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The Compleat Boucher
edited by James A. Mann
NESFA Press, 532 pages

The Compleat Boucher
Anthony Boucher
William Anthony Parker White (1911-1968) is perhaps best known as one of the founding editors of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He was a distinguished book reviewer (for the New York Times and Herald-Tribune) and did much to raise literary standards for SF, both as an editor and critic. He wrote fiction under the name Anthony Boucher.

The Compleat Boucher Table of Contents
Review: The Compleat Boucher

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Peter D. Tillman

William Anthony Parker White (1911-1968) wrote fiction under the name Anthony Boucher. The wry, literate, understated and still very readable stories collected here were mostly written between 1940 and 1952. It's a collection to be read a story or two at a time, or at least that's how I read it. Boucher's best stories -- "The Quest for St. Aquin"; "The Compleat Werewolf"; "Snulbug"; "They Bite"; "The Star Dummy" -- have entered the permanent science fiction and fantasy repertoire and will be familiar to most, umm... 'mature' readers. I would urge younger readers, who could hardly be expected to buy on a collection of half-century old stories by someone they've barely heard of, to borrow the collection from a public library, and try (at least) the stories listed above. As in any complete collection, there are minor works here too, though I found all of them at least readable (by contrast to, for example, the Cyril Kornlbuth or the Charles Harness collections also done by NESFA press). And few will be able to resist the charms of:

"I am the very model of a modern SF editor.
My publisher is happy, as is each and every creditor.
I know the market trends and how to please the newsstand purchaser;
With agents and name authors my relations can't be courteouser.
In short, in manners monetary, social, and promotional,
I am the very model of a pro SF devotional."
As always, NESFA books are a pleasure to read and hold: smooth, creamy paper, solid, full-cloth bindings, and a lovely period cover (of "Wolfie" & Gloria) by Jane Dennis. I do wish, however, that the editor, Mann, had included more biographical information about the author -- a page and a half seems skimpy.

Copyright © 2000 by Peter D. Tillman

Pete Tillman has been reading SF for better than 40 years now. He reviews SF -- and other books -- for Usenet, "Under the Covers", Infinity-Plus, Dark Planet, and SF Site. He's a mineral exploration geologist based in Arizona. More of his reviews are posted at .

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