*                                                            *
 *         R E A D I N G    F O R    P L E A S U R E          *
 *                                                            *
 *                        Issue #19                           *
 *                  October/November 1991                     *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                 Editor: Cindy Bartorillo                   *
 *                                                            *
 *  Reviews by:  Cindy & Drew Bartorillo, Howard Frye,        *
 *    Carl Ingram, Darryl Kenning, Janet Peters, Robert       *
 *    Pittman, Peter Quint, Carol Sheffert, Annie Wilkes,     *
 *    Robert Willis                                           *
 *                                                            *

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~                        DISTRIBUTION DIRECTORY

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


                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  119
1991 Readercon Small Press Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  151
Mainstream Fiction Reviews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  175
Murder By The Book (Mystery Fiction Reviews)  . . . . . . . .  581
Loosen Your Grip On Reality (SF&F Reviews)  . . . . . . . . . 1360
Frightful Fiction (Horror Reviews)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2322
Nonfiction Reviews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3259
Computer Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4253


~                              EDITORIAL

Here's our third annual Halloween Issue, and it sure is a big one,
isn't it? A lot of great books have arrived here at RFP central, and
our roving readers have dug up a few more, so there are lots and lots
of titles for you to pick from. Hope you find some worthwhile

Don't hesitate to write to us, either electronically (on CompuServe,
GEnie, or our home BBS, The Baudline II) or by regular post (Reading
For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303, Frederick, MD 21702). We
really appreciate hearing from you, whether it's with suggestions,
questions, or material suitable for including in RFP. If you do submit
material for inclusion (a book list, a review, etc.), please state
specifically that it is OK to print your material in a future edition
of RFP. We don't use contracts, but we'd still like to be on safe
legal ground.

Our second favorite thing to get in the mail (after books) is news. We
love to hear about new books that are being written or about to be
published. Nobody here at RFP has an inside track in the book
industry; we have to pick up our news in the back alleys like everyone
else. So if you've got a book coming out, please drop us a note so we
can pass the word along. Be sure to let us know what it is, when it'll
show up, and where we can get it. (There is nothing in the world worse
than a great-sounding book that you can't get your hands on.)

Have a safe and spooky Halloween, and we'll see you again in RFP's
Holidays Issue, being released December 1, 1991.


~                  1991 READERCON SMALL PRESS AWARDS

Novel:  RED SPIDER, WHITE WEB by Misha (Morrigan)
Magazine (Fiction):  JOURNAL WIRED edited by Mark Ziesing & Andy
Magazine (Nonfiction):  NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION edited by
  David Hartwell et al.
Magazine Design:  JOURNAL WIRED designed by Andy Watson
Collection:  THE BRAINS OF RATS by Michael Blumlein (Scream/Press)
Anthology:  WHEN THE BLACK LOTUS BLOOMS edited by Elizabeth Saunders
  (Unnameable Press)
Value in Bookcraft:  SLOW DANCING THROUGH TIME edited by Gardner
  Dozois (Ursus/Ziesing)
Short Work:  ENTROPY'S BED AT MIDNIGHT by Dan Simmons (Lord John
Reprint:  THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION by J.G. Ballard (Re/Search)
Nonfiction:  ACROSS THE WOUNDED GALAXIES by Larry McCaffrey (Univ. of
  Illinois Press)
Jacket Illustration:  H.R. GIGER'S BIOMECHANICS by H.R. Giger
  (Morpheus Int.)
Interior Illustrations:  H.R. GIGER'S BIOMECHANICS by H.R. Giger
  (Morpheus Int.)

                      MAINSTREAM FICTION REVIEWS

^                              BOY'S LIFE
                        by Robert R. McCammon
       (Pocket Books, August 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-671-74226-4)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

     "No one," Mrs. Neville whispered, "ever grows up...They
     may look grown-up...but it's a disguise. It's just the
     clay of time. Men and women are still children deep in
     their hearts. They still would like to jump and play, but
     that heavy clay won't let them. They'd like to shake off
     every chain the world's put on them, take off their
     watches and neckties and Sunday shoes and return naked to
     the swimming hole, if just for one day. They'd like to
     feel free, and know that there's a momma and daddy at home
     who'll take care of things and love them no matter what.
     Even behind the face of the meanest man in the world is a
     scared little boy trying to wedge himself into a corner
     where he can't be hurt."

If you'd like to recapture the magic of childhood, you couldn't do any
better than Robert McCammon's latest novel, BOY'S LIFE. (Also check
out SUMMER OF NIGHT by Dan Simmons, reviewed in this issue's Frightful
Fiction section.) Up till now, McCammon's stories have been solidly
within the Horror genre, but BOY'S LIFE refuses to be constrained by
any category and wanders the entire depth and breadth of the life of
one 12-year-old boy in 1964 Alabama. Interestingly, McCammon has used
his familiar palette to paint this original and distinctive picture:
within BOY'S LIFE you will find murder, monsters, voodoo, and zombies.
And yet all of this fits easily in the world of childhood--there are
no discordant notes.

Cory Mackenson is accompanying his father as he delivers milk to the
inhabitants of Zephyr, Alabama, when a car jumps across the road in
front of them and falls into the bottomless hole that is Saxon's Lake.
Cory's father swims to save the driver of the car, only to find that
the driver is already dead and is naked, hideously beaten, has a piano
cord around his neck, and is handcuffed to the steering wheel. When
the local sheriff can find no one missing, nor anyone who knows
somebody with a tattoo like the dead man had, the case is dropped. But
it is not forgotten by Cory, who has the only clue to the murderer: a
green feather. Nor is it forgotten by Cory's father, who is being
consumed by bad dreams. As he tells Cory:

     "When I was your age, I wanted to believe I lived in a
     magic town...where nothin' bad could ever happen. I wanted
     to believe everyone was kind, and good, and just. I wanted
     to believe hard work was rewarded, and a man stood on his
     word. I wanted to believe a man was a Christian every day
     of the week, not just Sunday, and that the law was fair
     and the politicians wise and if you walked the straight
     path you found that peace you were searchin' for...There
     never was such a place," my father said. "There never will

During the year covered by BOY'S LIFE there will be comedy and
tragedy, wonderment and pain, all the colors that life comes in. There
are at least half a dozen characters that are simply unforgettable.
The best description of BOY'S LIFE is given by one of the characters
within it: Vernon, a rich man's son and failed writer describes his
one completed novel:

     "It was the flow and the voices, the little day-to-day
     things that make up the memory of living. It meandered
     like the river, and you never knew where you were going
     until you got there, but the journey was sweet and deep
     and left you wishing for more."

Robert McCammon is a master storyteller and BOY'S LIFE is his finest
novel to date. The opportunity to spend 1964 with Cory Mackenson, his
parents, his friends, and the other inhabitants of Zephyr, Alabama, is
not to be missed. Highly recommended.

NOTE:  A recent article in Publishers Weekly states that Robert
McCammon is currently either writing or outlining his next TEN books.
His last novel, MINE, recently won the Bram Stoker Award for Novel
from the Horror Writers of America. Reviewed in RFP #14, MINE is a
terrific suspense thriller about two women who were politically active
in the sixties. One became a yuppie, the other's unbalanced mind leads
her to kidnap the yuppie's newborn baby. Fast paced and exciting.


^                               THE FIRM
                           by John Grisham
                          (Doubleday, 1991)
                       review by Robert Pittman

This is a gripping story of suspense and intrigue written by a
practicing lawyer, John Grisham who is a criminal defense attorney in
Mississippi. He also has political experience having served two terms
in the Mississippi House of Representatives. His professional
background is evident in the quality and style of his writing and
lends authenticity to a tale that demands reader attention and
guarantees reward.

The "Firm" is Bendine, Lambert & Locke, a small, very rich, very
private tax law firm located in Memphis, Tennessee. It infrequently
recruits new lawyers to its staff, but when it does, it goes for the
best. The principal character in the story is Mitchell McDeere who has
been a hard working, dedicated student at Harvard Law School and is
about to graduate third in his class and take a job with a large,
prestigious law firm in Wall Street. Bendine, Lambert & Locke
aggressively recruit Mitch, and on his interview visit to Memphis, he
is immediately taken with the operation of the group and the qualities
of the partners and associates. The firm demands total commitment and
long working hours, but young lawyers are paid well (including a new
BMW as a starting bonus) and the pathway to partnership is short for
those who produce.

Mitch's wife Abby, who has been a loyal supporter throughout his years
in law school, joins in the decision to accept the Memphis job. She
has an uneasy feeling about the generosity of the employment offer and
the implied excessive demands on Mitch's future time, but both feel
that they can cope with most anything for a year or so as Mitch earns
his place among the associates.

His first few months at the firm are uneventful except for the quick
discovery that security at the firm is unusually strict. There is a
large, round the clock security staff of rough, tough characters who
function in a dictatorial and militaristic manner. He also learns that
certain physical areas of the office are closed to most of the staff
for security reasons. His concerns about this are sublimated to his
desire to excel and his struggle to cope with the demands of work
which increase and become more complex daily. Sixteen hour days and
twelve hour weekends are rapidly becoming his normal schedule.

The story accelerates and the intrigue is heightened on a day during
his lunch break when Mitch is approached by a man who identifies
himself as an FBI agent. As they walk along the street together, the
agent tells him that his law firm is not legitimate. It is a front for
money transport and money laundering and is owned and operated by
organized crime figures. Mitch is shocked and unbelieving but the
agent presses his case as he explains that he leads a team that has
been investigating Bendine, Lambert & Locke and that until recently,
two of the senior lawyers were providing him with inside information
necessary for indictments. Regrettably, both were killed in a boating
"accident." The agent needs a new inside source and Mitch is the
chosen one. Mitch's doubtful attitude is erased when the FBI shows him
that his telephone is tapped, his house is bugged, and even his BMW
carries a transmitter linked to the firm's security office. Mitch is
in danger within the firm if he cooperates, and if he does not
cooperate, he is party to a criminal enterprise and will eventually
face felony charges.

With wiser eyes, it does not take long for Mitch to verify that his
firm is deep into evil doings and that the partners are murderous
connivers who amass their great fortune in serving the criminal
organization. His dilemma is that becoming an FBI informant puts his
life and Abby's life at risk and failing to do so puts their future at

Mitch and Abby become a clever team in dealing with the two forces
between which their present and their future is trapped. Youth and
inexperience often take them to the brink of disaster, but they are
fast learners, resourceful, and creative as they do battle with the
firm, satisfy the demands of the FBI and plot for themselves a secure
and safe future.

THE FIRM is good reading! An adventure with innovative and surprising
twists and turns all leading to a comfortable, satisfying ending.


^                             GENUINE LIES
                           by Nora Roberts
     (Bantam Fanfare, September 1991, $4.99, ISBN 0-553-29078-9)
                        review by Janet Peters

Author Nora Roberts, the winner of numerous romance writing awards and
first inductee into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame,
displays her narrative talents once again in GENUINE LIES. It's part
contemporary romance, part Hollywood saga, part mystery.

Eve Benedict is an aging superstar of the silver screen who has been a
major Hollywood player for almost 50 years. Her marriages, feuds, and
affairs have been the highlight of many gossip columns. But now Eve's
decided to reveal all her secrets, push the lies aside and tell the
whole truth to Julia Summers, the writer whom Eve has chosen to
produce her biography. Julia is a single mother who has poured her
heart into motherhood and her career for too many years and has built
a tidy and safe world for herself and her son Brandon. Eve's stepson
Paul threatens Julia's tidy world--he is instantly attracted to Julia,
but is desperately against the projected biography.

There are other people who are against the publication of Eve's
biography, people who have secrets they don't want revealed: friends,
ex-husbands, ex-lovers, current lovers. GENUINE LIES is all about
secrets--sometimes they serve a purpose, sometimes they are a
destructive force. Will Eve tell Julia everything? Will Julia print
everything? Or will some nervous element from Eve's past prevent the
biography from ever reaching a publisher? GENUINE LIES is an exciting
and satisfying story--also great fun.


^                          THUNDER OF EREBUS
                          by Payne Harrison
                       (Crown Publishers, 1991)
                       review by Robert Pittman

Mount Erebus, we learn from this book, is a volcanic mountain located
on Ross Island in the Antarctica. It is close to an exploratory
drilling site at a U.S. base on the Ross Island ice shelf where
scientific teams from Russia and the U.S. are engaged in a joint
venture. In carrying out their mission, they share equally in the
scientific effort and the scientific discovery. While many projects
are under way as part of this joint venture, the principal undertaking
involves drilling through the ice shelf into the lava beds below and
beyond that into the geological history of the Antarctica land mass.

The story takes place a few years in the future. Gorbachev has been
displaced as the leader of Russia but some of his initiatives have
survived. The Russian society is more open and there is more interface
with the international community. Military power, however, has enjoyed
a resurgence and has again become the dominant force in government.
Relations between the two superpowers are cordial, but each is very
cautious about guarding its ability to protect its own interests.

As the summer season in the Antarctica draws to a close, the
scientific team packs up and begins its annual departure, leaving
behind a small guardian force to sustain the base during the long,
inhospitable winter. A final core sample is taken from the drilling
site, divided between the Russians and the Americans and off it goes
for study and analysis at home. That action triggers a conflict
between Russia and the U.S. which is told with a spellbinding
technique and breathtaking suspense that almost precludes putting down
the book until it is finished.

When the core sample is examined, it is found to be composed of the
carnallite mineral which contains a large amount of the rubidium-96
isotope. This isotope, which is rare, has been successfully used by
the U.S. in an experimental strategic missile defense system based on
graser energy. Full application of the graser could yield a capability
that equals the power of atomic weapons without the problem of
fall-out and radio-active contaminants. To the Americans, it would be
the ultimate conventional weapon for controlling and defending the
Persian Gulf area so critical to a world in which oil supplies are so

A successful, ongoing espionage program made the Russians aware of the
graser experiments and they also understand the American need for
additional supplies of rubidium-96. The Russians want access to the
Persian Gulf oil as sources in Russia too are falling short of demand
and they have no counter to the development of graser weaponry as
there is no source of the rubidium-96 isotope in Russian territory.
Thus the stage is set for a reluctant but desperate conflict between
the two superpowers.

The Russian leaders conclude that America will not share access to the
source of rubidium-96 with them, and that they must have the isotope
in order to maintain their relative position in the international
community. Their choice then, is to forcibly take over the Antarctica
base and defend it from an American counterattack for the ten to
twelve weeks which they will need to mine the source and take home
enough mineral to provide them a supply of rubidium-96.

From that point on the reader is locked into an awesome battle which
the author stages in a series of "short clips" that transpose the
reader directly into the action and into the elements creating the
action. We become part of each side in the conflict and feel that we
have a presence with each battle group - from submarines to air crews
to the high-tech troops operating on the ground. It is an exciting way
to tell the story and leaves the reader with a vivid impression of
having been directly involved.

The conflict does not end quickly. It is a true tug of war
demonstrating that both the Russians and the Americans have competent
military leaders and a surprising array of tools to support their
campaigns. They are also subject to mistakes, to faulty information,
and at times are profoundly affected by the forces of nature. It is a
costly conflict for both nations. The price in lives, in resources and
in individual ambitions is great. While the entire world suffers some
penalty from this war, positive lessons do emerge if humanity is alert
enough to find them.

The final signature to this story is written by Mother Nature as Mount
Erebus adds a small hiccup to the grand designs of humankind.


^                             GLITTERBUG
                           by Tony Kenrick
      (Carroll & Graf, October 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-88184-748-8)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Carroll & Graf demonstrate once again why they are one of my favorite
publishers--studying their catalog always gets me books that are not
only great, but that I would never have known about otherwise. (Write
to Carroll & Graf, 260 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001 and see if
they'll send you a catalog too.) GLITTERBUG is one more terrific novel
that I have C&G to thank for, and I bet you'll like it too.
(Apparently various Hollywood types liked it, because it's been bought
by Tri-Star Pictures to be made into a Bruce Willis movie.)

In the opening pages of GLITTERBUG, Jerry Parrish wakes up in a
hospital with total amnesia. He doesn't remember who he is or how he
got there. Jerry learns from the doctor that he was in a serious
automobile accident and required brain surgery. He also finds out that
he was a skip tracer, someone who finds people who have run away from
their debts or other responsibilities. And he was very, very good at
it--he frequently had these unexplainable hunches that almost always
worked out. At least this is what people are telling Jerry; he has no
memory of his job at all.

After his body heals, Jerry returns to his job and discovers that he
is, indeed, very good at finding people. But there are more ominous
notes in his brand new world: Why does a stranger on the street call
him Jack? How did a skip tracer get so competent in hand-to-hand
combat? Why does he prefer chicken when his girlfriend says he prefers
beef? As his reality becomes fluid, Jerry is in for some shocks and
the reader is in for a very exciting trip. There's not much more I can
say about the plot without giving away some of the many, many
surprises. GLITTERBUG is one of those thrilling stories that proceed
at breakneck pace and keep you up all night trying to finish it in one
sitting. If you like thrills and surprises, you really shouldn't miss

^                             CALLING HOME
                          by Michael Cadnum
              (Viking, 1991, $14.95, ISBN 0-670-83566-8)
                        review by Janet Peters

"Impersonating the dead is easy"--so begins this young adult novel by
the author of such disturbing books as NIGHTLIGHT, SLEEPWALKER, and
SAINT PETER'S WOLF (reviewed, respectively, in RFP #12, #16, #18). The
dead referred to is Mead, and the impersonator is his best friend
Peter. Everyone believes that Mead has simply disappeared, run away
for reasons of his own. Only Peter knows that Mead is dead, and that
Peter himself is responsible. Mead's parents are distraught, Peter is
truly worried about the father's poor health, so to relieve their
anxiety, Peter calls them pretending to be Mead, just to tell them not
to worry. Peter is certain that telling the truth would just make
things worse. But now Peter learns what it's like to live with an
adult burden. Cadnum catches the feel of adolescence wonderfully, and
his moving portrayal of Peter's anguish makes CALLING HOME another
disturbing tale by a great new(ish) talent.


^                              DREAM BABY
                         by Bruce McAllister
            (Tor, October 1991, $4.99, ISBN 0-812-51098-4)
                    commentary from the publisher

Mary Damico, a nurse on the front lines in Vietnam, begins to have
dreams--nightmares--about the fatally wounded soldiers she's working
to save, dreams that tell her about the soldiers' past, hopes and
fears. Nightmares are not unusual in combat, but the day after HER
nightmare, the soldier from her dream is brought into her unit. She
sees the terrible wounds. She hears the screams and cries and watches
him die AGAIN.

The CIA in Vietnam is very interested in people like Mary. They
collect stories about soldiers who always seem to know where the
booby-traps are; soldiers who know where the snipers are going to fire
from; nurses who know in advance who is going to die. The CIA wants to
know how these powers work--and they want to use those who have them
to change the course of history.


^                        THE FIRST MAN IN ROME
                        by Colleen McCullough
            (Avon, August 1991, $6.95, ISBN 0-380-71081-1)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

A paperback book 1,076 pages is enough to intimidate almost anyone.
Don't let that happen to you. THE FIRST MAN IN ROME is a lively,
readable account of Rome during the last few decades of being a
republic. A number of the names will be familiar to anyone with a
basic education in western civilization, names like Sulla, Gaius
Julius Caesar, Gaius Marius and the like. But don't get confused by
the Caesar names since this is also a story of the relationships
between the families of the men we learned about in school.

"Rich tapestry" as a description of a novel has come to be a bit
shopworn with overuse, and yet it is an uncannily descriptive phrase
for this book. Colleen McCullough has written a number of other highly
successful books so far including THE THORN BIRDS. This gargantuan
novel will certainly embellish her reputation. I found the book
eminently readable in spite of the length. The characters seem more
human than the Roman legends usually come off in historical novels of
the period. The book seems enormously well researched and the flavor
of government, in all it's venality and sleaze in the day to day
workings with real people comes booming through.

I really enjoyed this book and think you will too. I recommend it
though if your one of those folks who has a hard time putting down a
book to take care of your day-to-day commitments you'd better be sure
you can take a week or so off.

Kenning Quotient (KQ) = 4  (0=rotten, 5=best)


* THE STAND-IN, a psychological thriller by Deborah Moggach (Little,
Brown) about the tangled lives and destinies of a movie star and her
stand-in, has been purchased for a theatrical production. The two lead
roles will both be played by Anjelica Huston.

                      #   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.

^                         A COUNTRY OF OLD MEN
                  The Last Dave Brandstetter Mystery
                           by Joseph Hansen
            (Viking, May 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-670-83826-8)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Well, here it is--the book that so many fans never wanted to see--the
last Dave Brandstetter mystery. Dave is the insurance investigator
(now retired) whose adventures we've followed over the course of
twelve novels and 21 years. It is also the series of books that taught
many of us what it means to be a homosexual in America. As Joseph
Hansen himself explains,

     "Dave is nearing seventy, and has been sensing his
     flagging energies for some time. The price a writer pays
     for letting a character age naturally is that, as in real
     life, the moment comes when they must say good-bye."

In this last story, Dave is called out of retirement to solve the
mystery presented by a small child with a large bruise on his face. He
says he was kidnapped by a woman named Rachel. Zach had been hiding
around an apartment development at night when, hearing gunshots, he
ran around a corner and found this woman standing over a body holding
a gun. She took him at gunpoint so he couldn't tell anyone what he had
seen, but he finally managed to escape toward morning. Dave learns
that the murdered man was Cricket Shales, a rock guitarist and junkie
who was just released from jail. Rachel was his former girlfriend, and
it was outside her apartment that Cricket died.

The cast of suspects all agree that Rachel, who now can't be found,
would never do such a thing. She's such a gentle person. They are all
fond enough of Rachel to protect her, and they all have good motives
for killing Cricket. And they're ALL telling lies. Dave Brandstetter
must sort through the facts and fallacies and piece together the story
of Rachel and Cricket and little Zach. Along the way the reader is
treated to some of the most elegant spare prose to be found in the
mystery section of the bookstore. I was very taken with a passage
about Dave's reaction to a good friend with AIDS. Dave has driven over
to talk to his long-time friend Ray, who has been living with another
good friend who is now in the final stages of AIDS. Dave hadn't known
until he sees the man carried upstairs to his bedroom. His reaction,
and the ONLY words about the illness at all, are in this paragraph:

     "Dave turned away, went out through the open door, and
     stood on the porch, back turned to the hallway, waiting
     for Ray. He didn't see the trees, the sky, the lawn-mower
     jockey, the passing traffic. Something was wrong with his

Joseph Hansen is still alive and writing, and is now working on a new
series of novels based on his own life and times. To help you complete
your collection and have all 12 Dave Brandstetter mysteries on your
shelf, here's a list of them all:

          Death Claims
          The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of
          The Little Dog Laughed
          Early Graves
          The Boy Who Was Buried This Morning
          A Country of Old Men


^                             DARK CRIMES
             Great Noir Fiction from the '40s to the '90s
                         edited by Ed Gorman
     (Carroll & Graf, September 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-88184-699-6)
                        review by Howard Frye

"Noir" fiction is aptly named, "dark" being appropriate for the tone
of such stories, the perspective, and frequently the setting. Noir
fiction is suffused with a bleak or cynical attitude that suits a
character living in a one-room cockroach-infested apartment in a city
slum, sitting up at 2:30 AM staring at what's left of a bottle of
Scotch. It's also fitting that this category is known by a French
word. Though noir is an American invention that was nurtured in the
1940s in the pulp magazines, and later translated into Hollywood
films, the genre has always been best appreciated by the French. Noir
fiction is basically a subgenre of the crime story, and Ed Gorman has,
in the pages of DARK CRIMES, provided a fascinating overview of noir
past and present.

There are two short novels included here: my favorite is THE RED SCARF
by Gil Brewer, about an average man down on his luck who winds up with
a whole suitcase full of mob money. He thinks he'll be able to keep
both the money and his skin. What do you think? The other novel is
ANATOMY OF A KILLER by Peter Rade, about a hired gun whose careful
life is coming unraveled. Some 19 short stories fill out the rest of
this hefty volume, most of which are superb. I particularly like Evan
Hunter's "On the Sidewalk Bleeding", the title of which refers to a
young member of an urban street gang. And then there's "Souls Burning"
by Bill Pronzini, packing an extraordinary amount of emotion into a
very small package (notice to fans: It's a "Nameless" story). I also
enjoyed Karl Edward Wagner's "But You'll Never Follow Me", with its
last line that lingers. "Dust to Dust" by Marcia Muller is about the
traces that events leave behind them, and is as wonderful as all of
her stories are. And I also liked F. Paul Wilson's "Faces", a
disturbing story about the emotionally wounded.

Then there's an ingenious Amos Walker story by Loren D. Estleman, "The
Crooked Way"; the grisly "Hot Eyes, Cold Eyes" by Lawrence Block"; an
emotionally satisfying story by Edward Bryant called "While She Was
Out"; the haunting story, "The Seventh Grave" by Vann Anson Lister;
the ambiguous "A Handgun for Protection" by John Lutz; "Exit" by
Andrew Vachss, an ugly short-short; a touching story by editor Ed
Gorman, "Deathman"; "The Tunnel of Love", a typically ghoulish treat
from Robert Bloch; William Relling's tiny slice of psychopathology,
"Tony"; the gothic "By the Hair of the Head" by Joe R. Lansdale; a Ms.
Tree story from Max Allan Collins called "Red Light"; the mythic
"Taking the Night Train" by Thomas F. Monteleone; the comically
horrible "Stoner" by William F. Nolan; Robert J. Randisi's
"Night-Walker", a dark piece of comeuppance.

DARK CRIMES is both an introduction/overview of noir fiction, and a
gripping collection of stories by some of the finest writers of the
last 50 years. Just take a look at the authors represented. What a
lineup! DARK CRIMES now has a place of honor on my shelves right
beside my Cornell Woolrich collection.


^                          THE PERFECT MURDER
         Five Great Mystery Writers Create the Perfect Crime
  by Jack Hitt with Lawrence Block, Sarah Caudwell, Tony Hillerman,
                  Peter Lovesey, Donald E. Westlake
          (HarperCollins, 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-06-016340-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

THE PERFECT MURDER is more of a novelty than a novel. It all started
with Jack Hitt who created a character called Tim. It seems that Tim
was a young man with no talents and no prospects, but who managed to
make himself agreeable enough to marry a lady of great wealth. Now his
wife is having another affair, this time with his best friend, and Tim
has had enough (of his wife, that is, not of her money). Tim wants to
murder his wife and frame his best friend for the crime. Since Tim is
still without noticeable talents of any kind, he writes to five of the
best murder-plotters to ask for their guidance. THE PERFECT MURDER was
the result.

The five suggested courses for Tim to take couldn't have been more
varied in particulars or in tone. Donald Westlake's clever strategies
are presented with a cheerful friendliness, while Peter Lovesey's
enthusiastic recommendations are theatrical and comical. Tony
Hillerman reverts to classical methods with a no-nonsense efficiency,
and Sarah Caudwell's proposal is nothing short of a Scottish costume
drama. Finally, Lawrence Block's response is shockingly cynical,
condescending, and grisly. After the replies are all in, Tim writes to
the five a second time, letting each one see the others suggestions,
and asking for professional criticism. The five dutifully turn on each
other with varying amounts of crankiness and glee, and then the party
is over. I'm not sure that any genuine breakthroughs were made in the
academic subject of murder, but a good time was had by all, including
the reader. THE PERFECT MURDER is great fun.


^                          BAYOU CITY SECRETS
                      A Hollis Carpenter Mystery
                          by Deborah Powell
            (Naiad Press, 1991, $8.95, ISBN 0-941483-91-6)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

The first novel by Deborah Powell and the first mystery of what is to
be a series, BAYOU CITY SECRETS reminds me mostly of the stories of
Raymond Chandler. The same hard-boiled detecting, the same political
corruption, the same unprincipled rich people, the same general time
frame, the same wry humor and hard truths. Well, there ARE a few
differences. For one thing, our detective Hollis Carpenter is a
journalist covering crime in 1936 Houston, not a California private
eye. For another thing, Hollis is a woman. For a third thing, Hollis
is a lesbian.

BAYOU CITY SECRETS opens with Hollis being taken off her normal crime
reporting and assigned to cover the centennial celebrations in Dallas
and Houston. A naturally bristly personality not given to compromise,
Hollis quits. As she puts it,

     "It is a physical impossibility for me to write about who
     designed Miss Edwina Snott's dress that she wore last
     Thursday night to the very chic party given by Mrs. Rear
     End in honor of Mr. Peg Leg who is in town visiting his
     fiancee Miss Jug Butt. I cannot do it."

After that, strange events take over her life. The owner of the paper,
the very rich Andrew Delacroix, invites Hollis to dinner to persuade
her to go back to the paper and cover the centennial. Other than
introducing Hollis to Andrew's fantastically beautiful wife Lily, the
evening is a waste of time for everyone. Then Hollis' apartment in
broken into. Then her cop friend Tony is murdered. And someone keeps
following her in a green Chevrolet. After another murder or two, the
police want to know why she keeps showing up around dead bodies. Brand
new dead bodies.

BAYOU CITY SECRETS is lots of exciting hard-boiled fun, with Hollis
never far from a wisecrack or her Schnauzer named Anice. The period
flavor is a delight, as in:

     "He played dumb about the girl until I slipped him a bill
     and he opened his beak and sang like a canary."

One of the great things about a mid-1930s mystery written in 1991
rather than in the mid-1930s is that the reader gets exactly the
details that are most interesting. Like a character who is reading a
brand new book called GONE WITH THE WIND. Or prices: a phone call is 5
cents, a movie is 15 cents, you can bribe a hotel clerk with a dollar,
and I don't even want to discuss the price of gas. A piece of literary
and American history, with a few twists, BAYOU CITY SECRETS is a very
fine mystery. And if you'd like to visit Hollis Carpenter too, be sure
to bring some gingersnaps for Anice.

If your local bookstore can't get BAYOU CITY SECRETS for you, send the
list price plus 15% postage and handling to: The Naiad Press, PO Box
10543, Tallahassee, FL 32302. If you'd like to charge it you can order
by phone: 1-800-533-1973. Be sure to ask for their catalog--Naiad
Press has a lot of other good books.


                            by Kirk Wilson
       (Carroll & Graf, April 1991, $10.95, ISBN 0-88184-703-8)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

In UNSOLVED author Kirk Wilson has taken what he judges to be the top
ten unsolved crimes of the 20th century and written a brief but
comprehensive synopsis of the case and all the major theories
concerning its solution. The lack of editorial bias, and the author's
consistent application of logic to all evidence and testimony, make
UNSOLVED unparalleled as a basic reference for the ten cases he
covers. Those cases are: the JFK assassination, the Jimmy Hoffa
disappearance, the murder of Sir Harry Oakes, Marilyn Monroe's death,
the murder of Serge Rubinstein, the von Bulow case, the T. Cullen
Davis case, the murders of Joan Robinson Hill and John Hill, the
disappearance of Helen Brach, and the Lord Lucan case.

UNSOLVED not only makes a good place for the beginning true crime buff
to begin, it can "clean the palate" of the more experienced reader.
After reading several books in which authors push their own
interpretation of the evidence, UNSOLVED will help you clear the air
and get back to facts and logic. The pros and cons of each theory are
adequately covered, with paradoxes and unanswered questions allowed to
stand as such. If you love chewing over names, dates, fiber samples,
and the other details of crime detection, you'll love UNSOLVED. One
can only hope that a future edition will include a much-needed photo
section, to illustrate the scenes of the various crimes and to give
faces to the cast of characters. At $10.95, this is a True Crime Best
Buy. Highly Recommended.

Kirk Wilson is an investigative journalist, creative writer, film
producer, and former police reporter who has won more than seventy
awards for his work in various media.


                            by Jill McGown
      (St. Martin's, September 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-312-06422-5)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

Mrs. Leonora ("Lennie") Austin was an artist who married for financial
security. Her husband is an up-and-coming politician who married for
respectability. Mrs. Rosemary Beale was an ex-hooker who married her
gangster-husband for both money and respectability. The two women had
so little in common, and yet both were violently murdered on one
particular night. And they were connected by an open phone line. Why
were both women murdered that night? Why were they both found near
their phone, with a still-open line connecting their two houses? Did
they know each other?

Newly-promoted Detective Inspector Judy Hill must solve the Beale
case, and cooperate with her live-in lover, Detective Chief Inspector
Lloyd, on the Austin case. DI Hill's burden is considerable as she
tackles a difficult case while still getting accustomed to her new
seniority, bucking the male chauvinists in the department, and
fighting her own tendencies toward obsessiveness. To make matters
worse, she knew Lennie herself, and had received a suspicious phone
call from Lennie's husband the night of the murders. Also, intimations
that Judy's career is still on the upswing cause a few frictions with
Lloyd, who finds that, while the prospect of a partner who is an equal
is perfectly acceptable, the possibility of a partner who is a
superior is troubling.

Slightly confusing in the early pages before the characters sort
themselves out, THE MURDERS OF MRS. AUSTIN & MRS. BEALE is a complex
and fascinating case that carries the reader right through to the very
end, with plenty of surprises and clever twists. I particularly liked
the way a suspect is finally caught in a lie with a trick right out of
DIAL "M" FOR MURDER. Interesting characters, fascinating puzzles--THE
MURDERS OF MRS. AUSTIN & MRS. BEALE is a great read. Jill McGown is
also the author of A PERFECT MATCH (1983), AN EVIL HOUR (1987), THE
DEATH (1989), and MURDER MOVIE (1990). All are from St. Martin's

^                 HONEST MONEY: And Other Short Novels
                       by Erle Stanley Gardner
       (Carroll & Graf, July 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-88184-683-X)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

We have a lot to thank Carroll & Graf for, not the least of which is
collecting early Erle Stanley Gardner stories and getting them back
into print. Once Gardner had created his most famous character, Perry
Mason, his earlier works became overshadowed and were soon forgotten.
But Gardner could tell a pretty fair mystery with lots of action even
before the appearance of Mason, Street, and Drake, and the Carroll &
Graf collections prove it.

Back in the 1930s, BLACK MASK magazine published six short novels by
Gardner about a contentious young lawyer named Ken Corning. The were:
HONEST MONEY (November 1932), THE TOP COMES OFF (December 1932), CLOSE
CALL (January 1933), MAKING THE BREAKS (June 1933), DEVIL'S FIRE (July
1933), and BLACKMAIL WITH LEAD (August 1933). Shortly after that, Ken
Corning evolved into Perry Mason and was never seen again. Now, for
the first time, all six Ken Corning mysteries are available in book
form, in Carroll & Graf's HONEST MONEY. An absolute must for any Erle
Stanley Gardner fan's library.

NOTE:  Another early Gardner character from BLACK MASK was Ed Jenkins,
featured in stories collected in Carroll & Graf's DEAD MEN'S LETTERS


^                         SLEEP OF THE UNJUST
                           by E.X. Ferrars
         (Doubleday, August 1991, $16.00, ISBN 0-385-41707-1)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

Virginia Freer arrives at the Appleyard home expecting to attend the
wedding of her friend's niece, but instead she finds shocks and
puzzles. The first shock is meeting her long-estranged husband Felix,
who was invited without her knowledge. The second shock is the
unexpected arrival of Andrew Appleyard, the Appleyard's movie actor
son who hasn't been home in years. And the third shock is Andrew's
body, an apparent suicide, discovered the morning after his arrival.
The only trouble with the suicide theory is that there are three
suicide notes! The police finally solve the murder of Andrew
Appleyard, with just a little bit of help from Virginia and Felix.

SLEEP OF THE UNJUST is a readable and pleasant example of the Cozy
mystery, but it is certainly a minor example of E.X. Ferrars' talents.
The pace drags a bit in the middle as each character strains to come
up with a still more implausible explanation of Andrew's suicide and
the three notes. When the truth of the matter is finally uncovered,
it's only marginally more believable than the crazy theories. E.X.
Ferrars is the author of more than 60 works of mystery and suspense.
The British Crime Writers Association recently presented her with a
special award for continuing excellence in the mystery field. She
lives in England.

^                         DEATH IN FIVE BOXES
                          by Carter Dickson
   (International Polygonics, June 1991, $5.95, ISBN 1-55882-098-1)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

       "I don't see it," returned Sanders. "On the contrary,
     that would make the whole crime absolutely impossible. One
     of them would have had to drug the cocktails--which is
     impossible. One of them would have had to get in and out
     of the building without being seen--which is impossible."
       "Uh-huh. I know. But," said H.M. gently, "I've had to
     deal with these impossible things before."

He certainly has: H.M., also known as Sir Henry Merrivale, also known
as The Old Man, solved more impossible crimes during the 1930s and
1940s than almost anyone except Dr. Gideon Fell. And, of course, both
Dr. Fell's stories and those of H.M. were written by the same man:
John Dickson Carr, one of the most prolific, and best loved, of the
mystery writers from the Golden Age. Because his publishers were
worried about the number of books being published under his own name,
they insisted that the Merrivale mysteries be by "Carter Dickson", a
thin disguise that never fooled anyone. Carr was an American by birth,
but lived much of his life in England, and set most of his mysteries
there. (The tradition of Americans writing British mysteries is
carried on most ably today by Martha Grimes.)

Sir Henry Merrivale is bald, overweight, pigeon-toed, smokes cigars,
is loud and rather vulgar, and embarrasses his friends. Several
reviewers mentioned early on that he resembled Winston Churchill,
which apparently appealed to Carr because the Churchill-like traits
expanded in later books. Merrivale was the favorite fictional sleuth
of mystery expert Howard Haycraft (author of MURDER FOR PLEASURE) and
was Carr's favorite from among his own characters.

In DEATH IN FIVE BOXES, four people sit down at a dining room table:
Sir Dennis Blystone, Mrs. Bonita Sinclair, Bernard Schumann, and Felix
Haye. A surgeon and peer, an art expert, a dealer in Egyptian
antiquities, and an investment broker. When found, Blystone, Sinclair,
and Schumann are unconcious, the victims of atropine poisoning. They
are taken to a hospital and all recover. Haye is dead, but not of
atropine. He's been stabbed. To make matters more complicated, the
three atropine victims have items with them that were apparently
stolen from someplace else AFTER they were drugged. So the problem is:
Who? Or, possibly even more important in an Impossible Crime story
such as this: How? How did someone put atropine in the cocktails that
were under constant scrutiny? How did someone slip in and out of the
building that was locked in the back and had a witness at the front?
You'll just have to follow The Old Man as he solves the puzzles.
Another classic mystery brought back into print by International
Polygonics Ltd.


The Plague Court Murders (1934) $5.95
The White Priory Murders (1934) $5.95
The Red Widow Murders (1935) $4.95
The Unicorn Murders (1935) $5.95
The Punch and Judy Murders (1936; British title: The Magic Lantern
  Murders) $4.95
The Peacock Feather Murders (1937; British title: The Ten Teacups)
The Judas Window (1938) $5.95
Death in Five Boxes (1938) $5.95
The Reader Is Warned (1939) $5.95
Nine--And Death Makes Ten (1940; British title: Murder in the
  Submarine Zone) $5.95
And So to Murder (1940)
Seeing Is Believing (1941)
The Gilded Man (1942) $4.95
She Died a Lady (1943)
He Wouldn't Kill Patience (1944) $5.95
The Curse of the Bronze Lamp (1945; British title: Lord of the
My Late Wives (1946)
The Skeleton in the Clock (1948)
A Graveyard to Let (1949)
Night at the Mocking Widow (1950)
Behind the Crimson Blind (1952)
The Cavalier's Cup (1953)

NOTE: The prices are for the IPL editions, available by sending the
stated price plus $1 postage and handling for the first book and $.50
for each book thereafter to: International Polygonics, Ltd., Madison
Square, PO Box 1563, New York, NY 10159-1563. Ask for their catalog as
well; IPL has other mysteries by John Dickson Carr and a lot of other
great mystery writers (like Margaret Millar, Craig Rice, Ellery Queen,
Anthony Boucher, etc.).


^                           ACT OF DARKNESS
                  A Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mystery
                            by Jane Haddam
      (Bantam Crime Line, July 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-553-29086-X)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

It's the Fourth of July and the cast is gathering:  Senator Stephen
Fox, a not-very-bright puppet politician; Dan Chester, Stephen's
political manager and general puppeteer; Dr. Kevin Debrett, school
chum of Stephen's and Dan's, a man who can't stand blood but who
enjoys money; Janet, the senator's cooperative but aloof wife; Patchen
Rawls, the senator's latest girlfriend; Victoria Harte, Janet's famous
movie star mother; Clare Markey, the lobbyist; Gregor Demarkian,
former FBI agent who has been invited to investigate the senator's
mysterious "spells"; Bennis Hannaford, Gregor's friend; and Carl
Bettinger, an FBI agent who shouldn't be hanging around but is.

You see, they've all gathered at Victoria Harte's mansion on Long
Island for a political seminar and the July 4th holiday. Senator Fox
has recently begun to have these spells where he suddenly becomes
paralyzed and falls to the ground, recovering a few minutes later. The
doctors find nothing wrong, and all the suspects are always on the
scene whenever one of these spells occurs. What most of the suspects
have in common is children with Down's syndrome. The Senator has
recently introduced a bill in Congress on their behalf; Dr. Debrett
specializes in retarded children; Clare Markey lobbies for a group
that aids retarded children; and Janet Fox gave birth to a child with
Down's syndrome 10 years ago, a child who died several days later.
Gregor Demarkian not only must discover what is causing Senator Fox's
spells, but soon he must solve the murder of Dr. Debrett, who is found
peacefully in his room with no apparent cause of death. There will be
another murder before the case is solved, and Gregor will have to work
fast before more deaths occur.

This is one of a series of Holiday Mysteries by Orania Papazoglou
writing under the pseudonym Jane Haddam, but it's the first I have
read. Like the Patience McKenna mysteries she writes under her own
name, this Gregor Demarkian novel is filled with carefully drawn
characters. Even minor characters are incompletely-revealed
three-dimensional people, not cardboard cutout "types". The front of
ACT OF DARKNESS reveals two previous Holiday Mysteries: NOT A CREATURE
WAS STIRRING (obviously a Christmas story), and PRECIOUS BLOOD
(possibly an Easter story?). At the end there is even a preview of the
next Holiday Mystery, a Halloween story called QUOTH THE RAVEN, which
sounds great. It even has raven called Lenore.


^                             BLACK LIGHT
                           by Daniel Hearn
            (Dell, August 1991, $3.99, ISBN 0-440-20787-8)
                        review by Howard Frye

       There was another letter. It was postmarked Los Angeles,
     California. Inside were a simple piece of typing paper and
     ten one-hundred-dollar bills.
       The message typed on the paper read:

     NOVEMBER 20, 1970



       Typed at the bottom of the page where the signature
     would ordinarily be were the words "KEVIN MOON".
       Now I had two clients and they were both dead men.

BLACK LIGHT is the second mystery novel featuring New York private eye
Joe Noonan, who is a combination of Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade,
Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Bill Pronzini's Nameless
detective. Joe has an unshakeable code of ethics, a weakness for
booze, and a one-eyed cat named Lord Nelson. This time out, Joe gets a
stroll down memory lane when he is hired by old acquaintance Evan
Mattingly to find Lenny Byrd. Evan and Lenny were college-student
members of a commune (called Animal Farm) back in the revolutionary
sixties, along with various others like Alex Cutler, Ed Henits, Kevin
Moon, and Carol Murdoch. Joe wasn't a member of the commune of course,
but he was infatuated with Carol, who had an on-again, off-again
relationship with leader of the pack Alex Cutler.

Now Evan wants to locate Lenny Byrd, but Evan is killed almost
immediately. Was it gay bashers, or possibly someone Evan was
investigating for the consumer rights organization he worked for, or
does it have something to do with why he wanted to find Lenny? Noonan
must find Lenny and answer these questions, for he has accepted Evan's
money and alive or dead Evan deserves his money's worth. Soon Joe is
digging up the past and finds that Alex and Ed were drug dealers,
Kevin Moon mysteriously died when the commune's house burned to the
ground, and electronic genius Lenny Byrd is now an alcoholic cabbie.
Noonan also gets to see Carol again, now a wealthy woman in Los
Angeles working in the film industry. Why did Evan want Lenny found?
Why was Evan killed? Is Kevin Moon really dead? BLACK LIGHT is a
winner from the beginning to its slam-bang ending. Not to be missed.
(The first Joe Noonan novel was BAD AUGUST.)


^                    AND SOON I'LL COME TO KILL YOU
                            by Susan Kelly
               (Villard, 1991, $18, ISBN 0-394-58415-5)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

Liz Connors used to teach college English, but now she supports
herself by writing true-crime articles and the occasional short story.
Her true-crime pieces are often disturbing to readers and infuriating
to their subjects, so she gets a crank letter every once in a while
and calls it part of the job. But when she begins to get a series of
nasty messages, she takes them to her boyfriend Jack, who happens to
be a policeman. When the letters get specifically threatening, she
moves into Jack's place, but the letters follow her. Apparently her
enemy is watching her every move. Despite her determination to live a
normal life, Liz soon finds herself carrying a gun and making lists of
potential enemies.

AND SOON I'LL COME TO KILL YOU is an excellent suspense story that
carries the reader along at breakneck pace from the first message
("You vicious bitch") to the last page. Several scenes are powerful
enough to have you holding your breath--Susan Kelly is definitely a
writer to keep your eye on. Why, though, did I get the impression that
the story had been "sanitized"? Bad guys just didn't seem all that
bad, and Liz's traumas didn't seem that upsetting (making the taut
suspense of virtually every page all the more impressive). With or
without the visceral edge, AND SOON I'LL COME TO KILL YOU is an
exciting story of suspense; another fine novel from the author of THE

^                             SENATOR LOVE
                 A Fiona Fitzgerald Novel of Suspense
                           by Warren Adler
     (Donald I. Fine, September 1991, $18.95, ISBN 1-55611-244-0)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

The title politician is the seductively attractive Senator Sam
Langford, a presidential hopeful with a lovely (rich) wife, the usual
two wonderful children, and a afternoon hobby that's been going on for
years. His current girlfriend is the wife of the Austrian ambassador,
who shows up at all the Washington social events, as does Senator
Langford and his wife, as does the Senator's ex-wife. It's lucky that
Senator Langford is charming enough to juggle his women, past and
present, and make all of them happy.

Fiona Fitzgerald, a senator's daughter and now a homicide detective,
also attends many Washington social events, and she is amused by the
Senator's shenanigans and briefly falls under his spell at a party.
The next day she is at the scene as "old bones" are found in a
residential backyard. It's a perfectly preserved skeleton, apparently
buried nude, but with a slave bracelet inscribed "MY BET". Fiona and
her partner Cates soon discover that the bones belonged to Betty
Taylor, a beautiful young woman who worked in Washington and
disappeared a dozen years ago. When the Austrian Ambassador's wife
turns up missing, and then dead, similarly buried in the backyard of
an untenanted house, the connection is unmistakable. When the
Senator's "fire control" man confirms that a previous girlfriend was
named Betty Taylor, Fiona is off and running. Who is killing the
Senator's girlfriends? Have there been others?

Warren Adler keeps the reader guessing and turning the pages until the
very end, with a few last twists just to keep the reader alert. I
enjoyed this book even more than the last Fiona Fitzgerald mystery,
IMMACULATE DECEPTION (reviewed in RFP #16). A very good mystery.


                         by Kyril Bonfiglioli
  (International Polygonics, August 1991, $7.95, ISBN 1-55882-090-6)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

How can I possibly give you an idea of what this book is like? When I
began reading it I thought What Ho! This is written very much in the
style of P.G. Wodehouse, right down to the characters. The story is
told by a hard-drinking upper crust British gentleman with a bizarre
manservant. After reading a while longer I noticed that an odd note of
Thomas Harris had crept in. While the plot of SOMETHING NASTY IN THE
WOODSHED isn't as horrifying as SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, the mystery does
revolve around a series of violent rapes. This unusual dichotomy
continues throughout the story, with an occasional Monty Python
interlude to keep things jolly. As I read the last page, however, the
whole bubbling stew turned into something more along the lines of
Albert Camus. The author himself described the book:

     "A tragedy told by a compulsive comedian. Both the bad and
     the good end unhappily; that is the meaning of life."

SOMETHING NASTY IN THE WOODSHED is enormously funny, but it is also
shocking, perplexing, and sad. If you're tired of the same old thing,
this is what you need.

NOTE: SOMETHING NASTY IN THE WOODSHED is actually the second book
starring the Hon. Charlie Mortdecai. The first was called DON'T POINT
THAT THING AT ME and it won the first John Creasy Memorial Award. Both
are available from IPL for $7.95 each. Send the list price plus
shipping and handling ($1.00 for the first book, $.50 for each
additional book) to: International Polygonics Ltd., Madison Square, PO
Box 1563, New York, NY 10159-1563.


^                             STATE STREET
                        by Richard Whittingham
     (Donald I. Fine, September 1991, $18.95, ISBN 1-55611-250-5)
                     commentary by the publisher

The old song goes, "On State Street / That great street / I just want
to say / They do things / They don't do / On Broadway", and Richard
Whittingham captures the spirit of the song and the Windy City in
STATE STREET, his authentic and thrilling foray into crime fiction.

It's been over a year since Chicago detective Joe Morrison was
transferred from Homicide to Organized Crime, but the images of the
murder victims he has seen still wake him up in a sweat in the middle
of the night. Now he spends most of his time in the State Street
police headquarters acting as a liaison with other police departments,
the Illinois Crime Commission, the FBI and his partner Norbert Castor,
who knows more about the Mafia than "anybody below the level of
consigliore in the Outfit itself". But Morrison is pulled back into
the most violent sphere of Chicago's underworld after a mob capo's
daughter is raped.

Morrison and Castor begin their investigation of the rape--even though
the Mafia boss has his own idea of justice--but Morrison finds himself
sidetracked when an old family friend, Theo Warner, is murdered. As
Morrison works with his old homicide colleagues to solve the Warner
case, some colorfully raffish suspects emerge, including commodities
trader Dennis Courtland, "major street animal" Tommy Bates and his
girlfriend Jo Kane. When Norbert Castor is shot, Morrison is left to
his own street-smart devices, in the honored tradition of Hammett's
Sam Spade and McBain's Steve Carella, to make sure justice is served.

STATE STREET captures the same excitement and flavor of the Chicago
streets that Richard Whittingham chronicled in his nonfiction work,
first novel.

^                              LIE TO ME
                           by David Martin
     (Pocket Star Books, August 1991, $5.95, ISBN 0-671-73876-3)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

Mary and Jonathan Gaetan are fabulously wealthy and own a mansion in a
plush Washington D.C. suburb. They are very happily married and
looking forward to going to a party this fateful night. While they are
gone, an intruder breaks in, a serial killer who has been watching
Mary and Jonathan's house. The killer carries with him the hand of his
last victim, a fifteen year old hitchhiker, and has chosen the
Gaetan's for his next victims. In a night of terror, he threatens
them, tortures them, and then goes on to reveal secrets about them no
stranger could ever know or possibly guess.

The next day, Jonathan Gaetan is found dead in his bathtub, brutally
mutilated with a Bowie knife. His penis is severed, hanging by a
thread. When the police arrive, Mary Gaetan tells them nothing about
the vicious killer. Instead, she claims that Jonathan committed
suicide. With the bathroom door locked from the inside the police have
no recourse but to believe her.

Just to be sure, though, investigator Teddy Camel, the human lie
detector, is asked to interrogate the widow. Teddy is within two years
of retirement and relegated to a desk job. His major accomplishment
each day is managing to stay awake at his desk, not too successfully I
might add. After interrogating the widow, Teddy claims she is telling
the truth. Is she? If not, why is Teddy hiding the awful truth? How
many victims will our serial killer claim before he is finally

Now here is a book that will make you sleep with one eye open! I
especially like two opening passages in the book:

     "He sits in the woods holding her hand."

     "Squeezing the girl's hand and speaking softly......"

We come to find out that all the killer IS holding is the girl's hand,
not the rest of her. This is pretty much the way the entire book goes.
The killer carries around this hand, plus items from other victims, in
his deranged, psychotic killing spree. I enjoyed LIE TO ME very much
and found it well paced and difficult to put down. The intermingling
of the stories of the psychotic killer, Mary Gaetan, and the off-beat
cop Teddy Camel was very well done. The novel has an "Ellery Queen"
type of ending and even a twist that you won't be prepared for. I
highly recommend LIE TO ME and look forward to reading other novels by
the same author, David Martin.


* THE COFFEY FILES by Joe Coffey and Jerry Schmetterer is a nonfiction
book coming from St. Martin's Press. It's the story of Joe Coffey who
saw his father almost killed by the Mafia and grew up to join the New
York Police Department and head a unit specializing in Mafia murders.
The book has been optioned by New World Television who is planning to
turn it into a movie-of-the-week that will, they hope, turn into a
long-running TV series. Best bet to play Coffey, as I type this, is
Ken Wahl, best known from the TV series WISEGUY.

* Be sure to get the latest catalog from Mystery Loves Company, a
mail-order mystery bookstore run by Sue Feder, Kathy Harig, and Paige
Rose. Write to them at: Mystery Loves Company, 1730 Fleet Street,
Baltimore, MD 21231; 301/276-6708.

* Delilah's back in SET-UP, a mystery by Maxine O'Callaghan coming
from St. Martin's in November 1991 ($17.95, ISBN 0-312-06462-4).
Delilah's luck has changed. She even has all those nice C-things: car
phone, condo, computer. But, as usual, she's up to her ears in
trouble--this time of the explosive kind--when she finds herself in
the crossfire between Orange County land developers and

                 <                                 >
                 <   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 absolutely top


#Interesting Times AGAIN!

No one who lived through the 50's or 60's would have foreseen the
world events in Eastern Europe as they have swirled around us in the
past year. In fact, I would bet that any such musings would have been
dismissed as mere wishful thinking. Whatever the ultimate outcome it
undoubtedly will be more different than any of us can imagine.

What brings these ramblings on was a short newspaper article that
mentioned that a Soviet (is that the right description?) Mars Buggy
will be tested in California this year after undergoing some
"preliminary" tests in one of the Russian Republics. That started me
to thinking about the impressive level of technology - albeit a brute
force technology - that They have accomplished. More importantly, what
is going to happen to that technology.

Given the social difficulties they are facing for the next decade or
so, and given the propensity for politicians to prefer to do the
expedient, I have a real concern that the space related technology
will disappear and be lost to us all. On the plus side of course is
that newspaper article that seems to imply that the much wished for
cooperative ventures may be more of a reality than most of us had
dared hope.

The other concern that I have is that the level of spending for space
related technology in the U.S. may continue to slide without the
political bogeyman to justify the expenditures. The really sad part of
all this is that the Space Program is about the only thing (besides
Defense) that the Federal Government has undertaken that has given us
much return on the investment. It does almost make you cry to think of
the billions of dollars spent on social programs, later abandoned as
wasted, that might have us living and working in space right now.

I'm afraid that I have no quick answer, no magic wand to wave and fix
all this. You know that about the only thing we can do as individuals
is to let our federal officials, especially in Congress, know that we
want a say in how our money is spent. But it is important to let them
know that, and it is important to ask about ways we can work with the
Soviet Government, whatever that may end up looking like, to preserve
our technological heritage for the benefit of all mankind.



                      For Best SF Novel of 1990

Winner:  PACIFIC EDGE by Kim Stanley Robinson

Runners-up:  QUEEN OF ANGELS by Greg Bear (2nd place)
             ONLY BEGOTTEN DAUGHTER by James Morrow (3rd place)

                      For Best Short SF of 1990

Winner:  "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson

Runners-up:  "Episodes of the Argo" by R.A. Lafferty
             "My Advice to the Civilized" by John Barnes
                    (both tied for 2nd place)


~                            OWLSWICK PRESS
                         by Cindy Bartorillo

Owlswick Press publishes beautifully bound volumes of SF and fantasy
for very reasonable prices. You can get their catalog by writing to:
Owlswick Press, PO Box 8243, Philadelphia, PA 19101-8243. Here are a
few of their titles. (The prices include postage and handling, so you
can just send the listed price, plus 6% sales tax if you're in PA, to
Owlswick Press to get any of the following books.)

^                               ANITA
                           by Keith Roberts
             (November 1990, $20.25, ISBN 0-913896-27-6)

This is a reprint of a classic 1970 collection of stories originally
FICTION. They are all centered on a teenage girl named Anita Thompson,
very similar to teenage girls everywhere, except that she is a witch.
A real one. She lives with her grandmother, who is a witch of the old
school--broomstick, bubbling cauldron and all. With one foot in the
mists of antiquity and one foot in the modern world of boys and fast
sports cars, Anita is a perfect point-of-view character for Roberts'
serious comments about life, morality, and dreams. In addition to the
stories from the original collection, ANITA contains a new
introduction by the Roberts and one additional story ("The Checkout").
With a full-color dust jacket and interior illustrations by Stephen
Fabian, ANITA is a lovely book, both to look at and to read.

                          by Avram Davidson
              (January 1991, $24.50, ISBN 0-913896-28-4)

A collection of all 13 Enquiries of the celebrated sage of the Triune
Monarchy (Scythia-Pannonia-Transbalkania, bordering on Graustark and
Ruritania), including several long stories never before in book form.
In his foreword, Gene Wolfe writes: "The few writers whom we read with
continued pleasure become our friends, although we may never encounter
them outside their own pages...Avram Davidson is the author we should
all read." THE ADVENTURES OF DOCTOR ESZTERHAZY has a full-color dust
jacket by George Barr and interior drawings by Todd Cameron Hamilton,
and is also available in a signed, limited, boxed edition for $50
(ISBN 0-913896-30-6). Avram Davidson is the author of THE PHOENIX AND
many other classics of erudite, witty fantasy such as this.

^                       THE INFINITE KINGDOMS
                        by Michael Rutherford
             (December 1990, $12.00, ISBN 0-913896-32-2)

Three journeys through the Infinite Kingdoms by Michael Rutherford, a
new talent to watch in the fantasy field. The first is "The Tale and
Its Master", in which the fatally proud Remus, who thought himself
master and not servant of the enchantments of Storytelling, seeks and
finds a new and shining tale (told here in full). He wins it from a
witch--at a price. The second is "Wager of Dreams" wherein the world
loses belief in anything that cannot be touched or tasted. So potent
is the smog of materialism that the creatures of Dream inevitably must
lapse into nonbeing--unless Trundle, the last of the Dreamers, will
take on himself the burden of a quest. Lastly, "Knights of Darkness,
Knights of Light", which begins with the chance encounter between the
freebooter Ragnack and Apollyon, a demon disguised as human, sent by
the Soul Eaters on a desperate quest for untainted souls. Thus the
stage is set for an epic conflict of two worlds. With a full-color
cover and interior illustrations by Janet Aulisio. (THE INFINITE
KINGDOMS is also available in hardcover for $24.)


^                          THE DRAGON REBORN
                   Book Three of THE WHEEL OF TIME
                           by Robert Jordan
       (Tor Fantasy, November 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-312-85254-1)
                    commentary from the publisher

Robert Jordan has taken the mythologies of four continents, from
Celtic and Norse to Hindu, from African to Amerindian, and woven
together the common and uncommon elements to create something
completely original--something new that we can almost believe is the
source of those ancient legends.

THE EYE OF THE WORLD ("the best of its genre"--THE OTTAWA CITIZEN; "a
combination of Robin Hood and Stephen King that is hard to resist--
MILWAUKEE SENTINEL) and THE GREAT HUNT ("leaves the reader hovering
between the desire to know the outcome now and the promise of much
more good reading ahead"--NEWS AND COURIER, Charleston, South
Carolina), are Books One and Two of THE WHEEL OF TIME series.

Book Three, THE DRAGON REBORN, tells of the long-prophesied leader who
will save the world, but in saving it will destroy it. Rand al'Thor is
on the run from his destiny--able to touch the One Power but unable to
control it, he only knows that he must face the Dark One.

Winter has slowed the war, yet men are dying, calling out for the
Dragon. But where is he? Perrin Aybara is in pursuit with Moiraine
Sedai, her Warder Lan, and Loial the Ogier. Bedeviled by dreams,
Perrin is grappling with a deadly problem that threatens his own

Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve are approaching Tar Valon, where Mat will
be healed, if he lives until they arrive. They cannot know that worse
things await in the White Tower.

Ahead, for all of them, in the Heart of the Stone, lies the next great
test of the Dragon Reborn.


^                          ECCE AND OLD EARTH
                  Book Two of the Cadwal Chronicles
                            by Jack Vance
          (Tor, September 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-312-85132-4)
                    commentary from the publisher

Environmental conservation calls for political action. In Jack Vance's
ECCE AND OLD EARTH, set 1,000 years in humanity's future, these
politics mean life or death--both for the planet Cadwal and for the
young couple fighting the opposition to save the Conservancy.

World Fantasy Award-winning author Vance returns to the planet Cadwal
for the second novel in his intriguing hard science fiction trilogy,
which began with ARAMINTA STATION (Tor, 1988). Cadwal, a world of
extraordinary beauty with an abundance of strange and unique species,
has been protected from human exploitation by the Conservancy
established by the Cadwal Charter 1,000 years earlier. Now, opposition
groups are calling for the abolition of the Charter. They want to open
lands on the unsettled continents for settlement, allegedly for the
underclass known as the Yips. Leaders of the opposition (the Life,
Peace, and Freedom Party, or LPFers) come from the aristocratic
families, whose power dates back to the founding colony at Araminta
Station. Ulterior motives lurk behind the apparent altruism of these
powerful LPFers--specifically lust for huge estates and wealth, at the
expense of the Yips.

Vance, one of science fiction's great stylists, has won many Hugo and
Nebula awards, and his 1989 novel, MADOUC, won the World Fantasy
Award. LOCUS said ECCE AND OLD EARTH "is Jack Vance in SF adventure
mode, redolent of the '50s and perfumed with the even more exotic
essences of adventure fiction (and travel literature) predating the
pulps." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said "Vance's rich lyrical style makes this
follow-up to ARAMINTA STATION a pleasure to read...provocative and

^                             STREET MAGIC
                          by Michael Reaves
             (Tor, July 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-312-85125-1)
                    commentary from the publisher

     "I'm not crazy, am I? There IS real magic in the world,
     isn't there?"

So says Liz Gallegher, a hardboiled editor of the tabloid STAR, at the
climax of Michael Reaves' STREET MAGIC, voicing the universal feelings
of all the characters in Reaves' engaging glimpse of Faerieland.

Michael Reaves brings Faerie--usually found only under the hills of
Ireland--to life in contemporary San Francisco. Danny, a runaway from
an abusive, control-crazy father, now lives among the street people of
the city. Squatting in an abandoned hotel with drug addicts, Danny
scams nickels and dimes on the street for a living, while dreaming of
escaping to his fantastical Middle Earth, populated with trolls and
wizards, as well as Robin Hood, Flash Gordon, and Godzilla. You see,
Danny half-believes he carries magic deep within himself.

Danny's dreams seem to have a chance to become real when a troupe of
Scatterlings recognizes him as a changeling and takes him in. The
Scatterlings are themselves runaways from Faerie, and want to go home,
but they need a Keymaster, one who can open the GALLITRAP into
Faerieland. Danny will become that Keymaster, if only he can tap into
his latent magic abilities.

However, Danny's pathological father wants him back. He hires Scott
Russell, a down-on-his-luck unemployed private detective. Finding a
runaway on the streets of San Francisco seems a hopeless task, but
with the help of editor Liz, they follow leads through comic book
shops and science fiction bookstores.

Reaves builds his story around his well-defined characters, with the
chase to claim Danny revealed to the reader through their experiences.
Exposure to so much magic affects the lives of all involved--some
gain, some lose in the end.


^                              THE JUNGLE
                            by David Drake
          (Tor, September 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-312-85197-9)
                    commentary from the publisher

     "The terraformers' centuries-long work continued. Later
     cylinders spewed the seeds and eggs of multicelled
     lifeforms onto the newly receptive planet. Trees of myriad
     species; vines, grasses and epiphytes, ALL the diversity
     of Earth, plus multiple mutations for every original
     species. Through the burgeoning jungles stalked
     beasts--insects, arachnids, crustaceans...Human-engineered
     changes to gene plasm had coupled eagerly with the virgin
     environment and the high level of ionizing radiation
     penetrating the clouds of water vapor. The result was a
     hell of aggressive mutations like nothing ever seen on

Welcome to Venus, as depicted in David Drake's THE JUNGLE, where
humans have been able to survive UNDER the planet's oceans in vast
"Keeps", each one ruled by a Council of Twelve. Now, rival Keeps are
competing for resources and fishing grounds, and the next step may be
to explore the planet's vast, impenetrable jungle populated by
monstrous aliens and deadlier plants, turf where no one has survived
before. Officer-Trainee Henry Wilding wants to direct human energy to
taming and utilizing this land surface, but the choice is made for him
as war begins between the Wyoming Keep (Wilding's family is one of the
Twelve Families directing affairs) and the Asturias Keep.

Wilding and the hovercraft team of mercenaries commanded by Ensign
Brainard endure a virtual trial by fire when they are driven ashore
and forced to enter that ominous environment. In THE JUNGLE Drake
reprises the universe first created by Henry Kuttner in the classic
CLASH BY NIGHT, which describes life on Venus after Earth has been

While the inhabitants of the Keeps continue to party, Wilding,
Brainard and the crew encounter three-inch man-attacking ants,
meat-eating fish, super-strong eels, infections, hunger, grievous
damage to their craft--a vast array of plot-moving, page-turning

^                          THE PHOENIX GUARDS
                           by Steven Brust
      (Tor Fantasy, September 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-312-85157-X)
                    commentary from the publisher

Alexandre Dumas gave us THE THREE MUSKETEERS in 1846, an action-filled
tale of the dashing D'Artagnan and his trio of heroes. Steven Brust
takes off exponentially on the classic Dumas pere adventure. We still
have a D'Artagnan-type leader, Khaavren, and three intrepid comrades
who rely on swordplay, sorcery, skill, wits and blind luck to see them
through a series of adventures, secret plots, and fabulous intrigues.
But Brust is not rooted in the history and imagination of the 19th
century. In THE PHOENIX GUARDS, the author transports his readers far
into the future, into an ambiance never dreamed of by Dumas.

Brust returns to the Dragaera Empire, the world he created for Vlad
Taltos, the hero of his ongoing series, but the time frame is 1,000
years BEFORE Vlad's birth. In THE PHOENIX GUARDS, Khaavren is a young,
somewhat naive swordsman who decides to join the Imperial Guards, and
on his way to meet the Phoenix Emperor, encounters three other
blade-flashing, smooth-mannered aspirants...and the games begin.

Steven Zoltan Brust, whose ancestry is Hungarian, was born in 1955. He
describes himself as the father of ten novels and four children, not
necessarily in that order. He is also one of the founding fathers of
the Minneapolis Fantasy Writers' Group--aka "The Scribblies"--that has
produced such stars as Patricia C. Wrede, Emma Bull, Kara Delkey,
Pamela Dean and Will Shetterly.


^                             CUP OF CLAY
                       Book I of The Taliswoman
                       by Carole Nelson Douglas
      (Tor Fantasy, September 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-312-85146-4)
                    commentary from the publisher

Carole Nelson Douglas is a versatile writer who gracefully swings from
stories about shrewd women who can out-sleuth Sherlock Holmes (GOOD
MORNING, IRENE and GOOD NIGHT, MR. HOLMES), to mysteries involving
literary cats (CATNAP), to her new Taliswoman Trilogy, in which she
mixes feminism, fantasy, horror, and ecology in her fictional world of

In this first book of the series, CUP OF CLAY, we meet Alison Carver,
a reporter for a Twin Cities newspaper, who discovers that in the
magical land of Veil, water is not safe to drink--the stunning
waterfalls are actually poisonous--and that while the vegetation is
lush, the flowers emit a vile stench.

Even worse, in Veil, although women are put on pedestals, they have
virtually no rights...and although children are loved, they are also
exploited. The children of Veil, known as the "Littlelost", are exiled
by their parents and sent to live in the beautiful forests, where they
are captured by brutal men, the "Takers", who are not exactly running
a day-care center.

Alison wants to help the kids, but she also wants to return to Earth.
Her best way out is with the help of Rowan, a red-haired young man,
who unfortunately has another agenda: his mission is to become
guardian of the "Cup of Earth", the Cup of Clay, a talisman that is
won by song...and song alone.



^                               BARRAYER
                       by Lois McMaster Bujold
        (Baen Books, October 1991, $4.99, ISBN 0-671-72083-X)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

BARRAYER is the newest in the extraordinarily popular Miles Vorkosigan
series of novels. If you hadn't noticed Lois McMaster Bujold has won
both the Hugo and the Nebula award. This book continues the rich
legacy we have come to expect. A nice plus is the timeline she added
to the end of the book that matches dates with novels and the events
in Miles's life.

This particular novel deals with Cordelia Naismith, who married Aral
Vorkosigan and ultimately became Mile's mother. The story picks up
after the marriage but just before Lord Vorkosigan become the regent
for the boy king. This nicely leaves the earlier part of her life
available for another story (soon I hope). The author continues to
show a fine flair for creating characters that have real depth. The
universe she has assembled works well and there are enough "human"
inconsistencies in the way the social fabric comes together to
convince the reader that this version of reality could come into
being. I am impressed with the way the stories and people stay in
character so well with how I remember the other books, which is where
many authors seem to have trouble with connected stories.

I had to exercise real self discipline to keep from devouring the
entire book at one reading. If you've read the other books by Ms.
Bujold you'll want to make a special trip to the bookstore for this
one. If you haven't this a good one to start with. Need I say more?

                                KQ = 5


^                          THE SUM OF THINGS
                          by Roland J. Green
              (ROC, May 1991, $3.99, ISBN 0-451-45080-9)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

When you see this book on the newsstands the first thing to catch your
eye will be the name of the series STARCRUISER SHENANDOAH. This is
book #3 in the series by Roland J. Green. An accomplished writer, this
series is an attempt to blend the traditional space navy book with the
ground war novel. In the main it succeeds reasonably well.

I found the plot turns a little more intrigue than I normally like and
was hard pressed to keep the characters straight - a problem I did not
have in the earlier books. This story uses the triangular complexities
of multiple antagonists; some using surrogates to influence events in
ways that will be helpful to their long-term interests - but not so
apparent in the short run. There are some nice underlying commentaries
about diplomacy and the difficulties inherent in the attempts to
negotiate reasonable solutions given the problems of individual and
societal greed.

This book fits in nicely with the rest of the series and it is easy to
identify with at least one of the main characters. I enjoyed this book
and have no hesitation about recommending it for a pleasant stint of

                               KQ = 3


^                           THE ALBINO KNIFE
                            by Steve Perry
             (Ace, July 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-441-01391-0)
                       review by Darryl Kenning

Another in the series that began with THE MAN WHO NEVER MISSED. The
action is just as hard-boiled as ever, the plot twists move in plenty
of unexpected ways, and in the end this is a very readable action
story. The book picks up after the Confed has been toppled and life
has returned to near normal for the Matadors.

Suddenly the daughter he didn't know he had appears to Emile Khadaji
and his former wife has been kidnapped. The hero and his friends must
now follow the trail with the newly found daughter to its ultimate
conclusion. It is fun having the characters we have seen developed in
the series reappear. Unfortunately the authors tips the reader to the
main plot a tad too early in the story and for those of us who have
read the earlier books the outcome is pretty much what you would
expect. In spite of that very minor flaw, if you like action-adventure
space operas you'll enjoy this one.

                               KQ = 3


^      THE YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION: Eighth Annual Collection
                       edited by Gardner Dozois
        (St. Martin's, July 1991, $15.95, ISBN 0-312-06009-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Seems like every year this collection wins one or more major
Collection awards, and likewise every year Gardner Dozois wins one or
more major editing awards. Every year, the vote comes up the same: if
you care about Science Fiction, the Dozois collection is the one book
you have to buy. Not only does it collect a ton of wonderful short
fiction from the previous year (as the cover says, "More than 250,000
words of fantastic fiction") but you get Gardner Dozois' terrific
"Summation", with everything you need to know about that year in the
world of SF. If you missed something you shouldn't have, the Summation
will point it out.

In this year's collection, with fiction covering the year 1990, you
get award-winning stories like: "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson,
"Tower of Babylon" by Ted Chiang, and the short novel THE HEMINGWAY
HOAX by Joe Haldeman. The other authors represented read like a who's
who of the SF world: John Brunner, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael
Moorcock, Pat Murphy, Lucius Shepard, Lewis Shiner, Robert Silverberg,
Bruce Sterling, Kate Wilhelm, Connie Willis... You get the idea. An
important volume in any SF fan's core collection, THE YEAR'S BEST
SCIENCE FICTION puts 1990 into one convenient affordable package.


                    commentary from the publisher


^                               N-SPACE
                            by Larry Niven
                     ($5.99, ISBN 0-812-51001-1)

Once when noted science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke was
interviewed on a Los Angeles TV talk show, he was asked who his
favorite writer was. Without hesitation, Clarke replied, "Larry
Niven." N-SPACE, a major Niven retrospective, combines previously
published work with unpublished short stories and excerpts from longer
ones. Rich with gossip and storytelling vigor, N-SPACE offers a
fascinating insight into one of our most prolific and
thought-provoking authors.

Niven, author of such classics as RINGWORLD and THE INTEGRAL TREES,
began his writing career in 1964, quickly moving to the top of the
field. RINGWORLD won both the Nebula and Hugo awards, and Niven also
won the Hugo Award four times for his short fiction. His successful
collaborations with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes resulted in the
is a major event in science fiction, coming from the author who has
been an influence among both readers and writers in the genre.

(NOTE:  N-SPACE is a fabulous one-volume introduction to a classic SF
writer--almost 700 pages of material that also includes a

^                            BERSERKER LIES
                          by Fred Saberhagen
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-50563-8)

Machines invented during a long-ago war, the Berserkers were
programmed to kill all enemy life forms, wherever they are found. But
they were programmed badly, and instructed instead to eradicate all
life. The race that invented them was among the first to be wiped out.
Able to build more of themselves, in every shape and size that seems
useful to their quest, the Berserkers still roam the galaxy,
ruthlessly obeying their ancient orders.

^                        THE PRINCES OF THE AIR
                           by John M. Ford
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-50958-7)

Here are the swashbuckling adventures of three young friends from the
planet Riyah Zain. Orphaned, indentured, and illegitimate, they share
a passion for computer games, a flexible approach to the truth, and a
burning desire to get off the world of their birth. THE PRINCES OF THE
AIR is as thrillingly plotted as a Dumas adventure, and as sharp and
quick as a computer simulation game.

^                         ECHOES OF VALOR III
                     edited by Karl Edward Wagner
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-55758-1)

This third volume of the sword-and-sorcery classics from the golden
age of pulp adventure includes the rarely-reprinted original story of
RED SONYA, by CONAN creator Robert E. Howard, now famous through comic
book adaptation and movies. The writers in ECHOES OF VALOR III helped
create the genre of sword-and-sorcery which thrives today. By going
back to the pulp magazines of decades past, Karl Edward Wagner brings
the classics to modern fans of fantasy adventure.

^                             WHITE JENNA
                            by Jane Yolen
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51840-3)

WHITE JENNA, a 1991 Nebula Award nominee, continues the story of
Jenna, the child of prophesy in Jane Yolen's SISTER LIGHT, SISTER
DARK. Jenna, now the beautiful and proud White Queen, desperately
oversees a battle-torn land. As a child Jenna had learned the lore of
the mountain women who raised her. There, she had called forth her
dark sister, Skada, who exists only in moonlight, or fire's glow. NOw
the Dark Queen remains bound to Jenna's side, but confined to the
dark. A tour-de-force fantasy, WHITE JENNA tells a powerful tale of
the events that ended a culture and created a new mythology.

Winner of the Caldecott Award for her children's book OWL MOON, Jane
Yolen is one of the most respected Young Adult authors in the United
States. Also the author of many adult novels, she won the World

^                             MOON CALLED
                           by Andre Norton
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51533-1)

Thora, chosen from birth to serve the Lady, must struggle to survive
in a world menaced by the dark underground empire of Set. Can Thora
unravel the secrets of the Dark, and remain true to her Lady?

Author Andre Norton, creator of the WITCH WORLD series, has won the
World Fantasy Award for life achievement and been named a Grand Master
by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

^                            STEEL BROTHER
                         by Gordon R. Dickson
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51547-1)

An outstanding collection of short stories and nonfiction, STEEL
BROTHER is both an anthology and an appreciation of the work of Gordon
R. Dickson. With several unforgettable science fiction stories by the
Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author, STEEL BROTHER also presents an
original essay by Dickson on the creation of his acclaimed CHILDE
CYCLE, and a revealing interview with the author. This book will be
eagerly sought by Dickson's growing legion of fans.

^                            CONAN THE HERO
                         by Leonard Carpenter
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51907-8)

In the steaming jungles of Venji, Conan fights a seemingly endless war
against drug-crazed raiders who strike without warning and vanish like
smoke, and the implacable wizard, Mojourna.

Conan also faces enemies which he cannot see. The powerful court
eunuchs and the generals who covet the throne lay plots to thwart him.
Even his own mind turns against him. Only one man could survive all
this and triumph...only CONAN THE HERO.

Special Re-Release!

^                             ENDER'S GAME
                     ($4.95, ISBN 0-812-51349-5)
                         SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD
                     ($4.95, ISBN 0-812-51350-9)
                       both by Orson Scott Card

Tor Books is pleased to re-release the first two books in Orson Scott
Card's ground-breaking "Ender Wiggins" saga, in connection with the
publication of XENOCIDE, their long-awaited sequel. Both ENDER'S GAME
and SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD won the Hugo and Nebula awards, becoming the
first series titles to win this pair of prestigious honors. XENOCIDE,
in its first few weeks, quickly climbed onto bestsellers lists across
the country.

(NOTE:  RFP reviewed all three Ender novels in issue #17.)


^                          IMMORTALITY, INC.
                          by Robert Sheckley
                     ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-51931-0)

Tor once again makes available IMMORTALITY, INC., a classic tale by
Robert Sheckley, and the story on which the soon-to-be-released
Paramount motion picture--FREEJACK--is based. FREEJACK, starring
Anthony Hopkins (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), Emilio Estevez (YOUNG GUNS)
and Mick Jagger (lead singer of the Rolling Stones) could well be the
BLADE RUNNER of the '90s.

Junior Yacht Designer Tom Blaine dies in a car crash in the 20th
century, but wakes up in a strange new future where poltergeists are
scientific fact and the Afterlife is open to anyone who can pay the
price. Hunted by assassins legalized by the Permitted Murder Act,
Tom's only allies are the beautiful Marie, a Ghost named Ray and a
Zombie named Smith, who wants Tom alive for deadly reasons of his own.
Can Tom move fast enough to keep body and soul together in a world
where Death is not the end?

^                         CONAN THE DESTROYER
                           by Robert Jordan
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51401-7)

The fabled city of Shadizar contains many attractive opportunities
--none more alluring than the beautiful maiden Jenna, who must be
taken to recover a sacred gem. This key will unlock a treasure even
greater than Conan could ever imagine.

Conan must battle with Bombatta, the murderous henchman of an evil
princess and fight for his life against the many-fanged demon-god
Dagoth. Deadly to his body and to his soul, this peril is one that
Conan MUST vanquish. To survive he must be--CONAN THE DESTROYER.

                          by Harry Harrison
                     ($3.99, ISBN 1-812-51591-9)

From Harry Harrison, creator of THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT and BILL THE
GALACTIC HERO, comes an imaginative novel of alternate history and
high-tech thrills. Two hundred years after the American Revolution
failed, with George Washington hanged as a traitor, Her Majesty's
Empire attempts the greatest engineering feat in the history of
mankind: an underground train tunnel linking Great Britain and North
America. Over 4,000 miles in length, it is a project that will take
years to complete, risk lives and fortunes, and make or break the
reputation of one man: Captain Augustus Washington, descendant of the
infamous rebel.

^                       DAWN FOR A DISTANT EARTH
                        by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51613-3)

The Empire spanned the galaxy, leaving behind the ruins of Old
Earth--now a frigid devastation of gray deserts and poison, ice storms
and land spouts; a wasteland home only to coyotes and rats, degenerate
shambletowners and feral devilkids. Sometimes a fad would sweep the
Empire to reclaim the homeworld. But environmental salvation took too
long, cost too much, and the fads were always forgotten--except by
MacGregor Gerswin.

As a captured devilkid, Gerswin was trained for space combat. But he
was too savage, too brilliant, too independent for the military, which
exiled him to his home. There Gerswin found a challenge that would
consume all his strength and rage, through the decades and centuries
of his life. He conspired to wage a one man war against the
indifference, the incompetence, the vanity of an empire. In his
struggle, he would use patience, politics and manipulation--even
sabotage, scandal and ambush. Somehow Gerswin would find a way to
bring Earth back from the dead.

^                               AMBIENT
                            by Jack Womack
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-51605-2)

It's the near future in New York City, and Seamus O'Malley is the
bodyguard, secretary and right-hand man to Mister Dryden, son of the
richest man in the world. When he isn't helping Dryden and his father
consolidate their iron grip on a city gone crazy, Seamus lives in
Loisaida (the Lower East Side) with his sister Enid, an Ambient. The
original Ambients were radiation scarred mutants from out on Long
Island, where permanent war rages and no one goes any more. Enid, and
a growing number of others, are Ambients by choice, those who
masochistically alter their bodies beyond the realm of normal.
Ambients have their own religion (in opposition to the mainstream
Church of Elvis), their own mysterious trans-human powers...and their
own unique way of looking at life.

When Mister Dryden offers the hand of his mistress, Avalon, if Seamus
will kill the elder Dryden, he takes the offer--only to be swept up
into the murderous secrets of the Dryden family. There he learns the
true secret behind the Ambients, and discovers how the Drydens have
managed to inherit control of what's left of the United States.

^                        GRAND MASTER'S CHOICE
                        edited by Andre Norton
                     ($3.99, ISBN 0-812-50619-7)

GRAND MASTER'S CHOICE offers up the best short stories from each of
the first eight Grand Masters of science fiction, as chosen by the
Science Fiction Writers of America. Previously published only in a
limited hardcover edition by the New England Science Fiction
Association, one of the first established science fiction clubs in the
world, in commemoration of the fiftieth World Science Fiction
Convention. That edition sold out its entire printing immediately.

GRAND MASTER'S CHOICE includes stories by Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac
Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke (perhaps the three bestselling science
fiction authors of all time) along with perennial bestsellers Clifford
Simak, Fritz Leiber, and Andre Norton. All are prolific novelists
beloved by millions of readers. Jack Williamson and L. Sprague de
Camp, among the most durable favorites in the field, have been
entertaining their legions of fans with a special brand of fantasy and
science fiction for decades.


~                             BOX SCORES
              /:                                KQ :
             : : BARRAYER                          :
             : :         Lois McMaster Bujold....5 :
             : : THE JUPITER WAR                   :
             : :         Bill Fawcett editor.....3 :
             : : SYNNERS                           :
             : :         Pat Cadigan.............2 :
             : : PYRAMIDS                          :
             : :         Fred Saberhagen.........3 :
             : : THE ALBINO KNIFE                  :
             : :          Steve Perry............3 :
             : : THE SUM OF THINGS                 :
             : :          Roland J. Green........3 :
             : :                                   :
             : :     by  darryl kenning            :
             : :...................................:


         People with narrow minds usually have broad tongues.


~                              TREKOLOGY

TNG - Stardate Sequence:

41153.7 Encounter at Farpoint - Part I    101 09/26/87
41153.8 Encounter at Farpoint - Part II   102 09/26/87
41209.2 The Naked Now                     103 10/03/87
41235.2 Code Of Honor                     104 10/10/87
41242.4 Datalore                          114 01/16/88
41249.3 Lonely Among Us                   108 10/31/87
41255.6 Justice                           109 11/07/87
41263.1 Where No One Has Gone Before      106 10/24/87
41294.5 Haven                             105 11/28/87
41309.5 Too Short A Season                112 02/06/88
41365.9 11001001                          116 01/30/88
41386.4 The Last Outpost                  107 10/18/87
41416.2 Coming Of Age                     119 03/12/88
41463.9 Home Soil                         117 02/20/88
41503.7 Heart Of Glory                    120 03/19/88
41509.1 When The Bough Breaks             118 02/13/88
41590.5 Hide And Q                        111 11/21/87
41601.3 Skin Of Evil                      122 04/23/88
41636.9 Angel One                         115 01/23/88
41697.9 We'll Always Have Paris           124 04/30/88
41723.9 The Battle                        110 11/14/87
41775.5 Conspiracy                        125 05/07/88
41798.2 The Arsenal Of Freedom            121 04/09/88
41986.0 The Neutral Zone                  126 05/14/88
41997.7 The Big Goodbye                   113 01/09/88
42073.1 The Child                         127 11/19/88
42193.6 Where Silence Has Lease           128 11/26/88
42286.3 Elementary, Dear Data             129 12/03/88
42402.7 The Outrageous Okona              130 12/10/88
42437.5 The Schizoid Man                  131 01/21/89
42477.2 Loud As A Whisper                 132 01/07/89
42494.8 Unnatural Selection               133 01/28/89
42506.5 A Matter Of Honor                 134 02/04/89
42523.7 The Measure Of A Man              135 02/11/89
42568.8 The Dauphin                       136 02/18/89
42609.1 Contagion                         137 03/18/89
42625.4 The Royale                        138 03/25/89
42679.2 Time Squared                      139 04/01/89
42686.4 The Icarus Factor                 140 04/22/89
42695.3 Pen Pals                          141 04/29/89
42761.3 Q Who                             142 05/06/89
42779.1 Samaritan Snare                   143 05/13/89
42823.2 Up The Long Ladder                144 05/20/89
42859.2 Manhunt                           145 06/17/89
42901.3 The Emissary                      146 06/24/89
42923.4 Peak Performance                  147 07/08/89
42976.1 Shades Of Gray                    148 07/15/89
43125.8 Evolution                         150 09/23/89
43152.4 The Survivors                     151 10/07/89
43173.5 Who Watches The Watchers          152 10/14/89
43198.7 The Bonding                       153 10/21/89
43205.6 Booby Trap                        154 10/28/89
43349.2 The Enemy                         155 11/04/89
43385.6 The Price                         156 11/11/89
43421.9 The Vengeance Factor              157 11/18/89
43462.5 The Defector                      158 12/30/89
43489.2 The Hunted                        159 01/06/90
43510.7 The High Ground                   160 01/27/90
43539.1 Deja Q                            161 02/03/90
43610.4 A Matter Of Perspective           162 02/10/90
43625.2 Yesterday's Enterprise            163 02/17/90
43657.0 The Offspring                     164 03/10/90
43685.2 Sins Of The Father                165 03/17/90
43714.1 Allegiance                        166 03/24/90
43745.2 Captain's Holiday                 167 03/31/90
43779.3 Tin Man                           168 04/21/90
43807.4 Hollow Pursuits                   169 04/28/90
43872.2 The Most Toys                     170 05/05/90
43917.4 Sarek                             171 05/12/90
43930.7 Menage A Troi                     172 05/26/90
43957.2 Transfigurations                  173 06/02/90
43989.1 The Best Of Both Worlds, Part 1   174 06/16/90
44001.4 The Best Of Both Worlds, Part 2   175 09/22/90
44012.3 Family                            178 09/29/90
44085.7 Brothers                          177 10/06/90
44143.7 Suddenly Human                    176 10/13/90
44161.2 Remember Me                       179 10/20/90
44215.2 Legacy                            180 10/27/90
44246.3 Reunion                           181 11/03/90
44286.5 Future Imperfect                  182 11/10/90
44307.3 Final Mission                     183 11/17/90
44356.9 The Loss                          184 12/29/90
44390.1 Data's Day                        185 01/05/91
44429.6 The Wounded                       186 01/26/91
44474.5 Devil's Due                       187 02/02/91
44502.7 Clues                             188 02/09/91
44614.6 Galaxy's Child                    190 03/09/91
44631.2 Night Terrors                     191 03/16/91
44664.5 Identity Crisis                   192 03/24/91
44704.2 The Nth Degree                    193 03/31/91
44741.9 Qpid                              194 04/21/91
44769.2 The Drumhead                      195 04/28/91
44805.3 Half A Life                       196 05/05/91
44821.3 The Host                          197 05/12/91
44885.5 The Mind's Eye                    199 06/02/91
44932.3 In Theory                         198 06/09/91
Unknown The Ensigns Of Command            149 09/30/89
Unknown First Contact                     189 02/16/91
Unknown Symbiosis                         123 04/16/88
Unknown Redemption                        200 06/23/91


      The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.


~                            NEWS 'N' NOTES


RFT is a fanzine edited and published for Christian Fandom, and
interdenominational fellowship of christians and SF fans interested in
the courteous and accurate representation of Christian viewpoints in
the fannish community. Edited by Marty Helgesen. For info and samples
etc. ( follows the tradition of most fanzines) write:

Marty Helgesen
11 Lawrence Ave.
Malverne, NY 11565-1406   USA

please mention that you saw this information in READING FOR PLEASURE


    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.


* Disney has purchased the film rights to the WILD CARDS shared-world
series edited by George R.R. Martin. Martin will write the screenplay.

* Gay Star Trek fans have started the Gaylactic Network, and they're
currently engaged in a letter-writing campaign asking that STAR TREK:
THE NEXT GENERATION have a character who is openly gay. If you'd like
to add you voice, send your petition to: Gene Roddenberry, 5555
Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038, with a copy to Brandon Tartikoff
at the same address. For more information about the Gaylactic Network,
write to: The Gaylactic Network, Box 1051, Back Bay Annex, Boston, MA

* Carroll & Graf, one of our favorite publishers, has recently
purchased reprint rights to the entire available backlist of SF novels
by A.E. van Vogt. By "available backlist" I mean books whose rights
are not currently owned by someone else. For instance, Tor (another of
our favorite publishers) holds the rights to the "Weapon Shops" series
and SLAN. Carroll & Graf plan to put every out-of-print van Vogt novel
back into print over the next three to four years.


                       *                     *
                       *  FRIGHTFUL FICTION  *
                       *                     *

                        Editor:  Annie Wilkes

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

~                          BRAM STOKER AWARDS

             Given out by the Horror Writers of America.

Novel:  MINE by Robert R. McCammon (Pocket)
First Novel:  THE REVELATION by Bentley Little (St. Martin's)
Novelette:  "Stephen" by Elizabeth Massie (BORDERLANDS)
Short Story:  "The Calling" by David B. Silva (BORDERLANDS)
Collection:  FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT by Stephen King (Viking)
Nonfiction:  DARK DREAMERS by Stanley Wiater (Avon)
Lifetime Achievement Award:  Hugh B. Cave & Richard Matheson


* I'm sure you're aware of THE BRIDGE by John Skipp and Craig Spector,
being released by Bantam Books October 1991. But did you know that
this book also has an original soundtrack CD? The authors wrote,
performed, recorded, and produced the material, and the CD should be
available at the same time as the book.

* Speaking of Skipp & Spector, remember the zombie anthology they
edited called BOOK OF THE DEAD? The one that was supposed to have a
sequel, which got hung up for awhile? Well the sequel is back on track
now, called STILL DEAD, and will contain stories by K.W. Jeter, Gahan
Wilson, Nancy Collins, Kathe Koja (THE CIPHER), Poppy Z. Brite, Pat
Cadigan, and maybe even a few surprise contributors. I hope to find
out the release date by next issue.

* Movies Filmed Recently: RED SLEEP, screenplay by Richard Christian
Matheson, directed by John Landis, possibly starring Robert DeNiro.
Also, SLEEPWALKERS, screenplay by Stephen King, directed by Mick

* An emergency medical and financial hardship fund has been
established by the Horror Writers of America. It was kicked off with
several thousand dollars raised by auctions and donations. If you'd
like to donate to this fund, send your check to: Horror Writers of
America (Hardship Fund), Cheryl Curry Sayre, Treasurer, Box 1301,
Ontario, CANADA 91762-9991.

* Richard T. Chizmar is the editor/publisher of CEMETERY DANCE
magazine (see Peter Quint's article in this issue). He is also the
editor of an anthology of "dark mystery fiction" called COLD BLOOD, a
genre-crossing book whose stories include elements of horror, mystery,
suspense, crime, and murder. It should be available by the time you
read this from Ziesing Books (Mark V. Ziesing, PO Box 76, Shingletown,
CA 96088, 916-474-1580). We now hear that Chizmar is editing another
anthology for Ziesing Books called THE EARTH STRIKES BACK, "tales of
ecological/environmental terror", and yet another anthology, of
original horror/suspense stories, called SHIVERS for SpineTingling
Press (see reviews of SpineTingling Press' BONE-THROWER and FREAK LINK
audio books in RFP #18 and information about their book SEXPUNKS &
SAVAGE SAGAS in this issue).

* Because of the success of the TV mini-series adaptation of Stephen
King's IT last year, ABC has bought the rights to his THE
TOMMYKNOCKERS for another mini-series. King's latest, NEEDFUL THINGS,
the last Castle Rock novel, has also been purchased (but for the movie
theater, not TV). It is rumored that the price paid for TOMMYKNOCKERS
might have set a record for TV, and the grapevine has it that King got
$1.75 million for the movie rights to NEEDFUL THINGS.


^                      THE SHAPE UNDER THE SHEET
                The Complete Stephen King Encyclopedia
                        by Stephen J. Spignesi
        (Popular Culture Ink, 1991, $110, ISBN 1-56075-018-9)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

If you're hoping that this is another overpriced piece of nonsense
cranked out for King fanatics with more money than sense, I've got
some bad news for you: THE SHAPE UNDER THE SHEET is not only wonderful
throughout its 780 gigantic pages, it is easily worth all one hundred
and ten dollars it takes to buy yourself a copy. Let me try to give
you a hint of all the neat things in THE SHAPE UNDER THE SHEET:

The core of the Encyclopedia is the concordance section. Each
published--and unpublished--work by Stephen King is listed
chronologically, and for each work you get a skeleton, or outline, of
the entire work, plus an alphabetical listing of entries under the
headings: "People", "Places", and "Things". Not just the SIGNIFICANT
people, places, and things, you understand. ALL the people, places,
and things. For instance, one of the Things listed for THE DEAD ZONE
is "JUDE THE OBSCURE--A book read by Chuck Chatsworth." Can't remember
who Chuck was? Look under People and you'll find "CHATSWORTH,
CHUCK--The seventeen-year-old boy that John Smith tutored." According
to the publishers there are 18,000 entries in the concordance area.

Other sections of THE SHAPE UNDER THE SHEET include: discussions about
Stephen King's background, interviews with friends and relatives,
articles about King, articles about King fandom, all about CASTLE ROCK
(the Stephen King newsletter), complete coverage of film adaptations,
discussions of King's poetry, a guide to audiotape versions of King
works, an annotated bibliography, interviews with King's literary
contemporaries (about King, of course), coverage of material King
hasn't finished and/or hasn't even begun yet. Also, every section
contains numerous "sidebars" of related interesting material, making
this a fabulous browsing book as well as a reference volume. And this
Encyclopedia is meant to be used. There are two Tables of Contents,
with the material arranged sequentially and then classified by type.
There are over a dozen Indexes, so you can look up King material any
way that suits you. And the front and rear endsheets provide two of
the most important Indexes in the easiest to find location.

Out of all the books published about Stephen King (and I've got almost
one entire shelf of them myself), THE SHAPE UNDER THE SHEET stands out
as the one book to have for King fans. I'm having a particularly good
This latest novel from King is supposedly the last that will be set in
his fictional town of Castle Rock, and many of Castle Rock's
residents, seen in previous books, make a curtain call. With THE SHAPE
UNDER THE SHEET nearby, I can remind myself about these previous
stories and enjoy many King plots and characters all over again. Don't

If your local bookstore can't help you get THE SHAPE UNDER THE SHEET,
you can write to the publisher at: Popular Culture, Ink, PO Box 1839,
Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Better yet, get your credit card ready and call
1-800-678-8828 (orders only).


^                           SUMMER OF NIGHT
                            by Dan Simmons
          (Putnam, January 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-399-13573-1)
                        review by Howard Frye

       "Dale Stewart sat in his sixth-grade classroom in Old
     Central and was quietly certain that the last day of
     school was the worst punishment grown-ups had ever devised
     for kids.
       Time had slowed worse than when he was in a dentist's
     office waiting, worse than when he was in trouble with his
     mom and had to wait for his dad to come home before
     punishment could be meted out..."

SUMMER OF NIGHT is a both an evocation of childhood worthy of Ray
Bradbury and a horror thriller worthy of the author of THE SONG OF
KALI and CARRION COMFORT (Dan Simmons). Taking place over the course
of a couple of months, SUMMER OF NIGHT weaves a shocking tale of evil
against the backdrop of a small rural town. The cast of characters
includes eleven-year-old Dale and his younger, 8-year-old brother
Lawrence, and the rest of Dale's contemporaries: the mature and
religious Mike; the budding writer and overweight egghead Duane; the
slightly strange newcomer Kevin; the good boy from an unfortunate
home, Jim. All the kids you knew as a child are here: the school
bully, the bully's moronic sidekick, the most beautiful girl in the
class, your best friend, the dirt-poor family and the filthy-rich
family. They're all here.

Also very much present in SUMMER OF NIGHT is the setting: the summer
of 1960 in a small rural town in Illinois. John F. Kennedy is winning
the nomination as Democratic candidate for President, the Echo space
satellite is being launched, rural homes didn't get locked at night,
entertainment consisted of picnics and outdoor movies, and a boy's
best friend was his bike. (Do you remember your bike? How many
possessions do you have today that mean anywhere NEAR as much to you
as your bike did back then?) I don't remember any author that has
caught the Babyboomer childhood as well as Dan Simmons has here.
Reading this book brought back to me the sense of "territory" that I
had as a child, how well I knew the position of every tree, every
brook, every hiding place in my neighborhood. Dan Simmons has once
again stretched his boundaries as a writer and written a story that is
truly different from anything he has done before.

But SUMMER OF NIGHT is not all campouts and ballgames--there is a
terrific horror story drawn onto this backdrop. Tubby Cooke, one of
the poorest students in Old Central (both academically and
economically), is introduced on page 15 and lasts only to page 20, at
least as a living character. There are forces alive in the small town
of Elm Haven that apparently only the children can sense--they hear
voices, see lights, feel drafts. Soon there will be apparitions, and
much, much worse. Tubby's sister Cordie calls them "night things", and
it will take the combined talents of Dale and all of his friends to
fight the evil that is taking over his town. Not all will live through
the battle; the end of summer and the end of innocence will go hand in
hand. The ending, which of course I won't give away, is wrenchingly
wonderful--I have always been in awe of Dan Simmons ability to END a
story with a bittersweet sense of finality and closure.

SUMMER OF NIGHT is another rousing and literate horror tale from Dan
Simmons. Whatever you do, don't miss this one, and be sure to check
out the earlier SONG OF KALI and CARRION COMFORT if you haven't
already. Tor is reprinting SONG OF KALI in a paperback edition this
month--October 1991. (And I can't very well talk about Dan Simmons
without at least mentioning HYPERION and FALL OF HYPERION, a two-book
SF/horror combination that is simply breathtaking.)

SIMMONS UPDATE:  His next novel, CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT, has been
turned in to Putnam and is tentatively scheduled for publication in
July 1992.

^                              THE STAKE
                     A Novel of the Supernatural
                          by Richard Laymon
        (St. Martin's, June 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-312-06016-5)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

On the way home from a weekend outing, Larry Dunbar, a famous horror
novelist, his wife and the next door neighbors decide to do some
exploring in an old ghost town called Sagebrush Flat. Underneath the
floor of what used to be the town's main hotel, they find a coffin
containing a shriveled female corpse impaled by a wooden stake.
Everyone's initial reaction is that someone had killed a vampire (of
course no one REALLY believes in vampires). Larry is having a hard
time getting started on his next horror novel (hasn't even decided
what to write about yet) and decides to come back later and take the
corpse home. His intention is to write a horror nonfiction novel
mirroring his real-life adventures with the corpse. During the writing
of his new novel, Larry finds out who the corpse is and eventually
even who killed her, along with two other young girls in the town
where they all live. But, the whole time, the corpse is in Larry's
garage attic with the stake still in her chest. What would happen if
someone pulled out the stake? Is she REALLY a vampire and would she
come back to life?

I found THE STAKE very enjoyable and extremely fast paced. Richard
Laymon's writing style will keep you riveted to every word and
anxiously awaiting the final outcome of the story. I found myself
screaming for someone to pull out the darned stake and see what
happens (after all this is a supposed to be a novel of the
supernatural). Well, someone does pull out the stake eventually
and...... ! I can highly recommend THE STAKE and look forward to
reading other books by Richard Laymon.


^                               HANGMAN
                     by Christopher A. Bohjalian
        (Carroll & Graf, May 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-88184-685-6)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

Brian and Marcia Middleton are moving from the hectic world of New
York City to a large farmhouse in Vermont. They are seeking a simpler
and more rewarding lifestyle as well as a fresh start for their shaky
marriage. Their delight with the new house is short-lived, for the
Middletons are soon told that the house comes with a reputation for
being, well, strange. It seems that early in this century a 6-year-old
girl hanged herself in the house's attic, and the noose is hanging
there still. Marcia also notices other problems with the attic, like
the fact that it's often colder up there than it is outside. When
Marcia finds her husband hanging from the noose in the attic, she
numbly tells the police that he was killed. Now it will be Detective
J.P. Burrows' job to discover who (or is it what?) killed Brian
Middleton, and of course Marcia is the obvious suspect.

HANGMAN is a slightly old-fashioned supernatural tale, a bit more
slowly paced than the modern monster fests, and with a terrific moody,
atmospheric quality. The characters are engaging and the Middleton's
Vermont house just might remind you a bit of Hill House. HANGMAN is a
great Halloween choice for readers a bit tired of monsters and mayhem.

Christopher A. Bohjalian's first novel, A KILLING IN THE REAL WORLD
(1988), was optioned by CBS Entertainment for the movie DEADLY
REUNION. He now lives in Vermont where he is working on his third


^                HORROR COMICS: The Illustrated History
                            by Mike Benton
      (Taylor Publishing, July 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-87833-734-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Do you know...

1. Which female vampire comic book hero wore a leather bikini, drank
   synthetic blood, and came from the planet Drakulon?
2. What Freddie Krueger, Steve Martin, and the Swamp Thing have in
3. Which famous HBO Television series host originally appeared in a
   1950s EC horror comic? (Hint: His father had two heads and his
   mother was an Egyptian mummy.)
4. Why vampires and werewolves double-date?
5. Why the United States Senate, a New York governor, a Harlem
   psychiatrist, and ten thousand mothers wanted to ban the horror
   comics of the 1950s?

HORROR COMICS is the first of a new series called "The Taylor History
of Comics". In this volume, author Mike Benton gives a complete
history of those nasty comic books that our parents never wanted us to
read. The ones with the exploding heads and dripping corpses (in
glorious, hideous color) on the covers. You'll find out how all this
awfulness got started, who the movers and shakers were, who the
creative artists were, and the whole story is brought up to the
present day with titles like THE VAMPIRE LESTAT and HELLBLAZER. Of
course, you can't cover the history of horror comics without talking
about Frederic Wertham's SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, the Congressional
investigation into the way comics warp the minds of our young, and the
resultant Comics Code. HORROR COMICS will tell you all about it, and
an Appendix gives you the actual text of the Comics Code. Did I
mention that every page of HORROR COMICS has full-color reproductions
of covers and story pages of notable horror comics? You can see and
read portions of the old comics to get a feel for the content
yourself. And Mike Benton knows that you won't be able to resist all
these delectable delights for long, so he includes a chapter about
collecting and ends the book with a heavily-illustrated guide and
checklist to all the major horror comic books published in the last
fifty years. HORROR COMICS is irresistible.

ANSWERS: 1. Vampirella.  2. They all appeared in horror comic books
based on movies.  3. The Crypt-Keeper.  4. They never argue about
where or who to eat later.  5. Read the book! You can find the answer
to this question--and thousands more--in HORROR COMICS: THE

Mike Benton has been a comic book collector, dealer, and investor for
more than 25 years. He is co-owner of Custom Comic Services, the
country's largest exclusive publisher of educational comics, and has
AMERICA. If you local store can't help you find HORROR COMICS, try
writing to the publisher at: Taylor Publishing Company, 1550 W.
Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75235.


^                            THE BAD PLACE
                          by Dean R. Koontz
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

Frank Pollard regains consciousness in an alley not knowing who he is
or where he has been. All he can remember is his name. He has with him
a leather flight bag full of money. Where did it come from? Suddenly
he is being chased by a mysterious blue light. Stealing a car, he
tries to escape but is pursued by the blue light which has the power
of smashing in the car windows and bursting the car tires. The blue
light materializes into a dark stranger and the chase continues.

Bobby and Julie Dakota own a detective agency that specializes in
surveillance and background investigation cases, not your "normal"
missing person or cheating spouse type of case. Their big goal is to
earn enough money to retire early and be able to do what they really
want to do for the rest of their lives. Frank Pollard will seek their
help in finding out who he is and their destiny will be changed

The Dakotas and Frank will eventually cross paths with a ruthless
killer called Candy who was taught at an early age by his mother that
the easy way to kill people, young and old, is to bite their necks,
gouging out large chunks until they were dead. He has also developed a
liking for cocktails of his victims' blood. Candy has a very
specialized talent, the capability to transport himself, at will, to
any place that he can visualize. He can reach his victims simply by
touching something they've touched, since their "presence" remains on
every item they come in contact with. Candy can detect your presence,
visualize where you are, and presto, instant death arrives.

I really, really enjoyed THE BAD PLACE. This is the second Dean Koontz
book I have read, PHANTOMS being the first. I was less than thrilled
with PHANTOMS, but since then Koontz has made some major advancements
in the field of suspense writing. THE BAD PLACE has all you can ask
for in a suspense thriller with a touch of the supernatural thrown in.
Koontz's vision of how human teleporation might take place is
fascinating. I found myself unable to put THE BAD PLACE down--I just
couldn't wait to find out what Frank Pollard, the Dakotas and Candy
had in common. THE BAD PLACE also has a really power-packed ending. I
was breathless after completing the book and even now occasionally
think about it. There isn't too much more I can say about the central
plot of the book without giving it away. All I can say is try it,
you'll really like it.

WARNING: Those of you that object to or have queasy stomachs when it
comes to animal mutilation might be a little cautious when it comes to
THE BAD PLACE. You see, Candy is not partial to feeding on the flesh
and blood of humans. He'll occasionally feast on a rabbit or cat.

NOTE:  The next Dean Koontz novel will be HIDEAWAY, coming from Putnam
in January 1992.

^                           SOMETHING STIRS
                         by Charles L. Grant
           (Tor, November 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-312-85152-9)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

     It matters not what you believe.
     What matters is what you forgot:

     The sun will shine on loch and kirk,
     But in the dark, child,
     Something stirs.

What would autumn be without a Charles Grant novel? I will always
associate him with the rustling leaves and dark corners of an evening
in autumn, or the unnatural stillness during a nighttime blizzard in
the following winter. SOMETHING STIRS is set in a small town in
November and December, and the lead characters are a clique of high
school teenagers, Grant's specialty. Indeed, Grant portrays teenagers
better than any other writer I can think of except Stephen King. These
teenagers, of course, have a problem. Their leader, Eddie Roman, has
apparently hacked his father to death and then, somehow, torn himself
to pieces. At first the police say that it couldn't have been a
suicide, but when no suspects are forthcoming suicide looks most
likely. The rest of the Pack, however, know that something had been
bothering Eddie for weeks--he had been deeply frightened. Of
something. And they also heard the screaming that night, from all
corners of the town. What is going on?

SOMETHING STIRS is a story about childhood nightmares that are
forgotten but not gone. Though the explanation at the end of the novel
is the weakest part, it seems that your childish fears can come back
to get you. Not as good as last year's STUNTS, SOMETHING STIRS is
nonetheless a fine moody and atmospheric tale of things that really DO
go bump in the night. For in the darkness, child, something stirs.


^                                TALONS
                          by Anthony Mancini
      (Donald I. Fine, August 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-234-3)
                    commentary from the publisher

Evocative of such classic man-versus-nature thrillers as JAWS and "The
Birds", TALONS refers to the razor-like claws of a voracious rogue
eagle who is a more deadly threat than the most sadistic of human
predators. A genetic mishap resulting from the Chernobyl nuclear
disaster, this bird has an insatiable appetite; for her, man is but an
appetizer. In the midst of the action there's also irony (the falconer
who smuggles the bird into the U.S. experiences her fury firsthand)
and an engaging romance between a New York police lieutenant, David
Torino, and the Central Park Zoo's beautiful and brainy ornithologist,
Antonia Meadows, who is assigned to capture--or kill--the eagle.

Anthony Mancini has written four previous novels, including MENAGE and
THE YELLOW GARDENIA. A veteran New York POST reporter, he has also
written for Cosmopolitan, Penthouse and the Washington POST.


^                       SEXPUNKS & SAVAGE SAGAS
                     Dark, Quirky, Erotic Stories
                          by Richard Sutphen
   (Spine-Tingling Press, October 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-87554-476-2)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

In RFP #18 we reviewed two audio cassettes from Spine-Tingling Press:
BONE THROWER and FREAK LINK, both of which were written and read by
Richard Sutphen. In SEXPUNKS & SAVAGE SAGAS, Sutphen provides a print
copy of his two title stories from the tapes, along with a dozen other
stories--all weird tales with extensive sexual content. In the back of
the book Sutphen discusses the origin of the stories, many of which
derive from terrifying occult experiences he has discovered in real
life. There is also an excerpt from BRAIN DAMAGED, a novel by Sutphen
scheduled for released in Summer 1992.

If you like weird fiction, occult stories, and kinky sex, SEXPUNKS &
SAVAGE SAGAS may be just the book for you. I think I still prefer the
audio version of BONE THROWER, though--thrilling stories like that
work best as drama. SEXPUNKS & SAVAGE SAGAS is also available in a
signed and limited first cloth slipcased edition of 350 copies ($50,
ISBN 0-87554-479-7) and on audio tape (ST103, two tapes, three hours,
$14.95, ISBN 0-87554-487-8). You can get all Sutphen material from:
Spine-Tingling Press, Box 186, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. Include list
price plus $3 shipping for first book, $1 for each additional book. Or
get your credit card and call 1-800-421-6603 (orders only).


^                               DESCENT
                              by Ron Dee
        (Dell Abyss, October 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-440-20708-8)
                        review by Annie Wilkes

     Suck away my death and bring me alive.
     Lose your self and I arrive.

So sings satanic rock star Aliester C. in a concert at the beginning
of Ron Dee's DESCENT, a fast-paced race between the powers of life and
death. Vickie Laster's father died when she was young, and she wanted
her father back so badly that she unknowingly forged a relationship
with Death beyond anything known before. Now she's a young married
woman with an abusive husband and a dead baby that mysteriously died
in the womb. Soon Vickie is due to give birth to Death in Life and she
will become an infernal conduit between the two, a connection between
two worlds that were never meant to be joined.

While it seems to me that DESCENT just misses out on excellence--the
underlying cosmic theory could have been clearer and the characters
were sketchily drawn--the story is compelling and the pace is swift.
Read DESCENT with a little Alice Cooper on your music machine, or
maybe some Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. DESCENT is loud, fast, and
grim. Give it a try.

NOTE: Stephen King had this to say about Dell's new Abyss line of
horror fiction: "In terms of quality, production, and plain old
story-telling reliability (that's the bottom line, isn't it?) Dell's
new line is amazingly satisfying...a rare and wonderful bargain for

Hope you didn't miss the September volume from Dell Abyss:

^                              MASTERY
                           by Kelley Wilde
       (Dell Abyss, September 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-440-20727-4)

This is the same Kelley Wilde whose first published novel, THE
SUITING, won the Bram Stoker Award for a First Novel. And his MAKOTO
was pretty good too.


^                             THE HEADSMAN
                         by James Neal Harvey
      (Donald I. Fine, August 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55611-263-7)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

During colonial times, the town of Braddock, New York, employed an
executioner who plied his bloody trade with a huge double-bladed ax.
According to a grim local town legend, the executioner returns every
so often to punish adulterers and other perceived sinners. One day the
students of the local Braddock High School have a heated debate over
the pros and cons of the town legend. That night one the the class
students, the daughter of a prominent citizen, is found decapitated
and one of the other students has a "vision" of the decapitation
taking place. In the vision, a giant of a man, clad all in black and
wielding the awful doubled-bladed weapon, appears out of the shadows
to do his gruesome work and, once done, disappears back into the
shadows. Is the legend just an old wives' tale and there really is a
deranged killer in the town of Braddock using the legend to mask his
gruesome deeds? Or does the horrifying executioner materialize
periodically, as the legend states?

I found reading THE HEADSMAN to be quite dry at times. There is way
too much emphasis placed on details that have absolutely nothing to do
with the progress of the story. For example: the great detail,
paragraph after paragraph, of a shopping trip one of the main
characters takes. As is usual in a horror novel, I assumed I was being
set up for a main event in the story. Unfortunately, nothing happened
and I was left wondering why the ramblings even took place. The novel
is full of this type of digression, but I was continually wondering
whether the executioner was out of the legend or actually one of the
town's people. This kept me going, through each murder, till I
finished the novel and found out. I'm not too sure I'd recommend this
book to anyone who is used to fast-paced action/terror novels. You
might find this one a bit slow for you, but it still is above average.


^                           BY BIZARRE HANDS
                          by Joe R. Lansdale
          (Avon, September 1991, $3.99, ISBN 0-380-71205-9)
                        review by Peter Quint

BY BIZARRE HANDS is about the easiest book to recommend in the entire
bookstore. Unless you got the Mark V. Ziesing hardcover edition in
1989 you NEED this book. Here's the way it stacks up: Horror (or "dark
fantasy" or whatever you want to call it) and short stories go
together like a pit and a pendulum; Joe Lansdale is one of horror's
leading talents; Joe's very best work is short; most of Joe's stories
have been published in small magazines so you probably haven't seen
them; and this is Joe's first collection. That's about as simple as I
can say it.

In this collection you'll find a couple of stories you might have
heard of before, like "Night They Missed the Horror Show" and "On the
Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks". If you didn't see
them in SILVER SCREAM and BOOK OF THE DEAD, respectively, maybe you
read that they won a few awards. The first story won the Bram Stoker
Award and the second won the Bram Stoker Award, the American Horror
Award, and an award presented by the British Fantasy Society. BY
BIZARRE HANDS also has stories you probably haven't heard of,
including two ("The Fat Man and the Elephant" and "The Steel
Valentine") that are original to this volume and one ("Hell Through a
Windshield") that appears in its entirety for the first time.

So here's my recommendation: Buy this book. It'll be the best $3.99
you ever spent.

     The Horror Writers of America Present:
^                            UNDER THE FANG
                     edited by Robert R. McCammon
        (Pocket Books, August 1991, $4.95, ISBN 0-671-69573-8)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Shared-world anthologies can be found all over the SF bookshelves, but
here is one for horror fans. Edited by bestselling author Robert R.
McCammon and presented under the auspices of The Horror Writers of
America, UNDER THE FANG collects stories about a future world in which
the vampires have taken over. Vampires run the governments and own the
media, and the humans that are left must run and hide and form
resistance movements in the sunlight. As you might imagine, this
premise makes for some mighty depressing stories--this is definitely
DARK fantasy. Included in UNDER THE FANG are stories by: McCammon,
Nancy A. Collins, Clint Collins, Sidney Williams & Robert Petitt, Al
Sarrantonio, Charles de Lint, Chet Williamson, Suzy McKee Charnas &
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Richard Laymon, J.N. Williamson, Ed Gorman,
Brian Hodge, David N. Meyer III, Thomas F. Monteleone, Clifford V.
Brooks, Lisa W. Cantrell, and Dan Perez.

NOTE: The Horror Writers of America already have a second collection
planned (different premise). It'll be called FREAK SHOW and will be
edited by F. Paul Wilson. The ad reads: "Travel with the freaks of the
Peabody-Ozymandias Traveling Circus and Oddity Emporium. The
performers aren't quite human--their acts are quite sinister. Beware
if they come to your hometown!" Scheduled released date is sometime
during the summer of 1992.



Jon L. Herron, editor

Here is a terrific magazine that you should know about. It's
bimonthly, with a an additional special edition in December. It's
large--the two issues I've seen are both over 140  (8-1/2 by 11) pages
long--and the insides run the gamut of genres and types. There's
fiction, poetry, articles, essays, interviews, reviews, artwork, even
cartoons. Subject matter is varied too. As the cover states: "The Best
Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Science Fact." Best may be
arguable, but the material is certainly very good. I particularly
enjoyed the interviews in Volume #1, Issue #4 (July 1991) with
Katharine Kerr, Barry Harrington, and Philip Jose Farmer. It doesn't
matter if you like their work or have even HEARD of their work, the
interviews are great.

The best part of MIDNIGHT ZOO, at least as far as I'm concerned is the
wide coverage. I read a lot of horror novels and horror magazines
(hence my appearance here in RFP), but my tastes extend a lot further
than that. It's not that I insist on a vampire in every story, but I
like the freedom that the fantasy genres allow authors--so I always
keep an eye out in the SF & Fantasy sections of the bookstore as well
as the Horror aisle. It's nice to see everything in one great big
collection; almost like Mr. Herron consulted me personally.

Another part of MIDNIGHT ZOO that deserves mention: the poetry. Now
I'm not really into poetry and I generally skip over it in most
magazines, but I read a few from MZ and then read a few more, and then
a few more. These poems are fun! My hat's off to both the poets for
writing them, and to the editor for choosing them. Great stuff.

OK, so how do you get MIDNIGHT ZOO for yourself? Annual subscriptions
are $29.95, single issues are $4.95 (plus $1.05 shipping/handling),
the special December edition if $19.95 (plus $2.77 shipping/handling).
Send it to: Midnight Zoo, 544 Ygnacio Valley Road, #A273, PO Box 8040,
Walnut Creek, CA 94596. (Phone: 415/942-5116 FAX: 415/933-3801)

^WEIRD TALES #302: Special William F. Nolan Issue
(Terminus Publishing, Fall 1991, $4.95)

I had been anxiously awaiting WEIRD TALES #302 because I've been a fan
of William F. Nolan for quite a few years. It doesn't disappoint. The
interview with Mr. Nolan is fascinating. He talks about his career,
his writing technique, and his literary preferences. At a time when it
seems like every writer working today is trying to distance himself
from the horror genre, William F. Nolan has decided he likes the
neighborhood and would like to stay awhile. Here are a few excerpts
from the interview:

     "I literally do not understand the kind of British writer
     who opens the door to an apartment and spends the next
     five pages describing what's in the room, or writers who
     take half a chapter to get their character across a
     kitchen in a breakfast scene. I'm in and out of the
     kitchen and down the road and into the next county by the
     time they're reaching the marmalade."

     "I'm not too worried about Stephen King and Peter Straub
     and all these people. I'm worried about William F. Nolan.
     I've got to keep doing better than this guy, or else I'm
     not going to make it....You've got to keep stretching

The William F. Nolan material consists of an essay about the
beginnings of his love for horror literature; a poem about how much he
loves being a horror writer; a short story called "The Visions", a
provocative little piece that could have been a Twilight Zone episode;
and a fabulous novella called "Broxa" that mixes the detective story
with the horror story and produces a mystery with bite. If this issue
doesn't win more fans for William F. Nolan, nothing will.

There are a few non-Nolan pieces in #302. Like "The Hell Book" by
Jason Van Hollander, a nice updating of a rather Lovecraftian theme.
"The Creative Urge" by Weird Tales favorite Robert Bloch is a short
self-referential piece that puts one in mind of Hofstaedter's "strange
loops" (from GODEL, ESCHER, BACH). Think about it too long and smoke
starts to seep out of your ears. For the more fantasy-oriented reader,
there is "The Luststone" by Brian Lumley and "The Magician" by Ronald
Anthony Cross. Sadly, there is no book review column in this issue, so
I guess we're stuck with RFP this time out. All in all, #302 is a
first-rate issue of WEIRD TALES. Don't miss it.

SUBSCRIPTION:  For $24/$46 you can get 6/12 quarterly issues of WEIRD
TALES delivered to you anywhere in the U.S. Send to: WEIRD TALES, PO
Box 13418, Philadelphia, PA 19101-3418.

Summer 1991, Vol. 3, Issue 3
Richard T. Chizmar, editor

Another fine issue of one of the most dependable horror magazines. (I
still call it a horror magazine, but they seem to be drifting in a
suspense-dark mystery direction, which is perfectly OK with me.) There
is a profile of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and an interview with Anne Rice,
both of which are superb--those are two very interesting ladies. CD
has expanded their review sections, and this issue features a Douglas
Winter review of THE M.D. by Thomas M. Disch, Edward Bryant writing
about NEEDFUL THINGS by Stephen King, BOY'S LIFE by Robert R. McCammon
reviewed by Lori Perkins, and about a dozen more good books covered by
various reviewers. Tyson Blue is back with another column about
Stephen King and others--lots of good information for readers who like
to keep up.

The fiction is good too. There's a story from Bill Pronzini called
"The Pattern" and Andrew Vachss is represented by "It's A Hard World".
Equally good is "Saviour" by Gary A. Braunbeck, "With the Wound Still
Wet" by Wayne Allen Sallee, "Have You Seen Me?" by Nancy Holder, and
"Spitting Image" by Michael Thomas Dillon. But the shorter fiction is
all overshadowed by the longer story, saved appropriately for the end
of the magazine, by John Shirley: "Just Like Suzie". There's not much
I can say about this story in a family publication like RFP--it's
pretty extreme, sort of a laugh-and-puke-at-the-same-time kinda thing.
Let's just say the images stick with you.

If you don't get CD already, you'd better get your checkbook out
before you miss another issue. Make a check out to CD Publications for
$15/$25/$40 for 4/8/12 quarterly issues. Send it to: Cemetery Dance,
PO Box 16372, Baltimore, MD 21210.

^DARK TOME #8 (August 1991)
Michelle Marr, editor

A small desktop-published magazine of weird fiction. Send $2 for one
copy, $10 for 6 bi-monthly issues, or an SASE for fiction submission
guidelines to: Dark Tome, PO Box 705, Salem, OR 97308.


^                             GAUNTLET #3

It's not too early to reserve your copy of GAUNTLET #3, the annual
dedicated to covering the issue of censorship and the printing of
censored material. See Peter Quint's review of GAUNTLET #2 in RFP #17.

The focus of issue #3 will be on the "politically correct", though
GAUNTLET will retain all of its regular features. This section will
contain some provocative, highly "politically incorrect" satire and
commentary, bound to offend just about everyone as well as insightful
commentary and debates.

Issue #3 will explore the Persian Gulf War from a unique perspective;
no rehashing of old news. If we can't shed new light on the War, we'll
leave it to others to scrutinize what has already been analyzed.

GAUNTLET #3 will feature two retrospective pieces: a look at Lenny
Bruce and how he paved the way for today's no-holds-barred comics and
an interview (with illustrations) with MAD's William M. Gaines, who
compares censorship today with that of the 50s.

GAUNTLET will feature the work of at least three noteworthy artists
who have faced their share of controversy: S. Clay Wilson, Joe Coleman
and J.K. Potter, complete with portfolios of their censored work.

Ramsey Campbell introduces a story of his own he censored from a
collection of erotic fiction, with the story following (naturally). F.
Paul Wilson's "Pelts", a story animal rights activists can relate to,
will be given a comic-strip treatment (a GAUNTLET exclusive). Del
Close and Nancy Collins provide two plays that were to be part of an
aborted off-Broadway production. R.C. Matheson, Brian Hodge, James
Kisner, Ron Leming and others add top notch fiction to the GAUNTLET

Ever read an intriguing story in a daily and wonder why there was no
follow-up? Shoddy journalism. GAUNTLET on the other hand, will provide
updates on stories featured in issue #2: what's happened to Charles
Freeman, the boycott of a Korean produce store by blacks in New York,
the teacher at a Philadelphia school who had students rip out 144
pages from a contemporary literature text, the ongoing saga of Salman
Rushdie and Chicago's Father Pflegler.

GAUNTLET has commissioned a slew of investigative reports on abortion,
men as victims of rape due to media sensationalism, a Catholic
College's attempt to stifle allegations of widespread date rape...just
to name a few.

For GAUNTLET #3 (due to ship March 1992), send $12.95 plus $2 postage
and handling to: GAUNTLET, Dept. S91, 309 Powell Rd., Springfield, PA

~                           DANGEROUS WOMEN

     "Ligeia" by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)
     THE GREAT GOD PAN by Arthur Machen (1890)
     "Xelucha" by M.P. Shiel (1896)
     "The Beckoning Fair One" by Oliver Onions (1911)
     THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM by Bram Stoker (1911)
     THE IRISH WITCH by Dennis Wheatley (1973)
     SWEETHEART, SWEETHEART by Bernard Taylor (1977)
     GHOST STORY by Peter Straub (1979)
     THE GIRL IN A SWING by Richard Adams (1980)
     THE HUNGER by Whitley Strieber (1981)
     THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED by Anne Rice (1988)


     THE OPENER OF THE WAY by Robert Bloch (1945)
     THE LURKER AT THE THRESHOLD by August Derleth (1945)
     THE WEB OF EASTER ISLAND by Donald Wandrei (1948)
     THE MASK OF CTHULHU by August Derleth (1958)
     THE TRIAL OF CTHULHU by August Derleth (1962)
     THE MIND PARASITES by Colin Wilson (1967)
     DAGON by Fred Chappell (1968)
     THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE by Colin Wilson (1969)
     THE GREAT WHITE SPACE by Basil Copper (1974)
     THE BURROWERS BENEATH by Brain Lumley (1974)
     STRANGE EONS by Robert Bloch (1978)
     THE COLOR OUT OF TIME by Michael Shea (1984)


commentary from the publisher

^                       NECROSCOPE V: DEADSPAWN
                           by Brian Lumley
                     ($5.99, ISBN 0-812-50835-1)

From Brian Lumley, the two-time winner of the British Fantasy Award,
comes the fifth book in the bestselling NECROSCOPE series, one of
Tor's most popular horror series. NECROSCOPE IV: DEADSPEAK was a
Waldenbooks Mass Paperback Bestseller.

In DEADSPAWN, Harry Keogh's life becomes incredibly complicated. Since
discovering that vampires are real, Keogh has learned to use his
powers as a necroscope to combat them. But he's allied himself with
Father Ferenczy, the dead father of Earth's vampires, an alliance
which may prove to be Keogh's downfall. Now he is called upon to solve
a most unusual murder case. The only being who can identify the killer
is the ghost of one of his victims. The murderer seems to be a
vampire, but that's impossible, because Keogh THOUGHT he destroyed
them all...

As time runs out in his search for the mad killer, the vampire
influence deep in Keogh's mind struggles for release, threatening to
metamorphose him into a dreaded bloodsucker! If Keogh loses the fight,
no one and no place will be safe from the incredible powers of a
vampire necroscope.

                     edited by David G. Hartwell
                     ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-51898-5)

THE COLOR OF EVIL features such masters of the horror tale as Ray
Bradbury, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, and Robert Bloch. With stories
to delight any reader, THE COLOR OF EVIL brings fans old favorites and
new treasures and gives those unfamiliar with modern horror a wide
range of styles and subjects.

Originally published in hardcover as part of the landmark anthology,
THE DARK DESCENT, the stories in THE COLOR OF EVIL now appear for the
first time in paperback. Two other paperbacks containing more from THE
DARK DESCENT will follow in November and January.

Editor David G. Hartwell, author of AGE OF WONDERS, is a three-time
Hugo Award nominee for Best Editor. The 1991 LOCUS Magazine Poll and
Survey named Hartwell as one of the top ten editors in the field.

commentary from publisher

^                             SONG OF KALI
                            by Dan Simmons
                     ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-51592-7)

Set in the hot, seething city of Calcutta, SONG OF KALI follows
American writer Robert Luczak into the dark underworld of the cult of
Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction. Luczak is after a
manuscript, thought to be merely a paean to the goddess. But the
manuscript is more than that; it is the incantation that will free
Kali to once again work her evil in this world from which she was
banished thousands of years ago. What begins as a journey into an
exotic landscape quickly turns into terror--the fanatic followers of
Kali will kill to appease their goddess...and Luczak's kidnapped
infant daughter could be their sacrifice.

Dan Simmons won the World Fantasy Award for SONG OF KALI, and
subsequently won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel for his
recent bestseller CARRION COMFORT and the Hugo Award for Best Science
Fiction Novel for HYPERION, making him one of the hottest new writers
in two genres.

(NOTE:  If you only have $5 to spend this month, make sure you get
yourself a copy of SONG OF KALI. Trust me. --A. Wilkes)

^                              JINX HIGH
                          by Mercedes Lackey
                     ($4.99, ISBN 0-812-52114-5)

Fay, the most beautiful girl at Jenks High wants only one thing: to
get Deke Kestrel into bed. Though she looks like an innocent
16-year-old, Fay is really over 200 years old, a powerful witch who
practices sex magic.

Now that she's discovered latent psychic/magic ability in the boy
(ability hidden from Deke by his similarly gifted parents) Fay intends
to use Deke as a centerpiece of a sex rite that will leave her
incredibly powerful and virtually immortal--and Deke dead. Deke's
father, suspecting something is afoot, calls for Diana Tregarde.
Tregarde, a practicing witch of no small ability, and Guardian of all
that is right in the world, has arrived to stop the evil--and Fay
Harper doesn't stand a chance.

                  ::                          ::
                  ::    NONFICTION REVIEWS    ::
                  ::                          ::

^      CYBERPUNK: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier
                    by Katie Hafner & John Markoff
         (Simon & Schuster, 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-671-68322-5)
                        review by Carl Ingram

     "In the 1960s and 1970s, to be a computer hacker was to
     wear a badge of honor...It signified a dedication to
     computers that was construed as fanatical by outsiders but
     was a matter of course to the hackers themselves...The
     inspiration for this book came when we began to see a
     change in the way computers were being used. We found
     harbingers of cyberpunk, young people for whom computers
     and computer networks are an obsession, and who have
     carried their obsession beyond what computer professionals
     consider ethical and lawmakers consider acceptable."

Compellingly told by two experienced journalists who have specialized
in hi-tech, CYBERPUNK introduces us to several examples of a new brand
of criminal, one who can break-and-enter, steal, and spy, all without
leaving the comfort of his chair. This new criminal can be genuinely
malicious like Kevin Mitnick, the subject of the first section of the
book, an overweight alienated teenager who took vengeance on the world
by becoming a hacker/phone phreak. On the other hand, the criminal can
be a bit more sympathetic, like Pengo and his other German computer
friends who prowled U.S. networks for fun and wound up selling stolen
Western software to the KGB for a little extra cash. (One of Pengo's
friends was the target of Clifford Stoll's hacker-hunt, told in
Stoll's book, THE CUCKOO'S EGG.) And finally, the criminal can be
simply a well-meaning genius who is not accustomed to limits, like
Robert Tappan Morris, the Cornell graduate student who unleashed a
virus that crashed hundreds of computers on the Internet network.

Through 350 pages of painstakingly recreated detail, Hafner and
Markoff introduce each of these three hackers, and their compatriots,
to the interested reader. Actually, the main virtue of CYBERPUNK--its
impartial and comprehensive journalism--is also its major limitation.
By recounting every stage of their stories with blow-by-blow detail,
they rob the tales of any dramatic pacing. This is more noticeable
than it would otherwise be to anyone who has read Clifford Stoll's THE
CUCKOO'S EGG, in which the charming and personable author told his
story in terms of high drama. Stoll's personality and point of view
was a large part of his story. In contrast, CYBERPUNK's value is in
giving the reader the facts, all the facts, and all in one place. It
makes fascinating reading for anyone whose life is touched by
computers, and is sure to start many conversations.

Talking to Katie Hafner and John Markoff:

Q:  What is cyberpunk?

A:  It's a kind of science fiction, and like a lot of science fiction,
what it predicted is beginning to happen. The classic image of a
cyberpunk is a kid with a mohawk and a computer. Pengo, the Berlin
hacker in our book, was a cyberpunk who sat in front of his computer
screen all day with his headphones on, listening to punk rock and rap

And cyberpunk is where high technology meets outlaw culture. When
Kevin Mitnick and his hacking partner Lenny DiCicco couldn't find any
other hacking outposts, they became cyberpunk nomads, taking their
computer and their modem to seedy $18 motels in the middle of the drug
and prostitute scene in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles and
hacking from there.


^                       THE BEST OF MALEDICTA
            The International Journal of Verbal Aggression
                       edited by Reinhold Aman
          (Running Press, 1987, $12.95, ISBN 0-89471-499-6)
                        review by Howard Frye

     "Every day around the world, tens of thousands of people
     are humiliated, demoted, fired, fined, jailed, injured,
     killed, or driven to suicide because of MALEDICTA:
     insults, slurs, curses, threats, blasphemies, vulgarities,
     and other offensive words and expressions."

Maledicta ("bad words"): They incite a lot of emotion in many people,
and are for that reason alone worth study. Why do some words, simple
sequences of sounds made with the human mouth, cause such commotion?
If you have an interest in the world of "bad" language, you should
definitely know about Reinhold Aman's annual collection called
MALEDICTA. This volume from Running Press is the perfect introduction,
being a selection of material from the 2,500 pages of the first 8
installments of the periodical.

What will you find in THE BEST OF MALEDICTA? There are ethnic jokes,
sex jokes, examples of bathroom graffiti, long lists of synonyms for
body parts and bodily functions, a list of "vanity" license plate
taboos, pejorative terms used by medical personnel, Italian and
Venetian profanity, AIDS jokes, and a whole lot more. But don't think
for a minute that this is merely a journal for the verbally immature.
Each subject is treated with full academic honors: examples of usage
are given, defined, and occasionally dissected. What you find here is
a healthy intellectual interest in a cultural phenomenon. Sure to
offend many, THE BEST OF MALEDICTA is both fascinating and hugely

If your local bookstore can't help you, you can order THE BEST OF
MALEDICTA directly from Running Press by sending the list price
($12.95) plus $1.50 postage and handling to: Running Press, 125 South
22nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.

NOTE: The next issue of MALEDICTA will be #11, due to be published in
December 1991. If you'd like a copy, send a check (made out to R.
Aman) for $22 to: Maledicta Press, PO Box 14123, Santa Rosa, CA
95402-6123. There is also a quarterly newsletter available called the
Maledicta Monitor that costs $8 per year.


^                      ESPIONAGE: DOWN & DIRTY
                            by Tony Lesee
       (Loompanics Unlimited, 1991, $17.95, ISBN 1-55950-068-9)
                        review by Howard Frye

     "In the half-light of espionage, hardly anything is as it
     seems. There are secrets, false identities and documents,
     cover stories, lies and evasions, denials, and a pervasive
     atmosphere of conspiracy. This atmosphere is attractive to
     some people, but it's also very dangerous."

In eleven chapters, Tony Lesee takes the reader through the murky
world of the professional spy, not the fantasy playground of James
Bond but the real-life system of manipulation, conflicting loyalties,
and disinformation. The author discusses the goals of spying, how
spies are recruited, how spies infiltrate a foreign country, and how
they are evacuated when "blown". You'll find out about Hollywood's
favorite last-ditch measure, the Lethal Pill, how countries try to
secure their secrets from spies, and what happens to spies who get
caught. Along the way, the author illustrates his points with
real-life case histories, like: the Rosenbergs, the Walker spy ring,
Kim Philby, Richard Miller (the spy in the FBI), the "Falcon" and the
"Snowman", the Pollard Case, and many more that are not as widely
known. At the end of each chapter is a list of Sources that will guide
the interested reader to further spy study.

Real-life spying may be a dirty job, but it's a lot of fun to read
about. I think you'll find that even without the melodramatics of
Hollywood spying, the real story has a fascination all its own. And I
just realized I haven't mentioned one of the best parts of ESPIONAGE:
DOWN & DIRTY, the Glossary at the back. Here's just a sample:

     MOKRIE DELA  Russian for "wet affairs," or "wet work,"
     slang for the dirty tricks department. Also known as the
     "Department of Dirty Water." The British "Special
     Operations Executive" during World War II was such an
     organization. Some of its actions were so dirty that the
     British Government ordered its records burned at the end
     of the war.

You can order ESPIONAGE: DOWN & DIRTY from Loompanics Unlimited by
sending a check for the list price ($17.95) plus $3 shipping and
handling to: Loompanics Unlimited, PO Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA
98368. Along with the book, you'll get a current Loompanics catalog,
full of strange books you'll never find in your local library.


          (Running Press, 1990, $14.95, ISBN 0-89471-752-9)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Protecting your creative endeavors, whether they be books, inventions,
or the company you started yourself, can be a maze of government forms
and bureaucratic rituals. EVERYONE'S GUIDE is exactly what you need to
help you decide if you need legal protection, what kind of protection
you want, and how to go about getting it. Everything is spelled out in
clear easy-to-read text and arranged so that you can pull out just the
information you need with no wasted effort. It not only will guide you
through the copyright, trademark, or patent procedure step-by-step,
but the myriad forms that you may need are all reproduced here in
full, so you can see what you'll need to go through before you even
start. Do you need an attorney? How much will it cost? How long will
it take? What kind of protection does a copyright, a trademark, or a
patent provide? All of these questions, and many, many more, are
AND PATENTS. A very helpful book for creative people.

If your local bookstore can't help you, you can order EVERYONE'S GUIDE
TO COPYRIGHT, TRADEMARKS, AND PATENTS directly from Running Press by
sending the list price ($14.95) plus $1.50 postage and handling to:
Running Press, 125 South 22nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.


^                       SUBURBAN NATURE GUIDE
      How to Discover and Identify the Wildlife in Your Backyard
               by David Mohrhardt & Richard E. Schinkel
         (Stackpole Books, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-8117-3080-8)
                        review by Janet Peters

What a wonderful reference book for the whole family! The SUBURBAN
NATURE GUIDE is a one-volume field guide to that part of nature's
bounty you are most likely to come into contact with in the eastern
U.S. suburbs. Over 350 illustrations help you identify exactly what it
is you've got, and the text entries will tell you about habitat, life
cycles, and other pertinent and interesting information.

The book covers small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, what
the GUIDE calls "creatures in moist places" (what I call "slimy
things"), insects and spiders, trees and shrubs, vines, flowers,
grasses, ferns, mosses, and fungi. An Appendix gives directions for
two bird houses and two bird feeders. The authors not only provide
biological information, but help the average suburban homeowner to
cope with their natural wildlife. In other words, they tell you how to
attract the life forms most people enjoy (like birds and butterflies),
and how to get rid of or repel the more objectionable neighbors (like
snakes and hornets).

The SUBURBAN NATURE GUIDE is a great start for budding naturalists, as
well as being a good book for the whole family, to help them enjoy and
interact with the wildlife around them. Why go to the zoo when you've
got a veritable Noah's Ark right there in your backyard?


^      PROMISES TO KEEP: The Family's Role in Nursing Home Care
                         by Katherine L. Karr
                    (Prometheus Books, July 1991)
                (Hardcover: $19.95 ISBN 0-87975-660-8)
                (Paperback: $13.95 ISBN 0-87975-661-6)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

When a family member must be placed in a nursing home, the entire
family suffers. Facilities are often overcrowded, understaffed, and
the care provided is frequently impersonal. We learn from Ms. Karr,
however, that our elders need not be abandoned to these institutions,
and that a caring family can contribute much to make the experience
more rewarding (or at least less traumatic) for everyone. The author
has distilled personal experience into clear step-by-step instructions
for taking care of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual
needs of nursing home residents.

By augmenting the basic care given at a nursing home, providing
special care needs (such as massage, favorite foods, grooming, etc.),
and staying constantly alert for signs of neglect, family members can
improve the quality of life for their elders at a time when such
attention is most needed. This compassionate and caring volume is
absolutely indispensable to the family and friends of nursing home
residents, and is important reading for volunteers and professionals
who deal with the elderly in their work.


^                        CNN: WAR IN THE GULF
     From the Invasion of Kuwait To the Day of Victory and Beyond
        (Turner Publishing, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-8786-8501-5)
                        review by Howard Frye

Accept no substitutes---for a retrospective photo album and
comprehensive recounting of Desert Storm and all that surrounded it,
CNN: WAR IN THE GULF is unbeatable. The photographs cover the entire
emotional range from breathtaking to humorous, agonizing to
comforting. You'll see photos of all the major players, the armaments,
the soldiers, the hostages, the devastation. You'll see our ships and
planes from the inside and outside. All the drama, the outrage, and
the terrible waste of the War in the Gulf is apparent in the hundreds
of photos covering 240 pages.

The text helps explain what happened and why it happened, in chapters

* A Troubled Middle East
* An Armed Middle East
* The World of Saddam
* Assault on an Arab Neighbor
* To Build a Coalition
* The Air Campaign
* Saddam Strikes Back
* Thunder From the Sea
* Prelude to Battle
* The 100-Hour War
* Shining Victory, Dark Clouds

The network that brought the war into our homes now provides the
ultimate memory book of that conflict. Alongside the photos and the
text are numerous maps and charts illustrating troop movements,
timetables, and various kinds of armaments used in the Gulf. One
full-page chart gives a breakdown of exactly who participated in the
war: what countries sent how many of what kinds of forces. Whether you
approved of U.S. actions or not, whether you are proud of our
accomplishments or are saddened by world hostilities, CNN: WAR IN THE
GULF is a vivid full-color album recording a very significant event in
recent world history. Highly Recommended.

NOTE:  Another notable, and very different retrospective is DESERT
Books, September 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-87975-678-0). As the publisher
says, "Yant pieces together his convincing case from thousands of
reports from dozens of sources that sporadically seeped through the
administration's veil of deceit to reveal that the thunderously
triumphant Desert Storm was actually a deviously devised Desert Mirage
with far more foreboding causes and consequences than what the public
probably could ever imagine."


^                       BROKEN VESSELS: Essays
                            by Andre Dubus
       (David R. Godine, July 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-87923-885-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Co-winner of the fourth annual PEN/Malamud Award for distinguished
short story writers, Andre Dubus provides, in BROKEN VESSELS, ample
evidence that he is just as valuable a voice in the field of personal
essay. He writes with a searing candor that is sometimes funny,
sometimes heartwrenching, always moving. He writes with a simplicity
and grace that allows us to share his experiences without being
consumed, to acknowledge the ways in which we are all different and
yet all the same.

In "Of Robin Hood and Womanhood" Dubus reflects upon gender roles and
examines the parallels between a writer's life and that of a
housewife--both must structure their own time in solitude and must
carry their successes, failures, frustrations, and doubts within
themselves. In other essays he explores the relationship between the
sensible, well-meaning adult and street crime, and contemplates the
trouble that lovers can bring upon themselves with words. In "After
Twenty Years" he considers the futility of fiction:

     "I have always known that writing fiction had little
     effect on the world; that if it did, young men would not
     have gone to war after THE ILIAD."

In "Selling Stories" Dubus discusses the business of being a writer:

     "We short story writers are spared some of the major
     temptations: we don't make money for ourselves or anybody
     else, so the people who make money from writers leave us

You will also discover why Dubus' first sale to PENTHOUSE magazine was
his last. In other essays the writer talks about his deep commitment
to his religion, his life as a man, a husband, and a father, of his
love for the game of baseball, and of his experiences with ghosts.

With equal candor Andre Dubus discusses the accident that put him in a
wheelchair. On a July evening in 1986, Dubus stopped to help a female
motorist who had had an accident. In the course of assisting her and
her brother, Dubus was struck by a car. He nearly died, but after many
operations and several months in a hospital, he only lost one leg from
the knee down and much of the use of the other leg. Two years later he
lost his wife and two small children to divorce. Yet Dubus survived,
physically, mentally, and emotionally, and describes his experiences
with a calmness and warmth that is, by then in the pages of BROKEN
VESSELS, familiar. Indeed, getting to know this extraordinary man, if
only slightly, is the highlight of this volume. Highly recommended.


^                           LIVING WITH IT
             Why You Don't Have To Be Healthy To Be Happy
                            by Suzy Szasz
     (Prometheus Books, August 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-87975-659-4)
                        review by Janet Peters

Author Suzy Szasz found out at the age of 13 that she had Systemic
Lupus Erythmetosus, an autoimune disease in which the antibodies
attack healthy tissue. It is a chronic condition that has defined a
great portion of her life, but as she says in LIVING WITH IT, "Unlike
the hypochondriac who wants to be accepted as a patient, I have always
wanted to be accepted as a non-patient, a person whose primary
identity is something other than being a patient." With openness and
good cheer, Ms. Szasz describes her struggles with Lupus and as a
person distinct from her condition.

Most medical books are about acute diseases and conditions--at the end
the patient either dies or recovers. In either case the patient's
ordeal is over. With a chronic condition, however, the day-to-day
inevitability of the problem becomes the biggest hurdle. Whatever the
successes or failures of today, the battle must be faced again
tomorrow. Without the high drama of an acute disease, the chronic
patient's difficulties are accorded too little attention and respect.
And as medical science extends lifespans and eliminates the fatal
nature of many diseases, it also ensures an ever-expanding list of
chronic diseases and conditions. Ms. Szasz provides, in the pages of
LIVING WITH IT, sympathy, advice, and encouragement to the chronic
patient, their friends, family, and caregivers. Not only is LIVING
WITH IT a valuable health text, but it is also fascinating reading.
Ms. Szasz's voice is so natural, so engagingly candid and humorous,
that reading the first page will take you to the last page without any
effort at all. A wonderful and important book.


^        NIGHTWATCH: An Equinox Guide to Viewing the Universe
                         by Terence Dickinson
           (Camden House, 1989, $24.95, ISBN 0-920656-89-7)
                        review by Carl Ingram

If you were enthralled by the PBS series THE ASTRONOMERS, here's the
perfect book to escort you from abstract interest to the beginning of
a lifelong hobby. Spiral-bound for ease of access, NIGHTWATCH is
heavily illustrated with sky charts and includes more than 70
breathtaking photos, almost all of which were taken by amateur
astronomers. As the author points out, today the amateur astronomer
doesn't have to make their own telescope. Indeed, not only can you buy
advanced technology already built, but even with purchased equipment
astronomy is no more than a medium-priced hobby.

NIGHTWATCH is not just a beginning textbook on astronomy, but is also
a practical guide for the hobbyist. You'll find chapters on
"Stargazing Equipment", "Photographing the Night Sky", and a final
chapter called "Resources" that lists magazines, books, clubs,
conventions, planetariums, observatories, telescope equipment and
accessories companies, etc. By the way, this edition of NIGHTWATCH has
been revised and updated for use through the year 2000.

NIGHTWATCH makes fascinating reading for the science buff, naked-eye
skywatchers, or budding amateur astronomers of any age, level of
skill, and depth of pocketbook. With more than 100,000 in print,
NIGHTWATCH is a deservedly popular and beautiful volume on the
universe we live in. Highly recommended.


                            by Q.L. Pearce
     (Tor Young Adult, September 1991, $4.99, ISBN 0-812-59423-1)
                    commentary from the publisher

With full sky maps of both the northern and southern hemispheres, and
a punch-out Star Wheel in the back of the book, THE STARGAZER'S GUIDE
TO THE GALAXY is fun, entertaining, and educational. Divided by
season, the sections open with a two-page map. Each constellation is
given its own page, including a star map of the individual
constellation, pertinent science facts, and the illustrated myth or
legend associated with the constellation.

An introduction (actually a short astronomy primer) covers important
topics ranging from what stars are made of, to the difference between
comets and shooting stars, to why the night sky looks different at
different times of the year, to what scientists are looking for in
space. Both John Hodge, Director for the Santa Monica College
Planetarium, and Alan Harris, Supervisor of the Earth and Planetary
Physics Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, have contributed
editorially to this book.


^                       THE SNACK BAR GOURMET
                Versatile Treats for People on the Go
                    by Marsha Eines & Elliott Katz
         (Great North Books, 1989, $6.95, ISBN 0-920361-02-1)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

First off, let me confess that I'm a snack bar type person--I blame it
on the manufacturers. They make these great-tasting servings of
edibles and put them in ready-to-go packages and they're irresistible.
For lunch I can just grab a bar or two, a cold bottle of soda, and
head back to the word processor. So what if the bars are loaded with
sugar, sodium, and preservatives? The price of convenience, right?

Wrong. THE SNACK BAR GOURMET has over 70 pages of snack bars for any
taste. They're divided into: Fruit and Nut Bars, Chocolate and Carob,
Fruit Leathers, Breakfast and Anytime Bars, Fudge Bars, Rice Crisps
and Nut Brittles, and Traditional Baked Bars. Not all recipes are low
in calories, but that's the great thing about making these bars
yourself: You get to pick what goes in them. Put more or less sugar,
leave out the raisins if you'd rather, add a little coconut if you're
that kind, etc. They're easy to make and you can customize them for
your particular needs and tastes. I personally liked Autumn Apple
Cinnamon Granola Bars and Anything-But-Ordinary Granola Bars, and I've
already made three batches of Banana Peanut Butter Delights. The Apple
Raisin Oat Comforts, Classic Date Bars, and Tahini Oasis Bars were
also very good. Some are crumbly and better for eating at some kind of
table, but others are perfect to stuff in a pocket as you rush out the
door. A great way to get some more fruit in your diet, or to add fiber
(fiber and snack bars seem to go together). Great food for informal

                          By Arnold R. Brown
     (Rutledge Hill, August 4, 19991, $18.95, ISBN 1-55853-099-1)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Some people love to read about Jack the Ripper. Others are fascinated
by the Kennedy assassinations. Still others can't quite stop rehashing
the final days of Marilyn Monroe. For me the most tantalizing crime
has always been the Borden murders. On August 4, 1892 someone hacked
up Abby Borden, and about two hours later did the same to her husband
Andrew Borden. The only known occupants in the house during the time
period in question were daughter Lizzie and the maid Bridget. As most
people know, Lizzie was tried for the murders and found innocent. Was
she? If Lizzie WAS innocent, who else could have done the murders? If
she wasn't, how could someone get away with such a strategically
difficult and messy pair of murders and yet be as dull-witted as
Lizzie appears to be in the transcript of her inquest testimony? It's
a provocative situation.

As we all know, books about very famous crimes tend to be minor
variations on the same old theme--with so many interested people over
the years, original ideas are tough to come up with. Arnold Brown's
LIZZIE BORDEN is different. Very different. He accidentally came
across new evidence that gives a whole new slant to the story, and
what a doozy it is. I don't want to spoil your fun in reading the book
by giving away Arnold Brown's theory, but here are a few interesting

* Remember that note that Lizzie says Abby received during the morning
hours? The one that said a friend was sick and that Abby was going out
to stay with them? Only Lizzie mentioned the note, and almost
everyone, even Lizzie-defenders, have assumed it was a figment of
Lizzie's weird imagination. Arnold Brown says the note was real.

* What was John Morse doing that day, and why did he return to the
Borden house? Everyone has assumed that he was expected for lunch, but
was he? And if not, why DID he return?

* Why did Dr. Bowen leave the Borden house so abruptly after declaring
Andrew Borden dead? It is usually assumed that he left to send a
telegram to Lizzie's sister Emma, at Lizzie's request, but the
doctor's testimony shows that Lizzie made the request AS HE WAS
LEAVING. Why was he leaving so quickly? And why did it take so long to
send a telegram?

Lizzie Borden fans will love Arnold Brown's new book as the first
fresh look at their favorite case. True Crime fans will enjoy LIZZIE
BORDEN for the new evidence and the careful, step-by-step
reconstruction of the crime and analysis of ALL available testimony
(the most interesting of which has only recently been released). And
mystery fans will enjoy the way Mr. Brown tells the tale, with the
pacing and the drama of the best detective stories. The author keeps
the reader on the edge of their seat until the final pages as he drops
hints and builds the tension. An extraordinary new look at one of
America's most interesting crimes. LIZZIE BORDEN: THE LEGEND, THE
TRUTH, THE FINAL CHAPTER is an exciting and thought-provoking book.


^                         PAPIER-MACHE TODAY
                           by Sheila McGraw
          (Firefly Books, 1990, $19.95, ISBN 0-920668-85-2)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

Papier-mache is nearly a perfect home craft: it's cheap to do, it
recycles common materials, it doesn't require extensive artistic skill
or physical dexterity, and it is useful for making either practical
household articles or beautiful works of art. On top of all that,
papier-mache is supremely creative. You take cheap and unsightly
materials and transform them into colorful pieces to adorn home and
office. With newspapers, paste, and paint, you can create a rainbow of
items both serious and silly.

Sheila McGraw's PAPIER-MACHE TODAY is a superb introduction to this
wonderful hobby. Nothing is assumed. First she takes you through all
the materials and equipment you need or might want. She discusses what
you'll need for a work space and how much cleanup will be required.
Next she discusses basic papier-mache technique: getting a form,
making a paste, applying layers of newspaper to your form, drying,
etc. Photographs illustrate each procedure.

The majority of the book is devoted to specific projects, which are
divided into 3 categories: animals, monsters, and home decor. In each
category there is a project suitable for beginners as well as more
advanced projects. (One project is called Meatloaf Cat, and another is
a lifesize statue of a little girl.) The last section of the book
discusses Finishing, where you can correct minor flaws and add color
and other realistic details. Once you've graduated from Sheila
McGraw's PAPIER-MACHE TODAY, you're ready to make anything you can
imagine. PAPIER-MACHE TODAY is a first-rate introduction to a
first-rate craft.

                        edited by Sandra Martz
                      (Papier-Mache, July 1991)
                  Hardcover:  $16 ISBN 0-918949-15-7
                  Paperback:  $10 ISBN 0-918949-16-5
                        review by Janet Peters

An important, moving, and life-affirming book, WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN
I SHALL WEAR PURPLE is a collection of poetry, prose, and photographs
on the subject of old age. Specifically a woman's old age. The various
works speak about dignity, about respect, and about caring. About
saying goodbye to old friends and hello to new ones. About joys and
passions. About NOT growing old gracefully, if that's what suits you.
Over 60 contributors present a kaleidoscopic vision of the
elderly--the disappointments, satisfactions, and the many
little-talked-about advantages of being old.

Award for Design and Content as well as the American Booksellers' Book
of the Year Honors Award. It has also given Papier-Mache Press the
push they needed to evolve from a nights-and-weekends labor of love to
a full-time publisher who now have an entire line of books. WHEN I AM
AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE is an illuminating, encouraging,
radiant book. A book to enjoy, share with family and friends, and give
as gifts. (Don't miss the wonderful fabric and thread collage by
Deidre Scherer, "Laughing Rose", on the cover.) For the curious: the
title comes from a poem (included in the collection) by British poet
Jenny Joseph. Editor Sandra Martz has another collection due next
DAISIES. If your bookseller can't help you get WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN
I SHALL WEAR PURPLE, just send the list price (above) plus $1.50/$3
(3rd class/1st class) to: Papier-Mache, 795 Via Manzana, Watsonville,
CA 95076.

^       PRESCRIPTION: MEDICIDE---The Goodness of Planned Death
                       by Jack Kevorkian, M.D.
    (Prometheus Books, September 1991, $23.95, ISBN 0-87975-677-2)
                     commentary by the publisher

Iconoclast Dr. Jack Kevorkian, inventor of the controversial "suicide
machine", outlines his startling views on planned death and its
potential impact on organ harvesting and medical experimentation.

Kevorkian made headlines in June of 1990 when he aided Janet Adkins, a
victim of rapidly degenerating Alzheimer's disease, in performing the
first publicly acknowledged physician-assisted suicide--what he terms
MEDICIDE. Dubbed the "suicide Doctor", he is a man to whom the highest
ethical principle is individual self-determination. In this book, he
takes on the medical establishment, politicians, and all those who
actively resist a rational and comprehensive program of dignified,
humane, and beneficial planned death.

Kevorkian's discussion begins with a graphic commentary on current
methods of judicial execution. He contends that allowing condemned
criminals to choose death by irreversible general anesthesia with the
option of organ donation and/or human experimentation is far more
humane than any existing form of execution. The thousands who die each
year because suitable organs are unavailable underscore the senseless
waste of condemned prisoners, many of whom would gladly donate organs
or permit experiments on their person were it not for timid state
legislatures and the "stone-age ethics of space-age medicine".

Kevorkian recalls how he came upon the concept of "medicide" and his
30-year campaign for its implementation; how his proposal almost came
to fruition, in Sacramento, only to be defeated by legislative
wrangling; and discloses his informal survey of death row inmates to
determine their level of support. He also explains how and why he came
to devise the suicide machine (which he named the "Mercitron"),
describes several moving experiences with the first patients who
requested use of it, and gives an account of the Adkins case.

Kevorkian considers the loss of life a negative under all
circumstances; he explains why the use of his suicide machine lightens
the moral burden on doctors and emphasizes the freedom of the
individual. He asserts that such procedures represent the first step
toward a positive ethical stance by setting the stage for a new
specialty, "obitiatry", which would offer concrete medical options
under strictly controlled conditions, thereby allowing individuals to
determine the real value of personal death. He concludes with
reflections how obitiatry can help medical science unlock the secrets
of life and death.

^                       A NOEL PERRIN SAMPLER
                            by Noel Perrin
 (Univ. Press of New England, June 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-87451-551-3)
                        review by Howard Frye

     "If present trends continue, the time is clearly coming
     when, however much a paradise it may be for machines, a
     library will seem purgatorial to most human beings. They
     will enter what was once a splendid, solemn, and silent
     house of books. They will be surrounded at once by the
     whine and chatter and hum of countless machines."

Reading essays is like having a conversation with the author. Reading
really good essays, like those in A NOEL PERRIN SAMPLER, is like
having a conversation with a very interesting person who expresses
himself with brevity and style. The pieces included in this SAMPLER
center on the subjects of normal human conversation: government,
marriage, literary research, New York City, professional pretensions,
libraries, university life. With a penetrating eye Perrin examines the
bits and pieces of our lives, sometimes reacting with wonderment,
sometimes confusion, sometimes a smile, sometimes with a wry shrug of
the shoulders, but always with a great enjoyment of the chaotic circus
that people create around themselves.

Noel Perrin is a native New Yorker and was once a research student at
Trinity Hall, Cambridge, England. Since 1959 he has taught English at
Dartmouth College while learning and writing about the ways of rural
New England from his home in Thetford Center, Vermont. His popular
articles and reviews have appeared in publications as diverse as
PERSON RURAL (1978) and its two sequel volumes, GIVING UP THE GUN:
MAKER (1972). A NOEL PERRIN SAMPLER is charming, amply deserving its
niche on my shelf next to E.B. White.


^                      WAITING FOR THE WEEKEND
                         by Witold Rybczynski
          (Viking, August 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-670-83001-1)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

     "There are now tens of millions of people who cannot--or
     do not--read books. The large number of books published
     each year (more than fifty thousand titles in the United
     States alone) camouflages the fact that book buyers are an
     extremely small group, perhaps as small as ten percent of
     the total population."

     "The number of people who read for pleasure is a good
     indicator of leisure, since reading requires the
     availability of not only money but, more important, time."

     "There is no more leisurely occupation than reading a
     novel. It requires calm surroundings, a comfortable chair,
     and long periods of uninterrupted time."

     "Solitary reading is the ideal vehicle for individual
     leisure. The reader can do something--or nothing. He can
     pick up one book or another. He sets the pace, reading
     uninterruptedly or leafing through a book at random,
     letting his imagination free to make what connections it

Do you live for the weekend? Do you mark the time from Monday through
Friday by its relative position to the weekend? What role does leisure
time play in your life? Is your leisure time recuperative or
exhausting? Do you look at your life as your leisure time interrupted
by tiresome but necessary workdays, or as your career with occasional
interruptions of leisure? What do you do with your weekends? Is it the
same thing your parents did? If you could restructure your time, how
would you lay out work periods and leisure time? Would you keep the
basic rhythm of 5-and-2?

If these questions catch your fancy, you will enjoy Witold
Rybczynski's WAITING FOR THE WEEKEND. In it he traces the origins of
our planetary week (named for the 7 known planets, the week was the
one period of time not based on natural cycles), the origins of the
beloved "weekend", how the weekend became Saturday and Sunday, and the
mass of conflicting attitudes people have about work vs. leisure.
Somehow, Mr. Rybczynski has a way of seeing these fascinating,
transparent subjects that are such an intimate part of our lives and
yet are normally ignored. A few years ago he wrote a book about the
history of the idea of "home" called, ingenuously, HOME. Both HOME and
WAITING FOR THE WEEKEND are engrossing, thought-provoking, and
illuminating. These aren't books you SHOULD read, they're books you
treat yourself to when you've been extra good. Recommended.


^                         RIDDLE OF THE ROCK
               The Only Successful Escape From Alcatraz
                            by Don DeNevi
     (Prometheus Books, August 1991, $24.95, ISBN 0-87975-647-0)
                    commentary from the publisher

Did the infamous "Tablespoon Trio" actually get away from Alcatraz?
RIDDLE OF THE ROCK solves one of America's most tantalizing mysteries
with startling new information and evidence about the escape of the

Only the most incorrigible prisoners were sent to the twelve-acre
"Rock" which lay stark and alone in the formidable San Francisco Bay.
However escape-proof Alcatraz might have been, inmates never stopped
plotting for freedom. The record: seven attempted breaks--and seven
complete failures. But on the windy night of June 11, 1962, John W.
Anglin, Clarence R. Anglin, and Frank L. Morris, who had spent almost
a year digging out of their concrete cells, slipped into the frigid
waters of the Bay and disappeared. If the escape was successful, and
if they are alive today, John would be 59, Clarence 58, and Frank 63.
(RIDDLE OF THE ROCK includes a photo insert with
never-before-published photographs and composite sketches of what the
men would look like now.)

Don DeNevi has been researching Alcatraz prison lore and the 1962
escape for two decades. After he made an appearance on the TV program
"Unsolved Mysteries" in February 1989, the Northern California U.S.
Marshall's Office reopened the case. Included in the book are
extensive interviews with many former inmates of Alcatraz, including
the late Clarence "Joe" Carnes, who was to have been the fourth man in
the escape party but decided at the last minute to opt for parole.
Carnes related eyewitness details of the escape to DeNevi in the late
1970s; he had received word from a reliable source that the trio
survived. DeNevi also obtained the previously unpublished 1962 FBI
manhunt report and details of the ensuing 29-year search for the men
by various branches of the U.S. Justice Department.

Don DeNevi teaches both history and psychology at the College of
Alameda, California; he is the author of more than 30 books, and the
into a major TV movie.


                 An Introduction to Audiodescription
    (American Foundation for the Blind, $4.95, ISBN 0-89128-212-2)
                    commentary from the publisher

Have you ever noticed how many visual images fill the average
television show, theatrical production, and film without the benefit
of dialogue or descriptive information? Millions of blind and visually
impaired persons do and find the viewing experience frustrating when
they have to ask others to explain all the key nonverbal cues and
details. Moreover, they often feel excluded from conversations with
family, friends, and coworkers when they talk about the latest music
video on MTV, the newest Broadway play, or the most recent adventure
movie at the box office.

the American Foundation for the Blind, describes an innovative service
called audiodescription which can change all that and revolutionize
the way blind and visually impaired persons experience television,
films, theatrical productions, and exhibits.

Through a variety of technologies, audiodescription enables blind and
visually impaired persons to hear--live and prerecorded--verbal
descriptions of all the key visual aspects of a production, including
sets, scene changes, actions, body language, and costumes; in short,
all the information that is critical to understanding the plot, mood,
style, and theme of a story. The descriptions are heard only when
there are lapses in the regular dialogue or audio. Descriptions might
include, for example, the point at which the couple is seen walking
hand-in-hand into the sunset, the villain is stalking his victim, or
the wild car chase is underway, all standard fare in movies and TV.

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS features a historical overview of
the movement for audiodescription, who is providing the service, and
why blind and visually impaired persons and their families want it. It
also includes a complete listing of the television stations, museums,
and theaters that now make audiodescription available throughout the
country as well as suggestions for advocating for the service.

"In our culture, there is a growing shift to visual and graphic
presentation of all kinds of educational, vocational, and recreational
information," said AFB President and Executive Director Carl R.
Augusto. "Audiodescribed television programs, films, plays, and
exhibits will provide millions of blind and visually impaired persons
with equal access to this information, as well as enable them to
interact in a more meaningful way in all kinds of social, work, and
academic settings. For blind children and adults who have never seen,
described visual mediums also offer such benefits as a better
understanding of the physical environment, movements, facial
expressions, and body language. Finally, audiodescription enables
blind and visually impaired persons to achieve literacy in the
broadest meaning of the word."

large print and on audiocassette tape for $4.95, plus $3.00 shipping
and handling. You may send your order to American Foundation for the
Blind, Publications and Information Services Department, 15 West 16th
Street, New York, NY 10011.

The American Foundation for the Blind is a national nonprofit
organization based in New York City with regional offices in Atlanta,
Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC. AFB's
mission is to enable persons who are blind and visually impaired to
achieve equality of access and opportunity that will ensure freedom of
choice in their lives. AFB accomplishes this mission by taking a
national leadership role in the development and implementation of
public policy and legislation, informational and educational programs,
diversified products, and quality services.


         Games, Toys & Hobbies to Keep Your Cat's Mind Active
            by Helen Levchuk, illustrated by John Bianchi
         (Alaska Northwest, 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-88240-415-6)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

If your cat just lays around waiting for mealtime, get yourself a copy
of DORIS DINGLE'S CRAFTY CAT ACTIVITY BOOK and let the games begin.
Divided into three sections--Games, Hobbies, and Toys--there is
something to capture the imagination of both human and feline on every
page. Maybe you need to start off with a little physical activity to
get the blood circulating: How about a rousing game of Bathtub Jai
Alai? Or maybe you and your cat are more the Cork-on-a-Rope type. Why
not try starting (and ending) the day with a violent game of Pounce
among the bedsheets? In the Hobbies section you'll discover how to
enhance, and possibly participate in, your cat's favorite activities.
Whether it be TV-Watching, Reading the Newspaper, enjoying your cat's
natural acquisitive tendencies, or classic Birdwatching, DORIS DINGLE
has suggestions for increasing the pleasure potential all around. And
what modern cat is complete without a full toybox? Luckily, Kitty's
toys are much cheaper than ours, but they're just as much fun.
Complete directions are given for making every toy: a couple require
knitting, some require a bit of construction, some require only a bit
of paper and a few seconds worth of crumpling. (One of the most
ingenious toys is a paper-bag Pinata with homemade catnip toys
inside.) DORIS DINGLE also discusses Catnip, with hints for growing it
yourself as well as using it in teas or toys.

Pervading every page of DORIS DINGLE'S CRAFTY CAT ACTIVITY BOOK is a
caring and nurturing attitude toward our feline companions that not
only makes this book irresistible to cat lovers, but also an excellent
introduction to cat-human relations for young people living with their
very first pet. And John Bianchi's illustrations are a delight,
capturing the tone of the text beautifully. This is easily the best
book of the year for cat people everywhere. If you have trouble
publishers at: Alaska Northwest Books, PO Box 3007, Bothell, WA
98041-3007, or get your credit card and call 1-800-343-4567.


^    THE HUNDREDTH MONKEY: And Other Paradigms of the Paranormal
                   A SKEPTICAL INQUIRER Collection
                      edited by Kendrick Frazier
    (Prometheus Books, September 1991, $17.95, ISBN 0-87975-655-1)
                    commentary from the publisher

This newest collection of essays and articles from the SKEPTICAL
INQUIRER addresses engrossing and important issues at the intersection
of science and popular belief.

THE HUNDREDTH MONKEY takes its title from philosopher Ron Amundson's
devastating expose of the "Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon", a claim about
collective consciousness. Fifty-eight essays by forty-eight authors,
including Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Martin Gardner, Ray Hyman, Paul
Kurtz, and James Randi, examine aspects of paranormal and
fringe-science beliefs from an authoritative, scientific point of
view. The penetrating and entertaining essays, many with timely
updates, are grouped into eleven categories: Understanding Human Need,
Encouraging Critical Thinking, Evaluating the Anomalous Experience,
Examining Popular Claims, Investigating Psychic Claims, Assessing the
New Age, Medical Controversies, Astrology, Crashed Saucer Claims,
Considering Parapsychology and Controversies Within Science.
Scientists and scholars discuss the burden of skepticism and the
delicate balance between a creative openness to new ideas and the
relentless scrutiny of new claims. A classic sourcebook for
scientifically responsible explanations of controversies, hoaxes,
bizarre mysteries, and popular cultural myths.



^                      TAO TE CHING by Lao Tsu
               translated by Gia-fu Feng & Jane English
                       read by Jacob Needleman
         (Audio Literature, 1990, $15.95, ISBN 0-944993-24-9)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

The TAO TE CHING is one of the world's classic sacred texts,
attributed to Lao Tsu and dating from the 6th century to the 3rd
century BC. This Chinese text of the Taoist religion/philosophy is a
brief work of 81 paragraphs of both verse and prose, advocating the
following of the TAO (most often translated as the "Way"). The text is
divided into two parts: "Concerning TAO" and "Concerning TE" (most
often translated as "Concerning the Way" and "Concerning Virtue").

The Audio Literature package consists of two cassette tapes: one
containing the entire text of the TAO TE CHING as translated by Gia-fu
Feng and Jane English, the second containing Dr. Jacob Needleman's
helpful and fascinating commentary on the text. His deep, calm voice
allows the listener to follow the highly concentrated material without
strain, and his insights into the meaning of the TAO and how the
modern student might best find its path are very rewarding. These are
both excellent tapes to stick in your Walkman for long solitary walks.

^                     ZEN MIND, BEGINNER'S MIND
                       by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi
                         read by Peter Coyote
         (Audio Literature, 1988, $15.95, ISBN 0-944993-07-9)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

By "beginner's mind", the author is referring to that state of humble
receptivity that the novice brings to a new endeavor, a state that is
so often lost as time passes. Soon the student becomes more focused on
measuring progress and dividing knowledge into what has been mastered
and what hasn't. ZEN MIND, BEGINNER'S MIND is a practical introduction
to Zen Buddhism and its practice. The Audio Literature package is a
2-tape, 3-hour abridgement of the original 1970 text.

Beginning with the basics that become the whole, the author discusses
how to sit, how to stand, and how to be present when you do so. The
words are friendly and accessible, Peter Coyote's narration is warm
and comforting. A very fine rendition of a wonderful book that will
both introduce you to the practice of Zen and help you regain the
center when you find yourself drifting.

NOTE:  Audio Literature has other spiritual classics on cassette tape,
like: THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN by Carlos Castaneda, THE
Epes Brown, THE DHAMMAPADA, etc. Order the above Audio Literature
tapes and get a complete list of their offerings by writing to: Audio
Literature Inc., 325 Corey Way, Suite 112, South San Francisco, CA


^                      DOS 5 INSTANT REFERENCE
                         by Robert M. Thomas
               (Sybex, 1991, $9.95, ISBN 0-89588-804-1)
                        review by Carl Ingram

This affordable little volume packs a lot of easily-accessed
information in its 300 pages. The inside covers give you DOS commands
sorted by function, Part 1 is "General Rules for Using DOS", Part 2 is
an alphabetically-arranged reference for using the DOS commands, Part
3 covers the DOS shell, Appendix A discusses batch files, Appendix B
is an alphabetically-arranged reference for the CONFIG.SYS commands,
Appendix C talks about standard MS-DOS device drivers, and Appendix D
provides explanations of the DOS error messages. Just in case you can
think of some piece of DOS that isn't easily flipped to with this
organization, there is an Index in the back.

Each DOS command has a variety of large symbols that give you some
useful instant information. These symbols will tell you if the command
is an "internal" or "external" command (if you don't know what that
means, DOS 5 INSTANT REFERENCE explains), what version of DOS the
command is valid in (for instance 3.0+ means that the command works in
DOS 3.0 and all later versions), whether or not the command is a TSR
(also explained), and a special "bullet" flag is added whenever the
command is potentially dangerous (overwrites or erases files). DOS 5
INSTANT REFERENCE is a very handy book for day-to-day use with your
MS-DOS computer.


^                          MASTERING DOS 5
                           by Judd Robbins
              (Sybex, 1991, $27.95, ISBN 0-89588-767-3)
                        review by Carl Ingram

MASTERING DOS 5 represents the other end of the spectrum from Sybex's
MASTERING DOS 5 is comprehensive; where the INSTANT REFERENCE is
designed for quick look-ups, MASTERING DOS 5 is for extended studying.
Over 800 pages of illustrated text take the interested computer user
through the vagaries of the DOS Shell, EDIT, QBASIC, macros, memory
management, customizing DOS 5, organizing your hard disk, and
everything else you can do with DOS 5. A particularly wonderful
section covers the entire world of batch files, possibly the most
important convenience tool available on your MS-DOS computer, and
often overlooked by otherwise knowledgeable users.

While opening chapters are aimed at computer novices, MASTERING DOS 5
is for the computer user who will not be content with just the basics
but who has set their sights on becoming a true Power User. Indeed,
with the convenient arrangement of MASTERING DOS 5, the helpful
illustrations, and comprehensive Index, you can ignore your DOS 5
manuals and get everything you need to know right here. There are
removable keyboard templates and a Quick Reference Card for DOS, DOS
Shell, QBASIC, and EDIT printed on heavy stock in the back.


^                          DOS 5.0 AT WORK
                           by Mary Campbell
       (Addison-Wesley, June 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-201-57716-X)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Designed for the beginning or intermediate user, DOS 5.0 AT WORK is
part of Addison-Wesley's AT WORK series, with special features such
as: At Work sidebars that illustrate actual DOS 5.0 uses in the real
business world, adhesive tabs that let you mark your most-used
sections of the book, chapter objectives and summaries that help the
user focus on the important points and master each subject. In
addition, the book is laid out to be used easily as a reference volume
to look up specific questions or as a textbook to be read cover to
cover by a DOS novice. Useful illustrations, logical organization of
material, and clearly identified subsections contribute to make DOS
5.0 AT WORK a success as both reference volume and textbook.

From the very first pages of DOS 5.0 AT WORK, in which beginners will
find the DOS basics that everyone else just assumes you know, through
a clear discussion of the DOS commands, all the way to showing you how
to customize DOS for your particular system and how to create
sophisticated batch files to make your computer life easier, this is a
very helpful book. In the appendices at the back you will find quick
references guides to error messages, DOS commands, ASCII codes, and a
"Key Summary" to help you find the special-use keys of DOS 5.0. By
including the necessary but often overlooked beginner material, DOS
5.0 AT WORK becomes a very valuable addition to the office computer

NOTE ABOUT PAGE NUMBERS:  As a dedicated user of page numbers, I have
been disturbed lately by the lack of respect accorded these helpful
little digits, particularly in works of nonfiction. A cookbook that I
plucked off a shelf recently, a very thick and difficult to wield
cookbook, had the page numbers printed on the inside corners of each
page and were nearly impossible to see without holding the book down
with both hands and forcing the pages apart. You'd think it cost extra
money to put page numbers in a sensible place. I bring this subject up
because of the page numbering in DOS 5.0 AT WORK, which is the very
finest I've ever seen. All page numbers are large white number printed
in a dark green rectangle and are placed at the outermost edge of each
page. You can thumb through the book to the page you want with an
absolute minimum of effort. Now why can't EVERY book do this?


^                     THE DOS 5 USER'S HANDBOOK
                 by Gary Masters & Richard Allen King
              (Sybex, 1991, $21.95, ISBN 0-89588-777-0)
                        review by Howard Frye

THE DOS 5 USER'S HANDBOOK is divided into two parts. Part I is fairly
standard textbook-like guide to getting the most out of DOS 5. Novices
can study it from beginning to end, and more experienced users can
simply read the chapters of particular interest. The chapters of Part
I are laid out this way:

1. Brave New DOS (what's so hot about DOS 5)
2. Memory Unbound (all about memory: low, high, expanded, extended)
3. Installing DOS 5
4. Graphical DOS
5. EDIT--The Full-Screen DOS Editor
6. The New DOS Shell and Task Swapper
7. Command-Line Editor, Macros, and Online Help
8. Disk and File Recovery Tools
9. New DOS 5 Commands
10. Enhanced Commands
11. QBASIC--The Quick BASIC Interpreter

As you can see, this is a good general introduction to DOS, all
handled in about 250 pages. Part II, though, is where THE DOS 5 USER'S
HANDBOOK really shines: it's a DOS 5 Reference Guide, and it's great.
As you probably know, DOS reference guides are alphabetical listings
of the DOS commands with descriptions of what the command does and how
to use it. Well, that's where Part II starts, but it's not where it

To begin with, you get a table of the DOS 5 commands, arranged into
Essential DOS Commands, Useful DOS Commands, and Specialized DOS
Commands. This gives the novice at least somewhere to start, a way to
get a handle on what is otherwise a very large and messy subject. In
the reference guide, commands have been given "type" designations:
internal, external, batch, and configuration. You also are told what
version of DOS the command first showed up in, in case you have
installations using an earlier version. If you're already familiar
with DOS and just want to know what's different about version 5, check
the "DOS 5 Notes" and you'll get only what you want to know. Also, one
of my favorite ideas is the "Related Commands" section of a command's
coverage. Often I can think of one command that should do what I want,
but who knows if it's the ONLY applicable command, and maybe it's not
the best. With "Related Commands", I can quickly assure myself that
I've covered the available commands and I can pick the best and most
efficient for my purposes. Finally, Part II has sections called "In
Depth" where you get a small article about the command along with a
few practical examples. This is what you read when you need more
information or a bit more help putting the command into use.

With so much information given for each command, and yet all of the
information organized into specific sections, you can get exactly the
kind of information and the depth of information that you need, and
you can get it quickly and without fussing with indexes and page
numbers. THE DOS 5 USER'S HANDBOOK is a serious contender in the DOS
textbook/reference book class, and also comes with Sybex's set of DOS
5 templates and quick guides printed on heavy paper, meant to be
removed and put at your workstation. A very fine book.

NOTE:  Don't see the Sybex title you need here in RFP? No problem--get
your own copy of the complete Sybex catalog of publications, write to:
SYBEX, Inc., 2021 Challenger Drive, Alameda, CA 94501.


^                         DOS 5 DEMYSTIFIED
                          by James S. Forney
       (Tab Books/Windcrest, 1991, $24.95, ISBN 0-8306-1047-2)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Anyone who was ever really seriously interested in computers probably
has a few Tab Books on their shelf. I know I do. Not the prettiest
books on the block, but they were always the very best for people who
really CARED about their machinery. They published books for hackers
(an honorable term in yesteryear), computer users who had a burning
desire to know not just how things worked, but why. People who wanted
to TINKER with their machines, not just push buttons.

Well, Tab Books are a whole lot prettier nowadays, but their editorial
policies seem to be exactly the same. DOS 5 DEMYSTIFIED is the DOS
guide as literature. James Forney obviously loves to tinker with his
computer, has amassed a vast warehouse of knowledge about DOS, and is
ready to share it with like-minded computer users. The prose is more
informal, conversational than the other DOS manuals I've seen.
Subjects are covered in more depth and there are more examples and
hands-on experiments given, because Forney is talking to people who
are ready to read a DOS book for fun. People who think working out a
new macro to make a computer chore more efficient is a good way to
spend their lunch hour. It doesn't matter if you're getting paid for
it or not, Forney knows computers represent the most enjoyable
intellectual challenge in the world. If you like computers and want to
know more about DOS, not just the hows but the WHYs, DOS 5 DEMYSTIFIED
is the book for you.

(If your local bookstore can't help you find DOS 5 DEMYSTIFIED, write
to: Tab Books, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294-0850.)


^                         THE ABC'S OF DOS 5
                          by Alan R. Miller
              (Sybex, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-89588-770-3)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Here is the best book we've seen for the novice who is just starting
out with both computer operating systems in general and Microsoft's
DOS 5 in particular. Chapter 1 begins with "A Brief Survey of Your
Computer", discussing the system unit, keyboard, mouse, printer,
disks, etc. Chapter 2 helps you turn on your computer and use a few
basic DOS commands. Chapter 3 explores the DOS shell that comes with
DOS 5, with lots of illustrations of exactly what your screen will
look like (so you'll know immediately when you've taken a wrong turn).
Chapter 4 will help you figure out directories and files, and Chapter
5 will help you become proficient at file copying. Chapter 6 covers
some of the most useful DOS programs that allow you to: format a disk,
check for disk space and errors, compare two files, sort a text file,
recover an accidentally deleted file, etc. Chapter 7 will show you how
to use EDIT, the simple text editor that comes with DOS 5, and Chapter
8 provides an alphabetically-arranged summary of the DOS 5 commands
and programs.

The Appendices include: Hints for Beginners (practical, real-world
advice for using your computer), The DOS Control Characters, The ASCII
Characters and the Extended ASCII Characters, Preparing for the Worst
(an unreadable hard disk), Restarting a Hard Disk (more difficult than
it sounds), and Upgrading Your Computer to DOS 5. THE ABC'S OF DOS 5
is a nicely-arranged primer for the new computer user, with helpful
illustrations and information not normally included in the more
technical computer manuals. The book also contains a removable Quick
Reference Card on heavy stock, and two function key templates (one for
the across-the-top key layout, one for the down-the-left layout).


                           by Richard Maran
          (maranGraphics, 1991, $14.95, ISBN 0-9694290-4-5)
                        review by Carl Ingram

It's difficult to imagine an easier to use reference book than Richard
minimum of text and the author has used every possible device to make
a point clearly and with maximum brevity. For one thing, you don't
need to waste valuable time looking at the Table of Contents--all you
have to do is thumb through the book, watch the edge of the pages and
you'll see a boxed and colored representation of that section of the
book with the current chapter highlighted. Along the top of the pages
is a layout of the current chapter, with the particular subsection
highlighted. The pages of information themselves are made up mostly of
pictures of what the computer screen looks like during each step of a
particular chore. Important sections are indicated with red lines and
boxes, which are labeled and connected to the numbered step that they
illustrate. Terms are never simply defined when they can be
graphically represented.

The book is divided into two main sections: Using the Command Prompt,
and Using the MS-DOS Shell. This makes sense, as these are the two
ways in which the computer user can access DOS. Richard Maran always
presents information from the perspective of the user, never from that
of the hardware or software. In this way, he provides a reference book
that is unique as far as I know: a full-featured DOS 5 reference guide
for non-computer people. If you need a DOS 5 manual that will answer
your beginner-to-intermediate questions and answer them FAST, Richard
Maran's book is definitely the one to get.

NOTE: If your local bookstore doesn't have Richard Maran's SIMPLIFIED
USER GUIDE FOR MICROSOFT MS-DOS 5.0, it may help them to know that the
distributor for maranGraphics books is Firefly Books Ltd., 250 Sparks
Avenue, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada M2H 2S4. If you'd like to contact
the publisher yourself, write to: maranGraphics Inc., 5755 Coopers
Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L4Z 1R9.


^                       THE LITTLE DOS 5 BOOK
                       by Kay Yarborough Nelson
      (Peachpit Press, August 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-938151-43-6)
                        review by Howard Frye

Here is the DOS book computer novices have been searching for--just
about everything you really need to know about DOS and your computer,
conveniently arranged and clearly explained, in under 150 pages. The
first chapter starts out with the basics that nobody ever bothers to
tell the uninitiated, stuff like: What's a command line? Where's the
power switch? What's the difference between a "cursor" and a "prompt"?
What is the "Enter key" and where is it? Why does everybody seem to
think we're all BORN knowing these things?

Chapter 2 gives you a guided tour of the DOS Shell which THE LITTLE
DOS 5 BOOK assumes that any novice will have the good sense to use.
You'll meet the Menu Bar, Dialog Boxes, the Directory Tree, Icons, and
you'll learn how to use these arcane features with your mouse (that
little box with buttons that you see people sliding all around their
desk). Further chapters explain things like: how to enter commands,
Files, Directories and Subdirectories, Disks, Programs, Backups,
Printing, AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS, and Chapter 11 is a complete
alphabetical rundown on DOS 5 commands. I particularly like the "Tips"
that are printed in the margins--almost all of them are small tricks
that the computer cognoscenti always know and that reference books and
how-to books never bother to explain. THE LITTLE DOS 5 BOOK should be
at every workstation that serves computer novices.

NOTE:  If your local bookstore can't help you get THE LITTLE DOS 5
BOOK, you can contact the publisher at: Peachpit Press, 2414 Sixth
Street, Berkeley, CA 94710, 800/283-9444, 415/548-4393, FAX:

^          RUNNING MS-DOS: Fifth Edition (Covers Version 5)
                           by Van Wolverton
         (Microsoft Press, 1991, $24.95, ISBN 1-55615-337-6)
                        review by Carl Ingram

RUNNING MS-DOS serves as an introduction to computers and DOS, a guide
to getting the most out of DOS for all versions through 5.0, and as a
complete DOS Command reference. The first few chapters are devoted to
the novice, with basic types of information about computers, operating
systems in general, disk drives, files, directories, and the like. The
next few chapters are for the intermediate DOS student, discussing
file management, printers, monitors, subdirectories, and fixed disks.
After that, you get a one-chapter tutorial on each of three special
DOS programs: Shell (DOS 5), EDIT (DOS 5), and EDLIN (up through DOS
4). The last handful of chapters carry you right through advanced
topics like batch files, filter commands, DOSKEY, and other esoteric
subjects. The appendixes include a Glossary, a DOS Command Reference,
and a chapter on installing DOS. After all, knowing how to use it
doesn't get you very far if you can't shoehorn the thing into your
machinery. A very fine one-volume tutorial/reference guide to the disk
operating system from Microsoft.


                    by Doug Lowe & Patrick Bultema
       (Mike Murach & Assoc., 1991, $24.95, ISBN 0-911625-58-5)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

The title of this book is pretty brave when you take a look at all the
dozens and dozens of DOS books available. (Believe it or not, there
are quite a few more that DIDN'T make it into this RFP.) However, the
authors have really managed to turn about 550 pages of text into a
really comprehensive textbook/tutorial/reference guide to DOS (and
other nifty things). How does this book differ from others?

(1) It covers the gamut of experience levels. The first two sections
provide a basic beginner's course on computers. This is the stuff you
need to know to make any pretense at computer literacy. The third
section covers the intermediate subjects like back-ups and error
recovery. At this point you could hold your own with most computer
users. The next two sections teach you about the DOS 4.0 shell and the
DOS 5.0 shell, respectively. Now you're up to date. The sixth section
covers utility programs that can enhance DOS--now you're well-read.
And the seventh and final section teaches you about the exotic skills
that most people don't even know about. Now you're an expert.

(2) No time is wasted considering floppy-disk-only systems. THE ONLY
DOS BOOK YOU'LL EVER NEED takes it for granted that you have a hard
disk and all examples are so given.

(3) Possibly the best thing about THE ONLY DOS BOOK YOU'LL EVER NEED
is the coverage of third-party commercial software. Computer users do
not live by DOS alone. Programs that are discussed in some real detail
include: PC Tools Deluxe, Norton Commander, Pathminder, Fastback Plus,
PC Fullback Plus, Mace Utilities Gold. Consideration is also given to
other programs that provide: cursor control, print spooling, task
switching and multitasking. Also, one entire chapter is devoted to the
important subject of public domain and shareware utilities.

THE ONLY DOS BOOK YOU'LL EVER NEED is a superb one-volume guide to
getting the most out of your computer. If your local bookstore can't
get it for you, you can contact the publisher at: Mike Murach &
Associates, Inc., 4697 West Jacquelyn Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722-6427.
Or, get your credit card handy and call 1-800-221-5528.


         (Microsoft Press, 1991, $24.95, ISBN 1-55615-329-5)
                        review by Carl Ingram

One of the great things about DOS is that it not only manages your
computer's operations for you, much of the code used in DOS is
actually available for you to use in your own programs. By tapping
into system functions and interrupts, you can let DOS do a lot of the
dirty work for you. If this sounds good to you, the one book you
absolutely HAVE to have is the MICROSOFT MS-DOS PROGRAMMER'S
REFERENCE. It won't teach you how to program, but it will give
absolutely everything you need to know to program in an MS-DOS

overviews of the MS-DOS system functions; a comprehensive reference to
the system functions, interrupts, and structures; an explanation of
device drivers; and a description of the function interfaces for
MS-DOS extensions, such as print spooling, national language support,
and task switching.


Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Overview of MS-DOS
Chapter 3: File System
Chapter 4: Character Input and Output
Chapter 5: Program Management
Chapter 6: National Language Support
Chapter 7: Interrupts
Chapter 8: Interrupt 21h Functions
Chapter 9: Device Drivers
Appendix A: Code Pages
Appendix B: Extended Key Codes
Appendix C: Error Values

any other Microsoft Press book, by calling 1-800-MSPRESS with your
credit card handy.)


                           by Alan Simpson
              (Sybex, 1987, $29.95, ISBN 0-89588-508-5)
                         review by Bob Willis

This book is the most complete reference on the dBASE programming
language that I have seen to date. It is a massive 1029 pages, and is
divided into seven parts, as well as a number of appendices. The
sections are:

Part 1: Overview of dBASE Programming (53 pages)
Part 2: dBASE as a Programming language (105 pages)
Part 3: Screen Displays and Reports (45 pages)
Part 4: Managing Information on the Database (211 pages)
Part 5: The Programming Environment (145 pages)
Part 6: Beyond the Programming Environment (105 pages)
Part 7: Commonly Used Algorithms (60 pages)

When the book arrived, I had just been given a project at work that
was under extreme time pressure. I had to set up databases, gather
data, and create reports in a very short period of time. My dBASE was
a bit rusty, and I didn't have the time to re-read all the dBASE
manuals. This book was a godsend, because it was very well organized
and full of practical information. Pretty much anything you might want
to do in dBASE is explained in detail, and includes numerous examples
and (my favorite feature) "Tips" sections that give useful ways of
using the material just presented.

If you need a detailed reference on dBASE programming, get this book.
It is rare to find a book that combines the comprehensive coverage of
a reference work with the practical examples of a "How-To" or
"Using..." book. If you are a dBASE user, from entry level to expert,
you will find something of value in this work, and it will be a book
that grows with you as your skills develop. Co-workers have borrowed
it several times, and I still find Post-It notes marking pages as they
have discovered a neat new trick or programming gem. One borrower told
me that it was being used as a textbook in a dBASE course that he was

Bottom line: I like it a lot.


^                         UNDERSTANDING SQL
                           by Martin Gruber
              (Sybex, 1990, $26.95, ISBN 0-89588-644-8)

^                        UNDERSTANDING ORACLE
                 by James T. Perry & Joseph G. Lateer
              (Sybex, 1989, $26.95, ISBN 0-89588-534-4)
                         review by Bob Willis

A few years ago, my primary task at work was to create and support a
large relational database system using the ORACLE database management
system. The only documentation available was the set of manuals
provided by Oracle Corporation, which were reasonably complete but
lacking in detail and examples. I had always wished that there was a
comprehensive guide to ORACLE and SQL. I was excited when I had the
chance to review the above books. However, they were not the great
reference works that I was hoping for.

SQL stands for 'Software Query Language', and was developed at IBM as
an abstract set of rules for manipulating and querying relational
databases. It has been implemented by a number of products, including
dBASE IV, but has risen to software stardom as the query language used
in the ORACLE database. ORACLE is a popular database system primarily
for two reasons - it is available on a large number of platforms from
mainframes to minicomputers all the way down to the IBM PC, and it
comes with a robust and enhanced version of SQL (SQL*Plus).

UNDERSTANDING SQL, at 434 pages, is a very basic introduction to
Software Query Language. It does not focus on one particular
implementation of SQL (the examples it gives use FirstSQL, an IBM PC
program), but covers the basics of creating, modifying, and querying a
database using SQL. It is a reasonable tutorial for a beginner with
access to a version of SQL, but does not make a good reference work,
and anyone interested in the complexities of SQL will have to look
elsewhere. Bottom line: get it from the library.

UNDERSTANDING ORACLE is another introductory work, albeit a meatier
one at 634 pages. It contains an overview of the main ORACLE
subsystems, concentrating on the IBM PC version of the program. The
book covers a broad range of topics, but unfortunately at a shallow
level. As with UNDERSTANDING SQL, you will come out with a basic
knowledge of the subject; however, in order to get full use out of
either product you will have to spend a lot of time mastering its
tricks and idiosyncrasies or... find another book. Bottom line: This
is a better introduction than the one that comes with the ORACLE
documentation, but not enough in-depth information for continued use.


                            by Bill Howard
         (Ziff-Davis Press, 1991, $29.95, ISBN 1-56276-005-X)
                        review by Howard Frye

This book is the most comprehensive coverage of portable computers I
have ever seen. I can't think of a thing that isn't discussed here,
from helping you choose the right computer in the first place, getting
the right software and hardware accessories, through using your laptop
like a pro and seeking out resources for further learning.

In the very beginning, this GUIDE takes you through the initial
purchase of a portable computer. The different kinds of portables are
discussed, giving you the terminology, the distinctions, as well as
the advantages and disadvantages of each. Chapters 2 & 3 cover the
features available in laptops, what each feature does and how to
decide if you want it or not. And when you're ready to buy, the GUIDE
will advise you on where to go, how to judge the deal you're offered,
and whether or not you should think about a used computer.

Once you've bought your computer, you need to know how to set it up
and arrange your hard disk, how to travel with it (that IS why you
bought a portable, isn't it?), how to use a modem, how to use the
various communications services available. The PC MAGAZINE GUIDE
covers all these topics and more. There is a "Road Warrior Checklist"
to help you pack everything you'll need for your computer when you
travel, as well as a chart to tell you which side of the plane to sit
on for best viewing of a laptop screen. If you get to your destination
only to find that they don't have phones with modular plugs (for
hooking up your modem), no problem. This GUIDE will tell you how to
connect to the phone line anyway. You'll find out how to send and
receive faxes, how to use on-line services, and how to connect your
computer to others (using file-transfer software, LANs, remote-control
software, etc.).

One chapter is devoted to helping you decide what software you should
get for your portable computer, and another discusses the extra
hardware and accessories you might want to consider. Not only does the
GUIDE discuss mice, printers, external keyboards, external monitors,
CD-ROM drives and extra disk drives, but more exotic add-ons like
scanners and bar code readers. One long chapter covers the resources
available to the computer owner: computer magazines and newspapers,
industry newsletters, sources of software reviews, computer books,
training materials, trade shows, user groups, etc. Bill Howard
actually names names and gives personal recommendations.

The Appendices included are valuable as well: Troubleshooting Common
Laptop Problems; Serial, Parallel, and Null Modem Pinouts;
International Voltage and Outlet Plug Guide; Hayes-Compatible Modem
Commands; Electronic Mail and Bulletin Boards; A Quick Guide to Using
Laptops for Presentations; Laptop Buyer's Checklist (a complete
checklist of features from Chapters 2 & 3 ready to photocopy and take
to the store); Resources (addresses). There is a Glossary at the end
to explain all the jargon you're likely to hear.

There is also a 3-1/2" disk included with the PC MAGAZINE GUIDE TO
NOTEBOOK & LAPTOP COMPUTERS. It contains such famous and useful
programs as Vernon D. Buerg's LIST program for browsing through files,
the virus detection/disinfection combo--SCAN and CLEANUP--from McAfee
Associates, and Tiny Editor by Tom Kihlken. In addition, you'll get
programs for:

* A pop-up chart of ASCII codes
* A utility to highlight the cursor line for easy visibility
* Communications programs for automated MCI communications, and for
  using PC MagNet and CompuServe
* Macro recording & playback
* Modem utilities to setup and monitor the serial/modem port
* Set the date & time using the National Institute of Standards and
* Remote PC operation by modem
* Redirecting printer output to a file
* High-speed file transfer between linked computers

first, last, and final word on everything the portable computer user
needs to know. Recommended.


^              THE HARD DISK SURVIVAL GUIDE (with disk)
                            by Mark Minasi
              (Sybex, 1991, $29.95, ISBN 0-89588-799-1)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

Last summer (1990), the hard disk upon which RFP was created died. One
day it just rolled over, coughed a few times, and expired. Half of the
next issue and the first edition of our brand new Index were trapped
somewhere in the sealed confines of that mysterious metal box. (Not to
mention one of the world's great collections of adventure games and
pinball simulations.) Computer stores just wanted to sell us a new
disk. Data recovery services wanted more money than we had. We finally
found a Disk Wizard in a nearby city and took our problem to him. He
was able to save much of the data, including the issue of RFP and the
Index, but we still had spent several weeks in agony. Later that year,
our computer installation was attacked by a computer virus. The
majority of the infection was confined to, you guessed it, the RFP
computer's hard disk, the replacement of the one that had died during
the summer. We managed to recover from the virus, but it was a nasty
couple of days of hard work.

The point of all this is that we would have been in much better shape
if we had had Mark Minasi's THE HARD DISK SURVIVAL GUIDE. Not only
would we have understood what had happened to us better, but we would
have saved ourselves a lot of emotional trauma and a fair amount of
money. Within the pages of Minasi's book you will find nothing less
than a complete course in the understanding and care of hard disks.
How they work and why they sometimes don't. What can happen, how to
avoid it, and what to do when it happens anyway. For instance, did you
know that the distance between the read/write head of your hard disk
and the actual platter is considerably smaller than the height of a
fingerprint? Think about that the next time you slam your hand on the
computer table to make a point, or pound the keyboard extra hard to
show your frustration. Those vibrations could be gouging your data
right off your hard disk.

THE HARD DISK SURVIVAL GUIDE will give you a systematic course of
action for anytime your disk fails to boot, or throws an error of any
kind. It'll tell you about computer viruses: what the most common
varieties are, how they work, and what you can do about them (both to
prevent infection, and to recover from it). Diagrams will show you how
the mechanisms in your hard drive work. Hands-on exercises will have
you viewing the FAT, the MBR, the DBR, and finding files wherever they
may have been stored. Once you know how things work and what they look
like when everything is OK, you're halfway there to fixing them when
things go wrong. There is also a disk included, with valuable programs
to help you care for your disk, examine its structure, and back up the
important information. And throughout the entire volume, Mark Minasi
gives specific information, suggestions, and advice, using brand names
and model numbers--loads of data culled from years of fixing hard
drives. Inside THE HARD DISK SURVIVAL GUIDE you'll find everything you
need to know to take the best possible care of your programs and data.
If you care about the information on your hard drive, this book is
absolutely required reading, and should be kept close at hand for
emergency first aid. Highly recommended.


  The Comprehensive Standard for Business, School, Library, and Home
         (Microsoft Press, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 1-55615-231-0)
                        review by Carl Ingram

As almost everyone knows, your standard dictionary just doesn't cut it
when it comes to modern-day specialized jargon, particularly the
rapidly expanding world of high-technology vocabulary. That's why a
good Computer Dictionary is so important today. Unfortunately most
such volumes are woefully incomplete or are lightheartedly targeted at
the "average" person (who is, for some reason, assumed to be barely
literate). The MICROSOFT PRESS COMPUTER DICTIONARY sets a whole new
standard for dictionary supplementation. It's serious, authoritative,
and comprehensive. Written and reviewed by experts from the computer
industry and the business and academic communities, the dictionary
includes terms drawn from a wide variety of disciplines:

Data and Data Storage
Desktop Publishing
  Chips, Cards, and Boards
  Disks, Drives, and Other Media
  Printers and Plotters
  Other Devices
Information Processing
  General Computing
  Memory and Memory Management
Systems and Environments

Entries include pronunciations where appropriate, clear and concise
definitions, illustrations, and cross references. The MICROSOFT PRESS
COMPUTER DICTIONARY is an important addition to your library at the
office and/or at home. It will help the entire family understand the
technology that is shaping the course of our lives more and more every

^      DESKTOP PUBLISHING BY DESIGN: Ventura Publisher Edition
            by Ronnie Shushan, Don Wright, Ricardo Birmele
         (Microsoft Press, 1991, $24.95, ISBN 1-55615-265-5)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

The production of printed material is gradually being taken out of the
hands of professional printers and being done right there in the
office. The combination of affordable computers, laser printers, and
desktop publishing software has attracted many companies large and
small, and more are joining them every week. But then there's always
the awkward moment when the computers have been installed, the
printers are plugged in and humming, and the software is safe and
secure on the computer's hard disk. Now what? The salespeople told you
that this was all you needed to turn out spiffy documents and
newsletters with the touch of a button. Were they lying?

Well, not exactly lying, maybe just a little misleading. Now you need
someone with two kinds of knowledge: how to use the software you
purchased and how to design good-looking documents. DESKTOP PUBLISHING
BY DESIGN is what you need if you use Ventura Publisher. It's divided
into three convenient sections to address all of your major questions.
Section 1 is a crash course in the design of printed material: what
fonts are and how to pick one; how to create a grid, the basic
structure of your page; and general advice on how to handle the design
and printing process. Section 2 is called "A Design Portfolio". Here
you will find concrete ideas and suggestions for the creation of
various promotional pieces (flyers, posters, folders, brochures),
periodicals (newsletters, journals, magazines), and printed material
that is basically data (catalogs, data sheets, financial documents,
forms). Then, Section 3 takes you by the hand and works step-by-step
through seven printing projects, from a simple certificate to more
complex pieces that use photographs, multiple columns, and other more
advanced elements. You don't have to know all about Ventura, just
follow the explicit instructions in DESKTOP PUBLISHING BY DESIGN, and
you'll be producing terrific documents in a matter of hours.

Lavishly illustrated throughout, DESKTOP PUBLISHING BY DESIGN is a
tutorial on page design, a tutorial on Ventura Publisher, and a
convenient reference book for both. An earlier edition focused on
Aldus PageMaker. Highly recommended.


                         by Neil J. Rubenking
        (Ziff-Davis, August 1991, $39.95, ISBN 1-56276-010-6)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

most comprehensive Turbo Pascal 6.0 book we have seen to date.
TECHNIQUES is written by Neil J. Rubenking, long-time expert in the
Turbo Pascal field and author of the famous "Pianoman" program. In his
TECHNIQUES book, Rubenking reveals methods to unleash the total power
of Turbo Pascal. Included are insider's tips on using the built-in
Assembler, Turbo Debugger, Turbo Profiler, Turbo Vision, and the
third-party library: Object Professional from Turbo Power Software.
This is the first book we have seen that gives tips on using the
Object Professional library, by far the most powerful tool available
to the Turbo Pascal programmer. Included with the book is a disk that
includes hundreds of Turbo Pascal utilities and routines. All the
source code presented in the book is available on the included disk,
arranged according to the chapters in the book. If you only have room
for one book in your Turbo Pascal library, this is unquestionably the
one to have. Included in the book are the following topics:

* BASM, the Built-in Assembler
* Object-oriented Programming
* Turbo Vision
* Object Professional
* Developing Efficient Programming Techniques
* Working With Large Programs
* Power Routines for Input/Output
* Power Routines for String Handling
* Power Routines for Program Flow Control
* Power Data Structures
* Power BASM Routines
* Power Routines for File Operations
* Power Routines for Mathematical Operations
* Power Routines for Low-Level System Access
* Power Routines for Graphical Applications
* Power Routines for Turbo Vision


                           by Steve Rimmer
              (Sybex, 1991, $19.95, ISBN 0-89588-797-5)
                        review by Howard Frye

As traffic gets worse, suburban living areas get farther from city
office buildings, technology advances and becomes more affordable,
more and more people are deciding to work at home. Companies begin to
realize that employees don't have to be physically present to be
productive, and working from home is generally cheaper for both
employee and employer. Also, advanced technology increases the
opportunities for self-employed work at home.

Working at home sounds wonderful to many, but there's usually a hurdle
to overcome--the technology that makes all this possible must be
selected, purchased, and used. What do you do if you can't tell a
computer from a laser printer? Computer-happy friends usually aren't a
good source of advice--all you'll get is a firm recommendation for
whatever hardware or software they happen to use. No, you need to make
good, economically sound decisions for practical reasons. You need to
find out what's out there, separate what you'll need from what you
won't need, and learn how to use it, preferably without spending the
next 2 years doing it. THE HOME OFFICE COMPUTER BOOK is what you need.

The first two chapter get you started--you'll learn how to choose the
best computer for your needs, and how to pick a printer. In slightly
over 80 pages you'll find out about: IBM, Macintosh, memory, disk
drives, monitors, laptops, "grey market", dot matrix, daisywheel,
inkjet, laser printers. Then there are chapters to help you deal with
the software your computer will use. Separate chapters will introduce
you to "The Operating System" and "Microsoft Windows". You'll find out
what they are and what they can do for you. Other chapters introduce
the major types of software that your business may require: "Word
Processing", "Desktop Publishing and Graphics", "Spreadsheets", and
"Database Management". You'll learn what these types of software do,
what features may be important to you, and you'll find out about some
of the more famous examples of such software. "Disk Utilities" talks
about some accessory programs you might need, and "Shareware"
discusses a great source of software that your local computer store
may not mention.

THE HOME OFFICE COMPUTER BOOK also devotes space to a very important
topic: Telecommunications and FAX. These chapters are concerned with
how your computer contacts the outside world, which is often critical
for a home business. How will you get the reports to your boss? How
will you deliver the typeset material to the printer? How will you
stay in touch with your clients? What software and what hardware will
you need? What kinds of computer communications are possible?

THE HOME OFFICE COMPUTER BOOK is a terrific way for the computer
novice to develop near-instant sophistication in the field of
business-related technology. Easy to understand, better than relying
on outside advice, THE HOME OFFICE COMPUTER BOOK is a very efficient
tool for making the best decisions for creating your own work
environment in your home.


^             THE EASY VENTURA BOOK (with Training Disk)
         A Self-Paced Introduction to Xerox Ventura Publisher
                            by Rick Altman
          (Peachpit Press, 1990, $29.95, ISBN 0-938151-19-3)
                        review by Carl Ingram

THE EASY VENTURA BOOK was developed, tested and refined over years in
classes that Rick Altman taught on using Ventura Publisher. This
origin is obvious throughout: the material is arranged in logical
sequence, each acquired skill being used to develop the next;
everything is explained adequately with no awkward jumps of subject;
and emphasis is always on DOING, not on reading. Actually, Rick Altman
has put himself out of a job, because you don't need a teacher once

And THE EASY VENTURA BOOK really is easy, a remarkable accomplishment
given the complexity of Xerox's Ventura Publisher. Directions are
clearly given in numbered steps, so even if you've never seen Ventura
Publisher you'll have no trouble following the chapters/lessons. The
student will learn about frames, files, text, and graphics; how to
create a flier or an article; the extras included in the EMS version
of Ventura Publisher; and how to prepare text files use in desktop
published documents. There are four special projects for you to try
your hand at: a letter, a resume, a logo, and a magazine article. Two
final chapters/lessons cover a few more advanced subjects and give
general advice on keeping your head above water with a megamonster
program like Ventura Publisher. THE EASY VENTURA BOOK should be on
hand at any computer installation that uses Ventura Publisher, for
training new people and refresher courses for individual subjects. If
you can't find THE EASY VENTURA BOOK locally, contact the publisher
at: Peachpit Press, 2414 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710,
800/283-9444, 415/548-4393, FAX: 415/548-5991.


^               PC MAGAZINE GUIDE TO 1-2-3 Release 2.3
                           by Stephen Cobb
        (Ziff-Davis, August 1991, $27.95, ISBN 1-56276-012-2)
                    commentary from the publisher

Years of classroom teaching and corporate consulting have enabled
Stephen Cobb to assemble this unique collection of tried and tested
learning techniques. In this self-paced tutorial, Cobb's easy-to-read
style enables novice users to learn the features of Lotus 1-2-3
Release 2.3 quickly and easily. Experienced 1-2-3 users can use this
book as a comprehensive guide to Release 2.3's new features, and as a
reference to the many features of 1-2-3.

PC MAGAZINE GUIDE TO 1-2-3 RELEASE 2.3 offers authoritative guidance
on the complete range of Release 2.3 features, including...

* The new WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) graphical environment
  with live on-screen formatting
* Release 2.3's new graph types, including 3-D effect graphs with
  annotation capabilities
* Creating advanced macros to automate often-performed tasks
* Running Release 2.3 on everything from an XT to a 486 computer,
  without sacrificing power or speed
* Using files created in previous versions of 1-2-3 as well as in
  other spreadsheet programs
* Spreadsheet formatting and publishing capabilities with full mouse

Hundreds of illustrations, numerous business-oriented examples, and
expert tips make PC MAGAZINE GUIDE TO 1-2-3 RELEASE 2.3 the best way
to learn Lotus 1-2-3 Release 2.3.


                          by Richie Ashburn
           (Running Press, 1983, $7.95, ISBN 0-89471-219-5)
                      review by Drew Bartorillo

  A. Which Phillies pitcher struck out the most opposing batters in
     one season in the national League?
  B. Who is the only Phillies player to hit two home runs in one
  C. Who is the youngest player ever to play for the Phillies?
  D. Which Phillies pitcher has hit the most home runs in one season?
  E. Which Phillies player collected the most hits in World Series
     play during his career?

This is just a sampling of the over 300 trivia questions about the
Philadelphia Phillies in RICHIE ASHBURN'S TRIVIA. The book is by
Richie Ashburn, one of the 1950 National League pennant winning Whiz
Kids and hitter extraordinaire. He is presently the radio and TV
announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies and writes a baseball column
for the Philadelphia Daily News. RICHIE ASHBURN'S TRIVIA contains the
records, the home runs and the players who carried the Phillies
through victory and defeat, from the team's beginnings in 1883
straight up through the present. The book is also packed with vintage
photos from the Phillies' own files. If you're an avid baseball fan
and especially if you're a native Philadelphian (I'm both), you'll
find this book offers hours of fantastic browsing. As I read through
RICHIE ASHBURN'S TRIVIA I found myself constantly thinking, "Is that
right?" or "I never knew that!" and wholeheartedly recommend it.

Oh, the answers to the previous trivia questions are:
  A. Steve Carlton
  B. Andy Seminick
  C. Putsy Caballero
  D. Rick Wise
  E. Larry Bowa

^                   LED ZEPPELIN: HEAVEN AND HELL
                        An Illustrated History
by Charles R. Cross & Erik Flannigan, with photographs by Neal Preston
            (Harmony Books, 1991, $25, ISBN 0-517-58308-9)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

There were other great bands in the 1970s: The Beatles, the Rolling
Stones, the Who. But the group that generated more excitement than any
other, for me, was Led Zeppelin. With only 9 albums (plus a
soundtrack), very little advertising or promotion, and even less
contemporary critical acclaim, Led Zeppelin became one of the most
popular bands in rock history. And the years since they broke up have
only added to their popularity: critics now acknowledge them as
seminal musical artists, they have more fanzines devoted to them today
than the Beatles, and rumors of a reunion performance are enough to
induce commercial frenzy. So far, however, Led Zeppelin has skipped
the nostalgia trip, calling it quits with class and dignity when their
drummer Bonzo (John Bonham) died.

Oversized and printed on glossy paper, the enormous quantity of
glorious color and black-and-white photographs in LED ZEPPELIN: HEAVEN
AND HELL are what draw your eye first. There are "action" shots from
stage performances, concert posters, studio portraits, and candid
behind-the-scenes pictures, most of which have never been published
before. Not surprisingly, most of the pictures feature the two
best-known members of the band: lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist
Jimmy Page. Flipping through the pages you are treated to the
extraordinary stage presence and photogenic qualities of Plant and the
chameleon nature of Page, the intensity of performing versus the quiet
off-stage individual.

As great as the photographs are, they are easily outmatched by the
text. The opening chapter by Charles R. Cross is the finest single
piece of rock journalism I've ever read. Cross generates an excitement
in prose the equal of what Led Zeppelin could do with sound. The rest
of the volume contains a fine example of music criticism by Jimmy
Guterman, a fabulous long interview with the notoriously media-shy
Jimmy Page, and a guide to collecting Led Zeppelin music and
associational items (including bootleg tapes and CDs). The last two
sections of the book, however, are my favorite. The first is an
album-by-album, song-by-song discussion of each piece of Led Zeppelin
music, with notes about how the piece was recorded and any other
interesting tidbits connected with the album or song. The last section
is an incredible list of Led Zeppelin's performances and other career
highlights, also with any interesting notes. As Led Zeppelin was
possibly the hardest working band in history, doing more--and
longer--live performances per year, this list is very long. But it
gives the Led Zeppelin fan a terrific timeline/history of the group.

LED ZEPPELIN: HEAVEN AND HELL is easily the finest volume of rock
journalism I've ever had the pleasure to read. It captures the
excitement of the band, and provides an encyclopedic amount of
information for the fan and collector--all without resorting to lurid
sex-and-drugs tales typical of most rock 'n' roll books. This book is
for the rock aficionado, and is a worthy record of one of the greatest
groups in rock history. Highly recommended.


                            by David Harp
           (New Harbinger, 1990, $9.95, ISBN 0-934986-95-9)

                       VISUALIZATION FOR CHANGE
                          by Patrick Fanning
          (New Harbinger, 1988, $10.95, ISBN 0-934986-51-7)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

These two books from New Harbinger are very good examples of a rare
commodity: texts that teach a self-help technique without a large,
complicated and esoteric "context". For instance, meditation books are
frequently centered around an Eastern philosophy or religion, and
visualization--a very hot topic lately--is often presented in a
context of New Age mysticism. Eastern religions and New Age mysticism
are great if that's what you're interested in, but meditation and
visualization are techniques that can benefit ANYBODY and needn't be
considered as a component of a larger issue.

THE NEW THREE MINUTE MEDITATOR gives you a simple introduction to the
subject of meditation in a rational manner that is easy to grasp and
easy to put into practice. The author doesn't require you to change
your religion, live in a monastery, or do other violence to your
preferred lifestyle. You can begin meditating in small, nonthreatening
steps, which makes the most sense anyway. The best advertisement for
meditation is meditation, but who's going to turn their life upside
down just because some writer you don't even know says it would be
good for you? David Harp doesn't ask you to take his word for
anything, just to give meditation a small chance. If you've always
wondered what meditation is all about, but aren't quite ready to give
up all your worldly possessions and go sit on a mountaintop, THE NEW
THREE MINUTE MEDITATOR is exactly what you need.

Patrick Fanning's VISUALIZATION FOR CHANGE is a complete guide to what
has become a very popular subject--How to use the powers of your mind
to help you enhance your life rather than hold you back. To begin
with, it is generally accepted wisdom that your mind affects your life
in ways most people never begin to appreciate. Many physicians have
written books about the power of positive thinking to help you recover
from medical or physical problems, and look at all the self-hypnosis
and "mind power" books on the library shelf. We all know how our mind
can turn on us. Remember the time you got up to give a presentation in
front of all the department heads, and you discovered that somehow you
had forgotten how to breathe? Getting your mind on your side is an
important step on the road to happiness and serenity, and that's where
visualization comes in. I'll leave the tutorial to Fanning because he
does such a great job of it, but I can personally attest to the
techniques of visualization being both powerful and fun to practice.

In addition to teaching the basics of visualization, Fanning gives
specific advice in separate chapters devoted to: weight control,
nonsmoking, creativity and problem solving, setting and achieving
goals, improved learning and sports performance, stress reduction,
self-esteem, insomnia, depression, anxiety, anger, and shyness. One
entire section is devoted to the subject of healing and pain control.
Finally, Fanning provides a brief history of the visualization
techniques and discusses visualization aids as well as further reading
material. VISUALIZATION FOR CHANGE is a terrific no-nonsense guide to
a very interesting subject.

You can get either (or both) of the above books from New Harbinger by
sending the list price, plus $1.50, to: New Harbinger Publications,
Department B-3, 5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609. Be sure to
ask for a complete catalog of all the books they offer.


^                BIBLIOHOLISM: The Literary Addiction
                             by Tom Raabe
           (Fulcrum Pub., 1991, $8.95, ISBN 1-55591-080-7)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

* Are you unable to walk through a mall without stopping at a
* Have you ever bought the same book twice without knowing it?
* Have you ever been fired from a job, or reprimanded, for reading?
* When you watch TV, do you always have a book in your lap for slow
  parts and commercials?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Of course. Don't you? But let me begin properly: Hi. My
name is Cindy, and I'm a biblioholic. You know what I'm talking about,
don't you? It starts out small--an occasional trip to the library,
maybe a paperback book now and then. Pretty soon you're buying a
cheaper car so you can pay for your book habit. Your credit cards have
maxed out, and all the charges are to Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Crown
Books, The Strand Bookstore, etc.

Books and reading, of course, are both socially acceptable and even
have a certain intellectual snob quality. So you know you really have
a problem when you find that you have to lie about your book habit,
just so you don't sound dangerously psychotic. Spend some time with
BIBLIOHOLISM, however, and you'll see that you're not alone. Tom Raabe
has the disease just as bad, probably worse, than you do, and his good
cheer is infectious.

BIBLIOHOLISM begins by defining the problem, discussing the major
symptoms and signs of progression. Raabe talks about the buying habits
of biblioholics and how they manage to sneak the books into the house.
Both collecting and lending of books are considered, while the most
helpful section gives hints on reading in restaurants, on the toilet,
in bed, while traveling, at work, and even at other people's houses.
The book ends with a brief overview of cures. BIBLIOHOLISM is an
absolute delight, a very funny guide to a very enjoyable disease.


                    by Richard S. Broughton, Ph.D.
             (Ballantine, 1991, $22, ISBN 0-345-35638-1)
                        review by Howard Frye

Parapsychology must be the most interesting and the most frustrating
subject in the world. It's the most interesting because it's frontier
territory, we're still just trying to survey the boundaries of the
subject. Also, it's such an important topic. The ramifications of ESP
and psychokinesis cross many disciplines and are simply mind-boggling.
It's the most frustrating subject because most people approach
parapsychology as either Believers or Nonbelievers. Both groups are
composed of some very nice people with many worthwhile things to say,
but none of them are really open-minded about the subject.

a long time. Dr. Broughton is Director of Research at the Institute of
Parapsychology, and here he gives the layperson a comprehensive
introduction to his field of expertise. He discusses the history and
the evolution of parapsychology research and defines its boundaries.
He considers whether or not parapsychology should be accepted as a
scientific discipline and explains what can and can't be proved in the

sensible people have been waiting for. Dr. Broughton brings the
subject up to date with an examination of recent developments in
Soviet and Chinese psi research, and a look at U.S. government
parapsychology programs. You'll learn that psi ability is already
being used in criminal investigations, healing, and even archaeology.
A very interesting and readable book.


^                       STREAMLINING YOUR LIFE
               A 5-Point Plan for Uncomplicated Living
                          by Stephanie Culp
      (Writer's Digest, August 1991, $11.95, ISBN 0-89879-462-5)
                        review by Janet Peters

How do you know if you need this book? According to Stephanie Culp,
these are some of the major symptoms:

* You've had it with life in the fast lane.
* You like the fast lane; you'd like to go faster!
* You're spending more time taking care of the "stuff" in your life
  than you are taking care of yourself.
* You're not getting what you want out of life.
* You're tired of jam-packed days where nothing seems to get done.
* Your relationships leave a lot to be desired.
* You want to make each moment count.

What the author provides is a lot of good sense in a small package.
She explains her 5-point plan that helps to:

* adjust one's attitude (how much "having it all" is really
* prioritize and plan goals and objectives
* eliminate excess
* organize what's important
* create simple systems that will help things take care of themselves

Stephanie Culp's plan is NOT just a lot more busy-work for the
obsessive-compulsive. You probably know most of the principles she
outlines here, but you just haven't put them all together before.
STREAMLINING YOUR LIFE is a lot of good sound advice presented
logically and coherently for the person whose life needs a bit of
fine-tuning. Recommended.


^                    ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER
      On the Road and Behind the Scenes with the Legendary Band
                           Three Dog Night
                  by Jimmy Greenspoon with Mark Bego
      (Pharos Books, September 1991, $18.95, ISBN 0-88687-647-8)
                        review by Janet Peters

"One", "Joy to the World", "Mama Told Me Not To Come"--who can forget
the greatest hits of Three Dog Night? The seven-member band had 20
back-to-back Top Forty singles (including 7 million-sellers) and 12
consecutive Top Twenty "Gold" albums. The success came at a price,
though, at least for their keyboard player Jimmy Greenspoon: eight
years of his life were lost to heroin addiction. But the story has a
happy ending because--unlike popular artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi
Hendrix, and Keith Moon--Jimmy Greenspoon managed to end his drug
dependency and lived to talk about it.

ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER is the story of Jimmy Greenspoon and Three
Dog Night, as wild and wooly as any rock biography as you're liable to
come across. Jimmy Greenspoon still plays keyboard for Three Dog
Night, and lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife Karen.


^            THE BOOMER BIBLE: A Testament For Our Times
                            by R.F. Laird
        (Workman, September 1991, $14.95, ISBN 1-56305-075-7)
                        review by Howard Frye

The old Bible having become seriously dated, we have needed a document
that speaks more clearly to us in late 20th century. For that reason,
various peoples have caused to appear a book known as THE BOOMER
BIBLE, a bizarre work that is funny, fascinating, shocking,
irritating, puzzling, and insulting--sometimes all at once. It is also
quite a test of your store of historical and literary knowledge. For
example, let me quote from the The Book of Chuck:

     Chapter 1

     There was a VIP named
     Chuck, who took a beagle
     somewhere on an expedition,
     2 And changed the world.
     3 When he came back, he told
     everybody that they were all
     wrong about a few things.

A careful reader will already have noticed that The Book of Chuck is
about Charles Darwin. Or let me give you an example from The Pnotes, a
book devoted entirely to limericks:

     Pnote 23

     This girl from Tennessee,
     1 Had a limp and a menagerie,
     3 Made of glass,
     4 Poor lovestruck lass,
     5 She lost it before Act III.

Can you tell what literary work this poem is about? THE BOOMER BIBLE
doesn't stop with setting down the received wisdom of the world. There
is also a section of prayers (actually for Boomers they're called
"brayers", as in "Let us bray") and platitudes, a marriage ceremony,
toasts, even a section of hymns (with written music).

THE BOOMER BIBLE is ridiculous, atrocious, hilarious, and offensive.
To give you an example of the latter, the story of Japan is related in
The Book of Nips, the story of France is told in The Book of Frogs,
etc. There is also a great deal of material about film and television,
subjects woefully untapped in the "other" Bible. In short, THE BOOMER
BIBLE is an extraordinary creation of nonsense, its appeal dependent
on the reader's taste for nonsense. I love it.


                           by Lola Oberman
              (Walker, 1991, $22.95, ISBN 0-8027-1166-9)
                       review by Carol Sheffert

Lola Oberman is an officer of the Maryland Ornithological Society and
an active member of the Audubon Naturalist Society. She leads field
trips for both organizations, has a monthly column in AUDUBON
NATURALIST NEWS and is a frequent contributor to BIRD WATCHER'S
essays about birds and bird watchers. Like a bird watcher's photo
album in prose, the reader is treated to dozens of stories about birds
and bird people Lola Oberman has met. Just this morning I reread "The
Song of the Bluejay" as the title bird was responsible for waking me
up on this otherwise lazy Saturday morning. It's lovely to talk to
someone else who appreciates birds, and THE PLEASURES OF WATCHING
BIRDS consists of several dozen conversations with a fellow birder;
one who not only pursues her hobby with enthusiasm but can communicate
her excitement to others. Very enjoyable.


^           THE MULCH BOOK: A Complete Guide for Gardeners
         by Stu Campbell; revised and updated by Donna Moore
     (Storey Communications, May 1991, $8.95, ISBN 0-88266-659-2)
                        review by Janet Peters

When you're first starting out in gardening, what you need is one of
those large all-around books that explain everything. Not that you'll
learn everything, but you'll need to know a little bit about a lot of
things, which is what those books are good at. Once you've relaxed
about the basics, you can start to take a closer look at certain
subjects of interest. One of the most important subjects for any
gardener is mulch. Do you really need a mulch on your garden? What can
a mulch do for you? If you decide to mulch, what kind of mulch should
you use? How thickly should it be spread?

Most gardeners are attracted to mulch in the beginning because they
get tired of weeding. A good thick mulch will cut WAY down on the weed
population. After a while, though, the subject gets more complex. You
start to hear rumors that the right kind of mulch can improve your
garden's soil, save water, and insulate the soil against extremes of
temperature. You might also hear rumors that mulch is a breeding
ground for slugs, insects, and rodents, that it prevents the soil from
breathing, or that the wrong mulch can upset the chemistry of your
soil. Perhaps you've even heard talk that the pine bark mulch sold by
your local gardening store isn't the only mulch possibility.

THE MULCH BOOK sorts out all the these mulch questions. The pros and
cons are carefully considered, all the latest types of mulch are
discussed, and there are many tips for getting the most from mulch,
with specific chapters on mulch use with fruits, vegetables, and
ornamentals. Once you've read the book you can just rely on the Quick
Reference Chart in the back that lists 46 different types of mulches
with data columns for: Appearance, Insulation Value, Relative Cost,
Thickness, Weed Control, Water Penetration, Soil Moisture Retention,
Decomposition Speed, and Comments. Mulch may not be the most
fascinating subject, but it's a very important one for gardeners. THE
MULCH BOOK is the single best source of mulch information that I've
ever seen. Recommended.


~Preview of the holiday season:

^                         A CHRISTMAS CAROL
                          by Charles Dickens
               audio cassette read by Sir John Gielgud
           (Bantam Audio, 1987, $9.99, ISBN 0-553-45146-4)
                      review by Cindy Bartorillo

I don't know about you, but I couldn't make it through the Christmas
season without one or two renditions of Charles Dickens' most popular
Yuletide story. The several movie adaptations are nice at certain
times (some are nicer than others, of course), but there are many
times when a movie isn't quite what's needed. Like when everyone's
busy Decking your Halls, or you're in the car on the way to Grandma's
house for a Christmas dinner, or maybe the holidays are running you
ragged and you just need a bit of a rest. Wouldn't it be nice to have
someone read A CHRISTMAS CAROL to you? And wouldn't it be just perfect
if he had a perfect British speaking voice? Bantam Audio's cassette
tape of A CHRISTMAS CAROL is perfect for starting your own family
tradition. It's a convenient 1-hour adaptation of the Dickens classic,
and, most importantly, it's read by Sir John Gielgud--an enjoyable way
to get in the holiday mood. God bless us everyone!