The WSFA Journal, November 1992

The WSFA Journal



November 1992

ISSN 0894-5411

WSFA Moves In With Drunken Badgers


WSFA Journal Predicts Mundane Election Accurately ........... Page 2
WSFA Moves in with Drunken Badgers .......................... Page 2


The California Voodoo Game, by Larry Niven & Steve Barnes ... Page 5
Star Wars: Dark Force Rising, by Timothy Zahn ............... Page 5
Dealer's Choice: Wild Cards XI, edited by George Martin ..... Page 6


Most Americans learned the name of the newly elected 42nd President of the United states, William "Bill" Clinton, Tuesday night, 3 November, 1992. However, readers of The WSFA Journal were tipped off 18 days in advance when the Election Special edition of that newsletter published the name and winning strategy of the winner on the night of 16 October 1992.

The Journal's page 2 article named Clinton as the winner and briefly discussed the highlights of his campaign. The Governor of Arkansas appealed to the mundane majority of the country by stressing economic problems and the personal shortcomings of his principal opponents George Bush and Ross Perot. Many voters chose Clinton simply because he was not the incumbent, George Bush. The victor also appealed to many science fiction fans because of his strong support for alternate lifestyles and for the established spelling of the word "potato". The Journal article also correctly stated that Clinton would carry Maryland and D.C., but lose Virginia.

Editor-in-Chief Lee Strong revealed that the newsletter accomplished this coup by successfully manipulating alternate timelines. He gave credit to reporter Winston Smith for the achievement.

"Thus accomplishment puts to rest any rumors that The WSFA Journal is in any way inaccurate or misleading," stated the smug journalist.

"Yeah, and now we'll hear about it twice a month for the next four years," predicted victim critic of yellow journalism Tom Shod.


Cats Rule Quick Meeting




Two for the Price of One?

The regular Third Friday in October business meeting convened at 9:28, 16 October 1992 in the spacious main floor living room of the House of the Drunken Badger, also known as Erica and Karl's place. Three chairs were reserved for the officers in a manner similar to the bridge of Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, President Steve Smith realized that they made great targets so he cleverly graciously gave up his chair to hostess Erica Van Dommelen Ginter, and hid on the other side of the room.

Before the meeting started, Susan Cohen suggested ripping a man's shirt off. Lee Strong unbuttoned his shirt but Susan said she had a different man in mind.

Lee Uba noted that 9:28 was "seriously late". {More like humorously late, actually.}

President Steve Smith asked flasher Secretary Lee Strong for a report. Lee had two for the price of one. First, the latest minutes were contained in a special Election 1992 issue of The WSFA Journal, which also predicted the winner of the 1992 U.S. Presidential Election 18 days in advance. Mike Zipser wasn't here to move that we waive the minutes so they were waived by unanimous consent.

Second, a number of people have been licking their lips anticipating the Journal's report on the Van Dommelen-Ginter wedding. Well, that happy event was not an official WSFA function; therefore, no report. Steve pointed out that we had a quorum present (not to mention a bhottle of bheer). However, Steve forgot to declare it an official meeting so it doesn't count. Lee suggested that Erica and Karl might be willing to declare their wedding a WSFA function if WSFA chipped in for the bills.

Treasurer Robert MacIntosh reported $7032.03 in the Treasury. There was a call for a party and a wedding, but those ideas failed for lack of seconds.

Alexis Gilliland, Chairfan of the Entertainment Committee, reported himself "appalled at the quality of the debates". However, the redemption was that the later analysis was quite funny.

Lance Oszko, Chairfan of the Fine Arts Committee, will write a letter to the Hirshhorn Museum. Steve then asked if Disclave Present had "any presents for us?" Covert Beach, Chairfan of this one, reported a "contract is winging its way to me" and hoped to have a signed contract by the next meeting. Under questioning, Covert revealed that Disclave '93 should be at the Dulles Marriott. Memberships are $20 now, and more later.

Steve then asked if there was "any flotsam" left over from Disclave Past? Covert Beach, Vice Chairfan of that one, is looking for a membership list.

Steve asked about Disclave Future. However, a voice revealed that we have no future yet. Covert had an item for the unborn future: he has talked to Chris Kelly, representative of the Sheraton Premiere. The horde of soccer fans resigned the field. The hotel will be available for our pleasure. A contract is "winging its way" to Covert.

Robyn Rissell reported for the Trustees that they have no nominees for Disclave 1994 Chairfan besides Covert Beach. The slate is being worked on. Covert advised "Be autocratic. I did all the time." The club made rude noises at this confession of tyranny". Robyn stated that one possibility was John Peacock. John announced that he would team with Paula Lewis for the occasion. Susan Cohen announced that we would get two for the price of one.

Steve said we were "oozing right along" and reminded the club that nominations would be open from the floor.

Robyn then stated that Lee Uba had volunteered herself and Alexis Gilliland. Another two for the price of one offer. There was some question about Lee's ability to volunteer Alexis. Lee suggested the issue be discussed "one on one" in the Ladies' Room.

Old Business
New Business

The New Tradition

Let's see... Steve forgot this time, so it must be the Second New Tradition. There were "no fools [here] tonight" [for their first or third meetings].

Gary Ehrlich was here for his second meeting. He teleported back to Newark, NJ, and returned without difficulty.


Lee Strong had two for the price of one. The Secretary announced that anyone who would like their announcement to appear as they wish, and not as it might appear in one of the Secretary's various alternate realities, should submit the announcement in writing to him after the meeting.

Lee then thanked the taxpayers for springing for WordPerfect 5.1 at work. Karl Van Dommelen Ginter asked if Lee had heard about WordPerfect 6.0 yet? Well, anyway, 5.1 gives a lot more capacity than Multimate 4.0 does, including several new ways to misspell Perrianne Lurie's name. The club hooted but Dr. Lurie maintained a dignified silence.

Host Karl Van Dommelen Ginter drew attention to the house rules posted in various locations. Outdoors is a smoking area but the lawn is not an ashtray. An ash container is provided. Parents are responsible for their children. Don't pester the cats. If they want to be pestered, they will let you know. There are outside cats and inside cats. They are properly positioned before WSFA meetings; don't let them change sides. In addition, there is a virtual cat [raccoon] outside and a integer cat named Raccuna inside.

Dick Lynch plugged Harry Warner's book A Wealth of Fable.

Susan Cohen relayed greetings from Kent Bloom and Mary Morman. They are still waiting for WSFA to attend another Third Friday at their house.

Candy Gresham announced Reesa Peters is getting married to Canadian import James Sheraton in January or February.

Dan Hoey has some election related humor.

Perrianne Lurie announced a Wheaton library book sale.

Lance announced a Baltimore Worldcon organizational meeting and more sales of Soviet stuff.

Judy Newton is in Beijing, China. Barry confessed to being ever so slightly worried about reports of drastic reorganizations in the Chinese Communist leadership.

Daniel Korn has been konspiring with Peggy Rae Pavlat to bring science fiction authors visiting the area to the fans. Talk to him about Joe Haldeman, David Brin and other big names. If the program generates enough interest, the Korn-Pavlat Konspiracy might be able to bring authors to the area rather than just catching them on their way through.

Contrary to all precedent, Steve Smith had an announcement. He announced a government giveaway program. He has a lot of books that he doesn't want to take home. Help yourself. The resulting feeding frenzy brought the meeting to a close.

The meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:44.

The WSFA Journal is the autocratic newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA), Inc. All material is (c) WSFA Inc., 1992, except as noted. Our 1992 motto: "We're all for change; we just don't like progress."


Current Examples of "Two for the Price of One":
President of WSFA and Publisher of The WSFA Journal ...
    ...Steve Smith
Secretary of WSFA and Editor-in-Chief of The WSFA Journal ...
    ...Lee Strong
President of the United States (-elect) and Commander-in-Chief
    ...Bill Clinton
First Woman and First Advisor
    ...Hillary Rodman
Vice President of the United States (-elect) and High Priest
    ...Albert Gor


by Larry Niven and Steve Barnes

I had a considerable amount of trouble with this one but ultimately it worked, and well.

This it the third in a series set in Dream Park, the super-Disneyland of 2059 AD. As usual, a murder occurs while live action role players are enjoying a huge game set in a 20th Century California arcology overrun with voodoo cultists and aliens.

My willing suspension of disbelief took a beating from the initial premise. The authors write very skillfully and tell a tale worth telling. But voodoo and 20th Century engineering are simply not compatible. The strain caused by their fusion hurt my enjoyment all thru the novel.

In addition, the plot is a clone of the 2 previous novels. Get a new idea, guys!

But let me not stress the novel's weaknesses overmuch. This is good stuff, worth reading. We have a host of interesting characters in a multi-level setting (in more ways than one). Violent action is always under the control of thought and logic. And, fittingly, the internal and external climaxes each depend on characters understanding the logic of the situation and using it to attain their goals. This is the classic science fiction theme well presented by a couple of masters.

On a personal level, I was quite pleased to see that the idea of fetal transplantation is continuing to spread. This important concept was first aired in a previous issue of The WSFA Journal.

I rate The California Voodoo Game as both Superior SF and Superior Role Playing Game literature. -- LS


(New Republic Trilogy II)

by Timothy Zahn

Thank the Force for public libraries! The perfect way to pick up those novels you refuse to buy!

This novel continues the great saga about 2 years after the end of The Return of the Jedi. All of our old friends are back along with a forgettable cast of new characters. Han and Leia are married now, and Luke is about to get a life.

Unfortunately, that's more than one can say about Galaxy Lucas in Mr. Zahn's hands. The Empire's making a comeback against the fragile New Republic and it's hard to care it they do or not. This effort simply lacks drive and excitement to sustain our interest. We don't get into anyone's head. Major plot elements are repeated from the original series. And the exciting parts, such as battles, death defying chases, and frantic spaceflights, are all rather blandly presented. The result is almost a complete lack of interest, and a serious betrayal of the fun of the original series. And, somehow, despite a reference to 12 million star systems, the entire galaxy seems to have no more than 20-30 planets in it.

This book is not completely without merit. The plot hangs together, and the writing is competent enough. The Empire and the Rebels really are as incompetent as originally presented. And, we do get a chance to visit with some old friends. However, this hardly justifies the big bucks shelled out for a big book.

I rate Star Wars: Dark Force Rising as Average SF. -- LS


edited by George R.R. Martin

Ah! Desert Storm! In New York City?

Only one example of what can happen in this continuing series set in the wild Cards shared universe alternate history in which alien genetic engineering has gifted/cursed Earth with powers and abilities "far beyond those of mortal men!"

This story turns on the efforts of the alternate Bush Administration to uproot a gang of criminal "jokers" who have seized control of Ellis Island, NY, and declared it to be an independent joker homeland known as the Rox. Basically, the entire novel is a quasi-war story revolving around the use of parapsionic superpowers in the Big Apple. For example, the battleship New Jersey gets blown up while shelling the Rox by Pulse, who can turn his body into a living laser beam.

The story is complicated by the power of "jumping" which shoves one person's mind into another person's body. The above mentioned Pulse, for example, is not the true hero by that name but a "jumper" puppeting his body.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel a good deal. There's a good, strong plot populated by good, strong characters. Many of the characters, such as the Bloat, Carnifex, the robot Modular Man and the Great & Powerful Turtle, are well known to the readers. Others, such as Hern the Hunter and Legion, are both new... and welcome.

Several of the established characters experience interesting changes. Modular Man, for example, battles for one side in the conflict -- with which he disagrees! -- because his creator orders him to. Frankenstein's Monster would appreciate the dilemma. Another old friend, the G & P Turtle is the ultimate introvert, safely protected from most human contact by six inches of battleship steel. In this story, the new character Legion gets inside his metal and emotional armor to the joy of each... and that of the reader as well.

Legion's power to create modified clones of herself contains some interesting comments about male and female wish forefillment.

My principal complaint about Dealer's Choice is the violation of its own logic. Early in the novel, US Army General Frank Zappa (!) decides that good strategy is to use cruise missiles etc. to bomb the Rox into oblivion. But two ad hoc teams of super characters are launched at the target instead. This may be desirable for plot purposes -- it's hard for the reader to empathize with a cruise missile -- but it results in one half of the book criticizing the other half. The authors have produced a crackling story but repeated implausibilities when discussing political and military matters weakens its genuine appeal.

Another problem is the lack of background. Those who have not followed the Wild Cards series from the beginning will be a little confused about why superbeings are running (and flying) around the Big Apple. Eliminate the gratuitous attacks on Dan Quayle, folks, and use the space to explain how we got into the situation!.

I found Dealer's Choice to be Superior SF. -- LS