Fifteen oral and written roundtable discussions, drawn from the Forum section of Harper's magazine, range in subject from sitcoms to the packaging of Christ's second coming as a media event. These lively exchanges are usually entertaining, although there are low points (``Is Computer Hacking a Crime?,'' a computer bulletin board ``conversation,'' degenerates into name-calling). ``In Pursuit of Pure Horror'' brings together Robert Bloch, Suzy McKee Charnas, Harlan Ellison and Gahan Wilson for a very peculiar--and occasionally hilarious--story development meeting for a modern version of Poe's ``The TellTale Heart'' as a way of reflecting on our fascination with violence and terror. For ``Notes in an Interplanetary Bottle,'' Harper's seeks messages that would discourage extraterrestrials from visiting Earth. Exiled Soviet author Vassily Aksyonovok suggests showing them the lines at Immigration and Naturalization. In the sobering ``When You're a Crip (or a Blood),'' journalist Leon Bing and members of two rival Los Angeles gangs discuss gang life: initiation, ``drive-by killing'' and drugs. Hitt is an editor at Harper's . Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991 Release date: 05/01/1991 Genre: Nonfiction
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