penguin)
THE WATCHERS OUT OF TIME by H.P. Lovecraft (Carroll & Graf Sep)
BOY'S LIFE by Robert R. McCammon (Pocket Aug hardcover)
MINE by Robert R. McCammon (Pocket Jun reprint)
UNDER THE FANG edited by Robert R. McCammon (Pocket Aug)
TOPLIN by Michael McDowell (Dell Abyss Aug)
THE BURNING by Graham Masterton (Tor Apr hardcover)
CREATED BY by Richard Christian Matheson (Bantam)
BORDERLANDS 2 edited by Thomas F. Monteleone (Avon Dec)
THE IMMORTALS by Andrew Neiderman (Pocket Jul)
BAD DREAMS by Kim Newman (Carroll & Graf Sep hardcover)
HELLTRACKS by William F. Nolan (Avon Nov)
DEAD END: CITY LIMITS edited by Paul F. Olson & David B. Silva (St.
  Martin's Nov hardcover)
THE MAN UPSTAIRS by T.L. Parkinson (Dutton)
DINNER AT DEVIANT'S PALACE by Tim Powers (Ace May reprint)
LAST CALL by Tim Powers (contemporary occult thriller)
THE STRESS OF HER REGARD by Tim Powers (Ace Jun reprint)
OBSESSED by Rick Reed (Dell Abyss Jul)
NIGHT by Alan Rodgers (Bantam Nov)
SONG OF KALI by Dan Simmons (Tor Oct reprint)
THE BRIDGE by John Skipp & Craig Spector (Bantam Oct)
CUTTHROAT by Michael Slade (Roc)
I SHUDDER AT YOUR TOUCH edited by Michele Slung (Penguin/Roc Jun
  hardcover)
HOUSES WITHOUT DOORS by Peter Straub (Penguin/Signet Nov)
THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES XIX edited by Karl Edward Wagner (DAW
  Oct)
MASTERY by Kelley Wilde (Dell Abyss Sep)
HELLHOUNDS by Sidney Williams (Zebra)
REPRISALS by F. Paul Wilson (Jove Nov)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

             COMING IN JUNE (OUR 2nd ANNIVERSARY ISSUE)!!

a review of:

HOLLYWOOD GHOSTS
Haunting, Spine-chilling Stories from America's Film Capital
edited by Frank D. McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh, & Martin H.
Greenberg
(Rutledge Hill Press, 1991)

And Anything Else We Can Get Our Hands On!

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                 <-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->
                 <                                 >
                 <   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                 The Annex BBS  513-274-0821
---------------------------------------------------------------------

THE KENNING QUOTIENT (KQ) is a rating applied to books read by the
editor in this section, a number ranging from 0 (which means the book
is an unredeemable stinker) to 5 (meaning the book is not to be
missed.)

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


                            RANDOM ACCESS

One of the very nice things that is unique to SCIENCE FICTION from
early on in its short life span has been the CONvention. A CON
(convention) is a gathering of fen (Plural of SF Fans) for either a
special purpose Science Fiction related subject, such as SF folk
singing (called for some inexplicable reason FILK singing), SF
weaponry, Star Trek, or almost anything else one can imagine; or a
general purpose CON that is likely to be covering a wide variety of
Science Fiction, Science, and related issues.

At almost every one of these things at least a few professional
authors will gather to be on panels, to autograph books, and mingle
with the other attendees. Now I must admit that I have thus far not
made it to a WorldCON, but have been to a couple of pretty good sized
regional Cons. One of the things that impresses me was the interaction
between authors and the rest of us. As far as I know this is the only
literary genre in which this occurs, and the authors that I know all
tell me that they get a lot of outstanding feedback. From my end, I've
learned a lot about writing, a lot about the frustrations writers
have, and who some of the "respectable" authors are who wrote dirty
books to keep body and soul together in their beginning years. Quite
often the technical aspects of writing SF and writing in general get
pretty good coverage.

Booksellers and indeed sellers of all sorts of things frequent CONs so
there always seems ample opportunity to spend your hard earned
dollars. Typically an art show is included with everything from
amateur to pro art--and auctions are part of the art show, with
proceeds ofttimes going to special charities.

The best part of this menagerie however is the other fans who appear,
from very young to very old, all eager to share their love of Science
Fiction with anyone who will slow down for even a second. If you
haven't gone to a SF CON I highly recommend the experience. Find
someone else who likes SF and just GO. If you don't know where one is
located, both CompuServe and GEnie have areas in the SF sections where
postings are made, the magazine LOCUS has a very good listing as do
several of the popular SF magazines. Local bookstores that specialize
in SF often know about local CONS. In a pinch, drop me a note and I'll
get some info to you. If enough of you indicate an interest, I'll
include some info on CONs in LYGOR in the future. Try one--you'll
likely get hooked and soon be a SMOF (Secret Master of Fandom). Above
all--enjoy.

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

                                              dkk

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                              LOOSE NEWS

* CANTICLE UPDATE:  Locus magazine reports that Walter Miller has
turned in the first 300 pages of his sort-of sequel to A CANTICLE FOR
LEIBOWITZ.

* The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society has created a "Recommended
Reading List for Ages 9-12" and you can get a copy by sending a
Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope (SASE) to: LASFS, 11513 Burbank
Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601.

* It looks like the SCI-FI CHANNEL has made it. They are due to begin
broadcasting sometime this summer, and will be distributed to the home
satellite market by Netlink.

* Geoff Ryman, a British fantasy writer, has written a story about
what happened to Dorothy before and after the events in L. Frank
Baum's THE WIZARD OF OZ. It's called WAS, and Knopf will be publishing
it in the U.S. within the next year.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                               AWARDS:


THE BARRY R. LEVIN COLLECTORS AWARDS 1990

Most Collectable Author of the Year:  Stephen King
Most Collectable Book of the Year:  The limited edition of THE STAND:
  THE COMPLETE & UNCUT EDITION by Stephen King (Doubleday)
Lifetime Collectors Award:  Lloyd Arthur Eshbach for "his unique
  contribution to collectable science fiction and fantasy as author
  and publisher"


THE SCIENCE FICTION BOOK CLUB AWARDS

Voted on by approximately 14,000 members of the Doubleday Science
Fiction Book Club:

Book of the Year:  DRAGONSDAWN by Anne McCaffrey
Second Place:  THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR by Tad Williams
Third Place:  HATRACK RIVER by Orson Scott Card (omnibus containing
  SEVENTH SON, RED PROPHET, and PRENTICE ALVIN)


SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS OF AMERICA NEBULA AWARD FOR BEST SF NOVEL
Final Ballot
(Awards will be announced at the annual banquet on April 27.)

Best Novel:

TEHANU by Ursula LeGuin (Bantam Spectra, $4.95)
MARY REILLY by Valerie Martin (Doubleday, $18.95)
ONLY BEGOTTEN DAUGHTER by James Morrow (Morrow, $19.95)
THE FALL OF HYPERION by Dan Simmons (Bantam Spectra, $5.95)
REDSHIFT RENDEZVOUS by John E. Stith (Ace Books, $3.95)
WHITE JENNA by Jane Yolen (Tor, $3.95)

Best Novella:

"Weatherman" by Lois McMaster Bujold (Analog 2/90)
"Fool to Believe" by Pat Cadigan (Asimov's 2/90)
"The Hemingway Hoax" by Joe Haldeman (Asimov's 4/90)
"Mr. Boy" by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov's 6/90)
"Bones" by Pat Murphy (Asimov's 5/90)

Best Novelette:

"Tower of Babylon" by Ted Chiang (Omni 11/90)
"The Coon Rolled Down and Ruptured His Larinks, A Squeezed Novel by
   Mr. Skunk" by Dafydd ab Hugh (Asimov's 8/90)
"The Shobies' Story" by Ursula K. LeGuin (UNIVERSE 1)
"1/72nd Scale" by Ian MacLeod (Weird Tales Fall/90)
"The Manamouki" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's 7/90)
"A Time for Every Purpose" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Amazing 5/90)
"Loose Cannon" by Susan Shwartz (WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN VOL. 2)
"Over the Long Haul" by Martha Soukup (Amazing 3/90)

Short Stories:

"Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson (Asimov's 8/90)
"The Power and the Passion" by Pat Cadigan (PATTERNS; Omni 3/90)
"Lieserl" by Karen Joy Fowler (ACM #6: PERIPHERAL VISION; Asimov's
   7/90)
"Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates" by Pat Murphy (ALIEN SEX)
"Before I Wake" by Kim Stanley Robinson (Interzone 27; Asimov's 4/90)
"Story Child" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Aboriginal SF 10/90)


1990 PHILIP K. DICK AWARD NOMINEES
(For the best SF paperback original of 1990.)

THE OXYGEN BARONS by Gregory Feeley (Ace)
WINTERLONG by Elizabeth Hand (Bantam Spectra)
THE SCHIZOGENIC MAN by Raymond Harris (Ace)
POINTS OF DEPARTURE by Pat Murphy (Bantam Spectra)
CLARKE COUNTY, SPACE by Alan Steele (Ace)


ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD NOMINEES
(For the best SF novel published in Britain in 1990.)

USE OF WEAPONS by Iain M. Banks (Macdonald)
RATS AND GARGOYLES by Mary Gentle (Bantam UK)
TAKE BACK PLENTY by Colin Greenland (Unwin)
FAREWELL, HORIZONTAL by K.W. Jeter (Grafton)
RED SPIDER, WHITE WEB by Misha (Morrigan)
THE CITY, NOT LONG AFTER by Pat Murphy (Pan)


1991 BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION AWARDS

Best Novel:

USE OF WEAPONS by Iain M. Banks (Macdonald)
RATS AND GARGOYLES by Mary Gentle (Bantam UK)
THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling (Gollancz)
TAKE BACK PLENTY by Colin Greenland (Unwin)
HYPERION by Dan Simmons (Headline)

Best Short Fiction:

"The Death of Cassandra Quebec" by Eric Brown (ZENITH 2)
"The Phargean Effect" by Eric Brown (Interzone 41)
"Axiomatic" by Greg Egan (Interzone 41)
"Learning to Be Me" by Greg Egan (Interzone 37)
"Winning" by Ian McDonald (ZENITH 2)
"The Original Dr. Shade" by Kim Newman (Interzone 36)

Best Dramatic Presentation:

FLATLINERS
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
TOTAL RECALL
TWIN PEAKS

Best Artwork:

Iain Byers (for "The Phargean Effect", Interzone 41)
Dave McKean (cover for THE NIGHT MAYOR, NEL)
Ian Miller (cover for THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE, Gollancz)


1990 WORLD FANTASY AWARDS

Best Novel:  LYONESSE: MADOUC by Jack Vance (Underwood-Miller)
Best Novella:  "Great Work of Time" by John Crowley (from NOVELTY)
Best Short Fiction:  "The Illusionist" by Steven Millhauser (from
  Esquire 12/89)
Best Anthology:  THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY: SECOND ANNUAL COLLECTION
  edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (St. Martin's)
Best Collection:  COLLECTED STORIES by Richard Matheson (Scream/Press)
Special Award, Professional:  Mark V. Ziesing Publications
Special Award, Non-Pro:  Peggy Nadramia (GRUE magazine)
Best Artist:  Thomas Canty

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION
                           by David Pringle
                         (Pharos Books, 1991)
              Hardcover--$24.95  Trade paperback--$14.95
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION, while rather immodestly titled,
does feature over 3,000 entries containing brief descriptions and
reviews, as well as a rating (0-4 asterisks). The entries are by
author Pringle and his "helper" Ken Brown, although it is acknowledged
that the opinions of critics John Clute and Brian Stableford were
influential.

Pringle says in his Introduction that he has included "all the
masterpieces--and quite a few of the stinkers". Here's a sample entry
of each:

"STAR MAKER (1937) **** Novel by Olaf Stapledon (UK). A man,
contemplating life from a hill top, is whisked away into space in
disembodied fashion and commences a grand cosmic journey which is
awe-inspiring in its scope. This work, which attempts to portray the
progress of all intelligent life in the universe, over a period of
billions of years, is even grander in scale than the author's LAST AND
FIRST MEN. It lacks plot, dialogue and the other virtues of good
fiction, but it's the ultimate vision of the end of all things. An
essential work. 'The one great grey holy book of science fiction' --
Brian Aldiss, BILLION YEAR SPREE. An earlier version was published
posthumously as NEBULA MAKER (1976)."

"COSMIC ENGINEERS (1950) Novel by Clifford D. Simak (USA), first
serialized in 1939. Buddy heroes encounter a robotic civilization and
a girl who has been refining her intellect during 1000 years of
suspended animation, in this amusingly inept space opera. Its author's
first novel, it bears no resemblance to his later excellent work. Best
left buried."

I picked these examples because I thought they were interesting, but
you shouldn't now assume that most entries are of books this old
(indeed, I specifically hunted out these two older books that RFP
readers may not have heard of). Nor should you assume that the
opinions in THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION are biased in favor
of the British at the expense of the Americans. I was able to find no
apparent national bias at all; Pringle has a definite leaning toward
certain authors, but no favorite country of origin.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION contains comprehensive coverage
of the biggies: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, C.S. Lewis, Isaac Asimov, Ray
Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Clifford D. Simak, Phillip K. Dick, Robert
A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Ursula LeGuin, J.G. Ballard, Harlan
Ellison, and William Gibson. You will also find many examples of the
various subgenres of SF like: disaster novels, alternative world
stories, near-future dystopias, prehistoric novels, New Wave trips to
"inner space", cyberpunk tales of "means streets and microchips",
space operas, and planetary romances.

How about what ISN'T included? In his Introduction, Pringle says that
he (mostly) ignored: fantasy, children's fiction, non-English language
sf, borderline sf ("scientific romances" and "slipstream" fiction), sf
published before 1970 and not reprinted since, lesser work of lesser
writers, novelizations and other "spin-off" sf. He does, however, hint
at future editions that will not only bring THE ULTIMATE GUIDE up to
date, but will be enlarged with elements from these categories that
were originally left out.

One important category that IS covered is volumes of short stories,
both anthologies and single-author collections. Many critics avoid
short stories as if they were small insects that, once let into the
house, will reproduce by the thousands and overwhelm everything else.
Being a magazine editor himself, Pringle is obviously closer to the
short story scene than most, and is to be congratulated for giving
many fine collections and anthologies some well-deserved attention.

Pringle seems to assume that most readers are title-oriented, and has
arranged all the entries by title. Unfortunately, I am author-oriented
and often forget titles. This caused some consternation until I found
the Author Index in the back, which is an alphabetical listing of all
included authors, with a list of all their books that have
accompanying entries. This allows me to use the book both as a
reference tool, to access any book's entry quickly and easily, and as
a reader's guide to further enjoyments, by browsing through titles at
random.

(NOTE:  I only had the paperback to look at, but for a reference book
I would generally recommend a hardcover. The paperback is sturdy
enough, but as is usual with sturdy and large paperbacks, it's
uncomfortably stiff to browse through.)

Author David Pringle is the owner and publisher of the critically
acclaimed British magazine, INTERZONE, as well as the former editor
(1980-1986) of FOUNDATION: The Review of Science Fiction, an SF
journal. Most important around my house is that he is the author of
Carroll & Graf's SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS, in which the
best of the best is covered in much more depth than in the THE
ULTIMATE GUIDE. I see by his bio that he is also the author of the
delectable-sounding IMAGINARY PEOPLE: A WHO'S WHO OF MODERN FICTIONAL
CHARACTERS and a companion volume to the book I own called MODERN
FANTASY: THE 100 BEST NOVELS.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION is an important addition to any
SF-reader's bookshelf. Highly recommended. (Also highly recommended is
his previous volume SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS.)

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

THE PAPERBACK BOOKSHELF:

                   THE GENERAL: Book 1 - THE FORGE
                    by David Drake & S.M. Stirling
       Baen Books---February, 1991---$4.95---ISBN 671-720376-6
                       review by Darryl Kenning

In spite of a rather hokey beginning that sets the stage for the
computer assistance the hero gets during the story, a little
persistence will pay good dividends for the reader. If you like
military science fiction, if you like interesting social settings, if
you like rousing adventure, then you will enjoy this book.

Set on a planet that has lost its science but is struggling to retain
"civilization", the religion of the main country is based upon the
computer. That means that certain computerese that we recognize
becomes important to the societal backdrop and provides a bit of "in"
humor for at least some of us. A fascinating blend of cultures (the
result of the original colonial patterns) has been skillfully woven
into a bright tapestry that almost comes alive in the hands of the
master storytellers in this novel. And when all the good fun has gone,
some quiet reflection will show the real story in human terms and its
lessons for our times.

I enjoyed this book as much as any by Drake and the collaboration goes
very nicely. It has been set up as a series, and since it works so
well I hardly resented that at all. This one is definitely worth a
special trip to your bookstore.

                             KQ........4

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                     IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND
                           by Michael Flynn
          Baen Books---July, 1990---$3.95---ISBN 671-69886-9
                       review by Darryl Kenning

Take an extraordinary premise: What if Charles Babbage's invention of
a mechanical computer about 100 years ago worked very, very well; and
what if a number of people of that time formed a secret society to use
that knowledge to run the world; and just suppose they are
incompetent!

Michael Flynn has taken these elements, mixed them up with a highly
plausible scenario set in today's world, and covered this mixture with
a writing style that works very well in this book for this premise.
Whether or not you are a computer buff, this story is so plausible,
the plot so devious, and the results so credible, that you can't help
wondering if there isn't a basis of truth in all this--what if it IS
all a plot!

I don't want to beat this to death, and I certainly don't want to
spoil any of the story by any plot revelations. This book is
outstanding. Get it today--start reading immediately--and then let me
know if you could put it down.

                             KQ........5

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                              BOX SCORES
                .....................................
               /:                                   :
              : : Title    Author(s)             KQ :
              : : --------------------------------- :
              : : STRANDED, W Norwood & M Odom....2 :
              : : BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS           :
              : :        Poul Anderson............3 :
              : : RETURN OF THE EMPEROR             :
              : :           A Cole & C Bunch......3 :
              : : NICOJI, M.S. Bell...............3 :
              : : TIME OF THE FOX, M Costello.....2 :
              : : CHICAGO RED, R M Meluch.........2 :
              : : DEATH'S HEAD REBELLION            :
              : :        J. Pournelle (creator)...3 :
              : : CLARKE COUNTY, SPACE              :
              : :           Allen Steele..........4 :
              : : REACH, Edward Gibson............3 :
              : : GENERATION WARRIORS               :
              : :        A. McCaffrey & Moon, E...3 :
              : : MATRIX MAN, William Dietz.......2 :
              : : SURFACE ACTION, David Drake.....2 :
              : : CRISIS, Edited by                 :
              : :      D. Drake & W. Fawcett......4 :
              : : THE SIEGE OF ARTISTA              :
              : :        Edited by W. Fawcett.....3 :
              : :                                   :
              : :        by  darryl kenning         :
              : :...................................:
              :..................................../

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        THE AUTHOR AS SIDESHOW

We hear that Harlan Ellison has been up to his old tricks again--he
wrote a story while sitting in the window of the Los Angeles bookstore
Dangerous Visions. Wouldn't it be great if you could get somebody to
pay you to sit in a window and read?

While we're on the subject of Ellison-as-performer, he also gave a
live stage performance, at the Georgia Fantasy Convention, of "The
Rats in the Walls" by H.P. Lovecraft, which must have been wonderful.
They taped it and we hear that Centauri Express will be releasing it
as an audio tape.

And there's still more Ellison news. Borderlands Press has announced
the first title in its special series of never-before-in-hardcover
books:  NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS by Harlan Ellison. There is a signed,
limited edition of 1000 copies, slipcased with dust jacket, for $65
(plus $3 shipping and handling per book). Send your check to:
Borderlands Press, PO Box 32333, Baltimore, MD 21208.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                       BLURRING THE BOUNDARIES
                           by Mark Mueller

CYBER WAY by Alan Dean Foster (Ace, 1990, 226pp)
EYE OF CAT by Roger Zelazny (Timescape [Pocket Books],1982,188pp)
        
CYBER WAY is the first book by Alan Dean Foster that I have read. I
have seen his works before on the book shelves, but they have always
had that air of - I don't know - "marketing" about them. You know what
I mean - "You've seen the movie; now read the book!"-type of thing.
This doesn't necessarily mean that he is a bad writer or that he has
"sold out" - it's just been my impression that while he may be glib
enough, I'm not likely to find much originality in his work.

I picked up CYBER WAY because it was advertised as "a science-fiction
mystery" - just the thing to review for this column! Well, it is - and
it isn't.

This might be as good a time as any to dwell on the nature of mystery
and why it is possible for good mysteries to exist in so many
different genres. All mysteries are puzzles in one form or another and
cause us to seek answers to the questions "who," "what," "why" or
"how." Often, these answers are interdependent; solve one and you
solve all. The key thing is the structure, the parceling out of clues
that allows us to supply our own answers and try them out against the
problem-solver in the story. Sometimes the mystery is the only
worthwhile part of package - the puzzle (and its solution) are the
only thing that keeps the reader turning the pages. Other times, the
puzzle is transparent, but the characters are so interesting that we
want to be with them as long as the novel will allow.

Alas, neither is the case with CYBER WAY. The story opens with an
Amerindian confronting a wealthy Florida industrialist, demanding that
he sell a Navajo sandpainting. The next chapter introduces Detective
Vernon Moody who has been called in to investigate the murder of the
same wealthy Florida industrialist and his housekeeper, the only clues
being the destruction of a Navajo sandpainting and the report of the
security guards that an Indian had been arguing with the victim about
that very painting. Oh, I almost forgot - the victims had been killed
in a very strange manner; two holes were burned into each of their
bodies, but they had died not from the wounds, but from shock.

The police are baffled, so they do what police always do when they are
baffled - they do something that makes no sense whatsoever. Okay,
we've got an Indian and a sandpainting...let me see, where else in the
world do they have Indians and sandpaintings...wait, I've got it!
Let's send our Florida cop to Arizona! He's black, big and somewhat
fat (but with surprising quickness, of course); he should fit right in
when he shows up in the Navajo Territory.

Right.

Does all this sound somewhat contrived to you? What Foster has done is
to set up a "buddy" movie and then written the book for it. This is
"48 Hours," "Lethal Weapon," "Midnight Run" - take your pick. I guess
the main thrust of this book is supposed to be the interplay between
the city cop and the Navajo cop. The mystery elements take a back
seat; we already know who the killer is - we've known it since the
second page of the first chapter. The only questions remaining are how
did he kill his victims and why did he destroy the sandpainting? Are
they enough to sustain the novel? Are the characters sufficiently
interesting enough to carry the book?

No. If you like Tony Hillerman, don't bother with this book. Reading
CYBER WAY is like drinking light beer.

On the other hand...my daddy (who's going to be 70 years old in a
couple of weeks!) taught me that "if you can't say anything nice,
don't say anything at all." So, here's the positive thing I can say
about CYBER WAY: all the time I was reading it, I kept remembering
that I'd read a science fiction book about a Navajo set in the far
future, and that if I hadn't read CYBER WAY, I probably wouldn't have
reread EYE OF CAT by Roger Zelazny.

The plot of EYE OF CAT is fairly straightforward - William Blackhorse
Singer has chosen to travel among the stars, capturing rare creatures
for the Interstellar Life Institute. In doing so, he has outlived all
the rest of his clan - he has become the last Navajo. Now he is asked
to come out of retirement to thwart a political assassination by an
alien creature that can not only change shape at will, but also has
the ability to walk through walls. The shapeshifting ability strikes a
chord in Billy's mind and he returns to the ILI to confront a
shapeshifting creature he captured many years ago to determine if it
might be sentient. It is, and has learned many things in the fifty
years of its imprisonment. Cat has learned how to communicate with
humans, that it too is the last of its kind (the sun of its homeworld
had gone nova) and that its sole reason for living is hate - a burning
desire to track Billy down and kill him. Billy realizes that he
cannot stop the assassin by himself and agrees to Cat's terms.

What lifts EYE OF CAT out of the ordinary is Zelazny's ability to
constantly shift the shape of the novel as it progresses. Just when
you think you know what the book is about, he illuminates it from a
slightly different angle and the thing you felt was important two
pages ago suddenly loses its luster while something else begins to
command your attention. This book is charged with striking imagery and
poetry - the impression it makes lingers on long after closing the
cover.

Zelazny isn't shy about his influences, either; the book is dedicated
to Joe Leaphorn, Jimmy Chee and Tony Hillerman. Fortunately, he is
artist enough to create a world that doesn't pale in comparison with
theirs.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

FROM THE ARCHIVES:

Every issue or so I am going to pull something off the bookshelf that
I haven't looked at in a long time, but that I remember as being worth
rereading and provide a short report for you. Most of this stuff will
probably be out of print but should still be findable as you browse
your local used bookstore or library.


                       A SPACESHIP FOR THE KING
                          by Jerry Pournelle
                (DAW, February, 1973, No. 42, U01042)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

This was first seen serialized in ANALOG in 1972. It was also the
first time I read a Jerry Pournelle book. In some ways it is the
classic story of colonization (or recolonization), with the benefits
to go to the Colonial Power, never the colony. Using a skillful blend
of high tech and 17th century technology, he infuses the heroes with
the kind of mutual respect between professionals that has become his
trademark in later novels. He manages to provide a credible society
for the colony, the empire, and the barbarian world, even to the
beginnings of liberation for women in a feudal society. While courage
and battle planning provides the action elements, even the bad guys
have depth of character, and it is hard not to empathize with most of
the individuals in the story. The real treat, real message I suppose,
is that technological level has little to do with brains and ability.
Something we do tend to forget in our world too, and it is great fun
to watch the low techies outmatch the high techies.

In short, I liked this book very much. Picking it up after several
readings some years ago, it still keep my interest and I didn't want
to put it down until I had devoured every last morsel of the plot and
characterizations. I also found myself rolling around the basic
premise in my mind days later, and that is, for me at any rate, when I
KNOW I've found a winner. This one is worth the hunt.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

 QUOTES 'N' STUFF:

      If you explain so clearly that no one can misunderstand,]
                            somebody will.

                 Calm down. It's only ones and zeros.

       The first sign of a nervous breakdown is when you start
              thinking your work is terribly important.

 Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.

               Teenage Hell: a parent who's into BBSing

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                      SF WRITER AND JIM MORRISON

Patricia Kennealy, an SF writer currently being published by NAL/Roc,
was once married in a pagan ceremony to Jim Morrison, lead singer for
The Doors. As a matter of fact, she appears in Oliver Stone's recent
movie, THE DOORS, both figuratively and literally. The ceremony that
was performed in an East Village apartment appears in the movie, and
Patricia Kennealy herself is in the scene. Note, however, that
Kennealy plays the priestess that performed the ceremony, while
actress Kathleen Quinlan plays Patricia Kennealy's character. Did I
get that out right? The real-life writer Patricia Kennealy plays the
movie characterization of the real-life priestess, while real-life
actress Kathleen Quinlan plays the movie characterization of the
real-life Patricia Kennealy.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                          ASK UNCLE HAL 9001

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

Q. Who wrote PETER PAN?
A. James M. Barrie (1860-1937). Barrie donated all the royalties in
   perpetuity to a children's hospital.

Q. Who wrote the original book THE BODY SNATCHERS?
A. Jack Finney, who also wrote the outstanding novel TIME AND TIME
   AGAIN wrote THE BODY SNATCHERS in 1955.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                              TREKOLOGY

WP    BW247   FEB 20,1991    15:50  PACIFIC      18:50 EASTERN
( EW)(PARAMOUNT-MOTION-PICTURE) "Star Trek VI" begins principal
photography   

Entertainment Editors & Film Writers

HOLLYWOOD--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--"Star Trek VI" will begin principal
photography this spring.

The film was written by Nicholas Meyer and Denny Martin Flynn and will
be directed by Meyer, the director of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of
Kahn" and co-screenwriter of "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," the two
most successful "Star Trek" motion pictures. Steven-Charles Jaffe and
Ralph Winter are producing and Leonard Nimoy is the executive producer
of the film. A presentation of the Motion Picture Group of Paramount
Pictures, it was announced Wednesday by Gary Lucchesi, president of
production.

"Star Trek VI" will reunite original "Star Trek" stars William Shatner
(Captain James T. Kirk), Nimoy (Mr. Spock), DeForest Kelley (Dr.
Leonard "Bones" McCoy), James Doohan (Scotty), Walter Koenig (Chekov),
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) and George Takei (Sulu).

The  screenplay is based upon "Star Trek" created by Gene Roddenberry,
who will serve as executive consultant to the production.

"We are excited to commemorate the 25th anniversary of 'Star Trek'
with the start of production of a movie that reunites the entire
original cast with the filmmakers who have been instrumental in the
creation of the best of the "Star Trek" motion picture series," said
Lucchesi.

"Star Trek" premiered as a weekly hour-long television adventure
series in 1966. Canceled by NBC after three seasons, the show's fans
would not let the show be forgotten. "Star Trek" conventions began to
be held worldwide and by 1972 the series was being rerun in more than
170 syndicated television markets.

In 1979 the unprecedented "Star Trek" phenomenon reached a new height
with the premiere of Paramount's "Star Trek -- The Motion Picture."
The film set an industry record at the time of its release with the
highest-grossing week in box-office history. "Star Trek IV: The Voyage
Home" has the distinction of being the highest-grossing "Star Trek"
movie with a domestic gross of $110 million.

In addition to his work on the second and fourth "Star Trek" films,
Meyer is the director/screenwriter of "Time After Time" and directed
"Volunteers" and "The Deceivers." He received a best adapted
screenplay Academy Award nomination for "The Seven Per-cent Solution"
and is a two-time Emmy nominee for directing "The Day After" and
co-writing "The Night That Panicked America."

Producer Jaffe is the executive producer of "Ghost" and produced "The
Fly II," "Near Dark" and "Those Lips, Those Eyes." He was the
associate producer of "Demon Seed" and "Time After Time." He
collaborated with his partner Meyer on the acclaimed telefilm "The Day
After" and their upcoming feature films include "Company Business" and
"Don Quixote."

Producer Winter is the executive producer of "Star Trek IV: The Voyage
Home" and "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier." He associate produced
"Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" and served as post-production
coordinator for "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn."  His other films
include Paramount's "Flight of the Intruder" and the upcoming "The
Perfect Weapon."

Executive Producer Nimoy is the director of "Funny About Love," "The
Good Mother," "Three Men and a Baby," "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"
and "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock." As an actor, Nimoy has
received four Emmy nominations: three for his role as Mr. Spock in the
series "Star Trek" and one for his performance in the telefilm "A
Woman Called Golda."

Paramount Pictures is a Paramount Communications company.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                    STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

                         Season Four Schedule

                           Updated : 3/6/91

  Week Of      Prod. #   Stardate    Title
 --------      ------   ---------    ----------------------------
  9/24/90      175       44001.4      Best of Both Worlds Part II
 10/01/90      178       44012.3      Family
 10/08/90      177       44085.7      Brothers
 10/15/90      176       44143.7      Suddenly Human
 10/22/90      179       44161.2      Remember Me
 10/29/90      180       44215.2      Legacy
 11/05/90      181       44246.3      Reunion
 11/12/90      182       44286.5      Future Imperfect
 11/19/90      183       44307.3      Final Mission
 11/26/90      175R      44001.4      Best of Both Worlds Part II
 12/03/90      178R      44012.3      Family
 12/10/90      177R      44085.7      Brothers
 12/17/90      176R      44143.7      Suddenly Human
 12/24/90      179R      44161.2      Remember Me
 12/31/90      184       44356.9      The Loss
  1/07/91      185       44390.1      Data's Day
  1/14/91      180R      44215.2      Legacy
  1/21/91      181R      44246.3      Reunion
  1/28/91      186       44429.6      The Wounded
  2/04/91      187       44474.5      Devil's Due
  2/11/91      188       44502.7      Clues
  2/18/91      189       Not Given    First Contact
  2/25/91      182R      44286.5      Future Imperfect
  3/04/91      183R      44307.3      Final Mission
  3/11/91      190                    Galaxy's Child
  3/18/91      191                    Night Terrors
  3/25/91      192                    Identity Crisis
  4/01/91      193                    The Nth Degree
  4/08/91      184R      44356.9      The Loss
  4/15/91      185R      44390.1      Data's Day
  4/22/91      194                    Q-pid
  4/29/91      195                    Drumhead
  5/06/91      196                    Civil Wars
  5/13/91      197                    The Host
  5/20/91      186R      44429.6      The Wounded
  5/27/91      187R      44474.5      Devil's Due
  6/03/91      198                    [Data Story]
  6/10/91      199
  6/17/91      188R      44502.7      Clues
  6/24/91      200                    [Season Finale]
  7/01/91      189R                   First Contact
  7/08/91      190R                   Galaxy's Child
  7/15/91      191R                   Night Terrors
  7/22/91      192R                   Identity Crisis
  7/29/91      193R                   The Nth Degree
  8/05/91      194R                   Q-pid
  8/12/91      195R                   Drumhead
  8/19/91      196R                   Civil Wars
  8/26/91      197R                   The Host
  9/02/91      198R                   [Data Story]
  9/09/91      199R
  9/16/91      200R                   [Season Finale]

Schedule of new episodes past April is subject to change.

"Week Of" is the official Paramount Monday "week of" airdate.
Satellite feeds of the episodes are two days earlier (Saturday).

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

THE BOOK THAT NEVER WAS:

             What Really Happened to A FLAG FULL OF STARS
                           by Brad Ferguson

Soon, now, there will appear the umpety-umpth novel in the Star Trek
series, A FLAG FULL OF STARS. (As of this writing, it has already
appeared in some areas.) My name is on the cover, which might lead you
to think that it's my book.

Well, it is and it isn't. Mostly, it isn't.

I first proposed AFFoS to Pocket in 1986, soon after my first Trek
novel, CRISIS ON CENTAURUS, appeared. I wanted to do a Trek book set
on Earth during the three hundredth anniversary of the first manned
lunar landing. That original proposal, which was for a
first-generation book, had Captain Kirk and a refugee Klingon
scientist defeating an Imperial spy ring that had gained knowledge of
an important new source of freely available energy discovered by the
scientist.

On December 13, 1987, there was a meeting at Pocket Books to discuss
an ambitious plan: the creation of a series of novels set in the "lost
years" between the end of the five-year mission and the first film.
Editor Dave Stern thought that, with a little tweaking, AFFoS might
work as the second book of the proposed three-novel series. Present at
the meeting were Dave, Bob Greenberger (who came up with the idea for
the series), and writers Jeanne Dillard, Irene Kress and myself. We
all got along very well and got a great deal of planning done. The
books were to come out, one right after the other, in early 1989.

Too bad it was all for nothing. Gene Roddenberry himself soon enough
let it be known that he didn't think the "lost years" should be
written about, although I've never been told why. Irene's book was
cancelled after it was finished, and it was stated that only two "lost
years" books would be produced--mine and Jeanne Dillard's. I myself
added to the problems: I was terribly late in delivering my own book,
thanks mainly to ill health, but also thanks more than a little to
being stuck on dead center because of an ever-increasing number of
restraints on what I could and could not do in the book. ST:TNG had
come along, you see, and that meant the Star Trek office at Paramount
was giving the novels a great deal of attention.

The preliminary manuscript of AFFoS, due in August 1988, was
(finally!) delivered by me to new editor Kevin Ryan at Pocket Books on
March 31, 1989. That wasn't the end of it, though, because there then
followed a raft of revisions. Some of the revising did indeed have to
do with story problems, which is normal and expected....but most of it
had to do with satisfying anticipated objections from the Star Trek
office at Paramount--that is, objections from Gene Roddenberry's
assistant, Richard Arnold. Without exception, those pre-emptive
revisions weakened the story I was interested in telling. Each
revision, by my lights, made the story less special and more bland. I
revised AFFoS from stem to stern fully four times between April 1989
and August 1990--and, in the end, it was not enough.

Kevin said he was disappointed at the final result and told me that
AFFoS had been turned over to Jeanne Dillard for a fifth revision. I
was disappointed at that, and perhaps a little surprised, but not
angry. To tell the truth, I was relieved; I did not want to have to
take yet another whack at the book, and said as much at the time--and
more than once--on the GEnie computer net. I suggested to Kevin that
Jeanne might deserve a byline on the book, but was assured that she
would not be doing all that extensive a job. To quote what Kevin told
me more than once, it would still be my book. (I never talked to
Jeanne about this myself. Perhaps I should have done so. Live and
learn.)

I assure you that it is not my book. If AFFoS were a movie, you could
perhaps give me a "from a concept by" credit, but that's about all.

I finally received the revised manuscript just a month before
publication, and quickly saw the book for what it had become: a
hastily produced and clumsily edited cut 'n' paste of my stuff mixed
with some reasonably good stuff grafted on by Jeanne. Unfortunately,
the scars of those grafts clearly show: Our writing styles are vastly
different, and AFFoS indicates that they don't mix very well. The book
desperately needs some smoothing, and it wouldn't have taken long to
do, but there was no time left for it. (I know. I volunteered.)

There are other problems, too. For example, one major character is
introduced twice, ten manuscript pages apart--once by me and once by
Jeanne. There are sometimes drastic, and occasionally bizarre,
inconsistencies in characterization. Futuristic terminology is
awkward: my "viddycams" have been replaced by mundane "cameras," but
"watches" have become mysterious "chronos." There are also sentence
fragments strewn all over the landscape like slats from a barn after a
tornado.

Worst of all--at least, as I see it--the ending of the book, fairly
downbeat in the original, has been revised drastically and is now
"happy." There may no longer be room in the Star Trek universe for
anything more thoughtful than a happy ending. The people who license
and publish the Trek books may have come to believe that their readers
can't handle an ending that isn't "happy." Could be, could be. The
folks who produce those romance novels you see in the supermarket
think that way, too.

Kevin Ryan tried--briefly--to convince me that it's a good book, but I
am realistic enough to know better, and he is honest enough not to
have tried too hard. It is poorly handled and, in the final analysis,
it is not about very much at all. I am stuck with this two-headed yet
brainless mutant child who bears my name, and I do not like it. Not at
all.

[Copyright (c) 1991 by Brad Ferguson. No changes or deletions can be
made without the written permission of the author. Permission to
distribute by written and electronic means is hereby granted.]

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                       RECENT & UPCOMING BOOKS

FRACTAL MODE by Piers Anthony (sequel to VIRTUAL MODE)
BARRIYAR by Lois McMaster Bujold
a new "CHANUR" novel by C.J. Cherryh (DAW hardcover)
THE GARDEN OF RAMA by Arthur C. Clarke & Gentry Lee (this year)
RAMA REVEALED by Arthur C. Clarke & Gentry Lee (next year)
THE GREAT WORK OF TIME by John Crowley (Bantam Spectra Aug 91)
CUP OF CLAY by Carole Nelson Douglas (first of a trilogy)
THE SEERESS OF KELL by David Eddings (Book Five of "The Malloreon", a
  Del Rey hardcover in May)
KENT MONTANA AND THE ONCE AND FUTURE THING by Lionel Fenn (Ace Aug 91)
CAMELOT TITANIA by Robert Forward (Tor)
TIMEMASTER by Robert Forward (Tor)
THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF by David Gerrold (Bantam Spectra Apr 91)
SHERWOOD by Parke Godwin (a Robin Hood fantasy, from Morrow/Avon)
WORLD OF THE NIGHT WIND by Geary Gravel (a "Fading Worlds" novel)
THE WARLORD OF KANSAS by Geary Gravel (a "Fading Worlds" novel)
PRINCE OF THE SHAPESHIFTERS by Sharon Green
THE SOUL THIEF by Sharon Green
SEE ME, FEEL ME, TOUCH ME by F. Gwynplaine
SHADOW LEADER by Tara K. Harper
TRAMP ROYALE by Robert A. Heinlein (nonfiction travelogue)
WHERE WOLF by Tanya Huff (sequel to BLOOD PRICE)
DUST TO DUST by Tanya Huff (another sequel to BLOOD PRICE)
BARDIC VOICES by Mercedes Lackey
SUCCUBI by Edward Lee (pseudonym of Lee Seymour)
THE LONG HUNT by James D. MacDonald & Debra Doyle (first of a trilogy)
EXPEDITION by Vonda N. McIntyre (sequel to TRANSITION)
WILD CARDS XI: JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE edited by George R.R. Martin (Bantam
  Spectra Sep 91)
SHADOW OF THE CROWN by Craig Mills
GLASS HOUSES by Laura Mixon
BLACK TRILLIUM by Andre Norton (all by herself)
THE GATES OF AMBERMERE by James Pierce
BY CHAOS CURSED by Mickey Zucker Reichert (fifth and last book in the
  "Bifrost Guardians" series)
LAST OF THE RENSHAI by Mickey Zucker Reichert
THE WESTERN WIZARD by Mickey Zucker Reichert
CHILD OF THUNDER by Mickey Zucker Reichert
ALTERNATE PRESIDENTS edited by Mike Resnick & Martin H. Greenberg
THE SACRILEGE by John Maddox Roberts (Vol. III of "SPQR" series)
THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSES by John Maddox Roberts (Vol. IV of "SPQR"
  series)
HEART READERS by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (who is the new editor of The
  Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
DESTROYING ANGEL by Richard Paul Russo (Ace)
RULER OF THE SKY by Pamela Sargent (Historical novel about Genghis
  Khan)
REEFSONG by Carol Severance
THE WIZARD AT MECQ by Rick Shelley
LUNAR DESCENT by Alan Steele (Ace)
THE WEAPON MASTERS OF ISHER by A.E. Van Vogt
THE WEIGHER by Eric Vinicoff & Marcia Martin (an expansion of their
  short story)
STRANGE MONSTERS OF THE RECENT PAST by Howard Waldrop (Ace Jul 91)
THE GENOCIDAL HEALER by James White (a "Sector General" novel from Del
  Rey)
DEATH QUALIFIED by Kate Wilhelm

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             COMING IN JUNE (OUR 2ND ANNIVERSARY ISSUE)!!
                           Articles about:

THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE
by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
Publishing Date: March 15, 1991 by Bantam Books
ISBN 0-553-07028-2, 429 pages, $19.95

"It is a sure Hugo and Nebula contender, and could well be the most
fun you'll have reading science fiction this year!"
                           ---RAVE REVIEWS

"Convincing and colorful--a fast, suspenseful ride through a Victorian
London that would have given Sherlock Holmes a nervous breakdown. A
terrific book!"
              ---Tim Powers, author of THE ANUBIS GATES

"A revelation:  an action-packed historical thriller that illuminates
the peculiar dilemmas of the late 20th century information explosion.
It's also terrific fun."
                  ---Steven Levy, author of HACKERS


GURPS CYBERPUNK
High-Tech Low-Life Roleplaying
by Loyd Blankenship
(Steve Jackson Games, 1991)

The game/book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!

"On March 1, the SJ Games offices, and the home of the GURPS Cyberpunk
writer, were raided by the U.S. Secret Service as part of a nationwide
investigation of data piracy. A large amount of equipment was seized,
including four computers, two laser printers, some loose hard disks
and a great deal of assorted hardware. One of the computers was the
one running the Illuminati BBS.

"The only computers taken were those with the GURPS Cyberpunk files;
other systems were left in place. In their diligent search for
evidence, the agents also cut off locks, forced open footlockers, tore
up dozens of boxes in the warehouse, and bent two of our letter
openers in an attempt to pick the lock on a file cabinet."
                  ---from page 4 of GURPS CYBERPUNK


Featured Author for June:
                           Arthur C. Clarke

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                             BACK ISSUES

ELECTRONIC EDITION:  Check the BBSs in the Distribution Directory
first. If what you want isn't available, you can get any (or all)
issues directly from RFP. Disks you get from us will be formatted
using PC/MS-DOS (for IBM clones). Specify 3-1/2" or 5-1/4" floppy,
high or low density. Send $5 for one disk's worth (4 issues on low
density, almost all issues on high density), and add $2.50 for each
additional disk.

PRINT EDITION:  We have print copies of all issues except #1 and #2.
Send $2 for each issue.

Checks:  Make checks payable to Cindy Bartorillo.

Address: Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
Frederick, MD 21702. On CompuServe leave a message to 74766,1206. On
GEnie leave a message to C.BARTORILLO. Best of all, call our BBS, The
Baudline II at 301-694-7108 (1200-9600 baud HST) where all RFPs are
available for downloading on your first call.


Also Available (on the BAUDLINE II only):

RFP-BB.ZIP    Baseball Books of Spring 1990
RFP-SC.ZIP    Sisters in Crime Catalogue (mysteries by women)
RFPINDEX.ZIP  An Index To All Issues (updated each issue)

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             COMING JUNE 1 --- OUR 2nd ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

***  Feature Article:  Living the Good Life  ***

***  Featured Author:  Arthur C. Clarke  ***

Plus, reviews of great books like these:

SUPERSTARS AND SCREWBALLS: 100 YEARS OF BROOKLYN BASEBALL
by Richard Goldstein
(E.P. Dutton, 1991)

Brooklyn is rich in the tradition of the national pastime. From some
of the earliest organized teams in the country to the legendary
Brooklyn Dodgers, baseball flourished in the "city of churches" for
over a century, until the dark day in 1957 when the Dodgers moved
West. A NEW YORK TIMES sports editor, Richard Goldstein traces this
lively, colorful history in SUPERSTARS AND SCREWBALLS: 100 YEARS OF
BROOKLYN BASEBALL.


REGIMENT OF WOMEN
by Thomas Berger
(Little, Brown, 1991)

The time is the 21st century. In New York City the worst fears of
"future shock" have become daily realities for its inhabitants. Gas
masks are required for the frequent pollution alerts, rent is
exorbitant, and detention centers are located throughout the city. All
that was once familiar is no longer: the George Washington Bridge is
in ruins; Rockefeller Center is an underground penitentiary; but most
important of all, the aspirations of the most extreme feminists have
finally been realized.

Georgie Cornell, a 29-year-old secretary with the publishing house of
Philby, Osgood & Huff, goes to work neatly attired in a white tailored
blouse and pleated, kelly-green skirt, with beige pumps and matching
purse. Georgie spends the day dodging the advances of a lecherous
senior executive, deciphering dictation, visiting the analyst,
repairing makeup--as do many secretaries of the day. But there is one
significant difference:  Georgie Cornell is a man.


CHAPTERS AND VERSE
by Joel Barr
(Gibbs Smith, 1991)

CHAPTERS AND VERSE is the name of the bookstore at the heart of this
magical novel. When its owner, the eccentric and elderly E Baker,
decides to retire and travel the world, she hand-picks necktie
salesman Matthew Mason to take over her business. Once behind the
counter of his new enterprise, Matthew begins to witness a colorful
and constant parade of customers, all with their own unique and
intriguing stories. Caught up in the store's crazy rhythms and endless
miscellany, Matthew comes to realize why E Baker cannot get the
bookstore out of her soul; why she continues, during her far-flung
travels, to write him letters of guidance and support, which for
Matthew are a welcome source of comic relief in his new venture.

Like 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD, this is a novel for anyone who loves books
and bookstores.


Also,

In RFP #17, Janet Peters will begin a new series discussing good
reading that can be found in the Children's Literature section. The
first installment will talk about

SOROTCHINTZY FAIR
by Nikolai Gogol, illustrated by Gennadij Spirin
(David R. Godine, 1991)

At the Sorotchintzy Fair--an annual tumult of marvelous goods--the
beautiful Paraska meets a young man in a white coat who asks for her
hand. But complications arise--the mysterious creature in a Red Coat
appears, a mare disappears, and in the end, only the help of gypsies
sets everything right.

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