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SF&F encyclopedia (V-V)


"V"
2 US tv miniseries followed by a series. NBC. The 1st miniseries (1983),
2 100min episodes, was titled "V" and created/written/dir Kenneth Johnson.
The 2nd miniseries (1984), 3 100min episodes, was titled V: The Final
Battle and dir Richard T. Heffron, written Brian Taggert, Peggy Goldman,
from a story by Lillian Weezer, Goldman, Faustus Buck, Diane Frolow, Harry
and Renee Longstreet. The series (1984-5), titled "V", had 19 50min
episodes, prod Dean O'Brien, Garner Simmons; dirs included Gilbert
Shilton, Kevin Hooks, John Florea; writers included David Braff, Brian
Taggert, Simmons, David Abramowitz. The main cast members throughout were
Marc Singer as Mike Donovan, Faye Grant as Julie, Jane Badler as Diana,
Blair Tefkin as Robin, Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler, Robert Englund as
Willy, Jennifer Cooke as Elizabeth.Kenneth Johnson's track record included
The INCREDIBLE HULK and The BIONIC WOMAN , so it was surprising that "V"
started as well as it did. He based the story on Sinclair LEWIS's It Can't
Happen Here (1935), about a fascist takeover in the USA, but substituted
alien invaders - at first seemingly friendly, but actually after our
water, and ourselves for food - for the fascists. The carnivorous, saurian
invaders, as in the tv series The INVADERS (1967-8) and many films, are
disguised to look just like us, but with jackboots. A resistance movement
grows, whose "V" (for "Victory") is daubed on walls everywhere, but many
humans become collaborators; SCIENTISTS become objects of persecution (the
comparison being with Jews under the Nazis); some aliens are worse than
others.The first half of the initial mini-series was quite good, but
afterwards the series became an object lesson in US tv's remorseless
appetite for CLICHE - especially in its programmes for younger viewers -
and its reduction of all controversial issues to moral stereotypes: the
latter half of this miniseries lost direction; the second miniseries was
absurd; and the series was infantile hackwork and cancelled before the
story was completed. The two mini-series were expensive and - especially
the first - had quite spectacular sets and special effects. [PN]

VACCA, ROBERTO
[r] ITALY.

VADRE, LESLIE
L.P. DAVIES.

VALDEZ, PAUL
Alan G. YATES.

VALE, RENA (MARIE)
(1898-1983) US writer who began publishing sf in 1952 with the novella
"The Shining City" for Science Fiction Quarterly, and with her first
novel, The Red Court: Last Seat of National Government of the United
States of America (1952). She subsequently restricted herself to novels,
like Beyond the Sealed World (1965), based on the 1952 novella, and Taurus
Four (1970), which combines SATIRE with SPACE OPERA in a story containing
hippies lost on another planet, a sociologist and an alien INVASION. In
The Day After Doomsday: A Fantasy of Time Travel (1970) 12 selected
survivors of a nuclear HOLOCAUST are lectured by their saviours, the race
which bred humans on Earth in the first place. [JC]Other works: Beyond
these Walls (1960); The House on Rainbow Leap (1973).See also: CITIES.

VALENTINE, VICTOR
(? - ) UK writer whose Cure for Death (1960) features a ray that not only
cures cancer and ageing but also dissociates its patients from their own
past lives. [JC]

VALIGURSKY, ED(WARD I.)
(1926- ) US illustrator. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the
American Academy of Arts before graduating from the Art Institute of
Pittsburgh. He began as an associate art director for ZIFF-DAVIS in 1952
and became art director for Quinn Publishing, publisher of IF, in 1953.
From 1954 he freelanced, though most of his magazine work was for those 2
companies; he painted 49 covers for AMZ and 32 for Fantastic, mostly in
the 1950s, and many book covers (often unsigned) for ACE BOOKS in the
1950s and 1960s - notably the Ace Doubles - and for many other book
publishers, including Avon and Dell. His work sometimes looks hurried, but
he was proficient at menacing ROBOTS and his characteristic needle-nosed
SPACESHIPS. Like many sf illustrators of the period, he found other
markets that paid better, and moved into advertising, general-fiction
magazines like COLLIER'S, and nonfiction magazines featuring aviation and
aerospace subjects. [JG/PN]

VALLEE, JACQUES
[r] UFOS.

VALLEJO, BORIS
(1941- ) Illustrator, born in Peru probably around 1947 and trained there
in graphic design; moved to the USA in 1964. BV, who signs his work
"Boris", began working in the sf/ FANTASY genre with Warren Publications'
magazines and comics in 1971, then shifted to MARVEL COMICS, where his
covers for The Savage Sword of Conan soon caused him to be tagged "the
next Frazetta"; work in this vein won him a reputation in heroic-fantasy
ILLUSTRATION second only to Frank FRAZETTA's, though perhaps BV's work is
smoother and less vigorous. His book-cover work in this genre since 1975
has been primarily for BALLANTINE BOOKS and DEL REY BOOKS. His erotic
fantasies of male power and female bondage were a natural accompaniment to
the Gor novels of John NORMAN, for 7 of which he did covers in 1976; he
also painted the covers for Ballantine's reissue of 24 of Edgar Rice
BURROUGHS's Tarzan books in 1977. BV's work is almost a compendium of
alternate sexual fantasies, moving easily from men like a homo-erotic
musclebuilder's dream to lush-breasted, dominatrix whip-wielding women.
Much of BV's later output is in the form of books and pictorial calendars,
often featuring previously unpublished work. There are at least 10
calendars, starting with The Tarzan Calendar 1979 (1978). The books
include The Fantastic Art of Boris Vallejo (1978), Mirage (1982), overtly
erotic original art with poems by BV's wife, Doris Vallejo, Enchantment
(1984), further erotic art with stories by Doris Vallejo, and Boris
Vallejo's Fantasy Art Techniques (1985). [PN/JG]Other Works: The Boris
Vallejo Portfolio (1994); B.V. (1994); Bodies: His Photographic Art
(1994).

VALLEY OF GWANGI, THE
Film (1969). Morningside/Warner-Seven Arts. Prod Charles H. Schneer. Dir
James O'Connolly, starring James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson,
Laurence Naismith. Screenplay William E. Bast, with additions by Julian
More. 95 mins. Colour.Cowboys discover a hidden valley in Mexico where
surviving dinosaurs still live. They capture Gwangi, an allosaur, roping
it like a steer, and take it back to civilization to put it on display in
a stadium; but, like KING KONG, Gwangi escapes and goes on the rampage,
until finally cornered in a church. TVOG had been a pet project of Willis
O'BRIEN, who had wanted to make it in 1942. Ray HARRYHAUSEN, O'Brien's
special-effects protege, finally brought it to life, and, although usually
rated a poor film, it is one of the more cheerful and entertaining
showcases for Harryhausen's stop-motion animation - the cowboy vs dinosaur
scenes comprise one of the great sequences of B-movie lunacy. But it
flopped. [PN]

VAMPIRES
SUPERNATURAL CREATURES.

van ARNAM, DAVE
Working name of US writer David G. van Arnam (1935- ) who began
publishing sf with Lost in Space * (1957) with Ron Archer (Ted WHITE), a
novelization from the tv series LOST IN SPACE. Sideslip (1968) was also
written with White, who this time used his own name. Further routine sf
adventures by DVA are Star Gladiator (1967 chap dos), Star Mind (1969) and
Greyland (1972). The Zantain fantasies - The Players of Hell (1968 chap
dos) and Wizard of Storms (1970) - are well constructed and occasionally
vivid, as are the Jamnar fantasies, Star Barbarian (1969) and Lord of
Blood (1970). [JC]

van CAMPEN, KARL
[s] John W. CAMPBELL Jr.

VANCE, GERALD
ZIFF-DAVIS house name (1941-58), used by Roger P. Graham (Rog PHILLIPS),
by Randall GARRETT in collaboration with Robert SILVERBERG, and on 35
stories whose authors have not been identified, many perhaps by Chester S.
GEIER. [PN]

VANCE, JACK
Working name of US writer John Holbrook Vance (1916- ), who was educated
at the University of California first as a mining engineer, then as a
physics major and finally in journalism, though without taking a degree.
During WWII he served in the Merchant Navy, being twice torpedoed and
writing his first story, "The World Thinker", published in 1945 in TWS. In
the late 1940s and early 1950s JV contributed a variety of short stories
(one time using the pseudonym John Holbrook) and novels to the PULP
MAGAZINES, primarily STARTLING STORIES and THRILLING WONDER STORIES. These
included the Magnus Ridolph series, chronicling the adventures of a
roguish interstellar troubleshooter, assembled as The Many Worlds of
Magnus Ridolph (coll 1966 dos; exp 1980; further exp vt The Complete
Magnus Ridolph 1984). But nothing of this early work, dependent as it was
on pulp conventions, prefigured the mature JV.The change began with his
first published book, THE DYING EARTH (coll of linked stories 1950),
comprising 6 previously unpublished tales set on Earth in the FAR FUTURE,
at a time, long after the wasting away of science, when MAGIC has become
the operating principle. This Dying Earth venue derived its languid
colours and its florid architecture from the romances of Clark Ashton
SMITH, and the tales are the first mature examples of that form as
adumbrated by Smith; but, unlike his mentor, JV told his stories in an
ironical tone, uniquely distanced and serene, that itself became an
integral part of any definition of a Dying-Earth tale. Cruelties and
nostalgias, picaresque flashes of plotting, adjurations of melancholy: all
were enveloped in the musing voice. JV's only real failure in THE DYING
EARTH - it would dog him throughout his career - lay in his inability to
conceive narrative structures capable of sustaining his vision for more
than novelette length. His later full-length Dying Earth volumes were all
made up from shorter units; they included The Eyes of the Overworld (fixup
1966), Morreion: A Tale of the Dying Earth (1973 Flashing Swords #1, anth
ed Lin CARTER; 1979 chap), A Bagful of Dreams (1979 chap), The Seventeen
Virgins (1974 FSF; 1979 chap), Cugel's Saga (coll of linked stories 1983)
and Rhialto the Marvelous (1984). (This last is not to be confused with
Rhialto the Marvelous * [anth 1985], a SHARED-WORLD book containing also
"Basileus" by C.J. CHERRYH and Janet E. MORRIS. Before that, in A Quest
for Simbilis * [1974], Michael SHEA wrote a direct sequel to The Eyes of
the Overworld, territory later covered in conflicting terms by Cugel's
Saga.) The influence of JV's articulation of the tone and venue of the
Dying Earth was widespread, affecting both fantasy and sf writers, and
helping authors such as Michael MOORCOCK to define the characteristic
ambience of SCIENCE FANTASY. It would not be until The Book of the New Sun
(1980-82) by Gene WOLFE - who amply acknowledged JV's central influence -
that a new paradigm for the Dying-Earth tale would appear, one more
tightly tied to narrative revelation but no more entrancing than its
model.JV's second original contribution to the sf/fantasy field was his
sophistication of the PLANETARY ROMANCE in Big Planet (1952 Startling
Stories; cut 1957; further cut 1958; full text restored 1978), to which
Showboat World (1975; vt The Magnificent Showboats of the Lower Vissel
River Lune XXIII South, Big Planet 1983) forms a retroactively conceived
sequel. Before 1950 and THE DYING EARTH, the planetary romance had been
generally restricted either to tales which replicated, palely, the work of
Edgar Rice BURROUGHS or to pulp-sf adventures set on worlds which might be
colourful but which were at the same time conceived with a fatal thinness.
What was lacking was any form of enabling premise. In Big Planet JV
provided an sf model for the planetary romance which has been of
significant use for 40 years. The planet of this novel is a huge though
Earthlike world, with enough landmass to provide realistic venues in which
a wide range of social systems can operate, and, significantly, is low in
heavy-metal resources (a fact that both explains its relatively low
gravity and requires the wide range of societies that flourish to be
low-tech ones). As is usual with JV, these societies are all of distant
human origin, though they have become exceedingly variegated in ways open
to description in the ethnographical style he developed to tell this tale,
and upon which he depended for his best and truest effects over the next
decades ( ANTHROPOLOGY; SOCIOLOGY). The world of the JV planetary romance
might occasionally be linked notionally to Earth by conventional sf
trappings (generally of little actual relevance), but basically it is a
venue, placed far into the future though without foregrounding any common
dating or other device that might tie it too tightly to any Future
History.His other titles from this period were less ambitious but
contained some interesting incidental invention; they include Son of the
Tree (1951 TWS; 1964 dos), Slaves of the Klau (1952 Space Stories as
"Planet of the Damned"; cut 1958 dos; text restored, vt Gold and Iron
1982) and The Houses of Iszm (1954 Startling Stories; 1964 dos). None of
these were particularly well organized books - nor for that matter are THE
DYING EARTH and Big Planet - but the development of IMMORTALITY themes in
the far-future DYSTOPIA depicted in To Live Forever (1956) is more
impressive, and The Languages of Pao (1958) interestingly espouses the
Whorfian hypothesis ( LINGUISTICS) that language creates PERCEPTION,
rather than the reverse. The main thrust of JV's work, however, as in such
stories as "The Miracle Workers" (1958), continued to lie in increasingly
ambitious explorations of the planetary-romance theme of LIFE ON OTHER
WORLDS. THE DRAGON MASTERS (1963 dos), a short novel which won JV his
first HUGO, clearly illustrates this tendency. Set on a distant world in
the far future, it is a story grounded in GENETIC ENGINEERING, but the
science is so far advanced that it could equally be considered magic.As
JV's created worlds became richer and more complex, so too did his style.
Always tending towards the baroque, it had developed by the time of THE
DRAGON MASTERS into an effective high-mannered diction, somewhat pedantic,
and almost always saturated with a rich but distanced irony. JV's talent
for naming the people and places in his stories (a mixture of exotic
invented terms and commonplace words with the right resonance) contributed
to the sense that dream ethnographies were being carved, almost as a
gardener would create topiary. Three novels, similar in structure, show
these talents at their fullest stretch: The Blue World (1964 Fantastic as
"King Kragen"; exp 1966), EMPHYRIO (1969) and The Anome (1971 FSF as "The
Faceless Man"; 1973; vt The Faceless Man 1978) each follow the life of a
boy born into and growing up in a static, stratified society, with which
he comes into conflict, being driven eventually into rebellion. The
invented world in each is particularly carefully thought-out. Both
EMPHYRIO and The Anome additionally feature some piercing SATIRE of
RELIGION.As his professional career developed, JV began to initiate
various sequences - with mixed results, for he often gave the impression
that, once the setting had been fully established, his interest began
inexorably to wane. Later books in his series are often inferior to their
predecessors, and far more likely to depend for their effects upon
plotting routines extracted - none too competently - from the dawn of
pulp. This is the case with the earlier vols of the Demon Princes series,
an interstellar saga of vengeance comprising The Star King (1964), The
Killing Machine (1964), The Palace of Love (1967), The Face (1979) and The
Book of Dreams (1981), though the last two titles are of more interest;
with the Planet of Adventure series, comprising City of the Chasch (1968;
vt Chasch 1986), Servants of the Wankh (1969; vt Wankh 1986), The Dirdir
(1969) and The Pnume (1970), all assembled as The Planet of Adventure
Omnibus (omni 1985 UK); and with the Durdane trilogy, comprising The
Anome, The Brave Free Men (1973) and The Asutra (1974), all assembled as
Durdane (omni 1989 UK). In contrast, the Alastor Cluster sequence -
Trullion: Alastor 2262 (1973), Marune: Alastor 933 (1975) and Wyst:
Alastor 1716 (1978) - arguably improves from beginning to end. Most of
these novels are planetary romances, and can be read in isolation from
their fellows; at the same time, most embody mild hints - for example, the
Demon Princes series is set in the far past of the Cadwal Chronicles (see
below) - that they belong to the same tenuously knit future Gaean Reach
Universe, most clearly described in the Demon Princes series. But this
background never governs the reader's perception of individual tales.JV
has written comparatively little short fiction. Apart from those stories
already mentioned, the best include "Telek" (1952), "The Moon Moth" (1961)
and the novella THE LAST CASTLE (1967 dos), which won JV a NEBULA and his
2nd Hugo. "The Moon Moth", one of JV's most elaborate stories, features
the use of MUSIC as a secondary form of COMMUNICATION. Music and other
ARTS feature in several other JV stories, including Space Opera (1965),
EMPHYRIO, The Anome and Showboat World. Many of JV's best short stories
are in Eight Fantasms and Magics (coll 1969; with 2 stories cut, vt
Fantasms and Magics 1978 UK) and The Best of Jack Vance (coll 1976). The
latter is also notable for containing informative commentaries on the
stories included, as JV is renowned for his reticence concerning himself
and his stories, maintaining such a low profile that a rumour that began
in 1950 that he was another Henry KUTTNER pseudonym was still being
perpetrated in some quarters 20 years later, notwithstanding Kuttner's
death in 1958.The 1980s saw some slackening in JV's production, though
this might not have been evident to the casual observer, as it was now
that much of his earlier short fiction was finally brought out in book
form. Beyond continuations of earlier series, his most interesting work in
this decade was restricted to 2 new series. One was the Lyonesse sequence
of fantasies about Tristan's birthplace off the coast of France, now sunk
into the wide funnel of the English Channel: Suldren's Garden (1983; rev
1983; vt Lyonesse 1984 UK), Lyonesse: The Green Pearl (1985; rev vt The
Green Pearl 1986) and Lyonesse: Madouc (1989; vt Madouc 1990). Of greater
sf interest are the Cadwal Chronicles - to date Araminta Station (1987),
Ecce and Olde Earth (1991) and Throy (1992) - expanding the
planetary-romance idiom into very long books with a sophisticated, newly
plot-wise leisureliness which almost fully warrants their length.
Interestingly, the planet Cadwal - the main character of the sequence, in
a fashion typical of JV - is a nature reserve.JV also wrote mystery
novels, mostly during the 1960s - one of the best of them, The Man in the
Cage (1960), won an Edgar - and scripts for the tv series CAPTAIN VIDEO.
None of this work lacks competence, but none has the haunting
retentiveness in the mind's eye of his planetary romances or his Dying
Earths. As a landscape artist, a gardener of worlds, JV has been for half
a century central to both sf and FANTASY. He has a genius of place.
[MJE/JC]Other works: The Space Pirate (1950 Startling Stories; 1953; cut
vt The Five Gold Bands 1962 dos; text restored 1980); Vandals of the Void
(1953); Future Tense (coll 1964; vt Dust of Far Suns 1981); The World
Between (coll 1965 dos; vt The Moon Moth dated 1975 but 1976 UK); Monsters
in Orbit (1952 TWS as "Abercrombie Station" and "Cholwell's Chickens"; cut
1965 dos); The Brains of Earth (1966 dos), assembled vt Nopalgarth with
The Houses of Iszm and Son of the Tree in Nopalgarth (omni 1980); The
Worlds of Jack Vance (coll 1973); Green Magic (coll 1979), not to be
confused with Green Magic (1963 FSF; 1979 chap), which contains only the
collection's title story; Galactic Effectuator (coll of linked stories
1980); Lost Moons (coll 1982); The Narrow Land (coll 1982); Light from a
Lone Star (coll 1985); The Dark Side of the Moon: Stories of the Future
(coll 1986); The Augmented Agent (coll 1986); Chateau d'If and Other
Stories (coll 1990); When the Five Moons Rise (coll 1992).Non-sf, some as
John Holbrook Vance: Take My Face (1957) as by Peter Held and Isle of
Peril (1959) as by Alan Wade, both assembled (the latter vt Bird Isle) as
Bird Isle/Take My Face (omni 1988); A Room to Die In (1965) as by Ellery
Queen; The Four Johns (1964; vt Four Men Called John 1976 UK) as by Ellery
Queen; The Madman Theory (1966) as by Ellery Queen; The Fox Valley Murders
(1966); The Pleasant Grove Murders (1967); The Deadly Isles (1969); Bad
Ronald (1973); The House on Lilly Street (1979); Strange Notions (1985);
The Dark Ocean (1985).About the author: Jack Vance, a Fantasmic
Imagination: A Working Bibliography (last rev 1990 chap) by Gordon BENSON
Jr and Phil STEPHENSEN-PAYNE; The Jack Vance Lexicon: From Aluph to
Zipangote (1992) ed Dan Ternianka; The Work of Jack Vance: An Annotated
Bibliography & Guide (1994) by Jerry Hewett and Daryl F. MALLETT.See also:
ALIENS; ASTEROIDS; COLONIZATION OF OTHER WORLDS; CRIME AND PUNISHMENT;
CYBORGS; ECOLOGY; FANTASTIC VOYAGES; GALACTIC EMPIRES; GALAXY SCIENCE
FICTION; GAMES AND SPORTS; GOTHIC SF; LEISURE; LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS;
LONGEVITY (IN WRITERS AND PUBLICATIONS); MATTER TRANSMISSION; MONEY; SPACE
HABITATS; SPACE OPERA; SUPERMAN; SWORD AND SORCERY; TABOOS; TERRAFORMING;
THRILLING WONDER STORIES; TRANSPORTATION; UNDER THE SEA; VILLAINS.

VANCE, STEVE
(1952- ) US writer who has since the late 1980s concentrated on horror
novels, but who began writing with some unremarkable but competently
conceived sf adventures, including Planet of the Gawfs (1977), All the
Shattered Worlds (1980) and The Hybrid (1981). Later novels include The
Hyde Effect (1986) and The Asgard Run (1990), about a shipwrecked crew of
alien scientists encountered in the mountains of Wyoming. [JC]Other works:
The Abyss (1989), Spook (1990) and Shapes (1991), all horror.

van DONGEN
Working name of US illustrator Henry Richard van Dongen (1920- ).
Entering the sf field in 1950 with a cover for SUPER SCIENCE STORIES (Sep
1950), vD soon dominated the covers (and the interiors) of ASTOUNDING
SCIENCE-FICTION, with 46 covers Aug 1951-Sep 1961. He seldom worked for
other magazines, but did 3 covers for SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURES,
including #1 (Nov 1952). His style was very distinctive, with muted
colours and gaunt, angular people. He left the genre in 1961 for the more
lucrative commercial-art field, returning in 1976 as a result of a chance
conversation with Lester DEL REY at BALLANTINE BOOKS. For the next decade
he did covers for Ballantine and DAW BOOKS in a style similar to his 1950s
magazine work but with much brighter colours. He retired in 1987 with
nerve problems related to injuries suffered in WWII. [JG/PN]

van DYNE, EDITH
L. Frank BAUM.

van GREENAWAY, PETER
(1929-1988) UK lawyer who began writing full-time in 1960; though he
never became known as a genre writer, much of his work was sf, including
his 1st novel, The Crucified City (1962), a post- HOLOCAUST story set in a
devastated London after a nuclear bomb has been dropped, and his 2nd, The
Evening Fool (1964), which carries its protagonist into an unviable
UTOPIA. The Man who Held the Queen to Ransom and Sent Parliament Packing
(1968) features a NEAR-FUTURE coup attempt in the UK, told in the
astringent, side-of-the-mouth pessimistic voice which became a trademark.
In later novels - like Judas! (1972; vt The Judas Gospel 1972 US), The
Medusa Touch (1973), Take the War to Washington (1974), Suffer! Little
Children (1976), The Dissident (1980) and Mutants (1986) - this dubiety
about the human animal became visibly more inflamed. Manrissa Man (1982)
makes savage play with the ape-as-human ( APES AND CAVEMEN) theme; and in
graffiti (1983), another post-holocaust tale, survivors of a nuclear war
revenge themselves upon its perpetrators. The increasingly solitary,
evasively narrated, uncompromisingly dark work of his later years made it
unlikely that PVG would ever be read with comfort as a genre writer.
[JC]Other works: Doppelganger (1975); A Man Called Scavener (1978); Edgar
Allan Who - ? (coll 1981); The Immortal Coil (coll 1985); The Killing Cap
(1987).

VANGUARD SCIENCE FICTION
US DIGEST-size magazine. 1 issue June 1958, published by Vanguard Science
Fiction; ed James BLISH. VSF made a promising debut: it included the
much-anthologized "Reap the Dark Tide" (vt "Shark Ship") by C.M. KORNBLUTH
and what were intended as regular features by L. Sprague DE CAMP and
Lester DEL REY. However, the decision to fold the magazine was made before
#1 even appeared. [MJE]

VAN HELLER, MARCUS
Zach HUGHES.

van HERCK, PAUL
(1939- ) Belgian (Flemish) writer whose Sam, of de Pluterdag (1968; trans
Danny De Laet and Willy Magiels as Where Were You Last Pluterday? 1973 US)
is a SATIRE of a society in which the higher classes have access to an
extra day of the week. Van Herck also wrote a collection of ingenious
short stories, De Cirkels ["The Circles"] (coll 1965). [JC]See also:
BENELUX

van HERP, JACQUES
[r] FRANCE.

van HOLK, FREDER
[r] GERMANY.

van LHIN, ERIK
Lester DEL REY.

van LOGGEM, MANUEL
[r] BENELUX.

van LORNE, WARNER
Pseudonym, probably of US writer Nelson Tremaine (1907-1971), author
under that name of a number of stories in ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION
1935-9. "The Blue-Men of Yrano" (1939) is probably the best remembered.
WvL's identity has remained undetermined, although certainly F. Orlin
TREMAINE wrote at least 1 WvL story. The remainder have been ascribed to
his brother, Nelson Tremaine, but it remains possible that they were all
the work of the former. [MJE]

VAN LUSTBADER, ERIC
(1946- ) US author who graduated from Columbia University, majoring in
sociology, and worked for a time in the rock-music industry. His published
sf/fantasy work began with the Sunset Warrior trilogy: The Sunset Warrior
(1977), Shallows of Night (1978) and Dai-San (1978), to which Beneath an
Opal Moon (1980) is a coda with a different hero. This was remarkably
vivid SWORD AND SORCERY with sex and violence, and imaginatively rendered:
the first book is true sf, set in an underground post- HOLOCAUST society
which has almost forgotten the technology that keeps it alive, and to
which the surface is a distant memory, but subsequent volumes make no
great attempt to cleave to the sf premise. EVL then turned to the
bestseller genre with The Ninja (1979), the first of the Nicholas Linnear
trilogy, whose other titles are The Miko (1984) and White Ninja (1990).
These blend Oriental mysticism with martial-arts adventure and sex, and
contain (especially the 3rd) many fantastic elements, though more magical
than scientific. EVL maintained a string of bestsellers through the 1980s,
and is now an important commercial writer. His work is florid and intense,
with a sadistic streak, and mostly set in Asia; his more recent books are
generally signed Eric Lustbader. Some of his other novels also contain
fantastic elements. [PN]Other works Sirens (1981); the China Maroc
sequence, comprising Jian (1985) and Shan (1987); The Black Heart (1986);
Zero (1988); French Kiss (1989); Angel Eyes (1991); Black Blade (1992).

van SCYOC, SYDNEY J(OYCE)
(1939- ) US writer, active in the Unitarian Church, who began publishing
sf with "Shatter the Wall" for Gal in 1962 and afterwards contributed
stories regularly to the magazines, though she soon became best known for
her novels, beginning with the impressive Saltflower (1971), in which
aliens seed Earth to produce a new breed of "men". Assignment Nor'Dyren
(1973) depicts a DYSTOPIAN Earth and a complexly rendered alien planet in
trouble. Starmother (1976) and Cloudcry (1977) are both set in a Galaxy
dominated by humanity but on alien planets which offer fundamental
challenges to the human senses of order and rightness, and which
ultimately reward attempts to transcend, in a sometimes lukewarmly oceanic
fashion, human hierarchies and failures of empathy. The Sunstone Scrolls
sequence - Darkchild (1981), Bluesong (1983) and Starsilk (1984), all
assembled as Daughters of the Sunstone (omni 1985) - also combine an alien
setting, a variety of characters and species and an ultimate sharing of
transcendence, here occasioned by the symbiosis-engendering starsilks.
Drowntide (1987) could again be described as fusion sf, depicting the slow
coming to communion of a land-based race and an ocean-based race through
the agency of a hybrid offspring. SJVS's predilection for one-word titles
continued in Featherstroke (1989) but was rested in Deepwater Dreams
(1991). Though her tales are sometimes damaged by narrative longueurs,
SJVS's capacity to evoke a sense of the deep strangeness of the Universe -
and her iterated attempts to craft tales that persuasively espouse
marriages of species and venues - make her work sometimes compelling.
[JC]Other work: Sunwaifs (1981).See also: PARASITISM AND SYMBIOSIS.

VANSITTART, PETER
(1920- ) UK writer best known for his densely written historical novels.
His first novel, I Am the World: A Romance (1942), generalizes its
politically speculative plot by placing it in an allegorized and unnamed
country, where a dictator creates an ambiguous UTOPIA; The Game and the
Ground (1956) covers similar territory. The Story Teller (1968) offers no
sf explanation for the longevity of its central character - who lives over
500 years and the stages of his life are analogous to the development of
northern European civilization - but the novel's narrative and linguistic
powers deserve notice from the sf readership. In 3 further novels of
IMMORTALITY - Lancelot (1978), The Death of Robin Hood (1981) and Parsifal
(1988) - which share a polymathic density of language and a complexly
ambiguous mythopoeic attentiveness to the cultural icons of their titles,
PV again provided models of human history as a sequence of incessantly
reiterated tales whose casts, although they may metamorphose, do so only
to return. Robin Hood in particular prefigures the entangled chthonic
worlds of sf fantasists like Paul HAZEL and Robert P. HOLDSTOCK. [JC]Other
works: The Dark Tower: Tales from the Past (coll 1965) and The Shadow
Land: More Stories from the Past (coll 1967), juveniles which retell myths
and legends of Britain.

van VOGT, A(LFRED) E(LTON)
(1912- ) Canadian-born writer who moved to the USA in 1944 after
establishing his name as one of the creators of John W. CAMPBELL Jr's
GOLDEN AGE OF SF with a flood of material in ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION,
starting with "Black Destroyer" (1939), though he had been active for
several years in various other genres. In 1939 he married E. Mayne HULL,
and produced several stories with her until she stopped writing in 1950.
With his conversion to DIANETICS - also in 1950 - AEVV became virtually
silent for several years. After the early 1960s, however, a second,
smaller spate of new material came from his pen.In 1939-47 AEVV published
at least 35 sf stories in ASF alone, some of novel length, and it was the
work of these years, much of it not to be published in book form until
long afterwards in reconstructed versions, that gave him his high
reputation as a master of intricate, metaphysical SPACE OPERA. Along with
Isaac ASIMOV and Robert A. HEINLEIN, and to a lesser extent L. Sprague DE
CAMP and L. Ron HUBBARD - he seemed nearly to create, by writing what
Campbell wanted to publish, the first genuinely successful period of US
sf; only in this "Golden Age" did it begin to achieve, in literary terms,
what the writers of US GENRE SF had eschewed 20 years earlier when they
had found that PULP MAGAZINES not only wished to publish sf but were their
only consistent market. Although AEVV catered for the pulps, he
intensified the emotional impact and complexity of the stories they would
bear: his nearly invincible alien MONSTERS, the long timespans of his
tales, the TIME PARADOXES that fill them, the quasimessianic SUPERMEN who
come into their own as the stories progress, the GALACTIC EMPIRES they
tend to rule and the states of lonely transcendental omnipotence they tend
to achieve - all are presented in a prose that uses crude, dark colours
but whose striking SENSE OF WONDER is conveyed with a dreamlike
conviction. The abrupt complications of plot for which he became so well
known, and which have been so scathingly mocked for their illogic and
preposterousness - within narratives that claimed to be presenting higher
forms of logic to the reader - are best analysed, and their effects best
understood, when their sudden shifts of perspective and rationale and
scale are seen as analogous to the movements of a dream. It is these "
HARD-SF dreams", so grippingly void of constraints or of the usual
surrealistic appurtenances of dream literature, that have so haunted
generations of children and adolescents.AEVV's first novel, and perhaps
still his best known, is SLAN (1940 ASF; 1946; rev 1951). Its HERO, the
young Jommy Cross, is a member of a MUTANT race, the Slans, originally
created to help mankind out of its difficulties but long driven into
hiding because of the jealousy of normals. Jommy's powers ( CHILDREN IN
SF), which include ESP, physical superiority to normals (he has 2 hearts)
and extraordinary INTELLIGENCE, enable him to survive the mobbing, arrest
and offstage death of his mother and to escape from sight into an
adolescence and young manhood during which he begins to sense his true
powers. As a man he becomes involved with Earth's mysterious dictator,
with defective Slans, and with various intrigues centring on new sources
of energy. Matters are cleared up only at the book's close with the
revelation that the dictator is himself a secret Slan, that the girl Slan
with whom Jommy is in love is the dictator's daughter, and that Jommy is
in line for the succession. SLAN is a much imitated model for the creation
of wish-fulfilment stories.However, it was in the 2 Weapon Shops books-THE
WEAPON SHOPS OF ISHER (1941-2 ASF, 1949 Thrilling Wonder Stories; fixup
1951) and The Weapon Makers (1943 ASF; 1947; rev 1952; vt One Against
Eternity 1955 dos), assembled as The Weapon Shops of Isher, and The Weapon
Makers (omni 1988 UK) - that AEVV's mixture of hard-sf dreams, enormities
of complication, and transcendent superheroes was most hypnotically
presented. The main protagonist of the 2 books, the immortal Robert
Hedrock ( IMMORTALITY), has not only in the dim past created the WEAPON
Shops as a LIBERTARIAN force to counterbalance the imperial world
government long dominant on Earth, but also turns out eventually to have
literally begotten the race of emperors and empresses who rule that
government in traditional opposition to the mysterious Shops, which are
invulnerable and sell weapons to anyone. To cap this dream of omnipotence,
Hedrock unwittingly passes a Galactic initiation test at the end of the
2nd book, the test having been designed to select the next rulers of the
"sevagram". The word "sevagram" appears only once in the series, as the
very last word of The Weapon Makers; in its placing, which seems to open
universes to the reader's gaze, and in its resonant mysteriousness, for
its precise meaning is unclear, this use of "sevagram" may well stand as
the best working demonstration in the whole of genre sf of how to impart a
SENSE OF WONDER.The 2nd major series of AEVV's prolific decade-the Null-A
sequence comprising The World of A (1945 ASF; rev 1948; rev vt The World
of Null-A 1970) and The Pawns of Null-A (1948-9 ASF as "The Players of A";
1956; rev vt The Players of Null-A 1966), plus Null-A Three (1984 France
[in French]; 1985 UK) - may have appeared weightier in its attempts to
present its arguments in terms of "non-Aristotelian" thought ( GENERAL
SEMANTICS), a claim which might seem ominously to prefigure a
rationalization of the effortless dream logic of the earlier stories; but
in the event tends to stumble into excessive tangles of complication. The
protagonist, Gosseyn (go sane), lacks humour even more decidedly than his
superman predecessors, and his rapid, confusing, nearly emotionless
shifting from one Gosseyn body to another, in a kind of cloning ( CLONES)
without the concept of cloning to sustain it, makes his eventual supremacy
so peculiarly disorganized as to be almost without effect on the reader.
By this time AEVV was nearing the end of his association with ASF, after
an extraordinarily productive decade, and would soon stop writing
entirely; perhaps The Pawns of Null-A, which in magazine form stretched to
100,000 words, was about as far as he could go without an extended
breather. Certainly his 3rd series from this period-the Linn sequence
comprising Empire of the Atom (1946-7 ASF; fixup 1957; cut 1957 dos) and
The Wizard of Linn (1950 ASF; 1962) - is considerably less intense. James
BLISH argued of this series about superscience and palace politics that
its plot and characters closely resemble those of Robert GRAVES's Claudius
novels: it would have been a brave critic who, with equal persuasiveness,
found AEVV's earlier series to resemble any previous work of world
literature.During this first decade of his career, AEVV contributed
material also to ASF's sister magazine, Unknown, most notably The Book of
Ptath (1943 Unknown; 1947; vt Two Hundred Million A.D. 1964; vt Ptath
1976), a FAR-FUTURE epic in which a reincarnated god-figure must fight to
re-establish his suzerainty. Some of the independent stories of these
years were collected in Destination: Universe (coll 1952) and Away and
Beyond (coll 1952; with 2 stories cut rev 1959; with 1 story cut rev 1963
UK). The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1939-43 ASF and 1950 Other Worlds;
fixup 1950; vt Mission: Interplanetary 1952) marshalled several early
stories into a chronicle depicting various ways in which a "Nexialist",
Elliot Grosvenor, by using a response to ALIENS and their environments
that synthesizes different fields of knowledge, copes with divers
monsters. The book incorporates AEVV's first 2 sf stories; and Nexialism
itself, which involves a system of intensive psychological training,
interestingly prefigures L. Ron HUBBARD's Dianetics, with which AEVV was
to become so closely involved. This involvement was the culmination of his
persistent interest in all training systems which purport scientifically
(or pseudo-scientifically; PSEUDO-SCIENCE) to create physical or mental
superiority and awaken dormant talents, an interest which generated not
only the 3 General-Semantics novels described above but also Siege of the
Unseen (1946 ASF as "The Chronicler"; 1959 dos; vt as title story in The
Three Eyes of Evil coll 1973 UK), in which, inspired by the Bates
eye-exercise system, he dramatized the curing of eye problems through
partly mental means.In the autobiographical Reflections of A.E. van Vogt
(1975), AEVV uses the term "fix-up" (or FIXUP) in the sense which we have
adopted for this encyclopedia: a book made up of previously published
stories altered to fit together - usually with the addition of new
cementing material - the end product being marketed as a novel. It is
possible that AEVV invented the term for, although fixups are not unknown
outside sf, the peculiar marketing circumstances of the genre in the USA
encouraged their creation, and certainly AEVV wrote (or compiled) more
fixups than any other sf writer of stature. It was during his time of
relative inactivity as a creator of original material - the 1950s and
early 1960s - that he began producing these numerous fixups, including of
course THE WEAPON SHOPS OF ISHER, perhaps the most successful and
ingenious of all. Fixups incorporating Golden-Age material include The
Mixed Men (1943-5 ASF; fixup 1952; cut vt Mission to the Stars 1955), The
War Against the Rull (1940-50 ASF; fixup 1959), The Beast (1943-4 ASF;
fixup 1963; vt Moonbeast 1969 UK) and Quest for the Future (1943-6 ASF;
fixup 1970).The Silkie (1964-7 If; fixup 1969), though technically
similar, was the first to use substantially contemporary material - and
may have been the first whose component parts were all written with the
end result in mind. It signalled the beginning of AEVV's 2nd period of
productivity, with Children of Tomorrow (1970) being his first completely
new sf novel since The Mind Cage (1948 Fantasy Book as "The Great Judge";
exp 1957) - although he had also published a political thriller about the
attempted brainwashing of Westerners in contemporary communist China, The
Violent Man (1962). The most sustained effort of this 2nd wave of titles
was perhaps The Battle of Forever (1971), in which the enhanced-human
protagonist, Modyun, leaves the refuge where his kind have for eons dwelt
in seclusion and undertakes a far-future odyssey through a decadent world
and Galaxy, battling against aliens and gradually coming to full stature
as a superman. Compared to the fixups of the previous decade or so, the
story is well paced and emotionally coherent, though the oneiric flow of
arousing event and imagery is damaged by a sense of self-consciousness.
Further novels do not live up to this promise of partial renewal, and have
not been well received.Critics such as Damon KNIGHT - in an essay
reprinted as "Cosmic Jerrybuilder" in In Search of Wonder (critical coll
1956; rev 1967) - have tended to treat the typical AEVV tale as a failed
effort at hard sf, and have consequently tended to describe stories others
have written in the modes he developed - like Philip K. DICK, Charles L.
HARNESS and Larry NIVEN-as "improvements" on the original model. In some
ways, of course, these writers have built upon the complexity of AEVV's
worlds and have significantly rationalized his convulsive shuffling and
reshuffling of every element of his stories. But AEVV's space operas, as
noted, are at heart enacted dreams which articulate deep, symbolic needs
and wishes of his readership. Because there is no misunderstood science or
cosmography or technology at the very heart of his best work, there is no
"improving" AEVV. [JC]Other works: Tomorrow on the March: The Text of the
Speech Delivered July 4, 1946 at the PACIFICON by the Guest of Honor (1946
chap); Out of the Unknown (coll 1948; exp 1969; vt The Sea Thing and Other
Stories 1970 UK; with 5 of the 6 original stories under original title,
cut 1970 UK) with E. Mayne Hull, 3 stories by each writer; Masters of Time
(coll 1950), comprising 2 stories later published separately as The
Changeling (1944 ASF; 1967) and Earth's Last Fortress (1942 ASF as
"Recruiting Station"; 1960 dos; vt Masters of Time 1967); The House that
Stood Still (1950; rev vt The Mating Cry 1960; text restored vt The
Undercover Aliens 1976 UK); The Universe Maker (1949 Startling Stories as
"The Shadow Men"; rev 1953 dos); Planets for Sale (1943-6 ASF as by Hull
alone; fixup 1954) with Hull alone credited; the 1965 ed credits both
authors; Rogue Ship (1947 ASF, 1950 Super-Science Stories and 1963 If;
fixup 1965); The Twisted Men (coll 1964 dos); Monsters (coll 1965; vt The
Blal and Other Science-Fiction Monsters 1976); The Winged Man (1944 ASF as
by Hull alone; exp 1966) with Hull; The Far-Out Worlds of A.E. van Vogt
(coll 1968; vt with added stories as The Worlds of A.E. van Vogt 1974);
More than Superhuman (coll 1971); The Proxy Intelligence and Other Mind
Benders (coll 1971; with 1 story cut and others retitled but unrevised,
rev vt The Gryb 1976); M-33 in Andromeda (coll 1971); The Darkness on
Diamondia (1972); The Book of Van Vogt (coll 1972; vt Lost: Fifty Suns
1979); Future Glitter (1973; vt Tyranopolis 1977 UK); The Secret Galactics
(1974; vt Earth Factor X 1976); The Man with a Thousand Names (1974); The
Best of A.E. Van Vogt (coll 1974 UK), a different selection from The Best
of A.E. Van Vogt (coll 1976); Supermind (fixup 1977; The Anarchistic
Colossus (1977); Pendulum (coll 1978); Enchanted Village (1950 Other
Worlds; 1979 chap); Renaissance (1979); Cosmic Encounter (1980);
Computerworld (1983; vt Computer Eye 1985).Omnibuses include: Triad (omni
1959) assembling The World of A, The Voyage of the Space Beagle and SLAN;
A Van Vogt Omnibus (omni 1967 UK) assembling Planets for Sale, The Beast
and The Book of Ptath; Van Vogt Omnibus (2) (omni 1971 UK) assembling The
Mind Cage, The Winged Man and SLAN; Two Science Fiction Novels (omni 1973
UK) assembling Siege of the Unseen (as The Three Eyes of Evil) and Earth's
Last Fortress; The Universe Maker and The Proxy Intelligence (omni 1976
UK).About the author: "A.E. van Vogt" in Seekers of Tomorrow (1966) by Sam
MOSKOWITZ; "The Development of a Science Fiction Writer" by AEVV in
Foundation #3, 1973; The World beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the
Quest for Transcendence (1989) by Alexei and Cory PANSHIN.See also: ADAM
AND EVE; ANTIMATTER; ARKHAM HOUSE; CANADA; CONCEPTUAL BREAKTHROUGH;
COSMOLOGY; DISCOVERY AND INVENTION; FANTASTIC VOYAGES; FRANCE; GALACTIC
EMPIRES; GENERATION STARSHIPS; GENETIC ENGINEERING; GODS AND DEMONS;
HISTORY IN SF; HISTORY OF SF; ILLUSTRATION; INVASION; LIVING WORLDS;
LONGEVITY (IN WRITERS AND PUBLICATIONS); PARANOIA; PARASITISM AND
SYMBIOSIS; PERCEPTION; PHYSICS; POLITICS; PSI POWERS; PSYCHOLOGY;
REINCARNATION; RELIGION; SCIENTIFIC ERRORS; SERIES; SUSPENDED ANIMATION;
THRILLING WONDER STORIES; WAR.

VARDEMAN, ROBERT E(DWARD)
(1947- ) US writer whose ruthless productivity - he has written about 50
books since his first sf novel, Pleasure Planet (1974 as by Edward E.
George; vt Outer Space Embrace 1978 as by Monica Mounds; vt Janet's Sex
Planet 1980 as by Carrie Onn; vt Intergalactic Orgy 1983 as Obie Khan; vt
Sexual Coquette 1985 dos as by Marv Elous; vt Playing with Desire 1986 as
by Fred Sparkrock) - has yet to give birth to any memorable work. As well
as some further pseudonymous titles, including 2 fairly marginal sf
adventures as Nick CARTER - The Solar Menace * (1981) and Doctor DNA *
(1982) - 2 Star Trek ties - The Klingon Gambit * (1981) and Mutiny on the
Enterprise * (1983) - and a number of fantasy sequences, he has produced
several series for the sf market, including: the Weapons of Chaos
sequence, comprising Echoes of Chaos (1986), Equations of Chaos (1987) and
Colors of Chaos (1988), all assembled as The Weapons of Chaos (omni 1989);
the Masters of Space sequence, comprising The Stellar Death Plan (1987),
The Alien Web (1987) and A Plague in Paradise (1987), all assembled as
Masters of Space (omni 1990 UK), which was advertised as resembling E.E.
SMITH's work but lacked any similar conviction; and the Biowarriors
sequence, comprising The Infinity Plague (1989), Crisis at Starlight
(1990) and Space Vectors (1990). Singletons include The Sandcats of Rhyl
(1978), Road to the Stars (1988), Ancient Heavens (1989) and Deathfall
(1991). [JC]Other works: Fantasies, mostly in series form, including: the
War of Powers sequence, all with Victor MILAN, comprising The Sundered
Realm (1980), The City in the Glacier (1980) and The Destiny Stone (1980),
all assembled as The War of Powers (omni 1984), then The Fallen Ones
(1981), In the Shadow of Omizantrim (1982) and Demon of the Dark Ones
(1982); the Cenotaph Road sequence, perhaps his best, comprising Cenotaph
Road (1983), The Sorcerer's Skull (1983), World of Mazes (1983), Iron
Tongue (1984), Fire and Fog (1984) and Pillar of Night (1984); the Jade
Demons sequence, comprising The Quaking Lands (1984), The Frozen Waves
(1985), The Crystal Clouds (1985) and The White Fire (1986), all assembled
as The Jade Demons Quartet (omni 1987 UK); the Swords of Raemllyn
sequence, all with George W. PROCTOR, comprising To Demons Bound (1985), A
Yoke of Magic (1985) and Blood Fountain (1985), all 3 assembled as Swords
of Raemllyn Book 1 (omni 1992 UK), plus Death's Acolyte (1986), The Beasts
of the Mist (1986) and For Crown and Kingdom (1987), all 3 assembled as
Swords of Raemllyn Book 2 (omni 1992 UK); the Demon Crown trilogy,
comprising The Glass Warrior (1988). Phantoms on the Wind (1989) and A
Symphony of Storms (1990), all assembled as The Demon Crown Trilogy (omni
1990 UK); the Peter Thorne psychic detective sequence comprising The
Screaming Knife (1990),A Resonance of Blood (1992) and Death Channels
(1992). A singleton is The Keys to Paradise (1986 UK; vt in 3 vols, all as
by Daniel Moran, The Flame Key 1987 US, The Skeleton Lord's Key 1987 US
and Key of Ice and Steel 1988 US as by Moran); The Accursed (1994 UK);
Deathfall (1994).

VARDON, RICHARD
[s] David Wright O'BRIEN.

VARDRE, LESLIE
L.P. DAVIES.

VARGO STATTEN BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE
VARGO STATTEN SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE.

VARGO STATTEN SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE
UK magazine. 19 issues 1954-6, published by Scion, London, for the first
7 issues, then Dragon Publications; ed "Vargo Statten" (Alistair Paterson
for 7 issues, then John Russell FEARN). The last 2 issues were undated.
#1-#3 were PULP-MAGAZINE size, then DIGEST size to #11, then pocketbook
size. Intended to be a monthly, it 7 times skipped months. The magazine
was retitled Vargo Statten British Science Fiction Magazine vol 1 #4-#5,
The British Science Fiction Magazine vol 1 #6-#12, and finally The British
Space Fiction Magazine from vol 2 #1 to the end.VSSFM owed its existence
to the success of Scion's paperback-book line, which included many sf
novels written by Fearn and published as by Vargo Statten. A magazine
under Statten's name seemed a good financial bet, given the popularity of
the books. The policy of aiming stories at younger readers may have
alienated some UK authors; the low rates of payment, finally 12s 6d per
1000 words for world rights, cannot have helped. Barrington J. BAYLEY made
his debut here, and E.C. TUBB often appeared both under his own name and
under pseudonyms, but Fearn was forced to use many of his own stories,
sometimes old ones slightly rewritten under various pseudonyms, to fill up
the issues. [FHP]

VARLEY, JOHN (HERBERT)
(1947- ) US writer who entered the sf field with "Picnic on Nearside" for
FSF in 1974 and who was soon thought to be the most significant new writer
of the 1970s. He was fresh, he was complex, he understood the imaginative
implications of transformative developments like cloning ( CLONES), many
of his protagonists were women, and most of the stories he told were set
within an overall background Universe whose centre of geography had been
startlingly displaced - in a manner characteristic of the finest sf - from
Earth itself. It may have been the case that many previous SPACE OPERAS,
especially those claiming galactic scope, were set far from the home
planet (which was often "forgotten"), but JV's innovation was twofold: to
bring the displacement close to the present day, which NEAR-FUTURE setting
made it more vivid, and to present a subsequent Solar System whose own
complexity seemed to mark a genuine evolutionary shift - in fictional
terms - from the old geocentricity. The image of an incessantly humming
Solar System - it is central to books like Michael SWANWICK's Vacuum
Flowers (1987) - owes as much to JV as it does to the idioms of CYBERPUNK.
Urgent and risk-taking, the stories assembled in THE PERSISTENCE OF VISION
(coll 1978; vt In the Hall of the Martian Kings 1978 UK) and The Barbie
Murders (coll 1980; vt Picnic on Nearside 1984) seemed to announce the
shape of sf's response to the end of the 20th century. JV's shorter works
have brought him 3 HUGOS - for "The Persistence of Vision" in 1979, "The
Pusher" in 1982 and PRESS ENTER (1984 IASFM; 1990 chap dos) in 1985 - and
2 NEBULAS - for "The Persistence of Vision" and "PRESS ENTER".This sense
of currency was also a feature of JV's first - and perhaps finest - novel,
THE OPHIUCHI HOTLINE (1977), set 500 years into his future HISTORY - it is
sometimes called the Eight Worlds sequence - at a time when humanity has
been long exiled from Earth by immensely superior, indifferent "Invaders".
Bioengineered and variously cloned, humans now subscribe to social and
sexual codes - and live within perspectives and according to processes -
that differ radically from those of their flesh-bound, planet-bound
ancestors. The protagonist is in fact several successive clones of the
same person, the original dying only a few pages into the text and new
versions of that original - clone bodies with pre-recorded mind-tapes of
the original plugged in at the point of arousal - taking over when needed.
The sense of ongoing process - and of an identity-dissolving taste for
metamorphosis - is incessant. The eponymous hotline, which is operated by
similarly displaced interstellar exiles, beams data through the Solar
System, the last item being a message that humanity will soon be banned
from its home system, and will be doomed to wander the stars, homeless,
for ever. This happens.JV then composed the Titan or Gaean sequence -
Titan (1979), Wizard (1980) and Demon (1984) - which begins exuberantly
with a mission to explore the largest satellite of Saturn. But Titan turns
out to be a sentient artifact (or BIG DUMB OBJECT) called Gaea and to
contain within its entrails a veritable POCKET UNIVERSE of trapped
individuals and species. The female protagonist of the series becomes
Gaea's agent, intimate and enemy. Although this was technically an
interminable template, the series was kept decorously to trilogy length,
but did not fully escape the charge that the libidinous solipsisms of the
plot had a VIRTUAL-REALITY resonance. Millennium (1977 IASFM as "Air Raid"
as by Herb Boehm; exp 1983) - filmed as MILLENNIUM (1989) - is a
TIME-TRAVEL novel in which humans from a devastated future extract
contemporary accident victims at the moment before their deaths because,
being still genetically whole, they can be used in a project to repopulate
the Earth, with the aid of an AI. Like JV's best work, the book was
smoothly muscled, manipulative and ruthless. His output of the 1980s was,
nevertheless, less strikingly innovative than had been hoped - and,
perhaps unfairly, expected - of him. The stories assembled in Blue
Champagne (coll 1986) - Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo (1989 chap)
reprints an original story from the collection - show no technical decline
but lack some of the exploratory dangerousness of his first work.
Similarly, Steel Beach (1992) demonstrates through its huge length a
virtuoso control of sf themes, presented through many of the kind of
compulsive narrative hooks employed by Robert A. HEINLEIN in his ruthless
prime; but the story itself, set in the Eight Worlds universe about 200
years after humanity's expulsion from Earth, lacks dramatic urgency,
despite many cleverly conceived (but sidebar) episodes full of action. The
title itself, however, may well become established as a tag for the
evolutionary impasse humanity may soon face: like a lungfish struggling to
breathe on a Pacific beach, JV suggests, humanity could soon find itself
struggling for breath on the steel beach that is all the home it has,
after the final death of Nature. [JC]See also: BLACK HOLES; CHILDREN IN
SF; ESCHATOLOGY; ESP; FANTASY; GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION; GENETIC
ENGINEERING; ISAAC ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE; LINGUISTICS; The
MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ; MAGIC; MARS; NEW WAVE; OUTER
PLANETS; PASTORAL; SCIENCE FANTASY; SEX; SPACE HABITATS; TIME PARADOXES;
WRITERS OF THE FUTURE CONTEST.

VASOVA, ALTA
[r] CZECH AND SLOVAK SF.

VECTOR
The journal of the BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION (BSFA). There have
been 181 issues to Nov/Dec 1994.V has been published since the foundation
of the BSFA in 1958, fairly regularly since the 1970s. E.C. TUBB was its
first editor (#1), and it has had 32 editors since then, including,
briefly, Michael MOORCOCK (#6-#7). Both production and literary quality
have fluctuated severely from editor to editor, and V has appeared
variously as an association newsletter, a typical FANZINE and an academic
journal. It had a strong period under the editorship of Roger Peyton in
the mid-1960s (#26-#39), and has been much more consistent ever since 1972
when Malcolm EDWARDS took over (#59-#68), his successors including
Christopher J. Fowler (#69-83), David WINGROVE (#84-#94), Geoff Rippington
(#108-#123), David V. Barrett (#126-#150), Boyd Parkinson and Kev McVeigh
(#151-#160), and Kev McVeigh and Catie Cary (#161-#165) and by Cary alone
(#166-current). The page-size varied between large and small for many
years, but since 1984 (#122) it has been large-format A4. Since the late
1970s, when some of V's functions were hived off into other BSFA
publications - paperback-book reviews in Paperback Parlour (soon renamed
Paperback Inferno, and then incorporated into V from #169), fan news in
Matrix, and advice for new writers in Focus - V has sometimes looked less
useful than it once was, but it has continued to print good interviews,
major articles and substantial reviews, often approaching professional
standards, but equally often lapsing into fannish polemic, which is quite
proper, since its function is to act as a kind of central clearing house
for UK FANDOM. Almost every UK sf writer of note has appeared in its
pages, and many US writers too. [PN/PR]

VEIS, JAROSLAV
[r] CZECH AND SLOVAK SF.

VEJDELEK, CESTMIR
[r] CZECH AND SLOVAK SF.

VEL'D
(vt The Veldt) Film (1987). Uzbekfilm. Dir Nazim Tulyakhodzhaev, starring
Igor Beliayev, Nelly Pshonnaya, Georgy Gegechkori. Screenplay
Tulyakhodzhaev, based on stories by Ray BRADBURY. 90 mins. Colour.The
second attempt by a talented Uzbek director to transfer the mood of
Bradbury's GOTHIC prose onto the screen proved not so successful as the
first, the short animated movie There Will Come Soft Rains (1982), had
done. This full-length feature is a poetic adaptation of several Bradbury
stories, such as "The Garbage Collector" (1953),"Hail and Farewell" (1953)
and "The Dragon" (1956), along with some episodes from Dandelion Wine
(1957), all combined into a single, if rather dissolving, plot, for which
the title story, "The Veldt" (1950), serves as a bar or pivot. The baroque
atmosphere evoked by the unique Bradbury mixture of horror, pathos and
sentimentality is well maintained, and visually some episodes are
excellent. But the director's lack of feeling for narrative or plot means
that he does not create a main focus for the film; it is as if he has
forgotten what he wished to say. However, it still stands as a good
example of the new Soviet horror film. [VG]See also: RUSSIA.

VELDT, THE
VEL'D.

VELIKOVSKY, IMMANUEL
(1895-1979) Russian-born US pseudo-scientist and writer. He is primarily
known for a series of books putting forward, with a vast amount of
documentation and argument, a theory of Earth's history which proposes
that comparatively recent large-scale changes in the Solar System had
catastrophic effects on the Earth, and that historical evidence (in the
form of legends, MYTHOLOGY, the Bible and other accounts) exists for
these. The books are Worlds in Collision (1950), Ages in Chaos (1952),
Earth in Upheaval (1955) and Oedipus and Akhnaton (1960). In particular,
Velikovsky claimed that the planet VENUS was a recent addition to the
Sun's retinue, having been spat out by Jupiter in biblical times and then
having swooped close to the Earth on several occasions before coming to
rest in its current orbit: one effect of these near-misses was to make the
Earth flip over on its axis. Making planets flip over in this way is
extremely hard to do because of the gyroscope effect, and it was soon
proven that his basic mechanism was infeasible. Nevertheless, the books
are probably the most significant in 20th-century PSEUDO-SCIENCE.An
apparent attempt by scientists to have IV's work censored is recounted in
The Velikovsky Affair (anth 1966) ed Alfred de Grazia. A collection of
essays defending IV's science and pointing to the accuracy of many of his
predictions (while, it has to be said, ignoring the inaccuracy of others)
is Velikovsky Reconsidered (anth 1976) ed by the editors of Pensee. The
proceedings of a scientific conference to discuss the affair are found in
Scientists Confront Velikovsky (anth 1977) ed Donald Goldsmith. An
over-friendly overview of Velikovskianism is given in Doomsday: The
Science of Catastrophe (1979) by Fred Warshovsky.In the early 1980s there
was a flurry of renewed interest in Velikovsky's ideas when it was
proposed that flipping the Earth over on its axis might not be so
difficult as had been thought. Various writers pointed to the childhood
toy called the tippe-top which, when spun, easily turns over to stand on
its head, apparently defying the gyroscopic effect. Probably the most
significant book in this vein was The Reversing Earth (1982) by Peter
Warlow, which described the tippe-top effect (and much else in support of
IV's ideas) in persuasive detail. The flaw in the argument is (to
simplify) that the tippe-top effect works only if the tippe-top is placed
on a surface (e.g., a table-top) in an appropriate gravitational
field.Orthodox scientists have themselves proposed some quasi-Velikovskian
ideas since the 1960s, reflecting a recognition that catastrophic changes
caused by cosmic events may have played a greater part in our planet's
history than hitherto recognized; in particular, it is now generally
accepted that the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago
was the result of one such event. A type example of a disproved theory of
this sort is supplied by The Jupiter Effect (1974) by John GRIBBIN and
Stephen Plagemann, which predicted dire consequences from an unusual
planetary alignment and a peak of solar activity in 1982; Beyond the
Jupiter Effect (1983) is rather more muted.IV's dramatic scenario of
planetary near-misses parallels many of the catastrophic events described
in sf; a notable fictional precursor is When Worlds Collide (1933) by
Philip WYLIE and Edwin BALMER. Some of the few interesting sf novels in
the Velikovskian mode (there are countless bad DISASTER novels) are THE
WANDERER (1964) by Fritz LEIBER, in which a singleton planet enters the
Solar System, The HAB Theory (1976) by Allan W. ECKERT, in which the Earth
flips on its axis, Lucifer's Hammer (1977) by Larry NIVEN and Jerry
POURNELLE, in which the Earth is struck by a small comet, and Nemesis
(1989) by Isaac ASIMOV, which focuses on the threat to Earth of a dwarf
star on course for a close encounter with the Solar System. [PN/JGr]See
also: ADAM AND EVE.

VENEZUELA
LATIN AMERICA.

VENGEANCE
(vt Ein Toter Sucht seiner Morder; vt The Brain) Film (1963).
CCC/Stross/Governor. Dir Freddie Francis, starring Peter Van Eyck, Anne
Heywood, Cecil Parker, Bernard Lee. Screenplay Robert Stewart, Phil
Mackie, based on Donovan's Brain (1943) by Curt SIODMAK. 83 mins. B/w.This
West German/UK coproduction is the 3rd and least successful film version
of Siodmak's novel: the others are The LADY AND THE MONSTER (1944) and
DONOVAN'S BRAIN (1953). This gory remake retains the plot absurdities of
the earlier versions but lacks their eerie atmosphere. [JB]

VENNING, HUGH
Pseudonym of UK writer Claude van Zeller (1905-1984), whose The End: A
Projection, Not a Prophecy (1947) envisages, in AD2050, a DYSTOPIAN
(though scientifically advanced) England surrounded by a worse world under
the dominion of 666, who rules the Greater Roman Empire and is defeated at
the last moment (HV was Roman Catholic) by the hosts of the Lord. [JC]

VENTURE SCIENCE FICTION
US DIGEST-size magazine. 16 issues, published by Fantasy House (a
subsidiary of Mercury Publications) Jan 1957-Mar 1958 and by Mercury Press
May 1958-Aug 1970, as a companion to The MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE
FICTION . 10 bimonthly issues Jan 1957-July 1958 ed Robert P. MILLS; the
title was revived a decade later for 6 quarterly issues May 1969-Aug 1970;
ed Edward FERMAN. After the 1st series finished, the contents-page
masthead in FSF was altered to read "including Venture Science Fiction".
VSF put a higher priority on action-adventure sf than did its companion.
In its second incarnation it featured a cut novel in every issue. Notable
stories include C.M. KORNBLUTH's "Two Dooms" (July 1958), James TIPTREE
Jr's "The Snows are Melted, the Snows are Gone" (Nov 1969) and Edward
WELLEN's short novel Hijack (May 1970; 1971).The UK edn was a monthly
digest magazine published by the Atlas Publishing and Distribution Co.,
Sep 1963-Dec 1965 (28 issues). It reprinted most of its material from the
1st series of the US magazine, but also used stories from FSF, some from
the 1950s, and some which had appeared after FSF's UK edn had folded in
June 1965. [BS/PN]

VENUS
Because Earth's inner neighbour presented a bright and featureless face
to early astronomers, it became something of a mystery planet.
19th-century astronomers and early-20th-century sf writers generally
imagined that, as the featureless face was a permanent cloud layer, the
surface beneath must be warm and wet; the Venus of the imagination became
a planet of vast oceans (perhaps with no land at all) or sweltering
jungles. In the 1960s, however, probes revealed that Venus has no liquid
water at its surface, and that its clouds - mostly composed of carbon
dioxide - create a greenhouse effect in the lower atmosphere which
generates temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius.Early planetary
tours to take in Venus - including Athanasius KIRCHER's Itinerarium
Exstaticum (1656), Emanuel SWEDENBORG's The Earths in our Solar System
(1758) and George GRIFFITH's A Honeymoon in Space (1901) - were influenced
by the planet's longtime association with the goddess of love: its
inhabitants were frequently characterized as gentle and ethereal, after
the fashion of Bernard le Bovyer de FONTENELLE's Entretiens sur la
pluralite des mondes habites (1686; trans J. Glanvill as A Plurality of
Worlds 1929). The first novel concerned specifically with Venus was
Achille Eyraud's Voyage a Venus ["Voyage to Venus"] (1865). A winged
Venusian arrived on Earth in W. LACH-SZYRMA's A Voice from Another World
(1874), and was later the protagonist of an interplanetary tour in the
form of a series of 9 "Letters from the Planets" (1887-93). A detailed
description of a Venusian civilization is featured in History of a Race of
Immortals Without a God (1891 as by Antares Skorpios; vt The Immortals'
Great Quest as by James W. BARLOW). Early SCIENTIFIC ROMANCES set on Venus
include Gustavus W. POPE's Romances of the Planets, No. 2: Journey to
Venus (1895) and John MUNRO's A Trip to Venus (1897). Fred T. JANE's early
SATIRE on the interplanetary romance was To Venus in Five Seconds (1897),
and Venus was also the world visited by Garrett P. SERVISS's A Columbus of
Space (1911). A brief vision is featured in "Venus" (1909) by Maurice
Baring (1874-1946). Edgar Rice BURROUGHS's chief imitator, Otis Adelbert
KLINE, set his principal series of exotic romances on Venus - a trilogy
comprising The Planet of Peril (1929), The Prince of Peril (1930) and The
Port of Peril (1932; 1949). Burroughs's own Venusian series, begun with
Pirates of Venus (1934), is weak self-pastiche. Other PULP-MAGAZINE
romances set on Venus include Homer Eon FLINT's "The Queen of Life" (1919;
in The Lord of Death and the Queen of Life, coll 1966) and Ralph Milne
FARLEY's series begun with The Radio Man (1924; 1948; vt An Earthman on
Venus). The early sf pulps made abundant use of Venusian scenarios.
Notable examples include John W. CAMPBELL's "Solarite" (1930), Clark
Ashton SMITH's "The Immeasurable Horror" (1931) and John WYNDHAM's story
of COLONIZATION, "The Venus Adventure" (1932 as by John Beynon Harris).
Stanton A. COBLENTZ used Venus as the setting for his satire The Blue
Barbarians (1931; 1958) and for the more sober The Planet of Youth (1932;
1952). Some of Stanley G. WEINBAUM's best stories of LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS
are set on Venus, including "The Lotus Eaters"(1935) and "Parasite Planet"
(1935). Clifford D. SIMAK used Venusian milieux imaginatively in "Hunger
Death" (1938) and "Tools" (1942), as did Lester DEL REY in "The Luck of
Ignatz" (1939) and Robert A. HEINLEIN in "Logic of Empire" (1941).The
image of Venus as an oceanic world was extensively developed in the 1940s,
most memorably by C.S. LEWIS in Perelandra (1943; vt Voyage to Venus), in
which ISLANDS of floating vegetation serve as a new Garden of Eden for a
replay of the myth of ADAM AND EVE. The most enduring pulp image of the
same species was that provided by Lawrence O'Donnell (Henry KUTTNER and C.
L. MOORE) in "Clash by Night" (1943) and its sequel Fury (1947; 1950).
Here mankind lives in the submarine "keeps" of Venus after Earth has died,
and is faced with the terrible task of colonizing the inordinately hostile
land-surface; a more recent sequel to "Clash by Night", incorporating the
earlier story, is The Jungle (1991) by David A. DRAKE. The notion that
Venus might be an appropriate home for mankind after Earth becomes
uninhabitable had earlier been advanced in J.B.S. HALDANE's visionary
essay "The Last Judgment" (1927), and was taken up from there by Olaf
STAPLEDON in LAST AND FIRST MEN (1930), where humanity spends an ecstatic
period of its future history as a winged creature on the Venusian floating
islands. Other stories deploying the watery image include Isaac ASIMOV's
Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus (1954 as by Paul French; vt The Oceans
of Venus) and Poul ANDERSON's "Sister Planet" (1959). The alternative
image of Venus the jungle planet, perpetually beset by fierce wet weather,
is featured in Ray BRADBURY's "Death-by-Rain" (1950; vt "The Long
Rain").Although MARS was much more popular as a setting for exotic
romances, Venus had the advantage of being rather more versatile: the
clouds of Venus could hide exotic wonders. For this reason, some of the
gaudiest romances of GENRE SF are set on Venus: C.L. Moore's "Black
Thirst" (1934), Leigh BRACKETT's and Ray Bradbury's "Lorelei of the Red
Mist" (1946), Brackett's "The Moon that Vanished" (1948) and "The
Enchantress of Venus" (1949; vt "City of the Lost Ones") and Keith
Bennett's "The Rocketeers Have Shaggy Ears" (1950). The other side of the
coin was that there never grew up a consistent "Venusian mythology"
comparable in power to the MYTHOLOGY of Mars.As with Mars, during the
1950s there was a change in the main concern of stories about Venus, so
that it was more often seen as a tough challenge to would-be colonists. In
THE SPACE MERCHANTS (1953) by Frederik POHL and C.M. KORNBLUTH it is the
"Gravy Planet" which has to be "sold" to the public by high-pressure
advertising; Pohl continued the story in The Merchants' War (1984), having
earlier presented a somewhat different image in "The Merchants of Venus"
(1971). Other stories of colonization from the 1950s are Heinlein's
Between Planets (1951), Chad OLIVER's "Field Expedient" (1955) and a
trilogy by Rolf Garner (Bryan BERRY): Resurgent Dust (1953), The Immortals
(1953) and The Indestructible (1954). Philip LATHAM's Five Against Venus
(1952) is a Venusian ROBINSONADE.Since the discovery of the true nature of
the Venusian surface the interest of sf writers in the planet has waned
considerably. The new Venus shows its intimidating face in Larry NIVEN's
"Becalmed in Hell" (1965), contrasting poignantly with Roger ZELAZNY's
florid farewell to the world of the great ocean, "The Doors of His Face,
the Lamps of His Mouth" (1965) and with Thomas M. DISCH's brief jeremiad
"Come to Venus Melancholy" (1965). The idea that Venus might be
terraformed ( TERRAFORMING) has, however, renewed interest in the notion
of colonization, and such a project is celebrated on an appropriately
massive scale in a series of novels by Pamela SARGENT begun with VENUS OF
DREAMS (1986) and continued in Venus of Shadows (1988).2 theme anthologies
are The Hidden Planet (anth 1959) ed Donald A. WOLLHEIM and Farewell,
Fantastic Venus! (anth 1968; cut vt All About Venus) ed Brian W. ALDISS
and Harry HARRISON. [BS]See also: UNDER THE SEA.

VERCORS
Pseudonym used by French artist, illustrator and writer Jean-Marcel de
Bruller (1902-1991) for all his publications from 1942 on, including his
first novel, Le silence de la mer (1942; trans Cyril Connolly as Put Out
the Light 1944 UK); to publish this he founded the French Resistance press
Les Editions de Minuit. After WWII he wrote several moral fables in a
manner influenced by Albert Camus (1913-1960). Les Animaux denatures
(1952; trans Rita Barisse as You Shall Know Them 1953 US; vt Borderline
1954 UK; vt The Murder of the Missing Link 1958 US) deals with the
discovery of a new species of ape-man ( APES AND CAVEMEN) and the
deliberate murder of an infant by its human father to provide a test case
in which he hopes to establish the rapidly uplifted species' claim to
human status; he wins, and is acquitted of murder as the act preceded the
declaration of humanity. Coleres (1956; trans Rita Barisse as The
Insurgents 1957) deals with the search for IMMORTALITY by a man who
attains it at great personal cost. Sylva (1961; trans Rita Barisse 1962
US) is an inversion of David GARNETT's Lady into Fox (1922): here a vixen
is changed into a woman by an English bachelor but eventually reverts. V's
postwar allegorical fictions, though thought-generating and occasionally
moving, never challenged the fame of his first novel, which is somewhat
unfairly the only one for which he is remembered outside France. As an
illustrator - which work he signed as Bruller - he showed a rollicking
good humour; his illustrations for Andre MAUROIS's Patapoufs et Filifers
(1930 chap; trans Norman Denny as Fattypuffs and Thinifers 1941) appear in
both French and English versions. [JC]See also: SUSPENDED ANIMATION.

VERDE, CAMPO
Irving A. GREENFIELD.

VERN, DAVID
David V. REED; Don WILCOX.

VERNE, JULES (GABRIEL)
(1828-1905) French playwright and novelist, generally thought of as one
of the 2 founding fathers of sf - the other being H.G. WELLS - though
neither claimed this status for himself or for the other, and nor did
either of them claim to be originating a new genre. As sf scholarship
began to emphasize only in recent decades, both Wells and JV wrote
consciously within traditions of popular literature that already had large
though diffuse reading publics; both were adept at picking up hints from
inferior or earlier writers and turning out definitive versions of sf
themes later to become central to the field as it took on shape with the
20th century, and both excelled in the imaginative density and (in Wells's
case, certainly) the shapeliness of their tales. Like Robert A. HEINLEIN
for a later generation, they brought the instruments of sf into the home
world.In some other ways as well, the linking of the two writers as
founding fathers is deceptive. JV was a pragmatic, middle-class
entrepreneur of letters, and at least during the first part of his career
wholeheartedly espoused the clear-eyed optimism about progress and
European Man's central role in the world typical of high 19th-century
culture. Born almost 40 years later, and to lower-middle-class parents,
Wells in his early work exuded and helped to define the doom-laden
fin-de-siecle atmosphere of the old century's hectic, premonitory climax.
It should be noted, however, that JV was by no means insensible to moods
of change, and that the novels of his last decade were much darker in
texture and more pessimistic in implication than the novels for which he
is best remembered today, all of which were written by 1880.JV was born
and raised in the port of Nantes, and it is probably no coincidence that
the sea appears in a large number of his best and most romantic novels.
His father was a successful lawyer and assumed that JV would eventually
take over his practice, but from an early age the child rebelled against
this form of worldly success (though, true to his time, his rebelliousness
did not express itself in disdain for the things of the world). His first
declaration of independence was an attempt to switch places with a ship's
cabin-boy; he was extricated only after the vessel had actually left
harbour. By young adulthood, however, JV's romantic flamboyance took a
more productive course. He went to Paris on an allowance and, under the
influence of such writers as Victor Hugo (1802-1885) and Alexandre Dumas
fils (1824-1895), wrote a good deal of drama (about 20 plays remain
unpublished), romantic verse and libretti, several of which were produced,
as well as engaging in mild, unsuccessful flirtations. (JV was never at
ease with women, and his works are notably free of realistic portrayals of
them; his Catholicism, which did not sit well with the Bohemian lifestyle
he tried to imitate, may have contributed to this.) He soon discovered the
works of Edgar Allan POE, somewhat misreading his solitary melancholy as a
kind of romantic adventurousness, and under this influence published his
first tale of sf interest, "Un voyage en ballon" ["A Voyage in a Balloon"]
(1851) - which was eventually republished in Une fantaisie du Docteur Ox
(coll 1872; part trans George H. Towle as Doctor Ox and Other Stories 1874
US; different trans anon as Dr Ox's Experiment, and Other Stories 1874 UK)
as "Une Drame dans les airs" ["A Drama in the Air"] and then in book form
under this latter title (1874). Also in Dr Ox's Experiment was the more
interesting early story "Maitre Zacharius" ["Master Zacharius"] (1854), an
allegory about time, a clockmaker and the Devil. Both stories demonstrate
from how early a date JV developed his characteristic technique of
inserting quasiscientific explanations into a simply told adventure imbued
with the romance of geography. This story-telling method proved from the
first to be a singularly appropriate tool, legitimizing the love of
adventure (or more specifically of travel, in this first age of the
tourist) by infusing it with the sense that scientific progress (and hence
national virtue) was being encouraged along with the thrill of
voyaging.But, despite these early hints of the course he was to follow, JV
felt himself only marginally successful as a writer and bon vivant, and
with his father's help he soon turned to stockbroking, an occupation he
maintained until 1862, when his singularly important association with
Jules Hetzel (1814-1886), a successful publisher and writer for children,
began. JV had come to him with a narrative about travelling in BALLOONS
(it was apparently couched in semi-documentary form); when Hetzel
suggested that he properly novelize his story, JV did so eagerly and
swiftly, and the renovated tale, published as Cinq semaines en ballon
(1863; trans "William Lackland" as Five Weeks in a Balloon, or Journeys
and Discoveries in Africa, by Three Englishmen 1869 US), began the long
series of Voyages extraordinaires ["Extraordinary Journeys"] which the
firm of Hetzel published under that rubric from then until the end of JV's
career. In this first tale, which was still comparatively primitive, 3
colleagues decide to try to cross Africa in a balloon, have numerous
adventures as they go, and learn a great deal about Africa. But Five Weeks
in a Balloon lacks the hectic, romantic intensity of JV's best work, those
stories whose displacement from normal realities allowed him to transcend
the element of illustrated travelogue which occasionally domesticated-in a
negative sense - his fiction.His next novel, Paris au XXe Siecle ["Paris
in the 20th Century"] (written 1863; 1994), caused a considerable stir on
its eventual discovery in manuscript form and subsequent publication. Set
in 1960, and depicting a dystopian corporate dictatorship in unrelievedly
grim terms, the tale is remarkable on several counts. It contradicts any
sense that JV's cultural pessimism came from the disappointments of old
age, or that it was the whole-cloth creation of his son, Michel Verne
(1861-1925), who was indeed wholly or partially responsible for stories
like"In the Year 2889" (1889 The Forum), originally published in English
and variously modified, as described by Arthur B. Evans in"The 'New' Jules
Verne" (1995 Science-Fiction Studies). The novel was also noteworthy for
the wide range and accuracy of its predictions - 1960 Paris boasts
automobiles, pneumatic tube-trains, computers and faxes - all the more
surprising, given the wide assumption that JV's almost total refusal to
set his stories in the future demonstrated his inability to make proper sf
extrapolations. Its 1994 publication also roused some suspicions about the
date and actual authorship of the text; these suspicions are acutely
analyzed by Evans, who treats them as natural but, in this case,
unfounded. JV's next published novel, Voyage au centre de la terre (1863;
exp 1867; trans anon as Journey to the Centre of the Earth 1872 UK), not
only abandons futurity, but is the first to convey what became the
trademark Vernean thrill - a congenial admixture of 19th-century moral
clarity, the safety of numbers (multiple protagonists were usual), and a
sense of coming very close to but never toppling over the edge of the
known; in this novel 3 protagonists take part variously in an expedition
into the core of a dormant volcano which leads them eventually into the
dark hollow heart of the Earth itself. JV's highly visible wonderment at
the world's marvels in tales of this sort goes far to explain the success
he was beginning to achieve by this time; the Vernean thrill was conveyed
with a childlike exuberance and clarity that give traditional
PROTO-SCIENCE-FICTION devices, like the HOLLOW EARTH of this tale, an
intensely memorable shape; and his tripartite division of protagonists
(one a SCIENTIST, one an intensely active, athletic type, the third a more
or less ordinary man representative of the reader's point of view) sorted
out didactic duties and narrative pleasures remarkably well.In the
meantime, Hetzel was planning a children's magazine and JV seemed an ideal
collaborator. There has been some misunderstanding about the contracts
under which JV supplied material for Le Magasin d'Education et de
Recreation, which Hetzel founded in 1864, and to which JV began
contributing with Les adventures du Capitaine Hatteras (in 2 vols as Les
anglais au pole nord [1864; trans anon as The English at the North Pole
1874 UK] and Le desert de glace [1866; trans anon as The Desert of Ice
1874 US; vt The Field of Ice 1875 UK]). He was required by Hetzel to
provide a certain number of vols a year - initially 3, eventually 2 - but
a single volume did not necessarily make a novel, some taking 2 or even 3
to run their course. JV's production, therefore, while large, was not
phenomenal; he tended to publish about 1 novel a year, writing 64 in all,
many of them not sf.JV's techniques for merging wonderment and didacticism
became more refined with the books - his most famous - of the next decade.
These include: De la terre a la lune (1865; trans J.K. Hoyte as From the
Earth to the Moon, Passage Direct in 97 Hours and 20 Minutes 1869 US) and
its sequel, Autour de la lune (1870; both trans Lewis Mercier and Eleanor
King as From the Earth to the Moon Direct in 97 hours 20 minutes, and a
Trip Around It 1873 UK; new trans Jacqueline and Robert Baldick 1970 UK);
Les enfants du Capitaine Grant (1867-8; trans anon as In Search of the
Castaways 1873 US); Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1870; trans Lewis
Mercier as Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas 1872 UK; vt Twenty
Thousand Leagues under the Sea 1873 US; new trans Emanuel J. Mickel as The
Complete Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea 1991 US), with its sequel,
L'ile mysterieuse (1874-5; trans W.H.G. Kingston as The Mysterious Island
1875 UK); and, perhaps best known of all, Le tour du monde en quatre-vingt
jours (1873; trans Geo. M. Towle as Around the World in Eighty Days 1874
US). These were the books of JV's prime, written with what one might call
jubilant flow, but as a whole they were execrably translated, cut,
bowdlerized and travestied. The reputation he long had in English-speaking
countries for narrative clumsiness and ignorance of scientific matters was
fundamentally due to his innumerate and illiterate translators who - along
with the publishers who commissioned their work - remained impenetrably of
the conviction that he was a writer of overblown juveniles and that it was
thus necessary to trim him down, to eliminate any inappropriately adult
complexities, and to pare the confusing scientific material to an absolute
minimum. There are some newer translations, though even recent versions of
these books are not untroubled by cuts and incoherence.A dominant and
abiding note in the novels of JV's prime is a powerful sense of the
ultimate rightness of the course of the 19th century, a note only
strengthened by their author's fundamentally conservative, pragmatic
imagination, for he almost never trespassed into futurity and never
actually carried his protagonists off the edge of the known. His tales are
geographies, not extrapolations. From the Earth to the Moon may seem an
exception, with its huge cannon in Florida blasting passengers into space,
but (questions of acceleration aside) the science of the story was firmly
conceived, and the Moon, once safely circumnavigated, was left to its own
resources. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (the vt is now universal)
may likewise seem to stand somewhat outside the normal canon, though it is
perhaps JV's most deeply felt novel; carefully and slowly composed, it
introduces Captain Nemo and his elaborate submarine, the Nautilus, in a
tale whose easy, exaggerated sombreness agreeably conflates the
domesticated Byronism of the time and expressive marvels of science. Nemo
(it turns out in the sequel) is an Indian prince whom British injustice
has turned misanthropic, hence his life under the seas in his submarine,
amply and comfortingly furnished in Second Empire plushness. But
throughout both volumes Nemo's exploits hover just at the edge of the
technologically possible; his prophetic gloominess is encased within a
narrative frame which clearly represents his mood as aberration and his
science as attainable. Around the World in Eighty Days is not sf at all
(The Other Log of Phileas Fogg [1973] Philip Jose FARMER's sequel,
rectifies this mundanity), for JV conceived his protagonist's journey
around the world entirely in terms of travel arrangements then existing,
basing Fogg's trip on a real journey by the US entrepreneur, traveller and
eccentric George Francis Train (1829-1904).From the 1870s on, JV's work
tended to repeat itself in gradually darkening hues, though he never lost
the sense of the fundamental usableness of science and technology, a sense
vital to much 20th-century sf, where - as with JV - usableness tends to
serve as its own justification. It is notable, for instance, that JV's
several ROBINSONADES - which include The Mysterious Island, L'ecole des
Robinsons (1882; trans W.J. Gordon as Godfrey Morgan: A Californian
Mystery 1883 UK; vt Robinson's School 1883 US) and the late, nostalgic
Deux ans de vacances, ou un pensionnat de Robinsons (1888; trans anon as
Adrift in the Pacific 1889 UK) - all exploit the romantic implications of
being cast alone or with a few companions into the bosom of a bounteous
Nature; JV's robinsonades are carefully socialized, and their small groups
of protagonists always make do very well together. Even so, JV's later
work was increasingly painted from a grimmer palette. Robur le conquerant
(1886; trans anon as The Clipper of the Clouds 1887 UK; vt Robur the
Conqueror 1887 US) and its sequel, Maitre du monde (1904; trans anon as
Master of the World 1914 UK), together demonstrate the process. In the
earlier book the steely, megalomaniacal Robur, inventor of an impressive
flying machine, though rendered less favourably than earlier romantic
misanthropes like Nemo, is still allowed by JV to represent the march of
scientific progress as he forces the world to listen to him; but in the
second book, JV's last work of any significance, Robur has become a
dangerous madman, blasphemous and uncontrollable, and his excesses - like
those of Wells's Dr Moreau - seem to represent the excesses of an
unfettered development of science. Science and a subservient, bounteous
Nature are no longer seen-in late JV or early Wells - as benevolently
united under Man's imperious control.JV's life was externally uneventful
from the 1860s on. He married, prospered mightily, lived in a large
provincial house, yachted occasionally, unflaggingly produced his novels
for the firm of Hetzel and became an exemplary 19th-century French
middle-class dignitary. While his works inescapably reveal the boyish,
escapist dream-life of that class, they can also be read as an ultimate
requiem for the dream of his astonishing and transformative century, that
waking dream of the daylight decades so effectively fleshed in his early
work; but in 1900 that vision - that dream that the world was illimitable
and obedient, and that Man could only improve upon creation - seemed to
have begun to fade, as demonstrated perhaps most clearly in a remarkable
post- HOLOCAUST tale, "The Eternal Adam" from Hier et demain (coll 1910;
trans I.O. EVANS as Yesterday and Tomorrow 1965 UK), in which a far-future
historian discovers to his dismay that 20th-century civilization was
overthrown by geological cataclysms, and that the legend of ADAM AND EVE
was both true and cyclical. (No manuscript in JV's hand exists of this
story, which may have been written by his son, Michel Verne [see above];
but it clearly reflects JV's late state of mind, and has more than once
been treated as a thematic summation of his career.)JV's work has always
been attractive to film-makers, and as early as 1902 Georges MELIES
loosely adapted From the Earth to the Moon to make Le VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE.
It was not until JV's work came out of copyright in the 1950s, however,
that the real rush started, beginning with Walt Disney's 20,000 LEAGUES
UNDER THE SEA in 1954. Other JV adaptations were Around the World in 80
Days (1956), FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON (1958), JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF
THE EARTH (1959), MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961), MASTER OF THE WORLD (1961) and
Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962). The Czech film VYNALEZ ZKAZY (1958),
released in the USA as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, was a blend of
live action and animation. JV's characters have been revived in various,
sometimes embarrassing guises, as in CAPTAIN NEMO AND THE UNDERWATER CITY
(1969). [JC]Other works: Here we list those Voyages extraordinaires not
discussed above; many are not sf. Most of the better-known titles present
a bibliographical nightmare, and unauthorized editions proliferate; we
have normally attempted to list first translations only, and have not
traced paths through the jungle of (usually pirated) vts.Une ville
flottante suivi Les Forceurs de blocus (coll 1871; trans anon as A
Floating City, and the Blockade Runners 1874 UK);Aventures de trois russes
et de trois anglais dans L'Afrique australe (1872; trans Henry Frith as
Meridiana: The Adventures of Three Englishmen and Three Russians in South
Africa 1873 US);Le pays des fourrures (1873; trans N. D'Anvers as The Fur
Country 1873 UK);Le "Chancellor" (1875; trans Ellen E. Frewer as Survivors
of the Chancellor 1875 UK);Michel Strogoff, Moscou-Irkoutsk (1876; trans
W.H.G. Kingston as Michael Strogoff, the Courier of the Czar 1877
UK);Hector Servadac (1877; trans anon as Hector Servadac: Travels and
Adventures through the Solar System 1877 US);Les indes-noires (1877; trans
W.H.G. Kingston as The Child of the Cavern, or Strange Doings Underground
1877 UK);Un capitaine de quinze ans (1878; trans anon as Dick Sand, or A
Captain at Fifteen 1878 US);Les cinq cents millions de la begum (1879;
trans W.H.G. Kingston as The 500 Millions of the Begum 1879 US; vt The
Begum's Fortune 1880 UK) (based on a manuscript by Andre LAURIE);Les
tribulations d'un chinois en Chine (1879; trans anon as The Tribulations
of a Chinaman in China 1879 US);La maison a vapeur (1879-80; trans Agnes
D. Kingston as The Steam House 1881 UK); La Jangada (1881; trans W.J.
Gordon as The Giant Raft 1881 US);Le rayon vert (1882; trans J. Cotterell
as The Green Ray 1883 UK);Keraban-le-tetu (1883; trans J. Cotterell as The
Headstrong Turk 1883-4 US);L'etoile du Sud (1884; trans anon as The
Vanished Diamond: A Tale of South Africa 1885 UK; vt The Southern Star
1885 US) (based on a manuscript by Laurie);L'Archipel en feu (1884; trans
anon as The Archipelago on Fire 1885 US);Mathias Sandorf (1885; trans anon
1885 US);Un billet de loterie: Le Numero 9672 (1886; trans Laura E.
Kendall as Ticket No. "9672" 1886 US);Nord contre sud (1887; trans Laura
E. Kendall as Texar's Vengeance, or North Versus South 1887 US);Le chemin
de France (1887; trans anon as The Flight to France 1888
UK);Famille-sans-nom (1889; trans anon as A Family without a Name 1889
US);Sans dessus dessous (1889; trans anon as Topsy-Turvy 1890 US; vt
Purchase of the North Pole: A Sequel to "From the Earth to the Moon" 1891
UK);Cesar Cascabel (1890; trans A. Estoclet 1890 US);Mistress Branican
(1891; trans A. Estoclet 1891 US);Le Chateau des Carpathes (1892; trans
anon as Castle of the Carpathians 1893 UK);Claudius Bombarnac (1892; trans
anon 1894 UK);P'tit-bonhomme (1893; trans anon as Foundling Mick 1895 UK);
Les mirifiques aventures de Maitre Antifer (1894; trans anon as Captain
Antifer 1895 UK);L'ile a helice (1895; trans William J. Gordon as Floating
Island, or The Pearl of the Pacific 1896 UK);Clovis Dardentor (1896; trans
anon 1897 UK);Face au drapeau (1896; trans Mrs Cashel Hoey as For the Flag
1897 UK; vt Facing the Flag 1897 US);Le Sphinx des glaces (1897; trans Mrs
Cashel Hoey as An Antarctic Mystery 1898 UK) (also published with its
source [by Poe] as The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and Le Sphinx des
glaces [omni 1975 UK]);Le superbe Orenoque ["The Superb Orinoco"]
(1898);Le testament d'un excentrique (1899; trans anon as The Will of an
Eccentric 1900 US);Seconde patrie (1900; trans Cranstoun Metcalfe in 2
vols as Their Island Home 1924 US and Castaways of the Flag: The Final
Adventures of the Swiss Family Robinson 1924 US);Les histoires de
Jean-Marie Cabidoulin (1901; trans I.O. Evans as The Sea Serpent: The
Yarns of Jean Marie Cabidoulin 1967 UK);Le village aerien (1901; trans
I.O. Evans as The Village in the Tree Tops 1964 UK);Les freres Kip ["The
Kip Brothers"] (1902);Bourses de voyage ["Travelling Grants"] (1904);Un
drame en Livonie (1904; trans I.O. Evans as A Drama in Livonia 1967
UK);L'invasion de la mer ["The Invasion of the Sea"] (1905);Le phare du
bout du monde (1905; trans anon as The Lighthouse at the End of the World
1923 UK);Le volcan d'or (1906; trans I.O. Evans as The Golden Volcano 1962
UK);L'agence Thompson and Co. (1907; trans I.O. Evans in 2 vols as The
Thompson Travel Agency 1965 UK);La Chasse au meteore (1908; trans
Frederick Lawton as The Chase of the Golden Meteor 1909 UK);Le pilote du
Danube (1908; trans I.O. Evans as The Danube Pilot 1967 UK);Les naufrages
du Jonathan (1909; trans I.O. Evans as The Survivors of the "Jonathan"
1962 UK) (partly by Michel Verne);Hier et demain (coll 1910; trans I.O.
Evans as Yesterday and Tomorrow 1965 UK);Le secret de Wilhelm Storitz
(1910; trans I.O.Evans as The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz 1963
UK);L'etonnante aventure de la mission Barsac (1919; trans I.O. Evans as
The Barsac Mission 1960 US) (mostly by Michel Verne).L'epave du Cynthia
(1885; trans anon as The Waif of the "Cynthia" 1886 US) (almost all by
Laurie) is an interesting novel not among the Voyages
extraordinaires.About the author: Jules Verne (1940) by Kenneth ALLOTT;
Jules Verne: une lecture politique (1971; trans as The Political and
Social Ideas of Jules Verne 1972 UK) by Jean Chesneaux; Jules Verne (1973;
trans Roger Greaves as Jules Verne: A Biography 1976 UK) by Jean
Jules-Verne, JV's grandson, particularly valuable for its bibliography;
Jules Verne: Inventor of Science Fiction (1978) by Peter Costello; Jules
Verne: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography (1980) by Edward J. Gallager,
Judith Mistichelli and John A. Van Eerde; Jules Verne Rediscovered:
Didacticism and the Scientific Novel (1988) by Arthur B. Evans;Jules
Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Self (1990) by William Butcher; The
Mask of the Prophet: The Extraordinary Fictions of Jules Verne (1990) by
Andrew Martin.See also: ANTHROPOLOGY; ASTRONOMY; ATLANTIS; AUSTRIA;
BENELUX; BIOLOGY; BOYS' PAPERS; CHILDREN'S SF; DIME-NOVEL SF; DISCOVERY
AND INVENTION; DYSTOPIAS; EVOLUTION; FANTASTIC VOYAGES; FRANCE; GOTHIC SF;
HISTORY OF SF; ISLANDS; LOST WORLDS; MACHINES; MOON; MUSIC; NEAR FUTURE;
OPTIMISM AND PESSIMISM; POWER SOURCES; PREDICTION; SCIENTIFIC ERRORS;
SPACE FLIGHT; SPACESHIPS; TECHNOLOGY; TRANSPORTATION; UNDER THE SEA;
WEAPONS.

VERNE, MICHEL
[r] The STRAND MAGAZINE ; Jules VERNE.

VERNON, ROGER LEE
(1924-1980) US writer and schoolteacher whose awkwardly routine sf is
contained in an assemblage of original stories, The Space Frontiers (coll
1955), and the novel Robot Hunt (1959). [JC]

VERRILL, A(LPHEUS) HYATT
(1871-1954) US naturalist, explorer and writer, most of whose 100 or so
books were nonfiction. He also wrote juveniles, of which the Boy
Adventurers sequence is of some sf interest; relevant titles are The Boy
Adventurers in the Land of El Dorado (1923), The Boy Adventurers in the
Land of the Monkey Men (1923) and The Boy Adventurers in the Unknown Land
(1924). The Radio Detectives Under the Sea (1922) is the most sf-like of
his Radio Detectives children's sequence. His adult novels explore similar
territory. The Golden City (1916) and The Bridge of Light (1929 AMZ
Quarterly; 1950) are of interest as typical LOST-WORLD stories; they are
set in South America, where AHV did much of his real-life exploration
(whose extent he reportedly exaggerated). 9 novels in all appeared in AMZ
and AMZ Quarterly 1926-35, though only 2 have reached book form, Bridge of
Light and When the Moon Ran Wild (1931 AMZ Quarterly as AHV; 1962 UK) as
by Ray Ainsbury (it is not known why this title was thus ascribed). AHV's
work shows the marks of a somewhat desultory interest in fiction, and of
the PULP-MAGAZINE markets he served, but does vividly dramatize his
professional concerns. [JC]Other works: The Trail of the White Indians
(1920).See also: ANTHROPOLOGY.

VERSINS, PIERRE
The name adopted by French scholar, writer and self-styled utopian
Jacques Chamson (1923- ), a survivor of Auschwitz. He began writing sf in
the 1950s and published 3 novels, En avant, Mars ["Forward to Mars"]
(1951), Les etoiles ne s'en foutent pas ["The Stars Care"] (1954) and Le
professeur ["The Professor"] (1956), and over 20 stories (some with his
wife Martine Thome) while editing Ailleurs (1957-62), a critical FANZINE
of high repute. A later novel was Les transhumains ["The Transhumans"]
(1971). While resident in Switzerland, where he lived for 33 years, PV
also produced Passeport pour l'inconnu ["Passport for the Unknown"], a
regular sf RADIO programme for Radio Geneva. He will be remembered more
for his scholarship than for his fiction: a keen researcher and
bibliographer, he is a foremost authority on early sf and donated his
priceless collection of books, magazines and sf memorabilia to the town of
Yverdon-les-bains, Switzerland, in 1975, acting for 5 years as the curator
of the unique local sf museum thus created, La MAISON D'AILLEURS . PV's
major achievement is undoubtedly his massive 1000pp Encyclopedie de
l'Utopie et de la sf ["Encyclopedia of Utopia and SF"] (1972), which was
given a Special Award at the 1973 Toronto World SF Convention. An
invaluable if idiosyncratic volume, particularly useful on sf outside the
USA and the UK and prior to 1900, it remains to this day one of the finest
reference books on sf; it has not been translated. PV's scholarship was
honoured by the SFRA with a PILGRIM AWARD in 1991. [MJ/PN]See also:
CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL WORKS ABOUT SF; FRANCE.

VERTEX
US magazine, slick BEDSHEET format Apr 1973-Apr 1975, tabloid format June
1975-Aug 1975. 16 issues, 13 bimonthly, the last 3 monthly, published by
Mankind Publishing, Los Angeles; ed Donald J. PFEIL. Subtitled "The
Magazine of Science Fiction", V was a magazine of imaginative layout and
much internal illustration, the first "slick" in the sf field. The covers
were often semi-abstract. Like most SF MAGAZINES since the 1970s, V ran
many nonfiction pieces: interviews with authors and good science-fact
articles. Stories were by, among others, Ed BRYANT, F.M. BUSBY, Terry
CARR, George Alec EFFINGER, Joe HALDEMAN, William ROTSLER, Robert
SILVERBERG and Norman SPINRAD. V was something of a showcase for
up-and-coming US authors like Alan BRENNERT, William CARLSON, George R.R.
MARTIN, Steven UTLEY and John VARLEY, and in quality was the strongest of
the new 1970s sf magazines, but financial problems (at $1.50 it was
unusually expensive) and a paper shortage forced a change to newspaper
format on cheap paper for the last 3 issues, then closure. [PN/FHP]

VESSER, CAROLYN
(? - ) US writer whose first novel, Hellwalker (1988), is an sf adventure
set on a distant planet. [JC]

VETCH, THOMAS
Pseudonym of the unidentified UK author of The Amber City: Being Some
Account of the Adventures of a Steam Crocodile in Central Africa (1888), a
Jules- VERNE-like excursion narrated by the protagonist, Thomas Vetch, who
takes his flying ship into a mild-mannered LOST WORLD where people live in
houses built of amber. [JC]

V FOR VENDETTA
Alan MOORE.

VIAN, BORIS
(1920-1959) French writer in various genres, his collected works
amounting to more than 50 vols; he was Transcendental Satrap of the
College de 'Pataphysique, and a fine dramatist of the absurd ( FABULATION)
who will be perhaps best remembered for his songs ( MUSIC) and for such
plays as Equarrissage pour tous (1950; trans Simon Watson Taylor as The
Knackers' ABC 1968 US), which savagely mocks the military mind and
military punctilio, and Les Batisseurs d'Empire ou le Schmurz (1959; trans
Simon Watson Taylor as The Empire Builders 1962 UK), a surreal excursus
upon pain. One of the main personalities of the post-WWII French sf scene
- though sf made up only a small part of his activities - BV translated
writers like A.E. VAN VOGT, William TENN, Henry KUTTNER and Ray BRADBURY,
and was himself a writer of speculative fiction years ahead of his time.
His first novel, J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (1946 as by Vernon
Sullivan; trans BV and Milton Rosenthal as I Spit on your Graves 1948 as
BV), pretended with some success to be a US tough-guy detective novel, and
extended only peripherally into the fantastic. But the stories assembled
in Les Fourmis (coll 1949; trans Julia Older as Blues for a Black Cat 1992
US) were deeply indebted to sf and Surrealism, as were his later novels,
particularly L'Ecume des jours (1947; trans Stanley Chapman as Froth on
the Daydream 1967 UK; vt Mood Indigo 1968 US), L'automne a Pekin ["Autumn
in Peking"] (1947), a desert utopia set in an ALTERNATE WORLD, L'herbe
rouge ["Red Grass"] (1950), a surreal tale which mixes TIME TRAVEL and
nostalgia, and L'Arrache-Coeur (1953; trans Stanley Chapman as
Heartsnatcher 1968 UK), a fable of metamorphosis. Throughout his career,
BV used sf devices to articulate a sense of the world's violent
impingement on the self, though sometimes his characters transcended their
shackles; in the 1960s his work was particularly influential on writers of
the UK NEW WAVE. [JC/MJ]See also: FRANCE.

VICKERS, AL
[s] Alexander POPOV.

VICTOR GOLLANCZ LIMITED
GOLLANCZ.

VIDAL, GORE
(1925- ) US writer, resident for some years in Italy, best known for such
satirical works outside the sf field as Myra Breckinridge (1968) and its
sequel Myron (1974) and for several vols of essays, from Rocking the Boat
(coll 1962) to Armageddon? (coll 1987), whose contents are frequently
apocalyptic. Messiah (1954; rev 1965), the sf novel which closed his
first, precocious phase of novel-writing, is a dark SATIRE on RELIGION in
which a new MESSIAH teaches a defeatedly secular USA how to worship death.
A play, Visit to a Small Planet (1956; 1960), filmed in 1960, again
satirizes contemporary Western civilization in the story of an ALIEN
child, capable of changing the past, who comes close to wrecking our
corrupt society before its guardians arrive to take it back. Kalki (1978),
a further satirical assault upon one of GV's most persistent betes noires,
organized religion, depicts the devastating consequences of its
protagonist's belief that he embodies the returned essence of the
world-destroying Hindu deity Kalki - devastating because he turns out, in
a sense, to be right; the assault on religion is if anything intensified
in Live From Golgotha (1992), in which tv crews, taking advantage of a new
technology, compete to film the crucifixion. Duluth (1983) is a FABULATION
which uses any device available - including sf instruments - to sustain a
deeply savage view of US life. GV has been for nearly 50 years a
pessimistic, sharp-tongued, knowledgeable critic of his native land; his
sf must be read as an attempt to dramatize the long jeremiad. [JC]Other
work: A Search for the King: A Twelth Century Legend (1950See also: UFOS.

VIDEODROME
Film (1982). Filmplan International/Guardian Trust/Canadian Film
Development Corp. Written/dir David CRONENBERG, starring James Woods,
Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry, Peter Dvorsky, Les Carlson. 89 mins.
Colour.Bravely placing his outrageous exploitation movie squarely in the
centre of media-theorists' debates about interaction between viewer and
screen, Cronenberg here produces perhaps the best (and also the oddest) of
his series of sf scenarios of medicine, media, metamorphosis and religion,
the emphasis here falling on the last 3. Woods plays the cable-tv-station
executive in charge of sex'n'violence programming who stumbles across a
private programme called Videodrome. This, on the surface sadistic
pornography, metamorphoses him (either mentally or physically), so that a
videocassette slit forms in his belly and his hand becomes (naturally) a
handgun. This second part of the film, where even the tv set becomes
organic and protrudes lips (the Word made Flesh), may also be read as a
prolonged hallucination. It is an intricate tale, also featuring a media
guru, O'Blivion - modelled apparently on Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) -
whose daughter pronounces after his apotheosis into software: "I am my
Father's Screen." Too schlocky for the squeamish - especially the scene
where talk-back hostess Nicki Brand (pop star Deborah Harry) burns her own
breasts with a cigarette - and too intellectual for exploitation-movie
fans, the film naturally flopped. But it may have been the most
significant sf film of the 1980s, and is certainly - and very early on -
the most CYBERPUNK. The novelization is Videodrome * (1983) by Jack Martin
(Dennis Etchison [1943- ]). [PN]See also: CINEMA; PARANOIA; SEX.

VIERECK, GEORGE S(YLVESTER)
(1884-1962) German-born US writer, well known between the Wars as an
apologist for defeated Germany, as in The Kaiser on Trial (1937), though
his views on Hitler were considerably more guarded. On his refusal to
register as a German lobbyist or agent in WWII he was imprisoned, gaining
his release only in 1947. His first fiction of interest was The House of
the Vampire (1907), a psychosexual fantasy in a late-Decadent style shared
by writers like Hanns Heinz EWERS, but he is best remembered for his
Wandering Jew trilogy, with Paul ELDRIDGE: My First Two Thousand Years:
The Autobiography of the Wandering Jew (1928; cut 1956), Salome: The
Wandering Jewess (1930; cut vt Salome: My First 2000 Years of Love 1954)
and The Invincible Adam (1932). The immortal protagonists ( IMMORTALITY) -
the 3rd being a vigorous young masculine figure, Kotikokura, who
represents Natural Man - intermingle their adventures through time, and,
at times egregiously, symbolize mankind's striving after reality and love.
Alone, GSV wrote a kind of pendant, Gloria (1952 UK; vt The Nude in the
Mirror 1953 US), ostensibly an espionage thriller set on an ocean liner;
but the female spy involved turns out to be, almost certainly, the goddess
of love. Didactic and subversively erotic anecdotes about the true nature
and history of humanity surface throughout all 4 books. The plot of Prince
Pax (1933 UK) with Eldridge conveys similarly undemocratic ironies about
the species: a RURITANIAN ruler acquires a high-tech weapon and uses it to
commit a surly world to an enforced peace. [JC]See also: ADAM AND EVE;
ORIGIN OF MAN.

VIGLIANTE, MARY
Working name of Mary Vigliante Szydlowski (1946- ), who has also
published sf as by Jarl Szydlow; she writes woman-centred tales whose
taste for violence has struck from the first a note of ambivalence. Titles
include The Ark (1978) as by Szydlow and the Aftermath Books, a post-
HOLOCAUST sequence comprising The Colony (1979) and The Land (1979). Also
as MV she has published 2 similar tales: Source of Evil (1980) and Worship
the Night (1982). Unlike FEMINIST work, her novels seemed to express a
sense that the oppression of women could be exhilarating. [JC]

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
Film (1960). MGM. Dir Wolf Rilla, starring George Sanders, Barbara
Shelley, Martin Stephens. Screenplay Sterling Silliphant, Rilla, George
Barclay (Ronald Kinnoch, the producer), based on The Midwich Cuckoos
(1957) by John WYNDHAM. 77 mins. B/w.In this faithful but pedestrian
adaptation of Wyndham's novel, everyone in a UK village mysteriously falls
asleep for 24 hours. During this period all the women of childbearing age
are unknowingly impregnated by ALIENS. In due course they give birth to 12
strange children who grow very rapidly and possess powers of telepathy and
mind control. Some years later it is realized that the children represent
an attempt by another planet to colonize Earth, and they are destroyed by
the scientist (Sanders) who has been their friend - with difficulty, since
the method of destruction (a bomb) has to be mentally concealed from them.
The children, with their glowing eyes, are the most successful feature of
the production; their sang-froid is chilling and seems authentically
alien. A virtual remake of this film, this time in an urban setting, was
CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED (1963). [JB/PN]

VILLAINS
The division of people into simple archetypes of good and bad, HEROES and
villains, has always been stronger in popular literature than in more
serious fiction; indeed, the essence of the serious novel of character has
ever been to explore the shades of grey between the moral absolutes of
black and white. Thus sf's villains are mainly associated with
PULP-MAGAZINE sf, not just in the post-1926 specialist sf magazines but in
the pulp magazines generally from the 1890s onwards. The history of
villainy in popular literature of this sort is sociologically fascinating
in the way that it reflects the fears and bigotries of the societies that
produced it, especially insofar as commercial fiction is generally written
in response to a known popular demand.UK sf during 1890-1920 (and to some
extent later) was notably xenophobic: foreigners were not to be trusted.
The same was true to a lesser extent in the USA, whose East Coast cities
were by now a melting-pot of different national and racial backgrounds, to
the alarm of the more conservative. Antisemitic views were expressed
surprisingly seldom, although the capitalist villain of George Allan
ENGLAND's The Golden Blight (1912; 1916) is a Jew, and M.P. SHIEL's
stories often contain Jewish villains, although Shiel himself was
ambiguous on the subject, and was sympathetic to Zionist aspirations.
Better known are the Yellow-Peril books, and here Shiel figures largely,
with The Yellow Danger (1898; rev 1899) and The Dragon (1913; rev vt The
Yellow Peril 1929). Floyd GIBBONS's The Red Napoleon (1929) features a
Mongol world-conqueror. The most famous Oriental villain of all was of
course Sax ROHMER's Dr Fu Manchu, the slant-eyed supermachinator set on
world domination.With Fu Manchu we enter the arena of the
hero-versus-villain pulp magazines of the 1930s, some, such as DR YEN SIN
and The MYSTERIOUS WU FANG , modelled directly on Rohmer's work. By the
1930s the hero-vs-villain confrontation had developed into a simple
formula, still popular long after WWII, as in Ian FLEMING's James Bond
books. A small group of fighters for right, with the aid of highly trained
reflexes and an armoury of superscientific devices, stands off a variety
of almost indistinguishable mad SCIENTISTS and/or ambitious businessmen
and politicians who plan to conquer all. The best-known sf archetype is
DOC SAVAGE, but CAPTAIN HAZZARD, CAPTAIN ZERO, DUSTY AYRES AND HIS BATTLE
BIRDS, the SPIDER and The Avenger were all cast in the same mould. Hero
magazines were more popular than villain magazines; the latter included
Doctor Death, The OCTOPUS and The SCORPION . Although the pulps are dead,
the great success of MARVEL COMICS in the 1960s was built on the same
formula, with the villains as nasty as ever - although the heroes, in this
less straightforward age, were more introspective.The Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941 may have been seen by some in the USA as a
retrospective justification of the Yellow Peril stories - and by cynics,
conversely, as the realization of a self-fulfilling prophecy - but pulp sf
of WWII and immediately afterwards tended to substitute brutal
European-style fascists in place of wily Orientals. Eric Frank RUSSELL
wrote many amusing stories of caricature-Teutonic aliens being thwarted in
their myopic militarism by nimble-witted heroes working almost alone. Far
more interesting were the villains of Cold-War sf in the 1950s, when the
USA evinced extreme anxiety over the "communist menace" (many of these
stories are discussed under PARANOIA). The day of the individual villain
was in decline; he had given way to the group-villain, often symbolized,
indeed, in the form of a HIVE-MIND. The fear of communism was frequently
expressed as a loathing for an expansionist movement in which
individuality was subjugated to the demands of the mass. Thus in Robert A.
HEINLEIN's The Puppet Masters (1951) the villains are indistinguishable
from one another. In this case they are aliens, and this points up a
difference between sf and most other genres: although sf heroes are
usually human, the villains may easily be MONSTERS, ALIENS, ROBOTS or
SUPERMEN. However, a little analysis of what sort of monster or superman
the villain is often shows that there is some readily identifiable human
analogue, or at least human fear, involved.The robot destroying everything
in its path is usually simply our fear of TECHNOLOGY writ large. It is
interesting that, after a long period of quiescence - partly as a result
of Isaac ASIMOV's Robot series, in which robots were depicted as decent,
occasionally to the point of saintliness - in the 1980s the killer-robot
story (and the anti-technology Luddite story generally) returned to the
CINEMA, where it gained phenomenal popularity. The cinema is the closest
modern equivalent in its values and narrative structures to pulp fiction,
and it feeds very much the same appetites, at least at its lower levels.
It is in the cinema, in COMICS, on TELEVISION and in HEROIC FANTASY that
today's hero-vs-villain stories are mostly found. The return of the
anti-technology theme, exemplified by many of the films of Michael
CRICHTON and John BADHAM, may represent fears related to those that have
brought the rise of ecological factions to a position of importance in
world politics.In written sf, the heyday of the sf villain was over by the
1960s-70s. Villains still exist, of course, but they cannot generally be
so easily categorized; very often they remain faceless: behind-the-scenes
manipulators, politicians, militarists, ad-men, commercial interests,
corporate polluters of the environment working at a distance or through
bureaucracies. This reflects a growing fear in the real world that we are
all filed and docketed on a COMPUTER databank somewhere, and have no way
of identifying the enemy out front. In the USA it could be called the
Watergate syndrome; after Watergate the number of films about government
conspiracies notably increased ( PARANOIA). Invisible pullers of strings
need not be grey or boring villains, however, and Jack VANCE's 5 Demon
Princes in his Demon Princes series are satisfyingly melodramatic, as are
the 9 immortals who run things in Philip Jose FARMER's A Feast Unknown
(1969), Lord of the Trees (1970) and The Mad Goblin (1970). A common
variant of the unseen manipulator as villain is the AI, as in William
GIBSON's Neuromancer trilogy, in THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE (1990 UK) by Gibson
with Bruce STERLING, and in Dan SIMMONS's Hyperion books.The type of
villains produced in GENRE SF depends to a degree on the type of sf in
question. In HARD SF the villains are often those who fear progress and
doggedly oppose it, while in the NEW WAVE it was more likely to be the
technocrats themselves who were the villains, mindlessly calling for
"growth" regardless of the sociological consequences. Individual sf
writers are naturally liable to incorporate any sort of personal or
political resentment or distaste into their creation of villains -
Heinlein often laid the blame on flabby liberals, for example - but no
useful generalization can be made about villainy at this level.An
occasional amalgam in sf is the hero-villain, an imaginative territory
staked out by Alfred BESTER in the figures of Ben Reich and Gully Foyle,
the protagonists of his first 2 novels; they are saturnine, vengeful,
obsessive malcontents, for all the world like figures out of a
17th-century revenge drama. Villainy generated by the self but unknown to
the self has of course been a theme of the HORROR IN SF subgenre since
Robert Louis STEVENSON's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), if
not earlier. This theme has always remained popular, as in Bester's
"Fondly Fahrenheit" (1954) and, from the cinema, the Monster from the Id
in FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956) and the telekinetic superbeing who does not
recognize his own malign powers in The POWER (1967). [PN]

VILLIERS DE L'ISLE-ADAM...
Full name: Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, (Jean-Marie-Mathias-Philippe-Auguste,
Comte de)(1840-1889) French writer - mostly of poetry, plays and short
stories - and an extremely impoverished member of the Breton aristocracy.
His best-known prose work remains Contes Cruels (coll 1883; trans Robert
Baldick as Cruel Tales 1963 UK), a title which itself came to designate a
category of the French conte or moral fable which emphasizes the punitive
twists of fate, the arbitrary chill of the world. The book contains a
number of bizarre fantasy stories, several of them sf, including
"Celestial Publicity", in which advertising slogans are projected onto the
night sky by electric light. An early translation of VDL-A's work, which
also took stories from Nouveaux Contes cruels ["New Contes Cruels"] (coll
1888), was Sardonic Tales (coll trans Hamish Miles 1927 US). Of more
direct sf interest is L'Eve future (1886; trans Marilyn Gaddis Rose as The
Eve of the Future 1981 US; new trans Robert M. Adams as Tomorrow's Eve
1982 US), in which a handsome young lord despairs when his fiancee turns
out to be extremely crass - but a fictional character called Thomas Alva
Edison comes to the rescue with an impeccable robot duplicate (
EDISONADE). Seen as an important contribution to the Symbolist movement,
the novel is philosophical, ironic and mockingly contorted. Claire Lenoir,
which appeared originally as part of Tribulat Bonhomet (coll 1887) and was
trans Arthur Symons (1925 US), applies similar ornate twists to a horror
tale involving possession and hideous paroxysms of female guilt. VDL-A
remains best known for his final work, the ecstatic play and prose-poem
Axel (1885-6 Jeune France; rev 1890; trans H.P.R. Finberg 1925 UK; new
trans June Guicharnaud 1970 US), whose dramatization of the Symbolist
inturning of the imagination inspired Edmund Wilson's famous Axel's
Castle: A Study in the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930 (1931). The
eponymous count - an unimaginably wealthy Rosicrucian savant whose
supernaturally impregnable fortress can stave off the armies of the world,
and who remains adamant in his refusal to taste the desolations reality
imposes on dreams - is a figure who has influenced generations of writers,
including almost certainly the 1980s sf and fantasy creators of Dying
Earths heavily populated by aesthetic aristocrats weary unto death of
vulgar sensation. Axel's near-final declaration - "Live? Our servants will
do that for us" - is a brilliant epigraph to the gesture he represents.
[JC/PN]See also: ABSURDIST SF; ADAM AND EVE; FRANCE; HISTORY OF SF;
HUMOUR; SATIRE; SCIENTISTS.

VILOTT, RHONDI
Working name of US writer Rhondi A. Vilott-Salsitz (? - ), whose work as
RV, and less frequent titles as R.A.V. Salsitz, has been restricted to
fantasies (see listing below), but whose work as by Charles Ingrid has
been sf. Of the 3 series of Ingrid military SPACE OPERAS, the best is the
1st, the Sand Wars sequence: Solarkill (1987), Lasertown Blues (1988),
Celestial Hit List (1988), Alien Salute (1989), Return Fire (1989) and
Challenge Met (1990). The Marked Man sequence includes The Marked Man
(1989) and The Last Recall (1991); the Patterns of Chaos sequence began
with Radius of Doubt (1991). [JC]Other works as Rhondi Vilott: Black
Dragon's Curse (1984); Challenge of the Pegasus Grail (1984); The Dungeons
of Dregnor (1984); Runesword! (1984); Spellbound (1984); Sword Daughter's
Quest (1984); The Towers of Rexor (1984); The Unicorn Crown (1984);
Aphrodite's Mirror (1985); Hall of the Gargoyle King (1985); Maiden of
Greenwold (1985); Pledge of Peril (1985); Secret of the Sphinx (1985);
Storm Rider (1985).As R.A.V. Salsitz: The Dragons sequence, comprising
Where Dragons Lie (1985), Where Dragons Rule (1986) and Night of Dragons
(1990); The Unicorn Dancer (1986); Daughter of Destiny (1988).

VINCENT, HARL
Working name of US engineer and writer Harold Vincent Schoepflin
(1893-1968) for all his fiction, beginning with "The Golden Girl of Munan"
for AMZ in 1928; little of it has reached book form. He was a popular
writer in the PULP MAGAZINES of sf's early prime, publishing frequently in
The Argosy, AMZ, ASF and other magazines until WWII, stopping then until
just before his death, when some further stories appeared, including
several reprints, and a novel, The Doomsday Planet (1966), a PLANETARY
ROMANCE in the traditional mode. His work was vigorous. [JC]See also: AIR
WONDER STORIES; GREAT AND SMALL; PARANOIA; ROBOTS.

VINGE, JOAN (CAROL) D(ENNISON)
(1948- ) US writer, with a degree in anthropology from San Diego State
University; she has been married twice, to sf writer Vernor VINGE 1972-9
and to sf editor Jim FRENKEL from 1980. She began publishing sf with Tin
Soldier (in Orbit 14 [anth 1974] ed Damon KNIGHT; 1990 chap dos), whose
theme (like much of her later work) is taken from fairy tale or MYTHOLOGY
and rewritten in sf terms, the source in this case being a story by Hans
Christian Andersen (1805-1875).Andersen was also the remote source of her
second, very popular novel - it won a 1981 HUGO - THE SNOW QUEEN (1980;
rev 1989). Though the title and some of the plot come from Andersen, this
is an essay in ANTHROPOLOGY, much of it founded in the pseudo-scientific
anthropology of Robert GRAVES in The White Goddess (1947 US), which Brian
M. STABLEFORD argued in a review "is rather like a chemistry graduate
writing a story whose plot hinges on the phlogiston theory". The broad
romantic sweep of the tale, however, carried most doubters with it. A
primitive planet with a long year is supported by off-world technology
(brought in by transmission via BLACK HOLE) in its long winter, at the end
of which the Winter Queen will be supplanted by the Summer Queen, and the
offworlders will leave. The Winter Queen plots to renew her reign (via
cloning) in summer. The fact that this novel's power rested more in
generic dexterity (much of it taken from HEROIC FANTASY) than in
conceptual strength may help explain why, after such a strong beginning,
JV has not, despite expectations to the contrary, been reckoned one of the
major sf writers of the 1980s. The other books in the Snow Queen series
are World's End (1984) and The Summer Queen (1991), the latter being very
long indeed.Before THE SNOW QUEEN was published JV had already had much
success with her short fiction, some of which deals with COMMUNICATION
between humans and ALIENS, including the title story of The Crystal Ship:
Three Original Novellas of Science Fiction (anth 1976) ed Robert
SILVERBERG. JV's early short fiction was collected in Fireship (coll 1978;
vt Fireship; and Mother and Child UK) and Eyes of Amber and Other Stories
(coll 1979). The 1977 title story of the latter is another good
communications story; it won a Hugo for Best Novelette. A further
collection of 6 stories was Phoenix in the Ashes (coll 1985).JV's first
novel, The Outcasts of Heaven Belt (1978), pits an egalitarian society
with strong women against male-dominated, collapsing societies in an
ASTEROID belt. The novel belongs to the Heaven Belt series of stories; it
was assembled with a novella from the series, Legacy (1980 dos), as Heaven
Chronicles (omni 1991). More impetuous is the Cat series, begun with Psion
(1982) and continued with Catspaw (1988; vt Cats Paw 1989 UK), the 2
collected as Alien Blood (omni 1988). Psion, which unlike its successor
was published as a juvenile, is actually a development, years later, of
the first long fiction JV wrote as a teenager. Cat, an orphan (half human,
half Hydran, a race despised by humans) with catlike eyes and PSI POWERS,
has full-blooded, melodramatic, SPACE-OPERA adventures. None of these
books approach THE SNOW QUEEN in scope, and indeed - in what seemed a
distinct lowering of her sights - JV spent much of the mid-1980s writing
film ties, starting with the juvenile Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: The
Storybook * (1983 chap) and including: Tarzan, King of the Apes * (1983);
The Dune Storybook * (1984 chap), juvenile; Return to Oz: A Novel *
(1985); Mad Max III: Beyond Thunderdome * (1985); Ladyhawke * (1985);
Santa Claus, the Movie: A Novel * (1985); Santa Claus, the Movie Storybook
* (1985 chap), juvenile; and Willow * (1988).In an interview JV has said
that the first sf she grew to love was by Andre NORTON; it may be as a
colourful exponent of the tradition to which Norton belongs (and which
Norton did much to establish) - in which mythic themes are patterned into
a world that is only superficially sciencefictional - that JV will be best
remembered. [PN]Other works: Joan D. Vinge Omnibus (omni 1983 UK),
containing Fireship and The Outcasts of Heavens Belt.See also: ASTOUNDING
SCIENCE-FICTION.

VINGE, VERNOR (STEFFEN)
(1944- ) US writer and professor of mathematics at San Diego University;
married to Joan D. VINGE 1972-9. He began publishing sf with "Apartness"
for NW in 1965, and published fairly regularly in ASF, his best work
appearing in True Names and Other Dangers (coll 1987), which contains HARD
SF responsive to the thrust of technological progress (the title novella
had earlier appeared as TRUE NAMES [1981 dos]), and Threats . . . and
Other Promises (coll 1988), which includes more diverse material. His
first novel, Grimm's World (in Orbit 4 [anth 1966] ed Damon KNIGHT as
"Grimm's Story"; fixup 1969; exp vt Tatja Grimm's World 1987), is a
colourfully told adventure set on a primitive human planet exploited by
interstellar slavers, with intriguingly elaborated detail. It is
significantly less anodyne (or RURITANIAN) than its description implies,
and the punning title of the book turns out to be not inappropriate. From
the first VV combined a feeling for the movement and thrill of humanity's
high-tech progress through the Universe, with a sense that individual
lives were bleak and often brutish. His second novel, The Witling (1976),
repeats a situation basic to the first - intruding humans on a colony
planet are confronted by non-humans with heightened PSI POWERS - and
confirmed the essential chill of his vision.TRUE NAMES (1981 dos) was the
first of his tales to establish his reputation firmly as one of the more
interesting writers of the period. It depicts a kind of CYBERSPACE
inhabited by hackers intent on creating a VIRTUAL-REALITY environment, but
threatened by the incursion of a possibly paranormal (or demented)
colleague seeking absolute power over the world. The story is
intermittently tangled, but the cyberspace vision was prescient. The
Realtime sequence-The Peace War (1984) and Marooned in Realtime (1986),
assembled as Across Realtime (omni 1986; with "The Ungoverned" added, exp
1991) - is similarly acute in its presentation of technologies not yet
competently handled by sf, from COMPUTERS to GENETIC ENGINEERING, though
its use once again of protagonists with seemingly paranormal powers tends
to reduce any sense of novelty. The intricately plotted progress of
various characters from near to far future, via an inventively deployed
stasis-field technology, is narratively arousing, as is the murder mystery
they find on an Earth which, like an abandoned playground, has long ago
been left behind by an evolving humanity. However, the background to these
exhilarated tales is depicted with VV's usual coldness. He is a writer
who, while risking the worst of genre sillinesses, remains dangerously
acute, as his most recent and longest novel, A FIRE UPON THE DEEP (1992),
demonstrates. The tale - which involves converging interstellar quests for
a MCGUFFIN "Countermeasure" capable of destroying a dread Power that has
been reawakened from 5 billion years' sleep and is destroying millions of
civilizations - is set in a complexly visualized Galaxy-wide SPACE-OPERA
setting, skilfully designed to give room for human-scale action within a
vast canvas, though in fact Homo sapiens is a very minor player in this
arena; the information webs which convey near-infinities of information
among the myriad worlds of the venue amusingly reflect the
telephone-linked computer nets of the 1990s. The tale as a whole is
cunningly crafted, deftly told, and bracingly chill in its ultimate
implications; it shared the 1993 HUGO Award with Connie WILLIS's DOOMSDAY
BOOK (1992) . [JC]See also: GAMES AND SPORTS; LIBERTARIAN SF; TIME TRAVEL;
VIRTUAL REALITY; WEAPONS.

VINICOFF, ERIC
(? - ) US writer whose first novel - after the publication of a short
tale, Spacing Dutchman (1978 chap) with Marcia Martin - was Maiden Flight
(1988), a post- HOLOCAUST story which, like many from the last decades of
the 20th century, sees the destruction of the current world civilization
essentially in terms of the opportunities it presents for making a better
future. EV's USA, like a great adventure playground, rewards the high-tech
citizens of the new order who occupy it, en passant fighting off a local
menace before settling into productive relationships. [JC]

VINTER, MICHAEL
[r] ROBERT HALE LIMITED.

VIRTUAL REALITY
Since the mid-1980s, a popular item of sf TERMINOLOGY, and for a century
or so - in a rather more extended sense - a popular sf theme. In ordinary
usage a virtual reality is a computer-generated scenario which seems real
(or at least all-encompassing) to the person who "enters" it; one
essential quality of virtual reality is that the person who enters it
should be able to interact with it. To a degree all computer GAMES, as
habitual players well know, already offer a primitive form of virtual
reality. In other words, the ever-changing picture on the screen, plus the
touch of the fingers on the keyboard, is enough to give the illusion of
being"in" the game. But the term is usually reserved for those COMPUTER
simulations and games currently being developed in which the "player"
wears a helmet and gloves whose sensors are electronically connected to
the machine "intelligence", so that a turn of the head or a raise of the
hand alters the field of vision or the posture of the player's alter ego
within the simulation. A further step, not yet available in the real world
but a commonplace in sf, is the use of a direct electronic interface
between the human brain and the AI which gives the plugged-in person the
illusion of occupying and interacting with a reality whose apparent
locations may extend beyond the AI to those of the data-networks of which
it is a part. Such - it is the most famous recent example - is the
CYBERSPACE envisaged by William GIBSON's Neuromancer trilogy (1984-8), in
which hackers can jack into a "cyberspace deck" and project a "disembodied
consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix". A
good popular guide to the meaning of the term in its more limited,
scientific application is Virtual Reality (1991) by Howard Rheingold. The
term may have grown from the term "virtuality", used by Theodor Nelson in
"Interactive Systems and the Design of Virtuality" (Nov/Dec 1980 Creative
Computing). The coining of "virtual reality", probably around 1981, is
usually attributed to computer guru Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL Research
Inc., the company that markets DataGloves. The first sf usage we can trace
is in The Judas Mandala (1982 US; rev 1990) by Damien BRODERICK, a book
with many and confusing virtual realities.This comparatively restricted
use of the term rapidly became a cliche of the CYBERPUNK movement, but it
is only a special case of the larger theme of virtual reality. One reason
why virtual realities have been popular so long in sf is the somewhat
recursive fact that stories themselves are virtual realities (though we
interact with them only in a metaphoric sense); so the notion holds an
intrinsic fascination for writers of stories, each of whom is, to a
degree, a god creating an imaginary world which is real to the characters
within it and partly real to the reader who shares their experience, a
notion central to L. Ron HUBBARD's story "Typewriter in the Sky"
(1940).Broadly, a virtual reality can be defined as any secondary reality
alternate to the character's world of real experience in which the
character finds himself or herself, and with which he or she can interact.
The purist might insist that such a world be machine-mediated. If it is
not (or, less obviously, even if it is) then all sorts of questions of
METAPHYSICS instantly intrude. How sure are we that our own world
represents the "real" reality? This is not only the sort of question that
troubles the protagonists of many novels by Philip K. DICK, including THE
THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH (1965). It has troubled writers since
the dawn of Western civilization, including PLATO, who wondered if what we
perceive as reality is only the flickering shadows on a cave wall,
reflections of a higher, more solid (or Platonic) reality that we cannot
perceive with the senses. The idea that our world may, in fact, be only a
virtual reality remains intensely popular in fiction and is central, for
example, to the situation in which most of Jack CHALKER's characters find
themselves. Any virtual-reality world might be assumed to have a creator
or programmer, a kind of god, so virtual-reality stories are often stories
of god-like or demonic creators ( GODS AND DEMONS and PERCEPTION for
further examples). One good example is Daniel F. GALOUYE's Counterfeit
World (1964 UK; vt Simulacron-3 US), filmed as WELT AM DRAHT (1973, vt
World on a Wire), which contains a receding and potentially endless series
of virtual realities. Other examples are listed under POCKET UNIVERSES.The
idea of the virtual reality has often been linked with game-playing, and
GAME-WORLD stories are often based around virtual realities. An early
example (although not machine-mediated) is Lewis CARROLL's Through the
Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871), in which the virtual
reality that Alice enters through the mirror is a game-world based on an
actual chess game, whose other player is effectively God, and whose
puppet-pieces are arguably deprived of free will. The idea, more simply,
of plugging into a virtual-reality world for entertainment is also old: E.
M. FORSTER's "The Machine Stops" (1909) envisages a world of isolated
cells whose occupants derive all their entertainment through plugging into
global information networks; Aldous HUXLEY's BRAVE NEW WORLD (1932) has a
future whose people are entertained by "feelies", apparently a kind of
cinema that operates on all the senses to give an illusion of reality (but
the experience is passive, so the basic element of interaction is absent);
in Arthur C. CLARKE's The City and the Stars (1956), an expansion of
Against the Fall of Night (1953), occupants of a static UTOPIA (not unlike
Forster's) amuse themselves with violent, melodramatic adventure scenarios
into which they plug themselves to take part.While this topic has remained
a minor constant in sf, it suddenly blossomed into a major theme around
the end of the 1970s and through the 1980s. Sometimes the virtual
realities of this recent fiction are generated by manipulative
superbeings, sometimes by machine intelligences. In John VARLEY's Titan
sequence (1979-84) the artificial world is effectively a theme park, whose
nature is protean, subject to the whims of its creator. Theme parks
themselves can be read as a form of virtual reality, and often appear in
sf, as in Steven BARNES's and Larry NIVEN's Dream Park sequence (1981-91)
or in the film WESTWORLD (1973). The typical theme-park story has the
expected manipulations of a game turned into the nightmare manipulations
of PARANOIA.Films and stories in which humans are, or become, trapped in
virtual realities, quite often computer-generated, include Hugh WALKER's
Reiter der Finsternis (1975; trans as War-Gamers' World 1978), WELCOME TO
BLOOD CITY (1977), Vernor VINGE's TRUE NAMES (1981 dos; 1984), Octagon
(1981) by Fred SABERHAGEN, TRON (1982), BRAINSTORM (1983), DREAMSCAPE
(1984), Gillian RUBINSTEIN's Space Demons (1986), Andrew GREELEY's God
Game (1986), Kim NEWMAN's The Night Mayor (1989) and The LAWNMOWER MAN
(1992).A popular variant of the theme is the reality generated by one
person's godlike will; such are the deliquescing subrealities - rather
like hallucinations which others are forced to share - created by the
protagonist of Ursula K. LE GUIN's The Lathe of Heaven (1971), filmed for
tv as The LATHE OF HEAVEN (1980). Another variant is the computer game
seen by the unaware protagonist as only a game (i.e., virtual), which
turns out to generate a reality that is often alarming (i.e., real). This
is the scenario of Orson Scott CARD's ENDER'S GAME (1977 ASF; exp 1985)
and of the film WARGAMES (1983), in both of which a war-game turns out to
be war itself, the gaming computer being actually in a position of
military command. A computer game is used to entice the young hero of The
LAST STARFIGHTER (1984), his virtual-reality skills being required for the
waging of a real galactic war.A final variant is found in those stories in
which (normally for purposes of psychotherapy) one person enters another's
mind and interacts with what he or she finds there, a classic of this
genre being THE DREAM MASTER (1965 as "He Who Shapes"; exp 1966) by Roger
ZELAZNY. One mind, in this instance, becomes a virtual reality for the
other, and in these stories the transfer is typically machine-mediated, as
in Greg BEAR's Queen of Angels (1990), in which the reality entered is a
malign landscape generated by the mind of a murderer. Many more stories of
this type are listed under PSYCHOLOGY.Because of the metaphorical power of
virtual-reality stories to examine the processes of creation (and, rather
differently, to conjure up paranoid visions of manipulation) it is likely
that they will remain popular. [PN]

VIRUS
FUKKATSO NO HI.

VISIAK, E.H.
Working name of UK poet, critic and novelist Edward Harold Physick
(1878-1972). His fiction - like The Haunted Island (1910), a complex tale
featuring ghosts, MAGIC and piracy - is essentially fantasy, although
Medusa: A Story of Mystery (1929), an almost surreal FANTASTIC VOYAGE into
unknown seas, gives the eponymous South Pacific sea monster an sf-like
rationale. "The Shadow", a good surrealist ghost novella, appeared in
Crimes, Creeps and Thrills (anth 1936) ed John GAWSWORTH. As a friend of
David LINDSAY, EHV contributed an essay to The Strange Genius of David
Lindsay (anth 1970). [JC/PN]

VISION OF TOMORROW
Australian/UK magazine, monthly, BEDSHEET-format, 12 issues, Aug 1969-Sep
1970, published by Ronald E. Graham, an Australian sf enthusiast; ed
Philip HARBOTTLE from the UK. VOT featured work by many UK writers,
including Kenneth BULMER, Michael MOORCOCK and E.C. TUBB, with the
emphasis on straightforward action stories, and several posthumous works
by John Russell FEARN. Graham vetoed the inclusion of US writers, but
encouraged Australian authors, including Damien BRODERICK, Lee HARDING and
Jack WODHAMS. Cover artists included Eddie JONES, Gerard A. QUINN and
David HARDY, the latter also producing many full-colour illustrations for
the inside back cover. VOT was the first English-language magazine to
publish a story by Stanislaw LEM: "Are You There, Mr Jones?", in #1. The
Impatient Dreamers, a history of UK sf publishing and FANDOM by Walter
GILLINGS, E.J. CARNELL and others, ran through all issues. Because of a
change of printers, #3 (Nov 1969) appeared before #2 (Dec 1969). [BS/PN]

VISSARION, I.C.
[r] ROMANIA.

VIVIAN, E(VELYN) CHARLES
(1882-1947) UK writer of popular fiction, born Charles Henry Cannell but
changing his name to ECV in early adulthood, though he wrote some
non-genre novels as Charles Cannell. He is now best remembered for the
Gees sequence of novels (see listing below), all written as by Jack Mann,
about a psychic detective whose cases sometimes involve sf-like phenomena
- e.g., travel through other DIMENSIONS - but are essentially fantasies.
Much of ECV's prolific output had a mystical tinge. Some of his novels,
like Passion-Fruit (1912), had fantasy elements, and several were
LOST-WORLD tales, including: City of Wonder (1922), which features Asian
survivors from Lemuria; the Aia sequence, comprising Fields of Sleep
(1923), in which Babylonian survivors are trapped in a Malaysian valley by
a strange plant within range of whose aroma, once inhaled, one must stay
or die, and People of the Darkness (1924), set in an underground world
inhabited by a tentacled species who were originally slaves in ATLANTIS;
The Lady of the Terraces (1925) and its sequel A King There Was - (1926),
which feature pre-Incan survivals and further hints of Atlantis; and Woman
Dominant (1929), set in Asia, where an aged woman rules a land through the
agency of a drug which makes men halfwitted. ECV's most straightforward sf
tale, Star Dust (1925), describes an inventor/scientist's attempts to make
the world better by indiscriminately transmuting dross into gold; this (he
thinks) will make some sort of UTOPIA inevitable. Not one of ECV's books
is fully satisfying; not one is without interest. [JC]Other works, all as
Jack Mann: Coulson Goes South (1933), marginal; Dead Man's Chest (1934);
the Gees sequence, comprising Gees' First Case (1936), associational, Grey
Shapes (1937), Nightmare Farm (1937), The Kleinert Case (1938),
associational, Maker of Shadows (1938), The Ninth Life (1939), Her Ways
are Death (1939) and The Glass Too Many (1940).See also: HISTORY OF SF;
MACHINES.

VOERMANS, PAUL
(? - ) Australian writer whose first sf novel, And Disregards theRest
(1992 UK), mixes sf and magic realism into a somewhatspatchcocked tale of
NEAR-FUTUREAustralia beset by ALIENS, themetaphysical consequences of an
earlier performance of William Shakespeare's The Tempest(written c1611),
and much else. The Weird Colonial Boy(1993UK) is set in an ALTERNATE WORLD
in which the British Empirecontinues to rule an oppressed Australia, but
is opposed by revolutionaries whose raids combinesurreal horseplay and
violence. PV continues to grapple with a plenitude of influences; but
mayestablish a singular voice. [JC]

VOGEL, [Sir] JULIUS
(1835-1899) UK politician who spent much of his professional life in NEW
ZEALAND and whose sf novel, Anno Domini 2000, or Woman's Destiny (1889),
set partly in New Zealand and Australia, treats the dawning 21st century
as both benignly prosperous and much obsessed with matters of royalty. The
current British Emperor causes much fuss in the USA when he refuses to
approve any change in the succession laws which would permit a female to
succeed to the throne. But after a war all ends well, with various women
achieving their destiny in a series of marriages. [JC]

VOGH, JAMES
John T. SLADEK.

VOID PUBLICATIONS
Paul COLLINS; VOID SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY.

VOID SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
Australian DIGEST-size SEMIPROZINE, 5 issues 1975-7, thereafter
continuing until 1981 as a series, 4 books, 3 numbers per book, which
effectively constituted an original-anthology series; published by Void
Publications; ed Paul COLLINS. #1-#3 were published from Queensland, the
rest from Melbourne. At a time when Australian sf had few local outlets,
VSFAF was a brave venture, though in appearance it could be described, in
its 1st incarnation, as a fiction FANZINE, with an overcrowded layout on
cheap paper. It contained some original and reprint work from the US, but
was primarily a platform for such Australian sf writers as A. Bertram
CHANDLER, David LAKE and Jack WODHAMS. VSFAF was dated by year only, and
only one issue (#2) was numbered. #6-#8 were published in book form as an
original anthology, Envisaged Worlds (anth 1977), #9-#11 as Other Worlds
(anth 1978), #12-#14 as Alien Worlds (anth 1979) and #15-#17 as Distant
Worlds (anth 1981). A further anthology, Frontier Worlds (anth 1983) was
offered to subscribers in lieu of #18. [PN]

VOINOVICH, VLADIMIR (NIKOLAEVICH)
(1932- ) Russian writer known mostly for his mainstream satires. Active
in the 1970s, he found himself in confrontation with the Soviet
authorities, and finally emigrated in the early 1980s to Germany. All his
works display an offbeat and at times heavy-handed fantastication. His
only sf tale, Moskorep (1986 France; trans Richard Lourie as Moscow 2084
1987 US), carries a contemporary protagonist 100 years forward by TIME
TRAVEL to the redoubled bureaucracy that rules in AD2084, en passant
satirizing Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918- ). The outlandishness of the sf
enactment of VV's conceit is balanced by the grimness of his sense that
Soviet bureacracy would almost infinitely worsen. [VG/JC]

VOISKUNSKY, EVGENY (L'VOVICH)
(1922- ) Russian naval officer, journalist and writer; he wrote in
collaboration with Isa Borisovich Lukodianov (1913-1984), a design
engineer, until the latter's death. Their first novel was Ekipazh
"Mekonga" (1961; cut trans Leonard Stoklitsky as The Crew of the Mekong
1974 Russia), a long but fast-moving HARD-SF examination of 2 intersecting
projects: an attempt to increase the surface tension of oil so that it can
be sent without needing pipelines; and an investigation of the scientific
principles behind an ancient knife whose blade is interpenetrable with
matter. En passant, the Caspian Sea is raised. A sequel, Ur, Syn Shama
["Ur, Son of Sham"] (1975), depicts an encounter with ALIENS, who bring
the protagonist, an ancient Babylonian kidnapped eons earlier, back to
Earth. Tchiorny Stolb (1963), a short novel trans anon as "The Black
Pillar" in The Molecular Cafe (anth ed anon Arkady and Boris STRUGATSKI
trans 1968 Russia), depicts a NEAR-FUTURE global catastrophe as the result
of deep drilling of Earth's mantle. In Otchen' Daliokii Tartess ["Far
Distant Tartess"] (1968) ATLANTIS meets its doom when local
scientist-priests discover the secret of atomic energy. Plesk zviozdenykh
Morei ["Star Seas Lapping"] (fixup 1970) deals with the TERRAFORMING of
VENUS, and a long-frustrated but finally successful attempt to initiate
interstellar travel. Some short work was assembled in Na Perekriostkakh
Vremeni ["At the Crossroads of Time"] (coll 1964); a late novel was
Nezakonaia Planeta ["The Illegal Planet"] (1980). [VG/JC]

VOLLMANN, WILLIAM T(ANNER)
(1959- ) US writer whose debut novel, You Bright and Risen Angels: A
Cartoon (1987 UK), is an immense FABULATION whose interweavings of
PARANOIA and CYBERPUNK tended to remind critics of the work of Thomas
PYNCHON. The war between the villain, who is attempting to control the
world through an information web, and the "bugs" caught in his system, who
attempt to remain subversively free, is also, in Postmodernistic fashion,
a war of words between contrasting methods of defining and controlling
"reality". The ongoing sequence entitled Seven Dreams: A Book of North
American Landscapes- of which The Ice-Shirt (1990 UK) is the 1st
instalment, Fathers and Crows (1992) is the 2nd, and The Rifles (1994) is
the 6th - attempts to construct out of language and myth and history a new
version of the USA. The stories assembled in The Rainbow Stories (coll of
linked stories 1989 UK), though they depict extreme states of being,
almost entirely eschew fantasy. [JC]

VOLNY, ZDENEK
[r] CZECH AND SLOVAK SF.

VOLTAIRE
Pseudonym of Francois-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), enormously productive and
successful French philosopher, historian, playwright, belletrist. Of
interest to the student of PROTO SCIENCE FICTION is Micromegas (1752 UK;
trans anon as Micromegas, a Comic Romance 1753 UK; best new trans W.
Fleming as coll vt Micromegas and Other Stories 1989 UK), in which two
giants, one from a planet circling Sirius and one from Saturn, visit
Earth, where their responses to human life make some satirical points, not
least that our species may not be so very important in the much larger
Universe that was coming to be accepted at the time V was writing. Candide
(1759), the best known of all tales of the innocent abroad, can be seen as
a precursor of satirical picaresques from Kurt VONNEGUT Jr to Robert
SHECKLEY. Certainly a FANTASTIC VOYAGE, Candide is arguably also an early
example of anthropological sf; it was made into a musical comedy in 1957
by Leonard Bernstein. Other contes philosophiques with explicitly
fantastic content include Zadig (1747; trans with other tales as
Miscellanies [coll 1778 US]; many other trans exist) and Le taureau blanc
(1774; trans as The White Bull 1774 UK; new trans with other tales as The
White Bull, With Saul and Various Short Pieces [coll 1929 UK]). [JC/PN]See
also: FRANCE; GREAT AND SMALL; OUTER PLANETS; RELIGION; SATIRE.

VONARBURG, ELISABETH
(1947- ) French-born Canadian writer, teacher and critic, in Quebec from
1973. She began publishing sf with "Maree haute" for Requiem in 1978; the
tale appeared as "High Tide" in Twenty Houses of the Zodiac (anth 1979 UK)
ed Maxim JAKUBOWSKI. Many of her stories (some award-winning) have been
assembled as L'Oeil de la nuit ["The Eye of Night"] (coll 1980) and Janus
(coll 1984 France), most being set in either of 2 cycles (with great gaps
in the published chronology), the more important being the Baiblancaor
Mothers' Landseries, in which a semi-decadent society in a far-future
Europe sees the gradual appearance of shapeshifting MUTANTS (the
"metames"). The series continues in Le Silence de la cite (1981 France;
trans Jane Brierley as The Silent City 1988), whose young female
protagonist leaves her underground sanctuary and goes to the surface, with
its wild tribes, where she begins to transform the benighted world.
Revelations of the artificial nature of the feminist governance of
Mothers' Land sharpens the rite of passage story at the heart of
Chroniques du Pays des Meres (1992; trans [prior to French-language
publication] by Jane Brierley as The Maerlande Chronicles 1992; vt IN THE
MOTHERS' LAND 1992 US). In the 2nd cycle, a Bridge serves as a door to
other universes. EV is a very deliberate writer who brings great care and
thought to her work, and to the depiction of characters and background.
She was fiction editor 1979-90 and editor 1983-5 ofSOLARIS. [LP]Other
works: Comment ecrire des histoires ["How to Write Stories"] (1986);
Histoire de la princesse et du dragon ["The Story of the Princess and the
Dragon"] (1990); Ailleurs et au Japon ["Elsewhere and in Japan"] (coll
1991); Les Voyageurs Malgre Eux (1994; trans as Reluctant Voyagers
1995.See also: CANADA.

von DALIN, OLOF
[r] SCANDINAVIA.

von DANIKEN, ERICH
(1935- ) Swiss writer of a series of purportedly nonfiction books,
beginning with Erinnerungen an die Zukunft (1968 Germany; trans Michael
Heron as Chariots of the Gods? 1969 UK), which, based on a mass of often
suspect and internally inconsistent data, argues that the Earth was
visited by at least one ALIEN spacefaring race before and at the dawn of
historical time; thus, for example, the Great Pyramid (a CRYOGENIC
chamber) and the Easter Island statues (images of the visiting aliens)
were quarried with lasers and lifted into place by helicopters. It is
central to his thesis - which was far from original to him - that all
ancient peoples were moronic, capable only of copying what the spacemen
showed them. Scientific howlers abound, and logical flaws proliferate; yet
the books sold in their millions and sparked off a host of imitators, some
of which - like Mystery of the Ancients (1974) by Craig and Eric Umland,
claiming that the Maya are the descendants of stranded explorers from
beyond the Solar System - are so entrancingly funny that they may in fact
be spoofs. A hagiography of EvD is Daniken Intim (1976; trans David B.
Koblick as Disciple of the Gods 1978 UK; vt Erich von Daniken: Disciple of
the Gods) by Peter Krassa. A cheerful and detailed demolition is The
Space-Gods Revealed (1976) by Ronald Story (1946- ); there is further
useful discussion by E.C. Krupp in In Search of Ancient Astronomies (anth
1979; rev 1984) ed Krupp.The vast publicity given to EvD's speculations
has had a negative effect on sf, in that the whole notion of ancient
astronauts became such anathema, even to those of only moderate scientific
literacy, that it became an sf TABOO. It is hard to find a worthwhile sf
treatment of the topic in the years since 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968),
although the idea of an ancient race having "seeded" the Galaxy,
populating its worlds or spreading scientific knowledge to assist their
primitive indigenous lifeforms, has become almost a CLICHE of SPACE OPERA.
[JS/JGr]See also: ADAM AND EVE; COMICS; GODS AND DEMONS; MYTHOLOGY; ORIGIN
OF MAN; PARANOIA; PSEUDO-SCIENCE.

von GRIMMELSHAUSEN, JOHANN JAKOB CHRISTOFFEL
[r] GERMANY.

von GUNDEN, KENNETH
(1946- ) US writer whose 1st work of sf interest was Twenty All-Time
Great SF Films (1982) with Stuart H. Stock, and who came to somewhat wider
notice with his 1st novel, StarSpawn (1990), which interestingly
introduces an ethically advanced hive race of interstellar explorers into
medieval England, though an associated species escapes their ship and
causes some havoc. The K-9 Corps sequence - K-9 Corps (1991), K-9 Corps
#2: Under Fire (1991) and #3: Cry Wolf (1992) - less engagingly confronts
a team of super-dogs with challenges on alien planets. [JC]Other Works:
The Sounding Stillness (1993); The Pale Companion (1994).

von HANSTEIN, OTFRIED
[r] GERMANY.

von HARBOU, THEA
(1888-1954) German writer, most noted for her novels based on screenplays
written by herself and her husband, Fritz LANG, who divorced her after she
joined the Nazi Party in 1932; she was co-author of the screenplays for
all the films Lang made before leaving Germany in 1933. Neither Metropolis
* (1926; trans anon 1927 UK), filmed as METROPOLIS (1926), nor Frau im
Mond * (1928; trans Baroness von Hutten as The Girl in the Moon 1930 UK;
cut vt The Rocket to the Moon; from the Novel, The Girl in the Moon 1930
US), filmed as Die FRAU IM MOND (1929), has much of the films' symbolic
force, and both are thickly propagandistic. [JC]See also: AUTOMATION;
CITIES; GERMANY; WOMEN SF WRITERS.

VONNEGUT, KURT Jr
(1922- ) US writer born in Indianapolis. He was a PoW near the end of
WWII in Dresden during the saturation bombing of the city and the
subsequent firestorm. He later studied at the universities of Tennessee
and Chicago, and began to write for various magazines in the early 1950s,
his first sf story being "Report on the Barnhouse Effect" for COLLIER'S
WEEKLY in 1950. His first appearance in an sf magazine was "Unready to
Wear" (Gal 1953), but KV tried hard to avoid categorization as a GENRE-SF
writer. He first became widely popular in the mid-1960s and is now
recognized as a major US writer of the post-WWII period.His first novel
was the DYSTOPIA of AUTOMATION, PLAYER PIANO (1952; vt Utopia 14 1954),
which describes the dereliction of the quality of life by the progressive
surrender of production and political decision to MACHINES. The mixture of
heavy irony, bordering on black HUMOUR, and unashamed sentimentality
displayed in this novel became the hallmark of KV's work, and is
progressively exaggerated in later novels. THE SIRENS OF TITAN (1959) is a
fine complex SATIRE about the folly of mistaking good luck for the favour
of God; it features the first of a number of mock- RELIGIONS that KV would
invent - the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent - and concludes with
the revelation of the manipulation of human history by Tralfamadorian
ALIENS sending messages to one of their kind stranded on Titan. One
leading character has an extratemporal viewpoint from which all moments
appear co-existent - a theme which crops up again, along with the
Tralfamadorians, in KV's novel about the firestorming of Dresden,
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death
(1969). Mother Night (1962) is a non-sf novel about the struggle of a US
ex-Nazi double agent to discover his "true" identity; several of its
characters reappear in later work, helping to connect all his work into a
single evolving patchwork. Cat's Cradle (1963) features a confrontation of
the opposing philosophies of scientist Felix Hoenikker, inventor of
"ice-nine" (which threatens to bring about the END OF THE WORLD), and
Bokonon, a rebel against rationality and architect of an avowedly fake
religion whose purpose is to protect believers against the harshness of
reality. God Bless You, Mr Rosewater (1965) is a non-sf novel about the
one man in the world who does not suffer from samaritrophia (chronic
atrophy of the conscience), but it is closely allied to much of KV's sf;
it contains an oft-quoted paragraph about sf writers, makes much of the
misadventures of sf writer Kilgore Trout - who reappears in Breakfast of
Champions, or Goodbye, Blue Monday! (1973) - and overlaps somewhat with
Slaughterhouse-Five, the story of Billy Pilgrim, survivor of the Dresden
firestorm, who finds peace of mind after being kidnapped by
Tralfamadorians and thus learning that the secret of life is to live only
in the happy moments. Most of KV's 1970s work showed a marked decline in
vitality - both Breakfast of Champions and Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!
(1976) verge on lachrymose self-parody and are shot through with
shoulder-shrugging, verbal tics-but he recovered a measure of his
authority in a series of novels about unfortunate innocents abroad:
Jailbird (1979) and Dead-Eye Dick (1982). His most impressive novel of
this period is, Galapagos (1985), a darkly humorous apocalyptic fantasy
narrated by a remote and happily devolved descendant of the few survivors
of the HOLOCAUST; but Hocus Pocus, or What's the Hurry, Sam? (1990), which
carries its protrayal of a self-destroying USA through the turn of the
century, is almost as compelling.Vonnegut's best sf - which includes some
of the short stories first assembled in Canary in a Cat House (coll 1961)
and subsequently recombined with new material in Welcome to the Monkey
House (coll 1968) -has a unique flavour, not only because of its sardonic
Weltschmerz but also by virtue of his consistent refusal to look for
scapegoats to blame for the sad state of the world. KV is content to
attribute human misery and misfortune to the carelessness of God the
Utterly Indifferent; he is full of pity for the human predicament but can
see no hope in any solutions, save perhaps for the adoption of actions and
beliefs which are absurdly irrational. This is a philosophy very much in
keeping with the contemporary Zeitgeist. KV has also written a play with
sf elements, Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1973), and had a hand in the
production of a tv play based on extracts from several of his works,
Between Time and Timbuktu (1972; book version Between Time and Timbuktu,
or Prometheus-5: A Space Fantasy 1972). KV's essays, talks and various
journalistic oddments are assembled in Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons
(coll 1974), Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage (fixup 1981), and
Fates Worse than Death: An Autobiographical Collage of the 1980s (fixup
1991). A novel attributed to Kilgore Trout, written by Philip Jose FARMER,
appeared as Venus on the Half-Shell (1975). [BS]About the author: Much has
been written about KV; the following is a selection of books. Kurt
Vonnegut Jr (1972) by Peter J. Reed; Kurt Vonnegut: Fantasist of Fire and
Ice (1972) by David H. Goldsmith; The Vonnegut Statement (anth 1973) ed
Jerome Klinkowitz and John Somer; Kurt Vonnegut Jr (1976) by Stanley
Schatt; Kurt Vonnegut (1977) by James Lundquist; Kurt Vonnegut (1982) by
Jerome Klinkovitz.See also: ABSURDIST SF; COMMUNICATIONS; CYBERNETICS;
DISASTER; DISCOVERY AND INVENTION; EVOLUTION; FANTASY; GENERATION
STARSHIPS; HISTORY OF SF; INTELLIGENCE; ISLANDS; MEDIA LANDSCAPE; MERCURY;
METAPHYSICS; OUTER PLANETS; OVERPOPULATION; PARANOIA; PERCEPTION;
POLITICS; POLLUTION; PREDICTION; RECURSIVE SF; SCIENTISTS; SPACESHIPS;
TIME TRAVEL.

von NEUPAUER, JOSEPH RITTER
[r] AUSTRIA.

von TROJAN, KURT
(1937- ) Writer born in Vienna but now Australian. His first novel, The
Transing Syndrome (1985), uses "transing" ( MATTER TRANSMISSION) to move
the plot along in an alternate-world DYSTOPIA; the protagonist worries
that his identity may be fading with each transmission, like increasingly
obscure photocopies of a photocopy. Bedmates (1987) is set in a future
Australia dominated by AIDS and sexual fear: "bedmates" are mindless
artefacts always ready for sex. Both novels are effective and sometimes
harrowing, but flawed. KVT's best work may be the non-sf autobiographical
novel Mars in Scorpio (1990). [BF/PN]

von VOSS, JULIUS
[r] GERMANY.

VORHIES, JOHN R(OYAL HARRIS)
(1924-1975) US writer in whose NEAR-FUTURE Pre-Empt (1967; vt The Nathan
Hale 1968 UK) a nuclear-submarine captain enforces world peace by dropping
a few demonstration missiles on the USA and USSR. Despite the title, the
USA does not opt for a pre-emptive strike. [JC]

VORNHOLT, JOHN
(? - ) US writer known only for 2 STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION ties:
Masks * (1989) and Contamination * (1991). [JC]

VORTEX
UK small- BEDSHEET size magazine. 5 issues Jan-May 1977, published by
Shalmead (Jan-Feb), Container Publications (Mar), Cerberus Publishing
(Apr-May); ed. Keith Seddon. V was a glossy magazine with some interior
illustration in full colour. The first 3 covers, by Rodney MATTHEWS,
suggested an orientation towards fantasy which was not evident in the
actual magazine. #1-#4 serialized Michael MOORCOCK's The End of All Songs
(1976); #5 contained the 1st instalment of The Chaos Weapon (1977) by
Colin KAPP. Other stories were for the most part experimental pieces by
previously unknown authors, such as Ravan Christchild, who in most cases
were pseudonyms of the editor. The circulation never looked like covering
the high production costs. [MJE]

VORTEX, THE
US FANZINE. 2 issues 1947, ed Gordon M. Kull and George R. Cowie from San
Francisco. TV is listed in some indexes as a professional SF MAGAZINE, but
the fiction in #1 was by unknown amateurs and it was distributed free. It
was attractively printed on glossy paper. #2 had name writers like David
H. KELLER and Stanley MULLEN, but was mainly mimeographed. [MJE/FHP]

VORTEX SCIENCE FICTION
US DIGEST-size magazine. 2 issues, May and Oct 1953, published by
Specific Fiction Corp., New York; ed Chester Whitehorn. VSF was designed
to showcase a large number of very short stories in each issue, achieving
this goal in #2, but the idea did not prove popular. Not all the 9 new
writers who made their debut in the second issue were doomed to remain
unknown: Marion Zimmer BRADLEY had 2 stories there. A later magazine
(1954) with the same publisher and editor was SCIENCE FICTION DIGEST.VSF
should not be confused with VORTEX or The VORTEX . [FHP/PN]

VOYAGE A TRAVERS l'IMPOSSIBLE, LE
(vt Whirling the Worlds; vt An Impossible Voyage) Film (1904). Star.
Prod/dir Georges MELIES. 30 mins. B/w.This was only the 2nd sf-oriented
film to be more than 5 mins long - there had been several around 1 min -
made by French cinema pioneer Melies; the 1st was his Le VOYAGE DANS LA
LUNE (1902). It involves a newly invented experimental train taking off
from the summit of the Jungfrau, travelling through space and crashing
into the Sun; its occupants then return to Earth by space submarine and
land in the sea. All this was achieved with primitive but ingenious
special effects, including stop-motion photography, split-screen, multiple
exposures, giant moving cut-outs and live action combined with painted
backdrops. It was so popular that Melies added 5 mins to the end, showing
the equipment used on the trip being recovered by a giant electromagnet.
[JB/PN]

VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE, LE
(vt A Trip to the Moon) Film (1902). Star. Prod/dir Georges MELIES, who
also played the inventor. 21 mins. Tinted.This is the 1st sf film (apart
from short subjects lasting only 1-2 mins). French CINEMA pioneer Melies
based this amusing spectacle extremely loosely on Jules VERNE's De la
terre a la lune (1865; trans as the first half of From the Earth to the
Moon 1873 UK) and H.G. WELLS's First Men in the Moon (1901), borrowing a
spacecraft propelled by a gun from the former and hard-shelled Selenites
from the latter. No attempt is made to depict the flight seriously; the
Moon projectile is loaded by a line of grinning chorus girls; the Man in
the Moon is shown with the projectile stuck in his eye; the Moon
travellers encounter a group of Selenites who explode when tapped with an
umbrella; and the travellers safely return home, due to the pull of
Earth's GRAVITY, in time to see a statue erected in their honour. The
innovatory special effects are naturally primitive, but encompass many
techniques still in use today. [JB/PN]

VOYAGERS
US tv series (1982-3). Universal. Created James D. Parriott, prod Jill
Sherman, Robert Steinhauer. Dirs included Virgil Vogel, Bernard McEveety,
Allan Levi, Ron Satloff. 20 50min episodes.Phineas Bogg (played by Jon
Eric Hexum) and Jeffrey Jones (played by Meeno Peluce) are time-travelling
Voyagers who put history right (which is to say, the way we know it to
have been). The premise could have been interesting, but remained trivial
(reminding the Wright Brothers to invent the aeroplane, helping Babe Ruth
hit his 60th home run and, more inventively, saving Jean Lafitte the
pirate so that the British do not win the Battle of New Orleans). In the
final episode, Jack the Ripper turns out to be a renegade Voyager trying
to corrupt history. Not helped by the woodenness of its handsome leading
players, V seems to have received very little foreign distribution and to
have been largely ignored by the sf community. [PN]

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA
1. Film (1961). Windsor Productions/20th Century-Fox. Dir Irwin ALLEN,
starring Walter Pidgeon, Robert Sterling, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden,
Peter Lorre. Screenplay Allen, Charles Bennett. 105 mins. Colour.The crew
of a glass-nosed nuclear submarine has a mission to fire an atomic missile
into the Van Allen belts, which have been set on fire by meteors (!) and
are melting the icecaps. Despite enemy submarines, a giant octopus and
other hazards, the mission succeeds. As with most of Allen's productions,
the plot does not survive an instant's rational scrutiny; it is full of
astonishing SCIENTIFIC ERRORS. The novelization was Voyage to the Bottom
of the Sea * (1961) by Theodore STURGEON.2. US tv series (1964-8). An
Irwin Allen Production for 20th Century-Fox TV/ABC. Created Irwin Allen,
who was also executive prod. Story consultant Sidney Marshall. Writers
included William Welch (34 episodes), Richard Landau, Harlan ELLISON (1
episode as by Cordwainer Bird), Robert Hamner, Rik Vollaerts. Dirs
included Leonard Horn, Sobey Martin, Felix Feist, Harry Harris, Sutton
Roley, Jus Addiss. Special effects L.B. Abbott. 110 50min episodes. Season
1 b/w, the remaining 3 seasons colour.Based on 1, this series concerned
the exploits of the experimental submarine Seaview; it starred Richard
Basehart and David Hedison. Early episodes had fairly conventional stories
involving secret agents and threats from unfriendly foreign powers, but
later the plots became increasingly fantastic: not only were the crew
faced with such dangers as giant whales, giant jellyfish, giant octopuses
and giant "things", but their submarine was regularly invaded by a variety
of esoteric menaces ranging from sentient seaweed to the ghost of a U-boat
captain, other uninvited guests including a lobster man, a mummy, a
leprechaun, a blob and a mad robot. Throughout, Basehart and Hedison kept
straight faces. Abbott's special effects won several Emmy awards. Book
spin-offs were VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA* (1965)by Raymond F. JONES
and City Under the Sea* (1965) by Paul W. FAIRMAN. [JB]See also: UNDER THE
SEA.

VOYAGE TO THE END OF THE UNIVERSE
IKARIE XB-1.

VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN
Roger CORMAN; PLANETA BUR.

VOYAGE TO THE PREHISTORIC PLANET
Roger CORMAN; PLANETA BUR.

VYNALEZ ZKAZY
(vt The Diabolic Invention; vt The Deadly Invention; vt The Fabulous
World of Jules Verne; vt Invention of Destruction; vt Weapons of
Destruction) Film (1958). Kratky film Praha/Studio loutkovych filmu
Gottwaldov. Dir Karel Zeman, starring Lubor Tokus, Arnost Navratil,
Miroslav Holub, Jana Zatloukalova. Screenplay Zeman, Frantisek Hrubin,
based primarily on Jules VERNE's Face au drapeau (1896; trans as For the
Flag 1897), but also drawing on sections of his Vingt mille lieues sous
les mers (1870; trans as Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas 1872),
L'ile mysterieuse (1874-5; trans as The Mysterious Island 1875) and Robur
le conquerant (1886; trans as The Clipper of the Clouds 1887). 83 mins.
B/w.This Czech film is a charming blend of cartoon animation, puppet film
and live action, with the overall style patterned on 19th-century steel
engravings. A monomaniacal scientist invents an incredibly powerful new
explosive; he and his assistant are captured by a Captain Nemo-like
character and his followers. There are various adventures with submarines,
BALLOONS, a giant octopus and a vast cannon. At the end patriotism
triumphs over unscrupulous technology. Zeman directed a number of
excellent films of this sort ( CZECH AND SLOVAK SF). [JB/PN]


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