Alien Speedway, for instance, is described as "an entire solar system designed as the most awesome racetrack in the history of the sport." [Roger Zelazny] developed the general concept and provided some narrative ideas. Vol. 1, Clypsis, was written by Jeffrey Carver; Vol. 2, due in January, is by another young writer, Thomas Wylde. There will be at least three books, and if it catches on with the intended audience-young stock car racing fans-you can bet there'll be many more.
THE BRITISH scholar Peter Opie was as dedicated a book collector as there ever was. According to one account, after he walked around the garden of his new house, he said: "Well, that's enough of that," and never bothered with the garden again. His collection of children's books was unrivaled, and included such rarities as the copy of The Wind in the Willows that Kenneth Grahame had inscribed for his son Alastair. Opie died several years ago; his wife and fellow scholar Iona is willing to sell the 17,000-item collection to the Bodleian Library at Oxford for half its estimated value. Not only would this keep the collection intact, but it could then be accessible to scholars. The appeal looks as if it will be successful, with the necessary money being raised by Easter . . .
On the front of Yakov Smirnoff's America on Six Rubles a Day (Vintage), the Russian expatriate comedian is seen holding up a "Russian Express" card. The slogan: "Don't Leave Home." Harmless fun, perhaps, but American Express didn't laugh. On the back cover of the book is a disclaimer that "Don't Leave Home Without It" is a registered service mark of American Express, and that Smirnoff's book "is neither authorized nor endorsed by that company." "The subtitle of the book is `How to Become a Capitalist Pig,' " notes its editor, David Rosenthal, "and I guess Yakov just learned a lesson about that" . . .
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