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Letters to the SF Site

We love letters. They make us think. They make us laugh. They make us sit up and take notice, and get a payment in before service is disconnected.

Mostly, though, we enjoy hearing what you have to say about the SF Site. No publishing enterprise can survive long without paying close attention to its audience, and we're no different. If you've got a comment or thoughtful suggestion, or if you just want to complain about that durned dead link, we want to hear about it.

Guns, Doom, And Littleton

From: Ashok Banker

Dear Mr O'Neill,

Just read your editorial on Littleton, Doom and the bullet that must be caught. I just want to say how much I love your site -- it's my home page -- and I wish you very many good things.

You may be surprised to know that even in a (seemingly) pacifist country like India, we have many of the same problems as the US. In fact, quite ironically, in today's Times of India itself there was a front-page article about the dangerous influence of games like Doom, Quake, Wolf 3D, etc -- with no relation to Colorado -- and in the same issue there's an advertisement (by a Government agency) for the sale of rifles "for sport and protection".

From: Al Sirois

An excellent take on the subject, I believe. Probably the most intelligent and measured comment I've seen on this aspect of the Littleton tragedy.

I, too, have kids -- and my 15-year-old son is a dedicated, serious gamer. So serious, in fact, that he wants to write gaming software for a living. He is a typical adolescent in that he can drive his mother and I absolutely nuts with his attitude and his argumentative nature. He plays his music too loud, he leaves all the lights on, he refuses to clean up after himself, he monopolizes the phone. Like I say, typical. But he consistently brings home report cards that land him on the honors list. In fact, I can't recall a time when he WASN'T on the honors list. He's intelligent and personable (when he wants to be). Do I think the games are harming him? Nah. Do I think he spends too much time on them? Yeah. But so what?

To point the finger of blame at Doom for what happened in Colorado is short-sighted and stupid, as you say. But we all want scapegoats. Ultimately, there are none to be had, because those 2 young men were responsible for what they did. Like all of us, they had choices. We choose whether or not to indulge in harmful or self-destructive behavior. Unless we are seriously mentally ill and hear voices, nothing COMPELS us. Nothing COMPELLED them. They chose to do what they did.

Doom had nothing to do with it.

From: David Soyka

I found your last column interesting, but your fears about what might happen to gaming and gamers are really unfounded. Already, the media have moved onto other fodder and Littleton is "yesterday's news."

Yes, there's some welcome movement to tighten gun sales (Sen. McCain the conservative of choice for most thinking liberals spearheaded the re-vote, although primarily because of political, not ethical or common sense, reasons -- but that story gets carried inside, since it lacks the inherent drama and appeal to baser interests required for lead front page coverage of the mainstream press). But any backlash is unlikely, IHO, as unlikely as it is for kids to get shot in school (which are statistically still one of the safest places for kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

From: Taras V Wolansky

Video games which involve shooting should be programmed to teach the shooters to miss when using real weapons.

On the Trail of Perry Rhodan


Art by Gray Morrow
Do you know where I can purchase a complete set of the original Perry Rhodan books from the 70's. I currently have 1 thru 100 (third edition) with a few missing. Any info you can provide would be extremely helpful.

We get a lot of requests for advice on locating and purchasing books. For the most part, we're not much help. However, there are some terrific online resources you can use. Have you tried some of the links on our bookstore page, or the Advanced Book Exchange?

Is SF Getting Harder to Find?

From: Gilbert Heroux

Why is good pure Science Fiction getting hard to find?

I think there should be separate sites (and shelf space) for real Science Fiction.

Tales From the White Hart
by Arthur C. Clarke
It seams the only SF these days has Star Wars or Star Trek somewhere in the title. Oh! I do miss Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert A. Heinlein. Yes, I know they wrote fantasy also, but the authors of the 50s put out a lot of good hard Sci-Fi.

I have no objection to fantasy, I just don't like sifting through 40 of them to find one Sci-Fi. It seems more and more genders are being stuck into the SF category. There's horror, gothic, mythology, magic, fairy tales, dungeons and dragons, and urban punk.

Managing Editor Rodger Turner replies:
One way of finding it is to browse sites such as ours and see whether you agree with reviewers who seem to appreciate the same kind of books you do. If this seems somewhat vague, I learned during the almost 18 years we ran an SF bookstore that "good" is quite relative. What some thought "good" made other customers froth at the mouth. In our store, we separated fantasy from SF and it was rare for SF to drop below 65% of our shelf stock.

Who is Thomas Harlan?

From: Rose Brunette

I first have to tell you how good your site is. When my computer crashed a while ago, I lost all my information on publishers, authors etc. Thanks to this site, I was able to find it all again.

I was reading your forthcoming books section and you mention Thomas Harlan [author of the upcoming fantasy series Oath of Empire from Tor Books] as an author who is using another name to launch a new series. Could you tell me what name he usually writes under? Thank you again for your invaluable site.

First, thanks for your kind words. Second, we certainly didn't mean to imply any special knowledge about Thomas Harlan.

Our point in the Forthcoming Books column was simply that, given the number of authors launching a new career under a pseudonym in the fantasy market these days, it's tough for a new name such as Harlan to be taken completely at face value -- especially one who first appears on the scene at the helm of an multi-volume hardcover epic. If we mislead anyone, we apologize. Early reports on the first volume, The Shadow of Ararat, have been quite favourable and, in the end, that's what matters.

Next Issue

Predicting exactly what will be in the next issue of the SF Site is something of an inexact science. But we currently have reviews of many new and upcoming releases in house, including:

Aramaya by Jane Routley
David Brin's Out of Time: Yanked! by Nancy Kress
The Stars Asunder by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald
The Knight, the Harp, and the Maiden by Anne Kelleher Bush
Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli
The Gnomewrench in the Dwarfworks by Nick O'Donohoe
The Wizard's Map by Jane Yolen
The Oracle Lips by Storm Constantine
Trinity from White Wolf
The Cowboy And The Vampire by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

and many others. Plus our usual columns and detailed New Arrivals features. Be sure to join us on June 1st. We'll be here.

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