One of the fascinations of Lauterbach's (Clamor) poetry is the way it inhabits space, seeming to expand it-and a reader's consciousness-with bold and individual precisions tuned over the entire expanse of a page. An apt comparison of a Lauterbach poem might be with an Einsteinian kind of etching that defies expectations of speed, amplitude, direction and logic. Her work asks us not to be either too firmly situated or too unsituated: ``Things,'' she observes in ``Harm's Way, Arm's Reach,'' ``are not cured by resilience.'' An eye, she ventures, is ``dialectical and unreasoned.'' The wit of such uncertainties is seductive, but ultimately freeing, like a polyrhythmic reverie elusive of subject; a reader submits gladly, entranced by all the exits and the transits she has permitted. This is Lauterbach's fifth book; she is a recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. (Nov.)
This novel might be the next best thing to taking a trip to the holodeck on the starship Enterprise. Selected to be subjects in an experimental study called Argus, seven high-school students peek into their futures by way of their tenth class reunion. Argus is the brainchild of Dr. Halstrom, a university faculty member who believes she can devise a computer program that will allow people to select the kind of life they might like to lead. As the experiment unfolds, readers come to realize, as do the characters, that people's lives are not always what they seem and that what we wish for may not always turn out to be what we want. Goldman provides just enough scientific information to keep the plot credible while also raising some key questions about the impact of science on human behavior. In light of current discussions about virtual reality and related issues, this novel could be used in a computer science class or a science fiction unit.