Cover image for The heat death of the universe and other stories
Title:
The heat death of the universe and other stories
Author:
Zoline, Pamela, 1941-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Kingston, N.Y. : McPherson, [1988]

©1988
Physical Description:
204 pages ; 24 cm LN 7 ADDED
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780914232896

9780914232889
Format :
Book

On Order

Reviews 8

Booklist Review

Curiouser and curiouser, Zoline, a painter mostly, also writes stories in what might be called mosaic style, i.e., made up of discrete but complementary descriptive strains that are cut up and shuffled so that, in the reading, we get a bit of one, then of another, then of a third, then back to the first, and so on. Four of the five stories here are like that, and both the title story, about a housewife slowly cracking up during the course of an ordinary morning, and ``The Holland of the Mind,'' about a couple whose marriage is cracking up during a sojourn in Amsterdam, are remarkably affecting and poignant disclosures of the protagonists' pained psyches and the alternately maddening and consoling (to us, not them) indifference to their plight of the rest of the world. ``Sheep'' uses the mosaic style to construct an insomniac's Finnegans Wake, roiling with Freudian and pop-cultural themes, and the nonmosaic but equally virtuosic ``Busy About the Tree of Life'' condenses into an astonishing 50 pages a century-spanning family saga loaded with sex and catastrophe. Very strange and very enjoyable. RO.


Publisher's Weekly Review

SF readers were delighted by the 1967 publication of ``The Heat Death of the Universe'' in the British magazine New Worlds, but Zoline's appeal extends beyond that genre. In a collage style, ``Heat Death'' juxtaposes the principle of entropy and the life of a California housewife, which offers one small, moving illustration. Here, according to Nabokov's prescription, Zoline's cerebral, painterly prose combines the passion of the scientist with the precision of the poet. If nothing else in this first collection matches the title story's concision, emotional electricity or absurdist humor, Zoline's distinctive voice and postmodernist undercutting of cliche and formula remain intact throughout. A photographer's mental breakdown in ``The Holland of the Mind'' becomes a sensory overload of Dutch sights and sweets, of Rembrandt and Vermeer, of a new language that seems ``a kind of clown English.'' The novella ``Sheep'' is a dotty encyclopedist's anthology by association of ideasof lullabies, sleep, dreams, counting sheep, sheepherders and cattlemen, shepherds and the pastoral as a literary genre, etc. This overdue collection is to be savored while awaiting Zoline's first novel, also long anticipated. (April) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In these five stories, Zoline might juxtapose the drudgery of daily existence with space age realities; or mix images of lovers, childhood memories, and sleep research on animals; or in meticulous prose describe a character existing in an encyclopedic world where everything is in its proper box. Her stories are vastly different, yet imagery and detailed approach tie them together as if with colored threads. In ``Holland of the Mind,'' her Dutch-for-travelers excerpts may irritate, but in the end what fascinates is a subtle reversal of style. Lauded as a ``new wave'' writer in England, Zoline should find an audience here. For larger collections. Robert Dorn, Rockland Community Coll. Lib., Suffern, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

It is entirely possible that Pamela Zoline will never become a household word, the toast of the publishing houses, simply because too few people will take the time to read her stories, really read them. And that is too bad because clearly demonstrated in these five pieces is a fine poetic mind doing fiction through a painter's eyes. The world Zoline views is where we live, but we do not see it her way most of the time, and perhaps that is just as well, for there is a deep sadness she draws from and a sense of loss and despair and finality. Like other surviving observers of the ongoing panorama of absurdity, however, Zoline is blessed with an oblique sense of humor that slants through the prose now and again, if only to provide and protect perspective. Without that slanting, the "heat death" might seem too real. Recommended for college, university, and public libraries collecting good contemporary short fiction. W. C. Hamlin University of Missouri--St. Louis


Booklist Review

Curiouser and curiouser, Zoline, a painter mostly, also writes stories in what might be called mosaic style, i.e., made up of discrete but complementary descriptive strains that are cut up and shuffled so that, in the reading, we get a bit of one, then of another, then of a third, then back to the first, and so on. Four of the five stories here are like that, and both the title story, about a housewife slowly cracking up during the course of an ordinary morning, and ``The Holland of the Mind,'' about a couple whose marriage is cracking up during a sojourn in Amsterdam, are remarkably affecting and poignant disclosures of the protagonists' pained psyches and the alternately maddening and consoling (to us, not them) indifference to their plight of the rest of the world. ``Sheep'' uses the mosaic style to construct an insomniac's Finnegans Wake, roiling with Freudian and pop-cultural themes, and the nonmosaic but equally virtuosic ``Busy About the Tree of Life'' condenses into an astonishing 50 pages a century-spanning family saga loaded with sex and catastrophe. Very strange and very enjoyable. RO.


Publisher's Weekly Review

SF readers were delighted by the 1967 publication of ``The Heat Death of the Universe'' in the British magazine New Worlds, but Zoline's appeal extends beyond that genre. In a collage style, ``Heat Death'' juxtaposes the principle of entropy and the life of a California housewife, which offers one small, moving illustration. Here, according to Nabokov's prescription, Zoline's cerebral, painterly prose combines the passion of the scientist with the precision of the poet. If nothing else in this first collection matches the title story's concision, emotional electricity or absurdist humor, Zoline's distinctive voice and postmodernist undercutting of cliche and formula remain intact throughout. A photographer's mental breakdown in ``The Holland of the Mind'' becomes a sensory overload of Dutch sights and sweets, of Rembrandt and Vermeer, of a new language that seems ``a kind of clown English.'' The novella ``Sheep'' is a dotty encyclopedist's anthology by association of ideasof lullabies, sleep, dreams, counting sheep, sheepherders and cattlemen, shepherds and the pastoral as a literary genre, etc. This overdue collection is to be savored while awaiting Zoline's first novel, also long anticipated. (April) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In these five stories, Zoline might juxtapose the drudgery of daily existence with space age realities; or mix images of lovers, childhood memories, and sleep research on animals; or in meticulous prose describe a character existing in an encyclopedic world where everything is in its proper box. Her stories are vastly different, yet imagery and detailed approach tie them together as if with colored threads. In ``Holland of the Mind,'' her Dutch-for-travelers excerpts may irritate, but in the end what fascinates is a subtle reversal of style. Lauded as a ``new wave'' writer in England, Zoline should find an audience here. For larger collections. Robert Dorn, Rockland Community Coll. Lib., Suffern, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

It is entirely possible that Pamela Zoline will never become a household word, the toast of the publishing houses, simply because too few people will take the time to read her stories, really read them. And that is too bad because clearly demonstrated in these five pieces is a fine poetic mind doing fiction through a painter's eyes. The world Zoline views is where we live, but we do not see it her way most of the time, and perhaps that is just as well, for there is a deep sadness she draws from and a sense of loss and despair and finality. Like other surviving observers of the ongoing panorama of absurdity, however, Zoline is blessed with an oblique sense of humor that slants through the prose now and again, if only to provide and protect perspective. Without that slanting, the "heat death" might seem too real. Recommended for college, university, and public libraries collecting good contemporary short fiction. W. C. Hamlin University of Missouri--St. Louis