TITAN is Varley's second novel, and is far better constructed than THE OPHIUCHI HOTLINE, his first. Its strengths are that it is entertaining and readable, and has some intriguing if wildly improbable concepts. Its weakness is not such much that it wavers between fantasy and science fiction (although it does) but that it wobbles between space opera and soap opera.
Indeed, much of what Varley offers to hold the reader's attention is soap. Passably done, but still who is sleeping with whom, and how often. In a curious way, Varley also succeeds in maintaining the sexual tension between Captain Cirocco Jones and her sidekick Gaby, just as they used to do in the old romances. And, just as in the old romances, it helps pull the reader along with the story.
Varley is an enormously talented writer, and his writing is informed by his personal convictions. It is my own loss that I am not a member of his audience. However, if you took a checklist of feminist issues, you would find that most of them have been touched upon---and gracefully rather than stridently, Varley has illustrated feminist ideology in every case. He is far more persuasive than Joanna Russ, for instance, but I found the didactic aftertaste to TITAN rather unpleasant.
If you agree with Varley, if you are his natural audience, you will sit around feeling very elated at how utterly right TITAN is, and should greatly enjoy re-reading it.
A final word. Not one of the male characters is truly together. Varley gives them a plausible excuse for their flakiness, but he has written the men down, and he has written them out.
Freff's full-page illustrations are cleanly reproduced and clearly related to the story. His line tends to be a bit cluttered, however, which detracts from the overall composition: ALEXIS A GILLILAND
Annandale, VA 22003
Warren A Rogers
Bronx, NY, 10456
Fairfax, VA 22031
Victoria A Smith
11105 Gainsborough Ct. Apt 11
Fairfax, VA 22030
Lee Smoire, Bob Lovell and Scott Dennis
2333 North Calvert St
Baltimore MD 21218
(301) 366 4808
I went to see BR in the afternoon at Springfield Mall, because my expectations were rather low, and the price looked right at $1.60. The picture is a sleeper, and it will be shown at science fiction conventions from here on out. There are a number of unexpected values incorporated in it which make BR an unexpected winner.
A comparison with STAR WARS is entirely warranted. The special effects in BR are not as good as in SW, but they are not embarrassingly bad, either. There have been reports that BR was made originally for television, in which case the cheap explosions and routinely flying stunt men are understandable.
The plot lines in both BR and SW are comparatively derivative, both deeply rooted in the pulps, both resolutely shunning any dangerous sparkle of originality.
The musical score in BR is undistinguished, and neither adds nor subtracts much from the picture, although the heavy-handed ominosity of the Princess' battlestar theme was badly overdone. The SW score was much better.
On the other hand, the dialogue in BR was quite witty, and Buck himself has some very funny lines. In fact, Buck is winner hands down in any contest with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader/Obiwan Kenobi. Not to mention Kirk and Spock. You may not believe him, but he is fun to watch.
What this all adds up to is that BR is a perfectly satisfactory B movie. It is escapism, pure and simple, and good entertainment if you let yourself be entertained. If you compare it with S*U*P*E*R*M*A*N, a much-hyped movie version of the original comic book, BR doesn't look bad at all. And if you compare it with TV garbage such as SPACE 1999, which had nothing BUT special effects going for it, you will see the difference between a workmanlike entertainment and a story conference abortion. The special effects in BS Galactica are insufficient to salvage the hopeless story line, although those effects are very good. It would be a pity to let the mediocre special effects in BR distract you from a rousing Planet Stories-type romp.
I enjoyed Buck Rogers and his stupid movie, and I would recommend it
to all but the most fastidious.
--ALEXIS A GILLILAND
Meeting of May 4, 1979 at Bill Berg's; Alan Huff, presiding. Followed
by annual meeting and elections.
Bill Berg, Sharon Harris, Chris Callahan, J Mayhew, Sue Wheeler, Lucille Ennis, D Hastie, M Owings, John Huff, P Kelly, Steve Dolan, K Bloom, D Roepke, Steph. Spearman, T Schaad, T Joll, L Smoire, J Novak, Jk. Heneghan, W Miles, L Herman, M Harris, M Walsh, B Lovell, K Weston, Bruce Miller, G McNitt, W Dionne, J Dionne, N Handwork, P Cox, J Ellis, B Mayhew, P Mayhew, N Lebovitz, L Peoples, S Smith, D Joy, S Sucharitkul, R Oliver, B Oliver, M Oliver, J Sapienza, R Cohen, B Brandt, B Rundquist, J Lynch, R Thompson, E Williams, P Kramer, B Marlow. (52)
The meeting was called to order at 9:30. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.
Treasurer's Report: Club Year 1978/9
Balance as of May 1, 1978: $1677.82 Total Income: $3308.98 Total Spent: $3071.26 Total Gain: $ 237.72 Balance as of May 1, 1979 $1915.54
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE: We took in 50 new regular members and one corresponding member during the 1978/9 Club Year.
DISCLAVE: Lee estimates that there are more than 500 advance
memberships in DISCLAVE.
DC in 84: There will be a meeting of the DC in 84 Committee, after the 1st meeting in June, to elect a new chairman and make plans.
MORE DISCLAVE: Rosa Oliver is recruiting GOFERS to help make the DISCLAVE a success, please sign up.
OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS: None transacted.
ELECTION: The following were elected to serve in the indicated
offices for the 1979/80 Club Year:
PRESIDENT: Tom Schaad
VICE PRESIDENT: Rosa Oliver
TREASURER: Bill Berg
SECRETARY: Joe Mayhew
TRUSTEES: Chris Callahan, Alexis Gilliland, Alan Huff.
The meeting was adjourned around 10:30.
Meeting of May 18th, 1979, at Gillilands'; Alan Huff, presiding.
A Gilliland, S Harris, B Berg, J Mayhew, S Wheeler, C Callahan, M Harris, S Kerry, V Smith, M Owings, T Schaad, S Forrest, G McNitt, L Smoire, P Potts, from Texas!, J Novak, J Epperson, S Speake, D Hastie, D Carroll, J Fetter, S Kubota, B Baum, K Bloom, R Thompson, M Walsh, R Ridenour, J Sapienza, K Weston, J Dionne, W Dionne, L Sands, E Williams, C Lydick, B Brandt, P Cox, E Fischer, M Wise, D Joy, R Oliver, J Ellis, S Sucharitkul, J Lynch, J Schalles, A Carol, S Stiles. (48)
The meeting was called to order at 9:22. The minutes were absent and were postponed.
The chair announced the election results: (see above, minutes of May 4th) effective June 1, 1979. The treasury has plummeted to $1873.54.
MEMBERSHIP: No new members were deceived at the last meeting.
ENTERTAINMENT: Doll Gilliland read the Hugo nominees (including
Alexis for best fanartist) She suggested a "Chicken Little"
party for July 2, in honor of the fantastic SkyLab falling. Exotic
beer will be available for the brave at the end of the meeting.
DC IN 84: The annual elections of officers and planning for the future of the bid will be held after the June 1, 1979 meeting.
DISCLAVE: The Program Book and awards trophies were ready. Congratulations to Dan Joy on beautiful booklet. Rosa Oliver reported that 206 gallons of beer and 209\ galls of soft drinks would be available. Doll insisted that some of it be Coke, the real thing, as the Beeries were getting Heineken. Rosa will do. Lee Smoire insisted on something noncarbonated for her. Rosa will do. There would be coffee, popcorn and most of all the INTERNATIONAL COOKIE CONSPIRACY! All were entreated to bring cookies.
PASSPORT PHOTOS: Rosa has them.
OLD BUSINESS: February 5th Friday Party in 1980! Planning ongoing.
NEW BUSINESS: Kathy Lydick and Leo Sands are getting married on August 12, 1979. There will be a fannish affair at UNICON.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: BSFS is sponsoring a talk by STEPHEN KING at 8 pm at Johns Hopkins Shriver Hall on June 23 1979. Admission is free to all BSFS members and .50 for WSFA members.
There will be a reception of autograph seekers at TALES FROM THE WHITE HART. . .which will probably be moving from 2412 West Charles St in Blto. to 3360 Greenmount. The Man will be somewhere at 4:30 if you'd like to meet him. Mr King will be there until 6. Call (301)-882-9169 for information. The meeting exhausted human endurance around 10 pm. The fanarch is dead. Long live the fanarch.
--Joseph T Mayhew.
Minutes of July [sic -- June] 1, 1979 meeting at Gillilands, Tom Schaad presiding (1st meeting of the new Club Year.)
Rosa Oliver, J Mayhew, B Berg, A Huff, A Gilliland, L Peoples, S Smith, D Gilliland, V Smith, M Petrino, M Owings, J Klapper, C Zwanzig, F Bauer, M Harris, S Harris, W Miles, J Prato, B Oliver, K Bloom, S Applegate, B Baum, K Dunn, J Heneghan, K Roseman, W Dionne, J Dionne, F Buhman, M Oliver, S Sucharitkul, K Weston, S Dennis, L Smoire, J Novak, J Epperson, B Brandt, M Wise, N Handwork, J Chalker, E Whitley, B Lovell, A Carol, M Walsh, J Ellis, D Preston, D Hastie, S Dolan, R Cohen, J Sapienza, J Schalles, J Rhomas. (54)
The meeting was called to order at 9:18. The minutes of May 1 were read and approved. The treasurer reported a balance of $1290.87, as of the beginning of the meeting.
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE: No new members.
DC IN 84: The officers for the year will be elected at a meeting after the club meeting.
DATCON: Don Pauley has resigned as chairman of LEAPCON, the event under discussion for the 5th Friday in Feb. 1980 (which event occurs only once every 28 years or so). Tom Schaad appointed a committee. Kent Bloom (chair) Doll Gilliland, and Lee Smoire, to look into the matter.
JUNE 5TH FRIDAY PARTY: The club voted to have it at the new home of Lee Scott and Bob, 2333 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Phone: 301-366-4808 and 301-366-4794.
4TH OF JULY PARTY: The club voted to have it at the new home of Jack Chalker and Eva Whitley in Carroll Co, MD. 4704 Warner Dr, Manchester, MD 21102. Phone (301) 239-8999. Doll has volunteered to coordinate the picnic. Please tell her what you're bringing.
DISCLAVE: Alan reports that DISCLAVE profits of around $2500 will be put into the club treasury. Various committee's chairs reported. A full reports will be published later.
OLD BUSINESS: Kent Bloom moved that Tom appoint a small
committee to report at the next meeting (concerning the planning of a
February 1980 special 5th Friday event). The club voted to table the
motion until the committee has reported. (anyone doubting that this is
what happened can listen to the tape recording!)
NEW BUSINESS: Joe Mayhew moved that $1500 be said aside from the Club's general funds for the 1980 DISCLAVE, and not be available for any other purposes. After some discussion the motion was tabled by the mover's consent until the 1st meeting in July.
THE SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS THROUGH AUGUST IS AS FOLLOWS:
June 15: Berg's June 29: N Calvert St, Blto. July 4: Picnic. Chalker/Whitley July 6: Gillilands July 20/22 UNICON August 3: Gillilands August 17: Olivers (Clinton, MD)
The meeting was adjourned at 10:13
The WSFA Journal appears monthly and is edited by Somtow Sucharitkul. People who have helped with this issue (wittingly or unwittingly) include: Joe Mayhew, Dan Joy, Alexis and Doll Gilliland, and Walter Miles.
The WSFA Journal is distributed only to WSFA Members. If you should desire a copy, kindly pay your dues to the treasurer.
Editorial Address: 3428 South Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22206. Telephone (HOTLINE FOR NEWS) 703-931-5098. Please write to the above address, or call, with all news, changes of address, and so on. If there is any thing you would like your fellow WSFAns to know, no matter how unsavoury, here is the place to put it! Only this way can you be guaranteed to reach all members. . .whether they want to or not.
The WSFA Journal
3428 South Stafford Street,
Arlington, VA 22206
Somtow Sucharitkul's story THE THIRTEENTH UTOPIA got a Nebula Recommendation. . .from Orson Scott Card! What does this mean? Somtow made his ninth sale 2 hours ago and will be getting two covers in Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine later this year.
Dave Bischoff will have a story with the intriguing title ALL THE STAGE, A WORLD, in CHRYSALIS 5.