Aliens: The Anthropology of Science Fiction

By George E. Slusser; Eric S. Rabkin | Go to book overview

16
From Astarte to Barbie and Beyond: The Serious History of Dolls

Frank McConnell

On the distant planet Symbion, a genetic experiment fails. Frightening changes take place that cannot be stopped. The result? A world where insects grow to frightening proportions. A world where the inhabitants have taken on the awesome characteristics of insects. Where the good of the Shining Realm is locked in mortal combat with the evil of the Dark Domain. Telepathically bonded in combat, Sectaur Warriors join with their insect companions in the ultimate battle for survival. A battle that is now in your hands.

Except for the last sentence, this passage might come from the back cover of a fifties or sixties science-fiction paperback. Today, however, when science fiction has almost received its academic laying-on of hands -- a mixed mitzvah if there ever was one -- the jacket copy would read more like this: "In Sectaur Warrior, the author continues his exploration of the shadowy interrealm where myth, genetic theory, and man's profoundest religious concerns all collide; and all of it cast in a mold of high adventure reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings and Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern. This is speculative fiction at its best and most provocative."

And, to be sure, there would also be the ritual two-sentence blurb from, say, Norman Spinrad and, with luck, Gregory Benford. I leave it to you to decide which version you prefer, although I know which one would make me (apologies to Mr. Spinrad and Mr. Benford) buy the book. I always listen to AM rock stations rather than FM rock stations because I have a woefully low tolerance for pretension and would rather hear Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" three more times than the Grateful Dead's "Dark Star" once.

At any rate, the more persuasive passage is not, of course, from

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