THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, by Walter Tevis (Gold Medal, 40¢) In theme, this is surprisingly similar to another recent novel; Simak's THEY WALKED LIKE MEN. The technique, however, is different -- and superior. Where Simak gives us a run-of-the-mill Menace, a hero right out of one of Murray Leinster's lesser efforts, and a comic-relief "dog" who is about as comic as a tv situation comedy, Tevis provides a welcome element of realism. His alien has come to Earth to make a place for the rest of his depleted race -- and the place envisioned, of course, is at the top. But he is not an all-powerful Menace; he has advantages and he has disadvantages, and his defeat is more of a tragedy than a triumph. (On the other hand, he is not the benevolent-but-rejected Saviour either; any saving done will be because his race dislikes the prospect of an atomic holocaust, not for our benefit.) Tevis has not been satisfied with stock characters, and has created an individual. More power to him. As a mainstream author, he has not gone very heavily into the gadgetry so beloved of fans, but he has written a first-rate science fiction novel.
BLACK!, by Clarence Cooper (Regency, 50¢) Two novelettes, combined into one book. Those interested in "race relations" should read this; it gives an insight into the Negro viewpoint that isn't ordinarily encountered -- particularly the second story, which deals primarily with the problems of a Black Muslim whose shame is that his mother is a white woman. I wasn't too taken by the first story, which could be any account of racketeers, prostitutes and slum-dwellers with the colors changed. Once again, Regency outreaches itself by telling the reader what a Great Writer Cooper is and how wonderful Regency is for allowing the reader to participate in this Wonderful Experience. And they still don't tell me what I want to know, which is whether writer Clarence Cooper is, or is related to, folksinger Clarence Cooper. I suspect not, though.
QUEEN STREET, by Matthew Gant (Regency, 50¢) Even Regency didn't have the gall to brag about this being Great Literature. The story is about a girl gang, and the assordid friends of the members. The author experiments by having each chapter related from a different viewpoint; I suppose the idea was to provide greater insight, but the result is mostly confusion. If you like this kind of book, I suppose this is the kind of book that you'll like. I couldn't finish it.
A few readers have wistfully requested my opinions on current magazines (so they'll have something to disagree with, I suspect). The present crop is even more mixed than usual. The new ANALOG has beautiful layout and illustrations and all, and I like the large size, but quite frankly I'd be ashamed to publish a fanzine with as many typographical errors as the last couple of issues of ANALOG have contained. For 50¢ a copy, there is no excuse for it whatsoever; it puts a supposedly prestige format right back into the pulp category. (The stories? About as usual; I still find them readable.) WORLDS OF TOMORROW has provided a landmark; the first new stf mag in about 5 years. The format stinks, but the Clarke serial looks good (I don't read serials until they're complete) and the nostalgically old-fashioned Laumer story makes up for some of the crap in the rest of the issue. Sharon Towle remarks enthusiastically on the Ballard and Zelazny stories in the last FANTASTIC; I admit they were better than I expected, but while they were good I don't consider them outstanding -- even for FANTASTIC. Remember "Joyleg" and "Second Ending"?
Data entry by Judy Bemis
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