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SF Reviews and Articles in General Publications

§ Salon June 30th
Mark Dery profiles and interviews by email Rudy Rucker about his new nonfiction novel Saucer Wisdom (Forge) and his newly found cyber-spirituality.
I'm more comfortable with religion than I used to be. I've always believed in a cosmic absolute, but only recently did I start feeling like it could make sense to pray. I would, by the way, take exception to your [Dery's] knee-jerk characterization of mysticism as "wide-eyed." One can in fact have a quite practical and, if you will, "narrow-eyed" reason for choosing to believe that God is everywhere and that God will help you if you ask: This kind of belief makes it easier to be alive.
Also: a review by Etelka Lehoczky of Rucker's nonfiction collection Seek! (Four Walls Eight Windows).



(Wed 30 June 1999)

§ New York Times Book Review June 27th
Anita Gates reviews Homer H. Hickam Jr.'s Back to the Moon (Delacorte Press), which has ''all the assets of a well-plotted action movie. ... This is not great literature, but it is about great dreams.'' (Also reviewed by L.D. Meagher in CNN, June 23rd.)

§ Washington Post Book World June 27th
No reviews of SF books, but there are reviews by SF folk Paul Di Filippo and James Sallis, as well as David Streitfeld's amusing Book Report comparing book collectors to alcoholics.

§ Denver Post June 27th
Fred Cleaver's science fiction column reviews Robert J. Sawyer's Flashforward and books by Keith Harman and Ken Goddard. Also: a review of Homer H. Hickman Jr.'s Back to the Moon (Delacorte).

§ Los Angeles Times Book Review June 27th
Michael Shermer (author of Why People Believe Weird Things) reviews Barry Glassner's The Culture of Fear (Basic Books). (Another review by Chris Colin ran in Salon on June 21st.)

§ Slate June 25th
Michael Lind's Assessment is a brief history of Tarzan. ''Burroughs was the George Lucas of his day, creating in Tarzan and other characters beings as profoundly mythical--and as stereotypically superficial--as Darth Vader.''

Tarzan and John Carter were both exemplars of Anglo-Saxon masculinity--Tarzan, the heir to an aristocratic English family, and John Carter, an upper-class Virginian by birth. The Tarzan and Carter stories can be viewed as experiments--take a member of the Anglo-Saxon ruling class, strip him of all his advantages, and put him in a radically different environment, in order that the innate superiority of his breed may be demonstrated. Whether in Africa (the symbol of precivilized savagery) or on an old, desiccated Mars (the symbol of overrefinement and cultural exhaustion), the Anglo-Saxon man proves that he is royalty. Tarzan becomes Lord of the Jungle, John Carter weds the Princess of Mars. Space, in Burroughs, is a metaphor for time. Tarzan and John Carter represent the era of Anglo-American civilization, at the midpoint between prehistoric barbarism and post-historic decadence.
But Disney's version, the writer explains, defeats Burroughs' metaphorical purpose by turning the aristocratic ape-man into a momma's boy.

§ The Onion's A.V. Club (undated)
An interview with Ray Bradbury by Joshua Klein. Bradbury explains what he'll do if he doesn't like what Mel Gibson does with Fahrenheit 451, now in production.

Mel Gibson is a fine director and a fine actor, and I trust him to do a good job. But at the right moment, when they start production, I'll make a list of things that don't go into the film. And if he doesn't [listen], I'll call a press conference.
Also in the A.V. Club's interview archives, similarly undated: chats with Douglas Adams, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, and others.

(Mon 28 June 1999)

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