Rocky Mountain News Review



UNREAL WORLDS

Wild Galaxy
By William F. Nolan (Golden Gryphon, $25.95).
Grade B

William F. Nolan is best-known as the author, along with George Clayton Johnson, of Logan's Run, the science-fiction novel that spawned a cult following in the 1970s with a movie, a television series and a Marvel comic book. Nolan, on his own, wrote two sequels to Logan's Run.

Nolan has also written authoritative works of nonfiction, however, including a biography of Dashiell Hammett, The Ray Bradbury Companion and two books on actor Steve McQueen. He's edited a dozen anthologies and his short stories have been published in markets as varied as the pulps, Playboy magazine and anthologies like The Year's Best Horror Stories and The Year's Best Fantasy.

In Wild Galaxy, Golden Gryphon Press has published what Nolan calls his best and most representative tales. While the collection is uneven, with some of the briefest stories being little more than sketches with trick endings, the longer narratives make Wild Galaxy worthwhile.

In "Lone Star Traveler," a 45-page novella, a man from the future heads back to the Old West to prevent the death of the ancestor of a scientist who must be born to save the world. Nolan mixes science-fiction with the traditional western to great effect — "Max Brand in Heinlein country," as the author calls it.

"The Fasterfaster Affair" is a James Bond pastiche that even Ian Fleming might enjoy. Is JamesTen the hero or the villain; and can he save the world one more time?

Many of the stories here contain ethical and practical concerns in a future populated by intelligent robots and androids. The best of these is "The Joy of Living," which poses the question: Can an android take the place of a deceased and well-loved mate?

About half the stories are what the author calls his "zanies" — humorous tales in a science-fiction setting. These tend to be the weakest, but a few are good for a laugh or two.

— Mark Graham, Rocky Mountain News, "Books at a Glance," May 27, 2005



 

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