File 770: 112
File 770: 112 is edited by Mike Glyer at P.O. Box 1056, Sierra Madre, CA 91025. File 770 is available for news, artwork, arranged trades (primarily with other newzines and clubzines), or by subscription. Subscriptions: $8.00 for 5 issues, $15.00 for 10 issues, mailed first class in North America or surface mail rates overseas. Air printed matter is available for $2.50 per issue.
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Generation to Generation: While Elsie Wollheim's passing has made a big impact on those of us involved with L.A.con III, it's one of a tragic wave of deaths that has enveloped the SF community, including two writers often seen at worldcons. John Brunner passed away the day after Intersection's opening ceremonies. Bob Shaw, Loscon's guest of honor last November, was taken in February (a terrible event, coming weeks after his marriage to Nancy Tucker.) Others who have died since the beginning of 1996 include novelists Brian Daley and Walter Miller Jr., and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. When I talked to Locus editor Charlie Brown, he called January and February "The worst two months we've ever experienced."
Charlie was rocked not just by the loss of all these people, but the blow it dealt to his self-identification as part of SF's "younger generation." He now laughs to remember a day in the early 1950's when he and a friend discovered a 1945 Astounding: to them it seemed an ancient relic. But I thought I was the "younger generation"after all, Charlie was already in fandom when I was born and started publishing Locus the year before I went to my first con.
I have been lucky to have lived through this particular era of fandom. SF historians credit Hugo Gernsback with launching the modern era of science fiction with Amazing Stories in 1926. I published my first fanzine in 1969 and started attending conventions in 1972. So, from SF's genesis to L.A.Con I, my first worldcon, was a span of less than 50 years and that helps explain why so many of the field's historic figures were not merely alive but still professionally active and attending worldcons in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Of all the writers who populated the SF shelf of the local library, I was fortunate enough to meet most of them at a convention. There are really only two of my literary heroes I never had the chance to meet: John W. Campbell (d. 1971) and E.E. "Doc" Smith (d. 1965). The treasure of these times will have to last forever, as death has scythed through our field to deprive us of so many human connections to the original Golden Age.
If I missed meeting John W. Campbell in person, I didn't miss out entirely. Campbell, the influential editor of Analog, answered everyone's letters. In my last year of high school, I wrote to pick a bone with him about an editorial and our debate produced a flurry of mail for a short while ending about a year before his death in 1971. I can even relive that experience by pulling his letters out of my desk drawer.
A version of this editorial will appear in L.A.con III PR#5. In the PR, I explain that I never met Elsie Wollheim in person and I feel even more strongly that I have "missed" meeting her, because I actually had opportunities. Then, reflecting on Campbell and Elsie Wollheim, I also started to wonder what was the significance my missing him then, and missing Elsie now? I never sold them any stories, was never mentored by them. I decided it's rooted in the stuff that makes us fans.
A characteristic of science fiction fans is how insubstantial we feel the boundary is that separates the stories we enjoy from the people who create (or illustrate or edit) them. Our first relationship is with the stories themselves, so influential on our way of thinking about the world. Our second relationship is with other people who share our interest in SF, after discovering that we are not alone.
A certain kind of logic says it all should stop there. We're interacting with written words, after all: our enjoyment of I, Robot depends on what's in the story, not whether we know Isaac Asimov. Why does it go further? By interacting with the ideas in an author's universe, we've joined a literary conversationas listenersand it's our desire to speak back that propels some readers to become fans, and others to become writers (and some to become both).
The history of the sf field is another subset of that literary conversation. When I read the thumbnail biographies in books by Moskowitz and Lundwall about teenaged Futurians becoming prozine editors and the fusion of Campbell's editing genius with a new generation of talented writers, it evoked in me the peculiarly fannish sensation called "a nostalgia for things never experienced." If the people who made that history are still around, you haven't totally lost the chance to join in that conversation. Perhaps that's what made me feel I had "missed" Campbell, not only regretted his death. And it's what colors my response to the passing of Elsie Wollheim, a significant part of sf history, who was loved by those who worked with her and knew her.
R'ykandar Korra'ti: Cover, 3
Bill Rotsler: 4
Alan White: 7
Bob Shaw, enjoying to the last his dual role as a top fanhumorist and pro writer (he authored the classic "Light of Other Days"), died in his sleep on February 11 after weeks of severe medical problems. But on his last evening, Bob was still able to visit the Red Lion pub in Stockton Heath and tip a pint with his old friends.
Shaw moved to the US in December and married Michigan fan Nancy Tucker. On January 31 he suffered cardiac arrest complicated by pneumonia and complete liver shutdown. Shaw left the hospital and returned to England with Nancy. Family friend Misti Anslin's report of his death states, "Shaw died in his sleep...in Manchester, England where he had just arrived to seek medical treatment."
Ross Pavlac observed, "What is perhaps most tragic about this is that he was only recently married to longtime Michigan fan Nancy Tucker. I saw the two of them at Loscon this past December, and she positively glowed with excitement about the marriage and the relationship. I feel very sad that this glow has been extinguished."
Los Angeles fans were treated a visit by Shaw in November when he was Loscon 22's guest of honor. If anyone was surprised that Shaw didn't look like his photo, they soon learned the reason was that the photo in the Program Book had been lifted from Science Fiction: the Illustrated Encyclopedia which mistakenly published artist Eddie Jones' picture with Shaw's name.
My favorite memory of Loscon was going to dinner with Bob and Nancy, fan guest of honor Larry Stewart (from Ottawa), and other guests and committee including chair, Robbie Cantor. Larry Stewart is an incredible comedian and gifted impersonator. Like most such talents in the presence of someone with an even bigger reputation for humor, Stewart could not resist spending the entire time making Bob laugh, and the banter between the two of them was a treat.
Shaw's life was full of accomplishments. Bob was born December 31, 1931 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up as part of famous Irish Fandom. His greatest achievement as a fan was co-authoring The Enchanted Duplicator with Walt Willis. Mike Glicksohn has said that Shaw's speech at the 1975 Eastercon was paid the highest possible compliment: British fans left the bar to hear it. Shaw won Hugos as Best Fan Writer at the 1979 and 1980 worldcons, and was a guest of honor at the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta. Bob emceed the Hugo Award ceremonies. At the start of the evening, Americans unfamiliar with Shaw wondered who this Irishman thought he was, halting the ceremony with his interminable anecdotes, but by the end of the evening they couldn't wait to get through the next award so Shaw could tell another story.
Shaw defined his success as a humorist: "It is a well-known fact that if you want to write something funny, you remember the worst thing that ever happened to you, the kind of thing you'd never want to remember, and write about it in detail. Human nature being what it is...."
Shaw's funeral was held February 19 at St. Thomas church in Stockton Heath, Warrington, Cheshire. Ann Skelhorn attended the funeral and reception. Skelhorn wrote:
"The best thing I can say about Monday, February 19 is that Bob would have really enjoyed it, the religious part of the day lasted 45 minutes, the important part of the day lasted eight hours. Many of Bob's friends met in Bob's pub, The Red Lion in Stockton Heath, Warrington and talked about Bob. There was a lot of laughter and joy, one of his friends at the age of 35 had bought his first suit to go to the funeral (he is the archetypal hippie) and some of us could hear Bob laughing at the fact that he had managed to get so many atheists in a church. Nancy felt like she had come home because she was surrounded by people who loved Bob. I'm still choked up by everything that has happened."
Letters can be sent to Nancy Shaw at 695 Judd Road, Saline, MI 48176. Memorial donations, cards and letters to Bob's children can be sent care of c/o Bob's daughter: Denise Shaw, 17 Victoria Road, Stockton Heath, Warrington, Cheshire, U.K. The family requests donations to the Hope House Hospice in lieu of flowers. Checks made out to the hospice and sent to the family in England will be forwarded.
An interment service for Bob was scheduled at St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 9.
Bob Shaw Speeches in Print: Ansible 104 reminds all that many of Shaw's celebrated convention speeches are in print as A Load of Old BoSh from Beccon Publications, 75 Roslyn Ave., Harold Wood, Essex, RM3 0RG, United Kingdom. The price in pounds is 5.50 (which Dave Langford estimates is about $10), post free. Profits go to RNIB Talking Books. The same issue contains Christopher Priest's appreciation of Shaw which reveals, "His 'serious scientific talks', so popular with convention fans, had a downside for Bob. He found the talks difficult to write, often struggled with them for weeks, and sometimes even hesitated to register for conventions, lest he be expected to perform his famous party-piece."
Elsie Wollheim, co-founder of DAW books, "my other mother" to its family of authors, and a special guest of L.A.con III, died February 9 of a sudden illness at the end of a five-year struggle with cancer. Elsie had been undergoing chemotherapy and, according to Marsha Jones, the treatment was actually progressing. She was considerably better, and was very much looking forward to L.A.con III. She was hospitalized with symptoms that her daughter, Betsy Wollheim, feared might add bronchitis on top of everything. Elsie died a few hours later.
Elsie and Donald A. Wollheim had already been married for 28 years when they co-founded DAW Books in 1971. Donald Wollheim had left his position as editor-in-chief of Ace Books (where his work included co-editing a series of best-of-the-year collections with Terry Carr, a tradition each would continue individually) and no longer wanted to work for a large corporation. With Elsie's active help in conducting the affairs of the business, the Wollheims launched the first publishing company devoted solely to fantasy and science fiction. Elsie not only typed DAW's very first boiler plate contract, drawing on her background working for a law firm, paid the royalties and devoted herself to her writers in a hundred waysshe also answered the phone.
And did so the day in 1993 that I called to invite her to be a special guest of L.A.con III. She always looked out for her writers. The next thing she did, after accepting for herself, was to ask whether we might pick C.J. Cherryh as pro guest of honor, for Cherryh had just resumed her connection with DAW Books. (We had already selected a guest, but it was a good idea and she was invited by the 1998 Worldcon.) Elsie also immediately made useful suggestions about things DAW could do at L.A.con III.
A tradition in sf convention fandom is that a guest of honor who passes away is not replaced. L.A.con III will still have all the tributes, panels and exhibits for Elsie, who deserved them all. I'm sorry that Elsie will miss them. We will certainly miss her.
Elsie Balter, born June 26, 1910 was the daughter of Russian immigrants. In the late 1920's, Elsie took academic courses at Hunter College. Her father was a jeweler, and after the market crash of 1929 she took over his bookkeeper's job for $10 a week until he couldn't even afford to pay that. Then she answered an ad in the paper from someone offering to teach stenography in exchange for work. She wound up working in a law office for Rosalind Cohen who introduced her to the Futurians, a famous (in the sf field) circle of fans and professionals including Frederik Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth, Damon Knight, Donald A. Wollheim, Judith Merril, Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Robert W. Lowndes and others. Elsie married Donald Wollheim in 1943. While Don worked for magazine and paperback publishers, Elsie managed her father's factory where he manufactured platinum fittings and produced custom diamond jewelry. She gave birth to Betsy in 1951. Though she stayed home from work from then until the founding of DAW Books, during these years she was active in the League of Women Voters and an avid follower of theater, opera and poetry.
In 1991, New York's Lunarians sf club honored the memory of Donald A. Wollheim by renaming its annual scholarship award after him. The award is given to help someone from the New York metropolitan area attend the Clarion or Clarion West Writer's Workshop. Club member Stu Hellinger reports that Elsie's name is likely to be added to Don's in the near future. He wrote, "I really wanted her to stay healthy enough to make it to L.A.con. It would have made a wonderful, fitting tribute to one of the great ladies of the field at the end of her time. Personally, I will miss her. Especially when we would get together for lunch and just talk about anything. If my relatives had been like her..."
I've unhappy news to report: Pat Ellington called me to let me know she'd just heard that Danny Curran died on January 12. More exactly, he was found dead on the side of a trail, apparently of natural causes. Danny was about 58. For the past fifteen years, Pat reported, Danny has lived a hermit-like life in the hills of Placer County, and was known to hike some distance to get his food and other supplies. She said that steps were being taken to secure his body and arrange for cremation, and she referred to some sort of announcement that might follow.
As you may already know, Danny Curran was a friend of Bill Donaho's dating back to the Nunnery days in New York. I first met Danny at Donaho parties during my many visits to the Bay Area in the early 60's before moving here in 1965. My own memories of Danny date back to June 1961, when I moved to Berkeley the first time (for six months). Danny and Bill shared a funky old house at 1441 Eighth Street in Berkeley along with Habakkuk (the fanzine's namesake) and various other large cats. It was my observation that Danny drank to excess and smoked cigarettes a lotbut aside from that I found him an interesting and enjoyable person.
Aubrey MacDermott, a Bay Area fan since 1919, died January 21 of cancer. The 1987 Westercon fan guest of honor's career included co-founding an sf club in Oakland in 1928 and, with his wife, Beatrice, organizing a tour to the Soviet Union in 1982 to meet its writers and fans.
Marisa Golini was a popular Ottawa fan who died after a long battle with cervical cancer. She died on Memorial Day, 1995, and she left behind many friends in fandom in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. She was also an important name in broadcasting in Ottawa, and she was programme director of the station at which she worked. Her interests also took her through small theatre in Ottawa and area. Many of us still miss her, so we thought we'd remember her with our little con, Science Fiction Saturday. She loved to party, so we'll party for her. We've already gone through our mourning, so we'll remember with a smile and a drink. All the profits will go to the Canadian Cancer Society, as will a good percentage of each night's room costs. Maybe such a gathering is also a good way to remember the good people who have passed away lately.
Burne Hogarth, best known for his work in the 30's and 40s on the Tarzan comic strip, his co-founding of the School of Visual Arts, and several instructional books on drawing, died January 28 in Paris at age 84. No cause of death was given. He had just returned from a guest of honor stint at the Angouleme comics festival in western France.
"Jerry Siegel, the teenage co-creator of Superman, an internationally beloved and lucrative comic book character faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, has died January 28 of heart failure. Siegel was 81."
The Los Angeles Times reports he died at Los Angeles' Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital, according to the announcement by DC Comics, which publishes Superman comics.
"Siegel and classmate Joe Shuster were students at Cleveland's Glenville High School when they began conjuring the prototype of comic book superheroes in 1933. Siegel was the writer and Shuster, who died in Los Angeles in 1992 at the age of 78, was the artist.
"Initially, Superman was bald and villanous with mental rather than physical powers. But within a year's time, the duo developed him into his current muscular version, modeled, they said, on their movie hero Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Siegel put the "S" on Superman's chest to make him instantly recognizable and gave him the red cape to add drama. ...Siegel and Shuster sold the character to DC Comics in 1937, signing away their rights for $130. Superman debuted in Action Comics 1 in June 1938 and proliferated, with Siegel and Shuster writing and drawing the comic for the first decade.
"...When the creators sued for more money in 1947, DC Comics fired them. Siegel was reduced the supporting himself as a mail room typist and Shuster worked as a janitor. In the late 1970s, after the first of four Superman films starring Christopher Reeve proved a box office hit, DC agreed to give Siegel and Shuster $20,000 annual stipends for life (later increased to $30,000) and restored their creators' credits.
"Siegel also created the Spectre, which is still published by DC Comics. The writer is survived by his wife, Joanne, who was the model for Lois Lane."
Author Brian Daley, who wrote The Doomfarers of Coramonde and other works of fantasy and science fiction, including three "Star Wars" novels, died February 18 at his home in Arnold, MD, near Annapolis. He was 48. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Lucia St. Clair Robson.
He worked as a house painter, waiter and welfare case worker before publishing The Doomfarers of Coramonde (1977), about an Army unit that is transported from Vietnam to an alternate universe, where it must slay a dragon. The book's success led to a sequel, The Starfollowers of Coramonde (1979).
Daley wrote three novels based on the film "Star Wars": Han Solo at Stars' End, (1979), Han Solo's Revenge (1979) and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy (1982). He also wrote radio versions of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" for National Public Radio. [[Source: The Denver Post]]
Long-time Nashville fan Rick Dunning died January 27 of congestive heart failure following a second heart bypass operation. Dunning was widely known for the Saturn-like awards he produced for Kubla Khan's Frank R. Paul Awards. He drew many of the caricatures that appears on the con's publicity flyers over the years. He was also involved with the con's art show. Dunning had his first bypass operation five years ago. He requested that memorials be made to the American Heart Association. There will be an auction of his unsold artworks to help meet medical expenses and support his fiancee, Jody Day. [[Source: The NASFA Shuttle 2/96]]
[[ommitted for the electronic edition]]
Walt Willis came home from the hospital on Saturday, February 24 after spending several weeks there with mobility problems. All that time, concerned fans followed his progress online through Geri Sullivan, who posted what James White learned from Madeleine Willis about the doctors' latest thinking.
Walt Willis wrote to File 770 soon after his release: "I was sent to hospital by my GP to have an operation for spinal stenosis, which means a narrowing of the gap in the lower backbone through which pass all the muscles and nerves which operate the legs and the lower body. This constriction causes acute sciatica and numbness. However, bed rest arrested its progress and the hospital fought shy of an operation, which is difficult and dangerous, and sent me home to see how I got on. I can now get up the stairs on my own two feet, whereas before I had to go up on my hands and knees, and down on my bottom, and as you see I can now hobble over to the Amstrad. So, so far so good. What I have to do now is convince Madeleine and the doctor that I can drive."
Kansas City's Muelbach Hotel, site of MidAmeriCon, was demolished on February 18 in a television-worthy explosion. The 1976 Worldcon, also known as Big MAC, suffered the birth pains of the modern era of large worldcons. Worldcons just about doubled in attendance between 1972 and 1974 and they seemed to have unlimited potential for growth, given that this was also the era of huge Trek fan conventions. So much controversy surrounded MidAmeriCon's efforts to manage its anticipated record attendance that many members were deterred from coming and the actual turnout proved to be smaller than in 1974. At least as much of the controversy was about the growth and changes within fandom for which MAC was a convenient target of protest as it was about specific planning choices.
Betty Hull, long time SF fan and wife of Frederik Pohl is ran in the primaries as a write-in candidate for the U.S. Congress in the 8th Congressional district, reports Karen Mermel of the National Space Society. This district is in the NW suburbs of Chicago.
Hull, a college professor and writer, is a Democratic candidate for Congress opposing long-time incumbent Phillip Crane. Her issues are: women's rights, making the tax laws fair and taking guns away from children.
She ran as a write-in candidate because the Democratic party asked her to run at the last minute.
Robert Lichtman reports that for the first time since 1992, the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA), fandom's first apa, has no waiting list. "This occasional state of affairs means that interested parties can get in fairly quicky," he emphasizes, and the meaning is both clear and a bit awe-inspiring to someone like me, who spent two years on the waitlist before becoming a member in the 1970s (and remaining one until about 1980).
FAPA has a 65-member limit, which explains why there's usually a waiting list to get in. FAPA requires 8 pages a year minimum activity. Annual dues are $15. To qualify for membership, one must have published a fanzine within the past year (apazines qualify) or have published contributions in two fanzines not published in the same metropolitan area. Anyone interested can apply to Robert Lichtman (P.O. Box 30, Glen Ellen, CA 95442). A FAPA mailing ranges in size from 250-550 pages of material: a back-issue FAPA mailing can be purchased from the Official Editor Seth Goldberg (P.O. Box 271986, Concord, CA 94527) for $4 (plus postage: $2.50 for US addresses, $3.50 for non-US addresses).
Nicki and Richard Lynch, editors of the Hugo-winning fanzine Mimosa, joyfully announced they have escaped the small two-bedroom apartment that's been their home since fire forced them from their townhouse a year ago. The townhouse was completely rebuilt by last November, but by then the Lynches had decided they didn't want to live there again. They sold the place in December and bought a larger, single family house they liked. The new house, they wrote online, "is located on a quiet street, and borders in the back on a section of parkland that cannot be developed in the future. We were able to start moving in on January 16, which was the week after a huge blizzard blanketed the area in two feet of snow. After four stressful days coping with mother nature, movers, delivery people, and transfer of our possessions (including two bewildered cats) from the apartment, we spent our first night in our new home on January 19." ...For the rest of the story, read the forthcoming issue of Mimosa.
In that issue, look for Part 3 of Forry Ackerman's remembrances of times and places past, this time about the post-war 1940s up to the 1952 Worldcon, when he was presented (very briefly) with the very first Hugo Award. Richard Brandt has an article about the filming of one of the worst science fiction movies of all time, by a resident of his home city of El Paso. Lester Cole, one of the chairs of the 1954 Worldcon, makes his first fanzine appearance in decades with a piece of fan history about the Little Men's Club of the San Francisco area. Walter Willis continues his series of personal recollections with the story of the discovery of the `ATom' (i.e., fanartist Arthur Thomson). Besides those, we will also have articles by Kev McVeigh, Dave Kyle, Sharon Farber, Fred Lerner, and Vincent Clarke.
A copy of the last issue of Mimosa can be purchased for $3.00 from: Nicki and Richard Lynch, P.O. Box 1350, Germantown, MD 20875. Their e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Skelton (that is to say, Skel), bitterly complains that he has nothing to report in File 770. "Just to demonstrate how fannish fate conspires to kick me in the teeth and prevent me from being 'newsworthy' (like for instance the Lynchae), we too had a fire in the house next door, in the very bedroom that shares an adjoining wall with the den in which I am typing these words. Prompt action by the Fire Brigade, responding from a depot on our estate, meant that the blaze was extinguished before the adjoining wall did more than get slightly warm on our side. Our house was not gutted. In fact, it wasn't even touched. Bastards!"
Alex Eisenstein, editorial director of Signature Books, is doing a book devoted to the sf art of Ed Emshwiller (Emsh, as he was known). He is scouring the sf community for examples of Emsh artwork. While Eisenstein has access to the Emsh estate (Carol Emshwiller has given her permission for the book) and a few well-known collections, he's certain there's a lot of good stuff in the hands of people who picked it up in the 50s and 60s. He even has a wish-list if you're interested. Contact Eisenstein at: 6208 N. Campbell, Chicago IL 60659. His phone is (312) 274-7064.
The GEnie online service, known for its large population of SF writers and fans, was acquired by Yovelle Renaissance Corporation in late January. On the evening of January 31, the new owners gave subscribers less than five hours notice that the monthly subscription rate would double at midnight. Many subscribers jumped ship immediately, and many more canceled at the end of February.
Instant Message editor Mark Hertel continues the traditional irony of NESFA Clerks in IM 584. After recording someone's request at the March 10 meeting that NESFA discussion groups be planned so they can be listed on the last page of the clubzine, Hertel added, "Discussion of the importance of the last page of the IM occurred all afternoon. Maybe a discussion group could look at 'The Impact of IM on Society and Fannish Culture?' But then again, this will never be read because only the last page of the IM is ever read." So true.
Henry L. "Knarley" Welch went small game hunting in the February issue of his fanzine. "Last Tuesday night I entered our storage room to file some documents. I quickly realized I was not alone when a decidedly rodent-like face peered up at me from behind the chairs. ...Upon soliciting advice I was told that the Humane Society rents 'Have-a-Heart' traps specifically designed for squirrels. So on Thursday, Letha [Henry's wife] obtained a trap and baited it with two peanut butter covered Ritz crackers. By Friday morning, the trap had been raided of the crackers without being tripped. The squirrel also found that it could range a little farther by using the drop ceiling and spent a portion of the day scolding Letha in the laundry room. ...We decided to bring in a professional. He indicated that the squirrel had probably come down the chimney and crawled through the furnace's heat exchanger. He set up a trap with more aromatic bait. The squirrel chose instead to find the decorative corn." At last report, Henry was still chasing the squirrel by pounding on ceiling tiles in hopes of driving it out through an open window.
The National Fantasy Fan Federation has been giving the Kaymar Award since 1959 to a hardworking N3F member. This year's winner is Craig Boyd, for his excellent work over the past three years on the club's official zine, The National Fantasy Fan. Past Kaymar winners include Marianne Turlington, Tim Gatewood, Catherine Mintz, William Center, Fred Jakobcic, Howard DeVore, K. Martin Carlson (from whom the award derives its name), Frank Denton, Harry Warner Jr., Sheryl Birkhead and Don Franson.
Robert Lichtman produced Fanthology '92 for the Nashville Corflu, held in mid-March. It features material by Greg Benford, Richard Brandt, Sidney Coleman, Gary Hubbard, Christina Lake, Dave Langford, Dale Speirs, Steve Stiles and Paul Williams. He's also working on his next issue of Trap Door. (Ah, I love the smell of toner in the morning....)
Voters in the Down Under Fan Fund race will choose among Stephen Dedman, Danny Heap and Perry Middlemiss to be the delegate to L.A.con III. Ballots must be postmarked by April 15 and reach an administrator by April 22. Australian administrator is Alan Stewart. North American administrators are Pat and Roger Sims, 34 Creekwood Square, Cincinnati, OH 45246-3811.
The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund offers voters a choice between 'Simo' Simpson and Martin Tudor as a delegate to L.A.con III. Ballots must be received by an administrator by May 4. European administrator is Abigail Frost. North American administrator is Dan Steffan, 3804 S. 9th Street, Arlington, VA 22204. And can it be? Installments of Dan Steffan's trip report have already appeared in Andy Hooper's Apparatchik #53 and #54.
Robert Lichtman, 1989 TAFF winner, is adding installments to his report, too: see his letter in The Fanivore (p.16) for information about how to get a copy of the work in progress.
FFANZ' (Fan Fund of Australia/New Zealand) Australian administrator, Donna Heenan, has announced the vote tallies from the FFANZ race. (Thanks to Tim Jones for relaying them to File 770.) Wrote Heenan, "Evan McCarthy will be going to Perth to represent NZ Fandom as its new ambassador, winning outright with an overwhelming majority of 20 votes out of 23."
Want to know where to find a science fiction fan in New Zealand? Just ring your local political party. The latest hot trend in New Zealand fandom is standing for public office. Well, perhaps I exaggerate a little, but in my home city of Wellington, the nation's capital, two fen recently stood in the local body elections, one for the city and one for the regional council. Another stood in nearby Dunedin. The bad news: none of them were voted in. Maybe the fannish revolution in NZ politics is still just around the corner.
One of these candidates in particular has an illustrious place in the recent history of New Zealand fandom. Frank Macskasy, Jr. co-founded the National Association for Science Fiction in 1976. The founding of NASF, the first organisation to bring together the scattered pockets of science fiction fandom in our long, narrow country, enabled a coordination of effort which led to our first national SF convention in 1979. NZ Natcons have been held every year since, with the arguable exception of 1985 (and let's not get into that tangled debate here), and generally attract between one and two hundred fans, depending on location, calibre or renown of GoHs, and competing attractions in the form of other consalthough I don't believe there have ever been more than five here in any one year.
Natcon venues oscillate between the four principal fannish centres, and the character of their conventions, viewed from south to north, perhaps tells something of the character of the fans in each. Dunedin conventions are generally the smallest, attended by the 'hard core' of fans who go to cons primarily to renew old acquaintances, and are more concerned about the social life than the programme; Dunedin conventions cater to them by taking a relaxed attitude to programming, although the Saturday evening variety shows put on by Dunedin's multi-talented fans have become a highlight.
Christchurch conventions are generally well-programmed, but it is a rare Christchurch convention committee which does not undergo two or three schisms during the organising process, as the politics which make Christchurch the Byzantium of NZ fandom are played out. Harry Turtledove would be happy there. Wellington, which hosted the Natcon for four straight years in the early 90s, puts on cons with a touch of both Christchurch programming and Dunedin sociability; NZ's largest convention, DefCon, attracted 350 people in 1993, many of them neofans who came to hear its roster of media and literary guests. DefCon's main organiser, Lana Brown, is one of our most accomplished convention organisers. And Auckland, the largest city, with a background of having conventions evicted from their hotels for insulting the manager, came up trumps in 1995 with Conquest, a well-organised, enjoyable convention which was one of the last to be graced by Roger Zelazny.
That first Natcon, in 1979, was soon followed by the establishment of Aotearapa (derived from the Maori, and alternative official, name for the country, Aotearoa), still the only New Zealand based apa, and the Great New Zealand Fanzine Boom. For three short years, the country's plentiful pine forests were logged at a frantic rate to furnish paper for clubzines, crudzines, and such more enduring titles as Tom Cardy's Worlds Beyond and Rex Thompson's Paradox. The boom has subsided, but quality fanzines are still produced in this country, the flagship being Alex Heatley's sercon genzine Phlogiston, produced four times per year and now past Issue 40. My own genzine, Timbre, appears to gasps of surprise every three years or so.
Clubs, both media and general, have played an unusually strong role in New Zealand fandom, and because of the relative lack of genzines, clubzines have carried material well beyond the usual minutes, club news, doings and wooings and the like. NASF's clubzine, Warp, has just passed Issue 100, and to mark the occasion released an all-fiction issue, with stories published in the magazine throughout its almost twenty years. A number of those who started by contributing fiction to Warp and other fanzines (fiction in fanzines doesn't carry the same stigma here that it does in the US) have gone on to professional publication both in NZ and overseas. New Zealand's best-known SF writer is Phillip Mann, who didn't come up through our fannish ranks (although he has subsequently contributed stories to Phlogiston), but of those who have come up through fandom, Lyn McConchie has recently had her first novel published in the US, and Peter Friend has started selling in the UK and US. Following several small-press SF/F anthologies, the recent launch of a commercial New Zealand SF anthology marks a breakthrough in the attitude of the publishing industry that 'no-one wants to read New Zealand SF'.
Writing isn't the only artform in which fans are making their mark. The New Zealand film industry, with The Piano, Once Were Warriors, and Heavenly Creatures leading the way, is on an upsurge right now. The latter's director Peter Jackson and his Wingnut Films have particularly strong links with the fannish community; a number of fans have either acted in or worked on special effects for his movies, and Jackson and his special effects chiefs, Richard Taylor (models) and George Port (computers), have been guests at several conventions.
I've mentioned NASF several times already in this article. As a former Treasurer and President of the Association, I may be biased, but I believe it's played an important role in unifying the country's fandom (although it's also played a major role in several important feuds!). It appears, however, that NASF in its present form may be wound up later this year. Warp is likely to become a bimonthly, two-page/electronic newssheet modelled on Dave Langford's Ansible; what will happen to the National SF and Fantasy Awards, administered by NASF and presented at each year's Natcon, is yet to be determined.
What lies ahead? More enjoyable Natcons - Christchurch in '96, Wellington in '97 (this latter convention being organised by a number of younger fen with both media and literary background, and representing something of a passing of the torch from the '70s to the '90s generation). A major New Zealand presence if Australia wins the 1999 Worldcon. More NZ writers being published professionally. And an increasing New Zealand fannish presence on the Internet, helping to breach the barriers of distance which are our main obstacle to participating in the wider world of fandom.
++ Tim Jones
Special Award, Non-Professional: Bryan Cholfin, Broken Mirrors Press
Special Award, Professional: Ellen Datlow
Best Artist: Jacek Yerka
Best Collection: Bradley Denton, The Calvin Coolidge Home for Dead Comedians and A Conflagration Artist
Best Anthology: Ellen Datlow, Little Deaths
Best Short Fiction: Stephen King, "The Man in the Black Suit"
Best Novella: Elizabeth Hand, "Last Summer at Mars Hill"
Best Novel: James Morrow, Towing Jehovah
Life Achievement: Ursula LeGuin
World Fantasy Convention
October 26-29, 1995
Report by Martin Morse Wooster
I hadn't been to a World Fantasy Convention for over a decade, but I knew the con's reputation well. It's just for pros! Powerful writers and editors will spend a weekend crushing each other! You can't afford to buy anything in the dealer's room!
This is no doubt heresy, but the World Fantasy Convention seemed like an upscale relaxacon to me. There were certainly a large number of pros there, and no doubt they did a lot of business. But this fan spent his weekend chatting with other fans, and had a lovely time. Since costumers, gamers, media fans and punks with boomboxes were all barred from the con, the people who did show up were intelligent, sophisticated and literate. This was a refreshing change from many recent local conventions.
The World Fantasy Convention was expensive, but gave good value for money. The 700 members each got a large bag of goodies, including four paperbacks, one hardcover, four semiprozoines, and a program book (attractively designed by Science Fiction Eye's Steven Brown) with a substantial amount of original fiction, including a novella by GoH Lucius Shepard. The con offered quite a substantial feast, including quiche for breakfast and Brimstone, a very good local beer. And the dealer's room had a large number of expensive goodies. Stuart Schiff, for example, had a Lovecraft letter for sale, as well as HPL's copy of The Worm Ouroboros. Another dealer had a copy of a jacketed hardcover edition of Pohl and Kornbluth's A Town is Drowningwhich, given how rare any edition of this book is, is a very significant discovery. The Art Show had quite a range of interesting art, including drawings from Howard Wandrei that were shown for the first time in fifty years.
The programming I saw was mixed in quality. A session on "The Classical Roots of Fantasy" was a highly sophisticated panel that, in one hour, featured references to Martin Amis, Jane Smiley, Toni Morrison, Edward O. Wilson and many other mainstream and fantastic writers. The best way to sum up the panel came from this exchange, when the panelists were discussing Gilgamesh:
Nancy Kress: Which version of Gilgameshthe Sumerian or the Babylonian?
David Drake: Why, the Sumerian, of course.
But a memorial service for Roger Zelazny was less successful, with the few participants who knew Zelazny well (Jack Haldeman, George R.R. Martin) interspersed with mawkish reminiscences from people who knew him slightly or not at all.
The banquet showcased the World Fantasy Awards, which were given away efficiently by Toastmaster Edward Bryant, who felt compelled to pass along some peculiar news stories, such as the fate of thieves who broke into a fireworks factory with a blowtorch.
The World Fantasy Convention committee announced that the 1998 convention would be in Monterey, CA. The convention will be in Schaumburg, IL in 1996 and in London in 1997.
February 2-4, 1996
Report by David Bratman
Potlatch 5 will be remembered for, among other things, a disaster that was no fault of the committee nor even of the hotel. It was the weather. The Pacific Northwest had been suffering from an unusual cold spell, and the high temperature in Portland on Friday, February 2, was about 20 degrees F. Late Saturday afternoon freezing rain began to fall, causing most of what few businesses were open in downtown Portland on a weekend evening to shut their doors, fortunately not so early as to prevent most of the attendees from getting a good dinner as we fanned out to various restaurants. Sunday was just warmer enough to melt all trace of friction off the ice coating the city. A few of us ventured out to play skidding games on the sidewalk while watching city trucks spread gravel on the streets. The worst victims of the weather that I knew of were locals Michelle and Harry Howard, whose car battery died of the cold after they left Friday evening. It took them 3 hours and 2 tow trucks to get home, and they never managed to get back to the convention at all. Midwesterners might scoff at the weather (and some did), but it was certainly memorable by Portland standards.
Other than that, though, it was a terrific convention. I've attended all of the Potlatch series of literary sf conventions in Seattle and Oakland/Berkeley. All of them have been first-rate but none better than this, its first visit to Portland.
Start with the hotel. The Imperial Hotel was a bargain and a great find. Though most of the rooms were small, and the desk staff were not as familiar as they should have been with the habits of the airport shuttles, the service was top-notch (especially the speedy maids), the checkout time was 2 p.m., the food was good, the bar at the dance had no set-up charge, the pictures of many years' Pendleton Rodeo Queens on the walls near the con suite made a great conversation piece, and we were only four blocks from Powell's, Portland's city-block-sized bookstore. What more could anyone want?
The committee, led by the tremendously witty and energetic David Levine, did a superb job and were always in good humor. All of the operations went well, for which credit should go especially to hotel liaison Debbie Cross, registrar Ruth Sachter, and tireless con suite host John Lorentz. (Gourmet chocolate and smoked salmon were regular features in the suite.) Kate Yule, who styled herself Opinionated Local, compiled a local guide which I'll keep using as my regular resource on Portland, a city whose restaurant situation in particular I've always had a hard time getting a grasp on. The dealer's room spaciously accommodated four voluminous book dealers. The best-seller of the weekend was probably John Clute's new collection of reviews, Look at the Evidence (Serconia Press). John D. Berry, who designed the volume, brought copies down from Seattle, displayed them proudly, and gave plenty to Wrigley-Cross Books to sell.
But my vote for the best work goes to the program committee, Jane Hawkins and Luke McGuff. They took a scrap of an idea I sent them, fashioned it into a panel titled "Creativity: The Quantity and the Process", talked me into moderating it and gave plenty of help choosing panelists, and we ended up with something several people told me was one of the best panels they'd ever attended. David Hartwell discoursed learnedly on the shape of Philip K. Dick's later career; Tom Whitmore, aided by Vonda McIntyre from the audience, gently corrected my interpretation of what happened to Roger Zelazny; Amy Thomson talked about beginning as a novelist today; and Ursula K. Le Guin introduced the concept of the "cranford" (after a book by Mrs. Gaskell) for a collection of connected short storiesa broader concept than the "fixup", and with less negative connotation.
The other four panels on Potlatch's single-track Saturday program were equally fascinating. In "What Fantasy Does For Us", Karen Voorhees read a lucid ten-minute summary of the historical roots of speculative fiction, followed by views from the contemporary perspective by Sarah Goodman, Mike Marano, and Suzy McKee Charnas. Jerry Kaufman's panel on the unwritten bargain between writer and reader was a free-flowing dialogue involving the audience as much as panelists Debbie Notkin and Steve Swartz.
Dave Howell, formerly of the book division at Wizards of the Coast, was on Jane Hawkins' panel, "Future Fiction", wisely comparing the balance between structure and freedom in role-playing games to the same balance in musical improvisation. Elise Mathesen pointed out the advantages online storytelling workshops can offer the disabled, shut-in, and those with awkward personal schedules. The last panel was "Everything You Know Is Wrong", where a now time-honored collection of Potlatch gonzos, including Eileen Gunn, Pat Murphy, and the ever-inventive Ellen Klages, dared the audience to pose any truism about writing, publishing, and marketing, determined to refute anything.
Much the same spirit prevailed on Sunday, where Mark Bourne, assisted by Ellen, Tom Whitmore, and others, raised a heap of dough for Clarion West (about $3900) by auctioning off Harlan Ellison's pipe, a nude sculpture of Amy Thomson in chocolate, and other notable items. This was followed by the game "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", where Mark, Ellen, David Levine, and D Potter improvised stories in the style of famous authors, impersonated aliens, found new uses for strange objects, and otherwise greatly entertained the audience. Page Fuller moderated and kept the performers in line.
On Friday evening, after the mock trial of R.L. Fanthorpe (which I missed), Jane showed a videotape she had managed to track down of the rare PBS film of Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. Afterwards, Ursula herself answered audience questions about the adaptation, whether a commercial video will ever be released (the owners of the rights, WNET-TV, don't seem interested), her appearance in the film as an extra, and her opinions of Philip K. Dick.
Another oddity of this Potlatch was a do-it-ourselves artshow. The committee provided several photocopies of a Stu Shiffman cartoon, plus a box of crayons, and Stu judged a contest for best colored version. There were a number of ingenious entries, including the anonymous one whose artist turned the picture upside down and drew anti-grav boots around the characters' feet, but the winner was my own Berni Phillips, who took one gray crayon and drew "The 'Lathe of Heaven' version".
But the best line at Potlatch was heard by just a few people in the elevator one afternoon. Several of us were riding up, listening to the hotel's sound system play the Blue Danube Waltz. "Does this remind anybody of the spaceship in 2001?", I asked as the elevator glided to a stop at one floor. "We need to talk about this, Dave," responded Karen Voorhees, ducking out just before the doors closed.
Except for the weather-based misfortunes, this convention was just about perfect, and I'll treasure its memory permanently.
What is this, actually the first letter I've ever written to File 770? If not the first, not far from it. I just don't respond to much of what mentions I get in your pages, I try to stay removed from fandom and all of the "Chinese whispers" gossip that garbles as a condition of existence. (Increased a thousandfold in frequency, vituperation, and simple wrongness by the Internet.)
Also don't write, because we have a free-flow of telephonic verification between us, not only because we live nearby each other, but because we don't seem to have a problem calling for clarification. So it is with a teensy dollop of bewilderment that I read the snippet in your Glasgow con report about my alleged "commission to punch out Christopher Priest if he wins a Hugo" for that pukey little diatribe of his.
So enough is quite enough.
Please note that in the more than twenty years that Priest's cavils against me have floated out thereeither by poisonous word of mouth, by letter, by fanzine article, or in the several incarnations of his pamphletwhich he pathetically admitted to Norman Spinrad and others at Glasgow had "sold more copies than any of my own [Priest's, that is] books"I have never responded. Not a line. Nor will I now. Those who are involved with The Last Dangerous Visions, and those who know me, will separate truth and circumstance from "truth" cast in a false light to denigrate and impair. Even Galen Trippwho has my deep thanksin the same issue with your comments, points out Priest's transparent agenda of meanspiritedness. So, as has been my policy for two decades, Mr. Priest can continue to beat off, and by doing so stay in the public eye, like a smudge of dirt blown by the wind, not by the fruits of his talent, but by riding my coat-tails.
What I will respond to, are your comments that both Norman and John-Henri Holmberg had been assigned by me to knock Priest's block off, if he won. As those who remember will attest, I am more than capable of traveling great distances to knock the block off evildoers. Hasn't Chas. Platt held the grudge for years? Isn't that in fact one of the reasons Mr. Platt and his Ellison-hating chums (prominent among whom is that same Mr. Christopher Priest, named in the Enemies of Ellison Newsletter as its "Overseas Representative" or somesuch silly designation) began their gang-vendetta several years ago? Is there anyone out there who knows me at all, who doubts that I would think no more about getting on a plan and going to Glasgow to do such a deed if I felt so moved, than I would about squashing between thumb and forefinger a roach that had gotten into my cornflakes? I sweep the crap out of my Augean stables personally. I don't hire mercenaries.
(And if I were hiring mercenaries, even as contumelious as my old pal Norman can be when he's aroused, I would try to do a lot more lean and mean than either Norman or the gentle, goodhearted and soft-spoken John-Henri Holmberg. Do we begin to see a faint light of reason penetrating the domain of this "Chinese whisper"?)
It was a gag, Mike. It was an idle woolgathering of cheery chat between me and Norman, long-distance telecon 'twixt LA/Paris, between me and John-Henri, long-distance 'twixt LA/Sweden. On two widely separated occasions subsequent to the announcement that Platt and Andy Porter and Gregory Feeley and the others who proudly announced themselves as Enemies of Ellison had block-lobbied to get Priest's worthless screed on the ballot in charming hope it would humiliate me.
The phone conversations began with one or the other of us commenting on this aberration, and one or the other of us saying, "He ought to be punched in the snoot" (it was likely I who said it, but who can remember such useless triviata), and both Norman and John-Henri remarking on their intended attendance, and one or another of us suggesting that Mr. Priest should be hit in the head with the Hugo implement even as he raised it aloft in victory. There was also, as I recall imperfectly, mention of Laws Rockets, bamboo slivers in sushi, enemas with a roto-rooter, and even the programmed decay of space junk orbits so an enormous weight might descend on the Darting Priest at his moment of glory, such weight dropping, pro forma, from a great height. It was chatter, Mike. It was about as serious as most of the harebrained dream-scenarios you, and I, and certainly many of your readers have every day with their close friends.
Now. Why do I bother replying? And in writing?
Because left unchallenged, this would be one more arrow in the Enemies of Ellison quiver. Like this: "Did you hear the latest? That monster Ellison tried to kill poor, impaired Chris Priest just because he told the ugly truth about Ellison's war crimes!" Priest and Platt and Feeley and Porter and their minions already employ a sufficiently hardy thug bunch in their ongoing efforts to paint me dark; they don't need help from my friends.
Having read what Carole Resnick said to Mike Resnick as his final chance for a Hugo came up at Intersection (re: Stableford having a novella nominated), I am now a believer in reincarnation, because I am convinced that in a previous life Carole was the person who, as the Roman conqueror rode in triumph through the streets of the city, crouched in the chariot whispering, "Thou art mortal." (This of course conjures up visions of Mike Resnick as a Roman conqueror, whereas I have it on good authorityi.e., some nameless fanthat wearing all his Hugo pins he is more aptly compared to a South American general in full regalia.)
On another note, I would like to clarify my complaint about the Hugo nominees party. I was saying that it was tacky (actually I said it was "a bit tacky") that beverages were not provided. "Drinks" often implies alcoholic and I was not objecting to the lack of free booze. I would add that my avoidance of meat undoubtedly contributed to my responsemost of the hot dishes seemed to contain meat in some form. As we say on the Net, your mileage may vary.
Hey, even if you didn't get your Worldcon report out til New Year's, you still beat SF Chronicle by at least two weeks.
Actually, the rule allowing an autonomous Hugo subcommittee first passed in 1974. I don't recall how they finessed the issue in 1973, but in 1971 Hal Clement resigned from the concom (he'd been the treasurer) so Star Light would be eligible.
On the Dramatic Hugo question, you should probably have added my later post (Sept. 25):
I recently talked to Joe Ross, who introduced the 1971 change in the Dramatic Hugo. As he recalls it, the sponsors were aware that their wording would slightly restrict the range of eligibility, and considered this a felicitous side effect. (I gather they felt that things like the Apollo 11 TV coverage extended the range too far.) However, this point seems not to have come up at the Business Meeting.
Am I correct in guessing that "He was basically a her" (p. 15) should have read "a hermit"?
I do wish to comment on the redoubtable Mr. Warner's reply to my dismissal of Trufandom. He seems to have missed the point. The problem with Trufandom is not that it isn't popular: compared to the mundane, no aspect of fandom is popular (except possibly Star Trek, and I wouldn't even bet on that). The problem is that with a few notable exceptions (the self-same Mr. Warner, Geri Sullivan, and of course, yourself) Trufans do their best to remain as unpopularindeed, as unknownas possible! Mr. Warner's very reply is an excellent example of this. According to him, Trufandom is "real fandom" and the rest of fandom is just a bunch of spinoffs, while only illiterates are unaware of the true heart and soul of sf/f! It hardly takes much of a leap of imagination to picture him looking down his nose at Those Others and sneering, (although, as we both know, he's really far too much the gentleman to do that). My experience with Trufandom is that this annoying attitude is the norm, not the exception. It's little wonder then, that those few fans who do hear of fanzine fandom are quickly turned off by it.
Thanks for File 770:111. The copy has been sitting around my office for about a week waiting for two minutes to rub together to dash off an e-loc. I liked some of the behind-the-scenes information from Intersection. I suspected differences in venue arrangements, but I had no idea it was as different as you describe. Then again, the two hotels in Milwaukee I've worked with use very different booking policies.
In regard to Harry Warner, Jr.'s comments about the SF Portrait Gallery, I was wondering how much of an overlap there is between the Portrait Gallery and the already printed book The Faces of Science Fiction? I've only glanced at the two briefly over the years and couldn't really say myself.
You are undoubtedly perspiring at this moment over your worldcon issue of File 770. I was perspiring without working on a newzine when your August issue arrived because the stupendously hot summer in the northeast was still going strong. Finally I'm able to write some locs in bearable temperatures, because the hottest summer in the past century in Hagerstown has finally eased up.
The August issue was to me the equivalent of a story in which many bad things happen but there is an unexpected happy ending. I don't know if you planned it that way, but the existence of those three conreports at the end written by persons who were happy about their experiences provided a good feeling to replace the distress I feel over some of the previous things described.
It's too bad Irwin Allen is dead. From those accounts of Dragon*Con, I gather that its sponsors could have sold film rights to him for a huge sum.
Ross Pavlac's description of the [NASfiC] art show and dealers' room made me wonder if fans in wheelchairs were able to get around in them. It must have been very difficult if not impossible, judging by his estimates of the size of the aisles. Isn't there some sort of regulation that requires facilities for the handicapped in public events?
I hope when I die I get an obituary like the one Ross wrote for Curt Clemmer. Since I don't go to cons, I never knew Curt but he must have been a very fine person and he couldn't have hoped for a better sendoff in File 770 than this one. Besides, Ross preserves in print in this manner the story of the day he wore an aardvark costume to a friend's wedding, an anecdote I haven't seen in print before and one which deserves inclusion in the large volume which will someday appear containing the history of fandom in the 1980s.
Guy Lillian III had previously informed me of the sad news about Harry Moore through his SFPAzine. I suppose we'll never know the details about Harry's final years. I can only assume that he wasn't functioning well mentally as he grew older and this accounted for the neglect of his science fiction treasures, rather than a deliberate revulsion against the field.
TAFF continues to maintain its reputation as one of the most fertile spawning grounds for arguments in fandom. I shouldn't discuss the latest brouhaha since I stopped contributed to fan funds during the decline of interest rates and their recent rise won't affect my investment income for a couple more years. But I do wonder how much contact with fanzine fandom most of the recent trip winners have had. Do they make a specific effort to visit fanzine fans when traveling around the host country? Do they hang out with fanzine fans at the convention? Most of them do little or nothing about writing accounts of their travels for fanzines.
But if convention fans are the new choice to receive TAFF trips, what will this do to the organization's income? Presumably it will mean a lowered number of votes and donations from fanzine fandom. Will conventions allot more money to TAFF to take up the slack?
The Star Trek reprint gives me further confidence that ST enthusiasts inhabit a slightly different universe from the rest of us. Star Trek "is perhaps the most successful entertainment franchise in history"? I think Disney went ahead of ST a half-century ago and has been increasing its lead ever since. Chances are that even Superman has been the cause of more spinoffs and publicity and fans. TV Guide says Baywatch is the leading syndicated television show on a worldwide basis. Star Trek hasn't done well on a non-syndicated basis: its first three years on a commercial network drew low ratings, and its most recent network manifestation, Star Trek: Voyager, ended up tied for 87th place among network offerings last season with a 7.9 rating, out of 132 series shown during the 1994-1995 season.
I liked very much John Hertz' article on the article in The Nation. The warning with which Mark Twain prefaced Huckleberry Finn should be printed on a flyleaf of every novel that comes off the presses, unless the author specifically thinks he has achieved propaganda for some issue or other in his story.
The issues of File 770 continue to roll in, the one-one-oneth being the latest. Enjoyed your report on Intersection, and was pleased to read that you were withdrawing from contention for this year's Hugos. If I were in your position, I would cite the same discomfort you were experiencing.
In the lettercol, Harry Warner Jr. opines that fanzine fandom has drifted away from long pieces of writing in fanzines over the past couple of decades. "Very few fanzines today," he alleges, "publish anything running to more than two or three pages of type." But the sort of typical current fanzine he describescontaining "short editorials, condensed reviews of books and movies, columns of chatter about this or that, short-short-short fiction"is a type that's always been with us under various titles and editorships, from various parts of the world, forever. I don't think, however, that the percentage of fanzines I see that contain meaty material of some length varies beyond a certain range from decade to decade. Such fanzines are also always with us. Certainly Harry's Spaceways would be one such exception, as would my Trap Doorand this very issue of File 770 in which Harry's letter appears features your 10-page Intersection report.
Harry mentions this in the context of "possible reasons for the shortage of TAFF reports in recent years," and as one of those whose report has been absent, might I offer an additional reason to the ones Harry lists. In my case, I was a very active fan prior to my TAFF trip and remained nearly as active in my regular fanac following the trip, in addition to taking on three years of administration. Actually, it's not like I haven't done a report at all. It's more like I haven't gotten around to finishing it. Every time I find myself writing a little bit of the report in a letter to another fan, I move that text into the appropriate part of my report-in-progress. I offered copies of this r-i-p (hmmm, interesting acronym) in the first issue of my TAFF newsletter. At that time it was around 6,000 words; now it's up to nearly 8,500. Anyone who sends me a $3 donation to TAFF (payable to me) and a long SASE can get a copy. This offer has appeared in various places since I stopped publishing a TAFF newsletter, but damn' few have taken me up on it. For all the occasional clamor over the lack of recent TAFF reports, it's a little odd that more haven't sent for mine. Meanwhile, I offer up my continued activity in fandom by way of lagniappe: my genzine, participation in four apas (an official in two of them), attendance at numerous conventions since my TAFF trip.
Thank you for your notes re Intersection, especially the remarks about John Brunner. Walter and I have always had a proprietary interest in John since his first story was published in Slant.
Reading Harry's letter about the short length of today's published fannish articles prompts me to put forward my own theory. Today fans' attention span is being assaulted on all sidesthe Internet, television, etc.and many are affected with the C.R.A.F.T. syndrome (Can't Remember An Effing Thing).
This is a very painful letter to write. No, I have no information for you on the death of a fan or a pro, and I am not about to unleash a savage attack at you. Instead, it's my fingers that hurt like fury with every push at a key, thanks to the dreadful winter weather this part of the nation has experienced since early January. Lotions that promise to heal chapped hands aren't adequate for such a spell of cold, ice and wind.
Of course, I enjoyed your 111th issue (and just think, never again will you publish an issue whose number consumes as little ink as that one) and didn't mind at all the lateness of the worldcon report. It followed the usual pattern of conreports by telling me some things I hadn't read before about the event, no matter how many other accounts of the Scotland con I've seen in recent months. You were particularly strong in the detailed reporting of the death of John Brunner and of the tributes paid to his memory in Glasgow.
Of course, I don't know how I would have reacted to the cacophony that existed in the Scottish Exhibition Convention Centre's Hall 4, if I'd been there. From this distance, the descriptions I've read about it have made me suspect I would have been happy because it apparently was quite similar to how things used to be on the midway of the Great Hagerstown Fair with booth vendors shouting at individuals in the crowd, kids screaming on the rides, a barker at a sideshow using a public address system to attract customers, and at least three people you hadn't seen for years simultaneously trying to converse with you. I used to love that and alas, I won't be able to find it in Hagerstown any longer. The fair died several years ago and now the group that owns the grounds has decided to tear down most of the buildings and sell off portions of the big fairgrounds to anyone interested.
I don't think the SECC will have as neighbor a convention center "resembling the Sydney opera house." It's against all the laws of probability that humanity will ever construct another building looking like that structure. The only real imitations of it have been gifts I've bought people for Christmas after I've finished wrapping them.
Nobody had told me about Gil Gaier's death until I read Rex Winn's good obituary notice. It's sad but at least Gil differed from most deceased fans by living a normal lifespan. All too many fans have been dying in or just short of middle age. Gil was very active at the height of his involvement in fanzine fandom, although I suppose half of today's fans have never heard of him, because of his inactivity in recent years. We got along very well on paper, although I felt a sense of shock when he either revealed or made up his main reason for being in fandom.
I assume the sketches on your penultimate page are of recently deceased pros. Asimov and Wollheim are easily recognizable, and I think Bob Bloch is there, too, but I'm not sure of several of them.
[[I didn't recognize one of them, myself: perhaps Ray Capella will answer your question?]]
Diana and I after the con went to visit British fan Terry Homsby in Leeds, who'd expressed an interest in seeing a Hugo rocket. Just happening to have one with me, I obliged. But on the way we first went sightseeing in York. I carried the heavy rocket in the Roman baths, on the Viking exhibit ride and up 275 steps to the top of York Minster tower. Whew!
As you say, balancing the chairing of a Worldcon and the editing of a newzine isn't easy, but it looks like the jobs are getting done. Add to that the rigors of a job and everyday married life, and I'd wonder when you sleep. (I'm sure you're wondering, too.)
I'm looking forward to BucConeer, but first, we have to scrape up the bucks to convert presupports. The high conversion rates surprised us, and I may have to wait until L.A.con III to buy our memberships. (Ghod, I hope I can afford that, too!)
In 1989, when the Canvention was held in Ottawa, there was some fuss when Paul Valcour, a member of the concom and the Aurora Awards subcom, also won an Aurora for his work on the convention. This happenstance didn't quite have an above-board appearance, so a rule prohibiting award administrators from being eligible for an award was instituted at a CanVention business meeting the next year, and this has unofficially become known as the Valcour pararule.
I know press relations are a necessary part of any large con [like Intersection], especially something as different as a science fiction con, but why does the press feel the need to dump on us? Being a trained journalist, I've tried to figure it out, but besides the need for a flashy picture of a ridgy-headed Klingon to make people smile, I don't know why the press automatically hates sf people. Maybe Harry Warner can shed some light on this. I'm sure the topic's been rehashed many times, but it always seems to be current. The press coverage in Winnipeg was actually good, but I think the con being one of the biggest money events in Winnipeg had something to do with it.
[[Although John Mansfield enjoyed the advantage that his Worldcon was the province's biggest conference of the year, ConAdian's good press had more to do with his extensive contacts to prepare media representatives in advance of the event and the attentive support they received when they covered the con. A Worldcon theoretically can identify reporters in advance as they apply for press credentials (which journalists are likely to do whether that year's Worldcon actually gives passes). If a committee can spare the people to work with reporters it can have a lot of influence over the tone of what is published. I know Intersection did some of this, but my impression from seeing the committee's e-mail is that they couldn't afford to assign very many people to shepherd journalists. And in the case of a tabloid like the Sunday Mail it might have made no difference.]]
That's all for now. I start some evening work for the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto tomorrow night, so wish me luck, and each evening spent there will insure that I can get to L.A. to visit and party with 10,000 of my closest friends this coming Labor Day.
Speaking for myself, I'm disappointed with the '98 Worldcon winners; I was never contacted by them to join, convert, etc., and I'm a supporting member of Intersection... Unless it was lost in the mail? I only just recently found out who won the bid.
[[It sounds like you are saying that although you were a member of the 1995 worldcon you did not buy a voting membership in the 1998 con, or presupport the Baltimore bid. Then you probably wouldn't have been contacted by the 1998 site selection winners. It's not customary for a new worldcon to do an extra mailing to the members of the just-concluded worldcon who have been getting PR's with bid advertising and site selection information all along. Admittedly, a few potential members may fall between the cracks.]]
And if Intersection mailed out their program books by now, that never got here either. I've written to them about it but haven't received an answer or book as yet.
[[T.R. Smith, Intersection's Vice Chair and Division Head for North American Operations, announced online that "...the US and Canadian programme books went out [February 22] via 4th class (bound printed matter) for US and via ValuePost for most of the Canadians (I was short 5 sacks for the eastern provinces and they didn't have any at the post office, so they just put those 11 programme books in with 1st class mail to CDN...boy, are <some> members lucky!)."]]
Under the circumstances, just getting your Intersection report out in the same year as the convention is commendable. So I commend you. And thank you for yet another interesting issue of File 770. It helps me stay at least a little in touch with fandom and I greatly appreciate receiving it, regularly or otherwise.
I'm moved to send you a note because of Galen Tripp's letter and the remarkable restraint you showed in leaving it to your readers to reply to it.
I disagree with Galen. The Book on the Edge of Forever is not an anti-Ellison diatribe. It is a remarkable history and analysis of one of science fiction's best-known non-events. That it shows Ellison to be a liar and procrastinator of Olympian proportions is merely a consequence of the facts.
Evidently, Galen Tripp is lucky enough not to be one of the dozens of professionals who have had stories tied up by Ellison for long periods of time (in some cases more than two decades) so perhaps he doesn't realize just how aggravating Ellison's inability to complete the project has been to a sizeable percentage of the science fiction community. Priest did not write his history in order to make people dislike Ellison. (Harlan had done that very nicely by himself.) He wrote it so that those who weren't directly involved with the project would have a better understanding of just what a screwed-up mess the whole thing had been.
I have seen a copy of File 770:111. I'd like to say that during the Glasgow worldcon I had cordial encounters with both John-Henri Holmberg and Norman Spinrad. I have always been on friendly terms with both men, in particular with Norman Spinrad, whom I have known for nearly thirty years. In the hours before the Hugo ceremony neither of them gave any hint they had been commissioned by Harlan Ellison to attack me if I won the Hugoalthough with hindsight I remembered that Norman Spinrad seemed a bit nervous in my company! I felt Harlan Ellison came out of this affair in a bad light, having confirmed the old maxim about bullies being cowards.
Anyway, I can reveal that in true fannish tradition I sat gibbering nervously throughout the Hugo ceremony. This was not through fear of being beaten up by Ellison's goons (of which I knew nothing), but because of the greater dread of having to make an acceptance speech.
As for Galen A. Tripp's letter in the same issue. His surprise that my book should be on the Hugo ballot was one I rather shared. He should ask the fans who nominated it, and later voted for it, why they did this thing he finds so amazing. He should also realize that the word "feud" is regularly used by Harlan Ellison and his apologists about the Book on the Edge of Forever, because so long as they can convince themselves it's a feud they don't have to admit the awkward facts it lists, or address the serious issue it raises. Mr. Tripp should read my book with an open mind, and then see if the emotional language he uses in his letter ("dislike", "petty bickering", "embarrassment", "sleazy", and so on) is still appropriate.
While I'm writing, let me impart to you a couple of fragments of my own news. My new novel, The Prestige, has just been awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, for 1995. It is also shortlisted for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award. The Prestige will be published by St. Martin's Press later this year.
Interesting to see Gytha North listed as "event organizer" for the Hugo Awards; I recall her vividly as an excellent filksinger at the 1979 Brighton Worldcon.
Amateur writers saying "but it's a true story" are fairly common, from what I've heard from various writing instructors. The real point isn't whether it's true or not, but whether it's presented believably in the story. Robert L. Ripley used to present hundreds of facts in his "Believe It or Not" column that it would take an exceptionally talented author to make "believable" in a story. (I trust that Delany pointed this out to the would-be author, as well as discovering that the story wasn't true after all.)
Mostly I recall Brunner by the things he said. Such as "The problem with being a starving artist is that eventually you get too weak to lift the manuscript up to the post office counter." (A quasi-quote because I didn't want to look through 259 issues of Yandro to see just which one we published it in and make sure it's perfectly correct.) Or that he would write and sell two or three potboilers while he was working on a good novel. (Didn't matter; I liked most of his potboilers, too, and when I didn't, he didn't argue the matter.) I think his best novel was probably The Great Steamboat Race, but then I like good historical fiction as well as science fiction.
The Book on the Edge of Forever is indeed anti-Harlanmaking fun of Harlan would be more accurate. But has anyone, including Harlan, found any specific errors of fact? The presentation could be regarded as tasteless (it is tasteless, but it's also exceedingly funny), but the facts haven't been challenged, as far as I know, and I don't believe Harlan has ever apologized to the authors whose work he kept unpublished. (He's been accused of lying to them, which I don't believe; I think he fully intended to do everything he promised. But he didn't do it, and you know the phrase about good intentions.)
Juanita and I ended a forty-plus year record in January. For the first time in our convention-attending, we had to stay over a day because of bad weather. The irony is that the con was Musicon, in Nashville, TN, and the specific weather was a snowstorm. If you can't trust the Sunny South for good convention weather, what can you trust? We might have tried it; I think we could have got out of Nashville. But Kentucky had closed and barricaded highways at the state border, so we had no way of getting home without an extra night somewhere; possibly sleeping in the car next to the police barricade. So we and a lot of other fans stayed in the hotel, which was nice enough to extend the convention rate for an extra night. (Why not? Nobody was coming in from outside, certainly.) Odd hotel; the lobby and entrance from the parking lot was on the second floor. The first floor was in the basement.
I just got #110 and have to comment on the part related to the NASFiC. I much enjoyed Ross Pavlac's well-written article and consider it a complimentary comment. Janice Gelb's comment is hostile, bitchy, even bending the truth for her own purposes (whatever they are.)
[[You've got to be kidding....]]
So your "two thumbs down" are not two thumbs down at all. Considering the amount of entertainment they provided for the amount of money it cost, they came through with flying colors. ...To comment on SMoF worries: they are well placed, the NASFiC had more events and more fun, than many Worldcons in recent years; for less than half at the door price ($60). The bottom line in somewhat stronger language: there is something VERY, VERY wrong with Worldcon finances, if membership fees are so high. Gross incompetence, waste and personal greed comes to mind.
That Baltimore won is due to the fact that many common fen still perceived Atlanta's bid as a Dragon*Con bid and they equated Dragon*Con with a gaming con. (Which hasn't been true for 4-5 years.) At least that was the opinion of the people I talked to in Glasgow.
I guess I don't qualify as a Worldcon Smof. I never thought that the Atlanta in 1998 bid was a serious contender. For years, certain fans have been telling me that Dragon*Con is better than a Worldcon. However, these fans are oriented primarily toward gaming, comics and media. In addition, they never seem to have any money. For them to spend money on the possibility that Atlanta would win the Worldcon and hold it three years in the future was inconceivable. The only ones I expected to vote for Atlanta are those that vote strictly on geography.
Between Ross Pavlac's report and the info you assembled, your coverage of Dragon*Con was very thorough. Like most people, I was surprised at the poor organization, except for registration. After all, Dragon*Cons routinely draw more people than the largest-ever Worldcon. I had presumed that Dragon*Con's committee would function like a well-lubricated machine. I was disappointed, because it at times looked like a convention run by neofans. For instance, the one-way aisles in the art show discouraged me from going through more than once.
I asked one of my friends who goes to Dragon*Con every year if the dealer's room was always in the basement of the Hilton. He replied that it was, but that the art show is usually in one of the meeting rooms on the second floor. He thought they were showing videos in the rooms usually utilized by the art show. (At the 1986 Worldcon, the dealer's room was in the Hilton basement as well, but the art show was across the street in the basement of the Marriott Marquis.)
Samanda Jeude's treatment by supporters of Dan Steffan in this year's TAFF race has really ticked me off. I've decided that I'm not going to support the fund in future years unless a friend of mine is running. I don't recall Dan himself saying nasty things about Samanda, but I did receive Blat! #4 in which Ted White unfairly dissected Samanda's platform.
Without getting into the actual merits discussed in those "sharp attacks" on "their very right to participate" in TAFF, I am annoyed by the breezy way you dismiss any right to controversy over the candidacies of Martha Beck and Samanda Jeudein which you misspell Jeude's name (as "Samantha") and attribute a section of my editorial in Blat! #4 to Dan solely in order to condemn him for it.
I think it's incumbent upon you to check your facts when attacking the winner of TAFF. And I think you can very easily tell Dan and me apart.
[[We agree that it's very easy to tell you and Dan apart. Since we know that, and we know that half the people who get File 770 also get Blat!, no one could be persuaded that Dan actually wrote your part of the zine, so why pretend that's what I attempted? As Blat!'s co-publisher, Dan bears responsibility for Blat!'s attacks on Samanda Jeude. That is the point. And I strongly disliked seeing a TAFF candidate sink to the level of associating himself with attacks on another Taff candidate.]]
For what it's worth, I don't think I "ridiculed" Jeude's TAFF platform so much as I took it apart and exposed it to ridicule. The basic problem with Jeude's candidacy was that most of fanzine fandom, and almost all of British fandom, had never before heard of her, and thus we were all forced to form whatever opinions we might based on her platform. I have not yet had the opportunity to meet Jeude, nor has any of her supporters filled me in on what sort of person she really is (beyond what I quoted from the Lynches in that editorial). (Indeed, none of her supporters has even written a letter in support of her, despite my request for a dialogue on the subject.) And her platform alienated me. I thought it was too-coy, oddly sexist (the reference to her apparently abundant breasts), and betrayed not even a nascent fannishness. I don't believe I'm the only one who had this reaction, and I don't think anyone but Jeude herself is to blame for it.
[[So you felt that Jeude's lousy TAFF platform licensed you to write contemptuously about her and her husband, her physical disabilities and her integrity, and quibble whether that was "ridicule"?]]
For what it's worth, my same editorial dismissed any genuine parallel between the TAFF candidacies of Beck and Jeude, and I think raking up both in the same sentence is inflammatory at best and serves no genuinely useful purpose, unless you think inflaming a quasi-war between "convention fans" and the rest of us is useful.
I have chaired conventions (including a Worldcon) and I've been attending conventions since 1955. Some of my best friends are primarily focussed on conventions rather than fanzines. So what? We're all fans.
I don't care to be pigeonholed as a "fanzine fan" if by so doing it is anyone's intent to diminish my participation in the rest of fandom. But fanzines are the glue that binds fandom together, gives us a voice and brings us into our first contact with each other. Were it not for fanzines I might not have met Franz Miklis in Scotlandor, if I had, it would have been as a second-string contributor to the art show.
[[It's true that fanzines are the glue that binds my fannish experience and have given me a voice. But I never assumed my subjective experience superseded that of other people engaged in what we would call "mainstream fanac" for whom fanzines are unimportant. The number of fanhistory-conscious convention-running fans has grown even faster than the number of genzine/clubzine/newzine publishers over the past two decades. (Unfortunately, either number is a tiny fraction of the people who call themselves sf fans.)]]
Finally, just to talk for a moment about a convention, I hardly recognized the Disclave I attended from Wooster's report. I can understand that he overlooked the attendance of John and Eve Harvey (British fans), but I'm amazed he was able to overlook the looming presence of the Alt.Bondage partywhich took up half a floor of rooms and could easily be said to have dominated the convention. (If you know what I mean.) "Goths" indeed!
Re: Martin Morse Wooster's Disclave report in File 770:110I don't know why calling "people in black" "Goths" is politically incorrect (at least in the Washington DC area) but 30+ years ago here on the West Coast we called them, within a fannish social context, "Bruces" or "Pelzes". Does he still dress that way? In wash-and-wear black with Wellington boots (as I recall him from the 1962 Westercon). Here in the Bay Area to dress in black isn't so much a fashion statement as to blend as inconspicuously as possible with the hordes of others who do so. A friend told me it had something to do with rock music.
[[Bruce Pelz' preference for black barely lasted until I joined LASFS in 1970, and I noticed he dispensed with it soon thereafter. In Los Angeles, the trend of wearing black streetwear began a few years ago when students decided that wearing Raiders and Kings paraphernalia was a cool way to disguise the real reason they had stopped wearing colors like red or blue, which was from fear of being targeted by the rival gangs who wear those colors.]]
A tiny contribution to your piece in File 770:110 on TAFF: obviously TAFF, and all other fan funds, should be open to all fans irrespective of their particular sphere of activity, and the apparent contradiction between claiming that fan funds are for the benefit of all fans while in practice restricting themalbeit by defaultto fanzine fans is something on which I've commented in the past. But Martha Beck didn't lose TAFF in 1984 because she was a convention fan running against fanzine fans, standing as a candidate in her own right: she lost because her candidacy was being promoted by a factionin particular, Jackie Causgrove and Dave Lockewhich had initially sided with Richard Bergeron in the TAFF Wars of that year and subsequently took up the cudgels on behalf of something called "the wimpy zone." Further, Martha Beck wasn't even on the formal ballot: her candidacy had to be promoted as a write-in, which had the useful side-effect of exposing the scope for abuse of the ballot (in this instance, the appropriation of TAFF to pursue another agenda entirely, which is why her candidacy was "sharply attacked in fanzine editorials and letter columns"), and thus a later tightening up of the rules.
In any case, I think there must be an error in the second sentence of the first paragraph of the article: the Glasgow Worldcon couldn't have offered free accommodations to DUFF because DUFF has nothing to do with Britain. It's GUFF which links us with Australia, as you later acknowledge.
[[My mistake: I obviously had L.A.con III on my mind when I wrote about fan funds connected with the worldcon. Turning to the 1984 TAFF race...
[[You're right to emphasize that Topic A was at heart a struggle for ideological control of TAFF rather than a difference of opinion about Martha Beck's qualifications. However, if you reread the material (as I recently did) you'll find many of Causgrove's opponents took a shotgun approach, having apparently decided as long as they were at it they would make a personal dissection of Martha, too. They disapproved of her under any and all circumstances, and I feel that part of the story resonates with Jeude's ordeal in the 1995 TAFF race.]]
For the record, I, Rob Hansen, former TAFF administrator, did not oppose the candidacy of Samanda B. Jeude, whom I'd actually heard of previously but knew nothing about. In the 1985 race, a group of fans in the Midwest tried to use sheer numbers to win TAFF for their candidate, Martha Beck, with no reference to the host fandom, we in the U.K. (we only found out about it because a 'Martha Beck for TAFF' flyer was 'leaked' by someone who thought we ought to know about it). This arrogant attempt to disenfranchise us, to make a British voice in that race entirely irrelevant, caused immense offence over here and led to a large scale mobilization to defeat the Beck candidacy at all costs. But the battle wasn't about Martha Beck; UK fandom would have mobilized against whoever was put up in those circumstances. However, given the bitterness this caused (I still burn with anger when I think about it), and our realization that TAFF wouldn't survive a repeat performance, we added a new rule that in order to win a TAFF race you had to secure at least 20% of the total vote in both the sending and the host countries. Though I had some problems with her platform (which seemed to be about bringing enlightenment about disabled access to the heathen Brits), Samanda B. Jeude stood on the basis of the 20% rule like every other candidate and, had she won on that basis, would've been a perfectly valid winner, IMHO.
I didn't know Harry Moore, but did know Curt Clemmer; his death came at the end of a long string of bad news in June, and late May. Beverly DeWeese was rooming with us at Wiscon, and on Saturday we were in the huckster room when a concom member came in and asked, "Did you know they had to take Bev to the hospital?" Turned out to be a gall bladder attack, she was treated in Madison, shipped back to Milwaukee, and successfully operated on. We hung around at Gene and Bev's house until the good news arrived, and then headed home. On June 3, we drove to Columbus, OH for the funeral of long-time fan and friend, Betty Gaines, one of the old-timers of Columbus fandom. June 5, our dog was hit by a car and killed. June 15, we heard about the deaths of Curt Clemmer and Roger Zelazny. I can do without any more periods like that.
I remember at the 1993 Windycon, we hadn't been notified of any panels to be on, which was unusual, so as soon as we got in our room we went down to Ops to see what was going on; normally, since the con paid for our room, we expected to be on some panels in exchange. Curt tossed us a program schedule and asked what panels we wanted to be on. We said we didn't want to be on any; we were willing to be on some. Curt said something like, "Thank God" and explained that all afternoon he'd been deluged by people insisting that they had to be on one panel or another; one particular individual (who I won't name, though Curt named him) insisted on being on a good many of the panels. He was happy to see somebody who wouldn't be insulted if they weren't on anything, and told us to go away and enjoy the con.
Juanita and I appreciate your comments on convention fans running for TAFF. We're at the point where we will not contribute to TAFF unless a personal friend happens to be running, and Martha and Samanda were both personal friends. And even then, we won't contribute any more than we need to in order to vote. If Dan Steffan does a TAFF Report, we won't spend the money to buy it.
I'm not convinced that there is a fix for the problem that a small sub-segment of fanzine fandom have brought on TAFF by attempting to control it. Many Midwestern fans have not participated in TAFF voting or fundraising since the unfortunate disqualification of Martha Beck from the ballot ten years ago. This year's bitter race can only be bad for TAFF, and probably the other funds as well. Unfortunately, when we were DUFF administrators, we had to spend a fair amount of effort explaining that DUFF is not TAFF.
Leah points out that the argument over who can participate in TAFF elections goes back to Bob Madle's candidacy. He won in 1957.
The fanzine versus convention fandom issue and TAFF I find interesting. First I see no reason why ANY fan shouldn't be eligible to run provided they have some established track record in fandom. All the TAFF candidates this year had that qualification. However, that aside I would expect the fanzine fan to have the advantage. Not because their fanac is any more pure or deserving than the convention fan, but because the fanzine fan is likely to have more exposure in the overseas electorate. Having never paid too much attention to final vote results or voting demographics I may be completely out in left field here, but I was not surprised that Dan Steffan won for TAFF since he probably carried the majority of the European vote.
That sobbing sound you hear in the background is the sound of a heartbroken fan who is wondering what ever happened to File 770especially since she had written them a Letter of Comment in the recent past.
Nola also wants to know that if you are no longer publishing File 770, could you please, at the very least, mail her a 10-pound box of See's candy (milk chocolate with the soft centers...). One of the sysops of K&l, the bulletin board through which she gets her e-mail, has informed Nola that he is perfecting the technique of sending chocolate by e-mail....
[[ommitted for the electronic edition]]