I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas holiday. I spent mine loafing around the house, working on my currency collection, typing up the new LASFS Directory, and catching up on my reading:
Lords of the Starship, by Mark S. Geston (Ace, 50¢) is an eerie one. It's solid s-f, and not like Tolkien at all, but for some reason I kept thinking, "This is what it would be like if Sauron took over." It all starts out pleasantly and logically enough, but there's a sour note that won't go away, and keeps cropping up from time to time, until suddenly it blossoms forth and the dream becomes a nightmare. Ugh. But the author knows exactly what he's doing at all times, giving you a slight clue, and lulling you again, until WHAM! Don't buy it if you want a pleasant story, but if you want a good one -- yes.
Outlaw of Gor, by John Norman (Ballantine, 75¢), brings us Tarl of Ko-ro-ba again, in another pseudo-John Carter adventure. This time Tarl starts on his most perilous quest, gets sidetracked about page 45, and doesn't get back on the track until the end of the book. Presumably the Big Quest will be in the next volume. Inferior to the first Gor book; if you want to sample one, read #1.
The Jewel in the Skull, by Michael Moorcock (Lancer, 60¢), is heralded as "The History of the Runestaff, vol. I". This is another addition to the ranks of the sword-&-sorcery heroes, the specific hero being Dorian Hawkmoon, the young dispossessed Duke of Köln. The characters all have s&s names like Count Brass, Baron Meliadus, Malagigi the Persian wizard, and Bowgentle the warrior bard. Moorcock does have a couple of interesting new twists to his background, though, and he's a competent enough writer to keep the story a bit above the pedestrian level. (It's head & heels over Jockstrap the Barbarian, certainly.) Definitely worth reading if you're a s&s fan; if not...well, flip through it the next time you're at the newsstand, and decide for yourself.
The Horn of Time, by Poul Anderson (Signet, 60¢), contains six short stories and novelettes, and since when haven't Anderson's stories been worth a dime apiece?
Galactic Odyssey, by Keith Laumer (Berkeley, 60¢), is typically fast-paced Laumer space opera. I like it. Buy according to your taste for Laumer.
When the Star Kings Die, by John Jakes (Ace, 50¢), is bad space opera. No.
Nebula Award Stories, ed. by Damon Knight (Pocket Books, 75¢), is a must at the price, if you haven't read it yet. (Besides, you've got to have at least one copy of the jellybean story for your library.)
Fred Hollander -- Getting sick just to get high getting cured sounds too much like the justification for pounding your head against a wall. ## Gee, I was discussing Slave Ship just last week with Bill Warren, and here you're mentioning it too. I probably hadn't thought about it all year, and all of a sudden here's two references to it in a row. Bill and I were trying to recall all the s-f stories that featured animals (more or less intelligent) as integral elements of the plot. Hey, Bill, if you're reading this, that story whose title we couldn't remember is "Socrates", by John Christopher. ## Yes, I'd like to see your discussion of the implications of the inertialess drive in the Lensman series. We can use more stf in Apa L, even if it is a reprint. ## What's wrong with Fred Hollander as an author's name? I think it sounds better than Honler, frankly. ("Honler" reminds me of "Emsler", one of Emshwiller's old pseuds before he settled on "Emsh".) ## If you (or anybody else) read The Jewel in the Skull, mentioned overleaf, I'd like to know what you think of the poem-fragment, "The Emperor Glaucoma", in it. ## If you liked The Space Merchants, read Gladiator-at-Law, and Search the Sky, both of which I think are better. I didn't care for Pohl & Kornbluth's last book, Wolfbane, though. ## Apa L has not from the start been a center and sounding board for feuds. Discussion, yes; we had a lot of arguments about Objectivism and other subjects in the first couple of dozen dist'ns. But the feuds, and the discussions becoming personal arguments, didn't start until Apa L was well over half a year old, as I recall. When it did start, a lot of people complained about the dragging of feuding into Apa L, which had been so much fun up to then. A lot of the stuff in the first 20 or 30 dist'ns -- the fiction, Bĵo's comic strip, and so on -- were written because the contributors wanted to share something nice with everybody. That's why the first Best from Apa L, after all. If Apa L had been a center of feuds from the beginning, I doubt that any of the out-of-town contributors would've kept up the expense of contributing weekly, and Apa L never would have built up the momentum that's kept it going this long. That's what we regret about the old days being gone.
Bruce Pelz -- No comment hooks, but I just want to let you know I'm still enjoying it very much. I hope that you (plural) finish it; completed serials in Apa L are the exception rather than the rule. More Dian illos would be nice...
Lon Atkins -- It's good, but I have the feeling I've read it before.
Sally Crayne -- Your comment about Merry Christmas to all, even Scientologists, suddenly made me realize that I don't have the slightest idea what attitude the Scientologists take toward religious holidays. Information, anyone? ## I guess that Mac McCaughan is one of our "unnoticed neos"; he's been around for about a month, but he looks like two different people depending on whether he's wearing his glasses or not. I think that, in the case of a neo starting to attend LASFS regularly, it takes about a month for his face to start registering on the average member, and about two months for a name and personality to attach themselves to it. (Unless one has occasion to specifically get acquainted with him sooner.)
Tom Digby -- Your list here will be handy for lining up parties well in advance. ## Hey, since the F-UNCON starts on a Thursday, why don't we hold the LASFS Meeting at the Statler-Hilton that day? (A short Meeting, of course, with one of the longest programs ever.)
And that's it for comments. I just got another shipment of French comics, and I'm faunching to get into 'em. Schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf...