The WSFA Journal December 1, 1995

The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal December 1, 1995

The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association -- ISSN 0894-5411

Edited by Joe Mayhew

The Senator who Inspired Hope
WSFA Non-Minutes November 17th at Ginter's
ConFact Stranger than ConFiction
Space Tom


by Joe Mayhew

Once upon a time, a rabbit, fleeing from Justice, hopped into a Senator's mouth, thinking perhaps he was hiding himself inside a decaying stump. Surprisingly, the Senator interrupted his promises and turned several interesting, but not protected, colors.

The rabbit had already begun to think he had done something rash and was trying to get back out, by the time the Senator's aides noticed there was a pair of bunny hind legs kicking the Senator's tonsils.

Naturally, the aides began interrogating the bunny legs, writing press releases and denying everything.

Before anyone felt he had clearance to extricate the bunny, it was already inside the Senator's beltway and had quit kicking in this vale of tears. The Senator, despite his efficient staff, was ever resourceful. Instead of joining the bunny, after several gut wrenching moments of awesome terror, finally managed to eject the former rabbit in a explosive retch. The bunny shot over the heads of the party faithful, to land at the feet of a stray dog, who thus actually benefitted from the Senator's stump speech. For the rest of the day, the dog followed the Senator around as he pressed his latex covered lips to babies but never vomited up another rabbit, no matter how much the dog would have appreciated it.

That evening, the TV news actors reporting on the Senator's speech asserted that an assassination attempt had been made right there in City Park. Each succeeding station expanded upon the tale until a certain Salvatore Giaccalone, who was pushing tootsie rolls for the Knights of Columbus, was arrested for being an Arab terrorist. Now, Sal Giaccalone had connections. By 10:15 the City jail was besieged by Knights in plumed cocked hats and capes with swords and possibly other weapons.

When the Governor heard that the City Jail was surrounded by a candle bearing mob of some sort of subversive crazy militia, he called out the National Guard and the FBI and the ADF and declared a photo opportunity. Sal, however, got out of the pokey before any of the Feds got there. Some Irish-American cops waddled in from the Dough Nut-House and identified him as a poker buddy and a lector at Saint Dithyramb's. The press, outraged, reported the details for the next three days.

Which is why dogs, to this very day, believe politicians are a rich but elusive source of rabbits.


[Your Secretary, knowing that HE was going to Philcon, and therefore asked for a scribe (or, failing that, a Pharisee) to record the minutes of the November 17th minutes. George Shaner, who was NOT going to Philcon, nobly and with much public spirit, volunteered to dutifully transcribe, yea, even write out the OFFICIAL BUSINESS and minutiae of the Washington Science Fiction Association (Inc.) on that night. There were dark and pendulous clouds....]

Not Attending: Pres. Covert Beach, VP. Terilee Edwards-Hewitt, Sec. & 98 Chair Joe Mayhew, Treas. & 96 Chair Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Jim Edwards-Hewitt, Trust. David Grimm, Trust. John Pomeranz, 97 Chair Mike Nelson, Eric Baker, Dan Burgess, Chris Callahan, Grinner Cleveland, Steven desJardins, Chuck Divine, F L Ettlin, Alexis Gilliland, Lee Gilliland, Karl Ginter, Dan Hoey, Chris Holte, Bill Jensen, Kitty Jensen, Judy Kindell, Brian C. Lewis, Paula Lewis, Samuel Lubell, Richard Lynch, Nicki Lynch, Keith Marshall, Winton Matthews, Walter Miles, Lance Oszko, Kathi Overton, Peggy Rae Pavlat, John Peacock, Evan Phillips, Sam Pierce, Rebecca Prather, Rachel Russell, John Sapienza, Tom Schaad, Maura Scharadin, Debbie Smith, Steven Smith, T R Smith, Victoria Smith, William Squire, Lee Strong, Colleen Stumbaugh, Michael J. Taylor, Ronald C. Taylor, James Uba, Ginny Vaughn, Michael J. Walsh, Michael Watkins, Miles Weissman, Madeleine Yeh, Mike Zipser, Beth Zipser, Ben Zuhl and others too numerous to mention.

{Un-conventionally there: Elspeth Burgess, Donald Eastlake, Erica Ginter, Eric Jablow, Candy Myers, Barry, Judy & Meridel Newton, Dick Roepke and George R. Shaner.} Note: there were NO OFFICERS PRESENT.

With that in mind, President Covert Beach did NOT call the meeting to order at 9:15; despite the fact that there was NO outstanding agenda, neither Secretary Joe Mayhew, nor his courageous substitute, George R. Shaner, did NOT announce that fact. Furthermore, WSFA Treasurer Bob MacIn$ did NOT declare the state of the Club's account.

DISCLAVE 1996: Despite the interest which obviously EVERY WSFAn should have in their upcoming Convention, NO report was given.

DISCLAVE 1997: Michael Nelson did NOT announce his Guest of Honor.

DISCLAVE 1998: To everyone's surprise, Joe Mayhew had NOTHING TO SAY.

AND DESPITE THAT George reported "A good time was had by all."

THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENTS WERE NOT MADE: # Brian Lewis was not made Chairman of the Board of Intel, however he did not refuse to disclose the salary. # Lee Smoire was NOT selling her best selling "Lee Strong Stories." # There will NOT be a Walter Miles-Rebecca Prather nuptial this December. # Sam Lubell, did NOT, in a surprise move, turn down the Papacy, neither did he disclose the salary offered. # Lance Oszko made NO statement concerning the impending destruction of the universe. # However, Michael Walsh WOULD have had books for sale. The meeting was not adjourned at 9:15. Perhaps we ought to do this more often.


by Joe Mayhew

I was a Hugo Nominee! I could hardly believe it, but Rick Katze was on my phone, asking whether I consented to be on the ballot in the Fan Artist category. Up until that very moment I really hadn't planned to attend ConFiction; Holland being thousands of expensive miles away from my humble proletarian rowhouse in Eleanor Roosevelt's Commie Pinko Paradise, Greenbelt, Maryland. But a little voice (my ego) told me now I really needed to attend. So, the very next day, I asked my supervisors at the Library of Congress for leave so I could attend the Con.

They asked why I wanted to go to Holland and I sez, "Because I'm a finalist nominee for an INTERNATIONAL AWARD. Damn, that sounded impressive. Did I stress that it was for my fan artwork?

Word buzzed around the corridors of power and then my Division Chief asked me whether I would like to be the Library of Congress' Recommending Officer for Science Fiction and to attend ConFiction in duty status as their representative. I was flattered and immediately accepted.

The job as Recommending Officer would not be telling people what's good to read, but rather to develop better understanding of science fiction, its place in American Letters and to get our national library's collection of SF into shape.

As I said, I was all puffed up like Tenniel's toad with the invitation at the honor of becoming LC's first ombudsman for SF. True there would be no additional pay despite the additional duties, and while the Collections Policy folks said I should feel free to spend all the time I needed to get the SF stuff going, my immediate supervisor had not been consulted in my appointment and resented my spending any time at all away from the duties he supervised (I was at the time Acquisitions Specialist for the Caribbean).

There was just one more loose end: why had the Library of Congress suddenly decided it needed a Recommending Officer for science fiction? Subsequently I found out that my friend and co-worker, Eric A. Johnson's memo was to blame.

Eric is a Philip K. Dick fan. He had gone through the LC catalog and collection to find out exactly what of PKD's works were actually available. He found that LC had very few of Dick's books indeed. He wrote up a very thorough report and sent it to the Collections Development folks who routed it to the reference people, who routed it to this one and to that one, but there was no place for the memo to land. No one either had, or wanted responsibility for "that sci fi trash". The memo wandered like the little rain cloud in Ursula K. LeGuin's EARTHSEA books, driven off from place to place by hostile wizards so it was unable to rain anywhere. So they created a place for Eric's memo to land, and I was it.

Thus it was that I would be attending ConFiction as an official representative of the United States Congress. It was also about this time that the producers of the cable TV show FAST FORWARD asked me to review SF books for them, whereupon I actually had the job of telling people what Science Fiction books I think they ought to read. By way of escalation, doing book chat for FAST FORWARD helped give me the opportunity to review SF for the Washington Post's BOOK WORLD. All of which seems to have grown out of my Fan Artist Hugo Nomination. Gilbert and Sullivan could have done something with that.

The 48th World Science Fiction Convention was held in the Netherlands at Scheveningen, the Hague's port city, in the Congresgebouw, a convention center which looked like a parking garage disguised as a museum built by a committee of hippies and civic boosters.

I arrived at the Congresgebouw in search of glory. After all was I not a Hugo Nominee, Program Participant, Artist and Auctioneer, and yea, moreover, strangely believe it, the Official Representative of the Library of Congress to the World of Science Fiction? The Dutch, who live next door to the Germans, across the street from the English, and just a hop away from the French, are used to all sorts of pretentious nonsense and pomposities. So, when I explained who I was to the registration folks, they just smiled good-naturedly and gave me my little Hugo nominee rocket lapel pin and all sorts of ribbons.

And there were an amazing assortment of ribbons. I got one for being an artist, Hugo nominee and program participant and felt a bit grand until I saw some kid walk by with so many ribbons he looked like a regimental flagstaff. Then I noticed that most of the SMOFs looked like traveling May poles for all the ribbons fluttering from their chests. My three were nothing.

One of my cartoons ConFiction reprinted in the Souvenir booklet, showed a highly decorated US Army general glaring enviously at a Noreascon III fan with a wide bevy of ribbons.

I knew that the NESFAns were again the guilty party, as one of them had done the ribbons for ConFiction. Since Noreascon there has been a general ribbon escalation. The next logical step might be merit badges.

Despite my Program Participant ribbon, I was only on the program as auctioneer. That was fine with me as I was primarily interested in meeting the European Fans and Smofing and Schmoozing. However, I did make it to one panel.

I was in the Green Room chatting someone up when Joe Haldeman came over and said, "Hey, Joe, what are you doing right now?"

I said something clever like, "I dunno."

Joe buddy smiled and said, "Come on, I've got a panel right now." So I got up and followed him. Actually, his wife Gay had me by the elbow. She is probably the most charming person I know. Thus if she had suggested we walk out of the third story window, I probably would have said, "Well, sure, OK."

So we went down the hall to a program room. I started to join Gay in the audience and Joe called me up to the table. It seemed that he had drafted me to join him on a panel. It was "Homo Pacem". Until we sat down at the speaker's table neither Joe nor I knew what the panel was to be about. It turned out to be about whether man will ever outgrow war. Poor Joe, they always stick him on things like that. It worked, we got the audience involved, and with the Iraq crisis and the British Falklands experience, there was a good buzz. Good Panels usually include a lot of audience participation.

C. Howard Wilkins, U.S. Ambassador to The Netherlands spoke before the Hugos were given out. It turns out he is actually a SF reader and either was carefully briefed or is somewhat a fan. After the ceremony was over, I went over to greet the Ambassador and to tell him that the dear old Library of Congress is also becoming an SF fan, which caused a small security panic among the Con security, but not with the Embassy Staff.

I explained to some officious Brits who tried to hustle me off or chew me out or whatever, that I was also an official representative of the United States, and while the US Legislature was not always fond of the Executive Branch, that neither the Ambassador nor I were likely to engage in fisticuffs.

For years I had heard that the Hugo Loser's party was one of the best events at the Con. I had looked forward to attending it, certain that while I had gotten nominated, I really felt reasonably sure one of the better known artists: Teddy Harvia, Merle Insinga or Stu Shiffman would win (And one did: Stu Shiffman after 11 nominations finally got his laurel). The Loser's party was sponsored by the Chicago 49th WorldCon. They gave me an embroidered drink caddie with a Hugo on it as a consolation prize. Had I chosen to cry into my beer, I would not have left a table ring.

The party was rather quiet as most of losers attended the winner's party. Oh, well, sometimes you can't win for losing.

More recently, I have begun to sell my SF writing, and given my extraordinary good fortune in being nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Artist category, perhaps I might get nominated for a Hugo for something I wrote. Considering the results of my previous nomination, perhaps the next time I get nominated for a Hugo, it will set off a chain of events which makes me Pope.

If I got that job, who knows where it would lead?