Children of Hamelin

Norman Spinrad, Author, Kent Bash, Illustrator Tafford Publishing, Incorporated $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-9623712-3-3
If this autobiographical novel by the prolific SF author had been published 20 years ago during the era that it reflects, it would have achieved cult status by now. Set in New York City in the late '60s, it concerns the highs and lows of Tom Hollander, an ex-junkie who earns his living as a fee reader at a literary agency--``the big game,'' as he refers to it. The hook is that Tom's best friends, Ted and Doris, are heavily into therapy and something called The Foundation for Total Consciousness, which Tom, ever manifesting an ex-junkie's cynicism and paranoia, sees as just another scam. The conflicts in Tom's world are personified by his two love interests. Acid-dealing Robin is as free (or as flighty) as her name implies, while Arlene Cooper, hooked on therapy, is as uptight as her name signifies. The stumbling block here is the determined use of slang; overindulgence in such words as ``bummers'' and ``groovies'' quickly becomes tiresome. Spinrad's hippie era is far from bucolic, but it does contain those old standbys: sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, in this case augmented by death. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
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