Editor: Keith Lynch. Assistant editor: Wade Lynch.
Please direct all correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put either “for publication” or “not for publication” on the subject line.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.
Assuming Don Miller's elusive issue #85 never existed, and that there are no other issues I don't know about, this is the 400th issue of the WSFA Journal. Editors after Miller didn't number them sequentially, so it's easy to lose track. Assuming I'm not missing any, issue 100 was the four-page volume 3 issue 5, dated January 1980, edited by Joe Mayhew, issue 200 was the four-page February 1989 issue edited by Mary Morman that was missing from our archives until Richard Lynch found a copy in June of last year, and issue 300 was the fourteen-page October 1996 issue edited by Sam Lubell.
The complete text of the last 317 of these 400 issues is available online at http://www.wsfa.org/. Sam Lubell is hard at work getting all of the graphics for these issues online.
This is excerpted from our online calendar of upcoming events, at http://www.wsfa.org/calendar.htm. 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.
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 9:16 pm on May 6th, 2005 in the basement of the Gillilands' in Arlington, Virginia, the usual First Friday location.
Present during or after the meeting were President Samuel Lubell, Secretary Keith Lynch, Treasurer Bob MacIntosh, Trustees Barry Newton and Steven Smith, Mike Bartman, Drew Bittner, Colleen Cahill, Stan Field, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, James and Tamara Griesel, Paul Haggerty, Scott Hofmann, Eric Jablow, Dan Joy, Bill Lawhorn, Ernest Lilley, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Walter Miles, Judy Newton, Kathi Overton, John Pomeranz, Rebecca Prather, Anna Reed, Sam Scheiner, George Shaner, William Squire, Gayle Surrette, Diana Swiger, Elizabeth Twitchell, Ted White, and Madeleine Yeh. 36 people. Ivy Yap was marked present but wasn't seen by the secretary. Jim Kling wasn't marked present but also wasn't seen by the secretary.
The president asked the secretary what business had been done at the previous meeting. The secretary replied:
TREASURY: Bob said we had $20,541.88 in the main account, plus $15,000 in CDs, totaling $35,541.88. He will not be present at the next meeting; he will email his report to the secretary before the next meeting. Ernest asked about money from WFC. Bob said we'd have to ask Mike Nelson -- he hasn't seen any money since around Christmas. The president asked the secretary to make a note of Ernest's question for the next meeting.
CAPCLAVE PRESENT: Chairfan Michael J. Walsh wasn't present, as he was taking a dental health day. Barry said he'll nag people about chores. Ernest asked about our table at Balticon. Colleen said she will be in charge of it. She hopes others will sit there too, so she can take bathroom breaks. John responded “Depends”. The president said there will be fliers and dodos. Ernest gave a 13" x 19" board consisting of a large image of our flier to Colleen. Lee said she won't be at Balticon until Saturday, so someone else should take the banner there.
CAPCLAVE FUTURE: Chairfan Elspeth Kovar wasn't present.
OTHER CONVENTIONS: The president said Ravencon will be in Richmond, not Baltimore.
PUBLICATIONS: Secretary Keith Lynch had April and May WSFA Journals here, and over thirty years of WSFA Journals online. He also mentioned that a sign-in sheet was circulating. [3 Aprils and 14 Mays were taken by the end of the evening.]
BOOK: Ernest said the anthology was content-complete. It contains 15 stories, none of which were unsolicited. He rejected David Brin's story, so that he can say that all the stories in Future Washington are exclusive first publication. He had 15 Advance Reading Copies, 10 of which were for WSFA members. The cover, which showed a stylized futuristic view along the Mall, had been flipped, since someone noticed that it was illuminated from the north. Several of the ARCs were distributed after the meeting. They contain the final selection of stories:
Other ARCs are going to Bruce Sterling, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Michael Dirda for cover blurbs and possibly reviews. Ernest quoted Ellen Datlow as saying she doesn't blurb anthologies; she edits them. He replied to her that she had already done us a favor by rejecting Cory's story, so that we'd have it for ourselves. Gayle is in charge of proofreading. The contract is waiting on Cathy Green. There may be a reception at Readercon [in Massachusetts in July]. The book probably won't be at this year's Worldcon, due to hassles of doing business overseas. The book goes to the printer on the 26th. Mike's contact who lays out books will get ten copies in lieu of payment. There will be a book committee meeting upstairs after the regular meeting and the election meeting.
ENTERTAINMENT: Lee had a box of chocolates in the shapes of the ten plagues of Exodus, for WSFAns to eat after the meeting.
ACTIVITIES: Talk to Lee if you're interested in getting together to watch the new Star Wars movie. No, there are no free tickets. Also, there is bubble wrap to pop. [The secretary was driven to distraction listening to the tape of the meeting, trying to make out what people were saying over the noise of the bubble wrap being popped, and hopes that future activities will either be quieter or will not happen during a meeting.]
TRUSTEES: Trustee Steve Smith explained that we will hold an “Australian ballot” election after the meeting, and that the trustees' slate is only to ensure that there's someone available for each office; nominations from the floor aren't merely allowed, they're encouraged. He also said that “Australian” is a misnomer, it should really be called “Irish”. He read the slate.
OLD BUSINESS: The meeting swap is on: June's First Friday is at the Madigans', Third Friday at the Gillilands'. July's First Friday is at the Gillilands' as usual, but July's Third Friday will be at the home of Paul Haggerty and Gayle Surrette in Brandywine, Maryland. The secretary said that as far as he could determine, this would be the first time in WSFA's 58-year history that a meeting location was not transit accessible. Sam Lubell and Tamara Griesel both volunteered to drive people to and from Metro.
NEW BUSINESS: Colleen had a list of members' names and addresses, and asked people to make sure they were correct. She will make the list available to WSFA members. Keith Lynch pointed out for the benefit of those who are concerned about privacy that her list does not appear in the WSFA Journal or on the WSFA website.
The president asked if it was anyone's first, second, or third meeting. It was James and Tamara Griesel's third meeting. Both of them joined.
The secretary made the usual first announcement: Announcements should be submitted in writing, or via the email address on the cover of the WSFA Journal, or via the email address on the website.
He also announced that after four years he finally has a job; he's working alongside Ted White as a proofreader. Ted had noticed that for WSFA Keith was doing for free what Ted was being paid for, that Keith was looking for work, and that Ted's boss was looking for another proofreader. Bill Lawhorn asked him if this would interfere with his secretarial duties. He replied that he had already resigned as Capclave webmaster, which means he won't be going to Capclave meetings or hotel walkthroughs; that he would also update the archives of the WSFA chat list less often, which would have no effect on anyone since nobody ever looks at them; and that he will be placing the back issues of the WSFA Journal online more slowly, which gives the graphics person time to catch up.
Keith also announced that Robert Sheckley was seriously ill, hospitalized on a respirator, in the Ukraine.
Our hostess, Lee, made the usual second announcement: Use toilet paper, not paper towels, in the toilet, and don't let either of the two cats outside. One of the cats, Smoke, likes to sit on the stairs, and people shouldn't feel guilty if they accidentally kick the cat, since it's the cat's own fault.
Drew will be getting married in two weeks.
Sam Scheiner was giving out back issues of Locus. John described this as a “plague of Locus”. He also mentioned that the latest issue of Science quoted Hari Seldon. Bill Lawhorn asked if they had a Foundation for quoting him.
Colleen said that on June 9th Ray Villard [Public Information Manager for the Space Telescope Science Institute] will be speaking at the Library of Congress. She didn't remember when or on what topic.
Kathi will be hosting a discussion of the Hugo-nominated stories upstairs after the meeting. Also, Lois Bujold will be on the Fast Forward cable TV show this month.
Barry said there's a flower show at the National Cathedral. Judy said there's also a book sale there; she got a hardback Cryptonomicon for two dollars.
Elizabeth had a large dark green Liaden Universe t-shirt, with Plan B on the back, free to a good home.
Madeleine wanted a chocolate cheesecake recipe.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:48 pm. 32 minutes.
The annual election meeting of the Washington Science Fiction Association was called to order by Trustee Steve G. Smith at 9:53½ pm on Friday, May 6th, 2005 in the basement of the Gillilands' in Arlington, Virginia. (See the regular meeting minutes for a list of who was present.)
He explained how the election would work. He emphasized that WSFA is “not an oligarchy,” and that nominations from the floor are welcomed. However, the person nominated has to be a WSFA member, and has to accept the nomination.
Treasurer Bob MacIntosh read the names of the 42 paid-up members: Bob MacIntosh, Richard and Nicki Lynch, Lee and Alexis Gilliland, Keith Lynch, Michael Taylor, Cathy Green, Bill Lawhorn, John Pomeranz, Kathi Overton, Donald Eastlake, Victoria Smith, Cat Meier, Colleen Cahill, Samuel Lubell, Elizabeth Twitchell, Sam and Judy Scheiner, Scott Hofmann, Larry Pfeffer, Barry, Judy, and Meridel Newton, Adrienne Ertman, Mike Bartman, Elspeth Kovar, Michael Nelson, Paul Haggerty, Gayle Surrette, David Grimm, George Shaner, Brian Lewis, Lance Oszko, Rebecca Prather, Stan Field, Ernest Lilley, Keith Marshall, Tamara and James Griesel, Drew Bittner, and Madeleine Yeh. Steve Smith hurriedly paid up, as did a couple other people whose names weren't read.
The trustees' nominee for president is Sam Lubell. There were no nominations from the floor. Sam Lubell was reelected president by acclamation.
The trustees' nominee for vice president is Cathy Green. There were no nominations from the floor. Cathy Green was reelected vice president by acclamation.
The trustees' nominee for secretary is Keith Lynch. Ernest's motion that the office be renamed Administrative Assistant was ruled out of order. There were no nominations from the floor. Keith Lynch was reelected secretary by acclamation, with Alexis respectfully abstaining.
The trustees' nominee for treasurer is Bob MacIntosh. Keith Lynch nominated Bill Berg. Steve said he wasn't eligible, as his life membership had expired. Bob MacIntosh was reelected treasurer by acclamation.
The trustees' nominees for trustees were Lee Gilliland, Ernest Lilley, and Barry Newton. Someone nominated Steve, but he declined. Madeleine nominated Ivy Yap, but Ivy wasn't eligible as she hadn't paid her dues. There were no other nominations from the floor. Lee Gilliland, Ernest Lilley, and Barry Newton were elected trustees by acclamation.
Lee complained that for a long time people kept running out of pens, but ever since she bought a box of them, nobody had ever used them. [Not true -- the secretary had taken two.]
The trustees' nominee for Capclave 2007 chair is Kathleen Cahill. Several people corrected Steve, saying her first name is Colleen, not Kathleen. He tried again: The trustees' nominee for Capclave 2000 chair is Colleen Cahill. After he was corrected on the year, there were no nominations from the floor, so Colleen Cahill was elected Capclave 2007 chair by acclamation.
The newly elected officers will take office on the first meeting in June.
Lee made the usual final announcement: Chairs are to be moved to the edges of the room after adjournment.
The election meeting was adjourned at 10:10 pm. 16½ minutes.
The last people left at midnight.
It was cool, breezy, and overcast.
Summary of 5/6/05 meetings:
“Let's see if I've grasped the essence of your argument,” said Morrie the Critic resting an elbow on the yellow formica table top. “From about the onset of the Industrial Revolution back in the old days, we happy humans have been burning fossil fuels, mostly carbonaceous--wood, coal, oil, natural gas, used tires, and the like--in what you called “geologically significant” quantities. An unintended side effect of all this power generation, steel making, and backyard barbequeing has been the venting of lots and lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Human activity providing a source far in excess of whatever natural sinks may exist, so that more carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere every year. We know this to be true because the levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing ever since we figured out how to measure the stuff back in 1800 something.”
“So far so good,” I told him. “Centuries of analytical chemistry confirm our judgment, and as these greenhouse gases accumulate, they warm the earth, as the more recent science of paleoclimatology tells us. You look skeptical if not downright dubious? The how is easy; all these greenhouse gases make the atmosphere less transparent to infrared, which means that after each photon of raw sunlight comes in, it is degraded to heat, and this heat takes longer to escape as a photon of infrared radiation. Hey, if your car's radiator loses efficiency your engine runs warmer, right? So if the earth loses efficiency as a radiator, the earth's surface also becomes warmer.”
“A clear night will be colder than a cloudy one,” conceded Morrie. “So I am willing to stipulate that, yes, the human generated greenhouse gases are indeed warming up the climate. I may even concede your hyper alarmist point that in a century or two the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps will melt down completely to set the sea level to rising by meters instead of millimeters. That melting is already underway, to the distress of the polar bears and other arctic fauna, and may indeed take place in the foreseeable future. But your point is?”
I took a sip of beer. “That now is the time to take action against the impending crisis, man, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That we need to stop this catastrophe from happening.”
“As Tonto told the Lone Ranger when they were surrounded by hostile Indians, “What do you mean, we, white man?” Who is this “we” you are talking about?”
“The whole world is at risk, so “we” would be the human race as a whole, I guess.”
“Oh, come on. The whole world is a big place, and the risk for London is not the same as the risk for Paris. There will be gains as well as losses, right?
“Probably, but the losses will outweigh any gains.”
Morrie leaned against the wall and pulled a long face. “So why should the Tibetans, say, make sacrifices for the Dutch? Let's face it, the human race wasn't a whole even in the Garden of Eden. We American won't give up our air conditioning and SUVs so the Chinese and Indians can have electric fans and motor scooters. The rich nations won't share, but they can't--they can NOT--stop the poor nations from burning their own coal to make themselves richer. Will the rich nations compete to maintain their advantage? The question answers itself with an emphatic yes. Alas, that the burning fossil fuel should be how a nation gets rich and how it stays that way. To be richer either burn more, or burn smarter, or both. We humans have become addicted to the ease and luxury which those riches provide. Given that the addicts are a vast majority, going cold turkey isn't possible, but there are a few technological fixes which could possibly slow things down a little.”
“Not nuclear power, but maybe solar power and wind power, you think?”
“Why not nuclear, if you're talking about making sacrifices? Maybe if the Greens were asked to make sacrifices they'd shut up about the rest of us. Maybe alternate power sources would help, at least at the margins, so the icecaps melt in two or three hundred years instead of a mere century or two. What sort of sacrifice would you ask people to make in 2005 to defer the day of melting from 2150 to 2300?”
“The human race is making this catastrophe happen, and the human race needs to make it stop!”
Morrie refilled his plastic cup with beer from the plastic pitcher. “No,” he said, taking a sip. “Even if we humans could make it stop, which I doubt, it will be easier to move to high ground--a gradual, incremental process.”
“You don't think we can do anything?”
“Not really,” he shook his head. “Try to get a consensus about oh, say, gasoline mileage for example. Congress passed laws back in the 70s, if you remember. But laws have loopholes, and since the American people wanted big vehicles, they bought SUVs and light trucks when they couldn't get big cars. On the other hand, the ocean rising is just a fact. Moving people to high ground won't require any sort of consensus because it just needs to be done, and done right away.”
“But it's crazy to wait, Morrie! If we can stop the ocean from rising, we need to do it.”
He shrugged and pulled a long face. “It would be nice, if we could do it, but that's one big if. See, the greenhouse gases are already at record levels, and climbing, okay? The one family of gases we did stop producing, the chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, still linger in the air, and it will take God knows how long to purify the atmosphere of CFCs. How long would it take for the record levels of CO2 to return to what we had at the start of the Industrial Revolution, the good old IR? Nobody knows, nobody can even make a guess, but it's a pretty safe bet that system Gaea--the world interacting with itself--is ponderous and massive and slow to change.” Morrie sighed. “See, an icecap doesn't care if it melts. The ocean doesn't care if the mean high tide rises. Only humans worry about those things, and most humans have lots of other things to worry about. If the winds of change are blowing it's silly to think that the status quo we know and love can kept in place. Remember King Canute and the tides?”
“Yeah,” I said. “He was on the beach at Southampton trying to make a point to his courtiers, who were telling him, “You da man, King!” when he knew otherwise. A hell of a way to be remembered.”
“Well, the United Nations and global warming is pretty much the same thing. Or whoever steps up to make the tides roll back. For us the IR is not only history, it's the way we live, and we're stuck with the consequences that flow from its unintended side effects.”
“You are a bloody pessimist.”
Morrie took a swallow of beer. “And you are a dreamer. At least we pessimists are grounded in reality.”
I scowled. “The consequences of doing nothing are just too bloody awful to contemplate.”
“As a critic I make my living contemplating awful things. You want me to try my hand at global warming?”
“Well, since you think nothing can be done about it, why not? Maybe you can talk yourself into changing your fine Italian mind.”
“Jewish, actually, though my mother's mother was born in Italy, near Milan. We'll figure 200 years to melt the icecaps, and because we're trying to look into the future, we have two events certain that will happen when they happen, but which can't be dated with any precision. The first, of course, is that we happy humans will run out of fossil fuels at the end of the IR era. Whether we replace our well-consumed fossil fuels with solar power or whatever won't make any difference except to us. To Gaea, no more greenhouse gases is what will be making the difference.”
“Right, okay. How long to this end of the fiscal millennia?”
“Who knows? At a guess, one to ten thousand years. We're already halfway through the oil, but we have lots and lots of coal.” He took a sip of beer. “The second will be the purging of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. It will be carbonic acid eroding hard rock as acid raid tries to wear down all those newly up thrust mountains like the Andes, Rockies and Himalayas. Again we need to make a guess, and again we pick one to ten thousand years, because who knows, really? Put them together, and that's a minimum of maybe 2,000 years with a maximum of 20,000 years.”
“Well, by then I guess the human race will be used to all those post-glaciation mean high tide lines. After 20,000 years they'll probably confuse New Orleans with the Lost Atlantis.”
“Or maybe sooner,” he agreed. “2,000 years is a long, long time for humans, and 20,000 years is just unthinkably long. We look back, and as far as any traces lingering in human memory, the furthest we can see with any certainty is Noah's flood around 5,000 BC, give or take a little, when the melting glaciers at the end of the last ice age set the world ocean arising and the Mediterranean broke through the Dardanelles to flood the Black Sea Lake. That lake was fresh water swollen from the glacier melt, on the shores of which were huddled all these people who had recently discovered farming.”
“Yeah, yeah.” I took a sip of beer. “And those shores were way below sea level and they were receding because of the Little Dryas, the cold, dry spell in northern Europe which was caused by the melt water from the glaciers on North America pushing the Gulf Stream way to the south.”
“So the farmers kept following the shoreline to be near the fresh water, and bang! One day the world ocean comes pouring through.” Morrie shook his head. “You get flooded out like that, you don't forget it, and the event is celebrated in song and story forever after. But for a glacier, now, that's not very long at all. See, we've taken ice cores from the frozen heart of Antarctica, a whole bloody mile, or whatever it was, of carefully extracted ice laid down one season at a time, and when we read it, the record goes back 750,000 years. And what it shows, that record, is one damn glaciation after another in a regular cycle of freeze and melt, freeze and melt. Seven of them, each one lasting about 100,000 years with the interglacial periods running about what, maybe 7,000 years? Just about the time it took from Noah's flood to the present day.”
“You think that maybe without all those IR greenhouse gases we'd be back in Glacier City?”
Morrie laughed and emptied the pitcher into his cup. “Not necessarily. A lot of the time we moderns give ourselves too much credit for whatever current wonders are amazing the contemporary yokels, and consider that our ancestors were a bunch of ignoramuses that needed enlightenment by a posse of Ufopians in a flying saucer. Not so. The current interglacial period was already running a bit past its time when the IR happened, so why was the next glaciation late?”
“You're going to tell me, aren't you?”
“Would I have raised the question to leave you in suspense? Surely I would not! I will admit that I don't know, nobody does, but I can make a surmise.”
I smiled wanly. “For the purpose of this discussion, even a half-assed surmise would appear to be more than adequate.”
“Thank you, thank you kindly, and in gratitude I will spare you the tenuous and inferential evidence supporting it. The invention of agriculture--roughly 11,000 years ago--also released a lot of human generated greenhouse gases. Partly by clearing land for farming, maybe 8,000 years ago, which kept CO2 from being locked up in wood, and partly by the cultivation of rice, about 5,000 years ago, which released a lot of methane. So agriculture, as an abstract human activity, not to be confused with all the hard work people had to do earn their daily bread, may have generated enough greenhouse gases to keep the glaciers in check. Those ancient, ignorant humans may have been having more of an effect on Gaea than we moderns ever imagined.”
“Well, it figures we moderns will be going on eating,” I said at last. “Maybe that will be sufficient to keep the greenhouse gases at an interglacial level, even after we've burned up all the fossil fuels and the post-Industrial Revolution spike of CO2 has gone back to whatever the hell normal is.”
“That will be far enough in the future so we--you and me, rather than humanity--needn't worry, and humanity figures to pretty much take care of itself. But.”
“But me no buts, Morrie. But what?”
“The glacial period, you know, it cycles. Up and down, and up and down, and by the time we get back to the pre-IR greenhouse levels, we'll be far enough along on the down cycle so that maybe that won't be enough to hold back the next glaciation.”
I studied my empty plastic cup. “Well, if you aren't going to worry about the glaciers melting, the oceans rising, and like that, I guess I don't have to worry about that next glaciation of yours. We aren't all pessimists.”
“If humanity is even around to see it happen,” shrugged Morrie. “More and more our problems are of our own making, and the odds are surely better that we clever humans will find a way to wipe ourselves out than that the glaciers will do it for us.”
First and Third Friday Meetings at the Gillilands' and Ginters', with 28 and 37 people present. Treasury $5,489.21. President Covert Beach asked Secretary Joe Mayhew to fill in a form designed to keep track of which officers attend the meetings, to be made available at the time to nominate the next year's officers. The Secretary agreed to produce such a record, and to publish it at the appropriate time. Disclave '97 chairfan Mike Nelson suggested moving his con from Memorial Day weekend to President's Day weekend. Boskone would make the opposite move. [Neither con was moved. Boskone is still President's Day weekend. Balticon inherited Memorial Day weekend after Disclave abandoned it.] Secretary Joe Mayhew was putting together a collection of photographs relating to WSFA. He also asked for help in identifying some of the faces and places. Two WSFA Journals, ten pages each, were published in June. (Two issues were published almost every month from early 1995 through mid-1996, ending only when editor Joe Mayhew had a heart attack.) Roger Zelazny died on the 14th.
First Friday at the home of Mary Morman and Kent Bloom; Third Friday at the Olivers'. 25 people were at First Friday, with 11 more showing up after adjournment; attendance wasn't taken at Third Friday. Treasury $5,482.60. Mike Walsh estimated that Disclave 1985 would turn in $5,000 to $6,000. We donated $200 to the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. Ron Leonard and Judy Fetter were married. The New Carrollton hotel wanted us back. [Disclaves had been held there the past two years, and would be held there for the next six, and then once more after five years in other locations.] Trustee Joe Mayhew moved that the Club authorize $800 to purchase a Facit memory typewriter for use by the Club Secretary [who was then Ginny McNitt] and other functionaries. The motion passed. [The typewriter was unreliable, and was auctioned off three years later.] The March, April, May and June WSFA Journal was published by Beverly Brandt. It was 15 pages, making it the biggest issue in over ten years. It would be another seven years before a larger issue would be printed (by Lee Strong). In addition to meeting minutes for eight meetings, and a review of seven movies including “Mask,” it had obituaries for Theodore Sturgeon and Dr. Who. [Dr. Who recently came back to life, at least in Britain.]
No WSFA Journal (that I can find a copy of, anyway) was published between December 1974 and August 1978. Nor do I have any other non-Disclave WSFA information from most of that time. Anyone with such information please contact me. The Potomac River Science Fiction Society (PRSFS) was founded; it's still thriving, as described in last August's WSFA Journal.
Meetings on First and Third Friday at Elizabeth Cullen's in DC, with 27 and 22 people present. Treasury $82.20. The WSFA Journal is now accepting stories as well as book reviews. Alexis submitted a story. WSFA Journal #3, dated May/June, was available. Ted White announced he is the Assistant Editor of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.
Meetings on First and Third Sunday at Dot Cole's, with ten and eight people present, including Ted White, but nobody else who has been to WSFA in recent years. Treasury $37.26. Nelson Griggs said UFO expert Donald Kehoe was willing to come any time he wasn't too busy, so long as there was no publicity. Eileen Murphy wondered if he would be willing to talk to the Freelance Writer's Association. Cole apologized for not doing much for publicity; a new job had been keeping him busy. He did put up one WSFA poster at a library. Eileen Murphy said the Nelson Griggs administration had accomplished one good thing: fixing the gavel. Joe Vallin reviewed “The 50 Minute Hour,” which he said was a selection of true psychoanalytic stories.
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 Vice President Cathy Green at 9:20 pm on May 20th, 2005 in the downstairs of the Madigans' in Greenbelt, Maryland, the usual third Friday location.
In attendance were Vice President Cathy Green, Secretary Keith Lynch, all three trustees (Adrienne Ertman, Barry Newton, and Steven Smith), Michael Bush, Carolyn Frank, Alexis Gilliland, Erica and Lydia Ginter, Kindra Gresham, Tamara and Twinkle Griesel, Paul Haggerty, Chris and Shirl Hayes, Scott Hofmann, Eric Jablow, Bill Lawhorn, Ernest Lilley, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Candy and John Madigan, Michael Nelson, Judy Newton, Joe Radko, George Shaner, Gayle Surrette, Adele Tyhurst, and Madeleine Yeh. 31 people. Jim Kling and Ivy Yap were marked present, but weren't seen by the secretary. Mike Bartman, Evan Phillips, and William Squire showed up after the meeting.
TREASURY: The treasurer wasn't present, and hadn't provided his report to the secretary or to anyone else present.
CAPCLAVES: None of the three chairfen were present. Barry Newton said we have 51 paid members. We need over 300 to break even. He is accepting money if anyone wants to buy a membership today. The hotel is accepting reservations. Kathi Overton is working with the AFI to see if we can do a film festival there, either theirs or perhaps our own film program running at the AFI. Fliers are up at Baltimore's Pratt Library, and need to be up in more libraries. The four-page fliers are here, and are ready to be folded and stuffed in envelopes immediately after the meeting. Mike Nelson has bookmarks; they're on the table upstairs next to the food. Paul Haggerty has updates for the website; they include the bookmarks and the four-page fliers. [Keith has since updated the website.] The Columbus and Chicago Worldcon bids will be hosting parties at Capclave. Laura Ann Gilman will be hosting an “east coast untethered poker game” on the party floor at Capclave. Capclave memberships will be available for sale at the Future Washington book release party at Readercon. We have dodo puppets and a duck pond; both will be at Balticon. The website needs content, which should be provided to Paul or Gayle.
Walter Miles is in charge of the Capclave program; Mike Nelson has urged him to provide program information for the website. Tamara volunteered to host a biology panel. Adrienne, who just got an A in organic chemistry, volunteered to be on it.
Shirl said she and Candy are going to a festival tomorrow at which there will be many SF fans; she volunteered to take fliers to hand out from her booth. George Shaner said all the fliers he took to the Tysons-Pimmit Library and to Hole-in-the-Wall Books in Falls Church are gone, and asked if there are more. Mike Nelson said fliers can be downloaded from the website.
Barry said Colleen Cahill, the Capclave '07 chair, needs a hotel liaison and other volunteers. He also pointed out that 2007 will be WSFA's 60th anniversary.
WORLD FANTASY '03: Nobody had anything to report.
ENTERTAINMENT: Alexis said that Lee said that Pamela Anderson said that Paris Hilton won't read restaurant menus, but insists on them being read to her, because she doesn't like to read.
ACTIVITIES: Lee Gilliland wasn't present.
PUBLICATIONS: The secretary said that April and May WSFA Journals are available. [By the end of the evening one April and five Mays were taken.] Submissions are eagerly solicited for the WSFA Journal; we will print almost anything. Ernest reiterated his offer to let us reprint material from SFRevu. Alexis mentioned our “This Month in History” column. Bill Lawhorn said that column is “actually kind of neat”. Eric suggested reprinting all Star Wars reviews from past WSFA Journals. Keith said it's been a while since we've printed our bylaws and constitution in the Journal.
BOOK: Ernest said we have made retrograde progress on Future Washington. ARCs were distributed at the previous meeting. Keith Lynch proofread it and submitted corrections. Eric also caught some errors that Keith missed. We lost our publicist. There will be a wine & cheese reception at Readercon. He has a blurb from Washington Post Book Editor Michael Dirda. He said the only response he got when he announced that was a question about why Dirda doesn't attend WSFA meetings, from “Mr. Lynch”. Keith Lynch said that he must mean Richard Lynch, since the only thing Keith emailed him in response to that blurb was a correction for a typo in it. Ernest said he found a contract on the net. Cathy said she had sent him a contract.
The secretary was asked what business was done at our previous meeting. He replied that at the previous meeting, at the Gillilands' on May 6th:
Ernest said that Keith's report reminded him that the Fort McHenry Tunnel was backed up because it's preferred by motorists who have passengers. This is called carpool tunnel syndrome.
Mike Nelson moved that that pun be struck from the record. His motion failed for lack of a second.
The secretary said that now that we have June and July sorted out, it's time to think about August. The Worldcon, Interaction in Glasgow, will be during August's First Friday.
Most people present, including the Gillilands, will be in town. So the consensus was to hold a meeting at the Gillilands', as usual, and to not hold a parallel meeting in Glasgow.
Mike Nelson said there will be a DC in 2011 Worldcon bid party at Interaction in Glasgow on the evening of Thursday, August 4th.
Candy, our hostess, made several announcements: Don't feed the dog chocolate. The white bunny bites. She will be going to bed early, since she's getting up early to attend a fairy festival, which is also a crafts fair. When she goes to bed, coats will be moved to the living room, but people don't need to leave; John will continue to host. If you want sodas she doesn't have, tell her, and she'll get them next time. If there's toilet paper all over the bathroom floor, it's because she hasn't been in there to clean up since the dog ate the last roll. Monday is Kindra's 15th birthday.
Keith asked Candy if she had had the rabbits since they were small. When she said yes, he replied that that sounded like a hare-raising experience.
In response to that pun, Alexis moved to impeach. His motion failed for lack of a second.
The secretary made the usual announcement: Announcements should be submitted in writing, or via the email address on the cover of the WSFA Journal, or via the email address on the website. Also, there's a sign-in sheet circulating, and everyone, old or new, should check off their name or write it in.
Shirl has a new job as tech writer/software release analyst at NASA.
Adele also has a new job, and plans to start looking for her own place, a one-bedroom apartment.
Tamara said she and her husband have started a new human genetics experiment; results are due in January. [Presumably this is the mysterious “Twinkle Griesel” written in, with a smiley face, on the sign-in sheet.]
Ernest said Drew Bittner is getting married in New Jersey this weekend. Ernest helped him move “debris” from his apartment to make room for his spouse, and said without making a perceptible dent in the apartment they had filled a five by ten foot container with action figures and comics.
Adrienne got an A on her organic chemistry final exam.
Nicki said this is Eliza Doolittle day, when we're all supposed to eat chocolates, wear hats, and speak like a Cockney.
Keith Lynch said that, as he reported at the last meeting, he has a new job, as a proofreader. He's working alongside Ted White, who got him the job. The bad news is that it's exactly halfway between two Metro stations. The good news is that those stations are Farragut West and Farragut North.
Eric asked if that means he's working in the middle of Farragut Square. Keith said no, but he has a view of it from his office. He clarified that the view is through another office and a conference room, but he does have a window, albeit only into a window well. The building was built in the 1920s, and looks more like something from The Three Stooges than like something from Dilbert.
NEW TRADITION (as it was once called): It was Michael Bush's first meeting, and Joe Radko's third.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 pm. 25 minutes.
A few people were still present when the secretary left at midnight.
It was cool and damp. It had rained earlier, and the pavement was still wet.
Summary of 5/20/05 meeting:
June marks the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity.
He started with the premise that all laws of nature are exactly the same regardless of one's speed or direction, so long as one's speed isn't varying. In other words, there is no preferred frame of reference.
From this it followed that the speed of light in vacuum must be constant to all observers. He apparently wasn't aware in 1905 that twenty years earlier Michaelson and Morley had directly observed that the speed of light is constant.
This is rather remarkable, as it means that if a flash of light passes both of us just as we pass each other, one second later that flash of light is exactly 299,792,458 meters from you, and is also exactly 299,792,458 meters from me, even though we're no longer in the same place.
There's a simple, though unintuitive, geometric explanation. Think of a trellis -- one of those folding latticework things used for growing vines on, or for keeping toddlers off the basement stairs. Notice how squeezing it will make it taller and at the same time proportionately narrower. (Ok, it isn't quite proportional. Pretend it is.) Imagine the trellis at a 45 degree angle, so that the lines connecting the junction points aren't vertical or horizontal, as they usually are, but diagonal. Horizontal distance represents ordinary distance, and vertical distance represents time. As you squeeze or stretch it, the 45 degree diagonals, which represent the speed of light, remain 45 degrees, implying that the speed of light hasn't changed, but the formerly horizontal lines which represented all of space at some given instant are now slanted. This implies that events which are simultaneous to one observer are not simultaneous to another. Indeed, even the order of events can get reversed. This doesn't give rise to any time-travel paradoxes, since this can only happen with events which can't be gotten between at less than or equal to the speed of light. And as far as we know, no matter, energy, or -- more important -- information, can ever go faster than light.
In other words space and time are not two different things. What is space to one observer is a mixture of space and time to another. What is time to one observer is a mixture of time and space to another. What is constant is the difference between the squares of the two quantities, if they're put into units where the speed of light is 1.
However, space and time are not the same thing, and can't be totally converted into each other. Any path between two events which contains more space than time to one observer will contain more space than time to all other observers. Such a path can't be traversed, as far as we know. Any path between two events which contains more time than space to one observer will contain more time than space to all other observers.
This theory is central to many SF stories. Especially the way people who travel at close to the speed of light will experience less time. And the fact that if you could somehow go faster than light, you could also travel back through time.
Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity should not be confused with his General Theory of Relativity. He developed the latter about a decade later. His General Theory of Relativity adds the additional premise that all laws of nature are exactly the same in a gravitational field as in an accelerated frame of reference. In other words there is no way to tell whether you're in a sealed room on earth or in an accelerating rocket in empty space far from any significant gravitational field. And conversely, there's no way to tell whether you're floating in a stationary room in empty space far from any significant gravitational field, or whether you're in a rapidly falling room close to earth's surface.
(Strictly speaking, this is only true over an arbitrarily small volume. Two plumb-bobs in an accelerating rocket will be parallel, while on earth they will generally both point towards the earth's center, i.e. they will converge very slightly over the width of a large room.)
General Relativity implies that space-time is curved. If you were to circumnavigate the Earth as Magellan's crew did, while keeping very careful track of how far around you had gone, you would find that the earth's surface doesn't quite comprise 360 degrees. It's about one inch short. That missing inch is due to the curvature of space.
General Relativity makes weird predictions, including black holes, gravitational waves, and that space and time may curve back on themselves.
Both the Special and General Theories of Relativity have been thoroughly tested, and have passed every test. I should mention, however, that the General Theory has only been tested in weak gravitational fields. And that it's not really compatible with quantum mechanics, which has also been thoroughly tested, and passed every test. Unfortunately it's difficult to set up an experiment that directly forces those two theories into a conflict. What we need is a way of making quantum black holes.
Einstein made two other major discoveries in 1905. I'll describe them in future issues of The WSFA Journal.
Colleen Cahill, Bob MacIntosh, and dodos at the Capclave table at Balticon 39
The Capclave table at Balticon 39 was the work of a lot of people, and my special thanks go to Bob MacIntosh, who spent a great deal of Balticon at the booth, as well as to Cathy Green, Sam Lubell, Erica Ginter, Keith Lynch, Michael Nelson, Bill Jensen, and Barry and Judy Newton. If I forgot or did not see someone else, my apologies and thanks! Barry is responsible for the dodos, which were a huge hit and got us a lot of attention. The duck pond worked well despite the fact that the ducks I got tended to absorb water and get rather soggy.
We not only put out the good word about Capclave, but we had fun with sinking ducks, attacking the Ravencon/Nth Degree table with planes, atoms, ducks and even the universe, and watching the dodos defend us from alien invaders, plus generally having a great time. We certainly had the silliest staff at any table!
Yes, we do now have 102 paying memberships (Yea Capclave!). My thanks to Ernest Lilley for the great signs and Michael Nelson for the bookmarks and cards. I am very hopeful that we will get even more memberships due to this good ground-laying work.
Oh, and my thanks to Mike Walsh for lending us a Hugo, a Howard (World Fantasy Award) and lots of books, which also generated quite a bit of traffic at the table.
Here are the last of the time travel itineraries from SMOFcon 22, continued from the previous five issues. They were all handwritten, so please forgive any errors of the secretary's in transcription.
This concludes SMOFcon Time Travel.
A father and his son lived in a little stone cottage. It was a warm home. The gifts of the field and forest always graced his table. Flowers from the woodlands and the father's gardens filled the home. The boy lived in love and wonder at the world. He would hear the song of the sparrow and return the melody; he would play hide and seek with the rabbits and the deer; he would sit on the shores of the pond and feel its warmth and love. He was filled with the spirit of life in his home.
His father was different. Although he would accept the gifts upon his doorstep of flowers and meal, he would rarely venture out to taste the sweetness of life of his land.
The boy and his father would sit down at their evening meal and the boy would chatter on about all the gossip he learned from his woodland friends. He would tell of the pond and the sparrows, of the sprites and the elves, and he would sing the songs he learned from them.
The father could not feel the joy of the music that his son could. He tolerated the chatter and the gossip and the music, but said nothing. Finally, his patience broke. “I wish you wouldn't do that!” he said. “What?” said the boy.
“Your music. Your endless stories. I want you to stop it,” the father replied.
“But why?” the boy asked.
“Because I said so,” said the father, and that was that. The rest of the dinner was spent in sullen silence. The father would not tell his boy why he had lashed out at him.
Sleep time came and went. In the morning the boy went out again to visit his forest friends. He heard the deep slow voice of the hills, climbed and hugged the trees, and learned many new songs. In the evening he came home and over dinner he began to tell his father all the different tales of the wood. He talked about the deep hill voice, and the trees, and began singing his new songs.
After a few minutes of the music, his father raised his voice and said, “No. I will not have that music in my home. If you want to sing you can do it outside, but not in my home, and not at the dinner table.” “But why?” the boy asked.
“Because I said so,” said the father. “Don't make me do something that we'll both regret.”
Another night was spent in sullen, hurt silence. Why was his father doing this? The boy was only sharing his love by talking about all of the things that he loved... Why was his father doing this?
The next day dawned clear and bright. The boy went once more into the world. He went wading in the streams, talking to the frogs. He touched the nose of a bear, but the forest was whispering to him. He listened and heard a deeper song, far richer than any taught to him by the elves or the sprites. The music touched his soul and healed him.
When he came home for dinner, the spirit of the forest was deep within him. He told his father of all his experiences, of the whispering of the wood, and of its rhythm, and beat, and song. Without thinking, he began singing the song of the wood.
Before he could go far, his father stood up and said, “No! I will not have it. I will not have this music at my table, and I will not have it my home. You will stop singing now!”
But the spirit of the forest was too strong and the boy sang a song more beautiful and rich than any had been heard before. He could not hear his father and sang on.
“YOU WILL STOP NOW!!” the father shouted and struck his son. The boy was shocked into silence.
“You will not hear me when I say no music! You will not do what I tell you to do! You have no respect for my wishes! You leave me no other option. You have to leave this house and never return! Never!” “But... But why?” the boy asked.
“Because I said so” said the father.
“But why?” the boy asked again.
“It doesn't matter,” said the father. “You won't do what I tell you to do, and you won't listen when I tell you again and again not to do something. That is reason enough. I will not have this disobedience in my home. Since you cannot live by the rules I set down in my home, you don't have to live in it. Leave my home, and leave me!”
The boy was so shocked that he could not move.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” the father shouted. “Do I have to throw you out myself?”
The boy still couldn't move.
The father grabbed his son by the arm and lifted him to his feet, propelling him to the door. “Go! You know the way! Be with your forest friends and don't ever come back!”
With heavy heart, the boy, the father's son, opened the door and passed into the night.
Five years passed, then ten.
The boy, surrounded by his forest friends, grew into manhood. The song of the forest still soared within his soul. He would walk and dance with the woodland spirits, tumble with the bears, play hide and seek with the squirrels and deer, and share with all the song of the wood. He healed the birds of broken wing, and all the creatures knew to seek him out if aid or solace were needed. He was one with the wood and lived happily for many long years.
But he always remembered the father he left behind and wondered what ever became of him...
The father fared not so well. After banishing his son, a well of grief rose within him, but he could not share it with anyone. His heart grew cold and hard. The offerings that the forest folk left on his doorstep became fewer. The flowers left were wilted and old. His home became dark, as if all the brightness and love had abandoned it.
He often wondered what had become of his son, but pride and fear kept him from seeking him out. So, he lived his days in his stone cottage, his gardens growing wild, and his spirit dim.
One day as the father was gazing out at his old garden, he heard a song in the air. The music was hauntingly familiar, as an old melody drifting within his memories. He looked up and saw a young man entering his gardens. The song flowed all around him and flowers filled his hair. Bunny rabbits pranced in front of him, and an old stag stood in the forest beyond.
The young man entered, looked around, saw the little cottage with the old man peering from beyond the door. He smiled to himself, bent down, and began tending the garden.
“Hey, now!” the old man cried. “I want none of your kind here! You go back into the woods that spawned you, and leave an old man alone!” The young man heard, but paid him no heed. Each flower and bush felt his touch, and remembered. Slowly, tentatively, they began to flower again. The days stretched to weeks. Morning would come and the old man would hear that strangely familiar song. The young man emerged from the wood, the song following wherever he went, touching flower and herb, bush and tree. He would see the young man bid the vines and weeds which choked the garden to pull back from the flowers and fruits to trail instead to the wood. The garden grew lush once more.
The old man would shout to the younger man, but it did no good. The younger man would not do what he said, would not leave him alone.
After a while, the fruits of the forest began to appear again on his doorstep, followed shortly by flowers from his garden.
With the first flower, the old man shed a tear. It was the first tear he had shed since that time so long ago that he had banished his son. That anyone could treat him so good after all he had done was beyond him. Didn't this person know? Why should he help him?
One day, all that was left was a large bouquet of irises. He recognized them as the first flowers that he had ever planted in his garden, the flowers that his wife, dead these many years, had loved.
One tear became five, and soon he was crying out his grief for his wife who had left him so long ago. He cried until he could cry no more.
Gingerly, he lifted the flowers and brought them inside. He set them on the dinner table and looked on them with longing and regret.
He began to remember the happy times that they had shared, happy memories, when the world was much younger, and newer, and fresh. He remembered the life the two of them had brought into the world, remembered how she had died with that birth, with their son... and his heart turned cold again... But he kept the irises as a reminder of her joy and love.
One day he was left a bouquet of roses. The rose had always been his favorite, and he remembered the warmth and the happiness that they had brought him. These roses had colors more vibrant and fragrances sweeter than any he could recall planting. It reminded him of days when he and his wife would walk his garden, and of memories of his son.
The tears came again, stronger, deeper. Sadness and grief for mistakes of the past, and his losses. The roses stayed fresh for a long, long time, as if reminding him of his own love, and as his tears cleared he could look upon the roses, his roses, and remember his love, and his wife's, and his son's.
His garden was taking on a life of its own. The flowers filled every nook and cranny; the fruit trees were filled with large, succulent treasures; the trees and the plants would dance in the wind, and a deep, mysterious melody played through.
One day, all that was left was a single daisy. Only one. After all the treasures of the months before, just a single flower, a daisy, his son's favorite.
The old man didn't know what to do. It was his son's, but his son was gone these many years. He looked at it, afraid to touch it, afraid to pick it up, to hold it. He looked at it for so long.
Finally, the old man sat down on his doorstep, reached down and picked up the daisy. He started to remember the happy times he had spent with his child, the love and the joy, the music that had been brought into his home.
And he cried. Cried for all the old hurts kept bottled up for so long, cried for his son, cried for himself, and cried for all of the hurts that came from sending his child away.
How long he cried, he never knew, cradling the flower like the son that had gone, wishing he could see him, wishing he could apologize for sending him away. Crying, and crying, and crying.
As his tears began to dry, and he made his peace with his memories, he gazed again into his garden to see the young man working there. The song of his melody still wove itself about him, and the old man began to remember when he had heard it first, remembered that fateful day so long ago that he sent his son away, remembered it as the music his son had made, that this young man played...
It was his son. It has to be. My son, back. Why didn't I see? My son. My SON!... But, what do I do? What do I say? That young man, I've tried to get him to leave me alone, and he wouldn't. But he's my SON! But what do I say? How can I talk to him? He's back! But... but what do I say???
The old man looked down at the daisy, still held tight in his hands. Looked down and remembered the happy times, the love.
“Son?” he whispered barely heard.
The young man in the garden looked up. “Father,” was all he said. “Son. Son is it really you?” he whispered.
“It's always been me, Father,” the young man said. “I've always been here, ever since I came back.”
The old man looked at his new found son, tears brimming in his eyes. “Why didn't you ever say something?” he asked.
“I've always been telling you, Father,” his son replied, “You just couldn't hear me.”
“Son,” the old man breathed. “My son. Oh, my wonderful son. I have so missed you. I want to hear all that you have done. Come back home and we'll talk just like old times...”
The young man looked sadly at his father. “No, Father, I cannot do that.” “But, Son...”
“Father,” he said, “you sent me from your home so long ago. It is no longer my home. I cannot return to it. I will not.”
“Come to the garden, Father,” the young man whispered. “Come to the garden. Come see what I've done. It is yours after all.”
Torn between leaving his safe refuge and seeing the son he had thought long dead, the old man tentatively entered his garden. He had not stepped foot within since before his son had left so many years before.
He was no longer sure what to expect.
As he stepped into it, strange sensations began. His old tired legs filled with life. The flowers on either side reached out to touch him as he passed, as if renewing an acquaintance. As he walked deeper into the garden, the life began to fill him. He was surrounded by flowers and fruits, animals played at his feet, and the melody filled the air.
As he walked toward his son, the years seemed to melt from him. The old graying hair became flush and full once more, his wooden gait faded and was nearly replaced by a dance. He felt younger than he had in years.
There are no corrections to May's issue. It was perfetc, as usual.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed material. We have a new artist, Hugo-nominated Steve Stiles. He's donated enough material to last over a year. The Balticon photo is by Ernest Lilley.
The deadline for July's issue is Fourth Friday, June 24th. Earlier if possible. Later is good, too, if you don't mind your submission not appearing until the August issue. As always, I eagerly solicit material. Fannish autobiographies, reviews of books, movies, and fanzines, reports on cons, reports on scientific discoveries and talks, letters of comment, cartoons, essays, thoughts about the future of Capclave, WSFA, and fandom, and pretty much anything else that you think WSFA members would enjoy reading.
I will have an article on another of Einstein's three 1905 discoveries. I will also have an article on perfect pangrams.