MEETING OF JANUARY 7, 1983
In the land of Gilli, Rosa Oliver presiding. The meeting pulled itself together at 9:19:50. The minutes were approved as corrected ("Night Beast" was scheduled for the Tree Trim, not the Solstice Dinner). The Treasury stood at $4,695.90; we are still waiting for the rest of the money from Disclave.
PUBLICATIONS: The January Journal magically appeared. Joe Mayhew is also doing the February Journal. Different group but still publications - there will be a stuffing party for Progress Report 3 January 9 at the BSFS Clubhouse.
D'UDDERCLAVE: Hotel cards and rather odd flyers were available.
ENTERTAINMENT: Creationcon was this weekend (comic con). An exhibit on "unusual space" is opening Sunday at an art gallery in Georgetown. Give Doll your dollar for Star Wars - you must pick up your tickets from her at the February 4 meeting.
OLD BUSINESS: Nothing, as usual.
NEW BUSINESS: ditto.
The meeting disintegrated at 9:42:54 PM.
MEETING OF JANUARY 21, 1983
At Oliver's, Rosa Oliver presiding. The meeting was called to order at 9:11:11 PM. The minutes were approved as read; the Treasury stood at $4,542.79. We still are waiting for the rest of the money from Disclave.
ENTERTAINMENT: Remember Star Wars on February 12 at the Air & Space museum. The TV crew which was filming all us fen belonged to Channel 4, which is doing a report on extraterrestrial life and wanted an "informed layman's discussion" thereof, said discussion to be held after the meeting.
DISCLAVE '83: Rosa is now selling memberships - it's $5 until March 15, $10 until the end of April, and $13 at the door.
MEMBERSHIP: new members Gail Abend and Ted White.
OLD BUSINESS: Nicht.
NEW BUSINESS: Rien.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30:36.
AND MORE ADDRESS CHANGES:
Tom & Marianne Schaad, [censored], New York, NY 10004
Jane Wagner, 604 Reservoir St., Baltimore, MD 21217 (301-523-5286)
Mike Herrick, [censored], Baltimore, MD 21218
The WSFA Journal is the pretentious publication of the Washington Science Fiction Association Inc. Editor-in-Chief: Jane Wagner. Assistant Editor: Joe Mayhew.
WSFA IS A REMARKABLE GROUP
We take each other for granted. Probably because some of us have known each other long enough to have become used to the good qualities and only think of the differences and petty feuds we nurture among ourselves. But our little snake-pit has among its denizens some of the best known folk in the fan world.
If you've been around for a while, you've probably had a feud with several of them, or even grown to appreciate them from time to time. The new WSFAn is probably more impressed with meeting Somtow, Jack Chalker, Alexis and the others of our group who have become well known by science fiction readers since becoming members of WSFA. But they don't often get to know and appreciate our Fan Personalities as readily. These people are well known because they are interesting folk to do things with, and they're folk to do interesting things with.
You've got to be a true fan to really appreciate Lee Smoire. Fandom is her life, and the rest is only a series of inconveniences between what really matters to her. Though at times Lee and I grumble at each other for reasons of state, Lee is, O ye who do not live the life, the real thing: a Fan. Understand and grow fond of Lee, it will drive you quite mad, but it will be worth the trip. Lee is important to Fandom and important in Fandom because she puts it all into Fandom. She's being singled out here because she's good natured enough to put up with being an example of what being a Fan actually is. For instance. Lee, under circumstances which would have floored anyone less fannish, decided to go to Australia. Honestly broke, in debt, with enough practical good reasons to keep a mundane spirit safe at home, Lee packed up and went. A mundane would have still been thinking about it, Lee is remembering it, and the Fan in each of us is, or ought to be envying her.
Be careful, Fans are not gypsies, hippies or some other social misfit: they are simply members of a society with enthusiasm as one of its greatest values. I suppose all of us WSFAns are a bit like Lee, but few are as dedicated. In their own ways, Avedon, Charlie Ellis, Alan Huff, or Mark Owings could have been singled out as an outstanding example of what Fandom is all about, but that would be entirely another story. There are a remarkable number of others in WSFA who fall into the True Fan category. Some, like Bill Berg have been around WSFA for 30 years, others like Jane Wagner or Rosa Oliver have a more recent entry into it all. Some, like me, have GAFIAted for a while and then come back home. I think Roger Zelazny must have had Fandom in mind when he came up with his Amber family. We're interesting people to fight with, to party with and to sing songs all night in a jacuzzi with. We're a family whose home is much stranger than the worlds we read about, and like any other respectable looney bin, is a safe place to secretly rule the world from.
-- Joe Mayhew
When is Fandom going to discover Gene Wolfe? The Mundane press is way ahead of Fandom in its appreciation of one of the true geniuses of science fiction. The BOOKWORLD section of The Washington Post for Sunday, January 30, 1983 ran a rather extensive review of The Citadel of the Autarch (Volume Four of the Book of the New Sun). The reviewer, John Clute, an associate editor of The Science Fiction Encyclopedia, as much as called Gene Wolfe, "the new Dante". Perhaps not enough of Fandom is familiar with Dante to appreciate the comparison, but Dante was one of the biggies in the history of things people have had fun reading (literature). There is no law requiring anyone to read actively, that is to put your mind to work when reading. To use more than what you use when watching television, to turn on the old brain and really get into a book. It is, howsomeever, a lot of fun for the brighter folk to discover, to reach inside what they're reading and meet the author's mind instead of merely drooling along behind some hack's weary but easy adventure. The Saturday morning pap cartoons get dull to some of us, and for all the much vaunted mental superiority of fans, they'd rather not, it seems, be bothered with a real book, just shovel the fantasy role series, keep the simple minded twaddle coming. Gene Wolfe is always a damn good read. At least for the reader who doesn't move his lips or need lots of diagrams and pictures. Gene Wolfe selects each word of what he writes with such precision that images and forms grow in the tension between the lines as readily as in the text. Blood and Thunder you get; the whole gamut of experience, but it is so well done that, given a willing and intelligent reader, you get real blood and Thunder, not just stagey cardboard imitations. Dull it ain't.
Gene Wolfe was first published by Damon Knight in 1967. In an interview published in the same BOOKWORLD done by Michael Dirda, Wolfe attributes a lot of his growth as a writer to Knight, he also cites Tolkien, Blish, Vance and G.K. Chesterton as influences. Admits to some similarities with Robert Graves, and others compare him to their favorite writers, simply because he is actually that good. He is actually a real Science Fiction writer too. He says "I know that science fiction is dismissed by a lot of people, but I don't believe it's dismissed by very many readers." Unfortunately too many science fiction readers seem to dismiss Gene Wolfe as too demanding or too obscure. Admittedly you'll probably not get everything out of a Gene Wolfe short story or novel in one reading, but at the current cost of books, that makes his books a bargain, as each time you read one, there is always something new.
The Book of the New Sun was published in four parts, and some folks were waiting for the whole thing to appear before tackling it. Well, the whole thing has been published, so what are you waiting for? To quote the review, " There is time travel, space travel, teleportation; there are laser duels and gentle Mammoths; and delirium and dreams and the tying up of loose threads. The Book is a feast and a eucharist; layer after layer, we have just begun to know it."
-- Joe Mayhew