The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction
Association -- ISSN 0894-5411
Edited by Samuel Lubell firstname.lastname@example.org
A Matter of Dot Coms Eating Dot Coms
More MergeMatic Books
The Faust Legend and Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus
Bob MacIntosh Resigns
No Auctioning of Cookies
Dumas and the Devil
Edited by Samuel Lubell email@example.com
Colleen sent The WSFA Journal email about a website http://www.brunching.com/toys/toy-cyborger.html by L. Fitzgerald Sjöberg turns your name into a cyborg name. Or as they put it "A few weeks ago, we ran AIEEE, a program designed to supply you with all the technological acronyms you can stuff into your brain like musket wadding. We were interested to find out that most people, once they had exhausted their repertoire of swear words, entered in their own names. In retrospect we shouldn't have been surprised. As Jung pointed out in Der Sechsmilliondeutchmarkmann, we all have within our souls to desire to know what our names would stand for if we were cyborgs."
I get to be:
S.A.M.U.E.L.: Synthetic Artificial Mathematics and Ultimate Exploration Lifeform
L.U.B.E.L.L. Lifelike Upgraded Battle and Efficient Learning Lifeform
And our club is W.S.F.A.: Wireless Synthetic Fighting Androids
Also from Colleen:
The LC What IF ... Science Fiction and Fantasy Program
April 21, 2000 "From Woe to Wonder" -- Octavia Butler
12:10pm Mumford Room, 6th floor, Madison Building
Before the 3/3 meeting at the Gillilands, WSFA was treated to a scoop from Hugo Administrator Michael Nelson. He said that the handwriting on the Hugo ballots was so bad that "the leading candidate for a Hugo is Undecipherable." Finally Judy banged the gavel. "Do wee have to?" complained Lee Gilliland. Sam Pierce replied, "Hey I came to have the meeting." Lee answered back. "Oh, you're fun." Judy asked, "Any old business?" Sleep-deprived Sam Lubell said, "Yes, there are five Fridays this meeting." The club went huh? "I mean month." Bob reported a treasury of "Not much, $2,538.14" "Let's throw a small party," suggested Lee.
The entertainment committee went to Confluence. Phil Klass was on a panel with Alexis. He talked about Ted Sturgeon. He asked a girl out in his younger days and Sturgeon invited him to dinner. Phil said, no I have a date so Ted suggested he bring her along. They walked upstairs, dressed for a date and rang the bell to Sturgeon's apartment. Sturgeon answered. He was into nudism in those days. The girl looked at Ted, all of Ted, turned to Phil and said, "You didn't tell me it was formal."
Disclave: Covert talked to hotels. The pols aren't fleeing town for the election. Maybe the Doubletree will have something.
Others: Joe said he has the email address list. For those who don't have email, it will go in the Journal by November. "I'll try to see everyone tonight." For the Balticon project, "If you signed up and want to do two hours let me know. WSFA is covering registration from 4 to 7. Then We have our own party 8 to 10 and out by 10:30. People with ideas should take this over. But tell me so I can tell BSFS. A token to pay back BSFS." Lee said the Arlington Library is in debate but Democrats don't want to give up room. They are meeting on Thursdays so we are getting on."
John Pomerantz asked, "How many have seen the WSFA web page this week? How many tried to see it? We had a bit of a problem. It was a matter of dot coms eating dot coms. Once there was Mai.net. They gave us a free web site. They were bought out by ComStor. ComStor kept giving us free space. Then they sold it to HarvardNet and we were lost somewhere. Harvard blamed ComStor, ComStor said it was HarvardNet. HarvardNet finally trced it to their machine in Virginia so they will try to get us back up." Elspeth asked, "Would getting in tough with the person who set us up help?" John said "No, he's not there." There was a long discussion over costs that ended by concluding that free space was worth the odd bit of trouble every year or so. John said, "The problem is since we don't pay then when a company gets sold or move equipment, we don't show up in their billing so they don't tell us. We have to call and then they say, `Oh, sorry dude.' I've not had any trouble with any of the companies except that sometimes it is not up. I'd like someone to talk to the Ginters since I'm hardly at the MD meetings and see if they have a server in the basement."
Joe said, "Just a suggestion, not a motion. Why don't we ask for contributions and then when we get enough for a year we can buy space." John said, "And I'd like to thank Keith <heartily seconded by your editor> who has done wonderful work updating the web site even though you cannot see it."
Lee for the Austerity committee said, "Sam made a mistake in the Journal. <Big surprise, that.> The hat is not on the piano but on the drum table, the round table upstairs that we put peanuts on."
There was no old business. Announcements included the death of SF Age. They were making money but not enough. Judy viewed the Frank Collection of SF Art at the U of MD, "I can't recommend it too highly." "So don't," said John. The Lynches have computers for free. Lee Strong has 5 ¼ inch disks free. Lee saved 97 jobs with a report. Mike Nelson said, "If you are a member of Chicon we're taking two thousand Hugo Awards. Deadline for nominations is end of March. It's Chicago so nominate early and often." Colleen said the Library of Congress on March 28 will retry showing Rama ½. On April 21st Octavia Butler will be speaking. Elspeth announced that she made a meeting but it wasn't her fault. She had to take Colleen here. Joe Hall is getting married again. He will become a step-grandfather. Cathy was at the symposium on the Frank exhibit filming it. Clips will appear on Fast Forward. There was some good content but bad video.
Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, VP Sam Pierce, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Lee Gilliland, Trust. Michael Walsh, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Matthew Appleton, Bernard Bell, Colleen Cahill, Chuck Divine, Alexis Gilliland, Eric Jablow, Elspeth Kovar, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Joe Mayhew, Walter Miles, Michael Nelson, Kathi Overton, John Pomeranz, Rebecca Prather, George Shaner, Lee Strong, Phil Goetz, David Grimm, Arrin Dowty, Ron Kean
By Stan Rydzewski via Colleen
Typically, those literati left out the best stuff:
Soulcatcher in the Rye -- Holden Caufield vs. The Taken. Youthful sarcasm goes against timeless evil and comes out the loser.
The Old Man and the C Programming for Windows -- An old man gives up fishing, tries to learn C programming, and goes insane overloading operators.
The Magic Mountain of Madness -- The Thomas Mann classic, set in Antarctica with a surprise new ending.
Gone with the Night Winds -- Kane raises an army of undead confederates to defend Tara.
The Good Earth, the Bad Earth, and the Ugly Earth -- Chinese peasants get caught up in a struggle of three ruthless gunfighters who are attempting obtain a fortune in gold.
Inferno of the Vanities -- 80's yuppie goes to hell and meets Virgil, who tires of his prattle and locks him in a red-hot iron coffin.
Crime and Prejudice -- Jane Austen meets Dostoevsky. 'nuff said
Breakfast of Champions at Tiffany's -- Vonnegut treatment of Holly Golightly foolishness.
Bury My Heart of Darkness at Wounded Knee -- Indians, rather than be massacred, become Kurtz's thralls and carry out his every order, no matter how deranged.
The Faust Legend and Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus
By Samuel Lubell
Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus, first published in 1948, updates the old legend about a scholar who sells his soul to the Devil for knowledge and power, changing the scholar into a musician, Adrian Leverkühn, while making the Devil much more ambiguous. Although the reader is not told directly, the narrator (and possibly Adrian as well) assumes that the Devil is really a figment of Adrian's imagination and desires. The Devil promises nothing beyond the reach of Adrian's capabilities, and requires nothing that is beyond Adrian's normal behavior. So the reader must question why Mann chose to write an updated Faust? Why did he lock the structure of his novel to sixteenth century morality play? Perhaps the answer can be found in a crucial deviation from traditional legend. Mann's Faust never explicitly consents to the Devil's lure, yet he cannot avoid an agreement with the tempter.
The temptation of Faust is central to all the versions of the Faust story. In the earliest version, the Faustbuch, Faust studies black magic even before being tempted by the Devil and actually summons the Devil himself by his powers, "then began Doctor Faustus to call for Mephostophiles the Spirit and to charge him in the name of Beelzebub to appear there personally without any long stay." He wants Mephostophiles to serve him, to bring him anything he desires, and to answer all of his questions; but he initially refuses to sell his soul. Instead he tries to use his own magic to control the Devil, only yielding in the third parley when he agrees to give both body and soul to the Devil after 24 years. In the Marlowe play, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Faust is dissatisfied with his life as a Divine and is actually first tempted by two friends whom he tells, "Know that your words have won me at the last/ To practice magic and concealed arts." This version's Faust is not reluctant but summons up the Devil by abjuring the name of God and volunteers his soul unasked in return for 24 years of Mephistophilis' service. He says, "Had I as many souls as there be stars, I'd give them all for Mephistophilis. By him I'll be a great emperor of the world..." Goethe's Faust (whose opening parallels to the Biblical book of Job) returns to a reluctant Faust, who, although he practices magic, at first tries to imprison the devil. Feeling unfulfilled and bored with life, Faust is tempted by the Devil's offer of his service in return for Faust's service after death. But unlike the previous versions' defined 24 year limit, here Faust himself gives the Devil permission to end his life when he feels pleased with himself or "If ever I stretch myself on a bed of ease, Then I am finished." Goethe creates a Faust who is already outside humanity with no desire to become a part of it or even to enjoy his accomplishments.
Mann's version seems to correspond best to Spies' Faustbuch. He has been practicing music, the story's equivalent of magic, for a number of years. Although Adrian does not directly summon the Devil, there is a strong possibility that the Devil he converses with is already inside himself. The Devil implies a connection between himself and Adrian, "There is already enough between us for us to say thou." and a summons by the musician, "Do not lain it thus, as though you had not been long since expecting me!" Even Adrian himself admits that the Devil was "unexpected, yet long expected" and says "But seen Him I have, at last, at last!" Mann's Faust is not quite as enthusiastic as Marlowe's Faust nor as dissatisfied as Goethe's (which also lacks the 24 year limit of which Adrian's Devil informs him.) The Spies version also includes a parallel to Adrian's restriction on loving others. In the Faustbuch, Faust finds that the Devil will not allow him to marry. "Thou canst not marry; thou canst not serve two masters, God, and my Prince; for wedlock is a chief institution ordained of God, and that hast thou promised to defy." This is also the original of the line "For I die as a good and as a bad Christian." which Adrian uses as the theme of his Lamentations of Doctor Faustus Of course, Mann did not slavishly copy an old plot; most of the novel is original. However, there are enough borrowings from earlier versions to show a deliberate attempt to place his new novel in the old Faustian tradition. It is not a novel of a man like Faust but of a modern Faust.
However, unlike these previous versions where the Devil appears as living being, Mann's Devil may not exist at all save in Adrian's head. Adrian says he has a strong suspicion that his Visitor is not there at all since "You say nothing save things that are in me and come out of me but not out of you." The Devil may just be a projection of Adrian's subconscious or a first symptom of incipient madness caused by his disease. Adrian asks, "Do you betray yourself and name to me yourself the place in my brain, the fever hearth, that makes me imagine you, and without which you were not?" However, the story does not require the Devil to be real. While the early Faust stories need a physical Mephostophiles to perform the magic, Mann's Faustian musician can himself fulfill all of the Devil's promises. Moreover, Adrian could be tempted even by an imaginary Devil. That a Prince of Evil created by his own mind would offer temptations of life and fame suggests that Adrian finds these to be evil. Yet, it also shows that he desires them and in the course of the dialogue Adrian's resistance weakens.
The traditional Faust stories end their temptation scenes with a contract. The Faustbuch actually has two, one with the articles which the Devil has agreed to give Faust, and one, signed in blood, where he agrees to be the Devil's servant after twenty four years have passed and agrees to "defy God and his Christ, all the host of heaven, and all living creatures that bear the shape of God, yea all that lives." Marlowe's Faust cuts his arm as he sells his soul to Lucifer after twenty four years. Goethe's devil prefers blood to a handshake to which Faust in agreement says, "Only do not fear that I shall break this contract. What I promise is nothing more than what all my powers are striving for." Yet, there is no equivalent scene in Mann. Leverkühn's agreement can be seen only in ending his argument with the Devil.
Adrian first denies his Visitor's presence and expresses surprise that this would happen outside of Germany (which is the traditional home of the Faust legend.) He orders the Devil to "hold thy tongue" and dismisses his "fables, fantasies" But when the Devil says he has time to sell, and offers 24 years (the length of the contract in the Spies and Marlowe versions), Adrian expresses interest, "So you would sell me time?" He still defies his Mephistopheles but is taken the bait, and begins to laugh and feel more at ease. The turning point comes, after the Devil has told him of his disease and the botched cure, Leverkühn makes his first request, calling him servant and friend, "`Obedient servant,' I say. `I ought to know you; and I find it most civil of you to give me a privatissimum here in our hall. As ye now are, my Protean friend, I look to find you ready to quench my thirst for knowledge and conclusively demonstrate your independent presence by telling me not only things I know but also of some I would like to know.'"
Even this is not a bargain, not a covenant in blood. But this Devil does not seem to need Adrian's signature or even verbal agreement, for he claims that the musician is already bound to him, "We are in league and business- with your blood you have affirmed it and promised yourself to us, and are baptized ours. This my visit concerns only the confirmation thereof." The reference to affirmation in blood alludes to Adrian's encounter with the sick prostitute Esmeralda where he contacted syphilis, "the illumination, the aphrodisiacum of the brain." He acquires the disease and the evil both at the same time. Not for nothing does Mann have Adrian be already reading Kirkegaard on Mozart's Don Juan, a character who in legend is often linked with Faust, even before the Devil appears. Consequently, though the Devil's last words are "Do you strike with me? A work-filled eternity of human life shall you enjoy," Adrian does not need to respond directly. His Demon already knows his answer; verbal acknowledgement is not needed. Certainly for the rest of the book Adrian behaves as if he has made this bargain. He blames the Devil for taking away his nephew to ensure that he does not love anyone. Like Faust who visited hell, Adrian talks of going down under the sea and has "personal, direct, and special knowledge about the affairs of heaven and earth." He writes The Lamentation of Doctor Faustus and, in the work's private premiere, madly talks about the pact he has made with evil.
All these links to the Faust legend, to the novel's title itself, are intentional. On one level Mann is identifying magician with musician and to artists in general. Both try to rival God as creator. Leverkühn's Marvels of the Universe which presents a scientific view of the creation, signifies a conscious rivalry with God. Artists are mad, creatures of the Devil. Adrian's Visitor says "A genuine inspiration... no, that is not possible with God, who leaves the understanding too much to do. It comes but from the divel, the true master and giver of such rapture." He turns to the evil in his soul to put genius in his music. On this level, the musician imposes limits on his connection to others in order to focus on composing. In fact, Adrian has already done this prior to the Visit. He calls the narrator by his last name only, lives away from the city and allows no one to become close to him. He may regard this as evil, but pays the price for his art.
Thus far Mann could have been telling the story of the artist in any time or place. But Adrian is linked firmly to pre-war Germany and the narrator is writing during the war. The author emphasizes the Devil's German origins. The Devil's first words are "Speak only German! Only good old German... It happens to be just precisely my favoured language." He refers to his "good sound German popularity" and says that he is "in fact German, German to the core... German I am..." So there is another level on which the story can be understood, through the lens of political time. The Devil's temptation immediately and obviously connects to Hitler, the Devil who corrupted Germany. All of Serenus Zeitblom's asides about the growing war, his children in the army, and his personal views form this link. Mann is updating an old German legend to present a political view, with Adrian representing Germany whose evil is due to the Devil Hitler.
However, that interpretation is far too facile and ignores the subtleties in Mann's work. Remember, Adrian never consents to the temptation, never makes the bargain but accepts the devil's words as something already agreed. The evil is inside of him even prior to the Devil's appearance, and the Devil himself may be imaginary. This is not the comfortable view of an outside force. the Devil-Hitler, acting on an innocent Adrian-Germany. The seeds of evil already there. Germans accepted Hitler as ruler. Germans carried out his orders, making the arrangements to carry out his wishes just as Mephostophiles fulfilled the desires of Faust. Hitler embodied German ambition, the same ambition which caused Faust to turn from ministry to sorcery, the same ambition which drove Bismarck and caused the first World War. He made use of the drives and desires already present in the German population. Mann's Devil suggests this in his capsule history of Germany's violent past with its "agitation and unrest, anxiety, presentments" creating a "Good time, divellishly German time!" If Hitler had not been born, someone else would have filled his role by appealing to these emotions, fulfilling these needs. It is ironic that we in the twentieth century cannot believe in an actual external Devil as the tempter of one lone soul, but have no trouble with the idea of Hitler, one man, as the corrupter of a country of over fifty million. If Adrian/Faust is to be blamed for his plight, how can Germany escape? The comfortable answer may not be the correct one.
In Christian theology, man is evil, corrupted by original sin. It is entirely possible for an entire country, even the entire world, to be guilty of a sin. Although there is no explicit reference to the Holocaust, Mann writes of the death of Adrian's nephew, a blameless child. This death, that of an angel and the personification of innocence, shows the guilt of mankind. Adrian says, "I find that it is not to be... The good and noble... what we call the human, although it is good and noble. What humans have fought for and stormed citadels, what the ecstatics exultantly announced- that is not to be." Here, he judges humanity and finds that it does not live up to its claims of morality. He may have cavorted with the Devil but the Devil was inborn inside him and therefore present in every man. Schwerdtfeger betrayed him with the woman he wished to marry. Inez killed Schwerdtfeger. Neither action was caused by an external coercion but arose from internal motivations, an incarnate Devil. Similarly, Germans followed Hitler, but for their own reasons.
While Goethe's Faust ultimately is redeemed and admitted to Heaven, the Fausts of Spies and Marlowe are doomed to hell. Mann's Faust ends up insane and childlike in the care of his aged mother. Like the Fausts of legend he has had his twenty-four years of achievement and glory. Ironically, although Hitler's Reich existed for only 12 years, 1933-1945, the Nazi party had been established in 1920, surviving just slightly more than 24 years.
Mann chose to write his novel about Adrian Leverkühn as Doctor Faustus because the traditional Faust legend could be modernized to show the evil inside of humanity. Faust wanted easy access to knowledge and power, Adrian wanted knowledge and success, and Hitler's Germany wanted power and victory. While Adrian's devil may have been imaginary, born of the desires in his diseased brain, Germany's Hitler really did exist. But Mann may be suggesting that Hitler's success as tempter was due to failures in the German character, the "devilishly good German time" The earliest version of the Faust legend, the very version that Mann used, presents Faust as an unredeemable villain. The final chapter of the Faustbuch is labeled "Here followeth the miserable and lamentable end of Doctor Faustus, by which all Christians may take an example and warning." If Germany is Faust to Hitler's Devil, it too is not innocent, not a victim. Mann's Adrian never explicitly consented, never gave his word to the Devil. Instead, he accepted the Devil's claim on him as already present and did not challenge it. This is the guilt of the passive Germany which willingly followed Hitler.
I got the following email from Bob
I am hereby officially tenderingmy resignation as an adult. I havedecided I would like to accept theresponsibilities of an 8 year-old again.
I want to go to McDonald's and thinkthat it's a four star restaurant.
I want to sail sticks across a fresh mudpuddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.
I want to think M&Ms are better thanmoney because you can eat them.
I want to lie under a big oak tree andrun a lemonade stand with my friends ona hot summer's day.
I want to return to a time when life wassimple; When all you knew were colors,multiplication tables, and nurseryrhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what youdidn't know and you didn't care.
All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware ofall the things that should make youworried or upset.
I want to think the world is fair.That everyone is honest and good.
I want to believe that anything ispossible. I want to be obliviousto the complexities of life and beoverly excited by the little things again.
I want to live simple again. Idon't want my day to consist ofcomputer crashes, mountains of paperwork,depressing news, how to survive more daysin the month than there is money in thebank, doctor bills, gossip, illness,and loss of loved ones.
I want to believe in the power ofsmiles, hugs, a kind word, truth,justice, peace, dreams, the imagination,mankind, and making angels in the snow.
So . . here's my checkbookand my car-keys, my credit card billsand all that crap. I am officiallyresigning from adulthood.
And if you want to discuss thisfurther, you'll have to catch mefirst, cause........
......"Tag! You're it."
Pass this to someone and brightentheir day by helping them rememberthe Simple things in Life.((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))
Hope Ya'll join me !
Minutes of the WSFA Meeting of March 18, 2000 at Ginter's. Judy Kindell presiding. Recorded by Joe Mayhew.
Judy called the meeting to order at 9:16. Joe announced that Sam was off becoming an uncle and related family duties and thus Joe would be the channel for appropriate gossip. Judy wisely added that messages sent directly to Sam via E-mail would be pleasing to both Joe and Sam.
Pending: there is a 5th Friday in March, any volunteers? Bob MacIntosh cheerfully reported WSFA's treasury had $2,533.14.
MMCLAVE ConChair Covert Beach reported that the MacLean Hilton did not have the Columbus day date available, and otherwise weren't returning his calls. The person he had talked to had left the hotel.
LIBRARY STUFF. Joe Mayhew reported that the Prince George's County Library system's official bottleneck, Avis Matthews had not answered his nearly daily calls for two weeks and when he managed to get through to someone and explained his problem (that we would also have to do some planning and needed some idea of a date) soon afterward Ms. Matthews called back and expressed her annoyance at all the calls (none answered --but which had been solicited by Ms. Matthews in a message left on Joe's answering machine, "We're very busy for the next two weeks, but we like the idea and would be able to do something in May or June.") So, Joe gave them three weeks and tried to get in contact. When reminded of this, Ms. Matthews said that the deadline for May-June activities was passed, that I should have called sooner. Joe said that he had been doing that. But she said, "But only for the last two weeks. You should have called sooner.(!!?) I mean, you contacted us six months ago. (!!?) Library customers should realize..." Joe said, "I am not a library CUSTOMER." She replied, "Are you a member of the staff?" "No I'm one of the tax-payers in Prince George's County who pay your salary The county libraries are obviously not as public service orientated as a business and, as a retired Librarian, you have made me ashamed for my former profession. I am no longer interested in dealing with you." Joe resigned as project coordinator.
FIFTH FRIDAY: Candy & John Madigan have volunteered to host the March 5th Friday at their home in Greenbelt. Some contact info will be available.
BALTICON PROJECT. WSFAns Colleen Cahill, Lee Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Chris Holte, Judy Kindell, Elspeth Kovar, Keith Lynch, Bob MacIntosh, Keith Marshall, Joe Mayhew, Michael Nelson, and Sam Pierce have volunteered to help at Friday registration from 3:00 to 7:00. Other volunteers would be welcome. Judy Kindell will coordinate the open WSFA event in the party room Balticon is providing (The same room as last year where the Overton-Pomeranz conjured ice-cream before our very eyes.) She's listening for ideas and volunteers.
AUSTERITY: Eric Jablow said some stuff was still coming in, but that donations had dropped off. Even so, he did not suggest the auctioning of cookies.
ANNOUNCEMENTS Ron Taylor said this was probably his last WSFA meeting for a long time, as he was joining the faculty of the University of Colorado, leaving NIH in mid May. Anyone who has Denver, or other Colorado contact, please post them to him on his E-mail at: RTaylor@helix.nih.gov. The Library Of Congress's RO Colleen Cahill said that at noon on the 28th of March LC will be showing some anime. On April 21 Octavia Butler will be speaking there and that you'd be welcome to come. Mike Walsh reported that Jonathan Letham's Motherless Brooklyn had won the New York Book Center award for 1999. Mike Nelson reported that Spielberg will not be doing a Harry Potter movie, and that, as a US Bureau of Engraving staffer, he scowled at the new dollar coin, "Hrumph..!" The meeting was adjourned at 9:56
Attendance: Officers attending: Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trustees. Michael J. Walsh and Steve Smith, MM Con Chair Covert Beach. Others: Bernard Bell, Colleen Cahill, Steve Fetheroff, Alexis Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Eric Jablow, Elspeth Kovar, Keith Lynch, Richard Lynch, Nicki Lynch, Candy Madigan, John Madigan, Keith Marshall, Joe Mayhew , Walter Miles, Michael Nelson, Barry Newton, Karen O'Donoghue, Lance Oszko, Evan Phillips, George R. Shaner, William Squire, Lee Strong, Michael J. Taylor, Ronald C. Taylor & Madeleine Yeh.
First Friday (Feb) $ 24.57
First Friday (Mar) $ 25.00
WSFA Journal $ 38.85
Third Friday $ 25.00
Total Expenses $113.42
Dues from: Sam Pierce, Dave Grimm, Bernie Bell, Elspeth Kovar, Lee Strong, Steve Fetteroff, Lance Oszko, Steve Smith, Art "Boots" Coleman for a total of $90.00. (Hey, we almost broke even for the month.)
Gaylaxicon 2000 will be October (6-9th, Columbus Day Weekend) in Arlington, right above
the Ballston Metro Station. The website is www.lambdasf.org/g2k/ Rob Gates writes, "We've got our Author GOH (Fiona Patton) and Artist GOH (Nan Fredman) lined up, along with 24 other Professional Guests right now with more coming in. The website has up-to-date stuff."
A Review of
The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte; translated from the Spanish by Sonia Soto.
New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, c1996
Reviewed by Colleen R. Cahill
What is real and what is fiction? This is hardly a new theme in literature; Pérez-Reverte handles it is a unique way, mixing real books and history with those from his imagination. Known as a mystery/thriller writer, Pérez-Reverte has added elements that justify calling this work a fantasy. Even if you have no interest in the occult or The Three Musketeers, this book has the atmosphere, plot and characters to hold your attention.
Lucas Corso is a book hunter. For a price, he will find the rarest of the early printed books and as a "mercenary of the book world", Corso will do anything short of murder to obtain a title a client wants. In The Club Dumas, he takes on two missions: to determine if some manuscript pages are actually from Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers and to decide if a client's copy of The Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows is in part or whole a forgery.
The two threads of the story lead Corso to various locations in Europe and to some fascinating people. The Dumas manuscript was the property of a wealthy cookbook publisher who collected nineteenth century serial fiction; he recently hung himself. Hired by a book seller who owns the pages, Corso attempts to authenticate the manuscript is real while the dead publisher's beautiful widow tries to regain the pages. The tension between Corso, the widow and her chauffeur is raised as he is constantly reminded of various scenes from The Three Musketeers by other two. The surreal quality of this investigation increases as he discovers ties between Dumas and the occult.
The Nine Doors search leads Corso to eccentric book binders, a psychotic book collector and a best selling occult author who is also a Baroness. The book is a text for summoning the Devil and includes nine illustrations, which are part of The Club Dumas. Reminiscence of tarot cards or Renaissance wood cuts, these add greatly to the story and are a key in the mystery.
Corso is followed and sometimes aided in his searches by a young woman who will only give the name Irene Adler of 22B Baker Street, London. The mystery surrounding this character, who seems to protect and ignore Corso in turn, is accentuated by the interesting bits of knowledge she will occasionally throw his way.
The book mixes a streetwise detective novel with the rarified world of antique book collecting and the dark edge of occultism. Nominated for the 1998 World Fantasy Award, it is also now a movie release The Ninth Gate. Since I have not seen the film, I will refrain from comment and point the readers to http://www.ninthgate.com for more information, including a plot synopsis.
By Samuel Lubell
The following books should be available in stores starting the first of April.
The Teas of Star Trek by Obsessed Fan (Pocket $8.95). This volume lists all of the teas drunk by Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, who he drank the tea with, and the temperature of the tea. This book goes beyond "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot" to explore strange new worlds like Darjeeling and Ceylon. It includes two teabags of official Star Trek tea, that tastes (deliberately?) like it was replicated. For anal completists with no taste only.
The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz and editor (Baen $6.95) Baen continues its version of the works of that complex literary stylist James Schmitz, boldly reinterpreted for the modern generation. "See Captain Paus from Planet Nickel. See him fly Venture ship. See Goth. Run Goth run. Run to Venture."
Dune : Apartment AtreidesbyBrian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson (Bantam Doubleday Dell Everybody Else $27.50). The son of the author of Dune and the author of Star Wars novelizations exhume the Dune books for yet another volume. After the events of House Atreides, the Atreides family, now bankrupt by the Harkonnen, are forced to move to a small apartment, unaware that the building landlord really is a dealer in the Dune spice drug.
The Return of Fury by Julian May (Alfred A. Knopf, $24) Not having had a big success since her last Galactic Milieu novels, May revived her evil force from that trilogy and gave him a new mission, sabotaging Uncle Rogi's attempts at getting his adventures (i.e. Intervention and the Milieu trilogy) published. Thrill to the excitement of waiting years for a publisher to respond to a manuscript, gasp with fear as an editor wields the dreaded red pencil, and tingle with suspense over the fate of the books once they arrive in stores--can they survive, or will they be pulped?
Wizard and Warlock by Christopher Stasheff. (Del Rey $6.99) Two series meet as the 20th century modern man turned medieval wizard in rhyme meets the warlock in spite of himself. The two have the inevitable fight but then team up to overcome the real foe--the author who keeps putting them in dangerous situations and disrupting their happy lives to try to kill them.
Honor Unsatisfied by Weber (Baen $27.95) After losing so many battles to Admiral Harrington, her sworn enemies, the forces of political correctness, keep running at the sight of her fleet and refusing to battle. Meanwhile, her love life takes a turn to the nonexistence, leaving her... well the title says it all.
The Dark of Other Nights by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter (Tor, $28.95) Scientist invents a machine that lets people see into the past. Unfortunately, it only works outside, at night, when it's too dark to see. Unaware of this slight limitation, the FBI, CIA, Secret Service etc. all want to possess it. Prequel to The Light of Other Days.
Galaxy Quest--The Seriesby Ivan Smithe. (Del Rey $24. 99) This book summarizes the plots of all the episodes of the original (albeit nonexistent) Galaxy Quest series recently memorialized in the Galaxy Quest movie. Each plot summary is a spoof of the equivalent Star Trek episode. Computer technology is used to mat the Galaxy Quest stars onto the Trek backgrounds in place of Kirk, Spock etc. The introduction includes "The Making of Galaxy Quest" describing how the "original" show came to be. This is being marketed as a straight sf tv nonfiction guidebook, not a humor book. Either the Pocket people have an absolute deadpan sense of humor or they don't know it's a joke. I'm betting on the latter.
UnReclused by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (Tor $24.95). Recognizing that the evil white wizards, never, ever win, everyone on the planet wants to join the black wizards of Recluse, leaving the island very crowded and forcing the most Reclused of the population to find somewhere more open to live.
Again, Eve by Jack Chalker (Del Rey $6.99). Jack Chalker takes his penchant for gender-changing to extremes. Every man on Earth (except for the hero) becomes a beautiful woman. Can the hero figure out what has happened and how to reverse it before he stops wanting to?