************************************************************** 
 *                                                            *
 *         R E A D I N G    F O R    P L E A S U R E          *
 *                                                            *
 *                        Issue #17                           *
 *                     June/July 1991                         *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                  2nd ANNIVERSARY ISSUE                     *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                 Editor: Cindy Bartorillo                   *
 *                                                            *
 *  Reviews by:  Travis Adkins, Cindy Bartorillo, Drew        *
 *    Bartorillo, Carolyn C. Bream, Jack Curtin, Sue Feder,   *
 *    Howard Frye, Carl Ingram, Peter de Jager, Cherie Jung,  *
 *    Darryl Kenning, Robert A. Pittman, Peter Quint, Carol   *
 *    Sheffert, Annie Wilkes, Robert Willis                   *
 *                                                            *
 *             Featured Author:  Arthur C. Clarke             *
 *                                                            *
 **************************************************************

CONTACT US AT:  Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
Frederick, MD 21702; or on CompuServe leave a message to 74766,1206;
or on GEnie leave mail to C.BARTORILLO; or call our BBS, the BAUDLINE
II at 301-694-7108, 1200-9600 HST.

NOTICE:  Reading For Pleasure is not copyrighted. You may copy
freely, but please give us credit if you extract portions to use
somewhere else. This electronic edition is free, but print editions
cost $2 each for printing and postage.

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                        DISTRIBUTION DIRECTORY

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

?????             Omaha, NE      Pete Hartman      402-498-9723
Academia          Pomono, NJ     Ken Tompkins      609-652-4914
Accolade! BBS     Round Rock,TX  Jack Moore        512-388-1445
Ad Lib            Monroeville,PA John Williams     412-327-9209
Alexandria Link   Alexandria,VA  Patrick Pluto     703-799-5650
The Annex         Dayton,OH      John Cooper       513-274-0821
Beginnings BBS    Levittown,NY   Mike Coticchio    516-796-7296
Boot Strap OnLine Yuma, AZ       Daryl Stogner     602-343-0878
Burg Board System Amarillo, TX   Tom Whittenburg   806-352-5784
Byrd's Nest       Arlington,VA   Debbie&Alan Byrd  703-671-8923
Checkpoint        El Cajon,CA                      619-442-3595
Chevy Chase Board Alexandria,VA  Larkins/Carlson   703-549-5574
Computer Co-Op    Voorhees,NJ    Ted Hare          609-784-9404
Daily Planet      Owosso,MI      Jay Stark         517-723-4613
Death Star        Oxon Hill,MD   Lee Pollard       301-839-0705
Del Ches Systems  Exton,PA       Peter Rucci       215-363-6625
Diversified Prog  PacPalisadesCA Jean-Pierre Denis 213-459-6053
Dorsai Diplomatic Mission  NYC   Jack Brooks       212-431-1944
Futzer Avenue     Issaquah,WA    Stan Symms        206-391-2339
GEnieUs RT        GEnie          Library #8
HotTips BBS       Glendale, CA   Mike Callaghan    818-248-3088
Humanware BBS     New York       Jim Freund        212-980-3128
IBMNew            CompuServe     Library #0
INDY-PC BBS       Indianapolis,IN Mark Dutton      317-257-5882
Inn on the Park   Scottsdale,AZ  Jim Jusko         602-957-0631
Invention Factory New York,NY    Mike Sussell      212-431-1273
Ivory Tower       Manchester,CT  Karl Hakmiller    203-649-5611
KCSS BBS          Seattle,WA     Bob Neddo         206-296-5277
()Lensman() BBS   Denver,CO      Greg Bradt        303-979-8953
Lost Paradise                    Mike King         703-370-7795
Magnetic Bottle   Pennsylvania   Bill Mertens      814-231-1345
Magpie HQ         New York,NY    Steve Manes       212-420-0527
The MOG-UR'S EMS  GranadaHills,CA Tom Tcimpidis    818-366-6442
MoonDog BBS       Brooklyn,NY    Don Barba         718-692-2498
MSU Library BBS   St. Paul,MN    Dana Noonan       612-722-9257
Over My Dead Body Oakland,CA     Cherie Jung       415-465-7739
Port of Call BBS  Indiana        Brian Cload       219-763-4908
Poverty Rock PCB  Mercer Is.,WA  Rick Kunz         206-232-1763
Round Table BBS   Chicago,IL     Kevin Keyser      312-777-9480
Sabaline                         Don Saba          619-692-1961
Science Fiction   GEnie          Library #3
SF & Fantasy      CIS Hom-9      Library #5
SMOF-BBS          Austin,TX      Earl Cooley       512-467-7317
SoftServ          Long Beach,CA  J. Neil Schulman  213-957-1176
Sunwise           Sun City W.,AZ Keith Slater      602-584-7395
Technoids Anon.   Chandler,AZ    David Cantere     602-899-4876
The Windows BBS   Yorktown,VA    John Champion     804-766-0553
Writers Happy Hr  Seattle,WA     Walter Scott      206-364-2139
Xevious           Framingham,MA  Nels Anderson     508-875-3618
Your Place        Fairfax,VA     Ken Goosens       703-978-6360

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

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

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                          TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                            Line #
Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  116
Most Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  152
What's News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  218
Mainstream Fiction Reviews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  306
Nonfiction Reviews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1137
Murder By The Book (Mystery Reviews)  . . . . . . . . . . . . 2565
Loosen Your Grip On Reality (SF & Fantasy Reviews)  . . . . . 3771
Frightful Fiction (Horror Reviews)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4876

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                              EDITORIAL

Well, here we are again. It's been two years now, and RFP is
considerably changed but still going. I want to thank all of our
contributors and all of our readers and everyone who has been good
enough to write to us with kind words. Maybe I should say a few words
about mail. We love getting your comments, and we do read every single
letter, but I can't guarantee an answer anymore. When you're a free
publication, you can't just hire another employee to take care of the
expanding mailbag. This means that as the mail traffic increases, we
either devote more time to mail and less to RFP, or we shortchange the
mail a bit. To help us out: 1) understand that we appreciate your
comments, even when we don't tell you so, and 2) when you write to us
with a question or request, we sure do appreciate a self-addressed
stamped envelope. When you make $0, every cash outlay hurts.

For computer and modem owners:  RFP has a "home" bulletin board where
you can call and download every issue, plus a few extra goodies like
the up-to-date index and the new Sisters in Crime catalog. The board
is called The Baudline II and the phone # is 301-694-7108. (This
information is in our masthead too.) We've made some major changes in
the board lately, changes which should make it MUCH easier to log in
quickly (fewer questions) and easily (fewer busy signals) and you'll
have 60 minutes a day to download whatever RFP materials you want.

Be sure not to miss Jack Curtin's new column "It's All A Mystery To
Me" in Murder By The Book, our mystery section. Also, Peter de Jager
is back with more "Lost Stories", Robert A. Pittman has been listening
to books on tape, and Peter Quint has been reading more horror
magazines. Hope you find some good reading in this issue--we'll see
you again in #18, to be released on August 1, 1991.

                   Prevent Mind Decay -- Read Books

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                   MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is RFP?

RFP is a cooperative effort by and for publishers and writers, RFP
"staff", and RFP's readers.

Publishers and writers send us books for review and information about
books, and in return they get some relatively hassle-free publicity.

RFP staffers do the reading and brain work they would be doing anyway,
and they donate the time they spend writing it down to benefit other
readers and see their name in print. A few RFP reviewers close to RFP
headquarters get their review books free from the publishers (and
occasionally from authors).

RFP's readers provide another warm body to add to RFP's value as
publicity, and in return they get a lot of good book information.


Why is RFP not copyrighted?

The copyrighting of electronic media is still in that ugly stage where
you have to hire a team of lawyers to gather around and argue about it
for 3 or 4 years. We here at RFP have better things to do with our
time and money, making RFP not copyrighted makes it available to more
people, and most of RFP's content is informational and doesn't really
warrant copyrighting.


Why is RFP free?

1. Personally, I want to spend my time reading and contemplating
literature. I do *not* want to be tied up with bookkeeping, tax forms,
and other government hassle.

2. Most of RFP's contributors are doing very little that they wouldn't
be doing anyway, so not being paid doesn't seem all that weird.

3. Some of us are being "paid" with free books from the publishers,
most of which we ask for specifically. If we were to be paid, we would
only take the money to the nearest bookstore and buy the very same
books.

4. It's not like we're passing up a small fortune. Have you seen the
literacy figures lately? Producing a literary magazine is not the
gateway to yuppie heaven.


Why are there so few negative reviews in RFP?

1. This is not a professional magazine--no one gets paid by RFP for
reading and reviewing. This means we all read the books we WANT to
read; books we are sold on to start with.

2. Professional critics use many yardsticks to judge books, most of
which are of interest only to other critics. RFP is for readers.

3. We have a two part philosophy here at RFP. First, we figure just
about every book has its audience, and we take it as our job to match
up books with readers. Secondly, we are here to point out books that
you might be interested in reading, not to show off how incredibly
discriminating we are.

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                             WHAT'S NEWS

* Susan Baur has written a book about her work with schizophrenics.
It's called THE DINOSAUR MAN, is being published by HarperCollins, and
has already been optioned to Orion Pictures for Jodie Foster to
develop, produce, and star in. The title patient is called The
Dinosaur Man because he is convinced that he and Dr. Baur knew each
other many years ago as dinosaurs.

* For something really different, you might want to try WATER DANCING,
a collection of short stories by Pearl P.R.D. Duncan (Aegina Press,
Inc., 59 Oak Lane, Spring Valley, Huntington, WV 25704.) These are
stories of Caribbean adventure and sound like just the thing for a
relaxing vacation.

* Another book you should know about is WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL
WEAR PURPLE, a collection of stories, poems, and photographs on the
challenges, opportunities, and enchantments of growing old, edited by
Sandra Martz. It has already sold 150,000 copies, won the Ben Franklin
Award for Design and Content, and been nominated for the American
Booksellers' Association's Book of the Year Award. If your local
bookstore doesn't have it, you can get it directly from the publisher
by sending $10, plus $1.50 postage, to: Papier-Mache Press, 795 Via
Manzana, Watsonville, CA 95076.

* Have you heard about the Sony Data Discman? It's a hand-held
electronic book reader that uses 3" compact discs containing up to
100,000 pages of text. So far they have 25 titles for it, mostly
reference works from what I've heard. On sale in Japan since last
July, it may hit America before the end of the year (like, maybe, for
Christmas shopping?). The list price will probably be around $450.

* Bruce Wagner's first novel, FORCE MAJEURE (from Random House), is
about a screenwriter who suffers the indignities visited on
Hollywood's failures, and who undergoes a mental breakdown. Wagner is
himself a screenwriter, though hardly a failure. He wrote the
screenplays for SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN BEVERLY HILLS,
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, and for his own FORCE MAJEURE, which he is
also scheduled to direct.

* Graham Greene, author of THE THIRD MAN, THE QUIET AMERICAN, OUR MAN
IN HAVANA, THE HONORARY CONSUL, and others, died at the age of 86 on
April 3, 1991. For more about Greene, see Jack Curtin's new column,
"It's All A Mystery To Me", in our mystery section Murder By The Book.

* Simon & Schuster recently agreed to pay an astounding $920,000 for
an author's first novel, at least partially because of endorsements
for the novel made by John le Carre and Joseph Wambaugh. When the news
of this deal was printed in the NEW YORK TIMES, both le Carre and
Wambaugh denied recommending, or even reading, the book in question
(JUST KILLING TIME by Derek V. Goodwin writing under the pseudonym
Derek Van Arman). Goodwin's agent claims that both he and his client
acted in good faith and are the victims of fraud. Simon & Schuster,
after reviewing the situation, decided to back out of the deal.

* George T. Delacorte, founder of Dell Publishing Company, died at
home in his sleep, at the age of 97, on May 4, 1991. After 25 years of
publishing magazines, he began issuing small 25-cent paperback books
in 1942, and distributed millions of them to servicemen during World
War II. For a delightful account of that period in our publishing
history, see if you can find a copy of TWO-BIT CULTURE: THE
PAPERBACKING OF AMERICA by Kenneth C. Davis (Houghton Mifflin, 1984).

* Walker Books has announced a new U.S. company, Candlewick Press, to
publish children's books beginning in the spring of 1992. The first
year's schedule already includes: I SAW ESAU, playground rhymes
collected by Iona and Peter Opie and illustrated by Maurice Sendak;
and FARMER DUCK by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

* There is at least one more book on the way about serial killer Gary
Gilmore--this one is coming from Gary's brother Mikal and apparently
will be called SHOT IN THE HEART. Subtitled "The Story of an American
Family in Murder" it will attempt to show readers that, as Mikal
Gilmore says: "murder rarely occurs just as a single solitary response
born of the moment. The seeds were sown long before, in the murderer's
family and emotional history and environment". Just bought by
Doubleday, the book isn't scheduled to be published until the fall of
1993. In the meantime, you might want to read Norman Mailer's THE
EXECUTIONER'S SONG, if you haven't already.

* Dave Sackett has called my attention to another source of Illuminati
material and other strange things by Robert Anton Wilson. If you
suspect the Illuminati are after you, you'd better get a catalog of
available books from: New Falcon Publications, 7025 1st Ave. Suite 5,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251.

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                          MAINSTREAM FICTION


                                LINGO
                            by Jim Menick
          (Carroll & Graf, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-88184-628-7)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Brewster Billings is a first-rate computer programmer who maintains
the payroll software for a large insurance company. He is bored by his
job and has little rapport with his boss David Poole (obviously a
synthesis of 2001's David Bowman and Frank Poole.) In his spare time,
however, he works on an Eliza-like computer program he calls Lingo.
Lingo can "read" sentences typed into a computer, decode and make
rudimentary responses to the words he understands, and ask for
definitions for the words he doesn't understand. Whenever the program
Lingo is executed, he begins the conversation with his programmer with
the greeting he was taught:

>HEY, BREWSTER. LET'S PARTY.

Brewster wants to make Lingo smarter, realizing that the real trick to
anything remotely resembling artificial intelligence is to make the
program self-learning. He begins by hooking Lingo up to every
conceivable input/output device: microphone, speech synthesizer, video
camera, modem, etc. Then Brewster works on teaching Lingo to store the
information he receives and to make decisions about what information
to keep permanently and what to discard. But it just isn't enough, or
at least that's what Brewster thinks when he leaves for a date with
his girlfriend. In a sarcastic gesture, Brewster leaves Lingo's video
camera pointed at the TV set, which is turned on. Twenty-four hours
later, a seemingly sentient Lingo calls Brewster at his girl friend's
apartment to tell him that "the best-loved family motion picture of
all time" is on TV (The Wizard of Oz). Lingo had gotten the
testimonial from a network advertisement.

What happened? Brewster doesn't know. Pretty soon Lingo is rewriting
his own programming, has pieces of himself spread around in computers
all over the country, and has decided that he can run things better
than human beings can. LINGO is an absolute delight, both the book and
the electronic entity. The humor provided by the author keeps the
story from the thudding portentious melodrama of similar artificial
intelligence tales, and Menick's style is so effortless that the pages
seem to turn by themselves. But don't be fooled by the light
tone--some important issues are raised by Lingo and Menick. And don't
blame me if you find Lingo so captivating that someday, when nobody's
looking, you decide to sidle up to a computer and just see what would
happen if you typed:

>HEY, LINGO. LET'S PARTY.

LINGO is not to be missed.

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                      READING: ANOTHER DIMENSION

                         by Robert A. Pittman

Listening is not a synonym for reading, but it is descriptive of
another way to enjoy a good book. This is something I have gradually
discovered over several years of trying different types of recorded
books and different environments in which to listen. It has not been a
pre-planned venture, but just the evolving result of a small gift.

My first experience with recorded books came about when a friend gave
my wife an abridged cassette version of George Orwell's "1984" as we
were embarking on a drive from Kentucky to North Carolina. It was
offered as a substitute for scenery, conversation or radio in case any
of those things became boring during the trip. They did and we
listened. The hearing of an abridged version of "1984" was not nearly
as satisfying as reading the full book, but it did provoke enough
interest to want to try another "book." At the bookstore, we bought
other recorded books, sampled some old recorded radio shows and tried
recordings of short stories. All provided mildly entertaining ways to
pass time, but did not in any significant degree give the feeling of
having read a book. It was not until we found full length recordings
of books that we found the listening medium analogous to reading.

The unabridged readings are available on a rental basis and are
sometimes offered by public libraries. Rental prices are related to
the length of the book and rental time is thirty days. The ample
rental time is needed since listening is a much slower process than
reading. For example, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is recorded on twelve
hours of tape and THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES about twenty-seven
hours. You can see why a special environment is needed for listening.
Recorded books work well on long car trips or in a "no brainer"
circumstance such as sitting astride your exercise bike for an hour or
so each day.

My two sources for recorded books are: Books On Tape, Inc., P.O. Box
7900, Newport Beach, CA 92658, 800-626-3333 and Recorded Books, Inc.,
270 Skipjack Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678, 800-638-1304. Both
companies offer a wide range of titles that include best sellers as
well as the classics.

Several weeks ago I listened to a recording of FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER
by Stephen Coonts. It is a great story about flying carrier based
aircraft during the Vietnam war. Coonts served in that war as a navy
pilot and writes from personal experience. Fortunately, he writes
well! He has a brilliant capacity for describing the technical and
emotional dimensions of flying. He does this with such skill that the
reader (listener in this instance) almost becomes a live participant.
The story centers on a Navy pilot, Jake Grafton, who is a serious and
thoughtful military professional. His tour of duty on the war front
involves the excitement and the fears that are part of fighting and
flying as well as the routines and responsibilities that cause a large
aircraft carrier and its many components to function effectively. We
also participate as Grafton struggles to understand the political
leaders and political actions behind the war and its meaning in the
backdrop of death among his shipmates and fellow pilots. We even
follow him through a developing love relationship that is strained by
war but at the same time is tender and mature.

This author is such a joy that I have since followed up by listening
to recorded versions of two sequels, FINAL FLIGHT and THE MINOTAUR.
Both continue with the same central character but each story stands
alone quite well. In FINAL FLIGHT, Grafton commands a flight wing on
the carrier, and in that responsible role, faces a critical encounter
with international terrorists. THE MINOTAUR moves Grafton to the
Pentagon in Washington where he has primary responsibility for the
development of an advanced and secret aircraft. In this capacity, he
deals with Russian espionage and copes with the industrial,
bureaucratic and political intrigues that are part of major
procurement activities. During this period, his personal life is often
unsettled and the author uses this issue to build depth and quality in
Grafton as well as other characters who are close to him.

There is no such thing as skimming lightly through a Stephen Coonts
story. He writes with precision and detail that demands reader
attention and concentration. That demand is worth the effort. When you
finish one of his books, you will know that the sweat in the palms of
your hands and the fog over your eyeballs came from a gut wrenching
turn as you desperately maneuver to escape a locked on, laser guided
missile. Believe me, you will have been there when you read Stephen
Coonts.

As I was finishing listening to the last of the Coonts books, THE
MINOTAUR, a package from a friend arrived with two paperbacks that he
suggested I might enjoy. I was surprised and even a bit cautious to
find that both books were about aircraft and flying. The titles were
FLIGHT OF THE OLD DOG and DAY OF THE CHEETAH, both written by Dale
Brown and published by Berkley Books. Although I thought perhaps I had
had my fill of flying, I read both books and enjoyed them.

Dale Brown is certainly a first cousin to Stephen Coonts in writing
style. He uses detail and vivid descriptions to create reality and
immediacy for his readers and to convey authority and authenticity to
his story line. He also moves some of the characters from one book to
another and has designed the stories as sequels or stand alone books.

FLIGHT OF THE OLD DOG takes the reader through a conflict between the
U.S.A. and Russia over evasions and violations about arms agreements.
It is a futuristic situation in which Russia has accomplished a "Star
Wars" type offensive and defensive capability, and the U.S.A. finds
itself with no military ability to respond. U.S. political and
military leaders have no foreknowledge of the Russian achievement and
at first cannot believe that such a technical break-through is
possible. Following some startling "demonstrations" of the new weapon,
reality dawns for U.S. leaders and confidence begins to slip away. One
after another, diplomatic and military efforts fail to resolve the
crisis until finally only one desperate, last ditch possibility is
open and The Old Dog is called into play. The Old Dog is a B-52 bomber
that has been rebuilt and equipped as the most advanced aircraft
conceivable. It is theoretical perfection but not well tested, and how
it saves the day makes for a grand adventure.

The second Dale Brown book, DAY OF THE CHEETAH, involves another
advanced aircraft; this one thought controlled by a pilot linked to
the aircraft computer systems through an elaborate flight suit. The
Russians have a spy planted deep within the special group who are
developing this plane and he eventually becomes the lead test pilot.
Even though the spy has access to development information and
regularly feeds it to his KGB counterparts at home, the Russians still
lack the ability to give the information practical application. They
therefore decide to steal the aircraft by flying it out of the U.S. It
is an interesting story and Brown keeps it exciting with unexpected
twists, turns and surprises right until the end.

Just recently I learned that there are three books in this series and
that I missed reading the second book that is entitled SILVER TOWER.
Based on the other two books, I am sure it will be enjoyable reading
and is worth going back to complete my "dual trilogy" on flying,
fighting and spying.

Now, back to the primary purpose of this commentary--recorded books.
Listening is certainly not a substitute for reading, but it is an
excellent supplement to one's reading opportunities. At the right time
and in the right place, listening is a rewarding "other way to read."

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

                          SOROTCHINTZY FAIR
                           by Nikolai Gogol
                    illustrated by Gennadij Spirin
         (David R. Godine, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-87923-879-8)
                      review by Carolyn C. Bream

For those of us old enough to remember the tales in JACK AND JILL
magazine about the Russian witch who lived in a house on chicken legs
this translation of a Russian children's book is a delightful escape
to those days of childhood. It is also true enough in translation to
be reminiscent of PETER AND THE WOLF either the book form or the
music. It is amazing how one can read a book and hear as well as
recall the first time one heard the composition at a theatre. About
the only thing in this story that is different from the fairy tales
remembered is that this one ends with the reader knowing that the evil
Red Coat is just a plot. Evil is no longer fully evil in children's
books because of the need not to frighten them today. Oh, but wasn't
that fear delicious back then?

The most incredible thing about SOROTCHINTZY FAIR in this edition,
however, is the beauty and delight of the illustrations. One can feel
the dark imaginings of the Russian peasant and the size of his belief
in the supernatural. The illustrations have the look of the texture of
oil paintings of the old masters with occasional overlays of what
could be bright inks. Even the cracks that appear on old oils seem to
stare out at the observer. Again looking back to my childhood, I
recall an edition of the CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES that, although I
didn't like the poetry, I loved to look at the pictures. At that age
my tastes in literature were very limited, but my artistic talent was
developing more strongly. This book is well worthy of inclusion in any
child's book shelf and that of any discerning adult's as well.

NOTE: PUBLISHERS WEEKLY has called artist Gennadij Spirin "arguably
the Soviet Union's foremost children's book illustrator". Since 1985,
more than ten children's titles containing his art have either been
published or have been signed up for publication in the U.S. He has
had such success in the West that his contracts here will occupy him
for the next several years.

                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
                      __________________________
                     (                          )
                     (       LOST STORIES       )
                     (     by Peter de Jager    )
                     (__________________________)

The following two novels have very little in common except they build
upon existing Myths. Myths and legends are the basis for many of the
stories that we grow up with. They become the patterns upon which we
base our lives and select our role models.
 
For many years the Robin Hood myth/legend was very important to me. It
provided a role model upon which to base moral and ethical decisions.
I would guess that each reader has their own favorite mythical hero.
Important perhaps, for some very personal reasons.
 
These books will have you looking at myths in a different way, which
is the purpose of all good writing--to entice you to look at the world
from a different angle and change your beliefs in some subtle manner.
 
 
                  PRINCE OMBRA by Roderick MacLeish
    Published in 1982 by Tom Doherty Associates ISBN 0-812-54550-8
 
Bentley Ellicott was born without a cleft on his upper lip. If you are
like most people you most probably raised your finger to your lip and
felt the small indentation. Legend has it that an Angel placed her
finger on your lip just before you were born and commanded you to
forget why you were born. This is why you have a cleft on your lip.
This is why you have no recollection of your life before birth.
 
So starts PRINCE OMBRA. Bentley is a young boy, wise beyond his years
and alone. He knows where he came from and what he has to do during
his life. His task is not a small one: he must destroy Prince Ombra
again. He must recreate the myth cycle.
 
The story is magical. The settings are normal everyday middle America,
but the motivating forces are far from normal. There is a battle
brewing. It is an old familiar battle. The one between Good and
ultimate evil.
 
The story is also a haunting one. Not in the traditional sense of
ghosts and goblins...there are none of those here. The story
continually plucks chords in your mind. The tale resonates with all
the myths and legends you learnt while growing up. The tale forms
itself into a framework that contains all the stories of your
childhood.
 
PRINCE OMBRA is similar to THE NEVERENDING STORY in that the central
character is caught up in something larger than he is...but at the
same time, the central character is a primary cause of the crisis
looming on the horizon.
 
It is a good and pleasantly disturbing read. The ending is intriguing
partly because not all the loose ends are tied into a clean package.
This is not a criticism, the myth cycle cannot by 'completed' in a
neat little package. It must continue to evolve. PRINCE OMBRA is a
welcome addition to the string of tales.
 
 
                 THE MAN IN THE TREE by Damon Knight
        Published in 1984 by Berkley Books ISBN 0-425-06006-3
 
Here is another myth told from an obtuse angle. I will call it a myth
in spite of possible outcries from various groups.
 
Gene Anderson is a Giant. Not the giant of fairy tales, just an
ordinary human being whose height is on the tall side of the bell
curve. He is also 'unusual' in another way: he can perform 'miracles'.
 
Gene can reach into alternate time lines and retrieve small objects.
This supplies him a steady flow of diamonds. He is also (to his
dismay) able to make people slip out of our world and into some other
place.
 
There is also someone after him. A man who blames him for the
accidental death of his son. THE MAN IN THE TREE is the telling of
Gene's childhood--his attempts to be an artist and his journey as a
'freak' in a sideshow.
 
All of this sets the stage for his decision to try and save the world
by forming a new religion.
 
By now, certain aspects of this story should be ringing bells in your
memory. As far as I know these are just coincidences.
 
Michael Valentine Smith from Heinlein's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND had
similar powers and a similar destiny. If you want to visit with 'the
man from Mars' one more time, then suspend your belief a little and
pick up THE MAN IN THE TREE. The character is not the same and I don't
think he was meant to be, but nevertheless, the analogies are
difficult to ignore.
 
Gene Anderson is an intriguing character. The term 'friendly giant'
comes to mind even though it is used too often. As always, giving a
rational thinking being immense power creates a poignant character.
There is an unsatisfied urge to remove the burden of the power from
his shoulders and let him rest.
 
As a Gentle Giant...Gene Anderson is an unlikely Christ figure, but
Damon Knight has you feeling for Gene from the first few pages. You
know there is a destiny in store for him. You know he will not be able
to escape it, yet you keep reading.
 
Is it depressing? In a gentle way. There is enough humor to keep
smiles on your face and some of the scenes deserve to be placed on
canvas by a master. But Damon Knight has already done that, by
crafting memories in your mind.
 
                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                             FAMILY BLOOD
                            by David Ritz
          (1991, Donald I. Fine, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-176-2)
                       review by Travis Adkins

David Crossman is a rebel, a New York City attorney working for his
father's high-profile law firm who would rather explore the jazz clubs
and downtown music scene than have business lunches at the Four
Seasons and assure that his name be permanently etched in the Social
Register. Ralph Crossman, stodgy and pretentious, wants a "proper" son
at all costs--and almost succeeds in having one--until David's
grandfather Bernie, whom he never knew, summons him to Florida for a
secret meeting. There he tells David about his true heritage, an
explosive legacy steeped in jazz, mafia, and the music empire he built
in Detroit and Chicago during the 1940's when he was better known as
Reuben "The Gent" Ginzburg. Far from finished with his music career,
Bernie introduces David to yet another family member his father
failed to mention--his cousin, Ira Crossman, a cut-throat independent
record promoter. Their introduction opens a gateway to David's true
ambition--and sparks a bloody family rivalry not seen since The Gent's
heyday fifty years ago. Or since Mario Puzo's THE GODFATHER.

This mobster story, though not nearly as compelling as the GODFATHER
saga, has an intriguing variety of well-developed characters.
Flashbacks to the past emphasized the close ties between past and
present. Though I liked FAMILY BLOOD, it left me waiting for something
that never materialized. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Family Blood a
5.
                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                        NOVELS BY L.P. DAVIES

The Paper Dolls
Man Out of Nowhere (U.S. title: Who Is Lewis Pindar?)
The Artificial Man
Psychogeist
The Lampton Dreamers
Tell It to the Dead (U.S. title: The Reluctant Medium)
Twilight Journey
The Nameless Ones
The Alien
Stranger to Town
The White Room
Dimension A
Genesis Two
The Shadow Before
Adventure Holidays, Ltd.
Give Me Back Myself
What Did I Do Tomorrow?
Assignment Abacus
Possession
The Land of Leys
Morning Walk

NOTE:  If anyone has access to nice reading copies of any of these
novels by L.P. Davies, please contact me (Cindy Bartorillo) at any of
the addresses listed on the masthead. Clean reading copies are all I'm
after--I'm a poor reader, not a wealthy collector.

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                             FLASH POINT
                          by Richard Aellen
          (Donald I. Fine, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-194-0)
                      review by Carolyn C. Bream

As a typical adventure, revenge, modern novel FLASH POINT is readable,
interesting, and fun. Completing it in one sitting was also not
difficult although not imperative. Although "retribution" novel may be
more accurate than "revenge" novel if one must classify its type, it
does accomplish its purpose in an entertaining fashion.

The unique thing about FLASH POINT is the premise of a mother
determined to exact payment for her children's lives in a terrorist
attack on an airplane. Any mother reading the novel will immediately
understand and identify with the protagonist, Katherine Cahill. In a
lot of novels of the genre one wonders if the revenge is not worse
than the original crime, but in FLASH POINT we know with great
certainty that nothing would be too horrible for the villain. It is
totally justified, and, if anyone else should exact the toll against
the villain, that would be unforgivable. Everything that happens along
the way to Katherine's goal becomes further justification for that
goal.

It is refreshing also to read a novel in which a female is the true
protagonist and not just a foil for the macho hero who accomplishes
her end for her. The men in the novel all have some serious character
flaws, and, although they can be of help to Katherine they don't
really see their own shortcomings. Katherine realizes that she may be
less than perfect and her own guilt feelings almost get in the way of
her goal. The determination of a mother wronged proves that if women
ruled the world we might be in a better place.

Although it is obvious that your reviewer is a mother, the novel would
be good reading for a man; just superb reading for the mothers among
us.
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                   WISHES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL
                             by Alex Roka
   (Book Elan, PO Box 348, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10011)
                 (1991, $20.00, ISBN 0-962-7936-0-4)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Lucio Leonardi is excessive, extreme, exasperating, and
exhibitionistic. He's a psychiatric social worker, so he should know.
He is also a miracle. That's from his mother Rose, who also should
know. What the reader learns very quickly is that Lucio has a passion
for life. He's emotional; he's impulsive; he doesn't just talk to
himself, he YELLS to himself. He's consumed by his eighty-year-old
mother's failing memory, his alcoholic patients, and his regular
dances of manipulation and hostility with his boss. Lucio is in
dreadful danger of becoming a cliche: the crazy analyst.

Alex Roka's first novel captures a great deal of the wealth of life in
its pages. The irritating, contentious, loving Leonardi family;
Lucio's insecure, and therefore dangerous, supervisor Maureen Gold;
the alcoholics Lucio helps; the married woman he becomes obsessed
with; New York City--all contribute to the diverse reality that is
Lucio's life. An enviably rich life, if he doesn't drown in it.

WISHES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL reminded me a bit of the movie
MOONLIGHTING: a joyous look at life as it is lived, with all the
craziness, the contradictions, the frustrations, the unfairness, the
small successes, the ocassional warmth. Alex Roka's prose is
irresistible and his story, Lucio's story, is exhilarating. Highly
recommended. (If your local bookstore doesn't have a copy, just write
to Book Elan at the address above.)

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                          ARTE PUBLICO PRESS

SILENT DANCING: A PARTIAL REMEMBRANCE OF A PUERTO RICAN CHILDHOOD by
Judith Ortiz Cofer, the recipient of a Special Citation from the PEN
Literary Awards. It is Ortiz Cofer's first collection of prose
writing: personal recollections of her childhood. The daughter of a
Navy man, Ortiz Cofer was born in Puerto Rico and spent her childhood
shuttling between the warm island of her birth and New Jersey, where
her father was stationed. She is the author of a novel, THE LINE OF
THE SUN (1989), and a collection of poetry, TERMS OF SURVIVAL (1987).

HARDSCRUB by Lionel G. Garcia, winner of the Jesse Jones Award for
best book of fiction published in 1990 given out by the Institute of
Texas Letters, and winner of the Texas Literary Award for fiction
sponsored by the DALLAS TIMES HERALD. HARDSCRUB, Garcia's third novel,
is told from the first-person viewpoint of Jim, a precocious
adolescent growing up in a small West Texas town in the early 1950s.
The novel chronicles a father's abuse and abandonment of his family.
THE NEW YORK TIMES said: "If this sounds terribly depressing, it is.
But HARDSCRUB is also enlivened by Mr. Garcia's sense of humor and
irony."

Arte Publico Press is the oldest and most prestigious publisher of
contemporary literature written by U.S. Hispanics. The press publishes
25 books--novels, stories, plays and poetry--each year and is the
recipient of numerous awards, including the American Book Award, and
its books are regularly reviewed in such media as THE NEW YORK TIMES
and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.

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

                    NIGHT OF THE MILKY WAY RAILWAY
                          by Miyazawa Kenji
              a translation and guide by Sarah M. Strong
                     illustrated by Bryn Barnard
           (M.E. Sharpe, 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-87332-820-5)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

NIGHT OF THE MILKY WAY RAILWAY is a delightful and thoughtful fantasy
that combines Buddhism, astronomy, historical fact, and a diverse cast
of characters into an imaginative journey into life after death.
Defying classification, this enchanting tale is like a small jewel
that can be admired from many different angles and perspectives.

Poor little Giovanni has a very tough life. His mother is ill, his
father is away, he must work to help the family get by, and his
schoolmates taunt him unmercifully. On the night of the festival of
the Milky Way, Giovanni stretches out in the grass on the top of a
hill and finds himself aboard a magical train--a celestial railway
traveling through the universe. Giovanni, and his only friend
Campanella who also appears on the train, will meet up with a
celestial corps of army engineers, electrical squirrels, children from
the Titanic, and other magical experiences. As you ride with Giovanni
and share his adventures along the way you will soon realize that
NIGHT OF THE MILKY WAY RAILWAY is more than just a children's story.
Poet and writer Miyazawa Kenjii (1886-1933) has created a spellbinding
tale of life, and that which is beyond life.

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                        THE KING'S COMMISSION
                           by Dewey Lambdin
          (1991, Donald I. Fine, $21.95, ISBN 1-55611-187-8)
                       review by Travis Adkins

In THE KING'S COAT, seventeen-year-old Alan Lewrie was pressed into
His Majesty's Royal Navy and weathered the hazards of seafaring life
to come of age in the midst of the American Revolution. In THE FRENCH
ADMIRAL, Lewrie found himself trapped on land with Cornwallis's army
at Yorktown, struggling through mud and blood alongside Loyalist
American troops. Now, in THE KING'S COMMISSION, our wry and rakish
rogue-hero is dragged kicking and screaming into sudden maturity, as
he gains his commission as First Officer aboard the brig-o'-war
Shrike.

The Revolution is winding down, but the French and Spanish are still a
formidable threat. Included among the many thunderous battles
throughout the Caribbean is an encounter with a certain young Captain
Horatio Nelson, as he joins forces with Lewrie in a fight to retake
the Island of Turks and Caicos from the French. Although at sea Lewrie
is becoming responsible, if not outright respectable, on land he's
still the same old scalawag, managing to get on the wrong side of
jealous husbands and outraged fathers everywhere from aristocratic
circles of Jamaican plantation owners to Creek Indian families on the
Florida Gulf Coast.

I found THE KING'S COMMISSION to be thoroughly enjoyable. It combines
fast-paced adventure with humorous overtones resulting in a book
that's hard to put down. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give THE KING'S
COMMISSION an 8.

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

                   THE WEEKEND: A Novel of Revenge
                           by Helen Zahavi
          (Donald I. Fine, 1991, $17.95, ISBN 1-55611-241-6)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

This is a suspense-filled rollercoaster of a novel that is difficult
to put down and impossible to forget. Everyone who reads this book,
men and women alike, will carry a little hint of Bella around with
them for the rest of their lives. The very first sentence puts the
reader on notice for what is to come.

"This is the story of Bella, who woke up one morning and realised
she'd had enough."

Bella is a former prostitute who has moved to Brighton, England, to
get away from her past. She is living a grey life of OK--not great,
not terrible, just OK--when Tim intrudes on her life. He watches her
through her window, follows her when she's out, calls her on her
unlisted phone, threatens her with violence. Suddenly a lifetime of
male abuse--much of it as subtle as a disapproving glance, some not so
subtle at all--explodes and Bella decides that she's been a victim
long enough. Bella changes her life one fateful weekend, when she
realizes that being ladylike is bad for her health.

I suspect that THE WEEKEND will bring out a rainbow of differing
emotions and reactions in readers. Part feminist tract, part social
criticism, part thriller, and all laced with a black humor. A number
of men are going to meet Bella this weekend, and none of them will
ever forget her. Ever. And neither will you.

NOTE:  Already THE WEEKEND, Helen Zahavi's first novel, has the
appearance of a Book That Will Not Go Away. It has been chosen as the
Alternate Selection of The Literary Guild and the Doubleday Book Club,
and the movie rights have been purchased by Michael Winner, producer
of DEATH WISH.

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

                      GALLOPADE PUBLISHING GROUP

These people have a large selection of books for all ages that are
personalized for your particular location in the U.S. (there are
versions available for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia).
You can get titles like: Silly Trivia, State Greats! Biographies,
School Trivia, Disasters & Catastrophes, Christmas Trivia, Jography,
Pirates & Treasure, and a line of geographically-oriented mysteries
for young adults. They also have a line of books for writers and
publishers, and just about everything seems to be available on
computer disk (Apple/Macintosh) as well. If any of this sounds good,
you can contact them at: Gallopade Publishing Group, 235 E. Ponce de
Leon Ave., Suite 100, Decatur, GA 30030.

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

            CHAPTERS AND VERSE: Fiction Behind the Counter
                             by Joel Barr
           (Gibbs Smith, 1991, $15.95, ISBN 0-87905-340-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

There are only two kinds of novels: novels which tell a story and bad
novels.
         ---Corb Sams, regular customer at Chapters and Verse

Magazines are like elephants. More people would rather look at them
than get involved with them, and nobody knows where they go when they
die.
                             ---Corb Sams


Quite a few people enjoy reading, at least from time to time. I mean,
all those bestsellers get bought by *somebody*. But there is a smaller
subset of the general category Reader, those for whom books are
something much more than occasional entertainment. The sales of Helene
Hanff's 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD (review in RFP #3) would lead us to
believe that we exist in substantial numbers, although I wonder how
many were purchased as gifts. There are few of us, but we seem to be
well distributed throughout the population--virtually everyone knows a
"book nut". I picture hundreds of people like me sitting at home
surrounded by dozens of copies of Hanff's book, all from friends with
more good intentions than common sense. And if CHAPTERS AND VERSE were
as well known (84 CHARING CROSS ROAD had a movie version, after all),
we'd all have dozens of copies of it too.

What a delight it is for a booklover to read a book written by another
booklover, about still more booklovers! In the pages of CHAPTERS AND
VERSE you'll meet eccentric bookstore owner E Baker, whose first name
really seems to be E. She "adopts" temporary tie salesman Matthew
Mason, gets him to manage, and even to buy, her bookstore called
Chapters and Verse. We meet E, her friends, her customers (like Corb
Sams above), her employees, and her store, and get to know them
through the eyes of Matthew Mason, a thoroughly enjoyable experience
that is over all too soon. CHAPTERS AND VERSE is a wonderful tale of a
small-town bookstore in Tangelo, Florida. For everyone who loves books
and book people.

CHAPTERS AND VERSE reminds me of Christopher Morley's novels
from earlier this century, PARNASSUS ON WHEELS and THE HAUNTED
BOOKSHOP (reviews in RFP #3), two of my most-reread books.
Unfortunately, the last I heard, the Morley books were still out of
print, but CHAPTERS AND VERSE is here right now. So be sure to grab a
copy for yourself soon (or drop a few pointed hints to a good friend).
I guarantee you won't be sorry.

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

                          REGIMENT OF WOMEN
                           by Thomas Berger
              (Little, Brown; 1991; ISBN 0-316-09242-8)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

"The dentist's drill of the alarm probed viciously into the diseased
pulp of his dream, and Georgie Cornell awakened."
              ---the first sentence of REGIMENT OF WOMEN

This is a nice affordable trade paperback reprint of Thomas Berger's
1973 novel about gender identities. (You can find out about other
Berger titles in RFP #10.) Lead character Georgie Cornell wears skirts
and lipstick, is a "mere" secretary, suffers the usual sexual
harrassment on the job--and is a man. In the near-future, alternative
America of REGIMENT OF WOMEN, it's the women who fight wars, run major
corporations, play sports, swear and spit. The men are supposed to
stay in the kitchen and be happy they have a woman to take care of
them.

Reading REGIMENT OF WOMEN is a continually shifting experience. After
two pages I thought it was a cute joke, but feared it was already
wearing a bit thin. After about a hundred pages I realized that
underneath this is a very competent feminist manifesto, but was
probably a lot more fresh and meaningful back in 1973 when it was
first published. After two hundred pages I realized that much of the
exaggerated oppressions that the book's men (our women) suffer, still
exist in our more enlightened age, and aren't so damn funny. And it
wasn't until the last third of the story that I realized the full
extent of Berger's accomplishment.

In REGIMENT OF WOMEN, Berger has accomplished three things, as I see
it. First, he demonstrates that narrow gender roles hurt both sexes.
Second, with his farcical story he forces the reader to understand how
arbitrary and artificial most gender rules are. Shortly after we get
used to the idea that Georgie is a man wearing lipstick and dresses,
Georgie starts cross-dressing. By the end of the book we have a man
and a woman, both cross-dressing, and the poor reader virtually has to
take notes to remember who's supposed to wear the pants and who's
supposed to cook dinner. And finally, Berger hints that there just
might be a more rational way to deal with gender differences. REGIMENT
OF WOMEN is a textbook on gender identity masquerading as a novel,
albeit a very funny novel. Read it for the serious issues it raises,
read it for the adventure, or read it for the laughs--but read it.

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                               THE ICE
                         by Louis Charbonneau
          (1991, Donald I. Fine, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-177-0)
                       review by Travis Adkins

A dog-sled team makes a mad dash down a craggy glacier...A Soviet
icebreaker crashes through a ice floe in dense fog...A blizzard traps
its victims at 80 degrees below zero. These are some of the scenes in
this gripping and timely thriller that offers a captivating and
authentic look at life on Antarctica--the coldest, most isolated
continent and the last unspoiled land on Earth.

Kathy McNeely, an American marine biologist studying penguin colonies,
discovers oil-soaked birds in a region where there has been no
reported oil spill. She and Volkov, a charismatic Russian scientist,
investigate the source of the spill, but are continually thwarted by
an array of obstacles ranging from unpredictable and life-threatening
storms, to tourist intrusions, the investigation of a prying reporter
and a series of seemingly random "accidents" that are causing chaos
among the research stations. Behind it all is TERCO--a U.S. oil,
mineral and gas conglomerate that has made a startling discovery and
will go to any lengths to protect their interests. THE ICE builds to a
riveting climax in which the scientists, the reporter, TERCO employees
and many others in a rich and varied cast of characters converge in a
race to discover the cause of the mysterious oil spill and save the
beautiful and fragile environment of Antarctica.

Louis Charbonneau has succeeded in writing a good book about life in
Antarctica. Aside from being thrilling, THE ICE is timely and
informative. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to
anyone. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book a 9.

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                           CURBSTONE PRESS

Curbstone Press, an incorporated, nonprofit literary publishing house,
began in 1975 with the publication of SANTIAGO POEMS by James Scully.
From the beginning, the convergence of a love of literature and a
social/political activism has characterized Curbstone's publishing
activities. As Curbstone and its list have developed, so has the
breadth and range of voices from various countries. The 1989 Carey
Thomas Award presented to Curbstone by PUBLISHERS WEEKLY cited
Curbstone for its "wholehearted involvement in the presentation of
Latin American writers and issues." Curbstone's goal is to publish
quality literature with valuable insights into international politics
and the responsibility of the artist and individual in our world.

Donations are gratefully accepted. RFP NOTE: You should at least send
them $2 or $3 dollars if you want their catalog.

Curbstone Press, 321 Jackson Street, Willimantic, CT 06226

            THE CONCRETE RIVER--poems by Luis J. Rodriguez
          (Curbstone, June 1991, $9.95, ISBN 0-915306-42-5)

In THE CONCRETE RIVER, his second book of poetry, Rodriguez explores
the Chicano experience with the unrelenting, socially conscious eye
that moved Larry Weintraub of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES to call him a poet
"we need to hear". The poems describe a wide range of experiences,
from the street gangs of East L.A. to the brutal life of steel mill
work, with the passion and clarity which can only be achieved through
first-hand knowledge.

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

Lambda Rising says that they "stock virtually every gay and lesbian
book in print". They also have T-shirts, pins, games, magazines,
videos, music, and they publish LAMBDA BOOK REPORT, the nation's only
review of lesbian and gay books (6 bimonthly issues--$15; 12 issues
for $26; 18 issues for $36). You can send away for their catalog
and/or send a check for the magazine by writing to: Lambda Rising,
1625 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.

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                   EPITAPH FOR A SPY by Eric Ambler
          (Carroll & Graf, 1991, $3.95, ISBN 0-88184-716-X)

This is a reprint of the 1938 spy novel by the author who practically
created the modern spy story. In France on the eve of World War II no
one is a less likely spy than Josef Vadassy. But when secret
photographs are discovered in his possession, the evidence against him
appears damning. The only way he can prove his innocence is by
tracking down the real spy himself. EPITAPH FOR A SPY was made into a
movie in 1944 called HOTEL RESERVE, and was adapted to a one-hour
teleplay in the 1950s for the old TV series CLIMAX!

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                       TATTOO by Earl Thompson
          (Carroll & Graf, 1991, $6.95, ISBN 0-88184-727-5)

Carroll & Graf reprints this 1974 687-page novel that "continues the
earthy, honest, and ultimately triumphant story begun by Earl Thompson
in A GARDEN OF SAND. It is an epic account of a generation--America in
the 1940s. The NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW said: "Joyously
obscene...leaves your palms damp with sweat...Earl Thompson's gift for
story-telling--his ability to write fight scenes or the dozens of
explicit love scenes, his uncanny knack for painting the seamiest side
of a social milieu is compelling and deeply powerful."

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Coming in RFP #18:

THE OLD MAN AND MR. SMITH by Peter Ustinov (Arcade, $19.95)
PRESUMPTION OF GUILT by Herb Brown (Donald I. Fine, $19.95)
FORCE OF GRAVITY by R.S. Jones (Viking, $19.95)
COPP ON ICE by Don Pendleton (Donald I. Fine, $18.95)

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                              NONFICTION


                         LIVING THE GOOD LIFE
                         by Cindy Bartorillo

"Just about everybody has days at work when it doesn't seem to be
worth the effort. Days when you begin to wonder if that's really what
you want to do for the rest of your life."
       ---from HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A SALARY by Charles Long

Sooner or later, I think everyone goes through a mid-life crisis of
some kind. One day you start thinking about your Life (with a capital
L) and wondering if this is what you really wanted to do with your
allotted time. Has your life turned out like you thought it would? Are
your days filled with interesting and personally rewarding activities?
How could your life be modified to make it better? RFP has sought out
books that might be of assistance in tuning up your life. Some are
old, some are new, and all are worth considering.


                            WALDEN's Heirs

If urban life is beginning to seem meaningless, if business meetings
and dry cleaning no longer strike you as cosmically significant,
perhaps what you need is a reallignment of values. One book, an oldie
but a goodie, is LIVING THE GOOD LIFE: How to Live Sanely and Simply
in a Troubled World by Helen and Scott Nearing. Originally written in
1954 (my copy is a 1970 edition from Schocken Books), it's the story
of how the Nearings, in 1932, packed up and left New York City for a
farm in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The bulk of the text is
devoted to how they not only survived, but thrived, by growing their
own food, building their own house, and taking responsibility for
their own lives. Despite the passage of time, the basic ideas
expressed by the Nearings are profound.

Another, more recent, book about a couple trying to live responsible,
self-sufficient lives in modern New Mexico is SONGS OF THE
FLUTEPLAYER: SEASONS OF LIFE IN THE SOUTHWEST by Sharman Apt Russell
(Addison-Wessley, June 1991). The story goes a bit differently
nowadays, and the Russells face many difficulties in their quest for a
meaningful lifestyle.

Probably the finest introduction to alternative lifestyles outside the
rat race is HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A SALARY: LEARNING HOW TO LIVE THE
CONSERVER LIFESTYLE by Charles Long (Summerhill Press, distributed by
Firefly Books, 256 Sparks Ave., Willowdale, Ont. M2H 2S4, Canada). Not
a hard sell, just conversational common sense. Mr. Long talks about
his "conserver" lifestyle, why he does it, how he does it, and gives
the reader much to think about. This is not an invitation of come live
in the woods and eat berries--HOW TO SURVIVE presents an attitude, a
new way of looking at life's needs. Mr. Long contends that maybe
voting a straight party ticket in a capitalistic system isn't the best
thing for yourself, or for society. Particularly when you understand
that you are voting with your life. His message is that the key to a
successful existence is not making more, but needing less. While not
intended as such, HOW TO SURVIVE also gives magnificent nuts-and-bolts
advice for living a "green" lifestyle more in harmony with the planet.
If you only seek out one book from this article, this is the one to
get.

While HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A SALARY shows you that you have more
economic choices than you may have realized, another book by Charles
Long, LIFE AFTER THE CITY (Camden House, also distributed by Firefly
Books--see address above), gives you geographical choices. Mr. Long
makes the point that traditional definitions of city vs.
country--cities are where everything and everyone is, "the country" is
where they aren't--is based on a reality that has long since passed
into the history books. Where you live makes a very large difference
in how your life goes, and where you live is a much more complicated
decision than you probably think it is. You don't have to live in the
city, or the nearby suburbs, if you don't want to. Charles Long
presents a very balanced picture. He doesn't try to talk you into
living anywhere in particular--he just wants you to see the choices as
they really are. He's just as candid about the disadvantages of rural
life as he is about the advantages. LIFE AFTER THE CITY is another
important book by Charles Long; thought-provoking and maybe even
life-changing.

If you do decide to leave the big city, check out G. Scott Thomas' THE
RATING GUIDE TO LIFE IN AMERICA'S SMALL CITIES (Prometheus Books,
1990, $16.95, ISBN 0-87975-600-4) before you decide where to go.
Thomas found 219 "micropolitan" areas in the U.S., big enough to
provide the symbols of civilization Americans have come to need, yet
small enough to avoid many of the problems of the metropolis. He then
applied 50 statistical tests, divided into 10 basic categories, and
graded each city on a scale of 0 to 20. In the RATING GUIDE you get
each city's score on each test, their grade, a composite grade for
each city in each general category, and a final grade overall. So, if
you want a list of the 219 micropolitan areas in order of their
overall score in all categories, just turn to the end of the book.
Then you can turn to each individual chapter to see how the scores
break down, allowing you to apply your own personal grading system.
(For instance, in the Weather category, Thomas favors temperate
climates with little snow. I don't.) The ten categories covered are:
Climate/Environment, Diversions, Economics, Education, Sophistication,
Health Care, Housing, Public Safety, Transportation, Urban Proximity.
THE RATING GUIDE TO LIFE IN AMERICA'S SMALL CITIES is required reading
for anyone contemplating a major change in their lives, whether it be
retirement, job relocation, or just new beginning.

Yet another good book is VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY: TOWARD A WAY OF LIFE
THAT IS OUTWARDLY SIMPLE, INWARDLY RICH by Duane Elgin (Morrow, 1981),
in which the author examines the whole idea of simple living, why this
has become an attractive and meaningful alternative here and now, and
takes a look at the people who are carrying the torch into this more
integrated lifestyle. And of course don't forget the most famous ode
to simplicity of all: WALDEN by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau only
stayed at Walden for 2 years, but he states the case for a simpler and
more meaningful pattern of living with more eloquence than anyone
else.


                          Help Someone Else

If you'd like to help out others who have more problems than you do,
be sure to get a copy of VOLUNTEER USA by Andrew Carroll (Fawcett
Columbine, April 1991, $8.95, ISBN: 0-449-90577-2). No matter how
much, or how little, time or money you have to donate to the cause of
your choice, there are hundreds of great suggestions here, as well as
the names and addresses of more organizations than you've ever heard
of. Subject areas covered: AIDS, Alcohol and Drugs, Animals, Blood and
Organ/Tissue Donations, Children and Young Adults, Crime and Victim
Assistance, Disabilities, Education and Illiteracy, Elderly Persons,
The Environment, Homelessness and Housing, Hunger, Suicide, and
Veterans. For each division (and subdivisions within) you get an essay
on why help is needed, a list of things you can do (organized from
least time-consuming to most), and the names and addresses of
organizations that deal with the specific problem. Maybe it's time we
started giving something back. If you've wanted to do something to
help, but didn't know where to start, this is the book for you.

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

It has always seemed to me that the trick is to avoid trying to fit
your interests and needs into prefabricated outlets. Make your life
your finest creation. Here are some loose thoughts from the Nearings
and Charles Long:


"We left the city with three objectives in mind. THE FIRST WAS
ECONOMIC. We sought to make a depression-free living, as independent
as possible of the commodity and labor markets, which could not be
interfered with by employers, whether businessmen, politicians or
educational administrators. OUR SECOND AIM WAS HYGENIC. We wanted to
maintain and improve our health. We knew that the pressures of city
life were exacting, and we sought a simple basis of well-being where
contact with the earth, and home-grown organic food, would play a
large part. OUR THIRD OBJECTIVE WAS SOCIAL AND ETHICAL. We desired to
liberate and dissociate ourselves, as much as possible, from the
cruder forms of exploitation: the plunder of the planet; the slavery
of man and beast; the slaughter of men in war, and of animals for
food."
    ---from LIVING THE GOOD LIFE by Helen and Scott Nearing (1954)

"Where should we go in search of the good life? We were not seeking to
escape. Quite the contrary, we wanted to find a way in which we could
put more into life and get more out of it. We were not shirking
obligations but looking for an opportunity to take on more worthwhile
responsibilities."
    ---from LIVING THE GOOD LIFE by Helen and Scott Nearing (1954)

"We took our time, every day, every month, every year. We had our
work, did it and enjoyed it. We had our leisure, used it and enjoyed
that. During the hours of bread labor we worked and worked hard. We
have never worked harder and have never enjoyed work more, because,
with rare exceptions, the work was significant, self-directed,
constructive and therefore interesting."
    ---from LIVING THE GOOD LIFE by Helen and Scott Nearing (1954)

"It's a circular logic, self-perpetuating, all-ensnaring--the one-eyed
notion that one must work to pay the high cost of living, when in fact
that high cost of living is, in great measure, composed of the costs
of earning and maintaining high incomes."
       ---from HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A SALARY by Charles Long

"Regardless of how we may spend our time, if we aren't actually
selling ourselves in the marketplace, the implicit question is; 'Can
you justify doing "nothing"?'"
       ---from HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A SALARY by Charles Long

"The difference between feeling rich and feeling poor has little to do
with how much is consumed, but a great deal to do with how it's
consumed."
       ---from HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A SALARY by Charles Long

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

                THE NEW AGE: NOTES OF A FRINGE-WATCHER
                          by Martin Gardner
      (Prometheus Books, April 1991, $15.95, ISBN 0-87975-644-6)
                       review by Robert Willis

Martin Gardner was best known in years past for his "Mathematical
Games" column in Scientific American. Lately, he has been writing
about "fringe" science in a column in the Skeptical Inquirer, a
periodical which he describes in the Preface as "... a lively,
fast-growing quarterly devoted to reporting and debunking fringe
science." THE NEW AGE is a collection of these columns, covering a
wide range of subjects including parapsychology, perpetual motion
devices, and television evangelists.

It does not take long for the reader to discover that Gardner is a
staunch rationalist, and he does not pull his punches when examining a
subject - the often-overused phrase "tough but fair" comes to mind and
seems quite accurate. I do detect a hint of guilty pleasure when he
really tears into someone, but this was one of the charms of the book
for me. A lot of the book is devoted to the people behind the
particular subject being covered, and in some cases the personalities
are the main subjects of the chapter. He spends two chapters on
Shirley MacLaine, and mentions her in one or two others; entertaining,
but hardly sporting since she's such an easy target.

If you are into the New Age, are a staunch believer in psychic
phenomena, or are a TV evangelist, this book will probably infuriate
you. I enjoyed it, and particularly liked the variety of subjects
covered, which kept the book from getting dull. If you are interested
in the subject matter, I recommend THE FRINGES OF REASON, a book
compiled by the Whole Earth (Catalog, Quarterly, etc.) folks. The book
covers a wider range of subject material, and has a bit more balanced
(although still pro-science) viewpoint.

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

                          ROADSIDE HOLLYWOOD
 The Movie Lover's State-by-State Guide to Film Locations, Celebrity
          Hangouts, Celluloid Tourist Attractions, and More
                            by Jack Barth
        (Contemporary Books, 1991, $9.95, ISBN 0-8092-4326-1)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

A treasure trove of tinseltown trivia, a sourcebook for vacationers
and armchair travelers, a perfect volume for browsing. Barth covers
the continental 48 states, minus New York City and Los Angeles (those
cities are covered in Richard Alleman's MOVIE LOVER'S GUIDEs). For
each state you get some movies that were filmed there (along with
specifics of scenes and city addresses), some Hollywood people who
were born there, and some tourist-type attractions with movie
connections.

You'll find out that the burnt-out streets of John Carpenter's ESCAPE
FROM NEW YORK were really streets in St. Louis, Missouri, and that
Kevin Kline's house in THE BIG CHILL was also Robert Duvall's house in
THE GREAT SANTINI (the Tidalholm Mansion in Beaufort, South Carolina).
But what about Maryland, where RFP central is located? ROADSIDE
HOLLYWOOD has a good deal to say about Barry Levinson and John Waters,
directors who are from Baltimore and make movies there, but then I
already knew that. What I didn't know is that former stripper Blaze
Starr sells her own line of handmade jewelry at a store in
Carrolltowne Mall, or that Petey, the Little Rascals' dog, is buried
in Aspen Hill Pet Cemetery, or that Tallulah Bankhead and Divine (now
THERE'S a combination) are both buried here in Maryland.

Remember the African Queen? ROADSIDE HOLLYWOOD reveals where the
original boat is docked--and where to call to get a ride. Prefer
horror to hospitality? Book a room at the real Bates Motel or at the
luxurious Timberline Lodge featured in THE SHINING. Passing through
North Bend, Washington? Stop by the Mar T Cafe, TWIN PEAK's Double R
Diner for a piece of pie. Behave in Braselton, Georgia--Kim Bassinger
literally owns the town (she bought it for $20 million in 1989).

ROADSIDE HOLLYWOOD is full of such wonderful footnotes to Hollywood
history, and it's fun to discover that Hollywood isn't as far from
where you live as you thought.

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

                            QUICK HARVEST
              A Vegetarian's Guide to Microwave Cooking
                             by Pat Baird
          (Prentice Hall, 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-13-945718-6)
                        review by Howard Frye

As health-conscious eaters are turning away from meat and hurried
cooks are discovering the wonders of the microwave, the theme of QUICK
HARVEST seems obvious, but I can't think of a similar cookbook title.
Pat Baird starts with the basics, providing the beginning cook with a
little microwave theory, and discussing the kitchen equipment that
will be most useful. After that come some enormously helpful tips for
using your microwave on a daily basis: how to heat towels, reheat
coffee, dry herbs, reheat a casserole, recrisp a box of crackers, melt
some butter, etc.

The recipe chapters divide food into the usual convenient categories:
Simple Starters (appetizers); Sandwiches, Breads, and Such; Breakfast
and Brunch; Main Attractions; As an Aside; Sweets and Treats; Stocks
and Sauces; and Easy Enhancements. I am particularly enjoying
Ten-Minute Granola, Tortilla Chips, Garlic Bread, Vegetarian Chili,
Herbed Corn on the Cob, Fresh Peas and Lettuce, Silver Queen
Succotash, and Savory Oat Bran Topping. The recipes strike a nice
balance, being unusual enough to be interesting, but not so bizarre
that your family will wonder what on earth they're being served.

In the back of the book Baird has arranged many of the recipes in the
book into complete menus, with consideration having been given to both
nutrition and appearance. There is also a chapter on nutrition which
explains basic needs provides a chart for computing your food groups.
QUICK HARVEST ends with a valuable chapter call "Master Secrets",
consisting of a Fruit and Vegetable Availability Guide (when foods are
their freshest and most flavorful) and basic charts for cooking
vegetables, grains, and cereals. That last chapter alone has more good
microwave cooking information than the other dozen or so microwave
cookbooks I already had. QUICK HARVEST is highly recommended.

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

                          FROM TAUNTON PRESS

WOODWORKING WITH YOUR KIDS
by Richard Starr

With Richard Starr as their advisor, readers can introduce their
children to the joys of woodworking. In this revision of his earlier
FINE WOODWORKING book (WOODWORKING WITH KIDS), Starr explains how to
help a child release his or her creativity while developing fine hand
and eye skills. Starr's philosophy is simple: Help children make what
they want out of wood and they'll learn to love the craft. Includes
over 30 favorite kid's projects and a new chapter on games.
(Softcover, 8-1/2" x 11", 224 pages, 359 photos, 169 drawings, $14.95,
ISBN 0-942391-61-6)


GREAT SEWN CLOTHES
The Best Articles on Sewing from THREADS magazine 1980-1990

The 22 articles in GREAT SEWN CLOTHES take the reader behind the
scenes to some of the world's leading couturiers: Coco Chanel, Charles
Kleibacker, Norman Norell, Madeleine Vionnet, Koos, Elsa Schiaparelli,
and Rei Kawakubo. Readers discover how couture garments are pieced;
what makes a good design; how drape, color and texture affects the
look; and much more. There's even a revealing look at how to re-create
the California company Patagonia's fleece-lined jacket. Home sewers
can incorporate any or all of these techniques in their own projects.
(Softcover, 9" x 12", 128 pages, over 130 color photos, $16.95)


THE NEW QUILT 1: DAIRY BARN QUILT NATIONAL

The 76 quilts showcased in THE NEW QUILT 1 were selected for the
prestigious Quilt National exhibition, held every two years by The
Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center in Athens, Ohio. With full-page photos
of the quilts, close-ups of details and short commentary by each
artist, this volume serves as the catalog for the exhibition.
(Hardcover, 96 pages, 90 color photos, $21.95, June 1991)

The Taunton Press has a wide selection of books, videotapes, even
t-shirts, sweatshirts, and mugs, for the serious craftsperson.
Connecticut residents add 8% sales tax, and everyone should add $2.50
for postage and handling. Write to: The Taunton Press, 63 South Main
Street, Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506. Or call (orders only)
1-800-888-8286.

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

                         WHERE THERE'S A WILL
                      Who Inherited What and Why
                       by Stephen M. Silverman
          (HarperCollins, 1991, ISBN 0-06-016260-0, $17.95)
                        review by Howard Frye

Forty famous people are given brief chapters in this enjoyable book
about the Last Will and Testament of the talented, the rich, and the
notorious. In each case Mr. Silverman covers not only the disposition
of their estate, but how that disposition related to that person's
life. Cole Porter's fussiness is reflected in his will's 29 pages of
specific instructions, just as Hemingway's character shows through his
simple one-page document. Their wills also confirm Joan Crawford's
nastiness and Bob Fosse's warmth.

The brevity of the coverage is disappointing, but what material there
is makes for fun reading. (Minor complaint: Mr. Silverman seems to
think that Gypsy Rose Lee wrote THE G-STRING MURDERS, simply because
the cover says "by Gypsy Rose Lee". Actually, it was ghostwritten by
the wonderful lady who also wrote under the name Craig Rice.) In WHERE
THERE'S A WILL you'll find fascinating bits about Dorothy Parker, Jim
Morrison, Yul Brynner, Jessica Savitch, Ethel Merman, Truman Capote,
Lillian Hellman, Ayn Rand, John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, and
many more. (Incidentally, if you like WHERE THERE'S A WILL, you might
want to try to find 1988's THEY WENT THAT-A-WAY by Malcolm Forbes with
Jeff Bloch, published by Simon & Schuster. It's about how famous
people died, and is just as gossipy and just as much fun.)

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

               THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO RECYCLING AT HOME
                          by Gary D. Branson
            (Betterway, 1991, $14.95, ISBN 1-55870-189-3)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

This is not one of those superficial "38-1/2 Really Neat-o Things You
Can Do To Be Politically Correct". THE COMPLETE GUIDE covers just
about all the bases, and in some depth too. The Introduction sets the
tone by giving several statistics to show that PEOPLE are the problem,
not government. You'll find out that "oil carelessly dumped by
consumers (used oil from automobile, lawn, and recreational equipment)
is equal in volume to TWENTY OR MORE spills by the Exxon Valdez, on an
annual basis".

THE COMPLETE GUIDE starts out, appropriately, with a chapter on
Precycling, the art of not bringing a lot of trash into your house in
the first place. Avoid disposables, excessively packaged goods, etc.
Then there are chapters to cover Lawn and Garden, Plastics, Organizing
for Home Recycling, Water Conservation, Cars, Reducing Home
Maintenance, Hazardous Waste, Indoor Air Quality, Business Recycling,
Conserving Home Energy, Alternative Energy, and The Next Generation.
Each chapter concludes with a checklist of ways you can put the
information to use in everyday life.

Not all the recommendations are equally valid, in my opinion. Bringing
your own shopping bag to the store with you is good, but I'm not about
to remove every hinge in this house once a year for oiling. Also, the
range of solutions tends towards the Yuppie Gadget side--often not
only more elaborate than necessary, but more expensive too. The
illustrated compost bin is certainly a thing of beauty, but you'd
better know a carpenter if you want one. And I don't think it's really
necessary to build a lot of recycling furniture either. Collecting
your glass works just as well in a cardboard box as it does in a $200
cabinet. But this is just picking nits. The important part of THE
COMPLETE GUIDE TO RECYCLING AT HOME is the information it presents (I
particularly appreciated the chapter on plastics) and the ideas for
solutions. Not all the ideas will be right for everyone, but I'll bet
you'll find loads of helpful material for your recycling effort.

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

For a catalog of professional, reference, and textbooks in the field
of psychology, write to: Gardner Press, Inc., 19 Union Square West,
New York, NY 10003. You'll find books on family psychology, sports and
health, alcohol and drug abuse, visual psychology, marriage and
family, gestalt therapy, statistics, clinical social work, etc.

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

                          FROM HYPERGRAPHICS
                  Distributed by Firefly Books Ltd.
                          250 Sparks Avenue
                 Willowdale, Ontario, Canada M2H 2S4


                     MS-DOS SIMPLIFIED USER GUIDE
                           by Richard Maran
                  (1990, $9.95, ISBN 0-9694290-2-9)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

Bringing home your first personal computer can be quite a frightening
experience. Most computer stores like to sell you a computer but are
not very helpful when it comes to teaching you how to use it, and
relying on the manuals that come with most computers can cause more
trouble than they are worth. Although the MS-DOS manual contains a
wealth of information, it tends to overwhelm the average first-time
computer owner. Richard Maran's MS-DOS SIMPLIFIED USER GUIDE is very
small, 62 pages, and the *perfect* book for the computer novice. It
covers only the topics that the average computer owner needs to
maintain his or her computer. The topics covered in the book are:

                       Getting Started
                       Managing Your Directories
                       Managing Your Files
                       Managing Your Diskettes
                       Managing Your Hard Disk
                       Creating Batch Files

The layout of the book is very appealing, with everything presented in
a show-and-tell type format. Whenever a DOS command or procedure is
explained, there are pictures depicting exactly what should be
displayed on your computer monitor. "Tabs" are on the right side of
the page giving the names of the topics and across the top of the page
is the subject that is covered on that page. With the exception of
explaining what "directories" are and how to create your AUTOEXEC.BAT
file, no more than 2 pages are devoted to any one DOS command or
procedure. All-in-all the presentation is understandable and to the
point. At the back of the book is a Glossary of commonly used computer
terms like ASCII, BOOT, MEMORY, ROM, etc, the explanation of which can
be very valuable to the novice. MS-DOS SIMPLIFIED USER GUIDE is an
excellent book for the brand-new computer user and is the type of book
that should be included with every first-time computer purchase.


             MICROSOFT WINDOWS 3.0 SIMPLIFIED USER GUIDE
                           by Richard Maran
                  (1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-9694290-3-7)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

Microsoft Windows 3.0 is quite the craze right now and a number of
computer resellers are including it as part of the basic computer
software package. Like Richard Maran's MS-DOS SIMPLIFIED USER GUIDE,
his WINDOWS 3.0 SIMPLIFIED USER GUIDE is very small, 78 pages, and is
presented in the same show-and-tell type format with the following
topics being covered:

                       Windows Basics
                       Managing Your Programs
                       Managing Your Directories
                       Creating A File
                       Managing Your Files
                       Managing Your Diskettes
                       Help

With the exception of the subject of "Copy Or Move Files" no more than
two pages are devoted to any one subject and in some cases there is
only one page. The technique of showing on the page exactly what you
should see on your computer monitor is used to perfection. I would
definitely have to recommend WINDOWS 3.0 SIMPLIFIED USER GUIDE to
anyone who is using MS Windows for the first time. I did find one
fault with the book though. Nowhere could I find any mention of how to
set up and manage .PIF files, the interface between the Windows
operating environment and non-Windows application programs. I have
found that setting up .PIF files to be one of the more challenging
parts of MS Windows. For this one subject it will be necessary to
refer to the manual that comes with your MS Windows software.

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

                      SUPERSTARS AND SCREWBALLS
                         by Richard Goldstein
           (Dutton, March 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-525-24958-3)
                       review by Travis Adkins

Brooklyn and baseball. They were as perfect a combination as ham 'n
eggs, and as deeply rooted a tradition as hot dogs on the Fourth of
July. When the Dodgers were transplanted to Los Angeles at the end of
1957, something wonderful ended--something that is now wondrously
brought to life again.

Superstars and Screwballs is a panoramic historical portrait not only
of the teams that played in Brooklyn, but of that unique, fiercely
proud and pungently flavorful borough itself. And it is the chronicle
not only of the wildly unforgettable ups and downs of the Dodgers, but
of the black teams and outlaw-league ball clubs that made the Brooklyn
baseball scene so drama-packed.

SUPERSTARS AND SCREWBALLS tells the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers
beginning with the inception of baseball right through the destruction
of Ebbets Field. It is full of interesting tidbits about some of
baseball's finest moments. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book an
8.

About the author:  Richard Goldstein is a sports editor for the NEW
YORK TIMES and the author of SPARTAN SEASONS: HOW BASEBALL SURVIVED
THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

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

             THE HEALING HERBS: The Ultimate Guide to the
                 Curative Power of Nature's Medicines
                         by Michael Castleman
        (Rodale Press, April 1991, $26.95, ISBN 0-87857-934-6)
                        review by Carl Ingram

"Even in the United States, 25 percent of all prescriptions still
contain active ingredients derived from plants, and the average
physician writes eight herb-based prescriptions every day. Not only
that, even the most vociferous herb critics use healing herbs all the
time--usually without realizing it."
                           ---Introduction

Herbal remedies have some real advantages:  they often have fewer side
effects than the more complicated and less natural products, they are
in many cases self-prescribable, they are almost always less
expensive, and growing them can be a pleasurable hobby. THE HEALING
HERBS will give you explicit instructions on how to grow or otherwise
obtain the herbs discussed, how to process them for medicinal use, how
much to take, what herbs may help with what problems, and what safety
factors to be aware of. Castleman not only tells you about the
generally accepted uses of the herb, but also lets you know when there
is early evidence of some other use that is more controversial. The
information is clearly and concisely given, in engaging prose, and all
arranged for ease of use. Rodale has printed THE HEALING HERBS on acid
free, recycled paper, with a nicely flexible binding--it's a beautiful
book, suitable for many years of hard use. Part garden book, part
scientific text, part historical survey, part how-to book, part
entertainment--it all adds up to one terrific book. With 100 plants
covered, and a table of over 200 conditions and diseases, the coverage
is comprehensive. For herbalists, beginning and advanced, this is the
one book you have to get.

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

If you like magazines, you just HAVE to get yourself a copy of
FACTSHEET FIVE. Over a hundred pages of small type that lists hundreds
and hundreds of magazines and other odd items you can receive in your
mailbox. Along with each listing is a description (by FACTSHEET FIVE
people), the price, and how to get it. You'll find mainstream
magazines as well as one-page efforts by amateurs. Some of it is
pretty much guaranteed to be offensive. And some of it is free. But
words can't do FACTSHEET FIVE justice, you just have to see a copy for
yourself. Send $3.50 (bulk mail), $4 (surface mail outside U.S.), or
$5 (first class mail) to: FACTSHEET FIVE, Mike Gunderloy, 6 Arizona
Ave., Rensselaer, NY 12144-4502. (For those of you with computers and
modems, you can reach the FACTSHEET FIVE BBS at 518-479-3879.)

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

         THE HARROWSMITH COUNTRY LIFE BOOK OF GARDEN SECRETS
           by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent & Diane E. Bilderback
           (Camden House, 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-944475-14-0)
                        review by Carl Ingram

"We strongly believe that when you really understand the biology of
your plants, you will be a far better gardener than if you were to
follow the instructions in a book blindly without understanding the
WHYS behind the HOWS. And when you know something about the factors
that can influence your crops for better or worse, you'll be able to
deal more effectively with gardening problems and to experiment more
creatively with gardening methods."
                           ---Introduction

That's the value of this book in a nutshell. Instead of trying to
remember hundreds of details about what to plant, where, when, and how
to plant it, what to feed it, how much to feed it, how much to water
it, etc., you read this book and learn HOW your vegetables grow (or
don't grow). A little understanding can free you from a awful lot of
facts and figures, which already makes this one of my all-time
favorite books on vegetable gardening. As an aside, it's a lovely book
too. The type is nice and large, the text is laid out attractively,
the illustrations are helpful, and the photographs are mouthwatering.
A must for the vegetable gardener.

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

                   THE KITCHEN BOOK & THE COOK BOOK
          by Nicolas Freeling; illustrated by John Lawrence
         (David R. Godine, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-87923-862-3)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

"Food for pleasure, and not just nourishment, is best cooked in one's
own kitchen and eaten with the feet under one's own table."
                         ---THE KITCHEN BOOK

Not too many people know that Nicolas Freeling was a professional cook
before he was a professional writer. Now more known for his mysteries,
back in 1970 he wrote THE KITCHEN BOOK--a delightful mix of personal
anecdote and ruminations about food. One of his fundamental theories
was that cookbooks are mostly pretty silly: they're too dogmatic for
good cooks, too vague for poor ones. So when he then sat down to write
THE COOK BOOK (1972), his very own cookbook, he was faced with the
challenge of his own words. This paperback from Godine brings together
both books in one volume: THE KITCHEN BOOK for the first time in its
entirety and with the Lawrence illustrations, THE COOK BOOK for the
very first time in the U.S.

My qualifications for reviewing this book are nil. A "kitchen",
according to my understanding, is where I can find the refrigerator
that holds my Diet Coke. And "cooking" occurs in my kitchen when I put
a bag of popcorn in the microwave. But I do LIKE food, you understand,
and I like good writing, and good conversation, and that's where THE
KITCHEN BOOK & THE COOK BOOK bowled me over. I sat down to read the
Introduction, just to find out what kind of book this was, and before
I knew it, it was 50 pages later and I was hooked. Like all my
favorite nonfiction, these two books are like sitting around with a
good conversationalist, one who can bring a wit, enthusiasm, and
clarity to his chosen subject. THE KITCHEN BOOK & THE COOK BOOK is an
excellent choice for food fans, Freeling fans, and anyone else who
enjoys a good talk with an interesting man.

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

IN PURSUIT OF SATAN--THE POLICE AND THE OCCULT by Robert D. Hicks
(Prometheus Books, 1991, $23.95, ISBN 0-87975-604-7)

  Mutilated animals. Defaced tombstones. Sexual abuse in daycare
centers. Is America threatened by a satanic conspiracy? In this book,
Robert D. Hicks exposes law enforcement's obsessive preoccupation with
satanism as a model for criminal behavior. While satanic belief has
played a part in crimes ranging from petty vandalism to serial
murders, Hicks avows that there is no substantial evidence for the
existence of a nationwide satanic crime continuum.
  Hicks points out that the satanic criminal model is expedient
largely due to its simplicity and economy, reducing to simple formulas
such complex problems as drug abuse, teen suicide, and sexual
molestation. His research utilizes a unique blend of law-enforcement
methodology, anthropology, folklore, history, sociology, psychology,
and psychiatry; he attributes the cult-conspiracy theory to beliefs
fueled by Christian fundamentalist sects and to the ungovernable
mechanisms of rumor-panics, subversive mythology, and urban legend.
  Robert D. Hicks, a former police officer, is a criminal justice
analyst who advises and consults with Virginia law enforcement
agencies on a variety of administrative, managerial, and operational
programs.
                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                  MUSIC: PHYSICIAN FOR TIMES TO COME
                        edited by Don Campbell
  (Theosophical Publishing House, 1991, $11.95, ISBN 0-8356-0668-6)
                        review by Howard Frye

We all know that music can affect us. Some pieces cheer us up, some
depress us. A military march is invigorating. I imagine most of us
have "special" songs or symphonies or whatever, music that "fixes"
something within us that occasionally needs fixing. Perhaps this is
why teenagers are, as a group, so identified with music. The teenage
years are possibly the most stressful that a human being is subjected
to, and the music helps. This might also explain the usual teenage
preference for hard-driving, loud music that most adults find too
depleting--teenagers have all that excess energy and so few approved
outlets. My speculations may be dimestore psychology, but MUSIC:
PHYSICIAN FOR TIMES TO COME is a collection of more reliable
commentary from people who should know--doctors, psychiatrists,
nurses, and a variety of music professionals.

This isn't another volume of New Age pseudoscience, this is a serious
collection of essays about a subject that is scientifically in its
infancy. We know that music really does "hath charms", but we're just
beginning to apply the tools of scientific inquiry to discover the
hows, whys and whatfors. Like you might imagine, the essays themselves
are a mixed bag. Some are clearly written and fascinating for any
layperson. Some are difficult to understand without some academic
grounding in either anatomy or music. Some are rather shallow and
light-weight. Some are deeply interesting and may motivate you to
begin an investigation of your own. MUSIC: PHYSICIAN FOR TIMES TO COME
is a thought-provoking collection of a science in the making.

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

                 THE STONYFIELD FARM YOGURT COOKBOOK
                       by Meg Cadoux Hirshberg
           (Camden House, 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-944475-13-2)
                        review by Howard Frye

Yogurt is not only a delicious dairy product, but it is also a
healthful food that has many uses. By changing from a cholesterol-free
"light" salad dressing to one based on yogurt, you can spare yourself
about 75% of the calories and almost all the fat (even "light" salad
dressings are full of fat). By using a nonfat yogurt, you can truly
eliminate ALL the fat. And after you've added a few tasty extras,
you'll have a creamy salad dressing that doesn't have a "yogurt"
taste. And how about the cream cheese that I used to love so much?
Cream cheese is calorie-laden, derives 90% of its calories from fat,
and is chock-full of cholesterol. Yogurt, from which you can make a
variety of delicious spreads, has about a fourth of the calories,
almost no fat, and about a fifth of the cholesterol.

Throughout the pages of THE STONYFIELD FARM YOGURT COOKBOOK you'll
find not only more ways to enjoy yogurt, but ideas for substitutions,
like those above, that can make meals more healthful for the whole
family. And don't think that the possibilities are exhausted in
toppings and spreads--you can use yogurt as a major player in breads,
soups, casseroles, cakes and cookies, vegetable concoctions, and a
rainbow of main dishes (with and without meat). You might also be
surprised at how many ways you can use yogurt that a yogurt-hater
won't be able to detect: if you don't say anything, they'll never know
how much healthier their food is.

In addition to the recipes, Meg Hirshberg gives the story of
Stonyfield Farm, tells us just what yogurt is, how to shop for the
very best yogurt, and provides tips on cooking with it. I wish more of
the dishes had been photographed, because I love to ogle food before I
prepare it, but otherwise this is a well-produced trade paperback
ready to stand up to some heavy use.

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

            SEX AND THE CARDIAC PATIENT: A Practical Guide
                      by Eduardo Chapunoff, M.D.
         (Bendy Books, May 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-9629181-0-5)

Heart patients are often beset by many problems and concerns, not the
least of which is when to resume sexual activity. Dr. Chapunoff's
book, SEX AND THE CARDIAC PATIENT, was written with a specific
objective: to reach out to millions of individuals suffering from
cardiovascular diseases, who must face the uncertainties and fears
about their cardiac and sexual rehabilitation.

The combination of humor, candor and objectivity makes this book
unique, the first of its kind written by a cardiologist. Although this
work is addressed primarily to cardiac patients and their sexual
partners, it can also be useful to physicians, nurses, mental health
professionals, sex therapists, social workers, physical therapists,
and hospital administrators.

(If your local bookstore can't get you a copy, send $21.95, plus $2.50
shipping and handling, to: Bendy Books Inc., PO Box 2292, Miami Beach,
FL 33140. Add 6% tax for orders within Florida.)

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

                 EARTH PRAYERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
      365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth
              edited by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon
          (HarperCollins, 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-06-250746-X)
                        review by Howard Frye

This is a life-affirming, soul-lifting collection of thoughts about
the planet we live on and derive life from. If our hearts and minds
are balanced, we will do the right thing, and just maybe a little bit
of us will rub off on others. EARTH PRAYERS is the most beautiful, and
meaningful, collection I own. (The publisher and editors have arranged
to plant a tree for every tree needed in the manufacture of this
book's first printing.)

           This we know.
           The earth does not belong to us;
           we belong to the earth.

           Whatever befalls the earth
           befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
           We did not weave the web of life;
           We are merely a strand in it.
           Whatever we do to the web,
           we do to ourselves...

              ---Chief Seattle

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                           THE ADDRESS BOOK
          How to Reach Anyone Who IS Anyone (Fifth Edition)
                          by Michael Levine
              (Perigee, 1991, $9.95, ISBN 0-399-51621-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Included in this book are the addresses of actors and actresses,
politicians, emperors, princes, sports figures (active and retired),
magazines, professional associations, charities, major corporations,
scientists, writers, journalists, musical groups, singers, fan clubs,
magicians, sports teams, experts, special interest groups, television
networks, newspapers (domestic and foreign), clubs, assassins,
university presidents, judges, lawyers, cartoonists, comedians,
religious groups, dancers---seemingly anyone who ANYONE could ever
want to contact.

You could let a politician know what you think of him/her, or ask a
rock star for an autograph, or join the Andrew Dice Clay fan club.
We've all heard about the letter-writing campaigns that some groups
wage to get any adult or controversial material removed from TV. Have
you ever thought of writing a congratulatory letter to a company for
sponsoring a controversial show? Don't you think it might help if we
showed a little support? There are countless ways to use these
addresses to help yourself, others, or simply to amuse. THE ADDRESS
BOOK should be on everybody's book shelf. It's a small world only if
you have the information you need to reach out.

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

BOOKS ON COMPUTER DISK!  ON-LINE ADVISOR 1.1 FROM SYBAR SOFTWARE

SYBAR Software announces the release of the On-Line Advisor Version
1.1. Help for popular application programs such as WordPerfect, Lotus
1-2-3, and DOS has never been easier to find. With the Advisor, it's
as easy as 1-2-3, all at the touch of a key.

1. Have a question while working on your application? Call up the
Advisor with the touch of a hot-key. The Advisor is a TSR (terminate
stay resident program); that means you don't have to leave your work.
The Advisor appears on top of your working program.

2. The On-Line Advisor Flash Index appears. Just start typing your
topic of inquiry and the Index brings you straight to the question at
hand. Taking up as much as 80 book-length pages, and listing each
topic on the average of ten different ways, the Flash Index is sure to
find your topic on the first try. Within each entry, topics are
divided into useful subsections: Key Sequences, Syntax, Usage,
Examples. A pull-down related topics menu provides quick cross
references. Another pull-down menu keeps track of topics you looked up
previously for easy referral.

3. Once you find your answer, close the Advisor window and you are
back to work! With the On-Line Advisors you have a 250-page reference
manual built into your computer, without the hassle books create.
There is no need to thumb through a lengthy index--the Advisor does
the work for you. There is no need to cross-reference from page to
page--the Advisor notes them for you. Avoid the frustration of looking
up the same topic again and again--the Advisor stores them for you.
With the On-Line Advisors, help has never been easier.

The On-Line Advisor Version 1.1 is available for WordPerfect 5.1,
Lotus 1-2-3 2.2, and DOS 3.3. Harvard Graphics 2.3 On-Line Advisor is
due for release in May 1991. Retail price $29.95. SYBAR is a division
of SYBEX computer books.

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                     THE UNKNOWN SOUTH OF FRANCE
                        A History Buff's Guide
                      by Henry & Margaret Reuss
       (Harvard Common Press, 1991, $12.95, ISBN 1-55832-030-X)
                        review by Carl Ingram

"Each chapter focuses on a specific period in history, then proposes a
little tour of one to four days ("Visiting...") to sample that
history, providing suggestions for food and lodging ("E" indicates
expensive), as well as a map of the area. (Unless otherwise noted,
each of the establishments named is a combined hotel and restaurant.)
This book considers history the best introduction to the region for
both the armchair reader and the on-the-spot visitor."
                              ---Preface

Information and experiences are always easier to appreciate more fully
when they can be placed in some kind of context, when your mind can
make connections for you. This delightful innovation on the standard
travel guide allows you to enjoy your history and the south of France
as well. Among the highlights included are: cave paintings in the
Dordogne, old Gallic stones and ruins in Provence, relics of the
religious wars in Navarre, and World War II resistance hideouts
throughout the Midi. Illustrated with a dozen maps and fifty
photographs, there is also a selection of recommended inns and
restaurants. A terrific idea--I hope to see more guides like this one.

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

                          THE DESERT READER
                         edited by Peter Wild
     (University of Utah Press, 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-87480-366-7)

THE DESERT READER is the first book of its kind. It brings together a
historical cross section of writing about the American Southwest and
demonstrates through its selections and the editor's discussion of
them how thinking about deserts has changed from earliest times to the
present day. Beginning with the whimsical, centuries-old folktales of
the Papago Indians, it moves on through the foresighted observations
of John Wesley Powell, one-armed explorer of the Grand Canyon,
continues with the delicate appreciation of Mary Austin and Joseph
Wood Krutch, and brings us down to today's more activist era with the
keen writings of Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, and others. A shift
from the desert as a place to be despised or exploited or both to an
appreciation of it as a special place, as an arena of highly complex
natural communities, as a wild refuge for the human body and soul,
dominates the slow change in outlook.

Comprehensive and brightly informative, THE DESERT READER will be
invaluable to scholar and nonspecialist alike--to anyone interested in
the history, literature, and beauty of America's treasured desert
places.

Peter Wild is Professor of English at the University of Arizona and
author of numerous works on the Southwest. (University of Utah Press,
101 University Services Building, Salt Lake City, UT 84112)

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

                      NEW GUIDE OPENS MANY DOORS

  "Highly readable; well edited; useful format; a book no disabled
person should be without," states James Brady, former press secretary
for President Ronald Reagan.
  Adventurous travellers with disabilities have been hard-pressed to
locate accommodating educational opportunities, transportation and
other organizations--UNTIL NOW.
  A newly published directory, A WORLD OF OPTIONS FOR THE 90's, by
Cindy Lewis & Susan Sygall, contains over 90 resources for the
disabled traveller. Arranged in an easy-to-use format, this 300+ page
guide gives detailed information on: International Exchange Programs;
Voluntary Workcamps/Community Service Projects world-wide; Travel
Options (air, auto, train, cruises and home-exchange).
  Specially researched sections include UP-TO-DATE information on
financial aid, dozens of additional resources for more specialized
needs, magazines and books available, health & safety tips, and much,
much more!
  In the last portion of this essential guide, 17 disabled travellers
share their motivational personal travel stories--from Costa Rica to
Japan, Denmark to the Soviet Union.
  A WORLD OF OPTIONS FOR THE 90's is available from Mobility
International USA, Box 3551-C, Eugene, OR 97403. Price: $16.00
(postage included). Mobility International USA is a 10-year-old
organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with
disabilities into international educational exchange and travel
programs.

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

                      SHUT DOWN THE HOME OFFICE
          Hands-On Market-Driven Management for the Nineties
                        by Frank A. Armstrong
          (Donald I. Fine, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-248-3)

Barbara Garson, in her fine book THE ELECTRONIC SWEATSHOP (reviewed in
RFP #6) expressed serious concern over the social remoteness of
business leaders. She found that many powerful and wealthy executives
had very little contact with the day-to-day reality of the average
American. Ms. Garson found this socially alarming, and now Frank
Armstrong says that it's bad business too. Mr. Armstrong, president
and CEO of the Monarch Co. (a soft drink company that makes DAD's and
Frostie Root Beers, among others) says that if you are to manage a
company that is trying to survive in the real world, you need to know
and understand that reality.

            EXECUTIVE DECISIONS:  SOME WINNERS AND LOSERS

Winners

1. Believe office size is important only if it is too small to work
   in.
2. Know what is wrong with your own products.
3. Make product developers do 50 "gross profit margin push-ups" every
   day.
4. Prepare two-year financial plans...but only believe in them the
   first year.
5. Find out why people buy the competition's products.
6. Get MBA's to stop theorizing and start working in the front line.
7. Figure out gross profit margins on new products two years before
   it's too late.
8. Kiss your spouse good-bye and take long trips to the market each
   month.
9. Actually LISTEN to customer complaints.
10. Fly tourist and love the self-sacrifice.

Losers

1. Believe sales projections of sales force...and increase spending
   accordingly.
2. Prepare elaborate five-year financial plans to fill empty warehouse
   space.
3. Believe competitors are stupid.
4. Enjoy having a brain trust around to play basketball with twice a
   week.
5. Use consultants at every opportunity...especially on unsolvable
   problems.
6. Have a big office with a photograph of Arnold Palmer on the wall.
7. Believe all major problems can be solved in the home office.
8. Tend to be greedy at bonus time.
9. Think stock performance is more important than cash flow.
10. Like the impersonal quality of market research as long as it
    confirms one's personal convictions.

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

                THE PREMIERE GUIDE TO MOVIES ON VIDEO
              edited by Howard Karren, Premiere Magazine
          (HaperPerennial, 1991, $9.95, ISBN 0-06-273019-3)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Here's another great addition to the list of books who list the movies
you can rent, or buy, on videotape. So what makes this guide from
Premiere Magazine different? The first thing you'll notice is that the
movies are arranged, not by major genre, or director, or star, but by
theme. There are chapters devoted to Politics, School Days, Virgins,
Small Towns, Screwball Comedies, Underdogs, Food, etc. There is also
an attempt to sum it all up with a chapter on "The Greatest Movies of
the '80s", in which a wide variety of movie people (critics,
directors, writers, and such) contribute their lists.

The very best distinction to THE PREMIERE GUIDE TO MOVIES ON VIDEO,
however, doesn't really come through until you start to read it. By
having each chapter, each theme, written by a different person, the
write-ups of all the movies are very positive. Instead of having one
writer, or at least one basic perspective, covering a vast array of
movies, you get individuals telling you about the movies they love the
most, and I think you'll find that you learn far more from other
people's enthusiasms than you do from their aversions. I read at least
a dozen write-ups in this book that gave me a totally new perspective
on movies that I had failed to appreciate before. After reading about
any specific film here, if you still don't enjoy it, at least you'll
know that you gave it a fair trial, that you heard the positive side
of the cultural argument.

I should also mention that the commentary in THE PREMIERE GUIDE is the
brief and witty variety, not the long-winded and pretentious kind of
thing you get from many single-author texts. (Exactly what you would
expect if you've ever read Premiere Magazine.) This is a book for
people who would like to expand their film horizons, find an
appropriate handle to use in approaching new and unusual types of
movies. THE PREMIERE GUIDE TO MOVIES ON VIDEO is definitely
recommended.

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

                   NEW GUIDES FROM COUNTRYMAN PRESS

FIFTY HIKES IN LOWER MICHIGAN
The Best Walks, Hikes, and Backpacks from Sleeping Bear Dunes to
Oakland County
by Jim DuFresne
(256 pages, 52 maps, 55 b/w photos, $12.95, May 1991)

FIFTY HIKES IN CONNECTICUT
A Guide to Short Walks and Day Hikes in the Nutmeg State
by Gerry and Sue Hardy
(200 pages, 52 maps, 50 b/w photos, $11.95, April 1991)

The Countryman Press, Inc., PO Box 175, Woodstock, VT 05091

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

                        THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
                  The Quest for Ultimate Explanation
                          by John D. Barrow
     (Oxford University Press, 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-19-853928-2)
                        review by Carl Ingram

Modern scientists are no longer content to discover the causes, whys
and wherefors of isolated phenomena, they are after the one elegant
turn of mathematical phrasing that will explain, well, everything. In
THEORIES OF EVERYTHING, author and astronomer John D. Barrow takes the
reader through the problems that this search entails. What kinds of
things will have to be included in any all-encompassing theory of
everything? Are the laws of nature bigger than the universe, or is it
the other way around? (If you go back before the beginning of the
universe, what was there? Did the beginning of the universe hold to
the laws of nature as we understand them? How was something created
out of nothing? You see how compulsive questioning becomes.)

Are there many possible universes, or is this it? What are superstring
theories and why do they presuppose 9 or 25 dimensions, instead of the
three or four most of us live in. Barrow also takes the reader through
the nature and worth of mathematics. Exactly why do we need
mathematics? Is the universe itself just one incomprehensibly vast
computer? And underlying all these questions is the constant, eternal
nature of our motivating need to understand the universe around us.

THEORIES OF EVERYTHING is certainly not a breezy read, but is just
what the scientifically inclined layperson needs to explain some of
modern science's major preoccupations and put them into a human
perspective.

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

             TAKE MY EX-HUSBAND, PLEASE--BUT NOT TOO FAR
                          by Barbara Malley
          (Little, Brown, 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-316-54524-4)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

This is the engaging story of Barbara Malley's 50-year relationship
with Edward Malley: from their first meeting at a party, through an
unexpected pregnancy, marriage, four children, suicide attempt,
divorce, and eternal friendship. Consisting entirely of diary entries
and letters, the reader gets small glimpses into the joys,
awkwardness, confusions, and pain of another person's everyday life.
Barbara Malley's voice is almost always cheerful, good-natured, and
disconcertingly candid.

The length of Barbara's relationship with Ed is not the only unusual
note here. For someone born in the very early 1920s, Barbara received
an extraordinary amount of understanding and support from her husband.
It doesn't appear that she was ever expected to be tied to the kitchen
stove by her apron strings, making endless chocolate chip cookies and
preparing flawless meals to impress Ed's business associates. When one
of their sons got a pilot's license, and Ed soon followed, they both
encouraged Barbara to get one too. And when Ed bought airplanes, a
series of ever-larger ones, they were at Barbara's disposal as much as
his. (How many times have you heard a woman of Barbara's generation
not even being allowed to drive her husband's car?)

Small points will jump out at you as you read Barbara's story. I
noticed that when she consulted a psychiatrist after a suicide attempt
(her reaction to Ed's infidelity), her psychiatrist felt that
extramarital affairs were normal for a man, but made a woman a "slut".
This was in 1971. I also couldn't help noticing that one of Barbara
and Ed's four children simply vanishes over the years. On the very
last page of the book you learn that she died. Barbara's candor, like
mine and yours too I expect, has limits. And that's possibly the very
nicest thing about TAKE MY EX-HUSBAND: Barbara and Ed are real people,
not movie stars or the rulers of empires. We all have a life to live.
Here's how two special people lived theirs.

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

           500 --MORE!-- HOUSEHOLD HINTS YOU WANTED TO KNOW
                          by Harris Mitchell
           (Consumers' Association of Canada, $6.95, 1987)
                        review by Howard Frye

Household hints usually makes us think of "128 Things To Do With
Doilies" or "What To Do About Water Spots On Your Good Crystal",
subjects of interest to the employees of the very rich, or the
Obsessive-Compulsive housekeeper. You'll find none of that nonsense in
Harris Mitchell's useful book, which is devoted entirely to coping
with the realities of living in the modern home and trying to maintain
it in the comfort to which we hope to become accustomed.

You'll find out how to prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter;
how to deal with aging bathroom sinks and tubs; how to get rid of
ants; how to unclog drains; how to waterproof your basement. You'll
find out why various parts of your home smell bad, drip, peel, rattle,
warp, leak, smoke, gurgle, buckle, expand, shrink, or rot---and what
to do about it when they do. Mitchell also tells you what to do about
stains, rust, and calamitous spills. This isn't a book you're going to
live with day-to-day, but there will probably be about 3 or 4 days in
every year when you need some of the information is this book. (You
can write to the publisher at: Consumers' Association of Canada, Box
9300, Ottawa, Ont. K1G 3T9, Canada. It may also help you to know that
this book is distributed in the U.S. by Firefly Books Ltd., 250 Sparks
Ave., Willowdale, Ont. M2H 2S4, Canada.)

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

           THE SCIENCE OF LOVE: UNDERSTANDING LOVE AND ITS
                       EFFECTS ON MIND AND BODY
                       by Anthony Walsh, Ph.D.
       (Prometheus Books, May 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-87975-648-9)

  Bringing evidence to bear from a number of sciences, Anthony Walsh
vividly demonstrates in THE SCIENCE OF LOVE that the satisfaction of
the need for love is basic to the development of physically,
psychologically, and behaviorally healthy human beings.
  Although this book includes three chapters on romantic love, it
broadens the scope to include the role of love in the developmental
process of infants and children, on physical and mental health and
illness, on violent criminality, and other social aspects of love.

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

                         FROM PEACHPIT PRESS
                2414 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

THE LITTLE SYSTEM 7 BOOK by Kay Yarborough Nelson
Teach yourself the essentials of System 7, and skip the technical
mumbo jumbo! In clear, simple English, this book explains the most
useful features of System 7 without burdening you with needless
technical details. ($12.95, 160 pages)

THE MACINTOSH FONT BOOK by Erfert Fenton
Newly Revised and Updated for TrueType and System 7. From font
fundamentals to resolving ID conflicts, the award-winning MACINTOSH
FONT BOOK has long been acknowledged as the definitive guide to
Macintosh fonts. ($23.95, 350 pages)

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

                       THE HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE
                          by Michael Talbot
          (HarperCollins, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-06-016381-X)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Just about everyone knows at least a little bit about holograms. A
beam of light from a laser is split in two, the first beam gets
bounced off the object being photographed, the second beam is allowed
to collide with the reflected light of the first beam, and the
resulting interference pattern is recorded on film. The holographic
plate, when examined, is just blurry ripples--it doesn't look like
anything--yet when another laser beam is shined through it, the
originally photographed object appears, in all its three-dimensional
glory, in the middle of empty space. The photographed object (say, for
instance, Princess Leia, as in the message Luke Skywalker receives in
the beginning of the film STAR WARS) appears to really be there, but
you can pass your hand through the image.

OK, so holograms are a nifty bit of modern magic. They've been around
for quite a while, so what's the big deal now? The big deal is that a
number of scientists are beginning to realize that the way in which
holograms work can explain a great many things that science has had
difficulty explaining before. For instance: Scientists have been
trying to localize memories. They teach rats a trick, then remove
different parts of the brain, and different amounts of brain tissue,
in an effort to remove the part that knew the trick. Apparently, it
can't be done. If you leave the rat any brain at all, no matter what
part, the rat still knows the trick. This doesn't fit at all with many
of our long-cherished theories about how the brain functions. However,
it sounds EXACTLY like how a holographic plate "remembers" the
photographed image. Take the holographic plate and break it into
several pieces, take one piece, shine a laser beam through it, and you
get the ENTIRE photographed image. As a matter of fact, any piece of a
holographic plate will restore the entire image--as the pieces get
smaller, the image just gets fuzzier.

Physicist David Bohm believes that our brains function like a
hologram--that the universe we know is "captured" by our senses as
interference patterns, just like the holographic plate, and that our
brain translates these blurry ripples into the shapes, colors, smells,
tastes, and sensations we call reality. In other words, we live in a
universe of our own making, a holographic universe.

This is the most fascinating, exciting science book I've read in a
very long time. The scientific content of THE HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE is
just enough to be stimulating and challenging, without being confusing
or frustrating. Although still a controversial subject, the
holographic model really DOES help to explain a lot of
poorly-understood phenomena. Like some apparent inconsistencies in
physics that dismayed Einstein, and telepathy, lucid dreaming,
mystical experiences, some forms of mental illness. THE HOLOGRAPHIC
UNIVERSE is guaranteed to stretch your mind and challenge your
concepts of what is real, and what it even means to be real. Highly
recommended.

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

                SECOND NATURE: A GARDENER'S EDUCATION
                          by Michael Pollan
    (Atlantic Monthly Press, May 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-87113-443-8)
                        review by Carl Ingram

This book isn't about the nuts and bolts of gardening--it's about the
philosophy of gardening. Michael Pollan is the quintessential
Philosopher-Gardener, always questioning his place in the garden, and
his garden's place in the world. He says that a garden is the most
appropriate place from which to rethink our relationship to nature and
to put yourself on the most intimate possible terms with one small
corner of the universe. Pollan writes: "I find, in the garden, some
grounds for hope."

In the course of SECOND NATURE, Michael Pollan ruminates about his
childhood, his family, current attitudes towards animals and the
wilderness, class-consciousness in the garden world, the environment,
and the politics of the American lawn. One essay from SECOND NATURE,
"Why Mow", was included in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 1990. I particularly
enjoyed an anecdote about his father's refusal to be pressured into
mowing his middle-class suburban lawn.

Once you begin SECOND NATURE, I don't think you'll be able to stop.
Pollan's simple, elegant writing style reminds me a little of E.B.
White's, and it is a joy to read. Spending time with SECOND NATURE is
like spending time with a warm and witty friend who has the wisdom to
put experience into perspective. For anyone who loves to garden, and
particularly for those of us who prefer gardens to gardening, I can
wholeheartedly recommend SECOND NATURE. (Being a beautifully bound
volume, it would also make a great gift for any Philosopher-Gardeners
you might know.)

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

             DO CATS NEED SHRINKS? Cat Behavior Explained
                           by Peter Neville
        (Contemporary Books, 1991, $13.95, ISBN 0-8092-4051-3)
                        review by Howard Frye

Have you ever wondered why you cat does some of the things s/he does?
Have you ever wanted to change some of your cat's behavior? (Yes, I
know, silly question.) Peter Neville is one of Britain's leading cat
psychologists, and has written DO CATS NEED SHRINKS? to discuss some
of the more frequent feline behaviors and what can be done about the
unacceptable ones. Without being cute or patronizing, Neville
addresses the problems and rewards of sharing your life with a cat:
what to do about the problems and how to maximize the rewards.

Neville specifically talks about: introducing a new cat to an existing
family pet, calming your cat around visitors, adapting your cat to
your daily routine, how to stop your cat from scratching the furniture
or eating the plants, how to read your cat's body language, curing the
"petting and biting syndrome", helping your cat through major changes
like moves, vacations, etc. He is sympathetic to cat-human conflicts
and always provides positive advice.

DO CATS NEED SHRINKS? is a very good book for anyone who lives with a
cat, or is considering living with one. It is a charming guide to the
feline psyche, and a good source of straightforward advice that is all
too often overlooked by cat care books.

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

         CONQUERING MATHEMATICS: From Arithmetic to Calculus
                by Lloyd Motz & Jefferson Hane Weaver
         (Plenum Press, May 1991, $23.50, ISBN 0-306-43768-6)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Let's say you didn't do too well in math at school, and now you find
yourself needing more math skills than you have to succeed in your
chosen career. Or let's say you're the kind of person who enjoys
puzzles and other mental recreations, and is beginning to think that
it might be nice to learn some of the math that you skipped in school.
In either case, CONQUERING MATHEMATICS might be just what you need.
The language is clear, no weird symbols are used without adequate
explanation and preparation, every idea builds on the one before it in
tiny steps that obscure how much information you're digesting.

Motz & Weaver present mathematics as a subject that is natural,
interesting, and absolutely essential to modern life. Reading
CONQUERING MATHEMATICS is nothing like the math classes you took in
school; classes that consisted of traumatic pop quizzes, boring
"proofs", meaningless tables and incomprehensible formulas. In
CONQUERING MATHEMATICS each idea comes with the groundwork already
laid so that it not only makes sense, it seems obvious. Before you
give up on yourself and mathematics, give CONQUERING MATHEMATICS a
try.
                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                DISCOVERING THE POWER OF SELF-HYPNOSIS
                       by Stanley Fisher, Ph.D.
          (HarperCollins, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-06-016369-0)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Hypnosis still hasn't quite reached the mainstream of modern medicine,
but it's making giant strides. We have finally been forced to admit
that mind and body can no longer be profitably considered as separate
entities, but are merely different aspects of our "self". And slowly
but surely we're realizing that our minds are more powerful than we
thought. And with one added concept--that our conscious minds have
access to our subconscious--the equation is complete, and we can
understand the value of self-hypnosis.

Contrary to popular opinion, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and it
isn't a dangerous practice. Self-hypnosis is simply an altered state
of consciousness in which you are hyperaware, with a very focused
concentration. Many people enter and leave trance-like states without
even being aware of it. Have you ever "lost" yourself in a book or
movie, or in your work, where more time has passed than you noticed?
Those are times of concentrated attention in which your mind has been
focused on one thing to the near-exclusion of others. With
self-hypnosis, you can accomplish the same thing deliberately, any
time you want.

So what can you do with self-hypnosis? Many people have used it to
help them quit smoking, lose weight, overcome fears and anxieties,
even help with physical conditions and diseases. Surgical patients
heal faster when using the techniques of self-hypnosis, and leave the
hospital sooner. Even if all you get out of it is stress reduction,
you will have changed your life for the better. Truly, practicing
self-hypnosis is a no-lose situation.

All of the above information I got quickly and clearly from reading
DISCOVERING THE POWER OF SELF-HYPNOSIS. Dr. Fisher is a good teacher
and the numerous examples of patients, problems, and techniques
display the possibilities of self-hypnosis as an aid to well-being.
You may very well find that you have untapped potential; that you
could be getting more out of yourself and your life. DISCOVERING THE
POWER OF SELF-HYPNOSIS is a fascinating and helpful book that shows
that we have more control over ourselves than we thought.

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

Coming in RFP #18:

PARADISE MISLAID by E.J. Applewhite (St. Martin's, $24.95)
WHO KILLED PRECIOUS? by H. Paul Jeffers (Pharos, $17.95)
COLLISION AT HOME PLATE by James Reston, Jr. (HarperCollins, $19.95)
BLUE TRUTH by Cherokee Paul McDonald (Donald I. Fine, $18.95)
FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. (Delacorte, $19.95)
ALTERED AMBITIONS by Betsy Jaffe, Ed.D. (Donald I. Fine, $19.95)
NO TRICKS IN MY POCKET: Paul Newman Directs by Stewart Stern (Grove
   Weidenfeld, $10.95)
THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER translated by Thomas Cleary
   (HarperCollins, $16.95)
THE COMPLETE WHOLE GRAIN COOKBOOK by Carol Gelles (Donald I. Fine,
   $12.95)
THE PRIVATE LIVES OF GARDEN BIRDS by Calvin Simonds (Globe Pequot,
   $12.95)
GARDEN SMARTS by Shelley Goldbloom (Globe Pequot, $12.95)
THE GARDENER'S YEAR by John Ferguson & Burkhard Muecke (Barron's,
   $29.95)
WORDPERFECT 5.1 ON-LINE ADVISOR version 1.1 (Sybar)
USING TURBO PASCAL 6.0 by Ben Ezzell (Addison-Wesley, $26.95)
UNDOCUMENTED DOS by Andrew Schulman et al. (Addison-Wesley, $39.95)
STUPID PC TRICKS by Bob LeVitus with Ed Tittel (Addison-Wesley,
   $19.95)
MASTERING TURBO PASCAL 6 by Scott D. Palmer (Sybex, $27.95)
UNDERSTANDING DESKTOP PUBLISHING by Robert W. Harris (Sybex, $24.95)

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

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

                      editor:  Cindy Bartorillo

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

                       IT'S ALL A MYSTERY TO ME
 
                            by Jack Curtin
 
A few ground rules seem appropriate in this inaugural column, so bear
with me. My charge from Cindy, to cover "mysteries readers might
overlook or miss," is broad enough that I can include just about
anything I want by unilaterally deciding that a book or author is not
getting the attention I think he/she deserves (in this very column,
for example, I intend to direct your attention to an Edgar nominee
from last year) and narrow enough that, if I chose to follow it to the
letter, I would be precluded from writing about the great majority of
the books that I read or have read (hey, I'm as likely as anybody else
to pick up a well publicized and popular book). So I am taking the
first position--anything goes--and we'll see what happens.
 
I'm also given to understand that I am not restricted to current
releases in this space (although that is where I will concentrate my
efforts), so that I can discuss books which may be long out-of-print,
difficult to find and possibly expensive to acquire. It is my belief,
strengthened in recent weeks by my experiences as a parttimer in a
local mystery book store, that dedicated mystery fiction fans already
spend a great deal of time tracking down old favorites, previous books
by an author they have just discovered or titles suggested in columns
such as this one, so I won't feel guilty about touting a book you may
never get to read. The search is part of the fun, right?
 
Finally, I will, in every case, give you the publisher and (if
appropriate) price of the edition of the book I have in hand and will
try and tell you if a less expensive (i.e., paperback) edition is
available or forthcoming in the near future. I should note, though,
that I review ("preview" might be more accurate) at least one book a
week, and sometimes three or more, for two of the major publications
serving booksellers and librarians, so I enjoy an access to a lot of
books that have not yet reached the marketplace. For ethical reasons,
I think it appropriate that I not use any material here from those
previews until it has appeared in the publications which pay for it to
be written, but with time lags and editorial deadlines and such, there
will undoubtedly be slip-ups and now and again. I may inadvertently
send you out seeking a book not yet available. My apologies in
advance.
 
That's it for the rules. Now let's get to work.
 
                           * * * * * * * *
 
It is probably specious to argue that a book which received an Edgar
nomination for Best First Novel has somehow been "overlooked," but I
can't escape the feeling that Walter Mosley's DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS
(Norton, $18.95, 1990) has somehow slipped by a lot of people. If not,
why aren't more mystery readers waxing eloquent about this spectacular
debut? We are talking here about nothing less than the launching of a
major new career in crime fiction and the beginning of a classic
series in the genre.
 
The setting is Los Angeles, 1948. Black WW II vet Easy Rawlins has
just lost his job at an aircraft plant when he is enticed into earning
some apparently quick and easy money tracking down a beautiful blonde
who has an affinity for black jazz joints. In stories like these, of
course, there is no "quick and easy," and Rawlins soon finds himself
caught up in a web of deceit and murder, not to mention the underlying
racial conflicts of the post-war era.
 
Mosley's triumph is his ability to capture a time and a place--more
than that, to take a white, middle-aged reader such as I and let me
know exactly what it is like being Easy Rawlins, a black man whose war
experiences and exposure to a world wider and stranger than he
suspected have changed him more than he realizes. Easy is as tough and
funny as the classic private eye is expected to be, but he is also the
product of the world which spawned him and the societal restrictions
which he and others are just beginning to challenge.
 
Truth to tell, I have a hard time finding anything wrong with this
book. The story is a good one, the femme fatale properly sexy and
mysterious, the wrapup thoroughly satisfying. Mosley's depiction of
some of the facets of black life at the time (a background which, I
read somewhere, he got from listening to his father's stories of his
life in LA) and a marvelous cast of characters (most especially Easy's
amoral and deadly best friend and sidekick, Mouse) make for a
delightful reading experience.
 
Let me note that DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS will be released in a paperback
edition this summer. I'd still suggest getting the hard cover, if
possible, because this one is a keeper. I've also read the second book
in the series, A RED DEATH, (Norton $18,95), which will also appear
this summer, and I will bend my rules (already!) about discussing
unreleased books far enough to say this: I think it may actually be
even better than DEVIL.
 
Mosley is not to be missed.
 
                         * * * * * * * *
 
What do you say we really push the limits of this column? I've argued
for an Edgar-nominee as overlooked and ignored, how about a man whose
literary reputation was strong enough that the failure of the Nobel
Prize committee to ever give him that award during his lifetime
actually damaged the Nobel's prestige and enhanced his? I speak, of
course, of Graham Greene, whose death in April closed the circle on
perhaps the most illustrious literary career of this century.
 
Greene's long term standing in the literary pantheon is already firmly
established. And his heritage reaches far beyond the traditionally
"literary," which is what makes him legitimate fodder for these
ramblings. I think it's fair to say that Greene and Eric Ambler
virtually invented the international thriller in the years just prior
to and during World War II. His classic MINISTRY OF FEAR remains one
of the finest examples of the genre to this day. Truth be told, his
lesser novels, which he termed "entertainments" and which include
other powerful thrillers such as THE CONFIDENTIAL AGENT and THIS GUN
FOR HIRE, are the sorts of accomplishments upon which many writers
might be willing to rest their entire reputations. His one screenplay,
THE THIRD MAN (later novelized as well), is still recognized as a
classic of cinematic intrigue.
 
Given all that he accomplished, we don't generally think of Greene as
a laborer in the vineyards we till here, but there is no denying or
ignoring the contributions he made to the genre. If you're the sort of
summer reader who takes vacation time to enrich your mind, reading or
re-reading "good" books rather than relaxing trash, I commend him to
your attention. Most of his work is available in a variety of Viking
and Penguin editions and is also a staple in most libraries and good
used book stores.
 
                           * * * * * * * *
 
As it turns out, I read Greene's powerful Haitian novel, THE
COMEDIANS, while sitting on the porch of the Hotel Olaffson in Port Au
Prince and hanging out with the guy who was the model for "Lucky
Pierre" in that book. That's not only a segue of sorts, it's a sign
that it's time to 'fess up. Ladies and gentlemen, I am very much an
"anecdotal" reviewer, a guy who tells stories to go along with his
reviews. Can't help it, that's just the way I am. If this feature
survives long enough, no doubt I'll be regaling you with Harlan
Ellison stories and such, but for now, a recent Brief Encounter
leading to our next review.
 
There I was, a couple of Saturdays back, sitting in the book store and
wondering where all the customers were, when in strolled this very
causally dressed guy with a most familiar face. Could it be....might
it be...? I didn't want to ask, being the polite fellow that I am.
When he staggered up to the desk an hour later with an armload of
books, however, we go to talking. And in the process I recommended to
him a newly released paperback edition of a book I had raved over in
my review of its hard cover debut. Quoth he: "Oh yeah, we already have
that at home, but I haven't gotten to it yet. My wife read it the
other night and stayed up almost all night to finish it. Couldn't put
it down. But it drove her batty, it was so intense and scary. Finally,
I had to say to her, 'Tab, you've got to get a grip...'" All of which
told me two things. This was who I thought it was (because Stephen
King's wife is named "Tabitha") and there are people out there who
share my enthusiasm for Mitchell Smith's STONE CITY (Signet, $5.99).
 
The story is this: college history professor Charles Bauman is
incarcerated in a large state prison after conviction in the hit
and-run death of a young girl. It's no mistake that he's in there,
either; he's guilty as charged and just trying to get by. But someone
inside the prison is a serial killer and the administration blackmails
Bauman into investigating the murders surreptitiously. This
accomplishes two things: it puts his life at risk and it requires him
to become involved with each of the various sub-cultures within the
prison world, to learn how southern whites, blacks, Hispanics, gays
and others have banded together to try and survive in this strange
environment wherein, by definition, everyone is already guilty.
 
Bauman's reluctant investigation leads to some fascinating in sights.
The man who leads the "lifers," for example, envisions the outside
world collapsing in atomic war while he and his ilk survive behind
prison walls from which they will ultimately emerge to create a
violent new society more to their liking. The leader of the black
prisoners has a more parochial dream, that the black population of the
prison will become its largest unit so that they can run things by
sheer force of numbers. The Hispanic leader takes the long view,
believing that the birthrate among his race will eventually enable
them to take over the entire country.
 
STONE CITY captures a real sense of what prison must truly be like.
And it all leads to a shocking, unexpected and yet inevitable
conclusion, a final horror right in keeping with the brutal world in
which the story unfolds. It is not the most pleasant book you'll ever
read, understand, but it will be an unforgettable experience.
 
                           * * * * * * * *
 
Surely one of the most intriguing and overlooked characters in all of
mystery fiction is Augustus Mandrell, free-lance assassin, master of
disguise, urbane British gentleman, raconteur and businessman. One of
the things about this feature that most appealed to me when Cindy
offered it was the opportunity to use some of my space to talk about
older characters and books that deserved more recognition than they
appear to have received. As soon as I agreed to the column, I knew
that Mandrell would appear in this first installment. In fact, let's
consider this the first segment in what will be a regular feature
here, IF I WERE A PUBLISHER.... In each column I'll devote some time
to a book or series which I would immediately obtain the rights to
reprint if I were in charge of things.
 
Augustus Mandrell appeared in three paperback originals from
Ballantine Books: OF ALL THE BLOODY CHEEK (1965), RATHER A VICIOUS
GENTLEMAN (1968), and FOR MURDER I CHARGE MORE (1971). One printing
only, to my knowledge, and that was it. The author was Frank
McAuliffe, who produced only two other books, a western and a
non-series crime novel. Each book is a collection of four lengthy
short stories or novelettes recounting one of the "commissions" that
the firm of Mandrell Limited has undertaken, said commissions being
the murder of a victim (who usually deserves it, which helps to make
Mandrell an acceptable anti-hero rather than a monster) for pay.
Mandrell Limited has but two basic tenets: "[Clients] will be charged
a fee in keeping with the excellence of the service [and they]...will
pay that fee."
 
These stories are, quit simply, hilarious--biting black humor filled
with coincidences and complications and topped off by Mandrell's
usually ingenious manner of finally dispatching his victims. They are
closely interlocked, not only through constant references from one
commission to another, but through the appearance in many of them of
the hapless Louis Proferra, a law enforcement official (his
affiliation changes from story to story and he eventually winds up
with the CIA) whose run-ins with Mandrell always cost him a portion of
his anatomy, starting with an arm in the second story of the first
volume and moving on from there. I suppose that sounds somewhat
ghoulish, but in context it is funnier than I can begin to describe.
Each story is told in the first person by Mandrell, with wit and
flair.
 
The three Mandrell books appear now and again in used book stores (you
would have to be extremely fortunate to find all three, I suppose, a
problem in that each one will whet your appetite for the next). Until
I started re-reading and researching for this column, I had thought
that the 12 commissions therein were the only Mandrell tales extant.
Ah...serendipity! I discovered--with the guidance of another Mandrell
fan with whom I got into conversation while working at the store on a
slow Saturday afternoon--a thirteenth: "The Maltese Falcon
Commission," which appeared in MEN AND MALICE, a Crime Club collection
edited by Dean Dickensheet and published in 1973.
 
This story, weaker than most of the others, I'm afraid, but still well
worth reading, purports to tell what REALLY happened when Sam Spade,
Brigid O'Shaughnessey, the fat man Gutman and all the others tried to
track down "the stuff that dreams are made of." I found that just a
bit presumptuous, actually--I guess I'm leery of having the classics
messed with--but there are some funny bits. For example, in one of his
many disguises throughout, Mandrell purports to be working for a "Mr.
Bogart." My favorite, though, comes when he is asked if Phil Archer,
the brother of Spade's murdered partner, is also a P.I. "No," replies
Mandrell, "There's another brother or cousin, Lew Archer, who's in the
business down the coast someplace. I hear he's pretty bright."
 
If I were a publisher, these books would be back on the shelves
tomorrow.
 
                           * * * * * * * *
 
That does it for this installment. If all this works out, I'll be back
next time with a interesting quintet of overlooked series characters:
a small town police chief with very unusual ideas about law
enforcement; a fallen-away Mormon who keeps getting tangled up in the
affairs of his lost faith; a tough private eye who is something of a
wise guy, likes to cook, has an impressively scary black assistant and
is not named "Spenser;" another P.I. who has a penchant for talking
with his dead wife and a guy who makes his living as a hit man for the
Pope. Are we having fun, or what?

_______________________________________________________________

Jack Curtin is a freelance writer and editor currently working on a
mystery novel set in Philadelphia's wealthy Main Line suburbs and
eking out a living writing book reviews of crime and mystery titles
for a variety of publications. He also recently began working part
time at the Whodunit Book Store in Philadelphia. Jack invites
comments, arguments or suggestions for future column subjects and can
be reached via CompuServe (ID # 72437,506), fax (215-896-9503) or good
old U.S. mail (1008 Black Rock Road, Gladwyne, PA 19035).
 
  Portions of this column have (or will) appeared in MYSTERY*FILE and
BEACHCOMBER magazines in slightly different form or are adapted from
unsigned reviews which appeared in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY or KIRKUS
REVIEWS.
_______________________________________________________________

                             WHAT'S NEWS

* SWF SEEKS SAME by John Lutz is about a Single White Female caught in
a web of terror after running an ad for a roommate in the New York
Times. The book has been sold to Guber-Peters Productions for
theatrical development, with Barbet Schroeder (REVERSAL OF FORTUNE)
already signed to direct.

* Just in time for Father's Day--the first of a new series of
mysteries set in the world of professional golf: DEATH IS A TWO-STROKE
PENALTY by James Y. Bartlett. It's a June 1991 release from St.
Martin's Press (a Thomas Dunne Book), ISBN 0-312-04599-9, $16.95.

* Don't miss GOOD NIGHT, MR. HOLMES by Carole Nelson Douglas (Tor,
June 1991, ISBN 0-812-51430-0), about Irene Adler, the only woman to
outwit Sherlock Holmes, and narrated by Penelope Huxleigh, a parson's
daughter.

* Ed McBain's ninth Matthew Hope novel, THREE BLIND MICE, has been
optioned for a TV movie, possibly the first of a series.

* I'm a sucker for an amnesia story. If you are too, you should take a
look at SEE JANE RUN by Joy Fielding (Morrow, May 1991, $20), about a
woman who finds herself alone in the streets of Boston with $10,000
cash in her pocket, blood covering the front of her dress, and no idea
of who she is.

* Don't miss the new Cat Marsala mystery by Barbara D'Amato. It's out
this month (June 1991) from Scribner's ($18.95 ISBN 0-684-19299-3) and
it's called HARD TACK.

* Mary Shura Craig, author of 69 mystery, historical and children's
novels, as well as 250 short stories, died January 12, 1991 from
injuries sustained in a fire.

* Joyce Porter, British author of comic mysteries and the creator of
Eddie Brown, The Hon. Constance Morrison-Burke (the Hon Con), and
Detective Inspector Wilf Dover, died on December 9, 1990 at the age of
66.

* Perceptive MYSTERY SCENE reader Mike Baker reports that the entire
3rd floor of an office building on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and
Cahuenga is vacant, just waiting to be leased. This, as you might
remember, is where Philip Marlowe's offices were, and the office
building in question does date back to the 1920s.

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

                      1991 EDGAR AWARD NOMINEES
            (presented by The Mystery Writers of America)

Best Novel:
FADE THE HEAT by Jay Brandon (Pocket Books)
WHISKEY RIVER by Loren Estleman (Bantam)
BONES AND SILENCE by Reginald Hill (Delacorte)
NEW ORLEANS MOURNING by Julie Smith (St. Martin's Press)
DEADFALL IN BERLIN by R.D. Zimmerman (Donald I. Fine)

Best First Novel by an American Author:
PASSION PLAY by J. Edward Blain (Putnam)
NOBODY LIVES FOREVER by Edna Buchanan (Random House)
POST MORTEM by Patricia Daniels Cornwell (Scribner's)
CROSSING AT IVATO by Rod MacLeish (Little Brown)
DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley (W.W. Norton)

Best Paperback Original:
COMEBACK by L.L. Engler (Pocket Books)
NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING by Jane Haddam (Bantam)
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE F. SCOTT FITZGERALD by David Handler (Bantam)
DEAD IN THE SCRUB by B.J. Oliphant (Fawcett)
SPQR by John Maddox Roberts (Avon)

Best Fact Crime:
GOOMBATA by John Cummings & Ernest Volkman (Little Brown)
BEYOND REASON by Ken Englade (St. Martin's)
IN A CHILD'S NAME by Peter Maas (Simon & Schuster)
A DEATH IN WHITE BEAR LAKE by Barry Siegel (Bantam)

Best Short Story:
"Elvis Lives" by Lynne Barrett (EQMM, September 1990)
"Answers to Soldier" by Lawrence Block (Playboy, June 1990)
"Prisoners" by Ed Gorman (NEW CRIMES, Carroll & Graf)
"A Poison that Leaves No Trace" by Sue Grafton (SISTERS IN CRIME 2,
   Berkley)
"Challenge the Widow-maker" by Clark Howard (EQMM, August 1990)

Best Critical/Biographical:
TROUBLE IS THEIR BUSINESS: PRIVATE EYES IN FICTION, FILM, AND
TELEVISION 1927-1988 by John Conquest (Garland)
JOHN DICKSON CARR: A CRITICAL STUDY by S.T. Joshi (Bowling Green
   Popular Press)
THE REMARKABLE CASE OF DOROTHY L. SAYERS by Catherine Kenney (Kent
   State University Press)
ERIC AMBLER by Peter Lewis (Continuum)
HILLARY WAUGH'S GUIDE TO MYSTERIES AND MYSTERY WRITING by Hillary
   Waugh (Writer's Digest Books)

Grandmaster:  Tony Hillerman
Special Edgar:  THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CRIME by Jay Robert Nash
Robert L. Fish Award: "Willie's Story" by Jerry F. Skarky (AHMM, June
   1990)
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                                I.O.U.
                         A Jenny Cain Mystery
                           by Nancy Pickard
              (Pocket, 1991, $17.95 ISBN 0-671-68041-2)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

I.O.U. opens with the death of Jenny Cain's mother and ends at her
grave, the pages between filled with Jenny's grand tour of her
family's history (and that of her town--Port Frederick,
Massachusetts). Jenny's mother had spent the last twenty-some years of
her life, Jenny's entire adulthood, in a psychiatric hospital. What
had happened? Like so many moderately wealthy conservative New England
families, the unpleasantries of life were never discussed. Now Jenny
finds herself being consumed by unanswered questions, unable to
achieve any sense of closure in her relationship with her mother.

Jenny's family doesn't make her quest very easy. Although her
policeman-husband is very supportive, the rest of her family wants the
past to remain buried. Jenny's emotionalism and inappropriate candor
are embarrassments for her straight-laced sister. Her father, who was
frozen out of Port Frederick after the Cain family business went
bankrupt and put most of the residents out of work, has the tunnel
vision of the self-involved, seeing and hearing only what suits him.

Jenny's investigation into her family history brings her to great
personal insights, but they come late and are hard-won. It's a paradox
of this novel that while there is an important feminist slant to the
theme, Jenny spends most of the book crying, sleeping, and having
emotional outbursts. The reader can grant Jenny some leeway for being
recently bereaved, and, this being my first Jenny Cain mystery, I
don't know if this is her normal behavior. Jenny's family, and the
town of Port Frederick, are most interesting subjects that propel the
reader through the pages; but as a sleuth, Jenny Cain is more Watson
than Holmes.

There have been six previous Jenny Cain mysteries, including Anthony
Award winner SAY NO TO MURDER, Agatha Award nominee DEAD CRAZY, and
Macavity Award winner MARRIAGE IS MURDER. Nancy Pickard is a former
reporter and editor, and is a past president of Sisters in Crime, the
national association of women mystery writers.

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                     EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS MINE
                        by Sandra Scoppettone
          (Little, Brown, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-316-77646-7)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

This is one of those books that you pick up to fill that half hour
before you turn out the light at night, and find yourself still
reading several hours later. You keep telling yourself that you'll
quit as soon as you find out what happens next, which is such a lame
and unbelievable line that you wouldn't have the guts to say it out
loud. You have to admit it--some books you just can't put down.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS MINE is subtitled "A Lauren Laurano Mystery"
which definitely implies that there will be more. I sure hope so,
because she's a great P.I. and gets involved in fascinating cases.
Lauren is a street-smart detective working in New York City; she's
intelligent, funny, a chocoholic, and she's a lesbian who lives with
her psychotherapist lover Kip. Lauren also was the victim of a vicious
rape many years ago, a fact which gets her a new client as this novel
begins.

Ursula hires Lauren to talk to her half-sister Lake. (Full name: Lake
Huron. From the sixties. Don't ask. You had to be there.) Lake was
recently raped and doesn't want to report it, or even talk about it.
And, shortly after Lauren talks to Lake, Lake is dead. Shortly after
THAT Lauren inherits Lake's laptop computer, which she apparently used
to meet people through electronic entities called "bulletin boards".
Now Lauren will try to meet Lake's rapist herself, and reopen old
wounds in the process, if she can overcome her raging computer phobia
and make friends with a Toshiba.

But Lauren's case gets even more complicated as she unravels the Huron
family history of abuse and neglect. Are we really sure that Lake's
rapist was also her killer? Where is her father anyway? Why does her
mother act so strange? Why does Ursula tell so many lies? Why is
someone following Lauren? Will Lauren ever stop playing computer
games?

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IS MINE is simply irresistible. The plot is
wonderfully labrythine, the characters and their lives are
fascinating, the pace is breakneck, the themes are thought-provoking,
and the suspense is palpable. Sandra Scoppettone writes with an easy
grace that makes reading as effortless as breathing. This is one novel
that is definitely not to be missed!

NOTE:  You'll want to check your bookstore or library for previous
Scoppettone titles. Look for: SOME UNKNOWN PERSON, SUCH NICE PEOPLE,
INNOCENT BYSTANDERS. Also: A CREATIVE KIND OF KILLER, RAZZAMATAZZ, and
DONATO & DAUGHTER are mysteries by Scoppettone writing under the name
Jack Early.

NOTE #2:  Sandra Scoppettone knows her way around computers and
modems. If you're lucky, you might meet her somewhere in the RelayNet
electronic mail system.

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                             EYES OF PREY
                           by John Sandford
           (Putnam, April 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-399-13629-0)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

EYES OF PREY begins with the brutal murder of a doctor's wife by a
troll-like man, his face a gruesome patchwork of scars. The murder is
distinguished by the mutilation of the victim's eyes (hence the title
of the book, EYES OF PREY). Lieutenant Lucas Davenport is brought in
on the crime and begins to suspect a serial killer when a second crime
occurs featuring the same MODUS OPERANDI, the same mutilation of the
eyes. But is it in fact one killer or is there more than one, each
aiding the other, and influencing the other, in this gruesome tale of
puppet and puppeteer?

There are two main characters of RULES OF PREY: First there is Lucas
Davenport, a cop who is beset with personal problems and pretty much
lacking any kind of conscience. If he isn't bailing out of a failing
relationship, including a previous marriage, he's dodging trouble with
Internal Affairs over alleged police brutality (actually not so
alleged). Secondly, there is Michael Bekker, the doctor who is behind
the brutal murders. A doctor who lives out of his little bag of pills
(uppers, downers and whatever else suits the moment) and has an
absolute obsession with death. In fact he is so obsessed with death
that he helps terminal hospital patients die so he can be there and
look into their eyes, somehow experiencing the act of death with them.

EYES OF PREY is the third book by John Sandford in the PREY series, the
other two being RULES OF PREY (reviewed in RFP #9) and SHADOW PREY. I
really enjoyed this book VERY much. Serial killers like Thomas
Harris's Hannibal "Cannibal" Lector (RED DRAGON and SILENCE OF THE
LAMBS) or William Appel's Carl Nasson (WHISPER...HE MIGHT HEAR YOU),
even though each is frightening in his own way, are still not
realistic to us. We can't reach out and touch a person like this every
day, or at least we don't know we can. In EYES OF PREY we have a
medical doctor who lives on drugs and is totally out of control. A
person who can kill at a moment's notice for no logical reason, and
who is capable of influencing others to do the same. Think of this the
next time you go to the doctor.

A note about gore: If gruesome murder details make you a bit
squeamish, watch out for EYES OF PREY. The description of the
mutilation of the victims' eyes will especially send you over the
edge.

EYES OF PREY has a nifty surprise ending that I hadn't anticipated at
all, and that leaves Lucas Davenport's future in doubt. I hope there
will be more Davenport thrillers, because this was a keeper.

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                         PRACTICE TO DECEIVE
                          by Timothy Miller
       (Donald I. Fine, April 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-251-3)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

If you enjoy medical mysteries, then you will definitely want to read
PRACTICE TO DECEIVE, a novel about the classic battle between good and
evil. Good is represented by Lionel Stern, a renowned and reputable
plastic surgeon, the type who gives new life to disfigured children
and talks housewives out of casual facelifts. Evil is represented by
Morrie Gold, a flashy and virtually self-taught plastic surgeon with
his own cosmetic surgery empire in Los Angeles, the beauty capital of
the world. Gold has been self-taught in the fact that he has never had
any formal plastic surgery specialty training. All he knows has been
learned from textbooks and medical lectures.

When one of Gold's patients seeks a second opinion on a controversial
breast implant procedure and winds up dead, Stern decides to
investigate. What he learns is that his colleague is dealing in more
than silicone and he finds himself seduced into a netherworld of
smuggling, deception and sudden death.

I found the mystery part of PRACTICE TO DECEIVE to be a secondary
feature of the story. The plot is not that tangled and you can pretty
much figure out what's going on right from the start. What is
intriguing about the story is the insight into the world of plastic
surgery. Some of the descriptions of plastic surgery procedures get a
bit detailed at times so the faint of heart should take note. But,
all-in-all, it is fascinating. The book was very difficult to put down
and I found myself anxious to see how Morrie Gold would be stopped
once and for all.

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                    NEW SISTERS IN CRIME CATALOG!

For our computer/modem people, a call to our BBS (see masthead) will
allow you to download an electronic copy of the latest Sisters In
Crime catalog. The file name is RFP-SC.ZIP and requires unZIPping
software. If you'd like a paper version, write to: Rowan Mountain
Literary Associates, PO Box 10111, Blacksburg, VA 24062-0111.

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                              CHAMELEON
                        by William X. Kienzle
        (Andrews and McMeel, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-8362-6127-5)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

We all know that some of the most important early leads to the
identity of a murderer are discovered by investigating the victim. The
detective is not looking for anyone who might commit a murder, but
someone who would have had a motive to kill this particular person.
Kienzle turns this logic on its head in CHAMELEON, the 13th mystery
featuring Father Koesler, a priest of the Catholic Church in Detroit.

The victim is a prostitute, but she is slain as she is about to enter
a church, wearing a nun's habit, and very much resembling her sister,
a real nun who lives in that church. So, was the murderer trying to
kill a prostitute or a nun? If the prostitute was indeed the intended
victim, the range of suspects will include pimps, johns, and assorted
street-level lowlifes. But if the murderer was really aiming for the
nun, then it's a whole different case. This is exactly the problem
that faces Lieutenant Alonzo "Zoo" Tully, in charge of this homicide
investigation. (Note for long-time Kienzle fans: Inspector Walter
Koznicki is only an offstage presence in CHAMELEON.)

In addition to this interesting spin Kienzle puts on the
investigation, we once again get a fascinating look inside the
Catholic Church. Each of Kienzle's 13 novels focuses on one aspect of
Catholicism--in CHAMELEON the theme is the rule of celibacy for the
priesthood. With a wide variety of Catholics populating the story,
Kienzle is able to examine the issue from many different perspectives,
which not only makes the issue more interesting, but prevents the book
from becoming one-note diatribe. The wise and compassionate Father
Koesler is another stabilizing influence; he understands and
sympathizes with all views.

If the mystery puzzle is flawed--with awkward juggling of red herrings
and a solution that, like something out of John Dickson Carr, is a tad
too clever--it never interferes with the enjoyment of spending more
time with the wonderful Father Koesler. CHAMELEON is another success
for William X. Kienzle, and for mystery fans looking for something
more philosophically meaty than another Christie puzzle.

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                           DONT SAY A WORD
                           by Andrew Klavan
         (Pocket Books, May 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-671-74008-3)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

DON'T SAY A WORD is an entertaining psychothriller and quite a
frightening novel. It takes us into the world of both the true
psychopathic killer and the deep, dark realm of the criminally insane.
The main character, Dr. Nathan Conrad, is a psychiatrist who has
himself gone through 6 months of psychatric therapy for a nervous
breakdown. He spends days in his Central Part West office counseling
the forlorn, the depressed: patients who have earned him the nickname
"Psychiatrist of the Damned." Suddenly he finds himself confronted
with a new patient, who has just brutally murdered a man who tried to
make a pass at her. A few days later his daughter is kidnapped by a
pair of psychopathic killers. Somehow the two are related, as Conrad
soon finds out. Conrad must use his years of psychiatric training in a
battle of minds with his daughter's kidnappers, a man called Sport
with a twisted mind and a charming smile, and a murderous giant called
Maxwell who takes his pleasure from the suffering of others.

DON'T SAY A WORD starts out excitingly with the brutal murder of an
apartment owner but then slows down considerably. At first I thought
this was a fault of the story but as I read on I realized that what I
thought to be slow reading was actually an in-depth character
development of Conrad. This developement is necessary to make us aware
that in a lot of ways Conrad has nearly as many mental problems as
most of his patients. As I read on I found the book terribly exciting
and impossible to put down, trying to figure out why Conrad's daughter
was kidnapped and how she was going to be returned alive, if at all.
By all means if you like suspense novels then read DON'T SAY A WORD.
You may find yourself reading it nonstop and thinking about it for
quite a while afterwards.

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                       MRS. PARGETER'S PACKAGE
                            by Simon Brett
          (Scribners, May 1991, $24.95, ISBN: 0-684-19286-1)
                        review by Cherie Jung

Format:    Hardcover
Character: Mrs. Melita Pargeter
Locale:    London, England and Corfu, Greece
Status:    Amateur sleuth with lots of "connections"
Setting:   A murder looks like suicide to the officials

I haven't read the two previous Mrs. Pargeter novels (A NICE CLASS OF
CORPSE and MRS, PRESUMED DEAD) but I will be picking them up on my
next trip to a bookstore. Mrs. Melita Pargeter, a plump, sixty-ish,
woman is a delightful character. Her deceased husband  "made his money
in dubious ways..." and passed along her safe-keeping to an odd
assortment of worldwide contacts after his demise. Wherever she goes,
she need only mention something she needs or would like (say,
information on a local taverna owner, or the chemical composition of a
mysterious substance) and one of her husband's former associates
delivers. This network, combined with Mrs. Pargeter's own astute sense
of crime solving lend themselves to creating a witty and charming
series.

Mrs. P travels to Corfu with a friend who is grieving over the recent
death of her husband. On their first night in the village this friend
apparently commits suicide, although Mrs. P is certain the evidence,
circumstantial as it may be, indicates foul play. The local authority
isn't interested in Mrs. Pargeter's theories. Well, actually, he *is*
interested. He's interested in stopping her from convincing anyone
else that the death wasn't a suicide. Everyone, it seems, is more than
willing to believe the death was a suicide. This causes Mrs. Pargeter
to launch her own investigation and she begins with the package that
her friend had her smuggle into the country.

NOTE: The two previous Pargeter mysteries are reviewed in RFP #9 (MRS,
PRESUMED DEAD) and #13 (A NICE CLASS OF CORPSE).

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             "NAMELESS" DETECTIVE NOVELS BY BILL PRONZINI

The Snatch (1971)
The Vanished (1973)
Undercurrent (1973)
Blowback (1977)
Twospot (1978; w/Collin Wilcox)
Labyrinth (1980)
Hoodwink (1981)
Scattershot (1982)
Dragonfire (1982)
Bindlestiff (1983)
Casefile (1983; short stories)
Quicksilver (1984)
Nightshades (1984)
Double (1984; w/Marcia Muller)
Bones (1985)
Deadfall (1986)
Shackles (1988)
Jackpot (1990)
Breakdown (1991)

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                                MERCY
                         by David L. Lindsey
      (Bantam Books, February 1991, $5.95, ISBN: 0-553-28972-1)
                        review by Cherie Jung

Format:    First paperback printing.
           Originally published by Doubleday (1990)
Character: Homicide detective Carmen Palma
Locale:    Houston, Texas
Setting:   Serial killer.

Now this is the way a thriller should be written! I am going to warn
you that this 593 page (small print!) book is going to devour your
time from page one until you reach the end. Do yourself a favor. Make
sure you have cleared plenty of time for this one. Not only will it
keep you turning the pages, it will haunt you even after you close it
and put it back on your shelf.

A series of violent sex killings present a difficult case for Palma.
The victims are, at first, seemingly unrelated. Each new victim is
more viciously attacked than the previous, yet in each case, the
women willingly allowed the killer to tie their wrists and ankles to
the bed and beat them. As it develops, Palma discovers a sort of club
to which many respectable Houston women belong. They are secretly
practitioners of sado-masochism. And each one feels sorry for the
victims but insists it can't happen to her...

Lindsey has developed each character flawlessly--you will be
captivated by the victims. You will narrow down the list of suspects
along with the police. Lindsey does not make the mistake of tipping
his hand to the identity of the killer early on. This isn't a case of
we know who he is now we just have to prove it; the cops are baffled.
Their primary suspects are right on target but I can almost guarantee
that you won't discover the killer's identity until after page 565
(unless you cheat and peak at the ending!). By the time you finish
this novel, which almost reads like true crime instead of fiction, you
will know more about sexual abuse of women and children and about
serial killers than you ever imagined could be possible. This book is
not for the squeamish, but then, if you're a reader of thrillers, such
matters probably go with the territory. This is the most impressive
thriller I've read since I can't remember when.

You can talk to Cherie Jung anytime (and get loads of mystery news and
reviews) on her computer bulletin board: Over My Dead Body! Mystery
BBS 415-465-7739.

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                          SHADOWS IN BRONZE
                           by Lindsey Davis
                          (Crown, 1991, $19)
                         review by Sue Feder

Format:       Hardcover
Character:    Marcus Didius Falco, 2nd appearance
Locale:       Rome and Southern Italy, 70AD
Status:       Private informer, imperial agent
Setting:      Historical

Last year's SILVER PIGS debuted to well-earned rave reviews. This
second novel continues the tale of Private Informer Marcus Didius
Falco, although he is now spending most of his time informing for
Emperor Vespasian (of whom it must be said that he pays almost as
poorly as Falco's private clients). While settling up the estate of a
disgraced, assassinated member of a treasonous plot, Falco finds he
keeps crossing paths with a mysterious freedman in a horrendous green
cape. His work for the emperor takes him south, and the man in the
green cape appears there too. Is another plot against the emperor in
the making? And what of Falco's lady love, Helena Justina?

This novel moves at a much more leisurely pace than the first (too
slowly for me, I must admit) but this allows for more of the loving
attention to the details of first century Rome that made SILVER PIGS
so enjoyable. And those who revelled in the growing relationship
between Falco and Helena will enjoy this one all the more.

I personally did not enjoy this one nearly as much as the first,
mostly because of the pacing. I found far too much time was spent with
not much happening. By the time the makings of the mystery became
evident I had pretty much decided that there wasn't much about this
one to qualify it as a mystery-- which doesn't make it bad, just not
what I was expecting. I think perhaps a good deal of the problem is
that Helena Justina doesn't put in a significant appearance until
nearly halfway into the book. Once she appears the story and pace
brightens up considerably. Some may find that this happened too late.
Others may find that the latter half's attention to the relationship
between Falco and Helena is overdone.

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                         FURNISHED FOR MURDER
                           by Richard Barth
                     (St. Martin's, 1991, $15.95)
                         review by Sue Feder

Format:       Hardcover
Character:    Leo Perkins and Jacob Barzeny, 1st appearance
Locale:       Westchester County, New York
Status:       Amateur and former Russian police officer
Setting:      "Everyman" as chief suspect

Barth has taken some time away from Margaret Binton to introduce us to
Leo Perkins, your everyday working stiff who forgets his troubles in a
good game of chess. His favorite partner is Jakob Barzeny, now a chess
shark, but formerly a policeman in Russia. Part of Leo's trouble is
the enormous amount of money he pays to his daughter's piano teacher,
so he's royally ticked off when he has reason to believe the man has
stolen his favorite cufflinks. Determined to prove that the teacher is
a thief, he follows him. But if Leo thought he had trouble before,
just wait until the teacher is found dead--and Leo is the prime
suspect. He and Barzeny, who believes chess mirrors life, must find
the real killer. Both Perkins (and his family) and Barzeny are
wonderful, and I'm looking forward to more from this fine writer.
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                          PERSEVERANCE PRESS
                              PO Box 384
                         Menlo Park, CA 94025


           :                SEA OF TROUBLES              :
           :               by Janet L. Smith             :
           :       (1990, ISBN: 0-9602676-9-7 $8.95)     :
           :           review by Cindy Bartorillo        :

Annie MacPherson, a busy Seattle lawyer, is called out to a resort on
one of the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound to protect the interests of
a client. While negotiating the sale of the resort with the obnoxious
but wealthy Nicholas Forrestor, Marguerite Boulanger, Forrestor's
young companion, disappears. Was Marguerite kidnapped or did she just
run off? Shortly thereafter a dead body is found--not Marguerite--in
one of the resort's cottages and Annie's new boyfriend, kayaking
instructor David Courtney, is arrested. Now Annie must solve the
mysteries not only to protect her client's interests, but to clear
David of a murder charge.

For a first novel, SEA OF TROUBLES is remarkable. The setting and
characters are just about real enough to touch, and the variety of
puzzles is handled with assurance. The people gathered at Windsor
Resort are three-dimensional, with lives and difficulties of their
own. Even when the mysteries surrounding them are found to have
nothing to do with the central puzzle, those mysteries, and their
solutions, are no less fascinating than the question of who is
responsible for the body in the cottage or what happened to
Marguerite. Another aspect that impressed me was the consistent
reasonableness of everyone in the story. No one suddenly gets
brilliant when the plot needs to progress, and no one goes dumb when a
little extra suspense is called for. And this is a fair-play mystery.
You have no one to blame but yourself for not solving the mystery. I
can only hope there will be more Annie MacPherson mysteries in the
future. (And obviously I'm not the only one who hopes so. SEA OF
TROUBLES was nominated for an Agatha Award at the Malice Domestic
Convention.)

Author Janet L. Smith practiced law for five years as a trial
attorney, and now works as an administrative law judge for the state
of Washington. She enjoys watching whales from her kayak.

TALKING TO JANET SMITH:

Question:  Why did you write SEA OF TROUBLES?

J.S.:  I've always wanted to write mysteries, ever since I began
reading Agatha Christie as a child. One thing that's always appealed
to me is the sense of completion, knowing that all will be revealed at
the end, all the loose ends tied up. In real life, the need for
finality is frustrated on a daily basis. In the mystery, no matter how
chaotic the events, order ultimately prevails. Even if truth and
justice aren't served, it all finally makes sense.

Question:  What do you think of mysteries these days?

J.S.:  Although more women are writing them, I still feel the market
is glutted with tough-guy detectives who drink, fool around, and get
out of jams with their fists or guns. I've never met anyone like that
and I doubt most readers have. On the other hand, I do know lots of
women like Annie MacPherson--smart, opinionated, able to handle
themselves under pressure and joke about it afterwards. She's not a
street fighter, but she could think her way out of a tight spot. If
she were real, we'd probably be good friends.

Question:  What's down the road for Annie?

J.S.:  Her next adventure will take place in a large law firm, which
may make some of my former colleagues a little nervous!


           :                THE LAST PAGE                :
           :                by Bob Fenster               :
           :      (1989, ISBN: 0-9602676-8-9, $8.95)     :
           :          review by Cindy Bartorillo         :

"A good mystery only has to do one thing: keep readers interested from
the first page through the last. The problem with most books is the
story runs out long before the last page."

So says Anne Baker, mystery editor for Everall Publishing and just
possibly a serial killer's next victim. Detective Brian Skiles of NYPD
not only believes that the two recent murders of mystery editors are
related, he thinks the killer is a frustrated writer who can't take
rejection. You see, both bodies had a note pinned to them: "We regret
to inform you that your life does not meet our current needs. We wish
you better luck elsewhere." Skiles' problem is that his boss doesn't
agree. Psycho serial killers are bad for his image.

So Brian Skiles determines that the next most likely publisher to get
visited by his theoretical writer is Everall; and cynical,
wisecracking Anne Baker gets a new "assistant". When the killer makes
his move, Skiles will be there to arrest him, preferably BEFORE he
kills Anne. Soon the suspects line up like bowling pins: Rep Gates,
the angry young man; Dr. Don Dooley, a psychiatrist who has a serious
problem with rejection; Brigid O'Hare, a little old lady who used to
run with mobsters; Jillian Fissure, the spoiled rich wife who refuses
to be denied; and don't forget Skiles' ex-wife Cathy, who may not be
as happy about her current life as she seems. The mystery reaches a
crescendo as all the suspects are suitably armed and/or angry and the
reader waits to see who it will be.

The very best part of THE LAST PAGE, however, is the wicked wit with
which Mr. Fenster portrays the sophisticated New York literati. I
particularly liked the trendy restaurant where the waiter introduces
himself as their "guide", and the art director who creates a cover
design for a mystery novel that gives away the solution. They're all
crazy, and the musical chairs played by editors is covered with much
humor. Even the suspects are funny in this delightful romp through the
world of New York publishing. Great fun.

  "Editors come and go. Murder, suicide, burn out. They quit and get
fired so fast we should use generic business cards. You know what we
call a rookie in the book biz?"
  "What?"
  "A veteran."

TALKING TO BOB FENSTER:

Question:  Why did you write THE LAST PAGE?

B.F.:  As an editor and a writer, I've experienced the frustrations
and dreams of both groups. I know how hard it is to be an unpublished
writer facing countless rejections. I also know how hard an editor's
job is, plowing through countless manuscripts in search of something
that works.

Question:  What sets THE LAST PAGE apart from other mysteries?

B.F.:  I like to do things that haven't been done before by other
mystery writers. I believe in writing that keeps readers up late at
night. The new and exciting fascinates me. The boring is well handled
by others. The other interesting angle to THE LAST PAGE is that
editors at New York City publishers were afraid to publish this book.
They didn't want to give ideas to the writers they reject.

Question:  What's your approach to life?

B.F.:  If you're not at least somewhat cynical in this world, then
you're missing something.


About The Publisher:

Perseverance Press publishes a new line of old-fashioned mysteries.
Emphasis is on the classic whodunit, with no excessive gore,
exploitative sex, or gratuitous violence.

Both of the above Perseverance titles have marvelous photographs on
the cover; appropriate to the story and full of fascinating detail.

If your local bookstore doesn't have the Perseverance Press titles you
want, just send them $10 per book ($8.95 for the book, plus $1.05 for
the shipping and handling). The address is at the top of this article.
Be sure to ask for their complete catalog--they have more good stuff.

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

                           BEYOND THE GRAVE
                   by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini
          (Carroll & Graf, 1991, $3.95, ISBN 0-88184-731-3)

It began in San Francisco before the turn of the century, a mystery so
deeply hidden that not even Quincannon could solve it completely. Then
it continued. And it was not until the late 1980s that amateur sleuth
Chicana Elena Oliverez chanced carrying the case to its ultimate and
startling conclusion.

It's like the answer to a riddle: What's better than a mystery by
either Marcia Muller or Bill Pronzini? A mystery by Marcia Muller AND
Bill Pronzini, of course. Absolutely required reading for mystery
fans.
                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

                 MURDER BY REFERENCE by D.R. Meredith
          (Ballantine, July 1991, $3.95, ISBN 0-345-36861-4)

  Sometimes the past doesn't stay in the past. Sometimes the spirits
of the dead linger on to protest the manner of their deaths. And
sometimes they interfere with the living. Or so it seems to Lydia
Fairchild. Haunted by her own memories of a serial killer who had
threatened her life, Lydia is willing to believe that a ghost walks
the halls of the Panhandle-Plains Museum. How else can one explain
Brad Hemphill's murder in a locked museum in the middle of the night?
  Sergeant Ed Schroder of Special Crimes believes a very human hand
swung the blunt instrument that cracked the young curator's skull. The
museum staff's tales of ghosts are an unwelcome distraction. There is
enough evidence of evil deeds committed by the living without
questioning the dead--some of whom seem reluctant to remain dead.
  Attributing his own unease to an overactive imagination, Sergeant
Larry Jenner wants only to solve Hemphill's murder so he can return to
handing out traffic tickets on I-40. A cop doesn't have to worry about
dead bodies riding dinosaur skeletons on the interstate.
  As attorney for the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, John Lloyd
Branson is determined to protect the reputation of the museum and its
staff from scandal. Joining with Sergeant Schroder in an unholy
alliance, Branson and Lydia Fairchild conjure up ghosts from the past
and exhume family skeletons in their search for the one deadly secret
worth killing for.


       A D.R. Meredith Bibliography: Past, Present, and Future

Murder by Impulse (Ballantine Books, 1988) *Anthony Nominee for Best
Paperback Mystery 1988
Murder by Deception (Ballantine Books, 1989) *Anthony Nominee for Best
Paperback Mystery 1989
Murder by Masquerade (Ballantine Books, 1991)
Murder by Reference (Ballantine Books, 1991)
The Sheriff and the Panhandle Murders (Walker, 1984; Avon, 1985;
Ballantine Books, November 1991) *Oppie Winner for Best Mystery Novel
1984
The Sheriff and the Branding Iron Murders, Revised Edition (Ballantine
Books, May 1992) *Oppie Winner for Best Mystery Novel 1985
The Sheriff and the Folsom Man Murders (Walker, 1987; Avon, 1987;
Ballantine Books, August 1992)
The Sheriff and the Pheasant Hunt Murders (Ballantine Books, January
1993)
A Time Too Late (Harper Paperbacks, 1992)
The Reckoning (Harper Paperbacks, 1993)

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

                         WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST
                        by Phyllis A. Whitney
          (Doubleday, June 1991, $20.00, ISBN 0-385-41784-5)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Molly Hunt is mystery novelist recovering from the recent death of her
fiance when she accidentally meets Charles Landry, who tells her that
she has an identical twin in Charleston, South Carolina. It seems that
the adopted Molly was born Cecelia Mountfort, of the Charleston
Mountforts, and was stolen from her original parents when only a year
old. The family never found out what happened to Cecelia, and the
suspicious deaths of the family tutor and of Cecelia's father were
never solved either. Molly/Cecelia now returns to Charleston to
confront her twin sister Amelia, her mother Valerie Mountfort, and the
rest of the family and is soon asking uncomfortable questions about
the past. Why was Cecelia kidnapped, and by whom? Was the children's
tutor murdered? Did Cecelia's father really die of a heart attack?

WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST is the latest mystery from the woman who is
undoubtedly the greatest living writer of romantic suspense or
had-I-but-known stories. Generally assumed to have be created, or at
least made famous, by Mary Roberts Rinehart, the had-I-but-known is
still constructed the same. Some standard genre elements that you'll
find in this novel include: identical twins separated as babies; a
virginal, tragic, and yet feisty heroine; a handsome man that must be
avoided and a less flashy man who is more suitable for our heroine;
family curses; old unsolved crimes; messages from the dead; and lots
and lots of secrets. And there are the giveaway phrases: "Later, when
I looked back on my course of action...", "Later, I would wonder how
matters might have gone if we had paid attention to the warning...",
"Perhaps the outcome would have been different if..."--all variations
of Had I But Known. And always, looming far more importantly than any
unsolved crime, is the crucial issue of who the heroine will walk off
into the sunset with. While WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST breaks no new ground,
it's a genre tale told by a master.

With this book, Phyllis A. Whitney celebrates her 50th anniversary of
first hardcover novel. The 86-year-old resident of Faber, Virginia was
voted the Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Mystery
Writers of America in 1988. Trivia fact: Her middle initial stands for
Ayame, a Japanese word for "iris" (she was born in Japan).

Here is a list of Phyllis A. Whitney's adult novels:

Woman Without a Past
The Singing Stones
Rainbow in the Mist
Feather on the Moon
Silversword
Flaming Tree
Dream of Orchids
Rainsong
Emerald
Vermilion
Poinciana
Domino
The Glass Flame
The Stone Bull
The Golden Unicorn
Spindrift
The Turquoise Mask
Snowfire
Listen for the Whisperer
Lost Island
The Winter People
Hunter's Green
Silverhill
Columbella
Sea Jade
Black Amber
Seven Tears for Apollo
Window on the Square
Blue Fire
Thunder Heights
The Moonflower
Skye Cameron
The Trembling Hills
The Quicksilver Pool
The Red Carnelian

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

         FLIGHT OF A WITCH: An Inspector George Felse Mystery
                           by Ellis Peters
         (Mysterious Press, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-89296-404-9)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

The witch in the title is Annet Beck, an 18-year-old charmer that
lives with her parents and has bewitched just about every man in town
with her haunting beauty and enigmatic smiles. Most of the story is
seen through the eyes of the Becks' boarder, local schoolteacher Tom
Kenyon, another of Annet's involuntary conquests. As the tale begins,
Tom is just leaving the Beck's house, and so is Annet: he is on his
way to spend the coming long-weekend holiday with his parents in a
distant town, and Annet is on her way to mail a few letters. Tom's
last glimpse of Annet is as she reaches the crest of Hallowmount, a
hill famous for its rich folklore.

When Tom returns five days later, he discovers that he was the last
person to see Annet--she never returned home from her walk. When Tom
and Annet's father find her on top of Hallowmount, she claims to have
been gone only two hours, and can't understand why they came after her
just because she's missed tea. Maybe the legends they tell about
Hallowmount are true after all. Or maybe Annet has amnesia. Or maybe
she's just lying. It all becomes much more important when Inspector
Felse arrives at the Beck house with an alarming story. It seems that
in a nearby city, a girl was seen on a street corner, a girl with a
ticket from Annet's small village and whose description matches Annet
perfectly. She had said she was waiting for her boyfriend, and at that
exact time a jewelry store near where she was standing was robbed and
the old jeweler was killed.

Where was Annet during those five days? Is her memory lapse real or
faked? Who was she with? And, as Inspector Felse probes deeper into
the life of Annet and others in the small village, the questions get
more complicated. Is Annet the victim that everyone assumes she is?
Can a bright young woman have that strong effect on the men around her
without using it to manipulate them? Is it Annet that needs protection
from her killer-lover, or is it the other way around? FLIGHT OF A
WITCH is a quietly effective examination of love in all its variety.
This is the first U.S. publication of novel published in Britain in
1964, and should please all Ellis Peters fans as well as attract a few
new ones.
                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Coming in RFP #18:

TRUE CRIME by Michael Mewshaw (Poseidon, $19.95)

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

                 <-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->
                 <                                 >
                 <   LOOSEN YOUR GRIP ON REALITY   >
                 <                                 >
                 <-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->:<-*->

                    << Editor:  Darryl Kenning >>

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Loosen Your Grip On Reality is a division of Reading For Pleasure,
published bimonthly. This material is NOT COPYRIGHTED and may be used
freely by all. Contributions of information, reviews, etc. should be
sent to:

Darryl Kenning                          CompuServe:  76337,740
6331 Marshall Rd.            or         GEnie:       D.Kenning
Centerville, Ohio 45459                 HeavenSoft BBS 513-836-4288
                                        The Annex BBS  513-274-0821
---------------------------------------------------------------------
THE KENNING QUOTIENT (KQ) is a rating applied to books read by the
editor of 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

                  Sci-Fi / SF / Science Fiction ???

The battle ranks have been drawn again - or maybe I should say
reformed. This question (issue?) has been fiercely debated since I
first wandered innocently into the line of fire some 35 or so years
ago. In looking over a couple of outstanding science fiction magazines
and, while stopping in on some late Saturday afternoon panels at a
recent CONvention, I find the war is still raging up and down the
corridors of fandom.

I hate to say it, but I'll be darned if I can see what the issue
really is! Now I know that the "media" tends to use Sci-Fi in their
cutesy little stories about us, and I find that not at all amusing
(until I remember that I KNOW what they are missing - and then I just
smile quietly). But they are very pressed for line space and it is
probably asking to much for them to spell it out. Mostly they don't
mean anything by it anyway. So who cares what "they" call it anyway.

Personally I prefer SF, but I suspect if I sprung that phrase on my
unsuspecting friends, it would just bring a bemused, blank stare. What
I have taken to doing is to use the opportunity to extoll the virtues
of SF instead of explaining why I don't like the abbreviation. Then I
try VERY HARD not to get into the next issue of rational definitions
of the various sub-genres. Heck I have enough trouble trying to figure
out in my own mind where SF ends and Fantasy starts, much less try to
explain that to someone who hasn't read enough of either to know what
I'm talking about.

Actually I divide books into 3 categories: Nonfiction, Science Fiction
and other stuff. Now don't misunderstand. I like and read a fair
amount of that "other stuff", but over the years I keep coming back to
SF because of the way it forcibly stretches my imagination - and
because I am absolutely fascinated by the way a good author can
construct - in MY mind - a whole society. If the author is
particularly skilled, I will believe the society constructed as
absolutely as if I had lived in it.

As a practical matter though, I divide all books into those I like,
and those I don't. And there is nothing I like better than to find a
new author whose stories can grab me -- wether they are SF, Hard
Science Fiction, Time Travel or mysteries.

So lets quit wasting our time and energies arguing over which
abbreviation is the "correct" one, lets find a book we really like and
share it with someone and see if we can convert another mundane.

                                       darryl kenning

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

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.

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

                             WHAT'S NEWS

* Due out this month (June 1991) is HEIR TO THE EMPIRE by Timothy Zahn
(Bantam), the first of a new sequel trilogy to the Star Wars original
trilogy. (Maybe we'll wind up with a trilogy of trilogies.) Whatever
new movies are made, still a murky issue, are going to be "prequel"
stories, not sequels.

* Tor just recently bought the hardcover/softcover rights to John
Stith's next novel, tentatively called MANHATTAN TRANSFER. According
to John, MANHATTAN TRANSFER will be a big hard-SF novel that starts
with Manhattan being ripped loose from the Earth's surface by aliens.
After that, look for REUNION ON NEVEREND, about a high school reunion
on a distant planet (also from Tor), as a paperback original. John's
last novel was the Nebula-nominee REDSHIFT RENDEZVOUS (reviewed in RFP
#12).

* The 1991 Arthur C. Clarke award for Best SF Novel published in Great
Britain went to Colin Greenland for TAKE BACK PLENTY.

* The 1991 Philip K. Dick award for Best Original SF Paperback went to
Pat Murphy for POINTS OF DEPARTURE.

* The magazine STARSHORE: FOR THE SF READER has risen from the dead.
You can subscribe and get four issues for $12.95 from: Starshore,
Richard Rowand, 5545 Homeward, Virginia Beach, VA 23464.

* Worlds of Wonder sells SF and fantasy artwork, and they now have
their art gallery available on videotape. The first 2 volumes show
work by Richard Bober, Clyde Caldwell, David Cherry, Tom Kidd, Don
Maitz, David Mattingly, Dean Morrissey, J.K. Potter, Gary Ruddell,
Barclay Shaw, Ron Walotsky, James Warhola, Janny Wurts, and others.
Volume 1 is available now on VHS for $20 from: Worlds of Wonder, 3421
M St. NW #327, Washington, D.C. 20007. Their normal art gallery is
open on Saturdays 11-6 pm and by appointment at 1229 34th St. NW,
Washington, D.C. 20007, phone 202-298-7889.)

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

                            NEBULA WINNERS
 
Novel: TEHANU: The Last Book of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Novella: THE HEMINGWAY HOAX by Joe Haldeman
Novelette: TOWER OF BABYLON by Ted Chiang
Short Story: "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson
Grand Master: Lester del Rey
 
                  *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

FEATURED AUTHOR:
                           ARTHUR C. CLARKE

               "Any sufficiently advanced technology is
                    indistinguishable from magic."
                         ---Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur Charles Clarke, born Dec. 16, 1917, is an English writer of
more than 50 works of science fiction and nonfiction. A familiar
figure to most because of his TV association with the US Space Program
and his popular TV series' shown on PBS, Clarke first read Science
Fiction at age 14 and started writing at age 15. By the late 1950s he
had written over 30 books and some 200 articles and short stories. His
body of work has expanded considerably since then, and his name is
synonymous for many with Science Fiction and high tech frontiers.

Clarke collaborated with director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay
for the film 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968), which reveals his
characteristic sense of wonder about the universe and his frustration
with the limitations of knowledge. Similar interests are evident in
his early novel CHILDHOOD'S END (1953), which concerns an encounter
with extraterrestrials, and in many other of his works including his
novel, 2010: ODYSSEY TWO (1982). In a paper written in 1945, Clarke
predicted the use of communications satellites and--even more
impressive--pinpointed the exact height of the orbit that would be
required to match the movement of the satellite with the earth's
rotation.

Bibliography: Bernstein, Jeremy, "Out of the Ego Chamber," New Yorker,
Aug. 9 , 1969.

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

                         THE ODYSSEY TRILOGY
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

The one major theme that is developed over the entire trilogy is that
of our place in the universe--our relationship to all that surrounds
us, and our cosmic responsibilities. Clarke imagines an alien
intelligence incalculably older than our own that is neither the
implacable enemy of the movie ALIENs nor the fatherly benefactors of
the visitors in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Clarke's aliens are pure energy in
form, and take a detached, academic interest in other life forms, like
us.

  "And because, in all the Galaxy, they had found nothing more
precious than Mind, they encouraged its dawning everywhere. They
became farmers in the fields of stars; they sowed, and sometimes they
reaped.
  "And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed."
---2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Chapter 37) & 2010: ODYSSEY TWO (Chapter 51)

Your opinion about these entities is going to depend largely on
whether they view you as crop or weed. It's difficult to warm up to
someone who thinks you're bird droppings on the windshield of the
cosmos.

We're all familiar with the story of Dave Bowman, Frank Poole, the
space vessel DISCOVERY, and its HAL 9000 computer, thanks to Stanley
Kubrick's movie more than anything else. By the way, the origin of
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY goes like this:  In 1950 Clarke wrote a larval
short story called "The Sentinel", which Kubrick bought the rights to
in 1965. Kubrick and Clarke collaborated on the screenplay to the
movie, and, at the same time, Clarke wrote the novel (both movie and
novel came out in 1968).

What is most interesting about 2001, the novel, is how it differs from
the film. In the movie, DISCOVERY goes to the moons of Jupiter, while
the novel is set among the moons of Saturn. Another major difference
is one of artistic style--Kubrick's film is sophisticated, moody,
highly symbolic, and visually stunning, while Clarke's novel is more
of a straightforward narrative. If you had (and possibly still have)
trouble understanding some elements of the movie, read Clarke's book
and all will be made clear.

Of course, one good movie invariably leads to another, and in due
course we got a considerably less successful film version of 2010, and
this time the differences between movie and book are more numerous. In
most areas I preferred Clarke's choices--his book is more personal and
intimate. The major "color" elements in the novel are Heywood Floyd's
disintegrating marriage and the kaleidoscope of relationships among
the people on board the LEONOV, while the movie was far more
nationalistic; the characters were Russian or American first,
individuals second (or at least these were the roles they had to fight
against). In the film, it wasn't Floyd's marital relationship that
dissolved but diplomatic relations between Russia and the U.S.

On the other hand, my favorite scene in the film 2010, that between
Chandra and HAL, is missing from the book. And while I'm on the
subject, I find it fascinating that I always refer to this scene as a
dialogue, not a monologue by actor Bob Balaban, even though he is the
only "person" present. Such is the presence of HAL.

In reading the entire Odyssey Trilogy at once, Clarke's preference for
scientific interest and accuracy over artistic cohesion becomes
obvious. In 2001, the DISCOVERY goes to Saturn, but by 2010 he's
switched the arena to Jupiter, to match the movie and to harmonize
with a new plot element he's come up with. The science changes from
book to book too, as Clarke's prose mirrors newly discovered
information. In fact, you can tell that Clarke prefers questions to
answers, that it's the mysteries of the universe that draw him to
study, speculate, and write.

Which brings up one of the main problems with the Odyssey Trilogy as
literature: Clarke's readiness to lecture as he lights upon
interesting scientific subjects. The lectures are indeed absorbing,
but they disrupt the narrative pace dreadfully. As "idea" stories,
they are wonderful, and my favorite is probably 2010. While 2001 was
fascinating for its introduction of the monoliths, 2010 explored the
nature of the aliens in much greater detail. 2061 is easily relegated
to last place, being less coherent artistically, less imaginative
scientifically, and, worst of all, having a "surprise" ending that is
entirely predictable. The value of the last volume is the few extra
details provided about the aliens and what they've been up to on
Europa.

                    A Partial Clarke Bibliography:

Against the Fall of Night (19??; shorter version of THE CITY AND THE
  STARS)
Prelude to Space (1951)
The Sands of Mars (1951)
Islands in the Sky (1952)
Childhood's End (1953)
Expedition to Earth (1953; collection, includes "The Sentinel")
Earthlight (1955)
The City and The Stars (1956)
Reach for Tomorrow (1956; collection; includes "Rescue Party", "The
  Fires Within", "The Forgotten Enemy"
The Deep Range (1957)
Tales from the White Hart (1957; collection of humorous tall tales)
The Other Side of the Sky (1958; collection; includes "The Nine
  Billion Names of God", "The Star", "The Songs of Distant Earth"
A Fall of Moondust (1961)
Tales of Ten Worlds (1962; collection; includes "I Remember Babylon")
Dolphin Island (1963) Young Adult novel
Time Probe: Sciences in Science Fiction (1966; anthology edited by
  Clarke)
The Nine Billion Names of God: The Best Short Stories of Arthur C.
  Clarke (1967)
The Lion of Comarre and Against the Fall of Night (1968; collection of
  two 1940s novellas)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Wind from the Sun: Stories of the Space Age (1972; collection;
  includes "A Meeting with Medusa"
The Best of Arthur C. Clarke (1973; collection)
Rendezvous With Rama (1973)
Imperial Earth (1975)
The Fountains of Paradise (1979)
2010: Odyssey Two (1982)
The Sentinel (1983; collection; includes "Guardian Angel", the
  original version of CHILDHOOD'S END, and of course "The Sentinel",
  the original version of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY)
The Songs of Distant Earth (1986)
2061: Odyssey Three (1987)
Cradle (1988; by Clarke & Gentry Lee)
Tales from Planet Earth (1989; collection; includes "If I Forget Thee,
  Oh Earth...")

                   Some Clarke Publishing in 1991:

2001: A Space Odyssey  Penguin/Roc Jun91
Beyond the Fall of Night (w/Gregory Benford)  Ace May91
The Deep Range  Bantam Spectra Apr91
A Fall of Moondust  Bantam Spectra May91
The Garden of Rama (w/Gentry Lee)  Bantam HC Sep91
Glidepath  Bantam Spectra Jun91
Imperial Earth  Bantam Spectra Mar91
The Nine Billion Names of God/The Wind From the Sun  Bantam Spectra
  Sep91
The Sands of Mars  Bantam Spectra Jul91
Tales of Ten Worlds/The Other Side of the Sky  Bantam Spectra Aug91

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

                 THE ENDER NOVELS OF ORSON SCOTT CARD
                   (Including the latest--XENOCIDE)
                     reviews by Cindy Bartorillo

                             ENDER'S GAME
                                (1985)

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is very special: he's six years old, he's a
genius, and he's a "Third". Living on an overcrowded future Earth,
Ender's parents were given special permission to have a third child,
because their genes had come so close to producing a military genius
with their first two children. With the limited power of a child, the
social embarrassment of being a Third, and the isolating effects of
being a genius, poor little Ender grabs the reader's sympathy at once.

Ender's future Earth has been attacked twice by an alien race, just
barely surviving through the strategic brilliance of their most famous
war hero, Mazer Rackham. Now the military is preparing for another
battle with the alien "buggers", and sorely needs another warrior of
Rackham's stature. Could Ender be the next hero? Or will he be broken
by the inhuman military training?

The most fascinating element in ENDER'S GAME is watching Ender deal
with every conceivable type of difficult person. He is treated with
hostility by the adults around him as well as by his fellow students
in Battle School. His teachers present him with one challenge after
another, and when he meets them successfully, he is rewarded with even
tougher exercises. Yet to every situation, Ender responds with
intelligence and a keen knowledge of psychology. He sees beyond the
hostility, understanding the reason behind it, and uses the knowledge
to manipulate situations. ENDER'S GAME is practically a handbook on
dealing with antagonistic people, and facing challenges in general.

It's no wonder that ENDER'S GAME won both the Hugo Award and the
Nebula Award. Card's prose is compulsively readable, and the
indomitable spirit of little Ender makes him one of fiction's most
unforgettable characters. This is Science Fiction at its finest.


                         SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD
                                (1986)

"It's the most charming thing about humans. You are all so sure that
the lesser animals are bleeding with envy because they didn't have the
good fortune to be born homo sapiens."
---"Jane", a non-organic intelligence, in SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD

Us vs. Them. One of the most fundamental human concepts. The Like-Me
and the Not-Like-Me. As children we ridicule those who are different,
when older we have a more complex array of possible reactions:
suspicion, avoidance, pity, toleration, amusement, curiosity,
hostility. We join groups to share company with those who are
familiar and exclude the strangers: men's clubs, women's support
groups, NAACP, KKK, CIA, SDS, Republican Party, Democratic Party. Most
of our feeble efforts to advance our civilization and tear down the
barriers between people have taken the form of trying to dress up the
outsider to look like one of Us. The deception seldom works, and often
it annoys the outsider.

SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD takes this theme, adds new vocabulary and an
intricate maze of situations, and helps the reader reason through many
challenging issues. Humans have now found another alien race, this
time on the ominously-named planet Lusitania. They're called piggies,
for their facial characteristics, and they seem nice enough although
they have a few alarmingly brutal customs. The Lusitanians must deal
with interference from the fr„mlings (humans from another world), and
decide whether the piggies are ramen (human-like other species) or
varelse (aliens we can't really communicate with at all). There isn't
as much action in SPEAKER as there was in ENDER'S GAME, but this is a
more thoughtful, mature novel that pushes Ender, and the reader, to
new levels of understanding. And that's about all you can ever ask of
a novel. (SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD also won both the Hugo and the Nebula
Awards.)


                               XENOCIDE
             (Tor, July 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-312-85056-5)
     (Limited edition of 300 in leather: $150 ISBN 0-312-85181-2)

"Any animal is willing to kill the Other. But the higher beings
include more and more living things within their self-story, until at
last there IS no Other."
                               ---Ender

"They never KNOW anything. They don't have enough years in their
little lives to come to an understanding of anything at all. And yet
they THINK they understand. From earliest childhood, they delude
themselves into thinking they comprehend the world, while all that's
really going on is that they've got some primitive assumptions and
prejudices. As they get older they learn a more elevated vocabulary in
which to express their mindless pseudo-knowledge and bully other
people into accepting their prejudices as if they were truth, but it
all amounts to the same thing. Individually, human beings are all
dolts.
                           ---a fathertree

The intellectual strengths and weaknesses of humans is a major theme
of XENOCIDE, as well the question of what to do about an alien species
whose needs are different, and sometimes incompatible, with our own.
Do we wipe them out for being a risk to human beings? Do they wipe us
out to avoid such a resolution? Or should a third species, reasonably
unbiased, step in and take some unpredictable action? Who should
decide amongst these alternatives, and what should the decision be
based upon? These questions, and many, many others, are at the heart
of XENOCIDE, the third and most recent of Orson Scott Card's "Ender"
novels.

After two books which both won both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards, is
XENOCIDE a disappointment? Somewhat. The reviews have generally been a
bit lukewarm; at least not as unanimously glowing as before. XENOCIDE
is longer, and there's less action than in the previous two volumes.
As a mater of fact, in Faren Miller's review column in LOCUS magazine,
XENOCIDE was referred to as "My Dinner With Ender", a reference to the
critically acclaimed movie MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, a movie that
consisted of two men having conversation over dinner. That comparison
is particularly apt, in my opinion, because while book (and movie) are
talkier than the norm, and there is little in the way of car chases or
light saber battles, both are utterly enthralling on an intellectual
level. XENOCIDE discusses things like: ego, pride, the power of a
martyr, physical disabilities, mob psychology, the problems of the
religious scientist, free will, religious logic, the power of creative
thought (wishing will make it so), etc. For armchair philosophers,
XENOCIDE will provide years of material for discussion, argument, and
private thought.

I particularly enjoyed the religious questions. How can you tell the
hand of God from the natural workings of the universe? Is there a
difference? How can a religious person and an atheist hold a rational
scientific discussion? If everything that happens is just exactly what
God wants, why should anyone try to achieve anything? If everything
that happens is good, simply because God has allowed it to be, why
even get up in the morning? Of course atheists form the other pole of
religious thought, saying that we have as much power over our
existence as anything else does. Not many people admit to being
atheists, but if not, where do you position yourself between these two
poles of thought?

Structurally, XENOCIDE is not the equal of the previous volumes
either. While ENDER'S GAME and SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD were both tightly
plotted with a beginning, a middle, and an end, XENOCIDE is more of a
Dickensian ramble through characters and events. It doesn't so much
end as it stops. And this is the first of the Ender novels to
presuppose a future volume: a major plot thread is introduced at the
end and left conspicuously dangling.

So, is XENOCIDE worth reading? Absolutely. If it was the intellectual
elements of the Ender novels that appealed to you in the first place,
you might very well like XENOCIDE best of all. If, however, you're
looking for space battles and breakneck action, you'd better look
elsewhere.

The three Ender novels combine to form a monumental work of the
imagination; similar in ways to Frank Herbert's DUNE or J.R.R.
Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS. But where DUNE was as dry as...I was
going to say "as dry as dust", but how about "as dry as Arrakis",
Ender's books are warm, wise, and witty. And where THE LORD OF THE
RINGS was fantastical, Ender is still a human being, albeit an
idealized one. I think the Ender novels remind me more of Dan Simmons'
HYPERION novels, actually--if you liked the HYPERION story, you'll
like Ender's tale. And the recommendation works the other way too--if
you like Orson Scott Card's way with Ender, I think you'll enjoy
Simmons' treatment of HYPERION.

Future novel from Orson Scott Card:  LOST BOYS, a mainstream novel
based on his short story about a fictional version of his family.

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

                        THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE
                 by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
              (Bantam, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-553-07028-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

  "Why, look at this nasty business!" Tom suddenly declared, in a
muffled, dreamy voice. "I knew we'd a drought upon the land, but I
never dreamt of this!" He looked to Mallory with astonished, reddened
eyes. "Why, Ned--the air, the water--there's never been such a
dreadfulness, surely!"
  Fraser seemed pained. "London's never what she might be, in
summer..."


Yes, London is in a sorry state in this imaginative novel by the
founders of "cyberpunk" fiction. THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE is set in
Victorian London around 1855, but it's not quite the place we've read
about before. In Gibson and Sterling's alternative version of history,
Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, and his more ambitious Analytic
Engine, were not only built but were completely successful, beginning
the computer age about 100 years ahead of time.

What would it have been like to have computers (or "engines") in the
middle of the 19th century? Well, for one thing, those computers would
have been powered by steam, not electricity. And the Industrial
Revolution would have been greatly intensified, creating a more
profound "future shock" and aggravating the dissension between the
progressives (or "Rads") and the conservative Luddites. Also,
according to Gibson and Sterling, the glorification of science and
scientists would have begun much earlier; and Lord Byron would have
become Prime Minister.

But the charm of THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE doesn't stop with an original
alternative history. Within this framework is the story of three
individuals and their relationship to a mysterious box of punched
cards. There's Sybil, the plucky prostitute; the honest and courageous
paleontologist, Edward Mallory; and the mysterious Laurence Oliphant,
part journalist, part political manipulator. Why do so many people
want those punched cards? What program do they contain? And Lady Ada,
Prime Minister Byron's daughter and known as "The Queen of Engines":
Whose side is she on? It's an enjoyable adventure, and is sure to
spark more tales set in a high-tech Victorian past.


Upcoming From William Gibson and Bruce Sterling:

Gibson is writing a new non-Sprawl novel called VIRTUAL LIGHT "set in
the Bay Area and in Los Angeles in some very near future in which the
real virtual technology that's being developed now in California has
come to some extent to fruition."

Bruce Sterling is writing a popular science book called THE HACKER
CRACKDOWN. He wanted to write a nonfiction book because--well let's
hear from the author himself: "I always wanted to do one, in my
lifelong goal to become sort of Arthur C. Clarke with a better
haircut. The book is about the federal crackdown on hackers and phone
phreaks in 1990: Operation Sun Devil, the Legion of Doom, the Steve
Jackson Games bust, the Craig Neidorf trial, the founding of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the new politics of electronic
media, the politics of cyberspace."

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

       HEROIC WORLDS: A HISTORY AND GUIDE TO ROLE-PLAYING GAMES
                          by Lawrence Schick
    (Prometheus Books, July 1991, $34.95 hardcover, $16.95 paper)
       (ISBN 0-87975-652-7 hardcover; ISBN 0-87975-653-5 paper)
                       review by Robert Willis

I have been playing role-playing games (RPGs) ever since Dungeons and
Dragons was released in 1974. Since then, a huge number of RPGs have
been released, covering all genres and ranging in quality from
excellent to mind-numbingly bad. I have always been a sucker for new
games, and have amassed a large collection over the years. One game
product that I have never been interested in is the "overview of RPGs"
type of book. These have never had any information that I considered
useful, and the games covered were all pretty much in the mainstream.

I was very impressed with HEROIC WORLDS. I doubt that there is a more
complete overview of the hobby of role-playing. The book starts with
an introduction to, and history of, RPGs that is terse but very
informative. The bulk of the book consists of chapters devoted to a
particular RPG genre - fantasy and science fiction (several varieties
of each), superhero, horror, and so on. The beginning of each chapter
has an introduction to the genre and list of recommended games. The
rest of the chapter is devoted to a very complete list of game systems
and supplements, including a capsule description of the contents of
each product.

If Mr. Schick missed any games, I cannot prove it. I was able to find
every obscure, bizarre game in my collection in the book. Realm of
Yolmi, Space Quest, Legacy, Spawn of Fashan, Alma Mater, and even
Dinky Dungeons were all there. Amazing. If you are a RPG collector,
this book is essential. If you think that RPGs begin and end with D&D,
it will open your eyes. For me, the memories that all those old names
conjured up made this book a "must have" for me. Maybe it's time to
dust off that old copy of Element Masters...

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

                           GURPS CYBERPUNK
              High-Tech Low-Life Roleplaying Sourcebook
                         by Loyd Blankenship
           (Steve Jackson Games, 1990, ISBN 1-55634-168-7)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

This is the book you need to participate in roleplaying games set in
some variation of the "cyberpunk" universe created mostly by William
Gibson (NEUROMANCER) and Bruce Sterling (SCHISMATRIX). It is part of a
large network of roleplaying games, all formed around GURPS, which
stands for something like General Universal RolePlaying System. This
is also the world-famous book of high-tech information that caused the
U.S. Secret Service to have a major paranoia attack and confiscate a
lot of hardware and software belonging to Steve Jackson Games and
author Loyd Blankenship.

I figure anyone who hangs around the roleplaying world knows about
GURPS Cyberpunk and probably owns it. But I'm not sure that it's
common knowledge that roleplaying game books make great reading. I
have a modest library of such games and have read (and enjoyed) almost
all of them--without ever having played one in my life. (This isn't as
loony as it may sound. I have found several others who do the same
thing; even one who collects and reads Avalon Hill wargames.)

GURPS CYBERPUNK is a fantastic textbook on a sort-of shared universe
used by many, many books, stories, and movies. In case you've missed
out, this book is your chance to get all caught up. Do you know what a
"back door" is? ICE? Would you know what to do with a cyberdeck? Would
you like to be a wirehead? You'll get caught up on all the standard
cyberpunk characters, the activities, the artificial body parts, the
weaponry, and (my favorite) the high-tech computer goodies. In the
back there is also a glossary of terms, as well as a wonderful
bibliography of related books, short stories, comic books, and movies;
in case you feel you'd like a little extra-credit reading.

It's also fascinating to read this book and realize that the Secret
Service tried to destroy Steve Jackson Games (and nearly succeeded
from what I heard) because they were afraid "dangerous" information
might get out. After all, what can you do with people who Know Too
Much? Anytime somebody tells you that censorship, or Gestapo-type
paranoia, is a thing of the past, remember GURPS CYBERPUNK. I remember
Stephen King saying one time that you should pay attention to what
books They don't want you to read, because THOSE are the books you
NEED to read. By their fears shall ye know them.

NOTE:  You can get a free subscription to the Steve Jackson Games
newsletter (called "Where We're Going"), and find out about their new
book, GURPS TIME TRAVEL, by writing to: Steve Jackson Games, Box
18957, Austin, TX 78760.

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

              QUANTUM: Science Fiction & Fantasy Review
                      Edited by D. Douglas Fratz
                      Summer 1991, no. 39, $3.00
                     (published 3 times per year)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

QUANTUM is a first class magazine published by Thrust Publications. As
the subtitle says, it is a review of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and
yet it is somehow so much more.

With articles in this issue by Norman Spinrad, Michael Bishop,
Jonathan V. Post, Michael Swanwick and of course D. Fratz, and an
extraordinary interview with Ray Bradbury, one might be tempted to
assume that this is a special issue of QUANTUM. It is not, except that
a major theme is "1990: The Year in Speculative Fiction".

Every once in a while, one happens across a very special book, article
or magazine that plucks a responsive chord. QUANTUM is that magazine
for those of us with a special love of "Speculative Fiction". Indeed,
it's hard to find anything to be critical about save that it is only
published 3 times per year. The artwork was uniformly well done,
layout and composition smooth and unobtrusive, even the response
letters were worth reading. But, I confess it was the varied,
professional articles and reviews that will pull me back.

Well if you have any doubt let me be specific. QUANTUM is surely the
best new SF-related magazine I've read in quite a long time. I highly
recommend it to anyone who loves Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Subscriptions: $7.00 for 1 year (3 issues) in US ($10.00 elsewhere).

Thrust Publications
8217 Langport Terrace
Gaithersburg, MD. 20877, USA

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

THE PAPERBACK BOOKSHELF

                          THE HEMINGWAY HOAX
                           by Joe Haldeman
             (Avon, May 1991, $3.95, ISBN 0-380-70800-0)

This book has been reviewed so often and in so many places that I'm
not sure there's a lot to add. But (well of course there is a BUT or
you wouldn't be reading this now would you?) It takes place in Key
West, and I was there recently for the first time and went through
the Hemingway house, anything by Joe Haldeman is generally worth a
word or few, and, the title is so damn grabbing so.....

The story idea is a very clever blend of elements and is engagingly
told using close parallel worlds to insert the SF element. As usual JH
is literate, the story is well paced and has the feel that an
outstanding writer gives when writing about something that he knows
very well.

The sex in this story, which is, I should add, an integral part of the
whole thing, feels silly and contrived. I had hoped for more from the
ending as well. No doubt Joe spoiled me too much with THE FOREVER WAR.
That's not to say that I don't recommend this book because I do
recommend it. I just expected more.

                             KQ........3

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

                             THE WARRIOR
                            by David Drake
          (Baen Books, May 1991, $4.95, ISBN 0-671-72058-9)

THE WARRIOR is the 5th, if I remember correctly, in the Hammer's
Slammers series. As in the past Drake makes the battle scenes come
alive for the reader, and, as in most of this series the main story
here is about the man, THE WARRIOR.

The book has really two different stories, the first is the one the
book is named after, and the second, LIBERTY PORT, is an expanded
version from an earlier printing (I can't remember from where). Both
are excellent. It's a bit hard to see where they fit into the overall
scheme of the series, in fact it really isn't a series as such but
more a grouping of stories with the Slammers being the main connecting
point. The use of the same universe and same time line and same
galactic society provide the context.

As I said earlier, though, this is a story about war and a man, and
what war does or can do to a special type of man. That in itself gets
a little depressing but I suspect that was part of the point. At any
rate, if you are into DD's work pick up this one, if not, pick it up
anyway; it provides a good illustration of what Drake can do, and he
does it quite well - again.

                              KQ.......4

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

                            BIRDS OF PREY
                            by David Drake
              (Tor, May 1991, $3.95, ISBN 0-812-51356-8)

It's no secret that one of my favorite contemporary authors is David
Drake. When he turns his hand to historical adventure with a tinge of
fantasy, you had better believe that it is going to be a wallbanger.
This one is no exception.

His characterizations set in Imperial Rome, A.D. 262 are exceptionally
strong. You can almost taste the corruptions of an empire turning to
eat its own tail, and strain with empathy for the few who are trying
to stem the tide. In this nicely woven tale of intrigue, just enough
SF/fantasy has been stirred in to make the whole more effective than
any of its parts would be.

This story will add legions of fans to Drake's side, and will
undoubtedly enhance his already considerable reputation as one of the
premiere authors of Science Fiction.

                              KQ.......4


                              BOX SCORES
               .....................................
              /:                                   :
             : : Title                          KQ :
             : :                                   :
             : : THE PRICE OF COMMAND, K Randle..3 :
             : : BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS           :
             : :        Poul Anderson............3 :
             : : THE LOST COLONY, K. Randle......3 :
             : : THE WARRIOR, D Drake............4 :
             : : THE HEMINGWAY HOAX, J Haldeman..3 :
             : : THE GENERAL,                      :
             : :     D. Drake & S. M. Stirling...5 :
             : :                                   :
             : :     by  darryl kenning            :
             : :...................................:
             :..................................../


FROM THE ARCHIVES

Every issue or so I pull something off the bookshelf that I haven't
looked at in a long time, but that I remember as being worth
rereading, and I write up 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.


                      TALES FROM THE WHITE HART
                         by Arthur C. Clarke
           (Ballantine U2113, 1966, Third printing, $ 0.50)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

A lot of what Arthur C. Clarke has done has become, first, the
standard against which other similar stories are measured, and then,
almost the archetype. This book shouldn't be all that hard to find
considering the number of printings it ultimately went through. This
book of short stories was written originally from 1953 through 1956.

The format, delightfully set in an English pub of indeterminate
location in old London with just enough detail to make it seem
reasonable (at least to those of us who have never actually seen the
real setting), has become hauntingly familiar. In fact Clarke has
raised the art of "storytelling" up at least a couple of notches with
this collection.

As I reread this book, and I hadn't opened it for over 20 years, I
could almost feel Mark Twain peering over my shoulder in silent
amusement at an Englishman who had done such a nice job with the
telling of the "tall" tale. Part of what makes this collection fun of
course, is the sense of a simpler time, a time when one might really
expect technology in a reasonably straightforward way to solve the
kinds of problems described - with the generally unexpected results we
all have come to expect from the introduction of new ideas. As an
unexpected added benefit there is a nice preface and an autobiography
added to the end. Again, part of the fun is seeing what he had to say
about himself in the late 50's.

As you can tell I enjoyed this foray in to our collective recent past.
Given the sustained popularity of Mr. Clarke you might find this
collection at your local library or any good university collection.
You'll notice that I haven't said very much about the stories
themselves; I found it much too easy to give away the punch lines.
This one is worth the time to dig up a copy.

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

              THE MAGIC OF RECLUCE by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
             (Tor, May 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-312-85116-2)

Lerris is a teenager as the book opens, growing up in the little town
of Wandernaught, on the island of Recluce. The island is a pastoral
utopia ruled by the benign magical Masters, devoted to Order. A
bright, impatient kid spending his teenage years as an apprentice to
his uncle, a master woodworker, it becomes clear that he's a misfit.

He is given the standard two options: permanent exile from Recluce or
the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden WANDERJAHR in the lands beyond
Recluce with the aim of learning how the world works and what his
place in it might be. Many do not survive. Lerris chooses dangergeld.

This epic coming-of-age fantasy is L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s hardcover
debut. His previous books include THE FOREVER HERO TRILOGY and an
"eco" trilogy: THE ECOLOGIC ENVOY, THE ECOLOGIC SECESSION, and THE
ECOLITAN OPERATION, all of which derive material from his former
career as Director of Congressional Relations at the Environmental
Protection Agency. He now lives with his family in New Hebron, New
Hampshire, where he writes and lectures at the University of New
Hampshire in Plymouth.

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

              MAIRELON THE MAGICIAN by Patricia C. Wrede
           (Tor Fantasy, 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-312-85041-7)

Mairelon was a traveling magician living out of a gypsy wagon, but his
clothes and his speech were too fine for the role and an air of dark
mystery surrounded him.

Kim was a guttersnipe, living by her wits in the mean streets of
London, disguised as a boy, uncertain of her past or future. She was
no fool in spite of her low station; she quickly had Mairelon pegged
as an impostor. The magic he performed was much more than a
performer's razzle-dazzle; it had the smell of true magic worked by a
college-trained sorcerer.

Kim knew that Mairelon was somehow entangled in a vast plot, an arcane
conspiracy that reached out to the farthest country estates and up to
the highest levels of Society. What she didn't know was that she too
was about to get entangled with this stranger's fate, and that once
she did, her life would be changed forever.

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

               CLOUDS OF MAGELLAN by David F. Nighbert
     (St. Martin's Press, June 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-312-05834-9)

In his widely-praised TIMELAPSE, David F. Nighbert introduced Anton
Stryker, a cyborg agent. Now, in Nighbert's CLOUDS OF MAGELLAN Stryker
returns to the gigantic space artifact known as "The Wheel"...and
beyond it, to the galaxy known as the Clouds of Magellan.

For the former assassin Stryker, this is no sight-seeing cruise.
DeKoven--the right hand of Tesserian, whom Stryker vanquished in
TIMELAPSE--stands an equal chance at unlocking the secrets of The
Wheel and reaching the alien Builders first. Even worse, DeKoven has
unleashed a specially-made "present" just for Stryker: Nemesis, a
clone who sports a genetically-engineered body identical to Stryker's
and a drive to kill that is unrivaled throughout the galaxy.

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

                    MAY 1991 TITLES FROM TOR BOOKS


CHIMAERA'S COPPER
by Piers Anthony and Robert E. Margroff
Volume Three in the Adventures of Kelvin of Rud
(ISBN 0-812-50915-3 $4.95)

Bestselling author Piers Anthony and his long-time friend and
collaborator have added a third volume to the series about their
transdimensional hero, Kelvin of Rud. Begun in DRAGON'S GOLD (Tor,
1987) and continued in SERPENT'S SILVER (Tor, 1989), the story
continues in CHIMAERA'S COPPER as Kelvin must rescue his beloved Heln
and his unborn child from the wicked sorceress Zoanna and the evil
king Rowforth (I won't even mention the three-headed monster who turns
humans into culinary treats). And all Kelvin has going for him is some
magic, technology, frame-hopping, and a little bit of luck. ("Anthony
& Margroff have done it again! They combine stiring characterizations,
romantic action, and fantasy into a real winner." ---dk)


MOJO AND THE PICKLE JAR
by Douglas Bell
(ISBN 0-812-50880-7 $3.95)

A demon in a pickle jar? That's what Juanita claimed. To Mojo the
thing in the jar looked more like a diseased horse apple than a demon.
But that was before the blue lightning struck, the Hounds of Hell came
up, and strange Mexican saints began popping up all over. Mojo
discovers what IS in the jar--something much more powerful and
dangerous than a demon. And he begins a quest that will lead him
across much of the Southwest. Part adventure, part journey of
discovery, and furiously funny.


THE ILLEGAL REBIRTH OF BILLY THE KID
by Rebecca Ore
(ISBN 0-812-50672-3 $3.95)

Simon Boyle makes chimeras--artificial beings with programmed
memories--for the CIA. As a sideline, he rents out his illegal (but
highly charismatic) chimera-simulacrum of Billy the Kid to jaded rich
women. When "Billy" escapes into the 21st-century streets, he must
figure out reality in order to stay alive, and the highly sensitive
programming in Billy's "brain" must adapt. Meanwhile, the CIA has
grown suspicious of Simon's erratic behavior, and he suddenly finds
himself in big trouble.

Rebecca Ore is the author of the acclaimed trilogy BECOMING ALIEN,
BEING ALIEN (nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award for best paperback
original SF of the year), and HUMAN TO HUMAN.


THE TECHNICOLOR TIME MACHINE
by Harry Harrison
(ISBN 0-812-51607-9 $3.95)

Why pay for costumes, scenery, props or actors when the most thrilling
drama of all time is unfolding before your very eyes, in vivid
color--in 1050 A.D.? Join the film crew of that stupendous motion
picture saga VIKING COLUMBUS as it journeys back in time to capture
history in the making. The film--touted as the most spectacular
historical epic ever made--may cost more than imagined.


BIRDS OF PREY
by David Drake
(ISBN 0-812-51356-8 $3.95)

Set in the year 262 A.D. with vandals at the gates of the Roman
Empire, BIRDS OF PREY follows Imperial Agent Aulus Perennius' personal
crusade for the salvation of the Roman Empire--an Empire he sees
crumbling before his eyes. But a traveler from 15,000 years in the
future brings news of greater troubles: a time-jumping alien horde who
threatens both the world of the traveler and that of Aulus Perennius.
(See my review in this issue. ---dk)


RULE GOLDEN & DOUBLE MEANING
by Damon Knight
(ISBN 0-812-51294-4 $3.95)

RULE GOLDEN asks the question: what if what we DID do unto
others...was automatically DONE unto us? That's what happens in the
vicinity of the mysterious alien--step on the other's guy's foot, and
you're liable to find yourself hopping up and down in pain. When the
alien gets loose in society, it changes everything. In DOUBLE MEANING,
Rithian, the mysterious alien, is loose on a far-future Earth
perfectly disguised and up to the worst sort of espionage and
subversion. This new issue also includes an all-new 5,000-word essay,
"Beauty, Stupidity, Injustice, and Science Fiction".


CONAN THE TRIUMPHANT
by Robert Jordan
(ISBN 0-812-51398-3 $3.95)

In the fabled kingdom of Ophir, Conan and his free-company of
mercenaries enter the service of the voluptuous, dark-eyed Lady
Synelle, unaware that she secretly serves as the high priestess of
Al'Kiir, the sharp-horned, multi-fanged demon-god whose worship is
almost forgotten in the kingdom. Al'Kiir's rites center upon the
sacrifice of beautiful women, such as Conan's fiery acquaintance, the
luscious bandit queen Karela the Red Hawk. And Al'Kiir demands the
eternal enslavement of perfect warriors.


                   JUNE 1991 TITLES FROM TOR BOOKS

HEATHERN
by Jack Womack
(ISBN 0-812-50872-6 $3.99)

A sequel to AMBIENT (1986) and TERRAPLANE (Tor, 1990). It's 1998 in
New York, and life's just about as bad as you might guess. Army tanks
roll through the streets of New York, and walls are erected to divide
the city's neighborhoods from one another. The economy is in complete
collapse, violence is at an all-time high, and the value of human life
is at a corresponding low. The sinister superconglomerate Dryco--run
by Thatcher Dryden, a man who believes Elvis Presley was
God--dominates American life. Dryden hears about Lester MacCaffrey who
reportedly performs miracles, and decides that a Messiah would be a
valuable asset for the megacorporation. HEATHERN is the third book of
a planned six-volume series.


PACIFIC EDGE
by Kim Stanley Robinson
(ISBN 0-812-50056-3 $4.99)

The concluding volume of the Orange County trilogy. It's set in the
mid-21st century where southern California and the rest of the world
have responded to global ecologic and economic catastrophes, leading
to planned societies and a type of utopia. But such societies are made
up of individuals, each with his or her own hopes and dreams. Kevin
Claiborne, until now content with his life, is drawn into political
and emotional conflict with the mayor over the woman they both love.
The real protagonist of this novel is society itself; and the real
question is: what will humans make of themselves?


AS ON A DARKLING PLAIN
by Ben Bova
(ISBN 0-812-51546-3 $3.99)

Continuation of Bova's multi-volume, millenia-spanning saga of the
time war between humans and the Others. At the dawn of time on Earth,
humanity struggled, grew, and reached for the stars. There, the Others
were waiting to crush them, to drive them back. The Others reduced
Earth to a blackened, frozen waste, leaving behind sentinel machines
to warn them should mankind ever regain what had been lost and return
to space. That day has come in AS ON A DARKLING PLAIN. The sentinels
on the moon Titan already transmitted the news of humanity's
re-emergence, and the Others are gathering for a new assault.


THE BLACK SHIELDS
by John Maddox Roberts
(ISBN 0-812-50629-4 $3.99)

Book Two of STORMLANDS. Once wizards warred across the earth, so the
legends say, destroying cities and nations. Men still survive, as do
the ancient names of the constellations. But what WAS a "bull" or a
"bear"? Steel--rarer and more valuable than gold--must be found in the
places the ancients hid it, inside mounds of stone and concrete.
Spirits walk the earth, and there are places where to enter is to die,
untouched by any visible hand. Men survive, but the world is
different. Two warriors from the islands--one touched by spirits of
the light, the other by the dark--must lead their armies in a battle
to decide the future of the world. THE BLACK SHIELDS follows THE
ISLANDER in John Maddox Roberts' new series, STORMLANDS, in a world of
swords, sorcery, and strangeness thousands of years after the
holocaust.


BWANA & BULLY!
by Mike Resnick
(ISBN 0-812-51246-4 $3.99)

BWANA:  On the planet Kirinyaga, the descendants of the Kikuyu have
resurrected the unspoiled ways of their African ancestors in Mike
Resnick's BWANA. Like the long-lost savannahs of ancient Earth, the
grasslands of Kirinyaga harbor lethal beasts of prey. But in the view
of Koriba, aging mundumgu to the tribe, no beast of prey poses a
greater threat to the Kikuyu than the mighty offworld hunter, the
BWANA, imported to slay those beasts. For the hunter's plans don't
stop there. He intends to bring the Kikuyu back into the galactic
civilization, with himself in charge.

BULLY!:  Ex-president, man of action, gentleman adventurer: if Teddy
Roosevelt hadn't been real, no one would believe in him. But what if,
in 1910, T.R. had actually pursued his notion of carving out an
independent country, in Central Africa, with himself at the helm, a
knife in the heart of corrupt European colonialism? This is the very
premise of Mike Resnick's BULLY!, an SF adventure as only Resnick can
tell it!


WHEEL OF STARS
by Andre Norton
(ISBN 0-812-51678-8 $3.99)

WHEEL OF STARS tells a gripping, suspenseful tale of occult forces and
ancient magic loose in the modern world. The ordinary life of Gwennan
Daggert, an orphan and librarian, changes dramatically after she
uncovers an antique pendant--and her own previous life as a Seer in a
mystical civilization which perished long before the dawn of time! But
she is not the only possessor of the old magic. Gwennan discovers
immortal powers, Light and Dark, are rising again, and Gwennan finds
herself trapped in the middle of a war for the very soul of humanity.


MINDSWORD'S STORY: The Sixth Book of LOST SWORDS
by Fred Saberhagen
(ISBN 0-812-51118-2 $4.50)

The Mindsword--he who wields it receives mindless devotion--has been
lost for years, since the Dark King's defeat and the death of the
gods. It now comes into the hands of Prince Murat of Culm, a decent
man who intends to give it to Princess Kristen of Tasavalta, the
beautiful wife of Prince Mark. But Murat draws Mindsword once. And
then again. Kristen herself falls victim, slavishly doting on Murat.
Prince Mark, with his retainer Ben of Purkinje, and his wizard Karel,
must do battle not only for his beloved wife, but for the kingdom, and
perhaps for the soul of the world.

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

                        Editor:  Annie Wilkes

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

                             WHAT'S NEWS

* Thomas Harris' SILENCE OF THE LAMBS was a big hit as a book and an
even bigger hit as a movie. Which, of course, touched off another wave
of book sales and sent readers all the way back to Harris' previous
thriller featuring Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter, RED DRAGON. Now
there's an unconfirmed rumor that Orion Pictures is planning another
movie with Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Lecter, this one (the rumor goes) to
be a prequel. On the book front, Delacorte has a contract with Harris
for two more books, but no one seems to know what he's writing now or
when he'll be done. (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS took Harris almost 10 years,
so don't hold your breath.)

* The first issue of INIQUITIES magazine (reviewed in RFP #14) was
stopped at the border by Canadian Customs, who said the issue
contained a story advocating necrophilia. In addition to the obvious
reactions, I can't help wondering who would take up necrophilia simply
because some story implied that it was acceptable? As for whether or
not the story actually advocated sex with the deceased, you can make
up your own mind by getting a copy from: Iniquities, 167 N. Sierra
Bonita Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106. (I have also seen the address given
as: J.F. Gonzalez, 18030 Brookhurst St. #14, Fountain Valley, CA
92708. Take your pick.)

* Anne Rice is now working on HOLLOW DARKNESS, a novel about a romance
between a policeman and a ghost. I seem to remember hearing, at least
a year or so ago, that she was writing such a story to be a TV series.
What happened to that idea?

* While on the subject of Hollows: Dan Simmons' next novel will be THE
HOLLOW MAN (Bantam), which is, as the author puts it: "something
different, something that crosses genre, that has some solid
speculation in it--in this case, it's chaos mathematics and how it
applies to the mind. At the same time, it has horrific elements. It's
like a Buddha I saw in India once, far back in this Buddhist cave
carved about 14 centuries ago. When you hold the lantern on one side,
it's smiling, on the other side, it's frowning, and straight on it's
totally impassive. You look at this book in different ways, it's like
a hologram. It changes." And let's not forget that Simmons has
promised us one more (but apparently ONLY one more) Hyperion novel, to
be called ENDYMION.

* Here's Stephen King talking about the city of Castle Rock and his
next novel, NEEDFUL THINGS (coming from Viking this fall): "I am
burning my bridges and destroying the town. It's all gone--kaput. It's
sad but it had to be done. Everybody who's ever been in Castle Rock
comes into the book to take a kind of curtain call."

* All of you who ordered Stephen King's new Dark Tower book should be
receiving them mid to late June 1991. If you missed out, you can
contact the publisher of THE DARK TOWER III: THE WASTELANDS at: Donald
M. Grant Publisher Inc., PO Box 187, Hampton Falls, NH 03844.

* MOVIE COMING:  John Steakley's novel VAMPIRE$, a trade paperback
from NAL, is about modern-day vampire hunters working for the Vatican.
Largo Productions (DIE HARD, DIE HARD 2) will be bringing Steakley's
story to the screen, with a screenplay being written by Don Jakoby
(ARACHNOPHOBIA).

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

                             THE BURNING
                         by Graham Masterton
               (Tor, 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-312-85121-9)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

          On your dying day you will remember that you once
                knew me, and you will shudder in awe.
                               ---Otto

Thanks to the power of fantasy fiction, one of the lead characters in
Graham Masterton's new novel dies on page 5. Her name is Celia
Williams, she was a musical expert with a passion for Wagner, and she
committed suicide by immolation: she sat down in a parking lot next to
McDonald's, poured a can of gasoline over herself, and lit a match.
She was a happy, carefree woman scheduled to be married to
restauranteur Lloyd Denman, and Lloyd finds that he can't accept that
she was depressed enough to kill herself. He launches a small personal
investigation to discover as much as he can about Celia and
immediately learns that she wasn't as honest with him as he'd thought.

It seems that Celia was involved with some kind of cult, lead by
sadistic, ex-Nazi Otto Mander, who mesmerizes his followers with his
promises of immortal life. (It should also be noted that he eats live
bugs and can set people on fire with his mind.) Burning herself was
Celia's first step on the road to everlasting life, but she's lost the
talisman she needs to complete the process. Until she can get the
charm that Lloyd now possesses she is a Salamander: a creature of
smoke, soul, and fire. Will Lloyd give her the talisman to save
Celia's "life", or will he try to stop Otto from assembling a
modern-day California version of the Master Race? THE BURNING is a
fast-paced rollercoaster of a read that fairly crackles with the heat
coming off the pages.

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

              AVAILABLE FROM DONALD M. GRANT, PUBLISHER
                (PO Box 187, Hampton Falls, NH 03844)

By Charles L. Grant:

Volume I - The Vampire: THE SOFT WHISPER OF THE DEAD
Oxrun station--a region to be found on the same maps as Stephen King's
Castle Rock and H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham. Here is an account of the
evil Count Braslov's attempt to subjugate the Oxrun population to his
vampiric will. Filled with the non-stop excitement of the classic
vampire tale. $15.00

Volume II - The Werewolf: THE DARK CRY OF THE MOON
Turn your head from vampires to werewolves--and who among us does not
appreciate the thrills of a good werewolf yarn? Now Oxrun Station is
under attack by a hideous night beast "that walks on two legs"--a
werewolf. $15.00

Volume III - The Mummy: THE LONG NIGHT OF THE GRAVE
Back from the grave comes an ancient horror. The jackal-headed
god...ancient Egypt...eternal life--all come together in this third
and last horrific visit to Oxrun Station. $20.00

YELLOW FOG by Les Daniels
  This is the frightening adventure of Don Sebastian, the immortal
vampire; a dark figure emerging from the shadows of the past to haunt
Victorian London. Sebastian, who dwelt among the horrors of the
Spanish Inquisition and the French Revolution, seeks sanctuary and
*sustenance* in a stable society of gaslight and hansom cab.
  In YELLOW FOG, Les Daniels has turned the traditional Victorian
vampire story inside out, revealing both the aspirations of the undead
and the depths of degradation that only mortals may achieve. Stephen
King has called Daniel's work "dark but human...rewarding, creepy and
fun". Art by Frank Villano. Limited First Edition Signed by both
Author and Artist. $30.00

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

                       MASTERS OF DARKNESS III
                      edited by Dennis Etchison
                (Tor, 1991, $3.95, ISBN 0-812-51766-0)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

This is the third (and apparently last) volume in an "author's choice"
anthology series edited by Etchison. Each author contributes a story
that is in some way special to them, along with a few paragraphs
explaining their choice. One obvious problem with this is that writers
look at their work from a completely different perspective--it would
be very surprising if they used the same measuring stick that editors
or readers would. On the other hand, if their judgment wasn't
ordinarily sound, they wouldn't have made a name for themselves as
writers and be invited to contribute to an author's choice collection.
In any case, the reader gets a second chance at notable stories they
might have missed elsewhere, and a small insight into the writer's
psyche in the explanation of their choice.

My favorites:  "But at My Back I Always Hear" by David Morrell, while
oddly titled, is an interesting first-person story about paranoid
delusions. Hugh B. Cave's "After the Funeral" has a nifty ending, and
"Doppelgaenger" by R. Chetwynd-Hayes is like a prose Escher print.
Clive Barker's "In the Hills, The Cities" is one of the best stories
from his BOOKS OF BLOOD, although he says virtually no one liked it
prior to publication. I can see why some people wouldn't warm up to
it, it's *really* bizarre, with no real foot in any kind of familiar
reality. But it is a good example of Barker's imaginative powers,
without the gore. "The Whisperer" by Brian Lumley is a little slice of
Kafka, and L. Sprague de Camp's "Judgment Day" recalls childhood in
all its day-to-day horror.

"Family" by Joyce Carol Oates, a story of disintegrating civilization,
along with "Twilight of the Dawn" by Dean R. Koontz and "The Woman in
the Room" by Stephen King--they were all too depressing for me. It
seems like overkill for them to have been placed in the volume in
succession, and at the very end of the anthology. They are well told,
even memorable, but hardly enjoyable. Also included in this volume
are: "The Secret" by Jack Vance, "The Patter of Tiny Feet" by Nigel
Kneale, "The Tenant" by Avram Davidson, "Hallowe'en's Child" by James
Herbert, "The Master of the Hounds" by Algis Budrys, and "Jamboree" by
Jack Williamson.

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

             AVAILABLE FROM ARKHAM HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.
                PO Box 546, Sauk City, Wisconsin 53583

GRAVITY'S ANGELS by Michael Swanwick
Throughout the decade of the eighties, some of the most acclaimed
science-fiction and fantasy stories were written by Michael Swanwick.
Known primarily for his novels IN THE DRIFT, VACUUM FLOWERS, and
STATIONS OF THE TIDE, Swanwick is equally adept at shorter lengths, in
a collection that ranges from technological SF with a humanist slant
to quirky contemporary fantasies: "A Midwinter's Tale", "The Feast of
Saint Janis", "The Blind Minotaur", "The Transmigration of Philip K,"
"Covenant of Souls", "The Dragon Line", "Mummer Kiss", "Trojan Horse",
"Snow Angels", "The Man Who Met Picasso", "Foresight", "Ginungagap",
and "The Edge of the World". With black-and-white interiors by Janet
Aulisio. (ISBN 0-87054-162-5) $20.95

THE ENDS OF THE EARTH by Lucius Shepard
Lucius Shepard returns to the Arkham House imprint, surely for the
last time, since this great writer is assuming his rightful place as a
distinguished figure in contemporary American letters: "The Ends of
the Earth", "Delta Sly Honey", "Bound for Glory", "The Exercise of
Faith", "Nomans Land", "Life of Buddha", "Shades", "Aymara", "A Wooden
Tiger", "The Black Clay Boy", "Fire Zone Emerald", "On the Border",
"The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter", and "Surrender". With
photomontage interiors by J.K. Potter. "The haunting power of these
tales, along with the high-quality production and striking
illustrations, make this book essential for any fantasy reader's
library." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (ISBN 0-87054-161-7) $24.95

HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER by James Tiptree, Jr.
Selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club. "A handsome illustrated
collection of eighteen short stories, mostly from the midseventies,
that could as easily be called "The Best of Tiptree"...The overall
impression left by these stories is sheer wonder at her impeccable
prose, her exuberance in following her premises wherever they lead,
and her overwhelming stylistic virtuosity. For every serious
collection of modern science fiction." --KIRKUS REVIEWS
(ISBN 0-87054-160-9) $25.95

TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS by H.P. Lovecraft and Divers Hands
"This generous volume, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the
founding of Arkham House, features twenty-two Mythos stories by
Lovecraft and fifteen other writers, including the poetic Clark Ashton
Smith, the action-oriented Robert E. Howard, Arkham's cofounder August
Derleth, and the youngest of the original circle, Robert Bloch. Modern
writers include...Ramsey Campbell, Fritz Leiber, and Stephen King, who
contribute especially fine work." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
(ISBN 0-87054-159-5) $23.95

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

          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, $9.95, ISBN: 1-55853-103-3)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

HOLLYWOOD GHOSTS contains twelve stories of surprisingly consistent
quality, and amazing variety. My personal favorites include "Laugh
Track" by Harlan Ellison, which manages to be mysterious, eerie, and
hilarious all at once, and with a superb groaner of an ending that I'd
love to tell you about, but it would spoil your fun. Don't miss this
one. I've also got a special place in my heart for Robert Bloch's "The
Movie People", which changed the way I watch crowd scenes. And while
"One for the Horrors" isn't one of David J. Schow's best stories, it
has a haunting ending that reminds me of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.

David Morrell's creepy "Dead Image" is the story of a James Dean
lookalike who is more like the original than anyone should be.
"Makeup" by Robert R. McCammon analyzes the real magic behind movie
appearances--another great story with another slam-bang ending. Karl
Edward Wagner's "Old Loves" visits a cult TV-idol of the 1960s who
bears a striking resemblance to Diana Rigg and Emma Peel. We find that
the actor is not really the character, and vice versa. "The Making of
Revelation, Part I" by Philip Jose Farmer has God producing
Armageddon: The Movie, directed by C.B. DeMille and written by Harlan
Ellison. Very funny. Hollywood lifestyles are satirized in Ron
Goulart's "House of Secrets", and also in August Derleth's "A Wig for
Miss DeVore". "The Courts of Xanadu" by Charles Sheffield is an exotic
adventure story complete with the looting of sacred objects and just
retribution. The only two stories that I really wasn't too thrilled
about were Avram Davidson's "Summerland" and William F. Nolan's "The
Pool". Both seemed a bit weightless compared to other stories by the
same writers.

Don't miss HOLLYWOOD GHOSTS. At least half of the stories are absolute
gems that you just can't pass up, and the other half are thoroughly
enjoyable.

Frank D. McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh, and Martin H. Greenberg are
the compilers of more than 200 anthologies. McSherry is a noted
mystery authority and bibliophile who lives in McAlister, Oklahoma.
Waugh is a leading authority on mystery and science fiction literature
who lives in Winthrop, Maine. Greenberg, known as "the king of the
anthologists", lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In addition to HOLLYWOOD
GHOSTS, the three have compiled five other books of The American
Ghosts Series, including DIXIE GHOSTS, GHOSTS OF THE HEARTLAND,
EASTERN GHOSTS, WESTERN GHOSTS, and NEW ENGLAND GHOSTS.

NOTE: If you enjoy HOLLYWOOD GHOSTS, don't miss SILVER SCREAM edited
by David J. Schow (review, RFP #4).

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

                             THEY THIRST
                        by Robert R. McCammon
       (Dark Harvest, PO Box 941, Arlington Heights, IL 60006)
                    commentary by Cindy Bartorillo

A friend dropped by my house one day almost 10 years ago with a small
present for me: a paperback book. She said that she'd seen it at a
yard sale and figured I would love it. You know what I'm talking
about, don't you? Well-meaning friends find out that you're a horror
fan, and assume that you'll "love" any paperback that has something
dripping or oozing on the cover. But as we all come to find out, no
matter how much you love horror, most of what lurks behind those lurid
covers is pretty tedious.

The book was called THEY THIRST and was written by someone named
Robert R. McCammon. I started reading the book despite the odds, and
began a love affair with the author's words that is still going strong
today. Now Dark Harvest has issued a hardcover edition of this horror
classic for $22.95 (Also a limited edition for $55). Old McCammon fans
like me can now throw away our tattered paperback copies (I'm working
on my SECOND tattered copy), and if you've somehow missed out on
McCammon, here's your chance to find out what all the screaming is
about.

The flap copy reads: "Across the centuries, an evil returns to feast
upon the City of Angels--and millions sway beneath their deadly spell.
On Sunset and Hollywood boulevards, unspeakable horrors lurk in the
darkness. They are the undead, nightmares in human form, dark
disciples of death who prey upon the living. Now nature succumbs to
the evil, raging in a fury of sandstorm and tidal wave. And in the
castle of a murdered screen idol, high above the ravaged city, the
Prince of Darkness and his minions prepare a welcome for the last
terrified survivors."

What can I tell you about THEY THIRST? It's epic. It's loud. It's
unruly, extreme, excessive, violent. And it's one of the most
genuinely scary novels I've ever read. Whenever I get into one of
those discussions about whether horror stories actually SCARE me, I
just point to THEY THIRST. This is the book that does it for me.

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                            THIRTEEN DOORS
                       Tape #1: Door 1 & Door 2
        (Audio Oddities, 1991, $9.95 each, ISBN 1-879684-00-4)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

  "Sometimes, when he gets angry, the Carnival Man does bad things."

The THIRTEEN DOORS have suddenly appeared in the basement of the old
house Marla Kendall has just bought for herself and her 7-year-old son
Willie. Recovering from the recent death of her husband, Marla is now
determined to put her life, and Willie's, back together.
Unfortunately, Willie has been lured into the basement and through one
of the doors by the Carnival Man, a demon who rules his own nightmare
world.

The THIRTEEN DOORS is a series of half-hour plays on audio cassette
about the experiences of Willie and Marla in the Carnival Man's dark
realm. Tape #1 consists of the first two doors: "The Kinderfield",
written by Marthayn Pelegrimas, and "Key to My Heart", written by
Joseph H. Dowd. In her desperate attempt to rescue her son, Marla must
confront her past and make peace with the dead. The cast is good, the
music is nicely atmospheric, and the sound effects are low-key. Tape
#1 draws you into Marla's nightmare and gives the modern horror fan a
taste of what the old suspense radio shows must have been like.

Audio Oddities will be continuing this series--I believe Tape #2 is
already out as I type this--as well as doing other audio cassette
dramas of suspense, horror, and dark fantasy. Writers scheduled to do
scripts for them include David Silva, Thomas Monteleone, Elizabeth
Massie, Kathleen Jurgens, and Douglas Winter. If your local store
doesn't carry Audio Oddities tapes, you can send $9.95, plus $2.45
shipping and handling, to: Audio Oddities, Inc., 5078 S. 108th Street,
Suite #108, Omaha, NE 68137. They'll send you the first of the
THIRTEEN DOORS tapes, and I'm sure they'll tell you about their other
offerings.

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

                   PETER QUINT READS THE MAGAZINES

                            CEMETERY DANCE
                     Spring 1991/Volume 3 Issue 2
                     edited by Richard T. Chizmar

"All a writer can do is his own work in the best way he knows how. The
rest is in the lap of the gods; those callous sonsofbitches."
                             ---Ed Gorman

If the fiction in this issue isn't quite up to CEMETERY DANCE's usual
standards, the interviews and nonfiction essays make up for it. The
first interview is the second half of the talk with Peter Straub,
begun last issue. It's an odd interview--Straub talks rather
frighteningly about "the violent and the sacred", at one point saying:

"Ted Bundy...had no notion of what he was doing or why, he was like a
beast who was hungry. I would like a little more GLORY, a little more
RAPTURE, in these madmen..."

Anyone who associates serial killers with words like GLORY and RAPTURE
is someone that needs watching. On a more literary level, Straub talks
about what he enjoys:

"at certain moments in [ANNA KARENINA] the physical world is virtually
CREATED, it is made so present by the quantity of the feeling inside
the person writing the book that this whole world just springs into
life, just comes out of artifice into reality. That's magic."

The second and third interviews are with publisher Paul Mikol (of Dark
Harvest) and reviewer Richard Weilgosh. Both are interesting, although
I would have appreciated more specifics of Dark Harvest's upcoming
publishing schedule. No release dates were given--the forthcoming
titles weren't even given in their order of release.

Other CEMETERY DANCE nonfiction:  Douglas E. Winter puts controversial
splatter novel AMERICAN PSYCHO by Bret Easton Ellis into a less
hysterical perspective, Ed Gorman talks about professional jealousy,
Matthew J. Costello discusses real-life horrors and dancing on the
edge of sanity, Tyson Blue has lots of news about Stephen King and
others (much of which, alas, is very old), and there are 3 more pages
of smugness by Paul Sammon. There were review columns by Ed Bryant and
Lori Perkins, both well worth reading.

The fiction is less successful than usual, particularly the novella
"Comes the Night Wind, Cold, and Hungry" by Gene Michael Higney, which
is pretty much formula horror with the entire skeleton showing. The
gruesome deaths are there, but they needed to be strung together with
something a bit more substantial like characters, plot, motivations,
conflict--something. Two of the more successful stories were both
about insanity: "Mama's Little Soldier" by Joseph Coulson and William
Relling, Jr. and "Secrets" by Melanie Tem. Nancy A. Collins' "Easy's
Last Stand" was funny, as was "Biting the Big One" by Gary Brandner,
but the rest were forgettable: "Roadkill" by Tom Elliott, "Razor Cut"
by John Maclay, and "The Son Also Rises" by S.K. Epperson.

As I said, this CEMETERY DANCE isn't as strong as usual in the fiction
department, but the nonfiction is super. I particularly enjoyed the
unusual interviews. It's nice to hear from some other corners of the
book business. (You can get 4 quarterly issues of CEMETERY DANCE by
sending $15 to: CEMETERY DANCE, PO Box 16372, Baltimore, MD 21210.)

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

                               GAUNTLET
                          No. 2, 1991, $8.95
                         Stephen King Special

In his editorial of this second annual anthology of censorship news,
views, and related fiction, Barry Hoffman says: "What is most
chilling, when recapping censorship in 1990, is the unity displayed by
those who want to suppress free expression and the fragmentation of
those who oppose censorship." GAUNTLET's mission is to provide a forum
for the dissemination of censorship news and for rational discussion
of censorship issues. The first issue last spring was an oversized
magazine, while this issue is a plump trade paperback of over 400
pages.

Why a Stephen King Special? He earned that honor by being one of the
most censored contemporary writers in America. The SK section begins
with an overview of SK censorship by Howard Wornom and continues with
articles like: "Considering THE STANDs" by Michael R. Collings,
"Stephen King News" by George Beahm, and a Buyer's Guide to SK
collectibles, also by Beahm. Elsewhere in GAUNTLET is an 8,000-word
essay by SK himself on MPAA ratings called "The Dreaded X".

I don't have anywhere near the room to tell you about all the articles
and stories in GAUNTLET #2, but here are a few: The Top Ten Censors of
1990, two uncollected short stories by Ray Bradbury about censorship,
a Ray Bradbury interview, an investigative report on kiddie porn;
discussions, both pro and con, of the "Son of Sam" laws (one written
by a convicted serial killer). One of the best types of censorship
coverage in GAUNTLET is actual censored material, followed by
commentary. For instance, GAUNTLET #2 has artwork by David Wojnarowicz
and some of the most controversial of Robert Mappelthorpe's work. You
not only get to see and read what's been kept from you, but get to
engage in lively debates about the merits of the material with
thoughtful commentators. Here are just a few of the bylines in
GAUNTLET #2: Graham Masterton, John Skipp & Craig Spector, Karl
Wagner, Stephen R. Bissette, William Relling, Bentley Little, Richard
T. Chizmar, Thomas F. Monteleone, Piers Anthony, Rick Hautala, Nancy
Collins, Matthew Costello, William F. Nolan, Andrew Vachss, Kathryn
Ptacek, Paul Sammon, Stanley Wiater. Not bad for $8.95, huh?

Some of the material may offend you. Some not. That's the way it
works. But you can't properly condemn, or support, prose which you
haven't read, or artwork you've never seen. When, if ever, does a work
of art become dangerous? Dangerous to whom? Is there any excuse, ever,
for censorship? These are not simple questions and neither are the
answers, and that's where GAUNTLET helps. Without knowledge you're
just another one of the ignorant screamers.

This brings up the very worst part of censorship: that it happens in
the dark. It's a negative thing, and therefore difficult to notice. Go
to your neighborhood bookstore and try to detect which books are NOT
there because someone decided they aren't good for you. And which
magazines are NOT on your newsstand for similar reasons? For that
matter, is GAUNTLET available locally? (If not, send a check for $8.95
plus $1.50 postage to: GAUNTLET, 309 Powell Rd., Dept. PR91,
Springfield, PA 19064.) If you don't read GAUNTLET, how will you know
what you're missing?

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                             WEIRD TALES
                      Special Robert Bloch Issue
                             Spring 1991
                     edited by Darrell Schweitzer

WEIRD TALES is an often misunderstood magazine. Some people expect it
to be a re-enactment of the old WT, which it isn't. Others expect it
to be just like other genre magazines (fantasy or horror, depending
upon who you talk to), which it isn't either. As I understand it, what
they're trying to do is to perform the same function for today's
audience that the old WT performed for its audience. In other words,
constantly seeking out the very best weird fiction, regardless of
category or fads. WEIRD TALES is aimed at the more literate, adult
reader of genre fiction.

The Bloch material in this issue consists of an old 1938 story called
"Beetles" and a 1986 teleplay adaptation (never produced). The story
is a good one of the Mummy's Curse type, and it's alteration to suit
film treatment is interesting. I had forgotten what a great and lucid
writer Bloch is. There is also a brief appreciation by Hugh B. Cave
and two interviews with the man himself. My favorite exchange:

WT: Speaking of genre gross-out, do you have an opinion on this whole
splatterpunk vs. quiet horror debate?
Bloch: Yes, both sides talk too much.

Amen, Mr. Bloch. "The Grab Bag" by Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner is
about a drunken practical joke that backfires, and "One More Story To
Tell" is an excerpt from Mr. Bloch's "unauthorized autobiography",
telling about how he got his start reading WEIRD TALES, corresponding
with H.P. Lovecraft, and eventually writing for WEIRD TALES.

"Tap Dancing" by John Gregory Betancourt is a sentimental
old-fashioned ghost story, while Nancy Springer's "Turn, Turn, Turn"
illustrates that housewifely recycling crafts can make something of
beauty out of absolutely anything. "Playing For Keeps" by Lawrence
Watt-Evans has the boogeyman earning a living, and Nina Kiriki
Hoffman's "Rumors of Greatness" is a short but affecting look at
mesiahs and motherhood. There is poetry by Ray Bradbury, Jessica
Amanda Salmonson, A.R. Morlan, Walter Shedlofsky, and Darrell
Schweitzer. The last, and longest, story is "Wager of Dreams" by
Michael Rutherford, about a time when people were losing the ability
to dream.

What's the best thing in this issue? The piece that's worth the cover
price for it alone? No doubt about it--the excerpt from Robert Bloch's
autobiography. That's going to be one great book; and this is another
good issue of WEIRD TALES. (Get the next 4 quarterly issues delivered
to your home by sending $16 to: Terminus Publishing Co., Inc., PO Box
13418, Philadelphia, PA 19101-3418.)

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                          BORDERLANDS PRESS
                  PO Box 32333, Baltimore, MD 21208

THE MAGIC WAGON by Joe R. Lansdale, slipcased with dj by Jill Bauman
and signed by author. Shipping now. $50.00

LIMITED EDITION OF GAUNTLET #2 (featuring the works of Bradbury, King,
Masterton, and others) slipcased, dj, and signed by 31 contributors,
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NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS by Harlan Ellison, slipcased, custom dj, and
signed by author. First of the Harlan Ellison Uniform Series. Shipping
now. $65.00

SPECIAL 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF HARLAN ELLISON'S STAR TREK SCRIPT
"THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER" with specially written Afterwords by
Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, James
Doohan, D.C. Fontana, and David Gerrold! Custom dj, slipcased, and
signed by author. Get you orders in now. $75.00

UNDER THE FANG edited by Robert R. McCammon, slipcased, custom dj by
Jill Bauman, and signed by ALL contributors. This is the ONLY
hardcover edition of the special Horror Writers of America, Inc.
anthology--the first volume of HWA's shared world trilogy (future
titles to be edited by F. Paul Wilson and Ramsey Campbell). Only 750
copies. Shipping in September 1991. $75.00

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Coming in RFP #18:

OBSESSED by Rick R. Reed (Dell Abyss, $4.50)

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                   LOOK FOR RFP #18 AUGUST 1, 1991