The WSFA Journal
Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association
December 2005 – ISSN 0894-5411
Ernest Lilley, Editor / Gayle Surrette, Assistant Editor
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This and previous issues of the journal may be seen by going to www.wsfa.org
From the Editor…
“THE WSFA JOURNAL shall be scheduled for monthly publication and shall include the Secretary's minutes, committee reports and other records and information pertaining to club business as well as other suitable material of interest to the membership. – From the Bylaws Of The Washington Science Fiction Association, Inc.”
Having assumed the editorship of the Journal in mid-stream, it seems like a good idea to take a moment to share with you where I think the Journal is, and where I’d like to take it next. Well, maybe not a good idea…but when has that ever stopped anyone?
Firstly, stranger things have happened, but I’m not planning on taking either the role of WSFA Secretary or Journal editor (which more or less comes with the title) on beyond the end of the current term, which runs out at the first regular meeting in June. Coincidentally, I’ll be moving down to Norfolk, VA towards the end of June to assume my role as “command spouse” beside my gal, EJ McClure, who is taking command of the USN Destroyer Arleigh Burke (DDG58), her first command. I expect to be up regularly for meetings, even so…but the commute is going to be…difficult.
As most of you know, I’m also the editor of the online publication SFRevu (www.sfrevu.com). Gayle Surrette, who’s graciously agreed to be assistant editor (Huzzahs for Gayle, please.) is the Managing Editor for same. Many of you know this because we regularly hound you for reviews. We’ll be using some of those reviews here as well, though by no means all, and we should have a substantial amount of original material to publish exclusively here. To that end, please send us submissions and announcements (see masthead).
The November issue of the Journal was 26 pages long, and as goes for many of us after Thanksgiving, I’d like to see it go on a diet. My target is 12 pages…but we know how diets are, and we may not get to eat (use) everything we’d like.
All that said, this is an evolutionary process, and we’ll see what the effect of cosmic rays and my efforts are as time goes on.
Ernest Lilley – Editor
Following up on an excellent job putting together a new website for Capclave 2005, which they’re continuing to maintain for the 2006 Capclave, Paul Haggerty and Gayle Surrette have agreed to take over as WSFA Webmasters. As this issue goes to “press” we’re still in the process of transferring the administration of the website, but we hope to have it up and the wrinkles ironed out by the time the next issue comes out.
New Trustee – Elizabeth (Celeste) Twitchell
Born in the wilds of Central Florida, Elizabeth Twitchell has never outgrown her southern roots. The descendent of four generations of Floridians, she's allergic to the cold, wears sandals in all weather, and has an unholy love of grits. Five years in the comparatively northern climate of Alexandria, VA have not changed any of this. A relative newcomer to "organized" fandom, Elizabeth has been involved in online fandom since the fall of 1994, when she went to college and was introduced to a wonderful thing called Usenet. She proceeded to earn a bachelors degree from the University of Florida in "arguing about the X-men". Prior to that, she had a few embarrassing moments as a regular attendee at Necronomicon, the annual Tampa convention, and a early love for the works of Mercedes Lackey leading to correspondence and nascent fanfiction about heralds.
Since those early days, Elizabeth has expanded her fannish activities to include conventions, parties, discussions, meetings and more. She likes to think that her taste in literature has improved as well, stretching from fantasy to cyber punk. Trade associations of the real estate industry have provided her with legitimate employment, and a way of funding her forays into organized fandom. As of 2006, Elizabeth should be attending Johns Hopkins University to earn a masters degree. Her likely thesis topic will be "Stargate: Bad Acting? Bad Writing? Or Both?"
World Fantasy 2006 by Kat Bittner
Elspeth Kovar, Mike Walsh, Colleen Cahill, Paul Haggerty, Gayle Surrette, Drew and Kat Bittner all attended this year’s World Fantasy in Wisconsin, this past month. Kat Bittner, our newest club member, reports. Capclave was her first con, and World Fantasy her second, she’s certainly off to the right start! Ed.
Still slightly fresh from my initial introduction to fandom from Capclave, I was off to another literary adventure, World Fantasy. Madison, Wisconsin welcomed this newcomer with a display in its entire fall splendor. We were slingshot from the airport to the convention. I barely had time to browse through my swag bag when the first panel began.
Gender Bending Fiction at times felt like a plug for the James Tiptree Awards and Anthology. But, I did come out of it with lots of recommendations: Joe Haldeman, Camouflage and Victoria Butler, Fledgling. From a medical background where hospital war stories prevailed, the Medicine for Writers panel asked such questions as which sword wound would inflict the most damage or survival rates of epic journeys; providing a different lens to see medicine through. Finally, the Philosophy of Fantasy panel certainly lived up to its name. I haven’t witnessed such rhetorical fireworks since my days as a college freshman.
During the autograph session Friday night and the parties that ensued afterwards, I met authors I studied who I never imagined meeting: Joe Haldeman, Jane Yolen, and Walter Jon Williams. It is surreal meeting someone you are more familiar with through font than face. Throughout the event there was the overwhelming feeling that I was surrounded by creative individuals doing what they love to do. It is not only the authors I was impressed by, artists like Mike Dringenberg (who gave me a sketch of my favorite character and he won best art at the contest), editors like Terri Windling, and agents like Sharyn November. Each role that goes into producing the written word became a much more rich and appreciative experience for me as a fan and a reader.
The Influenza Epidemic of
Thoughts by Colleen Cahill
(As appeared in The Knarley Knews, issue 113 (September, 2005) http://people.msoe.edu/~welch/tkk.html;)
My mom tells a story of her father and his service in World War I. After enlistment, the Army discovers Grandpa had a rare talent: he could tell what size clothing a man wore just by looking at him. Years of working in his father's dry-goods store gave Grandpa this ability and so he spent his military service mainly at Battle Creek, Michigan, handing out uniforms. He did this until the influenza epidemic reached that area in 1918.
Grandpa had maintained a correspondence with his future wife up to that date, but suddenly the letters stopped. Grandma was quite concerned and it was not until months later when she saw him marching in the victory parade through their local town that she knew Grandpa was even alive. Grandpa explained that he had been moved from clothing soldiers to organizing burials of bodies that were stacked up like cord wood. He could not bring himself to write home about the horrors he witnessed.
This story came back to me as I was reading The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History by John M. Barry (Viking, 2004, ISBN 0670894737). This history of the epidemic describes not only the influenza, but the reaction of the United States medical community to the disaster. There is a great deal of interesting information here, such as the author's belief that the flu started in Kansas, that more than 100 million people died worldwide and that Woodrow Wilson was struck now by the disease. All of this makes for great reading, but there was one statement, that in the Twentieth Century few authors wrote fiction that incorporated the epidemic in their story line, which struck me as amazing. Yes, World War I had just ended, but for U.S. citizens, it is more likely they lost a family member to the flu than to the War, as this is considered one of the deadliest pandemics ever. Yet this is one of the great forgotten pieces of American history and I suspect if you ask the average man-on-the-street, they might not even be aware it happened.
Why no literature? True, Katherine Ann Porter used it in Pale Horse, Pale Rider, but other than that, there seems to be silence. In fact, my admittedly incomplete research shows that more fiction works have been written since the year 2000 that have the epidemic as an important plot point than any of the years before. The first title I read using this is Charles Dickinson's A Shortcut in Time (Forge, 2003, ISBN 0765305798) and due to my mom's story, I understood why the protagonist was worried when his daughter traveled back in time to 1918. Since then, I have found but not yet read a children's' book on the period (A Doctor Like Papa by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, Harper Collins, 2002, ISBN 0060293195) and a novel not yet published (Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg, Doubleday, ISBN 0385513240). A three to one ratio seems a bit out of kilter, especially as only Porter is likely to have experienced the epidemic personally.
All this makes me ponder if history is more likely forgotten if it is not immortalized in fiction. Without fiction, there is little likelihood of movies, aside from documentaries, being created. And in this media driven society of ours, without movies or TV shows centered on a period, it falls from common memory. Look at what M*A*S*H did to bring the Korean War into the American conciseness. Would it take a movie about the epidemic to also make this part of our national memory again?
Anansi Boys: A Novel by
Review by Drew Bittner.
William Morrow Hardcover: ISBN 006051518X
Date: 20 September 2005 List Price $26.95
Family is embarrassing. Bad enough when they're ordinary humans, who know what gets under your skin. When they're gods, it's just that much worse.
In Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman takes a supporting character from his award-winning book American Gods and kills him off on page one. Mr. Nancy's son, Fat Charlie, who ran off to England to escape myriad inventive humiliations heaped on him by his father, comes back to America for the funeral. Fat Charlie has a mundane and perhaps unsatisfying life—an unfulfilling job, a fiancée with a hellish mother, and a fear of social embarrassment caused by his flamboyant father's pranks—but that life is turned upside-down when he finds he has a brother.
Mr. Nancy, their aged neighbor explains to Fat Charlie, was a god. Specifically, the African god Anansi, the Spider God. And Fat Charlie has a brother. Summoning this brother on a drunken whim, Fat Charlie plays host to Spider, a trickster in Anansi's mold. They go out for a night of wine, women and song, ending with a strange girl named Daisy in Fat Charlie's bed—just as his future mother in law comes to visit about wedding arrangements.
Meanwhile, Spider takes a shine to Fat Charlie's life. This results in his coming between Fat Charlie and Rosie (the fiancée), as well as setting up the hapless brother for trouble with his larcenous boss Grahame Coats. Coats, a theatrical agent, has been stealing from his clients for decades. Spider uncovers this with ease and threatens Coats, causing the boss to take steps to protect himself...
Worse, Spider also pursues Rosie. Once Fat Charlie learns what Spider has done, he returns to Florida and goes on a mystical journey, which ends in a foolish bargain to get rid of Spider. For his part, Spider begins to realize what his meddling has cost Fat Charlie, even as he knows things with Rosie have gone too far.
Coats bring Daisy, who turns out to be a police officer, further into matters. Fat Charlie ends up in jail, but he is broken out in an unexpected fashion. He also comes to realize that his bargain may mean the danger is closer to home than he anticipated. As Coats's schemes begin to unravel and Daisy investigates, Rosie learns more about Spider and Fat Charlie begins to realize a few things on his own. These diverse threads pull together on the island of Saint Andrew. The sons of a dead god must have a final reckoning, settling some accounts of their dad's from the dawn of time…with the fate of the world unexpectedly in the balance.
It seems there are two schools of British humor, the broad farce and the intellectual. Terry Pratchett embodies one and Neil Gaiman here stakes a claim to the other. He has said that Anansi Boys is consciously a "funny book," unlike his other and more serious novels, and he certainly delivers. Fat Charlie is the poor shlub to whom life happens; he is the butt of the joke, the stooge for every prank or mischievous act of God (or gods). His journey of self-discovery, aided by a cabal of neighbor women with secrets of their own, is fun and full of Anansi stories, which Gaiman recounts as a break between various chapters. Spider is the cool brother, an envy-magnet whose smoothness lies in stark contrast to Fat Charlie’s awkward fumbling; he likewise grows considerably, particularly when he realizes how hollow the life of a demigod can be...and what it will take to fill the void in his own existence.
Anansi Boys is a great read, light-hearted and quickly paced, with a rich stew of genres and storytelling archetypes blended together as only Gaiman can. Fans of his comic book works, many short stories and novels will be well rewarded, but new readers can pick up this book and enjoy it just as thoroughly. Highly recommended.
Amazing Adventures from
Zoom's Academy (Amazing Adventures from Zoom's Academy) by Jason Lethcoe
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ballantine Books Paperback: ISBN 0345483553
Date: 25 October 2005 List Price $12.95
Written and illustrated by Jason Lethcoe, Amazing Adventures From Zoom's Academy is the story of Summer Jones' first year at Zoom's Academy. Summer learns her dad has a secret life-- he teaches at Zoom's Academy for the super gifted (everyone has super powers at Zoom's). But, that's not his only secret and Summer has to learn to cope with this new school, new friends, and face her fears. Hero's are sometimes just as afraid as we are they just don't give up.
Summer is thirteen and her parents are divorced and share custody. She's slightly ashamed of her Dad who invents really weird stuff that usually doesn't work. Her mom is super attorney, Queen of her law firm. She hates school because she doesn't fit in or have any friends. She doesn't fit in anywhere and her parents are so different she can't be like them both at the same time and she doesn't know who she is either. Reading this book brought me back to my early teens and I could so empathize with Summer. What child hasn't wished that they could be special so that the other kids would like them and be their friend? I know that doesn't work but at thirteen it's what most of young people dream about. At that age it's common to think that some outside change to your appearance will make everything okay, it's usually not until you're an adult that all that stuff parents tell you about it being who you are inside that really makes the difference makes sense.
Amazing Adventures From Zoom's Academy tries, and I think succeeds, in really getting that message across. Summer is a typical young teen looking for an identity in circumstances that are, except for the super powers and the Academy, typical for most young people.
I'm sure this book will be fun for adults but most children will surely enjoy Summer's klutziness as she begins to suspect she doesn't have any super powers. It's chapters are short and it would make a great read-aloud book for younger children.
King Kong Is Back! : An
Unauthorized Look at One Humongous Ape! by David Brin
Review by Lee Gilliland
Benbella Books Paperback: ISBN 1932100644
Date: 28 November 2005 List Price $17.95
King Kong has been a part of the collective unconscious since the first film. In remake after remake the audience returns. King Kong Is Back! by David Brin takes a look at what makes the big ape so appealing.
One of the delightful things about the upcoming King Kong remake is we get a treat such as David Brin has worked up in King Kong is Back! More than just a collection of short stories, we have reminiscences by James Gunn in "King Kong and 1930s Science Fiction", a very funny essay by Bruce Bethke on why King Kong must always be a period piece, an extremely informative piece by Bob Eggleton on how the film was animated, an absolutely HYSTERICAL send-up on all those silly behind-the-scenes-in-Hollywood PR fluff pieces by David Gerrold entitled "King Kong, Behind the Scenes" and I could go on like this the entire review.
Brin has carefully crafted the book so that you have a nice rhythm going, well-paced in its continuity and imaginative in its order, so that the book can readily be absorbed in its entirety in one sitting, or you can just nibble on it one piece at a time. I found this collection an absolute delight and recommend it highly to any and all who love Kong in all his permutations.
The Journal of Pulse-Pounding
Narratives #2 by Project Pulp
Review by Colleen Cahill
Project Pulp Zine: ISBN REVJPPN2
Date: March 2005 List Price $5.00
Good short stories come from many sources. You can find them in magazines like Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, or you can get them from less well know publications. This is true of the eleven tales in the Journal of Pulse-Pounding Narratives, No. 2, a collection of stories that are at once curious and humorous, serious and fun. It takes the genre of pulp to places you might not expect, with explorations of giants and prisoners, aliens and gangsters.
The sad introduction lets us know that this is the last Journal of Pulse-Pounding Narratives because the "pressures of fame and notoriety" created by the first issue 'broke' the editors. This tongue-in-cheek intro fits in well with the tone of the stories, many of which will bring a smile and even a giggle. The opening work by Scott Edelman, "This is where the title goes," is a splendid anatomy of a pulp tale, narrating from the first sentence to the last, the perfect story. Certainly it is far more informative that most English class descriptions of opening, climax and ending of a story; in fact, it should be read in every beginning writing class. Nor are any of the following stories traditional pulp: Lori Selke brings us a combination of cloning and art in "The exquisite hairpiece," where questions of nurture verse nature are tested with some facial hair of Salvador Dali. Gavin J. Grant presents a dark mood with his "Information exchange: null," with a focus on the madness of a prisoner who has been held for years, but does not seem to have any knowledge of his parent's revolutionary activities. In contrast is James L. Cambias' "Apocrypha," which I think of as 'New Testament Punk,' as Joshua bar-Joseph and his super powered followers try to do good in the corrupt city of Alexandria. "Dubious in Dublin," by Peter Hagelslag, got several giggles from me, as an alien hires Manuel, a Spanish Ph.D. candidate in physics. The alien is unaware that Manuel's day job of International Operator is not about espionage and sabotage, but more about drudging as a computer help desk slave. Jetse De Vries' "The Philistine detectives" also has a light-hearted feel as two hippy time cops are sent to an alternative time line where Joe McCarthy is President and the Summer of Love seems to have been shut down.
Not all these tales are upbeat, some look at the darker side of humans and in the case of Jay Lake's "Twilight of the odd," the Gods. His examination of last battle between the Norse Gods in small town Texas is a cross between an epic and a folk tale, combining good old boys and Earth shaking powers. The blackest story in the collection, "Sunk," by Paul Finch, explores the panic, desperation, and eventual recompense of a murderer who has to keep killing to cover each previous crime. "Lachrymose and the golden egg," by Tim Pratt, follows Larry who spends most of his life in a drug-induced fantasy world with weekly trips for blood donation that pay for his lifestyle. Larry has a disease that will kill him, but his blood serum has properties that will cure Parkinson's and control epilepsy. When his dream world begins to overlap with reality, he finds there might be a cure for him, too. The last story is "Giant Land" by Jeffery Ford, which has the feel of a fairy tale, starting with two men and a woman being held by a giant. To gain their freedom, the men try to persuade the woman to marry the giant. The woman proves to be smarter than the men and the giant, succeeding in her own escape and starting an adventure that is fascinating and unique.
There is not one bad story in this entire collection and it is a steal for the asking price of $5.00. I ordered this online at Project Pulp and it was rushed to my door. For the great writing, the captivating tales, and the surprising plots, I encourage you to get The Journal of Pulse-Pounding Narratives, No. 2.
Science Fiction Quotations
by Edited by Gary Westfahl; Foreword by Arthur C. Clarke
Review by Nicki Lynch
Yale Press PPBK: ISBN 0300108001
Date: Aug 29, 2005 List Price $25.00
I love a good quotation. Knowing a few makes me feel smart, and uttering them makes me look the same. Underneath I can be the poser I really am, but armed with the wit and wisdom of others who's to tell? The eminently quotable Oscar Wilde is often credited with the appropriate, "Good writers borrow. Great writers steal." Which may have transmogrified into "Brilliance borrows, genius steals." but that's the baser half of why we love quotations. The good news is that they distill great thought into bite sized pieces so that we can roll them around in our minds and let them sink in. - Ern
From the book's webpage: In this unprecedented collection of science fiction and fantasy quotations, the reader revisits the stunning moment when Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster first comes to life; witnesses the transformation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde; is present when Bruce Wayne resolves to become Batman; and overhears the cosmic conclusions of The Incredible Shrinking Man. Drawing upon two centuries of the vast and provocative literature of science fiction and fantasy, this comprehensive book presents more than 2,900 quotations from wide-ranging sources, including science fiction and fantasy stories, novels, films, and television programs.
Looking for a quote about science fiction? How about: “A science fiction is a story built around human beings, with a human problem, and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content.’- Theodore Sturgeon, cited in James Blish, “Some Propositions” (1952)
Or “Science fiction is a branch of fantasy identifiable by the fact that it eases the “willing suspension of disbelief: on the part of its readers by utilizing an atmosphere of scientific credibility for its imaginative speculations in physical science, space, time, social science, and philosophy.” -Sam Moskowitz, introduction to Explorers of the infinity (1963)
Not quite? How about:
Jules Verne was my father.
H. G. Wells was my wise Uncle.
Edgar Allen Poe was the bat winged cousin we kept high in the back attic room.
Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers were my brothers and friends.
There you have my ancestry.
Adding, of course, the fact that in all probability Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Author of Frankenstein, was my mother.- Ray Bradbury, introduction to S Is For Space (1996)
These and many more quotes by science fiction notables on all sorts of subjects are in Science Fiction Quotations From the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits, edited by Gary Westfahl with a foreword by Arthur C. Clarke.
Collected from a variety of sources, such as science fiction and fantasy stories, novels, films, and television programs, the quotations range from Actions (“There are times in life when the most comfortable thing is to do nothing at all. Things happen to you and you just let them happen.” – James Hilton, Lost Horizon (1933)) to Work (“Whenever you see a bunch of buggers puttering around talking about truth and beauty and the best way of attacking Ethics, you can bet your sandals it’s because dozens of other poor buggers are doing all the real work around the place.” – Terry Pratchett, Small Gods (1992))
This Yale University Press book has an invaluable Index of Authors, complete with birth and death dates, and Index of Titles of the source material.
If you enjoy browsing quotations on a variety of subjects by a variety of science fiction and fantasy authors, you will enjoy Science Fiction Quotations.
Future Washington Review by Nick Gevers courtesy of Locus Dec 2005 issue
The Washington Science Fiction Association has revived its accompanying Press, and the first product of this resurrection is, appropriately, Future Washington edited by Ernest Lilley. Of course, an overly specialized theme, the requirement that every story be set in the District of Columbia in years to come can cripple an anthology, and there is a certain sameness to the stories assembled here. Much predictable political satire, obvious jokes about past presidents, indulgence in partisan point scoring: there’s a depressing surfeit of all this on offer. Still, there remains a solid core of competent-to-good stories: Cory Doctorow’s novella, Human Readable, an intelligent dramatization of pressing issues regarding trademark protection and the accessibility of IT, although with an overly cutesy love affair thrown in; Civil Disobedience, Joe Haldeman’s glimpse of global warming catching up with the Capital; Hail to the Chief by Allen M. Steele, a rowdy farce premised on the utter degeneration of the two party system; and Tigers in the Capitol, in which Jane Lindskold re-evaluates Washington’s history on the basis of its compliance with principles allied to those of feng shui.
WSFA Meeting Minutes
First Friday - November
Location: The Gilliland’s,
Started at: 9:25 PM - Ended at: 10:05 PM
Attendees: President: Sam Lubell, Vice President: Cathy Green, Trustees: Barry Newton, Ernest Lilley, Secretary: Ernest Lilley, Treasurer: Bob Macintosh, Members: Lee Gilliland, Alexis Gilliland Scott Hoffman, Bill Lawhorn, Nicki Lynch, Richard Lynch, Kathi Overton, John Pommeranz, Rebecca Prather, Judy Scheiner, Sam Scheiner, Steven Smith, William Squire, Lee Strong, Erin Trouth, James Ubs, Ivy Yap
Visitors: Jennifer Rosenbaum, Chris Spingob, Emily Alter, Dan Fowlkes
Before the meeting started, and while waiting for the President, Ernest handed out copies of the November WSFA Journal, Keith Lynch's last issue as editor.
Cathy Green, WSFA VP, called the meeting to order at 9:25 by her watch.
Bob Macintosh demurred to deliver the treasurer’s report until we had appointed a secretary. Ernest Lilley accepted the assignment for the duration of the meeting. Bob reported that we had:
$1834.58 in checking, and $15113.01 in CD's.
Caplclaves Recent, Present, and Future all being off at World Fantasy, they could not report on any of those conventions. Bob reported that we were nearly in the black on Capclave Recent, but that the chapbook would no doubt put us into the red, but only slightly.
Richard Lynch moved that we request Mike Walsh to provide us with a plan as to how he was going to collect the outstanding debts from World Fantasy 2003, which the club had hosted. The motion was seconded and passed with no nays, a few abstentions (one courteous) and the observation that had Mike not been at WF, he no doubt would have voted nay.
Sam Lubell arrived and the meeting was turned over to him.
After a brief recap, Sam asked the Secretary Pro-tem to summarize the minutes of the last meeting. After brief fumbling, the SPT found the summary in the WSFA journal and read it aloud to the room.
Committee Reports Redux:
The Entertainment committee reported that a tofu concoction had been created and was selling on the Internet that was intended to taste as much like human flesh as possible. The club managed to evoke a variety of SF and Literary references about humans as food, including; To Serve Man, long pork, tastes like chicken, need's a little salt, and the inevitable Soylent Green reference. Since there are no actual animal components, it's ironically though probably intentionally, vegan. (The company’s website is at: http://www.eathufu.com/home.asp)
Publication committee reported that Future Washington was looking forward to getting the first month sales figures from the distributor. We haven't seen any reviews from the copies sent out, and Elizabeth Twitchell suggests that club members who've read it should post reviews on Amazon.
Sam called for nominations for the now vacant position of Secretary.
Ernest resigned as trustee, and was nominated by the remaining trustees to fill the remainder of the current term. Voting was held, and he was elected to that post with no nays, and several abstentions.
Elisabeth Twitchell was nominated to fill the now vacant trustee post and accepted with some trepidation. Lee Strong, back for his first meeting in some time, declined a nomination on the grounds that he didn't know where his job would take him. There was only one nay vote, offered by Bill Lawhorn, who exclaimed, "I know this woman!"
Lee Gilliland made a statement regarding Ted White's actions which had upset her, and which resulted in her deciding that he would not be welcome at their house thereafter. She also pointed out that this was the 28th anniversary of the club's meeting at the house. Alexis asked that anyone who had questions about the propriety of meeting at their house please let him know, but there were no takers. He also offered copies of a statement he’s prepared about his and Lee’s issues with Ted.
Some discussion of what to get the Gillilands for the upcoming thirtieth anniversary of the club using the house for meetings followed. Depleted Uranium was suggested. Courteously.
(New Business consisted of a discussion of the WSFA email list, which I’ve reproduced as close to verbatim as I could manage working with the recording from the meeting. It’s included since this is a somewhat contentions topic and a number of folks were away at World Fantasy. – Ed)
“Sam Lubell: Ok, is there any new business?
Rich Lynch: I’ve got a question. Did Keith resign from the club or just as the editor (?)?
RL: Therefore I think we need to address the WSFA list. I do not want the WSFA list hosted by someone who is not a member of the club.
Ernest: Is that a motion?
SL: OK, we have a motion.
Nicki Lynch? Second.
SL: OK…any discussion?
Cathy Green: I have some thoughts on this. Certainly, if Keith wants to have a “Friends of WSFA” list at KeithLynch.net, he would be entitled to, although I agree it shouldn’t be an official club organ.
Personally, I would prefer we went back to just having an elist for announcements and emergencies only. We’ve had eruptions on a near quarterly basis on the list, and if people are going to behave like five year olds on that, then we shouldn’t have the list. That’s my felling of course. Speaking just as me, not as the VP(?).
EL: For people who wonder what we’re talking about, there’s been flame activity on the list that has made it less than popular for people in general. At least that’s my impression.
Mike Bartman: The list, from my understanding, is that it’s not for WSFA members exclusively, it’s for present and past members of WSFA, Keith is now a past member of WSFA and as such, him running the list shouldn’t be a major problem at all.
Alexis Gilliland: He ought to change the name then, to Keith Lynch’s WSFA list.
SL: Right now the name of the list is a WSFA.org address.
MB: Right. The next question…WSFA can move that to another thing, and as Keith said at the time he’s willing to be the list’s administrator, he’s willing to operate the thing, and if WSFAs next webmaster or whoever’s in charge of the internet aspect, wants to move it elsewhere, that’s up to them. But he says he’s willing to continue it.
So far as I’ve seen, the people who are actually using the list don’t have any objection to that.
SL: OK…any other discussion? Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: I think, that at some extent if you have your thing at WSFA.org it implies that it's an official club thing. If Keith wants to have a WSFA list, he can call it that, but he needs to change the send to address. And I second what Cathy said, because, Dear God we don’t need to talk to each other online.
RL: There’s one other thing too. We’ve already have previously (made) a point that nobody can have a WSFA.org unless they’re a member of the club…and this is that, and more so.
SL: OK, Barry…you had your hand up?…Steve?
Steve Smith: I just wanted to say that if…if…we decide to go forward with a WSFA list, I’m will to take a look at running it. I’d have to take a look at what we’re currently getting from Panix. I know that Keith’s software is totally unusable for anyone but Keith…
EL: He said that?
SS: He said that…and that he’d also be willing to keep going as the custodian of the WSFA list until the end of the year. Which means that if we want to have a WSFA list, it would be good to start thinking about it.
SL: Well, the WSFA address could point to a Yahoo list or wherever. It doesn’t have to be run on the server.
MB: Don’t go to Yahoo.
(A number of unintelligible responses ensued.)
SS: What I was thinking of doing was to see what you could do on Panix. I don’t know the details, but setting up a program called “mailman”, designed for running mailing lists, that can do everything Keith’s funky software can do, and is a heck of a lot easier to use. Anyone can run it.
BN: There are a number of things that we can do.
Bill Lawhorn: I still say you’re a braver man than me.
SL: OK…right now the motion is for someone in the club to run the mailing list. Correct?
RL: However it exists. I’ll go along with that version.
SL: OK. All those in favor of keeping the list in the club?
RL(?): what does in the club mean? That a club member has to be the one running it?
SL: Right. Ok, so that’s nine? All opposed? No one opposed? Any abstentions? Nine.
Bob McIntosh: The abstentions are tied!
SL: The bill passes because abstentions are not “No”s.
Madeleine Yeh: I’d like to know what we think if we don’t run the list for about two months?
CL: Shut it down for a time out?
Comments: Permission to kill the WSFA list? Just send it to a corner?
SL: I was going to suggest that we make it an announce-only list.
RL? John Pommeranz?: Well, we already have one of those. I think it’s posted through Yahoo?
UNK: An official WSFA.org announcement list.
JP?: I move we create an official WSFA.org announcement list at WSFA.org.
General Comments: How about we not solve this problem until we see what they come up with? First, find a Webmaster.
SL: OK, right now Madeleine’s motion is on the floor. Do you wish to table this motion until the next meeting?
UNK: I’d suggest withdrawing the motion altogether pending what the Webmaster and or mailing list admin have to say.
MY: I like the idea of having an email list I just don’t want anybody saying things about you on it.
EL: I’d like to be recognized. People may recall that we had discussions about a moderated list that came to a motion, I believe, that was defeated. I’m not suggesting that we have a moderated list, but if there were controls in place that lists getting out of hand would not be the issue that they have been. Free speech might be the issue, but I think the WSFA list was instrumental in the exacerbation and feedback of the stresses of the club over the last couple months. So, I think that if we’re to have a WSFA list, we need some mechanism to keep flames down. And I think it should be a genteel list. I do not think there should be flames on it.
Rebecca: This is not a motion, but something I would like the people to think about. This is by no means the first time that I’ve seen this group lose a good productive member over some kind of squabble over some very minor matter.
AG: Which member are you talking about, please?
R: What I want to suggest is possibly having a position called ombudsman, which would be a moderator kind of thing when there was a conflict between members.
MB: I disagreed a bit with what Ernest was saying about the list. I don’t think it was responsible for the problems blowing up. I think things would have blown up even in person. I think maybe the list speeded things up a bit, but I don’t think it changed the outcome. Lists are cheap once you’ve got the software up and running. It’s just as cheap to have several lists as one. You could easily have an announce only list for people who don’t want to see flames, don’t want to talk to anyone, just want to know when a meeting is changing until the last minute. You could have a list where every message is moderated by some ombudsman like person, somebody who doesn’t get emotional, somebody like Sam or someone like that. So if you don’t want to see flames, but you do want to see the rest you could sign up for that list….and then you could have an un-moderated list for those of us who want to rough it.
SL: There’s never a gavel when you need it. (Sam finds the gavel and raps it) There’s no motion on the floor or anything…
RL: I’d like to move that Barry and Steve put their heads together and give us a report as to what they think we should be doing.
CG: I do want to point out that the Secretary is in charge of publications committee.
EL: Right. I consider the website, the WSFA list and the journal all part of the Secretary’s purview.
SL: OK…here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to form a subcommittee of the publications (committee). Barry, Steve, do you wish to be on it?
SS/BN: Sure, Sure
SL: OK, then the three of you need to put your heads together and come up with a Webmaster and some idea as to how we’re going to handle these lists. I will contact Keith and ask him to change the address of his list to Keith.net, because we have a motion to that effect.
RL: As to the first part, could you give us some timing as to when that’s going to happen?
EL: I won’t be at the next meeting. So I won’t be able to report back at the next meeting. I understand Mike’s point, and I get that, so I think giving us a month to kick it around would not be a bad thing.
RL: Fair enough.
EL: You guys ok with that? Barry, Steve? (Assents)
L: OK, and whoever you appoint webmaster will need to get in touch with Keith. Anything else?
MB: Just a technical note. The changing of the current list is something else. It just requires the changing of the MX record and DNS data on the database to point to wherever you want to point the new list. (laughter) It doesn’t require that Keith take action to change the list from his server to somewhere else.
JP: I would think there were actually people who understood that.
SL: OK…any other new business?
BM: Hopefully not.”
Alexis was asked to report on the card for the Philadelphia Science Fiction Association's Anniversary. He told the sad tale of doing a card at Capclave and leaving it behind. He will reproduce his efforts.
Ernest asked for a volunteer to take minutes for the next meeting, which he'll not be available for. Alexis offered to fill the role of Secretary Pro Tem. Ernest cautioned the club that he was not interested in doing as complete a job as the former Secretary had.
Ernest also mentioned that he would be looking for Journal content, even though a new editor had not yet been appointed.
Sam called for the revelation of new attendees. There were several, and were:
Chris Springob who has just moved here from Ithaca, NY, where he was in Grad School at Cornell University. He had been in the Cornell Science Fiction club and wanted to check out the Washington Scene.
Dan Fowlkes, whose middle name is Guy, and notes that the following day is his name sakes day. He read about Capclave in "Making Light" on the morning of the con.
Emily Alter, comes to us from Carlson College in Minnesota, where she was involved in the SF club. A friend of hers had gone to Balticon, and found out about that there was a closer club to DC.
Jennifer Rosenbaum, who came from Ann Arbor, Michigan, knew about us through the fannish grapevine. She had been peripherally involved in the "Sci-Fi" club there. Evidentially Emily and Jennifer already knew each other. (Emily knew of Jennifer by reputation, as she (Jennifer) had been president of the SF club).
There were no second or third meeting attendees.
The Secretary asked for help with his traditional announcement, since several former secretaries were present, which requests announcements to be email sent to him for accurate inclusion.
Alexis said that he had printed up a page on his views of the "Ted-White Tempest in a Teapot" and would email them to anyone interested. He distributed a number of copies at the meeting. He also made the traditional house and hygiene requests.
Kathi Overton thanked the club members for their help at the annual Pomeranz/Overton Halloween Haunt, which garnered at least 140 kids and probably half that many adults. Bob MacIntosh, Lee Strong, and Mike Nelson got mentions. The event was very successful, and they ran out of candy.
Richard Lynch pointed out that Author Kim Stanley Robinson will be in the area for several readings of Fifty Degrees Below, with signings.
Bill Lawhorn noted that there would be discussion of the October/November Asimov’s SF Magazine double issue after the meeting.
The NSF guy said that he had a sound file of a phone call received at the NSF which we would find interesting and that he would play it for folks after the meeting.
Lee Strong offered Madeleine Yeh a symbolic hatchet (plastic utensils) and burial (coffee) grounds to mark the end of a flame war from some while back. Mad accepted and placed the buried hatchet under Bill Lawhorn to make sure it would never rise again.
Judy Lynch asked if Ernest had brought copies of Future Washington to sell, which he had…though they were still in the car.
Bill Lawhorn delivered the traditional move the chairs to the side announcement in lieu of Lee, and moved to adjourn. Ernest counter-moved that we adjourn quietly, which received no second. Bill’s motion was seconded and the normal noisy adjournment ensued at 10:05 PM.
Third Friday – November 18th
WSFA Meeting Called to order at 9:20 PM, Alexis Gilliland Acting as temporary secretary for Ernest Lilley.
Those at 3rd Friday:
Sam Lubell: President, Bob Macintosh: Treasurer, Alexis Gilliland: Acting Secretary, Barry Newton: Trustee, Elspeth Kovar: Capclave Present, Colleen Cahill: Capclave Future, Kevin Dawson, Adrienne Ertman, Paul Haggerty, Christopher Hayes, Shirl Hayes, Nicki Lynch, Rich Lynch, Deidre McLaughlin, Candy Madigan, John Madigan, Walter Miles, Judy Newton, Steve Smith, Chris Springob, Bill Squire, Gayle Surrette, Mike Taylor, Ivy Yap (not seen)
The treasures reported $8079.64.
The activities committee was absent, because Lee (Gilliland) had undergone minor surgery that morning, and was on painkillers which maded her drowsy and disinclined to party.
The Entertainment Committee reported that Richard Feynman refused an enormous raise form the University of Chicago because all that money would let him do what he always wanted, which would be bad for him.
Capclave Future: Colleen Cahill is working on it.
Capclave Present: Elspeth Kovar will have flyers ready for Philcon. Colleen will be her backup. Steve Smith will be her treasurer. There will be more kaffeeklatches in the con suite. Our tradition of literary programming will be upheld, and may be improved upon. At the next meeting Elspeth will be in Portland for SMOFcon.
Capclave Past: Mike Walsh is in London, conferring with Tony Blari about expediting the production of Howard Waldrop’s book. Bob Macintosh says that the ’05 Capclave’s profit/loss will depend on what that chapbook costs.
A committee has been formed to nag Mike Walsh about those outstanding bills from World Fantasy Con. The minutes from the last meeting circulated or addition or corrections, and was mostly ignored.
New Business: Zip
First time attendee Kevin Dawson located the club using Google.
Second time Attendee Chris Springob was in Maryland as well as Virginia.
An attendance list was circulated, and collected by Colleen Cahill, who emailed the results to the Secretary.
Announcements: Alexis said that the usual blather would be disregarded unless submitted in triplicate. The handy John Madigan installed a new coat rack in the foyer. The white rabbit bites. Fribble, Elspeth’s cat in an iron lung AND on dialysis, but holding up very well, all things considered. Nobody had any books to sell.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:57, unanimously!
Please email upcoming events to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “submission” in the subject line for consideration.
12/2 - First Friday Meeting:
12/2 – Movie Premier: Aon Flux
12/5 1:00 PM - Future Washington Radio Feature: Kojo Namde Show WAMU/NPR 88.5 FM www.wamu.org/programs/kn/.
Colleen Cahill, Ernest Lilley and Brenda Clough will appear on the 1pm segment of this well-known DC talk show to talk about the WSFA Press anthology and Science Fiction in the Capital region. Online audio will be available during and after the show.
12/9 - Movie Premier: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
12/14 - Movie Premier: King Kong
12/16 – Third Friday Meeting: Madigan’s (MD)
12/21 1:35 PM Winter Solstice
12/25 Christmas Day – Hanukkah (begins)
12/26 Kwanzaa (begins)
12/30 Fifth Friday Meeting: TBD
12/31 New Year’s Eve