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Send us your letters! Locus Online has more room than the magazine for letters. They can be about Locus or the SF field in general.

October 1999

Letters on this page:

  • Marty Halpern recommends Blaylock (30 Oct)
  • Roger Silverstein clarifies Jack Finney (29 Oct)
  • Pierce Askegren and Alan Elms are thinking alike (28 Oct)
  • Pete Tillman has a coin story too (20 Oct)
  • Michael Walsh has an answer for Mr. Gibbs (15 Oct)
  • William T. Gibbs is looking for SF involving coins or paper money (14 Oct)
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden on Storm Constantine (14 Oct)

    Dear Locus,
         I would like to recommend James P. Blaylock's The Last Coin, which concerns the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas for the betrayal of Jesus. These coins somehow ended up in California (Blaylock's Orange County) -- and the one remaining coin ('the last coin' of the story title) is the only thing that stands in the way of the world's certain doom!
         I spent my teen years in Orange County, California. You gotta love Blaylock!

    Marty Halpern
    29 October 1999
    (posted Sat 30 Oct 1999)

    Dear Locus,
         I have been following the SF coin letters with interest, having been a numismatist in my younger days. Regarding Jack Finney's The Woodrow Wilson Dime, WWD is a novel based on a short story titled ''The Coin Collector'' (also called ''The Other Wife''). The Woodrow Wilson Dime should be in boldface, rather than in quotation marks, unless both letter writers were thinking of ''The Coin Collector'' instead. (I also reread Charles Grant's "Coin of the Realm", but I don't think that it fits the criteria of coins being crucial to the plot.)

    Roger Silverstein
    29 October 1999
    (posted Fri 29 Oct 1999)

    [ Correction made. The Woodrow Wilson Dime was published by Simon & Schuster in 1968, and then reprinted in the same publisher's 3 by Finney in 1987. --ed. ]

    Dear Locus,
         I'm somewhat surprised that no one has mentioned Jack Finney's The Woodrow Wilson Dime, in which the titular piece of currency enables the protagonist to shuttle back and forth between our world and a somewhat different parallel reality. It reads somewhat like a collaboration between Rod Serling and Jean Shepherd.

    Pierce Askegren
    28 October 1999
    (posted Thu 28 Oct 1999)

    Dear Locus,
         Re William Gibbs's request for suggestions concerning science fiction novels in which coins play a pivotal role: Jack Finney's The Woodrow Wilson Dime should be up there toward the top of the list. The dime in question is the protagonist's key to enter an alternate world.

    Alan Elms
    26 October 1999
    (posted Thu 28 Oct 1999)

    [ There was also a Twilight Zone episode, George Clayton Johnson's ''A Penny for Your Thoughts'', in which a flipped coin lands on end and gives Dick York the ability to read minds. Nicholls and Clute's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has an essay on money, though most of the examples cited concern creating wealth or the effects of compound interest, not coins or paper money per se. --ed. ]

    Dear Locus,
         One story that comes to mind is by Charles Harness, ''Geo. Washington Slept Here'', my personal favorite of his stories. The numismatic plot element is a stack of mint 18th century gold double eagles, which are transferred to the opposing attorney, who is a noted numismatist, during the course of a lawsuit. GW's underpants are included in the deal. A charming and romantic story, recently reprinted in his collection An Ornament to his Profession (NESFA Press, in print).

    Pete Tillman
    (Book Reviews)
    16 October 1999
    (posted Wed 20 Oct 1999)

    Dear Locus,
         The book that Mr. Gibbs has a hazy memory of is:

    KURLAND, MICHAEL. The Whenabouts of Burr. NY: Daw Books, Inc. [1975]
         I recall reading it -- and so many of those early DAWs -- and rather enjoying it. The plot also features the Constitution that has been signed by Burr.

    Michael J. Walsh
    15 October 1999
    (posted Fri 15 Oct 1999)

    Dear Locus,
         I am beginning research on a feature article for Coin World magazine about numismatics and science fiction (and fantasy), specifically, the use of coins or paper money as major plot points in science fiction stories or novels. For example, I recall an alternative history DAW novel about an Aaron Burr coin (but I can't recall the title or author).
         The focus of my article will be on how a coin or bank note played a major role in a novel.
         Would it be possible for Locus or Locus Online to publish my request for research help? Since most science fiction authors and readers read Locus, I thought it would be the best place for me to ask for help in my research. It would help if I could borrow any books or stories; all books would be returned.
         The feature article is tentatively planned for publication sometime in 2000.
         I appreciate any help you can give me. I've been reading science fiction since my pre-teen days, and have read Locus for about 18 years.

    --William T. Gibbs
    News Editor, COIN WORLD
    PO Box 150, Sidney, OH 45365-0150
    (800) 673-8311
    10 October 1999
    (posted Thu 14 Oct 1999)

    Dear Locus,
         From the October issue's New and Notable Books:

    "[Storm] Constantine's elegantly unique gothic style has avid fans, but too few in the US for major publishers [...]"

         I'd like to take issue with the assertion (not unique to Locus) that Storm Constantine's work doesn't sell in the US. In fact our omnibus of her first trilogy, Wraeththu, is one of the bestselling titles in our Orb line, and has been for years.
         We look forward to publishing her new novel, Sea Dragon Heir, in hardcover early next year -- but we're not doing it as an admirable act of self-sacrifice.

    Patrick Nielsen Hayden
    8 October 1999
    (posted Thu 14 Oct 1999)

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