The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction
Association -- ISSN 0894-5411
Edited by Samuel Lubell email@example.com
Crystal Pepsi for Club President!
Revenge of the Evil Overlord's Brother-In-Law
The Roof Falls In
Panels We Would Have Run At Disclave
Review of Sharon Shinn's Archangel
The Plan Revealed
Top Ten Things to Do on the Weekend that Was to Be Disclave
Edited by Samuel Lubell firstname.lastname@example.org
The March 6th First Friday was called to some semblance of order by President for Life John Pomeranz banging, quite rhythmically, at "it's about that time, por favor. Plenty of room down front!" Then, aside, "Is this all that's here?"
The treasury stood at $8,291.98 "Let's buy a club tent!" "The property would cost too much!" Mike Nelson announced the trustees are working on a slate. Eric added that they've got Monica Lewinsky for president. Mike concluded by saying that if anyone wants to run, contact our trusty trustees.
Joe said he was having a Disclave meeting after this puppy. We need to have a discussion about the T-shirt (Bears Discover Firepower). He has a printer but Disclave can't underwrite the cost. Disclave has 279 members. If WSFA wants to do these shirts or if anyone wants to be a frontman, please contact Joe. His brother Bill added that anyone who doesn't go to Joe's meeting isn't working so is eligible to be drafted for registration. He'll be taking names. Steven commented that that's what registration is for.
Alexis said that the entertainment committee went to Shevacon. It had 400 people, no parties. He was on five panels and only one had more audience than panelists. The entertainment committee said that Ken Star doesn't want to give key witnesses immunity.
There was some sort of real actual business. The trustees wanted to know if a bottle of Crystal Pepsi could run. <At least this way the President would never be drunk> NO!
Sam asked if anyone could serve as secretary for a day while he
attended Lunacon. George Shaner
volunteered <and did an excellent job as the meeting notes elsewhere this
issue prove. Thanks George!>.
The club discussed water on the moon and decided that a force opposing gravity shows that the universe sucks or maybe that the universe blows. The meeting was unanimously adjourned at 9:31.
In attendance: Pres. John Pomeranz, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Michael Nelson, Trust. Michael Walsh, Trust. Eric Jablow, '98 Chair Joe Mayhew, '99 Chair Sam Pierce, Bernard Bell. Steven desJardins, Lexis and Lee Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Dan Hoey, Judy Kindell, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Keith Marshall, Winton Matthews, George Nelson, Lance Oszko, Kathi Overton, Peggy Rae Pavlat, Rebecca Prather, John Sapienza, Tom Schaad, George Shaner, Steven Smith, Michael Taylor, James Uba, Michael Watkins, Madeleine Yeh, Victoria Smith, Martin Morse Wooster, Donald Eastlake, Bill (the Nice One) Mayhew.
101.My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.
102.If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will not berate them for incompetence then send the same group out to try the task again.
103.After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.
104.I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.
105.I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.
106.If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)
107.If I decide to hold a double execution of the hero and an underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the hero is scheduled to go first.
108.When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value.
109.My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his cellmate tells the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a trauma team instead of opening up the cell for a look.
110.My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa.
111.My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unraveled.
112.If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.
113.Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.
114.To keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.
115.I will not engage an enemy single-handedly until all my soldiers are dead, nor will I accept a challenge from the hero.
116.If I capture the hero's starship, I will keep it in the landing bay with the ramp down, only a few token guards on duty and a ton of explosives set to go off as soon as it clears the blast-range.
117.No matter how much I want revenge, I will never order an underling "Leave him. He's mine!"
118.If I have equipment which performs an important function, it will not be activated by a lever that someone could trigger by accidentally falling on when fatally wounded.
119.I will not attempt to kill the hero by placing a venomous creature in his room. It will just wind up accidentally killing one of my clumsy henchmen instead.
120.Since nothing is more irritating than a hero defeating you with basic math skills, all of my personal weapons will be modified to fire one more shot than the standard issue.
121.If I come into possession of an artifact which can only be used by the pure of heart, I will not attempt to use it regardless.
122.The gun turrets on my fortress will not rotate enough so that they may direct fire inward or at each other.
123.If I decide to hold a contest of skill open to the general public, contestants will be required to remove their hooded cloaks and shave their beards before entering.
124.Prior to kidnapping an older male scientist and forcing him to work for me, I will investigate his offspring and make sure that he has neither a beautiful but naive daughter who is willing to risk anything to get him back, nor an estranged son who works in the same field but had a falling-out with his father many years ago.
125.Should I actually decide to kill the hero in an elaborate escape-proof deathtrap room (water filling up, sand pouring down, walls converging, etc.) I will not leave him alone five-to-ten minutes prior to "imminent" death, but will instead (finding a vantage point or monitoring camera) stick around and enjoy watching my adversary's demise.
A Tale of Damage Control and the Pointlessness of Waging War on Hotels
By special guest secretary George Shaner
The Third Friday in March meeting was called to order at roughly 9:19. Bob MacIntosh reported that we had a balance of $8136.98. The trustees reported that they did not have a complete slate to present the club for the May election; volunteers are welcome. Disclave '99 was not present. Disclave 2000 had no report.
Disclave '98 has been canceled by the Holiday Inn who unceremoniously withdrew their contract. According to Joe Mayhew, the contract is a "major bag of worms" that really leaves us with no legal recourse. Ostensibly, termination was on the grounds that the last two hotels that we did business with finally saw fit to send letters of reference and their recommendation to the Holiday Inn was that: "They would be crazy to take us." This is due to the physical damage that the "Black Rose" contingent has done in the past. The actual reason may be that only 47 rooms had been taken out of a minimum block of 210 reserved for Disclave. This is only a suspicion, though, and there is no proof to back that up.
Joe's major concern, at this point, is to do as much damage control as quickly as possible. The guests of honor have been notified, the word is going out as quickly as possible, and every person who actually purchased a membership has been reimbursed; folks with complimentary memberships will not be reimbursed. There are still outstanding bills and those officers with receipts should turn them in as soon as possible. The con treasury still has some $1,300 which should easily cover the remaining expenses. As for those people who did book a room, call immediately to cancel your reservation and get a receipt for your cancellation. Do not assume that the hotel is going to cancel your reservation just because they terminated our contract; this is particularly true if you used a credit card.
At this point, waging war on the hotel is pointless; particularly as we need the hotel's good will through May. John Pomeranz and Joe further emphasized that even if we could take the Holiday Inn to court, and win, we would still be blackballed; regardless of the injustice of the situation. As it is, Black Rose has damaged our reputation to the point that we may need to put a large deposit up front if we want to hold a convention in the future.
While it could be argued that Disclave was not in that great shape considering we only had 283 paid members to date, Joe was still game to tough out the con and is quite depressed over how matters have developed. If nothing else, he received a general ovation from the club members present for all the work he's done and grief he's been subjected to. Joe felt the person who deserves the mercy right now is Sam Pierce.
One salient question is why the roof fell in only six weeks before Disclave. Joe noted that Joan Zeigler, the person who wrote the contract, left soon after doing so and perhaps the hotel has only recently gotten around to asking for those letters of reference that were cited against us. It should be noted that these letters were not shown to him and it's at this point that one wonders if a more profitable undertaking appeared for the Holiday Inn to take advantage of; assuming that we could be dumped. Joe observed that it's much more profitable to sell hotel rooms and function space separately. Erica Ginter was prepared to bet that a large wedding was now being held at the hotel that weekend.
As for the future, Elsbeth Burgess said that there's complete shock up and down the East Coast. We're the first long-established con to be terminated in such a fashion and people are coming out of the woodwork, according to her, to tender their condolences and their future support. Erica apologized for doing so, but had to take some cold comfort in saying I told you ten years ago when we first started developing a problem with the goths lounging in the hotel lobby and no one was willing to take strong action then. This may be a East Coast problem in general as the word gets around quickly in the hotel industry and considering the increasingly high profile of Black Rose.
The question was also raised about getting the word out about the cancellation. There will be a flyer in the next Bucconeer mailing and word will be posted on the WSFA homepage. It was also suggested that someone should be stationed at the hotel to deal with folks who don't get the word. This was shot down on the grounds that this was the hotel's problem to cope with. It was also decided that it's too late to hold a public forum on what has happened to Disclave during Balticon as suggested by Mike Nelson. Speaking of small mercies, Bucconeer will not bill us for our ad in the current progress report and Peggy Ray Pavlat will see to it that Bucconeer comes up with the $1,000 that we pay BSFS for storing con materials at their club house.
The rest of the meeting wound down in a free association of what we should do next. Terrilee Edwards-Hewitt suggested that a strategy session be held to deal with the question and Erica offered her hose for such an event. The question of legal action refused to die though John and Joe continued to downplay that avenue as futile.
The last word of the evening (which was much like a wake by the end) went to John as he talked about how much Disclave has meant to him, as has the club. This was with the major caveats that Disclave is just a party and that considering how little fannish activity is actually taking place in WSFA we are going to be defunct in ten years anyway if current trends continue. People need to ask themselves if WSFA means anymore to them besides beer and snacks. In the short run, John reiterated that the thing to do is make Bucconeer a success as at no other time are more people going to grant us support and sympathy.
The meeting was glumly adjourned at about 10:19.
In Attendance: Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Elspeth Burgess, Chris Callahan, Darin Dowty, Terrilee Edwards-Hewitt, Erica Ginter, Dan Hoey, Chris Holte, Bill Jensen, Nicki Lynch, Richard Lynch, Bob MacIntosh, John Madigan, Candy Myers, George and Michael Nelson, Kathi Overton, Evan Phkllips, John Pomeranz, Grim Reaper, Dick Roepke, George Shaner, Steve Smith, Bill Squire, Colleen Stambaugh, Ron Taylor, Jim Tracey, Madeleine Yeh.
The cancellation of Disclave took place after plans for the panels were already being prepared. Here are some of the exciting panels and events we might have run during Disclave.
The Trilogy Panel- In this special three hour panel the first hour will be spent laying out the situation and getting our panelists in trouble complete with a cliffhanger. In the second hour, meaningless digressions would be introduced and it will be revealed that the moderator is really the one true king and/or a mighty wizard and that one of the other panelists is secretly a traitor. In the third hour the digressions will be quickly dismissed and the discussion returned to its main thread, only to find that the power and freshness of the first hour has been lost.
There are Ghosts Among Us- Terry Bisson and other assorted guests will demonstrate their power to make themselves (or at least their byline) disappear, generate ectoplasm (or someone else's words) at will, and to possess someone else's brain (or typing fingers.)
The R.A. Lafferty Reading Room- Some cons have 24 hour anime/video rooms. Disclave will have its own Lafferty Reading Room. Shifts will be arranged so that there is always someone in the room conducting a marathon of reading all of Lafferty out-loud. Ideally, this marathon will take place in the bar.
Return of the Shaver Mystery- Disclave will revive the old Shaver mystery, the tales of an underground race of secret masters of the world that appeared in the old pulp magazines. This will be presented as the most reasonable hypothesis for everything that has happened to Bill Clinton since becoming president.
Bears Discover Firepower - Panelists discuss the right to arm bears. Should we give cows AK-55s to make going out for a hamburger a fair fight?
Nebula Satellite Simulcast and Betting Pool- John Pomerantz, the host of many of an Academy Awards party will host this event where the audience bets on the winners of the Nebulas and then attends the event via satellite. Who says you can't be in two places at once.
What Do Publishers Want? Publishers reveal that they want authors who will write a new best-selling novel each year and who sign contracts, without an agent, giving the publisher all rights in return for $50. They also want fans to buy all their novels in hardcover. Oh, and they also want to be bought out by multimillion dollar foreign conglomerates.
Filking- Filkers at previous Disclaves complained that their needs weren't met. However, the last Disclave provided them with lots to sing about. In that spirit, Disclave will let each filker pick their favorite country-western song and then take action to make the title of the song happen to them.
How to Destroy a Planet with Devices Commonly Found in Hotel Rooms- This will be a participatory event as panelists compete to destroy the world by building devices out of materials they find at the convention (points will be deducted for using stuff from the dealer's room)
Hey! Sam Pierce, maybe we could do these next year?
by Samuel Lubell
Sharon Shinn's Archangel (Ace, $6.50) is a very good book, although one with gaping logical flaw in its society. This is one of those maybe science fiction, maybe fantasy worlds (the sequel Jovah's Angel clarifies this) in which angels coexist with men (the two can interbreed). The angels, who are governed their Archangel, control the weather by singing songs to Jehovah. This annual songfest must be led by the archangel and his wife or Jehovah will destroy the world. The novel opens with angel Gabriel, recently chosen to be the successor to Archangel Raphael, searching for the woman Jehovah has picked to be his wife. Although shocked to find that she is a mere farmer's daughter, and further shocked to find that her entire village has disappeared, he resolves to do Jehovah's bidding and scour the world looking for her. It turns out that Rachel is of the despised Edori race and has been illegally enslaved.
However the finding of Rachel is not the main subject of the book. The meat of the novel is the building of the relationship between the somewhat arrogant Gabriel and prickly Rachel who is sure of one thing-she doesn't want to be Gabriel's wife:
He gave a small, bitter laugh and tossed his hands apart. For a second, she thought she'd won. But no. "You may say you are not going," he said. "You may resist. You may hate me, you may hate Jovah. But you are going. You cannot escape your fate. You cannot escape the dictates of your god."
"I have a right to choose my own life!" she cried suddenly, filled with an uprush of despair. "I have a right to refuse you!"
"Did the Jansai give you a choice? Did they allow you to refuse?" he said with an exasperated malice. "Understand this. Your life has been given over into other hands, and your will is insufficient. We leave in two hours' time," he added, turning away from her.
And he opened the door and stalked out, leaving her staring after him in mingled rage, hatred, astonishment, shock and fear. Perhaps he had not meant it as cruelly as it sounded, but she felt very much as she had when the Jansai rode shrieking into her campground and forever altered her existence. It had been an unforgivable thing for the angel to say, and she vowed right then that she would never forgive him-not for saying it, and not for doing it. Once again someone was taking her life out of her hands, just when it seemed worth living."
Fortunately, the inevitable slow romance between the two is not all the book has to offer. There's politics among the angels as the current archangel doesn't want to surrender his place and is willing to lead a rebellion against Jehovah himself. Rachel causes trouble by trying to educate the wild children who roam the city. And the merchants have their own agenda and may believe in no god other than money. These elements keep the plot burning.
There are strong similarities to Anne McCaffery's Dragonrider books, especially the way the leader's wife is picked from among the mortals, not one who grew up with the angels. However, this leads to the book's major flaw. I find it difficult to believe that in a society where God will destroy the world if the right wife doesn't lead the singing, but provides only hints to that woman's whereabouts. I find it even more unbelievable that such a society would allow a potential new archangel to delay searching for this wife until six months before the ceremony.
In general the author's strong writing and characterization (even though neither main character is completely sympathetic) carries the novel more than the plot. It is well worth reading although this is one of those rare books whose sequel, Jove's Angel, is better than the first book.
Don't get too upset about the cancellation of Disclave. You see, it's all a hoax. Back at LoneStarCon, there was a panel about parasites. Here is a transcript:
"This con is mine," said a fan. "I don't want any of them there!"
"Them?" asked the moderator.
"Goths? ASBers, Black Roses? Anime fans? Gamers? Disney fans?" various possibilities were yelled from the crowd.
"No, dealers. People profiteering off of us fans. People who go to cons to make money instead of for love of science fiction."
A few voices protested that if dealers weren't also fans, they'd be selling something with a higher profit potential, like life insurance or stock. But these voices were disregarded as fans voiced their concern over these parasites.
"They take up space that could be used for the con suite!" "They lure authors away from the panels to wander the tables checking to see if their books are prominently displayed!" "They take away all our money!" Again, the panel ignored voices pointing out that that since dealers pay for tables, the dealer's room is one of the few areas that makes a profit.
"So what do we do?" asked the chair of the Last Disclave.
"What if, we held a con and didn't tell anyone?" "Huh?" "I mean, take a con and tell everyone you don't want to attend that it is canceled. That way, everyone who is in the know will show up while those pesky dealer parasites will stay away thinking the con is canceled."
"Brilliant!" yelled the panelists. "Amazing!" yelled the audience. "I'll do it!" said the members behind the Disclave '98 cancellation.
Anyway that's the truth behind the rumors of the Disclave cancellation. Of course, since you are one of the people we want to come, you knew this already. Right? Umm, you are on the list, right? <sound of pages turning> Oops. Well, um... er... April Fools! Yeah, that's it. April Fool!
10. Go to the Holiday Inn restaurant, order dinner and then NOT TIP THE WAITPEOPLE. That will show them
9. Hold a convention on-line. I'm sure rec.arts.sf.writen wouldn't mind hosting a Disclave
8. Find a bookstore to host a discussion series on SF.
7. Stay home and read.
6. Throw a massive temper tantrum and then sulk for the rest of the weekend
5. See if anyone actually bought tapes of any of the Worldcon panels. We could play them over a boombox and pretend we're at a Disclave panel.
4. Plan for a Disclave in October. Call it Disconsolate
3. Picket the Holiday Inn. Chants include "Hell, no, don't cancel our show" "Hey hey, ho ho, breaking contracts gotta go!" "We'll behave, don't cancel Disclave"
2. I'll meet you at the local Barnes and Noble. We'll wander around the shelves and pretend it's the dealer's room.
1. I'm sure Peggy Rae will think up something appropriately bucconeering.