Thursday, January 29, 2009

John Parcell, College Station, TX


Good gravy, Guy; I thought our mailbox was going to rupture when trying to extract the envelope containing Challenger 28. Fortunately, both zine and mailbox are fine. A full recovery is expected for both.

I may not fully recover from reading this huge zine for awhile, though. That is one monster of a zine, reminding me of those Days of Yore when mammoth twill-tone fanzines used to fill the mailbox. Those were the days, weren't they? Good to see you're trying to fill that void, and doing it quite admirably too, I might add.

So sorry to hear of your latest Best Fanzine Hugo setback. Too bad; I like both Challenger and File 770, so if you were to lose out to someone, Mike Glyer's a good fellow. I suspect that this year's 30th Anniversary issue of File 770 may have had something to do with the results, but who knows? Both are wonderful zines, and from what I have read in LJ's and all, the final results took a while to compute. It must have a very close vote.

I can't tell all that I know, but I can say that I'm again encouraged. But as I said in my trip report, at the time all I felt was ridiculous – itself a ridiculous way to feel.

But, I really need to address the most important issue that you raise in this latest, err, issue of your zine. Of course, I refer to that question you raised on page 86: "Which should I want most: a long life or a good pizza?" This is exactly like that age-old conundrum, which came first: the chicken or the egg? A harder question to answer has rarely been raised, and in this day and age when health is a major concern of everyone, you would think that a long life is tantamount to personal fulfillment. On the other hand, I know of precious few worldly goods as personally fulfilling as a good pizza. So maybe we should look at this question existentially: since we're all going to die eventually, you might as well go for that good pizza. Extra mushrooms and black olives, of course, but hold the anchovies.

Olives?!?

Since I am back in the letter column, allow me to echo Jerry Kaufman's sentiments about Taral Wayne being selected as Fan Artist GoH at Anticipation. Taral is indeed an excellent choice for any convention anywhere. He has had a long career providing art and articles to fan-eds, his style is distinctive, and I think Taral is a fine choice. Congratulations to Taral!

The artist whom you have honored in this particular issue, Sheryl Birkhead, likewise has a long fannish pedigree. (You likee the pun?) For years Sheryl has supplied the fannish press with her distinctive style, and I am glad you have given here a place of honor in
Challenger . Good show, Guy. Her opening article was a delight to read, and gives us a much better appreciation of her background and longevity in fandom. A fun cover illo, too, I might add.

As for comments on any particular contents of this Brobdingnagian tome, I feel rather overwhelmed. Suffice to say that I finally finished reading this sucker a couple nights ago (10 Aug 08), and my favorite pieces were Mike Resnick's insights into being a dog show handler (my personal favorite breed is the border collie), "Birth of a Notion", Rich Dengrove's article about Edison's Conquest of Mars, and your story behind SFPA 100. I can't even begin to imagine plowing through a 1,748 page apa disty [1,750! Remember, I miscounted.]; sometimes I find SNAPS a bit much lately, and that's usually between 60 and 90 pages long. What a story you told! Even better: you all survived. Now that says something.

Ah, me. Take care, and thank you again for a wonderful issue. I can't wait to see the sports issue. Maybe I can write up something for it about coaching my son's soccer team. That might fit. In the meantime, relax and enjoy the coffee.

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