The WSFA Journal


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

Editor: Keith Lynch. Assistant editor: Wade Lynch.

Please direct all correspondence to Please put either “for publication” or “not for publication” on the subject line. (It MUST contain one or the other, or else your email may be deleted unread by spam filters.) I can also be reached by snail mail at 220 Cedar Lane #62, Vienna VA 22180-6623 USA.

Frank Kelly Freas (1927-2005)

Frank Kelly Freas died on January 2, 2005. He was perhaps the best known science fiction artist, responsible for numerous book and magazine covers, and plenty of interior art, starting in 1950, for which he won eleven Hugo awards. He also did art for NASA, for record albums, for movies, and for MAD Magazine. He also painted saints for the Franciscans, beautiful women on WWII bombers, and internal organs for medical textbooks. He was Disclave's guest of honor in 1974.

First Friday Minutes

Note that there's a brief summary at the end.

The regular First Friday meeting of the Washington Science Fiction Association was called to order by President Samuel Lubell at 9:15 pm on January 7th, 2005 in the basement of the Gillilands' in Arlington, Virginia, the usual First Friday location.

Attending were President Samuel Lubell, Vice President Cathy Green, Secretary Keith Lynch, Treasurer Bob MacIntosh, all three trustees (Adrienne Ertman, Barry Newton, and Steven Smith), Capclave Present Michael Walsh, Colleen Cahill, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Paul Haggerty, Scott Hofmann, Eric Jablow, Bill Lawhorn, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Wade Lynch, Keith Marshall, Cat Meier, Walter Miles, Judy Newton, Kathi Overton, Larry Pfeffer, John Pomeranz, Rebecca Prather, Judy Scheiner, Victoria Smith, Gayle Surrette, Diana Swiger, Michael Taylor, Jim Toth, and Elizabeth Twitchell. 33 people. Arriving after the meeting ended were Tracy Kremer, William Squire, and Ted White. Jim Kling and Ivy Yap were marked present, and L. Ron Hubbard was written in, but the secretary didn't see any of these three people.

The president asked the secretary what business had been done at the previous meeting. The secretary replied:

TREASURY: Bob MacIntosh said the treasurer's report is in the [January] WSFA Journal. [The bottom line there was $48,000.56.]

CAPCLAVE PAST: Lee said she was gone, and that Bob had the financial numbers.

CAPCLAVE PRESENT: Mike Walsh said he and Elspeth had met with the Silver Spring Hilton [the Capclave '02 and '03 hotel] and had a two-year contract almost ready to sign, for the weekend we have been aiming for, October 14-16, 2005. Function space will cost us $6200. Rooms will cost attendees $119. If members can get a lower rate via AAA, the Internet, Hilton points, or whatever, they will still be credited to our room block so long as they tell us they're staying in the hotel. The room block is 105 room nights -- 5 on Thursday, 50 on Friday, and 50 on Saturday. If we don't reach 80% of that, we owe the hotel $119 for each room night short of that point. Mike distributed a sheet that said:

      Best possible case

      Sleeping room commitment met, no attrition
      Function space rental:     $6200.00
      Guests cost
             Waldrop airfare:     $200.00
             PNH/TNH mileage       100.00
             Per diem of $50       300.00

                    Sub total     6700.00
      Less dealer room income
      (20 tables at $50 each):    1000.00
                      Sub total:  5700.00

      If memberships were all at $30.00, needed to break even: 190 PAID

      Worse possible case

      No sleeping rooms taken
      105 × 80% = 84 room nights
      Rooms at $119.00            9996.00
      Plus the above:             6700.00

                     TOTAL:    $16,996.00

      If memberships were all at $30.00, needed to break even: 559 PAID

Rich asked how much space we can shed if we get too few members. Mike said we don't have much space to spare. The Chesapeake room will be the dealer room, the Quorum room the office, the Potomac ballroom the “town square”. Chesapeake 2 is a small room we can use for readings. We also have the Council room, which seats 40, on Friday and Saturday, but not Sunday. Current plans are to have no art show or artist guest of honor, but this could change. There's also a con suite, whose name he couldn't remember.

The sheet doesn't include con suite costs, which have varied from $300 to $900, nor does it count printing and postage costs. The hotel will provide rooms for the guests of honor at the hotel's expense.

Rich asked how many room nights we got last year. Lee replied 20 or 21 per night. So we need a little more than twice that. He suggested giving old WSFA Press books to anyone who books rooms two nights or more. The Edges of Things by Lewis Shiner, and Home By The Sea by Pat Cadigan, boxed and signed hardbacks, both of which have been in storage since 1991 and 1992 respectively.

Adrienne said it would save us on storage space. Mike said we're not paying for storage.

Rich asked if we would get a lower rate if the hotel lowers their rates before October. Mike said no, we instead got the deal where we get credit for any Capclave member who stays at the hotel at any rate he can find. He suggested that there are only a limited number of cheap rooms, so people should book early if they want to get them.

Barry suggested we need to publicize this widely. Mike agreed.

Eric asked if that was Columbus day weekend. Mike said no, it's the weekend after Columbus day.

Rebecca said we are running late this year, and did poorly last year, and found it unlikely that we'd double attendance this year. So she suggested letting things slip by one year. Her suggestion was met with general dismay and disapproval. Sam said all we need is the same attendance as two years ago.

Mike said that we have the 2003 World Fantasy mailing list, and use of the 2004 Noreascon and 2003 Readercon mailing lists. He said that there are two issues: Paid members, and room nights. With enough of either, we don't have to worry about the other.

Colleen said we already have 29 members. She also said that she, Mike Nelson and Mike Walsh have been contacting authors, and over a dozen have agreed to show up. Mike said they include Jane Jewell, the executive director of SFWA, and Catherine Asaro, the president of SFWA.

Mike asked for a “sense of the club” -- shall we sign the contract? The response was overwhelmingly positive.

CAPCLAVE FUTURE: Mike said Elspeth wasn't present because her grandmother died. If the Capclave Present contract is signed, it will apply to Elspeth's Capclave as well.

WORLD FANTASY '03: Mike Walsh said the billing is done. Bob said we got an additional $2250.

SMOFCON '04: Bob said it's on Perry Rae's credit card, and we owe her about $3000.00. We'll “probably be turning back” about $500.

ENTERTAINMENT: Alexis mentioned the “secure inauguration”.

PUBLICATIONS: Keith Lynch said plenty of November, December, and January WSFA Journals were available on the table, and the past 26 1/3 years of WSFA Journals were available online. [16 Januarys were taken, I'm not sure how many Novembers or Decembers, but we were left with 12 Novembers, 10 Decembers, and 24 Januarys.]


Colleen gave Lee the restaurant gift certificate that we voted on November 19th, 2004 to give the Gillilands to thank them for hosting our First Friday meetings for over 37 years.

Sam re-introduced the twice-tabled motion to comp Capclave '04's workers in Capclave '05. He said that this would be about 20 people at $25, or $500. Lee said she thought people would only be comped if the con made a profit. Sam said yes, that's why it's a motion rather than being automatic.

Keith Lynch spoke in favor of the motion, saying that it's not fair for a club that has so much money to ask people to pay for the privilege of working, and that if they aren't comped some will just not attend, meaning the con not only won't gain any money, but will be short of volunteers.

Rich suggested volunteers just get a percentage off.

Lee said she had told her volunteers that they wouldn't be comped if the con didn't make a profit.

Cathy asked how many hours are needed to be comped according to this motion. Lee replied that generally it's people on the committee level.

John asked if program participants are comped, as was done with Disclave. Sam said pro guests are, fan guests are not. John replied that he had been comped when he was a fan program participant, and added that he thought he hadn't worked nearly as hard as the volunteers.

Elizabeth amended the motion, such that it not be automatic, but that the member have to ask. Bob accepted this as a friendly amendment.

Nicki said that the way it's done at Worldcons is for everyone to pay, and to get their money back if the con makes a profit. Bob replied that the way we used to do it is give free memberships in the next year's con instead of refunds. This was done by forwarding the con member's membership money to the following con. This gave the following con a pool of money to work with.

Mike spoke in favor of the amended motion, saying that it would be embarrassing to ask people to pay to work, when the club has so much money.

Sam asked how many of the 29 who already bought memberships were on Capclave '04's committee. Colleen replied “at least 3” including herself. She said she approved of the amended motion.

Rich suggested not doing this in future years. Lee responded that it makes us look stingy if we have the money in the treasury and are not comping workers.

The amended motion passed. All Capclave '04 workers get free memberships in Capclave '05, but only if they ask the treasurer. Money equal to their membership fee will be advanced to the con by the club.

The president directed everyone's attention to Sam Scheiner's letter in the January WSFA Journal proposing a 9 month CD ladder. Lee moved that we table the discussion due to Sam Scheiner's absence. The secretary pointed out that Sam Scheiner said he wouldn't be present until February. The club voted to table it.


Lee said the Gilliland home wouldn't be available for April's First Friday, but retracted this statement when she learned that First Friday would be April Fool's Day.

Sam asked if anyone was going to Arisia. Larry Pfeffer said “possibly”. Mike said that Larry Smith would be willing to distribute our fliers. He then asked if anyone was going to Boskone. Several people were.

Bill Lawhorn moved that “Whereas an efficient and quick meeting is considered to be beneficial, let it be resolved that the Washington Science Fiction Association will suspend rules and allow for a motion of adjournment at any point in which debate has reached fifteen minutes on any single topic, or a meeting has been in order for over sixty minutes.” [The secretary had previously informed him by email that he was mistaken about a motion to adjourn always being in order, since our bylaws, which dictate the order of our meetings, trump Robert's Rules of Order.] Adrienne seconded the motion so she could talk about it, and said that it says we should keep on topic and not get sidetracked. Cathy objected, saying issues sometimes get complicated and need lots of discussion. John said he assumed the motion was facetious, since it would only serve to make meetings even longer. Nicki asked how we would even keep track of how long a discussion had taken. Alexis replied that he had a chess clock we could use. The motion was voted down.

Elizabeth moved that Bill get a free beer whenever a meeting lasts over an hour. The motion failed for lack of a second.

Sam said that Peggy Rae would host a Capclave meeting in February, and asked if the Capclave chairs had a preferred weekend. Mike will decide on a date later.


The secretary didn't say that announcements should be submitted in writing, or to the email address on the cover of the WSFA Journal, or to the email chat list, since nobody pays any attention anyway. Instead he said that there's a sign-in sheet circulating.

Lee said she doesn't enjoy cleaning up garbage. She also said that things abandoned at the Gilliland house for months will become cat toys, and she is not responsible for keeping track of them. She also said that paper towels shouldn't be used in lieu of toilet paper, and that the cats should stay indoors.

Bob said that 2005 dues are due.

Elizabeth has two matching black leather armchairs she's giving away. They need work. She got one of them from Lee Gilliland, who told her that Joe Mayhew liked it.

Rich has four boxes of paperbacks for sale upstairs. No reasonable offer refused.

Larry had accepted a job offer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will be moving out of the area.

Sam asked if Boskone was on a WSFA meeting night. The secretary replied yes, and he has already checked with Candy, and she will be home and able to host February's Third Friday.

Barry said his daughter Meridel was going to Japan to study, and would be coming to Interaction from the opposite direction.

Colleen said Sarah Micklem, author of Firethorn, would be speaking at the Library of Congress on the 25th, and would be moving out of the area soon after.

Mike Walsh has books for sale upstairs for $1 each.

Barry showed off a thumb-sized gadget which holds one gigabyte. Others promptly responded by boasting that theirs were smaller, cheaper, and held more data. Mike said his publicist got a free one.

Keith Lynch had good news and bad news. The good news is that Huygens, a European probe, would be landing on Titan in just under a week. He recommended everyone read James Hogan's Code of the LifeMaker, a 22-year-old novel in which the first probe to Titan, a European probe, lands and is promptly eaten by robots. The bad news is that Jack Chalker is still, after more than a month, in intensive care. If everything goes well, he will soon be moved to a nursing home, and will return home in a few months.

Lee mentioned the recent death of Frank Kelly Freas, then made the usual last announcement: Chairs should be moved to the sides of the room after adjournment.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 pm. 50 minutes.

The last few people were chased out at 12:05 am.

The weather was cool and damp. It had rained in the afternoon, and rained again starting at about 2:30 am. Roads and sidewalks were completely clear of snow and ice.

Summary of 1/7/05 meeting:

My thoughts on possible Hugo nominees

by Cathy Green

Best Novel

In the novel category I tend to get a bit stuck as I tend to wait until books come out in paperback and thus aren't eligible anymore. Because I'm cheap.

Of the new books I read last year, only Liz Williams' Banner of Souls was nomination worthy in my opinion. It was a weird novel involving time travel and genetically engineered posthumans, but I couldn't put it down and liked it enough to acquire several other books by the same author. In fact, I even bought a hardcover edition of her short story collection Banquet of the Lords of Night at this year's Capclave. In other words, I liked her writing enough to shell out real money. Clearly an indication of a nomination worthiness.

In terms of books I expect to be nominated, I think the following will either make the final five or receive a lot of nomination votes whether they deserve it or not: China Miéville's Iron Council, M. John Harrison's Light, Charles Stross's Iron Sunrise, Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Terry Pratchett's Going Postal or possibly Hat Full of Sky. I work for the postal service, and while I enjoyed Going Postal (the golem mail carriers were a nice touch) and thought it was a big improvement over last year's Monstrous Regiment, it's hardly Pratchett's best. However, he's very popular, so I would expect one of the books to make the final five. Also, given that it's alternate history of a sort, Philip Roth's The Plot Against America might make the list. I think K.J. Bishop's The Etched City might get nominated as well, but I'm not sure whether it goes in the novella or novel category.

Best Novella and Best Novelette

My range is very limited in this category, since my only reliable source is Asimov's. I've read several anthologies which probably contained eligible stories, but since I didn't do a word count, I don't know if the stories fall into these categories. Asimov's, on the other hand, states very clearly what category each story falls into. The novelette “At Ten Wolf Lake” by William Sanders was an amusing story involving a Bigfoot and a werewolf in the February Asimov's.

Given that many of the stories in Allen M. Steele's Coyote cycle have been nominated for and won Hugos, I expect “Home of the Brave” (December Asimov's) to be a finalist in the best novelette category and “Shady Grove” (July 2004 Asimov's) and/or “Liberation Day” (Oct./Nov. 2004 Asimov's) to be a finalist in the novella category. I would also expect the often nominated Charles Stross's “Elector” to be a nominee in the novella category and “Survivor” in the novelette category. Another possible nominee in the novelette category is Michael Swanwick's “The Word that Sings the Scythe.”

Short Stories

Here too I am generally limited by what I read in Asimov's. Personally, I really liked Mike Resnick's “Travels with My Cats” from the February issue, which was a weird little story involving either time travel or ghosts. I also really liked Resnick's story “A Princess of Earth” in the December Asimov's. Another story I will probably nominate is Nalo Hopkinson's “The Smile on the Face” an extremely well-written story about a teenage girl that was the best thing in the Girls Who Bite Back anthology.

Best Dramatic Adaptation Short Form (90 min. or less total run time).

2004 was not a good year for SF and fantasy on the small screen. I do not watch Smallville but from what little I've seen I do not get the impression that it is particularly well-written. Similarly, I gave up on Charmed years ago and find even the commercials for it incredibly annoying. And I think we can all agree that the last season of Mutant X should not be nominated. I also did not see many episodes of Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis or any of Andromeda, so I have no idea whether any episodes were nomination-worthy. I watched the first three or four episodes of Atlantis and was underwhelmed, so it certainly doesn't make my list. I also gave up on Tru Calling after the first half of the season, so I can't say whether any of the episodes that aired in spring 2004 were any good. I was mostly disappointed with the last season of Angel. However, I will definitely be nominating Smile Time because puppet Angel was awesome! I expect the last Angel episode, “Not Fade Away” will be a sentimental favorite. While I thought the time travel and alien lizard Nazi twist at the end of Enterprise last season was incredibly stupid, up until that point the last couple episodes of last season were pretty spiffy. So I may nominate the second to last episode from last season. My feelings are mixed on the current season, although I think the 3-4 episode story arcs are working out pretty well overall, but I don't anticipate nominating any of this season's episodes that have aired so far. The new Battlestar Galactica series didn't start airing in the U.S. until 2005, but already aired in the UK in 2004, so it wouldn't surprise me if one or more episodes were nominated. I liked the first two episodes, and if the quality held up over the first season, then there should definitely be some nomination-worthy episodes.

Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form

There are so many possibilities in this category, which covers both movies and miniseries.

In terms of miniseries, I think possible nominees include (1) Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars; (2) A Wrinkle in Time; (3) Legend of Earthsea; and (4) Battlestar Galactica. Personally, what little I saw of Earthsea sucked so bad I erased the tape without watching the whole thing. While the SFX were okay, I think they completely missed the point of the Le Guin novels and got the characterizations wrong, not to mention the whole “whitewashing” issue. A Wrinkle in Time suffered from really, really crappy SFX, miscasting of several characters, and mediocre acting. Battlestar Galactica the miniseries didn't float my boat, but it had nice SFX and the acting wasn't too bad. Given the fact that there are quite a few fanatical Galactica fans out there, I would expect Galactica to make the final ballot, unless the devoted fans of the original series think the new version is an abomination because of the change in the cylons and the gender switching of some of the characters. I will be nominating Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars. It was a great miniseries, even if I wish they hadn't killed off some of the characters. The acting was great, the sfx were great, Farscape can do no wrong in my mind and a pox on the Sci-Fi Channel folks for reneging on their commitment to give the show a fifth season.

In terms of movies, there's an embarrassment of riches. I've probably missed a bunch and possibly moved a couple films from 2003 onto the list, but off the top of my head, the possible nominees include (1) Hellboy; (2) Van Helsing; (3) Shrek 2; (4) I, Robot; (5) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; (6) Spiderman 2; (7) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; (8) Polar Express; (9) Shaun of the Dead; (10) the remake of Dawn of the Dead; (11) The Incredibles; (12) Thunderbirds; (13) Primer; (14) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; and (15) The Village. I haven't seen #s 2, 5, 8-10, 12-13 or 15 so I'm really guessing here. I really liked Hellboy. Haven't read the original comic book, so I have no idea how faithful the adaptation was, but it was fun, the actors seemed to be having a good time, the plot was relatively coherent and the SFX were pretty. Didn't see Van Helsing. Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale bring the pretty, the commercials made the sfx look good, but it didn't do big box office and had at best mixed reviews. Shrek 2 was a decent enough sequel, but it wasn't particularly original and I didn't think it was as good as the first one. It will probably get a substantial number of votes. I, Robot was an okay summer popcorn movie that bore almost no resemblance to either short story by the same name. I wouldn't expect it to get many votes. And if it makes the final ballot, I don't expect it to win. I didn't see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Judging by the commercials, the “look and feel” of the movie was pretty spiffy, but the reviews were mixed. On the other hand, as a throwback to old-fashioned “pulps” it could be a sentimental favorite. I really liked both Spiderman 2 and the third Harry Potter movie. They were both sequels that surpassed the originals and will probably make my list. I would expect both to be Hugo finalists, although Harry Potter may suffer from the fact that a lot of people were peeved that J.K. Rowling snubbed the Hugo ceremony when her book won. Of course a lot of those people also thought the book shouldn't have won in the first place but may not feel the same about a movie adaptation of a later novel in the series. Didn't see Polar Express, but judging by the poor box office showing, it probably won't make anyone's top 5. Didn't see either of this year's zombie movies, but both got good reviews and at least one of them will probably make the final five. I'm guessing it will be the funny one, especially since there are a decent number of people who dislike remakes just on principle, so I would expect Shaun of the Dead to make the final five but not the Dawn of the Dead remake. I loved The Incredibles. It was gorgeous to look at, the voice actors were great, esp. Craig T. Nelson as the dad, and it had a decent storyline, even if it was unfair to lawyers. Didn't see Thunderbirds, but the reviews were scathing. According to those members of the Washington Science Fiction Association who went to a free screening of Primer, it was a completely incoherent and incomprehensible movie with really bad science that probably got favorable reviews and awards because people assumed if they didn't understand it, it must be deep. Hopefully it won't receive a Hugo nomination for the same reason. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was brilliant. It will definitely be on my list and I have no doubt it will be a Hugo finalist. I didn't see The Village, but no one I know who saw it liked it. Given that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was not only nominated for but won a Hugo, it's possible either Hero or House of Flying Daggers might be nominated as a fantasy film.

So anyway, my five nominees will probably be (1) Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars; (2) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; (3) Spiderman 2; (4) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; and (5) either Hellboy or The Incredibles.

Best Related Book

I've got nothing in this category. Given the change in eligibility rules, I would expect The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction to be nominated.

Best Professional Editor

I don't really have an opinion one way or another, but I would expect the usual suspects such as Stanley Schmidt, Gardner Dozois and Ellen Datlow to be nominated. Given that Kelly Link is now one of the editors for Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, I wouldn't be surprised to see her get a nomination as well.

Best Semiprozine

The Locus category. NY Review of Science Fiction will be a finalist as well. I'll probably nominate fellow WSFAn Mike Pederson's Nth Degree.

Best Fanzine

The usual suspects (minus Mimosa) will no doubt be nominated. I'll be nominating Ernest Lilley's SFRevu and Cheryl Morgan's Emerald City. I belive The WSFA Journal is eligible in this category as well.

Best Fan Writer

In this category I'll probably nominate fellow WSFAn Ernest Lilley. I expect last year's winner, Cheryl Morgan will be nominated again.

Best Fan Artist

My picks will be Alexis Gilliland, Steve Stiles and Frank Wu.

Best Professional Artist

I'll be nominating Charles Vess, Michael Kaluta and Colleen Doran.

Best Web Site

I'll be nominating the WSFA web site. Given that there are a number of popular web-based fanzines, I would expect some doubling up of the best fanzine and best web site nominees.

Editor's note: Noreascon members and Interaction members can nominate in all Hugo categories. You can nominate online at or by mail. The deadline in March 11th. Ballots must be received, not just postmarked, by then. If others have thoughts on Hugo nominations, please submit them for the March WSFA Journal. Thanks.

Upcoming Events

This is excerpted from our online calendar of upcoming events, at I recommend you check it frequently, in case of last minute additions or corrections. Also, it contains links to more information about the events. This is a regular feature of The WSFA Journal.

Wednesday, February 2nd: Ayn Rand Centennial
One hundred years since the author of Anthem and Atlas Shrugged was born.

Friday, February 4th: WSFA First Friday Meeting
Regular WSFA meeting (at the Gillilands' as usual). Newcomers welcome.

February 11 - 13: Farpoint
A fan-run media convention in Hunt Valley Maryland.

Friday, February 18th: WSFA Third Friday Meeting
Regular WSFA meeting. At the Madigans, as usual. Newcomers welcome.

February 18 - 20: Boskone
A convention in Boston.

February 18 - 20: Katsucon
An anime convention in Crystal City.

February 25 - 27: Shevacon
A “Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, & Gaming Convention” in Roanoke Virginia.

Thursday, March 3rd: DC Transhumanist Dinner
7 pm at Hamburger Hamlet in Crystal City.

March 4 - 5: Washington Antiquarian Book Fair
At the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, Arlington VA.

Friday, March 4th: WSFA First Friday Meeting
Regular WSFA meeting (at the Gillilands' as usual). Newcomers welcome.

Friday, March 11th: Hugo award nominating deadline
Nominations must be received, not just postmarked, by this date. You can nominate online. Anyone who is a member of Interaction or Noreascon can nominate.

Sunday, March 13th: Winterfest
Winterfest is an annual electronic flea market, concentrating on ham radio and computer hardware, mostly used. In Annandale. Show up before noon.

Friday, March 18th: WSFA Third Friday Meeting
Regular WSFA meeting. At the Madigans, as usual. Newcomers welcome.

May 27 - 30: Balticon 39
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) brings you another Balticon. At the Wyndham Baltimore one last time before it moves to Hunt Valley.

August 4 - 8: 63rd World SF Convention: Interaction
Glasgow, once more with ceiling.

September 1 - 5: CascadiaCon
The 2005 NASFiC, near Seattle.

Fannish Autobiographies

Editor's note: I would like similar autobiographies from lots of other WSFA members. Thanks.

Fannish Bio, Sam Lubell, WSFA President

I have no memory of learning how to read. I grew up in a house full of books and my parents would read to my brother and me before bedtime, her finger pausing on each word. Somehow that was enough to teach me how to read and I was reading before kindergarten. And, like every other kid, much of what I read was fantasy -- the various different colored Fairy Books, the original Oz books (my library didn't have those by other authors and I didn't learn of their existence until I was an adult), Seven Day Magic and the others by Edward Eager which led me to the books of Edith Nesbit. But periodically I encountered real science fiction, the Mushroom Planet books, the Spaceship Under the Apple Tree. Then someone gave me an anthology of Isaac Asimov stories. From then on (at least by age ten) I became hooked on adult science fiction. Every year, for Hanukkah, my grandfather would take all his grandchildren to the big Barnes and Noble in New York City, this was before there were franchises on every block, to buy as many books as we could for a set amount. I would always head straight to the science fiction section. At a bookstore when I was 11, I saw what looked like a collection of Isaac Asimov stories. But it proved to be an issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. I bought it and some point soon after begged for a subscription.

That should have been enough to led me to the world of science fiction conventions. After all they were listed in the back of every issue. But I had no way of getting to them without a car. Then came college. I know I went to at least two Boston-area conventions, but Boskone moved out of range of Boston's T system and as a poor college student I didn't have the money for a hotel even if I could get there. And conventions were a major time investment for a student who tried to take advantage of Harvard's policy of charging by the semester, not the course, by taking five courses as often as possible. (But I did link my studies to science fiction. I convinced my undergraduate thesis committee to allow me to do my thesis on the science fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mark Twain by never actually using the words “science fiction.”) After college, I did have access to a car and went to a couple Lunacons, but it never occurred to me to go to a convention that was further away than I could comfortably commute.

In 1993, I moved into the DC area. I found out about WSFA at Balticon that year and checked it out the following week. At WSFA I met Joe Mayhew who showed me that WSFA could be interesting even though it didn't really talk about science fiction. Joe talked me into writing a few reviews for the Journal. Then, when Joe was sick, I volunteered to take over the Journal. I also helped out with the program book for a couple of Disclaves (and would have done programming for Joe's if the hotel had not cancelled.) From there, I became Secretary, ran programming for Capclave 2002, chaired Capclave 2003, and eventually became Mallet Man, able to gavel WSFAns into quietness for five whole seconds at one blow.

Fannish Bio, Keith Lynch, WSFA Secretary

I've always been a fan of hard SF -- the kind of SF that sends me to a CRC handbook and a calculator to check the numbers. I'm also a fan of idea SF. I love discovering new ideas about what might be possible. I'm also fond of time travel, alternate history, and adventure stories.

Politically, I'm very much a small-l libertarian and anarcho-capitalist. Philosophically, I'm a small-o objectivist. But I can enjoy fiction whose politics and philosophy I strongly disagree with.

I'm not very visually oriented. At a con's art show, I'm more likely to notice how the paintings are hung than what's on them. I have a text-only Internet account, as I have had for 28 years.

I've lived in the same small bookcase-lined basement garden apartment in Vienna for 26 years. It's a 20 minute walk from Metro. I take Metro, bike, or walk everywhere. I've never felt the need for a car. The apartment is upwind from Washington DC, behind a hill, and has no windows facing that direction.

My first fanac was online, on the old SF-LOVERS email list which was founded in 1979.

I was told about Disclave in 1980 by the brother of a high school friend. I attended that year's Disclave, and all but one of the subsequent Disclaves. (I missed 1983's due to a business trip.) I didn't attend any con but Disclave until 1986, when someone I knew online talked me into attending Boskone. My first Worldcon was Nolacon in New Orleans in 1988. Except for 1990, I've been to every Worldcon since. I was on the committee of a Deepsouthcon bid, was vice-chair of a Weaponscon, and I helped T.R. Smith mail Intersection progress reports in 1994 and 1995.

I started attending WSFA meetings in 1997. I became WSFA's webmaster in early 2000, and soon started placing old WSFA Journals online. After five years of work, assisted by my brother Wade, I now have the text of all 312 issues of the second series Journals online -- 26½ years worth -- and am starting to work on getting the far larger first series WSFA Journals online. In 2002, I created the WSFA email chat list.

In 2003 I was elected WSFA trustee, and in 2004, WSFA secretary and Journal editor.

I'm also secretary, webmaster, and former president of the local cryonics organization, webmaster of the DC Transhumanists, and a member of the Potomac River Science Fiction Society and of the Logical Language Group.

I'm very active in the rec.arts.sf.fandom newsgroup, on which I read nearly all the messages, even though volume averages 200 message per day. I've been active on it for over a decade. In 2004 I posted over 4200 messages to that newsgroup. I'm also somewhat active in many other newsgroups.

I go to cons mostly for the conversation, rather than for program items. I also enjoy gaming and trivia contests -- interactive events, rather than events in which I'm just an audience member. What I like best about fandom is being able to have an intelligent discussion about almost any topic, from Icelandic history to the Riemann conjecture. From the rule against perpetuities to methods of resolving time travel paradoxes. From bad monster movies to the thermodynamics of computation. And occasionally even about science fiction.

This Month in History

From the Secretary's Archives

February 1955: Meetings on 1st and 3rd Sundays at Dot Cole's. Felkel criticized the secretary (Philip N. Bridges) for editorializing in the meeting minutes. “Cole remarked that we must find a DC meeting place, and/or good programs, or the club is slowly dying.” Felkel spoke on artificial satellites. (In 1955, none had yet been launched.) The secretary noted that for the first and only time, the (7) people attending consisted entirely of officers and trustees. (I wonder if that's still the only time?) Treasury: $21.65. Elizabeth Cullen offered to host meetings at her house. There was discussion of possibly bidding for the 1956 Worldcon.

February 1965: Meetings at Elizabeth Cullen's on First and Third Friday. Don Miller demonstrated Chinese Checkers. Treasurer Philip N. Bridges reported $130.15 in the treasury, and that according to his records meetings moved to the current location in 1956. Alan Huff and Eliot Norman showed up on 2nd Friday with an iguana, wrongly thinking it was a WSFA meeting night. The membership list has 26 names. None of them are current WSFA members. 12 and 16 members attended.

February 1975: Please contact the secretary if you have any information about WSFA in 1975. All I know about the year is that First Fridays were at the Gillilands, Third Fridays were at the Bergs', and that the officers at the beginning of the year were President Alexis Gilliland, Vice President Jack Chalker, Secretary Betty Berg (Lockwood), Treasurer Bill Berg, Trustees Ron Bounds, Alan Huff, and Mark Owings. I also have Disclave information, which I will provide in the May issue.

February 1985: Meetings at the Gillilands' and Olivers'. $5,882.74 in the treasury. On First Friday Beverly Brandt was removed from her position as editor of the WSFA Journal. She was reinstated on Third Friday when nobody else could be found willing to take on the task. Phil Cox announced that there would be a comic book convention at Tysons Corner called “Futurama” on March 31st. No-Name con, our last of six annual February relaxacons, was held. 50 to 60 people showed up to that con.

February 1995: Meetings at the Gillilands' and Divine's. $1,227.01 in the treasury. The club's XT computer and printer were auctioned. John Sapienza bought them for a dollar, to donate to the Lazarus Foundation (which is still around, but will now accept nothing less than a Pentium III). Third Friday was (newborn) Lydia Ginter's first meeting, and Robyn Rissell's last regular meeting, as he was moving to Michigan.

Third Friday Minutes

Note that there's a brief summary at the end.

The regular Third Friday meeting of the Washington Science Fiction Association was called to order by President Samuel Lubell at 9:15 pm on January 21st, 2005 in the downstairs of the Madigans' in Greenbelt, Maryland, the new usual third Friday location. There was a fire in the room's fireplace.

President Samuel Lubell, Vice President Cathy Green, Secretary Keith Lynch, Treasurer Bob MacIntosh, Trustees Adrienne Ertman and Barry Newton, Capclave 2005 Chair Michael Walsh, Mike Bartman, Chuck Divine, Alexis Gilliland, Erica and Lydia Ginter, Shirl Hayes, Eric Jablow, Ernest Lilley, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Candy and John Madigan, Deidre McLaughlin, Judy Newton, Larry Pfeffer, and George Shaner were present. 23 people. William Squire arrived after the meeting. Jim Kling and Ivy Yap were marked present but weren't seen. There were also several noisy children upstairs.

The president asked the secretary what had happened last time. The secretary replied that our previous meeting was at the Gillilands' on the 7th, and we decided:

TREASURY: Bob MacIntosh said we have $35,308.85.

CAPCLAVE '04: Lee wasn't present. Bob said the con is $6,032.56 in the red so far, and artists still have to be paid an additional $640 or so.

CAPCLAVE '05: Mike Walsh said he was awaiting approval from the Silver Spring Hilton's upper management for suggested changes to the hotel contract. Sam asked if Mike Walsh had scheduled a Capclave meeting at Peggy Rae's. Mike said not yet, but was aiming for the last weekend in February, the weekend after Boskone. Sam said that he couldn't make it that weekend. That meeting may slip into March.

CAPCLAVE '06: Elspeth wasn't present. Mike Walsh said she had the flu, and didn't want to share it with us.

WORLD FANTASY '03: Mike said all the billing has been done, and money is expected soon. Ernest suggested pushing them to pay us faster. Sam said that wasn't reasonable when we had taken more than a year to bill them.

SMOFCON '04: Bob said we're awaiting word from Peggy Rae. He also said “probably around $2000”.

DISCON '11: Bob said he had nothing to report, except that we're still on track.

ENTERTAINMENT: Alexis said the snow on the 19th turned to ice on the hill he lives on, and cars and trucks were sliding down the hill. Several, including a FedEx truck and a policeman's wife's car crashed into Lee's 11-year-old blue Subaru. She finally went outside and directed traffic, and was later praised by the police for doing so. She made them hot chocolate. Her car has been damaged, but still works. She's been getting lots of calls from insurance companies, as she witnessed numerous accidents. She's not here tonight since she's still recovering.

PUBLICATIONS: Keith Lynch said plenty of November, December, and January WSFA Journals were available on top of the stereo. [1 November, 3 Decembers, and 5 Januarys were taken.] After five years of effort, all of the second series WSFA Journals are finally online. The complete text of all 311 issues, spanning 26½ years, August 1978 through January 2005. Some of the issues still don't have all of the graphics, but Sam Lubell is working on that, and said he'd work on them all weekend, and it should soon be done. Keith's now working on the highest-numbered of the first series Journals that he has a copy of, issue 84, dated December 1974. Anyone who has an issue numbered 85 or higher, please tell him. He's pretty sure that 85 exists, and 86 does not, but is not certain of either.

He also said that early Saturday morning, just under a week ago, PANIX.COM was hijacked. Any email sent to him or to the email list between about 5 am and 5 pm on that day didn't go to him or to the list, and may have been read by the hijackers. This hijacking has been covered in lots of news media including the New York Times.

BOOK: Ernest said updates from the authors are on track. The deadline for submissions remains mid-April. He should have more details by First Friday.

Sam mentioned that we no longer have an austerity committee to call upon. Barry asked why hats are still put out for money at meetings. Alexis explained that people bringing food or money works much better than the old system of him buying everything. He gets $25 for each meeting from the club, and gets an average of an additional $25 in the hat. Once he got $45. Erica agreed, and said she's received anywhere from $12 to $57 in her hat.

OLD BUSINESS: None, since Sam Scheiner wasn't present.


Bob said that BWSMOF [] asks that WSFA send them a message that we support the mission of their organization, and moved that we do so. This wouldn't cost us any money. After some discussion and requests for clarification, the motion failed for a lack of a second. There was also discussion about whether they wanted to borrow our logo, and about whether we have a logo.

Sam moved that the club pay Ernest to buy Jack Chalker a card, which we will all sign at the next meeting. The motion passed.


The secretary said that the WSFA Journal needs articles. Especially book reviews, movie reviews, and autobiographies. They can be submitted via the email address on the cover of the WSFA Journal. He also mentioned that there was a sign-in sheet circulating. And that Jack Chalker was still in Intensive Care.

John said the dog can eat anything but chocolate, the bunnies are free-roaming, the white bunny bites, and that he has a cardboard pendulum clock upstairs, which he assembled from a kit, and which almost works.

Chuck said that, speaking as the programs officer for Metro Washington Mensa, that organization will publicize Capclave and other WSFA events in their calendar if we like. Also, he is having a Mensa viewing of two episodes of the Prisoner TV series on Saturday February 5th at 7 pm at his house. WSFAns are invited.

Bob said dues are due, and that he has Virginia Scottish Games 2005 calendars for sale for $10 each, $3 of which will go to the games.

Erica has a twin day bed she wants to get rid of. It needs a new mattress.

Rich once again had boxes of paperbacks available for whatever you feel they are worth.

Mike Walsh also had used books for sale. His are hardbacks.

Ernest had two extra-large t-shirts to give away. He got them at a recent electronics show in Las Vegas. Both were quickly taken. He joked that he expects a review.

Barry pointed out that Mike Bartman was present for the first time in a long time. [Since November 2002, according to the secretary's records.]

Keith asked if it was anyone's first, second, or third meeting. Deidre McLaughlin said it was her third. She was invited to join, and did so. Someone joked that she had lost her new member smell.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:51. 36 minutes.

Several people were still present when the secretary left at 1 am.

The weather was cold, clear, and windless. Roads were completely clear of snow and ice. Sidewalks were mostly clear. Several inches of snow were (accurately) forecast for the following morning.

Summary of 1/21/05 meeting:

Letter of Comment

Subject: LOC on the WSFA journal and other notes
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 17:46:32 -0500
From: "Love, Andrew E., Jr." [email address redacted from online edition]


Andy Love here. I've been following your discussions on Usenet lately, and have been meaning to drop you another note for a few months (and please let me express belated sympathies on the loss of your father). What finally prompted me to write was the editor's note in the December 2004 WSFA journal about John Varley's “The Golden Globe.” The reviewer (of Varley's latest) had said that The Golden Globe wasn't an “Eight Worlds” story, and the editor's note said that it was. Oddly enough, this isn't exactly a straightforward issue. While keeping many of the features of the Eight Worlds universe, Steel Beach and The Golden Globe are deliberately not consistent with the previous Eight Worlds stories (indeed, Steel Beach has a foreword acknowledging the inconsistencies). Varley apparently simply had a theme that fit in very well with most of the Eight Worlds background, but not all of it, so he threw out what he couldn't use but felt free to use what fit. Therefore, you can call those novels “Eight World” stories, but for clarity it's probably best to distinguish them from the other stories by calling them something else (I've heard people call them the “Metal” series - the third book is expected to have the word “Iron” in it). It's interesting to compare Varley with Larry Niven, who has a much different approach to consistency. When Niven has something to say that doesn't fit in Known Space, he creates a new universe for that story, and is careful to avoid place names, etc., that would blur the differences between his universes, and when he spots an inadvertent inconsistency, he seems to go to some effort to cover it in a later story.

Three Reviews by Lee Strong

[ Editor's note: Lee Strong has resigned from WSFA, and prefers that no WSFA member except Sam Lubell contact him for any reason. However, he has not rescinded his permission to print the material he had previously submitted to the WSFA Journal. ]

Cat Karina

Written by Michael Coney

Published New York: Ace, 1982

Reviewed by Lee Strong

I bought this novel hoping that Mr. Coney was a worthy successor to the immortal Cordwainer Smith, but, alas, he proved to be merely a wordsmith.

In the distant future, the remains of humanity live uneasily with alien and genetically engineered “Specialist” species. An alien religion mandates that carnivores and omnivores eschew meat and technology. When humans attempt to introduce higher technology in the form of metal bearings for otherwise wooden sailcars, the felinos revolt bringing death and destruction... but not much of a story. While Cat Karina does include some plot, character development, and evocation of the far future, ultimately I found this novel less than satisfying. Perhaps I am a victim of my high expectations, but I think I am a victim of Mr. Coney's writing.

I did find one of the author's literary techniques interesting. The eponymous heroine is guided by an agent of a higher destiny throughout the story. So Mr. Coney pauses periodically to tell the reader what would have happened if Karina had done X at junction Y rather than Z. This technique is consistent with the story's self description as one of multiple alternate historical “happentracks” and does build some suspense. Ultimately, however, it creates the impression that the characters are merely puppets without free will of their own. Again, less than satisfying.

I rate Cat Karina as ** on the five star scale. -- LS

Shadow of Earth

Written by Phyllis Eisenstein

Published New York (Cowboy Universe): Dell, 1979

Reviewed by Lee/3/Right

This novel should be reviewed by a feminist. It clearly wasn't written by one.

Our heroine discovers that her boyfriend has discovered a portal into an alternate historical universe where the Spanish Armada defeated England, and the New World is a backwater Spanish semi-colony. She gets kidnapped into sexual slavery, falls in love with her kidnapper, and introduces Shakespeare to the culturally deprived Spanish. Her boyfriend dies and she decides to escape so she can undo his work.

If the lead character has any respect for herself or others, I didn't see it. Granted she's in a strange and terrible situation, but one would think that she would be planning an escape from day one rather than waiting a year or so before getting going. And why she (and we) are supposed to believe that her boyfriend is a scumbag on the unsupported word of her kidnapper is beyond me. Señorita Eisenstein introduces an interesting historical twist on the victorious Armada concept, but I recommend less time exploring history and more time exploring the human heart.

I rate Shadow of Earth as ** on the five star scale. -- LS

The Secret of the 9th Planet

Written by Donald A. Wollheim

Published New York: Warner Paperback Library, 1965, 1973

Reviewed by Lee Strong

Steve Smith has the useful trick of adjusting a rheostat in his head to allow for advances in science since a novel was written. This enables him to enjoy stories such as this that have been overcome since the author set pen to paper.

Sometime after 1959, sunlight begins dimming out on Earth and other planets as a result of a nefarious alien plot. Our sturdy All American Hero is invited to visit the various planets aboard the first spaceship powered by antigravity in an effort to thwart the invaders. Can Burl Denning and his companions overcome the molten menaces of Mercury, the insatiable amoebas of Venus and the robotlike insectmen of Mars? Will they survive to face the secret of the ninth Planet?

This is certainly no great shakes as literature, but it's a nice little story from a bygone day. Astronomers have rewritten the universe to eliminate most of Wollheim's planets, but I found this tale of scientific adventure, courage, and interspecies understanding rewarding. So, strap yourselves in for a ride among the planets that should have been and enjoy.

I rate The Secret of the 9th Planet as *** on the five star scale. -- LS

Morrie The Critic Discusses Post-Arafat Palestine

an essay by Alexis Gilliland

[ Editor's note: There is a long-standing ban on discussion of current American politics in The WSFA Journal. This, however, is discussing current Middle Eastern politics, so I'll include it. ]

“Making predictions is risky,” said Morrie the critic. “Especially about the future. No prediction is safe, but maybe some predictions are a little less risky than others.”

“How about the Palestinian peace process?” I asked. “Is Bush going to achieve peace in the Middle East?”

“That's two questions,” Morrie replied. “Muddle them up and your incoherent question gets an incomprehensible answer. You put Palestine first, so let's take the stupid peace process first. You maybe think with Yasir Arafat dead something is going to happen? No.”

“Why not?”

“Realpolitik. A Palestinian State running from Jordan to the Sea, with the Jews expelled and the Arabs in charge, that was the dream of the Palestinians, a dream supported by the rest of the Muslim world. If they give it up, it's trading their birthright for a mess of pottage.”

“Come on, Morrie, I'd hardly call a Palestinian State in Gaza and most of the West Bank a mess of pottage.”

“You wouldn't? Take a look at the place; it won't be the State of Palestine, it'll be the Basket Case of Palestine. A miserable, dinky, no account excuse of a territory with too many people on too little land, and no natural resources. The Palestinians rely on the dole--no, on the charity of their more affluent Islamic neighbors--to survive, charity towards the poor being a religious duty set forth in the Koran. Since 1948 a charitable contribution to the Palestinians has also been a blow at the fervently hated Jews, so the donors get a twofer. If Palestine makes a peace with the Jews, you can figure their ever loving co-religionists will turn off the money spigot. Arafat knew that, and that's one of the reasons why he stiffed Bill Clinton and the whole Oslo peace process by insisting on the right of return.”

“That was just the right of the survivors from the '48 war to go home, the symbolic repatriation of a few old people.”

“Symbolic?” Morrie smiled, almost: “Substantive rather, since it also included their descendants, their in-laws and anybody named Mohammed. That's why it was a deal breaker. Another reason, of course, was that Arafat could--and did--stay in power as the leader of a lost but noble cause, fighting the never ending and unwinnable war. Arafat wasn't cut out to be the leader of a state, and he knew it. As president for life of a rump Palestine, he wouldn't have lasted six months. If his successors don't know that already, you can bet they'll figure it out soon enough. What the Americans and a lot of the Israelis thought was that the best that could be done in the circumstances would be good enough. Well, they were mistaken, and the Israelis at least have come to understand they were mistaken.”

“That's not much of a prediction since Mahmoud Abbas and the other guys running to take Arafat's place have already come out in favor of the right of return. Nobody gets elected in Palestine without supporting it, seemingly. So what do you think is going to happen?”

Morrie shrugged. “Who knows? The dream has been on life support for some time now, but the Arabs always did have a certain contempt for any reality they didn't like. In Israel, now, they need to pay attention to reality, and so Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is looking to make a unilateral settlement without consulting the Palestinians. Working it out on his own, Sharon came to the same conclusion as another Israeli general turned Prime Minister, Yitzak Rabin. Who was, you will remember, assassinated by a Jewish religious fanatic for proposing to give up holy Israeli territory to get a secular and unsatisfactory peace. In those days, Sharon was the most passionate voice in the opposition, too radical to be in the government, but Israeli opinion changed even as the situation on the ground was going nowhere. So after Arafat rejected the Clinton-backed peace process and started the current intifada, the Israelis turned to the fierce and uncompromising Sharon to resist the intifada, to defy Arafat, to do what needed to be done.”

“Which was?”

“From Israel's point of view, they essentially needed an end of terrorism which necessarily required secure borders. To get those things, Sharon decided he had to withdraw from Gaza and most of the West Bank, moving Israel's borders to get all those hostile Palestinians on the outside. While, at the same time, building a border wall sufficient to stop small scale cross-border raids. By then it was well established that it was useless to negotiate with Yasir Arafat, so he proposed doing it unilaterally.” Morrie looked pensive for a moment. “Now whether Sharon can succeed is problematical. In Israel, the passionate minority that he used to lead opposes him, and he may not be able to pull it off. If he fails, nothing is changed. If he succeeds, it will be because he has the support of the Labor party, which will drop him as soon as the deed is done. What deed? Setting down a provisional boundary which the Arabs will not accept--just as they have never accepted any of Israel's other provisional boundaries--but it will be a boundary defined on the ground by Sharon's wall.”

“That doesn't sound like much of a change,” I said.

“It makes a new reality on the ground is what it does. The wall does not defend Israel, the Israeli army defends Israel...”

I cut him off. “Yes, but what does the wall do?”

“...and without the army supporting it, Sharon's wall would come down like the Berlin wall.” Morrie looked a bit irked at my interruption. “What the wall does is define the border in an unambiguous and unmistakable manner. One of the reasons the Palestinians are fighting this change in the status quo is Robert Frost's observation that good fences make good neighbors. They don't want to be good neighbors.”

“What do you mean by that crack?”

“Think about it. When that happens--if it happens--and before they do anything else, the Palestinians will have to sit down and organize themselves a government, a thing which they couldn't do under Egypt or Jordan. Hamas, or whoever winds up in charge, can pretend they are going to push the Jews into the sea all they want, but the day to day reality they have to deal with will be housing and potholes, education and agriculture, the whole municipal ball of wax. They can't afford to wage war.”

“For a war the other Arab nations will send them all the money they need,” I reminded him. “Billions and billions, more billions than they can use.”

“That was the way it used to be,” Morrie agreed. “Only times change, and a lack of ready cash isn't what will make their war unaffordable. The difference between the historical then and the prospective now--the “now” in which Sharon has withdrawn from Gaza and what he chooses to give up of the West Bank--is that the Palestinians will not be occupied. Not by Israel nor anyone else. So, given that there will be no recognized boundary, if Palestine wants to continue the war--a decision with lots of popular support--what happens? Abbas or whoever is in charge will need to ask: “What's the worst that could happen if we lose?” And the answer will be: Israel might annex a slice of Palestine and expel the Palestinians who lived there. Once the Palestinians have a little something to lose, they can't afford to make sucker bets with it.”

“You could be wrong, Morrie.”

“I often am--I predicted Bush was going to lose--but in this case it looks like the way to bet. Maybe there will be no peace; but the war will be put on the back burner. The shooting will stop, and the suicide bombers--or more precisely, the handlers, recruiters and trainers of the suicide bombers--will have to stop playing at jihad and find themselves honest employment.”

I cleared my throat. “How do you figure? Israeli retaliation never stopped them before.”

“The wall sealing off Gaza stopped the Gazan suicide bombers, right?” Morrie spread his hands as if appealing to reason. “Well, extending the wall to seal off the West Bank figures to stop the rest. With no martyrs to celebrate, that particular tactic--the most effective the Arabs have--becomes obsolete and will have to be abandoned. With less provocation the Israelis will retaliate less. Maybe what Sharon is trying to pull off is the best that can be done in the circumstances, okay? After more than half a century of continuous war with intermittent heavy fighting, Israel is finally entrenched, sort of secure, and is trying to disengage itself from all those unruly Palestinians. Left to their own devices the Palestinian people can organize themselves any way they like, and they can also reject Sharon's settlement all they want, and all of their organization, reorganization and rejection won't change one damn thing.”

“So if Sharon pulls it off, what happens to the peace process?”

“It goes into the dustbin of history. Arafat, you know, wasn't single-handedly keeping the peace from breaking out. He had all he could do surviving Arafat's Fiasco, Arafat's Disaster, and Arafat's Last Stand. Which made old Yasir an indicator rather than a mover and shaker--given the chance to move and shake, he tried to use the peace process as a tactic to destroy Israel. What he was indicating was the total and continuing Arab refusal to accept the fact of Israel's total and continuing existence. Has that changed? No. The latest on Arafat's death is that the 500 page autopsy report doesn't absolutely rule out the possibility that Israel poisoned him, and therefore--” Morrie threw up his hands. “Out of respect to the late and possibly martyred Saint Arafat, there will be no direct negotiations with Israel.”

I thought about that for awhile. “If that's true it's kind of hard to talk about any sort of “peace process” in Palestine.” I said at last. “What about Bush's chances for getting a Middle East peace?”

There was a long pause. “You haven't been listening,” Morrie said at last. “The Middle East is fundamentally Islamic, and since 1948 American strategy has been at war with itself. Trying to get a “just” peace there with one hand while supporting the Jewish state of Israel with the other. It never worked before, it doesn't work now, and after decades of getting nowhere, Bush comes in and invades Iraq on the theory that things couldn't get any worse. The short answer is that peace in the Middle East isn't going to break out during his second term.”

“Well, what about us getting a good outcome in Iraq?”

“When we Americans come out of Iraq, that will be a good outcome for us. Very likely the best that can be done in the circumstances. What will we get in return for all our outlay of blood and treasure? A mess. What kind of mess? That isn't at all clear, except when we finally see what we get, I expect we won't like it at all, at all.”

“A Free and Democratic Iraq?” I suggested, offering up a neo-conservative aspiration and debating point.

Morrie covered a smile with one hand. “Like the so-called peace process in Palestine, that is another happy outcome envisioned by deluded American policy makers. Among other things, neo-conservative advanced planning was based on premises which have proved to be disastrously unrealistic. For example, they predicted, no, imagined, no, hallucinated, really, that we would need no more than 20,000 US troops to be in Iraq one year after we had gone in. The reality--which they were warned about but chose to ignore--is that we have too few with 138,000. And speaking of American policy makers, what do you think about Greenspan's latest take on the economy?”

The End

SMOFcon Time Travel

Here are more of the time travel itineraries from SMOFcon 22. (The first few were in January's Journal.) They were all handwritten, so please forgive any errors of the secretary's in transcription.

Forward into the Past

Time Travel Itinerary

Time Traveler's Name: Liz Mortensen
    When: 1934
    Where: Los Angeles
Purpose of visit: to go to the first meeting of Chapter #4 of the Science Fiction League.
The greatest sf convention-running challenge at my chosen destination would most likely be: Showing up being a girl, and all. After all back then, sci-fi fans were only boys.
    I'd meet that challenge by: being a goofball like I am.
    If that approach didn't work, I'd try: wearing boys' clothes.
What information, lesson, or artifact could you carry back from your travels that would be of benefit to your fellow convention runners here at SMOFcon? look into our past + remember where we came from! Scary, but cool, too.

Please complete all parts of this itinerary to assure your safe return to SMOFcon 22

Forward into the Past

Time Travel Itinerary

Time Traveler's Name: Tony
    When: 1939 Worldcon
    Where: New York
Purpose of visit: To find and destroy the copies of the incendiary tract before Dave Kyle can find and distribute them.
The greatest sf convention-running challenge at my chosen destination would most likely be: Explaining how a totally unknown fan would know about and show up at the con.
    I'd meet that challenge by: Explaining that I was a time-traveling fan.
    If that approach didn't work, I'd try: show them artifacts from the 21st century
What information, lesson, or artifact could you carry back from your travels that would be of benefit to your fellow convention runners here at SMOFcon? The observation that perhaps fandom is a chaotic system and that apparently small changes may result in major changes in the future. Will there be a fandom when I got back?

Please complete all parts of this itinerary to assure your safe return to SMOFcon 22

Forward into the Past

Time Travel Itinerary

Time Traveler's Name: Kirk Masubuchi
    When: the 1st Worldcon
Purpose of visit: being the 1st Japanese in Worldcon, introducing Japanese SF in 21th C.
The greatest sf convention-running challenge at my chosen destination would most likely be: SF can help the world.
    I'd meet that challenge by: Letting Dr. Einstein to watch Star Trek
    If that approach didn't work, I'd try: Atomic Bomb gets damp.
What information, lesson, or artifact could you carry back from your travels that would be of benefit to your fellow convention runners here at SMOFcon? the skull of Einstein's childhood

Please complete all parts of this itinerary to assure your safe return to SMOFcon 22

Forward into the Past

Time Travel Itinerary

Time Traveler's Name: Joni
    When: 1953
    Where: Philadelphia
Purpose of visit: First [sic] Philadelphia WorldCon to see Jack McKnight spend the weekend building the 1st Hugos while muttering under his breath.
The greatest sf convention-running challenge at my chosen destination would most likely be: creating a new ceremony worthy of the idea of an award
    I'd meet that challenge by: model on something known (Oscars)
    If that approach didn't work, I'd try: ask Robert Bloch to be toastmaster
What information, lesson, or artifact could you carry back from your travels that would be of benefit to your fellow convention runners here at SMOFcon? a transcript of the Hugo ceremony

Please complete all parts of this itinerary to assure your safe return to SMOFcon 22

Tagging Along with Joni

Fellow Time Traveler's Name: Lynn

I'll help: I'll Bring a camera + a tape recorder

Forward into the Past

Time Travel Itinerary

Time Traveler's Name: Judy Kindell
    When: 1955
    Where: New York City
Purpose of visit: To see Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady
The greatest sf convention-running challenge at my chosen destination would most likely be: The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly in the Plain
    I'd meet that challenge by: Teaching the English how to Speak
    If that approach didn't work, I'd try: Getting to the Church on Time
What information, lesson, or artifact could you carry back from your travels that would be of benefit to your fellow convention runners here at SMOFcon? Sometimes other things are more important

Please complete all parts of this itinerary to assure your safe return to SMOFcon 22

Forward into the Past

Time Travel Itinerary

Time Traveler's Name: Geri Sullivan
    When: July 1961
    Where: Bows Lake, Michigan
Purpose of visit: To see what happened there through adult eyes; How Ernie Shelley: “we don't have to like each other, but we do have to love each other” played out....
The greatest sf convention-running challenge at my chosen destination would most likely be: Finding the lake (it took my family 8 hours)
    I'd meet that challenge by: Signposts along road
    If that approach didn't work, I'd try: wireless Internet, Mapquest & AAA, Triptik access for all
What information, lesson, or artifact could you carry back from your travels that would be of benefit to your fellow convention runners here at SMOFcon?
- Name badge technology
- Methods for dealing w/monsters who eat T.P.
- Community building activities

Please complete all parts of this itinerary to assure your safe return to SMOFcon 22

Forward into the Past

Time Travel Itinerary

Time Traveler's Name: Dr Paisley
    When: 1967
    Where: Haight Ashbury
Purpose of visit: Primitive file sharing
The greatest sf convention-running challenge at my chosen destination would most likely be: Enough Acid
    I'd meet that challenge by: Hiring Owsley
    If that approach didn't work, I'd try: Kidnapping him
What information, lesson, or artifact could you carry back from your travels that would be of benefit to your fellow convention runners here at SMOFcon? Tons of weed

Please complete all parts of this itinerary to assure your safe return to SMOFcon 22

SMOFcon Time Travel will be continued next month.

The deadline for March's issue is Friday, February 25th. Earlier if possible. As always, I eagerly solicit material. Fannish autobiographies, reviews of books and movies, reports on cons, reports on scientific discoveries, letters of comment, thoughts about the future of Capclave and WSFA, and pretty much anything else that you think WSFA members will enjoy reading.