Copy Link
Add to Bookmark

Reading for pleasure Issue 5

eZine's profile picture
Published in 
Reading for pleasure
 · 2 months ago

* *
* R E A D I N G F O R P L E A S U R E *
* *
* Issue #5 *
* *
* October 1989 *
* *
* *
* Editor: Cindy Bartorillo *
* *

CONTACT US AT: Reading For Pleasure, c/o Cindy Bartorillo, 1819 Millstream Drive, Frederick, MD 21701; or on CompuServe leave a message to 74766,1206; or on GEnie leave mail to C.BARTORILLO; or call our BBS, the BAUDLINE II at 301-694-7108, 1200/2400 8N1.

NOTICE: Reading For Pleasure is not copyrighted. You may copy freely, but please give us credit if you extract portions to use somewhere else. Sample copies of our print edition are available upon request. We ask for a donation of $1.50 each to cover the printing and mailing costs.


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

Ad Lib            Monroeville,PA John Williams     412-327-9209 
The Annex Dayton,OH John Cooper 513-274-0821
Beginnings BBS Levittown,NY Mike Coticchio 516-796-7296 S
Billboard Bartlett,IL Gary Watson 312-289-9808 P
Boardello Los Angeles,CA Bryan Tsunoda 213-820-4527 P
Bruce's Bar&Grill Hartford,CT Bruce 203-236-3761 P
Byrd's Nest Arlington,VA Debbie&Alan Byrd 703-671-8923 P
CC-BBS ManhattanBchCA Chuck Crayne 213-379-8817 P
CompuNet Venice,CA Karen Zinda 213-306-1447 P
Daily Planet Owosso,MI Jay Stark 517-723-4613
Death Star Oxon Hill,MD Lee Pollard 301-839-0705 P
Diversified Prog PacPalisadesCA Jean-Pierre Denis 213-459-6053 P
Farmington Valley Hartford,CT John Walko 203-676-8920 P
Flying Circus BBS Tempe,AZ Andy Woodward 602-437-1301 P
Future Tech Boston,MA Napier & Moran 617-720-3600 P
Futzer Avenue Issaquah,WA Stan Symms 206-391-2339 P
HeavenSoft Dayton,OH John Wampler 513-836-4288
Home DBA Support Seattle,WA Mark Findlay 206-789-9302 P
IBMNew CompuServe Library #0
Inn on the Park Scottsdale,AZ Jim Jusko 602-957-0631 P
Invention Factory New York,NY Mike Sussell 212-431-1273 P
JETS Philadelphia T.A. Hare 215-928-7503 P
JForum CompuServe Library #8
KCSS BBS Seattle,WA Bob Neddo 206-296-5277 P
()Lensman() BBS Denver,CO Greg Bradt 303-979-8953 P
Litforum CompuServe Library #1
Magpie HQ New York,NY Steve Manes 212-420-0527 P
Nostradamus Los Angeles,CA Al Menache 213-473-4119 P
Oak Lawn Oak Lawn,IL Vince & Chris 312-599-8089 P
Poverty Rock PCB Mercer Is.,WA Rick Kunz 206-232-1763 PS
Quantum Connec. PacPalisadesCA Richard W. Gross 213-459-6748 P
Riverside Premium Lyons,IL Don Marquardt 312-447-8073 P
Science Fiction GEnie Library #4
SF & Fantasy CIS Hom-9 Library #1
Suburban Software Chicago,IL Chuck Valecek 312-636-6694 P
Technoids Anon. Chandler,AZ David Cantere 602-899-4876 P
Writers Happy Hr Seattle,WA Walter Scott 206-364-2139 P
Writers' RT GEnie Library #1
Your Place Fairfax,VA Ken Goosens 703-978-6360 P

RFP Home Boards:

Baudline II       Frederick,MD   the Bartorillo's  301-694-7108 
New Micro Connec Buckeystown,MD Doug Burg 301-698-0212

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

  • P = PC Pursuit-able
  • S = StarLink-able

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


  • Editorial
  • What's News
  • The Hugo Awards
  • The Year's Best Horror Stories XVII
  • Good Reading Periodically
  • Random Reviews
  • Tracy Kidder
  • Supernatural Mysteries
  • New From Meadowbrook Press
  • Thomas Harris
  • Fiction Into Film: FALLING ANGEL HEART
  • Ray Garton
  • New From Underwood-Miller
  • Featured Author: Robert R. McCammon
  • The Modern Halloween Shelf
  • Recent Book Releases
  • Guest Reviewer: Darryl Kenning
  • Important Days in October
  • Number One Fan
  • The Ultimate Stephen King Character Quiz
  • TUSKCQ Answers

Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

--from THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson


Halloween is a very special holiday around here. I've thought about it quite a bit and I think it's because Halloween, for us, represents Possibilities--all of the wonderful, magical aspects of the universe that we poor human beings haven't figured out yet. Because we agree with Einstein, that we don't understand one tenth of one percent about anything.

Just as Santa Claus is a symbol, so are the ghosts and goblins of Halloween. The fat guy in red stands for peace on earth, goodwill toward men, happiness, and presents. Ghosts and goblins stand for all the scientific principles that humans haven't found yet, all the dusty corners of reality that we haven't explored.

Have you ever wondered what this world looks like, seems like, to an amoeba? If an amoeba could communicate with us, how would it describe reality? Of course, we would understand the limited nature of the description because of the amoeba's physical limitations, but what makes us think our view is any more complete? If the amoeba isn't an adequate judge of its own perspective, we obviously aren't proper judges of ours.

You don't have to believe in werewolves to believe that there are vast areas of medical science that we haven't mastered. You don't have to believe in ghosts to believe that we don't understand everything about death. You don't have to believe that Uri Geller bends spoons with his mind to believe that the human brain has untapped potential. And don't you think that it's kind of exciting not to have all the answers? Isn't it really more fun to sit back with a horror novel and think about "what if"?

Happy reading!


CONTRIBUTIONS: We're just ecstatic when we get contributions. Of course we can't pay, but if you'd like to send us a paragraph or two (or even an article), we'd be delighted. Any book-related ideas or opinions are suitable. See masthead for addresses.

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.

--Christopher Hampton


  • Quite a few years ago Charles Berlitz told us all about THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE and now, wouldn't you know it, the little devil has found another deadly area: also over water, also a triangle (you getting goosebumps?). For $16.95 he'll tell you all about THE DRAGON'S TRIANGLE, from Wynwood Press this month. ISBN 0-922066-19-1.
  • In the Summer 1987 issue of The Horror Show Leigh Nichols (AKA Dean R. Koontz) interviewed Dean R. Koontz. In the same vein, Lionel Fenn (AKA Charles L. Grant) interviewed his "landlady", Kathryn Ptacek (AKA Mrs. Charles L. Grant), in the Spring 1989 issue. Writers are sure a weird bunch.
  • New book: DRACULA, PRINCE OF MANY FACES: His Life and His Times by Radu R. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally ($19.95, Little, Brown). This is an in-depth look at Vlad the Impaler, for all the Dracula fanatics out there.
  • Here are some recent and coming books on tape, all with a Halloween theme: MIDNIGHT (Dean R. Koontz), 5 cassettes, 15 hours, unabridged, reader unknown, $21.95, Sep89; THE VAMPIRE LESTAT (Anne Rice), 2 cassettes, 180 min., reader unknown, $14.95, Oct89; MAJESTIC (Whitley Strieber), 2 cassettes, 180 min., reader unknown, $14.95, Dec89; CABAL: NIGHTBREED (Clive Barker), 2 cassettes, 180 min., read by Malcolm McDowell, $14.95, Dec89.
  • Chris Costner Sizemore, the real-life subject of the book and movie THE THREE FACES OF EVE, has written a new book all by herself: A MIND OF MY OWN (Morrow, Sep89, $19.95, ISBN 0-688-08199-1). In it she recounts her life from her birth in 1927, through her recovery in 1977, up to the present day. The film rights have been sold to Sissy Spacek.
  • THE READER'S CATALOG should be just out and may be worth your attention. It's a listing of over 40,000 titles currently in print, sorted into more than 200 categories. An 800 number is given to order any book in the catalog, but giving the title to your local independent bookseller is generally the more Responsible Consumer thing to do. THE READER'S GUIDE is from Random House, $24.95, ISBN 0-924-32200-4. Your local bookstore should have a "house" copy. Ask if you can take a look at it.
  • Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat Fan Club was formed last October at a book signing at the DeVille Bookstore in New Orleans. For $5, coven members not only receive a quarterly newsletter complete with a communication from Lestat de Lioncourt himself, but also the opportunity to make donations to the club's periodic blood drives. "What better way to prove I am a fan than to offer my blood?" one member asks.
  • Update on THE RUSSIA HOUSE by John le Carre: Meshdunarodnye Otnoshenia has bought the Soviet rights to the thriller, and plans to publish it next spring with a first printing of "hundreds of thousands", according to Knopf. The novel will be the subject of a public forum at the Moscow Book Fair in October, and the film version (written by Tom Stoppard and starring Sean Connery) begins shooting October 2 in Moscow and Leningrad.

Though rumors persist in the nation's tabloids--of extensive plastic surgery, of involvement in the Iran-Contra Scandal, and of that fabled "lost weekend" with Imelda Marcos--in truth, they lead lives of quiet desperation, shunned by the public they so desperately crave.

--from Skipp & Spector's official biography


The more I think you over the more it comes home to me what an unmitigated Middle Victorian ass you are!

--H.G. Wells, to George Bernard Shaw


The award winners announced at the ceremony on Sept. 2, 1989:

  • Novel: CYTEEN by C.J. Cherryh
  • Novella: "The Last of the Winnebagos" by Connie Willis
  • Novelette: "Schrodinger's Kitten" by George Alec Effinger
  • Short Story: "Kirinyaga" by Mike Resnick
  • Non-Fiction: THE MOTION OF LIGHT IN WATER by Samuel R. Delany
  • Dramatic Presentation: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT
  • Professional Editor: Gardner Dozois
  • Professional Artist: Michael Whelan
  • Semiprozine: Locus edited by Charles N. Brown
  • Fanzine: File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  • Fan Writer: Dave Langford
  • Fan Artist: (tie) Brad W. Foster & Diana Gallagher Wu John W. Campbell Award for best new writer of 1987-1988: Michaela Roessner

Love may fly out the window, but fear is something that likes to stick with you.

--Peter Straub


I have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar in my desk.

--Robert Bloch


edited by Karl Edward Wagner
DAW, October 1989

"Playing the Game"Ramsey CampbellLord John Ten
"Recrudescence"Leonard CarpenterAmazing
"Regression"R. Chetwynd-Hayes4th Book of After Midnight Stories
"She's a Young Thing and Cannot Leave Her Mother"Harlan EllisonPulphouse
"Call 666"Dennis EtchisonTwilight Zone
"The Daily Chernobyl"Robert FrazierSynergy
"Now and Again in Summer"Charles L. GrantFantasy Tales
"Snowman"Charles L. GrantGaslight & Ghosts
"Prince of Flowers"Elizabeth HandTwilight Zone
"The Great God Pan"M. John HarrisonPrime Evil
"Works of Art"Nina Kiriki HoffmanPulphouse
"Fruiting Bodies"Brian LumleyWeird Tales
"Nobody's Perfect"Thomas F. MonteleonePulphouse
"Dead Air"Gregory NicollRipper!
"Ours Now"Nicholas RoyleDig
"Bleeding Between the Lines"Wayne Allen Sallee2AM
"What Dreams May Come"Brad StricklandF&SF
"Lost Bodies"Ian WatsonInterzone
"The Resurrection Man"Ian WatsonOther Edens
"Souvenirs from a Damnation"Don WebbPulphouse

Children are best at listening to stories and being affected by them. And we, as readers, are at our best when we are most like children.

--Alan Ryan


There's something inside all of us that makes us want to express ourselves. How many times do you hear someone start a sentence with, "I'm the kind of guy who..."? If you ever feel the burning need to put your essence into words, and see it in print, you may want to know about ROLLMAG ("It Jiggles Your Thinking"), a very strange periodical. They put out "6 issues a year or so" for $15, and the issue I saw (June 1989) was 4 pages. It consists mostly of small paragraphs by people on subjects of their own choosing (you must subscribe to be printed). One small excerpt: "Once I would never cut lettuce with a knife, now I wear a vest from time to time." Think about it. If self-expression sounds good to you, write to: Rollmag, Box 5001, Mill Valley, CA 94942-5001.

For those interested in the welfare of animals, there is a magazine you should know about called The Animals' Voice Magazine. It's published bi-monthly by the Compassion for Animals Foundation; 6 issues for $24, 12 issues for $36 (but I've seen introductory coupons for 6 issues for $18). This is a big, slick magazine with great photography and many serious news stories relating to animals. I also appreciated the black page preceding their news section that warned of "photos of a graphic nature" and announced that the news section ends on page 67. This is nice for the squeamish. The last third of the magazine has lists of companies to boycott, companies that do good, animal-related merchandise, T-shirts, books for sale, book reviews, etc. Good wide coverage of an important field. Send your check to: The Animals' Voice Magazine, P.O. Box 1649, Martinez, CA 94553.

I'd like to rework CUJO so the ordeal doesn't look like some work of divine punishment for adultery. I never intended that.

--Stephen King


Do you REALLY know your Stephen King characters? Match up the characters below with the novels. You might also try to remember whether the character represented the forces of good or evil.

The Novels: Carrie, Christine, Cujo, Cycle of the Werewolf, The Dead Zone, The Eyes of the Dragon, Firestarter, It, The Long Walk, Misery, Pet Sematary, Rage, Roadwork, The Running Man, 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand, The Talisman (with Peter Straub), Thinner, The Tommyknockers

  • Mother Abagail
  • Uncle Al
  • Bobbi Anderson
  • Kurt Barlow
  • Leigh Cabot
  • Marty Coslaw
  • Judson Crandall
  • Louis Creed
  • Arnie Cunningham
  • Barton George Dawes
  • Charles Decker
  • Bill Denbrough
  • Flagg
  • Randall Flagg
  • Jim Gardener
  • Ray Garraty
  • Richard (Richie the Hammer) Ginelli
  • Danny Glick
  • Delbert Grady
  • Dennis Guilder
  • Billy Halleck
  • Dick Hallorann
  • Mike Hanlon
  • Ben Hanscom
  • Chris Hargensen
  • Eddie Kaspbrak
  • Dan Killian
  • Taduz Lemke
  • Charlie McGee
  • Ben Mears
  • Pennywise the Clown
  • Prince Peter
  • Mark Petrie
  • Rainbird
  • Stu Redman
  • Benjamin Stuart Richards
  • Beverly Rogan
  • Tommy Ross
  • Jack Sawyer
  • Paul Sheldon
  • Morgan Sloat
  • Johnny Smith
  • Greg Stillson
  • Richard Throckett Straker
  • Danny Torrance
  • Richie Tozier
  • Tad Trenton
  • Stan Uris
  • Walkin Dude
  • Annie Wilkes
  • Wolf

Great horror fiction has never really been about monsters, but about mankind. It shows us something important about ourselves, something dark, occasionally monstrous -- and usually in bad taste.

--Douglas E. Winter

Fear is with us all the time. We can dope it up or drown it with alcohol. We can tuck it into a drawer behind last year's designer jeans, but it comes out to sleep with us every night.

--George A. Romero


by Jim Locke

Think of this as a companion volume to Tracy Kidder's bestseller, HOUSE (see Kidder article this issue). Jim Locke was one of the carpenters that built Mr. Kidder's house so painstakingly. Now, in his own book, Jim Locke tells you everything you need to know to plan and build your own home--all the inside information that consumers rarely have. If you plan to do the construction yourself THE WELL-BUILT HOUSE will teach you good building techniques. If you don't plan to do the actual work yourself, this book will be an invaluable aid to overseeing the work done by others. THE WELL-BUILT HOUSE (and Tracy Kidder's HOUSE) are required reading for anyone contemplating building their own home.

by Gilda Radner

It's probably not news to you that Gilda Radner died this past May. She had ovarian cancer, diagnosed on October 21, 1986, that was largely unresponsive to therapy. IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING is a close-up look at her struggle with cancer, it's treatments, and the side effects of those treatments; and, as you might imagine, it's not a very easy book to read.

It seems to me that the major value of books like this one is the same as the comfort of monster movies. No matter how horrible the monster is, he's that horrible and no more. Only in our imagination are monsters INFINITELY horrible; once you've seen the finite dimensions of the problem, you can begin to deal with it. Likewise, as godawful as Gilda Radner's experiences were, they weren't as awful as we could imagine.

What I'd like to read now is a companion volume from her husband, Gene Wilder. He's a shadowy figure in this book, which is centered entirely on Gilda and her medical care. His experiences must have been equally nightmarish, and need to be shared for the same reasons. Being a survivor of a tragedy isn't necessarily the more fortunate role.

LAST GRISLY NOTE: There is an audio version available, read by Gilda Radner herself. She recorded it in April 1989 and died less than 30 days later.

Come to think of it, there is one very important lesson in IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING: If you're going to get cancer, it sure does help to be rich.

A wise nurse at the hospital told me later, "Never let a gynecologist put anything in your nose".


and other Imponderables Mysteries of Everyday Life Explained
by David Feldman

This volume (and the original, IMPONDERABLES) is in the same category as Cecil Adams' STRAIGHT DOPE books (see RFP #1). Both Adams and Feldman tackle the really tough, nagging questions of life. The major differences are: David Feldman is more serious and academic about his subjects. Most answers involve the citing of an expert. Cecil Adams uses a more personal voice, taking responsibility for answers himself, and he is a very funny man. Generally then, I would recommend the Adams books first, but I love these kinds of reference books so much I get them all. Here are some of the questions covered here:

Why is the scoring system in tennis so weird?
Whatever happened to pay toilets?
Why do doughnuts have holes?
Why are hamburger-bun bottoms so thin?
Why are there eighteen holes on a golf course?
Why is Jack the nickname for John?

by Judy Oppenheimer

She lived forty-eight years, raised four children, took care of an imperious husband and a big old house, and in her spare time created a few landmarks of twentieth-century fiction, including the short story "The Lottery", THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, and WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE. She was also, as so many artists are, a little strange: everyone, including her, agreed that she was a witch, many thought she could read minds, she talked to cats, and late in life she suffered from agoraphobia. Shirley Jackson may have only lived 48 years, but she definitely got her money's worth.

The jargon didn't exist at the time, but Shirley and her husband were classic substance abusers. They were terribly overweight, their alcohol consumption was prodigious, and amphetamines (dexedrine) and tranquilizers (Thorazine, Miltowns, etc.) were a standard part of the day. She died at 48, her husband at 51.

While I only meant to browse this biography, I ended up reading every page, mostly because of Shirley. She was a fascinating character, shockingly unnoticed during her lifetime. But when I apply my standard of judgement of biographies: Would a person who's never heard of the subject enjoy this? -- I would have to say probably not in this case. Shirley's life was interesting to me primarily because we came from similar backgrounds and had similar life experiences; but you can't say that her life was very dynamic or adventurous. This is the usual problem with writers' biographies; it's just not that much fun to watch someone sit in a chair and type. But if you'd like to spend some time solely with Character, you'll enjoy meeting Shirley Jackson, an unforgettable personality.

by Clark R. Chapman & David Morrison

Catastrophism is the idea that the significant shapers of the cosmos we know are not the day-by-day microscopic effects of the laws of physics, but rather are once-in-a-millenium mega-events. The weakness of this idea is that you find yourself believing in the occurrence of catastrophes that no one can absolutely prove have EVER happened.

For instance, some people believe that a comet of significant size hit the earth 65 million years ago and wiped out more than half of all terrestrial species. Others think that this is pretty farfetched. So far, nobody can prove either point. COSMIC CATASTROPHES is a sympathetic explanation of the most popular theoretical catastrophes, told in a semi-heavy science-for-the-layperson style.

by R.D. Rosen

The 1984 winner of the Best First Mystery Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, STRIKE THREE YOU'RE DEAD is a good mystery that makes excellent use of its baseball theme. Harvey Blissberg is an outfielder (batting .309) for the Providence Jewels, an expansion team in the American League East. His roommate on the road is Rudy Furth, a so-so relief pitcher. Or should I say used to be, because Rudy is found dead in the whirlpool in the second chapter.

The characters are very lifelike, surprising me in a mystery with a strong plot. Usually mystery authors either write a plot or a group of characters, depending on their strength. In STRIKE THREE YOU'RE DEAD we have the lead, Harvey Blissberg, who is remarkably intelligent for a professional athlete (but not TOO smart, he still gets into trouble several times). There's his girlfriend (and maybe Rudy's too?); a low-life idiot with mob connections; and then there's the spineless manager with his younger domineering wife. Was Rudy sleeping with Harvey's girl? Was Rudy into gambling? Particularly recommended for baseball fans; the setting is not just a two-dimensional backdrop, Mr. Rosen obviously knows quite a bit about major league baseball.

Advice and Answers from America's Leading
Expert on Everything from A to B
by George Burns

This is George Burns' sixth book. I hope the others are better because this one isn't worth your time or your money. The jokes were stale thirty years ago and the whole burlesque, snickering-at-dirty-thoughts routine is pretty ridiculous today. Or am I wrong? Anyway, I can't recommend this book at all, which is disappointing to me since I really love to see George Burns on TV. I think he's very funny. Just not in DEAR GEORGE.

by Ridley Pearson

Detective Lou Boldt, Homicide, is a mess. His marriage is falling apart, an ulcer is eating him from the inside, he's overworked, underpaid, and on top of it all the serial killer they thought they had caught turns out to be still at large. He's called the Cross Killer because of the design he makes on the victims with stab wounds. Now they have to start the investigation all over again, with little evidence and no leads.

UNDERCURRENTS is a good mystery. There are two maps in the front of the book, followed by a long, detail-filled police procedural. This is the GOOD kind of detail: lots of food for thought, but you aren't penalized for not remembering any particular piece of apparent trivia. In other words, the complexities of the plot aren't there JUST to hide the give-away plot points. The story seems to unreel naturally, with important matters as well as trivial, evidence that fits a theory as well as many loose ends. Just like life.

While this is the story of a brutal serial murderer, there really isn't much violence in UNDERCURRENTS. This is a police story, not a through-the-eyes-of-the-killer gut-wrencher like, say, RED DRAGON (by Thomas Harris). And, wonder of wonders, I actually solved the mystery before Detective Boldt did, a significant event for me despite how many mysteries I read, so this is obviously a fair-play mystery. A very good mystery.

NOTE: UNDERCURRENTS was bought, read, and enjoyed by Linda Lee Bleecker, widow of Bruce Lee and wife of screenwriter Tom Bleecker. She recommended it to her husband, who has optioned it for a feature film.

by Donald E. Westlake

It would seem like a standard Hollywood success story: Jack Pine is the quintessential star, immensely talented and completely lacking in scruples. He even has the standard supporting cast: lifelong friend welching off him forever (name is Buddy Pal, do you believe it?), a respectable number of wives and mistresses, even the fawning butler Hoskins. He's slept, charmed, acted, and doped his way to the top (even got an Oscar). And now he's telling Michael O'Connor his life story.

Ordinary? Not even close. Funny? It's a riot. I didn't realize, until I picked myself up off the floor and stopped laughing, that's it's possible to WRITE slapstick. I'd always heard that slapstick was a visual technique; now I know better. But don't think you can dismiss SACRED MONSTER as comic fluff. It's a devastating and shocking indictment of Hollywood life; it's hilarious and ominous, ridiculous and chilling--all at the same time.

The subtitle is A Comedy of Madness, which is apt, because if there's one thing SACRED MONSTER will teach you: if you're going to live in Hollywood, it sure helps to be insane. This definitely makes my Ten Best list for 1989. It's your loss if you miss this one.

by Timothy R. O'Neill

Cadet Barstow is being haunted by a gray shape in his room at West Point. One more cadet suffering from stress wouldn't concern too many people if it weren't for the fact that one morning Cadet Barstow disappears from his room. Faculty psychologists Sam Bondurant and Liam FitzDonnell are asked to investigate, as quietly as possible, before crazy rumors get started. The course of their investigation constitutes most of this fascinating novel, SHADES OF GRAY.

While the pace is occasionally uneven, the story is compellingly told, and it bears the distinction of being one of the few books I've read (me, the old Horror warhorse) that actually prevented me from sleeping. The nightmares suffered in this story are so real, so like my own nightmares, that I was truly bothered by them. I had to read another book, something very different, to be able to sleep. This pokes a serious hole in a pet theory of mine, that psychologists don't understand diddly about people, because the author (who is Lt. Col. Timothy R. O'Neill) has a Ph.D. in experimental psychology.

This is not recommended for the blood-and-guts, a-decapitation-on-every-page types, but if you're in the mood for a literate supernatural story, a perfect Halloween story, this is one of the very best in a long time. Incidentally, I've heard that a movie version might be on the way. It was supposed be in preproduction this past summer.

It seems that good horror fiction, and perhaps the best of my work, is a bit closer to the edge of feeling and basic elemental life-concerns than most other fiction, and than most commercial horror fiction.

--Dennis Etchison


All good writers write from the things inside of them. They write about the things that make them happy, or make them fearful, anxious or whatever. That's what you choose. In other words: you don't choose horror...horror chooses you.

--William F. Nolan


In THE SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE (1981) Tracy Kidder spent months inside Data General Corporation of Westborough, Massachusetts as a crack team of computer wizards worked to design and build a new computer, a 32-bit supermini. The excitement and energy come right off the page, as do the frustrations and exhaustion. This is the story of talented people pushing, and being pushed, to the limits of their abilities. You'll probably need a vacation after reading this, just to recover. The best computer-oriented book I've read, and I'm not alone because Mr. Kidder won a Pulitzer Prize for it.

In HOUSE (1985), we have a change of pace: Mr. Kidder takes us along as he has a new house built for himself. Like his previous book, step by step, inch by inch, it's all here -- getting the blueprints from William Rawn Associates, Architects, and getting the house actually constructed by Apple Corps, Builders. You've probably heard jokes about how frustrating it is to build a house, and here's your chance to see all of the problems in close-up. You'll find that even when everyone means well, misunderstandings and mistaken assumptions can be devastating. Absolutely must reading for anyone contemplating having a house built or any major construction done.

In AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN (1989), just out, Mr. Kidder turns his attention to the school system, specifically the fifth-grade class in Holyoke, Massachusetts, a small city with big-time urban problems. The teacher is 34-year-old Chris Zajac: she is funny, feisty, and passionately dedicated to her pupils, kids who will amuse and exasperate you--and break your heart. The ad says: "This intense and affecting chronicle by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE and HOUSE is Tracy Kidder's most emotional subject-- and potentially his biggest best seller." $19.95

Having read THE SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE and HOUSE, I can guarantee that AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN is sure to be very educational and completely absorbing.

Horror is one of the last areas of fiction still standing in the rain. It hasn't come under heavy intellectual scrutiny; it's still innocent of much compartmentalizing and theorizing; its major works are not regularly dissected in the weightier Sunday newspapers by lazy academics out to make a quick buck.

--Clive Barker


Henry James was one of the nicest old ladies I ever met.

--William Faulkner


This is a more-than-usually arguable category. The following books have more-or-less detection in a more-or-less supernatural setting. In any case, there's some good reading here.

Allingham, MargeryThe Mind Readers
Berckman, EvelynThe Victorian Album
Blackburn, JohnBury Him Darkly
Bontly, Thomas J.Celestial Chess
Breen, Jon L.The Gathering Place
Burley, W.J.The House of Care
Carr, John DicksonHe Who Whispers
Carter, DianaGhost Writer
Carvic, HeronMiss Seeton Bewitched (AKA Witch Miss Seeton)
Chesbro, GeorgeAn Affair of Sorcerers
Christie, AgathaThe Pale Horse
Crane, CarolineSomething Evil
Daly, ElizabethEvidence of Things Seen
Davies, L.P.The Reluctant Medium
de Weese, JeanHour of the Cat
Dickinson, PeterWalking Dead
Doyle, Arthur ConanThe Hound of the Baskervilles
Estleman, Loren D.Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula
Fletcher, LucilleThe Girl in Cabin B54
Gallico, PaulToo Many Ghosts
Grant, Charles L.The Grave
Hillerman, TonyThe Blessing Way
Hjortsberg, WilliamFalling Angel
Howatch, SusanThe Devil on Lammas Night
Innes, MichaelThe Daffodil Affair
Johnston, VeldaA Presence in an Empty Room
Leiber, FritzConjure Wife
Lovesey, PeterA Case of Spirits
McBain, EdGhosts
McCloy, HelenMr. Splitfoot
McDowell, MichaelCold Moon Over Babylon
Peters, ElizabethThe Love Talker
Phillpotts, EdenThe Grey Room
Pronzini, BillNight Screams
Rhode, JohnIn the Face of the Verdict
Rinehart, Mary RobertsThe Red Lamp
Rohmer, SaxThe Dream Detective
Rosenfeld, LullaDeath and the I Ching
Sladek, JohnBlack Aura
Smith, GuyDeathbell
Stein, DuffyThe Owlsfane Horror
Stewart, Fred MustardThe Mephisto Waltz
Stewart, RamonaSixth Sense
Streiber, WhitleyThe Wolfen
Tey, JosephineThe Franchise Affair
Warner, MignonThe Tarot Murders
Wheatley, DennisGateway to Hell
Wilcox, ColinThe Black Doors
Wilson, ColinThe Schoolgirl Murder Case

When a 16-year-old kid writes a volume of horror stories, it's self-evident that he's a lost soul, and Ramsey Campbell has devoted the last twenty years to living up to his early horrifying promise.

--Karl Edward Wagner


THE OVER-THE-HILL SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to Keep Young People in Their Place, Get Back at Your Kids, and Go Out with a Bang

by Bob Feigel and Malcolm Walker

Here's a hilarious book that shows senior citizens how to cope with life in the slow lane--and how to fight back. Included are ingenious tactics like:

  • how to save money by shoplifting
  • how to get by on pet food
  • how to do your own face-lift
  • how to fake senility to get a seat on a crowded bus
  • how to defend yourself with a crutch
  • 6 ways to embarrass your children
  • how to use your will to get back at your family
  • 5 ways to go out with a bang

$5.95 paperback ISBN: 0-671-69000-0 Out in November

THE PARENTS' GUIDE TO DIRTY TRICKS: How to Con, Hoodwink, and Outsmart Your Kids

by Bill Dodds

Since kids think nothing of lying and cheating to get their way, here's an outrageous book that shows adults how to fight fire with fire.

Now parents can beat kids at their own game by using unconventional and, until now, unthinkable methods, including:

  • how to get some sleep when your kids throw a slumber party
  • how to get your kids to eat spinach, broccoli, and liver without a whimper (and without even knowing it)
  • how to avoid telling your kids about sex
  • how to lose your kids on a nature hike

$4.95 paperback ISBN: 0-671-68998-3 Out in October


by James Lewis
Now school-age kids can learn science while they splash and play in the tub. Here are fifty fun experiments that introduce five- to nine-year-olds to concepts like:

  • how a pump works
  • why water evaporates
  • what causes a whirlpool
  • how air pressure works
  • how water changes an object's weight
  • why water magnifies objects

James Lewis' first book for toddlers and preschoolers, RUB-A-DUB-DUB SCIENCE IN THE TUB, was published by Meadowbrook Press in June.

$6.95 paperback ISBN: 0-671-68999-1 Out in October

The Official Book of Ridiculous Records

by Brad Schreiber

Here's a book for people who enjoy Guinness' most amazing records and Ripley's most unbelievable facts, but wish they went one step further. It's the weirdest collection of world records, and the funniest. Here are just a few:

  • the most hotel rooms destroyed by a rock group
  • the strangest last request by a condemned prisoner
  • the most socks lost in a laundromat
  • the biggest lie told by a TV evangelist
  • the longest distance driving blindfolded
  • the most successful sewer fisherman

$4.95 paperback ISBN: 0-671-69035-3 Out in November

Meadowbrook Press, 18318 Minnetonka Blvd., Deephaven, MN 55391

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted--nevermore!

--from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe


If you like a good serial-killer story, you definitely need to know about Thomas Harris, who has written two of the absolute best. You get both memorable characters and a plot that will keep you up long past your bedtime.


Douglas E. Winter has called RED DRAGON "one of the finest horror novels of the eighties", and it is certainly the quintessential Psycho Killer story. Thomas Harris puts you into the mind of a seriously disturbed personality, allowing you to feel the pain he feels. Unlike most of the Psycho Killer novels, however, this point of view is not played for titillation, but for revulsion. The closer you get to the Tooth Fairy (the media's nickname for the guy, and don't ask), the more horrifying he is.

By the way, don't be surprised if you wind up with a permanent paranoia about the way the Tooth Fairy chooses his victims. Let's just say that Thomas Harris points out vulnerabilities you probably didn't realize you had. This is the stuff of nightmares, so let the reader beware.

Oh, yes, I should mention that there is a movie adaptation of RED DRAGON called MANHUNTER, and it's available on videotape. From my unofficial poll, people who haven't read the book like the movie more than people who have. I thought that the movie left out too many important details, as well as trivializing Dr. Hannibal Lecter, my favorite character. Will Graham, the lead character who is trying to catch the bad guy--his character is pretty much a zero in the movie. All in all, I'd at least read the book first if I were you.


Here's our cast: Dr. Hannibal Lecter is back, as is FBI Behavioral Science Section Chief Jack Crawford. Will Graham, an alcoholic now, has retired to Florida, but Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee, is here to take over. And of course there's Dr. Frederick Chilton, administrator of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, who is the novel's jerk-in-residence. And I almost forgot, there's Buffalo Bill, serial killer still at large. Catching him is what THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is all about.

The most obvious thing to say about SILENCE is that Thomas Harris has done it again; a strong cast of characters solves a partly- intriguing, partly-disgusting mystery in compelling prose. There are even a few improvements. The good-guys-against-bureaucracy element of the plot is stronger. Crawford and Starling have to fight criminals AND bureaucrats to do the job they were hired to do, and with, of course, no commensurate reward. Also, there is comedy this time: Chapter 14 introduces Pilcher and Roden, entomologists at the Smithsonian who could play Vegas. A very nice touch.

As usual, there's little one can say without giving away important plot details. Thomas Harris provides numerous plot twists, many surprises, and a great deal of tension. Enjoy it. But wait for a weekend evening to read it, because you're going to lose some sleep over this book.

Horror is that which we have not yet come to terms with.

--Ramsey Campbell

I love it when someone tells me he had nightmares from reading one of my stories or couldn't sleep -- or was scared so bad he went out and bought a small tactical nuclear weapon for self-defense.

--Dean R. Koontz


by William Hjortsberg

For the first few chapters you may think that FALLING ANGEL is just another hard-boiled detective story, and you'd have plenty of facts in your favor. Most of the standard fixtures are present: seedy detective hero, a mysterious and wealthy client who is obviously hiding something, an exotic and dangerous woman, and, of course, the verbally abusive policemen. So why is this in RFP's Halloween issue?

Well, let's start at the beginning: The story opens on Friday the 13th when attorney Herman Winesap (of McIntosh, Winesap and Spy) asks our hero, Harry Angel, to meet a potential client, Louis Cyphre, at a restaurant at 666 Fifth Avenue. Have you noticed anything wrong yet? Then there's the character of Louis Cyphre; an ominous, creepy guy who wants to find 1940s singer Johnny Favorite dead or alive -- and makes no attempt to disguise the fact that finding him dead would be the more pleasant solution. This is only the beginning of what is certainly the finest supernatural detective story every written.

Over and above the horror, beyond the detection, there's the network of warning signs and hints laid by Hjortsberg. He uses literary allusions, symbolic imagery, and all kinds of wordplay in his game of hide-and-seek with the reader. It's so much fun, don't be surprised if you immediately want to read the book again, once you know the whole story, to see just how Hjortsberg created the maze of deception that is FALLING ANGEL. My one hint to you: pay attention to all proper names; they are all carefully chosen.

If you haven't read FALLING ANGEL yet, skip to next dotted line


Speaking of literary allusion, it may escape the casual reader that FALLING ANGEL is really a retelling of the Oedipus story (you remember, the guy who murdered his father and married his mother). Your first hint is the quote from Oedipus The King by Sophocles in the front of the book. Within the story the parallels are numerous:

  1. Dr. Fowler is shot through the eye (Oedipus puts his own eyes out).
  2. The incest in FALLING ANGEL mirrors the relationship between Oedipus and his mother.
  3. The name of Angel's agency is Crossroads Detective Agency (Oedipus kills his father at the crossroads).
  4. Angel, like Oedipus, seeks intelligence and finds the guilt within himself.
  5. Angel, like Oedipus, tries to defy the gods and control his own future.
  6. Oedipus was a king who ended up an outcast, while in FALLING ANGEL we have an "Angel" who's destined for Hell.

While I'm at it, I might as well mention that the cycle of 3 plays about Oedipus by Sophocles (called the Theban Plays) is well worth reading. I think you'll be surprised how well it has aged. Knowing the story ahead of time (as the contemporaries did too) and watching Oedipus make a complete jerk of himself is still great fun.



Alan Parker's adaptation of FALLING ANGEL (he wrote the screenplay and directed it) is called ANGEL HEART. I'm not sure why he changed the name, but both names are equally meaningful, once you know the story. It's an atmospheric, tension-filled movie, and very effective at translating Hjortsberg's complicated plot to a visual medium.

Other than simple condensation, Parker made a couple of major changes. To begin with, he put the voodoo down in New Orleans instead of New York City, and most critics focused on that difference, usually saying it was a questionable decision. Personally, I don't see that it hurt or helped the story. Most of the secondary characters were greatly abbreviated in order to give full weight to Angel's story, so their location wasn't all that important.

The performances of the two stars, Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel and Robert DeNiro as Louis Cyphre, are superb, perfect casting. Every one else is adequate, and because of the way that Alan Parker has skewed the story, this is all that is necessary.

The videotape, by the way, comes in a Not Rated version with the footage of dripping blood during the sex scene replaced. For once the censors had at least half a point, because this scene is really disturbing. Unfortunately, that is the whole point of the scene, and Parker accomplishes the purpose admirably. This is an "adult" film in the best sense of the word. It requires maturity to thoroughly understand, and can be upsetting to older children.

If you haven't seen ANGEL HEART yet, stop here!


The biggest change that Parker made was the identity of the killer, which is remarkable when you think about it, because this story is, underneath all the horror elements, a murder mystery. Of course, due to the peculiar circumstances of this story, the technical identity of the murderer isn't quite as important as is usual in a mystery, but the change is still significant. And I think it's inspired.

I like the story much better with Parker's explanation of the crimes. It is psychologically very compelling. Obviously Angel's schizophrenic alter ego is trying to stop people from talking, shut them up before they give "him" away to Angel. Angel's pauses in front of mirrors towards the end (one of them shattered), warns us that his personality is disintegrating. And, of course, ultimately he remembers. Parker added a fascinating twist to a novel that was based on fascinating twists. A very fine movie.


Zombies are the liberal nightmare. Here you have the masses, whom you would love to love, appearing at your front door with their faces falling off; and you're trying to be as humane as you possibly can, but they are, after all, eating the cat. And the fear of mass activity, of mindlessness on a national scale, underlies my fear of zombies.

--Clive Barker


by Ray Garton
Pocket Books 1987 $3.95

On the hard-core street that never sleeps, Davey Owen is lured into the nightmare of the damned... He's lost his girl, blown his job, and he's looking for consolation in the seedy precincts of Times Square. As dusk falls, a garish glow envelops the street where "LIVE GIRLS", a peep-show house, beckons Davey through its doors...into a world of strange, savage ecstasy...into the pale irresistible arms of a woman who offers him the kiss of demons in exchange for eternal life. A woman so ravishing, so insatiable, that he must say yes again and again until he can no longer say no. He has given her the vital essence of his body. Now she will devour his soul...

LIVE GIRLS is a tale about vampires with a very unique twist... the main "characters" are female, who work at Live Girls and obtain their life-giving blood in a very unique way. Observe the following passage:

"Across from him on the wall between two of the doors was a sign. He stepped forward and squinted to read it in the poor light:



Davey held in a laugh. Insert tip of what through slot?"

LIVE GIRLS won the 1987 Bram Stoker Novel Award from the Horror Writers of America. This book got very little industry play, and if it weren't for being a member of the HWA, I might very well have missed the book completely. From the grizzly murders that the book opens with to the all-out battle against the vampire queen herself at the end, LIVE GIRLS is totally captivating and almost impossible to put down. Warning: make sure there are lots of lights on when reading this book and make sure your ghoul tolerance is at a high.

I thoroughly enjoyed LIVE GIRLS and just recently sat down to read it again, enjoying it as much as the first time. Passages in the book literally gave me goose bumps and I found myself rapidly scanning pages, hurrying to get to the next action.

On a scale of 1 to 10 stars, I give LIVE GIRLS 9 1/2 stars.


by Ray Garton
Dark Harvest 1988 $19.95

MONSTERS is a novella, 124 pages, about religious fanaticism and the effects of guilt, especially unearned guilt, on the human psyche and on human relationships. Guilt that can bring out the "monster" in us.

MONSTERS is an up-to-date version of the classic werewolf story, set in a small California town called St. Helena. Roger Carlton is returning to St. Helena after a six-year absence; an absence caused by his being "run out of town" by a group of fanatic Seventh-day Adventists. You see, Roger dared to become a writer of erotic murder mysteries and the Adventists have decreed that this is wrong. When the going gets tough, Roger gets these pains in his gut and sees visions of claws and creatures that are vaguely human, that feed off human flesh. Roger falls in lust with a young girl, Sondra, who works in the local delicatessen. It turns out that she also gets the same gut-wrenching pains as Roger. But, unlike Roger, Sondra knows the significance of the pains and what they lead to. There are unexplained, gory slayings that have been taking place in St. Helena and Sondra knows much too much about them.

MONSTERS is an excellently written story in the true Ray Garton tradition. There is lots of gore--which Garton is very good at--and heart-stopping excitement. The outcome of the story is telegraphed kind of early, but that doesn't detract from the overall quality of the story. I found MONSTERS to be very thrilling, difficult to put down and finished it in two sittings.

On a scale of 1 to 10 stars, I give MONSTERS 8 stars.

You know you're successful when you've pissed off your parents.

--David J. Schow


Dean Koontz physically resembles a sick wart hog, as well. When he answers his door at three o'clock on a Wednesday morning, he looks decidedly mealy to me. This, I say to myself, is not the face of an author, this is the face of a felon, a man you would expect to be arrested on a morals charge involving kittens, ducklings, and Cheese Whiz.

--Leigh Nichols (AKA Dean Koontz)


Underwood-Miller publishes quality books by quality authors. We have quite a few U-M books here in our library, and heartily recommend any U-M release to readers and collectors alike. Here are some recent items you might be interested in:


I've got my copy; how about you? Harlan Ellison is possibly our greatest living essayist, and this is a huge collection of his commentaries on film and whatever else happens to cross his path. Not to be missed, and it's a beautiful book. First Edition: ISBN: 0-88733-067-3 550 pages. $29.95 Deluxe: 600 slipcased, signed, numbered ISBN: 0-88733-066-5 $60

SCREAMS by Robert Bloch

Three novels of psychological suspense in one volume: THE WILL TO KILL, THE STAR STALKER and FIREBUG. A must-own for Bloch fans. Mine is on order as we go to press. First Edition: ISBN: 0-88733-079-7 488 pages $29.95 Deluxe: 300 slipcased, signed, numbered ISBN: 0-88733-080-0 $50

HORRORSTORY: The Collectors Edition - Volume Five
edited by Karl Edward Wagner

The contents of DAW's YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES are always so good and are now so hard to find that U-M decided to preserve them in hardcover. There will be five volumes, starting with this one (which covers DAW's YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES #13, #14, and #15 for a total of 55 stories) and working backwards. Each volume will include the stories from three DAW editions. This would be the perfect Christmas gift for horror collectors.

Includes stories by: Tanith Lee, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Dann, David J. Schow, William F. Wu, Joe R. Lansdale, Ron Leming, John Alfred Taylor, Joel Lane, Wayne Allen Sallee, Stephen F. Wilcox, W.H. Pugmire & Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Brian Lumley, Brad Strickland, R. Chetwynd-Hayes, Phillip C. Heath, Leonard Carpenter, David B. Silva, Michael Reaves, Tina Rath, William F. Nolan, Simon Clark, Robert Bloch, Ron Wolfe, Vincent McHardy, Charles L. Grant, Paul M. Sammon, Jovin Panich, Gardner Dozois, Stephen King, Christopher Burns, Steve Sneyd, Daniel Wynn Barber, Leslie Halliwell, Fred Chappell, David S. Garnett, David Langford, Charles Wagner, John Brizzolara, James B. Hemesath, Roger Johnson, John Gordon and Dennis Etchison.

First Edition: ISBN: 0-88733-078-9 $40 Deluxe: Special leatherbound edition. 350 numbered copies. This very distinctive edition will be bound in leather with linen slipcase, silk marker ribbon and imported French marbled endpapers. Each numbered copy will be signed by its authors (see note). As a bonus, each volume will have one of Michael Whelan (this year's Hugo winner) remarkable covers as its dustjacket, reproduced from the original painting! ISBN: 0-88733-077-0 $150

NOTE: Every effort is being made to locate each author in order to sign these special copies, but we may miss a few! Satisfaction is always guaranteed.

Being famous sucks. There is no upside. The downside is when you realize the only reason everything on the buffet is free is because they're planning on having you for desert.

--Stephen King


Robert R. McCammon ("Rick" to his friends, "Mr. McCammon" to me) was born on July 17, 1952, in Birmingham, Alabama. He still lives there today, with his wife Sally, in a 100-year-old log house. He has the distinction of being the only author I know of who actually SOLD his very first book (he was 26); he has no "trunk" novels. That novel was BAAL, and with it Mr. McCammon staked out his territory: dark fantasy in general, and the existence of Evil in particular. He has said:

"Horror writing is the fundamental literature of humanity... I'll stick with it until I find a kind of literature that speaks more strongly about the human condition. I don't think there is one."

As you would imagine, he's given considerable thought to the "voice" in which he has chosen to speak:

"Horror and violence in the real world is very different from horror and violence in books and movies. If people object to the depiction of horror and violence, they are objecting to shadows and disregarding the reality; of course, it's much easier to demand censorship of books and movies than to grapple with the complex factors of real life, and that's one of the things that distresses me most: people are losing their courage to face up to reality. Certain groups will protest all day over things that don't matter a bit, and then they'll cower before issues that are vital to our culture and survival."

--Robert R. McCammon

I've never read a story by Robert McCammon that wasn't well-told, but his first three novels weren't terribly original. He finally decided to blaze his own trail, and achieved his first real success, with THEY THIRST, which contains just about every contemporary horror device, and I do mean EVERY. Let him explain it:

"I decided to kick out the stops on that one [THEY THIRST]. And I did have fun, for the simple reason that writing it was like building a huge panorama out of multi-colored Lego blocks, and then taking a big stick to it and playing Godzilla, just wrecking the whole place, but having the greatest time doing it."

--Robert R. McCammon

And for another opinion:

"In many ways, THEY THIRST is the ultimate vampire novel.... What thrills! When it comes to descriptions of wild berserk horror, McCammon is the master. The section that takes place in a sandstorm (vampires control the elements, remember?) is one of the finest, and scariest scenes I've read in all of horror fiction, bar none."

--Joe Lansdale

His final leap to Horror Genre Respectability was made with SWAN SONG, a magnum opus of 956 pages, a gigantic prose painting of an American landscape after a nuclear war. It shared the first Stoker Award from the Horror Writers of America with Stephen King's MISERY. As Mr. McCammon says of it:

"The largest part of the book [SWAN SONG] deals with rebirth. I had a dream in which the real faces of people are hidden behind the ones they wear, and those real faces are nothing like the masks."

Mr. McCammon has said that he doesn't outline his novels, not even the mammoth SWAN SONG, a technique (or lack of) that I believe shows; his stories never seem forced or manufactured, a significant achievement in a genre prone to manipulated shocks.

In the past few years Mr. McCammon has tried his hand at short stories, with great critical success. As he says:

"Some short stories are easy, and others just about blow the top off your skull. I'm still not very comfortable writing them [this was early 1987], but I've realized that a good short story can be a small miracle of mental cinema."

You can't say you've read the best of modern horror if you haven't read McCammon, one of the finest critics of modern society writing in any genre of fiction.


  • BAAL (1978) A first novel that bears the scars of conventionality, but survives due to McCammon's canny sense of detail and his cinematic flair.
  • BETHANY'S SIN (1980) This is another town-with-a-secret where nobody goes out at night but, once again, given a vividness that makes it memorable.
  • THE NIGHT BOAT (1980) What if a U-boat full of zombie Nazis, frozen in time, we still patrolling the waters? As you might imagine, it's not pretty.
  • THEY THIRST (1981) The vampire novel to end all vampire novels; an inspired epic of evil.
  • "Makeup" (1981) Appeared in MODERN MASTERS OF HORROR edited by Frank Coffey. An interesting, if fairly conventional, haunted- makeup-kit story, with a surprise ending.
  • MYSTERY WALK (1983) Two different cultures clash: the quiet traditions of the Native American and the religious frenzy of an evangelical church. McCammon has points to make about both.
  • USHER'S PASSING (1984) The further adventures of the House of Usher, which, contrary to Poe's tale, didn't really fall. It just should have. The Ushers are an unforgettable family.
  • "Nightcrawlers" (1984) Appeared in MASQUES, an anthology edited by J.N. Williamson. The story of a Vietnam vet who literally can't get away from the war, it was made into a critically acclaimed segment of the Twilight Zone TV show (modern incarnation) directed by William Friedkin (THE EXORCIST). Possibly McCammon's finest short piece.
  • "The Red House" (1985) Appeared in GREYSTONE BAY, a shared-world anthology edited by Charles L. Grant. Bob Deaken gets a lesson in living from the "family" in the Red House.
  • "I Scream Man" (1985) Appeared in The Horror Show, Winter 1985 issue. A creepy vignette.
  • "Yellow Jacket Summer" (1986) Appeared in Twilight Zone magazine. Nature turns nasty.
  • SWAN SONG (1987) A vast panorama of America following a nuclear war. I've heard from a at least half a dozen people who've already read this novel more than once, one of them is actually into double digits. Obviously a story that affects deeply.
  • "The Deep End" (1987) This appeared in the NIGHT VISIONS 4 anthology and went on to win the first Stoker Award for Short Story. A man faces the monster that killed his son, the one that lives in the deep end of the swimming pool.
  • "Doom City" (1987) Appeared in DOOM CITY: The Second Chronicle of Greystone Bay, an anthology edited by Charles L. Grant. What would you do if you woke up to a world that had died while you slept?
  • "A Life in the Day of" (1987) Also in NIGHT VISIONS 4. Johnny Strickland, rising young ad executive, is about to find that the fast lane is going a lot faster than he had intended. This one will remind you of Rod Serling's best material.
  • "Best Friends" (1987) Also in NIGHT VISIONS 4. The title refers to Tim Clausen's buddies: Adolf, Frog, and Mother. They star in this novelette, which is definitely not for the squeamish.
  • STINGER (1988) If you're tired of cute E.T.-style aliens, you're ready to meet Stinger. As the cover says, "He's here...and he's NOT friendly." Definitely in the tradition of his earlier THEY THIRST, but this time there's more polish, more plot control.
  • "Night Calls the Green Falcon" (1988) Appeared in SILVER SCREAM, an anthology edited by David J. Schow (see RFP #4). A story more heartwarming that horrific, of a long-ago star of movie serials who dons his costume one last time to catch a psycho killer. A favorite story of mine.
  • THE WOLF'S HOUR (1989) Meet Michael Gallatin, a master spy during World War II whose effectiveness comes, at least in part, from his talents as a werewolf.
  • "Eat Me" (1989) Appeared in THE BOOK OF THE DEAD, an anthology edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector. Zombie stories are particularly good for social commentary, but Mr. McCammon extends this to both ends of the emotional scale with a combination of visceral shock and pathos.

This morning I put ground glass in my wife's eyes. She didn't mind. She didn't make a sound. She never does.

--from "The Dead Line" (1980) by Dennis Etchison


The following selections are some recommendations of books to curl up with on a cool Halloween night. You're sure to find something here from the 1980s that you missed. Thanks to all the great readers on RelayNet (tm) who helped with their suggestions.

  • Peter Ackroyd -- Hawksmoor (1985) An awesome mix of detective story, ghost story, historical novel, and literary pastiche.
  • F.W. Armstrong -- The Devouring (1987) A psychic detective faces ancient evil in Buffalo, New York.
  • Iain Banks -- The Wasp Factory (1984) A book of extremes, it impresses some and disgusts others.
  • Clive Barker -- The Damnation Game (1985) A complicated and rich selling-your-soul-to-the-devil story.
  • Michael Bishop -- Who Made Stevie Crye? (1984) Is it a horror novel or the world's longest joke?
  • Ramsey Campbell -- Dark Feasts (1987) Campbell's choice of the best short pieces of his career to date. Also very good is his latest novel, Ancient Images (1989).
  • Jonathan Carroll -- The Land of Laughs (1980) More dark fantasy than horror; see if you can tell what's wrong with Galen, Missouri. The most original author I know.
  • Marc Eliot -- How Dear the Dawn (1987) A master vampire descends on a small coastal village.
  • Dennis Etchison -- The Dark Country (1982) Great short horror from a master. Don't miss "The Late Shift".
  • Ray Garton -- Live Girls (1987) An evil dwells in the seedy dives of mid-town Manhattan--insatiable female vampires.
  • Patricia Geary -- Strange Toys (1987) A young girl grows up knowing that the supernatural is very real, and her sister is very evil.
  • Charles L. Grant -- The Pet (1986) The patron saint of "quiet horror" at his best.
  • Thomas Harris -- Red Dragon (1981) Can Will Graham catch the psychotic "Tooth Fairy" before he kills again?
  • David G. Hartwell, editor -- The Dark Descent (1987) One of the finest horror anthologies available, as well as one of the largest.
  • Robert Irwin -- The Arabian Nightmare (1983) This macabre fantasy takes place in 1486, written by a former teacher of medieval history.
  • Stephen King -- Good choices would be: It (1986), to get ready for the TV mini-series in May; Misery (1987), for a writers-eye-view of fans (particularly relevant in the wake of the "My Sister Sam" killing); or The Dark Half (1989), about a writer's problems with his pseudonym.
  • T.E.D. Klein -- The Ceremonies (1984) The Elder Gods are back in this modern recreation of Machen and Lovecraft themes.
  • Dean R. Koontz -- The master of suspense. His most recent are Lightning (1988), Midnight (1989), and the upcoming The Bad Place (1990).
  • Joe R. Lansdale -- The Drive-In (1988) Come to the Friday All-Night Horror Show, where the audience gets more than their money's worth.
  • Richard Laymon -- The Cellar (1980) Come to Malcasa Point, California, and visit The Beast House.
  • Robert R. McCammon -- Swan Song (1987) An epic adventure of America after the bombs drop.
  • Kirby McCauley, editor -- Dark Forces (1980), which has got to be the best anthology of the 1980s. A landmark book.
  • George R.R. Martin -- A very versatile writer. Fevre Dream (1982) is my all-time favorite vampire story, it's sort of a Mark- Twain-meets-Bram-Stoker, vampires on a riverboat novel.
  • Graham Masterton -- Picture of Evil (1985) Someone must destroy the painting that is the source of Cordelia & Maurice's power.
  • Richard Christian Matheson -- Scars and Other Distinguishing Marks (1987) 26 short-shorts, a collaboration with his father, and a screenplay he wrote for Amazing Stories TV show.
  • David J. Schow -- The Kill Riff (1988) Lucas Ellington knows who is responsible for his daughter's death--Whip Hand, a heavy- metal rock band--and he's going to make them pay.
  • Dan Simmons -- Song of Kali (1985) The horror that is Calcutta.
  • Lisa Tuttle -- A Nest of Nightmares (1986) Short stories from the female point of view.
  • Karl Edward Wagner -- In a Lonely Place (1983) Some of his best short stories.
  • Chet Williamson -- One of the best up-and-coming horror writers. Ash Wednesday (1987) is a good introduction.
  • F. Paul Wilson -- The Keep (1981) What do you get if you cross a vampire with a Nazi?
  • Douglas E. Winter, editor -- Prime Evil (1988) A nice anthology, worth the price to get David Morrell's award-winning "Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity".

Next to being Ed Meese, writing is the loneliest profession on earth.

--John Skipp


What's going to come out of those people who think that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD isn't enough?

--Robert Bloch


These are just a few of the releases scheduled (as we go to press) for August through October. HC=hardcover PB=paperback and TP=trade paperback (oversized). The long 10-digit number is the ISBN number, convenient when ordering from distributors. This list is provided without warranty of any kind.

  • Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences by Susan J. Blackmore (parapsychology) Academy Chicago Aug89 TP $8.95 0-89733-344-6
  • How To Shit In The Woods by Kathleen Meyer Ten Speed Press Aug89 PB $5.95 0-89815-319-0 How To S___ In The Woods 0-89815-320-4 (alternate cover) (An environmentally sound approach to a lost art.)
  • The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers Ace Sep89 HC $17.95 0-441-79055-0 (Byron, Shelley and Keats are possessed by a kind of vampire in this novel by the author of The Anubis Gates.)
  • The Stephen King Companion edited by George Beahm Andrews & McMeel Sep89 TP $12.95 0-8362-7978-6
  • The PreHistory of The Far Side by Gary Larson Andrews & McMeel Sep89 TP $12.95 0-8362-1851-5 (A fabulous narrative, pages from his sketchbook, rejects and bloopers. Includes 144 pages full-color.)
  • Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects by Thomas G. Smith Ballantine Sep89 HC $60.00 0-345-32263-0
  • Trevayne by Robert Ludlum Bantam Sep89 PB $5.95 (This novel, published for the first time under the author's own name, contains a new introduction that explains why.)
  • You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet: 501 Famous Lines from Great (and Not-So-Great) Movies compiled and edited by John P. Fennell Citadel Sep89 TP $7.95 (Memorable lines from 60 years of movies, many illustrated with stills.)
  • Razored Saddles edited by Joe R. Lansdale & Pat LoBrutto Dark Harvest Sep89 HC $19.95 0-913165-49-2
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney Fireside Sep89 TP $8.95 0-671-68211-3
  • The Penny Whistle Halloween Book: Everything You and Your Children Need to Know About Giving and Enjoying the Happiest, Scariest Halloween Parties of Your Life by Meredith Brokaw & Annie Gilbar Grove Weidenfeld Sep89 TP $9.95 1-55584-377-8
  • Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman Harmony Sep89 TP $12.95 (Reviews hundreds of terror films, masterpieces and monstrosities alike.)
  • The Pessimist's Journal of Very, Very Bad Days by Jess Brallier and R.P. McDonough Little, Brown Sep89 TP $9.95 0-316-10600-3 (Offers a historical disaster for each day of the year, plus room to write in one's own.)
  • Changing the Past: A Novel by Thomas Berger Little, Brown Sep89 HC $18.95 (Walter Hunsicker is given a chance to see what life would have been like if he could change his past.)
  • The Feud by Thomas Berger Little, Brown Sep89 TP $8.95 (Chronicles small-town America in the 1930s in a novel by the author of Little Big Man. A motion picture based on the book will be released this fall.)
  • Blind In One Ear: The Avenger Returns by Patrick Macnee Mercury House Sep89 HC $19.95 0-916515-58-3 (The autobiography of the actor best known as John Steed in TV's The Avengers.)
  • It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business by Charles Grodin Wm Morrow Sep89 HC $18.45 0-688-08873-2 (The actor reflects on his career in Hollywood. I've heard this is a vastly entertaining book.)
  • Two Much! by Donald E. Westlake Mysterious Sep89 PB $4.95 (Art Dodge decides to marry a rich woman but instead marries two--Liz and Betty Kerner, beautiful twin heiresses, in this farce by the Edgar Award-winning author.)
  • 'Murder Will Out': The Detective in Fiction from Poe to the Present by T.J. Binyon Oxford UP Sep89 HC $21.95 0-19-219223-X
  • Mystery Reader's Walking Guide: London by Alzina Stone Dale & Barbara Sloan Hendershott Passport Sep89 TP $12.95 (Features 11 walking tours through the heart of London.)
  • Panati's Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything & Everybody by Charles Panati Perennial Sep89 TP 10.95 (Discusses how famous people, cities, flora, fauna and more met their demise.)
  • The New York Public Library Desk Reference Prentice Hall Sep89 HC $29.95 0-13-620444-9 (A one-volume collection of the most frequently sought information covers 26 subject areas.)
  • Dumbth: And 79 Ways to Make Americans Smarter by Steve Allen Prometheus Sep89 HC $19.95 (The humorist offers ways to improve critical thought and reasoning.)
  • Lucid Dreams in 30 Days: The Creative Sleep Program by Keith Harary & Pamela Weintraub St. Martin's Sep89 TP $5.95 (The authors explore the mysteries of sleep and tell how to control dreams in this paperback original.)
  • Have an Out-Of-Body Experience in Thirty Days: The Free Flight Program by Keith Harary & Pamela Weintraub St. Martin's Sep89 TP $5.95 (A step-by-step guide to an out-of-body experience.)
  • Death and the Chaste Apprentice by Robert Barnard Scribners Sep89 HC $17.95 0-684-19002-8 (In this comedy mystery, everybody involved in a local theatrical production wants to kill an annoying innkeeper.)
  • Simply Barbara Bush: A Portrait of America's Candid First Lady by Donnie Radcliffe Warner Sep89 HC $14.95 0-446-51553-1
  • The Naughty Victorian Hand Book by Burton Silver Workman Sep89 TP $9.95 0-89480-624-6 (Rediscover the therapeutically hilarious art of "furtling" -- erotic hand manipulation -- in the book that puts the underside (and more) of Victoriana at your fingertips. It will profoundly change your relationship to your hand.)
  • Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson Academy Chicago Oct89 TP $8.95 (The author wrote this domestic chronicle in 1953 when her four children were under 10.)
  • Murder Guide to London, An A-Z of Metropolitan Atrocities by Martin Fido (true crime) Academy Chicago Oct89 HC $12.95 0-89733-341-1 (This narrative guide to major murder sites provides maps and a key to murderers' names.)
  • Forgiven: The Rise and Fall of Jim Bakker and the PTL Ministry by Charles E. Shepard Atlantic Monthly Oct89 HC $22.95 (The author won a 1988 Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his reporting on the televangelist and his ministry in The Charlotte Observer.)
  • An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones & William Wilson Ballantine Oct89 HC $24.95 0-345-29570-6 (One of my favorite reference books. Not at all stuffy.)
  • Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice Ballantine Oct89 PB $5.95 (The Vampire Lestat is confronted by Akasha, the mother of all vampires, in this reprint.)
  • The Twilight Zone Companion: Second Edition by Marc Scott Zicree Bantam Oct89 TP $12.95 0-553-34744-6
  • Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It by James Q. Wilson Basic Oct89 HC $24.95 (Offers explanations from an expert in public administration.)
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler Berkley Oct89 PB $5.50 (Maggie and Ira's trip from Baltimore to Deer Lick, PA, takes them through the memories of a 28-year marriage in this Pulitzer Prize winner. From the author of The Accidental Tourist.)
  • Literature in America: An Illustrated History by Peter Conn Cambridge Oct89 HC $29.95 0-521-30373-7 (This illustrated history covers American literature from the 17th century to the 1980s.)
  • Naming the Rose: Eco, Medieval Signs, and Modern Theory by Theresa Coletti Cornell UP Oct89 TP $8.95 (Decodes the signs and symbols in Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose.)
  • Guide to Literary London by George Williams David & Charles Oct89 TP $22.95 (Includes authors' homes, historic theaters, clubs, bookshops and coffeehouses.)
  • Nemesis by Isaac Asimov Doubleday Oct89 HC $18.95 0-385-24792-3 Special Limited Edition $125 0-385-26619-7
  • The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll Doubleday Oct89 HC $18.95 0-385-24946-2 (Tells how an ex-hippie turned systems manager uncovered an international computer spy ring.)
  • Fifty Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth by The Earthworks Group Earthworks Press Oct89 PB $4.95 0-929634-06-3 (Let's face it--somebody's got to.)
  • The Encyclopedia of Monsters by Jeff Rovin Facts On File Oct89 HC $29.95 0-8160-1824-3 (Features a comprehensive guide to beasts, fiends and others.)
  • On an Average Day... by Tom Heymann Fawcett Columbine Oct89 TP $6.95 (Takes an off-beat statistical look at America--e.g., on an average day, over 41,000 calls are made to dial-a-porn numbers and four people call Elvis at Graceland.)
  • Gone With the Wind: The Definitive, Illustrated History of the Book, the Movie, the Legend by Herb Bridges & Terryl C. Boodman Fireside Oct89 TP $14.95 0-671-68387-X
  • The Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy, Harmonious and Ecologically Sound Home Environment by David Pearson Fireside Oct89 TP $17.95 0-671-66635-5
  • The Open Door: When Writers First Learned to Read edited by Steven Gilbar Godine Oct89 HC $12.95 809-7 (Thirty writers, including Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, Jean Rhys, and William Cobbett, recall the special moment when written words suddenly had meaning.)
  • A Warning to the Curious by M.R. James, selected and introduced by Ruth Rendell Godine Oct89 TP $10.95 816-X (Thirteen tales by the master of chill, selected by an Edgar Award-winning author.)
  • A Cold Red Sunrise by Stuart M. Kaminsky Ivy Oct89 PB $3.50 (Won the 1989 Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year.)
  • My Pretty Pony by Stephen King and Barbara Kruger Knopf Oct89 HC $50 0-394-58037-0 (A new, slipcased edition of the work originally published by the Whitney Museum of American Art. I've heard there will only be 15,000 copies.)
  • The Dan Quayle Quiz Book: For People Who Think They are Smarter Than the Vice President by Jeremy Solomon & Ken Brady Little, Brown Oct89 PB $4.95 0-316-80359-6 (Offers the chance to test one's knowledge of Quayle's statements with multiple-choice questions.)
  • The Book of Video Lists: 1990 Edition by Tom Wiener Madison Oct89 TP $10.95 0-8191-7011-9 (My favorite, most-used video reference book. Terrific.)
  • Words On Tape, 1990: An International Guide to the Audio Cassette Market Meckler Oct89 TP $34.95 0-88736-368-7 (This paperback original is the last word on over 30,000 audio cassette titles currently available from over 700 cassette publishers on subjects that range from self-help and inspirational work, to fiction and plays, and children's literature, to coursework in business and many other fields.)
  • The New TV: A Complete Guide to High Definition Television by Dale Cripps and Sam Bush Meckler Oct89 TP $14.95 0-88736-489-6 (This original paperback offers complete coverage and in-depth analysis of the headline making technology known as HDTV (high definition television). HDTV promises to explode upon the consciousness of the television world while changing our concept of TV as we know it today. The book will excite readers into the "Brave New (visual) World".
  • Norma Jean: My Secret Life with Marilyn Monroe by Ted Jordan Wm Morrow Oct89 HC $18.45 0-688-09118-0 (An early lover of the star tells of their affair. Contains rare photos.)
  • The Wanderer: Dion's Story by Dion DiMucci with Davin Seay Wm Morrow Oct89 TP $6.70 0-688-09206-3
  • The Crime of the Century by Kingsley Amis Mysterious Oct89 HC $16.95 0-89296-398-0 (A serial killer has London police baffled, until a group including a master detective, a novelist, a rock star, and others sets its imagination to solving the case.)
  • Tomorrow's Crimes by Donald E. Westlake Mysterious Oct89 HC $18.95 0-89296-299-2 (An ingenious collection of criminous science fiction and fantasy. Includes the brilliant 1967 novel ANARCHAOS.)
  • Help I Am Being Held Prisoner by Donald E. Westlake Mysterious Oct89 PB $4.50 (Inmates decide to rob a bank while still behind bars.)
  • A Curmudgeon's Garden of Love by Jon Winokur NAL Oct89 HC $16.95 0-453-00677-9 (In the tradition of the author's Portable Curmudgeon, this is a look at love without rose-colored glasses.)
  • Blind Faith by Joe McGinnis NAL/Signet Oct89 PB $5.95 (The bestselling author investigates the murder of a Toms River, NJ, woman by a husband driven by greed.)
  • Horrors by Drake Douglas Overlook Oct89 HC $22.50 (This history of the horror genre has been updated to include 75 vintage film stills.)
  • Theatrical Anecdotes by Peter Hay Oxford UP Oct89 TP $8.95 0-19-506078-4 (Collects the legends, lore and humor of The Great White Way.)
  • The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories edited by Michael Cox & R.A. Gilbert Oxford UP Oct89 TP $9.95 (Collects 42 of the best English ghost stories ever written.)
  • The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus by Graham Chapman, et al Pantheon Oct89 TP $12.95 Volume I 0-679-72647-0 Pantheon Oct89 TP $12.95 Volume II 0-679-72648-9 Pantheon Oct89 TP $26 boxed set 0-679-72702-7 (The scripts from the successful British comedy show will be published in two volumes, and as a boxed set.)
  • Haunted by James Herbert Putnam Oct89 HC $17.95 0-399-13486-7
  • Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler & Robert B. Parker Putnam Oct89 HC $18.95 0-399-13482-4 (or Sep89) (Parker completes Chandler's unfinished Philip Marlowe novel.)
  • Tekwar by William Shatner Putnam Oct89 HC $17.95 0-399-13495-6 (or Sep89) (Chronicles the exploits of 22nd-century ex-cop Jake Cardigan as he searches for a device to rid the world of a drug that is poisoning society.)
  • My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan by Nancy Reagan with William Novak Random House Oct89 HC $21.95 0-394-56368-9 deluxe limited edition $100 0-394-58162-8
  • The Ludlum Triad: The Holcroft Covenant / The Matarese Circle / The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum Random House Oct89 HC $16.95 0-394-57610-1
  • Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters by Anne K. Mellor Routledge, Chapman and Hall Oct89 TP $14.95 (Examines the life and work of the author from a feminist perspective.)
  • A Dictionary of Literary Quotations by Meic Stephens Routledge, Chapman & Hall Oct89 HC $25 (Contains 3250 quotations about literature, writers, writing, books and the book trade.)
  • The Complete Avengers by Dave Rogers St. Martin's Oct89 TP $12.95 (This Avengers casebook recounts the history of the popular television show.)
  • The First 200 Years of Monty Python by Kim "Howard" Johnson St. Martin's Oct89 TP $14.95 (A history of the ever-popular TV comedy, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and its six creators.)
  • Series of Murders: A Charles Paris Mystery by Simon Brett Scribners Oct89 HC $16.95 0-684-19096-6 (Murder strikes the set of a TV police series.)
  • Currents of Death: Power Lines, Computer Terminals, and the Attempt to Cover Up Their Threat to Your Health by Paul Brodeur Simon & Schuster Oct89 HC $19.95 0-671-67845-0 (Presents the case against electromagnetic radiation.)
  • The Comic Book in America by Mike Benton Taylor Oct89 HC $29.95 (An illustrated history of comic books in America.)
  • Zapcrafts by Nancy Birnes Ten Speed Press Oct89 TP $14.95 0-89815-290-9 (Over 200 recipes for microwave projects you can make that are not food.)
  • The Ridge by Lisa Cantrell Tor Oct89 PB $4.95 (A possessed house.)
  • Walkers by Graham Masterton Tor Oct89 HC $18.95 0-312-93201-4
  • Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine by Chris Maynard & Bill Scheller Villard Oct89 TP $7.95 0-679-72337-4 (As far as I know, this is for seriously cooking in and on various parts of your car.)
  • Holidays in Hell by P.J. O'Rourke Vintage Oct89 TP $8.95 (The social satirist takes a caustic look at the world.)
  • Fury by John Coyne Warner Oct89 HC $18.95 0-446-51420-9
  • Rapture by Thomas Tessier Warner Oct89 PB $4.95 (A tale of psychological terror about obsessive and perverted love.)
  • Spirits of Christmas edited by Kathryn Cramer & David G. Hartwell Wynwood Oct89 HC $18.95 0-922066-16-7 (This collection of ghost stories includes everything from a little known tale by Dickens to new works commissioned for this volume.)

I used to plot my novels very thoroughly in advance, chapter by chapter, but abandoned that method from INCARNATE onward. Mind you, this presumably leads to what Everett Bleiler complained was "extemporized plotting" in THE HUNGRY MOON, but I confess to liking the way that novel develops.

--Ramsey Campbell

Once, a long time ago, someone had taken from him something irreplaceably valuable. He couldn't remember what it was. And no one would admit it.

--from "Deadspace" (1985) by Dennis Etchison


created by Jerry Pournelle
Baen Books $3.95

This is yet another "Shared Universe" series based upon the planet Haven and using the universe so well created in the "Mercenary" series by Mr. Pournelle. A series of short stories by stalwarts such as Mike Resnick, Poul Anderson, Janet Morris and David Drake, just to mention a few. I thoroughly enjoyed the original series and was prepared to find a watered down series of disconnected stories. Not so. These are excellent, written by competent professional storytellers in a well thought out universe, with an all-too-possible political system. This is a "must buy" for folks who like rather "hard" Science Fiction with a realistic war bent.

by Sharyn McCrumb
Windwalker Books, $2.95

Imagine if you will the cover of this book, a young lady in a bikini with a space helmet and air tanks on, leaning across the computer of a pipe smoking author. Now I have got to tell you, I wouldn't even slow down if I saw this thing on a newsstand, much less pick it up....Bimbos...for heaven sake. Yet this is one of the funniest send ups of Science Fiction Cons you can imagine. Not only that, it is a darn good mystery besides. I found myself chortling aloud as I read it, and just thoroughly enjoying myself. This one may be hard to find, but it is definitely worth the search. Many thanks to Mary Frost Pierson for recommending this to me.

Edited by Algis Budrys
Bridge Publications, Inc.
0-88404-379-7; $4.95; 1989

As I've noted several times before, I'm really not much of a fan of short stories. In my experience it takes a rare talent to be able to capture the imagination with a short Science Fiction story. I think one of the problems is that it is difficult to set the story parameters that quickly. But I digress; mostly the only times I'll pick up a book of short stories is in an airline terminal or on vacation when nothing else is available.

This series, however, has edged its way onto my VERY short exception list for books of short stories.

Founded in 1983 by L. Ron Hubbard, the Writers of the Future program/contest and the companion Illustrators of the Future are worth their weight in gold to those of us who love Science Fiction. You should read any one of this series to learn about the program and the most impressive listing of authors and illustrators who have given their time and talents towards helping a new generation of SF talent get established.

Interspersed with the stories and illustrations are commentaries about writing from luminaries such as Hal Clement, Marta Randall, Frank Kelly-Freas to name only some. Even if you do not aspire to the authorship sides of SF you will enjoy the insights offered.

But the real treasure are the stories. 14 outstanding award winning stories, complete with award winning illustrations. The authors and illustrators will surely be names that you will want to remember.....remember so that you can snatch up future offerings as soon as they hit your bookstore.

   BOX SCORES:  From no stars (ugh!) to 5 stars 

IN ENDLESS TWILIGHT by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. 3 ***
TOR $3.95 March, 1988

DOWNTIME by Peter Fox 4 ****
Berkley $3.50 January, 1988

You can contact Darryl at 6331 Marshall Rd., Centerville, Ohio 45459, or on Compuserve (76337,740), or on the ANNEX Bulletin Board 513-274-0821 (J 3 to join the Science Fiction conference).

...the book [THE PARASITE] is rather about the development of Rose's dormant male personality and her consequent slide toward fascist attitudes...

--Ramsey Campbell


01 1760 William Beckford, British writer
01 1885 Louis Untermeyer, American poet and anthologist
02 1879 Wallace Stevens, American poet
02 1904 Graham Greene, British writer
03 1886 Henri Alain-Fournier, French novelist
03 1900 Thomas Wolfe, American novelist
03 1925 Gore Vidal, American writer
04 1884 Damon Runyon, American writer
05 1713 Denis Diderot, French writer
05 1840 John Addington Symonds, British historian and writer
06 1895 Caroline Gordon, American writer
06 1914 Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian anthropologist, author of THE KON-TIKI EXPEDITION
07 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died at 40
07 1849 James Whitcomb Riley, American poet
07 1879 Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary leader & writer
08 1872 John Cowper Powys, British writer
09 1899 Bruce Catton, American historian and journalist
09 1906 Lopold Senghor, Senegalese poet
09 1918 E. Howard Hunt, Jr., American writer
10 1870 Ivan Bunin, Russian writer
10 1924 James Clavell, English-American writer
10 1930 Harold Pinter, British playwright
11 1885 Franois Mauriac, French writer
11 1910 Joseph Alsop, American journalist
11 1925 Elmore Leonard, American writer
12 1844 George W. Cable, American writer
12 1896 Eugenio Montale, Italian poet
13 1635 Roger Williams banned in Boston
13 1890 Conrad Richter, American writer
13 1925 Frank Gilroy, American writer
14 1888 Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand writer
14 1894 e. e. cummings, American poet
14 1906 Hannah Arendt, political philosopher and writer
15 70 BC Publius Vergilius Maro (AKA Vergil), Roman poet
15 1674 Robert Herrick, British poet
15 1814 Mikhail (Yurevich) Lermontov, Russian poet and novelist
15 1844 Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher and writer
15 1881 P.G. Wodehouse, British-American writer
15 1905 C.P. Snow, British writer and scientist
15 1908 John Kenneth Galbraith, economist and writer
15 1917 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., historian and writer
15 1920 Mario Puzo, American writer
15 1926 Evan Hunter, American writer (AKA Ed McBain)
16 1758 Noah Webster, American lexicographer and writer
16 1854 Oscar Wilde, Irish writer
16 1927 Gnter Grass, German writer
17 1864 Elinor Glyn, British novelist
17 1903 Nathanael West, American novelist
17 1915 Arthur Miller, American playwright
18 1785 Thomas Love Peacock, British writer
18 1859 Henri Bergson, French philosopher and writer
19 1605 Sir Thomas Browne, British writer
19 1784 Leigh Hunt, British writer
19 1895 Lewis Mumford, cultural historian and writer
19 1931 John le Carr, British writer
20 1854 Arthur Rimbaud, French poet
20 1859 John Dewey, philosopher, educational theorist & writer
20 1905 Frederic Dannay, one half of Ellery Queen & Barnaby Ross
21 1772 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, British writer
21 1790 Alphonse de Lamartine, French writer
21 1929 Ursula LeGuin, American writer
22 1919 Doris Lessing, British writer
23 1844 Robert Bridges, British poet
23 1942 Michael Crichton, American writer
24 1904 Moss Hart, American playwright
24 1923 Denise Levertov, American poet and essayist
25 1400 Geoffrey Chaucer, English poet, died
25 1800 Thomas Babington Macaulay, British writer
25 1914 John Berryman, American poet
25 1941 Anne Tyler, American writer
26 1930 John Arden, British playwright
26 1945 Pat Conroy, American writer
27 1914 Dylan Thomas, British poet
27 1932 Sylvia Plath, American poet
28 1903 Evelyn Waugh, British novelist
29 1740 James Boswell, Scottish biographer
29 1882 Jean Giraudoux, French playwright
29 1906 Fredric Brown, American writer
30 1751 Richard Brinsley Sheridan, British playwright
30 1871 Paul Valry, French writer
30 1885 Ezra Pound, American poet
31 1620 John Evelyn, British diarist
31 1795 John Keats, British poet

The stuff that happens in THE KILL RIFF is made up. It is NOT REAL. The people are not real people. This is what is meant when you read "any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental". If you claim this book has made you do weird things, you should be locked away where you cannot hurt anyone. Repeat: I made it all up. That's why it's called fiction.

--David J. Schow's note in THE KILL RIFF


by Annie Wilkes

Every time Halloween rolls around, I think about all the books I've read about ghosts, aliens, and seances. Not the fiction, the nonfiction. And every time I think about them, I get irritated.

Fiction is subject to being good or bad; but nonfiction is subject to being true or false -- and thereby hangs the problem. Are these books true or false? I've talked to very few people who can be logical about the "supernatural". (I'm not sure I like the word "supernatural", but I don't want to confuse matters any further by inventing my own.)

The people who write these books say, "I'm not lying", which, of course, is very easy to say and very difficult to prove. But even if they aren't lying, that just makes their words sincere; it doesn't make them TRUE. The skeptics will tell you, "Of course it's not true, don't be stupid", which is hardly helpful. Then there's always the argument to use on skeptics that goes like this: We can send two-dimensional images through space, talk to someone on the other side of the planet as easily as talking t someone on the other side of the room, etc., etc., etc., and talking to dead people is ridiculous?

Think about it for just a minute. Pick just one book. A recent Whitley Strieber, a Bermuda Triangle book, an Amityville book (one of the nonfiction ones), whatever. What if the events described in the book are true? Can you just imagine all the thinking that would be turned on its head? It would be revolutionary. It would be IMPORTANT.

And yet we all just wander along. Believers think the skeptics are close-minded, skeptics think the believers are dim-witted. And, one way or the other, important issues get buried. Golly, but this is irritating.

Publishers are all cohorts of the devil; there must be a special hell for them somewhere.



  • Mother Abagail (The Stand) good
  • Uncle Al (Cycle of the Werewolf) good
  • Bobbi Anderson (The Tommyknockers) good
  • Kurt Barlow ('Salem's Lot) evil
  • Leigh Cabot (Christine) good
  • Marty Coslaw (Cycle of the Werewolf) good
  • Judson Crandall (Pet Sematary) semi-good
  • Louis Creed (Pet Sematary) semi-good
  • Arnie Cunningham (Christine) good, then evil
  • Barton George Dawes (Roadwork) semi-good
  • Charlie Decker (Rage) semi-evil
  • Bill Denbrough (It) good
  • Flagg (The Eyes of the Dragon) evil
  • Randall Flagg (The Stand) evil; AKA Walkin Dude
  • Jim Gardener (The Tommyknockers) good
  • Ray Garraty (The Long Walk) good
  • Richard "Richie the Hammer" Ginelli (Thinner) semi-good
  • Danny Glick ('Salem's Lot) good, then evil
  • Delbert Grady (The Shining) evil
  • Dennis Guilder (Christine) good
  • Billy Halleck (Thinner) semi-good
  • Dick Hallorann (The Shining) good
  • Mike Hanlon (It) good
  • Ben Hanscom (It) good
  • Chris Hargensen (Carrie) evil
  • Eddie Kaspbrak (It) good
  • Dan Killian (The Running Man) evil
  • Taduz Lemke (Thinner) semi-evil
  • Charlie McGee (Firestarter) good
  • Ben Mears ('Salem's Lot) good
  • Pennywise the Clown (It) evil
  • Prince Peter (The Eyes of the Dragon) good
  • Mark Petrie ('Salem's Lot) good
  • Rainbird (Firestarter) evil
  • Stu Redman (The Stand) good
  • Benjamin Stuart Richards (The Running Man) good
  • Beverly Rogan (It) good
  • Tommy Ross (Carrie) good
  • Jack Sawyer (The Talisman) good
  • Paul Sheldon (Misery) good
  • Morgan Sloat (The Talisman) evil
  • Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone) good
  • Greg Stillson (The Dead Zone) evil
  • Richard Throckett Straker ('Salem's Lot) evil
  • Danny Torrance (The Shining) good
  • Richie Tozier (It) good
  • Tad Trenton (Cujo) good
  • Stan Uris (It) good
  • Walkin Dude (The Stand) evil; AKA Randall Flagg
  • Annie Wilkes (Misery) evil
  • Wolf (The Talisman) good

I felt like poisoning a monk.

--Umberto Eco on why he wrote the novel THE NAME OF THE ROSE


We're back on schedule now, so look for #6 (our Computers and Robots issue) around late October or early November. Keep on reading and don't hesitate to write to us.

← previous
next →
sending ...
New to Neperos ? Sign Up for free
download Neperos from Google Play

Latest Articles

Recent comments

Neperos cookies
This website uses cookies to store your preferences and improve the service. Cookies authorization will allow me and / or my partners to process personal data such as browsing behaviour.

By pressing OK you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge the Privacy Policy

By pressing REJECT you will be able to continue to use Neperos (like read articles or write comments) but some important cookies will not be set. This may affect certain features and functions of the platform.