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January 2007
 
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Love Is Forever We Are For Tonight by Robert Moore Williams (1970)

CURTIS Books blurbed Love Is Forever—We Are for Tonight as "THE STRANGE AND FANTASTIC NOVEL OF A MAN TRAPPED IN AN INNER WORLD OF FEAR AND EVIL." It is, in truth, the autobiographical psychiatric case study of pulp sf writer Robert Moore Williams (1907-77). Think latter-day Heinlein crossed with L. Ron Hubbard and you won't go too far wrong.

The beginning place is early last-century Farmington, Missouri. But we are soon swept away on what the author himself calls a subvocal thought stream. Dianetics, UFOlogy, pre- and ante-natal memories ("Yes," a lawyer told Williams. "Yes. My mother's milk was poison to me."), desert communes, hallucinogenic gases ("I see Saturn in a cocked hat!"), Celtic melancholia, enemas, color projection instruments, and the italicized awareness of awareness center. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if Philip K. Dick had read this book long before he began VALIS.

Williams wrote some novels that deserve to be a lot more than little-known. The Blue Atom (1958) was inspired by his drug-induced view of the Solar System swimming in a soft blue light. The Day They H-Bombed Los Angeles (1962) is worthy of special praise; there's a clever catch in that catchpenny title. But Love Is Forever—We Are for Tonight captures his surely unique blend of madness and/or vision in its simon-pure form.

Semi-explanatory extract: "Our emotions remember the time before the beginning. Always is a meaningful word to them. Love is forever. But we children of ephemera, we are for tonight."

—Graham Andrews

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