Saturday, July 02, 2005

Paul Dormer, Interaction Hugo Administrator

Guy: It gives me great pleasure to inform you that your fanzine Challenger has received enough nominations to appear on the Hugo ballot for Best Fanzine at Interaction. I am writing to ask you if you accept this nomination.

With utmost gratitude.

Rich Zellich

"Of the Hugo Nominees' Party, some memories... Rich and Michelle Geller came through. I've adored Michelle since '86, when Nawlins competed against her St. Louis bid."

Rich and Michelle "Geller" ?

I'll introduce you to Rich and Michelle Geller sometime. They bend spoons with their minds.

Other than the above goof, good issue of the 'zine. :-)

Another minor correction; St. Louis is bidding for the 2007 NASFiC, not the '08 Worldcon. Since we saw you at the Noreascon, Ocean City, MD has declared an '07 NASFiC bid, too.

We got to see the Cardiff Giant, too, but I don't recall having to pay $15 apiece... must have been a special all-for-one admission as part of the minor fair of some kind they had when we were there (I was working in Albany for several months in 2003, and Michelle flew up one extended holiday weekend, instead of me flying home to St. Louis.) We also got to see a sheep-shearing and wool-carding and -spinning demonstration, as well as visiting the small art & historical museum across the road - all for one price.

Cooperstown is a neat place, apparently with a lot of really good, small, restaurants - must be because of all the tourist traffic. We only got to try one such during our short visit to the area, but it was a wonderful family-run Italian place. We were mainly there for the Baseball Hall of Fame, of course... Michelle being the main baseball nut of the two of us.

Henry L. Welch, Editor, The Knarley Knews

Just reading thru the lettercol of Challenger, and was amazed at how clueless Hank Reinhardt sounded. Indeed, he makes me wonder, much more than I have regarding Joseph Nicholas in other letter columns, why anyone would want to send him a copy of their fanzine. Not only are his views so wrong-headed, but he is personally abusive to you as well. The main thrust of his letter seems to be repeatedly justifying current American military brutality by pointing out how brutal people and the world are, in general. His final message for you is to "grow up" and accept the brutality without whining about it. No doubt about it, the human race will never evolve with people like Hank Reinhardt thinking the way he apparently does. If "Joseph Joseph Nicholas" is indeed correct that the exploration of space is dead, which has been stated before, and seems to be the case, that is indeed unfortunate, as that also represents the end of human evolution. If human life is to survive, we must eventually leave this sphere - someday it will no longer be habitable. Plus, the law of probability states that some time, sooner or later, some other celestial body will collide with our little planet. If we're not able to escape the planet, we won't be able to escape that catastrophe. Not even roaches would be able to survive that!

I just wanted to add to the above by saying that it's people like Reinhardt who give so much lip service to our spreading "democracy" to Iraq who don't care that in reality what we are really spreading there is tyranny and torture. Moreover, there are some Americans who insist that there has been no torture of political prisoners in Iraq; that abuse and humiliation do not amount to torture. Meanwhile there are claims by prisoners who have been beaten and/or have had dogs set on them - pretty harsh treatment for someone for whom it isn't even known if they are an "insurgent" or not. As far as I know, these claims have not been investigated.

Must disagree with Dr. Craig Hilton when he says, "It is unknown in our society," when referring to rheumatic fever and, presumably, strep throat, which he also refers to, although not specifically by name. Strep throat does still occur in America, and, according to my current doctor, if not treated effectively, eventually leads to defective or leaky heart valves.

I see that Brad Foster misinterpreted something I said in the email of mine you published about finally remembering my "little" cousin Joe (which, as I said before, made little sense without the previous one, where I referred to not remembering Joe), perhaps in order to launch off on his own rant about lying out under the sun. My skin is such an unnaturally pale color that I usually try to get at least a little tan in the summer - it just doesn't look right for me to go through the entire summer with such a (seeming) deathly pall on my face. That is why I spend time under the sun, not to "get hot," and I certainly never made any reference to leaving New York because of the heat! That was a projection on Foster's part.

Great lettercol; thanks for the words from Arthur C. Clarke. Like much of fandom, I had been wondering what had happened to him after the tidal wave hit.

Guy, I acknowledge many of the problems with this country that you point out. It is so easy for us as Americans to become complacent and not care about our government slaughtering peoples in other countries. In this day and age in which we have made our individual lives so complicated, many times it seems to be all we can do just to get through the day, without time for worrying about what our government, which we obviously cannot affect, is going to do. The only words of encouragement that I can offer you are that you and I are at least doing something - fanzines are obviously becoming one of the last vestiges of the free press.

Tim Marion, c/o Kleinbard, New York New York USA

I've been reading over the latest Challenger, but it's getting difficult because I just keep getting more and more depressed. Not by the issue, mind you, which is fine.

Your prognostication of war with Iran in 2006 is apparently very optimistic. It seems we are already making incursions into that country... before we have even secured Iraq. An article I read from the Yahoo! website describes Fallujah as the greatest military defeat in history... on our part. Apparently our military hit them with everything they could, including chemical weapons, and they're still there. No satellite pictures of the city have been allowed since our offensive on them.

Guy, I remember as a kid in the 60s the chants and slogans about having a revolution, and frankly, I didn't understand. I would hate to think that is what it would take to turn this country around. It's hard to think of every right-thinking person in the country having to risk their family, pets, home, job and lives and March On Washington, but apparently that's what it's going to take to convince the Powers That Be that they Just Can't Do These Things. They can't start illegal wars because they don't like other dictators. They can't take resources from other countries to line their own pockets, while bankrupting us, the citizens who have supposedly elected such officials. We have long since passed this point in our evolution - this was one of the reasons why monarchies are considered passe and democracies were founded. The whole point of having a United Nations is to keep superpowers like us in check; if our government ignores such laws and rules, it becomes, de factor, a rogue regime. As has been said before, we must bring democracy back to our own country before we can think about exporting it to others.

I admit I was thinking about moving to Canada, but I'm also thinking that with dwindling energy resources, the last thing I need to do is move to a place where it's only warm 2-3 months out of the year. As long as my job is here, I guess I'm stuck in New York. I would be willing to accept that we are living in the Last Days as long as I didn't feel it was our own fault.

Adding to the above, strep throat and resultant heart trouble were probably serious contributing factors in Susan Wood's death in the early 80s.

Joseph Major, Louisville, Kentucky USA

Editorial: About fifteen years ago, when the then county government turned over county judges, and the new one learned to some dismay that the old one had been less than careful about the balance between revenue and expenditure. Thus there were layoffs. The Chief Engineer asked me to prepare the listings of proposed layoffs. I had hopes that they would at least not tell me to prepare for my own firing. We were a little more fortunate than your former office; didn't have to lay anyone off. When they did have to cut people, last year when they state government abolished auto emissions testing because one local state senator said everyone passed anyway, so why bother, I was in a section that didn't have to worry, but some of our inspectors got bounced. . .

Best wishes for the new position and the prospects northwards. I understand about the insurance matter. Got a bill from the hospital last week for all the tests I took. It was a third of what I paid for the car. Fortunately the insurance paid all but a smidgen of it. I don't think I'm a profit center for the insurance company.

Yes, Noreascon was definitely fun. It will be our last Worldcon for a few years (see above about car and medical considerations).

"The Einstein Code": You do know that Einstein was a subscriber to Astounding? One wonders if he tried to apply relativistic considerations to the "trick issue". [For the fanhistorically challenged, the November 1948 issue of Astounding published a letter by Richard Hoen reviewing the November 1949 issue; the November 1949 issue contained the stories reviewed.] I never quite bought the theory in The Bible Code, but then I read about Ignatius Donnelly's work proving that Francis Bacon put a code in the works of "Shakespeare" revealing his authorship and other secrets. People then used Donnelly's methods to prove that Donnelly had written the works of Shakespeare.

"SteamPunk": I remember noting how "fannish" the Emily Dickinson scholars are, holding meetings where women dressed as Emily read her poetry to audiences (something she herself would never have done, but), dealers sell not only books but also other Dickinson-related stuff, and the like. And they would of course have considered the readers of that Star Wars trash to be wasting their time when they could be doing something serious. And I suppose much the same for the Dickens Faire.

"The Old, Old Story": The variation I ran across was for children, and featured the kindly old Professor, his niece and nephew, a dashing young pilot, and perhaps the amiable but old-fashioned gardener. The Professor had built his spaceship in the garden, see. This often bewildered American readers, who didn't know how big English gardens were. The jolly adventurers would take off one afternoon, fly to the Moon, do a splendid little tour, and then return, parking the spaceship in one corner of the garden. The children would have a little tale to tell, not that anyone much cared ... (Horrifyingly, that much is turning out to be a quite accurate prediction).

"A Visit to Jack Vance": which makes it clear why it took six years for the last part of Ports of Call to come out. I was surprised Vance could get away with writing such a short book these days. I note that Ports of Call is set in the Gaean Reach of many of Vance's earlier books. Not only the reader but the characters can visit such intriguing worlds as Alastor, Smade's World, Cadwal, and so on.

"Noreascon IV Diary": Yes, I noted the enclosures. In fact, I went down to the lobby and stepped outside one night, at about 11:30. Ever since at least high school, I have not gone one single day without going outside at least once, and I didn't want to break the chain.

Sophia Loren is seventy. I can think of more depressing thoughts but that takes time and effort.

So she's 70? She's still Sophia Loren." A New Take on the Moon Hoax": It's the picky little detail that makes a fine hoax. Inviting the reader to "put it together" is another technique. I'm thinking of the Mark Twain story where he described the position of a petrified man, and if you read it carefully, you found out he was thumbing his nose.

"The Chorus Lines": E. B. Frohvet: Comics fandom, like many other fandoms, got started in Fandom. Lay your hands on a copy of the reprinted Xero. Bob Sabella: Live action movies tend to be dominated by other factors. This was why John Bloom started focusing on B-movies, which passed under the radar of financial control, being able to be conceptually controlled by one person. Who might not be any good but ...

Richard Dengrove: The portrayal of Nemo in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was taken from The Mysterious Island, where he is Prince Dakkar of Bundelkund, deposed through intrigue by the Raj. Trying to reconcile the chronologies however is quite a different matter.

Tim Marion: Saddam Husayn may have been called an atheist, but he also claimed to be descended from the Prophet. The Baath Party is officially secular, but it's like the man who tried to mollify an Ulster gunman by claiming to be an atheist, and was asked, "Ah yes, but are ye a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist?" All the atheists in Islamic countries are Islamic atheists.

Thanks for the great company at the April DeepSouthCon - and our latest fan editors' dinner!

Somebody ... I don't know who!!! Gawd! How embarrassing ...

Thanks for The Galactic Route covering your trip to Noreascon. A colleague of mine did a brief classification of the constitutional amendments in partial response to the recent trends proposing amendments to ban flag buring and gay marriage. In his opinion exactly one of the amendments restricted liberties (Prohibition) and we know what happened with that one. I think this is a grand and revealing commentary on many in the conservative movement who are pushing for these. The Constitution is designed to protect us and keep our freedoms, not to restrict them.

"Six Ships That Shook the World'' by Roger Archibald in Invention and Technology 13, Number 2, pp 24-36 (1997) is a fascinating article about how the USS Constitution was built and how critical aspects of the design had to be rediscovered during restoration. A brief coverage of this can be found at

Despite the achievement of man I, like you, am continually reminded that nature is fully capable of upstaging us. Your commentary on the USS Constitution followed later by your comments on Niagara make this abundantly clear. This is one of the many reasons I chose to get married in a cave rather than in a man-made structure.

Yes - but who are you??? I can find no record of who sent this excellent LOC!

Lloyd Penney, Etobicoke Ontario Canada

It has taken me a while, but finally, there's time to get caught up with some things, and one of those things is to go to, and make some comments on Challenger 21.

"The Einstein Code" made me smile. I know that The DaVinci Code is fiction, but I am amused to find how many people think it a book of revelation into an ages-long mystery. I haven't read it myself; I'm too entertained by the public reaction to it.

I am hoping that Chris Garcia will actually do an article on his father, and the things he did for SCA and Worldcons. I have had some contact with SCA, through a few of its members who are also involved with fandom, and with its website and its duchy system. I remember talking to one local person who had quit SCA because he wanted to do some creative recreations in a time period SCA did not cover, and he was actively discouraged from proceeding with it. Anachronism, yes; creative, but only to the extent we say you can. He formed his own recreation group, had some fun, and faded from my view about ten years ago. I think a recreation group that would recreate the fine clothing and manners of a bygone era, such as Chris describes, would be a fine idea.

Sometimes, I think I've never been an adult. I feel like I've been a kid for a long time, and now, I feel like a premature old man. The eyes are going bad, the knees are good only with the consumption of glucosamine-chondroitin capsules, the bald spot continues to enlarge, as does the pot belly. I wish for those good old days of goshwow, and while I still have them from time to time, they are becoming rarer, and I treasure any day that has it. I always wondered if these eccentric professors were so nerdy or weird, how on earth did they find a girl to marry so they could have daughters to worry over in those great stories?

I am as guilty as the next fanwriter; I rarely comment on artwork in my locs, and I should. Many fan artists never see the inside of a fanzine, and that's a shame. I can think of some local artists who are regularly seen in local art shows ... Larry Stewart, Lar deSouza, Chris Knight, and several others fatigue won't let me remember. Jeez, what is Tim Kirk doing these days? Disney! Every so often, a modern fanzine shows off a gem by Kirk, or George Barr, or even a Bjo. Tim, were you able to land on that fateful day, or did your plan land somewhere in the Yukon? Many planes coming in from Japan landed in Canadian territory.

Interesting trip with Jack Vance. I've read about a dozen of his books, which many not be enough to grasp how good a writer he is. I had read about how he was slowing down, and then about his failing eyesight, and I understood better why he seemed invisible these days. He's nearly 90 and mostly blind, and I can only imagine what kind of frustration that must be in such a visual medium as science fiction.

Oh, I wanted to be at the Boston Worldcon. We had such a good time there in 1989 for Noreascon 3. We wanted to be at N4, but money wouldn't allow for it. In this day where Worldcon memberships can be purchased on the installment plan because they are so expensive, I may be among the first of eventually many who will say that Worldcons are great, but I cannot afford to go to it any more. At least Bob Devney let me put an essay in the First Night one-shot. I was pleased when I learned I cam in sixth place for Best Fan Writer ... always a bridesmaid, and never a bride. And, the Fan Gallery put up a huge picture of us, so were there in spirit.

I am glad Mike Resnick enjoyed the Movenpick Marche; there are several in Toronto, and take-out versions in some supermarkets here.

I am always amazed at some of the stories you relate, about the crimes committed, the people who commit them, and the fact that these people may go free, receive probation, receive a still fine, receive a jail sentence or the death penalty for a crime, depending on what state they may be in when they perpetrated the crime. Some people are free today for crimes others may have been executed for. Perhaps I exaggerate a little here, but I don't think I exaggerate much.

I've never wanted to own a boat, really, but one thing I have always wanted is to live by the lake or ocean. Being in Toronto, Lake Ontario is to the south, and we always seem to live fairly close to the lake, so we're happy. We try to spend at least two Saturdays every summer having a day-long picnic in a lakeside park, enjoying the breeze, the cool grass, the shade, and the chattering squirrels in the trees before the parks get too crowded.

Gotta agree with you on the two cities of Niagara Falls. One reason I'd been given about the differences between the two cities is that NFNY is still recovering from a major embezzlement of funds from the Niagara Falls Tourism Commission bank account some years ago. There are now two casinos on the NYOnt side, and an Indian band-run casino in what used to be the Convention Centre on the NFNY side, gambling doesn't seem to be the reason any more. You probably discovered that the Rainbow Mall, intended to be a Mecca for tourist shopping, has been long closed. Eeriecon, the local con in NFNY, comes along in about six weeks, so I hope to see Joy Moreau there again. We did The Maid of the Mist a few years ago on a whim ... a good time. We sneaked away with our plastic ponchos, and they are in the car in case we're caught in a cloudburst.

Doing a Lynddie ... just last night on 60 Minutes, there was a report on rendering. The US government can call it whatever it wants, but it is state-sponsored kidnapping, plain and simple. I think the military is out of control, to match the government that funds it. It all shows that any excuse can be given to forget one's morals. Somehow, assaulting foreign nationals and holding them without due process of law, so holy in American documentation, is okay in this post-9/11 era. It would seem that any crime, no matter how heinous, is just fine if done in the name of national security.

Once again, I don't mean to dump on you ... it's quite easy to look across the border and shake my head. But if I do that, I can only imagine how many Americans feel at the idea of their government doing the very things they used to decry in foreign government activities, like those governments in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Romania and Albania. 9/11 hurt us all in so many ways, we may never realize them all.

The next Corflu will be right here in Toronto, so here's another good excuse to come north. We'd love to see you up here, and we can have a good time without a Worldcon getting in the way.

Congrats on winning the Best Letterhack FAAn Award at the last Corflu!

Charlie Williams, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

I kinda like the FM version of your zine. Easier to read, prettier graphics, and I can share my copy with many others. Can't take it to the john, stacked in the magazine rack gathering lint and toilet-paper dust. Gotta log on and select the bookmarked site, and scroll down. A different kind of read, so modern. It's inevitable, like when rock'n'roll was on tinny AM, making the transition to broadcast stereo on FM and all. It hit me when a friend called up the latest Chall on his handheld computer, like a character from Mote in God's Eye ... The published zine is like the mimeograph, like the 12-cent comic book.

Or the six-ounce Coca-Cola, which you can still get, and which is still best, but which now costs too much for the amount you get. Ah, we're old men, Charlie. Time to lay us down and fertilize the Earth ...

Brad W Foster, Irving Texas USA

Seems to take me longer to get through an online zine, staring at that screen do start to tire the eyes after a bit. But, this is a new issue of Challenger, so not going to leave it alone too long!

Sorry to hear about the forced move, but I hope things will still turn out good in the long run. Hey, come on down to the Red River Revel next fall and say hi. I've exhibited my work there the last few years, and hopefully I'll get juries in again this year! (Even if they don't let me back, it's still a fantastic art and music fest to check out there in Shreveport. It's the first place I ever saw a rock group with an electric bag pipe. And that wasn't just for background, this guy could step up front and rock out with that thing!)

I loved Terry Jeeves' "The Old Old Story", though being more a child of the last half of the last century (what an odd phrase!),that outline sounded more like every "sci-fi B-and-C-Movie" plot I'd seen. Actually, guess I've always been prejudiced toward print, and so felt the cliche's must fall only on film. Ah, but no, every genre and media must have just such a baseline they have to rise above. On the other hand, lots of fun to use that plot when you inject the humor.

Thanks so much to Sheryl for getting this wonderful update from Tim Kirk on what he has been up to in her "Fanartists on Parade", and to Chall for giving her a place to print it, along with all that great Kirk art. Tim was pretty much out of fandom when I first got into it, but I saw enough of his art to be totally blown away, and his Kirk's Works collection is still a treasured addition to my shelf of art books. I never felt I could achieve anything like the levels of quantity and quality that he seemed to do so effortlessly, but looking at his work was what made me think it would be possible to actually have fun with my own. In recent years, I never could find out what had "happened" to him. Knew he had worked at Hallmark, and only some rumors of Disney...we used to joke about how he got swallowed up by two corporations where the individual artist kind of vanished into the maw of it all under the company "signature". After I won my last Hugo award ten years ago, I joked that people really needed to vote me just one more, since that would mean I had finally won more than Tim, and so he would have to start doing art for fanzines again, just to reclaim his title there.

Well, no one has taken me up on that offer, but hey, here's a whole mess of Tim's art... and he'll probably win this year, cause even a little bit of Kirk art blows the rest of us completely out of the water. One of the best, most creative artistic talents around!

And I agree with Sheryl Birkhead on deserving fan artists getting a little more recognition. I hope she is able to get something from Steven Fox. Another incredibly prolific and highly talented artist, I was lucky enough to have exchanged a few letters with him way back when, though he always seemed to be changing his address, and was hard to keep track of, until eventually I was just never was able to track him down again, and he seemed to kind of fade out of fandom. But what a unique talent he had. I'd love to hear that, like Tim here, he has simply gone on to greater artistic challenge and reward.

Sheryl's other piece "How Far will Water Run Uphill?" was one of those stories where you feel, no matter how bad things are going for me, it is probably going worse for someone else. (Which means, of course, that there is someone else out there with an even worse situation than Sheryl, and another worse than them, and so on... let's not go there!) We've had all kinds of problems with water flooding into the back of our house for several years. Lots of suctioning water out of the carpets, trying to dry things out, standing in the backyard in the middle of driving rainstorms, tossing buckets of water out into the alley, digging ditches, installing pumps, etc etc... but no way could I have put up with lugging buckets loaded with water up stairs for hour after hour. I think after the first 30 minutes I would have decided that the basement would now officially be the indoor swimming pool, and left it at that! Great issue!

Joseph Nicholas, Tottenham, London

I've been noodling from time to time at the on-line version of Challenger 21. Indeed, I've saved parts of it to my hard drive, so that I can read it without running up the phone bill. (In the UK, all calls are charged according to their length. Surfing the internet on dial-up can therefore be a bit expensive.) In this case - when I've had the opportunity to read some more, I'll probably write some more - I'm responding to some of the comments in the letter column; from (in order) Joseph Major, Martin Morse Wooster and Hank Reinhardt.

"People who are in horror movies don't watch horror movies," says Joseph Major. He's forgetting Scream, the first and the best of the series (in fact, it was made as a stand-alone, with no thought that there might be sequels), in which the characters comment explicitly on the tropes and conventions of the teen slasher genre and their likely default roles in the "real version" being played out around them. (If I recall correctly, I think that one point one of the characters addresses the others on videotape, saying that if his friends are watching this then he obviously didn't survive.)

My favorite line in that movie came when a character named infamous mass murderers - "Jack the Ripper ... Charles Manson ... O.J.!"

"Where did Benford get the notion that we will run out of oil in 50 years?" asks Martin Morse Wooster, and continues: "All the evidence of the past suggests that when the price of oil rises, companies get to work and find new areas to drill in. Isn't it true that if we only had the proven reserves of 1978, we'd have very little oil now?" Unfortunately, Wooster is here confusing total reserves, recoverable reserves and economically recoverable reserves. I shall attempt to elucidate.

When the Club of Rome published The Limits To Growth in 1970, predicting an imminent end to exploitable resources of raw materials and fossil fuels, it was basing its predictions on economically recoverable reserves, as the economics of extraction then stood. That is, it recognised that there were recoverable reserves over and above those it classified as economically recoverable, but considered that the cost of extracting those additional reserves would exceed the revenue to be gained from them.

What has happened in the thirty years since is that extractive technologies have continued to develop, to the point where what would have been economically unrecoverable in 1970 can now be exploited for profit. This has occurred independently of increases in the actual price of oil - apart from the artificial shortages and price hikes of 1973 (and the taxes levied on fuel at the pump by governments), the relative cost of oil has remained largely unchanged. Unfortunately, the focus on price -- an obvious headline indicator, and one that is much more meaningful to the public at large - has tended to mask developments in extractive technology, leading to the belief that the discovery of new (i.e., undetected or suspected) reserves is dependent on the price going up.

What has actually happened, however, is that the proportion of total reserves classified as economically recoverable has increased markedly - while known total reserves have increased very little. In other words, we're finally beginning to push up against the limits. Which is where the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, to which I referred in my previous letter, comes in.

"In my seventy years I have read many editorials and comments espousing all sorts of positions," begins Hank Reinhardt's letter. " Some have been superb, some have been lousy, but I am hard pressed to find one to compare with Guy's latest editorial. It is beyond compare! It is magnificent! Never have I encountered one piece that is so filled with ignorance, hypocrisy, absurd exaggeration and just pure drivel."

After that my brain glazed over a bit - it's a long rant, and as usual with long rants from Hank Reinhardt, the actual subject matter tends to disappear beneath the torrent of bile he pours forth. And, to be honest, I don't think you answered him very well.

Step back from the actual subject matter - the invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Saddam Hussein's torturers, Waco and Ruby Ridge - and look at the basic point he's arguing. "It's all right for us to do this, because others do it too." In other words, that two wrongs really do make a right. Once that is grasped, his whole argument falls over, and there's no need to worry either about his details of who did what to whom when in history or the question of whether this sort of behaviour does or does not run counter to what the US allegedly stands for, because his moral standpoint has vanished - or probably never existed in the first place.

Mind you, I enjoyed his argument about the Vietnam War being a Democratic war because the Democrats were in power at the time. Therefore, because he doesn't like Democrats, it was an evil and unjust war. Whereas the invasion of Iraq, because it was mounted by a Republican government, is therefore perfectly acceptable. (Or something like that. As I say, his actual points tend to be submerged by his invective.) As he himself might say: it is beyond compare! Magnificent! And utterly, utterly ridiculous.

Robert Kennedy, Camarillo, California, USA

Thank you for #21.

I had a much needed laugh reading "The Old Old Story" by Terry Jeeves.

Your further adventures with DUFF was appreciated. You are to be congratulated for producing an excellent report.

The commentary by Tim Kirk along with his art was great.

Mike Resnick's comment that Guy outdid himself editing the program book for Noreascon IV was an understatement. As I indicated in an e-mail to Guy - he, Rose-Marie, and Geri Sullivan are to be congratulated on a magnificent job. Mike's comment about our "Governator" and changing the Constitution to allow naturalized citizens to run for President was right on. Leave the Constitution as it is that to become President a person must have been born here. Mike's comment about JFK and Bush got me to thinking too.

Where were the weird pictures of Guy and Rosy (p. 39) taken?

At the Lord of the Rings exhibit, demonstrating the simplest of the special visual effects used in Fellowship: a simple trick of perspective! See "The Galactic Route", my Noreascon 4 report, on the website. By the way, I understand that exhibit is traveling the country - due in Houston this summer. See it! See it! See it!

Sheryl Birkhead's "How Far Will Water Run Uphill?" reminded me of 1980 when I had to bail out my Mother's basement. Very exhausting work (and I was 25 years younger); but nothing like what Sheryl went through.

Richard Dengrove's "The Moon Hoax of 1835" was interesting and I don't remember hearing about it before.

E. B. Frohvet: I am honored that you remember meeting me at Chicon 2000.

Hank Reinhardt: It was the Federal Marshals Service that murdered Sammy Weaver, not the BATF. The BATF was the instigator of both Ruby Ridge and Waco. But, it was the FBI that finished them both off. There are a number of excellent books covering Ruby Ridge and Waco. If you would like a list, contact me.

{Side note to Guy: Both Laurence H. Tribe and another lawyer whose name escapes me at the moment [both certified members of the Left] have stated that what was done to snatch Elián González was unconstitutional.}

Dr. Craig Hilton: When I first read your "he may be a liar, but he's our liar!", I thought you were talking about Bill Clinton. A number of years ago Democratic Senator Kerrey from Nebraska (no, not the guy from Massachusetts), said that Clinton is "an unusually good liar." (Joseph [Bob] R. Kerrey, holder of the Medal of Honor.) A psychologist on the Oprah Winfrey's show said that you can't believe anything Clinton says. And he was convicted of perjury. Also, I believe he had his license to practice law revoked.

Guy Lillian: So, you say that the adversarial legal system worked in the McMartin case. Yes, their freedom was saved (finally) after a number of years, not taking into account the woman who died in jail. The charges were ridiculous. But, as I said, their lives and livelihood were destroyed. Then there's the boy down in Temecula, California who the police badgered into confessing that he murdered his sister when he was innocent. (Sadly, I've forgotten his name.) Then there are the satanic ritual cases and the false memory cases. All in all, it doesn't leave me with a lot of faith in our criminal justice system.

But it should! These stories show that our system can find our too-human mistakes and correct them. Imperfect we are, imperfect it is, but it's still the closest approximation to justice that our species has yet attained.

Having served on jury duty six times, I realize that it is impossible to really judge a case unless one has watched it live throughout the complete case or one is on the jury. Nevertheless, I was not surprised at the Not Guilty verdicts in the Robert Blake case. One count was 11-1 for acquittal and the judge dismissed the charge. From what I had read in the paper it seemed to me that the prosecution case was not strong. I was expecting a Not Guilty or a hung jury.

All this leads me to the idea I had a number of years ago (and subsequently learned that I'm not the only one) that there should be verdicts replacing Not Guilty. They are Not Proven and Innocent. Not Guilty does not necessarily mean Innocent. It can mean Not Proven.

"The Best Speech I Never Gave" - Outstanding!

Grant Kruger, Brandon, MS, USA (yes, SFSA was already taken)

Can someone tell me where on earth I've been all these years? Almost a decade in the US South, and I never saw a Challenger until recently, when you gave me two of them and your Noreascon Four trip-report at DeepSouthCon Xanadu. I have to say that I was surprised by the high quality of the zine, and also at whom some of the contributors are.

For Challenger #20, fire on the cover and inside. Frank's art seemed a strange (but appropriate) contrast to the many farewells to Julius Schwartz that bracketed the other articles. I never knew Julius, but still felt the sadness. Some excellent artwork was surrounded by articles on all manner of subjects, from orbital errors through to dope court (was ever a pun more apt?).

As with several zines I have seen, not all of it is fannish, and I like that. Alexis discussed free will, sex and pair-bonding. Tim talks of lost futures and Albert sees death (but was he sampling the hospital medicines at the time *wink* ).

And then you discuss the state of the nation and torture, and the lie that was Ronnie. Ask an African about Ronnie, and how many innocents died in the cold war because of decisions made by him and his predecessors. Of course, as a white South African, I know all about guilt - don't you just love how guile and guilt are just an ET apart?

And torture? My word, does anyone in the USA really believe - and I mean deep down in the unfettered heart of you - the "isolated incidents" garbage? The worst thing about America today is it reminds me too much of home ... before apartheid ended. I told all my friends, "Trust in the goodness of the American people!" And then I'm proved wrong, and Bush is re-elected, and by fear - just as the apartheid government liked to operate (Swart Gevaar, the black danger!). I looked the fool I was, forced to acknowledge that y'all can be just as stupid as we were - and as we still are truth be told. I'll move on now, or I'll still be typing come dawn.

I think Faye Best's Katy qualifies as a fantasy story though, and nice to see a story in a zine again. And there were fannish memory pieces, including ancient (teasing you Guy) Nebula awards, framed by photos of fannish history. My goodness ... is that Le Guin? So shy - almost cowering - and yet with, The Left Hand of Darkness, she was a giant.

I've always thought her feminist affectations - smoking a pipe, for instance - were a little silly, but I'll forgive the author of The Dispossessed anything.

Then articles from Greg Benford and Mike Resnick. What a coup. Greg's article on the Real Future of Space was enjoyable, though I was familiar with most of the ideas. Mike's article on SF movies without logic was clearly written before, The Day After Tomorrow. I loved watching the cold chase the kids through the library, to their room... on an outside corner of the building. A more glorious logic-free collection of idiocy has not been seen since such appallingly stupid classics as Armageddon and Independence Day. As Mike said, it's worse when they have the resources to know better.

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, not to see an LOC from Lloyd Penney - a first for me and any fanzine. Nice to know he is not omnipresent ... or is it?

He's back this issue.

I also read, The Galactic Route, from cover to cover. You and I share a love of small details lovingly remembered. I used to write trip reports like that, but they went on and on (just as I'm doing now) so my con-reports now skip the sweet details of the journey, filled with new experiences and a thousand little moments. This year I'll be staying with fans in Ireland and Scotland, bracketing my UK Worldcon (where there will be fans from thirty-five countries) with the hospitality of friends and Celtic magic. This year I'm writing a full trip report.

What a marvelous Worldcon Noreascon Four was, a magnificent achievement and a special time. A gathering of my family. I confess that I miss South Africa every day - a connoisseur of homesickness - but when I'm at a con I'm home, and never more so than at a Worldcon. And as you write about it, more in this zine than in #20, your love for Rosy seeps out onto the page, bringing your memories to life, making me smile.

And now Challenger #18 stares up at me, tempting me. For pity's sake Guy, I have not read a book in weeks. And on the cover, Darth Vader - elevator to the dark side. An apt metaphor for this temptation? And he, the most successful villain in the history of movie merchandising - sorry Hannibal, but eating liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti does not sell nearly as well as scary masks, light sabres and action figures. So I guess I'll start on #18 tonight, given the omens - somewhere out there, as I conclude this LOC, opening night for the final Star Wars episode winds down. I missed it, along with its insane lines filled with the kind of hopeless nerds people think I am, and worse, I was at my writers group meeting instead - the ultimate media sacrilege. For penance I'll drink five Bloody Marys. And hey, I caught the last fifteen minutes of Predator tonight too - will that appease the media ghods?

Thanks for the gift of those three zines Guy. It was a pleasure to get to know you a little better at DeepSouthCon. I look forward to seeing you again some time, and to working with you on the SFC Bulletin.

Mutual! You refer to the revamping of Toni Weisskopf Reinhardt's classic guide to Southern fandom, which you have agreed to handle for the Southern Fandom Confederation - a project with which I'll be assisting.


Yvonne Rowse, Ben Indick, Robert Lichtman, Roy Thomas, Charles Mohapel, Jerry Kaufman, Bruce Gillespie, Irvin Koch