WSFA Logo The WSFA Journal

January 2011

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

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WSFA Helps Make Washington D.C. the Nation's Most Literate City

According to a national study, Washington D.C is America's most literate city. It is followed by Seattle, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. Boston, once considered the hub of American literary culture, was only ranked 12th. The study looked at six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. DC was 17th in bookstores by population, 15th in libraries, and seventh in education level. But we are first in newspaper circulation, magazines, and Internet resources. So every WSFAn who subscribes to a DC paper or magazine (or looks on the paper's site online) or bought a book in D.C. contributed to the victory. However, all the measures have been in decline in recent years, especially book-buying and newspaper circulation, so a city with D.C.'s 2010 showing would have been rated at only seventh in 2004. In 2003 there were almost nine bookstores per 10,000 people nationwide, in 2010 just under six. The study was conducted by the Center for Public Policy and Social Research at Central Connecticut State University.


Capclave Consuite to Provide Doggie Biscuits?

The December 3rd First Friday meeting was called to order at 9:28 by President Judy. Secretary Sam L. read the good parts version of last meeting's minutes. The President had no report. Vice President Sam S. was not present. Sam L. reported on the IRS sending a card asking for more information. The Treasurer Steve Smith reported "a little bit of money."

Steve said that a number of things have been paid off. Looks like the hotel has been paid. Mapledale Press is paid for 2010 books so should be all square. Brian asked if more money is coming in. Gayle said we paid artist less because of an error that made the book print wrong but we had to the pay the printer for redoing. Trustees had nothing to report. For entertivities, Sam L. suggested a theater trip to see A Wrinkle in Time and gave several dates. There was a vote and people voted for Sunday the 19th. Sam said he will send to announcements and meet up lists.

WSFA Press BundlePaul for WSFA Press said he was holding off on the report for the moment. 10 Willis books left in bundles - seven book complete WSFA Press bundle and the recent three books bundled. There are about 200 left of the VanderMeer books, so that volume is way past break even point. A good chunk is not in our hands but invoiced. See Paul after the meeting to buy books. This year we did 500 of each book while last year we did 1,000 Turtledove books and sold out (returns of about 200), the committee needs to decide how many to do of each book in 2011. Cathy said, since both are co-equal Guests of Honor, would like for them to be even. Gayle said that we'll throw that into discussion and bring up for a vote after our discussion.

Gayle called for content for web page. Part of moving to new format is for officers to post too, but so far she is the only person who has. Sam L. asked to be shown how, Gayle said that she sent email but can resend. There were no changes on Facebook. Sam L. suggested people write up what they did at Capclave. John for the Meetup group said we keep picking up onsies and twosies. And some come back. Two new this night, plus three returning newcomers tonight. Awesome. Current count up to 55 or 60. Keep coming back.

Capclave 2010. Gayle reported that we paid the hotel after solving question of missing deposit. Sam S. sent the bill but some questions on registration numbers. We will either be up or down $X. Not off too much. Barry, the registrar, reported that 395 people showed up 40 pre-registered who failed to appear. This includes 101 walkups. Gayle said that buzz on blogs and Twitter were positive except for one complaint about the heat. Hopefully the bigger numbers will mean that drop from moving hotels will still leave enough. Gayle said this total (either up/down) includes the money from charging the +1 fee to guests of program participants. So we will do it again. Capclave 11 and 12 decided to continue it. With increasing costs, it is necessary. Cathy: There may not be any large regionals that don't charge. Even Philcon is thinking about it. Most people's reaction is okay, what took you so long. Talk of Philcon shrinking and not making room block.

Capclave 2011. Cathy said, "Sam and I went to Philcon. With its shrinking population, we did not do much. We sold one Willis and one VanderMeer and at my book club before Philcon I sold a membership to Madeleine Yeh. Philcon is not a bad place to go for informational purposes since Capclave tends to draw people from North of DC. We handed out a lot of fliers, people listened to my spiel but not willing to commit $40. People loved the bookmarks. Our hotel is further out but free internet, hotel will pick you up, some fridges, hotel shuttle will take you anywhere within a five mile radius. Big free parking lot. Hotel is pet friendly. That attracted people. Can specify no-pet room. However, we don't know yet if this information will translate to members. We need to do more publicity, going to conventions and talking it up is necessary. A panel we went to focused on mid-Atlantic fandom. I had no idea so much went on in Philly, and we plugged Capclave. It all adds up. There was a discussion about charging for pets. Only if we provide doggie biscuits in the consuite.

Capclave 2012 had nothing to report. Judy S. said in the walkthrough the dealers' room is oddly shaped. We can get two more tables in and still have people.

The Committee to Discuss SF explained its purpose. A new person asked about Analog. <If people are interested we can squeeze it in> Small Press. Colleen was not here. Gayle said the questionnaire to small presses is going out, new rules will be in place.

No old business. New business. Ernest gave evil laugh. Then he spoke a preamble about how he is distressed about club overall branding not being strong. It has been suggested that we don't own our logo and the person who originally created it doesn't want it used. He suggested a committee to discuss branding strategy. Periodically someone comes to club with talent. Tom designed a model logo. Chair Judy: You are welcome to form a committee. Sam, Tom Woldering, Drew Bitter, Charity, and Ernest are the identity committee. Charity said she didn't even know about the email list. WSFA page static. Ernest said that will go in meeting. Branding committee. Steve said if want budget for hot iron, come back to the club. No new business was expressed in various ways.

New people: David Savage found out about us through meet up. Lives in Vienna. Read it most of his life. Ernest said, besides the newspaper what do you read. 2½ years ago subscribed to all three major magazines after years of buying at bookstore. Read books by Rudy Rucker, Bellweather by Connie Willis.

Mathew Verga, found out about us from meetup. He reads mostly SF/Fantasy and Ernest likes my car. Volvo C-30 hatchback.

Meagen Voss and Tom Woldering both here for their third meeting and eligible to join <although it was suggested they wait until 2011. Steve said he willing to take memberships for 2011 in advance. Ernest asked if can use Paypal. It was pointed out that that costs.

Announcements: Drew found website,, which is a compendium of spaceships and sizes. Someone suggested John Scalzi's Thanksgiving grace. Barry requested someone described how to get on forum. Send email to Paul said, as of Jan 3 will be assimilated into borg, join the government. Tom gets promoted in five days to Lieutenant Junior Grade in Navy. Starfleet someone said. Never wear the red shirt.

Motion to adjourn unanimously at 10:16.

Attendance: Drew Bittner, Cathy Green, Paul Haggerty, Bill Lawhorn, Brian Lewis, Ernest Lilley, Sam Lubell, Candy Madigan, John Madigan, Sarah Mitchell, Barry and Judy Newton, Mark Roth, Judy Scheiner, George Shaner, Steve Smith, Gayle Surrette, Ivy Yap, Charity Helton, Thomas Woldering, Matthew Verga, David Savage, Meagen Voss, and Hanukkah Gelt.


Nebula to Enter Washington DC

A rocket can take you to the stars, but a nebula ... a Nebula makes a star!  Many of science fiction and fantasy's brightest stars attend SFWA's Nebula Awards Weekend. 

Nebula.gifThis special weekend is a time to attend sessions to help you better manage your career and to network with agents, editors, and fellow writers. You don't have to be a nominee, a member of SFWA, or even a writer to participate in the weekend.

Michael SwanwickThe Nebula Awards Weekend will be held Thursday, May 19th to Sunday, May 22nd at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington D.C. - home of the national monuments, the Smithsonian museums, and the national government.

Our Toastmaster, Michael Swanwick, has been awarded the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, and the World Fantasy Award, all in one lifetime. Born in 1950 in Schenectady, New York, he knew from his teens that he would be a writer. He wrote stories through his college years at William and Mary, but never could finish them. After finally learning the secret (with a little help from Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann), at age 29 he finished his first story. All that practice paid off, though, because his first two published stories both received Nebula nominations.

A full time writer since 1983, Michael has compiled a vast bibliography. As prolific a science fiction and fantasy reader as he is a writer, he is also highly respected for commentary on the two fields. He has even published a photo book of autumn leaves.

Featured workshops are Warfare for Writers (limited to twenty-five people); Reading Aloud 201 (limited to ten people); Experience and Tips for Television Interviews (limited to five people); Web Page Improvement (similar to a writers' workshop for SFWA members who already have a website); and possibly a Scotch Tasting (if it works out it will include wonderful commentary and writing tips).   

The Nebula Awards Weekend includes in-depth presentations and panel discussions:

In addition, Friday activities include tours of the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  Some of these tours have limited enrollment.  Popular tours will be offered again next year; the Nebs encore in D.C. in 2012.  Friday's tours and workshops will be followed by a mass signing and a reception to honor the 2010 Nebula Award Nominees and SFWA's Honorees. 

Information about the Nebula Awards Weekend and access to the Hilton's registration page is located at The discounted rate of $129.00 (plus tax) per night single/double is available from May 16th through May 26th.  You can also make your reservation at the Washington Hilton Hotel by calling (202) 483-3000 or Fax: (202) 232-0438.  Use the group code "SFWA."

The rates below for this year's Nebula Awards Weekend are good through Monday, February 28, 2011. Prices will increase periodically. Please register now. As part of registration, please select your choice of workshops, tours and banquet entree, if any, for you and your guests. 

Full Weekend -- $150.00 ($125 for SFWA members and their guests) includes all available activities Thursday through Sunday, including workshops, tours, the program and the Saturday 2010 Nebula Awards Banquet and Presentations. 

Saturday Evening Banquet Only -- $125.00 ($100 for SFWA members and their guests) includes the pre-banquet reception (6:30 p.m.), the banquet and the after-dinner Nebula Awards Presentations.

Basic -- $50.00 ($40 for SFWA members and their guests) includes all activities Thursday - Sunday including after-dinner Nebula Awards Presentations and activities, but no banquet meal.

Group Tables - Publishers or other groups may purchase a bundle of eight (8) Full Weekend memberships at a discount. $900 through Thursday March 31, 2011.  There must be at least one SFWA member at each Group Table. A table will be reserved in the group's name. One person should be designated as the group's liaison. The group table must be paid for in one payment either by check or PayPal.

Visit and select Nebula Awards Weekend from the menu for additional information. 



Full House But No Quorum As Record Number of Newcomers Attend

The December 17th Third Friday meeting was called to order at 9:23 by President Judy. There was no quorum so can't take votes. We need three WSFAns. Since there were several new people who found WSFA through Meetup, Ernest explained a bit about the club. WSFA has been around since 1947. Some people here may or may not be original members. If they are, they don't remember. We get together and have a good time. Talk about SF. Hold a convention called Capclave. Twice a month have a business meeting. Then we hang out and talk and have cookies. Hearty welcome given to newcomers. Ernest explained after three meetings you are eligible to join. Decoder ring doesn't work.

Sec Sam read <barely since he had no voice left> a short version of minutes. Accepted as read. Someone said we should not refer to a profit for our convention but a surplus. <We can never predict the exact amount in advance so we're a non-prophet convention>

Steve gave his treasurer report. Ernest asked, "Do you have it with you?" Bob said it's been laundered and folded and put away. Judy asked, "Any change since last time?" No. Steve said that he had hoped Paul would be here to give vast details on WSFA press finances, but don't have to talk about it in meeting. We're making money hand over fist. Dues are due and payable as of first meeting in January. Sam L. reminded Steve about getting people's address and phone and email.

Trustees said there will be an election first meeting in May, but are not worried about it <There will be a Mayday later>. Entertivities. Sam L. volunteered to take a sign to our field trip to A Wrinkle in Time. Fifth Friday will be at the Fabulous Bungalow for John and Kathi's New Year's Eve party.

Publications: Sam showed the new journal and asked for submissions. For WSFA Press, Ernest said he would propose new books but no quorum. WSFA Press is doing quite well in sales. We're looking forward to proposing two new books. Websites: Paul and Gayle are not here. Ernest said last meeting said some elements like Meetup not on site. Now they have been put up. Judy said there was discussion among the officers. Nicki Lynch said not easily clear on the website when and where the meeting. It shouldn't be buried. Sam L. said he will tell webmasters. John said Meetup count is 65 - 70 people.

Capclave 2010: Gayle not here.

Capclave 2011: not here. 2012: not here.

Talk SF: Sam L. said we'll talk about Asimov's and then whatever else people read, since Sam can't talk much.

Branding committee: Ernest told everyone to get in the wayback machine. The committee met by phone. Looked at Thomas' artwork and looked at other groups logo. Ours doesn't look bad by comparison. Reviewed objectives. First and foremost, logo. Discussed functionality of logo. Works well in line drawing. Work in small size, not take over the page. Nice if communicates locality (DC) and interest (SF) but if we get a striking design, it could still be considered. Thomas is working on ideas but if others have ideas, send them to Ernest through email or give a printout at the January meeting. Brian said he doesn't want to have to revive the flyer committee to get a version with a new logo. Judy said once we get the new logo it will be used on the flyer.

No quorum so no new business. Need 15, only had 12. Someone (Erica) asked, why can't we just use a minyan?

First time here: Conley Hefley - a member of homeland security. Always liked SF. Studied philosophy in college. Like bioethics. Like Phillip K. Dick, David Brin. I had seen the website before saw the Meetup, but Meetup helped.

Paco Madden - I'm a playwright/producer. For fringe festival is producing a short play, Who Killed Captain Kirk? Not just finding out who killed, but all are suspects and at the end, the audience votes. Trying to promote the play. I did a web search for groups that might be interested. Saw the webpage. Judy said, "Only one thing to say to you, get a life." Quoting Shatner on Saturday Night Live.

Fran Zhang - A grad student at Illinois State University. Husband moved here. He had been in Arizona for four years but got new job. Majoring in math education. In spare time read SF. Found us on Meetup. Interest in SF still beginning. Ernest, we'll be happy to suggest books.

Saiten Yung: Moved from Arizona, last month. Doing satellite images. Work for NOAA. Ernest said our webmaster works for NOAA.

Stephan Sev - Live in college park, all the Meetup groups are in fancy neighborhoods, but tonight I looked to see what is in my area. SF. I don't read it because want to preserve my eyesight. 10 or 12 DVDs I haven't seen yet. Fifth element. When I was a kid enjoyed a SF TV series Space 1999, I thought it was so cool as a kid. Recently watched an episode on VHS and it was so cheesy.

Announcements: Erica thanked people for condolences when her father died, her mother is doing well. Mike has reprint rights to Pavane. More ideas than most writers put into a trilogy. If works out will be doing a collection of Roberts short stories. Judy said will be a meeting switch next month. Candy said her foster daughter is getting married and moving out, except that her stuff is still here. Barry said will be eclipse of moon Monday night but will need to be away from city lights.

Unanimously adjourned at 10:10.

Attendance: Erica Ginter, Brian Lewis, Ernest Lilley, Sam Lubell, Nicki & Rich Lynch, Bob Macintosh, Candy & John Madigan, Barry & Judy Newton, Evan Phillips, Steve Smith, Bill Squire, Michael Walsh, Ivy Yap, Cecilia Carey, Fran & John Zhang, Paco Madden, Meagen Voss, Stephan Sev, Conley Hefley, & Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.


WSFA Falls Through A Wrinkle in Time
By Samuel Lubell

On December 19th, 10 WSFAns attended the Roundhouse Theater's production of A Wrinkle in Time, adapted from Madeleine L'Engle's Newbery Award-winning classic. The show was very faithful to the book with just the occasional reference to technology or pop culture to modernize it. Although there were some special effects, including a projected planetscape, the show got a lot of mileage out of streaming piece of cloth (although the stuffed flying beast with mini-versions of the actors on its back was not necessary). The actress playing Meg had just the right degree of teenage angst and a "why does everything happen to me" attitude without being too whiny (mostly). A couple of other WSFAns thought the actor playing Charles Wallace played him too robotic, but I thought it was just enough to show him as different. Many of the other characters were played by an actor and actress who were also the ensemble, narrating parts of the story. The show was clearly aimed at children (although all the WSFAn adults enjoyed it) and was fairly short. However, afterwards, we had a special bonus as one of L'Engle's granddaughters, who herself is a writer, talked to the audience about her grandmother and her own writing. A few of us finished the evening with dinner at an Indian/Nepal restaurant. If anyone has ideas for future Entertivities, please bring them up at a WSFA meeting.