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Reading for pleasure Issue 6

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Reading for pleasure
 · 2 months ago

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* R E A D I N G F O R P L E A S U R E *
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* Issue #6 *
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* November 1989 *
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* Editor: Cindy Bartorillo *
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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
Center Point PCB Salt Lake,UT Kelvin Hyatt 801-359-6014 P
Chevy Chase Board Chevy Chase,MD Larkins/Carlson 301-549-5574 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
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
Ivory Tower Manchester,CT Karl Hakmiller 203-649-5611 PS
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
Lost Paradise Alexandria,VA Jerry Shifrin 703-370-7795 P
Magpie HQ New York,NY Steve Manes 212-420-0527 P
NiCK at NiTE Salt Lake,UT Nick Zahner 801-964-1889 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 #3
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 Board:
Baudline II Frederick,MD the Bartorillo's 301-694-7108

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
  • 1989 World Fantasy Award Nominations
  • Good Reading Periodically
  • Random Reviews
  • Donald M. Grant, Publisher
  • Cyberpunk & Neuromancer
  • Computer Books
  • Digital Delights
  • Comics: Nightmare On Elm Street
  • Read A Banned Book
  • Featured Author: Josephine Tey
  • Mystery Terminology
  • Guest Reviewer: Darryl Kenning
  • Books On A Chip
  • New From Carroll & Graf
  • Important Days in November
  • Computer Cowboy Reading
  • Number One Fan
  • November Book Releases
  • And ANYTHING Is Possible
  • Back Issues
  • Trivia Quiz
  • Trivia Answers

The public which reads, in any sense of the word worth considering, is very, very small; the public which would feel no lack if all book-printing ceased tomorrow is enormous.

--George Gissing

CONTRIBUTIONS: RFP is not copyrighted and nonprofit, and if you're crazy enough to play that game, send us any book-related material you'd care to contribute. Check out the masthead on the Table of Contents page for our various addresses.


Do you realize that scientists are, at this very moment, slaving away at their insidious Devil's machines, attempting to duplicate the human brain with a computer? What kind of idiots are we giving white coats and pocket protectors to?

Let's take a look at People. There are world leaders: Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Idi Amin, Kadafi, Dan Quayle. There are great spiritual leaders: the Ayatollah Khomeni, Jim & Tammy Bakker. Great strategists like Oliver North. Great sports figures: Leon Spinks, George Steinbrenner. Women in politics like Jessica Hahn. Even humans with computer-like memory capacity like John Dean. These are People. Can you imagine if those scientists ever succeed? I don't know about you, but I'll stick to my PC.

Why don't they spend their time trying to make computers really better, meaning more useful to us, not like us? We have literally billions of human beings--we don't need more--but a handy computer with lots of good software is still a godsend.

Which brings me to this issue. This issue was composed on a PC's Limited (now Dell) 286; the electronic edition is disseminated via an Avatex 2400; the print edition is "desktop published" on a Proteus 286; and the print edition is actually printed on a borrowed laser jet (we hope to get our own soon). RFP owes its very existence to the invention of silicon, so it's only fair that we give thanks with this Computers & Robots Issue.

As they say nowadays: Have your computer call our computer.

Happy Reading!


Access to computers--and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works--should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-On Imperative!
All information should be free.
Mistrust Authority--Promote Decentralization.
Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position.
You can create art and beauty on a computer.
Computers can change your life for the better.
--from HACKERS by Steven Levy


  • The book window of Liberty's, a department store in London, was blown up by a bomb apparently thrown from a passing car. Anger over THE SATANIC VERSES was given as the reason. It is the first time in these London bombings that people have been injured (3 people hurt, one seriously). Unfortunately for the sake of logic, Liberty's does not (and did not) carry the novel.
  • Umberto Eco (THE NAME OF THE ROSE) finally has a new novel out, called FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM. It's about a literary joke that turns into a psychological thriller, and sounds really good (it's not out yet as I write this). Publishers Weekly says that it's "a mixture of metaphysical meditation, detective story, computer handbook, introduction to physics and philosophy, historical survey, mathematical puzzle, compendium of religious and cultural mythology, guide to the Torah, reference manual to the occult, the hermetic mysteries, the Rosicrucians, the Jesuits, the Freemasons--ad infinitum". And you can get ALL THIS for only $22.95 from Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN: 0-15-132765-3
  • Just in case you're thinking about all those extra dollars going into Salman Rushdie's bank account because of all the controversy, think about his life now. He is closely guarded and must move to a new hiding place every few days. A bestseller is hardly compensation for living your life on the run.
  • Scott Turow (PRESUMED INNOCENT) has got a new novel, THE BURDEN OF PROOF. It's another story centered around legal concerns, and one of the central characters is from his first novel (Alejandro Stern, the smooth and classy defense attorney), but the highlight is not a trial, as in PRESUMED INNOCENT. THE BURDEN OF PROOF is supposed to be a more complicated story, a psychological tale of family secrets and loyalties. Like the first book, it will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, possibly around June of next year, just in time for summer reading.
  • While we're on the subject of PRESUMED INNOCENT, it appears that the movie will finally be made. The latest news that I've heard is that Harrison Ford has been signed to star.
  • While we're in Hollywood, let's catch up on book/movie news: the movie version of THE RUSSIA HOUSE by John le Carre currently filming in Moscow and Leningrad has a screenplay written by Tom Stoppard....Sally Field has optioned ROUGH JUSTICE by Keith Peterson (Andrew Klavan)....Lee Rich will produce THE BAD PLACE by Dean R. Koontz and Koontz will do the first-draft screenplay. Also, Guber & Peters (BATMAN) will produce Koontz's ODDKINS, his "fable for all ages".
  • Author Donald Barthelme died on July 23 (age 58) of cancer. His first novel was SNOW WHITE (sort of a modern-day slant on the Grimm/Disney character) and his last novel is THE KING (a World War II-period story about King Arthur), to be published by Harper & Row sometime next year.

Everyone who works with computers seems to develop an intuitive faith that there's some kind of ACTUAL SPACE behind the screen...

--William Gibson


We couldn't get the actual winners by press time, but here are the nominees, chosen by past members of the World Fantasy Convention and a panel of judges.

Best Novel:

  • THE LAST COIN by James P. Blaylock (Ziesing; Ace)
  • SLEEPING IN FLAME by Jonathan Carroll (Legend; Doubleday)
  • FADE by Robert Cormier (Gollancz; Delacorte)
  • THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris (St. Martin's)
  • THE DRIVE-IN by Joe R. Lansdale (Bantam Spectra)
  • KOKO by Peter Straub (Dutton; Viking UK)

Best Short Fiction:

  • "Winter Solstice, Camelot Station" by John M. Ford (INVITATION TO CAMELOT)
  • "Night They Missed the Horror Show" by Joe R. Lansdale (SILVER SCREAM)
  • "Life of Buddha" by Lucius Shepard (Omni May 1988)
  • "Metastasis" by Dan Simmons (NIGHT VISIONS 5)

Best Short Story Collection:

  • CABAL by Clive Barker (Poseidon)
  • CHARLES BEAUMONT: SELECTED STORIES edited by Roger Anker (Dark Harvest)
  • ANGRY CANDY by Harlan Ellison (Houghton Mifflin)
  • THE BLOOD KISS by Dennis Etchison (Scream Press)
  • THE KNIGHT AND KNAVE OF SWORDS by Fritz Leiber (Morrow)
  • STOREYS FROM THE OLD HOTEL by Gene Wolfe (Kerosina)

Best Novella:

  • "The Skin Trade" by George R.R. Martin (NIGHT VISIONS 5)
  • THE SCALEHUNTER'S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER by Lucius Shepard (Ziesing, IASFM September 1988)
  • "The Gardener" by Sheri S. Tepper (NIGHT VISIONS 6)
  • THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC by Jane Yolen (Viking Kestrel)

Best Anthology:

  • THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY: FIRST ANNUAL COLLECTION edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (St. Martin's)
  • NIGHT VISIONS 6 (Dark Harvest)
  • SILVER SCREAM edited by David J. Schow (Dark Harvest)
  • PRIME EVIL edited by Douglas E. Winter (NAL)

Best Artist:

  • Jill Bauman, Thomas Canty, Edward Gorey, Don Maitz, Harry O. Morris, Phil Parks

Special Award/Professional:

  • Ellen Datlow (Omni, anthologies)
  • Paul Mikol & Scott Stadalsky (Dark Harvest Press)
  • Dean R. Koontz (author)
  • Terri Windling (editor)

Special Award/Non-Professional:

  • Carl T. Ford (Dagon Press)
  • Peggy Nadramia (Grue Magazine)
  • Paul Olson (Horrorstruck)
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch & Dean Wesley Smith (Pulphouse)

When I wrote NEUROMANCER, I didn't know that computers had disk drives.

--William Gibson


  1. When David Gerrold (WHEN H.A.R.L.I.E. WAS ONE Release 2.0) was a college student, he sold his first unsolicited TV script to Star Trek. What was the name of the episode?
  2. Who wrote COLOSSUS?
  3. Who wrote NORTHANGER ABBEY?
  4. Everyone knows that the computer in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey was named Hal, but what was the model number? For extra credit, where was Hal made?
  6. Who did the original drawings for ALICE IN WONDERLAND?
  7. Who wrote SOFTWARE and WETWARE?
  8. Who wrote LAST AND FIRST MEN?
  9. Who was Don Quixote's squire?
  10. What drug did Coleridge become dependent upon?

I come to work because I enjoy playing with the computers.

--Ray Ozzie


DARK REGIONS -- I've been moaning about the narrowing ranks of horror and dark fantasy magazines lately, so I was particularly glad to find DARK REGIONS 3 in my mailbox last week. Joe Morey is the editor/publisher, and does a terrific job at both. The issue looks great, with clear medium-large type and nice black and white art (the cover art actually illustrates one of the stories), and the fiction is mostly first-rate. The best is "The Junkyard", a nice grisly piece by Joe R. Lansdale, a 1984 story that exercises the blob-beast that later showed up in THE DRIVE-IN. If you like to keep up on Weird Fiction, you definitely want this magazine. Published 3 times a year: $4 for issue #4, $9 for a year's subscription, $17 for 2 years. Make your check payable to Joe Morey and send it to: Dark Regions, P.O. Box 6301, Concord, CA 94524.

EXPLORATORIUM -- The Exploratorium is a museum of "science, art and human perception" located in San Francisco, but they have quite a few publications to enjoy from wherever you are. Like the Exploratorium Quarterly, each issue of which examines one topic in depth (recent topics: Dirt, Memory, Hands, Spinning Things, Fire, Ice, Photography). Each issue is a fascinating collection of articles written for the intelligent layperson, with concrete examples and even some hands-on experiments. They have loads of good material for school children as well: classroom activity packets by topic, posters and charts, visual perception kits, etc. They even have volumes called Cookbooks that show you how to set up the hands-on museum displays from the Exploratorium at home (or in the classroom). To find out about all this good stuff, write: Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123; 415-561-0393. For students of all ages.

I didn't see why I couldn't use words instead of symbols; then people who like words could write sentences and have the machine translate it into code.

--Admiral Grace Murray Hopper


by Steve Allen

This mystery is for fun only. As a novel it has problems--the tone is uneven, the dialogue is awkward, and the exposition has odd moments like the following:

"In this fair city, Fame is our official goddess, with Fortune sitting at Her right-hand side, and Wheels on the left--Her golden chariot in which She travels these sun-washed and increasingly blood-spattered streets."

This is Steve Allen's way of saying that the automobile is considered very important in Los Angeles. Also, Mr. Allen should avoid vulgarisms. The colloquial "street" language used in this novel is out of date and often improperly used.

As a mystery, MURDER ON THE GLITTER BOX doesn't fare too much better. The guilty party is detectable very early on, and the standard mystery plot devices are awkwardly managed. The last big red herring is so oversold that many readers will want the red herring punished far more than the actual murderer.

All that said, this is still a fun book. Steve Allen, who is the protagonist/sleuth of the story as well as the author, uses the television industry, and a talk-show in particular, as the setting. While no real information seems to be revealed, readers will have fun soaking up the show biz atmosphere of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Burbank TV studio; not to mention guessing who the characters were originally based on. I found each of the characters to be very obviously based on a real person with one or two alterations, and the changes pique the interest more than they hide identity.

by Penn Jillette & Teller

If you've never caught Penn & Teller's magic act, you're going to be startled and confused by this book. For those of you who haven't seen them, they are Radical Magicians. Penn Jillette is a weird-looking giant of a man with rapier wit and a constant stream of caustic "patter" for their routines. Teller is a small, attractive pixie of a guy who is particularly talented at physical magic and apparently NEVER speaks.

And then there are the tricks they do. They're different. They usually involve the threat or the illusion of violence. Teller has been imperiled in countless ways; the first trick I ever saw them do involved picking out Your Card from a deck with a large butcher knife, but unfortunately Penn makes a "mistake" and picks the card with the knife through Teller's hand (which bleeds very realistically).

But what about the book? It's a fun book: you get fiction, essays, inside dope on famous Penn & Teller tricks, and you get actual tricks to play yourself. As the title suggests, most of the tricks have a decidedly "cruel" slant to them, which is played up by the text. You are encouraged not just to perform a magic trick, but to humiliate your "dear friends". The whole thing is a riot. Here's an example:

"You can do this with just you and Lieutenant Zero, alone, but it's better if his or her peer group is there watching. That way they can laugh at the putz along with you. Peer-group humiliation is the best. And if you can get the peer group in on the gag before the wazoo shows up, so much the better."

CRUEL TRICKS FOR DEAR FRIENDS is wall-to-wall fun, entertaining on several levels, as are Penn & Teller themselves. Several of the tricks taught in the text come with accessories, which means the book is sold sealed in heavy plastic. Guaranteed to bring out the kid in everyone, and it makes a great, and unusual, gift. Be the first one in your group to find out:

  • Was that really Penn on Miami Vice?
  • What is the Invisible Thread Trick?
  • What was Penn doing at a Live Sex show?

The Japanese have a slang word -- paku paku -- they use to describe ... the mouth opening and closing while one eats. The name 'Pac Man' came from that word.

--Toru Iwatani

P.O. Box 187
Hampton Falls, NH 03844

Donald M. Grant publishes beautiful illustrated volumes of science fiction, fantasy, horror, nonfiction, poetry, and probably other things that I don't know about yet. He's best-known now for the first editions of Stephen King's Dark Tower series (and, no, THE DARK TOWER III: THE WASTE LANDS isn't out yet--last I heard, it's not even written yet). I have almost a full shelf of Grant books myself, all of them gorgeous editions of terrific writing.

It seems that I will be buying more Donald M. Grant books in the near future, because his Books In Progress list looks great. He'll be doing a nice edition of Peter Straub's KOKO, illustrated by Thomas Canty, signed by author and artist. My favorite is a new edition of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by H.P. Lovecraft, issued for the 100th anniversary of his birth. It will be "startlingly different", with art by Brazilian artist Fernando Duval, who will even sign a few.

Other upcoming projects: THE KINGS OF TARSHISH SHALL BRING GIFTS by Stephen R. Donaldson and illustrated by Thomas Canty, VIRGIL'S AENEID translated by E. McCrorie and illustrated by Luis Ferreira, and THE FACE IN THE ABYSS by A. Merritt and illustrated by Ned Dameron.

by Robert E. Howard
(from Donald M. Grant, $25.00)

Robert E. Howard's POST OAKS AND SAND ROUGHS is a semi- autobiographical novel centering around Howard's friends and acquaintances and the towns in which he lived. Cross Plains and Brownwood are thinly disguised as "Lost Plains" and "Redwood", and many of Howard's friends and "enemies" alike are easily recognizable under fictitious names. Howard himself appears as "Steve Costigan", a name which appears more than once in his general fiction.

The time frame is from late 1924 (when Howard was 18 years of age) to early 1928. This work, covering a span of approximately 3-1/2 years, is a revealing picture of Robert E. Howard--man-boy --in a formative and crucial period of his life.

Published here for the first time, POST OAKS AND SAND ROUGHS is a new and unlooked for revelation of the brooding violence, the grave fears, and the terrible hates lying within the strange genius that was Robert E. Howard. It is a book of which Howard himself wrote: "I...know it won't be accepted. I wouldn't take it myself if I were a publisher...I've cursed out every known cult, creed and nationality in it; if any man takes it, he'll be either unusually broad-minded or else a misanthrope."

Introduction by Glenn Lord, who has also provided an identifying checklist of names and places which Howard uses in the book.

AVAILABLE: According to my latest information, the following volumes are still available from Donald M. Grant. Shipping & Handling are free (or are included in the price, however you look at it). The address is at the top of this article.

  • Bennett, Robert Ames: Bowl of Baal $10.00
  • Bierce, Ambrose: Vision of Doom $12.00
  • Brennan, Joseph Payne: Adventures of Lucius Leffing $30.00 (above is autographed by author and artist) Chronicles of Lucius Leffing $10.00 Creep to Death $15.00 (above is autographed by author and artist)
  • Brennan, Noel-Anne: Winter Reckoning $30.00
  • Buchan, John: Far Islands $17.00
  • Canty, Thomas: Monster at Christmas $30.00
  • Daniels, Les: Yellow Fog $30.00
  • De Camp, L. Sprague: Heroes & Hobgoblins $25.00
  • Donaldson, Stephen: Daughter of Regals $50.00
  • Ellis, Novalyne Price: One Who Walked Alone (2nd printing) $25
  • Ellis, Peter: Last Adventurer $25.00
  • Finlay, Virgil: Astrology Sketch Book $15.00
  • Finney, Charles G.: The Magician Out of Manchuria $25.00
  • Grant, Charles L.: Dark Cry of the Moon $15.00 Long Night of the Grave $20.00 Soft Whisper of the Dead $15.00
  • Grant, Donald M.: Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny $20.00
  • Gilmour, William: Undying Land $20.00
  • Hodgson, William Hope: Dream of X $15.00
  • Howard, Robert E.: Black Colossus $20.00 Black Vulmea's Vengeance $20.00 Devil In Iron $20.00 Hawks of Outremer $15.00 Hour of the Dragon $30.00 Iron Man $10.00 Jewels of Gwalhur $20.00 Kull $25.00 Marchers of Valhalla (2nd edition) $15.00 Mayhem on Bear Creek $10.00 Pool of the Black One $25.00 Post Oaks and Sand Roughs $25.00 Queen of the Black Coast $20.00 Road of Azrael $20.00 Rogues in the House $20.00 Shadows of Dreams $25.00 (autographed by artist Rick Berry)
  • Lamb, Harold: Durandal (limited edition) $35.00 Durandal $15.00 Sea of the Ravens (limited edition) $35.00 Sea of the Ravens $15.00 Three Palladins $12.00
  • Lane, Jeremy: Yellow Men Sleep $15.00
  • Lanier, Sterling E.: Curious Quests of Brigadier Ffellowes $30
  • Lovecraft, H.P.: To Quebec & The Stars $15.00
  • Milne, Robert D.: Into the Sun (Science Fiction in Old San Francisco) $15.00
  • Moore, C.L.: Scarlet Dream $20.00
  • Morrell, David: Hundred-Year Christmas $50.00
  • Moskowitz, Sam: History of the Movement (Science Fiction in Old San Francisco) $15.00
  • Mundy, Talbot: King--of the Khyber Rifles $15.00
  • Roscoe, Theodore: Wonderful Lips of Thibong Linh $15.00
  • Sidney-Fryer, Donald: Emperor of Dreams $20.00
  • Tremayne, Peter: My Lady of Hy-Brasil $30.00
  • Vivian, E.C.: Fields of Sleep $15.00
  • Wagner, Karl Edward: Book of Kane $20.00

The problem in PC software is not power, it's design. The 80386 will make it easier to write terrible products.

--Morton Rosenthal


What is cyberpunk literature? For starters, it's a subgenre of science fiction, normally futuristic. Also, there are some standard characteristics of cyberpunk, like the prominent inclusion of:

  1. computers
  2. drugs
  3. music (often rock 'n' roll)

Of course you know better than to tell any writer he writes cyberpunk, don't you? Not just cyberpunk, any genre. Every author (and every person, for that matter) likes to think of himself as unique, not part of a crowd, so keep in mind that any categorizing we do as readers is for our own benefit only. Don't bother writers with this; let them get on with business.

NEUROMANCER, a novel by William Gibson (1984), is generally regarded as the first major example of cyberpunk to receive widespread attention and acclaim, so lets take a closer look. It's the story of Case, a former (computer) cowboy who stole from his employers and was punished by having his nervous system deliberately damaged; just enough to ruin his ability to work with computers any more. Enter Molly and Armitage.

Molly, hired muscle with extendable blades in the ends of her fingertips, takes Case to Armitage, who has a proposition: if Case will agree to do some computer work for him, he will have Case's nervous system fixed. Case agrees, but finds out later that poison sacs have also been installed in his body to keep him loyal to Armitage until the work is done.

So what is the job? Case has got to use the equipment provided by Armitage to get past the ICE of an AI (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics of an Artificial Intelligence). He'll be using a Hosaka computer deck, with Chinese virus software, and a "construct", which is a software version of his mentor (who is actually dead).

Case and Molly are the most prominent humans in the story, but the star of NEUROMANCER is the technology. Case develops a relationship with Molly, and they sleep together, but this is related in relatively flat prose. His most intense pairing is with the Hosaka; the first time he puts on the 'trodes and "jacks in" his pleasure is virtually orgasmic. There's an overall sense that people are disposable, but technology is Important.

Another significant term used in NEUROMANCER is cyberspace, which is where Case "goes" when he's jacked-in to the computer. It's the geography of pure data, which Gibson makes wonderfully visual; a bit like what they did in the movie TRON, giving personality to software, colors and dimensions to data. Gibson turns the computer into a untamed horse that must be ridden by a capable computer cowboy--it's all very romantic, but it's a romance between human and machine, not between human and human.

When I was a child, parents worried about the isolating influence of television. We were constantly told: "Turn the TV off. Go out and play with the other kids." Now parents worry about children who are closer to their computer than they are to their human friends. Cyberpunk stories generally carry this theme forward to a time when people naturally and normally relate to machinery, and only occasionally, and with difficulty, to other humans.

As I said up top, music is another common element, but it's the Sony Walkman, solitary experience of music, not the social enjoyment of a dance. And the ever-present drugs further isolate the cyberpunk characters, who seem to need them to deal with reality on any level.

Depressing? Yeah, pretty much. But the great thing about cyberpunk is the presentation of ideas. These are not stories about interesting characters, or fascinating plots. These are ideas and philosophies given a setting for illustrative purposes. These are stories to chew over, not to commit to memory. While I found cyberpunk difficult to warm up to, once I stopped trying to force it to be like other literature and let it just flow I found some of the concepts presented enormously exciting. Cyberpunk should be required reading for engineers.

I have been told by some reliable sources that cyberpunk is obviously here to stay as a genre of literature. I have been told by other reliable sources that cyberpunk is already yesterday's news. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I'm more worried about avoiding the future that's drawn for us in these stories-- technology's place in the cosmos obviously needs more thought. I don't relish the prospect of becoming merely a mobile input device for my IBM (no offense, guy, you know?).

POINT OF TRIVIA: Did you know that NEUROMANCER was written on a manual Underwood typewriter?

Below is a brief list to get you started in cyberpunk literature. Cyberpunk is only an artificial category, of course, and the appropriateness of any particular work's inclusion is a subjective personal opinion.


LAST AND FIRST MEN by Olaf Stapledon (1937)
THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester (1956)
NAKED LUNCH by William Burroughs (1959)


GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon (1973)
SHOCKWAVE RIDER by John Brunner (1975)


THE ARTIFICIAL KID by Bruce Sterling (1980)
SOFTWARE by Rudy Rucker (1982)
FRONTERA by Lewis Shiner (1984)
NEUROMANCER by William Gibson (1984)
BLOOD MUSIC by Greg Bear (1985)
SCHISMATRIX by Bruce Sterling (1985)
COUNT ZERO by William Gibson (1986)
MIRRORSHADES: A Cyberpunk Anthology edited by Bruce Sterling (1986)
BURNING CHROME by William Gibson (1986)
MINDPLAYERS by Pat Cadigan (1987)
WHEN GRAVITY FAILS by George Alec Effinger (1987)
VACUUM FLOWERS by Michael Swanwick (1987)
MONA LISA OVERDRIVE by William Gibson (1988)
ISLANDS IN THE NET by Bruce Sterling (1988)
WETWARE by Rudy Rucker (1988)

What I like about programming is that it really helps you think about how we communicate, how we think, how logic works, how creative arts work.

--Michael Hawley


  • The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster (1909)
  • Moxon's Master by Ambrose Bierce (1909)
  • Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (1952)
  • They'd Rather Be Right by Mark Clifton & Frank Riley (1957)
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (1966)
  • The Tale of the Big Computer by Olof Johannesson (1966)
  • Colossus by D.F. Jones (1966)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (1968)
  • When H.A.R.L.I.E. Was One by David Gerrold (1972)
  • Roderick by John Sladek (1980)
  • The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder (1981) <nonfiction>
  • The Mind's I by Douglas R. Hofstadter & Daniel C. Dennett (1981)
  • Bugs by Theodore Roszak (1981)
  • Apple Crunch by Frederic Vincent Huber (1981)
  • The Lucifer Key by Malcolm MacPherson (1981)
  • Roderick At Random by John Sladek (1983)
  • Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy (1984) <nonfiction>
  • Valentina: Soul in Sapphire by Joseph H. Delaney & Marc Stiegler (1984)
  • The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World by A.K. Dewdney (1984) <nonfiction?>
  • Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer by Paul Freiberger & Michael Swaine (1984) <nonfiction>
  • Out of the Inner Circle by "The Cracker" Bill Landreth the Teenage Computer Wizard Apprehended by the FBI (1985) <nonfiction>
  • Memory Blank by John E. Stith (1986)
  • When H.A.R.L.I.E. Was One Release 2.0 by David Gerrold (1988)
  • Mismatch by Lloyd Pye (1988)
  • Planetfall by Arthur Byron Cover (1988)
  • Antibodies by David J. Skal (1988)

1989 Titles:

  • V.I.R.U.S. Protection: Vital Information Resources Under Siege by Pamela Kane (book/software) >Bantam Sep89 TP $39.95 0-553-34799-3
  • Local Area Networks: Developing Your System for Business by Donne Florence >Wiley Sep89 TP $24.95 0-471-62466-7
  • The Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, Volume IV edited by Avron Barr, Paul R. Cohen, and Edward A. Feigenbaum >Addison-Wesley Oct89 TP $29.95 0-201-51731-0 400 pages
  • The Ventura Publisher Solutions Book: Recipes for Advanced Results by Michael Utvich >Bantam Oct89 TP $24.95 0-553-34504-4
  • 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.)
  • 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 Improbable Machine: What the New Upheaval in Artificial Intelligence Research Reveals About How the Mind Really Works by Jeremy Campbell >Simon & Schuster Oct89 HC $19.95 0-671-65711-9
  • Straight Talk: The On-Line Conferencing Resource by Charles Bowen & Stewart Schneider (book/software) >Bantam Nov89 TP $39.95 0-553-34780-2
  • Variations in C: 2nd Edition by Steve Schustack >Microsoft Nov89 TP $22.95 1-55615-239-6 (Teaches structured programming in Microsoft C and shows how to design and implement a large, professional-quality application.)
  • How to Win at Nintendo II by Jeff Rovin >St. Martin's Nov89 PB $3.95 (Includes tips on winning 30 games not covered in the first book.)
  • PC DOS: A Self-Teaching Guide, Third Edition by Ruth Ashley & Judi N. Fernandez >Wiley Nov89 TP $19.95 0-471-51355-5
  • Object-Oriented Programming in Turbo Pascal 5.5 by Ben Ezzell >Addison-Wesley Dec89 TP $22.95 0-201-52375-2 500 pages
  • The Big Chip: A Witt Kramer Mystery. A Graphic Computer Novel. by W.R. Philbrick; illustrated by Bruce Jenson >Microsoft Jan90 $7.95 1-55615-245-0 (A dynamic and witty computer mystery in the appealing format of a graphic novel.)
  • The Waite Group's MS-DOS Bible, Third Edition by Steven Simrin >Howard W. Sams TP $24.95 0-672-22693-6
  • Mastering Nintendo by Judd Robbins >Howard W. Sams TP $7.95 0-672-22714-2 (Ideally targeted for children between the ages of 6 to 16, an age group that purchases and actively uses the very popular Nintendo game machine, Mastering Nintendo contains a review of the most popular games for the Nintendo game machine with a strong emphasis on strategy as well as tips and techniques for improving the player's score. The book provides an overview of each game, rating the challenge level, sound and graphics, the plot of the game, a review of the main characters, and power tips.)
  • Bugs by John Sladek (1989, British publication only so far)

Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools.

--Henry David Thoreau


How Computers Are Transforming the Office of the Future
into the Factory of the Past
by Barbara Garson

After all of the futuristic books about the wonderful changes the computer was going to bring about in the workplace (The speed! The efficiency! The extra leisure time!), here is Barbara Garson to tell us about the changes that have actually occurred (The isolation from human contact. The paranoia. The stress-induced illnesses.). The problem is, of course, that while computers are powerful and flexible tools, people are still no nicer or fairer than they ever were.

In the first chapter we go to McDonald's, where automation has made possible a restaurant staffed by know-nothings and managed by a human capable of reading a computer printout. The major concerns at a McDonald's are: good fry yields, low M&R (Maintenance & Repair budget), and crew labor productivity. As Garson points out, "It's job organization, not malice, that allows (almost requires) McDonald's workers to be handled like paper plates. They feel disposable because they are."

The next job up for consideration is one in Airline Reservations. These people sit in isolation, connected to a combination computer/phone line, and push bookings all day long. They are monitored by the computer, which plots their every second; and by human superiors, who listen in periodically for an hour or so at a time. Ms. Garson manages to find a reasonably happy employee, but we see the problems even here as Ms. Garson sums up Kenny, "the thirty-year-old who has no plans for a family, no objection to moving, no one expecting him for dinner and yet loves being 'involved with people'." What kind of a society are we building?

The inherent problems of automation are further revealed as Barbara Garson discusses expert systems and notes: "It's dangerous to confine our species' expertise to a few. Especially to the few who grab for it." All through THE ELECTRONIC SWEATSHOP we are forced to re-evaluate our notions about automation. As we probably should have seen before, anything with enormous potential for good also must have enormous potential for evil.

Some of Barbara Garson's main points are:

  1. Automation is not being used as a labor-saving device, but as a labor-controlling device. Also, "A U.S. Department of Labor publication estimated that in 1984 nearly two-thirds of the people who worked at video display terminals were monitored by their employers." Massive loss of privacy.
  2. "The underlying premise of modern automation is a profound distrust of thinking human beings...All over the world, technology is controlled undemocratically by people who scorn, fear or simply want to use their fellow human beings."
  3. She also notes that computers always isolate people, meaning that more and more decisions (that affect all of us) are being made by people who have very little contact with other humans.

The images that kept coming to my mind as I read this book were all from the movie BRAZIL, the most frightening depiction of future society I've ever seen. It had never occurred to me that the desire for speed and efficiency, as cosmic forces, are petty when compared to distrust, paranoia, and the desire for power and control. A sobering, important book. Barbara Garson is also the author of ALL THE LIVELONG DAY: The Meaning and Demeaning of Routine Work (1977).

COMPUTE!'S COMPUTER VIRUSES (1988) by Ralph Roberts
COMPUTER VIRUSES: A High-Tech Disease (1988) by Ralf Burger

Here's today's hot computer subject: viruses, the malicious little programs that hide on your hard disk, spreading and multiplying while awaiting a prearranged signal to become active and perform some act of deviltry or destruction. The motivations are obvious: from kiddie pranksters to foreign aggression, viruses don't display any new human psychology. But viruses do give the bad guys a new weapon, scary for two main reasons:

  1. The bad guys understand computers better than we do, making prevention very difficult for us.
  2. We were just beginning to trust computers, and now we find that they can trash all our data at a moment's notice, through no fault of our own.

The crux of the issue, as I see it, is that the good guys (creators of anti-viral methods) and the bad guys (virus creators) are locked in a life-and-death struggle (the life and death referring to our data). The minute one of them makes an advance, the other will counter it; leaving us sitting at our terminals with worried faces, wondering who will decide our fate. The point is, yesterday's news (which is what you'll find in these books) isn't as valuable for prevention as current news.

Do these books have any value? Certainly. They are both excellent introductions to the whole subject of computer terrorism, explained in English. Both are interesting and helpful, but, as I said, most of the specifics are out of date -- which is a problem with any computer book, not just these two. I should mention that Burger's book contains actual virus code, a questionable publishing decision.

by John Sladek
(both available in paperback from Carroll & Graf)

These two books are rightly paired, because they started life as one book, RODERICK, OR THE EDUCATION OF A YOUNG MACHINE, a novel so long that it was broken up into two. As one book or two, RODERICK is a picaresque tale of a robot created at the University of Minnetonka in a near-future U.S. that has outlawed artificial intelligences, so Roderick spends most of his time on the run.

On one level, RODERICK is about the whole subject of intelligent machines. As you're reading about young Roderick you'll pick up information about the whole history of robots and AI, fiction and nonfiction. One of my favorite parts of the first volume is a continuing discussion Roderick has with Father Warren, who tries to convince him that he's NOT a robot. Both Roderick and Father Warren must explore the boundaries of intelligence as well as humanity.

On another level, RODERICK is a satire. The U.S. that Roderick lives in consists of lunatics and con men, insanity and inverted values--in other words, it's a LOT like the U.S. that WE live in. During the course of these novels Sladek manages to poke fun at everything and everybody. As a matter of fact, if you find one paragraph in either book that's not funny, chances are it's because the satire hits too close to home. I particularly enjoyed the inside view of academia, in all it's backbiting, publish-or- perish, insular glory.

On still another level, RODERICK is one enormous collection of puns, mathematical games, riddles, paradoxes, cryptograms, and other wordplay. Every sentence is a carefully-constructed jewel of insanity. For instance, there are two prominent doctors in the first novel--one is called Welby and the other De'Ath.

The only criticism of these books that I can imagine is that the wordplay and satire get in the way of the story--which they do. Getting from plot point A to plot point B is not really the issue here; it's the scenery along with way. Sladek not only shows us a robot, he shows us ourselves, and makes us laugh at both.

NOTE: Carroll & Graf plan to publish a paperback of John Sladek's THE MULLER-FOKKER EFFECT (1970), about a man who is reincarnated as a computer program, in March, 1990.

My job title was computer. Other people have programmed computers, but I have been one.

--C. Wayne Ratliff


REVIEW by Drew

Freddy Krueger's A Nightmare On Elm Street
Written by Steve Gerber
Penciling by Rich Buckler & Tony DeZuniga
Lettering by Janice Chiang
Finishes by Alfredo Alcala
Published by MARVEL COMICS $2.25

Freddy Krueger, "The bastard son of a thousand maniacs", makes his comic book debut in this recent Marvel release. The first two issues of the comic form a single story titled "Dreamstalker".

Dr. Juliann Quinn has recently returned to her home town of Springwood to apply her psychiatric skills in an investigation of a most perplexing phenomenon: many of the town's teenagers suffer from nightmares about deceased child-killer Freddy Krueger -- and often die shortly afterwards. Soon after her arrival, Dr. Quinn meets a young woman named Allison Hayes, who claims to almost have been killed by Freddy. Using techniques developed by Dr. Quinn, the two women dream together in hopes of finding Freddy and ridding Allison of his evil presence. But no sooner do they enter the dream world than they discover that Freddy has instead found them ... and he isn't about to let them go ... Eventually, Juliann becomes trapped in Freddy's nightmare world and Allison must take up the battle on her own.

Included in Dreamstalkers part 1 is the tale of Freddy's conception and childhood years. We find out that Freddy was conceived of a nurse named Amanda Krueger in a mental hospital called Our Lady of Sorrows. She becomes trapped for three days in a mental ward, called The Cage, and is raped literally hundreds of times. Eventually Freddy is born, taken away from his mother (who is now confined to an institution herself), and adopted and raised by two different sets of "parents", the second of which he murders.

For those who enjoyed any of the Nightmare On Elm Street movies or the TV show, or anyone else for that matter, this magazine- size comic is a must. The black and white art is superb and you'll recognize the characters and dialog immediately. Here you'll find the typical Nightmare scenes: the bloodied body in the locked room, the imaginary house in the nightmarish dream, the razor-clawed hand rising out of the bed, the bizarre boiler room dream-land scenes, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed this comic book and was anxious to continue reading the series (see poscript below). On a scale of 1 to 10 stars, I give Nightmare on Elm Street 9 stars.


Although Nightmare on Elm Street immediately became the top selling Marvel black and white magazine and was solicited by distributors through the fifth issue, it has been cancelled after only the second issue. The only reason given by Marvel Promotion Manager Steve Saffel is that it was done "For a number of reasons". Stories written by Buzz Dixon and Peter David had already been written and delivered. "The cancellation order took a lot of people by surprise," said writer Peter David.

We suspect that Nightmare on Elm Street was a little much for Marvel Comics. They seem to cater to the younger reader with the "super hero" type comics like The Punisher and The Destroyer. Nightmare on Elm Street could have had serious conflicts with their normal image. Also--they had targeted Nightmare on Elm Street for the newsstand market and could have been taken aback by the amount of direct market sales. We hope that another publisher will decide to pick up and continue the Nightmare series. The first two issues should still be available at near cover price and just might be a worthwhile investment.

The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.

--Sydney J. Harris


Don't let someone else decide what you can read! The following books have been challenged, burned or banned somewhere IN THE UNITED STATES within the past 20 years. Take a stand by supporting these books and the stores and libraries that carry them.

  • FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, by V.C. Andrews
  • THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, by Jean M. Auel
  • FOREVER, by Judy Blume
  • IGGIE'S HOUSE, by Judy Blume
  • SUPERFUDGE, by Judy Blume
  • THE LIVING BIBLE, by William C. Bower
  • A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, by Anthony Burgess
  • SILAS MARNER, by George Eliot
  • HARRIET THE SPY, by Louise Fitzhugh
  • THE DEVIL'S ALTERNATE, by Frederick Forsyth
  • THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, by Anne Frank
  • LORD OF THE FLIES, by William Golding
  • ORDINARY PEOPLE, bu Judith Guest
  • CATCH-22, by Joseph Heller
  • A FAREWELL TO ARMS, by Ernest Hemingway
  • THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW, by S.E. Hinton
  • BRAVE NEW WORLD, by Aldous Huxley
  • THE BASTARD, by John Jakes
  • ULYSSES, by James Joyce
  • FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON, by Daniel Keyes
  • CARRIE, by Stephen King
  • CUJO, by Stephen King
  • FIRESTARTER, by Stephen King
  • THE SHINING, by Stephen King
  • IT'S OKAY IF YOU DON'T LOVE ME, by Norma Klein
  • LOVE IS ONE OF THE CHOICES, by Norma Klein
  • A SEPARATE PEACE, by John Knowles
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee
  • MATARESE CIRCLE, by Robert Ludlum
  • THE CRUCIBLE, by Arthur Miller
  • DEATH OF A SALESMAN, by Arthur Miller
  • NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, by George Orwell
  • THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, by J.D. Salinger
  • THE SEDUCTION OF PETER S., by Lawrence Sanders
  • THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, by William Shakespeare
  • BLOODLINE, by Sidney Sheldon
  • WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, by Shel Silverstein
  • ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • EAST OF EDEN, by John Steinbeck
  • THE GRAPES OF WRATH, by John Steinbeck
  • OF MICE AND MEN, by John Steinbeck
  • THE RED PONY, by John Steinbeck
  • UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, by Harriet B. Stowe
  • HUCKLEBERRY FINN, by Mark Twain
  • SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
  • THE COLOR PURPLE, by Alice Walker
  • THE PIGMAN, by Paul Zindel

Have you ever noticed that there are no Maytag user groups? Nobody needs a mutual support group to run a washing machine.

--Jef Raskin



Miss Tey (whose real name was Elizabeth Mackintosh) was one of the foremost authors of the Golden Age of detective fiction, even though she was not prolific and wrote only eight mysteries, all of the Classic Puzzle variety. Her series detective was Alan Grant, appearing in six of the eight novels. Contrary to modern practice, Grant is a low-profile detective and does not divert attention away from the central plot. Several critics have noted that Tey's style is most seen today in Ruth Rendell and P.D. James.

Elizabeth Mackintosh graduated from a college for teachers of physical training and she actually taught for a brief period (this experience shows up in MISS PYM DISPOSES). The last 28 years of her life, however, were spent taking care of sick parents. With a life that seems, at least from the outside, to have been fairly devoid of incident, it's curious that she didn't write more.

I have read that the eight Josephine Tey mysteries have been in print since original publication, a noteworthy achievement. It's also been said that she is a mystery writer read by people who do not read mysteries, which is meant to be a compliment, even if it doesn't sound like it. It is true, however, that her books have an appeal that is distinct from the mystery element. For example: BRAT FARRAR is a first-rate impersonation tale, and THE DAUGHTER OF TIME has created more Richard III fanatics than any other piece of writing. And THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR is a fictionalization (like that word?) of a real-life mystery.

Whether you're a mystery fan or not, chances are considerably better than even that you'll enjoy most of the novels below. Pick the one that sounds the best and dig in!

"The continued interest in her books springs from her quiet creation of credible people who have relationships a good deal more complicated, and likely, than in all but a few of her Golden Age contemporaries (and indeed in the bulk of her successors)." --from WHODUNIT? edited by H.R.F. Keating

THE MAN IN THE QUEUE (1929) Published under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot. A long line had formed for the standing-room-only section of the Woffington Theatre. DIDN'T YOU KNOW?, London's favorite musical comedy for the past two years, was finishing its run at the end of the week. Suddenly, the line began to move, forming a wedge before the open doors as hopeful theatregoers nudged their way forward. But one man, his head sunk down upon his chest, slowly sank to his knees and then, still more slowly, keeled over on his face. Thinking he had fainted, a spectator moved to help, but recoiled in horror from what lay before him: the man in the queue had a small silver dagger neatly plunged into his back. So begins Inspector Alan Grant's first spectacular case, and it's up to the dapper detective to discover how murder was committed among so many witnesses, none of whom saw a thing.

RICHARD OF BORDEAUX (1933) An historical play "by Gordon Daviot" which was actually produced, starring John Gielgud.

A SHILLING FOR CANDLES (1936) First book published under the Josephine Tey pseudonym. Early one summer morning William Potticary's eye was caught by a flock of seagulls diving into the surf off the southern coast of England. A young woman's body lay limp on the beach--dyed hair, scarlet-tipped toes. The Coastguard called it "just a bathing fatality", but an article twisted in her hair screamed murder. For Scotland Yard's Inspector Alan Grant it was a nightmarish case of too many clues, and too many motives. For the woman was the screen actress Christine Clay. And the world was full of people who wanted her dead.

This novel was the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's movie YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1937), his personal favorite of all his British films. Especially memorable is the tracking shot across a dance floor to the twitching eye of a musician (who is a suspect).

CLAVERHOUSE (1937) A biography of Scottish leader John Graham.

THE STARS BOW DOWN (1939) A play based on the Bible story of Joseph.

LEITH SANDS (1946) A collection of 8 one-act plays.

MISS PYM DISPOSES (1946) Lucy Pym, a popular English psychologist, is guest lecturer at a physical training college. The year's term is nearly over, and Miss Pym--inquisitive and observant--detects a furtiveness in the behavior of one student during a final exam. She prevents the girl's cheating by destroying the crib notes that were to have been used. But Miss Pym's cover-up of one crime precipitates another--a fatal "accident" that her psychological theories prove was really murder! (Alan Grant does not appear in this book.)

THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR (1948) Robert Blair was about to knock off from a slow day at his law firm when the phone rang. It was Marion Sharpe on the line, a local woman of quiet disposition who lived with her mother at their decrepit country house, The Franchise. It appeared she was in some serious trouble: Miss Sharpe and her mother were accused of brutally kidnapping a demure young woman named Betty Kane. But Miss Kane's claims seemed highly unlikely, even to Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, until she described her prison--the attic room with its cracked window, the kitchen, and the old trunks--which sounded remarkably like The Franchise. Yet Marion Sharpe claimed the Kane girl had never been there, let alone been held captive for an entire month! Not believing Betty Kane's story, Solicitor Blair takes up the case and, in a dazzling feat of amateur detective work, solves the unbelievable mystery that stumped even Inspector Grant. This story is based on the real-life case of Elizabeth Canning.

BRAT FARRAR (1949) Simon Ashby was soon to turn twenty-one and the lean years would be over. After his parents' death, his Aunt Bee had come to Latchetts, the Ashbys' small country estate in the English midlands, to care for him, his three sisters, and his twin brother, Patrick, who had later disappeared; it was assumed that Patrick had drowned himself, although his body had never been found. Now Simon was about to inherit Latchetts and his mother's sizable fortune. Enter Brat Farrar, who had been carefully coached on every significant detail of Patrick's early life, who imitated his every mannerism and even looked like him. It seemed an impossible feat: to pose as someone else before his very family, especially when Simon discovered what was happening and that Brat was out to cheat him of his fortune! The question of why he wasn't exposed begged to be answered. Had Simon laid careful plans to foil Brat's game? Culminating in a final, terrible moment when the two confront one another, BRAT FARRAR is a "precarious adventure involving the reader early and firmly and then holding on tightly to the explosive conclusion". (James Sandoe)

THE DAUGHTER OF TIME (1951) Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III, which bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains- a venomous hunchback who allegedly killed his beloved brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England's throne? With the help of the British Museum and Brent Carradine, an American scholar, Grant determines to find out once and for all what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

TO LOVE AND BE WISE (1950) Literary sherry parties were not Grant's cup of tea. But when Scotland Yard's Detective-Sergeant arrived to pick up Marta Hallard for dinner, he was struck by the handsome young American photographer, Leslie Searle. Authoress Lavinia Fitch was sure her guest "must have been something very wicked in ancient Greece", and the art colony at Salcott St. Mary would have agreed. Yet Grant heard nothing more of Searle until the news of his disappearance. Had Searle drowned by accident, or could he have been murdered by one of his young women admirers? Was it a possible case of suicide, or had he simply vanished for reasons of his own? Who was Leslie Searle really? Witty, compassionate, and with the sophistication of MISS PYM DISPOSES, the story of TO LOVE AND BE WISE "is worth reading for its ingenious denouement alone". (The Times [London] Literary Supplement)

THE PRIVATEER (1952) A fictionalized biography of Henry Morgan, the buccaneer.

THE SINGING SANDS (1952) While traveling on the night train to Scotland, Inspector Alan Grant is perturbed by the close quarters of his berth, a sour-faced sleeping-car attendant nicknamed Yoghourt, and a dead man in B Seven. The deceased was a young man with rumpled dark hair and reckless eyebrows who had been drinking heavily the night of his death. Having accidentally carried off the dead man's newspaper, Grant discovers a cryptic poem written beside the newsprint. It speaks of "The beasts that talk, The stones that walk", and "The singing sand, That guard the way To Paradise". Though on sick leave from Scotland Yard (Anthony Boucher called THE SINGING SANDS "a study in detection as a method of psychotherapy"), Grant is determined to discover the poem's meaning and, in the process, uncovers the clues to a diabolical murder.

In 20 years, the Information Age will be here, absolutely. The dream of having the world database at your fingertips will have become a reality.... The world will be online, and we'll be able to simulate just about anything.

--William H. Gates III


The first step in being a mystery fan is to talk a good game. The following lexicon will help.

Cliff-Hanger: A moment of particular suspense. From the old movie serials when one installment would end with the hero literally hanging from a cliff--you had to return to the theater the following week to see if the hero lived.

Clue: Always look for THE clue that reveals the solution to the mystery. Often it's a casual statement by a fringe character.

Cozy: Common term for a particular type of mystery. Usually British, never violent, often involving older characters and more conversation than action. Most famous practictioner: Agatha Christie.

Cui Bono: "Who benefits". A legal term and a good place to start looking for the guilty party.

Detective Story: A mystery that features a detective, usually a professional Private Investigator.

Gothics: A branch of the mystery tree; the damsel-in-distress story. Lots of castles (or at least large, dark mansions), dark and stormy nights, mistaken identities, long-lost family members.

Had-I-But-Known: First used to describe the stories written by Mary Roberts Rinehart. The stories were related in flashback by women: "Had I but know, I wouldn't have gone into the deserted mansion all alone without a flashlight."

Hard-Boiled Mysteries: A distinctive American mystery type, featuring tough-talking detectives (private "dicks"), well-built women (dames), and lots of booze and violence. Famous practitioners: Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler.

Howdunit: A mystery where the emphasis is on HOW the murder was committed.

Inverted Mystery: A mystery where the identity of the murderer is known immediately, with the bulk of the story being how this person is caught. TV's Columbo is a good example.

Least Suspected Person (LSP): A cliche of the mystery form--the murderer is always the LSP.

Means, Motive, and Opportunity: Always scan your list of suspects for these hallmarks of guilt. If Miss Scarlet was killed in the library with the rope, the murderer must have had access to a rope (means), a reason to kill Miss Scarlet (motive), and must have been able to get to the library at the appropriate time (opportunity).

Modus Operandi (M.O.): The method a criminal uses to commit his crime, as distinctive as a fingerprint (well, almost).

Murder Mystery: Many people use this term rather than just Mystery. It weeds out the crummy stories that try to palm you off with a robbery or a confidence trick.

Police Procedural: The particular branch of mysteries that feature professional police as the detecting element. Most famous practitioner: Ed McBain.

Red Herring: This is the nasty, prominent clue that the author throws in your face just to get your attention off the real solution.

Shamus: A slang term for Private Investigator. Found in Hard-Boiled stories.

Thriller: The branch of mysteries that feature secret agents, military secrets, codes and ciphers, and exotic weaponry. These tend to be much more complicated than the usual "Who killed Joe Blow?" kind of story, and many mystery fans deny that thrillers belong to the Mystery category.

Whodunit: This is the classic mystery focused on who did the crime.

Whydunit: A story where the Who and How are known up front--the mystery is Why.

I'm remarkably free of utopian fantasies. I've never really thought about what I would ideally like the future to be. I suppose I'm reactionary in this regard, but I'd like it to be as much like the present as possible. Of course, I'm sure it won't be. It'll be some inconceivable thing.

--William Gibson



by Niven, Pournelle, and Barnes
Pocket Books $4.50

It is a good thing they were only charging $4.50 for this one; with my three favorite contemporary authors collaborating I probably would have invested my last sawbuck without a second thought. To say this is a novel of first contact would be literally true but a vast understatement. It is also a novel of adventure, vision, the human condition, with a word of warning. This is one of those books that will leave you thinking about the characters and the issues it raises for days and weeks after you put the book down. If you read only one book this year...this should be the one. Don't miss it.

RATING...0 (low) to 5 (high)...5 *****

by Brian W. Aldiss
Avon Books $9.95
March 1988

This is a HUGO winner, billed as THE history of Science Fiction. What rot. This is a book that will be loved by college teachers of literature. It does cover a vast time period, but the author's prejudices about other authors, books and ideas come shining through. Now I don't mind a bit of disagreement about what constitutes good science fiction, good fiction, or, good anything else. But I bought this because I hoped it would be a good reference source for someone who loves the genre, instead what I found was a disgruntled author trying to prove his viewpoints by heaping scorn on the works and ideas of other authors. The book does have some interesting pictures though.


Created by Larry Niven
Written by Dean Ing, Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling
Baen Books; 0-671-69833-8; August, 1989; $3.95

This is a "franchise universe" group of two stories set in Larry Niven's Man-Kzin Wars period of Known Space. Those of us who have read very many of Niven's stories quickly got caught up in the stream of Known Space, and have looked forward to stories to fill in the gaps of the future history story lines.

Dean Ing wrote the first story in this duo. This is really a follow up story to the first book in this series, Mann Wars. It is an fascinating look at the classic enemies/friends war theme. This novelette has much of the raw power and enthusiasm of early Ing stories, and it is clear that he enjoyed the sojourn into Niven's Universe.

The second of the two stories is a collaborative effort by Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling - and a nicely done piece too. It's been too long since we saw any Pournelle Science Fiction on a regular basis (hint, hint!), and it was a nice exercise to watch one of the modern masters of the genre at work.

At this point it can hardly be a surprise to you that I liked this book. The integration into the Known Universe is excellent <Thanks Larry for opening it up to others>, the writing is outstanding, and the imagery is as good as one can hope for. This one is definitely to be picked up now - no matter how high your stack of "to read" books is, and put it on the top.

Rating......5 *****

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).

I've had a fantasy for years about phoning myself somehow in 1968 or, more remotely, phoning my father back in the 1950s and having a conversation. If you think about phoning yourself in 1968...The things you would have to explain. Imagine a kid in 1968 saying, "Did we get to the moon?" And you say, "Yeah, but nothing came of it. It's just like a television show." "Did we win the sexual revolution?" "Well, sort of."

--William Gibson


Microlytics, Inc. and SelecTronics have made a commitment to putting reference works in electronic form. Their WordFinder 220 is one of America's leading electronic speller/thesaurus products, and now they've created the Electronic Bible EB2000.

The EB2000 is based on Zondervan's New International Version (NIV) of the Old and New Testaments. With it you can access any biblical word, book, chapter or verse instantly; push a button to store an "electronic bookmark"; enter commentary using a special notepad feature; and use a built-in biblical thesaurus.

The EB2000 is a hand-held hinged unit that opens to a tiny keyboard on one half and a 6 x 40 character screen on the other. I don't have exact dimensions, but in the photo I've seen it looks to be about the size of a checkbook, maybe a bit more than a half-inch thick. Suggested retail price is "under $300".

Also, the Electronic Bible, like all planned products from SelecTronics, accepts cartridges the size of credit cards for add-on capabilities, like chain references, biblical dictionaries and concordance data.

Part of what makes all this possible in the powerful text compression technology that was developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and is licensed to Microlytics. This compression system enabled them to put the entire Bible into one megabyte, making SelecTronics products potentially cheaper than the competition.

SelecTronics has more hand-held reference works planned, like a concise encyclopedia. They have already secured (through Microlytics) licenses for the Macmillan Legal Thesaurus, Black's Legal Dictionary, the Oxford Legal Dictionary, Le Robert Dictionnaire des Synonymes, and The Random House Unabridged Dictionary.

Personally, I'm looking forward to a hand-held unabridged dictionary. I would carry it in my pocket all the time, and refer to it repeatedly, all day long. Keep an eye on stores and catalogs for it. Meanwhile, the Electronic Bible EB2000 should be on sale for Christmas shopping.

Microlytics, Inc., One Tobey Village Office Park, Pittsford, NY 14534

It's been proven in my own lifetime, at least to my satisfaction, that the future is weirder than anything I or anyone else could ever dream up. Things like AIDS and the idea that the ozone layer is in part evaporating because of little plastic hamburger boxes in fast-food joints. Who could have dreamed that one up? It sounds like something from a 1950 science fiction story.

--William Gibson


by Ian Watson

Never before published in the United States, CHEKHOV'S JOURNEY is one of the most imaginative of Ian Watson's science fiction novels. It confirms his position in the front ranks of contemporary British writers and his status--in J.G. Ballard's view--as the most interesting science fiction writer of ideas.

Here he writes about a Soviet film unit's latest venture to hypnotize an actor so that he does not just play the role of Anton Chekhov but actually "reincarnates" him. But what they didn't bank on was Chekhov's vivid imagination and memories. Deep in a trance, the actor recalls that Chekhov knew about the 1908 Tunguska explosion back in 1890. This evidence of clairvoyance baffles the film crew even more when it is associated with the Soviet space program that has become so technologically advanced that the Film Unit at Krasnoyarsk begins to function very strangely indeed.

Ian Watson received enormous critical acclaim for his novel THE EMBEDDING which Carroll & Graf also publishes this season. He is a British Science Fiction Award winner and has been features editor of the journal Foundation since 1975 and a full-time writer since 1976.

Hardcover 184 pages ISBN: 0-88184-523-X $16.95

by John Rechy

In this brilliant fiction, John Rechy reinvents the life of Hollywood's most glamorous legend as he tells the enthralling story of a young woman's attempt to discover her heritage and the true identity of her parents. While unraveling this historic mystery, the novel examines the chic decadence of contemporary Los Angeles, dramatizing the power of popular myth in our society, and speculating about the figures who have become our modern icons.

John Rechy is the author of the international bestseller and landmark novel CITY OF NIGHT, as well as, among others, NUMBERS and BODIES AND SOULS.

Trade Paper 528 pages ISBN: 0-88184-531-0 $8.95

by Barry Malzberg

BEYOND APOLLO, winner of the John Campbell Award for the best science fiction novel, is another fine example of Barry Malzberg's mastery of the genre.

Harry Evans is the lone survivor of the first Venus expedition, a space journey that went disasterously wrong. But no one knows the reason behind the tragedy. Was it a systems breakdown, or the result of mind-altering beings on the planet of love? As the world anxiously waits for the truth, Evans wrestles with dreams and fantasies, piecing together memories of primary sexual urges and an uncontrollable series of mental states.

Beyond the intrigue of the narrative this novel is a clever comment on the science fiction genre and the theme of "space imperialism".

Barry Malzberg has published hundreds of science fiction stories. Besides BEYOND APOLLO, his best known novels include GALAXIES, GUERNICA NIGHT, THE FALLING ASTRONAUTS and THE CROSS OF FIRE.

Paperback 153 pages ISBN: 0-88184-551-5 $3.50

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

--the beginning of NEUROMANCER by William Gibson


01 1871 Stephen Crane, American writer
01 1880 Sholem Asch, Polish-born American writer
01 1896 Edmund Blunden, English poet and critic
03 1901 Andr Malraux, French novelist and critic
04 1862 Eden Phillpotts, English writer
04 1873 G.E. Moore, English philosopher
05 1884 James Elroy Flecker, English poet and dramatist
05 1885 Will Durant, American historian
05 1943 Sam Shepard, American dramatist
06 1558 Thomas Kyd, English dramatist
06 1671 Colley Cibber, English writer and actor
07 1913 Albert Camus, French writer & existentialist philosopher
08 1900 Margaret Mitchell, American author of GONE WITH THE WIND
08 1900 Theodore Dreiser's novel SISTER CARRIE is published
08 1916 Peter Weiss, German-born Swedish writer
09 1818 Ivan Turgenev, Russian novelist
09 1928 Anne Sexton, American poet
09 1934 Carl Sagan, astronomer & astrophysicist
09 1953 Dylan Thomas died in New York
10 1730 Oliver Goldsmith, Irish-born English writer
10 1759 Friedrich von Schiller, German dramatist and poet
10 1879 Vachel Lindsay, American poet
11 1821 Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist
11 1914 Howard Fast, American novelist
11 1922 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., American writer
12 1915 Roland Barthes, French literary critic
13 354 St Augustine of Hippo, early Christian philosopher
13 1792 Edward John Trelawney, English biographer and traveler
13 1850 Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish writer
15 1887 Marianne Moore, American poet
15 1897 Sacheverell Sitwell, English poet and writer
16 1889 George S. Kaufman, American dramatist
16 1895 Michael Arlen, Armenian-born English writer
16 1930 Chinua Achebe, Nigerian writer
18 1836 Sir William S. Gilbert, English dramatist, the lyricist half of Gilbert & Sullivan
18 1874 Clarence Day, American writer
18 1882 Wyndham Lewis, English writer and painter
18 1882 Jacques Maritain, French Catholic writer
19 1899 Allen Tate, American poet and critic
20 1752 Thomas Chatterton, English poet
20 1858 Selma Lagerlf, Swedish writer
20 1923 Nadine Gordimer, South African writer
21 1694 Voltaire, French writer and philosopher
21 1863 Arthur Quiller-Couch, English scholar and editor of the OXFORD BOOK OF ENGLISH VERSE
22 1819 George Eliot, English novelist Mary Ann Evans
22 1857 George Gissing, English writer
22 1869 Andr Gide, French writer and editor
22 1888 Tarzan of the Apes
23 1920 Paul Celan, Romanian poet
24 1632 Baruch Spinoza, Dutch philosopher
24 1713 Laurence Sterne, English novelist and clergyman
24 1888 Dale Carnegie, author of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
24 1912 Garson Kanin, American playwright
24 1925 William F. Buckley, American writer
25 1562 Lope de Vega, Spanish dramatist and poet
25 1877 Harley Granville-Barker, English dramatist
26 1731 William Cowper, English preromantic poet
26 1905 Emlyn Williams, Welsh actor & playwright
26 1912 Eugene Ionesco, Romanian-French dramatist
26 1922 Charles M. Schultz, cartoonist
27 1909 James Agee, American writer
28 1628 John Bunyan, English writer and preacher
28 1757 William Blake, English poet, painter, and mystic
28 1820 Friedrich Engels, German collaborator of Karl Marx
28 1907 Alberto Moravia, Italian writer
29 1832 Louisa May Alcott, American novelist
29 1898 C.S. Lewis, English writer and scholar
29 1902 Carlo Levi, Italian writer and painter
30 538 St. Gregory of Tours, chronicler and bishop
30 1554 Sir Philip Sidney, English poet and scholar
30 1667 Jonathan Swift, English writer and clergyman
30 1835 Mark Twain, American writer Samuel L. Clemens
30 1874 Winston Churchill, English statesman and writer
30 1947 David Mamet, American dramatist


We approached a few typical computer cowboys in the RelayNet (tm) cyberspace, and asked them about their reading preferences. Here is what they said, translated from binary electrical impulses into a typescript more intelligible to carbon-based units.

What is/are your favorite computer magazine(s)?

Jay Alexander: PC Magazine. It has in-depth hardware and software reviews; and lots of ads, to give you some feel for what's hot and how much it's going to set you back.

Drew Bartorillo: My two favorite magazines are Info World and PC Week. Since both are weekly publications, they offer up-to- the-minute information about events in the computer world. Info World has its From The Test Center in which they evalute/compare hardware/software products. PC Week is a glossy publication that monthly does an in-depth study on a hardware/software topic.

Doug Burg: PC Magazine is my favorite computer magazine. It contains a wealth of information.

Chris Harrower: I read PC Magazine, DataBased Advisor, and Info (for C64 and Amiga computers). PC Mag seems to be a "standard" of sorts for PCs, DBA is excellent for dBASE programmers, and Info gives all the info (clever, huh?) for my "recreational" computers at home!

Brian McEntire: My favorite magazine is Byte because it is very big and it has good ads (and very good articles). I also like PC Express because it is an all-ads magazine for businesses. And I like PC Week.

Rob Rosenberger: I like PC Magazine and CompuMag. PC Magazine talks to me at "my" level, which is pretty high nowadays. CompuMag pays me as a contributing editor, so I put bread on my table.

What is the most useful computer reference book you own?

Drew Bartorillo: Since I do a lot of programming, I couldn't be without Borland's Turbo Pascal and Turbo Basic manuals. Nowadays, with doing a lot of Desktop Publishing work, I rely heavily on the manuals for Ventura Desktop Publisher and Gem Presentation Team. Occasionally I'll have to refer to the IBM PC DOS 3.3 manual for some syntax/option problem with a command.

Doug Burg: GETTING STARTED WITH MS-DOS by Van Wolverton (Microsoft Press)

Chris Harrower: ADVANCED dBASE III PLUS PROGRAMMING AND TECHNIQUES by Miriam Liskin and CLIPPER PROGRAMMING GUIDE by Rick Spence. Both are indispensible for dBASE programming.

Brian McEntire: The MS-DOS manual and the GW BASIC manual.

Rob Rosenberger: Nelson Ford's SOURCE BOOK OF FREE AND LOW-COST SOFTWARE. If I need a program for a particular purpose, I look for it in that book. I instantly know who's got the best program for that purpose; I know if it's PD (public domain) or shareware; and I know I can call an 800 number to order a copy of it on disk.


by Annie Wilkes

Do authors really use word processors? Only if they want to get some work done. A computer with word processing software allows a writer the luxury of changing a semicolon or adding a word at will; with no need to type the whole thing over again, have a messy looking paper, or wait for the secretary to show up.

I've heard that executives are getting into word processors now. They're getting to like being able to compose a memo or letter in private, press a button and have a "hard copy" (an actual printed page) in their hand in under a minute. The text and the process of writing can be more private, and the whole job (from idea to hard copy) is faster.

Writing by hand has some advantages: it's easy to scratch things out or write something in, it's cheap, and it's completely portable. Unfortunately, it's also hard on the hand (you can pound a keyboard far longer than you can write) and it leaves you with a very messy document. Most writers who compose longhand also use a typist to get a finished copy. But what if last-minute changes are needed? Retype. And retype. And retype. Or else you just stop being such a perfectionist.

No--word processors are definitely the way to go, for amateurs and professionals alike. On top of everything else, you can get an online dictionary and thesaurus, as well as spelling and grammar checkers. Then when someone accuses you of using the wrong word, or of a mispelling, you just blame it on the computer.

He'd operated on an almost permanent adrenalin high, a byproduct of youth and proficiency, jacked into a custom cyberspace deck that projected his disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix.

--Case's history, from NEUROMANCER by William Gibson


Here are some interesting titles from the November release lists.

  • Tales of the Dark Knight: Batman's First Fifty Years 1939-1989 by Mark Cotta Vaz Ballantine Nov89 TP $17.95 0-345-36013-3 (Traces the history of the superhero on the occasion of his 50th birthday.)
  • Midnight by Dean R. Koontz Berkley Nov89 PB $4.95 (This novel pits four average folks and a dog against the evil that has taken over a town in northern California in this bestselling novel.)
  • Luncheonette: Ice Cream, Beverage, and Sandwich Recipes from the Golden Age of the Soda Fountain by Carol Vidinghoff and Patricia M. Kelly Crown Nov89 TP $8.95 0-517-57297-4 (This illustrated collection of recipes takes the reader back to a time when sandwiches and sundaes were built--not simply made.)
  • The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams DAW Nov89 PB $5.95 (The publisher calls this "the fantasy equivalent of War And Peace".)
  • The Renegades of Pern by Anne McCaffrey Del Rey Nov89 HC $19.95 0-345-34096-5 (A new installment in the popular series.)
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern by Jody Lynn Nye with Anne McCaffrey Del Rey Nov89 HC $19.95 0-345-35424-9 (An encyclopedic tour of the imaginary world of Pern.)
  • A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales Doubleday Nov89 HC $40 0-385-26903-X (A look at the modern architecture of Britain.)
  • The Killing Man: A Mike Hammer Novel by Mickey Spillane Dutton Nov89 HC $17.95 0-525-24827-7 (No foolin'--a brand-new Mike Hammer story)
  • Running Wild by J.G. Ballard Farrar, Straus & Giroux Nov89 HC $12.95 0-374-25288-2 (This suspense novel chronicles an English psychiatrist's attempt to solve a brutal murder.)
  • Gumshoe: Reflections in a Private Eye by Josiah Thompson Fawcett Crest Nov89 PB $4.95 (Gives the inside scoop on what the life of a private eye is really like.)
  • The Amateur Naturalist by Gerald Durrell Knopf Nov89 TP $18.95 0-679-72837-X
  • Quentin Crisp's Book of Quotations by Quentin Crisp Macmillan Nov89 HC $18.95 0-02-528801-6 (Offers observations on gay life from sources as diverse as the Bible and Boy George.)
  • Feast of Fear: Conversations with Stephen King edited by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller McGraw-Hill Nov89 HC $19.95 0-07-065760-2
  • English Country House Murders edited by Thomas Godfrey Mysterious Nov89 HC $18.95 0-89296-355-7 (This highly-popular anthology returns with classic stories of "upper crust crime" in the English countryside by Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, P.D. James, and more.)
  • The Kennedy Encyclopedia: An A-to-Z Illustrated Guide to America's Royal Family by Caroline Latham & Jeannie Sakol NAL Nov89 HC $19.95 0-453-00684-1 (This guide to the Kennedy clan features photos, facts, quotes and trivia. For those who really can't get enough.)
  • Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past edited by Martin Bauml Duberman, Martha Vicinus & George Chauncey, Jr. NAL Nov89 HC $24.95 0-453-00689-2 (This social history of homosexuality explores its place in various cultures and traditions.)
  • News of the Weird by Chuck Shepard, John J. Kohut & Roland Sweet NAL/Plume Nov89 TP $6.95 (A collection of offbeat and bizarre news items from the mainstream press.)
  • Koko by Peter Straub NAL/Signet Nov89 PB $5.95 (Four Vietnam veterans travel to Asia to solve a series of murders and save a friend.)
  • A Practical Guide to Copyrights and Trademarks by Frank H. Andorka Pharos Nov89 HC $19.95 (Incorporates all recently enacted legislation and procedures regarding copyrights and trademarks.)
  • Miss Manners' Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium by Judith Martin Pharos Nov89 HC $24.95 (Takes the etiquette-conscious through the 1990s and into the new millennium.)
  • Nibbled to Death by Ducks by Robert Campbell Pocket Nov89 HC $17.95 0-671-67585-0 (A new Jimmy Flannery mystery.)
  • Eternity by Greg Bear Popular Library/Questar Nov89 PB $3.95 (The sequel to the author's Nebula Award-winning novel Eon.)
  • Laying the Music to Rest by Dean Wesley Smith Popular Library/Questar Nov89 PB $3.95 (A tale of time travel and the Titanic by the winner of The Writers of the Future award.)
  • The Prentice Hall Good Reading Guide by Kenneth McLeish Prentice Hall Nov89 TP $10.95 0-13-712175-X (This annotated paperback original guide features 300 authors and 3000 works of literature.)
  • Caribbean by James A. Michener Random House Nov89 HC $22.95 0-394-56561-4 deluxe limited edition $100 0-394-55755-1 (Fact blends with fiction in a new epic.)
  • Scare Tactics by John Farris Tor Nov89 PB $4.95 (A novel and short stories.)
  • The Dark Half by Stephen King Viking Nov89 HC $21.95 0-670-82982-X (A bestselling author's pseudonym turns against him.)
  • Nature Nearby: An Outdoor Guide to America's 25 Most Visited Cities by Bill McMillon Wiley Nov89 TP $12.95 0-471-62339-3

.....and ANYTHING is possible

by Darryl Kenning

The first time I read Isaac Asimov was in the 10th grade through one of those academic reading programs, you remember, where for a couple of bucks your English teacher let you use class time to pick books from a list and order them for delivery at some indeterminate time in the future. A month or two later - long after you have forgotten all about the books - they arrive, and again using up class time, they are passed out to those of us whose parents were so delighted that we might actually read something, that they gave us a few dollars to spend.

I still have that book - it was "I ROBOT" - and the rest as they say "is history".

That was, for me at least, an introduction to the world of Science Fiction, to Isaac Asimov, to the slightly unsavory paperback book field (in those days most Paperbacks were sold in drugstores and had pictures of weird monsters leering at scantily clad nubile female humans - guaranteed to grab the interest of any red blooded teenage boy), and robots. Most importantly tho, I learned to believe that someplace or sometime, anything is possible.

The last time I saw a number, Dr. A had written over 420 books on everything from Science Fiction to religion and from physics to education. Using a style that by today's standards is almost too clear and straightforward, he has the unfailing ability to make the complex clear and to grab your interest and hold onto it thru many a twisting plot. While I haven't read all of his books by any means, I have NEVER read one of his books that didn't teach, enlighten, and that I didn't enjoy thoroughly.

In a very generalized sense the robot and the worlds of the robots seemed to me to be the glue that cemented many of his stories together and formed a critical element of his "universe". It is interesting to me that robot stories seem to be enjoying a bit of a comeback now. They were very popular in the 50's and early 60's (I suspect they were in the 40's too). Then their popularity waned and I'm not sure why, though one might speculate about the loss of innocence and sense of technological wonder.

I read somewhere recently that the first robot story is in the bible where God made Adam from a lump of clay, and man has had a keen interest in robot stories ever since. As an interesting side note it looks as if our technology is about right to see some significant cyborg (human and machine joining) efforts - consider the use of artificial hearts, now fairly common. This will force us to consider many of the philosophical issues raised in the robot stories of the good Doctor.

One of the joys of the recognition by book publishers of the large numbers and the cohesiveness of SF readers has been the reissue of a lot of the early robot stories and books, with a whole series of new spin off books. One can only hope that they will have the same impact on a whole new generation of readers as they had on me.


These should all be available either new or still can be found in paperback resale stores. All of course are by Isaac Asimov.

I, Robot
The Caves of Steel
The Naked Sun
The Robots of Dawn
Robots and Empire
The Rest of the Robots

Good Reading!

The author may be contacted through Reading For Pleasure; via Compuserve (76337,740); GEnie (D.Kenning,); The Annex BBS 513-274-0821;or by writing to 6331 Marshall Rd., Centerville, Ohio, 45459


ELECTRONIC EDITION: Check the BBSs in the Directory first. If what you want isn't available, send $5 to us for a disk containing ALL available issues. Disk will be formatted using PC/MS-DOS (for IBM clones). Specify 3-1/2" or 5-1/4" floppy.

PRINT EDITION: Send $1.50 for each issue requested.

Checks: Make checks payable to Cindy Bartorillo.

Address: See masthead on Table of Contents page.


  • #1: Premier issue: 1988 World Fantasy Awards; Books I'm Supposed to Like, But Don't; Pronunciation Guide to Author's Names; Christie Characters on Film; Featured Author: Richard Matheson; Baseball & Cricket Mysteries; Stephen King Checklist; Time Travel Books
  • #2: Summer Reading Issue: Award Winners & Nominees; Beach Bag Books; Featured Author: Stanley Ellin; Splatterpunk; Murderous Vacations; The Psychology of Everyday Things; The Shining; SF Fan-Lingo; Pseudonyms
  • #3: Books About Books Issue: Two-Bit Culture; Christopher Morley; 84 Charing Cross Road; Assorted References; Bibliomysteries; Deep Quarry; Featured Author: Harlan Ellison
  • #4: Hollywood Issue: Recent Awards; About Hollywood; Silver Scream; Death of a Salesman; Joe Bob Briggs; The Hollywood Mystery; Featured Author: Fredric Brown; The Dark Fantastic; Darryl Kenning Reviews
  • #5: Halloween Issue: Hugo Awards; Year's Best Horror Stories XVII; Tracy Kidder; Supernatural Mysteries; Thomas Harris; Falling Angel Heart; Ray Garton; New From Underwood-Miller; Featured Author: Robert R. McCammon; The Modern Halloween Shelf; Darryl Kenning Reviews; The Ultimate Stephen King Character Quiz
  • #6: Computers & Robots Issue (the one you're looking at now).


  1. The Trouble With Tribbles
  2. D.F. Jones
  3. Jane Austen
  4. 9000 Extra credit: Urbana, Illinois
  5. Robert A. Heinlein
  6. Sir John Tenniel
  7. Rudy Rucker
  8. Olaf Stapledon
  9. Sancho Panza
  10. Opium

COMING NEXT MONTH: Don't miss the next issue -- gift ideas galore and lots of good holiday reading!

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