The WSFA Journal October 1996

The WSFA Journal

The WSFA Journal October 1996

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell

Grog and More Grog by Lance Oszko
But The Statute of Limitations Has Expired!
Kids In Space by Eric Jablow
Journal Scoop: F&SF Editor Quits
Trustees Choose Disclave Weapon
Letters to the Editor
Mainstream Magic by Samuel Lubell
Great Shades of Elvis


Grog and More Grog

by Lance Oszko


Provisions for a Pirate Party


            I, Lance Oszko, promised to help with the logistics of the Bucconeer party at LACON III.  I tracked down the Seagram's office in L.A., which had moved due to an earthquake.  I wrote a letter introducing Bucconeer, our past cooperation with Captain Morgan and our hopes for a tasting.  They did not respond.  I followed up with telephone calls.  I was passed to Larry Richardson, who was not impressed with our Glasgow, Winnipeg, or East Coast promotions of Captain Morgan.  He wanted to check out our bona fides, but would not accept the recommendations of the Seagram's Baltimore office.  Therefore I gave him names and numbers for my contracts for Confrancisco and Costumecon- Santa Clara. Weeks passed.  He finally responded, turning us down flat.  His budget could not afford our tasting.  I made a counterproposal, swearing our undying
 loyalty to Captain Morgan and disappointment at his absence.  Further I offered to buy wholesale.  Larry was unsure of the legality of a wholesale deal.  I left for Pennsic, entrusting the pertinent information to Judy Kindell.  Judy was unable to reach Larry (because he was on vacation).  After Pennsic, Larry confirmed that he could see clear to contributing one and ½ cases of assorted flavors of Captain Morgan Rum, as well as pirate souvenirs.

            Being occupied in the dealer's room and Masquerade, I recruited seven fans from out west to help staff the Bucconeer party for Judy.  These were fans who volunteered to help as much as five years ago during the bid process, through some still need to get Bucconeer memberships.


As reported by Her Majesty's most obedient pirate,




Astray in L.A. - Adventures in Pillaging Fruit Drinks


Not being one to leave well enough alone, I- Lance Oszko, upon learning that Snapple was willing to give away truckloads of their product, called Snapple's 1-800 number.  From there I got the number of the consumer affairs office of Quaker Oats Company (the parent company). They took down the information about LACON III, promising only that a truck might appear on the spur of the moment if the driver felt like it.  I alerted LACON III's con suite of the possibility.  Calling back before  Pennsic, Quaker Oats said that they had faxed the appropriate promotions office, but still refused to give a direct point of contact.  After Pennsic, I received a message from Michelle  of Silverback Creative Corp., that they were willing to cooperate.  Unfortunately, this was the D.C. office,

Snapple not realizing that Anaheim was not a Virginia suburb.  I played phone tag with Michelle.  An associate of Michelle - Todd finally gave me a direct contact with Silverback's L.A. office - Lisa Barone. 

Friday 01:00 p.m. 23 August 96 Lisa committed to supplying two truckloads of Snapple enough for 6,000 (a $4,000 value).  Unfortunately, neither the con suite nor the LACON III responded to my latest e-mails nor had provided a working telephone number.  I passed the con suite's private AOL E-mail address to Lisa.  Apparently there was no response there either.  Saturday 24 August my E-mail provider went down, it was Tuesday before my E-mail was back on-line.  Wednesday, I arrived in L.A. and left messages for Lisa.  She called back at 10:30 p.m., promising deliveries for Thursday and Saturday.  11:00 p.m. I tracked down the consuite chief.  He called Lisa to confirm details, then backpedaled saying that a 09:30 a.m. Thursday hotel liaison meeting would have to bless Snapple giving away free drinks in the consuite.  10:00 they got the go ahead.  Snapple delivered the goods.

By 2:30, Snapple was gone after giving away only several hundred drinks.  No one in the con suite knew anything.  Apparently, Snapple's workers were told by con suite staff to set up on the table then to go away!  Also, the con suite chief had Snapple on probation, promising to call back if Snapple's activities were acceptable.  Needless to say Snapple was annoyed at being jerked around and having their representatives sent away. 03:00 p.m. the con suite chief had not called Lisa.  I paged him to call Lisa and instruct his staff.  He said he would handle it and smooth things.  Of course, Snapple never returned.  I did my best, but the lack of communication by all participants finally killed what should have been a simple, elegant idea.  This is an object lesson Bucconeer should take to heart.

Rounded Rectangle: Old Earth Books and Charles Ryan (Editor of Aboriginal) are pleased to announce the publication of a book of Patricia Anthony's short fiction in paperback, hardback, and slipcase.  The book will be out in time for Anthony's appearance as Disclave '97's Guest of Honor


"But The Statute of Limitations Has Expired!"


            The sucker September 6th meeting was called to order at 9:16.  Secretary Joe reported the absence of a quorum so the meeting couldn't conduct business.  A comment was heard that we don't conduct business even when we do have enough people.  The chairman was still on California time.  The treasurer reported $3,603.71; only one call for a party was made.  There was no old business.  The chairman called on Disclave Past.  "It's past" said Bob.  "Do I ever have to call on you again?"  "Nope!"

            Covert then reported on the contract negotiations saying that the contract looks similar to the disc we gave them, but we are still working on the contract.  He peeked at the hotel when it was raining, an often useful tactic.  He did spot a leak into a trash can.  There was some talk of repairing the seam.  He also reported the outer darkness was damp.  All locks were replaced and a new keycard system installed.  There is a new fence but in the same place, as high as the old one.  This is wrought iron but no spike.  Trek to California was blamed for the delay with the contract.

            Mike suggested a Disclave/Bucconeer party on Friday night.

            "A Disclave slash party?" asked John.

            Mike reported that Dick volunteered to be hotel liaison.

            Joe, Disclave '98 Chair said he was riding on Mike's coattails and would do as he did, except with different guests.  He has three guests now and may have a fourth depending on money.  Don't fall off or anything.

            John said that we need a slate for the '99 chair (personally I prefer my chairs to have a cushion back, but anyway...) and ordered the trustees to dragoon people as necessary.

            The Entertainment Committee reported that there was a WorldCon and that the Entertainment Committee was ready to take full credit for it. 

            Joe said that the Ad hoc Disclave committee is gathering data for the research document.  He is interested in memories and recollections, especially of the history of Disclave '79 à  Alexis can do before that.

            "But the statute of limitations has expired!" said Alexis.

            The Chair read the minutes from the ad hoc meeting saying how the committee was created.  All are urged to write and add thoughts.  He wants closure by the end of the year."

            After the usual announcements, the meeting was unanimously adjourned at 9:42.

Kids In Space


Eric Jablow

Zero-Gee Bottle Feeding and Other Problems Of Future Life

Babies satisfactorily born.
Telegram from Los Alamos to the Potsdam Conference, 1945.

The atomic bomb is the second coming in wrath.
Winston Churchill

A baby may be in a science-fiction story for a few reasons; the story may be about a family that just happens to include a baby, the story may be about the problems of raising a baby, or the story may be about the baby itself. There are some stories of all three types, though I admit I don't recall many of the first type. What are the problems a future family might face raising a baby in the future?  I will exclude social problems that are present in today's society.

Bringing Up Baby

Parents may have trouble raising babies on a future Earth because its environment has been ruined, because society has broken down, because social changes have made children less supported then they are now, or because the baby has special problems.  There have been many dystopian stories and novels in sf; I have not yet read John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar, but I would think that its society is not family-friendly.  Life in the future Earth of Edgar Pangborn's Davy is brutish and short, though occasionally graceful; unfortunately, mutations and nasty politics conspire to make life miserable. The "girl in the plastic bubble" of Joan Vinge's View from a Height led a lonely childhood and adulthood, and ended up exiled from society on an interplanetary expedition so she could avoid infection. The children in John Barnes' Mother of Storms grow up in a world where they have direct access to "newsporn"; I wonder what growing up in that society is like.

There are stories where strange genetic changes in humanity have caused conflict.  Larry Niven and Steven Barnes wrote of a group of colonists whose babies reverted to being hominid. The mechanism for this wasn't stated; just that once mankind manages to migrate to other planets, intelligence is no longer required, and so it can go away. With no plausible mechanism, this is pure fantasy; even accepting the premise, I didn't like the story much. The native population in Poul Anderson's The Sharing of Flesh are the descendants of an interstellar colony where in-breeding and genetic drift have caused males to be unable to mature without external help; the type of help required in this story is a bit gruesome.

What about babies in space? One question an author might ask is whether a baby could even be born in microgravity.  Larry Niven in those of his Known Space stories set in the asteroid belt, postulated that the Belters would hollow out an asteroid and spin it to provide artificial gravity for pregnant women. I don't think that Confinement Asteroid is really necessary. After all, unborn children float in amniotic fluid; they don't feel gravity much, and I don't think gravity is really necessary for proper fetal development. In fact, microgravity should benefit the mother; fluid won't build up in her legs, the baby won't press on her organs, the lack of strain will help stave off hemorrhoids, and the lack of weight will make her feel more comfortable. Exercise will be a problem, but I think the balance favors low-gravity conditions.

After the baby is born, what happens? How do parents take care of a baby in zero-gee? Feeding the baby should not be much of a problem; bottle or breast feeding should work eminently well. However, bottled formula (or any other liquid) will absorb a lot of air, and so the baby will become quite gassy.

One thing any parent will tell you is that babies leak. They spit up their food, and fermented milk, and they need frequent diaper changes. It will be very difficult to keep a baby clean, and to keep its secretions out of people's way, as all mechanical tasks are harder in free fall. I have a picture of a baby burping, and projecting itself backwards or putting itself into a spin.

As the baby becomes mobile, how do its parents keep it out of trouble? How do you child-proof a space station? You can't put things too high for baby to reach. Do the parents keep every cabinet locked, all consoles covered and locked down, and the baby under constant surveillance?

The worst problem, however, is that a baby growing up in zero gee will never need to crawl. It will jump from location to location, and will learn to move freely in zero gee. It will never learn to walk. I can imagine a society split into the planet-bound, forever clumsy in space, and the space-bound, weak and wheelchair-bound on any planet. People have used such ideas in sf stories, but I don't think they've thought about the consequences.

The Bad Seed


Many observers have pointed out that a large number of movies, books, and plays have as subtext the fear and hatred of children. Children are strange, illogical, unfathomable. They are us! Consider The Exorcist, The Bad Seed, Carrie, Firestarter, It's Alive, and The Simpsons. Consider dead-teenager films like Child's Play. I guess that the attitude that leads to the  popularity of the yuppie sit-com is similar to this; there are no families on Seinfeld.

There are sf stories that use the same fear. There is It's a Good Life by Jerome Bixby, there is Child's Play by William Tenn (unrelated to the identically-named movie), When the Bough Breaks, by Kuttner and Moore, and many others. In the Kuttner-Moore story, two time-travelers visit the a pair of new parents and tell them their infant son will grow up to be the ruler of the world and universe, and they must train him in the psychic and scientific powers he must learn. Unfortunately, this is a quite nasty future, and the baby is quite nasty too. For example, the baby teleports the father out of bed to the middle of the city. So he can pick up a toy; the father was not dressed for the occasion. Fortunately, the child outsmarts himself in the end, and the world and the parents' marriage is saved.

There are stories about weird and weirdly intelligent children: Mimsy were the Borogoves, by Kuttner and Moore, Star, Bright, by Mark Clifton, and More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, for example.

Finally, the child may not be what it seems. Look at Child of All Ages, by P. J. Plauger. Here, the child is actually a few hundred years old, and might live forever if she can stave off puberty. There are less depressing child stories; Heinlein's Future History contains a few. I'll try to discuss them in a later article.

Part 3, What all Schoolchildren Learn, will appear in the next issue of the Journal. There is no prize for anyone recognizing the source of that title. Parts 4 and 5, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Adulthood Test  (on rite of passage novels), and The Wobegon Future (on above-average children) will appear after that.

Magazine of Fantasy and SF Editor Calls It Quits

"Need More Time to Write" Says Kristine Kathryn Rusch


Kris Rusch reported on Genie that she has three writing careers going right now (mainstream from St. Martins Press, fantasy/sf, and mystery) and she feared that if she continued to try to both write and edit, the editing would suffer.  She wrote, "When it became clear that I would have to start doing a good job instead of the best job (and believe me, only the new writers would have noticed the difference), I called Ed.  We spent most of the year (but mainly most of September) trying to find a way for me to stay.  But neither of us were happy with the ideas we came up with.  It is better for the magazine to have someone give editing their full attention rather than one-tenth of their attention." She stressed that the parting was amicable and that publisher Ed Ferman will find a new editor.

KRIS.DEAN Genie Fourth Science Fiction RT, Category 14,  Topic 5, Message 526       Fri Sep 27, 1996


Trustees Choose Disclave Weapon - Lance!



Chairman John declared the 9/20/96 meeting to disorder at 9:17 on August [sic] 20th. When his slight time lapse was called into question he confessed to being lost "between."  Programs are available in the lobby.  When the treasurer reported a balance of $3,573.63, cries of "Let's buy a hotel!" were heard. (This may become necessary.) 

            Trustees Jim and Candy announced that they have a nominee to run Disclave '99 - Lance Oszko whose name was met with much enthusiasm by Lydia (who I don't think can vote.)  The election of Lance versus any other pigeon who volunteers will take place in the First Friday in October.  To see if you can vote, check the treasurer to see if you've paid your $5 dues.

            The Entertainment Committee went to WorldCon and got on the SciFi Channel.  "It was the best I could do."  John commented.  "They were videotaping people in funny outfits and you insisted on wearing that jacket..."  "What was I going to say?" retorted Alexis.  "I'm just a bookie?"

            Joe Mayhew in his capacity as ad-hoc visionary said he was "Going back to '79, having pages and pages of stuff, an outline with programs etc.  If anyone wants to include anything, personal reminisces etc. give them to me on disc.  Eventually I will distribute it on disc and anyone who wants to could do an article.  Some surprises here.  I thought I  knew Disclave fairly well but I found out I had some things wrong.  This is preliminary to see what was Disclave.  I hope to have a meeting, somewhat different from John's, that sets priorities for Disclave and a vision for it.  What would you do for Disclave if we had a million dollars."

            John added that people are encouraged to submit a discussion on paper of what you think Disclave should be and what it is.  If you don't say anything you can't complain."

            There was sort of new business.  John said that it is time to think about the web page and possibly spending some money to get our own domain and post it.  After we get the Disclave chair out of the way we can discuss it.

            Then, after a few announcements (including a medical journal finding that chocolate is good for you and that NPR gave The Stars My Destination a good review (as well they should), the Chair realized he forgot Disclaves past, present, and future.  He blamed this lapse on his deep sorrow for the death of Spiro Agnew.  Disclave past pronounced his convention dead. Disclave present wasn't here but Covert said the draft contract is still being investigated. Additional fees for multiple room keys is still being negotiated.  John said, "Tell them that if we don't [get more keys] we'll hot wire the locks and they know we're capable of that."

            Eric brought in the office Car Talk book by Tom and Ray Magliozzi with Terry Bisson (yup, that Terry Bisson.)  He suggested that we use it for blackmail.  Lance gave his new email address and bragged that he is using a cable modem at 10 Megs/Second.

            The meeting was adjourned unanimously at 9:39 on September 20th.









Pres. John Pomeranz



Keith Marshall



Sec. Joe Mayhew



Walter Miles



Treas. Bob MacIntosh



Barry and Judy Newton



Trustee Candy Myers



Lance Oszko



Trustee Mike Nelson



Kathi Overton



Trustee Jim Edwards-Hewitt



Peggy Rae Pavlat



Eric Baker



Sam Pierce



Covert Beach



Rachel Russell



Steven desJardins



George Shaner



Terilee Edwards-Hewitt



Steven Smith



Alexis & Lee Gilliland



Lee Strong



Erica & Karl Ginter



Michael Taylor



David Grimm



Ronald Taylor



Joe Hall



James Uba



Dan Hoey



Michael Walsh



Eric Jablow



Michael Watkins



Bill Jensen



Karl Cook



Brian Lewis



Natalie Barnes



Samuel Lubell



Kevin Sheehan



Nicki & Richard Lynch






Letters to the editor

To the Editor:


I'd like to suggest a topic for others to discuss in the Journal. I'd like to know what books inspired those of  us who have published professionally to become writers. I'd also like to know what literary guidebooks they find most useful.


Every good bookstore has a large selection of guidebooks. There are the old standards: The Elements of Style, the Chicago Manual of Style, Kate Turabian's students' guides, etc. There are guides on how to find an agent and a publisher; I own a copy of Stephen Goldin and Kathleen Sky's The Business of Being a Writer. There are specialized genre guides; George V. Higgins has written one on how to write a police procedural, and there are books on how to write romance novels, Westerns, and poetry. There are even books on how to write parts of novels. For example, a few weeks ago NPR Weekend Edition interviewed Prof. Elizabeth Broderick of Princeton University, author of the new book The Joy of Writing Sex. Is How to Begin a Paragraph next?


Eric Jablow



Mainstream Magic

Themed Fantasy/Mainstream Reviews

by Samuel Lubell


The beginning of Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic (Berkley, $6.99, 1995) suggests a feminist tract or possibly a sly modernist novel hinting at magic:  "For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in town... It didn't matter if the situation could be explained by logic, or science, or plain bad luck." At first, when the black cats follow one of the Owen children to school, the author hints that a tunafish sandwich might have been responsible, and when Sally Owen hopes something bad will happen to a boy that torments her and a ceiling tile falls on her head, this is explained by saying the children in the classroom overhead were stomping their feet.  However, soon magic is proven when the Owen aunts give a girl from the drugstore a love charm. Unsure as to whether their aunts' magic is real Sally and her sister Gillian follow her and see it working.  "`Coincidence,' Sally insisted. `I don't know about that.' Gillian shrugged... `She got what she wanted. However it happened.'" Later in the book the aunts strike a person dumb, see portents of death, and deal with a restless ghost.  The book makes no bones about it; the magic is real.

The book is in two parts, the first about Gillian and Sally's childhood when the aunts worried about studious Sally who made nutritious meals and cleaned up.  "Goodness, in their opinion, was not a virtue but merely spinelessness and fear disguised as humility.  The aunts believed there were more important things to worry about than dust bunnies under the beds or fallen leaves piling up on the porch."  The second part is about Sally's own children and their adventures when Aunt Gillian shows up with a dead man in her car.  The plot is basically the efforts of Gillian, Sally, and Sally's two daughters to separate themselves from the magic and of the circumstances that forced them to turn to the magical aunts for a solution when they are haunted by a ghost. 

Hoffman's strength is not the plot but her language and mood, the way she can make simple words produce pictures with detail that rings true:

"Inside the house there were no clocks and no mirrors and three locks on each and every door.  Mice lived under the floorboards and in the walls and often could be found in the dresser drawers, where they ate the embroidered tablecloths, as well as the lacy edges of the linen placemats...  The little girls who lived up in the attic were sisters, only thirteen months apart in age.  They were never told to go to bed before midnight or reminded to brush their teeth.  No one cared if their clothes were wrinkled or if they spit on the street.  All the while these little girls were growing up, they were allowed to sleep with their shoes on and draw funny faces on their bedroom walls with black crayons.  They could drink cold Dr. Peppers for break­fast, if that was what they craved, or eat marshmallow pies for dinner.  They could climb onto the roof and sit perched on the slate peak, leaning back as far as possible, in order to spy the first star."  0r "If you took all the trouble most girls got into as teenagers and boiled it down for 24 hours, you'd wind up with something the size of a Snickers candy bar.  But if you melted down all the trouble Gillian Owens got herself into, no to mention all the grief she caused, you'd have yourself a sticky mess as tall as the statehouse in Boston." 

Essentially this is a mainstream book with a few fantasy elements as flavorings.  The narrative revolves around Sally's daughters coming of age, Gillian falling in love, and an investigation into Gillian's husband's death. All the characters are very real, the teen-aged love affairs and petty jealousies poignant and the dilemmas and emotions of the adult characters ring true.  If this were a fantasy novel there would probably be a stronger explanation for the ghost, since no mention is made of his having magic before his death.  (There is an explanation as to why Kylie is the only one who can see him.) 

This could be an interesting choice for the fantasy reader who wants to dip into the mainstream without leaving fantasy completely.  The quality of the language here is very high and the chief attraction of the book.  Those who like fantasy action adventures will soon find this of little interest to them (although romance readers would probably love it.)

Despite being published in genre, Slow Funeral by Rebecca Ore (Tor, $4.99, 1994) has more in common with Practical Magic than most of the dragon romps and magic ring hunts who are its neighbors on the fantasy racks. (although a ring does figure into the story.)  Like Hoffman's book, Ore presents the reader with some doubt as to the validity of magic.  It starts by using witch-ridden as a metaphor for the condition of the heroine, Maude Fuller, who cheats welfare in Berkley by pretending to be insane when she says she's a witch.  But when she goes back to Bracken County in her native South to care for her ill grandmother, the magic proves to be very real, and very dangerous.  The witches are not easily distinguishable old hags of legend nor the magical engineers that Maude's boyfriend, an engineer who follows Maude to her hometown, hopes could teach him magic.  Instead these witches are soul eaters, mind-foggers, and slave-makers who have been secretly controlling the county, manipulating people and re-arranging destinies with their powers. But even they are victims.  There magic is powered by "entities" who are interested in the petty struggles of humans.  When your entity loses interest in you, the magic goes away (and so does your life.)  In this environment Maude is forced to fight a battle for her grandmother's soul, for her boyfriend's life, and for her own self-identity since the only way she can win is to fight using her own powers, magic she has long considered evil and refused to use.

Here too the principal interest is the language.  Ore uses a very plain, matter of fact language that seems to possess the easy rhythms of the South and embodies the author's conflict with Southern life, while affirming the Southern tradition:

"Maude, who hated witches, lived in a Berkeley witch house where she was the only real witch.  The morning after she met the man at the bar, Maude woke up in the house with a call in her brain. Her Bracken County kin wanted to nag her home.  She looked to see if her new lover, the engineer who was curious about magic, lay beside her.  Nope, just a sweat blotch on the linen."

I suspect witchcraft here is a metaphor for the South itself, with Ore ultimately deciding to side with technology but use it to keep the best elements of the South while adjusting to the modern world.

In addition to the language, some of the incidents hold significant power, the reader will long remember the research institution carried on the back of pick-up truck, the trip to the hospital with Maggie's grandmother with an evil witch trying to prevent their escape to an area under science's domain (magic and science don't get along, in fact the witches' power is weakened when an army helicopter flies overhead), and a gory chicken fight with the chickens armed with steel. A warning of warning must be given regarding the novel's frank treatment of sex. It is certainly not graphic nor glorified but at times it is an overpowering theme. I'd rate this book a high R.

Still, despite the power of the book's language and its deeper meaning, it doesn't quite jell together  to hold a reader's attention. It may be that the pace is too slow or the events not strong enough.  Or it may be that the mix of genre and mainstream here doesn't work in  genre as well as it does in the mainstream.  Fortunately Rebecca Ore constantly surprises.  Anyone who can write such diverse books as Slow Funeral, The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid, and the Becoming Alien trilogy could do anything she chooses for a next project.

            Another mainstream book to keep in mind is Paul Theroux's Millroy the Magician (Ivy Books, 1994 $6.99).  Although this is in part a satire, it is also the story of a modern day magic worker and his rise to fame as from small town carnival hack, to children television show host, to food televangelist. He uses his mealtime magic but also standard magicians' tricks in an odd mix that keeps the reader on his toes.

Great Shades of Elvis       

When we last left our crew of WSFAns they had survived being lost in space only to find themselves orbiting the Little Green Men's planet. While trying to land they activated the people catcher and were shocked to wind up with Elvis.

"Yup, this is the spaceship that brought me here all right," said Elvis.  "Good old Lkfasjklfsdji of Xilopthren. I remember it well.  But isn't it little early for the annual reunion?"  He looks around at the humans and the aliens who are still tied up.  "Look men, so what the bleep is going on here?"

          "It will take too long to explain," said one of the Earthlings.  "Here's the last few issues of The WSFA Journal that will catch you up to date.  You just have to read the back page."

          "It feels like I'm back in school," muttered the Rock and Roll King as he started reading through the Journal his lips forming each word. "Sure a while since I read American and not Alienese."

            No sooner had the white-garbed man sat down then one of the many computer experts in WSFA, grabbed the sleeve of the club president, "I think I figured out their computer system."

The president shook his head.  "It's probably a totally alien system, with no connections to anything we humans have developed.  How could you possibly understand it in only a few hours?" 

"Easy," said the expert, holding up a copy of the book he found, Alien Computers for Dummies.

The president did a double take.  "Okay, take a Macintosh, write a virus to infect the alien computers and get them to lower their force fields so we can... can... Look, why don't we threaten to bring their entire planet to their knees by loading Windows on their system."

"No! Not Windoze!" screamed the captive aliens.  "We'll surrender, we'll tell you everything!" 

"You can't!" screamed K.O. Pennypitcher, the editor of the Weekly What News. "We had a deal!"

"To Ufskjajflan with your deal," the grayer of the two LGM said.  "Your plan will soon deravel and be lost with the wind now that we are back orbiting Xilopthren."

"Captain, I'm detecting the presence of a ship on the planet of similar composition to this vessel," said the resident Trekker.


"There's another ship down there," a fan translated.

"That's the Fibbing Rascal," Elvis said, "When I first heard about it, I thought it was a rescue ship.  But it's some sort of scam."

            "My plot!" screamed Pennypitcher.  "It's being revealed!"

Will the fans figure it out before the aliens tell all?  It's not over till the fat man sings.