Birthday Reviews: Pamela Sargent’s “Broken Hoop”

Birthday Reviews: Pamela Sargent’s “Broken Hoop”

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine June 1982-small Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine June 1982-back-small

Cover by Malcolm MacNeill

Pamela Sargent was born on March 20, 1948. Sargent edited the Women of Wonder anthologies, which explore the work of women science fiction authors. She has also edited three Nebula award anthologies. Her own fiction includes the Venus trilogy, the Seed trilogy, and the Watchstar trilogy. Stand alone novels include Climb the Wind, Ruler of the Sky, and The Shore of Women. She has co-written Star Trek novels with her husband, George Zebrowski.

Pamela Sargent’s story “Danny Goes to Mars” received the Nebula Award for Best Novelette and was also nominated for the Hugo Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Her novel Climb the Wind was nominated for the Sidewise Award and she was long listed for the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award twice. In 2000, she and Zebrowski received the Service to SFWA Award and in 2012, she received a lifetime Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association.

“The Broken Hoop” first appeared in Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine in its June 1982 issue, edited by T.E.D. Klein. Josh Pachter selected it for his 1985 British anthology Top Fantasy and Pamela Sargent included the story in two of her collections, The Best of Pamela Sargent and Eye of Flame.

[Click for bigger images.]

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine June 1982 Blade Runner-small

Blade Runner spread in Twilight Zone, June 1982

Although an Indian, Catherine LeMaître was raised by French Canadians in Montreal, learning to despise her people from a French teacher, but learning the ways of her people from a servant. Her travels, first with a patent medicine salesman and later with a priest, bring her into contact with people from around the country, eventually settling in a small village in the Dakotas near a population of Indians. Although LeMaître doesn’t view herself as an Indian, she can’t control the way the Europeans or the Indians view her.

LeMaître looks down on the Indians, and she works to teach their children how to be like Europeans, although the exigencies of their lives mean that school is a luxury for most of them. When Little Deer, one of the local Indians, begins to take an interest in her and teach her the ways of the local tribes, LeMaître puts him off, unwilling to admit that she has anything in common with then non-Europeanized Indians, even as he describes a better world that she has had her own glimpses into.

“The Broken Hoop” raises interesting questions about how culture and genetics could potentially be linked to each other, although since LeMaître is from a different Indian background than the Lakotans who she is working with and who want to help her find a better world, Sargent undermines her own argument.

Reprint reviewed in  the collection Eye of Flame, by Pamela Sargent, Five Star Books, 2003.


Steven H Silver-largeSteven H Silver is a fifteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW and NESFA Press. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Big White Men—Attack!” in Little Green Men—Attack! Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 5 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7. He has been the news editor for SF Site since 2002.

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Thomas Parker

Now THAT is a magazine that I miss. Its run didn’t last nearly long enough.

John ONeill

Agreed. Great mix of fiction, and some terrific non-fiction columns.

And check out that ROAD WARRIOR ad on the back, and the BLADE RUNNER feature! Was 1982 a great year for movies, or what?

Nick Ozment

Plus ET, THE THING, SWAMP THING, POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, TRON, THE DARK CRYSTAL, THE BEASTMASTER, FORBIDDEN WORLD, MEGAFORCE (Well, maybe scratch those last two).

Yeah, I’d say 1982 hit the sweet spot.

John ONeill

Wow! Right you are, Nick.

Joe H.

I love going through old magazines like this, not so much for the fiction, necessarily, but for the articles and advertisements.

Joseph Bocchi

I was wondering if you could suggest some ezines or magazines that might reprint my 3rd place short-story from The Twilight Zone Magazine’s first short-story contest (1982). Judges were Harlan Ellison, Peter Straub, John Matheson, and Carol Serling? (Volume 2, number 1 (April, 1982). It is a psychological horror piece that the editor compared to an undiscovered Southern Gothic Flannery O’Connor story. As noted by the editor, largely written in a David Lynchian style of suggestive and disordered prose, it contains a number of disturbing and disorienting scenes that center around a midget mesmerist and former wrestler who boards with a southern family and becomes obsessed with the wife of the boarding house.

T.E.D. Klein had written in the TW Vortex:
“Despite being essentially a mood piece with a ghoulish ending I can see how this was awarded the second place prize in the magazine’s short story contest as it has a way of staying in the reader’s head well after it has been read. Unfortunately, the story appears never to have been reprinted and Bocchi never to have written another story. It’s a shame since this story displayed a unique imagination and a skill with the atmosphere of terror.” The Twilight Zone Vortex, Part 13. T.E.D. Klein, editor. http://twilightzonevortex.blogspot.com/2019/05/reading-rod-serlings-twilight-zone.html

If you have any time or inclination, could you suggest some publications for reprints? The story is about 5,000 words long. Thank you. Joe

John ONeill

Hi Joe,

Great question!

First, congratulations on all the acclaim for that story! It must be frustrating have it out of print all these years.

Second… boy, that is a tough question. The reprint market is tough for horror. I think your best bet might be Nightmare magazine or The Dark, though both seem to prefer more recent stories.

Nightmare includes 3-4 reprints as part of their Exclusive Paid Content every issue. There are 4 in the January issue (check out the Contents column on the left, below the PURCHASE ISSUE button):

https://www.nightmare-magazine.com/

And The Dark include two horror reprints every issue — although usually from writers who are still working today:

https://www.thedarkmagazine.com/issues/

If you check the Editorial page, you may find that some magazines have a reprint editor you can contact.

Good luck!

Joseph Bocchi

Thank you, John. I’m getting familiar with those publications. Joe

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