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DOSFFH's Critic At Large, A.L. Sirois, reviews books, movies, and whatever else he has an opinion on, new or classic. Reviews cover plays, movies, novels, across mainstream and genres including SFFH. Check out his insights before you run to the bookstore, video rental facility, or therapy session.

Al's Autobiography: I was born in 1950. My formative years were spent watching THE TWILIGHT ZONE and THE OUTER LIMITS on TV, reading AMAZING and FANTASTIC, GALAXY and WORLDS OF IF and the old Ace doubles (although the first sf novel I clearly remember reading was Heinlein’s HAVE SPACESUIT WILL TRAVEL – I must have been 9 or so), and listening to Motown and the Beatles. When I started to write, I ground out pastiches of Ian Fleming and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I learned how to draw by copying Wally Wood’s riffs out of old MAD paperbacks. I taught myself how to play drums by banging along with LPs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who. (Rock enthusiasts will recognize that that’s quite a range of styles!) By the end of the Sixties, I had discovered the work of Samuel R. Delany, Cordwainer Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, Alfred Bester, Harlan Ellison and Ursula Leguin. Musically, I realized for the first time the genius of Bach and Bartok, and developed an affinity for Procol Harum. In painting, the Flemish masters captured my attention – party through the nightmare visions of Brueghel and Bosch. I became fascinated with Heinrich Kley, the German graphic artist, and the underground comic book masterpieces of Dave Sheridan and Fred Shrier. By 1973, the year I sold my first story, I had a fairly clear idea of what I liked in the graphic arts and writing. Shortly thereafter, I discovered jazz and fell in love with Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

As 1998 prepares to give way to 1999 I am still performing in bands, writing fiction in the form of sf, fantasy, screenplays and children’s books, and earning my living as a webmaster/software engineer/multimedia specialist. In my three areas of artistic accomplishment I retain a love of clear storytelling, sharp images and expressive music.

- A.L. Sirois


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