The WSFA Journal

August 2009

Steve Smith, Editor
Comments? Contributions? Contact !



First Friday, August 7, 2009

Meeting called to order at 9:15 PM by President Lee Strong, calling in from the 8th of August.

Treasurer’s report:

Tina Abel

The Treasurer closed the last BB&T account except the CD.

WSFA Accounts
WSFA Citi $6,428.52
Capclave Citi $6,517.26
CD 1 (Feb) M&T $5,739.95
CD 2 (May) BB&T $6,000.00
CD 3 (Aug) M&T $5,832.95
Total   $30,518.68

No change in the CDs. The August CD at M&T (formerly Provident) matures on August 20th. It will go into the WSFA general account to make sure we have enough for Capclave. It will go back into a CD after Capclave.

We have credit card services up & running. Just set up stuff with Citi – should be by end of Aug. We'll be paying 1.69% + $0.19 per transaction. The old knucklebuster won't work any more; Candy supplied a new one. “Get it out of my house!” she said.


Charles Abel, Colleen Cahill, Chris Newman

Starting to think about next May.


Sam Lubell


Steve Smith

The President says that all Capclave publications are under the control of the Publications committee. Bill Lawhorn disagrees; the President introduced a motion to clarify:

Resolved, all publications issued by WSFA's Capclave 2009 Committee shall be deemed to be produced by authority delegated from the WSFA Publications Committee. Publications issued by the Capclave 2009 Committee will be limited to Flyers and promotional materials for Caplcave 2009 and 2010, program guides, pocket programs and restaurant guides.

Amendment: Flyers and promotional materials for 2009 & 2010.

The motion was defeated.

The Secretary, as chair of the Publications committee, gave consent for the “Traditional” publications for all currently planned conventions This includes all the things we normally think about, like flyers, posters, program books, pocket programs, restaurant guides, and so forth. It does not include chapbooks or any non-traditional publications; those still will have to come back to the Publications Committee and the Club for approval. The Secretary offered to formally dub the Capclave Chair as Earl of Capclave Publications using one of the Host's swords. The offer was politely declined, as the Capclave Chair didn't want the Secretary to have a blade that close to his neck.

Web Subcommittee:
Paul Haggerty & Gayle Surrette

Gail asks that "no one is to do anything in the name of WSFA unless they clear it with the Pres, the secretary, or the board first.", and that the Webmasters be notified of any changes to any of the WSFA electronic venues.

The July WSFA Journal is on-line.

WSFA Press Subcommittee:
Ern Lilley

I have been asked by WSFA President, Lee Strong, to Chair the WSFA Press Publications sub-committee, and have accepted. The committee members should be confirmed at the First Friday meeting (08/07/09), after which I hope to meet with those who are present.

The president has suggested several initiatives for the committee, namely that we manage the current book's publication, conduct an inventory of our titles on hand, and establish guidelines for the submission and acceptance of future publishing projects. We are also looking into new options in storage and distribution of WSFA Press titles.

  1. Reincarnations - Sean Wallace (Prime Books)Production of the current Capclave GOH short story collection continues in good order.

    1. Content - All parts of the manuscript have been submitted, including the introduction by Asimov Editor, Sheila Williams, as well as the cover art. Layout has been completed and proofing is in process.

    2. Printing - Sean has secured a reserved printing date of August 17th and a delivery date of September 21st.

    3. Promotion - A PDF has been created for the book and a copy has been sent to Mike Walsh at WorldCon, in the hopes that he can print and distribute copies.

  2. Inventory - P/L Statements

    1. Colleen Cahill, Gayle Surrette, and Mike Walsh have all been putting together inventory figures for WSFA Press titles. Mike has a number of copies of books in storage that we are waiting on numbers for.

    2. Warehousing and distribution - The committee is looking into alternatives to warehouse distribution for our back titles.

    3. Sean has been composing a Profit and Loss report using such information as is available for Future Washington. If information is available for other titles, we will prepare similar reports.

    4. Accounting procedures for WSFA Press publications will come under review.

  3. Publishing Guidelines - The committee will be looking into guidelines and protocols for future publishing projects.

  4. Other Initiatives:
  5. WSFA Press Website -

    1. Domains - Several domains have been purchased for use by WSFA Press, some by Sean/Mike, some by our webmaster, Paul Haggerty. All domains are now pointing to the same location on the web, WSFAPressBooks.org, which is maintained by Paul. Transfer of the other domains (WSFAPress.org, .com) will proceed when they come out of their new domain lockdown period.

    2. Email accounts - There is some confusion over email accounts for WSFAPress, specifically "wsfapress (at) gmail (dot) com", which is referenced on the current flyer. We are looking to resolve this as soon as we find out who owns it.

    3. Site Development - Paul is setting up a WordPress based ecommerce site for WSFA Press which will have pages for each of our books and PayPal links with which to buy them. Projected launch: Sept, 2009.

  6. Amazon Listings - Only one of the WSFA Press books is currently listed as new on Amazon, and that only in the Trade edition. We will be using an Amazon Pro account to create listings for all the titles we have inventory on and plan to distribute books directly. We may use SFRevu's Amazon account, which Paul and Gayle are currently managing, though we will investigate the practicality of setting up a WSFA Press account.

  7. Committee Members - Following the appointment of committee members, the chair will request contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses from each.

Committee members are Charles Abel, Drew Bittner, Gail Surrette, and Steve Smith. Bill Lawhorn is off of the committee to concentrate on Capclave. Sean Wallace is the committee's Production Consultant. (He is not a member of WSFA, as membership would make anything published by Prime Books ineligible for the WSFA Small Press Award.)

Flyer Subcommittee:
Brian Lewis

The Secretary has posted final copies online in the WSFA-forum file area.

From the Secretary:
Steve Smith

We've had a potentially serious problem with the domain names for WSFA Press. When the Webmasters tried to register the names wsfapress.com and wsfapress.org, they found that the domains had already been registered. In addition, someone had created the Gmail account wsfapress (at) gmail (dot) com, which showed up in a number of "official-looking" places.

From our viewpoint, Person or Persons Unknown were claiming to be WSFA Press and collecting money under our name. As it turned out, someone was just trying to be helpful. Fortunately, the only problem was that it caused the Webmasters a boatload of extra work and everybody on the Executive Committee an extra load of stomach acid.

Don't do it again, OK? WSFA business goes through WSFA channels – only the people authorized to do business for WSFA can commit the club to anything. Official business has to go through official addresses. Web/Internet stuff goes through the Webmasters. When money is involved, bypassing channels runs perilously close to fraud.

Capclave Present:

Bill Lawhorn

Capclave Future:

Gayle Surrette

The Website got sidetracked by the WSFA Press domain and e-mail problems. It will be up soon; she's putting her concom together. She wants actual committees! Check the Capclave blog for latest news.

Capclave Far Future:

Cathy Green

Still looking for hotels

The Committee to Actually Discuss Science Fiction:

Bill Lawhorn

Most discussers are in Montreal. Bill will sit in a corner and talk to himself.

For Capclave, read the October/November issue of Asimov's. We'll be discussing it with the editor!

New Finance:

Tina Abel



Colleen Cahill

Colleen says that 22 of you have voted. That means that 50% of you are going to get mailbombed. She's humming “I've got a little list”.

Old business:

New business:


New people:

Allen Met Candy at Confluence. He's a grad school at the University of Buffalo; he's an intern at HUD and, unfortunately, will be gone at the end of August.

Jennifer Wallace came along with Sean.


Meeting unanimously adjourned at 11:03 PM.


Charles Abel, Christina Abel, Colleen Cahill, Ross Chalmer, Chuck Divine, Paul Haggerty, Bill Lawhorn, Brian Lewis, Ernest Lilley, Candy Madigan, John Madigan, Sarah Mitchell, Evan Phillips, Steve Smith, Bill Squire, Lee Strong, Gayle Surrette, Mike Taylor, Ivy Yap, Allen ?.

Third Friday, August 21, 2009

Meeting called to order at 9:32 PM by President Lee Strong

We did not have a quorum

Officers' Reports

Lee Strong
Tina Abel
WSFA Accounts
WSFA Citi $6,428.85
Capclave Citi $5,362.39
CD 1 (Feb) M&T $5,739.95
CD 2 (May) BB&T $6,000.00
CD 3 (Aug) M&T $5,878.86
Total   $29,410.05

Less $3000 for the current checks

Charles Abel, Colleen Cahill, Chris Newman



Sam Lubell

Is anyone interested in the Ren Faire? See Sam. Perhaps the Monday of Labor Day?

Brian Lewis: Army performance of honor guard “Spirit of America” will be at Patriot Center Sept 11 & 12.

Lee Strong didn't like District 9.

Barry Newton says Leverage is fun but not SF.

Ernest Lilly notes that Divine Gravity is network SF.

Mark Roth says that Warehouse 13 is amusing.

Gail Surrette says that the first trailer of Avatar has been released.


Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Has paper copies of June and July Journals

Paul Haggerty & Gayle Surrette
WSFA Press: Ernest Lilley
  1. Reincarnations - Sean Wallace (Prime Books) – project leadProduction of the current Capclave GOH short story collection continues in good order.

    1. Printing - Copy has been submitted to the printer, and we are awaiting galleys for inspection

    2. As of this writing, we Turtledove has been paid ($2000). The printer has also been paid their partial fee ($1000).

    3. Signature Sheets sent to Harry, from the printer.

    4. Cover and interior are at the printers, being processed. We should have proofs soon.

    5. Note: needs correction: We have from dealers: 22 orders for the trade, and 10 for the trade, and 5 direct pre-orders for the limited. These are from Edge Books, Hole in the Wall Books (Lee lined this one up), and Wrigley-Cross. We're still waiting on word from eighteen other dealers, but we're off to a good start.

  2. Inventory - Still waiting on inventory information from Mike Walsh. (also waiting to find out if we have any Future Washington monies due)

  3. WSFA Press Website/Online Presence -

    1. Email accounts - Confusion over the email accounts has been resolved. The official email for orders is: orders@wsfapress.org

    2. Site Development - The WSFA Press site is "mostly launched" Credit card services are being set up. Projected launch: Sept, 2009.

    3. Wikipedia entries are being created for WSFA Press and each of the books we've published. Gayle updated the Reincarnations entry to correct errors. Chiefly that it was listed as a "chapbook"


Chris: Is there some sort of contract or do we just have an agreement?

Answer: It's just an order, and can be cancelled.

Flyers: Brian Lewis

WSFAns are putting them out and people are picking them up.

The new Parliamentarian says Brian is free!!

Capclave Present:

Bill Lawhorn

Via phone, the Chair tells us that the Birds are up 4-2!

Capclave Future:

Gayle Surrette

We have have GOH – Jeff & Ann VanderMeer. Peggy Rae Sapienza is GoH Liaison.

Capclave Far Future:

Cathy Green

Cathy has a proposal from the Hyatt Regency Bethesda. The Crowne Plaza and the Hilton in Gaithersburg are also possibilities.

The Committee to Actually Discuss Science Fiction:

Bill Lawhorn

May have been discussing SF, but not here.

New Finance:

Tina Abel

WSFA never had a “proper” corporate account. Our current bank has our nonprofit document. They also needed a DBA document for Capclave. Lee Strong carried the application to Baltimore, filled out another form, and paid $75. [Thanks, Lee! – Editor] Capclave is now a registered trade name.

There was a problem with our nonprofit status in Virginia. There is a workaround; Mr Lubell is now our “certified corporate agent”. All of this will be written up as part of a “procedures manual”, so we won't have to figure out how to do this again later.

We had a big round of applause for the folks who put in a lot of work.


Colleen Cahill

Voting has finished. We didn't get fudge. 58% - needed one more person to get fudge. [<sound of teeth gritting> – Editor] The authors have been posted online [and below – Editor]. They're from all over – word is getting out!

Congratulations to the committee for a good job.

Old business:

We're keeping the dues motion on table. Chris Neumann wants to decide ASAP. There's still no rush – we have until the beginning of December.

New business:

Cathy Green asks if somebody can take the borrowed chairs back to the Scheiners?

We will be at the Scheiners for First Friday for the foreseeable future. Thanks to Cathy!!

Ern Lilley has asked for WSFA press wikipedia & wants history. Started 1992; Disclave published a couple of books.

Sam Lubell asks if anything is being done in honor of Hal Haag. If so, coordinate with Cathy Green and Mark Roth. Maybe we could do something gameish at Capclave?

New people:

First meeting: Mark Roth is in from Chicago. He used to go to Disclave.

First meeting in a long time: Steven desJardins: He hasn't been to a meeting for about 10 years. He doesn't get out of the city that much. Naturally, he found out we're in DC just in time for us to go back to Virginia.


Meeting unanimously adjourned at 10:47 PM.


Colleen Cahill, Steven desJardins, Cathy Green, Paul Haggerty, Brian Lewis, Ernest Lilley, Sam Lubell, Chris Neumann, Barry Newton, Judy Newton, Mark Roth, George Shaner, Steve Smith, Lee Strong, Gayle Surrette, Ivy Yap, Madeleine Yeh.

WSPA Nominees Unmasked


In the Land of Invented Languages

Esperanto rock stars, Klingon poets, Loglan lovers, and the mad dreamers who tried to build a perfect language

In the Land of Invented Languages Random House\Spiegel & Grau, 2009

Written by Arika Okrent

Reviewed by Lee Strong

“Fans, like scientists, astronauts and other specialists, sometimes use special language to talk about distinctively fannish things.” – Excerpt from a flyer created for Capclave 2009.

What do Esperanto, Lojban and Klingon all have in common? Answer: They’re the most successful of humanity’s myriad attempts to invent the perfect – or at least interesting – artificial language.

Many science fictional authors and scriptwriters have equipped their exotic societies with native tongues. Practically every fan understands “Klaatu barada nikto” for example. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoomian was so ingeniously constructed that any speaker confronting a new thing would automatically create the same new word to describe the thing as would any other speaker. No other word would logically arise given Barsoomian’s scientific and cultural roots. Alas for linguistic clarity, very few authors actually worked out more than a few words in their supposed creations much less a serious syntax. So most science fictional “languages” actually exist merely as concepts rather than true, working tongues. When called upon to articulate an alien language on screen, many early filmmakers were satisfied with actors speaking gibberish rather than anything consistent or coherent.

In recent years, linguists and then scriptwriters took this process a giant step forward by actually creating true languages for their characters to use. The Ewoks of the forest moon Endor speak an invented language based on Nepalese, for example. And, when Paramount Pictures made the brilliant decision to make their stock villains a realistic, honor based, warrior culture rather than thugs in greasepaint, they hired professional linguist Marc Okrand to create a genuine language for the revitalized Klingons. Professors J.R.R. Tolkien and M.A.R. Barker did the same thing as labors of love for their respective Elvish and Tsolyani languages. Speaking a coherent, meaningful language rather than mere gibberish greatly enhances the author’s creations’ integrity, vitality and appeal.

This facet of science fiction world building is part of one of humanity’s oldest and most quixotic quests: the search for a perfect language. In this charming book, professional linguist and Klingon taghwI’ Okrent takes us a bus woman’s holiday of the land of invented languages.

Okrent’s review is solidly researched and well written. As an amateur linguist, I found this to be an excellent review of the field. Okrent dips briefly into the oldest documented constructed language, Hildegard von Bingen’s 12th Century Lingua Ignota, the best known, Ludwik Zamenhof’s 19th Century Esperanto, the Language of Peace, Suzette Haden Elgin’s unsuccessful 20th Century feminist language, Láadan, and a language for sentient squirrels, Dritok. Regretfully, two languages that she does not mention are Fannish and Helene Smith’s workable 19th Century Martian. She does touch on teaching techniques such as Basic English – endorsed by Winston Churchill – and Charles Bliss’ language of symbols, which turned out to be an astonishing boon to crippled children. More importantly, she explores why people want to invent languages, common objections to naturally evolved languages, and why “defects” in natural languages are often powerful tools for understanding. She also lists additional resources for the truly interested.

I liked Okrent’s narration technique as well as her subject. Much of the book is her personal description of her own interest in invented languages and her attempts to learn at least some of them, especially Klingon, Lojban, and John Wilkes’ 17th Century Philosophical Language. This gives her story a human interest that might otherwise be lacking. Yet, she has the good sense to draw back and describe the struggles over Loglan and Lojban in the third person when necessary. In less skillful hands, this narrative style would become egotistical but I found it very engaging.

Among the curious facts that Okrent reveals is that there really is such a thing as a native Esperanto speaker – his parents were both Esperantists and raised their son in the language – thereby killing one of my favorite jokes about my own (lack of) linguistic ability. And it appears that the Lojban language really is as precise and humorless as its proponents claim it is, thanks in large part to 600 pages of grammatical rules even before we consider vocabulary. And yet, Lojban, like Esperanto and Klingon, is a working language because its advocates have developed a community of speakers. Have you read Hamlet in the original Klingon?

I rate In the Land of Invented Languages as 3.0 stars on the 5 star scale because it’s a solid exploration of one of humanity’s oddest quirks, and one with extensive science fictional connections. – LS

The Mysterious Island

L'Île mystérieuseOriginal English Language Publication by Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1875

Written by Jules Verne

Reviewed by Lee Strong

Many a child has dreamed of being marooned on a desert island. In this tale of 19th Century science and courage, Jules Verne shows what competent heroes can do.

Daniel Defoe’s 1719-22 publication of Robinson Crusoe not only created a book of enduring value and appeal but actually established a new genre of literature: the robinsonade. Such novels typically stranded a castaway on a deserted island and followed his or her attempts to survive the physical and emotional isolation from civilization. Even today, science fiction writers will follow in Defoe’s footsteps with planets substituted for islands. Of the once large number of 18th and 19th Century robinsonades, only three are still widely read today. Perhaps the best of them is Jules Verne’s tale of the involuntary colonists of Lincoln Island.

Our tale begins during the American Civil War when six Federal soldiers and sympathizers break out of a Confederate prison via balloon. They unwisely choose to escape during a hurricane with the result that some of them are eventually deposited on the shores of a remote South Seas island. Unlike the authors of other robinsonades who thoughtfully provide their castaways with a ship full of convenient goodies just off shore, Verne boldly strands his heroes with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a few commonplace items in their pockets. How can anyone survive with so little equipment on an island full of wild beasts, wilder men, and mysterious presences? Verne’s literary genius shines brightly as he describes exactly what men of science and courage can do in even the bleakest of surroundings.

Verne’s story is good solid stuff about science and humanity in action. The colonists manufacture many of the conveniences of 19th Century life from the basic materials of their island aided only by one engineer’s professional knowledge. While the detailed description of research and development can be somewhat tedious at times, it demonstrates that the author has done his homework. His characters are more self reliant than their Swiss counterparts in another ocean and all the more interesting for that. Verne also took the occasion to wrap up a couple of loose ends from previous novels and the return of some of the islanders to civilization makes a fitting and satisfying climax.

To date, there have been several movies made from Verne’s novel but none of them hold a candle to the original.

I rate The Mysterious Island as 3.5 stars on the 5 star scale because of its solid story of 19th Century science in action governed by thoughtful human values. – LS


Hal Haag 1946-2009

It is with great regret that I report that Hal Haag, Balticon 25 and 35 Con-Chair and perennial Gaming Czar at Balticon passed away from an apparent heart attack this morning, Wednesday, August 12th. Although this report comes to me second hand from Evan Haag, Hal*s son, there can be little doubt as to its accuracy. Hal presently served on the Baltimore Science Fiction Society Board of Directors and was the originator of the BSFS Web Pages design which we still continue to use, with evolved improvements, to this day. Some folks called him Games Master Hal because he always had board games to share and in recent years served as an officer of the Maryland Games Club. He was also involved in running the Farpoint Convention Gaming Room as well as multiple other gaming events in the area. Hal had the original idea that grew into the 1998 Worldcon in Baltimore. Fandom in this City is now a much poorer place because it has lost one of its driving flames.

— Dale Arnold

WSFA History

Ten Years Ago

August 1999

Sam Lubell gave us the top five rejected sequels to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the Journal presented us with a musical version (lyrics only, from that multimedia deprived age) of The Phantom Menace, as done by Weird Al.

Twenty Years Ago

August 1989

John Pomeranz of the Committee to Spend Lots of Money on Something Extremely Controversial and Expensive announced plans to sponsor a fireworks display at the Worldcon Hugo ceremony, in the ballroom. More details later.

The First Friday meeting lasted 21 minutes; the Third Friday meeting was probably shorter although there is no recorded starting time. [Ahh, the good old days! – Editor]

Thirty Years Ago

August 1979

Alexis Gilliland reviewed a new movie called Alien. His conclusion: "Go see it. Once."

Ted White became editor of Heavy Metal.


From the Editor

The reviews in this issue are especially interesting to me. Mysterious Island is one of my favorites from high school. Unfortunately, modern editions are censored edited, leaving out the Good Parts, like detailed instructions for making nitroglycerine out of rocks.

I was also involved briefly with the creation of Lojban. My contribution to the language was, basically, sitting in meetings and trying to stay awake. In my opinion, it is a group of fascinating ideas hogtied by academic hairsplitting. I look forward to reading the book.

— Steve Smith, Editor, The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal is the official publication of the Washington Science Fiction Association.
Copyright &copy; 2009 WSFA, Inc.
All rights reserved
ISSN 0894-5411