WSFA Logo The WSFA Journal

November/December 2010

The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association -- ISSN 0894-5411 Edited by Samuel Lubell

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The WSFA Journal



No minutes were taken in the September meeting so there is no October Journal


If Not Part of the Solution, You're Part Of The Precipitate

The October 1st First Friday meeting was called to order at 9:19. Someone said today is 38 in binary.

There was no quorum. Sam Lubell read the last minutes. Sam S asked, "Are we solvent?" Steve answered, "You have a background in chemistry. If not part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate." Treasurer's report is in the print version: Steve emailed saying, "I filed reports with Virginia (on time) and Maryland (late) to bring us up to date with all our State stuff. John Pomeranz is working on getting things straightened out with the Feds -- the long-awaited amnesty has come around, and will end on October 15th, so it has to get done by then." Specific details are in the print version. Don't owe anything other than paper.

Capclave present - Cathy said meeting next Saturday at Peggy Rae's. Put flyers up at groceries and libraries. Sam S. said that as of late August we're on target. Cathy said a whole bunch of memberships came in. Sam S said should break even.

Capclave Future - Cathy said has GoH. Her guests will be Carrie Vaughn and Catherynne M. Valente. This will be Carrie's first East Coast con. Her books are NYT mass market bestsellers. Cathy gave both writers' bibliography. Valante is fiction editor for Apex magazine and has an active web presence. Far future had nothing to report.

Entertivities: Paul, Gayle, and Cathy <Sam was there but couldn't find them> were at the book festival. There was less space this year so no SF tent. We put out Capclave bookmarks, but only the fiction and mystery tent let us put bookmarks out.

No old business. New business. Take flyers, distribute. We met the room block.

First meeting: Three people were here for their first meeting. Lisa Gregory is a foreign service officer here from Russia. She writes fan fiction and found out about us through the Internet. Ken Bryer is a friend of George Shaner. He came to see how he can help. He goes to Balticon and Dragoncon. Dan Zeidler is a business analyst for Geo-Science-World. A friend got an email about Capclave and forwarded it. He likes to write science fiction and fantasy. Cecilia Carey is here for her third meeting, she has been a writer since kid. She reads both horror and sf. She went to two Worldcons and one Balticon, and wants to connect with other writers. She is looking forward to Capclave.

Announcements: Barry said there were 265 members for Capclave including 80 guests. This is slightly ahead of last year. Sam S. - No major accidents from Australia. Worldcon okay. Around 1,800, half Aussies. Went to Darwin and Queensland, snorkeled the great barrier reef. Lee Strong announced that baby Charles Abel V arrived. Charlie has a job in Idaho, teaching at several schools. There will be a John Carter of Mars movie June 8, 2012, centennial of the publication of A Princess of Mars. Lee Strong has a contract with the Edgar Burroughs Society to write a book, possibly next year, more likely 2012. Tentative title: A Soldier of Poloda. Lee is donating some of the advance to his college. Meeting unanimously adjourned 9:45.

Attendance: Drew Bittner, Cathy Green, Bill Lawhorn, Brian Lewis, Sam Lubell, Sarah Mitchell, Barry Newton, Mark Roth, Judy & Sam Scheiner, George Shaner, Lee Strong, Ivy Yap, Ken Bryer, Charity Helton, Dan Zeidler, and Cecilia Carey.


2010: A Writing Odyssey Too

Dear Washington Science Fiction Association,

Odyssey is an internationally known, six-week workshop for writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Held every summer at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, it offers developing writers intensive, professional critiques and lectures on the major elements of genre writing.

 Odyssey is the only program of its kind run by an editor. Jeanne Cavelos, the director and primary instructor, is a best-selling author and former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work.

 The workshop also attracts top writers in the field to serve as guest lecturers. Authors such as Harlan Ellison, Terry Brooks, Ben Bova, Jane Yolen, George R. R. Martin, Patricia McKillip, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem, Nancy Kress, and Dan Simmons have taught at the workshop and shared their insights into writing and the writing life.

 Below, please find our press release for the summer 2011 session. I would appreciate it if you would pass this information along to the members of your organization that might be interested. Further workshop details can be found on our website, You may also contact me directly at I'd be happy to answer any questions or send you some flyers. We are always interested in exchanging reciprocal website links.

 Thank you for your time and consideration.

Susan Sielinski
Odyssey Writing Workshop


I Want to Be Witchfinder General

The 10-15-10 October Third Friday WSFA meeting opened with President Judy presiding. "Let's have a meeting. 9:25. The third Friday in October." Bill said, "If you're here, you know that Capclave didn't start tonight." Bob put in, "Or we are all very late..."

Sam read minutes which were accepted as amended. The club told Bill to shut up. Mike Walsh moved that we table Bill. Bill said that Sarah's parents would not approve. "They like me." But Sarah pointed out, "They're in Michigan, how will they know?" Paul said, "If you're a table, you'll be able to support them." Debate over who owns the condo and the couch. Candy offered to let him use hers.

President had no report. Sam said that he will have a journal by Capclave but people should submit. Colleen said her husband has guns so she will only submit in the literary sense. More jokes. Hunting white boy. Judy gaveling. WSFA on a sugar high.

Steve gave his treasurer's report which appears in the print version. He said he thinks this should be enough for a con. We have been having fun with PayPal who insist on referring to me as Kristina Abel. Bill, said, "You have more hair on your face." Problems with names on account have been solved. <The club declared him treasurer for life.> Sulfurous messages with what they are pleased to call customer support. It involves state tax forms. They need official piece of paper with the treasurer's name on it.

Various tax doings are in the print version. Sam asked Cathy how much of this goes online. Steve and lawyer for club think the tax situation 90% resolved. Steve said, "The form 990 that we've been filing are public." Cathy said, "That's the appropriate place, but not the meeting notes."

Cathy said, "About three years ago now, when John had first started working on tax stuff, the club voted to get John a thank you gift. I think someone should have a word with Kathi." Bob said he will talk to her. Trying to put books together, getting them in a form John liked was a bear." Bill asked about filing for 2010. Bob said the date for corporations is May 15. Bill asked for reminder put in minutes for February. <Steve, when February comes, make sure you do our taxes.> Steve said that the way the federal things go, all we have to file is a postcard 990M which takes two minutes. Cathy said, 'You just have to remember to do it. Unless Capclave takes off." Paul said, "Make it the treasurer's responsibility to file taxes." Brian asked if there was an amount limit for the gift somewhere in the original motion." Colleen said, "John wants to make soap. So let's get him a big bucket." Cathy, "Tax lawyers bill 500 an hour so he's done a lot for us. He did us a big favor." Colleen called for a round of applause for Steve. <Club applauded>. Bill called for getting him a bucket too. Steve said he doesn't know how long it will take to get tax exemption. Bob said, "John has those billable hours he has to get through."

Trustees: No report. Two new members. Entertivities - Colleen proposed going to see a Bollywood movie, The Robot, a singing dancing robots movie. It was released in the U.S. and India at the same time. John suggested doing a Meetup. Someone suggested a Fifth Friday event, but that goes under new business.

Publications: Sam asked for journal submissions. WSFA Press: Paul said that only six WSFA members have preordered the books. Playing havoc with numbers. We are in the process of numbering them. 500 signed and numbered of each. Signed by author, and person who wrote intro/afterwards. We sold 70 copies total. $1,400 just for new books. We will sell more at Capclave. Paul said once Capclave is over the price goes up. The website is working. We need people to get things for WSFA site. Buttons for 2010 populated. Capclave 2011 has placeholders. Lots of comments from non-WSFAns about Capclave. Colleen said doing SFWA auction at Capclave. Lots of stuff. We will accept any donation. John said he is organizing a Meetup next week at Capclave at 7:00 pm for whomever wants to show. Maybe do one Saturday. Gayle said to avoid doing at same time as book launches. Colleen suggested 6 - 8. Colleen said once you get them there you can sell them on Capclave.

Capclave: Gayle said that Capclave is next weekend. We have the hotel. Cathy joked, "They are doing their best to make us think that moving to a new hotel is a good idea." Colleen said, "The room for readings was no included in the contract so will be in a hotel room. We'll call them bedtime stories." Gayle said that Spectra giving us a bunch of books for their anniversary. We'll be auctioning them for SFWA medical fund. The VanderMeers' last drink bird award at the awards ceremony. Lots of parties. Lots of good programming. Workshops. Lots of people signing up for workshops online. Colleen added, "Not all workshops are limited. All have space at the moment except for the VanderMeers' workshop." Gayle said there are about 85 online registration, more than in past. Online registration closes midnight Sunday. We're good to go. Cathy said that the preliminary schedule is online.

Capclave Future: Cathy said she has her guests of honor. This will be the first east coast con for Catherine Valente and she put it on her Live Journal. Paul said that registration will go live after 2010. Cathy said that her Capclave will be at the Gaithersburg Hilton which is run by a different management company. We will have fan tables at Philcon and Arisia and other cons. The publicity committee doing spectacular bookmarks and rack cards. Also more standard flyers with forms at the back by World Fantasy. We will sell Capclave 2011 memberships starting Saturday afternoon.

There was nothing for Far Future. The Committee to talk about SF will discuss the September Asimov's Magazine. The Literary Award Committee will give award out next Saturday at Capclave. Paul joked, "There's this thing called E-bay..." Colleen said that some of the nominees will be there, including the publisher of the Australian story. Go to ballroom at ninish, next Saturday. Several finalists will be there. Cathy said that the number of submissions has grown more diverse. International. The award is becoming better known. Barry was reminded about the check for the winner.

No old business. New business: Any volunteers to host a fifth Friday. No volunteers. Bill suggested having fifth Friday on fourth Friday at Capclave. Gayle said there has been some talk with Cathy's GOHs to see if they'd be interested in a book if the club approves it. They are so we'll put together some figures. This is a heads up.

Barry did not make a motion but said this is something for people to think about. Rather than have Cathy tell the secretary every few minutes to redact, let her get to approve them. Cathy: Corporate minutes aren't transcriptions but summaries. <But these are as close as I can get to transcriptions, otherwise they'd be dry and boring without the interesting bits like...> Sam said, "I nominate Cathy for Lord Censor." Cathy protested, "I want to be Witchfinder General." Steve said, "Official club information has to be stored somewhere. Official minutes. What my wife's church does is they publish the secret minutes as an encrypted pdfs but not for the general public." Paul said he had no problem with it being on the printed version but not on the web. Judy said, "I understand your concerns for putting them on the web." Cathy explained, "It is like waiving attorney client privilege which is a bad idea." Bob said that most of the time not much different. Cathy said, "And put an edited version up online." Brian suggested making a list of things for the secretary. Colleen said, "If we don't have a lawyer in the club someone will have to do the best they can." Brian said that there should be a set of guidelines. Cathy offered to write something up. Sam said, "There will be a printed version without anything redacted. Then I'll send to Cathy to go through and make suggested edits. The Secretary will then go through and accept and send to webmasters." Mike said, "Cathy will come up with a title and give it to us next meeting."

Brian looked online and said that The Robot is playing at Gaithersburg, Falls Church, and Herdon. John said that we started Meetup six months ago with a six month membership. It has been successful at bringing in new people. Do we want to keep it? Colleen moved that we continue the Meetup membership. It was seconded and passed in a vote with one abstaining.

Meagen Voss was here for her first meeting. She found WSFA through Meetup. She lives in College Park and is a freelance writer and recovery scientist.

Announcements: Candy is putting in solar panels. Colleen sent What If info. Museum of Natural history has a hyperbolic crochet coral reef exhibit. Saturday October 16, 2010. Gayle wants volunteers to sell books. Brian offered to take stuff to World Fantasy. Discuss space with him. Mike has books for sale.

Meeting unanimously adjourned at 10:40.

Attendance: Colleen Cahill, Carolyn Frank, Cathy Green, Paul Haggerty, Bill Lawhorn, Brian Lewis, Sam Lubell, Bob Macintosh, Candy & John Madigan, Sarah Mitchell, Barry& Judy Newton, Evan Phillips, Steve Smith, Bill Squire, Gayle Surrette, Mike Taylor, Michael Walsh, Ivy Yap, Cecilia Carey, and Meagen Voss.


Review of Tom Schwartz's Spaceship Earth

By Mark Roth recently read Tom Schwartz's "Spaceship Earth", and unfortunately found it rather problematical. I was mildly annoyed by the book given the appearance of being half again or twice the actual length by being typeset either space-and-a-half, or doublespaced. The story is vaguely reminiscent of Stapledon, or Doc Smith, but not as well written. Mr. Schwartz has problems with continuity, his science, and, most serious, a failure of imagination. To begin, to imagine that humans will still look human three or four billion years from now, albeit taller and thinner, like something from Disney in the late fifties about The Future, is absurd. It seems to me as though Mr. Schwartz hasn't read any of the cyberpunk, nor the current crop of authors, such as Strauss or Will Shetterly, and the changes to society that will come with genengineering and computer interfaces in the *near* future, say, the next 100-200 years. Certainly, he seems to have missed the entire concept of the Singularity. For that matter, I'm not sure I remember the word "computer" even being used. His science also seems to be missing a few good classes, such as Bro. Consolmagno's "science for non-science majors". Several times, he speaks of a matter converter that will make whatever element or compound you need, and speaks of transforming protons, electrons, neutrons, leptons, baryons, and quarks into whatever you need, seemingly unaware that it is only the first three that need redoing. For that matter, the idea that anyone would think about someone thousands or millions of years ago having "patented" such a device is ludicrous. He also seems to thing that 4 billion years from now, hydrogen jet engines are the ultimate rocket power. If I can mention a spoiler, he also seems to think that a 60 km rock will help "pull Earth into a higher orbit" from the sun. Beyond this, and getting back to continuity and plotting, he spends millions of years, literally, building the installations for these engines, and beginning to build the engines themselves, all of which seem to be well-known technology at the beginning of that time period, and then finishes everything up in the last 10 years. Worse, he has modern day American society perpetuated through the eons, with a President and Congress, "industrialists" (really, they haven't been called that in decades), corporations, and so forth. Clearly, he does not conceive of the possibility of changes in the organization of society over billions of years, ignoring the changes in the last 500. All in all, it comes across as fanfiction, and not beyond a slushpile for a professional sale. I would strongly recommend that Mr. Schwartz read more sf, and maybe come to conventions to talk, and more importantly, to listen to people. One last note: he adds Bible and religious thoughts in the preface and afterword, both of which seem bolted on, and irrelevant to the story. I am also irritated by his "where did the matter come from before the Big Bang", and his assertion that if you have an explanation other than God, you have to prove it. I would therefore suggest that he read the argument FAQ easily found on the web, and pay extra attention to the logical fallacy called "begging the question". No, Mr. Schwartz, I can say that Ghu, or the Flying Spaghetti monster created it, or that it was recycled from the previous iteration of the universe, and it's up to you to give evidence acceptable to an unbiased third party to prove that your God (tm) did it.

But Her Husband Has Guns

The First Friday November 11/5/10 meeting was called to order at 9:25 with President Judy presiding. Sam S said we had a quorum. The secretary summarized the minutes which were approved as read. No reports from the president or vice. Secretary Sam said he had a new Journal and a communication from IRS. Steve gave the treasurer's report, saying we did something that brought in some money. WSFA's official <not-so secret> agent Sam L. turned over communication from IRS so we get to keep our tax exempt status as long as our check passes. Cathy asked if it means we can request a tax exempt form. Steve said, for small organizations, the IRS is surprisingly sloppy. Not retroactive. What's the date on the letter? Judy S said if not tax exempt when we signed the contract can't claim it now. Cathy said we can use it for next year. Trustees said an election in seven months. Judy N said, wasn't there just one, oh that's the real world.

For Entertivities, Ernest said today is Colleen's birthday so he suggesting calling her on the speakerphone and singing. There was a debate over whether it is too late. Ernest said, "Not that I care." Mike said, "But her husband has guns." Tom asked, "What are these things called home phones?" Sung. "You have now been an Entertivity. You can go back to bed now." Sam S. said the Turner Classics Movie Channel is playing the new version of Metropolis ether this weekend or next. Gayle sent a link to the Winkle in Time theatrical performance playing in Roundhouse theater in Dec. Most of month of December 1 - 26. Ernest suggested organizing this at Meet up. Barry asked about the Meetup dinners at Capclave, Gayle said six or seven people each night.

Publications: Sam L asked for contributions to the Journal. WSFA Press: Ernest said, to date collected CENSORED. Invoiced another REMOVED that will be coming (from book dealers). Our break even point is a EDIT so just OMIT out. Paul said, "We just got another $XXX, so we should be over the hump soon." Ernest, said the Willis is selling briskly, VanderMeer selling. Gayle said to send material for the WSFA calendar to and send articles and such to webmasters. They don't go out looking for things. Debate over putting stuff from calendar onto Meetup. Judy said, "Wouldn't it be nice if all our electronics were linked." Steve said, put something in subject line so recipient knows it's not spam.

Capclave 2010: Gayle said, "Based on what we now have, we are about $XXX on the positive side. But if people have receipts, that can change. Turn them in. Bill, you're too late." Judy said, "It would be nice if it didn't drag on forever like some Capclaves." Excuses were made involving past treasurers, changing banks, and access to accounts. Gayle said "We will break even or close depending on outstanding bills. The web reports are really positive on blogs and such. The GoH pleased as punch, sent thank you. Ernest said, if you want your announcements to appear, don't send it to Sam. Sam S. said because I don't know what to do with it. Gayle said that the Australian editor had an interesting blog about the differences between Australia and U.S., things you wouldn't think." She is collecting links.

Cathy for Capclave 2011 said that things are proceeding. Judy is making maps and seeing how many more dealers can fit into our bigger space. The hotel liaison sent paperwork for getting hotel page up. We have to go up through corporate. We're expecting it in next week or so. Pre-reg was 64 which is almost even with last year. We did very attractive rack cards. Doing mailings. Asked GoH to send bios and pictures etc. The 2011 site is live. More content is good. First Capclave meeting next Saturday. Sam S has basic budget. Too early for planning so more generating ideas for publicity. More on the cheap is good. Cathy has been lining up tables for fantables at conventions. WSFans at conventions should help out. We're doing mailings. Anonymous is donating Xerox costs. Larry Smith and other dealers will take Capclave bookmarks. News items about our GoH should be passed to Gayle and Paul so continue to keep in mind. Judy said can link to good things people said about last year. Barry asked about doing full color flyer like Boskone. Cathy said that it would cost far more. Mike said it looks good because they have great art because have art GoH and art show. George for 2012 is still waiting to hear from his invited author, if doesn't get first choice he has a list. "Lists I'm good at."

The Committee to Talk SF will talk books today. But not the books Ernest read. Literary award: Gayle said, "We gave the award out. We had three nominees represented at the con. The winner was "Siren Beat" and was picked up by her publisher who came all the way from Australia. She enjoyed Capclave and went on to World Fantasy. We'll have more attendees as we get better known. We are very much appreciated by small press publishers." Good feedback. Committee will meet to define small press. Will be a survey going out. Most are defining it as "Not a big press." Spread the word, even in Australia. There are kangaroos with typewriters now.

No old business. Cathy said we have idea of gift for John for helping us with tax stuff. Kathi is thinking on it.

New business: Sam Lubell suggested that we ask Colleen if she wants to do list. Club said yes. Cathy said, if you don't give her the info you don't get to bitch about not being on the list.

Gayle said Capclave had to borrow two projectors from Balticon. In last Capclaves we've need equipment. We should consider getting one so we have it when we need it. Prices are going down. Who would store it? Who research it. Sam S. volunteered to look into it. Sam SS. said brought his from work and they're small.

Ernest moved to give Gayle three huzahs for running a great con. We did. Paul gave her his own award. Ernest said the con is getting better and better. Judy said Connie and the VanderMeers were great GoHs. Gayle said they put a lot of effort to be available. Couldn't have done better.

Thomas Woldering was here for his first time. He found WSFA by looking up conventions in the DC area. Wikipedia has Capclave listed (has Disclave as well). He followed that link through pathways that masters of the Internet know and landed at WSFA site and decided to come over. Just moved back to DC in September. He works for the machine <Is that better than working for the man?>. But if he gave details he'd have to kill us. Works as an engineer. He mainly sees SF on television because doesn't have time to read book, works 10 hours a day. But he is reading Douglas Adams.

David Holden is here for his second meeting. He moved here in July with his wife who is in law school. He's starting a job in December. He found out about us from an author blog that mentioned WSFA. He went to Capclave, which he found more useful since everyone had name tags. He likes to read everything except paranormal romances.

Announcements: January we might flip the meetings, with third Friday here because on first Friday Judy and Sam S will be on the island of Crete. Bill announced he got married. One ring. Wonder Twin powers that don't activate. Drool everywhere. Mazel tov Bill. Mike Walsh said at WFC bar was doing $10,000 worth of business. Ran out of many liquors. Ernest said Colleen won one of the Last Drink Bird Head award. Meeting unanimously adjourned at 10:15.

Attendance: Cathy Green, Paul Haggerty, Bill Lawhorn, Ernest Lilley, Sam Lubell, Bob Macintosh, Sarah Mitchell, Barry & Judy Newton, George Shaner, Steve Smith, Gayle Surrette, Michael Walsh, Ivy Yap, Thomas Woldering, David Holden, and H.P. Lovecraft <seriously, he signed the attendance sheet.


Science Fiction Gift List

Here's what some of our favorite SF characters are getting for Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus/Life Day:

Luke Skywalker - A new hand.

Paul Muad'Dib of Dune - A canteen of water, and some holiday spice to go with it.

Captain Kirk and his crew - A full body lift that will make them look decades younger.

The Pirates of On Stranger Tides - Captain Jack Sparrow

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - A new movie without Joss Whedon

Harry Potter - A collection of horcruxes and a two part movie (but no 3d)

Spiderman - A ticket to Broadway


The Robot Has Left

The WSFA meeting for the Third Friday of November, 2010 commenced at 9:16 at the Madigan residence. Due to the lack of a secretary the reading of the minutes was waived. The current money levels are $HA HA HA <What, you expected a ho ho ho?>; that'll change once we pay off this year's hotel.

In publications news, while we are paid up with the publisher and the artist for the 2010 Capclave books, some more money might be required, due to covers having been printed off-set and a replacement run being needed. Speaking of which, some 250 of the VanderMeer and 450 of the Willis books have been sold. We are rapidly liquidating the stock; particularly of the Willis book.

Trustees had nothing to report. Entertivities noted that the Bollywood SF epic "The Robot" has regretfully left the area before an outing could be organized. Colleen Cahill noted that things have been quiet on the Facebook front.

CAPCLAVE NEWS: The books on Capclave 2010 have not yet been closed, due to confusion on the part of the Rockville Hilton as to having received our deposit. Capclave 2011 is undertaking a walk through of what will be the dealer's room this coming Monday at the Gaithersburg Hilton. Capclave 2012 is still awaiting word from their first choice for guest of honor.

Literary Awards Committee: No particular news.

Old Business: None.

New Business: Brian Lewis suggested the notion of printing a WSFA Small Press anthology, but it was pointed out that publishing realities made this a non-viable concept. There was also some discussion of whether WSFA was the right venue for a writer's group. Charity Helton suggested her group as being an option.

On the membership front Harvey Schubert was a first time attendee.

As for announcements, these included Tad Daly showing off his new book "Apocalypse Never," Paul Haggerty talking about his adventures in seeking federal employment, and Candy Madigan speaking of being the proud owner of a new Roomba. In the last case the cat of the house has shown no interest in riding on it. The meeting ended soon after at some indifferent time.

Attendance: Steve Smith, George Shaner, Carolyn Frank, Paul Haggerty, Gayle Surrette, Barry & Judy Newton, Meagen Voss, Brian Lewis, Ernest Lilley, John & Candy Madigan, Harvey Schubert, Thomas Woldering, Bob MacIntosh, Colleen Cahill, Tad Daly, Ivy Yap, Charity Helton, Sarah Mitchell, and Bill Lawhorn.