Monday, June 12, 2017

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/10

It's another one of those one-book weeks, and, frankly, I love those. It's not a lot of "work" to put the post together, and it always makes me feel like I'm getting away with something to get free stuff.

A big bonus is when it's a new book by a writer I've been reading and loving for decades, of course. Like today -- with a new James Morrow short novel from Tachyon.

The book is The Asylum of Dr. Caligari, and it'll be out in trade paperback on June 20th. It follows the earlier short Morrow books from Tachyon Shambling Toward Hiroshima and The Madonna and the Starship. (Morrow also wrote one of the great SF novellas of all time in City of Truth, not to mention great longer books like This Is the Way the World Ends, Only Begotten Daughter, and Towing Jehovah.)

This one is set in 1914, and, yes, it is a retelling of that classic German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, in prose form. But, in Morrow's version, the diabolical doctor has created a painting that can brainwash anyone who sees it -- and plans to charge governments to use it to turn their solders into perfect soldiers, with no sense of self-preservation. Our hero is a young American painter, and he sounds like a typical Morrow protagonist: noble enough to see something horrible wrong but possibly not strong enough to stop it.

Morrow has always been the great moral writer of the SF field, deeply concerned with the big questions of evil and hatred and death. Dr. Caligari looks like no exception, and I hope you'll be as happy to see it as I am.

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