A SHORT ISH
I have been away to Worldcon and vacationing in San antonio for 10 days, and the day after we got home Sandy's father passed away. He was 88 and went in a matter of minutes due to a heart attack despite a rescue team's efforts. The next few days were extremely busy helping Sandy and her brothers with arrangements and services. I have not started having the last disty read to me, and will have few if any comments. Also the NFB state convention is coming up and I must prepare the announcement for mailing. Do hope to do more next month.
MICHAEL SCOTT ROHAN
Some years ago Diana Paxson had recommended to me Michael Scott Rohan's "Winter of the World" series consisting of Anvil of Ice, Forge in the Forest, and Hammer of the Sun. She said that in the deluge of fantasy trilogies this one was closest in spirit to Tolkien, and I did find it so. It is set in the North American pacific northwest during the previous interglaciation. The magic is smithcraft accompanied by spellsinging, and the series was well worth reading.
Now I just came across his THE GATES OF NOON (Avon, 1992, 318 pp.). I got it on talking book cassette from Volunteers of Vacaville, an agency which includes none of the blurbs or the brag sheet. I got the feeling that this book is a sequal to another, or perhaps even the severalth of a series.
The lead character is Steve Fisher, a high executive in an international shipping corporation. He takes on the job of delivering computerized water distribution equipment to the island of Bali, a backwater of Indonesia. Because of increasing population and climate changes related to global warming the traditional water distribution system is failing and there is threat of famine. An international aid agency wants to provide the equipment. Then he runs into a brick wall. His agents can find no ship or airline or even tramp steamer which will take his cargo. After his assistant is beaten he flies out to Singapore where he has no better luck. As he wanders aimlessly and disconsolately he passes through a mist into another level of reality where people of all time periods and even of myths and popular fiction (provided it had an emotional impact on many) merge. Here I find things confusing. He had had a similar experience many years ago and had virtually forgotten it, but it all comes back to him. There is talk of "the spiral and the hub" which mean nothing to me. At first I thought he was referring to the structure of our galaxy, but later I realized it wasn't. Perhaps if I had read the earlier volume(s) it would have meant more. However the book does stand up despite this hole in its background, and was well worth reading. anyone out there know what books came before this? Has rohan written anything other than the ICE books and these?
anyhow, Steve finds himself in the middle of a battle between three forces trying to control matters on Bali. It is NOT a fight between good and evil, but a struggle among amoral powers though it takes a while for Steve to realize this. They are brutal in their use of force and he must find a way to achieve a balance between them and to cntrol them.
Strong magic is used by all sides in their efforts to control the water system of Bali by sidetracking the shipment. A helpful wizard puts strong protective hex signs on the shipping container to protect it. Despite attacks Fisher gets it to Singapore and there hires an other-worldly sailing vessel with side-wheel assist to carry it in this other dimension. The crew is a rowdy bunch of adventurers who will take great risks for gold. Just as they are to load it, it is stolen. by magical means they track it to Skull Island but do not know the nature of the location. Magical things happen to them there and I gather this is supposed to be the original home of King Kong. There are sea battles, several crew members are killed, and the ship is damaged. Fortunately a more modern ghost ship rescues them, and helps get the cargo to Bali. Even there there are more magical fights until the system is installed and the forces are balanced.
A secondary character is Jacquin, a Eurasian former lover he had dumped many years ago because !!he was unequipped with the emotional maturity to handle a real relationship. All this had happened before his previous encounter with the spiral and hub. He had had a brief marriage after that magical encounter but had remained unable to maintain a successful relationship. Jacquin is bitter and distrustful of him but as she goes with him into these strange places he grows and she comes to understand him. At the end she cannot enter a relationship with him because he will always be at the beck and call of the spiral forces and she cannot take any more such adventures.
The book was satisfying and dealt well with magical and emotional forces. I do want to read more by this author.
When NESFA was first organized in the late '60s it met in members' homes. One meeting was a business meeting and the other, simply called the "other meeting," was more of a party than anything else. Usually a 16 mm movie was rented and shown. Several times I invited the whole club up for the weekend for its "other" meeting and I had some 50 houseguests. My house was only half its present size and was wall-to-wall sleepingbags at night. A few slept in their vans or in tents set up on the lawn. Getting up in the morning was an adventure as I had only one bathroom. Usually a few friends from NY joined the group, including Charlie & Marsha Brown, Sheila elkin (now Gilbert), Frank Prieto, and Elliot Shorter.
Other times I had only 8 to 12people up for the weekend. This usually consisted of the New Yorkers plus a few NESFen like tony & Suford Lewis and Cory Seidman (now Panshin). I think it was Marsha (now Jones) who cristened these gatherings "Meshkons."
The last such gathering was probably in 1970. It was at such a Meshkon in the Fall of 1967 or the Spring of 1968 that LOCUS was born. Sandy has suggested that we try for another. It would be quite different. Many of the old participants have drifted away or we have lost touch with them. Also all of us have aged and not many would be interested in sleeping on the floor. We have room for eight on couches and spare beds. We have to do some figuring on logistics and dates and would have to do two or three because of the ageing factor above. Also we do have new friends we would like to add to the list. Guests from commuting distance could be added without deminishing the number of over-nighters. If interested let us know.
BLAnCmANGE (Mark Blackman). You mentioned that the Globe Theater burned down soon after Shakespeare wrote his last play, HENRY VIII, but plays were not banned until the Calvinist revolt of 1642. I assume that Shakespeare's plays, and those like that by Ford mentioned in DAGON, were performed in other theaters. I wonder how many theaters were in active use at that time.
DAGON (John Boardman). If you have any copies left, could you please send a copy of the 23rd anniversary disty to Bruce Pelz (15931 Kalisher St., Granada Hills CA 91344)? He would be interested in the brief history of the APA. At a panel at Worldcon he was interested to learn that this successor to APA F still existed.
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