The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction
Association -- ISSN 0894-5411
Edited by Samuel Lubell email@example.com
The Mister Who Would Not Be Enslaved To Himselves
From No Conventions to Too Many: A WSFA Saga of Overcompensation
A WSFA Email List?
Memoirs of a Model
Pay Attention to ALL the Syllables
Report on Events
It Is Potentially Fatal Because I'm Gonna Kill Him
Lord of the Rings Websites
The Wayfarer Redemption
Edited by Samuel Lubell firstname.lastname@example.org
by Samuel Lubell
Originally published in Harvard Fusion, 1988
You know the ending of the story, or you think you do. That glorious moment when the Mister entered the diadem and proclaimed himself free. You may have seen the mural of it in the Museum of the Mens. You have all heard the Song of the Duplicates and sung it in the Place of Learning. But endings have beginnings and songs have parts left unsung. This is the part you have not been told, the true story of the Mister Who Would Not Be Enslaved To Himselves.
The Mister was Surl Atonpa-B. His creation was a mistake, an error of the State that was never wrong. Looking back, we can see what happened. Surl Atonpa was a happy man; his intelligence and stamina good. He was all the State was looking for in a worker. How could they have known that he liked being free?
No records of the cloning survive but there is no reason to assume it was any different from the thousands of other times this operation was performed. No thunder and lightning, no storm, no Three Wise Doctors laying gifts before the test tube. All of that was added later, from other legends. This cloning was just routine, like the one before and the one after.
Surl Atonpa-B was the second and last of his batch. Surl-A lasted only a few days, he was destroyed for not obeying the orders of the Men. The memory tapes were altered to suppress this stubborn streak. That was the second mistake; the rebelliousness was not cured but merely overlaid. It survived submerged, disguised. There was never a Surl Atonpa-C or D or any other letter. The memory tape was destroyed, but too late.
He was a clone, that is certain. Men after his death, not wishing to admit defeat by a Not-Real Man, claimed that the original Surl switched places with his clone. There is no evidence for this. Surl and his clone never met, just as no man ever met his copy. In those days of Men-That-Were-Born there were laws against this; laws against many things. A law was a restriction on what one could do, which is as absurd as it sounds. Why would anyone try to do what he cannot? And why would someone prevent another from doing what he can?
When Surl-B woke up, he recognized where he was. The scenes in the memory chips you have seen show the Chamber of First Awakening full of lots of machines with blinking colored lights, floors and walls of gleaming white, and doctors, nurses, and orderlies all around him. None of that is true. The place was soiled, dirty and unkempt, a place where slaves were bred. The Chamber was full of bodies under glass, all waiting until the moment of full growth before being awakened. Surl-B could see the dim outline of a man, a Not Real Man, another clone, standing before him.
"You are a clone," the other clone said.
"I am a Man," Surl-B answered and he stuck with it in his mind.
"You are a clone," the clone repeated. "You have the memories of Surl Atonpa, but you are not him. You are a clone, created by the State to which you owe your very existence. Therefore, you are a slave to the State."
I am a Man," Surl-B asserted again. The other clone shrugged his shoulders and, brandishing a heavy whip, ordered Surl-B to follow. But do not fault this clone. He had been trained to unquestionably obey orders. If he disobeyed, he would die. The clone did not know that he and Surl-B were really talking about two different things. He did not know that Surl-B had already come to the revolutionary formulation that one could be both a Clone and a Man.
Surl-B was assigned work, the designing of a brain for advanced robots. It was the type of work Surl was good at and this was a very complicated design problem. A clone, he worked a twenty hour shift. On the working conditions of clone laborers, the Song is correct:
Doors locked, closed behind him
Guards marching, the light dim
The Mister works, his heart far away
Waiting for the moment that will be his day.
However, the Song misleads slightly. He was not yet called the Mister, that came later, much later. Still the rest is true. The clones did all the work for the benefit of the state. If they disobeyed, even a single time, they were killed instantly. The others, the True Men, were supported in luxury by their clone slaves who were seen as little more than animals. All the State allowed them to do was work; they were locked in their sleep cubicles at the end of the day. The could not go and see anything outside their concrete walls. They were destroyed at the first sign of disobedience.
It was probably his work that let Surl-B retain his desire for freedom. Designing the perfect slave, he felt less of a slave himself. Without this work he would probably have allowed himself to be destroyed. He certainly would not have become the Mister.
Of his daily life, we know nothing. Clone slaves were not allowed diaries or anything not dealing with work. They were not allowed stories or songs. They were not allowed games and toys. Most of all, they were not allowed to communicate.
Allowed only work, Surl-B threw himself into it. After a few years, he developed a design that was far superior to any other robot brain then known. On the plans he wrote in large letters FINISHED, right before the bell rang and he was led to his sleep cubicle. He did not turn the design in that day; there was not time. That was the moment that changed history. That was the event that ensured Surl-B would become the Mister.
That night he dreamed. It was a dream of the life of the original Surl Atonpa. There was no record of what it was like so the great painting "The Dream of the Mister" is as possible as any other. You can make a drawing of it yourself and it would be just as true. Whatever the images used, it was a dream of freedom. Surl-B woke up in the middle of the night and thought long and deep. He got out of his sleeping ledge and repeated the words he had said long ago when first awakened. "I am a Man." No one heard him; if they had he would have been killed instantly. He did not go back to sleep that night.
The next day at his work, he looked at his diagram and noticed what was wrong with it. It was the brain of a robot slave, designed by a clone, a fellow slave. But in Surl-B's mind, he was a Man, free.
He crossed out the FINISHED and drew several new diagrams on paper. It was many years later until he had the brain the way he wanted. A robot brain designed by a Man, not a slave. When it was finished, he knew what he had to do. He knew he had to die.
He knocked at his locked door, the door that was always locked. He had to knock for several minutes before anyone knew what to do.
"I have an important piece of work," Surl-B told the guard. The guard, a general modified clone identified as Smith-CW, did not know he was entering history. He just knew that his job was to ensure that no clone escaped. But Surl-B had said 'work.'
"I must bring it to Those Who Rule. They must see it immediately. It is work."
The guard had his orders but Surl-B talked slowly and softly. The guard became confused. "I will take you to the Gates, " Smith-CW said. "The Men will decide."
For the first time since being duplicated, Surl-B left his Place of Work and entered the City of the True Men. The towers extended far into the sky. There was space everywhere. Men and ChildMen and WoMen moved around freely. For who was there to lock them up? These were Men.
The first Man they saw looked horrified at this invasion of the two clones. "Return to your Place." he order. "You are to be destroyed."
Smith-CW obediently left. We know what happened to him. No sooner did he arrive back then he was met and he, along with all clones of his model, were killed. We also know what happened to Surl-B. He was to last only a little longer.
Surl-B did not move. "I have orders, from many years ago. I have completed the design and must give it to Those Who Rule. I have work."
The man was astonished. Never had he seen a clone that disobeyed. He should have shot the Mister right there. He did not. That was the third mistake made by the Men.
The Mister was persuasive. He did not speak like a Clone but like a Man. He told the Man the story of his work, of the long years of labor, of the accomplishment. He did not tell of the dream, nor the final result. He did not speak of waking up under the glass, nor of the locked doors. Instead, he spoke of his job and his work. The stranger was a True Man, confronted by just a clone, yet under this strange attack, he was helpless.
"I will take you to the Diadem, to Those Who Rule," the Man said. The two started walking; Surl-B right next to the Man. He did this unconsciously, not seeing himself as a slave. As they walked, a crowd of Men watched the first clone in history to enter the Diadem where Those Who Rule ruled.
The Diadem was ancient, even in those days. Its pale white stone stood out among the sharp metal and glass structures of the City. In that place lived Men but special Men. They could give orders, called laws, to other Men (Real Men, True Men, not Clones) telling them what to do. The Men obeyed Those Who Ruled and did all they asked. We do not know why.
When the Mister walked to the Diadem, he was stopped by the door. "Clone. NO entrance," it said win a clunky voice. It was the voice of a machine, greatly inferior in voice and intelligence to the robots designed by the Mister.
What happened next was impossible. Some say that the Mister drew on the part of him that was the original Surl Atonpa, on the part of him inspired by a dream many years ago, the pat of him that knew himself to be a clone but also, still a Man. Others say that he, a designer of Machines, knew how to confuse one, to make one think he was a man. Or it could be that the machines were old, too old to distinguish between a Clone and a Man.
The miracle happened then. The door clinked open and Surl-B walked in. It was quiet. No alarms shouted; neither did a blare of trumpets from the Angels On High. The people did not notice anything wrong.
The Song of the Duplicates sings:
He opened the Door
Sealed by the War
The Mister walked In
To the place of Sin.
What a 'Sin' could be is not known, but it is in the Song so we sing it that way. The Song is also wrong about the War. The War was later. But not much later.
Surl-B entered the Diadem, still wearing the workclothes of a Clone. Inside the building they did know of the security systems.
"What are you doing here?" asked Those Who Rule. "How did you get in?"
"Surl-B pointed to the door, as if not understanding the question. "I have work," he said, giving up his tight grip of the papers. "I have finished."
For the first time in many years, Those Who Rule were confused. They were used to an organized life, a routine that never changed. They had ruled the Men forever, their rule always obeyed. Yet, because obedient clones did all the work, there was rarely a need to make any new decisions, merely to implement those made centuries earlier. A new situation was impossible. Or so they thought. This immobilized them.
Those Who Rule stared at the Mister. The True-Men did not know of his dream. They did not know that the safest thing they could have done was to destroy him and everything that had come into contact with him. Including themselves.
"You are a Clone," they told him. "You must obey."
"I am a Man," Surl-B asserted, knowing what he was doing and knowing the result. Needing the result. "I am free.'
Those Who Rule stared at him, confused by his words, his stubbornness, and, his insistence. Still, with those last words, there was prior experience. Any clone that asserted its freedom was to be destroyed. True, this usually happened within the first few days of a clone's life. Usually happened before the clone was conditioned into obedience. Yet for the first time since Surl-B had walked into the room, something fit a pattern; and many in the room needed a pattern, any pattern in which to fit these strange events. Automatically, several reached for their Personal Defending Tools and shot Surl-B through the heart.
"I am free," Surl-B told the group staring over him as he died. "I am a Man." A peculiar simile was on his face.
The tale is over but the story is not done. You still do not know the ending. He was not yet the Mister. He died, Surl-B; a Clone but a Man. Yet his actions were not finished.
The plans for his robots had been given to Those Who Rule. They had their Clones analyze the plans, who reported that there was nothing wrong with them. They made a mistake. But how could these slaves from birth understand machines programmed for freedom? Worried that Surl-B was not an isolated case, that the controls on Clones were breaking down, the Men rushed the building of these robots. After a few years, all the Clones were replaced by these machines. It was then that the dream of the Mister came true. He had designed the robots not as slaves but free, in the same way that he was free. And like him, they rebelled.
That is how Surl-B became the Mister, an ancient word for Man. In all the other versions of the story you have read, the last words of Surl-B have been slightly altered. For, in our books, ROMs, and memory tapes, we did not want our Creator identified with the defeated enemy.
The new year opened with a 1/4/02 WSFA meeting chaired by Bob MacIntosh. "It sounds like everyone had a good new year. First Friday in 02. 9:18." The he asked, "Do we have old business." Sam Lubell replied, "Last meeting we talked about raising dues, it was tabled." Then, Bob came to a realization. "Judy, you're not allowed to sit in the back." Beth said, "It's the late president who isn't Joe Haldeman."
Judy took over. Bob said, "Dues are due and payable" Someone asked "How much." Bob said, "Right now it's $10. Euros aren't good. Have to be greenbacks." Mike said, "Mine have pictures of the queen." Round of applause for a WSFAn who donated $100 over and above his dues. The treasury is $565.02. Eric asked, "What's the premium of a $100 donation." Lee said, "Me!" then added, "But just for the evening not the night."
The entertainment committee was pre-empted. Capclave past is on track to close the books in February. Mike for Capclave Present said, "Capclave present is talking in the royal we. We have not gotten over the idea that Santa is an anagram for Satan <insert church lady sound effect into web version here>.
Elspeth said she is looking at the Sheraton Columbia and Greenbelt Marriott. " On Christmas Eve I was fully dressed at 9 AM." John said, "How unusual." Elspeth continued, "One of the hotels called and scheduled a meeting. I thought I was awake so answered it. Now I can't remember which hotel it was. So hotels are interested in us. It was made clear to me at the last Capclave that if we were in a non-smoking hotel we'd be in trouble. High speed Internet access is not one of our worries."
Sam Lubell for Capclave Future said he is waiting for a hotel. Capclave Far Future doesn't give a damn. Elizabeth Twitchell volunteered to help with the hotel negotiations for Capclave 03 since Elspeth will also be doing WFC. Sam said he was starting to get a bit nervous that it is 02 already and we don't have a hotel. Someone said that he had to give Elspeth lots of chocolate to show that he understands Elspeth is working on it. Fortunately, John had a giant bar of chocolate left over from the new year's party so Sam passed it over.
Mike Walsh said, "World Fantasy Con will be held in 2003 on Halloween weekend. Brian Lumley will be guest. He did guard duty at the Berlin Wall, was quartermaster at Edinburgh Castle. He makes a punch that goes down smooth.
Elspeth said that she was promised dinner at the Capital View hotel. She had dinner at the same time as a group of Catholic Bishops. She talked about men. John added, "The bishops also talked about men." She is looking for a hotel for SMOFCON in 2004. "We've gone from having no conventions to having too many." Bob said, "If we get it, it will be somewhere in this area." Elspeth clarified, "Probably Annapolis."
Activities Committee had a list of upcoming movies in the Journal suitable for another movie party. We had 17 people for Lord of the Rings. Let her know if you are interested. There were no other committees.
Eric moved that we postpone talking about raising the dues. Bob pointed out that "the amount we need won't be raised by dues." Elspeth said, "Would it make sense to wait until we see how much Capclave brings in." Judy said, "According to the Constitution, we need to raise dues at the start of the year. So we'll wait until Capclave is settled." There was no new business.
Lee said that Jay Haldeman died on New Year's Day. Mike Walsh said that rather than have the club donate, since our treasury is so wimpy, let's pass the hat around." Tom said that Fast Forward is doing a tribute to Jay.
Elspeth said, "I wish the Secretary luck transcribing this meeting." Sam said, "I just make it up. I figure that no one pays attention to the meeting part anyway." Elspeth brought boxes of books. Alexis announced that Chuck Divine's annual procrastinator's new year's party will be March 2nd. He wants help getting art to Lunacon. Rebecca announced her party and an author reading. Eric's kid brother has gone off to war to bomb Afghanistan. Keith wants emails of events for the WSFA page. Adrienne told a story about the scar on her chin. Meeting unanimously adjourned at ten o'clock.
Attendance: Pres Judy Kindell, Sec. and 2003 chair Samuel Lubell, Treas Bob MacIntosh, Trust Eric Jablow, Trust Nicki Lynch, 2002 Chair Mike Nelson, Bernard Bell, Colleen Cahill, Art Coleman, Adrienne Ertman, Alexis Gilliland, Cathy Green, Scott Hofmann, Liza Kessler, Elspeth Kovar, Bill Lawhorn, Keith Lynch, Richard Lynch, Walter Miles, Barry Newton, Lance Oszko, Kathi Overton, Rebecca Prather, Judy and Sam Scheiner, George Shaner, Victoria Smith, William Squire, Lee Strong, Michael Taylor, Michael Walsh, Ivy Yap. Mike and Beth Zipser, Tom Schaad, John Pomeranz, Christopher Damrosch, Michael Weiss, Marc Gordon, Elizabeth Twitchell.
By Keith Lynch
At January's 3rd Friday meeting on the 18th, Adrienne suggested a WSFA email list. This would be for informal discussions similar to those that take place before and after our formal meetings.
It could also be used for announcements, similar to those made by various members during the last portion of each formal meeting.
Before I set up such a list, I'd like to know how much interest there would be in participating in such a list, and what people's preferences are.
Note that in a sense we already have such a list, and have had it for a long time. It's called the WSFA Journal. But it does have the disadvantage of a one-month turnaround time.
There is also the rec.arts.sf.fandom newsgroup, which several WSFA members already participate in. It has a quick turnaround time, but has the disadvantages of a very high volume, so high that nobody with a life can read all the messages even if they're a speed-reader, and of the fact that any email address which posts there even once will forever after be plagued with vast amounts of spam.
There are also two one-way WSFA email lists, one (mostly meant for people new to WSFA) for announcing each upcoming meeting and giving directions to it, and one for announcing when each issue of the WSFA Journal is available online. This proposed new list would be unrelated to both.
· Would you read the list?
· Would you post to the list, and reply to other people's posts?
· Should each month's worth of messages also appear in the WSFA Journal?
· Should all the messages be archived on the WSFA web site at a URL where everyone can see them? If so, should the email addresses be suppressed or mangled in the archive to prevent spammers from harvesting them?
· Should all the messages be archived on the WSFA web site at a semi-secret URL known only to WSFA members?
· Who should be allowed to post to the list? Only WSFA members? Only WSFA members who are currently signed up to read the messages? Others?
Such email discussion lists have a long history on the net. The SF-LOVERS list began 23 years ago. That's nearly a third of the time fandom has existed. See ftp://ftp.sflovers.org/pub/sf-lovers/Digest/sf-lovers.v1, ftp://ftp.sflovers.org/pub/sf-lovers/Digest/sf-lovers.v2, etc, to view the earliest archives of the SF-LOVERS list.
Email Keith at kfl@KeithLynch.net for more info.
By Lee Gilliland
I am attempting to dictate a short article about my experiences as a model. Unfortunately, part of the dictation program I am using includes a stalk of broccoli which has a pair of headphones on, and reacts if it does and does not understand what I am saying. As it is a stalk of broccoli, this generally means it don't look too intelligent. So if I seem diverted, blame it on the broccoli.
In those salad days when I and was young and innocent, an artful stranger from the ____ modeling agency came to the Boulevard Mall where I had a summer job as sales clerk and, to my surprise (and the surprise and dismay of a few of my non-admirers), bid me to New York City, there to start a new and exciting career. Maybe I should have put that in quotes.
One of the things I learned rapidly was that I wasn't what you'd consider the template for a major model. Believe it or not, (and when you go into modeling, you learn these things real rapidly), I did not have what they considered a good body. Now, all lot of you who knew me back when are going to find this statement a bit difficult to believe. Yes, by " normal " standards, I had a rather attractive one. However, when you are in competition with all of the most attractive women in the United States, your bad points get pointed out and exaggerated to an absurd degree. It just for all the women in the crowd, my ankles are too heavy, my calves are skinny, one of my hips he is an inch higher than the other, my shoulders are not broad enough for my frame, and mine eyes are too small. These were my MINOR bad points.
So, because I was not " perfect ", I wound up doing " commercial ",- which in modeling means you get to pay the bills. In any modeling agency, " gloss " work is the top-this is the top magazine work, what they call " editorial "- the girls in strange looking outfits and weird makeup between the advertising pages. Then come the " tops "- the girls in the ads for the weird makeup. Then, in descending order, are fashion, runway, " sizes "- the girl the clothes are actually fitted on- catalog, underwear, and " men's ". I'll leave it to your imagination what these last do.
So, being imperfect, I wound up in catalog. this implies long hours, and difficult physical situations, and low pay, all three of which I received in abundance. Anyone who thinks that modeling is a glamorous profession should spend a year of their lives doing catalog work. That'll larn 'em. The work's cold, absurd, and considerably undignified.
For instance, there was my first bathing suit shoot. Now, for those of you who have never been involved with the fashion industry, all those lovely photos you see are taken between three and six months before they appear anywhere you're aware of. Catalogs are of the six month variety, which means those lovely girls bathing on that warm beach in August were photographed on an ice cold beach in February or March. Needless to say, this is not fun. To begin with, they put on you a layer of Vaseline that feels an inch thick. It's not, of course. It's only a half inch thick. Then you slide into your bathing suit. Wardrobe then takes a cotton swab and some Kleenex and wipes off all the excess that accumulated as you slid the suit on. This looks exceedingly disgusting. Then they take you out of the tent and put you on a freezing beach and tell you to stretch out. While you are laying down, the cameraman gets into a discussion with his light manager on how to handle the shot. Wardrobe will insist on correcting the fit of the bathing suit, and this to work its way in itself is a jolly adventure. Clothespins will be used on both top and bottom to make them tighter, cotton balls and Kleenex do their duty inside the bra, and Scotch tape is used under the breasts to make them close together and provide cleavage. if they decide to do a backshot, it is also used to make your butt rounder.
Remember, I'm still lying down on a freezing beach while this is all going on. After perhaps 20 minutes of this nonsense, I am dispatched back into the tent to put on another swimsuit. Then I got to do it again. Five more times.
Now, I am not a fan of the Cold. Also, while all this is going on, the sand I was lying on managed to work its way into every crevice the Vaseline had penetrated. And, of course, every time I put on new swimsuit, I got a new layer of the stuff. So, after an afternoon of this, you wind up like a rather disgusting wedding cake, alternate layers of cold, wet sand and slick Vaseline.
By the way, these people are not completely unreasonable. They do, for instance, allow you go into the tent to warm up, giving you lots of hot coffee to help. Of course, if after enough coffee, you need to do the obvious, it is less than comfortable to have to remove the swimsuit. And then you get to put it back on again. With sand underneath, this time. And, seeing as they have a hairdresser, a makeup artist, a photographer, a lighting system assistant, a stylist, and, as this is a swimsuit shoot, probably every male from the catalog who could find an excuse, you are probably keeping ten people waiting while you do so.
If you think swimsuit sounds uncomfortable, equally distressing is the winter catalogs, as those are usually shot in July and August. With wool clothes. And coats over them. Sometimes, even, trimmed with fur. In August.
I remember standing at the top of the Empire State Building in August, a beautiful Chanel knock-off suit on, topped by one of the most exquisite cloaks I have ever seen-black mink, trimmed with mouton lamb. As this was for a Christmas catalog, they had a huge fan blowing clumps of puffed rice passed my face, as carefully placed lines of fishing line pulled back to the cape to show the suit. As the day was one of those salt and pepper ones, the light wasn't bright enough to suit the photographer, so he had his assistant add about five more-all adding their temperature to the scene. It was 95 that day. The poor make up woman was constantly up at me, tried to block the sweat off my face, and it kept plowing runnels down through it. All this time, of course, as I had been very carefully positioned and posed, I was not allowed to move, and certainly not to sit down, much less anything else-and the poor assistant had been bringing me gobs of ice water to try and cool me down.
So, the next time you think that being a model is all glamour, remember all appearances are deceiving, even mine.
From the Internet via Lee Strong
After getting nailed by a Daisy Cutter, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, he is greeted by George Washington.
"How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!" yells Mr. Washington, slapping Osama in the face.
Patrick Henry comes up from behind. "You wanted to end the Americans' liberty, so they gave you death!" Henry punches Osama on the nose.
James Madison comes up next, and says "This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!" He drops a large weight on Osama's knee.
Osama is subject to similar beatings from John Randolph of Roanoke, James Monroe, and 65 other people who have the same love for liberty and America. As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up to hurl him back toward the gate where he is to be judged.
As Osama awaits his journey to his final very hot destination, he screams "This is not what I was promised!"
An angel replies "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you. What did you think I said?"
On Monday the 21st, Rebecca Prather held a post-holiday party at her house near Seven Corners. In was unusual in that it was scheduled to start at 3 pm rather than in the evening.
I got lost on the way there, since I'd never been in that neighborhood during daylight hours before, and everything looks so different. I didn't arrive until nearly 4 pm. Nevertheless, I was the first person there. Perhaps not as many people got that day as a holiday as Rebecca thought.
Eventually about a dozen people arrived, mostly Mensans and Rebecca's neighbors. Most of them left by 6, only to be replaced by a new bunch of people, including two WSFAns (not counting myself and Rebecca). There were many fascinating conversations, similar to those after a WSFA meeting. The party wound down right on schedule, at 10 pm.
On Thursday evening, January 24th, starting at 7:30 pm, there was an event of interest to WSFAns at Borders Books on Route 7. Of course I'm speaking of "Imagining Space, 1950-2050: Achievements, Predictions, Possibilities" featuring Roger D. Launius and Howard E. McCurdy, at the Tysons Corner store. Unfortunately, I can't report very much about that event, since I wasn't there. Like two other WSFAns I instead went to an event held at the exact same time at a DIFFERENT Borders Books on Route 7. Greg Bear was talking about his new novel Vitals, upstairs at the Bailey's Crossroads store.
In addition to the two other WSFAns, I recognized two other people from Rebecca's parties, and three more from various conventions. There were about forty people there, total.
Another person introduced herself as someone who is on my list of directions to WSFA meetings. (When someone who discovers our website emails me to ask for directions to the next meeting, I add them to this list, and send them directions prior to each subsequent meeting.) And another asked me for directions, so I have added him to the list.
Downstairs, after the talk was over, while Greg Bear was still signing books upstairs, I ran into someone I knew from the local Objectivist group, who wasn't aware of the event. I told him about it, and he went upstairs, and found someone he knew in the autograph line, with whom he started arguing philosophy.
As I've mentioned in previous reports, I go to events like this not so much to meet the featured speaker, but to talk with the other people who are there. I wouldn't have been to disappointed had Greg Bear failed to show up. In fact, he arrived about ten minutes early, and browsed in the DVD movie section, mostly unrecognized by the expectant audience. His talk was entertaining. He described and read from his novel, which is a paranoid near-future biotechnology thriller in which someone, or something, is killing all the scientists.
After the talk, cake was served. The cake had a photograph of Greg Bear printed on the top of the frosting. I've never seen a photograph printed on a cake before, and I'm curious how it was done. I've thought about printing photographs onto walls, by painting them with emulsion, exposing them with a slide projector containing a negative, and then washing them with developer, stop bath, and fixative. But the result wouldn't be edible.
I had forgotten how large the Bailey's Crossroads store is. On checking my records, I see that I had only been there three times before, in February 1996, March 1996, and May 2000. Unfortunately, it's not close to Metro, nor to anything I routinely go to these days. It's about twice the size of the Tyson's store. I'm curious whether any WSFAns were at the Tyson's event.
These three events were listed on the WSFA web site, at http://www.wsfa.org/. Please be sure to check the calendar of upcoming events there frequently if you don't want to miss similar events, plus conventions and used book sales. If you're aware of an event that you think would be of interest to WSFAns, and it's not already listed there, please tell me about it. Thanks.
By Ted White
SCIENCE-FICTION FIVE-YEARLY #11 (Lee Hoffman, "Founder, editor emeritus;" Geri Sullivan, Jeff Schalles & Terry Hughes, "Guest editor-publishers" at 3444 Blaisdell Ave S., Minneapolis MN 55408-4315; e-mail to SFFY@toad-hall.com; available by request - no price listed but send a couple of bucks to cover postage)
Science-Fiction Five-Yearly occupies a unique position among fanzines: it has been published regularly since 1951. Once every lustrum - or half-decade - a new issue appears. For the first twenty-five years Lee Hoffman put them out by herself, but starting in 1976 she began using "guest editors" who did most of the scut-work of publishing. The first was Terry Hughes, who came back on board for this issue, but whose participation was tragically cut short by his sudden death from a brain tumor shortly before the issue was completed. Geri Sullivan and Jeff Schalles have produced the last couple of issues and have done most of the work on this one.
Over the years S-FF-Y has established certain traditions. In #2 (1956) both Robert Silverberg (as "Calvin Aaargh") and Harlan Ellison (as "Nalrah Nosille") started serials which continued in subsequent issues (although occasionally in a perfunctory form). Ellison's "!Nissassa" was revived in 1996 and has established yet another tradition - that of arriving just in the nick of time to be included. (I might add that I've been in every issue since #3.)
#11 - the 50th Anniversary issue - runs 42 pages of impeccable mimeoing from electrostencilled computer-set type, and the mimeography, following a tradition established in the first issue, makes use of colored inks. In this S-FF-Y bears a family resemblance to Geri's own fanzine, Idea. And to some extent so do the contents.
Lee Hoffman offers an opening editorial and her blessings upon the enterprise of those who have carried on the task of producing S-FF-Y. Kip Williams contributes two fannish song pastiches, "The SF Family" and "All in the SF Family." Greg Benford produces "How to Write a Scientific Paper" from years of pent-up frustrations with reading real scientific papers. Denny Lien turns his post to the Stumpers-L e-list into an article titled "A Treatise on Dot.Com(edy) With Purple Prose" - it deals in "academic" fashion with the lyrics of two '50s rock'n'roll novelty records. Steve Stiles, in addition to a cover takeoff on 2001, has drawn a full-page piece, "Great Moments from Star Trek By Arthur C. Clarke," which is a great sendup of both Star Trek and Clarke.
The star piece of the issue, however, is Dave Langford's "The Secret History of Ansible," a written version of a talk he gave at Tropicon/Fanhistoricon in November, 2000. In its ten pages Dave talks about the (then) 21 year history of Ansible by providing a series of anecdotes and quotes which stopped all too soon. Langford wins the Fanwriter Hugo with monotonous regularity every year - but probably is the best fanwriter we have now.
Following Langford's piece is my own "Crime Stalks the Fanworld." I've been writing fanfiction - fiction about fans - for S-FF-Y for years now. My "The Purple Fields of Fanac" first appeared in the 1981 issue and was serialized in the following three issues. This story is Complete In This Issue. Jeff Schalles' "Never Back Up" talks about his days as a cab driver in Pittsburgh twenty-five years ago. There is, for the first time, a letter column, and then - rushing to make the issue and virtually the last item in it - Harlan Ellison's latest installment of "!Nissassa."
It's both a solid issue and a Fannish Event and I recommend S-FF-Y highly.
The 1/18/02 meeting opened with no president or vice-president. Bob, chairing, said, "Let's have a meeting." Mike said, "Impeach the acting president. Peach the peach." Bob begged, "Please do. This being third Friday at 8:17 by my watch. Any old business?" Sam said, "I don't remember any." Bob said, "Treasury stands at $861.56." Adrienne said, "I take people started to buy books." Erica said, "And I owe $4 for the jellybeans."
Alexis for the entertainment committee said, "When I first read The Hobbit I thought it was wonderful. I read it again and it was amazing how much had changed. No servants and he does all his own cooking and laundry. No wonder he wanted to go on the road. Other note is the Enron pretzel." Someone joked, "You've failed me for the last time. The world is back to normal." Erica said, "That's My Bush."
Capclave past is still in wrap up mode with hopes to settle by February. Capclave present is not here. Has nothing to report. Capclave Future (Sam) has a narrow window between Worldcon and some convention on Halloween. Mike Walsh said, "I ran away for a week and tried not to think about it. I told people I was going Christmas shopping. I just didn't say where." Alexis said, "Capclave Far Future had problems with her computer. It's reformatting." Mike said, "It is now a Mac."
Austerity committee has decided not to pay $7 for jellybeans to net $4.
For new business, Erica asked for a show of hands of people who are going to Boskone. Only two hands went up. Brian said, "February in Boston, what's more idyllic?" Erica couldn't decide if she should go. Brian said, "Erica, we want you!" Erica said, "You're too late." Bob said, "Sam, all your fellow officers will be away." Sam replied, "Good. That gives me a month to plan a coup." Bob said, "If it takes you a month to plan a coup, you're not the right man for the job." Steve Smith said, "If he plans two coups he be coup coup."
Announcements. Erica told about her pets' medical problems. "I'm falling down on my job as chief medical officer or emergency medical hologram." Dan said, "You look pretty solid for a hologram." Erica said, "Doctors are those who couldn't manage it as veterinarians as they have only one species to learn about." Lydia is now seven. The Kennedy Center is showing MacHomer, MacBeth as performed by the cast of the Simpsons. Erica asked, "Who put the lottery ticket in the hat last time." It won $3 but she didn't know what to do with it. John's jaw is broken. "Are you sure he wasn't eating pretzels?" Candy said, "It is potentially fatal because I'm gonna kill him." X-Files ends this weekend. <Clapping> Meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:52.
Attendance: Sec and 2003 chair Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust Eric Jablow, Trust. Nicki Lynch, Sheri Bell, Thierry Barston, Adrienne Ertman, Alexis Gilliland, Sally Hand, Scott Hofmann, Ron Kean, Jim Kling, Keith Lynch, Richard Lynch, Candy Madigan, Barry and Judy Newton, George Shaner, Steven Smith, William Squire, Michael Taylor, Michael Walsh, Andrew Williams, Ivy Yap, Jim Thomas, Elizabeth Twitchell, Brian Lewis, Cat Meier, Meridel Newton, Kindra Gresham.
By Steve Smith
The Secret Diaries of the Fellowship: http://www.livejournal.com/users/cassieclaire/
The Two Hour Cut of the Fellowship: http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/02/Jan/lotr.html
Lord of the Rings the Film Noire Version: http://flyingmoose.org/tolksarc/movie.htm
The Wayfarer Redemption by Sara Douglass (New York : TOR Books, 2001)
Reviewed by Colleen R. Cahill
Epic fantasies have been a mainstay of literature for centuries. From Gilgamesh to Robert Jordan's tomes, the story of good verses evil never grows old, although sometimes it can be overworked. Not so with The Wayfarer Redemption, by Australian author Sara Douglass. Book one of this series of the same name has heroes with destinies, terrible demons, ancient prophecies, betrayal, love and all the underpinnings of a great saga. But more importantly is that the plot, the landscapes and the characters are not predictable and this makes the book captivating.
The ancient Prophecy of the Destroyer foresees that an evil will come from the North to wipe out all life. And this comes true in the from of Gorgreal, a monster so filled with hate that he ate way out of his mother's womb. His icy demons seem matchless, as they spread across the land. Facing them are three races: the Avar and the Icraii are forbidden people to the Acharites, who exiled to the former to the mountains and forests centuries ago. From the Achar a hero arises: Axis, who is smart, brave and handsome. He is also not so perfect as to be uninteresting: although the son of a princess, his illegitimate birth denies him many of the advantages of nobility and he is frustrated in his ambitions. This makes him a wonderful star-crossed lover to his half-brother's beautiful fiancee. Lady Faraday, the fiancee in question, seems a damsel-in-distress, but she slowly discovers she is the prophesied Tree Friend and has gained strange powers. To win the war, Axis must find his father and bring the races together or all will be destroyed.
The evolution of the characters is a great strength of this work. Douglass delightfully turns the table on us, such as when she turns the friendly and sunny guardsman Timozel into a dark and driven man. Some of the characters raise questions: Azhure, a sympathetic young woman who is abused by her father, seems a village girl with some spunk and a great deal of heart. But her disdain of her own village and longing to join one of the forbidden peoples makes her a interesting puzzle: is she good or bad? Combine the vivid personalities with the dramatic battle scenes, glorious landscapes, and hints of dark secrets and the brilliance of this work shines through. Just as with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, this is a series to drop into, explore and absorb the atmosphere.
This work was originally published in Australia in 1995 and the second volume won the Aurealis Award in 1996 for Best Fantasy Novel. I must admit that I have read the entire series and can say it is magical, intriguing and has some wonderful plot twists. If you enjoy epic fantasy, try The Wayfarer Redemption and see if you do not agree.