Fires of the Past: Thirteen Contemporary Fantasies about Hometowns

Anne Devereaux Jordan, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-312-05433-5
The science fiction writers whose work appears here have very different--and at times very loose--ideas of what hometowns can mean, as each revisits his or hers in fictional form. In Harlan Ellison's ``Jane Doe #112,'' a man's home is where he finds it: Ben Laborde, who ``had run off when he was 10,'' feels he has lived ``half a dozen different existences.'' In ``Wild for You'' by Lewis Shiner, home is on the highway, as a driver moves from youth to old age on a day's drive that literally lasts a lifetime. And Karen Haber's ``3 Rms, Good View'' posits ``the past as a suburb of the present'': a young woman who works in 21st-century San Francisco commutes from a cheap apartment circa 1968. In some cases, ambivalence about roots constrains the authorial imagination--Edward Bryant's ``The Great Steam Bison of Cycad Center'' and Joe Haldeman's ``Homecoming'' border on the sentimental, while Robert Silverberg's ``The Last Surviving Veteran of the War of San Francisco'' is sketchy and implausible. Best and funniest is Ian Watson's ``The Talk of the Town,'' in which a young man holds telepathic conversations with the depressive, slightly lunatic spirit of his village. Jordan, who coedited The Best Horror Stories from the Magazine of F & SF , contributes only mildly informative introductions. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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