Edition 43 - featuring Darko Suvin PDF Print E-mail


Volume 16, No. 1. Published July 2001


  • "An Interview with Bernard Cohen" - Interview by Van Ikin


  • "A Colloquium with Darko Suvin" (excerpt) - Russell Blackford, Sylvia Kelso, Van Ikin
  • "The Island of Doctor Moreau or the Case of Devolution" - Pascale Krumm


  • Damien Broderick's Transrealist Fiction - review by Ian Nichols
  • Stephanie Johnson's The Whistler- review by Bruce Shaw
  • Rosemary Edghill's The Cloak of Night and Daggers;- review by Sylvia Kelso
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton's Black Trillium - review by Marian Foster
  • Julian May's Sky Trillium - review by Marian Foster
  • Simon Brown's Inheritance - review by Peter McNamara

Review Excerpts

Inheritance by Simon Brown

After a bright, action-driven space opera (Privateer) and a character-based post-holocaust study that was all darkness and gloom (Winter), what were we to expect next from the emerging talent of Simon Brown? The signs were there, of course, that we might get a surprise, but certainly not as much of a surprise as the complete abandonment of SF in favour of traditional middle-of-the-road fantasy. There was no predicting Inheritance: Book One of the Keys of Power.

Transrealist Fiction by Damien Broderick>

Science fiction, as a genre, would seem to be passing through a testing time. The predictions of its wonder years have largely failed to come true, and many of those which have, have done so in a totally unexpected way. Even the dystopic novels have been proved wrong, and 1984 came and went with little note. Now, in 2001, we look in vain towards the skies for HAL and the monoliths. The space programme has been diverted from manned exploration of the planets into launching and maintaining communications satellites, and the emergence of AIDS and the internet, almost simultaneously, is something which few writers addressed. It would be a reasonable question to ask what the role of science fiction might be in the twenty-first century, and, with Transrealist Fiction, this is what Damien Broderick has done.

The Cloak of Night and Daggers by Rosemary Edghill

This review should properly begin with something like "Alas, Babylon!", where Babylon has the Rastas' meaning in Neuromancer: the image of the techno-capitalist Beast. But Marx would be just as happy with such a fine illustration of the Beast's behaviour as development that would boost a commercial genre being chopped off at the knees by that genre's commercial exigencies.

Edghill's The Cloak of Night and Daggers is third in a sequence that promised to escape the genre's eternal trilogy-horizon, without the accumulation of characters, synopsis and tacked-on extensions that blight Robert Jordan's long-winded effusions as much as Katharine Kerr's Deverry series, or even Patrick Tilley's top-heavy and rarely lamented sf series, The Amtrak Wars. The Twelve Treasures was architectured as a twelve-book series; a successor of Spenser and Ariosto, an epic framework that for once would have merited the word. But, thanks to commercial pressures, DAW will not now publish more.

Marx has another strong connection to the series, because Edghill had also begun to renovate the content of Fantasyland; picking up a recent sub-trend, The Twelve Treasures was developing a class war, bruited to become a revolution, overthrowing - not the Dark Lord, but the elves.

The Whistler by Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson’s fifth novel, The Whistler, continues the tradition in speculative fiction of projecting conditions and social issues from the present into the future. >Her depiction of a technological world rapidly gone adrift, descriptions of a future time extrapolated from the knowledge and fears of the final years of the twentieth century, belongs to those novels of exemplary warning such as (we know) Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s 1984, and a host of other post-apocalyptic tales both well- and poorly-told. The Whistler is in my opinion one of the better treatments of that theme.

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