Science Fiction Studies

#40 = Volume 13, Part 3 = November 1986


Frank Herbert, 1920-86

Last week's clear sky in Seattle gave little promise of repeating the incredible sunset a friend and I observed in the company of Frank Herbert last summer. Nevertheless, we returned to the Ballard locks on the western edge of Seattle to conduct a Frank Herbert Memorial sunset watch.                

But toward dusk, a few small clouds appeared over the Olympic mountains and settled over the dark peaks. They hovered over the face of the Sun, creating a brilliant sunset. We toasted Frank with champagne as the Sun's edge vanished behind the mountains. As soon as the last pink pastel grays faded to dark blue, the clouds drifted east and left the western sky clear again.                

Somehow I wasn't surprised, because Frank Herbert was like that.                

Frank never seemed to get depressed or angry. He always had some new project, or a new idea to benefit one of his chosen causes. The increasing wealth and fame of his last 15 years never changed him, as such events change so many other people. He never became pompous or suspicious or greedy. It was always a delight to see him enjoy his success and use it to benefit people. Whether the subject was a book, or one of the numerous projects to film Dune, or a new computer, or his hexagonal chicken coop, or World Without War, he brought his own unique spirit and sense of humor to the discussion.               

Bev Herbert's death two years ago was difficult enough to accept, though she had been in precarious health for some time. Frank's death was even more of a shock because it came so quickly. The last time I saw him he was with Teresa Shackleford. They both looked happy and healthy, and I was glad to know that he had found another good person—Bev was wonderful, and a hard act to follow—with whom to share his life. When I heard that he was ill but determined to regain his health, I never doubted that he would succeed until a reporter called early one morning and announced without preliminaries that Frank Herbert had died. At the time I could not talk about how I felt, and it's still hard. His presence was so powerful that I haven't got used to the fact that he won't turn up at a convention, he won't stop by to say hello, he won't be at home the next time I visit Port Townsend. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it.                

Frank Herbert was like that. -- Vonda N. McIntyre, Seattle, WA

 Jane's Honor and Tarzan's Chivalry Again Impugned

In Some Kind of Paradise (Westport, CT: 1985), p. 189, Professor Thomas D. Clareson has seen fit to revive a canard that I had thought forever exploded in that justly celebrated essay by my late uncle, Richard D. Mullen the Elder, Professor of Moral Science, University of Terre Haute: "Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Fate Worse Than Death," Riverside Quarterly, 4 (June 1970): 186-91. Professor Clareson begins by quoting a passage from chapter 19 of Tarzan of the Apes (NY: Ballantine, 1963):

Again he laid his hand upon her arm. Again she repulsed him. And then Tarzan of the Apes did just what his first ancestor would have done. He took his woman into his arms and carried her into the jungle.
                   Early the following morning.... (p. 142)

"However proper Jane Porter may be," the professor continues, "was there a reader at the time of World War I or is there a reader in the 1980s who does not imagine that Tarzan and Jane 'made love' during the night?"               

In my copy of the same edition of this immortal classic the paragraph beginning "Early the following morning" is preceded by a blank space, and the words quoted are followed by "the four within the little cabin by the beach were awakened by the booming of a cannon." That is to say, the word "jungle" is followed by a change of scene, a shift to the adventures of other characters. We return to the tender story of Tarzan and Jane in Chapter 20:

When Jane Porter realized she was being borne away a captive by the strange forest creature who had rescued her from the clutches of the ape she struggled desperately to escape, but the strong arms, that held her as easily as though she had been but a day-old babe, only pressed a little more tightly....
   No, he could never harm her; of that she was convinced when she translated the fine features and the frank, brave eyes above her into the chivalry which they proclaimed.... (pp. 146-47)

As my uncle pointed out in his definitive study of such matters in the Burroughs canon, Jane's honor was saved by the power of her purity. -- R.D. Mullen, Terre Haute, IN

Corrigenda and Addenda

A few errors crept into my article "Resources for the Study of Nuclear War in Fiction" in the July 1986 issue of SFS, none of them the fault of the editors. Strieber and Kunetka's novel is Warday, not War Day. The subtitle of the latest Mad Max film is Beyond Thunderdome, not Thunderdrome.                

My review-article is in the March-April issue of American Book Review (vol. 8, no. 3), and was titled—by the editors of ABR—"Rambo's Relatives." It had not yet appeared when I wrote the SFS article, hence my vague reference.                

Literature and War: Reflections and Refractions (Monterey, CA: Monterey Institute of International Studies) was announced as published in December 1985 and even marketed; but in fact the book has at this writing yet to appear. Perhaps it will be available by the time you read this.                

After SFS's deadline my book—Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction 1914-1984—was accepted for publication by Kent State UP. It will appear in the spring of 1987.                

Although my article was confined to secondary sources, scholars may be interested to know of the Nuclear War Fiction Collection being established at Holland Library, Washington State University. Hundreds of volumes, some of them quite rare, have already been accumulated and catalogued, and more are arriving weekly. The goal of the collection, supervised by reference librarian Ann Wierum, is to obtain a copy—either first edition or reprint—of every short story, novel, and play depicting nuclear war or its aftermath which has been published in English. The entire collection circulates and may be borrowed through interlibrary loan.                

Bob Brown, a Seattle book dealer specializing in apocalyptic fiction, is supplying most of the out-of-print materials. Brown provides an outstanding service, and should be consulted by scholars searching for rare nuclear war novels. His address is 1832 N. 52nd St./Seattle, WA 98103. -- Paul Brians, Washington State University

Where Did You Put Those Papers?

A question for readers of SFS: If some among you wished to research the papers (carbons of outgoing correspondence, incoming letters, contracts, manuscripts, etc.) of Robert Heinlein, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Edgar Rice Burroughs, L. Ron Hubbard, or any of the pioneer and/or current practitioners in the SF and/or fantasy field, how many of you would know where to turn? I've been around 60 years and I only think Heinlein's papers are in the public library in Santa Cruz, California; think Bloch is giving his to the Library of the University of Wyoming; have heard Bowling Green (?) has acquired the Bradburiana; have no idea if Asimov has contributed his papers anywhere; assume the ERB corp. in Tarzana, California, has the Burroughs memorabilia, ditto the Church of Scientology archives in Los Angeles re: L. Ron Hubbard. I believe Wyoming U. has Stanton A. Coblentz's papers and I assume the Golden Library of Portales, New Mexico, has Williamson's. Lovecraft: Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island?                

There is, in fact, only one person of my acquaintance to whom I could direct with certainty anyone seeking research material about me: myself. The George Arents Library of Syracuse University has approximately 150 linear feet of my papers. The next largest holdings are in the Golden Library of the Eastern New Mexico University, Portales. Wyoming University, Laramie, has been collecting material on me for about five lustrums and by the time this appears in print may have acquired the approximately 200 manuscripts I produced covering the editorial contents of Famous Monsters (of Filmland), Monster World, Spacemen, Forrest J Ackerman's Monsterland, et al.—the quarter-century run of periodicals that pioneered the imagi-movie genre so popular today. Smatterings of my papers are also to be found in the archives of California State at Fullerton, the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and the library of Georgia Tech in Atlanta.                

I submit that it is high time and over time that someone (don't look at me: I'm not volunteering) create an alphabetical list of SF&F authors and where their papers are to be found (actually most of mine, especially from about 1929 through the next couple of decades, are still with me), and SFS should include this list, with updating, at least once a year in its pages. -- Forrest J Ackerman, Hollywood, CA

Calls for Papers

The Third SF Conference at Nice will center upon the topic "Edgar Allan Poe and Visionary Reason" and will take place from April 2-4, 1987. (N.B. the dates; the event had previously been scheduled for April 23-25.) Anyone interested in presenting a paper (in French or English) on Poe and/or some writer(s) influenced by him should submit a proposal by December 15th to: Denise Terrel, Director/ Centre d'Etude de la Métaphore/Université de Nice/Faculté des Lettres/98, bd Edouard Herriot B.P. 369/06007 Nice Cédex/France.

The next Eaton Conference at Riverside (April 10-12, 1987) will be devoted to "Mindscapes: The Geographies of Imagined Worlds." The organizers are looking for 30-minute length papers that will examine in the widest possible context "the implications of visionary landscapes and imagined worlds" in F&SF (in whatever medium). Completed essays should be in the mail by December 15th and addressed to: George Slusser/University Library/PO Box 5900/University of California/ Riverside, CA 92517.

Martin Greenberg, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Charles Elkins, Florida International University, are preparing three volumes of original critical essays on Stanislaw Lem, J.G. Ballard, and Robert Silverberg for Greenwood Press. Anyone wishing to contribute an essay to any of these books may send a one-page proposal to: Charles Elkins/Deans Office—Arts and Sciences/Florida International University/ Miami, FL 33181. The proposal should include your name, academic affiliation, a brief statement describing your proposed essay, and a biographical blurb listing main research interests and publications. The proposal is due January 1, 1987. Completed essays are due April 1, 1987.

The first issue of Literature and Theology, published by Oxford UP, will appear in the spring of 1987. The editors are calling for papers of interest to both fields—for example, in the areas of: narrative, the historical context of literature, the nature of myth, the study of language and semiotics, the art of translation, and hermeneutics. The journal will be published twice a year (in March and September). For further information, including subscription rates, contact the editor: Rev. Dr David Jasper/ Hatfield College/University of Durham/Durham DHI 3RQ/UK.

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