The WSFA Journal March 2003

The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal March 2003

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell

Science Fiction: Cult or Fraternity?
Solar Heating In An Urban Setting
Review of Jubilee by Jack Dann
The Library of Congress Professional Association's What IF... Discussion
1633 by Eric Flint and David Weber
War of Honor by David Weber
WSFA's Pledge Drive
Oh, Pioneers
WSFA Journal Online

Science Fiction: Cult or Fraternity?

By Samuel Lubell


            At Balticon, David Brin, after first getting the whole audience to declare in unison, "We are individuals", criticized the con for the absence of young fans and said that science fiction fans need to act like a cult and bring in more members (so there'd be more people buying his books). 

            But is science fiction fandom a cult?  Or is it a fraternity? 

            Generally, a cult/religion has two reasons for trying to expand.  If it is sincere in its beliefs then it wants to convert people because it wants to share the truth and save people from hell/eternal darkness/a bad life.  If it is not sincere than the motive to expand is to have more people contributing/tithing so the cult leader can live the good life.  There's also an element of power, the more members, the more clout the leader has with politicians and the like.  (Cue last line of first episode of Buffy Season 7, "It's about power.")

            Do any of these apply to science fiction fandom?  Do we want the whole world to be reading science fiction?  Well, only if they like it.  Even the most vehement SF fan recognizes that not everyone likes the same things and you can't force someone to become a SF fan.  Ultimately, this is just entertainment and it doesn't really matter if a person is entertained by reading or by watching baseball.  The monetary motive applies more to authors than to readers.  Popular books do not really cost less money than less successful books (except when publishers bring them out in trade paper instead of mass market or an unsuccessful author has to be published in the small press whose books are more expensive.)  But even there, we'd have more success getting existing SF readers to read Robert Reed or Jeff Carver rather than try to recruit brand new readers.  Similarly, not every fan goes to conventions.  It is a lot easier to try to convince existing convention-going fans to attend your convention than it is to recruit new people who haven't attended conventions before.  And what if the people you attract to the convention are people looking for a different experience than the one you are offering (say anime fans at Readercon)?

            There's a second model however, that might fit SF fandom better--a fraternity (or really any selective society).  A fraternity chooses members it thinks will fit in, rather than admit all comers equally.  A fraternity or secret society will recruit selectively people who will not change the character of the group.  This contributes to the feeling that the group are an elite--better than the common run of the mill people.  We see this in SF fandom in the phrase "Fans are slans" and looking down on those who do not read.  Some of this selectivity will happen naturally as most people who do not share the interests of the group will leave and not come back. To a certain degree this may seem snobbish, but do we really want to lose the traditions of science fiction fandom?  Would we want a bunch of people to declare that our con needs to focus on 19th century train novels?

            But there's a downside toward these exclusive societies as the members of the Masons, Fraternal Order of Eagles, or the Elks could tell us.  They are having a harder time getting and keeping members.  Like the science fiction world, these groups are shrinking and growing older as they fail to bring in new blood. 

            So what's the problem with that?  Simple.  If science fiction fandom doesn't grow and bring in new and younger members, there might not be enough people to run conventions when the current group of managers becomes too old/tired of it.  And this aging becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as young people who do appear at a con fail to see many people even close to their age and so feel excluded and don't come back.  Moreover, some of this snobbish behavior does exist as when older people are intimidated by "Goths" or certain literary SF fans look down upon fans of popular authors like Mercedes Lackey or Robert Jordan (frequently, anything popular is considered inferior)

            So what's the solution?  Fandom is already doing some of it in having different types of conventions plus general conventions with an assortment of items.  Separate conventions exist for anime fans, media fans, costumers, gamers, filkers, and even literary fans (Readercon and Capclave for instance).  At the same time, most of the larger conventions are general interest conventions that combine all these interests plus art shows and masquerades.  So it is possible that an anime fan will attend an anime convention, see a flyer for a general interest convention nearby, attend that convention and while there walk into a few panels of a more literary bent. 

            But much of this happens more or less by accident.  Fandom needs to do more of this on purpose.  This includes efforts to get younger people involved in the more general areas of the con, develop program items that would appeal to broad ranges of special groups within fandom (and programming for teens and 20-somethings), and efforts to convert Harry Potter readers into general fans.  More needs to be done to make younger people welcome at club meetings and to involve them in the planning of conventions.  And people should not put down popular authors but instead tell fans of Robert Jordan etc. that if they like that author they'd love Robert Silverberg or tell Buffy fans to read Charlaine Harris' Southern vampire novels. 

            Ultimately, fandom will be the better for broadening its base and we would be assured of more conventions in our own golden years.


                    Solar Heating In An Urban Setting


                                                                Alexis Gilliland


            High tech solutions to the world's problems do not always involve high energy physics or generate special effects to impress the theater audience.  We here consider reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by using solar energy for heating in place of fossil fuels, and we consider doing this in the cities, where most of the demand for heating is to be found.

            Solar heating involves collection, storage, and retrieval, and one well-proven technology for doing this is the stratified salt pond.  By using several layers of different density brines, it is possible to heat the pond's bottom without having convection currents moving the heat to the surface of the pond, where it escapes by the evaporation of water.  Instead, the bottom layer heats up the next layer, and so on, the convection currents moving through one layer at a time, so that while heat is still lost, it is lost slowly enough so that useful quantities are retained for heating over the full season.  Heat is drawn off at the bottom where the temperature is the highest, and moved through heat exchangers to warm the buildings served by the salt pond.  Even when the top layer is frozen over. 

            It is intuitively obvious that reserving lots of expensive urban real estate for heating purposes is impractical.  In the short run, fossil fuels are cheap enough so that using urban acreage for heating purposes instead of buildings wouldn't be economically feasible.  Unless, of course, you put the solar ponds on the roofs of the urban buildings.  That way you get solar heat without sacrificing urban real estate.  However, the added construction costs involved in making your building strong enough to support a solar pond on the roof is not negligible, and such a top heavy building would be subject to a variety of difficulties, including falling over in earthquakes and leaking scalding hot brine at odd moments.  Clearly it makes more sense to put your stratified salt pond in the basement.

            Except, of course, that it is dark as a dungeon down in the basement.  If you must still collect the sunlight falling on the roof, what is the most expeditious way to move it down to your basement salt pond?  A magician might do it with mirrors.  Explaining his trick would involve a primary parabolic mirror collecting the sun's rays with a secondary parabolic mirror at its focal point.  The secondary mirror reflects the sunlight back to a fiber optic cable and the cable conducts the concentrated light down to our basement salt pond where it is converted to heat.  We note that our exercise here is entirely theoretical, a thought experiment to consider what might be possible in the real world.

            Miniaturizing our mirrors might well result in a more robust and practical system.  First of all, miniaturization means simplification of design is possible.  For example, we do not need those conceptually elegant primary and secondary parabolic mirrors.  The top piece needs only to be a square of clear plastic formed into 81 Fresnel lenses, 1.33 inches on a side and having a focal length of 1.00 inches.  The bottom piece is made with 81 holes.  Into these holes are fitted light guides, aluminum cylinders with a flange perhaps 0.3 inches in diameter, containing a polished conical hole maybe 0.1 inches in diameter and 0.5 inches deep which closes down to the diameter of the optical fiber inserted from below.  Why aluminum and why the flange?  If our fibers are 0.0020 inches in diameter, a SWAG[1] number, they will have an area of 0.00000314 square inches, concentrating the incident sunlight 424,000 times.  It is reasonable to suppose that they might get hot and aluminum is a good conductor, while the flange serves as a radiator to keep the system cool.  Thus you assemble your tile, a plastic box 12 x 12 x 1.0 inches in dimension, with a long bundle of 81 fibers attached.  The cable of fibers from the 32 tile array figures to have a diameter of about an eighth of an inch.  Or maybe bigger, depending.  

            Our array is assembled using a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood with an attached rack to snap fit the tiles onto.  This rack will hold the tiles in place above the plywood and provides space in which to gather the 32 tiny bundles into one aggregate bundle.  It also supports the protective sheet of glass which sits directly on top of our fresnel lens.  What is the thickness of this array?  Figure 0.25 inches for the protective glass cover, 1.0 inches for the tile, 2.0 (or 3.0 or 4.0) inches of space for rack and optical fibers, and 0.75 inches for the plywood, which totals 4.0 to 6.0 inches.  Our array also has that one eighth of an inch fiber optic bundle which can be connected to whatever we wish to connect it to.  With proper design, there will be only that one connection between our array and the heat storage in the basement.

            Now imagine that we have a building with a footprint of one acre, or 43,560 square feet.  If we covered the roof with an array of arrays, we would need 1361 panels--laid down flat and then raised to the angle of the building's latitude--which, using 0.002 inch fibers would feed into a master cable perhaps 16 inches in diameter, piping sunlight down into the basement salt pond.  Except we no longer need a stratified salt pond.  Plain water inside an insulated basement tank will suffice, the tank holding however many cubic yards of water it takes--a number to be determined by the size of the building and the climate--to keep the tenants warm through the winter.

            What sort of a solar heating system are we looking at?  Cheap, durable and reliable.  Plywood and plate glass and mass produced plastic boxes sitting on a plastic rack with some optical fibers and tiny aluminum light guides suggest low material costs.  Large insulated tanks filled with water for storing the sun's heat are inexpensive.  Moving the heat around the building is conventional technology, different from what we have only in that the heat comes from a pool of hot water instead of burning fossil fuel.  Once the manufacturing is worked out, the system is going to be third world cheap.  It will also be durable; there are no moving parts, no running water, nothing to get out of order.  Well, biological fouling might occur in the water tank, or hailstones could break the glass, but the stored heat in your insulated basement water tank will last you until the damage can be repaired.  Like the sun coming up in the morning, our system will be reliable.

            In the near term, the adoption of such a system would reduce dependence on fossil fuels.  It should also reduce the metropolitan "heat island" effect, since much of the sunlight falling on the city would be stored for future use instead of being radiated off into the night sky.  It would increase urban autonomy by reducing the inputs needed to keep the city functioning.  Each building would be self heating, and a relatively small back up generator would keep the heat working in the event of power failures.  Would it reduce the greenhouse effect and slow or reverse Earth's warming trend?  I would answer yes and maybe.  Other benefits are left as an exercise for the reader.

    [1]SWAG stands for Silly Wild Ass Guess.


Review of Jubilee by Jack Dann (New York : Tor Books, 2003)


                                                By Colleen R. Cahill


 You know those bits on the back of books where writers tell you how great this one is?  Most people ignore them, but I find them useful: for example, I read anything that Tim Powers praises.  So when I picked up Jack Dann's anthology, Jubilee, reissued in the United States by Tor Books, and saw people like Robert Silverberg and Gardner Dozois calling this work "vivid" and "the best", I had to give it a try.

And I was not disappointed.  The stories are a mix of science fiction, fantasy and just plain interesting. They explore human emotions and take us on spins through both familiar and strange territory.  The collection starts off with a bang:  "The Diamond Pit" describes a 1920's barnstormer who is trapped in a luxurious prison and he must choose between his conscience and love. All this is wrapped in a diamond literally the size of a mountain. Some of the stories have a lighter touch, as in "Fairy Tale", where a Jewish Catskills comedian has a run in with some very nasty fairies.  This yarn includes a delight glossary of Yinglish, perfect for those like me, who are not up on our Yiddish-English terms.  Dann's Jewish background is very evident in many of these stories, as in "Jumping the Road", where a Rabbi travels to a distant world to explore the mystery of how Judaism developed there before any Earth spaceships reached the planet. In true Dann style, the Rabbi grapples with his own issue of how God can let bad things happen. The contents of Jubilee were written between 1978 and 2001 and include such gems as the award-winning alternate history "Da Vinci Rising", following the thread of what if Leonardo Da Vinci had created a successful flying machine?

These are stories about emotions and they involve our emotions.  Dann shows us places and people we know, but shares the dark, the strange and the fun of these, always with a twist.  Predictability is not a part of the book: in the story "Tea", a old Jewish woman finds the man she has been inviting into her home is a Nazi war criminal. Her reaction is believable but also unexpected and it tugs at the heart. That tug is also in "Tattoos", where a man discovers a old friend has the ability to ease peoples' guilt through his tattoo art, but at a price to the artist.

Jubilee is a work of many facets, and each is rich in its own way.  The kudos from authors and others is well deserved: words like "passionate" and "inspired madman" can only hint at what you will find in this book.  If I seem to be gushing, give this work a try: I don't think you will be disappointed either.


The Library of Congress Professional Association's

What IF... Discussion Forum for Science Fiction and Fantasy presents


                  "Vampires: New Roles in the Changing World" - Tony Ruggiero,                           author of Team of Darkness

Wednesday, March 12th, 2003. 12:10 pm at the Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor, Library of Congress, Madison Building


Future Events:

April 11, 2003 -  12:10 PM Jasper Fforde, author of Lost in a Good Book.

Title: "A Reading by Jasper Fforde"

Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor (change of location), Madison Building, Library of Congress


May 2, 2003 Earlene Fowler, author of Fool's Puzzle.

Title: tba.

LM-G45, Ground Floor. Madison Building, Library of Congress


May 16, 2003 - Margaret Weis, author of the Mistress of Dragons

Title: tba

LM-G45, Ground Floor. Madison Building, Library of Congress


1633 by Eric Flint and David Weber (Riverdale, NY:  Baen Books, 2002)

                                            Reviewed by Lee Strong


            This book is the second book set in Mr. Flint's alternate history in which a cosmic Ring of Fire transports a small 21st Century West Virginia town to Central Germany in time for the Thirty Years War.

            Much of 1633 is taken up with the turbulent politics of Europe as contemporary statesmen learn from the time traveling Americans how their own history will turn out.  The Americans are trying to establish the constitutional United States 150 years early.  To counter them, the wily Cardinal Richelieu of France unites the absolutist monarchs to crush the revolutionary republicans and their allies.  The battle is joined, with the absolutists now knowing that the Americans are powered by reproducible science, not mysterious magic.

            This book just didn't interest me as much as its numerical predecessor, in part because of the scope of the novel.  The authors have some good ideas, but try to cover too much ground in one sitting, even for 592 pages.  As a result, some boring material is repeated while fascinating concepts are barely touched.  Still, this work moves the epic along and sets up the heavily telegraphed Baltic War for the next novel.  The authors do explore some characters' psyches and do establish that the Americans are not superhuman nor are the Europeans yokels.  An adequate if not thrilling job by two major authors.

            I rate 1633 *** on the five star scale.  -- LS


War of Honor by David Weber (Riverdale, NY:  Baen Books, 2002)

Reviewed by Lee Strong


            This is Mr. Weber's thirteenth book of military science fiction set in his future Napoleonic Honor Harrington universe.  It's not one of his best.

            This is very much a transitional book spanning the truce separating two interstellar naval wars between the plucky but flawed Star Kingdom of Manticore and their major enemies the People's Republic of Haven.  Weber's political maneuvering may be necessary to explain why we're at war in the (presently hypothetical) fourteenth book, but his future politics just aren't as interesting as his future warfare.  Most of his characters are very one dimensional, with interactions but little development or subtlety.  Granted that the military characters are in unfamiliar waters in the political arena, watching good people getting slapped around by the author without a chance to fight back is disheartening, not interesting.  Even the actual combat that heralds the outbreak of War Two lacks drama with overwhelming forces quickly smashing their outgunned opponents.  Not the way to entertain the troops, IMHO.

            Mr. Weber's overplot is clearly inspired by Horatio Hornblower and the Napoleonic wet navies, but this extended foreplay seems to be something that Tom Clancy turned out when Weber wasn't watching.  I rate War of Honor as **½ on the five star scale as a necessary part of a continuing series.  If it were a standalone, I'd rate it lower.  -- LS


                             Daredevil (Marvel Entertainment, 2003)

                                                          Reviewed by Mr. Strong


            If you've seen any of the 1989-97 Batman movies or almost any Japanese martial arts flick, you can save your money.  You've already seen this film.

            Having only sampled the Daredevil (DD) comic previously, I had never realized how much Marvel's "Man Without Fear" resembles DC Comics' "Dark Knight Detective."  Both are dark creatures of the night inspired to fight crime by the murders of their parents.  Both swing around their respective cities on retractable ropes and use martial arts and nonlethal subdual weapons.  Both boff fabulous babes on the first date.  And both throw bad guys out of church lofts.

            The main difference between the two is DD's "radar sense" that more than compensates him for his tearjerking blindness.  Here it is re-defined from the comic's mysterious paroptic visual sense to a kind of super-sonar.  This makes it more dramatic when the audience sees what our hero is "seeing" but also leads to logical absurdities such as Daredevil "hearing" bullets approaching him faster than the speed of sound and "hearing" or not "hearing" ninja discuses when the plot calls for it!  In US Army Special Forces School, you're taught that you can't "out-ninja" a bullet.  In the Marvel Universe, physics is different as well as history.  Further, one of the critical emotional points in the movie depends on the fabulous babe... er, ah, heroine Electra thinking that DD murdered her father... despite the fact that she is standing where she can clearly see that the junior villain Bullseye did the dirty deed while our hero tried to save Daddy!  Sorry, folks.  I'm willing to cut the scriptwriter some breaks but willing suspension of disbelief fails when you make mistakes that a blind man could see.

            I rate Daredevil as ** on the five star scale. - Mr. Strong


WSFA's Pledge Drive


            Sec. Sam walked into the meeting late, but fortunately, everyone waited (Thanks guys).  Bob declared the First Friday called to order at 9:19.  Sam said there was no old business.  The treasurer stated we have $417.89.  "I think that everyone here has paid their dues."

            Capclave present, Sam Lubell said that we have a new date for Capclave, Nov 21-23.  We have the same hotel and William Tenn has said that he can make the new date.  Please take flyers and post them in libraries and bookstores.

            One of the cats spilled alcohol on the floor.  Lee said not to worry, "Lots of alcohol has been spilled on this floor."  Mike suggested that the cat go to AA.

            Lee for Capclave future announced that Scott Hoffman will be doing programming.  Mike said "The negatives won't be returned."

            Mike for WFC said that the money is coming in.  We have a special $30 rate for volunteers.  Cat asked if smoozing counts as volunteering.  Cathy offered her services, "Can I sue anyone for you?"

            Alexis said the entertainment committee feels that part of its duty is to brighten the corner where you are.  We had an electrician come in.  The light shattered to pieces so we got a new plastic lens.

            Activities Committee arranged for a theater party to see Daredevil.  "Like Spiderman, only darker."

            Eric said it was "time for a WSFA pledge drive.  For a pledge of $20 you get a picture of one of Erica's cats, signed by the cat.  For $100 you get the cat.  For $365 or just $1 a day, you get Lydia."  Someone asked, "Does she do dishes?" 

            Lee said, "That reminds me.  We are looking at a March fund drive.  You can get obscene phone calls."  Someone protested, "It was just one."

            Publications committee is looking for old WSFA Journals.  Lee suggested putting up request on web and rasff.

            No new business.  Announcements: Use toilet paper.  New people: "We are Borg" and Wade Lynch (Keith's brother).  Rebecca is going to Paris.  William Gibson reading on Feb 17 at Borders in Bailey's Crossroads.  DUFF elected Guy and Rosemary as reps.  They will be going to Swancon in Australia.  Lee showed off her jewelry.  Meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:36.

            Attendance: Sec and 2003 Chair Samuel Lubell.  Treas Bob MacIntosh, Trust Scott Hofmann, Trust. Eric Jablow, Trust. Nicki Lynch, 2004 Chair Lee Gilliland, Bernard Bell, Adrienne Ertman, Alexis Gilliland, Cathy Green, Jim Kling, Keith Lynch, Richard Lynch, Cat Meier, Rebecca Prather, Judy and Sam Scheiner, George Shaner, Elizabeth Twitchell, Michael Walsh, Ivy Yap, Madeleine Yeh, Wade Lynch, Aruna and Michael Vassar, and Hugo Lovecraft.

            Note: The Third Friday meeting was cancelled. 


Oh, Pioneers

By Keith Lynch


Some time in late January or early February, the Pioneer 10 spaceprobe fell silent.  It was launched 31 years ago this month.  It was, and still remains, the fastest probe ever to leave the Earth.  It passed the Moon's orbit in just 11 hours, and Mars' orbit in less than three months.  It was the first probe to venture further out than Mars.  It passed unharmed through the asteroid belt, and flew by its target, Jupiter, in December 1973, sending back the first close-up pictures of that planet, and then left Jupiter on a trajectory that would take it out of our solar system, the first man-made object to be on such a trajectory.

It was very primitive by today's standards, not even having an onboard computer.  Its camera had but a single black & white pixel, and relied on the rotation of a mirror and the rotation of the whole spacecraft to build up a whole picture, and on red and blue filters to build up a color image.  (Green was interpolated.)  It was built and launched closer to World War II than to the present.

It, and its later sister ship Pioneer 11 (which passed both Jupiter and Saturn, and fell silent in 1995) bear plaques designed by Carl Sagan, intended to be read and understood by aliens, if and when they discover one of the probes drifting forever through interstellar space.  It's not clear how anyone could ever find such probes, since interstellar space is so unimaginably vast.  Authors who depict chance meetings in interstellar space exhibit an appalling lack of sense of scale.

Pioneer 10 is currently about 85 times further from the sun than Earth is, about twice as far as Neptune or Pluto.  Light, or radio signals, take over 11 hours to travel that far, compared to about one second to reach the moon, and a seventh of a second to circle the Earth.

But it would be a mistake to think that the sun is just another star from Pioneer 10's location.  If you were there, you'd find it was still light enough to read, about like being outdoors at night under a streetlight.  The sun no longer shows a disk, but is still enormously brighter than any other star, still too bright to be looked at directly.  Whether you've left the solar system is a matter of perspective.  You're far beyond all the known planets, but most of the comets still lie beyond.  The constellations look no different, and it will be thousands of centuries before you're closer to another star than to the sun.  Nothing of the solar system is visible, except the sun, and, a few degrees away from it, Jupiter and Saturn appearing like faint barely visible stars.  Earth is completely invisible. There is probably no solid object within a million miles in any direction, except perhaps a single snowflake, which has been frozen since before Earth formed.

Meanwhile, Jupiter has been visited not just by Pioneers 10 and 11, but also by Voyagers 1 and 2, Ulysses, and Cassini, all of which passed by on their way elsewhere, and by Galileo, which split in two (as designed), one part remaining in orbit around Jupiter, and the other part plunging into the planet's atmosphere under a parachute.

Pioneer 10 was not the longest-lived probe, however.  That honor belongs to Pioneer 6, launched into solar orbit in 1965, and still operating 38 years later.

When Arthur C. Clarke invented the idea of synchronous communications satellites in 1945, he envisioned them as manned space stations.  In that vacuum tube era, he failed to predict reliable electronics that could operate for years without tinkering.  Microsoft can be thanked for showing us what it was like in the old days of cantankerous, frustrating, and unreliable electronics.

            There's full sized model of Pioneer 10 in the National Air & Space Museum.  Go look at it.  Mentally subtract the people, the museum, the earth, and all the other planets and their moons, and put the sun 80 times further away.  And keep in mind that that probe might well outlive all other works of man.  It will still be pristine when the pyramids have crumbled to dust, and when the present age is further in the past than the dinosaurs are from us.

            More information about the Pioneer probes can be found at







Purposes and Limits

A.  The purposes of the Washington Science Fiction Association, Inc. (hereinafter "WSFA") are:

  1.  To promote knowledge of and interest in the science fiction genre in all its forms, including (but not limited to) literature, art, theater, film and television.

  2.  To sponsor an promote events and conventions to increase interest in and awareness of science fiction, in particular to plan, organize, and conduct an annual science fiction convention in the Washington, DC area, to be known as DISCLAVE.

  3.  To engage in other activities to promote social welfare as permitted by section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

B.  WSFA shall be limited to doing only those acts permitted by its Articles of Incorporation and by the Non-Stock Corporation Law under which it is incorporated (hereinafter "the Act"), and by section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.



Membership and Dues

A.  Membership

  1.  All persons who are members in good standing of WSFA on December 31 of the prior year are eligible to be members.  Other persons are eligible for membership if they attend three meetings, are sponsored by three (3) existing members, are approved by one (1) Trustee, and pay the annual dues.

  2.  Members in good standing shall have the right to attend and participate in all meetings of the membership, hold office and vote.

B.  Dues

  1.  Dues shall be set for each year by December 31 of the previous year.

  2.  Dues shall be due as of the first regular meeting in January.

  3.  Dues may be paid in advance.

  4.  Any member must pay the full year's dues regardless of the date of payment.

  5.  Any member who is delinquent in his dues for an entire year shall be dropped from the membership list.

  6.  All life memberships awarded prior to December 31, 1985 shall retain all rights and privileges of members in perpetuity.  Life members shall pay no dues, and no new life members shall be designated.

  7.  WSFA shall issue annual membership cards to its paid-up members.

C.  Revocation of Membership

  1.  A petition to revoke any membership may be presented in writing at any regular meeting.

  2.  It must state the grounds and be signed by at least fifteen (15) members and be communicated to the member concerned at least ten (10) days before the presentation of the petition for action.

  3.  If the petition is approved by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at the second meeting vote to revoke the membership, it is revoked.

  4.  The revoked member's dues shall be prorated and the appropriate portion shall be refunded.

D.  Voting

  1.  A quorum shall consist of fifteen (15) members which includes two (2) officers of the Board of Directors.  Such a quorum must be present at any meeting at which a vote is taken.

  2.  There shall be no absentee or proxy voting.



Board of Directors

A.  Except where specifically allocated elsewhere in these bylaws, conduct of WSFA's affairs is controlled by its Board of Directors which shall consist of the following officers:  


    Vice President



    Three (3) Trustees

    The Chairman of the current year DISCLAVE

    The Chairmen of any future year DISCLAVEs.

B.  Elections

  1.  All elections shall be supervised by the Trustees Committee.  Any Trustee who is running for office shall appoint a counter for that office who is acceptable to the other two (2) Trustees.

  2.  The election of all Directors (except the DISCLAVE Chairman) shall take place during the first regular meeting in May.  Those elected at that meeting shall assume their offices at the first regular meeting in June.

  3.  The Trustees shall receive seconded nominations from the floor and shall announce all candidates in order nominated.

  4.  All elections shall be counted by the "Australian" ballot.

  5.  The order of nomination and election shall be:

    a.  President

    b.  Vice President

    c.  Secretary

    d.  Treasurer

    e.  Trustee

    f.  Trustee

    g.  Trustee

C.  The Vice President shall succeed to the Presidency in the event the President cannot fulfill his term.

D.  Any other vacancies occurring on the Board shall be filled by a by-election.  Those so elected shall serve for the remainder of the term of the officer replaced.

E.  Removal of Officers

  1.  A petition for the removal of a member of the Board may be presented to the Board in writing at any time.

  2.  Such petitions must state the grounds for removal and must be signed by at least fifteen (15) members.

  3.  If the other members of the Board unanimously agree that the removal is justified, they shall suspend the officer and appoint a temporary replacement.

  4.  Such action and the grounds for it shall be mailed to all members.

  5.  At the first regular meeting held at least ten (10) days after such notice, removal from the Board shall be come permanent if approved by a three-quarters (3/4) majority of the members voting.

  6.  Any office so vacated shall be filled as prescribed in Article II, section D.




A.  The President shall:

  1.  Preside at all meetings.

  2.  Exercise general supervision over the properties and activities of WSFA.

  3.  Appoint members to committees.

  4.  When he or she wishes to participate in debate, yield the chair to (a) the Vice President, or (b) another member.

B.  The Vice President shall assume the duties of the President during the absence of the President.

C.  The Secretary shall:

  1.  Keep the minutes of all meetings of the club.

  2.  Be Custodian of all club records and archives.

D.  The Treasurer shall:

  1.  Receive all WSFA funds and maintain them in an account separate from his own.

  2.  Maintain the official membership list.

  3.  Pay out funds only when approved by the board or the membership by vote.

  4.  Submit his records for audit whenever requested by the Board or by a petition of one-third (1/3) of the membership.

E.  The Trustees shall serve on the Trustees Committee.

F.  The DISCLAVE Chairman for each year shall:

  1.  Be elected by members at a regular meeting designated by the membership.

  2.  Be authorized to transact all necessary business and set necessary rules pertaining to the DISCLAVE for that year and to appoint all its officers.




A.  The standing committees of the Board of Directors shall be:

  1.  Trustee Committee

  2.  Entertainment Committee

  3.  Publications Committee

  4.  Facilities Committee

B.  The Trustee Committee shall:

  1.  Consist of the three (3) Trustees.

  2.  Vote on all applications for membership.

  3.  Supervise all elections.

  4.  Prepare a slate of nominations for all club offices scheduled to be voted upon.

  5.  Announce that slate at the regular meeting just previous to that of the election.

C.  The Publications Committee shall:

  1.  Consist of the Secretary, serving as chairman ex-officio, and other members who shall be appointed by the President and may be removed by the unanimous vote of the Trustees.

  2.  Have jurisdiction over all publications sponsored by WSFA, including THE WSFA JOURNAL.

  3.  THE WSFA JOURNAL shall be scheduled for monthly publication and shall include the Secretary's minutes, committee reports and other records and information pertaining to club business as well as other suitable material of interest to the membership. Material specifically critical of any club member shall be submitted to the publications committee for approval before being published.  The Editor of the JOURNAL shall be selected by the Secretary with the advise and consent of the Committee, and may be removed from office by the Secretary, or, after the intention to do so is publicly announced at a prior meeting, by a majority of those voting.

  4.  The existence of THE WSFA JOURNAL shall not preclude other publications being sponsored by WSFA, but none shall be sponsored without the consent of the Publications Committee.  Such publications need not be governed by the rules which apply to the official publication.

D.  The Facilities Committee shall:

  1.  Consist of the President, the chairman of the current year DISCLAVE, and the chairmen of any future year DISCLAVES.

  2.  Negotiate and enter into multi-year contracts with hotels for DISCLAVE, including years for which no DISCLAVE chairman has been elected, provided, however, that it may not enter into any hotel contract for any year for which a DISCLAVE chairman has been elected unless such chairman agrees to the contract.

E.  Special committees shall be formed by the President at such times as deemed necessary.

F.  None of the committees shall have the full authority of the Board to conduct activities unless authorized as provided by Maryland law.

G.     Appointed WSFA officials may be removed by those who appoint them, by a simple majority vote of the voting WSFA membership at the business meeting following the introduction of a resolution for that purpose, or by a unanimous vote of the WSFA Trustees.



By Ted White


WASSAMATTA U. (Randy Byers, editor & author, 1013 North 36th, Seattle WA 98103; e-mail to; available to promote Byers' TAFF candidacy - but send at least a dollar to cover the postage)

One of fandom's unique traditions (starting in 1953) is the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund which exists "for the purpose of providing funds to bring well-known and popular fans familiar to those on both sides of the ocean across the Atlantic" to a major convention - the Worldcon, if possible. The TAFF alternates, bringing overseas fans to the U.S. and then sending U.S. fans abroad - usually to the U.K.   The fan who is thus funded is one who has won an election and after he or she wins and takes the trip, the winner takes over the administration of the fund from the previous winner on the same side of the Atlantic.   There is also the tradition (unfortunately honored as often as not in its breach) of writing and publishing a trip report.  These are known as "TAFF Reports."

Fans become well-known and popular and familiar to those on both sides of the ocean largely via written communications - fanzines and the Internet newsgroups and e-lists which have grown up over the past decade.

This year the candidates for the trip to the U.K. are three Americans and one Canadian, all of whom are known and liked and capable.   They are Randy Byers, Colin Hinz, Mike Lowrey and Curt Phillips.   I will be happy with whomever wins.  But Full Disclosure requires me to admit that I am one of Randy Byers' nominators.  

And Randy has done something I'd like to see all TAFF candidates do:  He has published a collection of his own fanwriting, covering a full decade of work.  Wassamatta U. is a 36-page fanzine, very simply but attractively designed by carl juarez (who is one of those guys who doesn't want his name capitalized), containing 13 of Byers' pieces, plus an introductory "editorial." 

"In the short term - such as it is - this collection is a promotional tool for my 2003 TAFF campaign," Byers states in that editorial.  "I thought that voters might be interested in a sampling of my writing to help them make up their minds one way or another.  ...There are a couple of con-reports here that should give you an idea of what my TAFF trip report would be like.  I think you'll find my writing full of fantasy, good humor, and near-hallucinatory levels of bewilderment, but grounded in a terse, sweaty fear of love and death.  Just the qualities one looks for (and finds) in a TAFF candidate, I'm sure you'll agree."

            There's a lot of excellent writing in Wassamatta U.  Byers tells strange tales of encounters with fans and ruminates on what "fannish" really means.  He reviews a book (Gwyneth Jones' North Wind)  and considers a proximate death.  He wends words in personal but meaningful ways.   This is what fanwriting is all about. If TAFF didn't exist this would still be one of the top fan publications of the year.   


Chuck Divine is having his procrastinator's New Year's Eve party March

9th.  Any and all WSFAns are welcome.  For details contact Chuck at



WSFA Journal Online

By Keith Lynch


The past eleven years of WSFA Journals, April 1992 through March 2003, are now online (except for one missing issue, July 1993).  They can be found at  There's a mirror (backup) site at  With the help of my brother Wade and our secretary Sam Lubell, I'm adding one more issue per week, and hope to maintain this pace until all issues are online, all the way back to 1963, when the first issue was published.

            I also get every new issue online and before the first WSFA meeting at which it's distributed in its paper incarnation, and announce its availability via email to the WSFA email list, and to everyone else who has signed up for such announcements.

            There are a number of indexes to the 1121 articles in the 137 issues we currently have online, including the minutes of the last 253 meetings, 398 reviews of books, movies, fanzines, conventions, TV shows, web pages, and other things, and 34 obituaries.

            The 234 book reviews are indexed both by author of the book (or editor if it's an anthology) and by the title of the book, and most index entries contain a link to the author's web page.

The WSFA Journal articles are all indexed by author, in case you want to read everything a particular WSFA member has written for the Journal.

There's also an index of all works of fiction in the Journal, and an index of all 1121 articles by title.

            The issues are all rendered in as basic HTML as possible, so as to load quickly, and to be compatible with all browsers.  No cookies, Javascript, web bugs, Flash, plug-ins, or proprietary protocols are necessary.

I correct any obvious typos or misspellings except those that appear to be deliberate.  Bheer retains its h, but if an obituary consistently misspells both the first and last names of the deceased (yes, that actually happened), I correct it.  I do not make any attempt to correct any grammatical or factual errors, except where harm could result.  (For instance a request to please flush paper towels down the toilet, which was meant to say the opposite.)

            I preserve underlines, italics, strikeouts, bold, large print, titles, and centering, but make no attempt to retain the exact layout of the original issue.  This archive is intended more as a library than as a museum.  If you want to know if the issue was originally in two column format, or if it was printed on colored paper, you will have to find an original copy.

            By WSFA policy, street addresses and email addresses of WSFA members are deleted, as are maps and directions to their homes, except when the member requests that they be left in.  Street addresses of hotels and other businesses are left in, as are P.O. boxes of WSFA members and others.

I have concentrated mostly on text, since I use a text-only account at home.  Except for the 1992 issues, all issues should contain all the original graphics.  In some cases, the images are too large.  Maybe someday someone with a graphical browser will volunteer to work with me and fix them.

            I expect to work with Sam Lubell to get the graphics into the 1992 issues in a few weeks, much as he and I did with the 1993 issues three months ago.

            Issues of the WSFA Journals online have been viewed 92,065 times, which is probably far more than the paper issues have.  I can't tell which "hits" are from WSFA members, but clearly the vast majority are from others, most of whom found the Journals by searching for some word or phrase using Google or some other search engine.  The most popular issue is June 1999 with 8840 hits.  (See if you can figure out why.)  In second place is November 2000 with 2615.  27 issues have received over 1000 hits.  The average number of hits per issue is 672, the median 570.

            Of course the hit counts are skewed by how recently many issues have been put online.  The instant I put another issue online, the average number of hits per issue goes down.

            Here are how many issues were online at the end of each year:

1998        3

1999        14

2000        40

2001        65

2002        126

            Eleven more issues have been added so far this year, and I hope to add at least fifty more by the end of the year.

Thanks to Wade Lynch, Sam Lubell, and Lee Strong for recent help, to Joe Mayhew, John Pomeranz, and Evan Phillips for early work on the online Journals, to Rebecca Prather for recently finding and providing two missing issues (which are now online), to the many WSFA website sponsors (see, to the many who have written for the Journal over the years, and to whoever locates the missing July 1993 issue and any pre-1992 issues which turn out to be missing in coming months and years.

It's my hope that all WSFA members will read all issues of the WSFA Journal.  And that these issues will attract new people to WSFA and to our conventions and other activities.  And that copies of them, online or otherwise, will last until every future date which has ever appeared in any SF book or short story, and beyond.