The WSFA Journal

The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association
September 2006 – ISSN 0894-5411
Drew Bittner, Editor / Gayle Surrette, Assistant Editor

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Mailing Address: WSFA Journal, 16440 Baden Westwood Road, Brandywine, Maryland 20613
This and previous issues of the journal may be seen by going to

Preferred by Seven out of Five Time Travelers!




WSFA Minutes

Third Friday

Madigan's home

August 18, 2006


CONVENED: The meeting convened at 9:15pm.


ATTENDEES: Drew Bittner, Adrienne Ertman, Carolyn Frank, Erica Ginter, Lydia Ginter, Cathy Green, Paul Haggerty, Bill Lawhorn, Brian Lewis, Ernest Lilley, Samuel Lubell, Nicki Lynch, Rich Lynch, Bob Macintosh, John Madigan, Deidre McLaughlin, Walter Miles, Judy Newton, Barry Newton, Dick Roepke, Steve Smith, Lee Strong, Gayle Surrette, Elizabeth Twitchell, Michael Walsh, Ivy Yap, Madeline Yeh


SECRETARY'S REPORT: Drew had no report, not having been to the First Friday meeting. Elizabeth Twitchell reported that new people were present at the meeting via WSFA's presence on MeetUp. More information to follow.


TREASURER'S REPORT: Bob reported that WSFA had $10,272.66 in its general account and $15,522 in CDs.





Capclave Present: Mike Walsh reported that things are moving along, the Guests of Honor have tickets and registration (per Barry Newton) stands at 171 paid memberships, 204 total when guests are included. This seems comparable to last year. It was noted that one person can purchase several memberships and should not feel constrained to have only one.

            On a related note, we are now less than two months from Capclave 2006 and need to begin putting on a public relations push. We need flyers distributed soon.


Capclave Future: Largely the same as last time, hotel negotiations are ongoing but dependent upon the hotel's commitment to hosting sports teams during football season. Colleen said that the "green room" may be renamed Information or Ops, and hopes that memberships can be sold at Capclave '06 (a hope strongly seconded by the treasurer).


Capclave Far Future: no report.


DC 2012 and WFC: no report.


Publications: Drew promised to get copies of the last two and next Journal printed for First Friday; he will have to work out reimbursement and how many copies need to be printed.


Ernest reported that he had a letter from reviewer/author Paul DiFilippo (who reviewed Future Washington in Asimovs) requesting to be kept on the WSFA Press mailing list. He also reported that the Lloyd Eaton (sp?) research archive in California was purchasing Future Washington. He added that the book was far from breaking even despite numerous positive reviews, but seemed eager to pursue the next project, Weird Washington, noting China Mieville's interest in contributing to such an anthology.


Entertainment: no official report but Colleen mentioned the esoteric powers of "unobtrusion" possessed by librarians.

The opening of the Maryland Renn Faire was announced, followed by extensive discussion on the merits of wearing period costume. Colleen suggested wearing nothing, a remark that all assembled found intriguing at the least. It resurfaced in conversation several times afterward.

The 200th episode of STARGATE: SG-1 was also broadcast on Friday night; attendees were encouraged to view it at the next opportunity.


Activities: no report.


Rules Committee:  Lee reported that since the last meeting, the Rules Committee had searched through bylaws of more recent vintage ('96-'03) and found items that may have borne on the administration of Capclave, but it turns out that these are not germane to current management of WSFA's own convention. The committee will be wrapping up its review of the most recent bylaws and rules amendments but is not ready to offer a final report.


Trustees: Lee said that there have been no unusual issues apart from an email from Death (to be reprinted in September's WSFA Journal). Apparently Death has nothing better to do than spam WSFA.


Committee to Talk About Science Fiction: no discussion topic was announced but a meeting was held directly after the WSFA business meeting. Next month all are expected to bring the most recent copy of Asimov's for discussion, presumably having read it first.


OLD BUSINESS: incorporation issues remain to be resolved; Sam will contact John Pomerantz.


NEW BUSINESS: Ernest suggested that WSFA undertake archiving of all WSFA Press publications, as a matter of sustaining institutional memory and corporate integrity; if we publish it, we should own a copy as well. Colleen volunteered to be the official WSFA Librarian and was acclaimed after discussion (with one attendee voting "eh"). Part of her mandate will include seeking out (with an eye toward purchase) any specific publications not presently in WSFA ownership—the sole such identified appears to be the Mike Resnick collection, as Mike Walsh believes he has copies on hand of nearly everything else.

            Mike was also asked to compile an inventory of all WSFA products by December.

            It was also suggested by Elizabeth that the Journal should be an online-only document. A hand vote showed that some read the Journal only in the print edition, so Drew was directed to investigate the possibility of establishing a Journal site and possibly offering print-on-demand to those who want the Journal in print form. One copy of the Journal must be printed monthly for the official archives (as this is the sole document including all club official business accounts).

            Fifth Friday: Ern volunteered to have everyone at his place in Norfolk, VA. Reaction was mixed but the possibility of touring E.J.'s destroyer, the U.S.S. Arleigh Burke, sparked some definite interest.


ANNOUNCEMENTS: send email announcements and Journal submissions to Drew or he will be forced to reprint summaries of technical reports from trade journals, particularly those of the paint and varnish industry or the cog and ball bearing manufacturing association. It won't be pretty.

            We have one new visitor, Kevin, eligible for membership. He was provided with a form and strong encouragement to join. (Side note: all edged weapons must be cleaned and sharpened prior to returning them to the armory.)

            Ivy provided the hostess announcements on behalf of Candy, who was industriously preparing the upstairs for the onslaught. The bunny bites, the dog cannot eat chocolate and the downstairs bathroom is fully functional.

            Colleen announced that September would see a panel of Wildside Publications at the Library of Congress, and that on October 16, Maria Shriver would be attending a LOC event.

            Mike W. is selling books. In other news, the sky is still blue.

            Lee Strong recommended CSA: The Confederacy, a DVD of alternate history about the South winning the Civil War. He also announced he is purging his comic book collection and had a list of titles for any interested. Lee also described some recent employment-related issues related to his bosses.

            Barry circulated a "Hello, Dodo" flyer for Capclave that received positive notices.

            The Illusionist has premiered and the Journal hopes to run a review.

            Elizabeth suggested a board games committee.


ADJOURNED: The meeting was adjourned at 10:05pm.




The Illusionist

Starring Edward Norton, Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti

Directed by Neil Burger

Distributed by Yari Film Group

Review by Carolyn Frank


The Illusionist is a wonderful fantasy film. Set in 1900 Vienna, it tells the tale of Eisenheim the Illusionist (played by Edward Norton). He is a master magician of the time, who is being watched critically by Chief Inspector Uhl (played by Paul Giamatti of Sideways fame). The Chief Inspector, an amateur magician himself, is intrigued and admiring of Eisenheim.


Unfortunately for the stage magician, he becomes part of a three-way relationship among the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), Vienna's heir apparent, and his fiancée, Duchess Sophie von Teschen (Biel). Although Eisenheim grew up the son of the cabinetmaker for von Teschens, he has known and loved her all his life. But she is nobility and they are parted... but now he has returned as the toast of the town. So, when the Prince wants Eisenheim gone, the Chief Inspector—in all ways the Prince's man, despite his fascination with Eisenheim— has a major problem.


The movie was shot in modern Prague; the costumes, lots of period glitter and gloss; and the lighting, understated and translucent—all these elements combine to provide a marvelous stage for the actors, and of course, for the numerous magic tricks. Edward Norton learned to perform all of the magic tricks himself and magician consultant Ricky Jay ensured that all of the illusions performed fit within the time being portrayed. Philip Glass' music was a bit discordant on occasion, but could easily be ignored.


As this is an independent film, it is only playing at a few selected locations, so you do have to look for it. For everyone who likes magic, period drama and good acting, this is exceedingly enjoyable entertainment. 



By Colleen Cahill

At the first Friday in July, I announced that I found a new fascination with my account (  Some WSFAns nodded knowingly, but for those of might not yet have stumbled across this new website, let me give you a short guide. is a place you can create a catalog of your books. The service is free for collections of up to 200 books or you can join for an annual fee of $10.00 OR get the real bargain of a lifetime membership for $25.00. To enter your books,  type in the author or title in the search box and will retrieve a record from the Library of Congress, or 45 other libraries from around the world.  One of the best searches is by International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and if you are a real cataloging geek like me, you can even use your bar code reader to scan in the number off your books. allows you to pick which edition of a title you prefer, including choosing the hardback over the paperback edition.  If you cannot find a record for an obscure book, there is a way to enter the data directly into the system: I had to do this for about five of my books. There is an import system if you already have a catalog offline and what to upload to


Once you enter a book in your catalog, you can add data to the record, including tags to denote important aspects of the book, such as genre (fantasy, science fiction, thriller) or subjects (computers, history, dragons) or any terms you wish: there is no controlled vocabulary for tags.  If you want to share your opinion of a book there is a stars system for ranking the work.   Also available is an area to post reviews and in my catalog you will find most of the titles have either links or the full text of my review. None of this is required: I am using my catalog to gather my reviewed books in one place, so I have put rankings, reviews and tags in all my records.


When pulls in a catalog record, they also load up a thumbnail of the book cover if it is available.  Most of my books do have covers, although I am sometimes surprised what is lacking a thumbnail.  Members can scan and upload covers if they wish.  In the catalog tab, you can view your collection in many ways, including by book cover.  Being a librarian, I prefer a more traditional display of author, title, publisher, so my catalog is most often in the list view.


One of the advantages of is you can access this via a mobile phone and thus you are only a call away from finding out if you already have a certain title.  I have yet to try this out, but it does seem a handy feature, especially if you are like the user who has more than 9000 books in his catalog. 


But a personal book catalog with remote access is not the only advantage of you also get to hang out with more than 58,000 (as of August 29, 2005) other bibliophiles, see what they are collecting and even have a chat.  There is a social aspect to and you can see who else has copies of your books and perhaps leave a comment or two.  The socialization side of is not the strongest draw for me, but there are certainly many others who feel otherwise. 


One of the most fascinating areas for me is the Zeitgeist tab which displays various statistics on the entire site, including 50 top libraries, most prolific reviewers and authors who  Of special interest is the 25 top books, of which the first six are the Harry Potter books and the eighth is The Hobbit. The first ten authors in the list of top 75 authors is:


J.K. Rowling (29,516)

            Terry Pratchett (22,973)

            Stephen King (22,358)

            Neil Gaiman (17,962)

            J.R.R. Tolkien (17,468)

            C. S. Lewis (17,228)

            William Shakespeare (12,574)

            Anne McCaffrey (9,937)

            Isaac Asimov (9,871)

            Jane Austen (9,791)

            Orson Scott Card (9,579)


Obviously science fiction and fantasy are a large part of many users collections.


So drop by my catalog, take a look around: you might just get bitten by the book catalog bug, too!





Screenwriter, Co-Creator of The Outer Limits



The man who penned the screenplay for cult thriller Psycho has died at 84. Joseph Stefano, who was a close friend of Psycho director Alfred Hitchcock, was also the co-creator of science-fiction TV series The Outer Limits.


The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native was also a talented pianist and lyricist, who began his career touring in a modern jazz band. His big break as a screenwriter came in the mid-1950s when he penned The Black Orchid, which became a hit film in 1958 starring Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren. He moved to Hollywood in 1960 and started work with Hitchcock on an adaptation of a Robert Bloch novel for the big screen. The project became Psycho.


Stefano's other celebrated screenplays have included Eye of the Cat and Home for the Holidays.


WorldCon Feedback:

The WSFA Journal would be eager to see some on-site reporting from the World Science Fiction Convention held this past week in Anaheim, CA. Any good stories out there? C'mon, you know you have 'em. Write in!