Phoenix from the Ashes: The Literature of the Remade World

By Carl B. Yoke | Go to book overview

onginality. one Must go back to Edgar Rice Burrough's Dejah Thoris to find a heroine in science fiction with anything like Margaret's vitality, and Dejah Tlioris is a much shallower character.

Where Weinbaum's fiction is weakest, however, is in the plot action and the characters who support his "black flame." In "Dawn of Flame," Hull Tarvish, though a likable fellow, is finally only a simple mountain lad, viewed somewhat patronizingly by both Margaret and Weinbaum. And the sentimental heroine, Vail, is an insipid ingenue who serves as Margaret's foil. Her jealousy of Margaret seems rather petty and ignoble. Despite these faults, the story is entertaining and inoffensive.

"The Black Flame," on the other hand, is much more melodramatic, and its plot is frequently annoying. Thomas Connor is a rather Byronic and unsympathetic fellow, and his love/hate relationship with Margaret is a bit trying, especially when he seems fanatically determined not to reveal his feelings to her lest he be mocked or ridiculed. No doubt this love story seemed torrid to readers in the late 1930s. As a matter of fact, I recall thinking it quite exciting when I read it as a college freshman in the early 1950s. But, ironically, the courtship romances that one generation finds exciting seem rather puerile to another. The theme of "The Black Flame" is the familiar "taming of the shrew," but today's readers are likely to find it quite tame itself. (No doubt editorial inhibitions about sex have reduced the impact of the story; today Weinbaum might have told the tale much more explicitly.)

If Weinbaum's fiction in these stories seems in many respects flawed and dated, it nevertheless has certain enduring virtues. His portrait of a postdisaster world of peace and stability, under the benevolent despotism of Joaquin Smith, is quite fascinating. In addition, his characterizations of Smith and Margaret, while overly romantic and often trying, are vital and memorable. Perhaps he should be remembered for creating three innovative characters: Tweel, Joaquin Smith, and Princess Margaret. If his major characters in The Black Flame fully express this, the conflict between Margaret and Connor displays his fascination with romantic love and the "daimonic woman," and his portrait of Joaquin Smith reveals his obsession with the romantic cult of Napoleonic individualism. If the evidence of The Black Flame is of any value, then Weinbaum should be remembered as a misunderstood romantic.


NOTES
1.
Isaac Asimov, "Introduction," in Stanley G. Weinbaum, The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum ( New York: Ballantine Books, 1974), pp. vii-xii. This book also contains an "Afterword" by Robert Block, pp. 300-306.
3.
C. S. Lewis in "Unreal Estates," a dialogue with Brian Aldiss and Kingsley Amis , recorded at Magdalene College, Oxford, U.K., 1963. This dialogue first appeared in SF Horizon, 1964, and has been reprinted in Spectrum 4, ed. Kingsley Amis and

-93-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Phoenix from the Ashes: The Literature of the Remade World
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 252

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.