Books: Insisting on the Moral

AN HOUR OF LAST THINGS by George P. Elliott. 292 pages. Harper & Row $5.95.

George P. Elliott is no square, but there is something sturdily old-fashioned about him all the same. The fictional fashions of the day are for chaos, apocalypse and sexual grotesqueries, splattered onto the page in a sort of verbal-action painting. Yet here is Elliott with 13 quiet, thoughtful stories, precisely fitted with conventional plot and narrative, and—at their best—fairly humming with moral earnestness. As for eroticism, Elliott is still getting mileage out of the kiss.

His only claim to outright novelty is his predilection for science fiction, represented...

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