The WSFA Journal, September 1992

The WSFA Journal



September, 1992

ISSN 0894-5411

Joe Mayhew gets the Sturdy Woman


Dullest WSFA Meeting Yet ..................................... Page 2
President Pounds on Journal .................................. Page 4
Twins Separated at Birth Reunited Through Common Love of SF .. Page 7


Dangerous Journeys: The Anubis Murders, by Gary Gygax ........ Page 8
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland ....................... Page 8
Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett ............................... Page 9
The Trinity Paradox, by Kevin Anderson and Doug Beason ....... Page 9


A Conservative Looks at WSFA, by "Lee on the Right" ......... Page 10


The Sci-Fi Channel ...................................... Pages 11-12




The First Friday in August business meeting convened at 9:28 p.m., Eastern Whatever Time (E*T), 7 August 1992. President Steve Smith declared, "O.K. Let's have a meeting," and opened the ceremonial bhottle. "We've reached what passes for order around here."

Steve asked WSFA Secretary Lee Strong for minutes of the last meeting. Lee asked that they be waived & they were. Steve opined that Lee should give at least a brief review. "They're the finest in the world," enthused Lee. <No bias there.>

Treasurer Robert MacIntosh reported $6,051.36 on hand. There was a motion to have a party but it failed for lack of a second. Steve noted that we were back to our old form.

Alexis Gilliland, Chairfan of the Entertainment Committee, pronounced himself disappointed at the Democratic coronation. Will the Entertainment Committee introduce the Democratic Party to the Australian ballot?

* Alexis Gilliland did not give an Entertainment Committee report at the Third Friday meeting in July. He was attending Confluence in Pittsburgh, PA. [Oops.]

Lance Oszko, Chairfan of the Fine Arts Committee, admitted that he was dogging it but also busy with Worldcon. Apparently, Worldcon is not very hard work... at least for someone of Lance's abilities.

Covert Beach, Disclave Chairfan for Life, reported that the soda people of Saturn returned the deposit. The check has been forwarded to WSFA. This gives us some money for honoraria. We will make the decisions in September when we know what the book will do to us.

Covert, Chairfan of Disclave '93 for Life, is looking for a hotel. The McLean Hilton has 270 rooms full of 16 year old soccer fans. They can outdrink us. (Be fun putting that theory to the test.)

He is looking at the Dulles Marriott.... Tom Schaad suggested that this could be the Dulles Disclave. Steve asked if it would be the dullest Disclave in history? Covert will make a proposal shortly. The function space will cause the department heads to hate him. This will guarantee that he will not be Disclave Chair in '94.

Peggy Rae Pavlat noted that the Nth Anniversary of Famous Monsters of Filmland will be over the Memorial Day weekend.

Covert, Chairfan Pro Tem for Disclave Future in his capacity as Disclave Chair for Life, noted that Karen Hayes of the Fairview Marriott has not proposed to him. Well, are her intentions honorable or not?

Steve asked Mike Walsh if he wanted to add anything to what his stooge said. Mike said, "No" but I saw his lips move.

Old Business

Lance noted that the First Friday in September will not be here. Steve proposed to Covert swap the First and Third Fridays and asked for a motion. Alexis moved that we adjourn but this was not seconded. The motion to swap the First and Third Fridays was unanimously approved.

Dan Hoey brought up the Sturdy Woman Cabinet and moved that we give the thing to Joe Mayhew rather than trying to cart it all over the metropolitan area. A question was raised about the club archives stored in the Sturdy Woman. Dan advised that he had removed the contents from the cabinet and passed them to the Secretary. Another question was posed about the impact on Joe's health. Dan stated that we would improve Joe's health by not making him drag the thing out of his house. The club then unanimously voted to give the Sturdy Woman to Joe Mayhew.

The President instructed the Secretary to have fun with this item. The Secretary replies that certain things are impossible to improve upon.

Winton was interested in "the Book". Mike stated that 5% of the books went wrong. We are trying to weasel our way past payments until after Magicon, when we will have some money in. Tom Veal, who revealed his dark side in the last WSFA Journal, suggested that the defective copies be sold as collector's editions. This produced a round of squeaking followed by further weaseling noises. Perrianne Lurie began singing, "Pop Goes the Weasel...."

Winton then wanted to bring up the proposed constitutional changes. Lee moved that that issue be referred to the Executive Board. Peggy Rae stated, "Good; I like it." The consensus was to throw it to the Board, which Steve referred to as "us". Vice President Terilee Edwards-Hewitt piped up, asking if "us" meant "us"? And you thought she was elected for her good looks! The vote was opposed, 6; in favor, 19; and abstentions, 0.

Covert moved to expand the Executive Board. Peggy Rae objected and Perrianne claimed that the motion was out of order. The motion was not seconded and therefore failed. (Parliamentary procedure in WSFA is a strange and wonderful thing.)

New Business

"Well, hush my mouth," declared Steve Smiff.

New Tradition

Lisa Steele is visiting WSFA for the first time. She's from Connecticut.... "What crime did you commit?" asked Rowdie Yates. "I was a member of Gaming Mafia sent here to infiltrate," admitted Lisa.

Jan and Edwin Wales were here for their second time.

No one was here for the third time. Scared 'em all off.


* The Secretary announces that those who wish their announcement to appear as they wish and not as it appears in the Secretary's virtual reality should submit their announcement to the Secretary in writing following the business meeting.

Lance announced that the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future will be at the National Archives. He (Lance) has more strange stuff for sale to support Baltimore Worldcon.

Robyn Rissell said, "Howdy, folks!" He has passed his second year point with his present company. They are hiring computer programmers. See Robyn off line.

Mike Walsh is selling hardbacks at 1/$3. He noted that Mike and Debbie Mayer have the Sirius Book Company in the UK.

Mike Zipser has the schedule for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on a regular basis.

Terilee announced that Mark Barker and his anonymous wife have produced a second generation fan, Sarah Ellen.

Matt Leger stated that Comedy Central found their recent marathon to be so successful that they will do one every Sunday.

Mr. Charles Divine announced that proper etiquette at the Maryland Home for the Prematurely Tall required that men forego wearing nooses. [He means men's ties.] All nooses will be placed on the nearest Xmas tree. If Mr. Divine is in a good mood, he will allow the culprit to remove the noose before it is placed on the tree. In other words, no noose is good noose.

Dick Lynch has books and magazines.

Tom announced the science fiction holiday gift de jour. Last year, it was models of the USS Enterprise. This year, it's a model of the shuttle Galileo for $24. Press the button and you hear Leonard Nimoy's voice saying, "Galileo to Enterprise. Happy holidays. Live long and prosper." They are going fast.

Dan Burgess has finished moving to DC. He announced that Athelstan is out of the hospital. He will have to lead a rather structured life for a while.

Peggy Rae announced that Confrancisco is the Worldcon after Magicon. She is the Vice Chairfan and is building bridges & doing international outreaches. Gardner Dozois suggested an auction at Magicon. Peggy Rae and Mike Zipser have lists of biddable items.

Lance has a room suite at the Peabody Hotel.

Judy Newton has pictures of Hawaii.

* Dan Hoey's new address is [censored], Washington, D.C. 20009. Phones are (202) 483-2833 (Home), and (202) 767-2882 (Work).

The meeting unanimously adjourned at 10:02 p.m., E*T.


Secretary Admits Mistakes




You Decide!!

The regular Third Friday in August business meeting convened at 9:23, 21 August, 1992.

Before the business meeting began, the Committee to Have a Good Time at Dan Quayle's Expense met for 15 punchlines.

The President noted that he would have to pound his gavel on Paula Lewis' coffee table, and asked Secretary Lee Strong if he could pound on the Journal in order to save the table. Lee remarked that this would not only save the table but it would give a lot of people vicarious pleasure.

Steve shouted, "Yo! Let's have a meeting. This meeting will come to quote order unquote at 9:23 p.m."

Steve then asked if the Secretary had a good word. "Sir?" replied Lee. The club began chuckling and noted that that was a good word.

Baffled, Steve moved on to ask Treasurer Robert MacIntosh if he knew any good words. "Lots of them," replied Robert. "How about some?" asked Steve. "One," stated Robert. "How about some more?" persisted the President. "How about $7261.63?" rejoined the Treasurer. "Let's have a party," went up from the floor, but this motion failed for lack of a second. Rowdie Yates noted to 7261.63 is legally drunk in Virginia.

Alexis Gilliland, Chairfan of the Entertainment Committee, reported a bad week with the Republican Convention. One member pronounced the Convention to be a good horror show. Another demurred, pronouncing it to be a bad horror show.

Lance Oszko, Chairfan of the Fine Arts Committee, reported that he is packing for Worldcon. Mike Walsh, titular Chairfan of Disclave Past, spoke of Disclave 1992, "It's dead, gang." Our far western agent in Paris, Illinois forwarded some dollars to us, which have already been noted by the Treasurer.

Covert Beach, Chairfan of Disclave for Life, reported that Disclave 1993 only had one report. The Dulles Marriott is not infested with soccer fans. The Con Suite might be in a 30 by 100 tent.

Eva Whitley asked why we were going to the Dullest Marriott when we could be going to the Most Exciting Marriott? Rowdie Yates clarified that this was the Hunt Valley Marriott.

Covert stated that all space users will have a meeting sometime at Magicon. Chief Engineer Perrianne MacLurie asked, "Would ye be a wee bit more specific, laddie?"

Eva announced a run for 1998. Lee asked her to clarify if she was running herself or a site. In the ensuing laughter, Eva's reply was lost.

Mike Walsh, member of the Publications Committee, asked if people had copies of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine? There is an advertisement of some interest opposite the Joe Haldeman story for WSFA Press. This cost $450 of Mike's money.

My notes say that The WSFA Journal is not The New York Times. And both publishers are darn glad of that fact!

Old Business

At first, there seemed to be none. Steve remarked, "I like that." However, this proved premature.

Eva announced some lost & found items from the Picnic, including little girls' panties and beach towels. Please reclaim your property. She also suggested a continuing Picnic Subcommittee of the Entertainment Committee. Alexis saw no need for such a subcommittee, at least until it has to do something.

Lee Uba reported finding plastic Magic Ponies at Chez Gilliland. Please claim them. This discovery set off a round of laughter.


The New Tradition

There was a brief discussion on proper nomenclature. Is it the "New Tradition", or "The New Tradition"? A previous issue of the worlds' most accurate newsletter, WSFA Journal, referred to the Tradition as "The New Tradition". Mike Walsh asked the Secretary had ever been mistaken before? Which is it? Well, our The WSFA Journal Stylebook says that it's "The New Tradition".

No one was attending their first or third WSFA meeting despite Matt Leger's benediction "May Ghod have mercy on your soul." Daniel Korn and Gary Allan were each attending their second WSFA meeting.


Perrianne announced that she has the schedule for the Sci-Fi Channel. See the last two pages of this issue. She also has Philcon flyers.

Lee Uba announced that Alexis will be (was) signing books at the Springfield Mall Waldenbooks.

Mike Walsh announced that Philcon rooms are going for a mere $95/single room/night. At the Holiday Inn, the rate is $81/night.

He is selling hardback books for $2 each. Previously, they were $3 each. Pink slips are on the book box.

BISFIS/Balticon was dithering about doing a guest of honor (GOH) book for Allen Steele. BISFIS bailed out. Mike will do it himself. Personally. There will be 100 hardbound and 900 paperbacks. Mike admitted that he was insane. We knew that. Dan Hoey asked if Mike had a name yet? No.

Lance's Polish friend will be looking for a house near Georgetown. There was another L. Ron Hubbub sighting: the Writers of the Future will be at the Omni Shoreham hotel. And, Lance is selling more jewelry but at lower prices.

Robyn Rissell announced that Kathi Overton will be at Magicon. Who? The ILA minigame will take place Friday and Saturday nights.

A Disembodied Hand announced that the Association of Space Explorers will host Carl Sagan in the near future.

Hostess Paula Lewis announced that First Friday will be at her place rather than at Chez Gilliland. Cigarette butts must be placed in the boxes provided and not on the lawn.

Dan Roepke has two issues of Lan's Lantern.

Erica Van Dommelen announced that Karl Ginter would come here, and he did. She also announced that their telephone number was the same, and it was.

Karl announced that Erica and he would hold a housewarming party next Saturday. Please call their answering machine at (301) 572-2249 for details/directions.

Matt Leger is looking for two Magicon memberships, one for himself, and one for a person to be named later. See him off line. This produced a flurry of nudge, nudge, wink, wink comments. Mike Walsh stated that he was NOT making Matt any offer.

Dick Lynch's book has been published. The club went Ooooh! at meeting a real pro author. Buy the books from Dick after Magicon. Dick also has copies of Mimosa and other fanzines.

Barry Newton announced that Lori Goldstein announced that the state of Maryland may have money for you. Seems that some people just leave money lying around in various accounts. Contact Lori if you think that you have some unclaimed money due you.

Hostess Paula Lewis announced that the Friends of the Montgomery County Public Library BBS has a science fiction sub-board. Paula is the host. Call (301) 217-3913 for a nice high pitched squeal.

The Smithsonian Associates is hosting a series of 8 lectures of science fiction "stuff". People like Larry Niven, Lois McMaster Bujold and Samuel Delany will be lecturing and answering questions. The cost is $95-100. This is organized by somebody named Peggy Rae Pavlat, who is described as a nationwide organizer of science fiction conventions.

Lee Strong gave the usual warning about relying on the Secretary's memory and sobriety for your announcements. Second, the Secretary admitted to making at least three mistakes in his life: Running for the Secretaryship, Running for Reelection, and Running for Reelection a Second Time. Father Confessor Michael Walsh asked if Lee wanted to confess any other sins? Not at this time.

Lee then announced that he had not previously realized how much alike he and Erica Van Dommelen looked.... This announcement brought proceedings to a screeching halt as the club compared the two twins.

Erica then displayed her dinky little silver ring with its 1 carat diamond in it, and asked if Lee was missing something? Lee held up his good sized golden ring with its 15 carat glass ruby in it, and said not.

Perrianne demanded that Lee explain why he resembled Erica. Lee commented that he was building suspense. He then continued that he knew that he must look like Erica since people were now calling him at home and at work asking for directions to WSFA meetings. This is O.K. at home but not at work. First of all, Lee did not have WSFA information at work so calling is ineffective. Second, it can be embarrassing. As an example, one WSFAn called Lee while he was in a meeting with a fellow employee discussing bringing a Turkish gangster to justice. Fortunately, he was someone with an interest in science fiction.... Someone interrupted to ask if the potential fan was the employee or the Turkish gangster? The employee.

The suggestion was made that WSFA get an 800 number for potential guests. Erica suggested we get a 900 number instead. Dan Hoey auditioned for the projected messaged in a soft, alluring voice, "Hi, I'm Miss WSFA...." This set off a wave of squeaking.

Mike Walsh wanted a "quick one". He said that Cathy and Leo Sands were looking for Magicon memberships.

George Shaner moved that we adjourn and the club unanimously adjourned at 9:53. Lee Uba then started a pillow fight.

Policy Statement

The WSFA Journal is the newsletter and journal of record of WSFA, and prints material which is generally of interest to the paid (Charter/Life) membership of WSFA. This includes but is not limited to club minutes and other records; fanac; reviews of scientific, science fiction and fantasy (S/SF/F) literature; features on S/SF/F authors; humor pieces; and occasional SF/F short stories.

Factual and opinion articles on subjects of interest to WSFA members are encouraged. Personal attacks are not acceptable and will be edited or rejected. Criticisms of policies and behaviors are acceptable. The Journal will offer targets of criticism or their representatives an opportunity to reply in a manner comparable to the original criticism. We do not guarantee pre-approval of any material. All material is subject to editing to fit space and suitability requirements.

Political opinion features must be related to subjects of general interest to WSFA members.

Comments, compliments and complaints may be made to The WSFA Journal Editor in Chief. Challenges and appeals should be made first to the Editor, and appealed if necessary to the Publications Committee and then to the Executive Board of WSFA.

* * *


All material is copyright of WSFA, Inc. unless assigned to authors. WSFA, WSFA Press, Disclave and DisCave are (C) and (TM) WSFA, Inc., 1992. All rights reserved.


Publisher ................. Steve Smith
Editor in Chief ............ Lee Strong
Treasurer ............ Robert MacIntosh


by Gary Gygax

Mr. Gygax's foray into fantasy writing -- as opposed to fantasy game writing or science fiction writing -- is apparently supposed to be a big hit since it is debuting simultaneously in paperback, game system, and electronic game cartridge.

I found this effort to be rather uneven with the problems dominating the strengths. On the plus side, the characters are okay, and the plot seems adequate. The story revolves around the efforts of a free lance AEgyptian priest-wizard to solve a series of blackmail-murders which use his own deity as a front.

The problems, however, are many. Principally, the fantasy world is a thinly disguised version of our own, with names drawn from the most obvious sources possible. Most of the names are slight variations on European history: "Kelltic" instead of "Celtic", for example. This interferes with the necessary willing suspension of disbelief and generally spoils things.

Further the plot is very weak. Mr. Gygax has written eloquently elsewhere of the dangers of an overly powerful character. Here, he seems to have forgotten his own advice. The godlike hero is so powerful that he is never in any danger. Therefore, we never worry about him with subsequent lack of interest.

In addition, the plotting is quite unfair since important information is hidden from the reader until the end rather than being revealed logically. I rate Dangerous Journeys as Inferior fantasy. -- LS


Hmmmm. This is a tough one to call.

Being a long time McCay fan, I had very high hopes when I sat down to watch. My hopes may have been too high.

I believe that the producers made a sincere attempt to faithfully adapt McCay's brilliant fantasies to a new medium. Where they stuck with the Master's concepts, the film succeeds. I particularly enjoyed the scenery and the "tourism" aspects which were so well brought to life.

The problem revolves around the introduction of a plot. The film's dramatic structure is quite different from McCay's original Sunday morning cartoon pages, and not always happily so. While the overall overplot is the same, the film radically condenses the difficulties Little Nemo had in reaching Slumberland and substitutes a battle between Good and Evil to flesh out its 90 minutes. While this is a solid plot concept that has graced thousands of works in the past, it is alien to McCay's approach and not especially well executed. The new character "the Nightmare King" is just another boogieman to be defeated in the last 10 minutes by the hero.

Ironically, plot is usually one of the critical elements of any work. Here, an overused, cliched plot is imposed on a work which succeeded with very quirky episodic plotting. The result is weaker than it needed to be.

Still, the film does work. Just not as well as I had hoped.

I rate Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland as Average fantasy. -- LS


by Terry Pratchett

Monty Python lives, and he's still writing fantasy.

This low powered but effective novel returns us to the Discworld, a magical universe where the gods are not so much worshipped as cursed! As usual, there are unusual problems afoot which the author develops in his low key but rewarding manner.

The particular plot driver here is the retirement of Death. Yes. Him. The bony faced guy who ends all lives. He is involuntarily retired before the Powers That Be have chosen his replacement with the result that pure life force starts building up all over the planet. Everything starts coming to life, with witty results.

As usual, Pratchett carries on several overlapping subplots here, all carefully driven by the basic premise. We watch as Death Bill Sky learns about life, a should-be-dead wizard learns about undeath, and the most incompetent pack of magic abusers in fantasy learn about macho. It's fun all the way.

Pratchett's characters are well drawn and keep the attention. Practically all of them are bemused by life and their situation, rather than heroically confronting dire dangers. This is basically droll British humor after all. This can be a weakness as well. There are no bold adventures to carry the day when the tongue in cheek runs dry. The threatening "pseudo-city" is easily recognizable as a real world shopping mall with just a hint of Aliens thrown in.

None the less, it works, and well.

I rate Reaper Man as Above Average fantasy. -- LS


by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason

The Arabs have a proverb which applies to this solid piece of alternate history: "Be careful of what you wish for. You might get it."

The basic plot is that an anti-nuclear activist is hurled back in time to the original Manhattan Project. Here is her opportunity to change history for the better and eliminate nuclear weapons before they start! Unfortunately for her, things are not as easy in the real world as in our dreams as she discovers when the Nazis dust New York City with radioactive wastes. The understated plot then becomes a race with accumulating horrors.

This is good solid stuff with well researched and well written characters interacting in a logical and frightening plot. The characters are logical and we get a real appreciation of their mental processes. This is especially important since a surprising amount is conveyed by what the characters don't think about or do. Very well written. Interestingly, the latest issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published well after the book, confirmed important aspects of the German characters' psychologies.

I found the World War II atmosphere as seen thru the eyes of a modern character to be especially insightful. The era was quite different from our own 1992 and the authors build on the differences very well.

The overall theme also merits careful attention by pro- and anti-technologists alike.

I rate The Trinity Paradox as Superior science fiction. -- LS


by "Lee on the Right"

In Larry Niven's novel, A Gift From Earth, a group of people deliberately attempt to bludgeon the hero into political submission by shouting arguments at him and not allowing him to say anything without interruption. No matter what else you call it, this practice is not true debate, and it is rude. Unfortunately, I have noticed some WSFAns adopting this practice.

I hope it's an accident. The effect of one sided and discourteous political behavior is to drive people away. Niven's fictional characters were doing this deliberately, attempting to "educate" the hero. What happened was that he got royally ticked off and used his telepathic power against them and their goals.

I sympathize with that hero because I have been in his situation several times. My second Disclave was very nearly my last because hateful and untruthful remarks about Ronald Reagan from the podium indicated that Reagan voters weren't welcome at any Disclaves. Dr. Asimov, who was quite liberal himself, defused the situation with a joke. I have had 5 people shout at me when I asked one person a political question. And I have had the experience of listening to a half roomful of people telling idiot jokes that they found uproariously funny because "Danny" Quayle's name was attached to the jokes.

I wonder how many of these people would laugh if they knew that Albert Gore's favorite U.S. President was "James Knox" or that liberal activist Raquel Welch considers Chicago to be one of the "52 United States"? Somehow, "potatoe" is worthy of ridicule but nonexistent Presidents and incorrect geography aren't.

The net effect of one sided humor and rude behavior is to drive people away from WSFA and from science fiction, ...and politically conservative people in particular. Maybe WSFA and science fiction can get along without "Lee on the Right" and a majority of the American people, but can we get along without giants such as Poul Anderson, John W. Campbell, Robert Heinlein and Jack Williamson? This list can be extended. Any author who tries to get his or her facts right is at least somewhat conservative. Albert Gore's latest book explicitly disavows science when science contradicts politically correct theory. Is this the type of literature that we want to read? If so, let's stop calling ourselves science fiction fans, and call ourselves political junkies instead.

I don't ask anyone to stifle honestly held opinions to avoid hurting feelings. What I seek is real and constructive debate rather than politically correct suppression of dissent.

I therefore suggest that, regardless of our preferred political labels or lack of labels, people who hold liberal views should be ... liberals.

Classical liberals are tolerant and accepting of people. I know because I used to be one. The problem that I see is not liberal views, but illiberal behavior.

Showing respect for others is not only morally right, but tactically smart. I therefore urge that all of us, not matter how righteous we may be, to follow Dr. Asimov's gracious example, and temper conviction with courtesy. Lee Strong





NOTE: The Sunday night 8-10 p.m. block of shows will consist of three original programs and one acquired show.