The WSFA Journal May 2001

The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal May 2001

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell

Literature Abuse
Department of Defense Personnel Are Cautioned
Letters to WSFA
A Meeting of the Minds
If We're Exploding Libertarians, We Would Have to Clean the Carpet
NEH Lecture on Science Fiction
What If Summer Schedule
Book Reviews
The Year The Cloud Fell:  An Alternate History
Atlantis and Atlantis: Bermuda Triangle
Cybershock and Surfing on the Internet
Web Reviews by Lee Gilliland
Finances for WSFA in April
Hugo Nominees
Nebula Award Winners



From the Internet thanks to Mike Nelson and Steve Smith


How many of these apply to you?


1. I have read fiction when I was depressed, or to cheer myself up.

2. I have gone on reading binges of an entire book or more in a day.

3. I read rapidly, often 'gulping' chapters.

4. I have sometimes read early in the morning or before work.

5. I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without being seen.

6. Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels.

7. Sometimes I re-write film or television dialog as the characters speak.

8. I am unable to enjoy myself with others unless there is a book nearby.

9. At a party, I will often slip off unnoticed to read.

10. Reading has made me seek haunts and companions which I would otherwise avoid.

11. I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I have finished a novel.

12. I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.

13. I have attempted to check out more library books than permitted.

14. Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.

15. I have sometimes passed out from a night of heavy reading.

16. I have suffered 'blackouts' or memory loss from a bout of reading.

17. I have wept, become angry or irrational because of something I read.

18. I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.

19. Sometimes I think my reading is out of control.

20. I feel like I know characters in books better than I know my friends and family.


If you answered 'yes' to three or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser. Affirmative responses to five or more indicates a serious problem.  Once a relatively rare disorder, Literature Abuse, or LA, has risen to new levels due to the accessibility of higher education and increased college enrollment since the end of the Second World War.  The number of literature abusers is currently at record levels.



Abusers become withdrawn, uninterested in society or normal relationships. They fantasize, creating alternative worlds to occupy, to the neglect of friends and family. In severe cases they develop bad posture from reading in awkward positions or carrying heavy book bags. In the worst instances, they become cranky reference librarians in small towns. Excessive reading during pregnancy is perhaps the number one cause of moral deformity among the children of English professors, teachers of English and creative writing. Known as Fetal Fiction Syndrome, this disease also leaves its victims prone to a lifetime of nearsightedness, daydreaming and emotional instability.



Recent Harvard studies have established that heredity plays a considerable role in determining whether a person will become an abuser of literature. Most abusers have at least one parent who abused literature, often beginning at an early age and progressing into adulthood. Many spouses of an abuser become abusers themselves.



Fathers or mothers who are English teachers, professors, or heavy fiction readers; parents who do not encourage children to play games, participate in healthy sports, or watch television in the evening.



Pre-marital screening and counseling, referral to adoption agencies in order to break the chain of abuse. English teachers in particular should seek partners active in other fields. Children should be encouraged to seek physical activity and to avoid isolation and morbid introspection.



Within the sordid world of literature abuse, the lowest circle belongs to those sufferers who have thrown their lives and hopes away to study literature in our colleges. Parents should look for signs that their children are taking the wrong path--don't expect your teenager to approach you and say, "I can't stop reading Spenser." By the time you visit her dorm room and find the secret stash of the Paris Review, it may already be too late.


What to do if you suspect your child is becoming an English major:


1. Talk to your child in a loving way. Show your concern.  Let her know you won't abandon her-but that you aren't spending a hundred grand to put her through Stanford so she can clerk at Walden books, either.  But remember that she may not be able to make a decision without help; perhaps she has just finished Madame Bovary and is dying of arsenic poisoning.

2. Face the issue: Tell her what you know, and how: "I found this book in your purse. How long has this been going on?" Ask the hard question--Who is this Count Vronsky?

3. Show her another way. Move the television set into her room. Introduce her to frat boys.

4. Do what you have to do. Tear up her library card. Make her stop signing her letters as 'Emma.' Force her to take a math class, or minor in Spanish.

5. Transfer her to a Florida college.


You may be dealing with a life-threatening problem if one or more of the following applies:


·        She can tell you how and when Thomas Chatterton died.

·        She names one or more of her cats after a Romantic poet.

·        Next to her bed is a picture of: Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, Faulkner or any scene from the Lake District.


Most importantly, remember, you are not alone. To seek help for yourself or someone you love, contact the nearest chapter of the American Literature Abuse Society, or look under ALAS in your telephone directory.


Department of Defense Personnel Are Cautioned


Minutes of First Friday Meeting, 6 April 2001 taken by Lee Strong <Thanks Lee!>           The regular First Friday business meeting convened at 9:19 p.m., Friday, 6 April 2001.  Sam Pierce presided in the absence of President Judy Kindell.  Lee Strong acted as recording secretary in the absence of Secretary Sam Lubell.  "Lettuce have a meeting," said Sam.  "We have no secretary tonight.  The WSFA Journal is available on our Website."

            Sam asked Treasurer Bob MacIntosh if we had any money.  Bob responded, "Uhhhh."  "Be specific," demanded Sam.  "$1,088.40," specified Bob.  Lee contributed $100 at the last First Friday meeting.  The club applauded Lee's generosity.

            Sam moved to Committee Reports.  Alexis Gilliland, chair of the Entertainment Committee, has been watching George Bush.

            Bob, Chair of Capclave Present, reported that things are progressing apace.  He hopes to have a hotel flyer available at the next meeting for a folding & stapling party, also known as an origami party.  Sam stated, "I believe that our membership is trainable."  Covert Beach suggested that our folding parties demonstrated the "zen of origami."

            Mike Nelson, Chair of Capclave Future, said that there was nothing to report for Capclave 2002.  For Capclave 2001, we have a dozen local program participants including Brenda Clough, Nancy Kress, Charles Sheffield, and others.

            Elspeth Kovar reported that World Fantasy Convention 2003 is on the horizon.  WSFA is sponsoring the con which will be held in downtown D.C.  The Omni Shoreham wants $300 per night.  The Capital Hilton went to $149 due to Elspeth's negotiating skills.  There was a week there when it seemed as if we would have no con.

            The Trustees reported that those who are interested in holding office should please talk to either Lee Gilliland, Nicki Lynch, or Eric Jablow.  The Austerity Committee had nothing to report.  There was no Old Business or New Business.

            Sam moved to hear Announcements.  Acting secretary Lee stated that anyone who wished their announcement to appear in what they would consider to be proper form should submit to him in writing after the meeting.

            Alexis announced that his nephew Dave was playing a duet at the Music Teachers' Association con at the Omni Shoreham.  It's a really spiffy place with a large lobby and piano bar.

            Keith Lynch announced, "We are signing up people who wish on line notification when The WSFA Journal is available.  The system works well."  A sign up sheet was circulated.

            Crown Books is going out of business.  Please see an article in the April 2001 Journal for further details.

            Andrew announced that Tower Records is closing its book departments.  Big discounts are available.

            Lee Gilliland had several announcements.  Lunacon is sold out.  If you go to the bathroom in Chez Gilliland, use kleenex, not paper towels.  The Liberty Meadows comic strip is being replaced.  Please sign Lee's petition.  Elspeth added that you can also comment at the Website "".  Lee is having a battle with Comcast and is looking for recommendations for a new service.  She found a key after a previous WSFA meeting.  If you think that it's yours, please contact Lee and identify the color of the key.

            Rebecca Prather has information on Paine Weber accounts.

            Someone announced that someone dumped their entire 1950s-1970s SF collection at a bookstore in Stony Ridge, Bethesda, Maryland.

            Geoffrey Drumheller has SETI at Home available for downloading.

            Colleen Cahill announced that Keith Lynch has a list of Library of Congress What If dates.  Brenda Clough will speak 12 April 01 at 12:10 p.m. in the Library of Congress.

            Bernie Bell announced low air rates to Europe:  $150 one way.

            Covert Beach announced a Scottish celebration on the Mall 7 April.  This is Scottish Declaration of Independence day in Scotland and National Tartan Day in the United States.

            Victoria submitted her resume electronically and is now a GS-13 civil servant.  The club applauded Victoria's promotion.

            Victoria also asked "Whatever happened to the New Tradition of people announcing their status as first, second or third time visitors?"  That Tradition was officially killed off several years ago.  Sam invited new visitors to make themselves known without any pressure, and stated that they were eligible to join the club on the third visit.  If so, please see a Trustee for the application procedure.

            Lee announced that Department of Defense personnel are cautioned not to do anything that you won't want to see on the front page of The Washington Post.  At the First Friday meeting in March, he announced that his fellow employees had forced 6 contractors out of business for violating contractual agreements with the Federal Government.  A Washington Post reporter showed up and demanded to know what Lee's agency is doing about the problem.  The projected article has not appeared yet.  Stay tuned for additional information.

            The meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:46 p.m.

Attendance: Lee Gilliland, Alexis Gilliland, Charles Gilliland, Covert Beach, Sam Pierce, Mike Nelson, Keith Lynch, Rob Thornton, Andrew Williams  (Guest), Sheri Bell, Bernard Bell, Ron Kean, Rebecca Prather, Lee Strong,  Eric Jablow, Dick & Nicki Lynch, Adrienne Ertman, Ivy Yap, Scott Hoffman, Wayne Dionne, Victoria Smith, Bob Mac, Elspeth, Mike Taylor, Geoffrey Drumheller, Colleen, Steve Smith, John Pomeranz, Kathi Overton, Keith Marshall, and George Shaner.




By Ted White


Fanzines are a basic part of science fiction fandom, having been in existence as long as fandom itself - the past 70 years.  Check out the fanzines below and broaden your participation in fandom.


THE KNARLEY KNEWS (Henry L. Welch, 1525 16th Ave., Grafton, WI 53024-2017; e-mail to; available for trade, contributions, letters of comment of $1.50 a copy)

The Knarley Knews is published bimonthly and the current (February) issue is #86.  That tells you something right there:  this is no fly-by-night fanzine.  In some respects one can say this fanzine is typical of many individually-edited fanzines, in that it reflects the personality, interests and friendships of its editor.  But in reflecting a specific editor's interests and milieu it is also unique to that editor - in this case Henry Welch.  Welch stands a little to one side of fandom's major cliques and social structure, a self-professed anti-elitist, choosing his own personal path and friends - and for that reason his fanzine is perhaps an easier entry point for those new to fanzines.  There are no secret hand-clasps and no inside jokes here.

But Welch puts plenty into the 24 pages of his fanzine:  an editorial in which he talks about his life; a rather pugnacious fanzine-review column by the rather pugnacious Rodney Leighton; "Witchard's Armangnac," an idiosyncratic column by Gene Stewart; "Zazerath's," a review of Tad Williams' City of Golden Shadow by Derek Miller; a meaty 13-page letter column; "Sue's Sites," a short editorial by Henry's mother; and "Fanzines Received in Trade," a one-page listing of fanzines received (with one-sentence descriptions) which occupies the inside back cover. 

The whole thing is attractively published (double-columned computer-set type, photo-copied) with a scattering of art inside and a cover by Hugo-winning fanartist Teddy Harvia.  If I had to use one word to sum up this fanzine it would be "non-confrontational." Despite the presence of firecrackers like Leighton and Stewart, Welch keeps his fanzine down-home folksy and family-friendly.


NO AWARD (Marty Cantor, 11825 Gilmore St., #105, North Hollywood, CA 91606; e-mail to; available for "the usual" - trades, letters of comment, contributions - or $5.00 a copy)

Marty Cantor used to published a fat fanzine called Holier Than Thou back in the '80s, but after dropping that title he started No Award a decade later.  (The choice of title allows him to make the facetious claim that this fanzine has been on every Hugo Award ballot for years.)  A 30-page "genzine" (or generally-oriented fanzine), the latest issue (#8) is produced on a computer but printed by a modern Gestetner super-mimeograph which produces a look close to that of photocopying.  The material is solid, with Milt Stevens' review of Delaney's Dahlgren taking top honors.  There are columns by Thom Digby, Mike Glyer and Len Moffatt (the latter's a memoir of his life in fandom), an essay-length fanzine review by Joseph Major and a 7-page letter column, plus lots of little extra bits fitted in here and there.  No Award hasn't been around as long as The Knarley Knews, but despite a slightly fussy layout it is better-edited and offers more to its readers.


Letters to WSFA


From: James Harper <>

I read your entire website only because George Nyhen apprised me some 7 months late of Joe Mayhew's death.  I'm sorry for your loss.  Now to the levity.

I was amused at the assertion WSFA was known for its beautiful wimmen. When I was a member, we had precisely three (03) female memberes who'd be so categorized.  Mary Gay Potter and two others.  We always met on West Beach Drive, that was where people came by Greyhound from Baltimore and by Chevvy from far off villages northwest of Rockville.

Surprised to learn that Dick Eney is no longer a member, but perhaps he's otherwise engaged.  The last time I saw him, he was purchasing ammunitiion for an antique pistol he was taking to Vietnam as his personal sidearm.  I don't know what that was about... he wasn't in the

military, I don't think. Maybe.

Most of the people I knew there are now deceased.  I just recently heard from the Haldemans of Gordy Dickson's recent death.  Bob Pavlat's long gone, Bill Berg, Roger Zelazny....  As Tarzan says "I yet live," - if you can call this living.

Please add me to your list of former members if you maintain such a thing, and know that I have many fond memories of WSFA, even now, 3000 miles distant.  I'd like it if you shared my e-mail address with members, and would like to hear from anyone who remembers


From Kurt McCoy <>

I was going to email a quick "hullo" to the redoubtable Mrs. Madigan, but was thwarted by your clever protective measures. Curses! Foiled again.

We knew each other, oh, quite a long time ago. I get curious every once in awhile. I haven't heard a word about her in so long that I was surprised to find that she'd married again.

I'd be ever so grateful if you'd pass on my belated Congratulations to Candy and John, and that quick "hullo" I mentioned before.

The largely Irrelevant Kurt Update is that I now work as a Night Staff Monitor at the WVU Towers Residence Hall, where I'm doomed to wander the halls several times a night trying, for far too little pay, to keep the kiddies from having more fun than State Law allows. There is, of course, some little irony in this, but I try to ignore it as much as possible.

I have a Masters in English that I don't use. (Social Anxiety Disorder precludes teaching. something I could have benefited from knowing, oh, a DECADE or more ago. sigh.)

I finally did finish a novel, a 200,000+ word opus that I can safely proclaim is the "Single Greatest Masked Mexican Wrestler VS Nazi Were-Hyena Novel EVER Written....In English" (just in case).

Truthfully, I do not foresee becoming a Major Literary Voice in the near future. Though, BAEN Books did say that they'd be interested in seeing the full manuscript, after reading the sample chapters and outline I sent them. Hope, however slim, is what we live for.

Now that I know about this WSFA connection, I'll have to point Monica toward you kind folks! (Monica [removed by request], the latest in a long line of  my "not entirely successful engagements" who now lives in the DC area.  Feisty, but good-natured lady.) I do so enjoy Irony!

          Thank you kindly!


A Meeting of the Minds

by Lee Strong


            "'Take us to your leader!'"

            The tall Earthling goggled his/her stalkless eyes for a few seconds, bent over, slapped his/her middle leg joint, and began making a series of gargling noises with his/her trumpetless mouth.  The heavy sounds were muffled by the thick vegetation.

            The stocky, bipedal Sqarra uniformly turned from neutral mauve to butter yellow in puzzlement.  They had been carefully trained for a number of possible Earthling reactions, but gargling sounds was not one of them.  The Captain and Monitor swiveled their twitching eyestalks and mouth trumpets towards the Alien Contacter.  She/he turned a plum color, silently signaling them to wait patiently.  The aliens returned to mauve as they waited.  Eventually, the Earthling stopped gargling and straightened up.

            "I'm sorry," he/she said.  "It's very rude to laugh at our first genuine alien visitors to Earth, but I couldn't help it.  First, that phrase is such a cliché in bad science fiction that it seemed funny to actually hear it from alien... ah, mouths."

            The Contacter assumed a diplomatic lime green and pointed both eyestalks at the Earthling.  Being in a diplomatic role, the Captain duplicated his/her officer's color and posture.  The Monitor, of course, turned a judicious purple and curled his/her eyestalks, eerily like human question marks. 

The Contacter spoke, "Affirmative/we understand.  We/the Sqarra have intensively studied your/your Earthling/human customs for many years before initiating this First Contact/Close Encounter of a Third Kind.  We/the Sqarra believed that a familiar-greeting would ease the inevitable culture shock/terror/fear-and-loathing you/your people might experience."

            The Earthling nodded his/her upper body part vertically and changed his/her trumpetless mouth in a gentle upward crescent.  "Yes, yes, you are very wise.  Many humans are all too ready to become hysterical or even belligerent.  You are indeed fortunate to have landed here in the countryside rather than in a stressful major city."

            The Contacter momentarily flashed soft gray in agreement, saying "Affirmative/ we understand.  But/however the decision to land in Marion-Virginia was a design-play/ not fortune.  We/the Sqarra have observed your/your Earthling/human custom of Independence-Day and other movies/flicks.  We/the Sqarra believed that we/the flying-saucer-Tsalla would obtain move favorable results by avoiding your/your population concentrations.  Once we/the Sqarra made First Contact with you/a typical-Earthling, then you/a knowledgeable-person can guide us/the Sqarra to your/your leader/leaders."

            The Earthling changed his/her trumpetless mouth into a more pronounced upward crescent.  "That was the second reason why your request seemed funny.  You are indeed fortunate in choosing to land where you did because I happen to be the President of the United States of America.  While I may not be the leader of the entire human race, I am (if I may hoot my own horn) the leader of the greatest nation on Earth."

            The aliens flashed orange in astonishment but rallied and returned to green or purple respectively.  The Contacter resumed, "You/yourself say that you/yourself are the President-of-the-United-States/Commander-in-Chief.  This statement/sentence seems unusual/risible since Marion-Virginia is not the Capital-of-the-United-States."

            "Ah, yes," said the President/Commander-in-Chief.  "No wonder you're confused.  Marion is not the Capital.  Washington, D.C. is.  However, the reason why I am here rather than there is that I established my Vacation White House here shortly after I assumed my present office.  One of the perks of the Presidency is establishing your own vacation spot."

            The Contacter started to turn a pleased soft pink but the statement triggered a memory and she/he changed to a questioning yellow.  "We/the Sqarra understand your explanation/diatribe.  But/however, President-Patricia-Douglas famously vacations in Aspen-Colorado-Rockies.  And/furthermore, you/yourself seem fuzzier than she/her."

            The President/Commander-in-Chief replied gently, "You are thinking of my predecessor.  She has been a private citizen for several months now, and I would have to ask my aides to track her down if you wish to speak with her.  I can confirm that I am `fuzzier' than she is, tho."  He/she rubbed his/her hairy face fringe with his/her bony hand and moved his/her trumpetless mouth in another upward crescent.

            The Monitor spoke up, "Contacter, we/the flying-saucer-Tsalla have been in hyperactive-space for several months/some time.  Apparently/maybe, our knowledge-banks are not as up-to-date as we/the Sqarra thought."  His/her eyestalks elevated to their maximum heights. 

To the Earthling, the purple alien sounded like nothing so much as a politician trying to score power points in a Cabinet meeting.  Apparently some things were universal constants.  Tactfully, he said nothing but waited for the aliens' official reaction.

            The Contacter glowed several colors in quick succession:  questioning yellow, thoughtful brown, a pleased pink, and finally diplomatic green.  "We/the Sqarra under-stand the situation now/at this moment.  Excellent/not bad.  Mr./Ms. President/Comman-der-in-Chief, after you/your staff have heard our proposals/dreams, we/the Sqarra will ask you/yourself to convene a meeting of all major Earthling leaders to hear our/the Orion-League's invitation/offer to join us/our alliance."

            The President/Commander-in-Chief worked his/her trumpetless mouth into a very broad crescent.  "You are indeed fortunate in choosing to land when you did!  As it happens, I am hosting a small gathering of the leaders of several other Earthly nations!  We can all hear your proposals simultaneously and without delay!"  His/her upper body part seemed to glow a Sqarran pink in satisfaction.

            Hearing the good news, the aliens turned cherry blossom pink in celebration.  "Excellent/not bad," declared the Captain.  "We/the Sqarra are familiar with your/Earth's nation/states.  What other leaders/bosses are present?"

            "Well, Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife the former Joan of Arc are representing France, King Arthur is representing England, Dr. Manchu is here from China, and Lord Greystoke dropped by from Africa.  If you'll step this way, you can meet them all at an informal picnic lunch we're having."  The President/Commander-in-Chief pointed to a table strewn lawn visible thru the bushes where white uniformed aides were setting out food for the Earthling/human dignitaries.

            "Thank you, Mr./Ms. President/Commander-in-Chief."

            "Oh, don't be so formal.  In public, you should call me `Mr. Lincoln' but in private, you may call me `Abe'."

            The Sqarra all glowed hot pink at their diplomatic success.                       



If We're Exploding Libertarians, We Would Have to Clean the Carpet


The April 20th Third Friday meeting began with Lee yelling to people to shut up.  "It's 9:17" said Judy calling the meeting to order.  Sam Lubell said he had it on reliable authority that there was no business done at the last meeting. 

Judy asked if the treasury wants to tell us anything.  "$1,095.10"  Erica said she owes $14 bucks for books.  Bob said, "We've received two donations.  One from Keith Lynch for $20 <Thanks Keith!> and our Third Friday host and hostess has decided not to accept bribes from WSFA <Thanks Erica and Karl!>"  The club applauded and thanked them.  Erica explained, "Considering donations and the soda costs low, it just made sense."  Eric asked about the carpet cleaning.  Erica said that she is sorry that the room was not vacuumed, Karl was sleeping.  Elspeth asked, "Think any of the guys noticed?"  A befuddled Sam Lubell asked, "Carpets get vacuumed?"  <No one answered me, I'm still trying to figure out how one gets all the air out of a carpet.> 

Alexis, for the entertainment committee said that Boeing is developing a remotely piloted fighter plane.  A 57 foot "Canadarm" is being installed on the Space Station so it can scratch itself.  An eel brain has been installed in a robot chassis, creating the world's first cyborg <cue Six Million Dollar Man music>.  The latest craze in pop music is composing "Klingletones", theme music for your personal cell phone.  Austria is going to ban exploding cows.  In the Alpine pastures, about 20 cows a year die of natural causes.  It costs $950 to haul them out with a helicopter and $32 to have a demolition expert blow them up.  <Some said, no wonder the cows are mad.>  David Boaz, a libertarian at the Cato Institute was given a warning citation for not wearing a seat belt and mouthed off to the cop, who then gave him a $50 ticket and two points.  On appeal the judge upheld the cop.  Arguing with a cop is a dumb idea.  Even a libertarian should know that."

Putting everything together, Elspeth asked, "If we're exploding libertarians, we would have to clean the carpet."  Covert pointed out that the park service has people who explode bears.  <"Bother," said Pooh, as he exploded.> 

Lee announced that the trustees announce an election real soon now and the officers have all decided to stay on, "so we don't have to do any work."  Covert asked, "Now that you've had practice, will you do the slate sooner?"  Lee thanked Covert for volunteering for next year.  Eric said, "We'll draft people at random."  WSFAns sang "Tradition".  The election will be the first meeting in May.

"Capclave chair?" asked Judy.  "Which one?"  She looked around and made her choice, "I want you...first".  Typical male jokes were made.  "Whatever makes him happy" said Elspeth.

Bob said that there is a new sales manager at the hotel.  "They're still looking forward to us coming.  Hunky Dory.  For those of you here, after the meeting we're doing origami.  We have to fold 3,700-odd flyers.  We have two folds, stamps, and labels."  Cathy said, "The postal service thanks you."  Erica said, "No cheesecake until too late."  Elspeth said, "We're limiting blocking to three."  Sam said, "In the flyer I said for blocking to see you."  Bob said, "I don't think we'll have so many people interesting in blocking since we're so close to the Worldcon."

Elsepth said, "I was at mini-con, many people expressed interest.  Steven Brust said he couldn't do short stories.  So I smiled and said, `That's why you should come.'  Minicon is down to 586 people.  The programming was good with three or four items at once.  They've turned it to a model Capclave should strive for."

Mike Nelson for Capclave Future said, "If we're not happy with Gardner for 2001, we will explode him."  Alexis asked, "Isn't Gardner already blown up?"  Bob said, "See if he can glow like an electric pickle."  Eric called this the "Capclave science fair committee."

No old business.  No new business.

Announcements.  Erica told a fish story.  Moral:  Don't use antibacterial sponges to clean fish tanks.  But the snails all lived.  Lee Gilliland reconnected with her best friend Tracey at Worldcon.  Colleen bought a house and named it Fred.  It hasn't been cleaned since 1997.  <Houses need cleaning???>  Elspeth at Minicon had someone ask her, "Why doesn't Mike Nelson have women crawling all over him?"  Sam Pierce said, "The mind boggles."  Lee asked, "Are you going to tell him who said that?"  Elspeth snapped back, "Of course not."  Mike Walsh said, "Obviously they don't know about the dental floss."  Mike had only one book for sale here which didn't have an ISBN.  It is a new Kalvan (as in Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen) novel by Carr.  Alexis got a refund from Chicon.  Judy said that Buck student contest continues.  Motion to adjourn unanimously accepted at 9:47


Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, VP Sam Pierce, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas and 2001 Chair Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Lee Gilliland, Trust. Eric Jablow, Trust Nicki Lynch, 2002 Chair Mike Nelson, Sheri Bell, Colleen Cahill, Alexis Gilliland, Elspeth Kovar, Keith Lynch, Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Barry Newton, Lance Oszko, Evan Phillips, George Shaner, William Squire, Mike Taylor, Madeleine Yeh, Adrienne Ertman, Tracy Kremer, Ivy Yap, Andrew Williams, Cathy Green, Liza Kessler, Will Ludwigsen, Ron Kean, Rob Thornton.


NEH Lecture on Science Fiction


My name is Brett Bobley.  I am the CIO of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  I'd like to invite the members of WSFA to attend a free lecture by Professor Eric Rabkin entitled "Using Computers to Discover Cultural Truths: The Genre Evolution Project Studies Science Fiction."  The lecture will take place on Tuesday, June 5 at Noon, in the Old Post Office Building in Washington, DC.


Professor Rabkin has over one-hundred-thirty publications, including twenty-nine books written, co-written, edited, or co-edited, including Narrative Suspense (1973); The Fantastic in Literature (1976) and Science Fiction: History, Science, Vision (with Robert Scholes, 1977).  Professor Rabkin has lectured widely, to both general and academic audiences, on fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, humor, American literature, literary theory, culture studies, pedagogy, composition, administration, and information technology. He has had lecture tours in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, and, from 1990 through 1996, offered a regular Commentary on language and culture topics on WUOM-FM radio.


This lecture is part of our eHumanities lecture series which studies technology and the humanities. Details about the lectures and our (free) registration page can be found on our website:


What If Summer Schedule

From Colleen Cahill


Thursday, April 12th, 2001, 12:10pm

By Brenda Clough, Author of DOORS OF DEATH AND LIFE

"Time Travel, the Exploration of Antarctica, and the Search for

ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence."

Madison Building, Dining Room A


Friday, May 18th, 2001, 12:10pm

Taylor Blanchard, artist

title tba

Madison Building, 3rd floor, Pickford Theater


Wednesday, June 13, 2001, 12:30pm

Kirk Borne, scientist at NASA

title tba

Madison Building, Dining Room A


Wednesday, July 11, 2001, 12:10pm

Severna Park, author of Hand of Prophecy

title tba

Place tba


October, 2001

Eric Choi, scholar

"Canadian SF: Speculative Fiction from North of the 49th"

Place tba


November, 2001

Kathleen Ann Goonan, author of Cresent City Rhapsody

title tba

Place tba


Book Reviews

Dark Sleeper by Jeffrey E. Barlough (New York : Ace Books, 2000)

Reviewed by Colleen R. Cahill


There is something wonderful about a nineteenth century British novel, whether it be Charles Dickens' interestingly named characters, Jane Austin's stories of society and love, or Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective Sherlock Holmes. These have a warm familiarity for us, with fog-filled streets, proper manners, and unique beings that populate these worlds with heroism, intelligence and quirkiness. And such is the world of Jeffrey E. Barlough's Dark Sleeper. Set in the town of Salthead, it is very reminiscent of mid-nineteenth century England with the feel of Bath or Cambridge. Salthead has the prerequisite fog, cosy inns, and singular characters, plus at the opening of the book, a new addition: a dead sailor who dances for his estranged sweetheart and accosts those out at night to "Do something with your life" while handing them his head. This macabre touch fits well in the story and prepares the reader for later introductions, including mastodons that pull carriages and man-eating saber-cats that make travel very dangerous.

It is quite a few pages into the book before Barlough explains that 150 years before the setting of the story, there was a "sundering" caused by a comet hitting the planet and resulting in   Europe being covered in ice. Salthead, which is "a continent and an ocean" away from England or somewhere on the western edge of North America, has ceased to see ships from anywhere but the few cities in that region. Most hold this is the only place that humans are alive on Earth. This new ice age gives the work a feel of alternate history and I suspect later books in this series will give us more details on what actually happened.

There are many plot lines woven through the book which at first seem unrelated. The dancing sailor's return to Salthead puts Miss Nina Jacks, his former sweetheart, in a nervous state. Her more lively sister Mona seeks the help of metaphysics Professor Titus Vespasianus Tiggs and physician Dr. Daniel Dampe. Their investigation eventually leads to two mysterious young men who recently arrived in town. Meanwhile, dark events begin to happen: saber-cats are seen closer to the town; a ship is lost at sea with all hands, but then sails into the harbor and refuses to sink even with a large hole in its hull; the dead return and walk among the living. Eventually all this points back to an Etruscan demon who was summoned by one of young men, but it is now causing havoc because the golden tablets that control the demon were stolen by the local miser, Josiah Tusk.

There are more than two dozen named characters that populate this story, but the large cast does not crowd the book as each are well developed and individualistic.  The wonderful names Barlough uses aids in keeping the characters straight and adds to the feeling of nineteenth century literature. One of the more interesting is Mr. Richard Scribbler, a law clerk who refuses to speak due to a great tragedy in his life. With his wild hair, pantomime gestures and sad eyes, he is both clownish and noble.

Barlough has taken many characters and plots to created a colorful and fascinating book. This work is the start of the Western Lights series and the second title, The House in the High Wood, is scheduled to be out this August. Both these books are set in the same world but will have a different set of characters. Dr. Barlough is a former English major who changed his studies to biology and became veterinarian with a Ph.D. in Virology.  He is also an armchair historian and has edited small press publications on English writing, as well as having an interest in archeology, paleontology and the ancient civilizations. All these have added elements to his writing, making an exotic blend.

While it is difficult to capture the whole of Dark Sleeperin a review, it is not difficult for me to highly recommend this work.  Any fans of good writing, whether nineteenth century British works or more modern works, will enjoy this first of hopefully many novels.


The Year The Cloud Fell:  An Alternate History

Written by Kurt R.A. Giambastiani (New York, NY:  Roc, 2001)

Reviewed by Lee Strong


            S.P. Somtow, call your office!  The American Indians have dinosaurs!

            Willing suspension of disbelief takes a big hit in this novel of "a frontier that never was."  The author has apparently tossed together a number of weird elements that tickle his fancy without examining the underlying logic.  As a result, we get a mass of contradictions that really hurt what could have been a fairly interesting story.

            O.K.  Story first:  In an alternate 1886, the son of President George Custer crashes his dirigible airship (the cloud in the title) in the territory of the unconquered Cheyenne Alliance.  After absorbing their culture, falling in love with a female psychic, and being offended at his father's attempt to rescue him, he leads an Indian incursion on dinosaur-back to Washington, D.C. to negotiate peace. 

            Now for the logic:  There isn't any. 

The alternate North America is almost bisected by a huge extension of the Gulf of Mexico... pardon me, the Gulf of Columbia.  However, except for mentioning the Missouri seacoast, this alternate geography plays no part in the story.  Two of the three most important Indians are psychopaths by American standards while the third merely considers the hero to be insane.  The author gives the Indians stealth war dinosaurs but never explains why 19th Century soldiers armed with rifles, cannons and Victorian self-righteousness should be terrified of them.  And, having the dinos race across the entire United Territories... pardon me, the United States without any dogs or night watchmen spotting them is simply absurd.

            Kurt Giambastiani appears to be a good writer, but once suspension of disbelief is destroyed by unnecessary blunders, reading pleasure is destroyed as well.  I rate When The Cloud Fell as a "D" on the high school A-F system.  - LS.



Written by Eric Flint (Riverdale, NY:  Baen, 2000)

Reviewed by Lee Strong


This book may cause me to rethink my view of either reincarnation or channeling or both.  Eric Flint has captured much of the flavor of H. Beam Piper's classic Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen in this alternate history of West Virginian coal miners versus the Holy Roman Empire.

            One day, an alien artifact known as the Ring of Fire transposes the little town of Grantville, WV into the province of Thuringia in the eponymous year 1632.  Once arrived, the Americans begin shooting rapists, expanding their zone of control and generally trying to create the United States... right in the middle of the Thirty Years War.  Naturally, the contending forces of France, Sweden, Judaism and what passes for Germany raise a collective eyebrow when they discover a bunch of magicians trying to create a republic in the midst of their religious-dynastic family quarrels.

            1632 is a good read for the military-oriented fan with good history, plenty of blood and thunder, and a few thoughtful words about nation building.  The West Virginians are no hillbilly stereotypes and the Germans and Swedes no politically correct whiners.  Instead, they are real people with different concepts of nationhood that must be resolved in the oldest way known to humanity... bloody war.  Which they do, but not without some moving examinations of the human cost of battle.  I particularly enjoyed the American debate on how to treat their technological inferiors, and the very human answers that Mr. Flint provides.  On the negative side, the American military superiority over the Germans makes each battle rather one-sided despite Mr. Flint's efforts to create tension, and the ending seemed rather obvious rather than a satisfying escape from death.  Still, a good book overall.

I rate 1632 as a "B" on the high school A-F scale.  - LS




Atlantis and Atlantis:  Bermuda Triangle

Written by Greg Donegan (New York, NY:  Berkley, 1999 and 2000)

Reviewed by Lee Strong


            Well, I'm a fool for anything having to do with Atlantis, and buying books One and Two of this series certainly proves that self-description.  At least, I learned from my mistakes and didn't buy the third book now on the shelves (Atlantis:  Devil's Sea).

            Our high tech concept here is that aliens (the Shadow) are invading Earth from another dimension thru the gateways known as the Vile Vortices (the Bermuda Triangle and some others that the author invented for the occasion).  Lonely heroes thrash around in the dark while the Shadow plays strange tricks with time, space and nuclear weapons.  Atlantis is mentioned in the second book but makes no appearance.

            I  see that this series as lacking in everything that good novels should have, including comprehensible plot, interesting characters, local color, credible dialog, science or pseudo-science, consistency, you name it.  Imagine the worst episode of The X-Files ever seen, and you've pretty much got Donegan's world.  Everything's spooky and pretentious (including the heroes), but it remains flat and lifeless throughout. 

It takes a rare talent to make the mysteries of Atlantis and the Vile Vortices boring but Donegan has it.  I rate both of these books as "E's" on the A-F scale.  - LS



CyberShock; Surviving Hackers, Phreakers, Identity Thieves,  Internet Terrorists, & Weapons of Mass Destruction

Written by Winn Schwartau, (Thunder Mountain Press, 2000) 

$24.95, ISBN 1-56025-246-4

Surfing the  Internet:  A Nethead's Adventures On-Line

Written by  J.C. Herz, (Little, Brown and Company, 1995) $19.95 ISBN 0-316-35958-0

Reviewed by Lee Gilliland

CYBERSHOCK: Surviving  Hackers, Phreakers, Identity Thieves, Internet Terrorists and Weapons of Mass Destruction by Winn Schwartau This book is the last book about cyberspace that a neo wants to read, trust me. I turned into a lurker for a week, just running round the sites this guy suggests. And boy, does he suggest them. After each chapter, profiling the dangers of this or that hacker type, he gives you a list of where to find these people. (Kinda like writing up all the serial killers in the US, and then giving their home addresses.) However, he also lists the sites that help you avoid and/or fight the actions of these people, which is a great help, as that's what I was looking for.

In seven sections, Mr. Schwartau goes into a lot of the games (mind and other) going on the net, and how to deal effectively with them.  Besides being extremely informative, he also has a no-nonsense sense of humor that actually lets you engage with some of the more creepazoid types without losing the fact these guys are ( or were originally) human. His style is calm, succinct, and rather engaging. Even though I am no where near sophisticated enough to really understand some of this book, it was engaging, interesting, and well worth my while, and will be worth yours.


Surfing on the Internet: A Nethead's Adventures On-Line, by J.C. Herz, was more my speed. A lively account of where the strange, semi-strange, and wanna-be strange on the net conglomerate, it is funny, ironic, realistic, and told with a breezy style that helps span the divide between  the 60's generation and the gen-X'ers on the net, and folds them into an assemblage of tastes, expectations, and experiences that come out the other end a seamless whole. She does this with a follow-me cheeriness that reminded me of my cheerleader days, only much less obnoxiously. She brings you onto sites on the web, and introduces you to individuals and tribes out there in an easy, you-get-this -don't-you style that helps you relate to the stranger sorts you  encounter She also includes a glossary, note on net style, and guide to dealing with IRC ( Internet Relay Chat), all extremely useful on the web

Although a bit lighter in tone than Cybershock, this book is also well worth the time and energy to find and read or buy.


Web Reviews by Lee Gilliland


As many of you probably know by now, the Cambridge coffee pot went off-line  last Monday.  For those of you not in the know about this strange piece of  web lore, back in the seventies, it was the policy of the computer lab at  Cambridge, England not to allow consumables in the lab proper, so the scientists working there were only allowed one place to drink coffee.  Tired of going up- or down-stairs only to find the pot empty, they trained a camera on the silly thing and put it on-line, so that when the lab went on line, so did the pot.  Last week the lab moved to new quarters, and, as there are several break rooms, the pit's no longer needed.


Finances for WSFA in April:

By Bob MacIntosh

Expenses:        First Friday        $25.00 (and that's all)


Revenue:          Dues (Geoff Drumheller)    $10.00

                          Third Friday March refund    $20.00

                          Donation (Keith Lynch)    $20.00


                            Total                                $50.00


Thanks to Erica Ginter for her kind gift of hosting Third Fridays for free. Thank you! Thank you!


And Capclave stuff:


Thanks to all who toiled long into the night to get the mailing out at the April 3rd Friday. I do have some special thanks to issue. First, thanks to our sister club up the road for providing the data to create the labels. Second, thanks to Mike Nelson, Mike Walsh, Elspeth Kovar and Sam Pierce for making editorial comments or contributions to the flyer. It couldn't be done with contributions. Third, thanks to Covert for coming to the rescue and creating the labels. Lastly, everyone should take the time to give Sam Lubell a high-five. That effort took a lot of his time and he did an excellent  job. Mind you, there were typos, but this is is a long standing tradition to find all the typos in any large publication.


Again, thanks. One person can not make a convention happen. It takes a team.




Hugo Nominees


The Millennium Philcon is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2001 Hugo Awards.

There were 495 total nominating ballots. 178 of those ballots were submitted electronically. There were an additional 29 paper ballots, and 15 electronic ballots that were received, that were marked ineligible for various reasons.


Nominations for Novel:

            (381 nominating ballots, 205 nominees):


·         A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (Voyager; Bantam Spectra)

·         Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor)

·         Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (Bloomsbury; Scholastic/Levine)

·         Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson (Warner Aspect)

·         The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod (Orbit 1999; Tor 2000)


Nominations for Novella:

(229 nominating ballots, 50 nominees; 6 nominees due to a tie):


·         "A Roll of the Dice" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Jul/Aug 2000)

·         "Oracle" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Jul 2000)

·         "Radiant Green Star" by Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Aug 2000)

·         "Seventy-Two Letters" by Ted Chiang (Vanishing Acts: A Science Fiction Anthology, Tor Jul 2000)

·         "The Retrieval Artist" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Analog Jun 2000)

·         "The Ultimate Earth" by Jack Williamson (Analog Dec 2000)


Nominations for Novellette:

            (237 nominating ballots, 131 nominees):


·         "Agape Among the Robots" by Allen Steele (Analog May 2000; Imagination Fully Dilated, Vol. 2, IFD Publishing May 2000)

·         "Generation Gap" by Stanley Schmidt (Artemis Spring 2000)

·         "Millennium Babies" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's Jan 2000)

·         "On the Orion Line" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2000)

·         "Redchapel" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Dec 2000)


Nominations for Short Story:

            (295 nominating ballots, 248 nominees):


·         "Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford (F&SF Jan 2000)

·         "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog Nov 2000)

·         "Moon Dogs" by Michael Swanwick (Moon Dogs, NESFA Press Feb 2000; Asimov's Mar 2000)

·         "The Elephants on Neptune" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's May 2000)

·         "The Gravity Mine" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Apr 2000)


Nominations for Related Book:

            (213 nominating ballots, 86 nominees):


·         Concordance to Cordwainer Smith, Third Edition by Anthony R. Lewis (NESFA Press)

·         Greetings from Earth: The Art of Bob Eggleton by Bob Eggleton, Nigel Suckling (Paper Tiger)

·         Putting It Together: Turning Sow's Ear Drafts Into Silk Purse Stories by Mike Resnick (Wildside Press)

·         Robert A. Heinlein: A Reader's Companion by James Gifford (Nitrosyncretic Press)

·         Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature ed. by Andrew M. Butler, Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (The Science Fiction Foundation)


Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:

            (279 nominating ballots, 151 nominees):


·         Chicken Run

·         Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

·         Frank Herbert's Dune

·         Frequency

·         X-Men


Nominations for Professional Editor:

            (288 nominating ballots, 77 nominees):


·         Ellen Datlow

·         Gardner Dozois

·         David G. Hartwell

·         Stanley Schmidt

·         Gordon Van Gelder


Nominations for Professional Artist:

            (246 nominating ballots, 145 nominees):


·         Jim Burns

·         Bob Eggleton

·         Frank Kelly Freas

·         Donato Giancola

·         Michael Whelan


Nominations for Semiprozine:

            (241 nominating ballots, 56 nominees):


·         Interzone edited by David Pringle

·         Locus edited by Charles N. Brown

·         New York Review of Science Fiction edited by Kathryn Cramer, David G. Hartwell, and Kevin Maroney

·         Science Fiction Chronicle edited by Andrew I. Porter

·         Speculations edited by Denise Lee and Susan Fry; published by Kent Brewster


Nominations for Fanzine:

            (194 nominating ballots, 90 nominees):


·         Challenger edited by Guy Lillian III

·         File 770 edited by Mike Glyer

·         Mimosa edited by Nicki and Richard Lynch

·         Plokta edited by Alison Scott, Steve Davies and Mike Scott

·         Stet edited by Dick Smith and Leah Zeldes Smith


Nominations for Fan Writer:

            (201 nominating ballots, 134 nominees):


·         Bob Devney

·         Mike Glyer

·         Dave Langford

·         Evelyn C. Leeper

·         Steven H Silver


Nominations for Fan Artist:

            (127 nominating ballots, 81 nominees):


·         Sheryl Birkhead

·         Brad Foster

·         Teddy Harvia

·         Sue Mason

·         Taral Wayne


Nominations for the John W. Campbell Award:

            (201 nominating ballots, 100 nominees):


·         James L. Cambias (1st year of eligibility)

·         Thomas Harlan (2nd year of eligibility)

·         Douglas Smith (2nd year of eligibility)

·         Kristine Smith (2nd year of eligibility)

·         Jo Walton (1st year of eligibility)



Nebula Award Winners


Novel: Darwin's Radio, Greg Bear

Script: Galaxy Quest

Novella: Goddesses, Linda Nagata

Novelette: Daddy's World, Walter Jon Williams

Short Story: macs, Terry Bisson