Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 23, 1972 · Page 110
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 110

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 23, 1972
Page 110
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Page 110 article text (OCR)

SPEAKING OF BOOKS A hodgepodge of mysteries "MYSTERIES FROM FORGOTTEN WORLDS " b y C h a r l e s B e r l i t z ; Doubleday Company, 99*95* I feel very sleepy. What is more, before I take my well- deserved rest, I must open all the windows and doors to freshen the air in my suffocating mind. Here is a book which tries to deal with the deepest mysteries of world history. ' '?he lost continent of Atlantis, which may have been the mother of all civilization. The Great Pyramid, which may be a textbook in stone describing scientific discoveries beyond those known to Einstein and von Braun. The models of the most advanced jet fighters found in obscure areas of South America. The fantastically elaborate astronomical calendars and eclipse- p r e d i c t o r s f o u n d a t Stonehenge and in many parts of South America. Most amazingly, the existence of mariner's maps in the time of Columbus which described Antarctica not only with perfect accuracy, but also as divided into two continents as it would be had it no Ice cap, a discovery made by modern man only in the last decade. With all these exhilarating .~±cis and figures, all these trlppy leads to something Which might, whoopee!, upset the gray smugness of 20th-century rationalism, why do I feel as though I had A rebuilt super spy just drank a pint of Logan County's worst and had better see my eye doctor first thing in the morning? The answer is simple: Berlitz (who is the son of the f o u n d e r of the Berlitz language school) is neither a thinker nor a writer. He is a stamp collector of oddities. Let it be known that I have n o t h i n g a g a i n s t s t a m p collecting. But let it also be known that ideas are not stamps, to be mechanically glued down, unrelated to one another, static and without color or dynamism. This is what Berlitz does. H i s l i t e r a r y s t y l e i s hypopedestrian. He has one of t h e w o r l d ' s m o s t fascinating topics, yet it requires an incredible effort of will to turn to the next page, and, with all due apologies to my editor, I must confess that I never finished the book. What is more, while Berlitz is alleged to know 10 or 12 languages and probably has the memory of a computer, he has no capacity whatsoever to relate facts and ideas to one another and p r o d u c e i n t e r e s t i n g speculations. (If you want an example of how this can be done with a far-out topic, read "The Morning of the Magicians." He simply sets down a sterile recital of peculiarities. This reviewer has long believed Shakespear's saying as regards the conventional wisdom: "There is more 'twixt Heaven and Earth, Horatio Than is dreamt of in your, philosophy." So when someone a t t e m p t s to probe the heights and depths which lie above and beneath our flat- earth views, he is inclined to cheer. When the attempt ends up reading like a tract on the digestive habits of the aphid, he needs air, air air. A word to the wise should be sufficient. S. Clark Woodroe Mr. Woodroe is a p r a c t i c i n g a t t o r n e y in Charleston. Paperbacks "FORCED MARCH TO LOON CREEK," by William Chamberlain, $.75. * *· * "TUB N A T I O N A L STANDARD," by Gerald Jay Goldberg, $1.25. * * * "LOVEC'RAFT: A Look Behind the Athulhu Mythos," by I,in Carter, $.95." * * * "THE INFINITE RIVER," by William II. Amos $1.25. * * · * "HOUSE OF THE DKAD- ·LV NIGHTSHADE," by Lyda Belknap Long, $.75. * * * "AMERICAN I N D I A N P O E T R Y , " edited by George W. Cronyn, $i.r5. BRITANNICA JUNIOR ENCYCLOPAEDIA THE VOUNS CHILDREN S ENCYCLOPEDIA 1Q YfARSQFAGC. J6 VOLUMES/ COMPLETE COVERASE WITH SIMPLIFIED VOCABULARY, EASV-TO-READ TYPE. /ILUSTItATfD WIT Of coioff f/forof. t**rf A TINKERBELL BUBBLE AND SPRAY SET BEAUTIFUL fiRiSSY , HER HAW GROWS AND GROWS.' tnickerbocker L Y B l R D TO CCX£0*. "CYBORG," Martin Caidin, Arbor House, $6.95. This secret-agent tale involving the super-strength and skills of the world's first bionics man promises to appeal to a wide range of fiction lovers--the science and aviation followers, those interested in medicine and others who simply enjoy fast-paced adventure. The author, of course, is a pilot and former consultant to the Federal Aviation Agency air surgeon who has written more than 70 pieces of fiction and non-fiction, m a n y of them with an aviation or related theme. The novel's hero, Lt. Col. Steve Austin, loses an eye, both legs and an arm, and suffers other grave injuries, in the crash of an experimental jet aircraft. T h r o u g h m i r a c l e s o f m e d i c i n e a n d science, Austin is virtually brought back from death. He is given new artifical l i m b s t h a t a r e a t o m i c powered with a tiny reactor. T h e l i m b s , w h i l e i n distinguishable from the original ones, and tireless, also function via normal brain impulses operating through the nervous system. Austin, a former astronaut as well as a test pilot, likewise receives a new s u p e r - s e n s i t i v e h e a r i n g device and an artificial eye with microscopic, telescopic and infra-red capabilities. This, alone, provides f a s c i n a t i n g reading, but there's much more. Austin isn't permitted to complete emotional and other adjustments to his new physique for long, because "his government steps in to give him chores as a very special and powerful secret agent. His -first assignment involves gathering data, including that of an electronic nature, to prove development of a Russian submarine base in an underwater Central American cave; and to force abandonment of that venture. Then, as an encore, Austin is sent to steal a highly secret new Russian aircraft from a heavily guarded base in Africa, and at the same time prove the existence of Soviet nuclear weapons on what amounts to' Egyptian territory. Austin generally carries off both missions with perfection, overcoming some obstacles and com- Best Sellers (C) 1972 New York Times Service This analysis is based on reports obtained from more than 125 bookstores in 64 communities of the United States. FICTION "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," Bach. "The Word, "Wallace. "The Winds of War," Wouk. "Captains and the Kings," Caldwell. "My Name Is Asher Lev," Potok. GENERAL "0 Jerusalem!" Collins and Lapierre. "I'm 0. K.-You're 0. K.," Harris. "The Boys of Summer," Kahn. "The Super-lawyers," Goulden. "Open Marriage, "O'Neill ' O'Neill. Tedious dilemmas 20m CHARLESTON. W.VA. "TWO: A PHALLIC N O V E L " b y A l b e r t o Moravia; Farrar, Straus .. Giroux; J7.95. It's almost too easy to characterize this latest novel by internationally- known Alberto Moravia as the Italian "Portnoy." On one level, the novel p r o t r a y s t h e c o n f l i c t between a man and his sexual urge. Rico, an Italian writer, has been blessed cursed with an enormous organ which gives him pleasure, but also saps and stunts,-or so he thinks, his creative and artistic drives. He sees sublimination of his sexual energy as the key to his creative achievement and c o n t i n e n c e as the means. The battle begins.. On another level, the conflict involves some of the deepest human problems of identity and sexuality as well as the deepest dilemmas of masculinity, all done rather unsensationally. The novel becomes 'a philosophical tension, in terms of dialogue between Rico and his penis, of sex versus art, inferiority versus superiority, sublimation versus desublimation and a host of other psychological and philosophical opposites which abstractly state Rico's problem. It's not unlike the play of ideas in theater where abstract, opposing themes or philosophies are worked out on stage in terms of characterization and dialogue, though, after awhile, it begins to become unbelieve- able, ludicrous and tedious. Personally, I begin to see Rico as a neurotic who had to blame somebody for his failure, but, thematically, a number of other explanations exist, few of them obscene or pornographic, and this lack just might be the novel's main weakness for many people. In the mainstream of today's fiction, it ain't. --Joseph Meledin Jr. plications that will, for many, seem somewhat less than credible. In fact, if this Caidin effort has any weakness in the eyes of his readers, it might lie in his becoming somewhat carried away in bits of the hair- raising action. And Austin does end up w i t h t h e g i r l , too-a beautiful compatriot on the Egyptian mission. --Charles R. Lewis Reluctant sleuth "MAMA DOLL" by Martin Woodhouse; Coward, McCann Geoghegan; $6.95. The author of "Tree Frog" and "Busy Baby" brings his hero Giles Yeoman back for another try in "Mama Doll." A p t l y and symbolically named, though reluctantly c a s t , Y e o m a n does a yeoman job. A British doctor, scientist and technical genius, who always manages to get mixed up in his country's security problems, he manages to win out against the forces of international evil, though he's bumbling, amateurish and certainly no threat to James Bond. Woodhouse himself has degrees in medicine and experimental psychology and, while this is billed as "a novel of science and suspense," the science seems better done than the suspense. Recovering from amnesia, Yeoman begins to follow a trail of murders which lead to a fantastic arms cache via an array of deadly and ingenious James Bondish gadgets. The plot is weak, stretched and tedious in spots, and Yeoman is both too much and too weak of an imitation to make it on his own as a reluctant super sleuth, though the novel's closing scenes are full of action and good, almost worthy of a movie. At best, "Mama Doll" is no more than very light entertainment, but certainly not entertainment at its best. --Joseph Meledin Jr. WANT ADS 3 48 48 48 Sunday.Gazette-Mail

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