A PUBLICATION OF THE WASHINGTON SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION INC, WASHINGTON, DC
[ This issue of the WSFA Journal has a large pink heart drawn across the cover, and a red bow glued to the upper right corner. ]
The First Friday meeting in December convened at 9:18, 6 December 1991, at the Mew of the Pink Pigasus. President Tom Schaad said "Shh!" and asked if the Secretary was ready.
Tom announced that Doll Gilliland, wife of Alexis and mother of Charles, passed away on 27 November 1991. He apologized to those who we had been unable to contact. Speaking for the entire club, he stated, "It's just not going to be the same."
Tom then asked if there would be the traditional nondenominational tree trim at the Gilliland house for the next meeting. The answer was Yes. (However, see Third Friday's report.)
Secretary Lee Strong reported that the regular issue of The WSFA Journal was preempted by a special Doll Gilliland issue. The regular issue would appear for the Third Friday meeting.
Treasurer Bob MacIntosh reported that the club had $8906 and 84 cents on hand. A motion to have a party failed for lack of a second. Someone whose name the Secretary didn't catch noted that Bob was doing a better job than Congress since our budget not only balanced but had a good surplus.
Alexis Gilliland, Chairfan of the Entertainment Committee, had no report.
Peggy Rae Pavlat, Chairfan of Disclave Past, reported that she had sent the appreciation certificates. Since none were returned, obviously no one moved. Tom commented that no one could afford to move with the economy in bad shape.
Peggy Rae concluded that the books were not closed on Disclave 1991. She anticipated closing in January 1992.
Michael Walsh, Chairfan of Disclave Present, announced, "The hotel still likes us. Right, Karl?" After a dramatic pause, Karl Ginter said "Yes."
The Disclave 1992 flyers that were distributed at Philcon contained various little typos. For example, Perrianne Lurie is now the President of this operation. (This coup d'etat was predicted months in advance by a previous issue of the worlds' best informed newsletter, The WSFA Journal.)
Mike continued that there is general joy that we will not be returning to the Sheraton Pesthole. John Sapienza asked if we could collect those comments for future use?
The WSFA Press book committee has selected a book artist who is not the Art GOH. Said AGOH, Tom Kidd, is booked up & therefore not available. Instead, the committee chose David Works, who does neat stuff.
People will be coming to Disclave 1992 with a positive attitude and we will attempt to keep them that way. The restaurant guide will simply say "Adams-Morgan". Joe Mayhew then announced a DisCave (TM) committee meeting and a Hal Clement birthday party.
Covert Beach, Vice Chairfan of Disclave Present, announced that he is debugging the flyers.
Covert Beach, Chairfan of Disclave Future, announced that he is gathering Worldcon sites for his English class research. Rowdie Yates announced that Covert can't spell "resuurch".
There was no Fine Arts Committee report or Old Business.
New Business: Host Dan Burgess noted that 5 or more knobs covering screwheads in the house woodwork were missing. Tom said that Dan should submit a bill for reimbursement by the club if necessary. Further, we need to police ourselves. Erica Van Dommelen noted that a previous meeting required 4 hours to clean up after. Let's everyone pitch in and pick up. Tom continued that we do this for hotels that we don't even like. We like Dan and the Gillilands so let's act like guests, not Ferengi.
Tom also revealed that the Smithsonian Associates were holding a Star Trek retrospective in February 1992. This is part of an open ended series. The schedule has not been firmed up yet.
The Associates would like use of our mailing list. As an alternative, the Associates could provide information and we send it out. Joe suggested that they give us a flyer, instead. Perrianne expressed concern that they would bombard us with junk mail. Joe told a story about getting offers for Indian cereal. He likes junk mail.
(See the Associates flyer elsewhere in this issue.)
Tom forgot the New Tradition but Dan Hoey reminded him. Tom admitted to having Alzheimer's. However, Tom's Alzheimer's proved to be more accurate than Dan's memory as there were no new attendees to introduce.
Hal Haag discovered that the Balticon hotel is trying to renege on the promised rate. This is being investigated.
Perrianne announced that she is editor of the Disclave 1992 program book and needs articles for said book. Tom suggested that she lean on folks. Peggy Rae reminded Tom of a commitment that he had previously made to supply an article for a Disclave program book.
Lee Strong announced that he would like people to submit articles on Doll Gilliland for a future issue of The WSFA Journal.
Lee also announced that copies of the "WSFA First Contact List" and the WSFA constitution were available. Several people then announced that all of the WSFA First Contact Lists were gone, and that they wanted more in time for the Christmas card sending season. Joe wanted two: one for the Club Archives and one for his personal use. Lee announced that they had initially been released on Philcon Friday, and expressed surprise that the entire stock was gone already. Tom cut off the discussion and directed that additional copies be mailed to those who requested them. Lee then offered cards for people to use in requesting copies of the mailing list.
Lee Uba announced that the Fifth Friday in November party was somewhat less than successfully as she was busy being robbed at the time. The club Ohhh'd in sympathy.
Mike announced that he had more books to sell. Gene Wolfe signed one book to Joe Mayhew.
Joe announced that the other box of books on Dan's table was his, which he was selling for $1 each. ($1 per book or $1 per box? There is a difference.)
Joe also announced that he will be at Disclave rather than Guyana. His boss relented. Thank you for your prayers.
Naomi Ronis has a part time job at Farm Fresh. In addition, Naomi is down to 185 pounds. The club Yay'd in approval. She has a notice from Boskone to be given away.
Robyn Rissel is moving again. The Fabulous Bungalow is coming to an end. Actually, the landlord seems to be coming to an end. Robyn has no fixed address for the moment. He is moving to Kit Mason's house. There was no word on Steve Smith's reaction to this development.
Hal has heard from a Ukrainian fan club. They will give an English language subscription to their fanzine in return for 4 books. The editors were on the line during the August 1991 coup attempt.
WSFA may wish to investigate Boskone as it is advertising a BosCave. However, their flyer was funny so it may not be the real pirates of Boskone.
Tom announced that Mary and he had registered for This Old Con, which has been cancelled.
Lee Strong asked to confirm the mailing list requests. Since only two people wrote "Mailing list" on cards, he assumed that only two people wanted lists. Right? WRONG, shouted the other 99 people who wanted lists. After some discussion, the other 99 people added "Mailing list" to a card. Thank Ghod for anal retentives holding things together.
After the meeting, Susan brought out the goodies and announced, "In the tradition of sweets to the sweet, here are the nuts."
* Also, after the meeting, Susan submitted to the Secretary. It was good for us.
The regular Third Friday in December meeting convened at 9:20, 20 December, 1991 in Chez Gilliland. Before the meeting, Kermit the Christmas Frog conducted a coup d'etat and seized the Presidential Chair and Gavel. This coup did not last long as President Tom Schaad simply adopted the little nipper into the Schaad Family and Administration. Another coup d'etat narrowly averted.
A reading of the minutes was quickly waived. Secretary Lee Strong reported that we had adequate supplies of the special Doll Gilliland Memorial Issue of The WSFA Journal, the regular December 1991 news issue, the WSFA First Contact List, and the WSFA constitutional documents.
* After the meeting, Maura Scharadin corrected an item in the previous Journal, stating that she did not have the cushy new job yet. Hey! The WSFA Journal is always ahead of its time.
* Joe Mayhew stated that the club actually did have a club constitution, contrary to what the Journal said last month. Our constitution is entitled the By-Laws. Okay. This month, it's a constitution.
Treasurer Bob MacIntosh reported that the club has $8590.09 in the Treasury. A motion to have a party failed for lack of a second. Lee Strong suggested buying the Soviet Union. The club seemed interested in this idea but someone asked What Soviet Union? Brian Lewis suggested that we check the after-Christmas prices and possibly wait for the January white sale.
Disclave Past had no information to pass.
Michael Walsh, Chairfan of Disclave Present said, "Oy! Appears that there will be one." He stated that a flyer would appear in Februaryish. Joe Mayhew reported that the projected DisCave (TM) space is not built yet. (No wonder Evan quit!)
Tom directed that Mike check the publicity as bad information was getting out. Check with Filthy [Pierre] especially.
Covert is now not doing 2 research papers and a final exam. Therefore he is feeding his paper addiction by doing the traditional flyer stuffing for Arisia. Covert is in trouble for his own cons. Tom suggested that the frog was available for co-chair.
Lee Uba asked if the frog would become Vice President. Tom suggested he would make a good nominee for Trustee.
Covert, speaking for Disclave Future, announced that it will cost $20 to join Disclave Future from the end of Michael's Disclave until 31 December 1992. Tom noted that this price is now official, having been proclaimed by the Con Chair.
Alexis Gilliland reported that the Entertainment Committee had 2 molars removed. (Is this someone's idea of entertainment?) <That depends on what you find entertaining. Heh, heh, heh.> No film at eleven. G.W. Hospital sent a bill for $19,900. Insurance paid for all but $36 worth.
* The traditional nondenominational Tree Trim was not held this year, in honor of Doll Gilliland.
Lance Oszko, Chairfan of the Fine Arts Committee, announced that the Smithsonian was lowering its standards. A list of participating artists includes Douglas Andersen, Jill Bauman, Alan Giana, Robert E. Hobbs, Michael Kucharski, Clayburn Moore, Pat Morissey, William Michael Mott, and an inquiry from Carl Lungren.
In addition, Piers Anthony and Michael Whelan will create Xanth collectables. Perrianne Lurie asked if these would be produced by the famous Franklin Mint? Lance will check on that.
There was no Old Business conducted.
At first it seemed as if there would be no New Business conducted. "Good show," pronounced Alexis.
However, Dan Hoey reminded the club that January 1992 would have a Fifth Friday in it. Now is not too soon to be thinking about then.
Lee Uba agreed & volunteered her place. She wants to prove that she can host a successful Fifth Friday party. However, she wants an armed escort to the neighbor hood deli this time. Lee Strong asked Lee Uba to provide maps to her war zone.
Tom was sorta reminded about the New Tradition. Eva Whitley volunteered that this was Steve Chalker's first visit here. Tom corrected her, saying that this was young Master Chalker's third visit to the WSFA Palace of Culture. There were no other new guests.
Lee Strong announced that he had two announcements. Holding up two fingers, he started, "One, ...." Susan Cohen quickly stage whispered from the back of the room, "That's two! That's two!" Lee then turned his fingers sideways so that Susan could only see one. Susan signalled "Okay", but it was too late: the entire club now knew that Lee can't count either. A round of laughter followed.
('Tis more blessed to give than to receive, but sometimes you just have to receive -- whether you want to or not!)
Lowering his fingers, Lee then asked all who wished their announcements to appear in their own words to submit, in writing, to the Secretary after the meeting. Susan stated that submitting to Lee wasn't that big a deal. Lee reminded her that she had submitted to him at the last meeting and she had had no complaints then. The club whooped at the thought of Miss Prim and Mr. Proper getting lucky. Rowdie Yates muttered that the occasion was probably the only G-rated submission in history. (I'll never tell.)
Michael Walsh announced that he had good books for sale. Rowdie repeated, "Good Books? Bibles at a WSFA meeting?" Mike Zipser asked, "Good books? Where did you steal them from, Mike?" Mr. Walsh declined to answer on the advice of counsel.
Joe Mayhew attempted to give a book review of William Kirk's Teklords. He was met by massive booing, either at him or at the book. He then attempted to give a review of Pat McKillip's The Sorceress and the Cygnet. However, this was cut short by Tom Schaad buying McKillip's swan song on the spot.
Erica Van Dommelen introduced Karl Ginter and Carl Zwanzig. Can you tell them apart? Many people can't. This set off a new game, Tell the Carls Apart (copyright applied for, WSFA, Inc. 1991).
Miss Van Dommelen then demurely announced, "Karl Ginter and I are getting married." Massive applause greeted this happy announcement.
Susan ran over to Erica, kissing and hugging and generally making a big fuss. Rowdie remarked that Susan might be making Erica a better offer.
* In an interview with WSFA Journal reporter Lee Shehr, Erica denied rumors that she would marry both Karl and Susan. She stated that she will marry K. L. Ginter & Associates, instead.
Candy Gresham noted that Erica previously held the title of "Boss' Floozy" at Ginter & Associates. Would this mean a promotion or just a job title change? Miss Van Dommelen proudly announced that this was a promotion to a new and better position.
Perrianne Lurie is editing the Disclave program book and would like your articles of submission. Second, she is also running the Balticon Green Room and needs help. <She certainly does.>
Jack Chalker announced that The Science Fantasy Publishers' Book is going to its second printing. There has been a delay since someone lost the die for printing the spine of the book. The Oregon religious commune that actually prints these things can't work without it.
Joe Mayhew asked if the religious commune was Hindu? If so, the die is caste.
Jack continued, announcing that the Berkley sales meeting went to Puerto Rico. There was a sale of promotional tee-shirts with Tom Clancy's picture on them.
Carl Zwanzig announced that there would be a partial lunar eclipse on 21 December. Candy Gresham noted that she had a lunar eclipse to thank for her daughter Kindra.
Eva Whitley announced that Jack turned 47 on Tuesday [17 December] and David Chalker turned 10 on 19 December. It's been that long.
Susan relayed greetings from Steve Kestra. Can he become a member of WSFA in absentia? Tom referred that issue to the Trustees after the regular meeting.
Terilee Edwards-Hewitt announced a United Nations role playing game. See flyer on page 16 of this issue.
Lance announced Polish woodwork for sale. They will take rubles at least through 31 December 1991. After that, they want real money.
Second, there will be a Balticon Worldcon bid party at Arisia. Third, there will be eggnog & rum available here afterward.
Joe showed samples of Worldcon program books to the Library of Congress. He is trying to get them accepted by the Library. If anyone has a collection of Worldcon program books that they are willing to donate to the Nation's Library, please talk to Joe.
The Smithsonian Associates called Tom Schaad about science fiction flyers. Please see one on page 15 of this issue.
Tom also announced cards for a designated driver organization. If you celebrate more than you planned, please call them and they will send a driver for you/your friend.
Tom also has Addams Family purple bags.
Brian Lewis asked if there would be a WSFA New Year's Eve party? No. The regular First Friday in January party will come soon enough (3 Jan 92).
Brian then moved to adjourn, and the club unanimously adjourned at 9:49.
After the regular business meeting, Joe Mayhew suggested that the WSFA Mailing List be published in two drafts. The first draft would be published about August of a given year. The second and final draft for that year would be published in October or November. The advantage to this procedure would be that people would have a chance to update the August list and receive a correct list in time for the Christmas card sending season.
Lee Strong replied that that sounded like a lot of work. He suggested one list published in October. That date was chosen to follow the prime moving season but still be in time for midwinter cards.
Joe commented that the prime WSFA moving time was immediately after the publication of a mailing list. The issue was returned to the table for further consideration.
The WSFA Journal is the odious publication of the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA), Inc.
Publisher .............. Tom Schaad
Vice Publisher ...... Kermit Schaad
Victim of Publisher's Nepotism
... Lee Strong
Marriage Section Reporters
... Friday Jones and
(25 December 1991) The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, commonly known as the Soviet Union, was pronounced dead at 74. Medical examiners Boris Yeltsin and George Bush agreed that the cause of death was senile dementia brought on by massive hardening of the arteries. The Soviet Union had previously suffered several strokes, including a particularly dangerous one in August 1991.
The intellectual basis of the Soviet Union was similar to many imaginary nations or societies depicted by various SF authors. In such societies an aristocratic elite of mutants or "New Men" would guide the masses of people to a better life. While previous revolutionary organizations had attempted to transform whole nations, none went as far, or failed as dramatically, as did the Soviet Union.
During its lifetime, the Soviet Union was both admired and hated by mundanes and fans alike. In the late 1950s, the Gauthier Report circulated secretly in the highest echelons of the U. S. Government. This report predicted that the Soviet Union would win the ongoing Cold War, and that the United States could only hope to delay the inevitable. James Blish's Cities in Flight novels depicted a world in which Soviet pressure forced the United States to abandon personal freedoms. The Third Millennium, by Brian Stableford and David Langford (1985), projected the Soviet Union would be a world leader as late as 2800 AD.
Other authors more accurately anticipated the recent downfall. During the 1950s and 1980s, Robert Heinlein flatly predicted the end of Marxism. Both of Poul Anderson's major future histories projected the destruction of the Soviet bloc in a nuclear World War III.
The author who most accurately predicted the end of what President Ronald Reagan termed "the Evil Empire" was Allen Drury. His novels, The Hill of Summer and The Roads of Earth, (1981 and 1984) predicted a relatively peaceful end following the accession of a reform Soviet President who accumulates unprecedented power and the succession of a plain spoken us President who persuades Congress to begin a military buildup. Drury's novels include us rebuffs to Soviet challenges in Central America, personal negotiations between the two leaders, the intervention of the Pope in secular affairs, the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany, and a military coup in the Soviet Union itself.
Like Drury's fictional Ham Delbacher, Ronald Reagan was widely denounced for "adventurism" and personal appeals to the Soviet people. Current Russian thought now unanimously credits Reagan as the architect of Communism's collapse and dismisses detente as prolonging the Soviet tyranny.
The Soviet Union is survived by its parents and children throughout the world. Surviving parents include Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Several surviving cousins include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Surviving children of the Soviet Union include Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, American collegians and media personalities. -- LS
WASHINGTON is not a city of great character or charm. There are no funky dives where bookmakers belly up to the bar with tax attorneys, no dim little shops with unsold inventory from the Fifties. Washington was swept clean of these a generation ago, in a particularly tasteless fit of urban renewal. Today you can stand on many downtown streetcorners and see nothing that was there before, say, 1965.
It wears on you after a while, living in a village unpocked by the crotchets and idiosyncrasies you find in the more marginal neighborhoods of other cities, like Manhattan's East village or Chicago's South Loop. The surrounding charmlessness is what makes Al's Magic Shop so precious. Cluttered and shamelessly disorganized and festooned with Halloween masks and ancient magic tricks, Al's has taken space in the lobby of a ribbon-windowed boxy office building a few blocks from the White House. For most of midcentury it was located in a worn-out block of Pennsylvania Avenue, before America's Main Street was handed over to developers for "luxury" apartments--and worse, to the boring Canadians, for their unspeakably ugly embassy.
Al's does not deal exclusively in parlor tricks or the wares of the professional magician. It caters too to man's shadowy nature. On your right as you enter Al's is a long display case, home to every conceivable variety of what the trade calls "gag gifts": Whoopee Cushions, Hand Buzzers, ice cubes with flies trapped in the middle, Sneezing Powder, and of course plastic Doggy Droppings, so shapely they could have been squeezed from hell's Dairy Queen machine. It is a groaning board of tastelessness, offering the indispensable tools of the trade for men engaged in a calling I had feared was all but extinct--that of the Good Time Charley, the guy who never fails to be the Life of the Party.
I myself don't have the nerve to be a Good Time Charley, even after several drinks, but I can stare into this display case, stone sober, for half an hour, warming myself at the coals of human insidiousness. Gag gifts are inestimably enhanced by their packaging. Each bears an illustration, showing the effect the gag is intended to produce. For my money the illustrations are worth the price of the gag itself. The Floor Nickel, for example, is a perfect nickel with a nail soldered onto the Monticello side, the point being to pound the nail into the floor, Jefferson face up, and then wait for someone to try to pocket it. On the package, next to a picture of a burly fellow trying fecklessly to yank the nickel from the floor, are the words: "Nail it to the floor! Watch the suckers go for it! Lots of fun!"
Which is of course the whole point. Watching suckers is lots of fun, especially when, as the Good Time Charley knows, the world is overrun with them. The presumption is spelled out on the package for the Exploding Paper Clip. "There's one born every minute!" reads the legend, above a sketch of a man, his face twisted in pain and his fingers throbbing horribly, trying to ignore a chorus of faces contorted in hysterics behind him. There is no attempt to flatter the consumer in these illustrations, as there is in, say, automobile ads, where the driver is invariably mannequin-like in his pulchritude. In gag illustrations, the Good Time Charley--which is to say you, you incorrigible wiseacre you--is usually pictured as a bald fellow with a turnip nose, his mouth upturned to reveal rounded teeth, his brow descending maniacally over his gaga eyes. And before him, always, is the hapless victim, blushing at his (or sometimes her) own gullibility, or wincing in shame, or, best of all, experiencing a cardiovascular event.
"WE ALL have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others," La Rochefoucauld wryly wrote, and from there it is but a small step to Schadenfreude, a word coined by Germans, not the wackiest of the world's peoples, to denote the enjoyment taken from others' troubles. Gag gifts take it even further: enjoying others' troubles after you yourself have caused them. It is useless to try to stifle the turnip-nosed little baldy in the dark chambers of our soul. But of course Herculean efforts are undertaken to do so--not least by liberalism, Washington's reigning orthodoxy and father to the urban renewal that robbed the town of character and charm. That's why I'm so heartened by Al's. It is evidence of character, even of charm. It means that deep in the warrens of the FTC or the Bureau for Labor Statistics lurks a large number of Good Time Charleys. Who knows how high up this subversive influence goes? Is it possible to imagine, say, Nicholas Brady passing around Garlic Candy to unsuspecting colleagues at a Cabinet meeting?
The cluttered walls of Al's suggest an answer. In the back, amazing to behold, is a picture of Al himself with, yes, then-Vice President Bush, who made yearly pilgrimages to Al's during the 1980s. One of the clerks told me that on each of these visits Mr. Bush made off with an armload of gag gifts. I don't know about you, but that's the most heartening thing I've heard about the Administration in a long time. -ANDREW FERGUSON
Mr. Ferguson is an editorial writer for the Scripps Howard News Service.
"Hi! I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you!"
Cartoon © 1991 RFMay. Reprinted by permission.
Well, we've succumbed. John's law school exams have gotten the better of him, and Kathi's work schedule is outrageous enough that we're resorting to the tacky holiday card form-letter to let the world know we're still alive here in balmy, smoggy L.A. Individualized greetings would be nice, and getting a holiday card in July would be original but...
For those that hadn't guessed... we made it! Driving across country in a seventeen-foot U-Haul filled with all our worldly (and otherworldly) goods, towing one car with the other following along behind is nobody's idea of the best way to spend nine days in August. Nonetheless, we survived pretty much intact and even had some fun on the way. Images of the trip include: Wrestling with defective CB radios on the first day; learning to change lanes with 40-feet of hurtling metal that you couldn't see the back of; losing a fan belt (and as a result, the truck's hydraulic brakes); sharing sulfurous water with Kathi's folks in Eldorado (El-Dough-Ray-Dough) Springs, Missouri; visiting the WORLD'S LARGEST McDONALDS in Oklahoma, sightseeing at Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest, the truly grand Grand Canyon; trying to overheat in the California high desert; learning to back a truck and trailer down a 30 degree incline when John didn't look at the 'Dead End' sign. All in all, a memorable experience.
Kathi is slaving away at Philips Interactive Media Of America (née American Interactive Media), a company she had worked for in their D.C. office. The hours are long, but the money's good (at least somebody's earning a living here!). Still, she looks forward to the new year when she can leave PIMA and follow up on all the contacts she's made to do REAL production work.
By the time you read this John will have finished exams. It probably
says terrible things about him, but he claims to be enjoying law
school (although he could do without the exam-time cramming). After
years of denying any interest, he's well on the way to becoming a
shyster lawyer. He claims law school hasn't affected him, but
Kathi would like to point out that he was the one who picked out the
We miss you all and hope you can come visit here at Bungalow West. If you're coming to town, call us at (213) 660-1688, and we'll clear off the couch. We hope to make a visit back East sometime, perhaps in the Spring. Hopefully we'll see you Easterners then.
Happy holidays, write soon.
Themed collections of SF art are by no means new. This book breaks new ground in presenting artwork as the primary element in the story, with the text narrative serving as a bridge linking the pictures together.
The story is relatively familiar: the exploration of a new planet called Darwin IV. What gives this book its breathtaking impact is the vigor of Mr. Barlowe's imagination and the skill of his depiction. Each of the diverse but well conceived animal species comes alive in brightly colored action paintings set in its native environment. Many of these creatures, with tripedal gaits, sonar senses, novel biological defenses, and bizarre feeding habits, seem truly strange and, perhaps, unlikely. But the author/artist supplies enough description of their ecological roles to convince us that the universe might have developed such beings. Certainly the universe would be poorer without them. The Darwinites are far, far beyond the centipedes and dragons that afflict so much of less creative SF.
With the focus so heavily on art, those looking for a conventional SF story will be disappointed. But, most will enjoy a new frontier in SF storytelling.
The Yma aliens certainly chose wisely when they selected Mr. Barlowe's alter ego to accompany them to the planet of the Emperor Sea Strider, the great Groveback, the Ameboid Sea and the other wild and wonderful creatures he shows.
I rate Expedition by Wayne Barlowe as Excellent. -- LS
"... the best movie I've ever seen." -- Susan Strong
What can I do but agree?
This is an absolutely wonderful movie. The story is a marvelous rediscovery of both youth and adulthood, including the joys and challenges of both. The cinematography is quite spectacular -- easily some of Spielberg's best work. Never Neverland is a gorgeous visualization of James Barrie's delightful imaginary world. I especially enjoyed the bird's eye view from the Lost Boys' hideout, with the wry map and compass embedded in the colorful land and seascape.
The actors and acting were superb. Robin Williams has played pixies in various settings from Ork to Vietnam. Here he displays wonderful versatility discovering both the thrills of youth and the responsibility of maturity. Julia Roberts is far lovelier dressed as a fairy than undressed as a tart. And Dustin Hoffman in the title role...! A brilliant performance caps a brilliant setting. The other actors support the main trio admirably.
A couple of cautionary notes are in order. The swordplay yields a few corpses -- altho no blood. And some of the comments might escape anyone unfortunate to have missed the original story in all its versions. Fortunately, such culturally deprived individuals should be rare.
We rate Hook the highest possible: Hook is Fantastic.
-- Susan and Lee Strong
I don't like people who just say " 'It' should be better." I do like people who show you how 'it' could be better. Since I criticized Star Trek VI ("ST6A") so severely in the December 1991 Journal, here is my idea of how it could have been done better:
Star Trek VI-B opens much like ST6A, with a massive special effects explosion in Klingon space investigated by Captain Sulu. The basic theme is also the same: the quasi-collapse of the Klingon Empire and the beginning of the Empire/Federation Alliance which is a prominent part of Star Trek The Next Generation (STTNG).
However, the treatment is quite different, focusing on Kirk overcoming his justifiably hostile feelings towards the Klingons and taking chances to achieve peace. Kirk here represents every (human) being who works for a better universe but who finds that the struggle is against real difficulties rather than strawmen.
The second major scene is also a briefing at Star Fleet Headquarters, but this scene is longer and more insightful than that depicted in ST6A. The explosion is revealed as a supernova whose radiation will contaminate virtually all Klingon planets over the next 50 years. Federation planets are essentially immune by virtue of distance. Star Fleet Intelligence estimates that the Empire will mobilize and invade the Federation in order to secure safer living space. Debate is extended, with hardliners led by new character Admiral "Patton" recommending an immediate first strike before the Klingons can mobilize. Captain Kirk argues for a strong defensive position but no first strike. The softliners resist a first strike, but don't want to allow the Klingons the advantage, either. Both sides are shown as sincere. The Commander-in-Chief (CINC) summarizes by declaring that Star Fleet has always stood for peace and will not initiate even a just war if there is an alternative.
Ambassador Sarek then proposes that the Federation give the Klingons the resources needed in exchange for the Empire giving the Federation half of its massive store of arms. Unspecified guarantees will prevent treachery on either side. Sarek proposes immediate negotiations by a Federation ambassador with full powers, assisted by expert military advisors. The CINC agrees.
The Federation special ambassador is revealed to be Spock, who is now in the Federation Diplomatic Service rather than Star Fleet, and is the principal author of the peace plan. In a private interview, Sarek asks Spock if he is sure about this plan, which seems illogical. Spock comments that formal logic is only part of wisdom. civilization needs both logic, represented by the Vulcans, and passion, represented by the Klingons, to work. The human role is to balance and hold the conflicting elements together. Sarek realizes the wisdom of this analysis and compliments his son. He asks who the military advisor who be. Spock replies that Admiral "Patton" is the logical choice.
The next several scenes take place aboard the Enterprise-A where we discover Captain Chekov running the ship. Hardcore Admiral "Patton" is indeed Ambassador Spock's military advisor, with Captain Kirk on "Patton's" staff. McCoy, ever the conscience of the universe, asks Spock if this is wise. Spock answers that "Patton" is superbly qualified and that he has faith in Kirk.
This faith seems misplaced as the voyage to the Klingon home world continues. "Patton" shows himself to be cultured and charming as well as a master of military art and science. He quotes Shakespeare and comments favorably on the Iowa State Fair, to Kirk's delight. (Some things never change.) Kirk seems to fall completely under "Patton's" spell.
On the Klingon home world, we meet new characters, the Leader of the High Council, the Warmonger, and the Man of Honor as well as several minor Klingon characters. The arguments for and against war are not repeated in any detail. The Warmonger advocates immediate total war for honor and glory as well as the resources for survival. Spock points out that wasting lives is not glorious or honorable. The Warmonger insists that the Empire would win the projected war. "Patton" challenges the Warmonger to an immediate computer simulation war game to prove the point.
The conference adjourns to the Klingon supreme military headquarters where "Patton" displays his enormous competence by beating the Warmonger and his staff in a simulated war using Klingon computers and simulation techniques. This temporarily silences the Warmonger.
When the conference reconvenes, Spock argues that the Empire really needs not war but the fruits of victory. Since the Federation offers the fruits of victory without the losses of war, the Empire can have both. Impressed, the Leader, the Man of Honor and the rest of the High Council agree to the peace plan. Everything seems to be set until the delegates come to the guarantees. Spock asks if the Klingons will pledge their personal honor. They do, and Spock says that (plus ordinary military patrols) will be sufficient.
"Patton" is shocked by the apparent lack of guarantees but Spock is adamant. Kirk is impressed by Spock's grasp of Klingon psychology. "Patton" orders Kirk to return to the Enterprise where he intends to return to Federation space, take command of a border patrol task force, and launch a first strike. "Patton" believes that this is the only way to insure the survival of the Federation. Since the war game, he is supremely confident that he can defeat the Klingons once and for all, reducing the entire Empire to a Federation colony.
Kirk refuses to accept this scheme and argues that "Patton" is acting like the Klingons he professes to hate. "Patton" flings Kirk's son's death at him. Kirk responds that a better memorial is to insure that no other sons die.
Admiral "Patton" orders Captain Kirk's arrest, and Kirk must escape from his own ship with Captain Chekov's assistance. He does so, beaming down to the conference chamber. The Enterprise blasts off for rendezvous with the task force.
Kirk's news almost destroys the peace treaty, and the Warmonger revives his argument for an immediate Klingon attack. The Leader hesitates, reluctant to start a war which his Empire will lose. Kirk then proposes that he take a Klingon task force to attack "Patton" before he can get things organized. The Leader agrees, but appoints the Warmonger and the Man of Honor's son to keep a pair of eyes on Kirk.
Kirk is given the temporary rank of Admiral in the Klingon star fleet and sets off in the fastest ship the Klingons have. The remainder of the Klingon task force follows as soon as possible. The Warmonger and a young ensign, played by Michael Dorn, are part of Admiral Kirk's bridge crew.
Meanwhile, "Patton" reaches the Federation task force patrolling the neutral zone and orders them to follow him in attacking a key outlying Empire planet. This will touch off the war that the Federation is now certain to win. However, the task force commander, Captain Sulu, argues about a sneak attack and gives Kirk time to arrive.
A glorious space battle erupts with "Patton" and one Federation ship almost defeating Kirk, Sulu, and two other Federation ships. As the battle progresses, Kirk reveals several weak points of Constellation class starships to his Klingon crew, and the Klingon ship destroys the Enterprise's warp drive. "Patton" appears on Kirk's viewscreen for one last attempt arguing, "We can still win. We can still destroy all our enemies." Kirk seems to agree, saying, "You're right. We could still win a military victory over the Empire. But we would have destroy ourselves first. Shakespeare said 'Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.' I prefer Churchill who proclaimed, 'In victory, magnanimity' and 'Always leave room for your enemy to become your friend.'" The Klingons look at Kirk thoughtfully.
Defeated, "Patton" commits suicide by overloading the Enterprise's engines, blowing up the ship. Kirk mourns the loss of his second ship for a moment.
The young ensign asks if peace is truly victory. Kirk replies that it is, and that fighting for peace is more fulfilling than fighting for war. Suddenly, the Warmonger attacks Kirk, screaming that peace without victory is without honor, and that he will not live without honor. The Warmonger beats the snot out of Kirk. Just before he kills Kirk, the young ensign stabs him in the back, ending the final (immediate) threat to the Klingon/Federation peace.
Kirk thanks the ensign, inadvertently calling him "David". The ensign corrects the human stating that his name is "Mohg". [Future father of Worf.] Mohg expresses concern that he did the right thing -- questionable in Klingon ethics. Kirk reassures him, saying that he (Mohg) has won a great victory for both peoples.
The anti-climax wraps up with Kirk promoted to Admiral in both Star Fleets -- two sets of insignia on his uniform! -- and appointed to command joint Task Force Alliance, which will patrol the new border and supervise transfer of arms and resources. Kirk receives a Klingon flagship which he renames the Enterprise-B. He then directs the ship follow "the second star from the right, etc., etc."
Millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide have seen episodes from the original Star Trek television series since it premiered on Sept. 8, 1966. The names of Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and other crew members of the U.S.S. Enterprise have become more familiar to fans than those of actual astronauts and cosmonauts. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Star Trek, Mary Henderson, curator of art at the National Air and Space Museum, has organized a major retrospective exhibition that is on view February 28 through Labor Day.
In this all-day seminar, moderated by Ms. Henderson and advisory curator for the Star Trek exhibition H. Bruce Franklin, internationally recognized scholars explore and debate critical psychological, historical, cultural, and social issues and themes of the 1960s raised in episodes of Star Trek. Former members of the show's production staff have been invited to respond to the issues raised.
Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation, which is graciously providing video clips and photographs used in conjunction with the seminar.
The starship Enterprise still takes Trekkies where no one's gone before--after 25 years!
(Code: 489-314) Sat., Feb. 29, 9:45 a.m. to
Natural History Building
Full-time students with IDs--$40
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A GAME OF INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY
CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY AS YOU JOIN AN EMERGENCY SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL.
AN ILF FUND-RAISING EVENT - ALL PROFITS WILL GO TO THE ILF - MAKE ALL CHEQUES PAYABLE TO THE ILF - $10.00 MEMBER $13.00 NON-MEMBER.
A GAME IN THE TRADITION OF 1787 - NO CHARACTER SHEETS - NO GAME MASTERS - WRITING AND BACKGROUND SCENARIO BY TAD PIERSON AND J. GORDON DEAN - A BARKING SEALS PRODUCTION
SATURDAY, JAN. 25, 1992
Northern Virginia or Southern Maryland location TBA in next 2 weeks. Saturday, January 25, 1992, from 8AM to 11PM. Optional Friday night dinner. U.N. will not have character packets, but the scenario authors will provide a packet of general material for each nation. Please indicate multiple choices of nationality, in order of preference. Players wishing to form a delegation should mail their forms together.
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