The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction
Association -- ISSN 0894-5411
Edited by Samuel Lubell firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexis Sings the Harry Homeowner Blues
Merrie Melodies Fic: It's an Unliving
News from the SF World
Review of Lisa Goldstein's Dark Cities Underground
Speaking of Problems
WSFA Journal Timeline
Mike Nelson Recommends
Edited by Samuel Lubell email@example.com
By Alexis Gilliland
Well, once we finished up with the installation of Lee's computer, the next step was putting a new ceiling lamp in her room, and while we were doing one ceiling lamp, why not replace the old black head-banger in the foyer? So we went down to Home Depot, and bought a couple of lamps, little knowing that our endeavor was cursed. When we opened the box for the foyer lamp it was missing some pieces; not the factory's fault, someone had repacked and returned the box after using the pieces they wanted. One small return for us, one belated loss taken by Home Depot. Then, to install said lamp properly, I went down to the circuit breaker box and tried to find how to turn off the foyer. Ah, hmmm. The line comes in, branching after it goes through the foyer, and the only way to turn off the foyer, was to turn off the "Main Lighting" circuit. So that is what I did. Testing it the first time, the light didn't work, so we try again. Testing it the second time, the "Main Lighting" circuit breaker didn't work. Oops. No amount of my inexpert fiddling was able to make it work, either, so at about seven PM I called an electrician. The shop guy read me the price for coming out at night vs the price for coming the next day; roughly a hundred dollars difference. So I called back the next morning, and that afternoon, these two service guys showed up at $65/half hour. The circuit breaker took a couple of minutes, "You push it all the way in, and hold it while you hit a couple of times right here." Yeah, ri--ight. We checked the foyer light; again it didn't work. The professional installation took maybe ten minutes, so as long as they were here, how about the light in Lee's room? Alas, she had picked a fan light, which didn't fit in the slot we had for it. Another small return for us, another small loss for Home Depot, Lee's new fixture being a good bit cheaper that the old one, offset a little because she bought some other stuff while we were there. The next day I took the old fixture down and the new fixture out of the box. Alas, the installation wasn't entirely straightforward, given that we had to attach six wires to the two wires in the circuit box, but having watched the pros recently (call it a tutorial, a net addition to my life experience) I had a plan, and the plan worked. Lee fiddled with the thing for a bit and finally got the lighting to her liking. Next on my list of things to do is an eight fluorescent tube fixture to replace the one in the basement which wasn't new when it was installed in 1970.
The Gillilands also report that they have a new email address firstname.lastname@example.org
The 5/5 First Friday meeting at the Gillilands began with Judy coming in just in time for the meeting. "Might as well start the meeting. It's 9:18." Judy took a deep breath, "No business was conducted at Balticon. There was some scientific experimentation, but we ate most of it. We mad Scotch ice cream and broke money <but with our treasury in the state it's in, shouldn't we have saved it instead?>." The treasurer reported $2,433.08. Calls for a small party were heard. Eric said, "Let's have a Dah-clave." Judy said, "Speaking of our convention, where is Covert. He turned left when I turned right." "Aw, he got away," complained Bob.
Sam for the publications committee said that all of the Journals of the last three years (except one) are up thanks to the hard work of Keith Lynch. Keith added, "It's my goal to put up everything--all the publications back to day one."
Lee Gilliland reported that Joe won't be here today, he's sick. Bob said Joe is having problems with his feet due to his diabetes.
"Trustees?" asked Judy. Lee Gilliland reported that "We have a full slate for the election except for one trustee spot." Keith volunteered, "I'll do it"
Alexis for the Entertainment Committee reported that the WSFA election coincides with Cinco de Mayo and National Cartoonist Day.
Judy said "I'm please to see people here who joined at Balticon." Judy and Sam Hiner introduced themselves. They moved here last summer. They are working at NSF and expect to be here four years."
Eric for the Austerity Committee said, "Nothing to report." The club found that a very austere report.
"New Business?" Judy asked. Elspeth spoke up. "Rumor reached me that Covert is planning an event <How else would you hear covertly?> so we should think about a successor. I sent some stuff in to the WSFA Journal as guidelines <See last issue>. Basically we need someone who has run at least one convention; this is not a time for newbies. <John heaved a sigh of relief.> Someone who knows what is needed and is willing." Judy added, "Someone who has time. That's been our problem. Our people have jobs."
"So, we're looking for an incredibly competent, unemployed person." John put it starkly.
Judy started to say, "Fortunately, Elspeth is running for trustee and one of the jobs..." Elspeth interrupted in a panic, "No! No! I said someone who has already run a con." Judy clarified. "No, I mean one of the jobs of the trustee is to find someone to run the convention."
John asked, "Can we nominate a NESFAn? They like to run conventions out of town."
Elspeth continued. "So I don't know if this is a motion or what," Judy answered. "Whoever is elected president <the club snickered> can find someone."
Sam said, "At a previous meeting, the Ginters and Gillilands said they would be away some dates, can they clarify?" Alexis said they will be away for the Worldcon. Bob said that he and Mike Nelson arranged for their room to be a WSFA party at Chicon.
Sam Pierce said "Joe isn't here but we should thank him for organizing the Balticon event and the nice con badge." Lee said, "Could we do a vote of thanks?" The thanks were unanimously passed.
Announcements. Lee has a studio. She's pretty proud of it. She just needs a computer. Charles G saw Gladiator, he enjoyed it immensely. Mike Nelson said "The 2000 Hugo awards were announced at Balticon <Objections were heard from the club> I mean the nominations. I got six at Balticon so I thought I'd quit while ahead. Electronic ones will be coming out. Very popular." Some said, "those will be the one that say Ilove you." <Note for future historians, reference to the Love Bug computer virus.> John added, "The reason is your fear of commitment." The Lynches had copies of the Hugo winning Mimosa. Lee Strong also saw Gladiator and liked it. He won a speech contest. Colleen announced the upcoming programs for What If. Elspeth is getting divorce papers. St John beat Navy in Croquet <but I can't report the score> Sam announced a mass book signing on May 21 <which was very interesting, a whole bunch of authors talked about the state of the publishing industry.> Judy asked for readers for the sf story contest.
The meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:47 only to reconvene as an election. Judy was nominated for President by the trustees; she became president by acclamation. Sam Pierce was nominated for VP by the trustees; he was acclaimed. Sam Lubell was nominated for Secretary by the trustees; he was acclaimed. Bob MacIntosh was nominated for treasurer; he was acclaimed. The trustees nominated Lee Gilliland, Keith Lynch, and Elspeth Kovar for trustee. Sam Lubell nominated Eric Jablow who accepted the nomination. This forced a real election and the club members wrote down three choices. After lengthy deliberations, John and Bob (who had taken over for the trustees) came down. John said, "We have trustees." Bob said "The smoke is in the air." John said, "It was a close election. I credit the nominees for an honest and hard-fought campaign The winners are Eric Jablow, Elspeth Kovar, and Lee Gilliland. Congratulations Keith."
Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, VP Sam Pierce, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Lee Gilliland, Matthew Appleton, Bernard Bell, Colleen Cahill, Alexis Gilliland, Eric Jablow, Elspeth Kovar, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Micael Nelson, Lance Oszko, Kathi Overton, John Pomeranz, George Shaner, Lee Strong, Michael Taylor, Judy Scheiner, Sheri Bell, Sam Scheiner, Charles Gilliland.
By Eric Jablow
This story is copyright 2000 by Eric Jablow, but don't let that fool you; all the named characters are property of Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers Movies and Television. In particular, "Buffy", "Angel(us)", "The Bronze", and "Sunnydale" come from Warner Brothers Television, Twentieth Century Fox, Mutant Enemy Inc., Joss Whedon, Sandollar Entertainment, and Kuzui Enterprises. "Merrie Melodies" comes from Warner Brothers Motion Pictures. No infringement is intended.
You may remember the Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph the Wolf series of cartoons. What if those two were reworked into two characters from a certain live-action television series, huh?
***Main Title: Merrie Melodies
***Music: The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down
***Opening Credits: Buffy and Angel IN It's An Unliving
***Scene: Twilight, a cloudy evening, Sunnydale business district.
The camera tracks along Sunnydale's main street, stopping at the main entrance to The Bronze. Loud music pours out from the club, and the camera shot tracks into it. The dance floor is half-empty; it's early. The camera focus on a side door, and moves toward it. CUT TO...
A bare room with a couple of chairs and an old-fashioned factory clock. It is five minutes before 8 o'clock. There is a window facing opening upon an alley and a door next to it. The door opens, and a blonde teenager enters. It is BUFFY. She looks at her watch, and says, "He's cutting it close." She moves to the clock, and grabs her card from its slot. She's about to punch in when the door opens again, and a dark-haired adult runs in. It is ANGEL.
Buffy punches in, and Angel goes to the clock and does the same.
Buffy: "Hi, Ange."
Angel: "Hi, Buff."
Buffy: "How was your day, dear?"
Angel: "Terrible. The plumbing went on the dishwasher. Do you know how expensive plumbers are? Vampires are much less annoying. You?"
Buffy: "You should know. I got hit with a pop quiz in history. I don't think I did well. Mom will have a cow when she sees my grade. Uh, you ready? Thirty seconds."
Angel: "Ready. You?"
Buffy: "A-OK. I'll get you one of these days, you know."
Angel: "Right, lover dear. You just have to catch me first."
The wall clock reaches 8 o'clock, and a loud whistle is heard. Angel morphs into Angelus, and runs out the door. Buffy follows. CUT TO...
A young boy, approximately 8 years old, is walking a bulldog along a street with an apartment complex. CUT TO...
Angelus looking at the boy and his dog from a block away. Angelus ducks around the corner. Hidden, he takes out a large coil of rope. One end is tied to a large hook. He takes a large cut of steak, and shoves the hook through it. He then goes to the corner, and throws the steak around it, on the same block as the boy and dog. He backs off, uncoiling the rope behind him. CUT TO...
The boy is still walking the dog. The dog sniffs at the air around him. The dog smells the steak. Excited, the dog pulls at the leash, and then tries to run away from the boy. The boy tries to hold the dog back, but cannot; the dog breaks free, trailing the leash behind him. The boy runs after the dog, calling "Fido, Fido!" CUT TO...
Angelus starts to run, pulling the dog bait behind him. He goes one-half block, and leaps over a hedge. We hear barking and calls of "Fido!". CUT TO...
The dog running after the steak. The dog tries to run through the hedge, and gets stuck. We hear footsteps approaching the dog and Angelus. When they approach, Angelus parts the hedge and tries to grab the boy. CUT TO...
It isn't the boy at all; it's Buffy. Buffy punches Angelus in the jaw, and Angelus flies back and crashes into the wall of the apartment house. Angelus sinks to the ground, and cartoon stars form a circle around his head. Angelus shakes his head violently, gets up, and runs off. Buffy stops to release the dog from the hedge. It runs the way it came, yipping. CUT TO...
The Sunnydale beach. A group of teens are sitting around a campfire. A tall, dark, and handsome man walks from the boardwalk and joins them. It is Angel. CUT TO...
It's obviously later; the campfire has died down. Angel and one of the teen girls are walking down the beach away from the campfire. The girl looks like she's transfixed by Angel's beauty. CUT TO...
Buffy, behind a sand dune, watching Angel and the girl go by. CUT TO...
Angel and the girl. Angel looks back; the campfire is no longer in sight. He turns toward the girl, and the girl turns toward Angel, ready to kiss him. Angel morphs into Angelus. The girl takes a deep breath, and prepares to scream. CUT TO...
Buffy reaches out from behind the sand dune and grabs Angelus' arm. CUT TO...
Angelus bends down toward the girl's neck; he is too singleminded to feel Buffy holding on to him yet. Then, both Angelus' and Buffy's wristwatches start to beep.
Buffy: "Let's take five."
Angelus: "Yeah." he looks at the girl, and says: "You stay right there."
The girl stays there, frozen. Buffy and Angelus go behind the sand dune. CUT TO...
Buffy drinks from a bottle of designer water, while Angelus pulls out a Thermos and takes a long sip.
Angelus: "Ah, type O Negative. Goes down real smooth."
Buffy: "You're disgusting."
Angelus: "So, I hear that Willow and Oz have started dating. Good for them."
Buffy: "Yeah. She's finally getting over Xander, and Oz is a good person, even if he's not a person three nights a month."
Angelus: "Oz doesn't like me, you know. And, the wolf likes me even less."
Buffy: "I don't like you."
Angelus: "You love me."
Buffy: "Whatever. I'm still going to stake you though."
Angelus: "Sure. Thirty seconds."
The two get up and walk around the sand dune. CUT TO...
The girl is in the same exact position she had been in five minutes before. Angelus stands in front of her and prepares to bite her neck. Buffy grabs his arm. Buffy's and Angelus' watches beep again, and Angelus reaches down to bite. Buffy jerks him back. The two fight in a cartoon blur, while the girl runs away. Finally, Buffy gives Angelus a punch that sends him right through the sand dune; he gets up, brushes the sand off, and runs away. CUT TO...
The center of Sunnydale again. The camera again tracks to the entrance of The Bronze, and goes in. Angel is looking at a short brown-eyed brunette in a long white dress. She looks at him. He waves at her, inviting her to join him for a drink. She waves back, inviting him to dance. They do; they enjoy it. He asks to walk her home. She agrees, and they go out the front door. CUT TO...
They pass the side alley, and he leads her into it. They kiss, and then Angel morphs into Angelus. The girl punches him in the jaw, forcing him back. She then pulls off her wig; she is, in fact, Buffy.
They fight again. The two fight again in a cartoon blur, and then Buffy separates from the blur and Angelus is only fighting himself. Buffy leaps up and pulls a fire escape ladder down onto Angelus' head. Angelus falls, and Buffy pulls a stake out from her dress. Buffy leaps onto Angelus and is about to stake him when both Buffy's and Angelus' watches start beeping. Buffy gets up from Angelus' body and helps him up. They walk into the room with the time clock, and they take their cards and clock out.
Angel: "Sorry about that, Buff. Maybe next time."
Buffy: "You never know. Kiss?"
Angel: "Of course, love."
Buffy: "Good night, Angel. Same time tomorrow?"
Angel: "Night, Buff. Same time."
Buffy: "Tell me again why we do this, Angel."
Angel: "It's an Unliving."
Porky: "Th-th-th-th-that's All Folks!"
By Keith Lynch
Arthur C. Clarke has been knighted. On Friday, May 26th, UK High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Linda Duffield, presented the "award of Knight Bachelor" at a ceremony in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, the country where he has lived since 1956. Sir Arthur is best known for inventing geostationary communications satellites in 1945, and for writing numerous short stories and novels, including 2001, A Space Odyssey. He is 82.
The "Woodside Literary Agency" is infamous for spamming newsgroups since at least 1996 to advertise for aspiring new writers. Unlike legitimate literary agencies (companies which represent writers trying to find publishers), they charged reading fees, and they never sold or published any works. Neither did they ever tell a writer that his work was unpublishable, not even when people deliberately submitted terrible writing as a test.
When people posted warnings about this bogus agency to newsgroups, Woodside retaliated by harassing and "cyberstalking" their detractors. They even filed false charges with the FBI. On May 17th, the Woodside perpetrators, Ursula Sprachmann and James Leonard (aka John Lawrence) pleaded guilty to mail fraud, perjury and lying to a federal officer. Sentencing will be in July. Civil suits are still pending, including one for $10 million. More details at http://members.tripod.com/~cyberstalked
Review of Lisa Goldstein's Dark Cities Underground
(New York: Tom Doherty Associates Book, c1999)
Reviewed by Colleen R. Cahill
If you have read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (New York, Avon Books, c1997) and then pick up Dark Cities Underground, you will find the similarities striking. Both books deal with the underground subways and although Goldstein's work starts with the BART system in San Francisco, she does eventually end up in the London Underground. Both have secret, dark worlds hat are magical and eerie. But these are not identical books. Dark Cities Underground has a different mythos at its base and involves children more heavily than Gaiman's work.
Ruth Berry is a writer trying to interview the elusive Jeremy Jones. Jones' mother is the author of several very popular children's works with the lead character of Jeremy Jerome Gerontius Jones and the now 50-year-old Jeremy tries to hide from this notoriety. In the children's series, Jeremy had various adventures in Neverwas (another similarity to Neverwhere), where he met a female river boat captain who was rescuing her brother. As expected, the trip was more than a flight of fancy and no one is surprised to learn young Jeremy had actually wandered into Neverwas. Aside from Berry, Jeremy is also being approached by Mr. Sattermole, a dark and ominous character who is clearly up to no good. Eventually Jeremy and Ruth team up to discover the truth of Neverwas and to rescue her kidnapped daughter.
All this may sound predictable and flat, but Goldstein excels in atmosphere and once you enter the book, the landscape will quickly surround you. By the first 100 pages, the story gains its own standing and the echo's of Neverwhere fade. There is a grander plot of world domination involved in Goldstein's book and she brings in more historical elements. Her use of children in the story is realistic and adds suspense without sugar. Although I think her Walking the Labyrinth was a better executed book, this story has enough interesting plot twists to keep a reader involved.
The May Third Friday (5/19) meeting opened with Bob MacIntosh in charge, "All right, let's have a meeting. Third Friday for May. It's 9:18. The Prez is attending a graduation. The Veep got a free trip to London." The club gave thanks to those who helped out at Balticon. "Any old business?"
"Well, there was a small matter of an election," Sam gave the results. "At a previous meeting, Erica said they might be away for some Third Fridays this summer." Erica said, "It looks like the trip to Alaska is in the first part of July so I don't think we have a problem." Bob said, "You'll keep us abreast of the situation." "Advised," corrected Erica.
The treasury was $2,408.04. "Speaking of problems," said Sam Lubell. Alexis reported that the Entertainment committee went out and bought Lee a new computer, an E-Monster. <The club oohed and ahhed.> Covert for Disclave said he was busy but "I did take a few moments to research dinners and cruises. I haven't had time to do anything more. I said I love my job so sweetly that people looked to see if I had an AK-47" <which is in fact, readily available at many military sites.> Bob replied, "You can tell he's a federal employee." Mike Walsh for World Fantasy 2002/3 reported, "One prospective guest died. One declined. The Board will be meeting soon. We'll see on Halloween." <will it be trick or treat?> Eric for the austerity committee said, "Bring food."
Bob called on Evan to report on Joe. "This is old business?" Evan asked. Erica added, "He'd have a fit if he knew we'd violated protocol." Evan explained, "Joe is in the hospital and he had a series of microstrokes <Note: at a later date, the GWU hospital confessed to not know what had happened.> He only attended one night of Balticon and had enough, slowing down. Last Friday, Joe was talking on the phone to Gene Wolfe. Gene was concerned over the way Joe sounded so he called the Greenbelt police. I got there to see him at the same time as the police. I told the police that his medication had changed. Police thought that if he had a friend nearby, he'd be okay. Joe wouldn't go to the emergency room, so I took him home and made arrangements to take him to the doctor the next day. Then I got a call from Joe, `Are we still doing this silliness of visiting my doctor?' The doctor was not concerned, `He's been a diabetic patient of mine for 20 years and probably diabetic for 15 years before that. Some things are bound to fail." Alexis commented, "He must be having problems with his HMO"
Evan continued, "Okay, so I thought we'd go to Boston Chicken. He seemed to be okay. But he hadn't taken his medication. Later, Ron Taylor visited. Joe wanted to go to the police station. He had aphasia and was using hyperbole and metaphor. We reasoned that, since he's a science fiction writer, if we let the police get their hands on him to bring him to a `normal' state, we might not get him back. Joe tested his blood, but no one there knew what a good number was. Ron and I took him to the Holy Cross hospital's emergency room. We went up later and got a visitor's pass. Joe seemed to be in good shape. Ron went out to get a test kit. The doctor wanted to talk. He thought Joe should be admitted. Joe wound up in the hospital at 3 AM. It didn't seem serious.
The next day I went back. They seemed to treat him by drugging and then forgetting about him. I went on Tuesday with a witness president. They didn't seem to drug him that day. What he was in for was diabetes. They arranged to transfer him to Suburban Hospital in an ambulance. He walked around a little. That was last Saturday. Sunday Dick and Chris and Colleen went to see him."
Colleen. "He was in the activity room. He was happy to see us. He was not coherent. How much of what we were saying registered, I don't know if it made sense to him."
Dick, "After a woman made a scene Joe made a mocking motion."
Evan said, "Joe is in there. He seems to be happy to see his friends, but with aphasia can't say. Can do hand motions. Every once in a while the world becomes a dangerous place for him. At one point he was saying take this cup and get it as far from me as you can."
Elspeth said, "A lot of what he was saying was quotations. He recognized me, said "Et tu, Brute." I recognized an Arabic poetry rhythm. Colleen found Latin." Erica said, "People with aphasia will have difficulty saying their own sentences but can sing or quote."
Chris said, "A couple of times he seemed to be trying to fingerspell. And a couple of times singing. The words were gibberish but sounded like a Gaelic folk song." Alexis replied, "A lot of Gaelic is gibberish."
Evan said, "One doctor said a lot of stroke victims get back most of what they lost. Another doctor said he's due for one stroke after another." Alexis said, "That is another way of saying they don't know." Erica put in, "There can be lots of small strokes whose impact can be devastating."
Evan said, "I'm about ready to say to him, not funny any more, cut it out." Chris replied something that is lost to posterity. Evan continued. "I went back, like a tipsy pal. Everything seemed to be fine, but at the end, when I was about to leave, he said, I hate you. The doctor said he was just saying that."
Chris said, "He did seem to pay attention when I talked about his canes and he said he would make me one."
Erica asked how Bill was taking it. Evan said, "He is not showing his emotions, but just taking care of things."
Elspeth said, "When Walter and I were there, he didn't seem to recognize his cartoons. He didn't know he was in a locked word but sang to me." Chris asked, "Did he address you by name?" Evan replied, "He did say my name. He's in a jerry chair. He liked to walk around but they don't because they are afraid he'll fail." Elspeth said, "He walked into a wall."
Evan said, "They try different things. He seems to be better than at Holy Cross. I wouldn't send my loved one there." Elspeth said, "When I had my breakdown, I went there. The nurse told me to try to feel well enough to make it to another hospital." <A discussion about medicine took place among various connoisseurs, none of whom had a medical degree>
Chris said, "Both times we were there, people at the hospital asked about how he was and about what he was like when he was well." Elspeth said, "I told them about his use of different languages." Walter said, "I don't think he was coherent in Greek." Elspeth said, "What I heard were prayers and quotations." Alexis said, "Like a tape?" Elspeth replied, "No, they were in reaction to what people said." Chris said "Every once in while he'd say something that seemed rational."
Colleen gave the visiting hours for Suburban Hospital <note: he is now at George Washington in DC> No more than two visitors at a time. <Which is not true at GW, when I visited on 5/30 we had a quarter of WSFA in the room>
Evan said, "We need to do some coordination. I had an idea that we'd have a meeting in the ward, but that would be the end of WSFA. We'd never be let out." "No food" pointed out someone but Colleen offered to bake a cake with a file.
Evan said, "He seemed more coherent on Saturday, he said, can I sneak out when you go?" Elspeth said, "Medication can take a while." Erica said, "And what works for one person does not for another." Evan said, "And if this came from a stroke, he might recover." Bob said, "We can only hope."
Elspeth said, "He seemed relieved to see Walter." Walter joked, "First person who ever felt that!" Elspeth said, "He seemed happy to see me. But he startled easily." Evan said, "On one visit Ron mentioned that Battlefield Earth was out. Joe was heavily sedated but still turned his thumb down at the mention of the movie."
Elspeth asked if Evan was up to coordinating visits, "We don't want you to take on too much." Evan said he would like to "So that I know that he is not being neglected." Elspeth said, "If it gets too much then call me, I'm not working." Evan said, "This can be long term. It is better to visit once a week for a week then visit lots next week and then a month it will be like, hello, has anyone visited Joe?"
Walter said. Bill said the more the merrier." Evan said, "He seems to be mellower. His sister visited and had a good visit. She didn't send him crawling walls."
Walter asked, "Does anyone know Wayne Grey and how to get in touch with him. Would anyone suggest others who were good friends with Joe. I tried to get in tough with Avery." Elspeth said, "We could put something up on a newsgroup." Evan said, "Someone should tell BSFS." "I'll be there said Mike Walsh."
Elspeth said, "After Balticon, Joe said that he hated us all. We need to tell them that there was nothing personal." Erica said, "He's just not getting the right words out at any time. I can understand the frustration of searching for a word that's been part of your vocabulary forever." Evan said, "I can see the frustration."
Chris asked, "Gene Wolfe recognized the problem, has anyone contacted him with an update?" Evan said, "Yes, we did." Colleen said, "If send cards, send them to his home since he won't be in the hospital forever as insurance companies won't pay for it."
Elspeth gave a belated trustees report. "I saddled myself with a search for a con-chair. One thought is that I can't negotiate for a hotel, but I can do the legwork of searching for a hotel if someone gives me the specs." Alexis asked, "So you are volunteering to help the con chair." Elspeth said, "Since finding a hotel seems to be the roadblock." Bob said, "It's a full time job." Covert said, "It doesn't have to be, just need to be somewhere where can make phone calls and receive them." Elspeth said, "Well I don't have a job and can be helpful. We need someone who has time, experience, and is competent." Covert said, "Pick any two."
Announcements. Mike Walsh read reviews of Battlefield Earth. Bob assured the club. "It's as bad as they say." The club was astounded <and analoged> "You saw it!!!" Bob confessed, "Mike and I went hoping there'd be something to chuckle over. It was baaad." Mike said, "It elevates Showgirls." The club joked about how many daiquiris a viewer should consume before seeing it. The club agreed on five. Covert had a box with stories for the student contest. My notes say cow jokes but none were submitted in writing, I guess all the jokesters were udderly cowed. The meeting adjourned unanimously at 10:10.
Attendance: Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Sheri Bell, Colleen Cahill, Alexis Gilliland, Erica and Karl Ginter, Daniel Horne, Eric Jablow, Elspeth Kovar, Keith Lynch, Keith Marshall, Walter Miles, Barry and Meridel Newton, Evan Phillips, Dick Roepke, George Shaner, William Squire, Michael Taylor, Chris Callahan, Celeste Tabriz, Shelly Steelman, Bill Jensen.
By Keith Lynch
Inspired by the "50 and 100 Years Ago" column in Scientific American, and by my vow that never again will our secretary have to rely on stale "copier humor" that's been circulating on the Internet since it was two tin cans and a string, I hereby inaugurate a new feature: "100, 50, 0, -50, -100, -150, and -200 years ago in the WSFA Journal"
100 years ago: 1900:
* Plans for the first Disclave, with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne as guests of honor, are cancelled, when it's realized that not only doesn't WSFA exist yet, but that none of the founding members have even been born.
50 years ago: 1950:
* The three year old WSFA holds the first ever Disclave, at the Wardman Park. 75 people attended. Willey Ley was the Guest of Honor.
* The Worldcon is held in Portland, Oregon. 400 attend.
* WSFA treasury stands at $3.14. Meetings are held to decide how to dispose of this embarrassing amount of wealth for a non-profit organization.
* WSFA members reluctantly vote to allow people to not smoke or to not drink at meetings. But only if their doctors certify in writing that they are genuinely allergic to tobacco and/or alcohol.
* Major scandal at WSFA: A member shows up at a meeting without suit and tie! They are of course promptly expelled from the club. (Penalties would have been much harsher had the member been a man rather than a woman.)
0 years ago: 2000:
* "100, 50, 0, -50, -100, -150, and -200 years ago in the WSFA Journal" feature inaugurated. And promptly cancelled after one issue.
* Fans who don't attend this year's Worldcon miss a great lake.
* "Y2K" bug, which was widely expected to crash all computers, and shut down power, phones, and water supplies, ends up not happening. Not happening until 2001, that is. The resulting "Y2K+1" disaster led to mandatory government licensing of programmers a few years later. Which in turn led (with the help of spam, viruses, and Windows 2010) to the abandonment of computers and the Internet (by everyone except spammers) a few years after that.
-50 years ago: 2050:
* New Disclave chair Lydia Ginter hopes to hold a con next year, for the first time in more than half a century, unlike her many predecessors, all of whom made the same claim, but ended up being "too busy".
* WSFA treasury drops to 31 million dollars. New austerity measures instituted. Dues raised to 1 million dollars, by a unanimous vote.
* Spam volume on the Internet reaches one trillion spams per second for every person on Earth. Of course nobody sees any of it, since the Internet was abandoned decades ago by everyone but spammers.
* Balticon attendance drops due to the large numbers of "Thogs," who dress in colorful (or sometimes even white) clothes, who don't wear white makeup, don't have piercings, don't act depressed, aren't afraid of daylight, and listen to cheerful music. Many of them didn't even go to the Guest of Honor talk by the director of the latest remake of Grinch, the most expensive movie ever made. Instead, they watch their scratchy old DVDs of some purple dinosaur from the last century, and of something called Teletubbies. Some children are so traumatized by seeing this that their daily dose of depressants has to be doubled.
* Copyrights are extended to the author's life plus 200 years. Youthful WSFA member John Clemens becomes very wealthy due to 150 years of royalties on Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, and other works written by a distant ancestor of his.
* The Worldcon, "Hadescon", is held in the exact center of the earth. This was intended as a joke bid, and it only got five votes, but the new zone rotation and exclusion system turned out to exclude every other possible location.
* Harlan Ellison's Last Dangerous Visions to be released next year. So is David Gerrold's fourth War with the Chtorr book.
* L. Ron Hubbard's latest work, Mission Battlefield Earth CXVII wins Hugo award. There are allegations of ballot stuffing, as it received twice as many votes as there were Worldcon members.
-100 years ago: 2100:
* No Disclave was held this year, either. Maybe next year. Sure.
* Disaster at this year's Worldcon, "Suncon II", when an idiot uses the coolant release valve for an unintended purpose. As a result, everyone is instantly vaporized, and has to be restored from offsite backups, ruining the weekend, and making them late for work the following Tuesday. New WSFS rules mandate that in the future the Worldcon must be held on, in, or near earth.
* Copyright is extended to the author's life plus 5000 years. The world's DNA records are scanned to see who are the closest living relatives of Aristotle, Plato, Ovid, Moses, Marcus Aurelius, and Homer.
* Despite ultra-efficient quantum computers, the generation of spam is consuming half the world's energy capacity. Similarly on other planets. Suggestions that spam be outlawed are met with the objection that the severely retarded aren't capable of producing anything else. Most spam is beamed into outer space in hopes that maybe someone out there is listening, and will fall for the pyramid schemes and other fraudulent scams.
* Bane Books prints an omnibus edition of the works of the late Eric Flint. Some fans are upset when it turns out that some minor editing was done, rather than his works being printed exactly as written.
-150 years ago: 2150:
* Disclave is finally held, for the first time in 153 years! As it is being held in what was once called Washington DC, the otherwise- abandoned earth is being dismantled around it. Dismantled to provide material to finish building the Dyson sphere. The generation of spam consumes nearly all the energy of the sun.
* Just in time for Disclave, Keith Lynch is restored from cryonic suspension. He tries to find the June 2000 WSFA journal to prove how accurate his predictions of the future were, but no surviving copies of that issue can be found. (If only it had been printed on acid-free paper.)
* Worldcon attendance drops to one trillion. The smallest proportion of the human population to attend a Worldcon ever. Most people these days are more interested in Westerns.
-200 years ago: 2200:
* Small furry creatures with tentacles invade, and exterminate mankind in an attempt to stop the scourge of spam. (But it's too late, as "four reports" chain letters start spreading devastation through all known galactic civilizations.) Humanity tries to defend itself, but its only hope is fandom. Most everyone else is into medieval re-creation (i.e. the SCA and Pennsic), but Napoleonic-era weapons just won't do the job against the implacable aliens. Unfortunately, fandom is too busy arguing about whether fur and tentacles plausibly go together, so our species is wiped out.
* Due to the extinction of the human race, WSFA is officially dissolved, and the 2200 Disclave cancelled. Maybe it will return in 2201.
Expenses are as follows:
First Friday $25.00
WSFA Journal $32.55
Third Friday $25.00
Insurance Payment $599.00
Sometimes you just wanna be evil, but you're not sure where to start. "So You've Decided to be Evil" at http://members.tripod.com/~mrpuzuzu/index.html is a great beginner's guide to evilness. It includes fashion tips, location ideas for your evil lair, and an Evil Plan generator. (My evil plan featured "Mean English Teachers" for henchmen.