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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

Recommended Books

January, 2000

"Law, Rules and Order"


Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Handy links to buy these books.

  Send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, POB 290, Monsey, N.Y. 10952

Star Trek: Voyager - Captain Proton, Defender of the Earth, by D. W. "Prof" Smith, Pocket Books Star Trek, Nov. 1999

Communion Blood by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Tor hc. Oct. 1999

Laws of the Blood: The Hunt by Susan Sizemore, Ace Dark Fantasy pb, Oct. 1999

Dark Changeling by Margaret L. Carter - Hard Shell Word Factory, (online publisher), June 1999

One of the hallmarks of Heroic Literature, from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer to the improbably delightful Star Trek:Voyager's Captain Proton, Defender of the Earth series of parodies of early movie serials, is that the main point of view character runs into a Situation in which it is "right" to go "outside the Law."

Playing God by Sarah Zettel, Aspect Science Fiction, hc Sept 98, pb Nov 1999

What is Law, where does it come from, what's it for, and how do you tell when and where it applies?

Westerns about "Lawmen" and superheros like the Lone Ranger and "Paladin" of Have Gun Will Travel -- uphold the Law by not taking it as a literal strait jacket.

Detective Fiction often focuses on the difficulty a Detective has getting the evidence in a legal way in order for the case to hold up in court. But often, they use not-quite-so perfectly legal methods to figure out what evidence they have to get via legal means.

In the Romance Genre, very often the focus is on how to "trick" someone into doing what is desired -- women dress up and "send signals" to attract men who might not otherwise notice them, and men study how to deliver "a line" and how to "please a woman."

The mainstay, and sure-seller among a wide variety of fiction, is how to break the rules and get away with it.

I have been on many panels at conventions discussing Vampire Fiction and what the appeal of that fiction could possibly be.

Very often the Vampire is viewed as "sexy" because the Vampire is dangerous, alluring, or sexually "safe".

For example, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's highly successful (deservedly so) series about the vampire Saint-Germain continues now with Communion Blood, set in 1688, which brings Saint German back to Rome to help Niklos (Atta Olivia Clemens' ghoul companion) keep possession of the Roman holdings willed to him by Olivia before she died the True Death.

To achieve this, Saint Germain forges paperwork to be submitted in court -- to counter the forgeries of the one who wants to steal the estate, which have also been entered in court records. His forgeries are better, so Olivia's Will is upheld. And never once throughout the entire novel (which bestows upon us a plethora of gorgeous and unusual words not found in most dictionaries) do we ever wonder if he's doing the right thing.

Yet, he's blatantly breaking "the law" of the country where he is.

Laws of the Blood: The Hunt by Susan Sizemore -- likewise a vampire novel, is about both human law and vampire law being broken. Here there is a Vampire appointed by other vampires to oversee the right to kill for the entire city. An older vampire breaks vampire law to combat her own "writers block" and writes a movie script about REAL vampires.

Dark Changeling by Margaret L. Carter, is about a doctor with a secret obsession for blood -- an obsession he is only coming to understand completely now. He has made his peace with it by violating patient confidence, secretly taking a little blood here and a little there. But he anguishes over this - likening it to sexual mollestation.

Somehow, the reader is brought to and kept on the doctor's side throughout the novel. This one belongs to the "vampire as good guy" subgenre that I do love so very much. I know the author personally, she's doing a review column on simegen.com and I expect even better things yet to come from her. But vampire fans should pick this one up - download, or buy the disk, but read it.

By contrast, take a riproaring TERRIFIC general sf novel -- Playing God by Sarah Zettel -- in which is about the power of science to manipulate environments (alter whole planets), and the rights and wrongs of the situation are tangled up in political and ethnocentric considerations.

The lead characters are introducing the kind of "change" represented by the Death card in the Tarot, and doing it by spending their lives for the Cause of their choice. Ferocious, high minded, idealistic dedication somehow screens the reader from stopping to think deeply about the acts committed and the attitudes toward The Law exemplified by both villain and hero. (this one is a can't-put-it-down read -- rich and satisfying).

In "real life" would anyone have any sympathy for such characters if their behavior was revealed on the 6 O'Clock news or if they were indicted by a court?

Is there an ethic in our society that says that The Law is not SUPREME over all?

If not, why not? And should The Law be supreme? If not, why not? If so, why?

And relating to last year's topic, what as The Law and your attitude toward it to do with Honor? And how does obeying temporal and civil law affect the quality of your work as a magician?

Send books for review in this column to P.O.B. 290, Monsey, N.Y. 10952




Send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg,



Until I get the direct links installed here, you can find these titles by using copy/paste (in MSIE use right mouse button to get the copy/paste menue to work inside text boxes) to insert them in the search slot below -- then click Book Search and you will find the page where you can discover more about that book, or even order it if you want to.   To find books by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, such as the new Biblical Tarot series, search "Jacqueline Lichtenberg" below. 

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