Edited by Bruce Gillespie

Reviewed by Alexandra Pierce

This edition of SET came out in January 2005. It can be found electronically here.

There are two editorials to this issue of SET. In the first, Bruce Gillespie explains that this is essentially a resurrection of the zine, thanks to the interest of Janine Stinson in doing just that, following the loss of Paul Kincaid and Maureen Kincaid Speller, Gillespie’s co-editors. In his second editorial, Gillespie discusses The Best Australian Science Fiction Writing, edited by Rob Gerrand, and how this reflects Gillespie’s own experience of reading in that period. It certainly sounds like an interesting snapshot of the era.

The rest of the issue is an eclectic mix of reflections and correspondence (the last ten pages). Darrell Schweitzer reviews A Pound of Paper (by John Baxter), and a funny, poignant story about going to a yard sale upon the death of a bookseller. Gregory Benford’s essay reflecting on his meeting Stephen Hawking is also poignant, but also a wonderful ramble through physics and science more generally, as well as insights into the man himself. The reprint of Andrew M Butler’s article “Thirteen Ways of Looking at the British Boom” is a detailed, sometimes cynical, occasionally snarky take on what has been called the British Boom in science fiction, and is paired with Butler’s acceptance speech that he gave on that essay winning the Pioneer Award. The essay is well worth reading if only to get an idea of more books and authors worth tracking down, although of course it goes beyond a simple roll call (which is what point 3 takes a stab at being). It’s also tied to Paul Brazier’s dissenting “If this goes on” Butler, Science Fiction Studies, Interzone, and the ‘British Boom’.”

This is a short-ish SET, especially if (like me) you don’t read the correspondence (it feels too much like prying when I don’t know the people involved). It’s a good one, though.