Fosfax, Issue 205, Part 1, Page 57


Dublin Core


Fosfax, Issue 205, Part 1, Page 57


Science Fiction


Fifty- Seventh page of Fosfax, Issue 205, Part One: Book Reivews


Timothy Lane, Leigh Kemmel


Fosfax, Issue 205, Part 1, July 2002




The Georgia Tech Archives and Records Management Department has made every effort to secure proper permissions for posting items on the web site. In this instance, however, it has either not been possible to identify or contact the current copyright owner. If you have information regarding the copyright owner, please contact us at



Document Item Type Metadata


in¬distinguishable from normal cat behavior approx, eighteen hours a day — she is snoozing on the office couch next to me as I write this, but at least on and not under) as well as excess weight gain (her figure is becoming a little, shall we say, "matronly" — but then she is a little bit older than advertised, isn’t she, which is to say no longer expected to retain her girlish figure? But her namesake in the novel did [to quote: "She was slender, and wonderfully graceful. Except that her movements were languid — very languid . . . her features were small and beautifully formed; her eyes large, dark, and lustrous. . ."
That's the Carmilla we have known and loved! But on the plus side, she is only somewhere between 69 and 96 years old in cat years by the chart in the vet’s examination room, while her namesake lived to more than 150, which, by my reckoning, should calculate to a min¬imum of nine more human years to go. Anyway, while the vet struck me as being a little evasive about it, I understand from other sources that she might be expected to flab out somewhat for about two months after her operation, until her parathyroids — wee little things attached to the thyroid that are reimplanted, which specialize in calcium bal¬ance regulation — have had a chance to fully kick in, among other things, and, as of this writing, she has at least a week to go.
Nevertheless, around the beginning of February 2002 it’s back to the vet for (everyone ready? all together now) More Tests, which should lay the hypothyroidism threat to rest one way or the other, as well as — finally! — a Cleaning of the Teeth. As I write this, it is Thanksgiving morning. Carmilla and I plan to celebrate. She’s alive. She’s active (she caught a mouse a week before her last vet visit! This morning she played with her catnip toy). She is affectionate and beautiful, even if still a tad shy around strangers.
With luck I may get to World Horror Con next May, as well as World Fantasy Con in the fall.
And, come February, if it turns out that Carmilla now does have hypothyroidism, well, they have pills for that. . . .
CH1NDI by Jack McDevitt (Ace, $22.95)
Review by Timothy Lane
This is a sequel to Deepsix (which I reviewed in issue 201), itself a sequel to The Engines of God. All three share as a major character space pilot Priscilla Hutchins (Hutch to her friends). In this, Hutch is persuaded to visit a neutron star where some odd signals of possibly intelligent (and alien) origin have been detected.
Providing her ship will be a group known as the Contact Society, regarded by most people (including Hutch) as a bunch of crazies. But when she picks them up (they'll do the exploring rather than a bunch of regular scientists who figure they have better things to do), it turns out that they aren’t the fanatics she expected. Most joined for other reasons — the owner of a funeral home doubts customers would ap¬preciate his fondness for the occult, so he sublimates it in a search for aliens; a sim actress has a secret passion for space exploration, so she hopes for an opportunity to see space; a renowned physicist wishes he lived when he could still make major discoveries. There are others, too; McDevitt has a set of interesting, likeable, and worthy characters here, with some complex relationships. They make a moving story, especially toward the end.
Needless to say, there is something to be discovered out there; it says as much on the end papers, so I'm not giving away much here. The investigation of the signals, especially the source, drives the main plot, a vintage McDevitt discovery cum adventure with danger hinted at by the title (from Navajo folklore).
One of the chapter heading epigraphs, from the professional cynic Greg McAllister (a major character in Deepsix), notes that it’s a lot of fun living in a decadent era — it's the next generation that pays the price. This is very similar to the main point John Ringo discusses in the author's note to Gust Front. One might also note the alien Noks, who keep knocking themselves down by their uncompromising devo¬tion to various religious and political theories . . .
The book is well copy-edited; except for a minor continuity error on page 100 I found virtually no errors.
I have mentioned previously that McDevitt is very good at provid¬ing a more realistic cultural millieu, with plenty of referents after our own time. Few writers do this; Robert Heinlein did a pretty good job of it in Starship Troopers, but a lot of people complained about unex¬plained references (even though this actually makes the writing more realistic; such references would need no explanation in a book actual¬ly written then). Chindi may be McDevitt’s best example yet; I rather liked the musical group Hammurabi Smith and his Hanging Gardeners (whose most noted corsi is "The Babylon Express’’'
Con report by Leigh Kimmel
Archon 25 was held over the weekend of October 5-7 at the Gate-way Convention Center and Holiday Inn in Collinsville, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Since this year’s convention was a major milestone, they got Robert Jordan, best-selling author of the Wheel of Time series, as their guest of honor.
We arrived the night before in order to be ready as soon as the doors opened. Since the Holiday Inn has been growing more and more expensive, we stayed at a Day's Inn just a little way down the road.
This year they were supposed to have the dealers’ room open for set-up at 11 AM, but because of various problems, we couldn't actual¬ly get in until 11:30. However, we still were able to get things in and set up before the doors were opened for shopping. I also got my art on the art show.
Sales were actually pretty good. Since the dealers' room stayed open fairly late that night, we carried in sandwiches for supper. After the dealers’ room closed, we went around to the parties. There were some pretty good ones. We also attended the artists’ reception in the art show, which gave us a chance to look at some of the art.
When we decided to turn in for the night, the van wouldn’t start. We had a really frightening time, but just when we called the tow truck, the dratted thing decided to start. So we were able to get back to our sleeping quarters for the night, but with no idea how long it would be before we had more trouble.
Saturday the van did start, and we were able to get over to the Convention Center again. We decided we wouldn’t try to go any¬where until time to turn in for the night. We got into the dealers’ room and opened our tables for business. Sales continued to be good, although not totally spectacular. I was rather disappointed not to be getting bids on my art.
After the dealers' room closed, we walked over to the Ponderosa restaurant to get supper. They were really busy, and we ended up standing in a real long line, and we decided to share a table with another Archon dealer who was just ahead of us in the line, in order to get a table that much sooner. The food was really great, and I end¬ed up really full.
After we were done eating, we headed over to the Holiday Inn to the parties. However, we couldn’t find any, so we visited the con su¬ite for a little while before deciding to turn in for the night. The van did start and we got back to the Day’s Inn.
On Sunday, we got up and got cleared out of our sleeping apart-ment. However, we held off on actually checking out until we saw that the van would actually start, in case we ended up stranded. For¬tunately it did, so we were able to get over to the Convention Center for our final day of the convention.
We got our dealers' tables open, and sales were steady, if not phenomenal. I got my art off the art show and discovered that two of my pieces had sold. The purchaser also stopped by our tables and got me to personalize one of them.
In the afternoon we packed up and loaded things out. Then we had another tense moment seeing whether the van would start proper¬ly. Fortunately it did, and we were able to get safely back to Indiana¬polis

Document Viewer