The WSFA Journal November 2002

The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal November 2002

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell

Review of Gamecon 17
"It All Started Out As A Practical Joke"
Fanzine Review
Overheard at Capclave 2002
Madeleine Yeh Reviews
Alien Taste and Tainted Trail by Wen Spencer

DragonStar and Sisters of the Raven by Barbara Hambly
WSFA At Capclave
The Curse of Squat
Capclave Mission Debriefing

Review of Gamecon 17

By Keith Lynch


I attended Gamecon 17 over the weekend of September 28-29.

Why?  Because it was close to where I live, because it was inexpensive, and because I had nothing else planned for Saturday or Sunday.  It was 2.7 miles from my apartment, a new record for closeness, beating out the 1994 Disclave, which was 3.1 miles away, and Evecons 17 and 18 which were 3.3 miles away.  Gamecon 17 was closer to my apartment than parts of the Glasgow Worldcon were to other parts of the same convention.  I walked to Gamecon in well under an hour.  I didn't even bother to use my bike.

I've played games at cons before, but there is always so much else going on that I don't spend much time on it.  At ConJose I never even entered the hotel where gaming was taking place.  However, while I'm not much of a gamer,  I do prefer interactive events to ones in which I'm just an audience member who might or might not get to speak for 30 seconds during a one hour event, and who otherwise might just as well be watching the event on TV.  

I arrived at Gamecon shortly before noon on Saturday.  (It was a two day con, no Friday.  And I was busy on Friday evening anyhow.)  I paid my $15 at-the-door rate (there had been no preregistration), got my badge, and wrote my name on it using the felt tip marker provided for that purpose.  I was pleased to see that there was no demand for ID. Indeed, some people didn't write anything on their badge.  I was also handed a raffle ticket.

The con consisted of two large adjacent ground floor rooms containing about twenty tables each, and plenty of chairs.  Next to the registration table was the snack bar table, manned by the same person. Tiny snacks (e.g. 1.74 oz bags of M&Ms) could be purchased for fifty cents each.  But there was no ban on outside food.  Some people even had pizzas delivered to their tables.

There were between 100 and 200 people, none of whom I recognized. They were overwhelmingly male.  Most, but not all of them appeared to be in their 20s or 30s.  There were very few children. There were a few dealer tables, around the edges of one of the two rooms.  They sold nothing but games and game related merchandise.  Many of the miniatures had been hand-painted or even hand-crafted.

The first events were scheduled to start at 9 am.  The last ones were scheduled to start at 7 pm.  There were no room parties, and I was told that nobody was staying in the hotel, it was exclusively a commuter con.  There was no special hotel rate for convention members in any case. The schedule was only approximate.  Events often started late or not at all, or not on the tables the pocket program claimed.  And there were plenty of non-scheduled games.  There were no events, scheduled or otherwise, other than games.

The vast majority of games were table-top wargames using miniatures. There were a few card games such as Magic, Illuminati, and Credo, and a few board games.  But I saw no standard playing cards, no chess, no Scrabble, nothing involving colored pyramids, no trivia-related games, no computer or video games, and no LARPs.  There were few games I had ever heard of, and even fewer that I had ever played.

At noon I sat down for Seven Years War.  Perhaps it should have been called Seven Years Setup.  After nearly an hour of setup, with no end in sight, I gave up and joined the Napoleonic Wars Tournament, which was not a tournament, but a single game played on a large map of Europe which covered almost the whole table.  Setup was quick, but explaining the rules took over an hour.  I was Russia.  Even though I had never played before, I won.  I got a medal and a $20 gift certificate redeemable at a game store in Oregon.

Shortly after the game ended, Eric Jablow arrived.  I chatted with him and with others.  I found that most of the people I talked to didn't consider themselves science fiction fans.  The only WSFAn besides Eric whose name I heard mentioned was Michael Taylor.  He wasn't there. So even though they were all locals, they weren't very good prospects for Capclave.  One person mentioned he went to Dragoncon last year.  I asked him why, when the Worldcon was much closer than Dragoncon that year.  He asked "What's Worldcon?". 

However, quite a few of the Capclave flyers that I put out were taken.  There were also flyers for Philcon and Torcon on the flyer table (along with a much larger number of flyers for gaming events), so there must have been other SF fans present. In addition to Capclave flyers, I put out flyers for the Lojban language, as I've been doing at all cons for years.

Two raffle ticket numbers were called each hour from noon through six, both days.  If the owner of the ticket wasn't present, a different number would be called. Eric complained that he didn't get a raffle ticket.

Eric sat down for a second round of Napoleonic Wars Tournament.  I wandered around for a while, but nothing else looked like it was about to start or end.  No events were scheduled to begin after 3 but before 6, so I walked across Route 7 to shop in the strip mall which used to include a Crown Books.  (I'm very familiar with that neighborhood, since in the 1980s I worked in the office building right next door to that hotel.)

I then returned to the hotel, wandered around and chatted some more, unsuccessfully looked for a non-war-related game, and then walked home around sunset.

I returned shortly before noon on Sunday, since I wanted to play the Credo card game which was scheduled to begin then.  Players compete to create Christianity's official doctrine in the 4th (?) century AD. I had played it once before, at the Glasgow Worldcon seven years ago. The game started on time.  Eric, who also played, and I tried harder to get unusual doctrines established than to win.  We managed to get the Church to be officially Pagan.

I was told that there's a new version of that game available based on Islam instead of Christianity.  The game designer must be very courageous.  It's one thing to risk being denounced by Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, but quite another to risk having a Fatwa declared against you, and having to go into hiding along with Salman Rushdie.

At about that time everyone in the room (and presumably in the other room) was handed new raffle tickets, and told that the old ones should be discarded.  This corrected for the people who didn't get tickets when they registered, but what about those who were out of the hotel, or in the bathroom, when the new tickets were distributed?

Starting at 2 pm, I played History of the World with four other people, three men and one woman.  It was described in the pocket program as a "boardgame of civilization growth, diplomacy, economics, and warfare".  In fact, it was almost exclusively warfare.  The game goes through eight rounds, representing successive ages from 3000 BC to AD 1914.  I didn't do very well, despite being the Roman Empire in one age, which has lots of power, and later avoiding being the United States, which rather oddly has very little power in this game.

One of the players was a developer and tester for the game, and he explained that it was originally designed by a Brit.  That's also why it ended in 1914 rather than extending until the decline of their empire.  He didn't play very well, since he kept getting the game confused with previous versions.  There are two different scores, and there was extensive discussion of which score should be used to decide the winner.  Or rather, the debate was between using one of the scores and using the ratio of two scores.  The latter would track how much you did with how little.  Somewhat like sorting underachievers from overachievers in school by dividing each student's GPA by his IQ. I jokingly suggested that the final score should be divided by the player's weight.  (Most of the players were heavier than me.)  As it turned out, the same player won by both criteria.

During the game my raffle ticket number was called.  I was told I could pick any two things from one box or any on thing from another. Everything was game related, and I had no idea what was what.  I rejected several computer games which required Windows, and various paraphernalia for various games, and finally selected a hardback book which, once I got it home and had a chance to look at it, proved to be a rulebook for a game called either Heavy Gear or Dream Pod 9.  I'm not sure whether it's a computer game or a board game or what, but it seems to be set on several alien planets.  I'll look at it more closely when I get a Round Tuit.

At about 8 pm, the last concom member left.  He told us we could help ourselves to the remaining snacks for free.  There was promptly a feeding frenzy by the five of us, who discovered we were alone in the room.  He asked us to turn out the lights when we left.

The game ended at 8:30.  We then chatted for a few minutes.  One of the players explained that Hasbro was evil for buying out his former employer, Avalon Hill, and firing everyone including him.  After chatting for a few minutes, the five of us started another board game, called Puerto Rico.  I was pleased to discover that this wasn't a war game but a colonization and development game.  I became a sugar magnate.  Since the game ended "quickly" (shortly before midnight), my short term strategy prevailed, and I won.

We all left at about midnight.  We were unable to turn out the lights, which required a special key.  On my way out I picked up all the Capclave, Lojban, Philcon, and Torcon flyers, since they'd otherwise be discarded unread.  I will take Capclave flyers to every pre-Capclave event I go to, and I will put the Lojban, Philcon, and Torcon flyers out at Capclave.

Earlier I had noticed a box for people to return their badge holders. The box was gone, reasonably enough, since nobody was left to collect it, so I kept my badge in its holder, and it's now in the shoebox along with all my other non-Worldcon con badges.  If they hold Gamecon in the same place next year, I'll go if it I'm not doing something else that weekend.  I definitely wouldn't miss Capclave or the World Fantasy con for it.


"It All Started Out As A Practical Joke"


            At First Friday on October 4th, "She's gonna get official," said Lee as President Judy looked like she was about to start.  She was right. "It's 9:15.  Let's have a meeting."  For old business, Sam pointed out that we had talked about a book sale.  Bob reported the treasury as "$136.65".  Eric suggested, "Let's have a Disclave" and had to put a quarter in the kitty.

            Alexis for the Entertainment Committee noticed a tentacle of commerce.  Latest HP toy has a broom that vibrates.  He wondered about the intended audience.  "Let's make a clean sweep" someone suggested.

            Mike Nelson, for Capclave present said, "We have spam, spam, spam and eggs.  I have no idea about rooms.  We have a WSFA meeting on Friday, nothing else to do.  Our hotel person sold a room out from under us on Friday.  All of our planning needs to be redone.  Buy memberships.  Rate ends Oct 12.  This is the last WSFA meeting before Capclave.  There will be a WSFA meeting at the convention.  Sam has over 30 program participants.  We have 154 members including one Canadian and one Israeli.  Charlotte Bid for 05 has a table.  `Be like Lance'.  There will be cake (thanks to Erica).  I'm still looking for a volunteer table person.  Lee found someone to do Green Room.  Charles Sheffield is not doing well.  <a card was passed around>.  Sam P. is tied up so Alexis will do artwork at the con.  We're thinking of auctioning off...

            Walsh "Alexis."  Lee said, "He's taken."  Adrienne said, "Where would we meet on First Friday?" Lee answered speculatively, "Well, I'd still have the house."  Alexis looked a glance.  "Auctioned off to the SFWA medical fund"  Lee suggested someone getting a camera. 

            Mike Walsh said that there would probably be 10-12 dealers with multiple tables.  Same group of thieves.  Only one not here is Roger MacBride Allen.  He will be in Leipzig. 

Sam for Capclave Future said that there are some problems with the hotel and it's more important to get a good hotel deal than to have a flyer.  Lee for Capclave 04 said she'd like to do bubbles at registration.  Mike Walsh for World Fantasy said that "On website, they a have a link to our site.  The rate is good through the end of the year.  There is a special rate for those working on the con.  Bags of free books come with membership <apparently, membership has its privileges.>  Memberships will be sold starting at this year's World Fantasy.

Lee for the activities committee said a group of people wanted to see Ain't Misbehaving, Harry Potter II, and Star Trek Nemesis <I've lost count, is this an odd numbered ST film?>  See her after Capclave.  Eric suggested that we should see all the films from her big list.  Lee warned, "They started filming Battlefield Earth II."

For old business, WSFA still needs money.  Lee suggested doing a book sale at Capclave but people said this would interfere with dealers.  Barry Newton suggested doing outreach in a more organized manner.  He wound up chairing an outreach committee.

Announcements: no paper towels in toilet.  Time magazine warns of spyware, get ad-aware to get rid of it.  Eric warns that some spyware deletes the program.  Comcast's diagnostic software has a virus.  Cable companies are run by people who didn't do well running phone companies.  Erica and Karl celebrated 10th anniversary.  "To think it all started out as a practical joke."  Mike W said, "And Lydia is the punchline."  Eric said, "Actually, when Lydia was born, I asked, hasn't the joke gone far enough."  To settle the issue of who would run the filkroom, someone suggested a duel with pistols.  Vampire wine.  Sen Byrd considering a filibuster on war.  One week Metro pass.  Rebecca has Mensa newsletters, needs handyman.  Offered a free website (see her).  She recommended the Mount Vernon free Halloween display.  Charles said that Farscape was cancelled and there will be a protest at the Air and Space Museum.  Sam Lubell said that an article he ghosted is in a print magazine.  Dan said that the Geezer contingent's cat has an illness but didn't lose another spleen.  Nicki said Iraqi official said he would solve the problem with a duel between President Bush and President Hussein.  Alexis sent cartoons to Asimov's and Gardner bought six of them.  Eric's brother finished Air Force Marathon.  Keith is looking for March 94 and Nov 96 Journals. 

Meeting unanimously adjourned 9:49.

Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, VP Sam Pierce, Sec and 2003 Chair Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust Eric Jablow, 2002 Chair Mike Nelson, 2004 Chair Lee Gilliland, Adrienne Ertman, Alexis Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Cathy Green, Dan Hoey, Jim Kling, Keith Lynch, Richard Lynch, Walter Miles, Barry and Judy Newton, Kathi Overton, Rebecca Prather, Judy and Sam Scheiner, George Shaner, Steven Smith, Victoria Smith, Mike Taylor, Mike Walsh, Andrew Williams, Zabeth Gallagher, Preeti Singh, Marilyn Mix, Dave Taylor, H.P. Lovecraft, Charles Gilliland, Anthony Williams.


Fanzine Review

By Ted White


CHUNGA #1, Summer, 2002 (Andy Hooper, publisher; Randy Byers, editor; Carl Juarez, designer; no price listed, but send a buck for postage; mail to Byers at 1013 North 36th St., Seattle WA 98103; e-mail to or or

Chunga - the name comes from the Frank Zappa album of 1970 - is a solidly edited fanzine in the tradition of "genzines" (general fanzines, unspecialized in nature) which does not feel like a typical first issue.   This is undoubtedly because the three fans involved in putting it out have, between them, decades of experience with fanzines.  Andy Hooper's Apparatchik was a major fanzine of the mid-'90s.  At times he drew upon the assistance of Carl Juarez.  And Randy Byers has been making his name as an important fanwriter since he wrote and published Travels With The Wild Child nearly a decade ago.  Byers has also had his hand in several collaborative fanzines, but this is his first stint as editor of an ongoing genzine - the next issue of which is predicted to appear "sometime after the 31st of October, 2002."

Within 26 pages Hooper, Byers and Juarez have done pretty much everything right - down to the little delights tucked away in the fanzine's nicks and crannies.  In addition to a page of editorials, there are eight articles and three facetious "Fanzine Reviews from Planet X."

In her "Helicon Fanzine Blues," a brilliant, multi-dimensional piece, Claire Brialey remarks on fellow British fan Lilian Edwards' "theory ... that good fanwriting has to be by people you know; or, rather, that you appreciate an article far more when you know the writer, or you know where they fit in to your map of fandom, or when it enables you to get to know more about them.  Sometimes, in fact, it makes you want to get to know them better in person.  I think the main contention here is that good fanwriting is not only intrinsically part of the fannish community but that it also fosters a sense of community in its audience."  Claire subsequently offers "two qualms about accepting this," but she has summed up an important aspect of fanwriting.  

Chunga is full of good fanwriting - which, although doubtless enhanced by an acquaintance or familiarity with its authors, is good enough to stand on its own and covers a broad range.  Lesley Reece rings the changes on an old Dr. Pepper commercial with "Wouldn't You Like To Be A Latte, Too?"  Randy Byers talks about fear of two different kinds in "Cliff Hangers."   Max (voted Best New Fan in this year's FAAN Awards) contributes "Tobes for TAFF - What Have We Done?"  Luke McGuff gives us two editions of  "Skiffy Corner," in each of which he idiosyncratically reviews a SF book (by James White and by Samuel Delany).  Hal O'Brien and Andy Hooper collaborate on "A Brief Interview" (political humor, which I cared for least).  I've already mentioned "Helicon Fanzine Blues."  And Andy Hooper closes the issue out with "Never Forgets," a reflection on zoo elephants.

Chunga is off to an impressive start and I look forward with some eagerness to its second issue.


Overheard at Capclave 2002

Compiled by Shane Stezelberger



(button distributed at the Hilton Silver Spring)


"There's been another shooting."


" 'What the hell kind of rejection letter is *this*?!?' "  -- Bud Webster, describing his first Analog sale


"Do you know how hard it is to get an Elizabethan scholar to tell you what Shakespeare would've said to a time traveler?" -- John G. Hemry


"It's better to lose at the Olympics than win at little league." -- Fran Van Cleave


"I never met a unicorn I didn't like." -- Eric Kotani


"As Joe Haldeman told me, 'You're creating a new sub-sub-genre.'" -- John G. Hemry


"Some story ideas you have you're not good enough to write yet." -- Bud Webster


"Uh, luck." -- Dr. Jonathan P. Gardner, NASA GSFC, when asked what will prevent meteors[sic] from striking the exposed mirror cells of the proposed James Webb Space Telescope.  The JWST Deputy Senior Project Scientist went on to explain that the mirror was actually quite small relative to the expected debris flux in the vicinity of the Earth-Sun L2 point.  Space is big, really big...


"Medicine and bioscience in any given time period is primitive." -- Stephen L. Burns


"Vernor, you can't write that story ["Bookworm, Run!"].  And neither can anyone else." -- attributed to John W. Campbell, Jr.


"[A.S. Byatt's Booker-Prize-winning Possession] is a romance novel." -- Hal Lanse


" 'Let go of my leg!' cried the Countess." -- Robert A. Heinlein's example of a suitably grabbing first sentence, as related by Eric Kotani


"I don't think I've ever killed off more than forty-one percent of an intelligent species in one story -- wait, yes I have." -- name withheld


"I want *hard* sf, with *spaceships*!" -- recently attributed to Gardner Dozois


"It's his wife!" -- attributed to GOH Alexis Gilliland's wife, who is Frederic Brown's granddaughter, and Brown once wrote: "The last man on Earth was alone in a room.  There was a knock on the door."


"We've just sold your magazine.  We've sold you with it." -- head of Condé Nast, to Stanley Schmidt, 1978


"It's Tom Clancy and Anne Rice having a baby." -- Tee Morris, describing Tony Ruggier's military vampire novel, Team Of Darkness


"Some people say my thesis was my first work of fantasy." -- Catherine Asaro


"BOLO" -- my first word in a four-way Scrabble game Saturday evening.  I lost.


"I live in a house of Terry Pratchett *cultists*." -- Michael Swanwick


"So for the first several weeks, I commuted [to Manhattan] from Ohio." -- GOH Stanley Schmidt


"The way it's *run*, it's an opera!" -- Eric Kotani, when asked if the space program was a space opera


"Scottish cuisine" -- Capclave Guide To Restaurants, on the McDonald's at Second Avenue and Colesville Road


"Short stories are good because they give you something to do while you wait for your novels to be rejected." -- John G. Hemry


"Between the two of us, we've walked on TWO PLANETS!" -- Michael Swanwick, relating his enthusiasm upon first meeting Buzz Aldrin


"You don't know the mythos that well." -- Brenda Clough, to Bud Sparhawk


"I thought this was about teenagers!" -- a fan

"But they didn't specify which species." -- Bud Sparhawk


"Power is *wasted* on adolescents." -- Brenda Clough -- describing her choice in protagonists?


"ANALOG MAFIA" -- button seen frequently at the Hilton Silver Spring, illustrated by a simple line drawing of a Hugo-style rocketship


" 'F Troop' In Space, comic military sf, a very, very small genre." -- Peter Heck, describing Phule Me Twice)


"You go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, put on high boots and a doublet, and give a woman a rose -- and she melts like margarine in a microwave!" -- Tee Morris, coauthor of MOREVI, defending his subplot choices


"Should've brought *her*." -- a male -- and presumably heterosexual -- fan, upon seeing a glossy photo of Tee Morris' absent coauthor


"Alternate Resnicks" -- an original anthology just waiting to happen?


"Most planet-building is bad biology." -- Sam Scheiner


"Thou shalt not mock Kevin Costner." -- Capclave Chronicle Issue #2, blaming some truly eerie second-floor water leaks on Friday evening's MST3K session, which featured Waterworld


"You can always find some PhD *somewhere* who'll back you up." -- Kyle Kirkland, on technobabble


"It's close enough for government work, and considering where we are..." -- GOH Stanley Schmidt, on having helmed Analog for just under the Capclave-advertised twenty-five years


IF TIGER NEEDS PRACTICE SO DO YOU -- Marquee I saw at Laurel Golf & Recreation on my way home Saturday night


Any mistakes, misquotes, or misattributions are entirely my fault.



Madeleine Yeh Reviews

Alien Taste and Tainted Trail by Wen Spencer


I had seen these books in the book store over the past year.  They looked derivative and silly, a cross between X-files and detective and werewolf stories. The main character is a boy with rather odd abilities who was raised by a wolf pack in the Oregon wilderness.   I didn't pick up the first book and also avoided the sequel.  Then a friend told me, "These are good.  These are real good".  So I went looking for the first book which is now rather harder to find and read it.  Two days later I bought and read the sequel.  These two books are indeed very very good.  I dragged them around for weeks reading and rereading them. Balticon gave the first book its award for best first novel.  Everyone should read these two so that we have the enjoyment of talking about all the wonderful details.

The first book is set outside Pittsburgh where Ukiah Oregon, and his partner Max have just been called in on a missing person case.  Three women lie dead in a house and the fourth is gone. Ukiah and Max specialized in finding missing persons, aided by Ukiah's uncanny ability to follow scent and blood trails, and Max's use of all the modern conveniences like GPS, cell phone, laptop, wireless camera and kevlar vests.  Ukiah's peculiar abilities include photographic memory, audio and visual, and the ability to identify blood.

Soon the story involves the FBI, an outlaw biker gang: the Dog Warriors, their enemies the Ontongard, and Ukiah's family.  Ukiah has an amazingly normal family for a boy raised by wolves.  The graduate student who found him in the Oregon wilderness took him home, in the quite rational belief that she could raise him better than any official institute.  So  Ukiah has had two mothers and a baby sister, a tree house and a motorcycle.  Ukiah is not a lost soul desperately seeking for a home or family or  history.  However when the Dog Warriors meet Ukiah, they realize that they  do have a shared history, and some shared abilities.

This is partly a detective novel so I won't tell you much more about it.   It explores very well the mystery of the murders, the mystery of the Dog Warriors and Ukiah, and the mystery of being human.

The second  book, no I'm not spoiling much by telling you that the hero survives the first book, also explores multiple mysteries.  A hiker has gone missing in the Oregon wilderness and her uncle calls in Max and Ukiah.  While he is in the vicinity, Ukiah decides to explore his own  history.   How did he come to be running wild with a pack of wolves?  Does he have any family and what were they like?   However the main focus of the story is on the missing Alicia, who went hiking one day and didn't return.

A wonderful feature in both books is the three dimensionality of all the characters.  They are beautifully fleshed out and fairly original.  Even characters which often come out of stock are well drawn.  Kraynak, homicide detective, is an ex-smoker who reverts during stress, dislikes blood and has a gray shaggy sheepdog. 


DragonStar and Sisters of the Raven by Barbara Hambly


These are two different books with almost nothing in common except their author.  And their release this summer. The first is a wonderful book, an exemplar of how to end a  trilogy (quartet), and the second is a rather mundane novel which isn't anything like the author's normal work.

Sisters of the Raven is more like a Jo Clayton novel than a Barbara Hambly story.  The main male character, Oryn Jothek II, king of a small trade city is a plump man who would have liked to have been known as the Peacock King, and to have spent his time in drink, and music and poetry. But now Magic is going out of the world and without the magicians to call rain and fill the lakes  with water, the city will die.  The city is much like Samarkand, surround by deserts and hostile nomads, sustained by permanent water and trade.   More than the water supply is dependent on magic, magicians used to spell windows to ward off mosquitoes, larders to keep out mice,  and heal wounds and fevers.  Now  while no man can do magic, certain women have appeared with the power.  The story follows the Summer Concubine, Oryn's favorite;  Raeshaldis, the first girl to enter the Sun Mage's school; the Corn-Tassel Woman; Foxfire girl, and the Pomegranate Woman as they try to cope with life and magic and a very chauvinistic society.  As well as multiple points of view, there are multiple themes to this story.  Oryn is trying to fight off a coup and build an aqueduct, the Summer Concubine  is trying to help him and organize the women who use magic, Raeshaldis is trying to find out who is trying to kill her, and who has killed other women who use magic and some people are just trying to survive.

Jo Clayton's novels particularly the early ones, did this multiple hero/multiple view point/multiple plot device.   She often had a very male chauvinistic / oppressive society which was undergoing stress.  At least two series had a fat ruler who liked high living but was rather bright and responsible.  Jo Clayton often left the endings of her story open.  A battle might be won but the war still goes on.  Sisters of the Raven is much like that.   The killer is found, but the other problems remain.  Magic is still dying, and the few women who can use it, are not trained to do so.   This  isn't a bad book but its not really Barbara Hambly's style.  I've read and enjoyed most of Barbara Hambly's books.  Most of them stick to a single plot,  and while they might have three or four viewpoints, they don't have the overwhelming multiplicity found in this one. 

DragonStar is the a whole 'nother ball of yarn.  Its a completely perfect end to the trilogy that started with DragonShadow, and continued with Knight of the Demon Queen.   The end book in a series should not only finish up the story, it should tie together and explain all the loose ends, and make the reader want to reread the previous books.  This  did it magnificently.   DragonShadow and Knight of the Demon Queen were rather dark books.   In DragonShadow, our heroine, Jenny, and  her son and various other mages and seven young dragons were enslaved by demons, and used by a traitor in a revolt against the king.  At the end the revolt were put down and the dragons and humans freed, but the kingdom was sorely mangled, and only a few mages survived, and they were injured and shocked.  Knight of the Demon Queen, has our hero John traveling through universes at the behest of the Demon Queen  trying to capture one of her old enemies.   Jenny is trying to protect her friends and family from bandits and slavers and disease, without the use of the magic she lost in the first book.  Underneath this is the fear of further demonic attacks.

DragonStar  winds everything up nicely and brings  it all to  a final ending.  The first two books had left John in prison and about to be burned for dealing with demons.  Jenny is injured and trapped in the gnome's underground caverns.  The demons had infiltrated the upper ranks of the human and gnome society.  The spirit of an evil mage is trying to take over Jenny's son's body and bandits are besieging John and Jenny's home.   DragonStar  takes our heroes from this situation to a victory over their enemies and does it in high style.

   Also just out is Wet Grave, a new mystery by Barbara Hambly.   This is the latest in the series set in 1830's New Orleans, starring Benjamin January.  This is a  wonderful book, well researched, well plotted and well crafted.  This book does not stand alone, but why should it?  Part of the enjoyment comes in meeting the characters which were introduced in the earlier books, and see how they are coping with their lives.  This is a great series and I heartily recommend it to anyone who likes Historical Mysteries.   It is set in a very interesting universe, with several societies, and religions and laws and customs.   It is so interesting a universe that if it had been written as a fantasy  it would be far too strange to be believable.  The earlier books are A Free Man of Color;  Fever Season;  Graveyard Dust; Sold Down the River; and Die Upon a Kiss.


WSFA At Capclave


The 10/18 Third Friday meeting was held at Capclave.  It opened with a call from former WSFA President John Pomeranz.  "He's done it at every single Capclave.  Once is tradition.  Twice is hallowed tradition."

Judy said, "It's 9:03.  We'll start the meeting."  Judy introduced herself and the other officers.  Bob reported a treasury of 156 bucks.  Calls for a small party were heard.  Bob continued, "She didn't ask how much Capclave has made because I won't tell them."  Eric said, "Don't forget the house rules:  Don't lick the cat.  Don't use paper towels in the commode.  Don't tie people to the sprinkler."

Mike Nelson introduced himself.  "It's been five years since I chaired a con.  <Points to sprinkler>  This is not a sex toy."  He asked Bob how many members, "About 200"  He asked Sam Lubell to say a few program words.  "We have lots of program."  Mike announced that Mystery Capclave Theater was showing Waterworld.  Lee announced party in her room.  Sam Lubell announced that Capclave 2003 will be Sept 19-21 with William Tenn as the GoH.  <there was applause>  No hotel yet.  Lee for Capclave 04 said, "Bubbles at registration.  Use of IM.  Alexis has talked me out of having a blob of Jell-O as GoH"

Eric for austerity recommended that we spend lots of money to make dealers happy.  Activities Committee said we will see Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Star Trek, "That's what people wanted to see."  Elspeth said she hasn't eaten today and to be quiet in hallways on 7th floor.  Judy said that eating is important, remember that.  Keith announced that Scott, a trustee, was here.  Mike Walsh wasn't here to talk about World Fantasy Con but panel scheduled Sunday on what people want to see. 

Sam Lubell suggested that we tell people when we meet and where.  Judy did.  Keith introduced as webmaster.  Have nine years of WSFA Journal on-line.  Hope to have ten by end of year.  Lance announced that Eurocon is free as they cut a deal with a college.  Lee told about her button, "This year it's no stupid sniper." Keith said, "Wait till you see what we've cooked up for next year."  Adrienne predicted, "No stupid Mecha-Godzilla".  Filthy Pierre said, "No stupid sun going nova."  Lee said she was out of buttons but the con suite should have them soon.  Erica said no switch in meetings, we're in regular place.  Lee Strong has lost 60 pounds and belt size is four notches slimmer.  Mike asked "How have you lost weight?"  Lee answered, "By not eating food."  Mike asked, "What are you eating instead?"  Lee answered, "Air."  Meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:20

            Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, Sec & 2003 Chair Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust Scott Hofmann, Trust Eric Jablow, Trust Nicki Lynch, 2002 Chair Mike Nelson, 2004 Chair Lee Gilliland, Adrienne Ertman, Carolyn Frank, Erica Ginter, Elspeth Kovar, Keith Lynch, Richard Lynch, Cat Meier, Walter Miles, Barry and Judy Newton, Kathi Overton, Rebecca Prather, Judy and Sam Scheiner, George Shaner, Steven Smith, Lee Strong, Brian Lewis, Elizabeth Twitchell, Andrew Williams, Ivy Yap, FL AHSH, Filthy Pierre, Preeti Sigh, Dave Taylor, Marilyn Mix, Kathleen Reeves-McBride, Zabeth Gallagher, Sue Wheeler, Sue Koon, Chris Callahan, Jane Wagner, Don Pauley, Perrianne Lurie, Mike and Beth Zipser, Meridel Newton. 


The Curse of Squat

Suggested by Erica Ginter and Candy Madigan

Written by Lee Strong


            The flaming red sports car didn't really stand on two wheels as it screamed into the parking space in the corner of the campus lot.  It just seemed that way to the tense passenger.  As the car braked to a tire screeching halt, she said something the driver didn't quite catch.

            "Pardon me?  What did you say, Gale?"  His hands were already grabbing at his laptop.

            "You drive like a gale, Len," his passenger retorted.  "I was saying a prayer of thanks to Squat for the parking spot."  She was unbuckling her seat belt as well.  Her books were already in her lap.

            "'Squat'?  Who's Squat?"  Len was opening his door, narrowly missing the side of a bright silver SUV parked less than two feet away.  He had to step out carefully to avoid scraping the larger car's body with laptop or car keys.

            "The goddess of parking spots," answered Gale.  She stepped out of the car and over the curb onto the lawn extending past the parking lot.  "When we were looking for a space to park, I prayed 'Oh Lady Squat, please grant us a spot.'  When we found one, I said 'Thanks for the spot, Oh generous Squat."  Especially since you didn't kill us with your driving!  She closed her car door.

            Len had started across the lawn towards the science building but stopped and snorted loudly.  "'The goddess of parking spots'?!  You Pantheists really do have a spirit for everything."

            "Now listen.  Your Supreme Intelligence...." began Gale patiently.

            "Your intelligence ought to tell you that there's no such spirit," accused Len.  "Other mythological figures at least have some dignity.  Parking spots!  How petty can you get?  I suppose that Squat would hit me with a lightning bolt like the Christian God if I told her to eff off?"

            The twosome had had variations of this argument many times before.  Gale started moving towards the building and Len followed.

            "Actually, Squat is a pretty benevolent goddess.  I'm not sure she has a curse.  It's Zeus, Thor, Indra, and other thunder gods that use lightning.  Jehovah usually causes individuals to have heart attacks.  Since he loves humanity, the symbolism of a breaking heart is obvious."

            Len snorted again.  Looking at the sky, he said, "Hey, Squat?  Phfffft!"  He put a lot of saliva into the raspberry.

            Gale sighed, but was interrupted before she could answer.

            "Hey, you!  The driver of the red car!"

            Startled, the two odd friends turned to see a campus cop running across the lawn towards them.  "Hey, you!  Get your car off the grass, mister!  Now!"

            "What?!" screamed Len.  "My car's not on the grass!  You blind?"  He tacked on, "Officer" at the last minute.

            The cop pointed behind the twosome, saying, "Then someone painted the parking lot green, mister.  Move it!"

            Gale looked behind her and gaped.  "Len, turn around and look."

            Startled, Len bit off a colorful remark and turned.

            His car was still parked less than two feet from the easily recognizable SUV.  But now the parking lot's curb was only inches from the SUV's wheels, leaving the sports car clearly on the soft spring grass.

            The cop pulled out his official book, smiling thinly.  "Fifty dollars for parking on the grass.  Another twenty-five for failing to cooperate with a security officer...."  He hummed as he wrote. 


Capclave Mission Debriefing


Bob reported 285 attendees counting program participants.  "About the same as last year."  People suggested doing more advertising.

Chris suggested doing quiet floors.  "Get a list of those who request a party floor and a quiet floor.  Put this in publicity to let people know."

Rebecca liked the autograph party.  "Send a thank you note to Stan for Asimov's and Analog issues."  There's a nice hotel near Dulles Access road that Mensa got with $25 night rooms, but no food and no public transportation.  Lots of people said that would be a problem.

Gary suggested that we put in contract to hold all function space.  Want more space.  William Tenn will be a bigger draw.  Joanie wanted to recommend a handler but Sam Lubell said that Laurie Mann has already volunteered.

Someone said we should do easels with big pages with schedules.  Someone thanked Elspeth for putting all parties on seventh floor.  Lee recommended that when people do parties that they invite Mundanes on either side to give them advanced warning.  Elspeth said that the blocking wasn't as tight as wished so thank you to parties for not spilling into the hallway.  Thank you to those who wanted quiet floors who were on the 7th anyway. 

Chris gave a thank you to the program committee.  Sometimes wanted to be in both places.  Perrianne liked the town hall but it should be combined with the con suite.  Mike said that this was the original plan but the hotel sold off the Assembly one night. 

Mark said it would be a good idea to get dealer's room or program started at 6.  Bob said not many people registered before 6.  Von Blan said, "Tell us in advance."  We need to get dealers room sooner so can do setup earlier.

Peggy Rae said that people liked the programming and the time between panels.  John liked that space.  Hank said there was no game room but Harold said, "I preferred the way you did it here with the gamers part of the con.  This way, the rest of us got to play games."  Hal said that the multifunction room was good but did force people to stop a game to set up for autograph party.  Elspeth said, "Way the assembly room was done was to be the con's living room.  One mistake, the readings.  The readings need a room of their own."  Mike thanked the members for not making flooding a tradition.

Gary wants Capclave to do fan tables at other conventions like Shore Leave and Slantavadoria.  Rebecca misses having an art show.  Bob said, we're too small to do art and do the artists justice.  It takes lots of people points.  Mike said he wanted to do an exhibit on Analog art, unfortunately the person who was to do this had to do real life stuff.  Also it is expensive to do insurance.  Filthy said that Albacon is similar size yet had art show.

Joanie said that we could invite someone who sells prints to the dealer's room like Sandarson Terra, Norm Chandler, or Dreamhaven.  Elspeth said, last year's dealers did so well that we turned away dealers this year.  Some space freed up last minute (because David Hartwell couldn't come).  We're trying to find a balance.  Perrianne said, "More diversity.  Like to see someone selling filk, and prints, and games rather than first come and first serve."  But this depends on who can come and who thinks they can make money.  Keith said that filk was sold at Nancy's table.  Sam Pierce said, "We don't know what dealers contacted Mike.  We tried for balance.  Mike doesn't deliberately get just book dealers; they're his competition."

Peggy Rae said that Stan Schmidt said he had a really good time and to thank us all.