OCTOBER 16, 1987
At Bloom/Morman House. Attending; Joe Mayhew, Evan Phillips, Mike Walsh, Kent Bloom, Mary Morman, Mark Owings, Jul Owings, Keith Marshall, David Busch, Candy Gresham, David Gresham, Abner Mintz, Alexis Gilliland, Charles Gilliland, Dan Hoey, Erica Van Dommelen, Steven Fetheroff, Robyn Rissell, Bob MacIntosh, Sam Schwartz, Barry Newton, Judy Newton, Vicki Smith, Covert Beach, Terilee Edwards-Hewitt, James Edwards-Hewitt, Brian Lewis, Dick Roepke, Jack Heneghan, Mel Scharadin, Kim Elmore, Jim Elmore, Steve Smith, Ginny Vaughan-Nichols, Steve Vaughan-Nichols.
Mike Walsh called the meeting to order at 9:15. The previous minutes were highlighted and approved as they were printed in the JOURNAL. The Treasury stood at $16,059.57.
SPIRIT OF WASHINGTON CRUISE
Alexis read the following:
We will be signing the contract Monday with the "Spirit of
Washington" for the Brunch cruise on Sunday, Nov. 8th. They will
be boarding at 12:30 (The cruise is from 1 - 3 PM) at Pier 4, 6th and
Water Sts., S.W.. So far we have 28 WSFAns, a child & infant + 3
guests on the list. If you're a WSFA member your reservation will cost
you $3.00 (with the club paying the rest). Children below 2 years of
age are free; children above that age are $9.45; guests are $16.00.
Anyone not on the list who would like to be, please see me, money
in hand. Once we've made the block of reservations, WSFA will be
obligated to pay. Therefore, please do not sign up if you aren't sure
you can make it. If something happens that you can't go, and you are
on the list, please let Dolly or me know, so we might be able to find
someone else to fill your place. We will probably be able to add onto
our block of seats until October 25th, but we won't be able to reduce
the size of our original block. Here's who we have so far:
Joe Mayhew, F.L. Ahsh, George Koelsch, Kay Koelsch (plus child & infant), Rebecca Prather, Vicki Smith, Lance Oszko, Ginny McNitt, Keith Olson, Steven Fetheroff, Laura Jones, Pat Jones, Erica Van Dommelen, Dick Roepke, Chris Callahan, Peggy Rae Pavlat, John Sapienza (G), Denny Carroll (G), Lee Strong, Keith Marshall, Mel Scharadin, Alexis, Doll & Charles Gilliland, Jack Heneghan, Elaine Normandy, Susan Cohen, Stephanie & Charlie Spearman (G), Bob MacIntosh (so far).
PUBLICATIONS: The October WSFA JOURNAL has the mailing list. If you're not on it, or have an incorrect address, please give your correct address and phone number to Joe Mayhew.
DISCLAVE'88: Tom Schaad reported that the Hotel had sent him a contract for changes or approval, substantially the same as last year's. Tom intends to stress the availability of the pool during the con. He will announce his staff appointments soon and encourages everyone to get involved.
COMPUTER: Joe Mayhew has delivered the Computer and its software to Kent Bloom, whom he as also authorized to buy the printer and needed peripherals from the authorized funds. (A little over $1,000.00 remains.)
POKER TABLE: Status quo.
OLD BUSINESS: NONE
Mary Morman asked that the club's refreshment budget of $100.00 per meeting night be raised to $125.00. She reported that from time to time, she ran short if she had to stick to that figure. She offered to let someone else buy the goodies if they had time to comparison shop, as she did not. She also asked whether we wished to stay with name brands. Alexis pointed out that sometimes he spent well under $100.00 due to stock on hand, etc. It was suggested that the idea was to average around $100.00 per meeting and if sometimes more was needed, spend it, just so the long range average would be around $100. Bob MacIntosh was authorized to pay up to $125 at a time for refreshments without further authorization. That seemed to satisfy everyone and the matter was dropped. Mary Morman and the Gillilands were complemented on their good service in this area.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Mary Morman announced that there would be a 12:00
Midnight Birthday Party with 3 cakes for Judy Newton, Mike Walsh and
John Sapienza (absent). Midnight occurred at 10:32.
Vicki Smith has got a car.
Abner Mintz who lives in Laurel needs a ride to the meetings. Katelin Diane Winfield was born to Sue & Ubear. She weighed 7lb,11oz, was 20.5 inches long and got here at 5:16 PM (no date given).
ELECTION OF DISCLAVE'89 CHAIR
After the regular meeting was adjourned, the Trustees supervised the election for DISCLAVE'89 Chair. Michael Walsh was unopposed and elected by acclaim. The whole business was over around 9:55.
NEW ADDRESSES & CORRECTIONS
Brian Lewis' Phone N° = (202)362-7243 David Busch Candy & Dave Gresham [censored] [censored] Silver Spring MD 20910 Andrews AFB, MD 20335 (301) 589-5035 (301) 599-8094 Abner Mintz Kim Elmore [censored] [censored] Laurel MD 20708 Gaithersburg, MD 20879 (301) 953-9253 (301) 990-8974 Covert K. Beach [censored] Alexandria VA 22308 (703) 360-4449 Jacob F."Frank" Miller [censored] Lanham, MD 20706 (301) 577-2732 Sue Wheeler (Need new address)
Please give Joe Mayhew any corrections written on 3 x 5 card. Please print CAREFULLY so it can be R*E*A*D.
NOVEMBER 6, 1987
At Gilliland House. Attending: Joe Mayhew, Vicki Smith, Alexis Gilliland, Covert Beach, Candy & Dave Gresham, Robyn Rissell, John Madigan, F.L.Ahsh, George Shaner, Jan & Phil Cox, Joe Hall, Alison Munn, Mark Poe, Bob MacIntosh, Steve Stiles, Rebecca Prather, Jim MacDougall, Craig Trader, Denny Carroll, Laura Majerus, Mike Walsh, Elaine Stiles, Erica Van Dommelen, Steve Fetheroff, George Koelsch, Lee Strong, Mel Scharadin, Kim Elmore, Charles Gilliland, Walter Miles, Lance Oszko, Doll Gilliland, Kent Bloom, Tom Schaad, Peggy Rae Pavlat, Dick Roepke, Steve Smith, Dave Hastie, Cat Slusser.
President Walsh called the meeting to order at 9:15; and the minutes were summarized from the as yet unprinted copy of the Journal. The Secretary announced that the Club's Facit Typewriter seems to be undergoing its final illness. It works on and off and its control board often goes berserk.
The Treasurer announced that the club's account stood at:
DISCLAVE'87: The Sheraton has asked our help in finding Steve Carey, whose room payment check for $191.40 bounced and after many tries, no response comes from him.
DISCLAVE'88: Tom Schaad announced a $60.00 Flat (up to 4 in the room) rate, $10.00 extra for a 5th, but rollaways probably not available. Disclave is booking all of the cabaña rooms and will see that they go to people with parties in mind. Tom says his hotel contract has a special guarantee that the pool will be available. Probably a Mafia hit-man to secure their compliance.
DISCLAVE'89: Mike Walsh, Chairman, had nothing as yet to to report.
DISCON III: Kent Bloom asked for help in preparing a mailing and in other up-coming bid activities.
PUBLICATIONS: Joe Mayhew requested ideas and suggestions as to how best to replace the WSFA typewriter. He mentioned that while he now has his own computer, and would be getting a printer for it the very next day, that his confidence in being able to put the JOURNAL out on it was shaky. Doll Gilliland inquired whether the Secretary would be able to use the new WSFA computer. Joe explained that as it was presently at Kent Bloom's house being used for Disclave registration and other business, that it would be inconvenient. As the matter is one for long-range consideration, any ideas from the club would be welcome. The advantage of some sort of memory typewriter over a computer, was in format flexibility, little training or skill in operation beyond typing, greater facility in simple tasks (envelopes, etc.) and portability. As the Secretary is elected annually, these are important factors.
NO OLD OR NEW BUSINESS WAS PROPOSED.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:42
A meeting of the DISCON III,inc. corporation was held on September 27th at Peggy Rae Pavlat's. An extensive discussion of how best to use the "Friends of DISCON" was held as well as a discussion of the sale of "Political Favors". The confusion resulting from the decision to sell Pre-supporting memberships at the same cost as the bid support buttons was discussed. Subsidies for representatives at cons was suggested by Jack Chalker in order to help those who will be attending cons which the bid would not otherwise have parties at. The Corporation voted to get $5,000.00 from the WSFA Treasury. At the end of the meeting, Joe Mayhew, Corporation Secretary, resigned both from his office and from the Corporation.
Our DISCLAVE'87 GOH has added a pendant to his four volume work BOOK OF THE NEW SUN which is so much a consummation of what went before that it seems an integral part, rather than a sequel. In fact, the natural result of reading THE URTH OF THE NEW SUN is to re-read the four prior volumes (THE SHADOW OF THE TORTURER, THE CLAW OF THE CONCILIATOR, THE SWORD OF THE LICTOR, and THE CITADEL OF THE AUTARCH).
When Pocket Timescape published the first four volumes, they seemed uncertain as to how to market them. The first was labeled "Science Fantasy", the second, "Fantasy", and the last two were dubbed "Science Fiction". Perhaps many who picked up "The Shadow of the Torturer" in the hope of finding an easy pulp adventure with some Conan-like hero, did not continue with the rest of the book as it became available, seeking instead some simple-minded daydream to rest their mind on. Some others may have read all four volumes as a colorful but puzzling adventure, OK except for the unusual need to pay close attention to the images required to understand what was going on. In fact, those who pick any of Gene Wolfe's books up, looking for an easy read will be more or less disappointed. The complexity, precision of language, depth of concept, the sheer art of Gene Wolfe's work defies the existing genre slots and perhaps it would be useful to invent a few new terms to help the book shopper to know what he has in his hand. As even the most formula bound pulp is unlikely to be labeled "Simple-minded Adventure" or "Canned Daydreams" or "Puerile Poo-Poo", one cannot look to the publishers for help. Academe has its nose so far in its own rectum or ledger book that professional scholars will remain useless in this endeavor as a critical aide. Likewise, much SF criticism is Ghetto oriented and thus very slow to recognize new forms, but it is nevertheless the best hope for figuring out what to call Gene Wolfe's work. The WASHINGTON POST recently published a review of THE URTH OF THE NEW SUN by Roz Kaveny, which was a step in the right direction. She says, "Gene Wolfe's career has thus far been dedicated to making us see in a new light some of what we had thought of as the stock habits of science fiction and fantasy... Wolfe's more perfect tale of the understanding of the divine and the birth of a new world has its obscurities, forces us to read and reread if we are to hope fully to take its meaning, yet in the end its importance lies in the complex of excitements and emotions that it awakens." Perhaps new marketing terms such as "A Good Read" for the type of book many folk want when their brains feel sore; but " A Great Re-read" should be reserved for the kind of book you want when your mind is hungry, when it wants to reach out and stretch itself, In this sense, Gene Wolfe should be marketed as " Great Re-read", and "Careful, Read contemplatively".
You are waiting to be seated outside the Hotel's better restaurant with some significant other, dressed to the Tees; your con badges are wisely tucked away somewhere safe. Across the Lobby you see a fan wearing a 45 foot-long scarf, a plastic zap gun and a clutter of clattering cleverbuttons. He is in the company of a woman in an overworked leotard, cape and Spock ears, with a stuffed dragon perched on her shoulder. You overhear the maitre-d' say something unpleasantly accurate about that couple to the captain. Naturally, you show a scornful solidarity with the urbane restaurant staff, for in addition to the pleasure of feeling superior and totally separated from such a pair of flakes, being associated with such people would extend your promised 10 minute wait to an hour or more and the table you might eventually get would be entirely too convenient to the restrooms and the swinging door to the kitchen. Just as the maitre-d' notices you and exchanges a knowing wink with you about the odd couple across the room, the odd couple also notice you and gush forward too loudly calling your name.
You and your companion try to project a very cool, parental condescending acknowledgement, mixed with a moat of reserve and a portcullis of superiority, but the fannish plague take no notice, approach untrammeled and volunteer to join you, telling the maitre-d' that you'll need a table for 4 or maybe 23, as some other fans are sure to want to join "us". The maitre-d' raises an eyebrow and scans his seating chart while looking at you in an entirely new way. Suddenly you're out, exposed: everyone knows. You're a fan.
Inside fandom there may be delicate shadings and all sorts of castes, but to them, gens mundani, the world you've been trying to suck up to, all of those differences are meaningless: a SCI-FI WEIRDO is a SCI-FI WEIRDO. To them, all fen are silly freaks, social undesirables who probably should be put out of their misery. Perhaps you're a 'Trekker', imponderably more cool than some unabashedly enthusiastic 'Trekkie'. Perhaps you're a 'filthy pro', toweringly awesome to your fans, or a BNF as mighty as a senior Senator in his home district. But they don't see the difference. Sci-Fi types are all sleazy. Sci-Fi writers are like Vonnegut's Kilgore Trout - very small and unsavory fish, indeed. The gentry wither at fans on elevators, they complain to the management when they find fen (or roaches) in the same hotel with them. They call the cops when they see someone pull a plastic ray gun (remember the SWAT team at the 1980 Disclave?) To them, we are just one disgusting lump of deviant trash.
You, of course, know better. You're no neo.--but weren't you once? Maybe by now you have learned how to pass. You can fake the way they walk and talk. (Some fen own complete mundane wardrobes and have canned expressions which they hope can make them sound as if they spent more money on discos, singles bars and PEOPLE MAGAZINE than they do on hotels, con memberships, and fanzines.) But to the trained eye even the best disguised fan is detectable. They know there's a cape in your closet. They know that your bedroom walls are lined with those special, narrow bookcases for paperbacks.
Maybe you've put away those silly things which were so important to you when you first discovered fandom. Your closet holds a box of con badges dating back to the year one, a pile of mouldering fanzines, a cheap sword, unframed pictures of flitter-kitties and perhaps an autographed edition of Nimoy's first record album - all safely hidden away. For now, you've grown much more sophisticated. Still, you remember, with a sweetness of younger days, things such as the first time you bought a cleverbutton in the huckster's room. Remember the first time you successfully dropped a name, surrounded by impressed neos -- or the first time you were recognized and greeted by a BNF? What about that time you bought a drink for a filthy pro (who had just sold his first story to FORMULA ADVENTURES? Then there was the time that you ate at that little Chinese place with 20 filksinging old friends you just met in the hotel lobby when someone asked you to join their expedition. Remember the special buttons made to commemorate the occasion: "GROK SUEY"? And on the way back, the police harassed the guy wearing a fencing epee and you all talked grandly about civil rights on the way back to the hotel. Yeah!
But now you're older, more suave, all that stuff is behind you, hanging in a dusty closet. Now your lip curls as those obvious fen approach you, blowing your cover and ending your masquerade. It's odd that you probably don't feel any shame as you betray your own roots. You'd rather suck up to Mr. & Mrs. Mundane. Maybe it's about time you should act with fannish solidarity. Instead of turning a fish-eye at your fellow fen, just because they're obvious, you should come out, and be your real self. The next time some mundane makes a slighting remark about one of your brothers or sisters in fandom, instead of joining in, you should ask Mr/Mrs Mundane exactly what is hanging in their closet? What about their complete set of Star Trek videos hidden behind their Harvard Classics, or the SF paperback they've been reading on the john? Instead of bolting away from obvious fan types in public, you ought to show some Fan Pride and join with them in confronting the mundanes. Maybe such solidarity could hopefully help some of the closet fen come out and get in touch with their real fannish soul instead of trying to stand with the persecutors putting his own brothers and sisters down.
Perhaps what we need is a National Fan Consciousness Day. We could stage parades (giving awards for best costume in Novice, Journeyman and Master categories). What if, just for one year, fandom didn't hold a single con? Wouldn't the hotels finally realize that we are as important to their economies as Amalgamated Foofram, the Shriners, or the Ferk Baptist League? It's time to draw our light-sabres and confront those who scorn us, with a united force (which will certainly be with us)! FAN POWER! FAN PRIDE! Lets show what we can do if we all stand together!
Maybe then, when we go to the Hotel's better restaurant, the maitre-d' will show us immediately to the best seats in the place instead of making us cool our heels in the lobby until we've been seen by some embarrassing obvious neos.
SOMETHING FROM THE VAULTS:
The old WSFA Journal wasn't just a four page newsletter; For instance, N° 60 (Sept 1968), not counting its Vaughn Bode cover, was 36 pages and included the following:
Unless a fantasy writer is blatantly derivative or downright plagiaristic, few readers will worry about his sources. If he tells a passable story, they will ignore or forget the fact that a particular character may owe his elephant-call to Tarzan or his rapport with pigs to Dr. Doolittle. But the writer himself is less easily satisfied. He constantly reproaches himself with the question: Am I creating or appropriating?
When I write a story, I list the reference books from which I have drawn my archaeological facts. But my debt is much greater than a few score books which tell me that the Romans considered the dormouse a culinary delight or that the Greek children played knucklebones instead of football. I am a slow reader, but I have been reading for most of my thirty-nine years and the people I read about are often more real to me than those I meet. In other words, I have incurred -- amassed, I should say -- an enormous debt to my favorite authors. I have borrowed, adapted, assimilated, and metamorphosed. Now it is high time to acknowledge that debt. It is high time to thank those authors -- particularly one author - who have guided and goaded me in my journeys through enchanted forests or across perilous seas.
First, let me say that my favorite living author, Mary Renault, has given me incalculable pleasure but scarcely at all influenced my writing. I worship her; I would like nothing better than to write like her. But I came to her much too late. I can only read and marvel at a woman who can make Athens far more real to me than New York City.
No, My strongest sources go back to early childhood. When I was six, in the days when there was no television, and children were still read to and liked to be sick enough to miss school but not too sick for rapturous listening in the confines and comforts of bed, my mother introduced me to a certain fat, bumbling bear and his hardly more intelligent but hardly less engaging friends who without doubt have been the supreme inspiration for most of my stories. For one thing, I rarely write a story without including a bear. Let it be an Etruscan tale and I name my human hero "Bear" and make him indolent and somnolent like Winnie-the-Pooh. Let it be a Cretan tale and I populate my forest with Bear Girls, one of whom is named Pandia, a name which besides being Greek is a play on the world "Panda", that quasi-bear which I encountered in a New York zoo before the Red Chinese decided that the animal was too valuable for export. Pandia is more than an almost-Panda, however. She is an almost-Pooh who has an insatiable taste for honey cakes.
Yes, my mentor, my model, my master is A. A. Milne. I love him because he is whimsical without being cloying. I love him because his animals are personified without being excessively prettified. I love him because his forest abounds with delectable dangers -- Heffalumps -- Woozles -- and because the inhabitants, in spite of their foibles -- Pooh's bumbling, Piglet's timidity, Eeyore's dyspepsia -- are both lovable and because they stand together even in such dire crises as the loss of Eeyore's tail or Piglet's house.
A single author, of course, however influential, has not been my single influence. I often write about other animals than bears and piglets and rabbits and kangaroos and tigers. In my next book, Moondust, I introduce a hyena who no doubt owes something to Saki's Beasts and Superbeasts. And when I turn to human beings, I am very fond of princesses who might have been hatched from the same egg as Edgar Rice Burroughs' Dejah Thoris. Then there Robert Nathan and Ray Bradbury and Roy Rockwood and Frank Baum and Kenneth Graham and also the countless writers I have read and absorbed and forgotten. But always, in the background or in the foreground, lolls that plump, versifying bear, and I have no intention of driving him out of the tree house of my imagination. If he did not exactly build it singlepawed, he at least decorated it, he made it habitable and, I hope hospitable. Muses are supposed to be women and goddesses and graceful, but Robert Graves remarked that Tennyson's Muse wore whiskers, which surely disqualified him for the usual definition. Mine, for better or worse, wears fur.
It seems such a pity that the President of the United States of America has to be surrounded by a whole bunch of secret police and electric fences and mine fields and such. It is getting to be such hard work that one tired old B movie actor can't quite do the job any more. So someone ought to suggest to The Owners that, instead of hiring just one actor, next time they ought to make The Lone Ranger President. You see, the Lone Ranger wears a mask and so lots of actors could play President at once. They could open shopping malls, toss out first baseballs, and attend summit meetings all at the same time. If one were killed, it could be hushed up and a replacement could be inserted without any of the Dr. Who folde-rol. With lots of actors reading the lines, the President would always say and do the right thing. One could become the Foreign Affairs Lone Ranger, another could be the Anti-Drugs Lone Ranger, while yet another could be signing autographs for White House visitors. With lots of good script writers, lots of Lone Rangers to read them, and maybe a few faithful Indian Companions to feed them their lines when they flub them, The Owners could probably come up with a convincing presidential image.