The WSFA Journal November 2000

The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal November 2000

The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association -- ISSN 0894-5411

Edited by Samuel Lubell

Review of Gene Roddenberry's ANDROMEDA
WSFA in the Windy City
From Wizard to Scientist (Part II)
Letter to WSFA
WSFA Finds Room
On Traveling to the Worldcon (part I)
A Masquerade Remembered
Hard Cash is an Incentive
Cyborg Dinosaurs
Treasurer's Report
Vampire Disposal Methods
Capclave 01 Flier

Review of Gene Roddenberry's ANDROMEDA  (WBDC 50 - 6:00pm, Saturday)

Reviewed by Charles Gilliland.


OH - KAY! Finally, space opera returns to Broadcast TV.  Not since BABYLON 5 has a show attempted to portray space opera in all it's glory (except here the characters are not nearly so wooden in their portrayal).  The series opens with the good ship ANDROMEDA ASCENDANT responding to a distress signal and then realizing too late that it's a trap.  We had great starscapes, and the trap itself was well thought out (the FTL "slip-stream" Drive does not work within a gravity well).  Additionally, during this time we are exposed to such gems as venting the atmosphere to lighten the load (unheard of in Star Trek), time dilation, having very real worries about the event horizon, and distances being measured in light-seconds and light-minutes as opposed to kilometers.

It's nice to see real science inserted into our science fiction. 

Additionally, we get introduced to the philosophies of the Nietzscheans and meet one of them in the hero's (Dylan Hunt's) first officer, and have some glimpses into the history of the universe.  Yes, this universe has "Stuff that has gone on before," and it applies to the "Here and now."  Now, from this introduction, we see the beginning of the fall of the Systems Commonwealth and how our hero and his ship get trapped in time (A definite nod towards Einstein's Theory of Relativity).

At this point, Sorbo gives a solid performance of a Starship Captain.  He is confident and definitely the one in command, but at the same time he is the benevolent tyrant that people don't mind serving under because he obviously has your interests at heart too.  His XO is an up-tight Nietzschean (a genetically engineered human who follows the philosophies espoused by Nietzsche and Ayn Rand) who is obsessed with improving crew reaction time and performance, and believes that "Optimism is not a survival trait."  The actor comes across as a warmed over Richard Beltram (who plays Cdr. Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager) but the character is wonderfully written and one can admire him as much as despise him for what he did.

Flash forward 300+ years ... we now see the EUREKA MARU, a rag-tag freighter, serving as quite a contrast to the ANDROMEDA, puttering along and find out that this vessel has been contracted to salvage the ANDROMEDA ASCENDANT.  We get introduced to the characters one by one, among whom is, Rev Bem. a Magog, the alien race that was being vilified in the introduction as being the root cause of the Nietzschean revolt and the collapse of the Systems Commonwealth.  On board this ship are two other aliens, a Nightsider, and a purple, tailed, teenager (of whose species the Commonwealth had no knowledge) named Trance Gemini, addition to the human captain, Beka Valentine (played by Lisa Ryder of FOREVER KNIGHT fame) and engineer, Seamus Harper.

They are looking forward to the bounty to be had on an intact Commonwealth Man-o-War, and are planning their future, and make plans to take it in tow.  Already, the rat-faced Nightsider, appears to be plotting against the crew, and he makes preparations prior to the EUREKA MARU making its dive into the gravity well of the black hole (You note, at no time does any ship actually cross the event horizon).  So, instead of the usual close and lock on the Tractor Beam we are treated to the Magnetic Grappling Hooks and Tow Lines that snap as the salvage ship struggles to tow the ANDROMEDA out of the gravity well.  Once out, the salvagers board the ship (via shuttlecraft) and are struck by the contrasts between it and their own vessel.

Exploring the vessel they come across a very much alive, active, and rather pissed off DYLAN HUNT who declares his ship not up for salvage, and they have 15 minutes to restore things as they found them and leave, or else there'll be a reckoning.  The buyer from Nightside tells the salvage crew not to worry, he had planned for this eventuality and gestures to the Nietzscheans that he brought along.

Thus ends Episode 1 - Under The Darkness.

Solid performances mark this latter part of the episode, though the Nightsider came across as being too cliched.  The pacing of the episode was brisk and consistent, with enough hints being dropped to give the impression of a thought out universe.  The special effects are obviously CGI but none-the-less stunning, and I have high hopes for this series as it progresses through the season.

WSFA in the Windy City


The 9/1 meeting met in Chicago at the Worldcon.  Judy called it to order, recognizing that some had come for the wake for Joe Mayhew, "Welcome to the First Friday meeting of WSFA, the DC club.  We have a newly elected con chair.  We used to hold a convention called Disclave.  We haven't for a few years.  We hope to hold one next year."  Bob interrupted, "We will hold one next year" to which others replied, "Next year in Jerusalem."

Bob said, "The convention will be held in 2001, either in the last 2 weekends in September or the first in October.  We have done three hotel walkthroughs.  I hope you are all ready to work."  He held up an address sheet.  "It's been a few years since we last held one.  We need new addresses.  The core WSFAns don't have to, we know where you live and how to drag you out." 

Judy introduced the hosts of First and Third Friday.  She said,  "If you are interested, check out our website.  We do switch periodically.  This year we are in Chicago.  Check our website,"  Someone asked, "what happens if you do .orgy"  Sam Pierce said, "You get the Disclave '97 web page."

Alexis said, "The entertainment committee brings a Worldcon."  Lee G. said, "The library committee has five authors.  We're doing a meet the authors at a library in October.  Check the web page."  Judy said, "Other important thing this year is the death of Joe Mayhew.  We are cohosting with Bucconeer for all the things he did with the Progress Reports.  We have pictures and a signature poster.  Eat, drink, remember Joe and have a good time."  The treasurer's report was, "We have a little money."  Lee G. said, "We're having a party."  Bob replied, "Yes, but Bucconeer is paying for it."

Announcements:  Mike Nelson had Hugo voter ribbons.


From Wizard to Scientist:

Changing Views Towards Scientists From Hawthorne to Twain (Part II)

By Samuel James Lubell


The plants in "Rappaccini's Daughter," originally published in the Democratic Review in 1844, are similarly created through science. But, despite the presence of two scientists, the science in this story is less explicit than in "The Birthmark." In the story, Giovanni falls in love with Beatrice, Rappaccini's beautiful daughter, despite evidence that she is poisonous. When he himself develops a poisonous breath, he gives Beatrice an antidote which, like Aylmer's final potion, kills instead of curing. But in the story, Hawthorne never reveals any of Rappaccini's scientific methods, just the results credited to them. It is this vagueness in the story, the added mystery, that brings it closer to magic. Hawthorne increases the story's nebulous, aspect by opening it with a framing device, claiming to have translated the story from the work of M. de l'Aubepine. This further breaks down the barrier between the magical legend and the story of science, since the reader encounters both second-hand. The narrator carefully establishes Rappaccini as a scientist, calling him a "scientific gardener" in the text, and Baglioni says that Rappaccini "has as much science as any member of the faculty- with perhaps one single exception- in Padua, or all Italy," Beatrice too, tells Giovanni that her father ". . .is a man fearfully acquainted with the secrets of Nature."  Rappaccini carefully observes the plants in his garden, analyzing the results of his experiments that have created them. Even Baglioni, Rappaccini' s scientific rival admits that his unique methods, curing through poisons, occasionally produced marvelous cures.

However, there exists a darker side to Rappaccini' s ardent desire for scientific knowledge. He allows nothing to stop his zeal for science, and would even sacrifice his own life. Baglioni asserts:

He cares infinitely more for science than for mankind. His patients are interesting to him only as subjects for some new experiment. He would sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else was dearest to him, for the sake of adding so much as a grain of mustard seed to the great heap of his accumulated knowledge.

Although Baglioni may be unreliable on the subject of his rival, the story validates this statement. Rappaccini, without hesitating, experiments on his daughter and her lover, but takes no human interest in Giovanni as a future husband for his daughter; they never even talk. The narrator's description of Rappaccini's garden also shows the evils of Rappaccini's science. The plants have an appearance of artificiality, revealing "that the production was no longer of God's making, but the monstrous offspring of man's depraved fancy, glowing with only an evil mockery of beauty." Once again, as in "The Birthmark," man's attempt to challenge the Creator results in evil.

In Hawthorne, this rivalry with God is a sign of the scientist as wizard. Rappaccini' s use of poisons places him in the world of the supernatural, with witches who were often accused of poisoning enemies. Nothing in the text proves that the poisonous plants could not have been produced by magic. Moreover, there is no difference between the scientific and magical origins of Beatrice's poison. Beatrice tells Giovanni that she had been born at the same time as the poisonous plant and nurtured on its breath. This is exactly the same as the fantastical explanation for the poison woman in the legend told by Baglioni: "That this lovely woman.., had been nourished with poisons from her birth upward." Similarly, Rappaccini transforms Giovanni without the direct use of science. He claims, "My science and the sympathy between thee and him have so wrought within his system that he now stands apart from common men"[1064] but even in Hawthorne's day, this would not qualify as a scientific explanation. While in "The Birthmark," Hawthorne links science and magic through results, here he links their methods as well. The story makes no fundamental distinction between its science and its magic.

Not only does science in "Rappaccini's Daughter" destroy life, but it also acts to strip away the characters' humanity. Rappaccini's science effectively dehumanizes Beatrice, turning her into a poisonous "horrible thing... a world's wonder of hideous monstrosity." But science isolates the scientists as well. When Rappaccini finally cites a personal motive for transforming her, aside from his interest in learning more science, his explanation only proves Rappaccini's own isolation from the world. He tells Beatrice that he made her poisonous in order to give her a power with which to defend herself, to "quell the mightiest with a breath,". But the dying Beatrice, in reaffirming her humanity with the words, "I would fain have been loved, not feared," exposes her father's own separation from the human race. Even the other scientist, Baglioni, distances himself from his fellow man. At the end, after his scientific rivalry has destroyed the innocent Beatrice, his voice has a tone of triumph. While Beatrice and Giovanni are forcibly removed from humanity, the scientists themselves voluntarily reject their own humanity as a hindrance to their experimentation on nature.

Sorcery, in "Rappaccini's Daughter" intrudes on science when the scientist attempts to turn the natural world to his ends. This blurred line between scientist and sorcerer continues in The Scarlet Letter, where the physician Chillingworth, through his use of science, transforms himself into a sorcerer and a servant of the devil. Early in the book he is called a "man of science, "and a "practiced alchemist"; he even builds a laboratory complete with needed equipment. Like Aylmer, Chillingworth is a former scholar and "book-worm," demonstrating an unbridled intellect. He has studied in Europe, and gave his "best years to feed the hungry dream of knowledge." The Puritans, too, praise his scientific abilities and his medical knowledge, as "a man of skill in all Christian modes of physical science, and likewise familiar with whatever the savage people could teach." Chillingworth always considers himself a scientist and his motives scientific. He launches his quest for Hester's lover in this scientific spirit:

Believe me, Hester, there are few things- whether in the outward world, or, to a certain depth, in the invisible sphere of thought,- few things hidden from a man who devotes himself earnestly and unreservedly to the solution of a mystery... I shall seek this man, as I have sought truth in books; as I have sought gold in alchemy.

This almost arrogantly declares the scientists' creed- that nature cannot hide secrets from a properly trained mind. A scientist is limited only by his will; nothing is unknowable. Clearly Chillingworth belongs in the company of Aylmer and Rappaccini in their shared search for knowledge.

Although a researcher and a student of science, Chilling­worth's investigation transforms him from a scientific scholar to a sorcerer, from a scientist to a devil. The Puritan townspeople chart this transition. After originally viewing him as Dimmesdale's savior, believing that God had miraculously transported a skilled doctor from Europe to save Dimmesdale's life, when he begins his hunt they notice a change in his face reflecting his new evil. They begin to whisper about his activities while with the Indians, believing that he had practiced devil worship to gain magical powers. The Puritans interpret the fires in doctor's laboratory as coming from the "infernal regions" and the man himself as an agent of Satan given Divine permission to test Dimmesdale's sanctity. By the end of the book some people even believe that the "potent necromancer" had conjured up the "A" on Dimmesdale's breast through magic and poisonous drugs in an effort to discredit the minister.

                While Hawthorne places these opinions at a remove from his main narrative by crediting them to the townspeople, the idea of Chillingworth as a torture for Dimmesdale depicts his role in the novel. He exacts revenge for the violation of his wife by constantly observing Dinunesdale, digging into the minister's heart to expose the secret guilt. Through this constant examination and prolongation of Dimmesdale's suffering, Chillingworth transforms himself into a devil, a magical creature living off the pain of others. When the doctor secretly examines the minister's bosom, always covered by his hand, the narrator compares him to Satan: "Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth, at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven, and won into his kingdom." Hester also notices the change in her former husband, and wonders whether the sun will still shine on him and whether the grass will wither at his feet. Chillingworth then is the prime example of the scientist exercising secret control, a control similar to magic. While probing and manipulating Dimmesdale's conscience, he always remains hidden from his victim, never taking overt and visible action.  In this, Chillingworth is like Rappaccini, who also has a background role in the events he manipulates. Although Chillingworth's methods are scientific, what today would be considered psychology, his goal is the magical control of another person's soul. He directs his torture of Dimmesdale's heart, deliberately leading him away from repentance and thereby damning his soul. Here he is similar to the mesmerists in Hawthorne's other novels, whose power over the soul leads them into wizardry.[1]

.     .    .

                Like the alchemists of the middle ages who studied only to learn how to turn lead into gold, Hawthorne's scientists gain knowledge to learn the secrets of controlling man and nature. In this desire to dominate they go beyond the proper role of scientist and doctor, and venture into the mysterious world of the supernatural. Through their science, Hawthorne's characters rival God, battling nature to wrench it into their plans. Nature's power, in Hawthorne's fiction, derives from its position outside of man's domain. In The Scarlet Letter, Nature is the forest; its location outside the community provides the freedom to choose good or evil. On the one hand the forest is the land of the heathen Indians who taught Chillingworth magic, the lair of witches, and the location of Mistress Hibbins dealings with the black man, the devil. But at the same time, the forest allows Dimmesdale and Hester the liberty to reveal safely their true selves, to take off their respective scarlet letters, and to confess their love. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the original forest, they are free from sin, since they are outside the community that defines sin. Therefore, when Hawthorne's scientists try to control this great power that is nature, they are reaching for a force beyond their capacity to restrain. Nature is so unpredictable, so much beyond man's understanding, that the consequences of forcing it can never be the expected results.

Nature, mysterious, dark, and secret, always resists man's authority. Aylmer tries to perfect Nature, only to destroy it. Rappaccini attempts to control Nature, confining it to a garden and creating new plants, but he can produce are poisonous hybrids. In trying to bend Nature to their wishes, the scientists delude themselves in their belief that they understand it. Their incomplete knowledge of Nature leads them to the misuse of its powers, into magic. Magic is the result of overambition into areas that man can never know, and when Hawthorne's scientists enter these areas, they become sorcerers.

Therefore Hawthorne's scientists are not scholars engaged in learning but magicians using their knowledge and powers for their own ends. Hawthorne sees their science as innocent so long as the scientists remain content to stay and learn in their libraries and laboratories, but dangerous when they venture into the larger world to make active use of that learning. In these circumstances, the scientist perverts his learning through using it to control others, and turns himself into a sorcerer. This control is most obvious in The Scarlet Letter, but evident in the other stories as well. Through his hints in "The Birthmark" that the birthmark resides in Georgiana's heart, Hawthorne implies that Aylmer is really trying to control her very soul. Although Rappaccini appears to be interested only in science, he too desires control. The people he transforms are his daughter and his daughter's lover:

As he drew near, the pale man of science seemed to gaze with a triumphant expression at the beautiful youth and maiden, as might an artist who should spend his life in achieving a picture or group of statuary and finally be satisfied with his success. He paused; his bent form grew erect with conscious power...

Seizing control, Rappaccini becomes a perverted Creator/God, producing a poisoned Adam and Eve.

Hawthorne deliberately blends science and magic to tell a cautionary tale. He warns his readers of the dangers of science when unfettered by human conscience. His scientists misuse their science by applying it without regard to consequences. By leaving out concrete descriptions of science, Hawthorne stresses the similarities to magic. Wizards in disguise, his "scientists" wear only thin laboratory coats to establish them as scientists. They corrupt their learning through using it to violate people's souls, a control which Hawthorne believes is magic. To Hawthorne, this control is the true evil, the "unpardonable sin." His fear of this aspect of science can be taken back to his letter to Sophia Peabody, when he feared mesmerism s power to make one person's soul subject to another's bidding. He fears science in "The Birthmark," "Rappaccini's Daughter," and The Scarlet Letter, because it has the same possibilities for subjugating people that magic does. In yielding to this temptation, Hawthorne's scientists transform themselves into wizards, sorcerers, and devil figures.


[1] Holgrave, the social reformer and early photography pioneer in House of the Seven Gables has strange mesmerizing powers inherited from his wizard ancestor. Another mesmerist, Westervelt of The Blithedale Romance, is linked in a story narrated by one of the characters to a Magician, and in fact he claims supernatural powers during his stage shows.

Letter to WSFA from Chuck Divine

I've got my first piece of computer art up on the Web.  You and the folks at WSFA can check it out at  I'm  developing a bit of a Web gallery at and my home page at has a link to WSFA's.  Course, you  might like that, since there are links to my Red Dress Run photos on the  same site.

This year's Red Dress Run was another roaring success -- 876 of us took  part.  Some came even from other countries. On November 9th, I'll be setting the run for Everyday is Wednesday.  The  theme will be "Political Losers."  You might be interested to know that the hash is overjoyed that the Republicans have nominated the Dick-Bush ticket.  Makes for all kinds of crude humor...

Yes, I'll be attending Philcon.  Maybe I'll get to a WSFA meeting in December.

Ad Astra,  Chuck Divine


WSFA Finds Room at the Inn


            The 9/15 Third Friday was brought to order by Eric "In the absence of the President, Vice President, and Treasurer who probably are still hung over from Worldcon."   Minutes were waived.  No old business.  No treasurer's report.  Sam L. estimated based on the last recorded amount.

                Alexis for the entertainment committee asked, "Were you entertained?  Yes, there was a worldcon.  I was entertained and there is an account in the newsletter that I wrote while I still remember."

                Eric asked "Is there any new business?"  Hearing none he moved on to announcements but President Judy did show up with the officers.  Bob reported, "$1,589.45"  Eric pointed out that this was more than last time.  Someone said something about it being on Ebay.  Bob said, "We had some dues collected."

                Judy said, "Technically speaking...  where is he?"  Covert came out of hiding to say, "I still hope to do something."  Richard L. pointed out, "You're running out of year."  2001 Chair Bob said, "Applause to Elspeth for getting us a hotel."  Elspeth said, "And raising $20 for a mailing."  Bob said that our new home will be the "Sheraton College Park, right across I-95"  He added, "Hey you can walk to it." But Erica said, "As the crow flies, but you have to cross  roads and fences."

                Sam L asked, "Do you have a name?" and Mike W. asked, "And what is the name?"  Bob answered.  "September 28-30th, 2001.  Be there.   Membership will be $30.  I need $6,000 minimum.  It will cost $2,700 for the hotel.  I'd like to move that WSFA give the hotel $500 to hold the date."  Mike W asked, "What does the treasurer say about that."  The treasurer (still Bob) said, "Yes, absolutely."  Motion to call the question passed unanimously.

                Sam asked, "under what name?"  Judy said, "WSFA".  Keith Marshall said, "We have a hotel, so why not call it Disclave?"  Judy asked, "Sam, any names?"  Sam said, "No one submitted any."  Bob said, "We need a treasurer and a register."  In a flurry of motion, Alexis decided to be registrar.  Steve Smith volunteered to be treasury at least temporarily.  Mike Nelson signed on for programming and Sam Lubell for publicity/publications.

                Richard Lynch said, "Will you know people for guests?"  Bob said, "I think the theme will be short stories.  More info to come.  I have ideas for guests."

                Announcements:  Sam said the Journal was a combo issue, "Analog does it, Asimov's does it."  Elspeth said Dan served with papers.  She's working for peanuts.  Judy said, "You get peanuts?"  Mike Nelson announced badge ribbons for Joe.  Meeting adjourned unanimously at 9:49.

                Attendance:  Pres. Judy Kindell, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Eric Jablow, Trust. Elspeth Kovar, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Sheri Bell, Alexis Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Keith Lynch, Keith Marshall, Walter Miles, Barry and Judy Newton, Meridel Newton, Evan Phillips, Michael Taylor, Madeleine Yeh, Michael Weiss, Houston Westfall, Colette Fozarel, Jeff Olhoeft



On Traveling to the Worldcon (part I)

By Keith Lynch


Lots of WSFA members and others have written reports on attending Worldcons.  So I decided to do something different.  This is a report on traveling to Worldcons.

I'm not sure if my report on the Worldcons themselves would be interesting, anyhow.  Reports are usually about the programming, and I mostly don't go to cons for the programming.  I go mostly for random conversations.  Panels and award ceremonies are nice, but I prefer events where I am a full participant, rather than having to sit there with my hand up for ten minutes in hopes of getting to speak for ten seconds.  The best part of most panels are the spin-off discussions that start when they end.

            The first Worldcon I attended was Nolacon II, in New Orleans in 1988. Peter Glaskowski, a fellow objectivist whom I knew only via the net, talked me into going.  I flew to Miami where I was to meet him at the airport.  He was returning from a business trip at about the same time as I was to arrive.  We neglected to say which of our arrival gates we would meet at.  I had never been to Florida, and I somehow had the idea that the Miami airport, being way off at the corner of the country, was very small.  It isn't.  Nevertheless, we managed to find each other, despite neither of us having any idea what the other looked like.

I spent a day and a night at the house where he lived with his parents, and where he kept his gun collection.  He drove me to New Orleans and back.  When we arrived in that city, we were unable to find the bridge across the river.  We spent hours searching for it. We could see it easily enough, but we could never manage to find where one got onto it.  We ended up spending the night at a hotel on the wrong side of the river, then going 50 miles out of our way to find another bridge the following morning. We shared hotel expenses and the cost of gas for his car. On the drive back to Miami from the Worldcon, we met with some friends of his in Orlando, and we all went to Disneyworld together.

            I can't really give him credit for getting me into Worldcons, since the year before the New Orleans Worldcon, I had registered at Boskone for the 1989 Worldcon which was in Boston.

I took the train to Noreascon III in Boston, the 1989 Worldcon, along with several other DC area fen.  On that train we held a con on the way to the con, complete with a program book, author readings, and other scheduled events.  The con on the train was called "The Little Con that Could".  It was chaired by Susan Cohen and Lance Oszko.

I combined the Worldcon with a visit to MIT, where I had had a guest account for over a decade, which is how I got access to the net in the 70s and 80s, before there were ISPs.  I also went to see Mike Jittlov's _Wizard of Speed and Time_ which was playing in a nearby theater.  At that theater I ran into Greg Heise, whom I hadn't seen in over ten years, and whom I wouldn't see again for more than another ten years.  I also went to Boston's Computer Museum (which has since closed).  After the con, I spent a couple days at the home of New Hampshire fan, objectivist, and filker Gary McGath.  I gave a talk to his objectivist group about the Internet, whom most of them hadn't heard of.

I skipped the 1990 Worldcon in the Netherlands.  I wasn't yet ready for an overseas convention.  It was the last Worldcon I missed.

1991 was Chicon V in Chicago, in the same hotels as this year's Worldcon.  It was just across the river from the Libertarian Party's national convention, which I also attended.  Robert Anton Wilson, his _Illuminatus_ co-author Robert Shea, and the notorious LSD guru Timothy Leary also attended both conventions, and I got to meet all of them, and talk to them at some length.  That con is also where I first met people who were into cryonics.  Cryonics is the freezing of people immediately after legal death, in hopes that future science will be able to restore them to good health.  Years later, I joined, and am now the president of, the DC area cryonics group.

1992, Magicon, was in Orlando.  I accidentally got off the shuttle bus from the airport at the wrong convention center.  How was I supposed to know there was more than one convention center in the city?  Not that I saw any signs of what I think of as a city.  So I walked several miles to the correct location.  There were no stores near the con, and no palatable food for sale at the con.  Who would have guessed that oranges would be nowhere to be found in Florida?  I was glad when I got home and could get fresh fruit again.

When I flew to the 1993 Worldcon, ConFrancisco, in San Francisco, I had only just returned from a week-long business trip to Iceland, and I had not yet adjusted to Eastern time, much less Pacific.  So the first morning there I found myself getting up before dawn, which is very unusual for me.  I walked down to Fisherman's Wharf, but nothing was open yet.  I tried to see the Golden Gate Bridge, but there was too much fog.  (To this day, I have never seen that bridge.)  On the way back, I stopped at Laissez Faire Books, a world-famous libertarian bookstore.  I had a hard time finding it, since the 900 block turned out to be nowhere near 9th street.  In fact, it turned out to be almost next door to one of the con hotels.  They had almost no walk-in business.  It's mostly mail-order.

This was the only Worldcon my brother attended.  He had been to San Francisco before, and he recommended the Olympic Hotel to me, as it was only $30 a night.  To my surprise, it was zero blocks from the main con hotel.  The con hotel was U-shaped, and the Olympic Hotel was nestled into the U.  As far as I know, nobody at the con except my brother and I stayed at that hotel.  The hotel had an undefinable San Francisco feel to it, as if it were a relic that somehow survived the 1906 earthquake.  I like picking up some flavor of the place I'm in.  Most hotels are so generic you could be anywhere, with their cookie-cutter lobbies, overpowered air conditioners, subliminal elevator music, faux-woodgrain trim, marble, crystal chandeliers, pitchers full of unpalatable ice water, and scruffy looking stairwells contrasting with luxury everywhere else, containing stairs which often unexpectedly dump you into the hotel kitchen, utility corridors, or outdoors rather than where you want to go, or which are locked on every floor except the bottom.  This was the only Worldcon at which I had a hotel room to myself. Granted, the room didn't have a toilet or a shower, but you can't have everything.  Bathrooms were right down the hall.

While I flew to San Francisco and back, my brother took the train both ways both times he was there.  (Ironically, this year, I took the train to the Chicago Worldcon.  And later learned that unbeknownst to me my brother was also in town, just a couple blocks away, for reasons unrelated to the Worldcon.  And he had flown there and back.)

 I spent the night before the 1994 Worldcon, Conadian, in Winnipeg, at Brian Wowk's home, along with several other people who are into cryonics, several of whom are Canadians.  Brian Wowk is not only a leading cryonics researcher, he's also one of the pioneers of MRI scans.  We discussed -- among much else -- the physics of MRI scans, and whether they could be used to read the brain state of frozen cryonics patients.  (The conclusion was "maybe".)  This was my first Worldcon outside the US.  I was surprised that US customs had an office in Winnipeg, and that we went through US customs before leaving Canada.  The Prometheus Award ceremony (for the best libertarian science fiction of the year) was missing the award, as it was too much hassle to bring the solid gold medallion through customs.  Especially since the winners would just carry them back to the US.  I later learned that in years the Worldcon is outside the US, the Prometheus Award ceremony is held at the NASFiC instead.

            1995, Intersection, in Glasgow, was my first overseas Worldcon.  And the first time I had ever been further east than Iceland.  I decided to take my bike with me to the Worldcon.  Having my bike solved several problems: How do I get from my home to Dulles Airport and back?  How do I get from the Glasgow airport to the SECC and back? How do I get between the SECC and the outlying hotels?  How do I explore Glasgow and its surroundings?  How do I get enough exercise during the con that I don't feel compelled to leave interesting panels to walk up and down the stairs all day?  (Exercise withdrawal is quite unpleasant.)

I knew that British Air would accept it as checked luggage at no extra charge, but that they would require a box.  I obtained the box for free from a local bike shop.  I then spent nearly an hour in the bike shop's parking lot struggling with the box before finding a way I could carry it -- flattened then folded double, longest direction forwards, horizontal, on top of my front basket, held in place with a bungee cord.  I initially found the bike very hard to control, with the large cardboard box and my suitcase both strapped to the front basket with bungee cords.  It felt something like I imagine it would feel to drive a large truck backwards.

Fortunately, the W&OD bike trail runs near my home, and heads in the general direction of Dulles airport, so I used that.  By the time the W&OD started to head away from the airport, I had the knack of riding the thing, so I was then comfortable getting onto local roads, then Route 28, then the Dulles Access Highway (yes, bikes *are* allowed on it, if they enter on the final exit -- otherwise Dulles would only be accessible to licensed motorists, which would be a violation of common law).

I rode right up to the front of the British Air terminal, and walked my bike inside.  Against the far wall, out of everyone's way, I then got out my tools, and a pair of rubber gloves to keep my hands clean, and took off the pedals, removed the handlebars, dismounted the front wheel and the seat, and partially deflated the tires.  I put a brace in the front fork in place of the front wheel.  The front basket itself would not fit into the long but narrow box. But I knew what to do, since I had rehearsed all of this.  I dumped everything out of my suitcase onto the floor, put the basket into the (small, flexible) suitcase (it just barely fit), then put everything back into the suitcase.  The 6mm allen wrench, and the bungee cords, I had found lying in the road in past years.  The only thing I had to buy for the trip was the 15mm wrench for removing the pedals. Last of all, after cutting the duct tape with which I sealed the box, I slipped the scissors into a small hole in the box, since I figured the airline wouldn't want me bringing them in my carry-on suitcase. (The tape peels off, so I don't need the scissors for re-opening the box.)

            I had been warned by Glasgow locals on the net that a map of that city is essential, but that it's only available at the DEPARTURE area of the airport, not at the arrival area.  Fortunately, I had to change planes at Heathrow (London), at which I was able to buy a map of Glasgow in the departure area.  Unfortunately, the map didn't extend all the way to the Glasgow airport.  In Glasgow, I picked up my bike in the luggage office, after a long wait for it at the luggage carrousels, on which they later told me it wouldn't fit.  I unpacked and reassembled it in the luggage carrousel room.  By the time I was done, the customs people had left, so I got to skip customs.  I was told there was a place at the airport where I could leave the empty box until I needed it for my return flight a week later.  But it turned out there was a very high charge for this dubious service, so I kept the box with me.



A Masquerade Remembered


Alexis Gilliland


            Lee and I were at dinner when the conversation turned to costuming and Lee said:  "You remember the Kennedys don't you?"

Well, yes, of course, I replied.  When I was GoH at Bob Sack's convention (Nyclone in 1986) Ed Kennedy gave me a half hour tutorial on judging a masquerade, because that was to be part of my duties.  Training that came in handy a year or two later up in Toronto (at Ad Astra 7) when one of the judges excused herself because of illness and I was plucked from the audience to fill in. 

And Lee says:  It was Marion Zimmer Bradley who withdrew; was that you they picked to take her place?  They said that nobody on the judging panel had any experience at all.  It was me, I said, along with C.J. Cherryh and a couple of other people, none of whom had ever judged a masquerade before.  On Friday afternoon, before there were crowds of people seeking her attention, Cherryh bought me a glass of wine in the bar, and when it was my turn, she bought me another!  It was years before I figured out that since she was the Pro GoH the convention was picking up her bill. 

Yes, said Lee patiently.  At the masquerade do you remember Eccentrica Gallumbutts, the triple-breasted Whore of Eroticon 6?  I shook my head.  The tall blonde with three breasts, wearing a gold bikini under a lot of pale blue gauze with gold trim?  Alas, no.  I didn't remember any of the costumes, and it was also a long time ago, not to mention being in Canada. 

"Do you remember the award, "Most Beautiful, Humorous?"  That I remembered; we had these award certificates that needed to be filled out, and that was one of them that I had figured out to the unanimous approval of the other judges.  That was me, she said unnecessarily, my first time out and I won a prize; Jerry made me change before going to the parties, though.  In a general way I had known about Lee's costume, but I hadn't known until then that I had been one of the judges passing on it.         


Hard Cash is an Incentive to Keep Us


            The 10/6 First Friday meeting opened in Virginia at 9:16.  "Alright guys," said Lee Strong trying to get people to quiet down for Prez Judy.  "Mr. Secretary," asked Judy.  "There was some old business.  A convention," said Sam

                Bob said that the treasury was "A mere $1029.29.  A poor treasury indeed."

                Alexis said that the Entertainment Committee had ordered one gross of crème pies for the debates but used ACME Express instead of Fed Ex.  "I don't know how they got to Yugoslavia," he confessed.

                Lee Strong said that he got a call at the Command Operations Center on the phone that usually meant war was declared.  But they just wanted an acronym. 

                Lee Gilliland for the library committee announced fliers for the Oct 21st library event.  "Lots of different types.  Programs all work.  I want guys to put the fliers up at bookstores and libraries."  Sam P asked, "What is seating capacity?"  Lee answered, "200"  The club sat dumbfounded.  "I've sent information to the Washington Post, Fairfax Communicator, Washington Times.  I haven't done the big three stations yet.  If anyone has suggestions see me."

                Eric for the Austerity Committee said, "We'll get more money but will be devoted to the con.  So give early and often.  Soon we will have our Fall membership drive."  Lee said that "If bring stuff, don't leave on piano or drum table.  Bring into kitchen."

                Bob for Convention 2001 said, "We do have a hotel.  Our contract does have cancellation clauses.  The fact that we gave them hard cash is an incentive to keep us.  It is September 28-30 next year.  It is fifth Friday.  Gardner Dozois is GOH (also at Millennium Philcon)."  Lee asked, "What about art?" 

Bob said, "I've tried to talk with past chairs. It is difficult because one is dead."  There were calls for a séance.  Elspeth said, "Give Joe a chance to talk and he'll talk."  Bob continued, "Paid WSFAns get in for $20, others for $25.  After May 1st cost is $30.  The Hotel is the Sheraton College Park.  Spitting distance from Hotel Ginter."  Bob read list of people who had volunteered.   Alexis said, "Already notified File 770."  Bob said, "That's it so far.  Others considering other jobs.  Don't worry, anyone can volunteer."

New Business:   Colleen said she has a list of members, "If you haven't heard from me, see me."  Someone asked if they could donate to WSFA and get $ off taxes.  Judy, who moonlights as an IRS lawyer during her spare time from being WSFA president, said "No, we aren't that type of nonprofit."  Judy announced that Bucky is sponsoring the student writing contest.  Meeting adjourned unanimously at 9:52.

Attendance:  Pres. Judy Kindell, VP Sam Pierce, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. and 2001 Chair Bob MacIntosh, Trust Lee Gilliland, Trust. Eric Jablow, Trust. Elspeth Kovar, 2000 Chair Covert Beach.  (note, all officers present).  Bernard Bell, Colleen Cahill, Alexis Gilliland, Lee Hagee, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Barry and Meridel Newton, George Shaner, Michael Taylor, Michael Walsh, Bradford Lyau, Adrienne Ertman, Dan Hoey, Sam Scheiner, Victoria A Smith, Scott Hofmann, Lawrence Brown.



Cyborg Dinosaurs

By Jeffery Marzi

Editor's note: The following solicitation was sent to WSFA and was so, um, unique, that I thought WSFAns might be interested in seeing it for the same reason that so many people go to hear "Eye of Argon" readings at cons.  It's being presented unedited with the spelling and grammar checker off for reasons that will be obvious. 


                 I want to tell you this. DINOSAURS our HOT now of days & kids love dinosaurs allots. And the most popleter dinosaur that's kids like the best. Is the TYRANNOSAURUS-REX!! Then all other specie of dinosaurs. My favorite dinosaur is the Pterodactyloids the flying dinosaur & I wrote two science fiction stories about dinosaurs. My first story is Prehistoric park. And my second story is Pterodactyloid man's flight to Paris............

                 Both of my stories publish by Pablo Lennis magazine. But Pablo Lennis magazine is a small one man run publication & John Thiel of Pablo Lennis magazine. Only publish your stories ONES & it's non profits to? But it's bether then NOTHING!!!

                 And I want to tell you this so you will not miss under stands me?? I wrote & copyrighted the sequel of Jurassic park. Before Michael Crichton wrote his sequel call the lost world. At first my first story of Prehistoric park WAS the sequel of Jurassic park FIRST!! Now my first story of Prehistoric park is a SPIN-OFF SEQUEL of Jurassic park. Because of Michael Crichton's LUST FOR MONEY!! But thank you JESUS I got my first story of Prehistoric park COPYRIGHTED FIRST!!!!!!!!!

                 My sequel is ten years in the future. And Crichton's sequel is 8 years in the future & that's my ADVANTAGE!! Because the dinosaur park haves bin ABANDON a second time & it's theirs for the taking!!!!!!!

                 In my first story of Prehistoric park. The party of humans our in a sailboat race & we sail pass the west side of the island & sail back in to internation waters. Then out in international waters?  Our sailboats crash together then sinks!! Then in our lifeboats? We see the island & to be glad to be on dry land!! Then the party of humans just found out that's we our in the dinosaur party & can not get off the island!! But the party  of humans our working together & we makes CYBORG out of all of the savage dinsaurs!! We SIMULATED all of the VELOCIRAPTORS & DILOPHOSAURUS!! And this new dinosaur park is a safe & peice park. Runs by CYBORG VELOCIRAPTORS & DILOPHOSAURUS!! Cyborg Velociraptors our not PROGRAM to attack & kill humans. And cyborg Dilophosaurus our not PROGRAM to spits & attack & kill humans. All cyborg Velociraptors & Dilophosaurus our PROGRAM to serve humans & runs this new dinosaur park! It's a robot's brain in a dinosaur's body!! And all cyborg dinosaurs do haves a satellite dish on tops of theirs heads!! But that's not the best part of m first story of Prehistoric park........

                 The best part of my first story is. Theirs a man inside the skull of the TYRANNOSAURUS-REX!! And the man's human body becomes a organ of the  Tyrannosaurus-rex's body. And the man inside the brain cavity of the Tyrannosaurus-rex's skull is a preacher or pastor!! And I do havesa warp drive engines back pack. And the man inside the Tyrannosaurus-rex. Is wearing the warp drive engines back pack on the Tyrannosaurus-rex's back!! And I haves the man inside the Tyrannosaurus-rex. Is riding on the back of a  Brachiosaurus!! Plus much much much much much more!!!!!

                 Now I wants to tell you abouts my second story Pterodactyloid man's flight to Paris. Radon the Pterodactyloid man. Wants to be the first living thing with wings on it's body. To fly acorss the north Atlantic ocean!! But Radon needs to be SIMULATED as a CYBORG PTERODACTYLOID MAN!!!

                 My second story to a point? Is like FRANKENSTEIN!! But I get my body parts form a giant anaconda snake!! First Radon haves all of his skin remove & replace form the giant anaconda snake. So Radon haves bigger & stroger wings!! Then Radon do haves all of his muscles remove & replace form the giant anaconda snake. So Radon haves bigger & stroger breast arms & legs muscles!! Then Radon do haves the anaconda snake's heart to. So with a bigger & stroger heart & with bigger & stroger breast arms & legs muscles. Radon can flaps his bigger & stroger wings!! So Radon can fly acorss the north Atlantic ocean!!!!!

                 As a cyborg Pterodactyloid man??  Radon do haves allots of artifical implants to!! And this Radon's bear body is. Before options equipment is needed. First Radon haves a stainless stell shell that's coves his torso & legs of stainless steel & the stainless steel shell is on the Pterodactyloid man's body for good!! And theirs 8 I.Vs on the stainless steel shell to. But the best artifical implants that's Radon the cyborg Pterodactyloid man like the best is his BLOOD HEATER!! Radon the Pterodactyloid man is reptillian?? But Radon wants to be warm as a mammal? So Radon haves a blood heater implanted inside his body!! But to implants his blood heater inside his body? First Radon haves to haves all of his sex organs remove to implants his blood heater inside his body!! Radon wants to be warm as a mammal then haves sex!! Radon needs warmth not sex!!

                 Now this is all of the options equipment is needed. So Radon cyborg Pterodactyloid man. Can fly acorss the north Atlantic ocean!! First Radon haves a big back pack on the Pterodactyloid man's back. The front part of the back pack is. Radon's navigational computer. To help Radon navigate over the north Atlantic ocean & other needs to. And the rest of the back part is. The 6 1/4 size beer kegs to carry. All of the liquids as food or nutriment to power cyborg Pterodactyloid man. Radon haves I.Vs pump two pumps is pumping the I.Vs solution in Radon's breast arms & legs muscles. That's keeping Radon's breast arms & legs muscles flapping his wings!! And with all of the I.Vs solution is being pump in Radon's body. The Pterodactyloid man will urinating allots. So Radon haves a body waste discharge shutter port. It's shape like a cone & the shutter is like the shutter of a camera. Then Radon haves a lap top computer color monitor. Radon the cyborg Pterodactyloid man. Can see all of his maps & charts & airplane instrument gauges & other needs to. And the monitor is clamped on his crest & just comes down just over his beak. Then Radon haves two small key boards strapped on the palms of his hands. So Radon can controls allof his equipment as Radon is flapping his wings!! Radon do haves two 1/4 inch reed in force tuding on his body. So the I.Vs solution is carr to the 8 I.Vs on his body. So that's keeping Radon's wings flapping all the time!! So Radon the cyborg Pterodactyloid man. Will be the first living thing with wings on it's body. To fly acorss the north Atlantic ocean!! Plus much much much much much more!!!!!

                 And just like I say before? DINOSAURS our hot now of days & kids love dinosaurs allots!! Jurassic park & the lost world is not for kids?? But allots of kids do watch both movies?? Because theirs DINOSAURS!!!!!!!!

                 I am looking for a regular or a cartoon movie producer? To produce both of my stories!! And I do needs your help to help me find one?? If you can find a regular movie producer? Both of my stories will needs allots of SPECIAL EFFECTS!! And movies with SPECIAL EFFECTS our block buster movies & makes tons & tons & tons & tons & tons our money!! And both of my stories can be cartoon movies as well to that's will comes first!! Both of my stories will TAKE-OFF in the movies & in the box office!!!!!!!

                 I do have WEBTV & Webtv do have it's limits?? And I wood like the send both of my stories to you!! But Webtv do not haves any scanner options our any kinds? So I do needs your regular mailing address? So please E-MAIL your regular mailing address to me? And YES I will mail both of my stories to you!! And YES I will mail both of my stories to you by PRIORITY MAIL!!!! And YES that's wil be my TOP PRIORITY!!!!!!!!


Treasurer's Report

By Bob MacIntosh


We have both expenses and revenue (yes, really).



    First Friday        $25

    Third Friday       $25



    Dues collected     $60 - Dan Hoey, Lawrence Brun, Scott Hoffman, Sam Scheiner, Peggy Rae and John Sapaniez all paid.


Hey, that's a net gain of $10.    Balance is $1019.21.


I will not be at Third Friday (Philcon) at least as far as paying anyone anything nor at the First Friday in December. (Smofcon).


WHAT IF Presentation


The Library of Congress What IF... Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum presents: "Searching for Extrasolar Planets" by Inge Heyer,  Data Analyst, Space Telescope Science Institute. Wednesday, November 8, 2000, 12:10pm.  Pickford Theatre, Room 302. Library of Congress, Madison Building. 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington DC.  All staff and Library Patrons are welcome to attend




Sent to WSFA by Colleen Cahill


First, identify your vampire in the conventional way. Hold up a mirror to him/her and if you see no reflected image then it is a vampire. If still unsure confront suspect with garlic and/or a cross. If it panics it is a vampire. Remember, your vampire can quickly shape-shift into a bat, so once you have identified the little sucker you have to move quickly.

Here's the tricky part. The method for killing a vampire varies, depending on its country of origin. Please refer to the list below for the appropriate methods...


Word for vampire                    Country                       Disposal by...

Sampiro                                   Albania                       Stake through heart

Nachtzehrer                             Bavaria                        Place coin in mouth, decapitate with ax

Ogoljen                                    Bohemia                      Bury at crossroads

Krvoijac                                   Bulgaria                       Chain to grave with wild roses

Kathakano                              Crete                            Boil head in vinegar

Brukulaco                                           Greece                         Cut off and burn head

Vampir                                    Hungary                      Stake through heart, nail through temple

Dearg-dul                                Ireland                         Pile stones on grave

Vryolakas                                Macedonia                  Pour boiling oil on, drive nail through navel

Upier                                       Poland                         Bury face downwards

Gierach                                    Prussia                         Put poppy seeds in grave

Strigoiul                                   Rumania                     Remove heart, cut in two; garlic in mouth, nail in head

Vlkoslak                                  Serbia                          Cut off toes, drive nail through neck

Neuntoter                                Saxony                        Lemon in mouth

Vampiro                                  Spain                           No known remedy

Vampire                                  America                       Contact Buffy


Keep a copy of this in your wallet. When confronted with a suspected vampire, ask to see his passport (if it shows a birthdate in the eighteenth century, so much the better). Cross reference the place of birth with the chart. Wait until the daylight, when the vampire is dormant, and take him out with the suggested method. 





The Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) presents

Capclave: a new convention for a new millennium

Guest of Honor: Gardner Dozois

Editor of Asimov's Science Fiction & The Year's Best Science Fiction

Ghost of Honor: Joseph Mayhew

Hugo-winning cartoonist, author, librarian, and fan

Celebrating: The Short Story in SF

September 28-30, 2001

Sheraton College Park

4095 Powder Mill Road, Beltsville, MD 20705

Rooms: $89 Single-Quad

Registration: $25 until April 1st / $30 after

More Info Coming Soon

Send with check to:
Capclave Registration
c/o Alexis Gilliland
[address censored]
Arlington, VA 22204

Name: ______________________________________________

Address: ___________________________________________

Phone: _________ Email: ____________________________

Badge Name: ________________________________________

Volunteer? [ ] Yes [ ] No    Volunteer area: _______

Favorite SF Story: _________________________________