The WSFA Journal



February 1993

ISSN 0894-5411

Western WSFAns Return

Keith Laumer Dies...........................................Page 2
Passages....................................................Page 2
No Books Sold at WSFA Meeting...............................Page 3
IBM Builds Computing Machine................................Page 3


Science fiction author Keith Laumer died 22 January 1993. He had been in ill health for many years, and the end came as a blessing to the troubled giant.

Laumer is probably best known for his invention of the Bolos, giant robotic fighting machines which achieved not only self-awareness but such human qualities as courage and loyalty. In various stories, the Bolos campaigned across the galaxy, fighting gallantly for their human masters, who often seemed less worthy than the great automated tanks.

Laumer was also the author of the long running Retief series of stories and novels, about a galactic diplomat of the 27th Century. Jame Retief faced danger on a dozen planets with skill, courage and a rapier wit seldom found in science fiction or mainstream literature. The character regularly stood in sharp contrast to his peers, who were usually portrayed as blundering bureaucrats willing to sacrifice everything to image and career advancement. Laumer drew such characters from his own experience with the US Foreign Service. His hero never articulated a specific philosophy but consistently dealt with aliens of all types with humor, fairness, an intelligent appreciation of their cultures, and mutual respect.

Laumer was crippled during his time in the Foreign Service, and began writing as an escape from his body's limitations. Now, at last, he is forever free.


When word of Keith Laumer's death circulated at the First Friday in February meeting, several people noted that the science fiction community has lost a number of giants in a comparatively short time. The question inevitably arises Why do such great ones have to die?

This question was answered best by John W. Campbell, Jr., in his novella All in which one character remarks that a pool of water grows stagnant when it has no outlet. Death happens to keep the pool of life from becoming stagnant. The great ones of yesterday pass on to make room for the great ones of tomorrow. In this way, both life itself and our favorite literatures remain fresh and exciting and eternally young.

So, let us pause to reflect on past glories, and then get on with creating new ones. As one now departed soul once said, "Life is not a spectator sport!"


Revisit Scene of Crimes


Economic Recovery in Peril

The regular First Friday in January 1993 meeting convened at 9:21, 1 January 1993 in Lee Uba's Personal Library in Chez Gilliland. President Steve Smith hollered, "Yo! Let's have a meeting!" The residents hollered, "Why?" "Otherwise," hollered Steve, "I can't get the chairs to go back out of the way of the food."

Steve noted that it was 1 January and wished everyone a "Happy New Year!" whether they wanted one or not.

Secretary Lee Strong didn't have the minutes ready on First Friday for the second month in a row. This is now a fine old WSFA tradition.

Treasurer Robert MacIntosh reported that dues are due & payable. There is $3157.40 in the Treasury.... There was a call for a party but this suggestion failed for lack of a second. Robert suggested we add to the Treasury by paying our dues. There was a call for an updated party, but this suggestion failed for lack of a second.

Alexis Gilliland, Chairfan of the Entertainment Committee, reported that it was New Year's Day; that Miami was playing Alabama; and that the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror was selling Saturn Awards.

Just then, the doorbell sounded. This has nothing to do with any club business, but it's in my notes so I thought I'd mention it.

Steve Fetheroff, original Chairfan of Disclave Past, reported, "Hi! The con went well. Thank you, everyone, and (dramatic pause) I'll be back!! " The club Ohhhhed.

Disclave Present was absent.

John Peacock, original Chairfan of Disclave Future, reported that his committee has not done anything because they've been very busy.

Lance Oszko, original Chairfan of the Fine Arts Committee, reported that he will move out soon.

John Pomeranz, original Chairfan of the Committee to Spend a Great Deal of Money on Something Incredibly Controversial and Expensive, rose to the applause of the audience. He thanked the members for supporting the committee's research on (1) post-industrial pulmonary therapy [smog] and (2) incendiary wealth re-distribution [riots] in Los Angeles, CA. He also thanked the members for supporting the return of his committee staff, Kathi Overton, and himself. The committee's latest project, however, is supporting the Discon Worldcon bid by knocking Zagreb and Kennebunkport out of the running. The committee is still issuing quayle hunting licenses, but they're no longer as valuable as they once were.

Old Business

Matt Lawrence and Nancy Loomis volunteered to host a Fifth Friday party. They distributed maps to the piano. Memorize them and destroy them. The maps, or Matt and Nancy?

New Business

"No!" whined Lee Uba. The club granted her whine.

The New Tradition

Steve remembered. This is the First New Tradition, but not the Second through the Eighth New Traditions. Visiting WSFA for their first time were Naomi Fisher of Lexington, KY; Pat Malloy of Huntsville, AL; and Ron Taylor of George Mason University. Pat works at Goddard while Ron is a computer science at the National Institutes of Health.

Visiting WSFA for their second time were Mark and Vanessa from Australia. I'm sure they have last names but I forgot what they were.

Attending WSFA for his third time was Eric Baker. Applause and cries of "Fresh meat!" greeted the triple timer. Steve noted that Eric was eligible for membership in "this cage of monkeys". Mike Zipser suggested Eric talk to the Trustees.


Steve invited Lee to make the traditional announcement. Ever helpful, Lee stated, "The traditional announcement."

Lee Uba announced that she has a strained ankle and a broken foot. The Virginia DMV views her as a permanent customer. The books in the Chez Gilliland meeting hall are her personal library. Don't borrow without permission. A great bookstore, Borders, recently opened in Bailey's Crossroads. Lee Strong noted that Borders announced an author signing event by Ms. Alexis Gilliland. Lee Uba noted this is actually correct since Alexis has a Master of Science (MS) degree.

Agent 98 announced that Evecon is co=located with CIA HQ on the 14th floor. Lance announced that Evecon has banned weapons, including replicas. {They still allow rapier wits.}

Mike Zipser has the Mystery Science Theater 3000 schedule. Beth and her mom left for England so they can buy out the entire country.

Someone announced a new science fiction talk show entitled Not On Subspace.

Perrianne Lurie is looking for Balticon Green Room volunteers, as well as a roommate for Boskone.

John Peacock and Paula Lewis bought a new house about 1-1½ miles northeast of their old house. Someone actually asked this crowd where the old house was. {Answer: about 1-1½ miles southwest....}

Brian Lewis announced that the Christmas season in the malls is officially over.

Jack Chalker announced that Eva Whitley has the flu.

John Sapienza announced that the rate for Disclave 1993 goes up at the end of the month. The committee has the list of the worker bees from Disclave Last.

There was a motion to adjourn. Steve asked that all in favor so signify by making your favorite funny noise. The club unanimously adjourned at 9:38 p.m.


* After the meeting, law student John Pomeranz told jokes about parts of the Constitution that the US Supreme Court considers "not important anymore". Fortunately, freedom of religion, speech and press are not among those parts.



Designed by Charles Babbage

The regular Third Friday in January meeting convened at 9:28, 15 January 1993, in the Command Deck of Stately Ginter Manor. President Steve Smith called the meeting to "...quote order unquote...." Someone ordered a pizza with anchovies. Someone else called out, "Hold the anchovies!" Steve replied, "You hold the anchovies: they're slimy little devils."

Secretary Lee Strong had the minutes for a change. He still wasn't allowed to read them.

Treasurer Robert MacIntosh reported $3218.01 in the Treasury. There was a call for a party but this suggestion failed for lack of a slimy little devil.

Alexis Gilliland, Chairfan of the Entertainment Committee, reported he was in close touch with the Clinton Administration. He refused to do a sax solo, tho. Good job. No saxual harassment here.

Covert Beach, Vice Chairfan of Disclave Past, reported that it was past as far as he knew. Mike Walsh, Chairfan of Disclave Past, stated that it hadn't regurgitated yet. Erica van Dommelen suggested we kill Dan. We don't have a con suite worker list.

Covert Beach, Chairfan of Disclave Present, reported nothing much going on at this point. This con has a list.

Steve then asked for a report from Disclave Future. Covert began speaking automatically, only to be interrupted by laughter. Rowdie Yates announced that Covert really is Chairfan For Life. Kitt Mason asked how it felt to be a time traveler? Erica began singing "Do the Time Wrap (with Covert)".

The Trustees had no report. Alexis suggested impeaching the Trustees.

Old Business

Nancy Loomis and Matt Lawrence will host a 5th Friday party. "What about a 45th Friday meeting?" asked Lee Uba. {The woman is a glutton for punishment.} <Which explains her broken foot.>

New Business

There was none. Steve proclaimed that we were "slithering right along."

The New Tradition

New Maryland resident and former resident of Orange County, California Pete Miller is attending his first WSFA meeting. He was plugged into West Coast fandom. "Don't worry. We'll make you regret it," announced Exotica Von Dominatrix.

Steve claimed that he didn't have to ask if anyone was attending their second or third WSFA meetings. "I recognize everyone else." The club made faces at the President.


The Secretary had three announcements, none of which are worth repeating.

Householder Erica announced a change to the Rules of the House. There are now 4 inside cats and 1 outside cat rather than 5 & 1. The big black and white cat stays inside and the little black and white cat stays outside. Total chaos will result if the rules are violated. Karl is in San Francisco.

Linda Melnick has a Winnipeg Worldcon membership for sale. She discovered it's not kosher.

Mike Walsh has books for sale. He is also publishing a book. When held in front of a light, the book cover shows an old Gillette razor blade: the cutting edge of Skiffy. Mike is also chairing the 1995 World Fantasy Con in Baltimore. Lloyd Eschbach, founder of Fantasy Press, will be GOH provided he's still live. Lloyd will be 85 in '95.

Dick Lynch announced that Mimosa makes its appearance. Erica asked if we could have a couple of copies for the Ladies' Room.

Steve asked if there were any more bad jokes. {Answer: millions of them, Steve. Millions of them.}

Lee Uba moved we close the meeting. Steve noted that "closing" the meeting was not the same as "adjourning" the meeting. Somebody moved that closing the meeting be treated as adjourning the meeting. This parliamentary dodge failed for lack of a second. Steve asked if someone would "say the magic word?" Several people said "please" and "thank you". Finally, somebody or other moved that we adjourn and we unanimously adjourned at 9:45.

Roots: The Next Generation

Before the meeting, Alexis Gilliland recounted IBM's homage to the founder of the industry. The company built a working model of the original analytical engine designed by Charles Babbage. It works fine. They have not built a Babbage printer as yet. The project required Computer Assisted Design (CAD) because Babbage solved all of the required problems and reduced the solutions to writing, but did not integrate his solutions to a common scale.

Bearing in mind the fact that doing the blueprints help the designer visualize his own work, you have to realize that Babbage designed a workable computer 100 years ahead of the technology required to build it... all in his head!!

* * *

The Washington Science Fiction Association, Inc.

President...........Steve Smith
Vice President...
       ...Terilee Edwards-Hewitt
Secretary of State...
       ...Jame Retief
Secretary of the Treasury...
       ...Robert MacIntosh
Attorney General...
       ...Kimball Kinnison
Babysitter General...
       ...Mary Poppins
Secretary of Defense...
       ...John Christian Falkenberg
Secretary of Commerce...
       ...Scrooge McDuck
Secretary of Labor...
       ...Darth Vader
Secretary of Health and Human
Services........Dr. Moreau
Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development.............Q. Teal
Secretary of Transportation...
       ...Gulliver Foyle
Secretary of Education.....Yoda
Secretary of Energy.........VOR
Empress..........Rachel Russell

The WSFA Journal is the official newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA), Inc. © 1993 WSFA, Inc.