Hatrack River
 
Hatrack.com   The Internet  
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
Print this page E-mail this page RSS FeedsRSS Feeds
What's New?

Fantasy & Science
Fiction Index
Index of Titles
Index of Authors
About This Area
1987
May | Jun | Jul | Aug
Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
1988
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr
May | Jun | Jul | Aug
Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
1989
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr
May | Jun | Jul | Aug
Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
1990
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr
May | Jun | Jul | Aug
Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
1991
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr
May | Jun | Jul | Aug
Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
1992
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr
May | Jun | Jul | Aug
Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
1993
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr
May | Summer
Books to Look For
Fantasy & Science Fiction March 1989

By Orson Scott Card


Other Americas, Norman Spinrad (Bantam/Spectra, paper, 288 pp, $3.95).

This collection of our long stories would be remarkable just for bringing together in book form several stories that won acclaim for Spinrad in their original publication. But the introductory essays surrounding the stories make this a coherent, powerful, and highly acidic look at America. I mean, the pH factor would turn even Reagan's hair white.

Like all good satirists, Spinrad speaks from a moral platform of absolute certitude. He not only knows what's wrong, he hates it and wants to destroy it. Satire is not an art form for moderate people who are determined always to understand and forgive the other guy. Spinrad seeks to understand only enough to subvert, which is why even when the fiction stumbles and dies, you know that it had fire in its veins.

The most disturbing story is the last one, "La Vie Continue," which appears in print for the first time in Other Americas. As a story of an expatriate American writer who heroically outwits both the brownshirts of a fascist America and the KGB goons of the Soviet Union, it's dead-on satire and a terrific sci-fi read.

But Spinrad has chosen to make the writer-hero a 60-year-old Norman Spinrad. On the one hand, I have to applaud his courage in making explicit what all writers secretly do: cast ourselves in the starring roles in our stories. On the other hand, it's vaguely repulsive to read a story in which the author describes himself as having "defiantly unkempt" hair and "dangerous looking" eyes; in which the author declares his own writing as being so effective and powerful that mighty governments would spend millions of dollars to silence him; and in which the hero-author ends up in the catbird seat, having outsmarted everybody.

Yet let's be honest about this. Heinlein's novels usually worked exactly the same way -- he just had the good taste not to actually name his heroes "Robert A. Heinlein." If Spinrad had such good taste and self-restraint he wouldn't be Spinrad. It takes an arrogant, self-absorbed, cocksure sumbitch to write satire that really gets under your skin.

This story will get under your skin.


Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, ed. (Pulphouse Publishing, Box 1227, Eugene, OR 97440; 1988, cloth, 267 pp; subscriptions $17.95/issue, $30 half-year, $56/year)

Dean Wesley Smith has been the patron saint of new writers for the past few years, with frequent issues of Pulphouse Reports, a networking fanzine for writers. But none of that folksiness and fanzine look carry over into his new publication, Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine. Edited by Kris Rusch, this is a quarterly story anthology, published in hardcover with a sewn binding. That's the trade edition -- there's also a leatherbound collector's edition priced at $50 a copy.

But you can't judge a book by its cover, right? So scan the table of contents. Fiction by Harlan Ellison, Kate Wilhelm, Charles de Lint, Edward Bryant, Steve Rasnic Tem, Michael Bishop, William F. Wu, Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- have I mentioned any names you recognize? If not, what planet do you live on?

I haven't finished reading the first issue yet, but so far I can attest that these are not "trunk stories" -- the authors are turning in solid work. You look for good short fiction, or you wouldn't subscribe to this magazine. So if the price tag doesn't fell you at the start, give this book a try. Like any magazine, it's a mixed bag -- you won't like everything in it. But if this first issue is a sign of things to come, I think you'll like enough of the stories in Pulphouse to put it up there on the "keeper" shelf with the dependable magazines and anthologies of our field.


E-mail this page
Copyright © 2014 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.