Intro 8: The Liar's Craft, edited by George Garrett; assistant editor Stephen Kendrick (Anchor, $3.95).
Intro is a volume of discovery, offering young writers a chance to make their first professional appearance in a well-produced anthology with potentially large circulation. Of the 16 fiction writers and more than 50 poets in this collection, a few may become well known in later years, and this makes the series specially interesting. Many of them, on the evidence presented here, are producing first-class work in a bewildering variety of styles for an unfortuntely small market.
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, by Kate Wilhelm (Pocket Books, $1.75). For decades, science fiction was an almost totally male field, with emphasis on men, of whatever age, still in the throes of adolescence. Kate Wilhelm (like Ursula LeGuin, Judith Merril and others) has helped to expand and enrich the field enormously by bringing to it not a specifically feminine but a more completely human point of view - one that combines the playful inteligence that has always been a hall-mark of good sci-fi with a deeper sense of human relations and of the earthy, physical context in which the abstract dance of ideas takes place. This epic story of how one family uses the technique of cloning to survive a worldwide catastrophe is destined to become a classic in the field.
The Pulps: Fifty Years of American Pop Culture, compiled and edited by Tony Goodstone (Chelsea House, $7.95). Call it camp or nostalgia if you will, but for those who grew up before television preempted the field of cheap entertainment there is something very special about the old stories and pictures collected in this well chosen and effectively presented volume. Because pulp readers tended to be specialists, it is divided into sections which include adventure, sports, westerns, romance, science fiction, weird stories and even a bit of soft-core porn ("his eyes blazed as they ran over the smooth bland curves of her blond loveliness"). More than 100 magazine covers (some full-size) are reproduced in their original garish colors, along with stories, articles, verse and even an acne advertisement. NONFICTION
The Final Days, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Avon, $2.50). This minutely informative, horrowing study of what happened in the White House from November 1973 to August 9, 1974 is now repeating in paperback last year's impressive performance on the handcover best-seller lists.
"A New Spirit, A New Commitment, A New America": The Inauguration of President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale, by the 1977 Inaugural Committee (Bantam, $6.95). In the "instant book" tradition it has already made familiar, Bantam had copies of the official 1977 Inaugural book on sale ten days after the inauguration. The challenge did not lie particularly in the text; Alex Haley's profile of Carter, James David Barber's essay on the presidency and Richard Ketchum's on past inaugurations could have been in print well before the event. But the combination of speed and high quality in the production (particularly in the 100-plus color photo reproductions) is most impressive.
Miles Davis: A Musical Biography, by Bill Cole (Morrow, $3.95). The author is an ethomusicologist, and his pioneering study of one of the giants of post-World War II jazz includes an impressive scholarly apparatus - bibliography, a list of recording sessions, and transcriptions into musical notation of 13 improvised performances recorded over a 20-year period - as well as a succint study of his life and an analysis of his style. Fans may disagree with the opinion that Davis's art began to decline in the mid-'60s, but they will find ample documentation for the balancing judgement that "For twenty-eight years he has provided more consistently good music than any of his peers."
Zero Mostel's Book of Villains, by Zero Mostel with Israel Shenker; photographed by Alex Gotfryd (Double-day, $2.95). Words are kept to the minimum in this zany collection of photographs, with Mostel giving hilarious, offbeat visual imitations of nasties who range from Nero, Genghis Khan and Lady Macbeth to Mr. Hyde and the Loch Ness monster. (See ilustration above)