The WSFA Journal December 2000

The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal December 2000

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell

WSFA's Diesel Powered Ouija Board
SF Gifts
On Traveling to the Worldcon (Part II)
Review: Billy Elliot
Exit the Chair, Enter the Spammer
Review: Tangled up in Blue
WSFAn in the News
WSFA Hits Philly!
Review: Operation Luna
Holiday Party
The Rapidly Shrinking Treasury

WSFA's Diesel Powered Ouija Board

10/20 Third Friday was opened by Sam Pierce asking "Should we have a meeting?"  "Who's in charge?" asked George.  "Meeting!" yelled various people.  The third Friday meeting was called to order at 9:17

            Sam Lubell announced name change of con to Capclave because someone stole our other name and jumped back 20 years in a time machine to establish precedence.  Bob said "We have $1,044.21.  Let us pray the convention makes money."

            The entertainment committee takes note that its 7th anniversary is coming up.  They will pop the champaign.  Bob asked, "Which of you gets the medal of honor?"  Lee for the library committee reported, "I have posters for the Arlington County Library event.  Request to see if we can do something with kids and kids' SF."  Alexis said, "Bill Mayhew comes to mind."  Lee said, "They want something ongoing.  Read SF to younger kids.  Storytelling.  We've done good.  There is no help needed to staff the library event.  I know the janitor and the person running the building."

            For old business Erica said, "I had suggested the idea of people bringing in spare books and selling them with the money going to WSFA."  Sam P gestured to Mike Walsh, "You won't shame our other bookseller into donating."  Elspeth said, "He's a professional.  Don't do this a time."  Erica continued.  "I will store books here if interested.  But I would like to see if people are interesting."  Elspeth added that we would need, "more people buying than dumping."  Lee commented that excess books could be donated to libraries.

            Con Present Covert said, "I will either have something to say or resign next meeting."

            Con Future MacIntosh said, "Sam L is developing a flier for Philcon.  We will have a bigger one for Lunacon."  Elspeth asked, "Is the registrar ready?"  Alexis said, "Yes, I'll just hold them until we get a con account."  Bob said, "We will refer to this as Capclave 2001." 

            Elspeth suggested getting a PO Box.  Alexis said that we don't need one since we'll just use his house.  This led to a debate about putting his address on the web which was settled by Lee saying, "But on the web say Capclave Registration with no name."  Erica said, "They have delivered things here for employees of Karl who haven't been here for 20 years." 

Bob announced that, "GOH is Gardner Dozois, Ghost of Honor is Uncle Joe"  Lee said, "Putting together a flyer.  I asked Sam for a logo but we don't really have an official one.  We have the Capitol dome and Joe's WSFA cartoon."  People commented that Joe's cartoon wouldn't work at a small size."

Sam said that Philcon is third Friday next month.  Sam P asked how many people were going.  Since most hands were up, he declared that WSFA's third Friday will take place there.  Sam L. asked if we need to notify someone at Philcon.  Bob said, "No, we can go to a bedroom."  Sam L. asked if anyone was going to other conventions and could take Capclave fliers.  Covert said, "I am but I don't think too many will be interested" (he's going to a Scottish convention.)  Bob said, "Take a few anyway." 

For announcements, someone announced the opening of a Daedelus Books in Columbia with 30-90 percent off.  Erica described how to get a cat out of the tree.  Gaylaxicon appeared on Comedy Central's daily show, unfortunately.  Elspeth proposed having people okay putting email on the web (note: this was before the notorious spam incident.)  Colleen said, "I'd like to keep this as simple as possible."  Lee offered to circulate an email mailing list."

Keith offered to circulate a separate list for the web.  Elspeth said, "If it is that big a deal, forget it."  Steve said, "There was at least one case where people used the web page list as a mailing list."  Bob said, "They were spoken to sternly."

Keith said that L.  Ron had a new book on water purification.  Steve said that the Scientologists have the world's only diesel powered Ouija board.  The meeting adjourned at 9:55. 

Attendance: VP Sam Pierce, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. and 2001 Chair Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Lee Gilliland, Trust Elspeth Kovar, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Sheri Bell, Colleen Cahill, Alexis Gilliland, Erica and Karl Ginter, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, John Madigan, Keith Marshall, Evan Phillips, Steven Smith, Michael Taylor, Michael Walsh, Brad Lyau,  Steven Fetheroff, Lafayette Ron Hubbard, Chris Fedeli, Ron Kean.


SF Gifts

The WSFA Journal and members of WSFA provide the following handy list of gift suggestions for what your favorite SF authors and characters from books, movies, and TV shows need for the holidays. 


To authors Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson - a sandbox of their own so they don't keep playing in Dad's.

To Captain Dylan Hunt of Andromeda - a clue that you can't restore a political alliance by flying around in a starship and shooting with pirates.  You might try talking with a political leader or two.

To the Crew of Voyager - a decent ending (hey, haven't you ever heard of holiday miracles?)

To Capclave GOH Gardner Dozois - a trophy case to fit all of his Hugos and home-field advantage for this year (like he really needs that).

To the aliens from Independence Day - A virus checker

To Randy Waterhouse of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon - One of the E.E. Doc Smith's Lens that can read any writing regardless of code.

To Buffy, the Vampire Slayer - A new family tree and medial insurance for Mom (not to mention a life insurance policy on Buffy herself, if anyone would be foolish enough to insure a slayer, definitely a high risk occupation.)

A Chanukah president for Willow, Buffy's hacker witch - a spell checker


To D.B Mongo - A glorious celebration of fins first (from Bob MacIntosh)


On Traveling to the Worldcon (Part II)

By Keith Lynch


At least one person completely misunderstood the first part of this article, and thought I had a difficult and unpleasant time traveling. Nothing could be further from the truth. So long as the weather is good and I'm not carrying a lot of luggage, I enjoy biking, and I love walking even more.  If I had unlimited time and plenty of money for hotels, I'd just as soon walk everywhere, even if it was a thousand miles.  I've seriously looked into the possibility of literally walking to other solar systems. If I'm in more of a hurry, I'll bike instead.  I've never owned or driven a car.  The last few WSFA meetings at the Gillilands', I've walked to from work.  If I leave work in Burke at 5:30 PM, I will arrive at the Gillilands' at 8:40 PM, which is just about right.

We left off with my biking from the Glasgow airport to the Glasgow Worldcon in 1995.

I followed the directions I had been given for getting to downtown Glasgow on the A8 highway, riding on the left, of course.  However, I soon lost my way, and it was three hours before I found a pedestrian bridge to cross from the south of the Clyde river where the airport is, to the north where the hotels and convention center are, and another hour after that before I found the Stakis Ingram hotel. The hotel was much more bike friendly than American hotels, which would act like I had brought a UFO into the lobby.  The hotel held my box, bike, and suitcase for me in a ground-floor closet, even after I checked out in the morning.  Also, traffic is much bike-friendlier in Glasgow than in Virginia. But then, it's hard to imagine anything worse than the traffic in the Tysons Corner area, though a nest full of angry hornets comes close.

            I had walked to the SECC after checking in on Wednesday, not realizing how far it was.  If I hadn't had the map with me, I would have thought I had lost my way.  On Thursday, after checking out of the hotel, I rode to the SECC.  Since it was raining, and I didn't want my bike to be parked in the rain, I parked it inside the SECC, locked to one of the support columns.

At noon I met with the Canadian cryonicist, Ben Best, with whom I was sharing a room in the Hilton that evening.  That evening I rode to back to the Stakis, picked up the box and suitcase, tipped the desk clerk (which surprised her!), and rode to the Hilton.  I got lost on the way to the Hilton, but this gave rise to a long interesting conversation with a pair of young unemployed local men.  Eventually I got there and checked in, and then rode to the evening party hotels.

            Ben and I were holding a cryonics party in the Hilton that evening, but it quickly got shut down even though only two people showed up. We hadn't realized that parties are forbidden in sleeping rooms in hotels in Scotland.  The hotel staff seemed to be astonished at our ignorance, even after we explained that in the US, if you are paying for a hotel room, it's understood that you can do whatever you want with it, so long as you don't disturb the neighbors, and so long as the room remains usable after you check out.

            The next day, I relocated to the Baird Hall of the University of Strathclyde.  This felt much friendlier, and it cost far less, even though breakfast was included.  The only disadvantages were that the bathrooms were shared, and there were no clocks, phones, radios or TVs provided in the rooms.  I didn't miss any of those except the clock. When I woke up in the morning, I had no idea what time it was.  But somehow I managed to wake up at the correct time, and generally got to the SECC around 10 am each day, just in time for the first events.

            Each morning, I rode to the SECC around 10.  Each evening I rode to the party hotels.  Each night I rode back to the university.  My suitcase and box remained at the university.  I frequently got lost.  In retrospect, I think this was partly due to the lack of street signs, partly due to the near-perpetual overcast which removed sun-direction and star-direction cues, partly due to the many one-way streets, partly due to the many traffic circles, and partly due to my reliance on the map within the convention pocket booklet, as that booklet contained a split map, and I didn't notice for the first couple days that the two halves had considerable overlap, so I'd often head west toward a destination to my east or vice-versa.

However, my getting lost led me to see lots of the town I wouldn't otherwise have seen, including a police box ("Tardis") and a real grocery store.  Grocery stores look much like they do in the US, but they seem to be much scarcer.

At the gripe session at the end of the con, there were lots of complaints about how spread out the con was, and about how the shuttle buses cost a lot, didn't go everywhere, didn't run often enough, and stopped running too early in the evening.  The taxis did a land-office business.  I felt fortunate to have been able to rely on my bike. I never did use any motorized transportation during my whole time in Glasgow.  Or at any time during my trip other than the planes, and mandatory coaches and mobile lounges internal to Heathrow and Dulles airports.

I believe I was the first to reach the party hotels, where most of the convention members were at the time, with the news that Baltimore had won the bid for the 1998 Worldcon.

            I was lucky that on Monday morning a guard told me I couldn't park inside the SECC, since that evening I was gaming in the adjacent Moat House hotel until about 11 pm, and when I returned to the SECC, it was locked.  I would have had a long walk to the party hotels and to the university if I hadn't been parked outside.

I was unable to find the A8 highway when I wanted to return to the Glasgow airport after the con.  he only way I could find to get to the airport was to follow the signs directing me to the M8.  So I rode the M8, even though bikes aren't allowed on it.  I also rode through the Clyde tunnel. I know that cycling on major highways is actually quite safe if you know what you're doing, and if you take every exit, and then re-enter rather than trying to cross the exit ramps.  By now I was quite comfortable handling the bike with the box and suitcase on the front. Or rather I should say I was able to ride it well.  My hands were anything but comfortable, since much of the weight of the box and suitcase (full of books I had bought at the con) was resting on them. Or rather, bouncing up and down on them.

The trip back to Dulles was much like the trip to Glasgow.  And after arriving at Dulles, I rode home mostly on the W&OD.  This time it was because it was after dark, and British Air had managed to break off my rear light in a way that I couldn't fix with the tools I had with me, so I wanted to avoid major roads as much as possible.  But at least that was the only damage done. I abandoned the box at Dulles.  It was pretty beat up, with large holes in it.  And I knew I wouldn't be taking my bike with me for any of the next few Worldcons. Even after flying across the Atlantic twice, I had still ridden the bike far more miles than it had been flown.



Immediately after the 1996 Worldcon, LACon III, which was near Los Angeles, I went to a nearby ten day cryonics training program, given by Mike Darwin, who is probably the world's best cryonicist.  My tuition was paid by the DC area cryonics group, so long as I paid the airfare myself.  So I managed to talk Mike Darwin into holding the training right after the Worldcon, so that I wouldn't have to fly out there twice, and since other Worldcon members might be interested. Indeed, several other students in that class had attended the Worldcon. I learned lots about circulation, respiration, ischemia, hypothermia, emergency medicine, the dying process, medications and cryoprotectants used with cryonics, the history of cryonics, and about the law as it applies to cryonics.  Plus I got to spend more than a week at the world's most advanced cryonics facility, and meet the people who work there.  We also had a side trip to Tijuana, to obtain cryonics-related medicines.  That city had really improved since the last time I had seen it, twelve years earlier, on a side trip from a business trip to San Diego.



In 1997, when the Worldcon (LoneStarCon II) was in San Antonio, the weather was so beautiful that I walked from the airport to the con, about ten miles.  It was about 95 degrees, which is just right for me. I had long since learned that the warmer it is outdoors, the colder it is indoors, so I packed my winter coat, for wearing in the hotels. And sure enough, I needed it.  As always, I was traveling light, with just a single easily carried bag.  I would have walked back to the airport after the con, except that I slept late and there wasn't time. Plus I was carrying a lot of books.

            During that Worldcon, I also went to see the Alamo.  Despite the immense size of Texas, that state's most famous landmark was so close to the con hotel that from my room I was looking more down on it than out at it.  After the con I went to their local IMAX theater, where I watched a movie about the Alamo.  It added something to the experience, knowing that the battle had raged, in part, right through where the theater was now.  Right through the con, too.  I wonder if any of the cannonballs reached my room.  Or went through the con suite or the green room.

It's interesting that nobody seems to be dismayed that that battlefield is in the middle of a major city.  With other battlefields, some people are upset that any buildings are visible in the distance that weren't there during the battle.  This always struck me as strange.  No visitor is ever going to get anything resembling the experience of having been there during the battle.  Battlefields are invariably very peaceful and quiet.  But are celebrated for having been just the opposite.  I would imagine the lack of bullets flying and men screaming and dying detracts from the experience of knowing what it was really like enormously more than seeing a distant building does.  What next?  Ban airplanes from flying anywhere they can be seen from the battlefield?  Bad the International Space Station from orbiting where it can be seen from the battlefield?  I've heard that Thermopylae is a much wider pass than when the battle happened there 25 centuries ago, making it difficult for a modern spectator to visualize how the battle took place.  But nobody is to blame for this change.  Just natural geological forces.  If each time a battle is fought, many square miles are permanently removed from any future use, I guess we'll just have to stop having wars.



I went to the 1998 Baltimore Worldcon, Bucconeer, via train, just as if it were a Balticon.  I can walk to a Metro station, take Metro to Union Station (just as I did for the Boston Worldcon, the last one I had taken a train to), ride a Marc train to Baltimore for $6, and walk from the train station to the con.  At least with a con in Baltimore I don't have to feel guilty about missing the local tourist sites, since there aren't any worth seeing.  (Though in fact I did run across Edgar Allan Poe's grave late one night while looking for one of the party hotels.)  After the con, and the teardown, Covert Beach gave me a ride back to a DC Metro station, while I helped keep him awake, as he had gotten almost no sleep during the con.  I also helped him unpack the van, which was stuffed with things from the con that had to be dropped off at various locations between Baltimore and DC.

            To be concluded next issue.


Movie Review: Billy Elliot

Reviewed by Samuel Lubell


Yes, I know this isn't a science fiction or fantasy movie.  See it anyway.  Billy is the son and brother of coal miners on strike in England.  After school each week he takes boxing lessons.  The movie really gets started when Billy has to stay late practicing hitting a bag on a chain.  Since he's the last one there he has to give the key over to the teacher of the girls' ballet class that shares the same space as the boxing class.  When one of the girls suggests he join the class he does.  Soon he discovers that he enjoys it, and becomes the only male student in the class, while pretending to his family and friends that he is still taking boxing lessons.  When his father finally finds out, he angrily forbids him to attend the class, leading to a wonderful scene where Billy is caught by his father on Christmas showing ballet moves to a male friend (the friend, who is secretly a homosexual, is wearing a tutu).  Anger steams off of the father's face so Billy reacts by dancing in front of him, putting all of his heart and soul into the dance.

I said this isn't a science fiction movie.  But certainly every fan who has had family who didn't understand why s/he wasted time reading this junk or felt caught between two worlds and not sure where s/he truly belonged (like lower-class Billy auditioning in front of a bunch of the upper crust) can certainly appreciate Billy's problems.  This is a great movie to see with your family or take a date.

Exit the Chair, Enter the Spammer


The 11/3, first Friday in November meeting opened at 9:16 with Judy banging her gavel.  "It's 9:16 and I'm starting the meeting."  Old business was that the Capcon name is in use so the convention is Capclave.  Bob said the treasury "gets smaller all the time $974.06."  Sam L. asked for it to be repeated.  Bob did so, adding "Would I lie to you?" Sam shot back, "No, I was hoping I misheard."

            Trustees Report.  Elspeth said that we normally elect a con chair two years in advance.  "So we are electing the 2002 con chair at the first meeting in January to give people time to see if they want it.  We also need to elect someone to take over my spot, I'm resigning because I have too much going on in my life."  Judy said she'd look up in the Constitution to see what to do.  <It was later decided that we elect an interim trustee to serve until the next election.>

            Entertainment committee said, "Last week we brought you Halloween, next week the election.  However, somehow they got scrambled."  <This makes Alexis the only beltway pundit to successfully predict the result of the election - a scary nightmare.> 

            Bob said, "According to the Constitution, we do need an election."  He then put on his other hat, "The convention will be Capclave.  You can see the flyer on the back of the Journal.  It will cost $25 for WSFA members."  Keith said that people had emailed him two questions, how does one make arrangements for dealer space and is there comped members?  Bob replied that there are no comped members and Elspeth added, "The comped memberships for Disclave do not get carried over."  Judy said, "You'll have to do what I did and buy a new one."  Bob said, "The $25 rate is only good through the first of April"  Elspeth said, "It would be nice if WSFA members joined early."

            Lee said, "The library committee had its event.  We had 25 people.  We fulfilled WSFA's educational needs, first time in 18 months.  But they want me to do more." 

<A bunch of new people came in.>  Mike Walsh commented, "It's the end of the world as we know it."  One asked if he could sit in the seat between Lee and Judy.  Judy said, "I haven't hit her in weeks.  <pause> but then I've been out of town lately." 

Eric for Austerity said, "We're poor.  We need money.  Give early and often."  Lee said, "The contribution hat is on the drum table upstairs."  Eric added that the "WSFA Fall promotion is going on."  Lee said, "Either bring something or pay."  Judy said, "Bring goodies.  We're poor and getting poorer." 

Alexis said, "As registrar, we have eight checks for Capclave, so if there's a treasurer, I'll see you after the meeting."

Mike W for the World Fantasy Bid said, "If you sniff, that's moving to the fire.  We're penciled in for an 03 bid.  Elspeth and I will be looking at hotels.  There were 500 people in Texas."  Richard L asked, "Did they make money?"  Mike replied, "They had 40 people at the door so potential for surplus.  We lurch forward."

Covert, the convention 2000 chair said, "I got over my denial.  It's time to admit I won't accomplish anything this year."  Sam L. asked for the record, "Are you officially resigning?"  Covert replied, "Yes.  I resign any remaining duties to Bob."

Judy asked, "Anything else?"  <There was silence as the WSFAns contemplated the doom that was about to befall them.>  "Okay, what many of you may know is those of us on the list of WSFA email addresses on the web got email from a guy in Tennessee who wanted our help selling books.  I was away and got panicked calls that we were charging him a $500 reading fee.  I think we should decide, 1, leave it up as it has been.  2. Leave it up without the penalty.  3. Password protect the list.  4.  Not have the list since we do have email lists in the address book.  I turn to the head of the publications committee."

Sam Lubell explained that the spammer called several people in WSFA, that he seemed exceptionally clueless and didn't know what he was doing was wrong.  When Keith sent a copy of the spam to the spammer's ISP, they kicked him off their system.

Keith said that this was not the guy who sent the dinosaur letter <that appeared in the Sept/Oct WSFA Journal>  "What Sanders did was spammed the list.  I do not think the guy is in fandom.  He is stupid and paranoid and clueless, but this is a requirement for spammers.  He didn't read our page or his own ISP contract.  He said we were not in the Better Business Bureau and that my address was a residential area as if we'd be sending from WSFA tower.  I do not advocate pursuing this.  We don't need to send lawyers.  But he doesn't need to know this.  We could compromise at $200 by sending a letter from a lawyer.  We have nothing to lose.  The spam was big and two people replied to the whole list sending the whole message again.  The current page says to look at x.html replacing x with the convention in Baltimore.  Bucconeer.html got hits, no one misspelled it.  I have a long boilerplate and said sign it and I'll send email.  Spammers think the net is for spammers.  They fake email addresses.

Eric said, "I think we should condemn Lance," <for his email message that basically took the spammer's side of the story without first hearing the other side.>  Sam P said, "I think we should commend Elspeth's response," <basically slapping Lance down.>  Mike said, "Lance is in a WorldCon bid.  That's punishment enough."  Elspeth said, "Lance is singed and apologized.  I think we've had the list up two years and this is the first incident.  I find it useful to have people look me up and to have people find me.  I would prefer not to insult people." 

Judy said, "Rule is that anyone who wants to opt out can."  Alexis said, "I agree.  Go with the flow until it becomes a serious problem.  You had a goofball.  It's been two years, what are the odds of it happening again?  We can live with it." 

Steve said, "Virginia and Maryland are only two states that passed a uniform antispam law.  The $500 is legal and enforceable.  We can go after him, spending $3,000 in legal fees to get $500." Eric said, "We can discuss the evil implications later."

Rachel said, "If you want to avoid this problem, send a message to yourself with all recipients in the BCC field so others can't reply to the whole list.  I think some members have problems with large amounts of email, maybe an annotation not to send large messages."  Elspeth said that the existing language says this is only for one to one correspondence.  Another WSFAn said, "I get so many emails that one more won't count."  Adrian said, "I use the email to get directions to this meeting." 

Bob said "I think the motion is to revise language and let it ride."  Elspeth asked, "Is the $599 part of the language?"  Bob said, "No"  Alexis said, "I think it should be."  Sam suggested amending motion to have a committee.  Lee Strong said, "I move to move to committee."  Bob said the Publications Committee is Sam, Keith, and John with Judy ex officio.  The meeting decided to move it to committee.  Elspeth said this probably was the longest committee report.

For other old business Sam said that Erica suggested books be sold to raise money and that third Friday will be at Philcon.  There was no more new business.  Announcements included Elspeth's divorce's pretrial hearing will be mid-Feb, Goodwill Industries is having its booksale, LeGuin is having an on-line chat.  Mike Walsh said and Barnes and Noble physical bookstores are separate companies, but since you can return books to the Barnes and Noble outlets, now must charge sales tax.  The meeting unanimously adjourned at 10:00. 

            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 (yes all the officers!), Colleen Cahill, Alexis Gilliland, Keith lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Walter Miles, Rebecca Prather, Steven Smith, William Squire, Lee Strong, Michael Taylor, Michael Walsh, Sam and Judy Scheiner, Ron Kean, Art `boots' Coleman, Suzanna Hediger, Brad Lyau, Sara and Brad Stuart, Katharine Bond, Scott Hofmann, John Wallin, Adrienne Ertman, Casey Key, Duncan McCarthy.

Tangled up in Blue (Tor, 2000) by Joan D. Vinge

                                          A review by Colleen R. Cahill

In this prequel to The Snow Queen and The Summer Queen, Joan Vinge focuses on the planet Tiamat and specifically the city Carbuncle. Tiamat is the backwater of this universe, with its only export being the Water of Life, which can provide eternal youth. Carbuncle is the capital and only city on Tiamat: it is a paradox of beauty and crime.  Readers of her previous titles will be familiar with many of the characters in Tangled up in Blue: Jerusha PalaThion, Mundilfoere, Humbaba, the Source, Herme and the Snow Queen herself, Arienrhod, all appear in more than cameo roles. But the main story line revolves around Nyx LaisTree, a Hegemonic police officer and his eventual partnership with a new Hegemonic Sergeant, BZ Gundhalinu. The interaction between these men, both as adversaries and allies, demonstrates Ms. Vinge's ability to create deep and believable characters.

The size of Tangled up in Blue is less than its companion novels and so is it's scope.  Rather than spanning years and worlds, Ms. Vinge keeps the entire storyline in Carbuncle and only covers a few months time. Described as a "noir future thriller" on it's blurb, the book does has the dark feeling of a Humphrey Bogart film.  Frustrated by their inability to prevent smuggling in Carbuncle, group of patrolmen begin a vigilante-style raids of warehouses they know contain contraband materials. After a few months of success, the group is ambushed and all but Nyx are killed. On suspension and under suspicion, Nyx is driven to find out who killed his fellow patrolmen, one of which was his brother. He is aided by the beautiful Devony Seaward, a shapeshifter who, through technology, can change her appearance to be anyone.  Like many of the people Nyx deals with, her motives and loyalties are often at question and he is not sure which is planet she is from.  Devony is much like Carbuncle, a interesting paradox looking for a purpose. Eventually, everyone in the story is looking for a jewel (the Maltese Falcon of the book) which is an old Empire artifact, although no one will say why or what it does.  Several characters belong to the Survey, a Masonic-like secret society, whose agenda is often unclear. This is in part because within the Survey are several fractions, some of which are at odds. But these elements do not make the story confusing, only more mysterious and compelling. As hints, clues and red-herrings appear, a more complex picture forms. The ending has an interesting twist and if you have not read the other works in this universe, you may find yourself compelled to hunt up the other titles.

Any fan of the Snow Queen cycle should read this book: you can get your Vinge fix and also find out a bit more about the continuing characters. For anyone who as not read Ms. Vinge's works, this title is a good starting point, as it can be read without any knowledge of the other two books and is much shorter, the hardback being only 235 pages. In either case, this work is a page turner and well worth a read.





WSFAn in the News


          WSFA's own webmaster, Keith Lynch was quoted in Wired News (,1283,40394,00.html) at the very start of the article.  His section of it went:


Keith Lynch doesn't merely believe genetically modified corn is safe for people to eat.  The 43-year-old computer programmer is perfectly willing to swallow a handful of Aventis CropScience's StarLink kernels to make his point. 

"It's perfectly safe," Lynch said between mouthfuls on Tuesday afternoon outside a meeting of a federal advisory panel that was debating whether to approve the controversial StarLink corn for human consumption.

Lynch and a lonely handful of free-market activists who handed out flyers titled "Stop the anti-GM madness" were easily outnumbered, however, by some two dozen Greenpeace protesters who shared the same sidewalk outside the Holiday Inn Rosslyn.


WSFA Hits Philly!


The 11/17 3rd Friday took place at Philcon in Bob and Mike's hotel room.  "It's 9:16" Judy called the meeting to order.  Lee asked, "Do we have a quorum?"  Judy showed the diligence to the constitution that makes her our president, "Who cares?"

The Treasurer guessed that we were over a thousand.  The Entertainment committee said it brought us Philcon, "And the election is good for a few more weeks" continuing Alexis' unblemished record of political prognostication.                       

Publications confessed that it hadn't met on the web issue.  Lee asked, "What about Joe's book?"  Sam L. said, "I met with Evan at Chicon.  He's going through the cartoons."  Lee asked, "How much is Philadelphia giving us?  Should I ask?"  Bob said, "We don't want this thing to go past 100 pages."  Alexis said that 50 would be better, "The best 100 cartoons or so.  You want something that would leave people wanting more."  Sam P suggested, "Call it Vol. I"  Bob said, "Not quite a paperback, not quite a clap book.  You're best source is Mike Walsh."  Sam said, "I've spoken to Mike."  Judy closed this saying, "So it is moving along"  Bob suggested that Sam contact the fanzine people.  Judy said, "See Richard or Nicki"  Alexis said, "Talk to Ted White."

Judy said, "Moving along, what about Capclave?"  Bob said, "Capclave is moving along."  Elspeth said, "People want to know what it is"  Bob said, "We have flyers, beacoup flyers.  Gardner Dozois is our guest of honor.  Joe Mayhew is our ghost of honor for the foreseeable future.  Gardner recommended several guests."  Elspeth said she knew some people might be interested.  Bob said, "Cost is $25, see Alexis.  $20 for WSFA members."  Sam P protested, "I paid $25." 

Bob announced officers.  "Bob MacIntosh is chair, Elspeth is grand pooh-bah.  Mike Nelson is doing program, Mike Walsh is head of Dealer's Room.  Colleen Cahill is GOH liaison.  Steve Smith is Treasurer.  Alexis Gilliland is Registrar.  Samuel Lubell is doing publicity and publications.  Kathei will assist in video and electronics."

Elspeth said, "Trustees with have an election for con chair in the First Friday in January for Capclave 2002 and to fill out the rest of my term as trustee."

For new business Sam L. said the spammer called him saying he hasn't heard, so will go on with his life.  Bob said, "If you hear from him again tell him get on with his life away from us."

Bill Jensen said, "I have WSFA property in my basement.  Mostly Shiner books 289 copies, Eight copies of Resnick book, I'm not sure how they got there.  217 copies of Shiner are signed and numbered." Peggy Rae said that we can't sell any of the unnumbered ones.  We should ask Lew and see if he wants to sell them.  Paul said, "I think you are missing an opportunity to sell them as proofs."  Bill Jensen said, "It might be interesting to talk to NESFA to see if they are interested in selling them."  Elspeth asked if anyone would contact NESFA, Judy volunteered.  Sam L suggested selling on E-Bay.  Paul said, "I've known people to have problems.  Make sure you don't send anything until get the money."

Judy asked, "Any new business?"  Lee said she is talking to WETA about a WSFA participating in their phoneathan.  "I'm looking for people.  It would be a good thing to do."  Judy appointed her a committee.  Paul said that BSFS does a phone-in during Dr. Who.

Lee announced her new address.

            Attendance  Sam Lubell, Mike Nelson, Bob MacIntosh, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Judy Kindell, Ellen Montgomery, Paul O Neil, Filthy Pierre Strauss, Bill Jensen, Beth and Mike Zipser, < unreadable>, Elspeth Kovar, Sam Pierce.



Poul Anderson's Operation Luna (Tor, $6.99)

Reviewed by Samuel Lubell

In the alternate history of Operation Luna, NASA's mission to the moon has failed through what appears to be sabotage.  It's up to a small family business with ideas about a small scale space missions to dodge government investigators and the IRS, build their own space vehicle, and... use their powers as werewolf and witch to ensure that the giant broom flies to moon to contact the space fairies?  Yup, this is a fantasy with witches, dwarfs, talking enchanted swords, and a combination of Norse and American Indian myths.  But it also an alternate history story in which the magic for a change not stuck in the middle ages but has advanced to serve many of the same functions as science does in our universe. At first glance, this may not be a completely original idea (and Anderson drops a mention of a similar book, Turtledove's Case of the Toxic Spell-Dump (which in this universe is a non-fantasy mystery)) but it was fairly new the first time Anderson did it in Operation Chaos to which this book is a many-years-later sequel. 

In Operation Luna, the witch Ginny and werewolf Steve (who has a flash that can transform him to his wolf-state in which he retains most but not all of his intelligence) work with NASA's Project Selene (along with Ginny's brother) while maintaining their own Operation Luna as a shoestring sideline. But when Project Selene is sabotaged (possibly through the Indian spirit Coyote, possibly through Asian spirits), Ginny and Steve must save the day.

I found this book a little disappointing, especially when compared to Operation Chaos.  It is slow getting started and dawdles in spots (with a long subplot about taxes that is only necessary to get a key character offstage so another character can do something really stupid) yet desperately needs a couple of chapters at the end for the characters to react to the events.  My verdict, read Operation Chaos (if you can find it) then see if you care enough about the characters to spend 428 pages with their much older selves.  Still, I do like the combination of fantasy and science fiction and probably will re-read this at some point. 


Holiday Party

Rebecca Prather is throwing a party from 7:30 PM to midnight Sat. Dec. 9 near 7 Corners in VA with lights on her house and neighbor's house.  See


The Rapidly Shrinking Treasury


The November expenses were:  First Friday                $25.00      WSFA Journal           $45.15


Revenue was memberships from:

Arthur "Boots" Coleman, Suzanne Hedijer, Bradford Lyan, Judy Schener (apologies for any misspellings) for a total of $40.00, or a net loss of $35.15 for the month, leaving the treasury at a rapidly shrinking $1,019.06.