Reviews: Darnay, Arsen

Love, hate, and atom bombs

Karma — Arsen Darney

The modern reader’s perception of Jim Baen may be coloured by the sad decline of the company that bears his name into a hollow shell of its former self, a shell catering to nostalgic ideologues. This perception is more than a little unfair to the late Jim Baen, who probably would have gotten a Best Editor Hugo when he was alive if only his fans had not so lamentably lazy [1]. Baen’s editorial tastes, particularly when he was younger, were much broader than a modern reader might suppose [2].

For example, if one were to ask modern readers “which right-wing editor of the 1970s, known for publishing such pro-nuclear power authors as Jerry Pournelle and Petr Beckmann, also published an occult science fiction novel about romantic triangles, reincarnation, and redemption, against a backdrop focused on the dangers of nuclear power?” I bet that very few (if any) of them would suggest Jim Baen.

And yet, I hold in my hand a copy of Arsen Darnay’s 1978 novel Karma [3] (published in hardcover by St. Martins, under an arrangement with Baen’s Ace). It is all about romantic triangles, reincarnation, redemption, and, of course, the dangers of nuclear power.


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