Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mea maxima culpa -- I didn't keep track of the WAHF entries this time. Looking over the LOCs to Challenger #27, I'm pleased that "Zenkitty"'s editorial on dating received so much comment. She hit us where we live!

Ruth Judkowitz c/o Challenger

I so appreciated being your Chall #27 honoree -- and being an honoree for a second time! -- and glowed yet again upon reading your kind words . . . but I just have to let you know that a fact or two was incorrect. Firstly, I've never been to a Mardi Gras; I usually showed up in New Orleans for JazzFest -- well, it's music related after all. As for exploring "harmonic therapy," that doesn't quite give the whole picture: I'm currently a practicing, nationally board-certified Music Therapist.

A great fanzine, as usual.

By "being an honoree for a second time" I suppose you refer to the SFPAzine I dedicated to you after our first meeting, since no lady will ever be subjected to two Chall tributes. What's a Music Therapist do?

Taral Wayne

I must have missed where Greg Benford said the U.S. was underpopulated. Surely he knew it was the third most heavily populated country in the world, after China, and India, and nosing out Indonesia (4th.) by over seventy million people!!!

I suppose he makes the mistake of thinking that because there are some empty spaces and you don't stand on tiny squares of a few square feet to call your own, that a country is not crowded. But I'm surprised that the author of so many hard science stories would not have a subtler grasp of what an environment can sustain. Granted, you can swing a cat in many parts of the continental United States, but the true measure of how crowded it is involves waste management, air quality, the water table, climate change, energy use, exhaustion of agricultural land and the need for artificial fertilizers, and numerous other issues that indicate to me that the U.S. is probably near or even past its long term sustainable population.

Granted, many of these measures can be recalibrated by technological advances. Better energy use or creation, superior waste management, water purification or re-cycling, improved agricultural practices might all re-set the number upward. Assuming that unlimited growth of population is a good thing. I assume that in the long run if we don't want our individual footprints on this earth to stop growing and begin shrinking, we had better rethink our attitude to population, soon, If not some decades ago. If we ever want that luxurious Star Trek life with energy to spare for transporters, FTL travel, replicators and all the rest of it, we're never likely to accomplish it with 6.7 billion inhabitants on the planet, let alone the 9 or more billion expected by mid-century, all clamouring for diminishing resources.

Brad W Foster, Irving, TX

Wow, a heavy-weight print zine in the mail. You are almost single handedly keeping the spirit of the massive genzine alive. Glad I was able to be a small part of it this issue.

That photo on the inside back cover came as something of a ... well, let's just say "unpleasant" surprise. Had no idea I manage to convey that particular goofy air when I should be cultivating the sophisticated ar-teest aura to make some sales. Then I realized, what you actually captured there was the exact moment that the stress of sweating through those 100+ hours of sitting in the heat of the Red River Revel this year burst open in my brain, and set off the count down for the attack of shingles that hit me just a week later. So, that shot will probably end up in all the medical journals one day: "If you see this, the patient should be immediately hidden from view of everyone else until the crisis passes."

You're not kidding about the heat. Shreveport's Revel is good fun, but the riverside humidity is exhausting.

Sorry again to hear about the passing of sweet little Jesse, but I think never has a pet had such love for all their life.

Jesse has been succeeded by Pepper, but not replaced.

Congrats to Taral on the GoH gig for Worldcon. He certainly deserves the honor for just about any and every reason I can think of -- artistically, fannishly, even geographically! As for his final comment about "… wish I could hold a party, but everyone is out of town..." He might not have been able to get a group together at that specific moment, but he'll be right at the heart of an even bigger party as one of a select group of folks in 2009!

Cracked up reading Chris Garcia's article on trying to indoctrinate young Evelyn into the cult of SF. I made similar, though less energetic efforts with my niece and nephew over the years. However, reading for pleasure has never been anything they expressed much interest in, so I've given up on dropping off the books. sigh Turned out okay young adults, but too bad they don't care for books.

"Books? Aren't they those things that used to be made out of … what was it? Paper! That's it. " Sigh The only paper today's young know about comes in rolls.

Also laughed at Julia's "Arms" article and art. I sometimes like to wiggle the flesh under my arms and brag of my "Bulgarian Grandmama genes".

Most interesting part of the Comic-Con review for me was the very little amount of actual comic-book related things that were mentioned.

The end of your article recounting the "making of" Nolacon II just reminded me of how many people have told me how poorly that con went. I was there, and had a wonderful time, so I've never understood what everyone else was having such a problem with. So there!

Chris Garcia

Challenger #27 came to my hands as if called my merciful angels wishing to spare me from another afternoon of actual work. Here I am ready to LoC one of my favourite zines without fear…

Zenkitty brings up an interesting take on the dating matter of buying dinner. When I was dating Jen, the first girl I've dated since breaking up with Gen who is the mother of Evelyn mentioned in the article later in the issue, she was an old-fashioned Southern kind of girl who expected guys, i.e. me, to pay for dinner and such. This was a slight problem, since she made considerably more than me (though I've yet to meet many people who are salaried and make less than I do in Silicon Valley) and I only managed by smart movement of stuff from my various collections into the hands of other collectors who were willing to pay to have said stuff. Luckily, we didn't last. My current flame started out thinking that we should always go dutch, though things really changed to the point where whoever can pay will pay and so on. Luckily it all works out and neither of us is paying too high a percentage and neither of us is getting a free ride. Plus, we stay in a lot and that saves some bread too.

Congrats to Taral on his Fan GoHship! I've just put up an issue of The Drink Tank where Frank Wu does an interview with Taral about his life and career as a fan and fan artist. I like Taral's work a lot, I've seen it numerous places over the years but only became conversant with it after acquiring a full-run of Gallery. I'd love to see him on the Hugo ballot and to have him walk away with the Rocket. Him and Dan Steffan. They could tie.

And Marc Schirmeister and Kurt Erichsen and Charlie Williams and Randy Cleary and Alan White and and and … But at least we've got Taral on the Denvention ballot.

I'm not much of a Clarke fan. It's a tough thing to admit, even to myself. Yes, "The Nine Billion Names of God" is magnificent stuff, fueling my love of extremely short fiction, but too often I've tried to read him and felt like I was reading a scientific paper turned into a story and not a story with science in it. I couldn't make it through Childhood's End nor 2001, though I believe the movie is a dead-on science fiction masterpiece. Maybe I should give him another shot.

I've had an interesting experience with Clarke's oeuvre. I was too young to "get" Childhood's End, but loved The Deep Range and "The Nine Billion Names of God" -- I cheered for Rendezvous with Rama in its Hugo bid -- and came to believe he deserved a Nobel Prize for his influence on the genre and the genre's impact on the world. For the comfort of his presence alone, he will be missed: our Greatest.

Fat arms. I recently had a lovely chat with a friend who has fat arms. In fact, that painting included with the article could well of been of my friend Myra, only she's Filipino and doesn't wear glasses. She once said that despite her jowls, she's had only one problem: pulling a sweater over her head. She has claimed it's added minutes on to her dressing time during the winter. Such problems don't happen to me. I've merely got this giant belly that allows me to play Santa Claus without bulky padding, to hit the crash bar on doors without having to put my hands on them and to provide ample warmth when the heating goes out. Sometimes I feel as if Eskimos are following me waiting for the right moment to harpoon and flense me, using the oil they find to heat their little igloos.

Rosy's big diet thing these days is carbs, which -- she's convinced, which means we're convinced -- affect the human body more significantly than calories. We do battle regularly over the issue. I mean, which should I want most: a long life or a good pizza?

I've never made it to Comic-Con, and this year was going to be the year I went. Instead, I'm going to England for Eastercon and time and money won't allow me to make the trip. And when a report talks about Stone Cold Steve Austin (one of my all-time favourite 'rasslers), I'm always pleased. I love the eye-candy at Comic-Con. The reports on sites like always show off lovely ladies in skin-tight outfits. This year, since 300 was so popular, the ladies had oiled abs and such to ogle themselves.

[Brad Foster's] "Shriner Shuffle" piece made me think to mention how interesting your artwork for this issue is. There's been a big change in fan art over the last couple of years. Brad Foster's color work has gussied up many covers and interiors (like The Drink Tank and Askance from John Purcell) and others have slowly started to rise up. I really think that folks like J. Kathryn Feinberg, Espana Sheriff and Aldrich will be the next generation of fan artist and they're just starting to see the light of day. Really must make sure I get more from those folks.

Fan art is just one of the areas where zines have it all over blogs. I'd much rather read excellent text with a nice drawing than excellent text without.

Robert Rankin sounds like a hoot of a writer. Too bad I'm so far backlogged on books that I can't fit him in until at least 2009. The funny thing is that I've created soundtracks for reading books over the years. I just load up MP3s on my Real Jukebox playlist and let her roll. The only one I remember with extreme clarity is the one I did for Perdido Street Station. Opens with "Haus der Luge" from Einsterzende Neubauten, followed by "My Little Shirtwaist Fire" by Rasputina, "Terror Couple Kill Colonel" and "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus, ""Turkish Song of the Damned from The Pogues, "Prophet of Disease" by Goatsnake, "Let Me Entertain You" by All About Eve, a bunch of Sisters of Mercy and The Swans, Red Right Hand, Do You Love Me and Wild Rose from Nick Cave and an entire Tigerlillies album. Good for setting the right mood.

I've met Slash. I saw him in LA when I was down there in 1998 or so, saw him walking around and said "howdy" as he walked by. He responded with "hey." And walked on by. I've had that same conversation with a lot of celebrities over the years.

Alan Moore looks even crazier than I'd imagined. He's an amazing writer. I'd put anything he's written in the last decade up against anyone else writing in the same timeframe and I'd say that Moore would win … except maybe when compared to Mieville (who certainly has a similar feeling to Moore's work) and Stross. Other than those two, and maybe Iain Banks, he's the best!

He is indeed, but what I like best about Moore is his understanding of what comics/graphic novels are all about: visuals. Take a look at Rorsharch's battle with the SWAT team in Watchmen -- it shows that the guy knows action. I really look forward to that movie, though I don't like the look they've given Ozymandias.

I've loved musicals since I was a kid, but my family didn't have much money to go to New York or even SF to see them too often and I often had to rely on cast recordings and AmDram to get my fixes. I did see a bunch of them during college though, the plus of going to a performing arts school. To me, the perfect American Musical is City of Angels. It's the best piece of post-modern theatre ever created. You've got a truly American detective concept, mingling with a tale of a writer selling out and some of the best music you'll ever hear. It's a magnificent combination and it blends fantasy and reality flawlessly, showing how one both enforces and counteracts the other. A masterpiece. I also love Assassins, though it's only slightly in the category of the Fantastic. Brigadoon is another favourite of mine, mostly for the dances that every version of it I've ever seen feature. There was a musical version of Rip Van Winkle that I enjoyed when I was much younger. It's good to see Forever Plaid up there. I saw that show at least 3 times and always loved it. Sondheim's Into the Woods was another great one for a kid of 12 to see on American Masters from PBS. I've always loved Sondheim (I used to sing songs from Company to myself on the swings as a kid) and that was his most fantastical musical at the time. I'm currently working on writing a musical myself. It's not fantasy, but a screwball-ish comedy about three guys trying to make their fill for the rest of the year during the last night before Prohibition sets in.

Nolacon. I wish I had been there. It sounds like one of those times when I'd find the most interesting little nugget of joy and spin it around until I had cotton candy…

You've put out an issue that puts anything I'll ever do to shame. Well-played, Mr. Lillian. Well-played indeed…

With two Hugo nominations this year, you've played this game pretty well yourself. Thanks for the nice egoboo towards Chall in your "Hugo Handicapping" issue!

William Huckabee, New Orleans LA

It's been many years since I've so much as seen a fanzine, but now here's Challenger #27. In many ways it marks a return to thrilling days of yesteryear, when I was an active SFer attending NOSFA meetings and trying my hand at zines for the club apa, George.

I note from Ken Mitcheroney's signature on his cover art that the piece was drawn in 1980-something. Despite its age, I imagine no one had any trouble recognizing Ripley and the Alien. Does anyone agree with me that the third movie in that series must be the most disappointing sequel of all time?

Not just disappointing, but offensive. Alien3 did its best to destroy the series and drown everything that went before in nihilism and bile. I consider it one of the worst movies ever made.

Is the coincidence fortunate or unfortunate that brings Joseph L. Green's "Janus" article to publication so close to Arthur C. Clarke's demise? Clarke's death was noted on CBS Sunday Morning, and they not only mentioned 2001: A Space Odyssey, but also showed clips from the network's moon landing coverage. Clarke, Walter Cronkite, and Wally Schirra were a great broadcast team. I was glad that they didn't show Clarke's quasi-debate on the value of space exploration with Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut compared people in favor of the space program to stamp collectors! I also recall that Robert A. Heinlein gave an interview on that program in which he suggested that future calendars would be dated from the landing. It's very sad the way things worked out. I doubt more than 1% of today's population could even tell you why July 20th is a significant date.

Aside from being the date of the first moon landing, July 20th also the day von Stauffenberg tried to kill Hitler, the date of the fall of the bridge at San Luis Rey, and the birthdate of Diana Rigg, Sir Edmund Hilary … and your humble obedient editor! Obviously, 7/20 should be a national holiday!

I curse my gafia over the past several years. It caused me to miss Ruth Judkowitz when she visited New Orleans in the past. Might she soon return?

In our dreams.

Alan Moore looks like he needs to get both a shave and more sleep. Mike Resnick's [and Laura Turtledove's] listing of fantasy-oriented musicals is awe-inspiring.

Your account of Confederation, and the bid for the 1988 worldcon, is an important piece of fan history. You deserve kudos for printing the story of the who-won-the-worldcon hoax, despite your being the butt of the joke. [Fame is fame is fame.] You mention some of the fans who have passed on since 1986. Others have disappeared. I wish I knew where Charlie and Cheryl DuVal were now. Their PanOptiCon was one of the best media conventions I've ever attended, and Cheryl was a fine cartoonist. I have an original of one of her portraits of Dr. Who.

The call goes out to fandom. Where are the DuVals?

I really liked your note on the passing of the actor, George Grizzard. Apparently his Twilight Zone episode made a difference to you. Is that the one where he turns out to be a robot?

Grizzard brilliantly played a dual role in "In His Image", a malfunctioning android and his neurotic creator. Great show, quite moving, inspiring hope in my adolescent self that happiness might be possible in this world. Grizzard also starred in a very funny TZ called "The Chaser".

Jerry Kaufman, Seattle WA

Now that I've read a great deal of the monster that is issue #27, I find myself with just a few things to add.

We here at Littlebrook don't do theme issues except as an afterthought. Several issues ago I noticed we had a couple of articles that related to travel, so I pretended all the articles were travel-related, whether actual physical travel or mental travel. The most recent issue's theme of Popular Culture was also selected after I realized that most of the articles could be characterized as such.

Taral's point of view about US voters and Worldcon site selection is very different from my perception. I think that, given the choice between a US bid and a viable foreign bid, the Worldcon has nearly always gone to the foreign site. "Viable" is a key word -- I don't think Zagreb could have won because few in the US thought it could really work. However, I've done no research to find out what bids opposed all those Canadian, British, Australian, etc. winning worldcons, so my perceptions could simply be self-serving.

I also doubt that Japanese voters had anything to do with Montreal's win, but maybe Taral was being tongue-in-cheek, and it's pointless for me to argue about it. (If you sent Chall to Kevin Standlee, I'm sure he will not be able to resist responding to Taral in depth on this and other points.)

Having said that, I will also say that Taral's a deserving choice, considering not only all the art he's done over the years, but also his writing, his fanzines (including, for instance, the provocative DNQ), and his other publishing projects. It's especially appropriate for a Canadian Worldcon to recognize him, but I think such an honor would not have been amiss if a US Worldcon had given it to him.

I enjoyed Joseph Green's overview of Clarke's work, but would have enjoyed it more if it had more about the mystic side of Clarke (something which I've noticed myself), and if Joe had shown more how the two sides of Clarke's writerly personality relate to one another. (Perhaps he's done this somewhere else?)

The late Sir Arthur's work is susceptible to many critical perspectives. Challenger is open to hearing all, hint-hint-hint.

I liked Julia Morgan-Scott's illustrations for her article.

The illos preceded the article. I asked Julia to write it after seeing them.

Warren Buff's article on science fiction rock reminded me that in Seattle we have a band called Bloodhag (there are umlauts over each "o" but I can't add them in AOL) that writes heavy metal songs about science fiction writers and has been known to toss copies of paperbacks by their song subjects into the audience. Greg and Astrid Bear love them but as I'm not a heavy metal fan (I believe what they do is better characterized as speed metal, but hey) and can't understand a word they sing, I avoid them. (You however, may like them, so seek out and listen for yourself.)

And that really is that.

Robert Kennedy, Camarillo CA

[Re issue #26:]

Cold Case Files
(A&E) presented the Michael Crowe case for at least the fourth and fifth times on April 27 and May 17. Then, also in May, I saw another case where police were so sure that the brother had killed his younger sister that they didn't bother looking into a much more obvious suspect. They couldn't prove the brother did it so the case went cold. Many years later another police officer looked into the case and read the girl's diary. What do you know? The most obvious suspect was the girl's boyfriend who treated her badly and apparently their relationship was unknown to the family. To make the story short, the boyfriend (now a Navy petty officer) was the killer. He claimed it was an accident. But, the evidence said otherwise and he was found guilty of murder. Of course, over the years the brother's life had been made miserable. The police apparently call situations like these to be tunnel vision. I call it incompetence. The Cold Case Files on A&E are the real thing, unlike on CBS.

There is a newly issued book on the Duke Lacrosse Case ­ Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case by Stuart Taylor, Jr. and K C Johnson. Mike Nifong the scumbag Durham County (North Carolina) District Attorney involved in the phony rape case involving the Duke University lacrosse players resigned and has been disbarred. He may face lawsuits. I would think lawsuits against Durham County and Duke University itself might be in order. Nifong got what he deserved. But, what about the lacrosse players he tried to railroad? Of course Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton jumped in early and played the Race Card. (The case rather reminds me of Sharpton and Tawana Brawley. Either Sharpton has learned nothing or doesn't give a damn. Probably both.) Then there's the New York Times who had the boys pictures on its front page, but put Nifong's disbarment on page 16. What about the 88 Duke University faculty members who took out an ad denouncing and threatening the boys?

Knee-jerk political correctness is always stupid. I'm delighted that Duke has reinstated its lacrosse program, and I hope the mistreated students soak both county and university for long, long green.

Apparently, Nifong finally issued an apology. Better late than never I guess, but it's meaningless. (Isn't it interesting how so many people apologize and say that they are sorry for their actions­after they get caught [witness Michael Vick]?) It was reported (September 1) that Nifong was sentenced to one day in jail having been found in "criminal contempt … for lying to a judge when pursuing charges against" the Duke Lacrosse players. (He could have received 30 days. Lucky man and he isn't even a young Hollywood so-called celebrity. He should have received several years in prison for his actions.) I wonder if the other people and the New York Times will now render an apology. I also wonder if they all will offer to help reimburse the boys and their families for their legal expenses that I understand are in excess of $1 million. I will not hold my breath.

As a free-press nut I wouldn't chide the NYT too much -- the accusations against the lacrosse teams made for an attention-worthy news story. But those who automatically believed the crazy complainant for whatever reason -- because she was black, because she was female, because the accused were male, white, jocks, whatever -- did violence to all basic concepts of fair play. Contributing to the guys' legal expenses seems to me to be a fine way of doing penance (said the money-grubbing attorney).

Then there is the recent case of the two 13-year old boys in McMinnville, Oregon who were charged with sexual harassment, felony sex abuse and anything else the prosecutors could think of for slapping some girls on the butt. Basically, the students at their school had a slap the butt day so most everyone was slapping butts. (I know that sounds a bit silly. But, these were only 13-year olds.) For some reason the Assistant Principal called the police on these two boys. The boys were interrogated by a police officer, arrested, hauled off in handcuffs, strip-searched, and placed in juvenile jail for five days. If convicted they would be required to register as sex offenders for a lifetime. Like Nifong, the District Attorney Bradley Berry keep saying wait until you see the evidence. Each time they came into court another charge was dropped. The girls involved said they wanted all charges dropped. Finally all charges were dropped and the judge dismissed the case. Apparently the boys will have to go through some of the usual therapy crap. The Assistant District Attorney said that under the same circumstances they would bring the same charges. The Assistant Principal, District Attorney Berry, and the Assistant District Attorney are well deserving of the Nifong Award. The Assistant Principal should be fired. District Attorney Berry and the Assistant District Attorney should be fired and disbarred, just like the punishment of Nifong.

It would be interesting if a Nifong Award could be established. No limit on the number of awards that could be given in a year. The first award should go to Nifong himself. Awards could be given for the past and the prosecutors and therapists involved in the McMartin case should receive the award. Joe Major should be able to come up with an excellent list of other possible recipients of the Nifong Award.

The Nifong Award seems a great concept to me! Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, my old stompin' grounds, recently provided an astounding example of prosecutorial misconduct, one so egregious that even our increasingly right-radical Supreme Court was disgusted. The A.D.A. in the Allen Snyder case -- whom I won't name, since he's a friend -- excluded blacks without cause from Snyder's jury and openly invoked O.J. Simpson in his closing arguments. The Supremes bawled out the A.D.A., the trial court judge, and the Louisiana high court in such disparaging terms that the courtroom rocked with laughter. Ooh. I'm on the other side and that hurt me.

Judge Roy L. Pearson sued cleaners for $54 million because he claimed they lost a pair of his suit pants. The suit apparently went on for some two years. Finally, in June a judge decided the suit was frivolous, that Pearson was not entitled to any money, and that he owed the Chung family (the cleaners) some $1,000 in costs. Finally, a good outcome. Judge Pearson should be removed from office and disbarred.

" The suit was frivolous"?!? But what could be less frivolous than a suit without pants? Do people want judges to go around without trousers? I'm confused.

OK -- Enough of the rants.

As for #26, I did send a copy of "How I Escaped My Peruvian Kidnappers" by Gary Robe to a friend whose wife is from Peru.

[On to #27]

Another outstanding issue and may you finally win a HUGO. I read all 95 pages of it.

Especially enjoyed were "My World Tour with Guns 'n Roses -- Mexico City" by Gary Robe and "Music(als) of the Spheres" by Mike Resnick.

Mike Resnick: Incredible, you list some 63 shows. In your fine article you make mention of Carousel. I've seen the movie and despite my admiration and love for Shirley Jones I did not care for the movie. Magnificent songs, but the movie didn't do a thing for me. Then, Laura Turtledove (a.k.a. Frankos) added another some 47 bringing the total to 110.

Guy Lillian: Good point at the end of Mary Ann van Hartesveldt's letter­"Creationism, whatever its faults, doesn't kill people."

Chris Garcia: If a friend of yours is being railroaded for a crime he didn't commit by a DA who is also a friend of yours, why does the DA remain a friend? I first saw Mort Sahl at the Hungry I in San Francisco and sat through two shows. Also, I remember when Bart Litton (then the owner of Litton Savings & Loan which is long defunct) sponsored Mort Sahl on TV during the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Sahl said that John F. Kennedy would be the presidential nominee because it was foretold in the Bible -- "A little child shall lead them." That so enraged Bart Litton (who, if I recall correctly, had ½ vote as a delegate) that he stormed onto the set and berated Sahl.

Joseph T. Major, Louisville, Kentucky

"Theme Dream": "Don't step on my blue suede tentacle sheaths." "Elvis has left the Dome.

Our condolences on the loss of Jesse.

"You Heard It Here" First: A ghastly thought; that a day may come when the only way a traditional fan can afford to attend the conglomeration of pros, performers, and media-kiddies that bears the name of "WorldCon" will be as invited (and costs-covered!) guest. Alas, I fell under the second category of people Taral couldn't notify, being at a reunion of my wife's family.

"To Build a Fan": "'He's almost as good as Austin Powers!'" We don't expect adult judgment from children, that's why the separate categories exist. However, one wonders about Chris's judgment: Perdido Street Station was next. What the hell was I thinking." What were you going to do next, Philip Jose Farmer's A Feast Unknown?

"Let he who would know Africa, eat lion sperm."

"Cooking With Fats": One imagines, as the elders sat in their shambolic huts thrown up on the verges of the new great and now empty ocean, they spoke yet of the high civilization and memorable wonders of Atlantis, trying desperately to evoke some pleasant memories of the joyous times before the Downfall.

We live in a modified shotgun house ­ a partial second floor was added, which contains Lisa's and my bedroom and my office. The house itself was originally built around 1903 (when my stepcousin, the WWI vet here in Louisville, was two years old) and was not flooded in 1937.

"An Astronomical Note": Thanks to the wonders of Google Maps, I have determined that the facilities of my cousin Ed's florist greenhouses in Hopkinsville will have less than one second less of totality from the maximum for the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. This eclipse will be part of Saros 45, which began in 1639 and will end in 3009. The previous eclipse in this saros was in 1999 and was reported on in Plokta. Therefore, I will keep in good standing with Ed and his sons Lee and John (who help him run the greenhouses), and with any luck will have access to a site of reasonable comfort from which to view the eclipse.

Thanks for teaching me a new word. I thought "Saros" was Willie, the fan from Texas.

"My World Tour with Guns 'n Roses": "How does it feel that you're going to have to live the rest of your life knowing that your dad is cooler than you?" Ah yes, we may be going into an era of Metamucil and AARP, but we have the warm cuddly feeling of knowing that those young whippersnappers of Gen X and Gen Y can never be as cool as we are.

Nor as cold as we soon will be.

"Music(als) of the Spheres": I think this shows that SF & F are very hard to transfer to the stage, even more so given the mindset of the performing arts community. "Wake up and Smell the Coffin!": While The Boat inspired a classic early graphic novel, Phil Foglio's The Capture, it really wasn't viable as a con bid; more intriguing to imagine than to actually carry out. Especially these days, when there is so much one-day business.

Nevertheless, the Boat came in second in the 1988 bidding, with almost half as many first-place votes as New Orleans. Whether this was because fans thought a worldcon on a cruise ship was a cool idea or wanted to exclude the impecunious from their number is a question for someone who voted that way.

You get one ophthalmic migraine a year? Only one? Lucky you! (I get them irregularly but far more than you do.)

I bruise my knuckles knocking on wood, but my migraines don't hurt as much as they used to. When I was a kid they nauseated me for hours.

Such is the way of the world; one of Lisa's best friends at Assumption Greek Orthodox is the partner of Cliff Amos. And she had the news that Cliff had had to go into the hospital for some work on his pacemaker. However, he seems to be out and around all right.

We shall not see their like again. Those times have receded into the mists, gone in the haze of golden memories. We sit in the ramshackle huts near the beach and tell tales of the glories of downfallen Atlantis.

The Chorus Lines: And, the Heinlein Circle has cruised resolutely on, ignoring the lapses both historical and current (i.e., the memory book that was supposed to be available at the Centennial and still isn't). We can endure this sort of behavior in subfandoms. But for the Great Progenitor of our own center of being?

Earl has described the solution explained by Zeb Jones to John Lyle; be guilty of something, but a lesser something than they want to get you for. I said RAH was the Great Progenitor.

I got Capote on DVD, and picked up a second copy at ConGlomeration to give to my brother, the literature professor. Capote did so well with In Cold Blood because they were his sort of people; though he was part of the New York literary circle, he didn't disdain the people of Kansas. Or Perry Smith, though that was his problem. He only mentions himself once in the book, and yet he pervades it. And yes, Capote displays the terrible contradictions of the case that tore Capote apart.

Did you know, by the way, that Truman Streckfus (his original name) taught himself to read at age two and a half? I knew there was something interesting about the man.

My only complaint with the film Capote was that they didn't take more care to duplicate the actual murder scene, the Clutter house -- familiar from the film of In Cold Blood.

It's well known (see Bill Patterson's The Martian Named Smith) that Stranger in a Strange Land began as an afterthought on "Gulf", Heinlein's story for the "Trick Issue" of Astounding. But Patterson, and Patterson alone apparently, claims that Heinlein, not Campbell, had the idea for that issue. Is Patterson's biography of Heinlein needing so much editing because Patterson used Heinlein's own sources, and not enough of anyone else's?

Lloyd Penney, Etobicoke, ON, Canada

A big slab of fanzine came in the mail a while ago ...
Challenger 27. A big zine deserves a big LOC ... let's see if I can write one.

Front cover [Ripley and the Alien]... Isn't that sweet, their first date! I don't want to know where they went for dinner, or what they had ...

As I type, I am reminded by one of the daily newspapers here that this day, January 28, is the 22nd anniversary of the Challenger shuttle disaster. A complete coincidence, I assure you...

I've seen Warren Buff's name only a couple of times elsewhere in other zines, and after reading the latest SFC Bulletin, he may soon be the SFC's new president. If indeed he's a newcomer, then good for him for jumping into the fray with both feet.

Warren won the presidency of the Southern Fandom Confederation, and is also involved with Raleigh's NASFiC bid for 2010.

Condolences on the loss of Jesse. Pets have so much to teach us on love, care and grief, valuable lessons for all of us. Do you think you'll get yourselves another little companion of the canine variety? Looks like little Whistler provides some companionship. Yvonne and I have never had pets, but we were all set to bring a kitty home when Yvonne had her allergies tested, and felus cattus was near the top of the list. So, no Momcat for us, and I miss her.

Rosy's allergic to cats, too, but that hasn't prevented her from adopting Whistler and DaVinci and rescuing every feral kitten she can. For her, I think, the worst sights of our post-Katrina tour of New Orleans were the starving strays wandering the ruined streets.

I don't envy Zenkitty's predicament. [Dating] truly is a mating dance, to know what to do and when to do it. Once you've either figured it out, or faked your way through, or did it right through sheer dumb luck, you should be able to develop a long-term relationship with someone. Yvonne and I celebrate 25 years of marriage this coming May 28, so I get the feeling we did it right. (This is the sheer dumb luck part, on my part, IMHO.)

Once again, congrats to Taral on his FanGoHship. Yvonne and I have come out of con management retirement, so to speak, and have offered our services to the Anticipation committee. Yvonne is now working with British fan David Clement and others to put together an exciting space, science and technology programming track, and she should also be working in Finance. I offered to run their fanzine lounge, and after putting forth a detailed business case...

Well, I ran into Murray Moore on the Toronto subway a few days ago. He congratulated me. Oh what?, I asked. You got it, he said. Got what? The Montréal fanzine lounge, you got it. News to me!, I said. Murray replied that it was on the Anticipation website, and I confirmed it when I got home. I have all the paperwork and notes from the lounge Yvonne and I ran in Winnipeg in 1994, and given that fanzines are mostly electronic, I think this lounge will be much more relaxation- and programming-oriented than sales-oriented. I hope that soon, I will have an idea of what my budget will be, what kind of space I will have, and what I can do in it.

I've always wanted to visit Montreal and am wild about Warp, the local club's genzine. Indeed, we hope to see you there.

Why do I get the feeling that big-kid Chris Garcia might make a great dad? He knows the difference between childish and child-like, to know that children have a natural sense of wonder, the awe of so many new things and neat things in the new-to-them world around them. Good for Chris and Evelyn in finding the common ground, to go WOW! in all the right places, and to know almost instinctively that the best way to enjoy that goshwow feeling is to have someone to share it with. Yvonne and I used to bring our niece Nicole to conventions, and we got her to one Worldcon (Orlando 1992), and she got to meet her favorite author at the time, Ben Bova, and she also enjoyed time with everyone's grand-dad, the wonderful late Hal Clement. But reality intruded, she has a little one to look after, she barely remembers those days, and we are just her weird aunt and uncle again. Almost ...

I would still like to meet Sir Arthur C. Clarke. [Too late, alas.] Like Heinlein, people in the space industry claim Clarke as one of their own, and I suspect that if Clarke does have a tinge of transcendence in his writing, perhaps he expects that should humanity rise to a certain level of technology and/or knowledge, we might be able to transcend ourselves and our world in a way as yet unknown to us. Maybe we'll glow brightly and transform into shining beings of pure thought and light. Who knows? Sufficient level of technology being indistinguishable from magic, and all that.

Julia Morgan-Scott, don't worry about fat arms. Recently, on-line discussions have been about how it sucks to grow old. We may stay relatively young between the ears, but our bodies (heard them called meatcases) suffer the ravages of time. Expanding waistlines, male pattern baldness, wonky joints, flat feet, retinal separations, cataracts, macular degeneration, partial deafness, etc., etc. ... Used to be we'd brag to each other about all-nighters in the consuite. Now, it's a game of one-ups-manship on whose maladies are worse than others. Fat arms also hug real good, so don't worry ...

My doctor recently let me know that I have a mild case of arthritis on my spine. Great! Something to look forward to in ten years.

Some years ago, Morley Safer (a good Canadian journalist who should have known better) did a story on 60 Minutes on what he referred to as one of the weirdest shows on British television, The Antiques Roadshow. It showed the hidden treasures owned the average Briton, and how much experts thought those treasures could be worth. Safer referred to the show as typical TV for the average mad Englishman, but now, we know better. I think the most popular part of the show is the reaction of the treasure owners who gape in amazement when they learn that the ugly vase Aunt Harriet willed to them might be worth at least £20,000 or so. The BBC's Antiques Roadshow has gone on for more than 25 years now, and traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They had two major shows in Toronto at our Case Loma. The show has spawned the American version that can be seen on PS, and there was also a Canadian Antiques Roadshow that ran for two seasons on the CBC. Perhaps we don't have as many old treasures in our attics.

I admit, I didn't even know that Fats Domino was still alive; but then, his music is not mine. How old is Fats Domino these days? [He turned 80 on February 26, 2008.] I am more the Rush fan Warren Buff refers to. There are so nerdy SF-oriented bands out there, and I've tried to listen to them, but ... well, it's embarrassing, and I usually tune to something else. Perhaps the only exception is Jimi Hendrix's Watchtower. One thing I can add to this ... right now Patty Page is on a cross-Canada tour, giving concerts everywhere, and I didn't know she was still alive, either.

Amazing at how these rock gods are so cool, and then you actually meet them, and they are everyday folks, which for me, is even cooler. Ozzy likes a cuppa tea, Alice Cooper is calm and collected, and Rod Stewart has his own toy train empire in his basement. Not cool for some, but very cool for me.

The most popular musical playing in Toronto right now is called Evil Dead: The Musical. Sells out each night, apparently. Not sure of the plot, but I think the title itself attracts a lot of people. A lot of people hated the movie Xanadu (except for Evelyn Nelson and us), but now it is being turned into a musical, and I expect it will show up in Toronto shortly.

I wish my own Worldcon bid memories were as positive as yours were. We staged some pretty good parties for the Toronto in 2003 bid, as did Alex von Thorn and Marah Searle-Kovacevic. Two good teams held many good parties, and Yvonne and I got to stage the final three parties at Chicon 2000. Such a good time, and so many people came to the fore and excelled for the masses. And literally six months later, we were off the committee, not wanted by the Torcon 3 BoD chairman, and he tried to get rid of Alex and Marah, too. The BoD eventually got rid of their chairman, but the damage was done. We had a very good time working with the L.A. in '06 people instead, and helped out with L.A.Con IV, too. And while we did not assist with the Montréal in '09 bid at all, we are making up for it by being on the committee.

Yvonne and I were in Atlanta, and we voted for New Orleans in '88, if I recall. Atlanta was our last year in masquerades, and while we did not go to the '87 Worldcon in Britain, Nolacon II in 1988 was a great time. We hit the riverboat, went shopping for party supplies with Kees van Toorn (we split the beer he found), learned to make gumbo, roux and pralines at the Jax Brewery, enjoyed lots of panels and other special events and parties, and never did find the fanzine lounge, if I recall.

I miss Ellen Vartanoff. Always cheerful and smiling and elfin, the last I saw was in Toronto, as she was staying with friends in the east end of the city, and she was attending a paper show here. I also remember watching BoSh MC the Hugos on television as we were setting up a room party in Atlanta.

I never went much for autographs, with a few exceptions. I got a pile of Tim Zahn's books autographed, all published by the long-lamented Bluejay Books. Zahn himself said he didn't have some of those editions. However, my best autograph experience was with Robert Sheckley. Sheckley was at a convention full of media fans when I came up to him and asked him to sign five paperbacks of his novels. That smile would have melted icebergs.

The Zine Dump #19:]

Being a GoH at a convention is great fun, and lots of work, but well worth the resulting egoboo. Yvonne and I have guested at about a dozen cons around the Great Lakes, plus one in Vancouver. I could easily do it all again. Fan GoH for rent, cheap, and housebroken, too!

You do deserve the Hugo-based egoboo, and although Yvonne and I do not have votes to put in the box for Denvention, you have our moral support. I'd like to see the silver rockets scattered about, as should be the egoboo. There are lots of folks who should have that thrill.

Mention of Alexiad reminds me that the last Canadian was actually an American, until he recently had his Canadian citizenship restored. Also, Big Brown has two legs of the Triple Crown, and is favored to win the big prize. The final Arthur C. Clarke was co-written with Fred Pohl; I look forward to seeing it, and finding out what's inside.

I do not watch late night television because I'd rather sleep than be bored. I know who Colin Ferguson is, and I know he spoke at the Press Club correspondents' dinner, but know nothing of his politics. Perhaps it's just as well. Looks like it might be Obama versus Old Grandad in the presidential sweepstakes. McCain is not a typical Republican, and his daughter lives in Toronto, but still, the Democrats will probably win, and they have their work cut out for them, to restore America's standing in the world, and to apologize to countries who were close friends once.

Corflu Silver was a great time!. Las Vegas is a place we'd like to go to again and enjoy the Strip. I've enjoyed the Virtual Fan Lounge, and I hope to take part in more of these electronic bull sessions.

Arnie Katz is showing us a fandom of the future through the VFL. I am consistently in awe of the great work coming out of Vegas.

John Purcell, College Station TX

Whatever happened to Kenny Mitchroney? He gave me a wonderful piece of art that I've used a couple times over the years (a Star Wars parody featuring Sylvester the cat and his son), and he used to be quite prevalent back around 1980 or so. Then he disappeared. What happened to him? He was a fine artist, as this cover on your latest Challenger attests.

Googling Kenny's name shows that he was in the art department of several creative TV ventures in the past, but I can find nothing current. Anyone help?

Music is a wonderful basis to form a fanzine upon, since there are so many musically inclined fans lurking about. Fifteen or so years ago I was a card-carrying AFM (American Federation of Musicians) member while playing in jazz bands up in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Those were fun years, for sure, and I could easily have written about that for you. In fact, back in And Furthermore #26 (Jan., 2007) I did indeed write about that time as I completed my musical autobiography. My tale wasn't as nutty as spending a night partying with Guns 'n Roses in Mexico, but it was still fun.

Speaking of musical tales, I had no idea that there were so many science fiction and fantasy based musicals. Mike Resnick's extensive listing and capsule summations really was an eye-opener, but I guess the fantasy-based musicals shouldn't be surprising since, after all, many of those story lines are definitely pure fantasy. There are definitely some wonderful shows listed, too: Brigadoon, Peter Pan, Dr. Dolittle, Lion King, Camelot, Aladdin, Carousel, and others. Great shows all. The masochist in me -- well, the part of me that enjoys making fun of trashy movies -- wants to see some of the real clunkers listed just for the hell of it. This listing is way beyond what I would have thought possible in terms of stfnal or fantasy links in stage musicals. I am suitably impressed. Either that or stunned.

I was very sad to hear of Hank Reinhardt's passing. I corresponded with him briefly during my first swing through fandom back in the 70s and 80s; he was on the mailing list for This House, and I seem to recall receiving the occasional LOC from Hank. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting him. He shall be missed.


Same thing for Calvin "Biff" Demmon. Unlike Hank, I never corresponded with Biff, but read some of his work here and there. Again, a sad loss for fandom.

I am likewise quite impressed by your recollection of Confederation and the quest for NolaCon II. Your recollections are remarkably lucid about an event that happened mumble-dy mumble years ago. Oh! and thank you so much for interspersing your tale with the various Nolacon II advert illos. Great stuff throughout.

I'd like to claim a photographic memory, but my article about Confederation, like that about SFPA 100 in this issue, was based on my contemporary report. Of course, I didn't know in 1986 that I'd marry Rose-Marie 15 years later, but I wish I had: those years would have certainly passed more quickly.

Milt Stevens, Simi Valley, CA

Challenger #27, Zenkitty has done an article that is sure to get lots of comments. Since we frown on arranged marriages, dating is one of the most basic activities in our culture. However, things have changed quite a bit over a mere couple of generations. For instance, Zenkitty mentions the expectation of having sex on the first date. I don't think most of us males who started dating back in the fifties expected to have sex on the first date. You had to sort of organize a campaign to get anywhere. There was also the consideration that if it was too easy, it was too dangerous. Venereal disease before AIDS may not have been quite as final, but it still wasn't good news.

Only one female in my experience insisted on going dutch treat. I felt insulted by that. Since she seemed like the oblivious sort, I don't know whether she even noticed that I withdrew the invitation and never made it again. It may have been a way of giving me the brush-off, but there are better and more effective ways of doing that. A woman saying she is currently dating someone else may be a lie, but it gets the job done without any hard feelings.

Dating gave me an opportunity to do things I wouldn't do by myself. I have always eaten out a lot. For years on end, I would eat out every night of the week. I've always known of many reasonably priced restaurants that had good food. For a date, I wanted to go somewhere flashy and expensive. Going dutch treat wouldn't allow me to do that. Without looking over the woman's tax returns before a date, I'd have to choose a moderately priced restaurant instead. I never felt like doing that.

I think some women really believe that all men want is sex. We would be very easy to understand if that were true. Actually, we have all sorts of motivations, and most of them have nothing to do with sex. Women can get really pissed off if you're dating them, and they realize you aren't interested in them sexually. I recall a situation back when I was in high school. There was a girl who was socially acceptable to me and the people I hung out with. She wasn't tremendously fat, but she was plump enough so I would never be sexually attracted to her. We dated some and hung out some. We actually got along pretty well. After a few months, it began to dawn on her that I wasn't being restrained. I was just plain disinterested. Talk about Hell having no fury. If she knew where I was today, she probably still wouldn't be speaking to me. Oh well.

If I was capable of going out for the sake of going out, I reasoned that females were probably doing the same thing. When you want to go out every weekend you probable will date some women you don't find particularly attractive or even interesting. Which doesn't mean you might not have sex with some of them. Unfortunately, adding sex to nothing still leaves you with nothing.

I very much enjoyed your account of the 1986 worldcon. I recall it as the time I spent a week inside the Krell computer. The atrium in the Marriott Marquis was quite something. I recall one time I entered an elevator at about the 40th floor. I was sharing the elevator with a very large, very slovenly excuse for a homo sapien. The excuse wondered if he could cause the brakes on the elevator to fail if he jumped up and down. He proceeded to jump up and down. I realized this guy was just as dumb as he looked. Somehow, I calmly suggested to him that he shouldn't do that, and he stopped doing it. I didn't even have to kill him.

On the plane trip to and from Atlanta, I took the opportunity to read John Varley's novel Millennium. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's about time travelers from the future snatching people from doomed airliners. OK, so I've always had an odd sense of humor. Today, I wouldn't dare do such a thing. They may have a list of books which are not to be read on airline flights. I don't think I want to find out what might be on the list. I'll just watch the movie instead.

Airport? Airplane? The High and the Mighty?

Although I didn't know it at the time of the 1986 worldcon, I wouldn't be to another worldcon for ten years. My next worldcon would be Los Angeles in 1996. I noticed a funny thing about this ten-year gap in my worldcon attendance. Nobody noticed it. Worldcons are so large that people assumed they just hadn't encountered me. They didn't assume I hadn't been there.

Martin Morse Wooster, Silver Spring, Maryland

I understand the fanboy imperative to impulsively collect writers' autographs. I've pruned a lot of the SF books I bought in the 1970s, but I've kept all the ones that I had signed, including at least two Gordy Dickson books where Dickson and Sandra Miesel sat at the same table and Dickson signed as the author and Miesel signed as the critic (she wrote the introductions). I still go to book signings and get books signed -- just not as many as I did when I was 19 and thought a signed paperback was Way Cool.

We don't have enough information to know whether or not Robert Anton Wilson was being rude to Reece Moorhead. Wilson was nice to me in correspondence and the one time I met him. Maybe Moorhead caught Wilson at the end of a long day or maybe Wilson was tired and wanted to take a nap. Of course writers should be courteous and professional to their fans, but readers shouldn't expect authors to be "on" all the time.

About your Atlanta Worldcon report: I'm glad you reprinted it, and sometime you should tell us how you segued ftom having an MFA into being a lawyer.
[Behold the story in this issue.] Do we know what happened to Judy-Lynn Del Rey's Hugo? Has anyone else ever refused a Hugo? I fully understand why Lester Del Rey refused his wife's award, but there should have been a more gracious way of refusing the prize than what Del Rey did.

I agree, and had an argument after the ceremony with Del Rey's representative on that very topic. I also told Ben Bova, who had encouraged fans to vote for Judy-Lynn, that fans appreciated what he had tried to do even if his fellow editor did not.

Mike Resnick (and Laura Turtledove's) piece on musicals was, like most of Resnick's pieces for you, very entertaining. I can imagine the pitch meeting for Carrie. "The Phantom of /the Opera has a chandelier crashing every night -- we'll flood the stage with gallons of fake blood!" I also find it very hard to believe that anyone would pay money to see a musical version of The Iliad called Home Sweet Homer. As for Monty Python's Spamalot, it's popular enough that it's about to play Washington for a second tour. I wanted to see it the first time it was in town, but the run was sold out.

As for Gary Robe's piece, at first glance the line "I know how they put the sealing wax on a bottle of Maker's Mark" is one of the least likely pickup lines ever. But it makes perfect sense, and I cheer the fellow who makes a nice living making sealing wax.

I also enjoyed Charles Mohapel's ComiCon report. I can't imagine having fun at any convention with 125,000 (!!) people, even if many of them are photogenic babes. But it looks like if you went to the less attended panels, you might have a good time -- and come home with far better swag than SF cons give away.