One of my favorite literary quests involves reading of SF novels by mainstream authors. Even if the product is bad, nine times out of ten it is at least original. In the last few years there have been quite a few mainstream authors who have tried their hands at fantastic fiction, and some of those, like Cormac McCarthy for example, have been heavy hitters. One popular author's name caught my eye a few years ago as I was perusing my copy of Barron's Anatomy of Wonder was Gore Vidal's. Better known as a historical novelist, satirist and a critic and man of letters, many of Vidal's other books are about pivotal moments and important people in American history. I was surprised to see that he had two entries in that book, and no less than five in Clute and Nichols' The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction! Since that time I have managed to collect and read a significant portion of Vidal's SF output, and I must say, its pretty good stuff. With five SF related books it's certainly not appropriate to call him a tourist, though it's also obvious that SF was not where his chief interest lay. Some of the thematic applications, especially in this book, just reek of novice-hood, though that sentiment does not necessarily apply to all of his SF. But after all this is Gore Vidal we are talking about, so everything else is pretty great...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..