Gollum's Grandmother

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[page 1] GOLLUM'S GRANDMOTHER It is Christmas Eve as I type this, and I wish HOOM 3 were able to fly to its destination quiokly enough to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS. . .however, it will have to suffice this ish to wish you a not-too- late (I hope) HAPPY NEW YEAR! The press of teaching, my night-school course, and the holidays all conspired to keep me from making the N'APA mailing this time, but I shall send this along anyhow, because I promised myself when I started pubbing a zine that I would get it out close to on time and regularly. Besides, the response and the contributions have inspired me so much that I just HAD to get out this ish, better late than never! I KNEW I shouldn't have let Frank change the title of his column. . .perhaps if it had remained "Frankly Speaking" he would have spoken. As it is, the withered tree has not revived, and in fact, the fountain has dried up completely. . .and if I hadn't received a Christmas card from him today, I would be convinced that he had dieted himself into a mere wisp and floated off like the fogs of Mordor. Well, let's hope that the plumbers are all able to get the fountain turned back on before the next ish, so that the withered tree will green up by Spring, and so that those LotR horses will get watered up and gallop along one of these days! I have really been enjoying my holiday, which started at the close of school last Friday, the 20th. At least I am going to think of it as a holiday until after tomorrow. . .I have a briefcase full of papers to correct, an entire half a textbook to read for my Priciples of Guidance course (I haven't cracked a book since mid-term), and a couple of outside reading books for said Guidance course to wade through and report on. I shall probably be up unitl 'way @way@ past midnight New Years Eve. . .and not to celebrate, either. [page 2] I resent all the reading I have to do for my class, as it takes me away from my SF reading. . .at least this Christmas, however, you don't have to get your SF from books--just watch the TV screen and the moon orbits, and realize that we are stepping into the age we have long enjoyed looking at through other people's imaginations. Are you all as thrilled as I am with the pioneering of space!? But back to books. . .I have found time to scan a few SF and fantasy tales recently. Alan Garner's _The Weirdstone of Brisingamen_ and _The Moon of Gomrath_ were examples of pure fantasy, the names of the characters and places leaping out of Pictish and Nordic-British mythology to find a place in one's memory. There is a hint of the Arthurian legend in some of the characters, as well as elves and dwarfs @dwarves@. I defy you to lay aside the _Weirdstone_ when Colin and Susan are traversing the underground caves! Usually when the cover of a book declares it to be "in the Tolkien tradition" I split my sides laughing. . .in the case of the _Weirdstone_ and the _Moon of Gomrath_, however, it is not such a far-fetched statement. Beowulf turns up as a character in _The Green Man_ by Henry Treece. Borrowing on the legends of the Druids, Treece's Green Man fights his way through many adventures and intrigues to become King of the Wood, if not for long. The action takes place roughly in the time of King Arthur. . .again if you enjoy the settings of mythology, you will enjoy this rather barbarous tale. Heinlein has made his appearance on our local paperback stands with _Double Star_, and _The Door Into Summer_. The first bears a copyright date of 1956, and the second a date of 1957, so they are not particularly new to Heinlein fen @fans@; however this was my first crack at them, and I enjoyed both stories, although neither are "great" Heinlein. _Double Star_ concerns a ham actor brought to Mars to Impersonate an important political leader who is missing; when the leader is found, his injuries prevent him from reassuming his duties, and the actor continues to fill in. Rather obviously the leader dies, leaving the actor to his great decision--whether he will leave and let disaster occur, or whether he will stay and sacrifice his own identity forever. While the outcome is obvious, the characterizations are well drawn and there is much suspense in arriving at even the foregone conclusiom. _Door Into Summer_ involves time travel with a new twist. . .it would be great if we could all go back and correct our mistakes and give ourselves another chance! _The Heaven Makers_ by Frank Herbert is an intriguing story, and might give some thought to those of us who see an occasional flying saucer. There is considerable philosophy between these pages (if you like to philosophize with your SF) or just a good, suspenseful SF yarn, if you like your reading "straight." _The Time Twister_ by Emil Petaja is a difficult book to express an opinion about. . .I was intrigued by the fact that to get to the setting for the story, our hero started by bus from Spokane and Coeur d'Alene (Cd'A is the town in in north Idaho where I was born, and Spokane the city where I went to college, lived and worked for a long time--and whihc I still think of as "home"). The action of the story is laid in the rugged mountains of Montana, not too far from Missoula, again, country which I have often explored and [page 3] could appreciate the accuracies of description and the "atmosphere" of the book because of this background. Sort of an evil version of _Brigadoon_ complete with @a@ disappearing village, I was held by the story but am frank to admit that my interest in the setting cannot quite be separated from a cold appraisal of the plot. For Westerners, though...you will enjoy visualizing the setting used in a SF plot as "home" rather than the cold surfaces of the distant planets. There have been other volumes..._A Voyage to Arcturus_ by David Lindsay (beautiful psychadelic descriptions which are worth the reading time in thernselves, a story line @storyline@ which might mean less than nothing, or take on great philosophic significance, as you wish), _Jack of Eagles_ by James Blish (ESP fen will enjoy this one), _Zanthar at Moon's Madness_ by Robert Moore Williams (Professor John Zanthar is undoubtedly an uncle of ERB's heroic characters), _Omnivore_ by Piers Anthony (a well-written story of a mushroom planet, which does not insult the reader's intelligence as he unravels the plot together with Agent Subble), _Catch A Falling Star_ by John Brunner (a story of a world of apathy, with shuddering resemblance to today's society which couldn't care less as long as it is comfortable... again, a personal "connection" which made the book live for me, because I work day in and day out with the apathetic young people of this world, who don't exert themselves to create because all they desire is enough food, clothing and shelter to permit them to live and to create another apathetic generation... could this really lead to the world of Brunner's _Catch A Falling Star_?) ....Well, enough book reviews (if they can be called that). Just another wish that 1969 will prove to be the best year ever for each and every one of you. I'll be looktng forward to keeping in contact through HOOM, and, of course, your contributions are always welcome. We solicit, particularly, Tolkien material to keep this a legitimate Tolkien zine (because that is where our heart is). May the stars shine upon the end of _your_ road! BB

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