Alexis Gilliland, Arlington VA
Thank you for the hard copy of Challenger #29, very elegantly turned out as usual. It should be counted a failing of mine that I have been unable to focus on e-fanzines, which is where a lot of the action is, and which may be in contention to be the wave of the future. In spite of your kind solicitation, I regret that I had nothing sports-related to submit, except for a brief account of my career as captain of the GWU chess team. We played in the DC Chess League, and while chess hardly qualifies as a sport, it might perhaps be of interest that after I got rid of the GW students, we took first once, tied for first once, and came in second three times. (You think that is a long time to be team captain? I was in grad school, going at night, but that would be an explanation not an excuse.) The sports connection would be the inverse relationship between the players being students and their excellence at any given sport, a relationship especially noticed in sports where the players can make a lot of money.
Alan White's cover is well executed and unexpectedly witty. Good for him. Regarding the print version of this issue, you mention that the print was a bit light on some copies. Not to the point of illegibility, of course, but Brad Foster's work does suffer a bit.
And considering the generosity fan artists like Brad -- and you -- show to fan-eds, that was unforgivable. My printer was herself very generous -- giving me more copies than I paid for! -- but I'm considering alternatives.
On the graying of fandom, it would appear that the new prospects coming up (or on-line in the case of the internet) tend to have new idea and new interests to the extent that many of the older fans are unable or unwilling to connect with them. Which means that "fandom" is here defined generationally, as to some extent it has always been. (First Fandom was originally defined as those who had been active prior to January 1, 1938, for example.) So it appears that some clubs and conventions tend to be unwelcoming to newcomers, in part because the newcomers are seen as heretics, and in part as a desire of the good, gray fans to cling to their hard-won social status. Where you find such clubs, there you will find fannish graying since the average age goes up year after year because they aren't recruiting new members.
And more ...