The WSFA Journal

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell

It's a Holiday In(n)!
Playing Cowboys and ...Pirates?
Panels I Didn't Get to At WorldCon
Dick and Nicki Lynch Win Hugos
Another Musical Feghoot
An Out Of This World Party!
Con Suite To Be Above It All
Smithsonian Rejects
Holiday Inn College Park

It's a Holiday In(n)!

Minutes of the WSFA meeting of August 1, 1997 at Gillilands'


The meeting was called to order at 9:16.  Secretary Sam Lubell was unable to attend and had asked Joe Mayhew to take the minutes.  There was no outstanding business.  Treasurer Bob MacIntosh reported that WSFA had $3,982.54 in its account; additional funds will be transferred from Disclave '97.



Chairman Michael Nelson reported that he was buying and additional 31 Disclave 1998 memberships for those who worked on his Disclave (81 to date). Others deserving them may be added as identified. He presented a check for $640.00 to the 98 Chair.  WSFA gave Michael a Round of applause for the good work he had done producing DISCLAVE '97.



Chairman Joe Mayhew reported that the New Carrollton Hotel was again in the process of being sold, that the New General Manager, Renee Lechelt, was unable to discuss a contract with us, and that he had verbally accepted the offer of the College Park (Maryland) Holiday Inn (located on 495 Beltway at US 1 [exit 25]) They are offering a flat (1-4 occupant) $75.00 room rate, 1 complimentary room night for each 25 taken, will be reserving the entire hotel for Disclave (211 rooms), as well as all function space on the usual basis. 


However, due to the Youth Soccer tournament over Memorial Day, that weekend is no longer readily available in the Washington Area. Thus Disclave 1998 will be held May 1 - 3.  Overflow rooms were nearly impossible to find during the 1997 DISCLAVE, due to the tournament.  There are at least four hotels within 5 minutes of the Holiday Inn and we have no reason to doubt that overflow will be available on the May Day weekend. 


The Hotel has previously held at least one SF Con, the last UNICON.  The space is considerably smaller, but more flexible in use and with careful planning, it may well be an excellent site. Joe will be seeking ideas of the best use of that space from interested parties.  He expects to negotiate and sign a contract as soon as possible. GOH's Terry Bisson and Gene Wolfe have said they will still be coming.  Joe has left a message with Art GOH Nick Jainschigg.



     Joe Mayhew received the following note from former WSFAn Beverly Brandt.


July 21, 1997


Dear Joe:

     As you can tell by the return address, I'm living in a shelter now.  I lost my apartment on June 1st & my job on June 6th, due to my degenerating spine.  I'm collecting food stamps & am now in the process of waiting to start on collecting my early retirement checks; amount as yet unknown.  Can you ask for me if there are any WSFAns who'd be willing to accept a boarder once I start getting those checks?  You know which WSFAns have a house & might need extra cash, who like me?  Perhaps Wayne & Joanna Dionne?  I'd appreciate any help you could give me, Joe.  Also, would you ask & see if a few WSFAns could come here & visit me? I'd sure like to see a few friendly faces.  Men aren't allowed in the Bldg., but there are benches in the back yard, where they can sit on to visit. Hope to see you soon, Joe. I've always enjoyed our talks.

               Lonely, Bevy.

Visiting Hours: 6:00 to 8:00

PM Hope to see you soon.


Ms. Beverly L. Brant

c/o House of Ruth

651- 10th St., N. E.

Rose Room

Washington, DC 20002


NEW BUSINESS. The following motion was passed without objection:  That WSFA elect the chairman for Disclave 2000 at the second regular meeting in October (Oct. 17th).  The trustees will present a candidate prior to that meeting, and as usual other nominations may be made from the floor.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:02


Attending: (Officers): Pres. John Pomeranz, VP. Elspeth Burgess, Treas. Bob MacIntosh,  Trust. & 97 Chair Mike Nelson, Trust. Michael J. Walsh, Trust. Eric Jablow,  98 Chair Joe Mayhew, 99 Chair Sam Pierce.

(Others) Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Dan Burgess*, Darrin Dowty, Alexis Gilliland, Lee Gilliland, Dan Hoey, Chris Holte, Judy Kindell, Perrianne Lurie, Richard Lynch, Nicki Lynch, Keith Lynch, Walter Miles, George Nelson, Barry Newton*, Lance Oszko, Peggy Rae Pavlat,  Rebecca Prather, Juan Sanmiguel, John Sapienza, George R. Shaner, Steven Smith,  William Squire*,  Michael J. Taylor, Ted White*.

*Arrived after the meeting.




Playing Cowboys and ... Pirates?!?

By Samuel Lubell


Fortunately, the San Antonio Rivercenter and Riverwalk hotels were right by the river because otherwise, being rather far from any ocean, the Bucconeer pirates would have had trouble sailing their pirate ship to it (except for Sam Pierce who had to drive the truck.) 


From a fan's point of view the con did not appear to be massively disorganized (unless you tried a coffeeklatch or author's tea, all of which had been signed up for in advance on the Internet without the knowledge of the person in charge.)  But otherwise the con seemed fine (as long as you followed the errata sheets and not the pocket program.


Personally, I had a wonderful time.  I went to a number of interesting panels including one of getting young people involved in fandom/reading, one on ethics and marginalized characters, several of the publisher's presentations, and even some readings.  I also bought too many books (my extra bookcase is now half full.)  The publisher to watch this year is Avon.  They have a new imprint called EOS and they are trying a bunch of new things including $3.99 paperbacks on some new authors (unfortunately wasted in some months on book 2 in a series.)  They also are doing $15 paperback sized hardcovers.  They are taking some chances on book design too, giving them more of a mainstream look with computer art and other oddities. The other good news is that Warner is publishing Matt Ruff's Sewer, Gas, and Electric  in paperback and that someone else is reprinting Fool on the Hill in trade paperback (but not until March). 


A panel on Recent Classics led by David Hartwell and Patrick Nielson Hayden listed the following as recent classics (defined as the books you cannot ignore and the books that drew in people outside the normal sf readers.) NOTE: I was scribbling down titles and names as fast as I can.  It is probable that some of the titles are wrong and certain that the spellings of the authors' names will be incorrect.


Snow Crash - Neil Stephenson (attracted the college crowd), they were more skeptical about Diamond Age.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (Not the best written but able to reach outside the field.  It has something that reaches broad audiences)

Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars by Robinson - College best sellers (Hartwell was skeptical)

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler (also get her Bloodchild story collection)

Gun with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem (One of those authors who make an instant splash) (Also try his Amnesia Moon and his collection The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the I.)

The Forever War, Joe Haldeman

Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe (the question here was which book, they settled on this one but told us to read everything by him)

Little, Big by John Crowley (also his Novelty)

Stephen Baxter is almost there but hasn't written his classic yet.

Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller (the sequel, St. Leibowitz and the Wild Horsewoman isn't as good, but they'd match it against the best of anything done this year.)

Last Call by Tim Powers (Because they said it was read by Poker Players.  <Personally, I'd have picked The Anubis Gates>

Anya, Ursula LeGuin

Door into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski

China Mountain Zang, Mary McHugh (another first book splash)

Doomsday Book, Connie Willis.  (They thought her short stories better, said she hasn't written her classic novel yet)

When Gravity Fails, by Ettinger

Fortunate Fall, by Raphael Carter

Door Number Three by Patrick O'Leary

Guns of the South, Harry Turtledove (the also said his new Sparrow was excellent)

Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Hyperion and Phases of Gravity by Dan Simmons

Someone suggested Handmaid's Tale but they said it is a good novel but not good as sf.

There was a debate over which Iain Banks with one saying Against the Bridge and the other Use of Weapons

Was, Child Garden, and Unconquered Country by Geoffrey Ryman (the last one may be a story)

War for the Oaks, Emma Bull

Swordspoint, Ellen Kushner (a fantasy without the fantasy)

Mother of Storms by John Barnes, (another author who hasn't written a classic yet but is close)

Tourists by Lisa Goldstein (also her Red Magician)

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress (and the third book in the series but not the second)

Greg Egan may write a classic someday but he hasn't yet.

One of them confessed to not getting Lucius Sheppard but that people he respect tell him that Sheppard is great.

Slow River by Nicola Griffin.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (great cosmic space opera)

Eon by Greg Bear or perhaps Blood Music or Moving Mars.  He was another one for whom they couldn't decide on one clear classic

Karen Joy Fowler.  They called her a fine writer who hasn't written her classic yet.

Only Begotten Daughter by James Morrow (one yes, one maybe)

Blackbird by Bradley Denton (or perhaps Lunatic)

Color of Magic, by Terry Pratchett (Discworld as a self-created artifact.)

Asked about Robert Jordan they politely pointed out that they both work for Tor and he's their bestselling author.  They did say that he is more serious in his ambitions than many other big book fantasy authors.

When an audience member suggested Glen Cook they said that it's time for a second look at his work.

Panels I Didn't Get to At WorldCon


1. Who are Cooler:  Cowboys or Pirates  - Judging from the heat of San Antonio I'd say Cowboys are hot, Pirates at least have the ocean breeze


2. Defending Pseudoscience - There were several on why people believe what they do and on attacking pseudoscience.  This panel would give the crystal gazers equal time.


3. Space Opera - Tenor or Soprano?  And are the heroes of space opera all castrati?


4. Pseudonym vs. Author: A Debate - Authors and their pseudonyms debate over which of them is the better author.


5. Guide for Writers XIII:  What to Do After All Your Books Hit the Times Bestseller List, You Make Your Second Million, You Are Followed by Rabid Fans, But You Want to Hide Somewhere In Obscurity, You Lucky SOB


6. Ethics in Science Fiction XIII: Being Bad, Baby -It's okay to like the villains better than the heroes-they're the more interesting character.


7. Which Has the Most Internet Flamewars: Babylon 5 vs. Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Windows vs. Mac, or Jordan vs. Eddings vs. Brooks?


8. Destroying the Earth On A Budget: Cheap ways for getting out of your homework assignment - permanently.


9. Is the Backlist Too Crowded?  Publishers are keeping too many books in the stores.  Authors volunteer to have their books taken out of print (You first!)


10.Fan History:  Proof that all Great Leaders in History Were Secret SF Readers.


Hey Joe, I've got an idea.  Since I missed them at Worldcon, why don't we do them at Disclave...

Dick and Nicki Lynch Win Hugos for Mimosa

Joe Mayhew Misses Best Fan Artist by Five Votes

Asimov's Sweeps All Categories


The Hugo Award Ceremonies was a fascinating event, marred only by wonderings as to whether Toastmaster Neal Barrett, Jr. was drunk or if that was normal for him (and for a few of us who care about such things, why the sign for the other podium read `everyone else'.) 

Kim Stanley Robinson's Blue Mars won for best novel, beating out Memory, Remnant Population, Starplex, and Holy Fire

George R.R. Martin's "Blood of the Dragon" (Asimov's) won for Best Novella, ate its competitors "Time Travelers Never Die", "Immersion", "Abandon in Place", "Gas Fish", and "The Cost to Be Wise" for Best Novella. 

Bruce Sterling's Bicycle Repairman (Intersections; Asimov's) ran over "The Land of Nod", "Mountain Ways", "Beauty and the Opera or the Phantom Beast", and "Age of Aquarius" to capture Best Novelette. 

Emily Dickinson's Connie Willis' "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..."(Asimov's, War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches) captured the Best Short Story, outwriting "Un-Birthday Boy", "The Dead", "Decency", and "Gone". 

L. Sprague de Camp's life, in the form of Time & Chance, outlived "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland", "Look at the Evidence", "The Silence of the Langford", and "The Faces of Fantasy." 

To no one's surprise Babylon 5: "Severed Dreams" (326 votes) drastically outpolled all rivals for Best Dramatic Presentation including Star Trek: First Contact (92), Star Trek: Deep Space 9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" (83), Independence Day, and Mars Attacks.  Note that No Award outpolled Mars Attacks.


In the people column:  For best Professional Editor Gardner Dozois finalized the Asimov's sweep, over Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Stanley Schmidt, Scott Edelman, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. 

Best Professional Artist went to Bob Eggleton over Michael Whelan, David Cherry, Don Maitz, and Thomas Canty. 

The Locus Permanent Hugo (also known as Best SemiProzine) went to Locus over Interzone, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Science Fiction Chronicle, and Speculations

Best Fanzine went to Mimosa, edited by WSFA's own Dick and Nicki Lynch, over File 770, Ansible, Tangent, and Nova Express

Best Fan Writer went to Dave Langford over Mike Glyer, Everyn C. Leeper, Sharon Farber, and Andy Hooper. 

Best Fan Artist went to William Rotsler (130 votes), over Peggy Ransom (94), WSFAn Joe Mayhew (125), Ian Gunn (47) and Sherlock (69).

The John W. Campbell award went to Michael Burstein over Sharon Shinn, Richard Garfinkle, Raphael Carter, and Katya Reimann. 



Another Musical Feghoot by Jim Goldfrank


Musical Note (high C)  Percy Granger based his orchestral work "Tune from County Derry" on the :Londonderry Air".  This melody is the tune to the folk song "Danny Boy".


While on my visit to England in March of 2012, Ferdinand Feghoot took me to a showing of men'' beach apparel for the coming season.  A male model strolled onto the runway showing a minimum bathing suit.  The front was strategically placed to cover his male anatomy.  The rear was only a small strip of cloth down the center of his rear cleavage.  On either side of this strip was a gorgeous set of buttocks.  Reading the program, I commented to Feghoot that the model's name was Danny Callahan, known as "Danny Boy" to his intimates.  "Do you know him?", I asked.  "I know him well," Feghoot replied.  "And to you he may be Danny Boy, but to me he is the London Derriere."


An Out of This World Party!


On October Fourth, 1997, Chuck Divine is hosting a party to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik and the start of the space age.  Time: 8 PM until...  Address: 7059 Palomar Turn.  Seabrook, MD 20706.  Phone (301) 794-6436.  Among the offerings will be a Sputnik shaped cake, vodka, and champagne.  He also hinted at the possibility of having real Russians.


Con Suite To Be Above It All


The August Third Friday (8/15) took place at the Ginters.  "You look like Feelini in that hat," the other Joe told WSFA president John as the latter called the meeting to order at 9:16. John proceeded to do hat impressions before calling this, "The last WSFA meeting until Bucconeer really gets going. Peggy Rae, there's still time to gnaw your leg off."  Peggy Rae looked tempted but declined. Secretary Sam said there was pending business, A Disclave chair for the next millennium to be elected at the October Third Friday.  Treasurer Bob MacIntosh said the treasury held $3,955.24.  Joe asked why it was down.  Bob said that he had paid for a party and the WSFA Journal.  Mike Nelson said that the trustees are still stalking a Disclave head.

            Disclave '97 (Mike Nelson) said he is still closing his books.  NESFA sent a check for $1,000 made out to Mike instead of to Disclave.  He apologized to the club for losing it.  He thinks he sent out all but two of the volunteer members. Disclave '97 (Mike) then gave Disclave '98 (Joe Mayhew) a check for $500 for stuff.  "We're very grateful," Joe said.  "We'd like you to buy some beer."

            Disclave '98 (Joe) gave Secretary Sam a copy of the hotel layout for this issue of the WSFA Journal.  On Monday he will be getting a contract and expects to be signed real soon.  However, the hotel will have space allocation problems.  Some space is not on the map.  There is space on the top floor (the fourth), a suite and a special room.  This is the only place they'll let us do a con suite without their catering it. Consuite food will be that which doesn't annoy the hotel-dry munchies, veggies, rec room food.  If we get involved in cooking we'll upset the hotel. He hopes that people throwing parties will take other rooms on that floor.  It will be a compressed con but if we can make it work in Hostility House we can make it anywhere.

            The consuite will have a team.  Judy is doing the art show.  Sam Lubell is doing programming <if he'll let me after seeing this issue>, Sam Pierce is vice-chair. He still needs people who have ideas.  If we get a good record with this hotel, Sam Pierce will have more points to do more next year.  The reason we are not going back to New Carrollton is that the hotel is in the process of being sold.  There were problems with the rain flooding the hotel. They were trying to find a way to get us to pay for it.

            "So is Judge Christian going to close it?" asked someone in the crowd.

            John asked the group how many are going to LoneStarCon. Almost all the hands went up.  He asked us to report back how many WSFAns were on our flights.  Eric volunteered his community's pool for a Fifth Friday.

            There was no new business but Joe told a story about how at Confluence, on the 64th floor, Sam Pierce identified a plane flying below them as a WW2 Hankle.  There was apparently a regatta out their window.

            The meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:45.

            In attendance:  Pres. John Pomeranz, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Michael Nelson, Trust. Eric Jablow, '98 Chair Joe Mayhew, '99 Chair Sam Pierce, Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Chuck Divine, Darrin Dowty, Alexis Gilliland, Lee Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Judy Kindell, Dick Lynch, Nicki Lynch, George Nelson, Peggy Rae Pavlat, Evan Phillips, Juan Sanmiguel, George Shaner, Steven Smith, Perrianne Lurie, Mary Bentley, Candy Myers, John Madigan. 

Strange Tales from the Internet


Smithsonian Rejects Another Priceless Archeological Find


OK, the story behind this:  There's this nutball who digs things out of his back yard and sends the stuff he finds to the Smithsonian Institute, labeling them with scientific names, insisting that they are actual archeological finds. The really weird thing about these letters is that this guy really exists and does this in his spare time!


Anyway... here's a letter from the Smithsonian Institute from when he sent them a Barbie doll head.


Paleoanthropology Division

Smithsonian Institute

207 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20078


Dear Sir:


Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination and we regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago." Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the "Malibu Barbie". It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings.


However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to it's modern origin:

1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically

fossilized bone.

2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters,

well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-hominids.

3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more consistent with the

common domesticated dog than it is with the "ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:

   A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.

   B. Clams don't have teeth.


It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation's Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name "Australopithecus spiff-arino." Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really think it might be Latin.


However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly.  You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard. We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.


Yours in Science,


Harvey Rowe

Curator, Antiquities


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