* R E A D I N G F O R P L E A S U R E *
* Issue #22 *
* April 1992 / May 1992 *
* Editor: Cindy Bartorillo *
CONTACT US AT: Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
Frederick, MD 21702; or on CompuServe leave a message to 74766,1206;
or on Delphi leave mail to BARTORILLO; or call our BBS, the BAUDLINE
II at 301-694-7108, 1200-9600 HST.
NOTICE: Reading For Pleasure is not copyrighted. You may copy
freely, but please give us credit if you extract portions to use
somewhere else. This electronic edition is free, but print editions
cost $2 each for printing and postage.
AUTHORS of the reviews, commentaries, etc., published in RFP will be
found beneath the "header" information (title, book author, publisher,
price, and so on) enclosed in less-thans and greater-thans, as in
~ HOW TO GET THE ELECTRONIC EDITION OF RFP
First, call your local computer bulletin boards to see if they have
the latest issue. If not, you can always get all issues by calling The
Baudline II at 301-694-7108. These issues are ZIPped (compressed) for
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Also available on The Baudline II is an Index of RFP reviews
(RFPINDEX.ZIP) and the latest catalog from Sisters in Crime
~ HOW TO GET THE PRINT EDITION OF RFP
Send $2 to: Reading For Pleasure, 103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303,
Frederick, MD 21702. Please specify which issue you'd like. If you
send a check, be sure it's drawn on an American bank and made out to
Cindy Bartorillo, otherwise send cash or a postal money order.
Table of Contents
Readers, Writers, and In-Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Mainstream Fiction Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Mystery Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 667
Horror Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1323
Science Fiction & Fantasy Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2031
Nonfiction Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2886
~ READERS, WRITERS, AND IN-LAWS
by Cindy Bartorillo
I just got a very nice thank-you note from the author of a book that I
had reviewed, very favorably, in a recent issue of RFP. A fairly
steady trickle of such notes come in the mail, leading me to believe
that writers tend to be very polite and possibly not overly accustomed
to compliments. I never know how to respond so I usually don't. The
only thing I can think of is to send them a thank-you note for their
thank-you, which certainly seems rather witless and might even lead to
the horror of a never-ending chain of mutual appreciation that can
only lead to insanity and watching daytime talk shows. So unless they
have a specific question, or I do, I normally let both of us off the
hook and remain silent. Seemingly the end of the subject, until I
happened to notice with this last letter than it made me feel ever so
slightly uncomfortable. It took me a while, but I think I've figured
For a reader, or at least for the kind of reader I am, authors play
the same role as in-laws do in marriage. Over months of trouble and no
little pain they gave birth to a creation which ultimately got
released into the wide world, at which point I met up with it/him and
formed a personal relationship which I subsequently went public with,
in the form of a review/marriage. Now you have two people with
intimate ties to a third party, but who have no particular, necessary
relationship to each other. Do you see what I mean? The writer who
wrote to me spoke possessively about "my book", which kind of rankles
because there it is, large as life, on MY shelf, in MY memories,
obviously MY book. Of course I acknowledge the author's essential role
in the creation of the book, and I'm suitably grateful, but the
thought of an author showing up at my house to inquire about, oh, say,
how I'm getting along with THEIR books would be like waking up to find
my mother-in-law making breakfast and wondering if I'm taking proper
care of HER son.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I like hearing from
writers, and am enormously grateful to them for writing the books that
I read, but I sure wish they'd understand that the books are now MINE.
I hope you can find some books in this issue that you'd like to make
all your own, and don't forget that Reading For Pleasure's Third
Anniversary Issue is coming in June 1992. See you then.
* Preliminary figures have book sales for 1991 up 4.6% over 1990,
reaching $16.1 billion. The biggest gains were noted in mass market
paperbacks ($1.2 billion, up 9.2%), trade paperbacks ($4.2 billion, up
9.1%), university press books ($265 million, up 8%), and religious
books ($838 million, up 6.4%).
* The NPD Group for the Book Industry Study Group, the American
Booksellers Association, and the Association of American Publishers
surveyed 16,000 households about their book-buying habits during the
period of April 30, 1990 to March 30, 1991. Of the households
contacted, 6,000 (38%) had purchased a book during the period in
question. Of the books bought by these people, 53% were purchased in
bookstores (28% in independent bookstores, 20% in chain bookstores,
and 5% in used bookstores), 16% from book clubs, 17% in food, drug, or
discount stores, 4% through mail order, and 2% at price clubs. Popular
fiction accounted for two-thirds of the books purchased, general
nonfiction was 9%, cooking and crafts 7%.
* IMPORTANT NOTICE! We at Reading For Pleasure are no longer available
on the GEnie online service, but we are now available on the Delphi
online service. On Delphi, address electronic mail to BARTORILLO.
~ NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNERS
Fiction: A THOUSAND ACRES by Jane Smiley (Knopf)
General Nonfiction: BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED WAR AGAINST AMERICAN
WOMEN by Susan Faludi (Crown)
Biography/Autobiography: PATRIMONY: A TRUE STORY by Philip Roth (Simon
Poetry: HEAVEN AND EARTH: A COSMOLOGY by Albert Goldbarth (University
of Georgia Press)
Criticism: HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES: THE RUINS OF MEMORY by Lawrence L.
Award for Criticism: George Scialabba
by Terry Brooks
based on a screenplay by Jim V. Hart & Malia Scotch Marmo
and screen story by Jim V. Hart & Nick Castle
(Fawcett Columbine, January 1992, $15.00, ISBN 0-449-90707-4)
"How far back can you remember?"
Peter swallowed. "I was cold, alone..." He stopped, angry
now. "I can't remember! No one knows where I came from! You
told me I was a foundling!"
"I found you," Wendy cut him short. "I did." She took a
deep breath to steady herself. "Peter, you must listen to me
now. And believe. You and I played together as children. We
had wonderful adventures together. We laughed, we cried."
She paused. "And we flew."
Peter tried unsuccessfully to pull away. Something
unpleasant was stirring inside him, something beyond the
reach of his memory.
Granny Wendy bent close, her face only inches from his
own. "The stories are true. I swear to you. I swear it by
everything I adore. Peter--don't you realize who you are?"
The current answer to that question is that Peter Banning is a
workaholic who carries a cellular phone under his jacket in a shoulder
holster so he can make million-dollar deals anytime, and who breaks
too many promises made to his long suffering family: wife Moira, son
Jack, and daughter Maggie. Granny Wendy is trying to get Peter to
remember his original identity, the child he once was, capable of joy
and laughter and high silliness. This is important now, because
Peter's old nemesis, Captain Hook, has kidnapped Jack and Maggie, and
Peter must somehow return to Neverland to get them back. Many years of
sober maturity, of "acting his age", of boring meaningless adulthood
must be thrown off before Peter can reclaim his inner child. Taken as
such, HOOK is an enchanting parable for modern adults who may find
their memories richer in lost opportunities than in experiences
At the same time, HOOK fosters the very childlike attitude it bemoans
the loss of. Who can resist Uncle Tootles, down on his knees,
searching for his lost marbles? Or Maggie, who draws a picture of her
mind so she won't get lost in her thoughts? HOOK is a perfect example
of how high fantasy can be more palpably real than the six o'clock
news, how a story can tell of events that never happened yet are
happening all the time. For that matter, when is the last time you've
thought your happy thought? If it's been too long, maybe you need a
nice big dose of HOOK, the finest fairy tale I've read since I was a
Lost Child myself. Clap if you believe in fairies!
^ OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM
by Jonathan Carroll
(Doubleday, February 1992, $20.00, ISBN 0-385-41973-2)
"Life is best when it's surprising and you're looking
forward to what's next."
---from OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM
"I am not a nice man. I expect others to be nice to me, but
feel no compulsion to return the favor. Luckily enough,
important people have called me a genius throughout my adult
life so that I've been able to get away with an inordinate
amount of rudeness, indifference, and plain bad
manners...Geniuses are allowed to do anything."
---Harry Radcliffe (OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM)
Harry Radcliffe is one of God's favorites--he has it all. He is an
award-winning architect who has appeared on the cover of TIME
magazine; two beautiful and intelligent women are vying for his
attention; and clients are beating a path to his door, with blank
checks, begging him to design buildings for them. Everyone agrees that
Harry is a Genius. But one day, Harry goes insane.
Harry is saved by a shaman named Venasque and his companions: a
Vietnamese pig named Connie and a bull terrier named Big Top. After
his recovery, Harry decides to accept the job being offered to him by
the Sultan of Saru (a oil-rich country in the middle east)--to build a
Dog Museum dedicated to the dogs who have saved the Sultan's life.
Before they can even leave California, the Sultan's life is saved by a
dog once again, this time by Big Top.
"You know what the difference between tragedy and comedy is?
Tragedy keeps reminding us how limited life is. Comedy says
there are no limits."
---Harry Radcliffe (OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM)
In the very first sentence of the story Harry refers to the Sultan as
"God", and this only begins the references, large and small, to the
divine and to religion in general. Once Harry decides to build the Dog
Museum for "God", life is never the same for anyone in the story. What
is the Dog Museum? Will Harry actually build a structure that reaches
all the way to heaven itself?
Jonathan Carroll's world is just exactly like the world you and I live
in, except it's full of wonder and magic. (Or is it simply that the
wonder and magic in Carroll's world is more noticeable than in ours?)
Carroll has a cult following around the world, but, so far, is more
popular in Europe than in the U.S. As a matter of fact, his one short
story collection, THE PANIC HAND, has yet to be published in
English--it is available only in translation.
* On a list of the 100 best books of the 1980s, the German magazine
TEMPO put Carroll's THE LAND OF LAUGHS at the #4 spot. In France,
THE LAND OF LAUGHS won the Prix Apollo for fantasy literature in
* Carroll won the World Fantasy Award for Short Story in 1988.
* A movie based on "Mr. Fiddlehead", a story-within-the-story in his
novel A CHILD ACROSS THE SKY, will be made later this year.
* A movie based on the novel VOICE OF OUR SHADOW is scheduled to be
made in 1993.
Carroll fans will recognize a number of people and animals in OUTSIDE
THE DOG MUSEUM. In addition to Venasque, Connie, and Big Top, you'll
find Walker Easterling, Maris, Orlando the cat, and even Philip
Strayhorn, creator of the MIDNIGHT movies. A short story sequel to DOG
MUSEUM will be published "later this year" in OMNI magazine.
"Everyone laughs at the way I work. I first write a book
very fast by computer, then I write it by hand as fast as I
can, and then I buy these rare, expensive notebooks that
look like something from the old days and I get a beautiful
pen--and I rewrite the novel very, very slowly. To me,
'fast,' 'less fast,' and 'very slow' are the three stages,
and by the time it is finished I go back to the computer and
OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM is another enthralling vision from one of our
most consistently fascinating writers. Below is a list of his books,
which you can read more about in RFP #15.
1. The Land of Laughs (1980)
2. Voice of Our Shadow (1983)
3. Bones of the Moon (1988)
4. Sleeping in Flame (1989)
5. A Child Across the Sky (1990)
6. Black Cocktail (novella; 1991)
7. Outside the Dog Museum (1992)
8. After Silence (coming)
"Wonder doesn't fit in a book, Harry. It's too big."
---Venasque (OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM)
^ A TALE OF TWO CITIES
by Charles Dickens
(Courage Books, 1992, $4.98, ISBN 1-56138-114-4)
The "two cities" are Georgian London and Paris during the horrific and
violent French Revolution. The tale is about two men who will cross
paths in this lavish historical framework: the dissolute English
barrister Sydney Carton and the high-born French gentleman Charles
Darnay. First published as a magazine serial in 1859, A TALE OF TWO
CITIES has gone on to become a landmark of English fiction. If you
haven't had the pleasure yet, this is very possibly the most dramatic
story you will ever read. As a matter of fact, even if you haven't
read it, you might very well recognize the first and last sentences,
two of literature's most famous lines:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was
the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the
epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity..."
"'It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever
done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have
Why am I telling you about Dickens' A TALE OF TWO CITIES now? Because
there's a new edition of it that you should know about. It's from
Courage Books, an imprint of Running Press, and it's only $4.98, which
doesn't sound that great until you realize that we're talking about a
hardcover book! That's right, an actual hardcover book, with paper
dustjacket, for only $4.98. The only compromise on quality that I can
detect is the cramped type--it's cramped but still very readable.
Also, in the back are two essays of helpful commentary: "Charles
Dickens" by George Orwell, and "A Tale of Two Cities" by Holly Hughes.
This is just one of an entire line of affordable hardcover editions of
classic books. Here's a list of what's available:
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Best of O. Henry
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Bulfinch's Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Emily Dickinson: Collected Poems
If the Courage Books edition of A TALE OF TWO CITIES is not available
at your local bookstore, you can order it directly from the publisher
by sending the list price, plus $2.50 postage and handling, to:
Running Press, 125 South Twenty-Second St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.
^ BABY ANIMALS: Five Stories of Endangered Species
by Derek Hall; illustrated by John Butler
(Candlewick Press, 1992, $14.95, ISBN 1-56402-004-5)
What an adorable book for bedtime story-time or for early readers! In
each of five stories, a youngster of an endangered species is
featured: an elephant, a tiger, a panda, a polar bear, and a gorilla.
Each story involves the youngster in some typical youthful activity
common to baby animals and children alike. This activity leads, very
briefly, to some danger or insecurity, but all is put right at the
end, usually with the youngster reunited with the parent. Each of the
stories is charming, exciting without being scary, and ultimately very
happy, warm, safe, and cozy. But Derek Hall's lovely stories are only
half of BABY ANIMALS; John Butler's illustrations are a delight in
themselves, carrying much of the characterization and emotion of the
plot in the body language and expressions of the animals. This makes
BABY ANIMALS particularly accessible to pre-readers, who can follow
the story with the pictures.
BABY ANIMALS is from Candlewick Press, a new publisher of children's
books with an exciting catalog of items. We hope to be able to bring
more of them to your attention here in RFP. All Candlewick Press
titles should be readily available from your local bookstore, but just
in case, you can contact them at: Candlewick Press, 2067 Massachusetts
Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140.
^ WILD CRITTERS
Verse by Tim Jones; Photography by Tom Walker
(Graphic Arts Center, 1992, $15.95, ISBN 0-945397-10-0)
The view forever
Mama takes me up these hills
but never far enough
for me to see around and over
every rock and bluff.
So when I can't see all there is
and want to see whatever,
I climb a little higher
and I can see forever.
You couldn't ask for a more engaging collection of wildlife
photography and light, sometimes cute, sometimes touching poetry. Both
creative artists hail from Alaska, which has formed the subject matter
of other books: Tom Walker's WE LIVE IN THE ALASKAN BUSH, BUILDING THE
ALASKA LOG HOME, SHADOWS ON THE TUNDRA, and ALASKAN WILDLIFE; Tim
Jones' THE LAST GREAT RACE and RACE ACROSS ALASKA, both about the
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. They are both abundantly familiar with
the wilderness and wildlife of Alaska, which has resulted in WILD
CRITTERS: a charming, fascinating, and whimsical look at critters in
private moments. A mallard duck waving her tail feathers in the air
while feeding, a red fox yawning, a polar bear napping, a grizzly bear
scratching an itch on a wooden sign--these are aspects of their lives
humans are seldom allowed to see. My favorite is a set of two
photographs of a willow ptarmigan (a chubby, roughly pigeon-shaped
bird for us city types). One photo shows the bird in a winter setting,
against a background of snow, the other a summer picture with a
background of assorted ground brush. The amazing thing is that the
winter ptarmigan's feathers are pure white, while the same bird's
summer plumage is multi-colored brown/yellow/black/white. The bird
virtually disappears in both photographs, which are appropriately
The poetry harmonizes with the photographs beautifully, and together
make a volume that will be appreciated by the whole family. If your
local bookstore can't get WILD CRITTERS for you, you can contact the
publisher at: Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co., PO Box 10306,
Portland, OR 97210.
^ A FLIGHT OF ANGELS
by Sarah Aldridge
(Naiad Press, 1992, $9.95, ISBN 1-56280-001-9)
When Clemence and Elissa, close friends since college, meet again in
Washington, D.C., their friendship flares into passion.
But they love each other during an era of national paranoia: the
McCarthy witch hunts for political and moral "subversives".
Elissa, as a staff member for a congressional committee, is drawn ever
closer to the political fray. Clemence, a clerk in the National
Gallery of Art, is also caught in a crossfire--between Francis Hearn,
the new director of purchases for the Gallery, and Robert Alden,
intense young curator of medieval paintings. As the two men clash over
the fate of A FLIGHT OF ANGELS, a great painting treasured by
Clemence, she learns that Robert has a past of interest to McCarthy's
committee, and a present about which rumors swirl.
And clouds have emerged between Clemence and Elissa. Elissa is calling
herself a lesbian--an identity Clemence refuses to claim. But if she
does not claim it, she will lose Elissa.
Clemence must face her conflicts. Her decisions will be fateful--and
You can order A FLIGHT OF ANGELS directly from the publisher by
sending the list price, plus 15% for postage and handling, to: The
Naiad Press Inc., PO Box 10543, Tallahassee, FL 32302. Charge card
orders can be phoned in to: 1-800-533-1973.
BOOKS ON TAPE:
^ THE FIRST MAN IN ROME
by Colleen McCullough, read by Donada Peters
(Books On Tape, Inc.)
My experience in listening to the first book in Colleen McCullough's
projected five-volume series of Roman historical novels was a
difficult exercise and a net disappointment.
The book was favorably reviewed in issue 19 of RFP and seems to have
been applauded generally by other critics and reviewers. Recently the
second volume, THE GRASS CROWN, has been published and it too has been
greeted with good reviews.
The recorded version suffers from two interrelated problems. First,
the story is populated with an extensive inventory of people, places
and legislative processes that are identified with lengthy Latin
words. Distinguishing the two main characters, Gaius Marius and Lucius
Cornelius Sulla, is not so difficult, but there are many more
characters with names such as Quintus Caecilius Metrellus Numidicus,
Marcus Livius Drusus Censor or Marcus Aemilius Scaurus Princeps
Senatus who must be followed through the story. Understanding these
terms and keeping track of the characters requires constant and total
dedication of the ear and ultimately becomes an objectionable chore
for the listener. In fact, for me, it erased the pleasure of the story
line and left me irritated with the exceptional demand for attention
and concentration. I do not think that there is a solution to this
problem. It is just the nature of the story; some stories lend
themselves to vocal renditions more than others.
The second problem had to do with the reader. The book is read by
Donada Peters who is an experienced professional with a long list of
offerings in the Books On Tape catalog. She reads well, but with a
heavy British accent which requires the listener to pay close
attention and precludes a relaxed listening atmosphere. This
condition, coupled with the previously described problem, yields a
listening experience that is a demand rather than a pleasure. In other
circumstances and with a less complex text, the accent would probably
not have been an issue.
Books On Tape, Inc. offers the recorded version of THE FIRST MAN IN
ROME in two parts. Each part consists of 12 one and one-half hour
by Daniel Quinn, performance by Anthony Heald
Abridged: 2 cassettes, 180 minutes
(Bantam Audio, 1992, $15.99, ISBN 0-553-47052-3)
The lead character of ISHMAEL, through whose consciousness we
experience the story, sees an ad in the personals column of his
newspaper in which a teacher advertises for a student interested in
saving the world. When he arrives at the office address mentioned in
the ad he finds an almost bare room with a chair that faces a window,
an interior window looking into an adjacent room.
"The glass in this window was black--opaque, reflective. I
continued to gaze into my own eyes for a moment, then rolled
the focus forward beyond the glass--and found myself looking
into another pair of eyes. I fell back, startled. The
creature on the other side of the glass was a full-grown
gorilla. He was terrifyingly enormous, a boulder, a sarsen
of Stonehenge. His sheer mass was alarming in itself, even
though he wasn't using it in any menacing way. On the
contrary, he was half reclining most placidly, nibbling
delicately on a slender branch he carried in his left hand
like a wand.
"You are...the teacher?" I sputtered.
He nodded. "I am the teacher."
He is the teacher, Ishmael, who will teach his student, and very
possibly the reader, a great deal about what it means to be human.
Using only well-known historical facts, generally-accepted truths, and
logic, Ishmael tells the story of man from a fresh perspective,
explaining, along the way, how we got in our current ecological mess,
and why so many of us deny that there is any mess at all. The points
are so simple, and so clearly expressed, that each step of the logical
argument hits with enormous force. The story is clever, profound,
funny, sad, emotionally engaging, and is an intellectual blockbuster.
ISHMAEL, which was the first winner of the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship
(awarded for fiction providing creative and positive solutions to
global problems), is one of the books that, once read (or heard), is
nearly impossible to forget. Possibly a life-changing book. Highly
^ HOME FREE
by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, performance by Stockard Channing
Abridged: 2 cassettes, 180 minutes
(Bantam Audio, 1992, $15.99, ISBN 0-553-47029-9)
Two life-changing events happen to Kate on Christmas Eve: her husband
tells her he is leaving her for another woman, and she meets Ford, a
down-on-his-luck farmer whose car breaks down in front of her home.
Adrift among the shreds of the life she used to recognize, Kate at
first flounders, then begins to innovate. She begins by giving Ford
the Christmas presents that she had bought and wrapped for her
husband, and insisting that he take the large turkey dinner she had
prepared for her family to his family living in a shelter for the
homeless. One act of generosity isn't enough to sustain the rest of
her life, but it points Kate in the right direction. For she will
discover that the best way to recover from hurt is not to retreat
within herself, but to reach out to others.
HOME FREE is a heartwarming story that would make an excellent
entertainment for any Christmas season, full of the spirit of caring
for others and the sharing of one's good fortune. Stockard Channing's
rich, deep voice, poised somewhere between vulnerability and caustic
irony, is just right for this story of one woman's triumph over the
life's rough spots.
^ SNOW IN APRIL
by Rosamunde Pilcher, performance by Lynn Redgrave
(Bantam Audio, 1992, $15.99, ISBN 0-553-47032-9)
Caroline Cliburn is to be married in just a few days to a man she
likes, feels grateful to, but doesn't love. Soon after that her
step-parents are taking her younger brother Jody abroad to live, her
future husband not wanting a child around the house so soon. But Jody
doesn't want to go, Caroline doesn't want him to go, and she's not
exactly sure she really wants to get married at all.
Several days before the wedding Caroline and Jody take off in a
borrowed car for Scotland, to reach their brother Angus, whom they
haven't seen in several years. Maybe he will take care of Jody, and
then Caroline can face her marriage with more enthusiasm. But along
the way fate intervenes in the form of a snow storm, disabling their
car and stranding them at the house of a lonely man who has just lost
his brother. SNOW IN APRIL is a sentimental romance story wonderfully
read by Lynn Redgrave, who has an astonishing array of completely
different voices. Other Rosamunde Pilcher novels performed by Lynn
Redgrave and available from Bantam Audio are: SEPTEMBER, THE SHELL
SEEKERS, and ANOTHER VIEW.
~ COMING SOON! THE READING FOR PLEASURE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
Reading For Pleasure magazine is joining forces with Micro Tutor
Products to produce The Reading For Pleasure Electronic Library, a
collection of some of the greatest literature ever written made
available on IBM-compatible computer disks.
The RFP Electronic Library Reader will:
* Allow you to read the books screen-by-screen on your computer
* Print the book in whole or in part
* Keep multiple bookmarks
* Perform comprehensive search functions for text analysis
Books scheduled for 1992 publication include works by such authors as:
Lewis Carroll Herman Melville
Charles Dickens Edgar Allan Poe
Arthur Conan Doyle William Shakespeare
Ben Franklin Jonathan Swift
H. Rider Haggard Mark Twain
Henry James H.G. Wells
Most titles should be priced in the $10-$15 range. Watch for more
information about the Reading For Pleasure Electronic Library in RFP's
Third Anniversary Issue (June 1992). If you'd like to be put on the
mailing list, to be notified when our first titles are available
(probably sometime in Summer 1992), write to:
RFP Electronic Library
103 Baughman's Lane, Suite 303
Frederick, MD 21702
~ COMING IN OUR JUNE 1992, THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (Berkley)
Venus Blue by Gustaf Sobin (Little, Brown)
A Singular Spy by Amanda Kyle Williams (Naiad Press)
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (Warner)
Blood Red, Snow White by Diane Henry & Nicholas Horrock (Little,
The Vanished Child by Sarah Smith (Ballantine)
Harry and Chicken by Dyan Sheldon (Candlewick Press)
Curtain by Michael Korda (Warner)
and LOTS of great summer reading...
~ # MURDER BY THE BOOK #
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.
^ SETTLED OUT OF COURT
by Henry Cecil
(International Polygonics, October 1991, $8.95, ISBN 1-55882-104-X)
Lonsdale Walsh is an otherwise fairly normal human being with one
eccentricity: he doesn't tell lies, EVER. And the lies of others
always put him into a rage, which explains at least part of his anger
over his present predicament--he has been convicted of murder on
perjured evidence. When all of his attempts to get his case reviewed
fall through, he decides to handle matters his own way.
Walsh has his daughter find him the best barrister and the best High
Court Judge. He then escapes from jail and has the judge, defending
and prosecuting counsel, and all of the witnesses kidnapped and
assembled for a very unconventional re-trial. Walsh just KNOWS that
somehow he will be able to convince his new judge that he was
convicted on perjured evidence.
But that's just the basic plot of SETTLED OUT OF COURT, which gives
you no idea at all of what an absolute delight this novel is. To begin
with, it's laugh-out-loud funny. The author was a barrister, and later
a judge, himself, so he knows the nooks and crannies of the legal
system, and he knows how hilarious barristers and witnesses can be.
But that still doesn't quite tell it all, because at bottom, every
chapter, every page, every sentence of SETTLED OUT OF COURT is about
truth and lies: why people lie, when they lie, how they lie, how their
lies can be found out, how people try to avoid both lying and telling
the truth. SETTLED OUT OF COURT is funny, suspenseful, and enormously
clever. Highly recommended.
You can order SETTLED OUT OF COURT (as well as Cecil's DAUGHTERS IN
LAW, $8.95, ISBN 1-55882-105-8) from the publisher by sending the list
price, plus $1 for the first book and $.50 for each additional book,
to: International Polygonics Ltd., Madison Square, PO Box 1563, New
York, NY 10159-1563. Another Henry Cecil book, WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR,
is due to be released by IPL very soon.
^ A FAREWELL TO YARNS: A Jane Jeffry Mystery
by Jill Churchill
(Avon, December 1991, $3.99, ISBN 0-380-76399-0)
'Why don't they all have nervous breakdowns before
Christmas? More to the point, why don't we? Think it over,
Jane. It's not a bad idea. We could stage some sort of
seizure in the front yard. Foam at the mouth and chew
sticks. They'd take us off to a nice sanitarium where
somebody else has to wrap the gifts and stuff the clammy
turkey and get hives taking the vile tree down when it's
Jane considered. 'Doesn't sound bad. Do we get to wear our
jammies all day?'
---from A FAREWELL TO YARNS
Jane is a recent widow facing a hectic Christmas season with three
kids, two cats, a neurotic dog, an afghan to crochet, and a church
bazaar to help organize. Into this chaos drops Phyllis Wagner, a woman
Jane knew for a year or two back when both were first married. Now
fabulously wealthy, Phyllis has returned to spend some time with Jane,
whom she has always considered a dear friend, but, surprise!, Phyllis
has shown up with a brand-new, totally obnoxious, teenage son. It
seems that Phyllis had become pregnant as a young teen and put the
child up for adoption. Her adoring and rich husband recently had the
boy found, and the horrible child is now enjoying the benefits of a
doting mother with unlimited funds.
Luckily for Jane, Phyllis decides to buy a house in the immediate
area, which she accomplishes within hours of her arrival (isn't money
nice). Unluckily for Phyllis, she turns up dead the next day, having
been stabbed to death in her bed. Her sulky son Bobby is found passed
out and in the possession of a killer hangover. Did Bobby kill his new
meal ticket? Who would want to kill Phyllis? Or did one of Bobby's
lowlife acquaintances mistake her for Bobby, since she was in the
guest bedroom, having given the adored son the master suite?
Jane solves the mystery, raises reasonably decent children, finishes
the afghan, and vacuums the living room in this delightful new mystery
from Jill Churchill. Fellow mystery novelist Nancy Pickard has
compared Churchill to Agatha Christie and it's easy to see why. A
FAREWELL TO YARNS is meticulously plotted and full of wicked humor.
This mystery will delight any fan of cozy, nonviolent mysteries. (Jane
Jeffry's mystery-solving talents are also displayed in GRIME &
^ EMERGENCY MURDER
by Janet McGiffin
(Fawcett Gold Medal, February 1992, $3.99, ISBN 0-449-14764-9)
After an unpleasant divorce, Maxene St. Clair, M.D., Ph.D., is taking
a year's leave of absence from her research lab at Marquette
University to work the 3-11 PM shift in the Emergency Room of St.
Agnes, a Milwaukee inner city hospital. The St. Agnes ER gets a lot of
beat-up hookers, so nobody is too surprised by the patient who arrives
wearing a leather mini skirt and a lurid red wig. What DOES surprise
them is that she is sick, not beaten up; and what ASTOUNDS them is
that she turns out to be Nanette Myers, wife of prominent Milwaukee
surgeon Hank Myers. Nanette complains of feeling sick and having
trouble breathing. Within minutes she dies of heart failure, and Dr.
St. Clair is puzzling over how a young healthy woman's heart could
fail so suddenly.
Even though an autopsy shows nothing unusual, Dr. St. Clair asks that
tissue samples be sent for some extra tests. Very soon Maxene is
reunited with her old friend Detective Grabowski when he arrives to
tell her that Nanette had been killed with an exotic neurotoxin, a
drug so difficult to acquire that it is obviously murder. And, despite
Grabowski's friendship, Maxene soon becomes #1 on the suspect list
when it's discovered that not only did she have an affair with Hank
Myers, but she is one of the few people in the entire city to have
access to the obscure and deadly drug. Now Maxene must try to solve
the murder before her old friend is forced to arrest her for murder.
EMERGENCY MURDER is the first mystery from Janet McGiffin, and is a
spare and carefully plotted mystery centered around the medical and
academic communities. The puzzle is entertaining, and the author
allows the reader to be about a half-step ahead of the investigation,
which makes one feel very clever. An enjoyable read.
^ DANGER FROM THE DEAD
by E.X. Ferrars
(Doubleday Perfect Crime, March 1992, $16.50, ISBN 0-385-41995-3)
Nigel is a little puzzled when his older brother Gavin invites him to
spend his summer holiday in his guest cottage. After all, the two
brothers have never been particularly close. But then Nigel's summer
plans have fallen through at the last minute, and he finds out that
Caroline will be there, so he accepts. Caroline is Gavin's wife
Annabel's half-sister, and a woman that Nigel at one time thought of
marrying. When Nigel arrives, he finds that Caroline is now living
with Gavin and Annabel, having given up her successful acting career
to care for Annabel, who had a stroke two years before.
Why has Caroline given up everything for a half-sister she never
really cared for? Why did Gavin want Nigel to spend the summer in the
guest cottage? Why is Annabel, a highly successful romance novelist,
worried about what people think of her post-stroke books? All of these
mysteries reach a crescendo when Nigel walks into the main house to
find Annabel dead on the floor with a gun near her hand, and Caroline
slumped over a cookbook in the kitchen, shot to death. Did Annabel
shoot Caroline, then have another stroke? Why would she want to kill
Caroline? Who was the mysterious man Nigel saw running away from the
scene? Ferrars, having written over 60 mysteries, weaves all of these
puzzles together deftly, leading up to a shattering climax on a dark
and stormy night.
^ THE CASE OF THE GILDED FLY: The First Gervase Fen Mystery
by Edmund Crispin
(International Polygonics, October 1991, $8.95, ISBN 1-55882-108-2)
"I'm a very good detective myself. In fact I'm the only
literary critic turned detective in the whole of fiction."
There are a couple of assumptions that might be made from the above
quote. One: Gervase Fen isn't terribly modest, and Two: Gervase Fen
mysteries don't take themselves too seriously. Both assumptions are
correct. Originally published in 1944, THE CASE OF THE GILDED FLY was
written by a man who loved mysteries, particularly those written by
John Dickson Carr (Carr's detective Gideon Fell is mentioned in GILDED
FLY as if a real person), Michael Innes, and Gladys Mitchell. Edmund
Crispin (real name: Robert Bruce Montgomery) attended St. John's
College, Oxford, where he was the college's organist (an organist
figures prominently in GILDED FLY) and choirmaster, president of
Oxford University Music Club, and pianist to the University Ballet.
His professional life was divided between writing Gervase Fen
mysteries and composing music (he wrote background music for more than
40 films, among other things).
In THE CASE OF THE GILDED FLY, the Oxford Repertory Theatre is putting
on a play. A famous and very talented playwright will be directing
this first production of a new play he has written, but tensions begin
to mount almost immediately. Most of the conflict centers on Yseut
Haskell, not a bad actress but universally disliked. She's malicious,
selfish, and collects men like seashells. The playwright was a former
lover, a relationship Yseut would like to renew, and his new lover
(and the star of the upcoming production) Rachel isn't happy. Then
there's the college organist, who is in love with Yseut, and the
property mistress who is in love with the organist. And let's not
forget the stage manager who was professionally injured by Yseut,
Yseut's half-sister Helen who is a poor relation who will inherit
Yseut's considerable wealth, and Nigel who is in love with Helen. In
any case, it shouldn't surprise you when Yseut turns up dead, shot at
close range in the organist's bedroom. It also shouldn't be too
surprising when the circumstances surrounding the death prove that it
couldn't have been suicide, it couldn't have been an accident, and
nobody could possibly have murdered her (locked room, no one came or
went during the appropriate time), because amateur detective Gervase
Fen specializes in Impossible Crimes.
Gervase Fen, possibly Oxford's most famous Professor of English
Literature, solves THE CASE OF THE GILDED FLY with great flair, but
not before another death, a breath of scandal, and even a marriage
proposal or two. Poet Philip Larkin, a good friend of Bruce Montgomery
(aka Edmund Crispin), once said that "Bruce had unsuspected depths of
frivolity", depths that show to superb effect in this novel. In the
grand tradition of classic puzzle mysteries, THE CASE OF THE GILDED
FLY is literate, witty, and very, very clever. Mystery entertainment
of the first rank. (You can order THE CASE OF THE GILDED FLY directly
from the publisher by sending the list price, plus $1 postage and
handling, to: International Polygonics Ltd., Madison Square, PO Box
1563, New York, NY 10159-1563.
^ CATNAP: A Midnight Louie Mystery
by Carole Nelson Douglas
(Tor, March 1992, $17.95, ISBN 0-312-85217-7)
"The ABA is a perfect environment for murder...Victim,
suspects and perpetrator all obscured in a sea of bound
galleys and free Winnie-the-Pooh posters."
---Lt. Molina, LVMPD
"This is a business, Temple, it's not an experiment in the
nobility of the human spirit. Sometimes the meanest bastards
make the most dough."
---Lorna Fennick, director of PR for Reynolds/Chapter/Deuce
First, you should meet the cast. Front and center is Midnight Louie,
an 18-pound jet-black cat who is apparently real and has long been
acquainted with author Carole Nelson Douglas. Next to him is standing
the diminutive Temple Barr, a 29-year-old PR (public relations)
freelancer who is currently working for the ABA (American Booksellers
Association) at their annual convention, being held in her current
home of Las Vegas. She is apparently fictional. Key featured roles are
also played by two other real-life cats, Baker and Taylor, Scottish
Fold cats who are the mascots of book distributor Baker and Taylor.
The cast is fleshed out with more fictional people: There is the
Hateful Editor, Chester Royal; the abused but colorful bestselling
novelists Lanyard Hunter, Mavis Davis, and Owen Tharp; assorted other
PR specialists, an ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend, and Lieutenant Molina of
Now let me briefly sketch the scene. Midnight Louie and Temple Barr
discover the body of the Hateful Editor and decide to embark on their
own investigation to discover the murderer. Of course, whenever an
Editor is murdered, you always suspect an author. Who else would hate
an editor enough to do him in? But it turns out that this particular
Hateful Editor was especially good at making enemies, starting 40
years ago when he lost his license to practice medicine over a botched
abortion that it was claimed the patient hadn't wanted in the first
place. His basic attitude toward women was one of fear and loathing,
which points toward former wives and girlfriends, several of whom,
wouldn't you know it, turn out to be at the convention. But don't get
sidetracked too long by the dead editor, because Baker and Taylor have
been catnapped, and Temple Barr has received a ransom note demanding
$5,000 or the pair will be turned into "kitty stew".
Not only is CATNAP a pretty fine mystery in its own right, it's an
absolute Must Read for anyone who either loves cats or knows the book
publishing industry. Much of the nonsense and conflicts of the book
world are treated satirically here, and most of it is hilarious. (I
particularly liked the threat of an unauthorized Bart Simpson bio by
Kitty Kelley, a "book product" package that would thrill the hearts of
any marketing department.) Temple Barr and Midnight Louie finally
solve the case and decide to live together to boot. CATNAP is short on
violence and long on entertainment. Don't miss it.
^ BACKHAND: An Anna Lee Mystery
by Liza Cody
(Doubleday Perfect Crime, February 1992, $18.50, ISBN 0-385-42231-8)
Anna Lee is a London private detective working for a security company
where she spends most of her time selling electronic security systems.
Not very challenging, or very interesting. So when Lara, the sister of
one of the security company's clients wants to hire Anna personally
for some real investigation work, Anna says Yes. The job seems fairly
simple: the liquidation of a bankrupt company is being handled oddly.
What has happened to the assets of the company? Why won't the man in
charge of the liquidation answer phone calls?
It sure seemed simple, but Anna discovers that there is a lot more to
the story than just a bankrupt company. There's a missing husband, a
missing daughter, and an unscrupulous business partner. Soon Anna
begins to wonder why Lara is so interested in this bankrupt company
and the woman who ran it. And then there's the rest of Anna's life,
equally messy. Her employers aren't happy about her working for a
client personally. Her long-distance boyfriend moves in with her, and
she feels crowded. To top it all off, Anna's apartment house has been
sold and she has eight weeks to move out.
The boyfriend and the apartment get put on a back burner while Anna
solves the case, a case that takes her to the U.S. for the first time.
Once in Florida Anna meets a truculent fellow investigator, plays
tennis at an exclusive resort, and gets shot at by mobsters. But she
gets to the bottom of it all in the end, and gives the reader a great
ride too. The best part of BACKHAND are the characters. I felt that I
really got to know and like Anna Lee, imperfections and all, and I
definitely hope to hear more about Selwyn, Anna's slightly cracked
^ THE DAY THE RABBI RESIGNED: A Rabbi Small Mystery
by Harry Kemelman
(Fawcett Columbine, February 1992, $20.00, ISBN 0-449-90681-7)
Wouldn't you know it? I read my very first Rabbi Small mystery, and he
resigns! Was it something I said? Harry Kemelman's first Rabbi Small
mystery was published in 1964, and you can now get Fawcett Crest
paperback editions of these previous titles:
Friday the Rabbi Slept Late
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry
Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home
Monday the Rabbi Took Off
Tuesday the Rabbi Saw Red
Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet
Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out
Someday the Rabbi Will Leave
One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross
In THE DAY THE RABBI RESIGNED, Rabbi Small wants to leave the
rabbinate to pursue a career as a teacher, but before that he solves
the mystery surrounding the death of Victor Joyce, an ambitious,
womanizing college professor. Joyce had married the niece of Cyrus
Merton, a wealthy man who could promise him both a large inheritance
and steady promotion at the college. Was Joyce's death really just an
accident? Or did his estranged wife, a devout Catholic, commit murder
to be free of him? Or maybe it was Mordecai Jacobs, Joyce's rival for
tenure at the school where they taught? Or possibly Joyce was killed
by an enraged boyfriend whose girl had received an undeserved A for
Despite the large cast of characters and the mass of times, locations,
and other plot details, there is never any difficulty keeping track of
the story and it's tough to put the book down before all 273 pages are
read. Without sensational plot devices or melodrama, Kemelman weaves
the kind of seemingly effortless tale that convinces other people to
try their hand at writing. It just looks so EASY. But if it's that
easy, how come all mysteries aren't this good? THE DAY THE RABBI
RESIGNED is a quietly engrossing story that is sure to please, and
Kemelman has a number of very interesting things to say about current
trends in higher education. I only hope that Rabbi David Small will
continue to solve crimes no matter where he's working. (And in the
meantime I've got all those other Rabbi Small books to read.) A fine
* Don't miss THE MUMMY CASE by Elizabeth Peters (Tor, March 1992,
$4.99, ISBN 0-812-52031-9). Amelia Peabody has an archaeological
adventure in Egypt, with a murder and a mysterious mummy case that
keeps appearing and disappearing.
^ BLACK WIDOW: A Peter Duluth Puzzle
by Patrick Quentin
(International Polygonics, 1991, $8.95, ISBN 1-55882-111-2)
Peter Duluth is a very capable and bright Broadway producer, one who
knows that it's wise to be very, very careful with young women; that
even an innocent remark might be taken as some kind of professional or
personal promise. So why does he take young Nanny Ordway out to
dinner? Having just met her at a party, and his wife being out of
town, why does he allow himself to be charmed by the naive and
innocent artlessness of this aspiring writer? These questions hit him
particularly hard when he returns home with his wife Iris, after
meeting her plane from Jamaica, to find Nanny Ordway hanging from
their bedroom chandelier, quite dead.
Naturally everyone assumes Peter had been having an affair with her,
and that Nanny hung herself because he wouldn't leave his wife. His
friends do, the police do, everyone except his wife Iris--at least for
a while. Then Nanny's roommate says that Nanny told her all about the
affair with Peter. And then Peter's maid tells about the time she
found Nanny asleep in the Duluths' bed wearing Iris' pajamas. And then
the police discover that Nanny was pregnant. And THEN it turns out
that it wasn't suicide at all, but murder. Suddenly Peter finds
himself in very deep trouble, and now NOBODY believes him.
BLACK WIDOW becomes almost painful as the "facts" pile up against
Peter Duluth. It's a classic Woolrich nightmare: you know you're
innocent, but absolutely every piece of evidence points directly to
your guilt. And nobody, but nobody, will believe your story. In BLACK
WIDOW, Peter's dilemma races to an explosive climax highlighted by a
few last-minute red herrings to add a few twists to the knot. A really
superb mystery of psychological suspense and puzzling details.
Other Patrick Quentin books available from IPL: PUZZLE FOR PLAYERS
($5.95, ISBN 1-55882-008-6), PUZZLE FOR PUPPETS ($7.95, ISBN
1-55882-020-5), PUZZLE FOR WANTONS ($7.95, ISBN 1-55882-063-9), and
RUN TO DEATH ($7.95, ISBN 1-55882-096-5). You can order any, or all,
of these titles directly from IPL by sending the list price(s), plus
$1 for the first book and $.50 for each additional book, to:
International Polygonics Ltd., Madison Square, PO Box 1563, New York,
^ HOUSTON TOWN: A Hollis Carpenter Mystery
by Deborah Powell
(Naiad Press, 1992, $8.95, ISBN 1-56280-006-X)
First seen in BAYOU CITY SECRETS (reviewed in RFP #19), Houston crime
reporter Hollis Carpenter is back in another 1930s mystery adventure,
along with her beautiful lover Lily and her gingersnap-eating
Schnauzer, Anice. The fun begins this time when Hollis is awakened at
3 AM by a phone call from her friend Charlotte, who is a trifle upset.
It seems that she was out somewhere until late (and, no, she won't say
where she's been), then came home to find a strange man in her bed.
Worse than that, the guy's dead. Hollis hustles right over to discover
a bullet hole in the middle of the man's forehead and, wouldn't you
know it, Charlotte's gun is missing.
Hollis knows that Charlotte could never kill anyone, but figures that
the police will probably be a lot harder to convince, so she hides
Charlotte with her upstairs neighbor, Park Lane, then heads out to
face the police and solve the murder. Along the way Hollis must deal
with crooked cops, blackmailing politicians, and a lesbian evangelist,
which isn't too bad, but when someone shoots at Anice, Hollis takes it
personally. The talk is tough, the temperature is hot, and the action
is nonstop. HOUSTON TOWN is a period mystery that's a lot of fun. (You
can order HOUSTON TOWN directly from the publisher by sending the list
price, plus 15% for postage and handling, to: The Naiad Press Inc., PO
Box 10543, Tallahassee, FL 32302, or call 1-800-533-1973.
^ GOSPEL TRUTHS
by J.G. Sandom
(Doubleday Perfect Crime, March 1992, $16.50, ISBN 0-385-42233-4)
A wealthy and powerful Italian banker, Salvatore Pontevecchio, is
found dead in London, hanging from Blackfriars Bridge. An inquest
rules the death a suicide, but a year later a judge decides to reopen
the case to find more information. Inspector Nigel Lyman is assigned,
an officer whose once-promising career has been all but destroyed by
grief, guilty, and alcohol. Almost immediately Lyman discovers a huge
clue, leading him to wonder if any real investigating had ever been
done and, more ominously, just exactly why he had been chosen to
handle the case now.
Shortly after finding the clue--a locker key--Lyman's apartment is
torn apart and his dog killed. Someone wants that key badly, but the
only people who knew Lyman had it were his police superiors. The key
still safe, Lyman will follow its trail to France, and the beginning
of an international intrigue that will involve a secret right-wing
Masonic Lodge and a Gnostic gospel of unspeakable power buried under
the Chartres Cathedral.
GOSPEL TRUTHS is a novel about money, power, death, and betrayal--an
intricately-plotted international thriller. This is J.G. Sandom's
first novel; he is now at work on a second, called THE HUNTING CLUB.
THE WRONG RITE: A Madoc and Janet Rhys Mystery
by Charlotte MacLeod writing as Alisa Craig
(Morrow, January 1992, $19.00, ISBN 0-688-08643-8)
Madoc Rhys, a detective inspector in the RCMP (the Canadian police),
his wife Janet ("Jenny"), and their eight-month-old daughter Dorothy
are visiting his relatives in Wales, joining a large family reunion to
celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Sir Caradoc Rhys, patriarch of the
Rhys clan. The celebrations will include a Beltane fire, which,
according to ancient occult tradition, is to be jumped over. There is
more to these pagan rituals, and the whole family hears about them
from the irritating Bob Rhys and his sister Mary, distant cousins that
the rest of the family would as soon disown. Both Bob and Mary avidly
pursue their occult interests, which involve herbs, naked dancing, and
incantations in their bid to appease and influence the spirits. Their
machinations come to an explosive end when Mary jumps the Beltane fire
and, well, explodes. She is found to have had about a pound of
gunpowder secreted all around her clothing.
Did Mary herself plant the gunpowder in a foolhardy play for
attention? Did her greedy brother kill her for her money? Or did some
other family member just get tired of Mary's endless boring lectures?
Madoc and Jenny will work it out together, uncovering a number of
family secrets along the way. THE WRONG RITE is another enjoyable
light-hearted mystery from the author of the Peter Shandy series, the
Sarah Kelling series, the Grub and Stakers series, as well as other
books. Previous novels in the Madoc Rhys series are: A PINT OF MURDER,
MURDER GOES MUMMING, A DISMAL THING TO DO, and TROUBLE IN THE BRASSES.
~BOOKS ON TAPE:
^ PRIVATE EYES
by Jonathan Kellerman, performance by John Rubinstein
Abridged: 2 cassettes, 180 minutes
(Bantam Audio, 1992, $15.99, ISBN 0-553-47000-0)
Psychologist Alex Delaware once treated a scared 7-year-old named
Melissa Dickinson. Now she's 18 years old and consults Delaware again,
this time about her reclusive mother Gina. Twenty years ago Gina was a
very beautiful young actress whose career, and life, were ruined when
a friend inexplicably hired someone to throw acid in her face. Gina,
now a very wealthy widow, has been severely agoraphobic since then,
afraid to leave the house she shares with Melissa and her new husband.
Melissa doesn't trust the new husband, nor does she trust Gina's new
therapist, who seems to be interfering with Melissa's relationship
with her mother. Melissa asks Delaware to speak to Gina and find out
just how stable she is.
Delaware asks his old friend detective Milo Sturgis to help out, and
together they discover a few unsettling facts about Gina's situation.
For one thing, her therapist apparently left her last location under
something of a cloud, but no one will discuss it. And Gina's new
husband turns out to have been a close friend, back twenty years ago,
of both Gina and the man who paid for her disfigurement. It also
appears as though Gina has given her therapist some artwork valued at
about $250,000. When it is learned that Gina's old enemy has been
released from prison, and Gina disappears shortly thereafter, the
story rushes ever-faster to a series of shocking and sordid
Other Jonathan Kellerman titles available from Bantam Audio are:
WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, performed by John Rubinstein
2 cassettes, 180 minutes, $14.95, ISBN 0-553-45138-3
TIME BOMB, performed by John Rubinstein
2 cassettes, 180 minutes, $15.95, ISBN 0-553-45237-1
SILENT PARTNER, performed by John Rubinstein
2 cassettes, 180 minutes, $15.95, ISBN 0-553-45191-X
BLOOD TEST, performed by John Rubinstein
2 cassettes, 180 minutes, $14.95, ISBN 0-553-45175-8
OVER THE EDGE, performed by John Rubinstein
2 cassettes, 180 minutes, $14.95, ISBN 0-553-45122-7
THE BUTCHER'S THEATRE, performed Ben Kingsley
2 cassettes, 180 minutes, $14.95, ISBN 0-553-45156-1
^ SNIPER'S MOON
by Carsten Stroud, performance by Robert Lansing
(Bantam Audio, 1992, $15.99, ISBN 0-553-45269-X)
Abridged, 2 cassettes, 180 minutes
Detective Frank Keogh has a talent for killing, a talent developed in
the jungles of Vietnam and transformed into a career as a sniper for
the NYPD. Two bizarre and brutal murders point directly to Frank as
the killer, and soon Frank is a fugitive from justice, leading the
cops on a cross-country chase as he desperately searches for the man
who framed him and the father who could be his best hope of survival.
^ EXTREME MEASURES
by Michael Palmer, performance by John Pankow
Abridged, 2 cassettes, 180 minutes
(Bantam Audio, 1992, $15.99, ISBN 0-553-47039-6)
An elite group of medical professionals at White Memorial Hospital has
formed a secret club that performs procedures that are not sanctioned
by the medical profession. Dr. Eric Najarian is up for promotion to a
high-ranking position at the hospital and is promised the position, by
an unknown colleague, if he joins this secret club and plays by their
rules. He doesn't know that he has been very closely watched and
judged. At first Dr. Najarian decides to join the club but soon
realizes that he has seen too much. A missing corpse. An unspeakable
mutilation. A brutal abduction. And that's only the beginning. If Dr.
Najarian refuses to become their colleague, he just might become their
I have always liked medical thrillers and EXTREME MEASURES is a
particularly good one. John Pankow's performance of the novel was
excellent. (Pankow, by the way, played the lead role in AMADEUS on
Broadway.) On a scale of 1 to 10, EXTREME MEASURES gets a solid 8.
^ HARD FALL
by Ridley Pearson, performance by David Rasche
Abridged, 2 cassettes, 180 minutes
(Bantam Audio, 1992, $15.99, ISBN 0-553-47002-7)
Two years ago, FBI agent Cal Daggett's parents were killed and his son
paralyzed in the terrorist bombing of a EuroTours airliner. Now,
Daggett's got an explosives expert in custody, one he believes has a
connection to the terrorist who shattered his family, Anthony Kort.
Through the blundering of a DC police investigator, the prisoner is
able to commit suicide, killing the investigator in the process, and
thus depriving Daggett of the information he has been seeking. But the
very fact that the explosives expert was in the DC area means that a
possible terrorist bombing is in the making. Both forensic experts and
psychologists join in an intensive manhunt for the terrorist
mastermind, Anthony Kort.
I enjoyed listening to HARD FALL very much. Of particular interest was
the attention that was paid to details in the area of explosives,
airplane dynamics and the compiling of clues. The terrorist, Kort, has
an impacted tooth and eventually pulls the tooth himself. Along the
way, he leaves clues and eventually must see a dentist for the
problem. It was fascinating how all the evidence he leaves is put
together and used to track him down. At another point, Kort kidnaps,
and eventually kills, an airline executive and forces him to assist in
the use of an airline simulator. It's fascinating to watch Daggett
figure out what connection this has with a possible terrorist bombing.
I also found David Rasche's reading of HARD FALL to be excellent.
Different accents were needed during the reading and were done
perfectly. (When listening to books on cassettes I rely on different
accents and voice inflections to identify the various characters.) I
can highly recommend HARD FALL, either on cassette or hard copy.
~ COMING IN OUR JUNE 1992, THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Deadly Allies edited by Robert J. Randisi & Marilyn Wallace
The End of April by Penny Sumner (Naiad Press)
As the Sparks Fly Upward by Gloria Dank (Doubleday)
Body Count by William X. Kienzle (Andrews and McMeel)
Jablonski and the Erotomaniac by Perry Lafferty (Donald I. Fine)
The Resurrection Man by Charlotte MacLeod (Mysterious)
Bury Him Kindly by Pat Burden (Doubleday)
Bloody Ten by William Love (Donald I. Fine)
Deep Sleep by Frances Fyfield (Pocket Books)
A Diet to Die For by Joan Hess (Ballantine)
"H" Is For Homicide by Sue Grafton (Fawcett Crest)
and a WHOLE lot more...
~ * FRIGHTFUL FICTION *
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.
by James Herbert
(New English Library, 1991)
James Herbert is a prominent English writer of horror stories, and his
every effort seems to produce a winner. In CREED he has chosen a
rather scruffy character as the protagonist--a paparazzo working as an
independent photographer in London and grudgingly recognized by his
fellow paparazzi as the dean of their repulsive profession.
On one of his picture taking ventures Joe Creed inadvertently captures
on film the antics of a "fallen angel" dancing on the new grave of a
former movie star. When he develops the film, Creed realizes that he
has something different and puzzling and very quickly the "fallen
angel" (also a demon) is knocking on his door and lets him know with
frightening and violent emphasis that the pictures must be returned.
That leads to a game of hide, seek and trade as Creed struggles to
protect his special pictures and learn more about the unworldly
creatures who pursue him.
Aggressiveness and stubbornness are primary characteristics of the
paparazzi and that is what allows Creed to cope in his encounter with
the underworld. His ability to reason and analyze is limited, however,
and as a result he moves from one set of dangerous experiences to
another without learning much along the way. His nature lends itself
to a story that is scary and humorous. It is fun to read, but at the
same time it has all the knuckle chewing elements of a solid horror
^ INCIDENT AT POTTER'S BRIDGE
by Joe Monninger
(Donald I. Fine, January 1992, $21.00, ISBN 1-55611-307-2)
Drawing inspiration from such suspense masters as Thomas Harris (THE
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), Alfred Hitchcock (PSYCHO), and Ed Gein
(psycho), Joe Monninger creates a queasy shocker of high tension and
graphic violence. George Denkin is a serial killer preying on the
young women at a small New Hampshire college. He stalks his victim
carefully, scalps her, and stores his trophies in a "wig shop" very
like his dead mother's beauty parlor.
Zelda Fitzgibbons is a bright and attractive coed anxious to enjoy her
newly-found independence, arriving at Colbin College just after the
first murder occurs in the woods near Potter's Bridge. Zelda and
George will soon be locked in a deadly game of cat and mouse, a
tension-filled exercise that will reach a shattering climax in a
steamy dormitory shower. INCIDENT AT POTTER'S BRIDGE is a gripping
thriller of nearly unbearable suspense, but reader's should be warned
that the violence is graphic and disturbing.
^ POST MORTEM
edited by Paul F. Olson & David B. Silva
(Dell Abyss, January 1992, $4.99, ISBN 0-440-20792-4)
"A book of ghost stories or a novel of the supernatural, if
well done, can provide long evenings of surcease from the
travails of this world. It can more deeply involve us--and
usually it will have more of value to say about life--than
an ten good movies. The art of the storyteller, expressed
through the printed word, can touch the mind and the heart,
establish a special intimacy between writer and reader, and
allow an intensity and depth of communion seldom achieved by
an other art form."
---Dean R. Koontz, "Afterword", POST MORTEM
Those are words of wisdom from a guy who obviously not only writes,
but reads. And within the covers of POST MORTEM you'll find 17 very
fine ghost stories to entertain you for a few evenings. Some of the
best are mostly about the terrible pull that our dead can have on us.
Not THE dead, you understand, but our very own personal dead. In
Kathryn Ptacek's "Each Night, Each Year", a woman is haunted, nearly
consumed, by memories of her father and his slow death from cancer. An
elderly man is living with his dead in "The Last Cowboy Song" by
Charles L. Grant. And then there is the trauma of an entire generation
facing the Vietnam dead, on both political sides, considered by Thomas
F. Monteleone in his "The Ring of Truth". Donald R. Burleson's
"Walkie-Talkie" is about unfinished childhood friendships, and dead
siblings are mourned, though differently, in both "Brothers" by David
B. Silva and "Getting Back" by P.W. Sinclair.
Possibly the best story of all is Thomas Tessier's "Blanca", about a
travel writer who wants to get away from the usual vacation tourist
traps and winds up in a geographical area called, ominously, Blanca,
in which he stays at the Hotel des Vacances. A territory not part of
any particular country, Blanca is as much a cipher as its name
implies, and the writer's vacation turns into a surreal nightmare. In
more a traditional vein is Ramsey Campbell's "The Guide", in which he
invokes the spirit of M.R. James to guide us to the uncanny. Another
old-fashioned type story, of the time travel variety, is "Timeskip" by
Charles de Lint--wonderfully atmospheric but much too short.
Another good one was "Eyes of the Swordmaker" by Gordon Linzner, about
a Japanese craftsman whose crime receives a terrible, but perfectly
fair, punishment. Len Krager, who can't seem to establish successful
relationships with the living, does much better with the dead in Gary
Brandner's "Mark of the Loser". Janet Fox tells a story about a ghost
who performs a service for a runaway battered wife, for which payment
is expected. Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem team up for "Resettling",
wherein Hannah, husband Perry, and daughter Ashely move into a haunted
house. Do they possess the house, or does the house possess them? In
Melissa Mia Hall's "The Brush of Soft Wings", old age is haunted, and
ultimately defeated, by the spectre of youth.
Slightly more light-hearted is William F. Nolan's "Major Prevue Here
Tonite", about a haunted movie theater. We learn NEVER to patronize a
movie house called Styx. Marion and Carey solve their marital problems
by becoming innkeepers to ghosts in "Nine Gables" by James Howard
Kunstler. And POST MORTEM finishes off with Robert R. McCammon's
"Haunted World", about what happens when the afterworld shuts down and
all the dead come back. Would there be room for us?
If I were to be really picky, I'd say that POST MORTEM didn't quite
hit the high notes like several stories did in Olson & Silva's DEAD
END: CITY LIMITS (reviewed in RFP #21), but that it's still well above
average. I think there's just something about ghost stories that has a
universal appeal--they don't seem to wear out their welcome like
vampire stories or psycho killer tales. As Dean Koontz says in his
"Afterword" essay at the end of POST MORTEM:
"Good heavens, what's WRONG with these people who don't like
stories of the supernatural?"
^ MASTER OF LIES
by Graham Masterton
(Tor, January 1992, $19.95, ISBN 0-312-85102-2)
Graham Masterton combines the psycho killer thriller, the police
procedural mystery, and the occult horror novel into a suspenseful
page-turner in MASTER OF LIES. San Francisco Police Detective Larry
Foggia must hunt down the serial killer known as the "Fog City Satan",
but his investigation reveals that the slaughter of six families has
actually been a series of demonic sacrifices to awaken Beli Ya'al, the
"Master of Lies", one of the original fallen angels. After terrifying
personal experiences with the occult, resulting in the death of his own
mother, Foggia finds himself calling on the psychic community for help.
Soon, realizing that even the San Francisco police department can't be
trusted, he must face the fact that he alone stands between the safety
of his family and the "Master of Lies".
MASTER OF LIES makes for exciting reading but I should stress a VERY
strong warning about the extremely graphic violence in the book. The
book opens with "The Fog City Satan" murdering an ex-police officer and
his wife by having them nail each other to the floor and then mutilating
them. Their two children are nailed to the wall and set on fire. There
are similar scenes sprinkled throughout the book.
Graham Masterton is the author of more than 20 novels of dark
suspense, including THE BURNING (reviewed in RFP #17), WALKERS, THE
MANITOU, MIRROR, CHARNEL HOUSE, and NIGHT WARRIORS.
* If you like weird fiction, if you like Lovecraftian stories,
particularly if you're a Brian Lumley fan, you need to get the latest
catalog from: W. Paul Ganley: Publisher, Box 149, Buffalo, NY 14226.
^ THE SEASON OF PASSAGE
by Christopher Pike
(Tor, February 1992, $18.95, ISBN 0-312-85115-4)
America's bestselling author of young adult horror and suspense
fiction (CHAIN LETTER, BURY ME DEAD, LAST ACT, SPELLBOUND, etc.) now
produces his very first adult horror novel. THE SEASON OF PASSAGE
combines the modern world of space travel with the ancient traditions
of vampirism in a story of unusual depth and poetic beauty.
Dr. Lauren Wagner is the Medical Officer on mankind's second manned
mission to Mars in 2004. A group of Russians had made the trip earlier
but all contact with them has been lost; even the one cosmonaut who
remained in orbit was never heard from again. What could possibly have
happened to them? An alien virus?
Suspense begins to build even before the new mission leaves the
ground, when Lauren has a nightmare that haunts her even when she's
awake, getting worse as she gets closer to Mars. And while Lauren
travels, her younger sister Jennifer is back on Earth making sinister
discoveries of her own, getting telepathic messages from strange
vampire-like creatures on Mars. THE SEASON OF PASSAGE is the adult
debut of an fascinating writer. Recommended.
* STUNTS by Charles L. Grant (reviewed in RFP #14) is now available in
paperback! Tor Books, $4.99, ISBN 0-812-50698-7.
^ SHADOW TWIN
by Dale Hoover
(Dell Abyss, December 1991, $4.50, ISBN 0-440-21087-9)
"We don't need ghosts and goblins to scare us. We have that
deadly power within our own minds."
The central figure of Dale Hoover's SHADOW TWIN, Jack, is a very
believable character. Living a supposedly normal life, with a loving
wife and devoted son, Jack has for most of his life been teetering on
the edge of sanity, fighting the inner demons of guilt and shame.
After an unpleasant episode at his job, Jack quits and moves away with
his family. His plans are hazy, his priorities are just to relax and
enjoy his family, but, as he repeats in a litany throughout the story,
you never really can escape. Especially when you're trying to run away
One day Jack's small son Jed is playing in the attic of their new
house and discovers the hole. It's just a small, round, dark hole.
Items dropped in just disappear, and there is no trace of the hole in
the master bedroom directly beneath it. Jack's wife Rachal calls in a
physicist from a nearby university, who is turn calls in his best
friend, a parapsychologist. Both are fascinated and disturbed by the
hole, which communicates with something very personal inside each of
them. Only Jack and Jed, however, are aware of the next
development--the arrival of the "dream man", a larval humanoid hungry
for life. What is the relationship between Jack, the hole, and the
dream man? Did Jack's mental turmoil create the manifestations, or are
they separate entities capitalizing on Jack's vulnerabilities?
From one direction you can read SHADOW TWIN as a supernatural bogeyman
story with an unusually strong psychological foundation. From the
opposite side, you can read it as a rich novel of psychological
suspense with an unusual supernatural element. (For example, the dream
man is obviously a Jungian shadow self, and its behavior fits both
that interpretation as well as several folkloric identities.) Either
way SHADOW TWIN is an unusual, disturbing novel that is intellectually
very satisfying. Dell Abyss has uncovered yet another sensational
first novel from an exciting new voice in horrific fiction.
~DELL ABYSS: Do you have them all?
THE CIPHER by Kathe Koja
NIGHTLIFE by Brian Hodge
DUSK by Ron Dee
PRODIGAL by Melanie Tem
SPECTERS by J.M. Dillard
TOPLIN by Michael McDowell
MASTERY by Kelley Wilde
OBSESSED by Rick R. Reed
DESCENT by Ron Dee
TUNNELVISION by R. Patrick Gates
SHADOW TWIN by Dale Hoover
POST MORTEM edited by Paul F. Olson & David B. Silva
THE ORPHEUS PROCESS by Daniel H. Gower
WHIPPING BOY by John Byrne
~ QUICK CHILLS II
QUICK CHILLS II is comprised of the best horror fiction published in
the small press over the last two years. Twenty-five stories are
included, from such varied sources as CEMETERY DANCE, THE HORROR SHOW,
HAUNTS, REAPER'S HARVEST, NOCTULPA, WEIRD TALES, THIN ICE, and ATOPOS.
QUICK CHILLS II will be published exclusively in a limited edition of
575 copies, signed by all contributors. QUICK CHILLS II is carefully
crafted from top-notch materials for discerning collectors. The book
is printed on archival-quality 70 lb., acid-free paper, is over-sewn
for durability, and is hand-bound in genuine leather, with two-color
foil stampings on both cover and spine. The release date is February
QUICK CHILLS II is edited by Robert Morrish & Peter Enfantino.
Contributors include: Douglas Clegg (GOAT DANCE, BREEDER, NEVERLAND),
Nancy Collins (SUNGLASSES AFTER DARK, TEMPTER, IN THE BLOOD), Scott
Edelman (THE GIFT), Bentley Little (THE REVELATION, THE MAILMAN),
Elizabeth Massie (SINEATER), Wayne Allen Sallee (THE HOLY TERROR),
David J. Schow (THE KILL RIFF, THE SHAFT, SEEING RED), David Silva
(CHILD OF DARKNESS, COME 13), Brad J. Boucher, Gary Braunbeck, Mark
Budz, Robert E. Cook, C.S. Fuqua, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Norman
Partridge, Jack Pavey, Dan Perez, Robert Price, Mark Rainey, Kiel
Stuart, Ann K. Taylor, Jeffrey Thomas, Adam Troy-Castro, Susan
Watkins, art by Augie Wiedemann.
QUICK CHILLS II retails for $45, but READING FOR PLEASE readers can
purchase it for the special price of $40. To take advantage of this
offer, send a check or money order, payable to Deadline Press, to:
4884 Pepperwood Way, Dept. FP
San Jose, CA 95124
^ TABOO 5
edited by Stephen R. Bissette
(SpiderBaby Grafix, 1991, $14.95, ISBN 0-922003-09-2)
Each issue of TABOO is an eclectic collection of words, artwork, and
graphic stories, most of it strongly horrific, experimental,
graphically sexual, or with some other characteristic that makes it
unsuitable for mainstream publishing. I do believe this issue of TABOO
is the best yet.
TABOO 5 opens with a hard-edged essay by Douglas Winter called "Seeing
Is Not Believing"--it's about words, pictures, obscenity, and
censorship. It's very good, and bits of it have been floating through
my conversation ever since I first read it. By the way, I can't forget
to mention the artwork that graces the front and back covers, inside
and outside; full color illustrations by Jeff Jones, Melinda Gebbie,
Rolf Stark, and Michael Zulli that really are eye-catching. And
another feature of TABOO that I wanted to mention is the different
kinds of paper used for different stories--it adds a textural element
that is unique to fiction publishing, at least to my knowledge.
"39th and Norton" by Tom Marnick and Dennis Ellefson is about the
Black Dahlia case, an unsolved murder from the 1940s. The words and
the illustrations combine for a very disturbing story. Next come the
first few chapters of THROUGH THE HABITRAILS, a new graphic series by
Jeff Nicholson--a very weird, yet uncomfortably accurate view of life
in the modern corporate maze. After that comes an erotic story by Alan
Moore illustrated in bright pastel colors by Melinda Gebbie. It's the
first chapter in an apparently ongoing story that takes place in the
"Better Things To Do" by Jeff Jones and "Akimbo" by Rick Grimes both
left me on the pier wondering where they went. Both look interesting,
but I was not able to follow. Matt Howarth's "Baby's On Fire" is a
sad/comic story about teenage sexuality, and "Verse From A Viscera
Vase II" is a crawly illustrated poem by Michael H. Price and Adrian
Martinez. The single most disturbing (or should I say 'upsetting')
piece in the entire issue is "This Is Dynamite..." by P.J. Kenyon and
S. Clay Wilson. It's about homosexuality, and is pretty much
guaranteed to bother heterosexual men.
The two longest, and best, graphic stories are "Again", a Michael
Zulli graphic adaptation of a Ramsey Campbell story, and Chapter Four
of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's fabulous epic about Jack the
Ripper, FROM HELL. It's so good that the publisher has made copies of
the first and second chapters available individually, even though the
issues of TABOO they appeared in are out of print. Those first two
chapters are available for $4.95 plus $2 shipping and handling. TABOO
4, where you can find Chapter 3, as well as a whole lot of other good
stuff, is available for $14.95 plus $2 s/h. Presumably you can also
get this issue for $14.95 plus $2. Send your money to: Tundra
Publishing Ltd., 320 Riverside Drive, Northampton, MA 01060. With your
order you'll also get a 36-page catalog of other graphic publications.
^ THIRTEEN DOORS
Door #3: What Happens to Little Boys
Door #4: Wednesday's Child
(Audio Oddities, 5078 South 108th St., Suite 108, Omaha, NE 68137)
Cassette #1 (Doors #1 & #2): ISBN 1-879684-00-4
Cassette #2 (Doors #3 & #4): ISBN 1-879684-01-2
THIRTEEN DOORS is a connected sequence of audio dramas centered on the
terrifying figure of the Carnival Man. Door #1 and #2 were on the
first tape (reviewed in RFP #17), and now Door #3 and #4 are available
on a second cassette. Door #3, "What Happens to Little Boys", is
written by the talented author and editor David B. Silva. This story
shifts the focus away from Marla Kendall and her son Willie, beginning
when Matthew Barnes arrives at the nursing home where his grandfather
has been living. A number of strange and unexplained deaths have
caused state officials to order the facility closed until an
investigation can be made. Matthew will discover how and why the
deaths occurred, and the explanation is stranger than the
investigators could ever guess...
Door #4, "Wednesday's Child" is written by Kathleen Jurgens. This door
leads, appropriately enough, to a carnival, where 11-year-old Stacy
Lynn and little Willie Kendall visit the sideshow freaks, only one of
the promised attractions isn't there--yet. As Door #4 closes, Marla
and Willie are still separated, and the Carnival Man is still in
These mini horror dramas are fun to listen to, and the sound effects
are terrific. Doors #3 and #4 are enjoyable on their own, but you'll
miss a lot of the background story about the Kendalls and the very
strange basement in their new house. You can order either of the first
two cassettes, or both, from the publishers by sending $9.95, plus
$2.45 shipping, for each tape. Send the check to: Audio Oddities, 5078
South 108th Street, Suite 108, Omaha, NE 68137.
~PETER QUINT READS THE MAGAZINES
^ WEIRD TALES
Spring 1992, #304
Special John Brunner Issue
edited by Darrell Schweitzer
The editorial is kind of defensive about choosing John Brunner as a
featured author, apparently assuming that readers will complain about
being force-fed material from a SF writer. They've even included an
article by Mike Ashley, discussing Brunner's long history of fantasy
stories, many being of a darkish variety and most, unfortunately,
being very hard to find. All of that is unnecessary, because the three
Brunner stories in this WT are all good, and one of them really
shouldn't appear anywhere else: a Cthulhu mythos tale called
"Concerning the Forthcoming Inexpensive Paperback Translation of the
Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred". Brunner really captures that terrific
archaic prose style that is so essential to the successful
Lovecraftian story, and the perspective character is delightfully
melodramatic, even feverish. It's a very well-done homage.
The other two Brunner stories are "Dropping Ghyll", about a bottomless
hole and a reality that recedes as fast as it's approached, and "Who
Lies Beneath A Spell" which kept my interest despite its being a more
or less straight fantasy story about spells and wizards. There is also
a nice grisly piece, about a victimizer who gets victimized, called
"Up to No Good" by Sue Robinson. A battered child and an evil
psychiatrist with unusual powers are the stars of Robert J. Howe's
"Little Boy Black and Blue". And then there's Tanith Lee's "The Lily
Garden" which is nice enough, but not very filling.
My favorite story in this issue is Ramsey Campbell's "Welcomeland".
Thomas Wolfe said "You can't go home again"; Campbell says you
shouldn't even try. What if your childhood town was turned into a
theme park re-creation of your old memories? This is one of the best
Ramsey Campbell stories I've read in a couple of years. The long story
in this issue is a wild 9th century romp by S.P. Somtow called
"Hunting the Lion". It's about a private detective called Publius
Viridianus, who must unravel a knotty political mystery and avoid
being thrown to the lions. It's gross, it's lusty, it's funny, it's
another unusual ride from this multi-talented writer.
Tying up this issue of WT are a few pieces of poetry, most notably a
funny one by Brunner called "Alfred Vale: A Cautionary Tale", and
very nice artwork by Jill Bauman. Oh, yes, how could I have forgotten
the Gahan Wilson column? This issue he talks about vampire books, both
fiction and nonfiction. I still miss his movie reviews from TWILIGHT
ZONE, but this column is almost as good. You can subscribe to WEIRD
TALES by sending $24/$46 for 6/12 quarterly issues to: Weird Tales, PO
Box 13418, Philadelphia, PA 19101-3418.
I GOOFED: The editorial credits for INIQUITIES magazine are not quite
as I listed them in previous issues of RFP. Buddy Martinez takes care
of most of the production, typesetting and graphics work, while J.F.
Gonzalez is responsible for selecting the fiction, with the nonfiction
being a collaborative effort between the two. Between Martinez and
Gonzalez, they turn out one of the classiest dark fantasy magazines
around. (INIQUITIES, 235 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 1346, Pasadena, CA
^ MIDNIGHT ZOO
Exciting Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy & Science Fact
Vol. #2, Issue #1
Jon L. Herron, editor-in-chief
Another jumbo-sized issue of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art! If
you like "genre" fiction, you really should check MIDNIGHT ZOO out.
(Feeling the recession and don't want to stick your neck out for a
whole subscription? Just send them $6 and ask for the most recent
issue.) Let's take a look at the fiction first:
My favorite stories this issue were "Sort of Slipped My Mind" by Chuck
Davis and "Shades of Laura Lloyd" by Richard K. Bush. The first is
about a pair of ghosts with Alzheimer's; it's funny, and the author is
a superb storyteller--I feel like I was actually there. The second one
is about a man in love with an enigmatic woman who seems to be
psychic. It reminded me very much of a Hitchcock movie, atmospheric,
mysterious, and with a nice punch at the end.
Space scavenger Mary Cover catches plague from a derelict spaceship in
"Carrier" by Kevin J. Anderson, while "Balance Forward" by Claudia
O'Keefe follows the last days of a serial killer on Death Row. Dave
Smeds' "Seeing Ghosts" was a nice fragment set at a funeral; I just
wish he's expand the ideas into something longer. It's us against them
in "Kiddie War" by David R. Addleman, and vampires appear (or,
actually, they DON'T appear) on TV in "The Talk Show" by Paul O.
Williams. A Vietnam vet is the "Dark Angel" in the story by M.M.
LoPiccolo, and Mandy Higa's "Stardust" is a nicely atmospheric tale
about life, death, and Nat King Cole. Julia is forced, by a demon, to
kill her lovers and cook their hearts in "Eyes of the Beholder" by
Sonia Orin Lyris. Meanwhile, in Mike Hurley's "Xenophone in 208", a
long distance phone call is logged every Friday night from motel room
208 to 555-1717. The only trouble is, each Friday the renters are
different, and all involved (including the guy at 555-1717) deny
making any such calls.
We learn, in "Three for Tea" by Emily Jean Carroll, that there is
always plenty of tea for everyone, provided at least two are dead. A
killer rug stars in "Rug" by Geoffrey R. Lucier, and a real live TV
monster stars in "You Can't Beat a Good Read" by Blythe Ann. In Rachel
Flagg's "Cookies--A Modern Fairy Tale", modern princes want not only
the fairest in the land, but good sex too. The people who visit "The
Dead Room" (by Ken Wisman) find out that houses sometimes need to be
fed, and a disgusting monster from Hell has a featured role in "There
Goes the Neighborhood" by Michael Thomas Dillon. Robert Baldwin's
"Night Fishin'" and Rick McMahan's "I Am You and You Are Me" are both
short shorts; the first is humorous, the second a fairly heavy story
about racial fear and hatred. The strangest story of all is "Jolly
Mon" by Mark K. Coen, a survival story, the survival of a man and an
ecosystem. And a pickpocket and his lawyer try a unique ploy in "The
Case Against Willie Baker" by K.L. Jones.
The nonfiction in this issue of MZ: Claudia O'Keefe relates a personal
horror story of a "gang signing", a ritual many authors are subjected
to; Delores Goodrick Beggs provides tips for new writers from small
press magazines; Carol Rivkins discusses medical accuracy in fiction;
Katharine Kerr talks about multi-volume novels; Katie Daniels shares
her thoughts on writing young adult fiction; D. Douglas Graham tells
the story of something mysterious and disgusting found is a specimen
jar in Missouri; Jean Paul Sinistre relates how he almost saw what
might have been a UFO; J Moretz gives research suggestions for
writers; Rima Saret provides market info, also for writers; Don
D'Ammassa, Barry Harrington, J Moretz, Lee Barwood, and Cynthia Ward
have book reviews; Alex S. Johnson and Mark Lucas have movie reviews.
The featured artist is Trevor Talbert and the featured poet is Paul O.
Williams. All in all, a great issue, jam-packed with more material
than you usually get in two or three magazines. To subscribe for
yourself, send $29.95/$53.95 for 1/2 years (7/14 issues) to: Midnight
Zoo, 544 Ygnacio Valley Road, #A273, PO Box 8040, Walnut Creek, CA
Adult Horror Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy
Jon L. Herron, editor-in-chief
Here's another magazine from at least some of the same people who
create MIDNIGHT ZOO, only this one's for adults only. Called
ABERATIONS (that's not a typo, that's how they spell it), it's a tiny
magazine, at least it's tiny compared to the enormous heft of MIDNIGHT
ZOO. Like MZ, you'll find fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art in
ABERATIONS, although the subject matter is considerably less varied.
The favorite theme here is sadism, however, which will probably limit
the audience for this magazine.
This issue opens with a fictionalized interview with real-life mass
murderer Harry F. Powers. Detailed descriptions of the torturings of
his victims is spiced by his declarations of how much he has enjoyed
his activities. The fiction mostly continues along the same lines.
Scum-of-the earth killers are killed in turn in "The Continuing
Adventures of The Kid Dynamo" by Craig Anthony; women are sliced and
diced by a psycho in "Tapestry of Souls" by Brad J. Boucher; women are
sliced and diced by another psycho in "Thunder of the Water" by Brian
A. Hopkins; men are torn apart by a zombie (who was killed for, you
guessed it, slicing and dicing on a woman) in James A. Lee's "Under
the Wire"; teenage girls are being abused in "God's Country" by Sue
Storm; men are sliced and diced by yet another psycho (who passes the
torch to another who will be operating on women) in "The One That Got
Away" by Cynthia Ward; and women are sliced and diced by ANOTHER
psycho in Michael H. Brownstein's "Sociology".
The course of sex and sadism (seemingly never one without the other)
goes into remission only twice. Matt Ehinger's "Morlock's Revenge" is
a bizarre, surreal tale about a gun-type device from a UFO that has
strange effects on the people it's pointed at. And Kevin J. Anderson's
"One Night Stand", easily the best story in this issue, is about,
well, a one night stand. At least it's eroticism that a sane person
can follow along with, and the woman is...unusual. Closing out the
magazine, managing editor J Moretz says that what they're looking for
in contributors is a combination of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy
Parker, Hunter S. Thompson, Clive Barker, and Anne Tyler. I wish them
luck. I'd settle for more erotica and less--a LOT less--sadism. What
I'd really like to see is a collection of stories of unusual
sophistication, complexity, and maturity--Now THAT'S what I call
Check ABERATIONS out for yourself. Send $31 for one year or $3.50 plus
four 1st-class stamps for a sample copy, to: Experiences Unlimited,
544 Ygnacio Valley Road, #13, PO Box 8040, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. I'm
not sure how stringent they are, but maybe you'd better send an age
statement with your order, stating that you are over 18.
^ CEMETERY DANCE
Winter 1992 / Volume 4, Issue 1
edited by Richard T. Chizmar
Another good issue of CD, this time with an unusually rich selection
of nonfiction columns and articles. Ed Gorman reminds us that fiction
wasn't invented 5 years ago and that those who went before deserve
(and seldom get) a big round of applause, maybe even a heartfelt Thank
You. Charles L. Grant talks about how he unwinds after writing his
dark fantasy stories, and invites readers to join his recreational
craziness by subscribing to a newsletter called HAGGIS: The Official
Newsletter of the Kent Montana Fan Club. Kent Montana is, of course,
the hero of a series of comic novels Grant writes under the pseudonym
Lionel Fenn. (Sample issue of HAGGIS is $3, a 5-issue subscription is
$12. Send to: Charles Grant, PO Box 97, Newton, NJ 07860.)
T. Liam McDonald interviews Grant elsewhere in CD, in which his
background and career are discussed. Grant elaborates on what "quiet
horror" means to him, and we learn what the L stands for. Monteleone
has got a plan for writers to self-publish and cut the Evil Publisher
out of the loop, which he talks about in his MAFIA column. Matthew J.
Costello gives readers an excerpt from his latest novel, DARKBORN.
It's the very beginning of the Big Ant Scene, and a real teaser.
Another interview in this issue of CD has Tyson Blue talking to Clive
Barker, about IMAJICA and his many current and future book and film
projects. Tyson Blue also has his usual column of news about Stephen
King and the other biggies.
Douglas Winter gives a sneak preview of his article about Dario
Argento that appears in CUT! HORROR WRITERS ON HORROR FILM. (I'll be
reviewing this book for the next issue of RFP, the much-anticipated
Anniversary Issue. Watch for it!) Joe R. Lansdale and David Webb
provide another installment of their "Trash Theatre" column, in which
they review LEATHERFACE: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3 and EATEN
ALIVE. This is becoming my favorite part of CD, and I particularly
liked the part where they explain why folks properly called White
Trash are always so mean:
"They can understand why 'niggers,' 'kikes,' or any other
minority group can be a failure, because they perceive these
groups as inferiors produced by God so White Trash will have
someone to hate, but can't understand why they, one of God's
chosen White Folks, has the I.Q. of a brick and no
Academic types would write an entire book about the subject, and these
guys can fit the whole social phenomenon into one sentence. Awesome.
But moving along, there is yet ANOTHER interview in this issue, with
Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller, who publish some of the classiest
books around under the name Underwood-Miller (That's Underwood-Miller
Inc., 708 Westover Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601, in case you'd like to
get a current catalog.) The interview's a bummer, though, because they
say that the U-M book I've been really looking forward to, COLD
TERROR: THE DEAN R. KOONTZ COMPANION, "has been postponed, probably
for a year or two." Rats.
Most Improved Column has got to be Paul Sammon's "Rough Cuts", which
has lots of recommendations for mail-order videotape and laserdisc
sources, as well as a handful of good horror movie magazines. I think
Sammon is finally finding his voice for this column. Finishing up the
nonfiction, Kathy Ptacek reviews horror anthologies, A.R. Morlan
provides another interesting horror fiction quiz, and there are book
reviews by Mike Baker, Roman A. Ranieri, Bob Morrish, T. Liam
McDonald, and David Kuehls.
The fiction takes kind of a back seat this time out, but there are
still some good stories. I liked Barry Hoffman's "Trial By Fire",
about small town corrupt justice, but with an unusual feminist slant.
"The Transfiguration of Crazyface" by Jeffrey Osier is a surreal
nightmare of a story--different and disturbing. A biker vampire shows
up in Norman Partridge's "Apotropaics", an abused animal gets revenge
in "Jocko" by Brian Hodge, Michael Thomas Dillon's "A Disturbing
Notion" is a dog that doesn't quite seem like a dog, and Santa gets a
surprise in "A Christmas Story" by James S. Dorr.
Another good issue of CD with more than 100 pages of horror and dark
suspense news, reviews, speculations, and stories. CEMETERY DANCE was
a 1991 World Fantasy Award Winner, and it's not hard to see why. You
can get a 1/2/3 year subscription of 4/8/12 issues for $15/$25/$40.
Send to: Cemetery Dance, PO Box 18433, Baltimore, MD 21237.
~ BOOKS WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO
These are upcoming titles whose release dates are not known at this
time. We'll update this information as soon as we hear more.
CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT by Dan Simmons (Putnam)
MASKS by Matthew Costello (Berkley)
ABSOLUTE POWER by Ray Russell (MacClay & Assoc.)
BURIED SCREAMS by C. Dean Anderson (Zebra)
NECROVILLE by Ian McDonald (Bantam)
THE DETWEILER PROJECT by F.M. Busby (Tor)
~COMING IN OUR JUNE 1992, THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Dark Channel by Ray Garton (Bantam Falcon)
The Howling Man by Charles Beaumont (Tor)
Wolf Flow by K.W. Jeter (St. Martin's Press)
Cut! Horror Writers on Horror Film edited by Christopher Golden
plus a few surprises...
~ < 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
Darryl Kenning CompuServe: 76337,740
6331 Marshall Rd. or GEnie: D.Kenning
Centerville, Ohio 45459 The Annex BBS 513-274-0821
THE KENNING QUOTIENT (KQ) is a rating applied to books read by the
editor of this section, a number ranging from 0 (which means the book
is an unredeemable stinker) to 5 (meaning the book is absolutely top
~ RANDOM ACCESS
This has been a good couple of months for the release of the kind of
Science Fiction that I enjoy reading in contrast to the previous
months which were pretty dry. I just finished reading REQUIEM:
TRIBUTES TO THE GRAND MASTER--ROBERT A. HEINLEIN. Normally I'd do a
review of this in the "Paperback Book Shelf" but I wanted to say a few
words here. This book (TOR, February 1992, ISBN: 0-312-85168-5 $21.95)
is another in the series eulogizing RAH. This one contains new works
never before published in book form, an introduction by his wife, and
tributes from folks as diverse as Tom Clancy, Jerry Pournelle and a
host of other luminaries. Each time I read one of these I am struck
again and again by how special a person he was; by how great his
influence on so many of us was; and how much I'm already missing his
stories. Reading this book reminded me how much I've loved his stories
and started me working my way back through my collection of his books.
Happily most of the books are now being reprinted and we can look for
new generations of fans to arise like dragon's teeth being sown across
the land. I recommend this book to one and all, and I said it before:
Bob, we'll miss you.
From the last issue of RFP (#21):
"Over the past 25 years or so I have spent an inordinate
amount of time in bookstores of all kinds - not to mention
the small fortune I've spent there. Stores with new books
only, paperbacks only, hard covers only, used books stores
and combinations, even bookstores with mini restaurants in
them. Starting with this issue I'm going to share a few of
the ones I've found that I like best. Just to be fair, if
you have a favorite, drop me a note with some info and I'll
include it in an upcoming edition of RANDOM ACCESS."
The following is excerpted from a letter by Robert Pittman -
Thanks for sharing this with us - darryl
..... More favorite bookstores ....
I welcome the opportunity to let you know about my favorite bookstore
Hawley-Cooke Booksellers has two outlets in the Louisville area; one
at 27 Shelbyville Road Plaza and another at Gardner Lane Shopping
Center, 3024 Bardstown Road. It is an independent operation whose
owners clearly understand books and people who enjoy books. Their
inventory is deep and up to date and is designed to meet the needs of
children, students, specialists, and the general reader. In addition
to books, they offer a selection of art posters and greeting cards not
likely to be found elsewhere, tapes and records that lean somewhat
toward jazz, blues and classical, recorded books and an almost
bewildering number of newspapers, magazines and journals. The last
time I counted there were Sunday papers from at least 65 major cities.
Customer attention and service is superlative at Hawley-Cooke. Each
outlet features a large, prominently located service desk staffed by
knowledgeable people who are prompt, courteous, and reliable in their
efforts to assist the customer.
Thoughtful presentation and customer concern is evident everywhere in
the store. Aisles are wide and allow easy movement without intrusion
on other customers, benches and chairs are scattered throughout giving
browsers a spot to pause, low stools are provided as a aid to searches
though lower shelves and the children's section had down-sized
furnishings. The Gardner Lane store even has a restaurant located
right in the center of the store. You can enjoy a full meal, a snack,
a desert, or maybe just a cappuccino as you browse and shop.
All in all it is a bookstore that meets your reading needs and treats
you like a treasured guest.
Sorry to have gone on so long - I guess you can tell I like the place.
Robert A. Pittman
~ 1991 PHILIP K. DICK AWARD NOMINEES
Nominees for the 1991 Philip K. Dick Award for the best paperback
original of the year are:
MOJO AND THE PICKLE JAR by Douglas Bell (Tor)
BONE DANCE by Emma Bull (Ace)
THE CIPHER by Kathe Koja (Dell)
KING OF MORNING, QUEEN OF DAY by Ian McDonald (Bantam Spectra)
BRIDGE OF YEARS by Robert Charles Wilson (Doubleday Foundation)
~ BRITISH FANTASY AWARDS
Novel: MIDNIGHT SUN by Ramsey Campbell
Anthology/Collection: BEST NEW HORROR edited by Stephen Jones & Ramsey
Short Fiction: "The Man Who Drew Cats" by Michael Marshall Smith
Artist: Les Edwards
Small Press: DARK DREAMS edited by David Cowperthwaite & Jeff Dempsey
Icarus Award (best newcomer): Michael Marshall Smith
Special Award (services to the genre): Dot Lumley
* In the process of moving their offices, Tor Books has discovered the
manuscript of an unpublished short story collection and a 20,000-word
novella, "The Dealings of Daniel Kesserich", written by Fritz Leiber.
They have already made a deal to publish the novella, and are
considering the short story collection now.
* In case you haven't heard, the Science Fiction Writers of America
(SFWA) have changed their name to the Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writers of America (SFFWA).
* Davis Publications sells ANALOG, ASIMOV's SF Magazines, along with
ELLERY QUEEN'S and ALFRED HITCHCOCK's, to Dell.
* Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is looking for a Hugo winning author to
collaborate on a SF Novel.
^ THE MEMORY OF EARTH: Homecoming Volume 1
by Orson Scott Card
(Tor, March 1992, $20.95, ISBN 0-312-93036-4)
"Like all human beings, you assume that behind the masks of
their faces, other people are fundamentally like yourself.
But it isn't always so. Some of them can't see other
people's happiness without wanting to destroy it, can't see
the bonds of love between friends or mates without wanting
to break them. And many others, who aren't malicious in
themselves, become their tools in the hope of some
short-term gain. The people have lost their vision. And I
haven't the power to restore it. All that's left, Nafai, is
my memory of Earth."
The Oversoul is the computer that has been playing caretaker to the
human race on a planet called Harmony in THE MEMORY OF EARTH, the
first of five volumes in Card's new "Homecoming" series. After turning
Earth into an unlivable cinder, the survivors relocated on a planet
they decided to call Harmony, in honor of their hopes for a brighter
future. To help out, they set up a computer, the Oversoul, to monitor
people's thoughts and keep them away from dangerous ideas--keep them
from destroying themselves again. To that end, the original survivors
did a little re-engineering on the brain to allow the Oversoul to
communicate directly with people.
As THE MEMORY OF EARTH opens, it is some forty million years later,
and things are beginning to go wrong. In the city of Basilica, one man
is assembling an army to fight another group from a nearby land and
anyone within Basilica who refuses to cooperate with his war plans.
The inhabitants of this once-peaceful city are now afraid to walk
about after dark. What is happening? Where is the Oversoul? We learn
that the Oversoul was never meant to be needed for this long, that the
original designers had assumed that mankind would learn to live in
peace by themselves much earlier. And now the Oversoul is breaking
down, losing its ability to monitor everyone and keep them from doing
The Oversoul's only hope lies in returning to the Keeper of Earth, but
first it must find humans capable of learning space travel and taking
it back to the home planet. In some way the Oversoul's future is
connected to Wetchik and his four sons: Elemak, Mebbekew, Issib, and
Nafai. Who will be chosen? Will they be able to save the Oversoul?
Many of Card's common themes and talents can be seen THE MEMORY OF
EARTH. As usual, the general picture of humanity is pretty grim.
People are petty, contentious, cruel, selfish, and often violent. And
families are generally more of a hindrance than a source of strength.
Once again, as in other Card stories, a hero of nearly superhuman
proportions is needed to save the day. Also recognizable in THE MEMORY
OF EARTH is Card's talent at depicting children of all kinds and ages.
It's difficult to say whether the story is a success because THE
MEMORY OF EARTH is only one-fifth of it, it would be like passing
judgement on a 350-page novel after having read only 70 pages. But
this first installment is a very interesting start, and a writer with
Card's track record is worth the gamble.
~ ORSON SCOTT CARD
Card, 40, has written over 26 novels and dozens of short stories,
articles and plays, and describes himself as "Kristine's husband,
Geoffrey, Emily and Charlie's dad; I'm a Mormon, and I am a science
His recent XENOCIDE was the sequel to ENDER'S GAME and SPEAKER FOR THE
DEAD (all three reviewed in RFP #17), which each won the highest
honors the science fiction world can bestow: The Science Fiction
Achievement Award, popularly known as the "Hugo", given annually by
the membership at the World Science Fiction Convention; and the
"Nebula Award for Best Novel of the Year", selected by the Science
Fiction Writers of America by vote of the active members. For a novel
and its sequel to win both awards is unprecedented.
Orson Scott Card was born in Richland, Washington, on August 24, 1951.
His ancestors were New England Puritans; some later converted to
Mormonism, and his grandfather built the Mormon temple in Logan, Utah,
before founding Cardston, in Alberta, Canada. Card describes his
birthplace as "disturbingly close to the Hanford Atomic works". Later,
the family moved to California, and then to Mesa, Arizona, and Provo,
Utah. He spent his last two years of secondary school at Brigham Young
High School in Provo, where students worked at their own pace and he
continued to enjoy science fiction classics.
Card entered Brigham Young University at 16 as an archeology major;
then changed courses to study theater. After a two-year hiatus to
serve his Mormon mission in Brazil (an experience he drew on for
SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD and other books), he graduated from BYU with
"high honors with distinction", although he was on academic probation
for getting an 0.0 GPA his last semester. During this time he attended
a home study social dance class where he met Kristine Allen, whom he
married in 1977.
Scott, as he prefers to be known, worked in theater during the '70s,
writing, producing, directing and acting in repertory plays. Nice
work--but not enough revenue to support his family. He turned to
science fiction writing, and received encouraging rejection notices,
including one from Ben Bova, editor of ANALOG, asking for some
revisions. After sending this story to another publisher, who also
rejected it, he revised it, sent it back to Bova, and the rest, as
they say, is history.
ANALOG published the "novelette" version of ENDER'S GAME in August
1977; Card received the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer in
1978, and has been writing successfully and continuously ever
since--26 novels and story collections, editor of four anthologies,
and author of over 60 stories and 40 nonfiction and technical articles
...plus poetry, plays and works for Mormon readers and audiences.
In addition to THE MEMORY OF EARTH and the first three books in the
Ender Wiggins series, Card has written SONGMASTER, THE FOLK OF THE
FRINGE, SAINTS (a story of a fictional family interspersed with the
factual history of Mormonism), and TALES OF ALVIN MAKER, an ongoing
project. Since moral imperatives that concern all human beings--from
family and community relationships to explorations of "right" and
"wrong"--are the core of his writing, his fans include readers of all
ages, from teens to senior citizens. Significantly, his work has been
honored by the American Library Association, which in June 1991
presented him with an award for "Best Book for Young Adults".
Recently, Card has cut back on speaking engagements and convention
appearances to spend more time with his children, Geoffrey, Emily, and
Charlie, the youngest, who has cerebral palsy. Card credits his wife,
Kristine, for much of his success. She handles the business end of his
writing and is his first critic. He says, "She's an intelligent
audience and I never leave her suggestions or problems with a story
unanswered. She's part of everything I write."
Orson Scott Card and his family live in North Carolina, and make
frequent trips back to his Mormon roots in Salt Lake City, Utah.
~ APRIL 1992 RELEASES FROM DAW
Relic of Empire (Forbidden Borders #2) by W. Michael Gear
(ISBN 0-88677-492-6, $5.99)
Sword and Sorceress IX edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley
(ISBN 0-88677-509-4, $4.50)
^ AFTER THE KING: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien
edited by Martin H. Greenberg
(Tor, January 1992, $22.95, ISBN 0-312-85175-8)
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of high fantasy's
creator, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, master anthologist Martin
Greenberg has collected 19 original tales by some of the very finest
fantasists writing today, tales specifically crafted to honor the
inspiration of the original master. Short of bringing Tolkien back to
write some more, AFTER THE KING is probably the finest tribute you
could imagine, and the volume pretty much defines what is now commonly
referred to as High Fantasy.
The authors of these Tolkien-inspired stories are: Mike Resnick,
Stephen R. Donaldson, Terry Pratchett, Robert Silverberg, Elizabeth
Ann Scarborough, Poul & Karen Anderson, John Brunner, Patricia A.
McKillip, Harry Turtledove, Andre Norton, Gregory Benford, Charles de
Lint, Dennis L. McKiernan, Emma Bull, Judith Tarr, Karen Haber, Peter
S. Beagle, Jane Yolen, and Barry N. Malzberg. What more needs to be
^ THE TRIKON DECEPTION
by Ben Bova & Bill Pogue
(Tor, February 1992, $19.95, ISBN 0-312-85024-7)
What a collaborative team for a techno-thriller about a space-based
orbiting research laboratory! Ben Bova has written more than 65
fiction and nonfiction books (ORION IN THE DYING TIME, MILLENNIUM,
ASSURED SURVIVAL, etc.), is an award-winning editor, and is President
of the National Space Institute. Bill Pogue was a test pilot for both
the USAF and RAF and, as a Commander of Skylab, has flown over 34
million miles during 84 days in space, which is still the U.S. record.
The Trikon Station is an orbiting research lab jointly operated by
United Europe, North America, and Japan. (Three continents, tri-con,
get it?) It has been designed as a secure environment for genetic
experiments deemed too dangerous to be performed on Earth, with the
major powers working together for the betterment of all mankind. But,
as it turns out, people in space are still people--often greedy,
selfish, and deceitful, and industrial espionage soon endangers the
future of the entire project. Human misdeeds on earth, however, are
usually just immoral, illegal, and dangerous to a restricted few. In
the much more inherently dangerous environment of space, they can be
New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein
and Tributes to the Grand Master
edited by Yoji Kondo
(Tor, February 1992, $21.95, ISBN 0-312-85168-5)
"Robert Heinlein wrote about the future because the future
is where all of us will live. He made footsteps big enough
for a whole country to follow. And it was our country that
did it...We proceed down the path marked by his ideas.
That's legacy enough for any man. He showed us where the
Robert Heinlein (1907-1988) is the best-selling science fiction writer
of all time, and certainly the most influential, on several
generations of readers. Collected between the covers of REQUIEM the
reader will find a number of new works by Heinlein, most of which have
never before appeared in book form. There is also a special
introduction by Virginia Heinlein, and tributes to the Grand Master by
such writers as: Tom Clancy, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Spider
Robinson, and Robert Silverberg.
~ ROBERT A. HEINLEIN
Robert Heinlein spent his early years in Kansas City. In 1929 he
graduated from the United States Naval Academy, and served on several
ships and aircraft carriers until he resigned from the Navy in 1934
because of ill health. For the next five years he sold real estate,
became involved in politics and even silver mining speculation, and
also studied physics at UCLA. In 1939 he wrote and sold "Life-Line",
his first story, to John W. Campbell for ASTOUNDING. Within three
years, guided and supported by Campbell, Heinlein rose from obscurity
to prominence in the SF field. During this time he wrote four novels
and innumerable short stories (many published under a pseudonym so his
name wouldn't appear more than once in any one magazine in any one
In 1942, however, he set writing aside to work as a civilian engineer
for the Navy in Philadelphia, and it wasn't until 1947 that he
returned to science fiction writing, with short stories published in
the SATURDAY EVENING POST, as well as more novels and shorter works in
SF magazines. During the 50s he wrote SF novels for teenagers and in
1956 published the widely acclaimed novel, DOUBLE STAR.
By 1959 Heinlein had embarked on a new career direction, when he wrote
the intensely political STARSHIP TROOPERS, followed in 1961 by
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, which gained a wide audience at colleges
across the country. His subsequent books include GLORY ROAD (1963),
THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS (1966), I WILL FEAR NO EVIL (1970), and
TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE (1974).
Once again Heinlein's work was put on hold for several years while he
fought a serious illness, but in 1980 he published THE NUMBER OF THE
BEAST, and subsequently, FRIDAY (1982) and JOB: A COMEDY OF JUSTICE
(1984). His best-selling GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE was published in
Robert Heinlein was Guest of Honor at three World SF Conventions, and
he won SF's prestigious Hugo award FOUR times. He married Virginia in
1948, and until his death the couple lived in Santa Cruz, California.
^ THE GRAIL OF HEARTS
by Susan Shwartz
(Tor, February 1992, $21.95, ISBN 0-312-85176-6)
In THE GRAIL OF HEARTS, Susan Shwartz borrows from Wagner's PARSIFAL,
the Bible, and Arthurian legend to bring to life this retelling of the
story of the Holy Grail. Central to the tale is Kundry, a courtesan
and now the "Wandering Jew", cursed to wander eternally after laughing
at Christ on the Cross. She's an unforgettable character, and THE
GRAIL OF HEARTS is another fine fantasy from this World Fantasy and
Nebula Award nominee, who also holds a Ph.D. in Medieval English from
~THE PAPERBACK BOOKSHELF
by David Weber & Steve White
(Baen, March 1992, $4.99, ISBN 0-671-72111-9)
What happens when a long lost ship infects an alien civilization with
religious fanaticism? Add the fact that the lost ship was part of a
war fleet, and that the war simply ground on over a long period of
time and a peace of sorts emerged with the exhausted participants
joint in an uneasy alliance.
Now, out of the black reaches of space comes a fleet--a fleet that has
outdated recognition codes, and a self-stated mission to "free Holy
Mother Terra". The very possibilities are fascinating. David Weber and
Steve White have taken this somewhat old but elegant story premise to
new highs of adventure and space war Science Fiction. In a book that
deals not only with the obvious, the authors have blended in the very
real problems of personality conflict between the allies both on an
individual and a cultural level--not to mention the invaders.
I must say that this is one of the best books I've read this year--oh,
I'd be very surprised if it won any awards, but for sheer
entertainment and enjoyment it will certainly be in the top 5 on MY
list for 1992.
KQ = 5
^ THE DARK BEYOND THE STARS
by Frank M. Robinson
(Tor, March 1992, $4.99, ISBN 0-812-51383-5)
My review of THE DARK BEYOND THE STARS appeared in RFP #18 and
"I can't recall another story so rich in surprises. Just
when I would think I knew where the plot was headed, another
astounding revelation would send everything off in another
direction. Frank Robinson has written a story of rich
detail, intellectual depth, and emotional charm. This is
what entertainment should be. Do not miss THE DARK BEYOND
It's a terrific story about the starship ASTRON and its two thousand
year search for other intelligent life. My recommendation still goes,
and the novel is now available in paperback, so there's no excuse for
not giving it a try.
^ BLACK STEEL
by Steve Perry
(Ace, February 1992, $4.50, ISBN 0-441-06698-4)
BLACK STEEL is another in the "MATADOR" series, number 7 as I recall.
Following Steel, a character introduced in the first series book, this
novel follows the same warrior/sensei/fellowship route the others have
done. Interestingly enough, however, this chapter in the series is a
bit better than the last one or two. I can't quite put my finger on
the reason but it held my interest well and the adventure cycles of
the story were fun to follow. Again, this is mostly a light reading
book. The characters move through the story following a well-balanced
formula and it works. You are very likely to find yourself digging
back in your bookstore for the earlier adventures if you start with
this one, and I for one am looking forward to the next in the series
KQ = 4
^ ALIEN BLUES
by Lynn S. Hightower
(Ace, January 1992, $4.50, ISBN 0-441-64460-0)
The central plot of ALIEN BLUES involves policeman Detective David
Silver's struggle to catch a serial killer, and as such might have
been a police procedural--but it isn't. ALIEN BLUES is set in the
future and prominently features a race of aliens called Elaki (they
look like 7-foot-tall stingrays and smell like lemons), and as such
might have been a BEM (bug-eyed monster) story--but it isn't. The
serial killer is called Machete Man because he hacks his victims into
pieces, and as such this could have been another in the recent glut of
psycho killer stories--but it isn't. Instead, ALIEN BLUES is a
multi-textured social novel of surprising depth. (Why surprising? Take
a look at the cover. It looks like ADAM-12 MEETS STAR WARS.)
In ALIEN BLUES, author Hightower uses the principle that disguising a
situation encourages a fresher perspective and might even allow a few
harsh truths to sneak through. For instance, Detective Silver
discovers a hidden core of violence in his wife, which disturbs him
greatly. By making the wife more violent, Hightower avoids the canned,
unreflective "typical male aggression" reaction. Also very interesting
is the complex relationship between humans and Elaki. Even when both
human and Elaki have the best of intentions, basic physical and
psychological differences create social minefields. Condescension
comes so easily. Half-funny, half-derogatory epithets are invented by
both groups--more recognizable sociology. All in all, ALIEN BLUES is
quite a study in race relations for a combination police procedural,
BEM, psycho killer story.
ALIEN BLUES is involving, exciting, as well as emotionally and
intellectually satisfying. The characters are wonderful and the
dialogue sparkles. ALIEN BLUES is a rare treat you shouldn't miss, and
I sure hope Lynn Hightower has another novel coming soon.
^ THE EXILE KISS
by George Alec Effinger
(Bantam, March 1992, $4.99, ISBN 0-553-29664-7)
I was browsing through some notes in CompuServe's Science Fiction
section recently and saw a comment by someone (sorry I forget who),
that said if you read this book you would be instantly hooked on the
short series that GAE has created. Well a challenge like that is hard
to resist and I picked up this one on my weekly trek to bookstore.
Sho-nuff they were right! Blending high humor with organized crime in
an Arab world is something few authors could pull off with any degree
of success but George has managed it very well. I suppose that part of
the attraction is how little we know of the Arab culture even though
it has had a deep and lasting effect on Western thought and
Philosophy. Yet the differences between the Koran and the Bible (New
Testament) are largely irreconcilable. Without miring the reader down
in endless explanations, the society is adequately explained and the
values and personalities of the characters are well defined. Even
though most are not very likable by our standards I found myself
getting into the story of betrayal, survival and revenge more than I
usually do in this kind of novel.
The interesting blend of high tech with the primitive cultures was
also done in a realistic fashion in the story set in the near future.
And I guess I must confess, I'm hooked, I'm off to find the first two
books in the series--so beware!
KQ = 4
^ PEOPLE OF THE EARTH
by W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O'Neal Gear
(Tor, February 1992, $5.99, ISBN 0-812-50742-8)
A very unusual book, PEOPLE OF THE EARTH is an illumination of life
lived long ago, telling the true story of the ancestors of today's
Native Americans. The Gears are both archaeologists specializing in
Native American history, which they bring to vivid life in PEOPLE OF
THE EARTH, capturing the culture, the lore, and the mysticism of a
people for whom life was hard but rewarding, dramatic and passionate.
^ TO RIDE PEGASUS
by Anne McCaffrey
(Ballantine, June 1991--20th edition, ISBN 0-345-33603-8)
If you are a fan of Anne McCaffrey, given that parts of this book were
first published in 1969 in ANALOG and the book was first done in 1973
and given that this is the 20th edition, then you likely have read
this one before. You will probably be astounded that I haven't! Just
in case you haven't been reading SF/F for more than an hour, I feel
obligated to note that Anne is the author of the THE DRAGON RIDERS OF
PERN series and is extraordinarily popular. Not my usual cup of tea
which is why I haven't read this one before.
Psi talent stories have been around almost as long as Science Fiction,
and a lot of very good authors (and very bad ones) have taken their
turn at it. This is an example of how well the story line can be dealt
with when handled by someone with this kind of writing talent, and it
is a joy. I won't even start with the story but I will say the
characters have nice depth and the society is well rounded and
believable. The title line is one that I'd read before but long since
forgotten the significance of. Again, this is nice light fare and is
~ / BOX / SCORES
Title Author KQ
CRUSADE David Weber & Steve White 5
TO RIDE PEGASUS Anne McCaffrey 4
CYBERNETIC JUNGLE S. N. Lewitt 3
BLACK STEEL Steve Perry 4
THE EXILE KISS George Alec Effinger 4
AlTERNATE PRESIDENTS Mike Resnick (ed) 3
ACHILLES' CHOICE Larry Niven & Steve Barnes 3
THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE William Gibson & Bruce Sterling 2
REQUIEM Yoji Kondo (ed) 5
~BOOKS ON TAPE:
^ THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE
written & read by Douglas Adams
unabridged, 4 cassettes, 6 hours
(Dove Audio, $24.95, ISBN 1-55800-294-4)
RESTAURANT picks up right where THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
left off: the passengers of the Heart of Gold--Arthur Dent, Ford
Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian, and Marvin the Paranoid
Android--are hungry. For most, getting fed isn't that big a deal, but
this group will face no end of trouble, and adventures, in search of
(and return from) a meal. Along the way they meet Pizpot Gargravarr,
Custodian of the Total Perspective Vortex, as well as: Hotblack
Desiato, lead singer of the rock group Disaster Area, a space ark full
of idiots, and, oh yes, The Man Who Rules The Universe. Also along the
way the author gets to poke a bit of fun at rock groups, military
intelligence, airline logic, cheesy entertainers, psychiatrists,
evolution, MBAs, and about three dozen other people and things that
really need laughing at.
RESTAURANT is a larger story than HITCHHIKER'S, with a much larger
cast of characters, and Dove Audio has added a number of vocal special
effects for the nonhuman parts. But it's still Douglas Adams' voice
that makes this special. If I had three wishes, one of them would be
to have Douglas Adams read all my books to me; his voice is that
lovely to listen to. He also projects and maintains the personalities
of all the characters with the talent of a theatrical professional.
You simply can't do much better than Dove Audio's RESTAURANT AT THE
END OF THE UNIVERSE, wherein Arthur Dent, previously lost in space, is
now lost in time as well. Highly recommended. You can order Dove Audio
tapes by calling 1-800-328-DOVE (inside California call 310/273-7722
or 1-800-345-9945). Dove Audio, 301 North Canon Dr., Suite 203,
Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
~ STAR TREK TERMINOLOGY
part II, continued from RFP #21
ALPHA CENTAURIANS- Much like humans but more scientifically inclined
ANDORIANS- Blue skinned, white hair, knobby antennae.
CAITIANS- Catlike people, beautiful and agile.
DELTANS- Sexually advanced, mathematically inclined. Most have no hair.
EDOANS- Have 3 arms & legs. Orange skin. Yellow eyes.
ELASIANS- Arrogant, strong beautiful people.
EXCALBIANS*- Rock like people. Can manipulate molecular structure.
FABRINI- Live in an artificial planet. Medically inclined.
GORN*- Reptilian people, aggressive and at times hostile. Value honor.
HORTAS- Silicon based creature. Highly intelligent. Good for Security.
HUMANS- From the planet Terra in the Sol system. UFP majority species.
IOTIANS- Humans influenced by Terra's 1930's "gangster era"
KLINGONS*- Very Warlike Humanoids. Aggressive; prize war and treachery.
MELKOTS- All head and neck, very colorful. Telepathic.
ORGANIANS- Can control matter; created the Organian Peace Treaty.
ORIONS*- 3 species: Grey, Ruddy, & Green. Many pirates. Untrustable.
ROMULANS*- Originate from Vulcan. Warlike. Untrustworthy.
TALOSIANS- Have large Braineous skulls. Can control the mind.
TELLARITES- Resemble pig-like humanoids. Strong, stubborn.
THOLIANS*- Mysterious, crystalline beings. Warlike. Punctual.
TRISKELIONS*- Ancient disembodied race. Enslave others 4 enjoyment.
VULCANS- Logical humanoids, that have shunned emotion. Telepathic.
* -Hostile toward the United Federation Of Planets
KLINGON EMPIRE--A military dictatorship controlled by the alien race
known as the Klingons, is the chief foe and rival of the UFP. The
Klingon Empire also boarders the Romulan Star Empire. The two empires
warring off and on since long before either came in contact with the
UFP. Even so, the two cultures have recently completed negotiations
that resulted in an exchange of technology.
ROMULAN STAR EMPIRE--This empire is a rival of the UFP controlled by
the Romulans, a Vulcan-like warrior race with a strong code of battle
ethics. Romulan culture stresses the good of the Empire over
individual accomplishment, and values a simple Spartan lifestyle.
ORION COLONIES--Orion Colonies are allegedly neutral toward the
Federation in external matters. They tend to encourage privateers
(pirates), however, on an informal and unofficial basis, and Orion
pirates and smugglers are sometimes encountered by Fed. Starships.
GORN ALLIANCE--The government of the worlds controlled by the
reptilian race known as the Gorn called The Alliance. The Gorn evolved
on the planet S'sgarnon, a temperate, warm Class M planet with a local
gravity of 1.4 G.
THOLIAN ASSEMBLY--The governing organization of a small space empire
controlled by the Tholian culture, since the Tholian race is of a
totally non-humanoid type. The Tholians are apparently not interested
in conquest but the Tholian Assembly jealously guards it's boarders.
UNITED FEDERATION OF PLANETS--The UFP is an interstellar political
alliance composed of many autonomous planetary system governments,
including those of Terra, Vulcan, Cait, Tellar, Andor and Alpha
Centauri. A representative democratic organization, the UFP is
governed by the Federation Council, to which each member world sends
delegates. The UFP governs all interstellar relations between the
member worlds and non-member governments. Although member worlds have
a great deal of independence with regard to their internal affairs,
Federation laws and regs have precedence in interplanetary matters.
STAR FLEET ORGANIZATION
STARBASE HEADQUARTERS COMMAND--Federation space is divided into 17
districts. Each district has one Star Base, normally commanded by a
Commodore; each is responsible for all personnel and vessels in its
MILITARY OPERATIONS COMMAND--Protection of the UFP is one of the main
tasks of Star Fleet. Although Star Fleet and the UFP have peaceful
goals, there are those who have other ideas (like the Klingons). It
must be remembered that the Military Operations Command, acts
defensively only! Star Fleet does not exist to take over the galaxy,
but to insure the peaceful coexistence of all peoples.
GALAXY EXPLORATION COMMAND--Is responsible for the exploration of
unknown areas of the galaxy.
COLONIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND--Is responsible for settling suitable
planets. First Exp. Com. ships scout new planets for colonization,
then a small survey ship makes a study of the planet to make sure that
no native intelligent live is threatened and to survey and map the
planet thoroughly. Once the survey ship is satisfied that all is well,
a medium sized ship with 200-700 permanent settlers is sent to
establish one or more, small permanent colonies. A space-port and
transport facilities are among the first projects, followed by living
quarters, offices, and maintenance shops. This group of colonists are
the advance guard, so to speak, of the larger vessels that will arrive
shortly, bearing thousands of colonists.
MERCHANT MARINES--Provides transportation of troops and cargo,
operates ships that support Star Fleet Scientific projects and other
Federation programs. Furthermore, it enforces federation criminal
laws, revenue, and the rules of the spaceways. It also enforces
security, including traffic and pollution control. It staffs customs
offices and enforces customs regulations, immigration, and
quarantines. In wartime and emergencies M.C. joins with the military
command operations, providing convoy ships and escorts, troop
transport and the like. Member Bureau of Space Safety.
MARINE CORPS COMMAND--In addition to starships and fighting crews of
the Military Operations Command, Star Fleet also fields impressive
ground forces. The Ground forces are part of the Marine Corps, which
functions much as the 20th century marine corps cooperated with the US
Navy. Marines also are used as planetside police, as guards at large
bases, and as defensive fighting units on hostile worlds.
STAR FLEET ACADEMY--Under the Office of Education and Training, the
Academy is responsible for the initial and advanced training of Star
Fleet Officers. Academy instructors staff Branch Training Schools,
Department Head School, Command School, and instructors at the Academy
or its subsidiary schools.
ENLISTED MEN AND NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS
Enlisted, First Class
Officer, Second Class
Petty Officer, Second Class
Petty Officer, First Class
Chief Petty Officer
Senior Petty Officer
Senior Chief Petty Officer
Master Chief Petty Officer
Chief Warrant Officer
Ensign First Class
Lieutenant, Junior Grade (JG)
DEPARTMENTAL POSITIONS ABOARD A STARSHIP
Commanding Officer (Captain)
Commmand Department Heads
Chief Helmsman\Weaponry Officer
Chief Communications\Damage Control Officer
Support Department Heads
Chief Science Officer
Chief Medical Officer (surgeon)
Chief Supply Officer
~ COMING IN OUR JUNE 1992, THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
The Night Mayor by Kim Newman (Carroll & Graf)
The Chalchiuhite Dragon by Kenneth Morris (Tor)
China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh (Tor)
Achilles' Choice by Larry Niven & Steven Barnes (Tor)
and a WHOLE lot more...
~ ===> NONFICTION <===
^ ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES
How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions,
Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date
by Robert X. Cringely
(Addison-Wesley, February 1992, $19.95, ISBN 0-201-57032-7)
"There was no urge to fly, to see the world, to win a war,
to cure disease, or even to get rich that explains how the
personal computer business came to be or even how it runs
today. Instead, the game was started to satisfy the needs of
disenfranchised nerds like Bill Gates who didn't meet the
macho standards of American maleness and so looked for a way
to create their own adolescent alternative to the adult
world and, through that creation, gain the admiration of
"This is the key: they did it (and do it) to impress each
---from ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES
Anyone who reads INFOWORLD knows Robert X. Cringely as the author of
the column "Notes From the Field", which Cringely describes as "an
industrial gossip column", a ongoing guide to the most delectable
tidbits from the computer world. Along the way he infuriates a lot of
people, which is all, of course, part of the fun. What are his
qualifications for the job of gossip columnist to the high-tech world?
As he explains it...
"I'm a failure, of course.
"It takes a failure--someone who is not quite clever
enough to succeed or to be considered a threat--to gain
access to the heart of any competitive, ego-driven industry.
This is a business that won't brook rivals but absolutely
demands an audience. I am that audience. I can program
(poorly) in four computer languages, though all the computer
world seems to care about anymore is a language called C. I
have made hardware devices that almost worked. I qualify as
the ideal informed audience for all those fragile geniuses
who want their greatness to be understood and acknowledged.
Cringely takes his knowledge of the field and the people in it, with
his detached position within the industry, adds his long memory, keen
intelligence, wicked wit, and the result is irresistible entertainment
for computer groupies and novices alike. Cringely talks about hardware
and software, but mostly about people, that odd group who created and
fueled the personal computer industry. "Who are these ultrasmart
people? We call them engineers, programmers, hackers, and techies, but
mainly we call them nerds." But he also points out: "Here's the
important part: they are OUR nerds." (Cringely has many priceless
anecdotes about "our nerds" in the pages of ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES; some
of the best concern Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.) For Cringely believes
deeply in the American spirit of childish brilliance, a Peter Pan-ish
refusal to grow up that makes for major mistakes, but also
life-altering breakthroughs. Indeed, he predicts the eventual fall of
the computer industry's last hold-out for adult portentousness:
"IBM executives don't design products and write software;
they MANAGE the design and writing of software. They go to
meetings. So much effort, in fact, is put into managing all
the managers who are managing things that hardly anyone is
left over to do the real work. This means that most IBM
hardware and nearly all IBM software is written or designed
by the lowest level of people in the company-- trainees.
Everyone else is too busy going to meetings, managing, or
learning to be a manager, so there is little chance to
include any of their technical expertise in IBM products."
But Cringely looks forward--cautiously--to the future. He has some
fascinating predictions about the next ten years of computer
innovation, and some very encouraging words about the threat posed by
the Japanese companies. Read ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES to learn more about
computers and software, read it for the insights into high tech
industries, or read it for the dirt, but read it. I officially
designate ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES as Classic #2 for the computer
enthusiast. (Classic #1 is Steven Levy's HACKERS.)
^ THE OVERWORKED AMERICAN: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure
by Juliet B. Schor
(Basic Books, February 1992, $21.00, ISBN 0-465-05433-1)
"We have paid a price for prosperity. Capitalism has brought
a dramatically increased standard of living, but at the cost
of a much more demanding worklife. We are eating more, but
we are burning up those calories at work. We have color
televisions and compact disc players, but we need them to
unwind after a stressful day at the office. We take
vacations, but we work so hard throughout the year that they
become indispensable to our sanity. The conventional wisdom
that economic progress has given us more things AS WELL AS
more leisure is difficult to sustain."
---THE OVERWORKED AMERICAN
We who grew up back in the 1950s were expressly told to look forward
to a future of ever-increasing leisure time, and ever-increasing
supplies of consumer goods to enjoy during that time. Now that we live
in a world of latch-key kids and stress-related health problems of
epidemic proportions, one can't help but wonder what happened. Where
did our leisure time go? In THE OVERWORKED AMERICAN, economist Schor
presents the results of her studies in what is the first comprehensive
calculations of worktime over the last two decades. A fascinating and
troubling book, THE OVERWORKED AMERICAN deserves to be studied by
government and industry leaders, sociologists, psychologists,
economists, and concerned people of all occupations.
Schor finds that the average employed person is now on the job 163
more hours per year, the equivalent of an extra month. Also, in the
last decade workers have gotten less paid time off each year: about
3-1/2 days less. Since we're spending all this extra time on the job,
we must be doing less work around the house, right? Wrong. Schor's
estimates indicate that time spent on domestic labor (housework, child
care, etc.) hasn't significantly changed since the 1920s. Of course
now we have vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, clothes washers and
dryers, dish washers, etc.
"Yet with all these labor-saving innovations, no labor has
been saved. Instead, housework expanded to fill the
available time. Norms of cleanliness rose. Standards of
mothering grew more rigorous. Cooking and baking became more
If we're spending just as much time working around the house, and more
time working at our job, where is this extra time coming from? Mostly
from our leisure time, although studies have shown that we also are
spending less time eating and sleeping. Why do we behave like this?
The insidious cycle of work-and-spend keeps us on the consumer
treadmill, working for more money to buy more products that satisfy
our needs only temporarily so that soon we need more products,
necessitating more work, etc.
Schor points the finger at the capitalist system as the chief culprit.
Despite the conventional wisdom that capitalism is the source of all
bounty, material and temporal, Schor maintains that what leisure time
we have exists IN SPITE OF capitalism, not because of it. Employers
see it as being in their best interests to have fewer workers who work
longer hours, rather than spreading the available work over a larger
employee base. Each additional employee means a whole new set of
benefits to pay, more than making up for the time-and-a-half they have
to pay for overtime. This, of course, leads to greater unemployment,
which is also in the employer's best interests, as it provides the
stick (fear of losing one's job) to the carrot of overtime pay. Polish
economist Michal Kalecki has said that "...unemployment is an integral
part of the normal capitalist system."
But aren't we still working less today than previously in history?
According to Schor, the only time when workers worked harder than
today was in the late 19th century, which was the all-time record for
overworked employees. (For a better look at this time, read almost any
novel by Charles Dickens.) Throughout most of recorded history,
workers worked long hours, but the pace of that work was very slow,
and there were many meal and rest breaks. In addition, holidays
accounted for as much as a third of the year. The rise of capitalism,
and that of the Puritans, resulted in our modern style of work.
Despite all of this information, Schor reports that many, if not most,
corporate leaders anticipate longer hours in the future, not fewer.
The bogey here is the Japanese, who are the only people in the world
who presently work harder than we do, and they are taking over a
number of industries once controlled by Americans. But the Japanese
are suffering for their hard work, as Schor documents, and they have
already realized that they must lighten the burden on their employees.
"Those who call for America to replicate the Japanese work
culture have forgotten that the point of economic success is
to make possible a good life. To impair the quality of life
IN THE NAME of economic success is foolhardy."
Is there an answer to this dilemma? Schor presents a number of changes
that we could make to improve the quality of life for all Americans,
if we would only realize where our true benefit lies.
"Study after study shows that reforms that humanize the work
environment, respect employees, or give them more latitude
turn out to be very profitable. Yet most companies fail to
institute these reforms. Inertia, myopia, fear of the
unknown, and a climate of conservatism pervade many U.S.
Schor does not toss around the term "profitable" lightly. She cites
specific cases and figures to prove that shorter hours, and similar
reforms, have IN ACTUAL PRACTICE led to increased productivity and
greater corporate profits.
"In an era when the connections between perpetual growth and
environmental deterioration are becoming more apparent, with
the quality of public life declining in many areas (public
safety, decline of community, failing education system),
shouldn't we at least step back and re-examine our
commitment to ever-greater quantities of consumer goods?"
THE OVERWORKED AMERICAN is not only fascinating, but is a very
important book. Highly recommended.
^ THE 5TH WAVE: BYTE-ing Humor
by Rich Tennant
(Andrews and McMeel, 1992, $6.95, ISBN 0-8362-1890-6)
Where will you find:
* A prospective customer saying: "What do you mean it sort of is and
* A guy in the Software Application Testing Center who says: "We test
for compatibility, performance, service, and formatting. If it fails
these, then it's tested for the distance it can be sailed across the
parking lot and onto the expressway."
* The adventures of Bill and Irwin in The Land of Lost Files
* Royal Canadian Mounted Programmers
* An FBI agent saying: "These kidnappers are clever, lieutenant. Look
at this ransom note, the way they got the text to wrap around the
victim's photograph. And the fonts! They must be creating their
own--must be over thirty-five typefaces here..."
* A man who holds a printer at an angle to get italics
* The executive at Thud Software who says: "Gentlemen, I say rather
than fix the 'bugs,' we change the documentation and call them
Where can you find such lunacy? Only in the world of cartoonist Rich
Tennant, which you can visit in THE 5TH WAVE, possibly the funniest
collection of computer cartoons ever published. You'll probably want
to buy a copy just to cut apart for posting on bulletin boards around
the office--there's sure to be a piece of BYTE-ing satire suitable for
"In a display of perverse brilliance, Carl the Repairman
mistakes a room humidifier for a mid-range computer, but
manages to tie it into the network anyway."
---from THE 5TH WAVE
^ WEBSTER'S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY: Third College Edition
Dr. Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief
(Simon & Schuster, January 1992, $18.95, ISBN 0-13-947169-3)
WEBSTER'S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY is celebrating its 40th anniversary,
with some 85,000,000 copies in all editions having been printed. It is
one of the bestselling English language dictionaries of all time,
widely used in schools, libraries, and in the home. It is used as the
dictionary of first reference by every major news organization in the
country, and by hundreds of daily newspapers.
The first edition was published in November 1951, and was the first
dictionary to emphasize the current language of America, and the first
to use that language to formulate lucid, easy-to-read definitions. It
was the first to identify Americanisms, those words believed to have
an American origin. Americanisms account for some 11,000 entries,
including such words as "persimmon", "neutron star", "flying saucer",
"playmaker", "chain lightning", "ukulele", "iron horse", "bounty
jumper", "free-for-all", and "hickory". WEBSTER'S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY
is still the only dictionary to identify all terms and senses that
originate in the U.S. The Third Edition also set a new standard for
usage notes and word histories.
In 1970, the American Printing House for the Blind, in conjunction
with The Library of Congress, chose WEBSTER'S NEW WORLD as the first
and only dictionary of its scope to be embossed in braille in its
entirety. It comprises 72 large volumes.
In December 1975, THE NEW YORK TIMES announced that it was replacing
its dictionary of first reference, which it had used for decades, with
the Second College Edition of the NEW WORLD DICTIONARY and that this
dictionary was also to be used as the basis for its forthcoming Manual
of Style and Usage. In 1976, both the AP and UPI also announced their
adoption of the dictionary. The principal reasons cited were the
frequency and thoroughness of its updatings, the reliability of its
information, and the clarity of its definitions.
Now there is a new update of the Third College Edition (originally
published in September 1988), so you can have an English language
reference that is as up-to-date as that used by THE NEW YORK TIMES. As
a matter of fact, you'll have the exact same book. For readers,
writers, and crossword puzzle fans, WEBSTER'S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY
constitutes a genuine Best Buy.
^ SINUS SURVIVAL (Revised)
A Self-Help Guide for Allergies, Bronchitis, Colds, and Sinusitis
by Dr. Robert S. Ivker
(Jeremy P. Tarcher, February 1992, $10.95, ISBN 0-87477-684-8)
"Dr. Ivker has written SINUS SURVIVAL as if he were sitting
in his exam room speaking to one of his patients. ...By
reading this book, the sinus sufferer will feel--possibly
for the first time--both understood and in much greater
control of his or her condition."
---Gilbert W. Levitt, M.D.
* 34 million people are sinus sufferers (almost 1 in 7 Americans)
* The National Center for Health Statistics says chronic sinusitis is
the most common chronic disease in the U.S.
* According to the EPA, more than 150 million Americans live in areas
in which the air is hazardous to their health. (Interestingly, SINUS
SURVIVAL has sold best in areas of maximum air pollution.)
Not only has Dr. Ivker treated more than 20,000 patients with sinus
problems, he was a long-timer sinus sufferer himself. In SINUS
SURVIVAL he takes the reader along the path he traveled personally,
which, for him, resulted in a complete cure from his sinusitis: he has
been free of symptoms for five years.
In Part I Dr. Ivker discusses what sinuses are and what makes them
sick, how to tell whether you have acute or chronic sinusitis, what
disorders frequently are associated with sinus problems, what the
symptoms of sinusitis are, and what standard medical treatments are
available. (In this section I learned why over-the-counter drugs
haven't helped my sinusitis, and I also found a no-cost homemade
treatment that does help.)
In Part II he outlines the holistic approach to treating sinusitis,
requiring far more effort but possibly leading to a complete cure
(which standard medical treatment cannot offer). Dr. Ivker talks about
how to change your environment to help your sinuses, and how to change
yourself, advocating a whole-system approach that combines physical,
mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health. He also includes "A
Guide to Holistic Specialties" for patients who feel the need of more
SINUS SURVIVAL is an absolute necessity if you, or someone you love,
suffers from sinus problems. Even if you choose not to overhaul your
entire life to effect a cure, you will still find enough information
and helpful medical advice to enable you to take charge of your
sinuses and make yourself more comfortable. (Jeremy P. Tarcher Inc.,
5858 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90036.)
^ MASTERING CorelDRAW 2: Third Edition
by Steve Rimmer
(Sybex, 1991, $29.95, ISBN 0-89588-814-9)
CorelDRAW is an absolutely incredible drawing program. If you add a
program that specializes in handling large text files, such as Ventura
Publisher, and a nice laser printer, you will have a desktop print
shop more powerful than most professional printers had just a few
years ago. Of course all that raw capability has a catch: you have to
learn to use it. It's easy enough to figure out how to click on the
icons and play around with CorelDRAW, but to really harness all of
that potential to create professional-looking logos, illustrations,
icons, etc., you need to dig deeper.
I tried using Steve Rimmer's MASTERING CorelDRAW as an encyclopedia
for a while (looking up individual topics in the Index as they came up
in real life), but that really didn't do me much good. CorelDRAW is
complex enough that understanding a lot of little isolated bits of
trivia doesn't get you very far. It wasn't until I sat down and worked
my way through Part I, "A Guide to Features and Applications"--using
the book as a tutorial and performing all of the examples--that I
finally started to get somewhere. Rimmer explains all of the basics:
lines, text, fills, importing/exporting, tracing, special effects, and
color, guiding the reader through at least one example of every
Once you've built up some confidence with the software, Rimmer shifts
the focus to what you could be doing with CorelDRAW. Part II, "A Guide
to Design", has four chapters that will give the reader a wealth of
practical advice for using CorelDRAW to create useful and beautiful
pictures, letterhead, logos, and such. He talks about basic principles
of good design, how to integrate the graphic capabilities of CorelDRAW
with a desktop publishing program (like Ventura), how to use type
creatively, and specific hints and ideas about designing logos and
symbols. As a helpful added feature, since CorelDRAW will only work
under Microsoft Windows, the Appendices include a beginner's guide to
working with Windows.
MASTERING CorelDRAW is nearly a necessity with a program as complex as
CorelDRAW. Now that you've spent all that money to get all those
features, shouldn't you spend some time learning what to do with them?
(You can contact the publisher by writing to: Sybex Inc., 2021
Challenger Drive, Alameda, CA 94501. As for a complete catalog of
their computer publications.)
^ THIS OLD HOUSE KITCHENS: A Guide to Design and Renovation
by Steve Thomas & Philip Langdon
(Little, Brown, January 1992, $40.00, ISBN 0-316-84106-4)
In most homes, the kitchen is the most-used room of all, and
frequently the first to show serious wear. And few household
renovations add more to the resale value of a house than an attractive
and well-designed kitchen. Unfortunately, kitchen remodeling is
complex and expensive, and the home owner needs to plan carefully to
avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary expenses. THIS OLD HOUSE
KITCHENS brings the enthusiasm, confidence, and expertise of public
television's most popular series into your lap, with more than 180
full-color photographs and dozens of detailed drawings, to be
consulted as needed throughout your project.
Steve Thomas knows that modern families place a lot of demands on
their kitchens. They must house a variety of appliances such as
microwave ovens, ice-makers, boiling- and chilled-water dispensers,
food processors, garbage compactors, etc. We want our kitchens to have
a phone, stereo, TV, and maybe a small office space with a desk, and
of course everything needs to be well-lit.
THIS OLD HOUSE KITCHENS takes you step-by-step through the process of
designing a kitchen that will satisfy your personal wish list and
function practically in the real world. From minor renovations to
starting from the ground up, THIS OLD HOUSE KITCHENS offers all the
information needed to:
* establish a budget
* hire and work with contractors and tradespeople
* choose beautiful and functional flooring, cabinets, and countertops
* design the perfect lighting system
* make the most of storage space
* unravel the mysteries of the hidden essentials: plumbing, wiring,
* choose the small touches that make a room extraordinary
The information in THIS OLD HOUSE KITCHENS is logically arranged for
maximum ease of use--an indispensable volume for anyone contemplating
any kitchen renovations.
^ HEALING YOUR BODY NATURALLY
Alternative Treatments to Illness
by Gary Null
(Four Walls Eight Windows, February 1992, $16.95, ISBN 0-941423-66-2)
HEALING YOUR BODY NATURALLY is the latest book by Gary Null, America's
leading health and nutrition advocate and the author of more than 40
books. He discusses alternative treatments for mental illness, heart
disease, cancer, arthritis, back and leg ailments, allergies,
diabetes, and digestive disorders, with the accent always on
whole-body therapies and superior nutrition.
There is also a special chapter on Chelation Therapy, one of the
hottest new areas of alternative treatments. It involves the removal
of excess heavy metals from the bloodstream and has been used to treat
many disorders, including strokes, Alzheimer's Disease, and diabetes.
HEALING YOUR BODY NATURALLY closes with an 80-page national Resource
Guide, with names, addresses, and phone numbers for a variety of
alternative treatment care specialists around the country: specialists
in AIDS, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, digestive disorders, heart
disease, and mental illness, as well as chiropractors, support groups,
environmental physicians, holistic dentists, holistic veterinarians,
homeopaths, naturopaths, nutrition counselors, orthomolecular
psychiatrists, and professional organizations.
You can order HEALING YOUR BODY NATURALLY directly from the publisher
by sending the list price, plus $3 postage and handling to: Four Walls
Eight Windows, PO Box 548, Village Station, New York, NY 10014-0548.
Also be sure to ask for a copy of their catalog of books.
^ SERIAL SLAUGHTER: What's Behind America's Murder Epidemic?
by Michael Newton
(Loompanics Unlimited, 1992, $19.95, ISBN 1-55950-078-6)
"Before the year 2000, federal agents estimate some 40,000
men, women, and children will be slaughtered without
apparent motive--an average of 11 victims each and every
SERIAL SLAUGHTER is a comprehensive treatment of what is known today
about serial killers. Author Michael Newton has amassed a wealth of
facts, figures, quotes from killers, photographs of killers, and
investigative detail, fashioning it into a shocking and horrific study
of human monsters. SERIAL SLAUGHTER covers:
* A brief history of serial murders
* What makes a killer?
* Does violent pornography incite sex slayings?
* What triggers a killer's deadly outburst?
* How do serial killers pick their victims?
* How can you avoid being selected?
* What should you do if you are selected?
* What do serial killers do after a kill?
* How are serial killers hunted?
* How does the legal system deal with serial killers?
* How do serial killers behave in jail?
A final chapter brings the cases covered up to date with a
consideration of Jeffrey Dahmer, the man who was found with pieces of
11 bodies in his apartment. In the back of the book is a reprint of
the FBI's VICAP (Violent Crime Apprehension Program) Crime Analysis
Report, an 18-page form that attempts to scientifically codify man's
violent of abuse of man. And, finally, there's a huge Bibliography of
further reading about serial killers, enough to last you the rest of
this decade. SERIAL SLAUGHTER is a fascinating book on a very grim
subject. (You can order the book directly from the publisher by
sending the list price, plus $4 shipping and handling to: Loompanics
Unlimited, PO Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. With your order
you'll get a free copy of their incredible catalog of unusual and
controversial books, which otherwise can be ordered for $5.)
^ THE STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND
A History of Human Wonder & Discovery
by Herbert C. Corben
(Prometheus Books, February 1992, $29.95, ISBN 0-87975-683-7)
As long as human beings have existed, they have wanted, and needed, to
understand themselves and the universe they inhabit. Our attempts to
observe and explain can be roughly divided into two disciplines:
science and religion. In THE STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND, Herbert Corben, a
retired theoretical physicist, takes the reader on an exciting journey
through the entire known history of man's search for answers. Expanded
from an extremely popular course he taught at the University of
Toronto, Corben considers:
* ancient gods and religions that predate Christianity
* early developments in physics, astronomy, biology, and medicine
* the growth of astrology, alchemy, and numerology
* scientific beliefs and theological conflicts in the first Christian
* contributions made by Muslim scientists and physicians
* the impact on Christian thinking when the Muslim works were
translated into Latin and Hebrew
* persecution of witches and the treatment of the insane
* scientific development in the 18th and 19th centuries and how
erroneous assumptions impeded progress
* the theory of evolution and its impact on religious dogmas
Corben discusses the birth and evolution of both wrong ideas and right
ones. In the Preface he talks about how wrong ideas can get started:
"One way is to choose from all of the writings and sayings
of mankind a very small fraction and assume that bit to be
absolutely true. It might be the Delphic Oracle, the Bible
or the Koran, the pronouncements by the Pope, the works of
Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, or even James Ussher (who set
4004 B.C. as the date of the Creation), or maybe the words
which a charismatic speaker assures us come directly from
With the clarity and wit of a born teacher, Corben makes the history
of mankind's intellectual advancement exciting, dramatic, and even
funny. THE STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND is a very entertaining read and a
worthwhile addition to any education. Highly recommended. (Prometheus
Books, 700 East Amherst Street, Buffalo, NY 14215)
^ ATTACK OF THE DERANGED MUTANT KILLER MONSTER SNOW GOONS
by Bill Watterson
(Andrews and McMeel, 1992, $8.95, ISBN 0-8362-1883-3)
What little boy...
* has such an elaborate imagination that pieces of driveway gravel
become fossilized fragments of a previously unknown species of
* is terrorized by his new two-wheeler?
* was voted the "most likely to be seen on the news someday"?
* has a baseball field with 25 bases?
* when bored, imagines himself to be: a dinosaur, a lightning bolt,
fearless explorer Spaceman Spiff, an airline pilot, a volcano,
superhero Stupendous Man, and Tracer Bullet, private eye?
* decides to jump from the roof of his house attached to a bungie
* holds his friend Susie's doll for ransom, including in the ransom
note a photograph of the doll tied to a chair?
* has monsters living under his bed?
* plays with a toy boat in the bath, and dumps a bottle of ink in the
bathwater to simulate an oil spill?
* defines math as a religion and calls himself a math atheist?
* invokes the snow demon to make a snowman come alive, inadvertently
creating Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons?
Who could it be? Nobody but Calvin, the creation of a very talented
cartoonist named Bill Watterson. Calvin, along with his stuffed tiger
named Hobbes, faces life with the energy, creative enthusiasm, and
clearsightedness that only a child could possibly manage, and along
the way Watterson gets to comment the complexities, paradoxes, and
conflicts of life in the 1990s. (Not to overlook the artwork, which is
simply awesome; an incredible array of facial expressions that speak
volumes all by themselves.) Calvin and Hobbes address such weighty
problems as species conflict:
Calvin: "Do you think tigers to the same heaven that people
go to?...I mean, in heaven, everyone is supposed to be
HAPPY, right? But people wouldn't be happy if they were
always in danger of being eaten by tigers!...On the other
hand, heaven wouldn't be very nice WITHOUT tigers, either.
*I* wouldn't be happy if there weren't any tigers. I'd miss
them...Maybe tigers just don't eat people in heaven.
Hobbes: "But then WE wouldn't be happy."
When Calvin cuts a TV frame out of cardboard and pretends to be on
television, Watterson satirizes up TV commercials, celebrity
endorsements, and child-oriented advertisements
"Hi, I'm Calvin, Eminent Television Personality, here to
tell you about new, improved 'Chocolate Frosted Sugar
Bombs'! I love 'em! They're crunchy on the outside, chewy on
the inside, and they don't have a single natural ingredient
or essential vitamin to get in the way of that rich, fudgy
taste! Mm-mm! Yes kids, you'll like 'em so much, you won't
be able to sit still! Remember! It's the cereal I get paid
to recommend because I'm famous!...What do you think? Are
you filled with the desire to emulate me and eat the cereal
I endorse? If not, I can repeat this every 20 minutes."
If you haven't met Calvin & Hobbes yet, you should be ashamed of
yourself. ATTACK OF THE DERANGED MUTANT KILLER MONSTER SNOW GOONS is
the funniest cartoon book of Spring 1992. Don't miss it.
^ USING VISUAL BASIC
Writing Windows Applications (Disk Included)
by William H. Murray & Chris H. Pappas
(Addison-Wesley, January 1992, $34.95, ISBN 0-201-58145-0)
Microsoft Windows is the #1 operating environment, and Microsoft
Visual Basic is the #1 programming language for creating Windows
applications. Instead of taking weeks or months to write valuable and
classy-looking programs, with Visual Basic you can whip them out in
hours, sometimes minutes! USING VISUAL BASIC is a first-class guide to
the hottest topic in programming, and will help you get started in no
time at all. The first nine chapters constitute VB101:
Foundations of Visual Basic
Setting Interface Properties
Visual Basic as a Language
Graphics Fundamentals and Drawing Primitives
The remainder of the book concentrates on the more advanced concepts
you need to develop really useful applications:
Working With Pictures and Graphics
System Resources and Utilities
Plotting Mathematical Equations
Presentation Line, Bar, and Pie Charts
An Introduction to Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)
Between these chapters, and the code you'll find on the enclosed disk,
you'll have a collection of templates that you can use for developing
your very own custom applications. USING VISUAL BASIC is a great way
to become an accomplished Windows Programmer in just the time it takes
to read a book. William H. Murray and Chris H. Pappas are the authors
of 15 acclaimed computer books, including WINDOWS PROGRAMMING and THE
BORLAND C++ HANDBOOK. They are both professors of computer science in
the SUNY system in Binghamton, New York.
^ THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND THE CHRISTIAN MYTH
by John M. Allegro
(Prometheus Books, March 1992, $18.95, ISBN 0-87975-757-4)
In 1947 an Arab shepherd discovered a cache of ancient Hebrew and
Aramaic manuscripts that would become known throughout the world as
the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Jordanian authorities appointed a team of
experts to study, translate, and publish the texts, and scholars all
over the world were hoping for new insights into early Judaism and the
beginnings of Christianity. Unfortunately, only one of the appointed
experts completed his assigned task: John Allegro, who also happened
to be the only secular humanist on the team. The other experts
jealously guarded their assigned sections of text, refusing to reveal
anything until they had completely studied them to their own
satisfaction. Allegro took the view that science is a cooperative
effort and that the texts should be shared at the earliest possible
date, trusting to scholarly debate to revise and refine the
translation and interpretation.
By 1968 Allegro had completed his translation, and his interpretation
of his assigned portion shocked and angered many. Allegro declared
that the Dead Sea Scrolls virtually proved that the Jesus of the
Gospels never existed, that he was a fictional character from ancient
religious legends. Another of the team experts claimed that Allegro's
translation was seriously flawed. Allegro claimed that the rest of the
team was deliberately suppressing information from the texts that
contradicted Christian and Jewish dogma. When Allegro published an
article in the BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW in the mid 1980s, asking
why none of the rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls had yet been released to
the public, an groundswell of scholarly frustration arose that would
lead eventually to the release of photographs of all the texts of the
Dead Sea Scrolls by the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
Unfortunately, John Allegro didn't live to see the texts made public,
but his interpretation of them is once again made available with the
publication of THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND THE CHRISTIAN MYTH. He takes
the reader on an exciting journey of intellectual discovery, and
suggests that Christianity evolved out of the Messianic theology of
the Essenes, the Jewish sect that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. This
edition also reprints an essay in which Allegro describes the
in-fighting among the scholars assigned to study the scrolls and his
30-year battle to release all of the texts to the public.
^ GENTLE CLOSINGS: How to Say Goodbye to Someone You Love
by Ted Menten
(Running Press, 1991, $12.95, ISBN 1-56138-004-0)
GENTLE CLOSINGS is an unusual book. It's written by a man who spends
his free time giving away teddy bears at hospitals and talking with,
or just being with, people who are dying. Most of us, I think,
generally try to live our lives with the attitude that death doesn't
exist. We handle our fear with denial, which works reasonably well
until the dying person is someone close to us. Or maybe it's us. What
do you say to someone who's dying? What can you do? These are the
issues that Ted Menten addresses in this small package of touching
stories and gentle wisdom.
I asked a group of children what they thought was going to
happen when they died. Going to heaven was a popular
"How will you get there?" I asked.
"An angel will come and get me," replied Wendy.
"Beamed up like on 'Star Trek,'" said Bobby.
"I want Lassie to take me," said little Sharon.
"But Lassie's only a dog!" said a disapproving Bobby.
"I know, but Lassie always knows how to get home."
You can order GENTLE CLOSINGS directly from the publisher by sending
the list price, plus $2.50 postage and handling, to: Running Press,
125 South Twenty-Second St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.
^ THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ORIGAMI & PAPERCRAFT TECHNIQUES
by Paul Jackson
(Running Press, 1991, $24.95, ISBN 1-56138-063-6)
If you thought you had exhausted the artistic potential of paper in
kindergarten with glued-circle chains, you should spend some time with
this beautiful volume by Paul Jackson. Half how-to craft book and half
art book, THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ORIGAMI & PAPERCRAFT TECHNIQUES is
loaded with hundreds of creative ideas for the adventurous artist,
beginner or advanced. Jackson discusses tools and techniques, with
photographs of everything he describes. He talks about the properties
of paper and how to work with them, and the specialized vocabulary of
origami folds. And throughout the book you'll find a dazzling
selection of artworks that will inspire your own creative instincts.
Within the ENCYCLOPEDIA Jackson covers origami (the well-known
oriental art of paperfolding), pop-ups (most popular in children's
books), paper sculpture, papier-mache, pulping (an alternative to
papier-mache in which paper is pulped and molded into shape),
papermaking (yes, you can actually MAKE paper in your home without
expensive equipment), decoupage, model-making (my favorite--scale
models of real-life artifacts), paper engineering (a more technical
approach to paper creations), paper cuts (which covers art from cut
pieces of paper to repetitive designs such as snowflakes), quilling
(designs make from little rolls of paper), packaging (the engineering
principles of cartons), and weaving. The last section of the
ENCYCLOPEDIA covers themes for your artwork, whether it will be
abstract (geometric or non-geometric), functional, or representational
(figurative, natural, or constructed).
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ORIGAMI & PAPERCRAFT TECHNIQUES is a treasure
trove of ideas and how-to information for the creative artist, as well
as being a breathtaking art book. A real treat. (You can order the
ENCYCLOPEDIA directly from the publisher by sending the list price,
plus $2.50 postage and handling, to: Running Press, 125 South
Twenty-Second St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.)
^ SIMCITY: STRATEGIES AND SECRETS
by Nick Dargahi
(Sybex, 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-89588-890-4)
Computer users do not live by spreadsheets alone. There must also be,
occasionally, a bit of recreation. And certainly one of the finest
leisure time computer activities ever invented is an involving and
addictive game from Maxis called SimCity. SimCity simulates an entire
city in your computer, with you to act as Mayor, city planner, and
city engineer. Your simulated city is as real as the designers at
Maxis could make it--as Supreme Being you will have to deal with
crime, unemployment, pollution, traffic, fire, floods, and
earthquakes. There is no competition involved, just the management of
your city--if you're successful you'll have a growing city of
contented citizens, if not your city can turn into barbarous chaos or
a deserted ghosttown. Running a successful city, or SimCity, is what
SIMCITY: STRATEGIES AND SECRETS is all about.
Nick Dargahi's book begins with an Introduction to SimCity, which
duplicates a lot of information in the SimCity documentation, but
expands on many of the ideas, is better illustrated and organized, and
is just generally much more user-friendly. As a new City Manager
you'll learn how to install the program, set up a city, use the icons,
and general hints about how to begin playing this fascinating game.
The second section of the book discusses how the SimCity program is
designed, what the interior rules are, and how you can use those facts
to your city's advantage. In this part of the book you'll find secret
strategies, hints, tips, and tricks that the author has found himself
and gathered from many other dedicated SimCity players. The last
section is called "Winning Strategies for the Eight Model Scenarios",
and it includes specific hints and helps for the eight "canned" cities
that come on the SimCity disk.
Every store that sells SimCity should have SIMCITY: STRATEGIES AND
SECRETS shelved right next to it. SimCity is an incredibly complex
simulation of reality that mixes recreation and education until they
become interchangeable, and this book will help the user develop
proficiency faster and get more out of every facet of "play". (You can
contact the publisher, and get a complete catalog of their books, by
writing to: SYBEX Inc., 2021 Challenger Drive, Alameda, CA 94501.)
~OTHER RECENT SYBEX RELEASES
Anybody's Mac Book by Tom Cuthbertson
(ISBN 0-89588-866-1, $26.95)
The Macintosh Hard Disk Companion by J. Russell Roberts
(ISBN 0-7821-1058-4, $26.95)
Understanding Postscript by David A. Holzgang
(ISBN 0-7821-1059-2, $29.95)
Understanding Quicken 5 for DOS by Steve Cummings
(ISBN 0-7821-1082-7, $22.95)
Mastering Quattro Pro 4 for DOS, Fourth Edition by Gene Weisskopf
(ISBN 0-7821-1019-3, $27.95)
WordPerfect 5.1 for Windows Macro Handbook (with disk)
(ISBN 0-7821-1064-9, $39.95)
Up & Running with Word for Windows, Version 2.0 by Bob Campbell
(ISBN 0-7821-1005-3, $10.95)
^ MONDAY TO FRIDAY COOKBOOK
by Michele Urvater
(Workman, 1991, $14.95, ISBN 0-89480-764-1)
In fiction, lavish homemade meals are prepared quickly, with no mess,
and are presented attractively to an appreciative family, all of whom
are neatly seated at the table, waiting to dig in. In real life, meals
don't happen quite that way. For one thing, the meal preparer is most
likely to have just returned home from work and is not in the mood for
"lavish". But even minimal meals require considerable effort, and make
a mess in the kitchen that requires even more work later. And as for
that appreciative family all ready to eat: forget it. Previous
engagements and last-minute responsibilities make adults and children
alike late for meals, or absent altogether. The only time everyone
sits down at the same time is when the cook eats alone.
Michele Urvater cooks for a family; she knows these things. Luckily
for us, she's also a professional chef, and she's had some practical
ideas about how to handle the workweek meal nightmare. She begins with
the caution that the well-stocked pantry is the key to everything, and
the entire first chapter is dedicated to showing you how to set
yourself up right. The next chapter shows you how to equip your
kitchen for maximum efficiency (quick cooking and even quicker
cleanup), and the following chapter discusses some basic strategies,
like how to plan the week's meals ahead of time, how to plan for
leftovers, and how to even put together a dinner party if you
absolutely have to.
Then there are the Monday-to-Friday recipes: good edible food that
doesn't take long to cook and leaves as little mess as possible. The
first chapter of recipes is called "Pure Pantry", providing loads of
good ideas for those times when you haven't had time to shop at all.
Following that are chapters for Soups, Pasta, Seafood, Poultry, Meat,
One-Pot Meals, Grain & Bean Dishes, Vegetable Asides, Salads,
Desserts, and a chapter called Omnium Gatherum which includes such
great standbys as tacos, tortillas, pizza, omelets, etc.
MONDAY TO FRIDAY COOKBOOK is chock full of great ideas for anyone who
must feed a family and often wishes that someone else would. There are
very few frills here, just good, tasty food that is quick and easy to
prepare. In the margins you'll find helpful hints about how to use
leftovers of a particular recipes, how to alter it for kid-type
tastes, and tips about ingredients that reluctant cooks may not be
aware of. A number of the recipes were too hot for my taste, but the
spicy ingredients are easily left out. I learned a lot about making
quick soups, though, and got a LOT of ideas for using grains,
particularly the more exotic kinds like couscous, cracked wheat,
bulghur, and quinoa. MONDAY TO FRIDAY COOKBOOK is well worth a spot on
your cookbook shelf--it could save a lot of time in the kitchen, a lot
of money on take-out, and save you from a lot of bad frozen dinners.
^ THE COMPLETE PC UPGRADE AND MAINTENANCE GUIDE
by Mark Minasi
(Sybex, 1991, $27.95, ISBN 0-89588-840-8)
"I'm writing this for the needy and the curious. Some of you
need to understand the machines you depend upon so much so
that you can better keep them in top shape. Others might
just wonder what's going on under the hood. Whoever you are,
dig in and try something!"
Every computer owner I know has at least one humdinger of a repair
horror story. Author Mark Minasi begins with one of his own, about a
repair shop that kept his machine for two months, never could find
anything wrong with it, and charged him $800. I recently had a rather
ugly experience myself with some computer repair people and memory
chips, but I don't want to get into it. Maybe someday I'll laugh about
it, but you better believe I'm replacing my own memory chips from now
on. So the major reason to get Minasi's PC UPGRADE AND MAINTENANCE
GUIDE is obvious: avoid expensive and incompetent repair people
(repair humans?). And it's not just repairing, nowadays computers are
piles of separate components, and most owners don't go too long
between purchases of some kind of hardware. Who wants to be dependent
upon somebody else every time they add a piece of hardware to their
system? Do you want someone of unknown ability messing around with a
system it's taken you months to get just right? Why not install new
drives, monitors, memory boards, etc. yourself?
All this leads to the next great thing about Minasi's new book. The
reason you want and/or need something like this book is, as I said,
obvious. But will such a book explain things adequately? Will you be
able to understand and use the information? Yes, if it's written by
Mark Minasi, who has an encouraging conversational style and leads you
through the mysteries of hardware with clear, concise, easy-to-follow
steps. He not only explains how to take your machine apart, fiddle
with something, and put it back together--he convinces you that you
can actually do it without lightning striking you dead on the spot.
Minasi tells you what tools you'll need; what to do first, second,
etc.; how to troubleshoot a problem whatever it is; how to make your
equipment last; and what's liable to be wrong when something goes
phhhttt! He covers circuit boards, chips, semiconductor memory, power
supplies (and power protection), floppy drives, printers, printer
interfaces, modems, serial interfaces, keyboards, and monitors.
But the greatest amount of space is spent on hard drives, and anyone
with a hard drive knows why: hard drives are more susceptible to
problems than any other piece of hardware, and hard drive failures are
generally the most devastating. And by the way, if you'd like to
become a hard drive expert, you need Mark Minasi's THE HARD DISK
SURVIVAL GUIDE (reviewed in RFP #19), also from Sybex. Together, these
two books will help you get the maximum life out of your equipment,
and will show you how to install and repair just about anything it's
possible to install or repair without special tools or advanced
training. Of course, if word gets out that you know how to do these
things, don't be surprised if everyone you have ever known beats a
path to your door.
^ UP & RUNNING WITH COMPUSERVE
by Bob Campbell
(Sybex, 1992, $10.95, ISBN 0-7821-1033-9)
"CompuServe, now more than twelve years old, has grown into
today's premier information utility, with the largest number
of services and the widest subscriber base of any
public-access network. It combines a solid electronic-mail
system with forums on a wide range of topics, hundreds of
databases, business and financial services, news services,
and more. Nonetheless, CompuServe remains surprisingly
accessible and inexpensive."
CompuServe can be valuable, educational, helpful, and a whole lot of
fun, but only if you can use it. You have to know what's there, how to
get to it, and how to use it properly. The very best way to learn your
way around CompuServe in the least amount of time is Bob Campbell's UP
& RUNNING WITH COMPUSERVE, a nifty 150 pages that get you through just
about anything you can do with CompuServe in 20 "steps".
Each "Step" covers a different skill or area of CompuServe, and is
allotted a separate chapter. Helpfully, each step also comes with an
estimate on how long it will take, from 15 minutes to an hour. This is
a big help in planning just what you want to tackle, because UP &
RUNNING WITH COMPUSERVE is so well written that advance study is not
necessary. Just pick your "step" and log in--you can follow what
happens on the screen of your computer with the illustrations and
notes in the book. It's that easy. So what will you learn to do on
CompuServe? Stuff like
* Getting Started--how to join CompuServe, what hardware and software
you'll need, how to call, how to log in, and how to sign off
* Basic Navigation--how to get around in general, the single most
important CompuServe skill
* Finding a Topic--when you know what you want but you haven't a clue
about where to look
* Forums--the special interest groups: what they are like and how to
use the three major forum areas (file libraries, message sections,
and real-time conferences)
* Electronic Mail--how to send it, receive it, and how to take
advantage of special features to become a Power E-Mailer
* Information--where to look and how to use the many sources of news,
weather, travel, and financial information available on CompuServe
* Reference--how to do serious research on CompuServe
* The Personal File Area--your own personal disk space on CompuServe
* Customizing Your Account--how to get CompuServe to work the way YOU
want it to
* Special CompuServe Software--learn about the three most popular
communications programs especially designed for using CompuServe:
AutoSIG, TapCIS, and CompuServe Information Manager.
UP & RUNNING WITH COMPUSERVE is an ideal companion to every CompuServe
account. You'll be winging around the service like a pro in no time.
^ MISOGYNIES: Reflections on Myths and Malice
by Joan Smith
(Fawcett Columbine, 1991, $16.95, ISBN 0-449-90591-8)
"The reason why DRESSED TO KILL caused such anger was its
dual implication that murder is a punishment for autonomous
sexual behaviour in women, and that women actually DESIRE
sexual violence-- thus legitimizing what is done to them and
transferring guilt from the perpetrator to the victim."
---from "He Knows He Can Make Money Out of You" (MISOGYNIES)
It would be difficult to imagine a more intellectually stimulating
collection of essays than those in MISOGYNIES. Joan Smith has been
paying attention to the world we live in, and she talks about what
she's observed. She discusses:
* the attitude of judges toward women and the effect it has on the
application of law
* the insidious messages of the pinup industry
* violence against women in movies, or as she terms it, "the market in
* PRESUMED INNOCENT, an anti-feminist retaliation
* the media and the marriage of the Prince of Wales to the woman Joan
Smith describes as "a princess who was kissed by Fleet Street and
turned into a frog"
* women in the clergy ("...Christianity was conceived in sexual
disgust and loathing of women...")
* historical women who have been ill-served by male historians
* the prevalent contempt for women among homosexuals throughout
* Marilyn Monroe's drooled-over image of female sexual passivity (in
an essay titled "Gentlemen Prefer Dead Blondes")
* the exploitation of tragedy for titillation in William Styron's
* the threatening nature of female sexuality for military men--both
American and German
* Britain's Mrs. Thatcher's inappropriateness as a role model for
* Peter Sutcliffe, the 'Yorkshire Ripper', and the police who sought
to catch him ("It is this feature, not Sutcliffe's difference but
his SIMILARITY to other men, which becomes apparent as you get
deeper into the case.")
In her Introduction Smith addresses the argument that our society's
organizational structure is based on the natural, biological
differences between men and women. She says:
"...the question I would put to proponents of the
anatomy-is-destiny theory is this: are you HAPPY with this
state of affairs? Can you shrug off the fact that women are
routinely denigrated, despised, segregated, raped, mutilated
and murdered? Are you saying, in fact, that it is NATURAL
for men to hate and fear women?"
Also included amongst the essays is a brief dramatic scene that would
be humorously surreal to me if I hadn't lived through much the same
thing myself. In it, a male stranger speaks to her male companion
exclusively, ignoring Smith, even though she is handling most of the
conversation. It is indeed a bizarre experience to be attempting
conversation with someone for whom you are invisible. And, take my
word for it, IT REALLY HAPPENS.
If these subjects, and the few comments that I have extracted sound
provocative, controversial, and barbed, I have succeeded in giving you
an accurate idea of MISOGYNIES. It is, however, important to realize
that the quotes given here have been removed from their proper
context. While they may sound dogmatic and merely inflammatory
standing alone, the ideas behind them are scrupulously argued in the
full text, backed with facts, quotes, and much logical thought. Far
from being a diatribe in which oppressed women are urged to band
together to hate men right back, Smith realizes that men are victims
in the situation as well, and that it is only by understanding the way
things are that we can hope to change what needs changing in the
future. An intellectually invigorating book.
^ SATELLITE SURVEILLANCE
by Harold Hough
(Loompanics Unlimited, 1991, $21.95, ISBN 1-55950-077-8)
Most of us know that there are satellites circling the globe that have
picture-taking capability. If asked why such photos are taken,
however, I think most would be limited to mentioning: spying, weather
information, and mapping. The truth is, however, that satellite
photography is used for much, much more than that, possibly for things
that will affect your life. Or it's just possible that satellite
imagery could be of use to you, and you don't even know it. In
SATELLITE SURVEILLANCE, Harold Hough provides a comprehensive textbook
on the history of overhead photography, how it works, what it's used
for, what you can do to avoid it, how you can take advantage of
satellite photography for your own purposes, and where the technology
is headed in the near future.
Along the way you'll learn about orthophotography, the science of
correcting the various distortions in photographs. (What causes these
distortions? You'll learn that, too.) You'll also hear about the
landmark case Dow Chemical Company vs. The United States, which forms
a precedent for the legality of aerial photographic surveillance.
You'll find out what satellites are up there, what kinds of images
they are processing, and what they can be used for. Rounding out all
this information is a glossary, a bibliography, and actual addresses
and phone numbers where you can acquire satellite pictures and related
products. You can order SATELLITE SURVEILLANCE directly from the
publisher by sending the list price, plus $3 shipping and handling,
to: Loompanics Unlimited, PO Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Their
humongous $5 catalog of unusual books is free with your order.
^ NATURE AS TEACHER AND HEALER
How to Reawaken Your Connection With Nature
by James A. Swan, Ph.D.
(Villard, February 1992, $13.00, ISBN 0-679-73879-7)
Perhaps you're like me: I support environmental causes whenever I can;
I love trees, flowers, mountains, oceans, rivers, and wildlife; and I
am angered every time greenery loses out to asphalt in my city. The
only problem is that, at least until now, I've enjoyed nature from
afar, like something I saw a picture of in a magazine and decided was
a good thing. Until I read NATURE AS TEACHER AND HEALER, I hadn't
realized to what extent nature was just a momentary experience between
indoors and the car. According to a recent government study, the
average adult American spends 84% of his/her life indoors, so I'm not
the only one, and according to Dr. Swan the result of living in a
modern, mechanized society is alienation from the natural world.
NATURE AS TEACHER AND HEALER explains the problem, and provides a
"spiritual first-aid kit" for people like me who have lost contact
with the planet we live on.
"We have lost that primal kinship link with nature that
shamans and modern psychological research both agree is the
key to living a vital, full, and creative life. We continue
to act in ways that disrupt the ecology because our thinking
is pulled away from knowing how to turn inward and our
senses are dulled in looking outward to receive guidance
from the subtle rhythms and symbols that want to guide us
into a symphony in celebration of wholeness. Environmental
problems will be solved and prevented when people can change
their inner lives to regain the primal linkage with nature
that is the root of healthy action. It will require getting
up out of the armchair, discovering our senses, and learning
to trust voices and feelings we have been led to believe
were not there."
And Dr. Swan has specific recommendations about repairing the damage.
Drawing on Native American healing ceremonies, as well as the writings
of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and Margaret Mead, he presents a system
for increasing one's harmony with nature. He discusses:
* how the fear of nature--of everything from natural disasters and
insects to being alone--can be overcome through methods such as
active imagery and desensitization.
* how to assuage "ecological guilt".
* how an affinity for certain plants and animals can mirror the soul,
bringing about a greater sympathy and understanding of the natural
* the importance of spirit of place: understanding why traditional
cultures feel that places have special spirit and power and how one
can develop environmental sensitivity to increase personal
awareness, psychic harmony and physical health.
NATURE AS TEACHER AND HEALER is a good and important book that will
help anyone reforge their inherent bonds with the natural world.
Instead of spending 10 hours a day at a desk working to pay for a
vacation to a place that will be mostly a hotel room and a rented car,
why not take some time off and get to know the section of the earth
you occupy already?
by Bill Cosby
(Putnam, 1991, $14.95, ISBN 0-399-13647-9)
"It is popular today to say that we have to find the child
within us. For me, this would be a short search."
Finally, Bill Cosby returns to the subject that made him famous, and
the chapters of CHILDHOOD greatly resemble many of his early comedy
albums (all of which I recommend). There's just something so
delightfully Peter Pan about Bill Cosby--he has truly retained the
spirit of a child, while so many more of us are like his father, whose
continual refrain was "What's WRONG with that boy?" Cosby reminds us
what it was like to fear a parent's wrath, argue with a sibling, live
in a state of complete confusion about sex. Remember when winning an
impromptu street game was the most important thing in life? Remember
when you thought you could emulate the adults you admired, and that
somehow their specialness would work for you too?
All of this, and more, are to be found in CHILDHOOD. If there is any
one major theme to the book, it is that children today seem to have
lost the creative imagination that we had when we were young. We made
games and activities up out of almost nothing, yet so often kids today
require expensive professional entertainment or they're bored. But
kids are still kids, and Cosby has been able to relive some of his own
experiences along with his five children and their friends. In
CHILDHOOD he gets to pass a little of that along to us, and we get to
relive some of our own private highlight films. A fun book.
Lullabye And Good Luck...
My mother didn't put all her eggs in one basket, so to
speak: she gave me a younger brother named Russell, who
taught me what was meant by "survival of the fittest."
I have always felt sorry for only children because they are
deprived of the opportunity of being rolled out of bed by a
relative. For me, the relative was Russell, with whom I was
closer than I ever wanted to be...
Do you know how your children often pick bedtime for their
liveliest fights? Well, Russell and I staged Philadelphia
battles as memorable as Rocky's.
"This is my side of the bed," I told him one night, "and I
don't want you on it."
"What do you mean your side of the bed?" said Russell.
"Ain't nobody owns a side."
"Well, *I* do an' this is it, an' I'm telling you I don't
want your body touching my body on my side of the bed."
"An' I'm tellin' YOU I'll move to any side of the bed I
want: the right side, the left side, or any of the others."
"Any but my side. I don't want you touching anything, like
Doesn't this scene make your own children's fights seem like
happy leaps of intellect?
^ CAT-DEPENDENT NO MORE!
Learning to Live Cat-Free in a Cat-Filled World
by "Dr." Jeff Reid
(Fawcett Columbine, January 1992, $5.99, ISBN 0-449-90668-X)
"Luckily for me, cat-dependency is an amorphous concept that
defies easy definition. Even within the counselling field,
debates rage as to whether cat dependency is a disease or
just a dis-ease. Some maintain that all cat owners are to
some degree cat-dependent; in effect, any relationship with
a cat is unhealthy. Others believe that healthy
cohabitation, that is, cat-habitation, is possible in theory
if difficult in practice. There is even a rancorous dispute
in clinical circles about the movement's nomenclature, i.e.,
should it be referred to as "cat-dependence" or
"cat-dependency"? It is, as we say in the field, "all
academic." (See especially, CAT-DEPENDENCE OR
CAT-DEPENDENCY: A SUBMERGING ISSUE by C. Ibid and E.G.
Frinstanz et al.)"
---CAT-DEPENDENT NO MORE!
This should give you just a hint of an idea of what CAT-DEPENDENT NO
MORE! is like--a very funny send-up of cats, people, and, most of all,
the overloaded, overwrought field of self-help books. Some chapter
titles are: "Cat-Channeling for Current-Life Regression", "The Man Who
Mistook His Wife for a Cat", "Women Who Love Cats Too Much",
"Scratching Post-Modernism: Continental Litter-Area Theory
Considered", "Hue and Cry: What Color Is Your Kitten?". The
illustrations are terrific as well. There's a chart-like picture with
two columns labelled "Normal" and "Cat Dependent". The "Normal" column
has pictures of You (the word "You" in a circle) interacting (shown by
arrows) with parts of your life (a pal, the newspaper, the TV, the
telephone). The second column shows the exact same pictures, only with
a small drawing of a cat in between You and the pal, you and the
paper, etc. Anyone who lives with a cat knows exactly what the artist
is saying. People without cats read newspapers; people with cats read
a newspaper WITH CATS, an entirely different activity.
Whether you're for cats, cat phobic, or just sick and tired of all the
stupid "I'm OK, You're Screwed Up" pretentious nonsense, CAT-DEPENDENT
NO MORE! will provide an hour or two of hilarious entertainment.
^ VOICES FROM A 'PROMISED LAND'
Palestinian & Israeli Peace Activists Speak Their Hearts
conversations with Penny Rosenwasser
(Curbstone Press, February 1992, $12.95, ISBN 0-915306-57-3)
The mainstream media has generally painted the Palestinians as
terrorists, the Intifada as violent, and the Israeli government as
justified in its actions. Focusing on a region commonly considered a
loaded time-bomb, these interviews--done in the Occupied Territories
and Israel in December 1989 and December 1990, and in the U.S. as
recently as November 1991--provide a human perspective to the
Palestinian/Israeli conflict and reveal the complexities of the
situation through the words of Israeli and Palestinian peace
activists. With power, insight and humor, these personal in-depth
conversations allow U.S. readers to get beyond superficial headlines
and feel the humanity of the Palestinian people, the excitement of the
Palestinian women's movement, and various facets of the Israeli peace
Curbstone Press is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literary arts organization
whose operations are supported in part by private donations and by
grants from the ADCO Foundation, the Connecticut Commission on the
Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the
Arts, and the Plumsock Fund. You can contact the publisher by writing
to: Curbstone Press, 321 Jackson Street, Willimantic, CT 06226.
^ THE LISTENER'S GUIDE TO CLASSICAL MUSIC
by Kenneth McLeish & Valerie McLeish
(G.K. Hall & Co., February 1992, $30.00, ISBN 0-8161-7369-9)
Let's say your child has enjoyed Edvard Grieg's PEER GYNT SUITE,
particularly "In the Hall of the Mountain King", and you're wondering
if there is any similar classical music that might go down just as
well. Or maybe a rather pretentious acquaintance mentioned Palestrina
at lunch, and you'd like to know who he was talking about. Or maybe
you've heard a lot about Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and so on, and would
like to know if any music even remotely "classical" has ever been
composed in the U.S. Or maybe you're tired of not understanding
musical terms like fugue, concerto, atonality, and counterpoint. Or
maybe you've gathered your courage and decided to actually try out an
opera, but are unsure where to begin. Or maybe you're just a music
lover who knows quite a bit about classical music but would like to
THE LISTENER'S GUIDE TO CLASSICAL MUSIC can help in all of these
situations. The bulk of the book is an alphabetical reference of
biographies on major composers, descriptions of their most important
works, discussions of eras, instruments, and categories of music, as
well as many, many listening recommendations. The McLeishes mark
pieces that they consider to be masterworks with an "M" inside a
circle, and right-pointing arrows guide the reader to follow-up
listening in the same style as that under discussion. For instance,
Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 is considered a masterwork, and, if
you like that one, they recommend you try his Piano Concerto No. 1,
Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2, or Britten's Piano Concerto.
THE LISTENER'S GUIDE TO CLASSICAL MUSIC is an indispensable reference
for any music lover, sure to be referred to over and over again. It
provides information and recommendations on a very wide variety of our
musical heritage, to expand the horizons of any interested listener.
^ SATISFYING SOUPS
Homemade Bisques, Chowders, Gumbos, Stews & More
by Phyllis Hobson
(Garden Way, November 1991, $12.95, ISBN 0-88266-690-8)
I read somewhere a couple of years ago that a study showed that
healthy people eat more soup than the national average for soup
consumption. That's easy to believe; while soups can be overly rich,
most are made with clearish broths, herbs, and vegetables--nice
low-calorie, low-fat, low-cholesterol ingredients. Another great
recommendation for soup is that it's cheap, and if this recession
lasts too much longer, that's going to become a very important
characteristic. So is there a better choice than picking up cans of
soup at the supermarket? Definitely: homemade soup is infinitely
tastier, it's custom-tailored to your preferences, and it's probably a
lot easier to come by than you think. And Phyllis Hobson's SATISFYING
SOUPS is an excellent book to begin your soup-making career with.
Hobson begins by devoting just a couple of pages to the basics of soup
making and storage. Nothing scary, just a few fundamental principles
that other cookbooks often don't bother to mention. Like how to remove
fat and grease from soups, and the difference between using fresh and
dried herbs, and which soups you can successfully freeze and which
ones you can't. After that, it's down to business, with chapters
devoted to Soup Stocks (the clearish broth that so many soups begin
with), Clear Soups, Main-Dish Soups, Vegetable Soups, Dried Bean
Soups, Cream Soups, Bisques, Fish & Shellfish Soups, Chowders, Gumbos,
Stews, Chili, Chilled Soups, Fruit & Sweet Soups, and Garnishes. There
are soups for every season and every taste. There are standards like
Chicken & Rice Soup, Split Pea Soup, Irish Stew, and Minestrone, as
well as varieties like Meatball & Vegetable, Peanut Butter Soup, and
Catfish Soup. I can't wait to try one of the Corn Chowder recipes as
soon as the fresh local corn comes in this spring.
SATISFYING SOUPS offers a huge selection of healthful, appetizing
recipes, and it comes in a ring binder so it lays nice and flat on the
kitchen counter. A great book for anyone interested in a healthier,
tastier, cheaper diet (or one lower in calories), and makes an
attractive and useful gift. (You can contact the publisher by writing
to: Storey Communications, Inc., Schoolhouse Road, Pownal, VT 05261.)
^ PRISONER'S DILEMMA
John von Neumann, Game Theory, and the Puzzle of the Bomb
by William Poundstone
(Doubleday, February 1992, $22.50, ISBN 0-385-41567-2)
Many, many scientific papers have been written about the Prisoner's
Dilemma, and it's no wonder. Basically, it's a dilemma from the realm
of game theory in which a player's selfish interests conflict with the
common good. Besides being a fascinating subject for mental
gymnastics, the practical applications are legion: Why did the U.S. at
one time seriously consider launching nuclear weapons at the Soviet
Union? Why do people support public television when they don't have
to? Why do all sorts of animals cooperate when it is often more
advantageous for them not to? How and why are such decisions made?
John von Neumann was inspired to develop the branch of mathematics
known as Game Theory by watching his friend bluff when playing poker.
Why is bluffing essential to the game? How often should a player
bluff? From these kinds of questions, von Neumann laid the foundations
of a branch of mathematics that would one day discern types of human
conflict in which irrational behavior has an advantage, and in which
apparently rational strategies lead to distinctly irrational results.
PRISONER'S DILEMMA, like Poundstone's other scientific recreations,
THE RECURSIVE UNIVERSE and LABYRINTHS OF REASON (both of which were
nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), entertains as it enlightens, giving
the reader a taste of what it was like to be a leading scientist in
the 1930s and 1940s. You'll read a lot about the development of the
atomic bomb and the early days of the arms race as well as about
Princeton during the Einstein era, the RAND Corporation, and the
outspoken Bertrand Russell. Of course, you'll also find out a lot
about Game Theory, and you'll learn a particularly fascinating game
called the Dollar Auction, which I'm sure you'll want to try playing
at your next party. Recommended.
^ HOLLYWOOD'S UNSOLVED MYSTERIES
by John Austin, read by Darlene Angeles
2 cassettes, 177 minutes
(Barr Audio, 1991, $15.95, ISBN 0-8043-4002-1)
* Did Bobby Kennedy visit Marilyn Monroe before she died?
* Why didn't anyone hear Natalie Wood cry for help?
* Was William Holden an undercover intelligence agent?
Few of us are immune to the lure of Hollywood scandals. Like
everything else, they seem to do it bigger in Tinseltown. There's some
kind of weird synergy at work, possibly, in which groups of
emotionally stunted people exacerbate their own troubles. Whatever the
cause, Hollywood has always had more than its fair share of scandals
and mysteries and unconvincingly explained deaths.
Barr Audio is a new audio book company and one of their first releases
is HOLLYWOOD'S UNSOLVED MYSTERIES, a brief overview of the mysterious
deaths of seven celebrities: Vicki Morgan, Marilyn Monroe, William
Holden, Roy Radin, Bob Crane, Natalie Wood, and Freddie Prinze. While
no new ground is broken, each case is given a share of breathless
sensationalism, melodramatically rendered by Darlene Angeles. These
short pieces are much more appropriate than full-length treatment,
maintaining interest level with brevity and variety. HOLLYWOOD'S
UNSOLVED MYSTERIES is a lot of fun, particularly good at enlivening
carpool commutes. (You can contact the publisher by writing to: Barr
Audio, 12801 Schabarum Avenue, Irwindale, CA 91706.)
^ MONSTER IN A BOX
by Spalding Gray
(Vintage, March 1992, $9.00, ISBN 0-679-73739-1)
If you're familiar with Spalding Gray, all I have to say is that this
is another of his "autobiographical monologues", like SEX AND DEATH TO
THE AGE 14 and SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA. If you've never had the pleasure
before, MONSTER IN A BOX is a perfect way to meet him. Trying to
explain what Gray does is very easy: he just talks. Trying to convey
the experience of listening to Gray is impossible--you have to be
there. It'll have to suffice to say that Gray is one of a kind: he's
not entirely sane, weird things happen to him, and he pays very close
attention to everything that happens.
To begin with, the MONSTER of the title, the one that's IN A BOX, is
the manuscript of his very first novel that he's been working on for a
number of years and that finally achieved a (pre-editorial) length of
1900 pages, a length that certainly deserves the label of MONSTER.
(That novel, by the way, will apparently be called IMPOSSIBLE
VACATION, and will be published soon. Watch RFP for further details.)
The pages of MONSTER IN A BOX tell the story of how that novel was
written, or rather how it was NOT written, as Gray begins one project
after another, at least partially to avoid writing it.
Like all of Gray's monologues, certain scenes from MONSTER IN A BOX
are impossible to forget: his research trip to Nicaragua, his search
for a psychiatrist in California, and then there's his trip to Moscow
with other film people. He went along with the film of his monologue
SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA (available on videotape--check it out), and at
one showing he tried to explain Cambodia to the Russians by making the
analogy of Russia and Afghanistan, which nearly caused a diplomatic
crisis. Then there is the fabulous scene where a group of American
tourists, visiting the world-renowned Hermitage museum, break the
rules by taking photographs. But they're not taking pictures of
priceless artifacts; they're taking pictures of other American
tourists! These things only happen to Spalding Gray, or maybe he's
just the only one who notices them. Either way, MONSTER IN A BOX is a
delight. As expected. (I can't wait to read his novel.)
^ THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE
by Lionel Tiger
(Little Brown, January 1992, $22.95, ISBN 0-316-84543-4)
"Governments can be callous about exploiting the
vulnerabilities of smokers and lottery players, among
others. So how do they justify attacking other pleasures,
such as using cocaine?"
THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE is, to the best of my knowledge, the first
serious, full-length consideration of pleasure as an integral part of
human existence. Many studies, of course, have been done on pain and
misery--leading ultimately to the creation of two large branches of
science: medicine and psychiatry. But surely there's more to life than
the avoidance of suffering, and surely the active pursuit of pleasure
deserves more attention than it has so far received.
Lionel Tiger, the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers
University, takes a serious look at what pleases humans, how they seek
it out, who tries to control it, and what costs and drawbacks there
are. He also finds the source of many modern pleasures back in the dim
past when they favored survival. For instance, our love for the taste
of sugar very likely derives from our need to tell when fruit is ripe
and thus safe to eat. Tiger spends a great deal of time considering
drug use, and abuse, from alcohol to cocaine, finding the use of
social drugs perfectly understandable, but therefore dangerous to make
legal. He also spends a good deal of time on the subject of sex, and
the evolution of human attitudes about sex.
The basic message of THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE is that pleasure is an
evolutionary right that fully deserves to be taken seriously, and
while occasionally the structure seems a bit fuzzy and unfocused--not
surprising in a trail-blazing work such as this, Tiger's prose and the
inherent fascinations of the subject keep the pages turning steadily.
THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE is an enjoyable book with serious messages for
psychologists, sociologists, economists, and politicians. Lionel Tiger
is also the author of MEN IN GROUPS, OPTIMISM, and THE MANUFACTURE OF
by Bonnie Timmons
(Fawcett Columbine, January 1992, $8.00, ISBN 0-449-90547-0)
Anxiety--we all experience it. From minor tremors to massive panic
attacks, anxiety comes in a rainbow of styles, with something
appropriate for absolutely ANY occasion. Bonnie Timmons has given the
subject a lot of thought, and the result is a very funny and slightly
uncomfortable collection of cartoons, each picture an odd combination
of devastating insight into human psychology and silly artwork. The
insight is the uncomfortable part, while the silly art is the funny
part--together they give the subject a healthier perspective and allow
us to admit to our shared anxieties that so often seem like a personal
I particularly like her cartoon of the grown professional woman with a
briefcase heading toward her home and parents. In the first picture
she's a long way off and the parents seem very small. As she gets
closer, she shrinks and her parents grow, until finally they are huge,
she is once again child-size, and her briefcase has changed into a
doll. An all-too-familiar Going Home experience. Like Bonnie Timmons
says, ANXIETY is for "anyone who has EVER felt even the teensiest,
weensiest bit of anxiety."
^ IN AN AVERAGE LIFETIME...
How much the average American earns, spends, buys, eats,
sleeps, works, and plays...
by Tom Heymann
(Fawcett Columbine, January 1992, $8.00, ISBN 0-449-90544-6)
Sometimes statistics are boring, like when the sportscaster discusses
Herman Hurler's ERA on overcast Thursdays east of the Mississippi
facing left handed batters under 6-feet tall. Other times, statistics
can be fun, like when Tom Heymann tells us that
In an average lifetime...
...the average American buys 668 books
...248 are hardcover
...420 are softcover
(Have you bought your quota this month?)
Part of the fun lies in Heymann's associations of different
In an average lifetime...
...the average American spends $408 on vitamins
...the average American spends $1,157 on potato chips
Oh how about
In an average lifetime...
...the average American spends 49 hours seeing doctors
...the average American spends 64 hours waiting to see doctors
IN AN AVERAGE LIFETIME is full of such trivia, answering dozens of
questions like: How many mail order catalogues will you receive? How
many sexual fantasies will the average male/female have? How many
pounds of chocolate will you consume? How many pairs of sneakers will
you buy? Readers will have fun comparing their own behavior to that of
the mythical "average" American. Have you bought your share of Crayola
^ AGING IN GOOD HEALTH
A Complete, Essential Medical Guide for Older
Men and Women and Their Families
by Mark H. Beers, M.D. & Stephen K. Urice, Ph.D., J.D.
(Pocket Books, January 1992, $10.00, ISBN 0-671-72822-9)
Every person reading this review is either elderly now or, with luck,
will one day be elderly. And most of us fear aging, in one way or
another. Most of the fears stem from either generalizing from a
specific case (your grandfather had prostate trouble and you're afraid
you will too), or from common-knowledge myths and misinformation about
aging (old people are feeble, they forget things, they all wind up in
AGING IN GOOD HEALTH fights these fears with over 300 pages of clearly
explained information describing the normal changes of aging, as well
as many of the abnormal conditions and diseases common to older
people. Chapters cover Heart, Blood, Bones, Skin, Mouth and Teeth,
Vision and Eyes, Hearing and Ears, Constipation and the
Gastrointestinal System, Cancer, Diabetes, Stroke, Tremor and
Parkinson's Disease, Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease, Urinary
Incontinence, Sexuality, Gynecology and Reproductive Organs,
Prevention, and Legal Issues. The authors talk about what you can do
to prevent problems, the treatments you may need if you develop the
problem, and give helpful advice on maintaining the quality of life no
matter what happens.
And that is the general theme of AGING IN GOOD HEALTH--maintaining the
quality of life: preventing illness as far as is possible, and living
as comfortably and productively as possible even when problems arise.
AGING IN GOOD HEALTH is enormously helpful and informative for anyone
concerned about the aging process.
Don't miss RFP's Third Anniversary Issue
Coming June 1992