The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction
Association -- ISSN 0894-5411
Edited by Joe Mayhew
Well, I Finally Got a LOC Dept.
WSFA Minutes August 18, 1995 at Gilliland's
TWJ on CD?
The 1995 Hugos
Roger MacBride Allen
Dear Mr. Gingrich
Edited by Joe Mayhew
[ street address censored ]
August 15, 1995
Thanks for sending copies of THE WSFA JOURNAL. I thought WSFA was older than 1985. One thing I noticed missing is how much dues are. Since I enjoyed newsletter, have been to four Disclaves, (1996 is out, but 1997 is a maybe), and have friends who belong, I definitely am considering joining.
While I enjoyed all the issues a few pieces stand out. Space Tom was very good. Any more strips in that series? Who did the cover of the July 21 issue? (Any chance of getting him/her to send me some art?)
The piece on colonizing space by Alexis A. Gilliland makes a lot of sense. One flaw in the ideas is the cost involved. While I agree that private individuals need to make up most of the future space settlements, I think that due to the cost involved, government will have to get things started. After there is a space station, and a permanent settlement on either the moon or more likely Mars, enough bugs will be worked out and costs will be down enough that it will become practical for private citizens to start colonies.
I was sorry to hear Disclave lost its hotel for 1996. Hopefully by now you have a new one. As far as 1997 goes, I personally like the idea of Disclave and Boskone switching weekends for that year only. But it may not be possible. NESFA has signed a contract with the Tara in Framingham for 1997. The convention will be the weekend after the Presidents day holiday. While the contract has a number of unpleasant clauses in it, it is the best the hotel committee came up with. Even if a large number of the members of NESFA liked the idea of switching, the Tara is unlikely to be available and even if it was, hotel rooms would cost about $15 a night more.
[NOTE: Ken probably got the idea that WSFA only dates back to its 1985 re-incorporation, done for to make the IRS happy. Actually the Washington, DC area SF fan club was first organized in 1948, then re-organized in 1949 as WSFA.]
Attending: VP. Terilee Edwards-Hewitt, Sec. Joe Mayhew, Trust. Jim Edwards-Hewitt, Trust. David Grimm, Trust. John Pomeranz, Elspeth Burgess, Alexis Gilliland, Lee Gilliland, Charles Gilliland, Dan Hoey, Eric Jablow, Samuel Lubell, Richard Lynch, Nicki Lynch, Walter Miles, Rebecca Prather, Lance Oszko, George R. Shaner, Steven Smith, Michael J. Taylor, James Uba, Miles Weissman, Madeline Yeh, Ben Zuhl.
Vice President Terilee Edwards-Hewitt called the meeting to order at 9:21. Secretary Joe Mayhew thanked the those who had contributed to the WSFA Journal, noting that the unsigned fillos in the Aug 18th issue were by Sheryl Birkhead. He also whined and plead for articles, reviews, con reports, etc. Furthermore, he noted that ALL THREE trustees were at the meeting. It was noted that the next meeting would also be at Gilliland's.
The Trustees reminded the club megalomaniacs that the election for 1998 Disclave chair would be held the first Friday in October.
The Disclave Chairmen were probably in Scotland pushing the Baltimore bid.
No business was conducted.
Lance Oszko announced that there would be a vigil starting around 6:00 PM at the BSFS clubhouse awaiting news of who won the 1998 WorldCon bid. Baltimore was thought to be a shoo-in.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:37.
Evan Phillips has the equiptment to put THE WSFA JOURNAL on CD. Many current WSFAns are not aware that the Journal was once a major fanzine with contributions from many pro artists and writers (e.g. Harlan Ellison, Gene Wolfe, Vaughan Bode, Jack Gaughan). This project is now just at the dream stage, but if it were to go forward it would make some very interesting material available to historians, and interested fen.
Unlike microfilm, CD's can be viewed by a great number of fen at home.
Just for the record, here are the results of the Hugo Award Ceremony 53rd World Science Fiction Convention, Intersection in Glasgow, Scotland.
Before the ceremony, Robert Silverberg commented on John Brunner's death the previous Friday, "Death at a Worldcon is like a Death in the Family. Please give a moment of applause, rather than a moment of silence."
Michiko and Osako Masamichi presented the Japanese Seiun Awards for works translated English to Japanese: to Dan Simmons for HYPERION and Short Story of the Year to Cordwainer Smith, for a 1961 GALAXY story.
Jeff Noon won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Dave Langford's ANSIBLE won the Fanzine Hugo as well as Best Fan Writer
Teddy Harvia (David Thayer) won the Fan Artist Hugo.
David Pringle's INTERZONE won the Semi-Prozine Hugo.
All Good Things - Star Trek, The Next Generation won the Hugo for Dramatic Presentation.
Brian Froud's LADY COTTINGTON'S PRESSED FAIRY BOOK won the Original Artwork Hugo
Jim Burns won the Artist Hugo
Gardner Dozois won the Editor Hugo
I, ASIMOV won the Non Fiction Book Hugo.
Joe Haldeman's "None So Blind" won the Short Story Hugo.
David Gerrold's "The Martian Child", won the Novelette Hugo.
Mike Resnick's "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge" won the Novella Hugo.
Lois McMaster Bujold's "MIRROR DANCE" won the Novel Hugo.
The 1998 WorldCon will be held in Baltimore's Convention Center August 5th through 9th, with Peggy Rae Pavlat as Chair.
Baltimore won by an 812 vote landslide on the first ballot. Boston came in second with 324 less than half of Baltimore's vote. Atlanta at 194 was closely followed by 189.
The voters thus consented to moving the WorldCon off the Labor Day weekend. In the opinion of many school teachers and university types, this is a good move as it will make it a whole dang lot easier for them to attend. Government workers will grumble because they don't get a national holiday in the package. Perhaps all the Permanent Floating WorldCon Committe are already grumbling because they have about a month less to plan the 1998 Baltimore WorldCon "BucConeer". A lot of fans will probably call it "Connie II".
I first became aware of Roger MacBride Allen at Boskone 29 (1992). I found him an extremely fun and likable person. One of my reasons for attending the following Disclave was that he would be there. I attended a panel he was on about story creation. The audience would suggest the most improbable settings and the panel would try and put them together. After an hour of fun we ended up with two people in zero g attached to opposite walls of a space ship by bungie cords having sex. It was a very strange hour. Of course I started reading his books soon after.
The first of his books I read was THE MODULAR MAN. In it, a vacuum cleaner is on trial for killing the man who tried to put his consciousness inside it. Did he succeed? If so was there really a murder? The book goes into great detail exploring the definition of life. If it sounds strange it is, but it is also very good. I enjoyed the book enough to search out his other books.
In THE RING OF CHARON, a young scientist sends a weak gravity beam from the Gravitics Research Station near Pluto. It his Titan, no problem. Hits Mars. No problem. Hits Venus. No problem. Hits the Earth. It disappears! What happens to the Earth and how the rest of our solar system is effected make a good book.
THE SHATTERED SPHERE is the sequel to he Ring of Charon. It takes place five years later. With the Earth gone, and the damage done by the beings that took her, things are not going well in the solar system. On the Earth, the people have come to the conclusion an invasion is imminent. Unlike most sequels this one is just as good as the first book. While it holds together well, Mark Olson thinks there will be a third book. If so, I definitely will read it as fast as I find it.
FARSIDE CANNON tells of a comet sent on a two year long intercept course with the Earth. At the same time someone is trying to sabotage a geologist exploring the Earth's crust. What they have in common is surprising. The book started off as a slow mystery and ended up a mad rush to save the Earth. It was written before THE RING OF CHARON and it shows. The pace starts too slow and the ending is a bit rushed. Even with these flaws it is a good book and I do recommend it.
CALIBAN takes place in Asimov's universe about three hundred years after THE ROBOTS OF DAWN. Roger has the world and the style down pat. While I enjoyed the book, it added nothing new to Asimov's world. As someone very familiar with the three laws, I was able to solve the mystery halfway through. Very well written but I wish Roger had spent his time writing something new. This book has a sequel I will not be reading.
In ORPHAN OF CREATION, a young anthropologist finds her great great grandfather's diary. It seems that about 1850 some "non humans" were imported as slaves. Of course she gets all excited and digs up the graves expecting gorillas. What she finds and where the results lead her make a good book. While I do recommend it, be aware it did not fall in my definition as "science fiction."
Joe writes to Newt:
Baen books was kind enough to send me a review copy of 1945 which you co-authored with Bill Forstchen. I regularly review SF and Fantasy for the Washington DC based cable TV show FAST FORWARD, CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE FICTION, have reviewed SF for the Washington Post Book World, and was until my recent retirement, the Library of Congress' Recommending Officer for Science Fiction -I am also a published SF writer. I will be reviewing 1945 Because of your daytime job, your book will probably be savaged by most science fiction reviewers and critics. Some, believing you to be an instrument of anti-liberal satanism, will have decided what they need to say before they read it, some won't read it before they criticize it, and some will figure they can claw their way up your back to fame.
As a Whig, after wishing plague on both parties, I tried to read your book with an open mind. Frankly I don't review many Baen books as they tend to publish pulp adventure, which doesn't usually need reviewing and is often gone from the book racks before any reviews could come out. But a lot of SF readers will wonder about book co-authored by a prominent political figure.
Is it a veiled political tract? What does it reveal about this powerful figure's agenda? Weaknesses? Is he really a "brother"?
Some reviewers named Mayhew may wonder how the contemptible traitor Chief of Staff to the President happened to have that surname. (While my brand of Mayhew has been in America for over 360 years, it's still not a commonly found name). As a writer who has actually been stuck as a character into other people's fiction favorably as well as in unflattering ways, and as one who doesn't think you had him in mind, I just winced a trifle whenever John Mayhew's name came up. My literary problem with the character is in how easily he is turned from a patsy into an active traitor. It is hard to believe that a man who has scrambled up through the rough-and-tumble of politics to become Chief of Staff to the President of the United States would be such an easy mark.
The basic notion of the book seems to be good material, but the actual writing is very uneven. Sometimes a phrase or sentence is so clunky it jars.
The effect is a sort of alternative Tom Clancy as scripted by the writers of the TV show "Wonder Woman." It is a delicate thing to bring in stock heroes of the past such as Alvin York. The result is usually B-movie (or C or D). It is too often done in daydreams.
It's also daydream stuff when the space-cadet, solves all the world's problems when all the misguided leaders are forced to listen to him. It was a bit of a leap for General Marshall to decide that a commando could solve military production problems. What cornucopia will produce all those booster jets? Of course SF is a sub-trope of fantasy.
I believe I spotted tiny technical error. The presumption that the uncircumcised condition of a corpse found in the Charleston, North Carolina area, would be notable or unusual in 1945 seems wrong. Southerners and Appalachian folk (and mid-westerners) didn't get into snipping bits off their boys until after the New Deal and particularly WW II.
But technical errors don't make or break a book, even an SF book. The strong action line is sometimes hurt by off-the-rack characterization, super-hero dialogue, and name-dropping. Early in the narrative, on page 10 in fact, I was jarred from the storyline:
"Jim still kept as a souvenir a picture of a young American pilot, Lieutenant George Bush, standing on the wing of a splashed Avenger. He'd flown cover for the kid while he waited for rescue. Martel smiled as he thought about him. He'd had been one of the youngest flight leaders in the fleet, but by God if you needed someone to lead a group straight into enemy flak like they were on rails, he was your man."
As Bush doesn't figure in the novel, this passage goes nowhere. It is a pat on the back, no doubt intended for the George Bush of our world, but it just sits there like a lump of beef in the cornflakes. It interrupts the flow. There are a lot of lumps in this book, the story itself deserved better treatment.
So, where is it going? It ends on page 362 with "TO BE CONTINUED." How much of this volume is Gingrich, how much Forstchen? What role will Gingrich play in any subsequent volumes?
I am planning the programming for the 1996 Disclave, a regional SF convention which will be held in the DC area over Memorial Day weekend. If there is sufficient interest, perhaps a panel on your book, 1945 could be put together. If you (or Bill Forstchen) would like to participate, either in person, by a representative, a statement, whatever, I think that ought to provide sufficient interest. At the moment it looks as though the convention will be in the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency, which of course is on the Senate side, but still close by.
Finally, Thomas Jefferson thought well enough of Jonathan Mayhew to quote him from time to time, his descendant General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright suffered in a Japanese prison camp for his country, and about the only place in British North America where the native population was not driven out, abused or murdered was in the Mayhew colony of Martha's Vineyard. With all that in mind, now and then, think nice thoughts about us Mayhews.
Hopefully yours, Joe Mayhew