The WSFA Journal - May 1997

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell
[OCR conversion to HTML by Evan Phillips]

[Cartoon of Granny sitting next to dragon, pointing to No Smoking sign.]


New Officers Named, Old Chairs Break

Return of the Evil Overlord

Hugo Nominees 1997

WSFA Develops Own Cuba Policy

Great New Scientific Theories for the 1990's

Summer Movies

Real World Magic: Fantasy Next Door

Nebula Winners


President John Pomeranz called the meeting to order at 9:15. Sec. Joe Mayhew noted, by way of outstanding business, that Alexis Gilliland had submitted a design for a WSFA contact business card, published in the current WSFA Journal, and that a discussion of it would be in order at New Business.

Treasurer Bob MacIntosh announced the WSFA treasury balance to be $1,529.28 (Joe Mayhew tried to chip in his two cents worth but was rebuffed by Mac.)

John Pomeranz announced that there had been intermittent problems with the new web site. (Well you get what you pay for.)

Trustee Michael Nelson annpounced a partial slate of officer suckers~ candidates for the May elections

The Trustee's complete slate should be announced at the April third Friday meeting. The purpose of the slate is to assure that there will be candidates for all offices; additional nominations may be made from the floor by paid­up WSFA members. Candidates for office must be charter members in good standing (although they are allowed to nominate while sitting down.)[Clipart of a man on an easychair.]

New Business: Alexis Gilliland's proposed WSFA contact business card was discussed. The president referred it to the Publications Committee for a report at the next meeting. Joe Mayhew (ex­offico chair) about that time had the chair under him collapse. This was a tad distracting. Michael Nelson said he noticed that, the chair Joe was sitting in was coming apart, and made him move into the very chair which subsequently collapsed. No accusations were bandied about at that time. A much sturdier chair was found and the meeting got tangled up in -


Joe Mayhew announced that Michael Swanwick's GOH speech had been printed in The New York Review of Science Fiction, and then shamelessly added that Swanwick had added the following dedication: "Michael Swanwick would like to dedicate this essay to Joe Mayhew for all of his hard work on behalf of Science Fiction." Everyone applauded Joe's sheer brass. John Pomeranz announced he had copies of his Pirates of Fenzance script available and that even those who assuredly could not sing would be "allowed" to take part at the "tryouts" at Disclave for the "performance" at LoneStarCon. Everyone applauded John's sheer bass (or is it baritone?)

A Disclave meeting followed upstairs five minutes after adjournment ­ which happened at 10:01.

Attending: Pres. John Pomeranz. VP Elspeth Burgess, Sec. & 98 Chair Joe Mayhew, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. & 97 Chair Mike Nelson, Trust. Jim Edwards­Hewitt, 99 Chair Sam Pierce, Covert Beach, Bernard bell, Dan Burgess, Darrin Dowty, Terilee Edwards-Hewitt, Alexis Gilliland, Charless Gilliland, Lee Gilliland, Dan Hoey, Eric Jablow, Judy Kindell, Corey Kliewer, Richard Lynch, Nicki Lynch, Keith Marshall, Walter Miles, George Nelson, Gerry O'Conner, Lance Oszko, Kathi Overton, Rebecca Prather, Juan Sanmiguel, George Skhaner, Steven Smith, Victoria Smith, Lee Strong, Michael Taylor, Michael Walsh, David Wendland, and Joan Windland.

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Return of the Evil Overlord

  1. Despite its proven stress­relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.
  2. I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my legions of terror, as opposed to some cheap knock­offs of that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mindset.
  3. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.
  4. I will keep a special cache of low­tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard issue energy weapons useless-my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks. [Mayhew cartoon: A G.W.U Med student found my copy of Gene Wolfe's The Shadow of the Tourturer ... stimulating.]
  5. I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)
  6. No matter how well it would perform, I willnever construct any sort of machinery which is completely indestructible except for one small and virtually inaccessible vulnerable spot.
  7. No matter how attractive certain members the rebellion are, there is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me. Therefore, I will think twice before ordering a prisoner sent to my bed chamber.
  8. I will never build only one of anything important. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.
  9. If my supreme command center comes under attack, I will immediately flee to safety in my prepared escape pod and direct the defenses from there. I will not wait until the troops break into my inner sanctum to attempt this.
  10. My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.
  11. Even though I don't really care because I plan on living forever, I will hire engineers who are able to build me a fortress sturdy enough that, if I am slain, it won't tumble to the ground for no good structural reason.
  12. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
  13. All bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no­talent bards, and cowardly thieves in the land will be preemptively put to death. My foes will surely give up and abandon their quest if they have no source of comic relief.
  14. All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world­weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick.
  15. Any and all magic and/or technology that can miraculously resurrect a secondary character who has given up his/her life through self sacrifice will be outlawed and destroyed.
  16. I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.
  17. I will see to it that plucky young lads/lasses in strange clothes and with the accent of an outlander shall REGULARLY climb some monument in the main square of my capital and denounce me, claim to know the secret of my power, rally the masses to rebellion, etc. That way, the citizens will be jaded in case the real thing ever comes along.
  18. I won't require high­ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress­code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.
  19. I will not employ devious schemes that involve the hero's party getting into my inner sanctum before the trap is sprung.
  20. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.
  21. I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.
  22. I will not imprison members of the same party in the same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out copies to every bottom­rung guard in the prison.
  23. If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.
  24. If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.
  25. If I absolutely must ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army.

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Best Novel (356 ballots)

Best Novella (209 ballots)

NOTE: There are six nominees due to a tie vote.

Best Novelette (221 ballots)

Best Short Story (254 ballots)

Best Non­Fiction Book (163 ballots)

Best Dramatic Presentation (283 ballots)

Best Editor (248 ballots)

Best Professional Artist (226 ballots)

Best Semiprozine (223 ballots)

Best Fanzine (224 ballots)[Cartoon of bird pecking on computer keyboard.]

Best Fan Writer (202 ballots)

Best Fan Artist (177 ballots)

Brad Foster and Teddy Harvia declined their nominations.

John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo) (156 ballots)

(Award for the best new science fiction writer of 1995 or 1996, sponsored by Dell Magazines) Michael A. Burstein (second year of eligiblity)

The WSFA Journal would like to congratulate the WSFA members nominated for Hugo awards.

All members of LoneStarCon can vote for the Hugos.

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WSFA Develops Own Cuban Policy

After heckling and jeckling,President John Pomeranz opened the April Third Friday meeting at 9:17. He asked, "Is there any money left?" and was told, "It is time to run a Disclave." The treasury stands at $1,496.68. No calls for parties were heard.

There was two pieces of old business­A report on the club card and the trustee's slate, "as opposed to a clean slate."

The Trustee's slate:

Elections will be held the first Friday in May. "Have to be a charter member," reminded Bob MacIntosh. This means you have to be a Disclave member and have paid the annual dues (all of $5 bucks). "I'm tired of being treated like a piece of meat" protested a WSFAn. "Well, this is a meeting," another quickly replied.

The subcommittee on carding ­ Joe, Alexis, & Elspeth ­ agreed to use the card with art by Alexis, Alexis' phone number, and the WSFA web page address ( The ad hoc vision thing committee hopes not. The entertainment committee reported that the Newt has gone on the Dole.

According to Mike Nelson, "We're going to have a Disclave." The Cut Off is April 30th. Give your money to Sam Pierce. There are 156 paid members, 40 this week alone. There are also 40 dealers and 75 people comped from last year making 271 members plus program participants. New flyers are coming out. If you had a good time last year tell people. Talk about Disclave on on­line forums, with friends etc. We'll have program participants.

Joe Mayhew is doing volunteers for Disclave 97. Wants door checkers and badge checkers (could we play chess instead?) Be very fanish, become a badger. He also had wonderful news for Disclave 98. Judy Kendell will be doing the art show. The hotel is interested in doing a contract even before seeing us do Disclave 97 so we will be able to include hotel info in the ad. He is planning on using our web page to include ongoing information since we are modern, unlike publishing which is still stuck in the 18th century. "Not that advanced," sighed academic publisher Mike Walsh. There will be facilities tour on Wednesday. Disclave 99 had nothing to report.

When new business was called, there was silence until John said, "I am pleased to report web page success with new faces attending WSFA." The club welcomed the new faces (and the rest of them too.) We also made another hit. John received an email from a woman about a Cuban solar energy scientist who is also a president of a SF club in Cuba and a SF author. He wants to visit with SF fans while here. It is difficult to get a visa from Cuba but the State Department has okayed it and he is expected to come Tuesday or Wednesday. There is no WSFA meeting that week but we could go to a BSFS meeting. We could have a barbecue for him. John volunteered his house. He is not sure about the date, perhaps Sunday Afternoon or Saturday at night. He wants WSFA to pay $150 for food for his Barbecue. The motion passed by acclamation. John said he will let everyone know when and where.

Disclave 97 said that he got a letter from Mark Anthony, probably the first time Disclave has received a chain letter. "Take this letter, copy it, and send to ten other conventions." Dick and Nicki and Mamosa are on the Hugo ballot. Joe Mayhew is on the Hugo ballot. Joe thanked Mike Nelson for pushing Joe's artwork across the country in the guise of Bucconeer advertising.

Lance will buy your LoneStarCon memberships. Mike Walsh announced the first two Lensmen books are going to the printer early in May. The meeting adjourned at 9:56

In attendance were: Pres. John Pomeranz, VP Elspeth Burgess, Sec and 98 Chair Joe Mayhew, Treasurer Bob MacIntosh, Trustee and 97 Chair Mike Nelson, 99 Chair Sam Pierce, Covert Beach, Dan Burgess, Steven desJardins, Chuck Divine, Darrin Dowty, Alexis Gilliland, Karl Ginter, Erica Ginter, Joe Hall, Eric Jablow, Bill Jensen, Judy Kindell, Samuel Lubell, Richard Lynch, Nicki Lynch, Keith Marshall, Walter Miles, George Nelson, Lance Oszko, Dick Roepke, Steven Smith, William Squire, Lee Strong, Ronald Taylor, Michael Walsh, Madeline Yeh, Mary Bentley, Cathy Doman, and Mary Baxter.

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Great New Scientific Theories for the 1990s

from the Internet

HONORABLE MENTION: [Cartoon: You heard right.  We've decided to freeze you until medical science finds a cure for your bad attitude.]

The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian "pahks" his "cah ," the lost r's migrate southwest, causing a Texan to "warsh" his car and invest in 'erl wells."


#4 The earth may spin faster on its axis due to deforestation. Just as a figure skater's rate of spin increases when the arms are brought in close to the body, the cutting of tall trees may cause our planet to spin dangerously fast.

#3 Communist China is technologically underdeveloped because they have no alphabet and therefore cannot use acronyms to communicate ideas at a faster rate.

#2 Why Yawning Is Contagious: You yawn to equalize the pressure on your eardrums. This pressure change outside your eardrums unbalances other people's ear pressures, so they must yawn to even it out.

#1 If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world's great literary works in Braille.


When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet. And when toast is dropped, it always lands with the buttered side facing down. I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat; the two will hover, spinning inches above the ground. With a giant buttered cat array, a high­speed monorail could easily link New York with Chicago.

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Summer Movies

Summer 1997: A SIMPLE WISH (aka FAIRY GODMOTHER) [Bubble Factory/Universal Pictures] Martin Short plays a fairy godfather who tries to help an actor's daughter while fighting an evil fairy godmother.

Summer 1997: SPACE CADET [Caravan Pictures/Walt Disney Pictures/Buena Vista] Harland Williams. Comedy with no connections to the Heinlein novel. Rocket scientist blasts off for Mars.

Summer 1997 BATMAN AND ROBIN [Warner] Batman, Robin, and Batgirl against Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane. By the time they introduce all these characters the movie will be over.

5/9: THE FIFTH MAN (aka THE FIFTH ELEMENT, aka LE CINQUIEME ELEMENT) [Gaumont/Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures] Bruce Willis. In the year 2300 aliens who once visited ancient Egypt return.

5/21: THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK II. [Constant C Productions/Amblin Entertainment/MCA/Universal Pictures] Staring lots of dinosaurs. The sequel to Jurassic Park [Movie theme slug]

6/6/97: MEN IN BLACK [Columbia Pictures/Amblin Entertainment/Sony Pictures] Staring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Described as a science­fiction adventure comedy about a secret organization watching over aliens on Earth. Based on the Lowell Cunningham comic book series.

6/20/97: HERCULES [Walt Disney Pictures/Buena Vista] Animated film about the adventures of Hercules (and a spoof on 20th century celebrity culture.

7/2: STARSHIP TROOPERS [Big Bug Pictures/TriStar/Disney/Sony] $ 100 million was spent to make a war film of Bugs vs. Humans. Reportedly, most of Heinlein's politics is missing.

7/4: DARK CITY [New Line] Kiefer Sutherland. Accused murderer finds group of people who can stop time.

FACE OFF [Paramount Pictures] John Travolta directed by John Woo. In the future a lawman switches faces with a criminal.

CONTACT [Warner Brothers] Jodie Foster. Carl Sagan's only novel is filmed. Hopefully this will be one film that gets its science right. It is about first contact with aliens.

7/25: ALIEN: RESURRECTION (aka ALIEN 4, ALIEN IV) [Brandywine/20th Century Fox] Sigourney Weaver (of course) Ripley is cloned so scientists could study the Alien Queen.

8/8: STEEL [Quincy Jones­David Salzman Entertainment/Warner Brothers] Shaquille O'Neal plays an armored comic book superhero.

8/29: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS [Hollywood Pictures/J&M Entertainment/Cometstone Productions/Buena Vista] Julie Delpy plays the daughter of an American Werewolf in London.

9/97: THE QUEST FOR CAMELOT [Warner Brothers Feature Animation/ Warner Brothers] Voice of Christopher Reeve. Princess disguises herself as a knight to save her sister and find the Holy Grail.

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Far too many fantasy novels are interchangeable. The young boy, living in a quasi medieval setting (although lately one with some 20th century roles for women) discovers that he has exceptional magic powers/is the secret heir to the throne and spends the rest of the book (or trilogy) defeating the dark lord and winning the princess. The world is in a bastardized form of European feudalism (despite the many different cultures that had different forms) and politics/religion/geography seem arranged solely for the purposes of the plot.

This can be fun, but soon gets repetitive. Fantasy has so much more potential, indeed could take place anywhere, with virtually any plot. Two very different novels ­ The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers and Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint, show some of the alternatives fantasy can explore.

Tim Powers is known for his everything but the kitchen sink fantasies and The Anubis Gates (recently republished as a trade paperback by Ace) is probably his best work. This book manages to combine Egyptian magic, 19th century poets (including a brainwashed Lord Byron), gypsies, clowns, thieves, a body­snatcher, a fake Hindu whose other identity is still a disguise, a magician who has to be tied down to prevent him from flying off to the moon, and time travel. This is one of those books that goes nonstop and that, even after reading a few times, you still aren't sure you understand everything.

Brendan Doyle, an academic expert on the poets Samuel Coleridge and William Ashbless, is invited to participate in lecture by Coleridge, traveling by the means of mysterious gaps in time discovered by a millionaire with cancer. While in the 19th century he is attacked and left behind. He then discovers that none of his skills can help him buy food except by joining an alliance of beggars and thieves. Ashbless is missing and the clown who rules the beggars thinks Doyle knows magical secrets. Worse of all, someone is whistling old Beatles tunes, a hundred years before they are written. Doyle finds himself being chased by three different groups, he even finds out that he himself is not who he thought he was, at least, not anymore.

There's no way the reader can predict what will happen next in this novel, but the ride is always worth it. It is exciting, speculative, and enjoyable. This is a fun book that is nearly impossible to put down. Make some popcorn, clear your schedule, and just start reading. Highly recommended.

I found the hardback of Charles de Lint's Memory and Dream remaindered at Crown bookstores for $3.99 so bought it, despite already owning the paperback. While some people think that The Little Country is de Lint's best novel, I greatly prefer this one. (However, he excels at the short story and Dreams Underfoot is probably his best collection.) This book is quite different from The Anubis Gates' non­stop roller­coaster. There is less action and deeper characters. The story is as much about the heroine taking charge of her own life and confronting her past as it is about the magic and defeating the villain.

The artist heroine starts the book by receiving a letter from a long­dead author friend and is then asked to illustrate her stories. For years, Isabelle Copley has only painted abstract art and has literally been afraid to use the techniques taught to her by the strange genius Vincent Rushkin, who could create art that could come alive­literally. The story alternates between this present and her artistic training 20 year earlier. Rushkin is a strange ugly man, prone to fits of violence and very strange demands. But as they work together he seems to grow taller and stronger while her art becomes better and better. Then, as she reads a story her friend wrote, she recognizes its main character as a figure she had painted from imagination, but which her friend claims to have seen. Then she meets an Indian who could be the model for one of her early paintings, one of those that Rushkin says has a soul, except that the painting was finished before she even met the man.

The story of what is going on in this novel, and the resolution of the story started in the past through the events in the present is part of the fun of the novel. The other part is the quality of the characters. De Lint has a knack for making interesting street people, artists, writers, and others at the margin of society. If you read too much of his work at once, you begin to notice that he never writes about any other type of people, but in small doses this is not a problem. It is worth mentioning that Memory and Dream takes place in Newford, the imaginary city that many of de Lint's stories take place and so some of the minor characters who appear in this book, have their own stories in Dreams Underfoot and other collections. I find that this adds to fun, creating a bigger world than the novel alone can do. It is not necessary to read any of these stories before reading Memory and Dream.

Publishers print what the market demands. As long a the big multi­volume, medieval power fantasies sell well, the publishers will continue to print books in generic fantasyland. But if more fantasy readers would look to these other options, and maybe give one of these books a chance, publishers would be more really to take chances themselves on something different and new.

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[Joe Mayhew drawing of bookshelf with a Hugo on one end and a space helmet and zap gun on the other.]

Nebula Winners 1997

Best Novel: Nicola Griffith, Slow River (Del Rey)

Best Novella: Jack Dann, "Da Vinci Rising" (Asimov's)

Best Novelette: Bruce Holland Rogers, "Lifeboat on a Burning Sea" (F & SF)

Best Short Story: Esther Friesner, "A Birthday" (F & SF))

SFWA Grand Master Award: Jack Vance

SFWA Author Emeritus: Judith Merril

Service to SFWA Award: Sheila Finch

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