The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction
Association -- ISSN 0894-5411
Edited by Samuel Lubell firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Books Are Better Than Drugs
Mourning for HP
Devniad Reviews Bucconeer: Part II
Joe Mayhew In The News
Oh, Where Can WSFA Be Seen?
The World's Shortest Books
Edited by Samuel Lubell email@example.com
1). You can get books in clean & well lit places called "libraries" or audio-video centers" (free) or "bookstores" (paying).
2). No one has ever been hospitalized for having read too much.
3). Books permit you to live in other realities & visit other worlds & return without damage.
4). No one has ever jumped from the roof of a building because of having read too many books.
5). You don't have to flush your books down the toilet if the police come to your door.
6). It is extremely rare that someone gets themselves beaten up because of an argument about a book.
7). Your friends won't drop you when you are out of books.
8). Dogs don't rummage through your bags at the airport to find books.
9). You can exhibit your books with pride on the coffee table.
10). You can't catch aids, hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver from a book.
11). You can read as much as you want; it never shows up in urine tests.
12). No matter how many books you have, you can't be accused of "intent to resell" and even if you can, that's legal too.
13). You don't have to ask yourself what the secondary effects will be when you mix two or more books.
14). It is still more interesting to read stories about trials & hospitals than to find yourself in them.
15). When you enlarge your spirit with books, it stays enlarged.
16). If you sneeze, you won't scatter your books on the floor.
17). Books don't make your nose run.
18). If you don't read for one day, you won't suffer withdrawal symptoms. Two days, maybe.
19). You can read on the Metro or other public places.
20). You can share books safely with friends and relatives.
The October 1st Friday 10/2 was called to order with an "I suppose we should have a meeting. We're here and its meeting time. It's about 9:18 by my watch," said Judy. "Any old business?"
Sam Lubell pointed out that there is a Fifth Friday in October. "Any money?" "$6,072.72" said Bob. "Any Disclave?" Sam Pierce replied, "To all those who sent me email, particularly Elspeth, please send it again. I trashed my hard drive. I have nothing to report."
"Disclave Far Future?" asked Judy. "The only fannish thing I've done is return a large format printer." Judy explained, "A number of us involved in Bucconeer had to return equipment to HP. We're in mourning." The Entertainment Committee reported that "The market's going south. This is a source of entertainment for those without stocks."
New Business: Sam handed out the official WSFA address list. (Note: anyone wanting an electronic copy can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll attach the latest.). There was no other new business.
Lee Gilliland announced a Star Trek stamp in August. She asked us to put things back where we found them; she spent two weeks looking for a tv remote. Finally, she bought a new one and then it turned up. Keith Marshall announced the Government's top secret year 2000 plan. It will watch New Zealand on the other side of the international date line. That will give them 15 hours to get out of Dodge. The meeting adjourned at 9:42.
Present: Pres. Judy Kindell, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, '99 Chair Sam Pierce, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Keith Lynch, Keith Marshall, Michael Nelson, George Shaner, Madeleine Yeh, Richard Pugh, Gerald Blackwell, Gail Dood, Sheri Bell, Charles Gilliland, Lawrence Brom, Scott Hofmann.
Part II (Paramount)
Copyright 1998 by Robert Devney
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Roger MacBride Allen on a story structure we love to hate: All of the refugees in the audience from my writing classes will recognize a phrase I've scribbled across many a page: "This is a HAITE story." HAITE: Here's An Idea; The End... Where you present a problem, rush right to the solution, and leave.
I've always said Jablokov was one of the most charming pros. People say, this CAN'T be hard science fiction, there's something charming about the prose ...
Being too soft on the science can lead to some hard words, as Allen recalls: I won't mention the gentleman's name, it was Charles Sheffield, and he was spitting rivets that nothing in THE SPARROW about the science, how they got to the planet and so forth, was even remotely scientific.
According to my brother Michael, writer S. M. Stirling enlivened the panel on Legal Systems of the Future with that most crowd-pleasing of literary forms, the lawyer joke: I went to law school, but I didn't practice afterward. The fin graft on my back didn't take.
Any con named Bucconeer must have a panel on Historical Pirates, where it's obvious artist Don Maitz has done much research on the subject: You always read about pirates having a "brace of pistols" ... But they've found, in places like THE WIDOW wreck in Boston harbor, the remains of pirate pistols that had SILK tied around their butts. The way it really was, you'd take two pistols and this long ribbon of silk, tie one on each end and throw it over your shoulder. So you'd have two shots handy. I always wondered how they got around with these 18-inch cannons sticking out of their pants ... [huge dirty laugh from audience]. Well, they WERE rogues.
A "chain napkin" is nervously passed along by fans at that indispensable dive, The Wharf Rat: JMS failed to pass this on, and he failed to get nominated for a Hugo and NOW look what happened to him.
At the Alien Artifact ID panel, writer Don Sakers serves one up deadpan: I was very disappointed to learn that they do NOT serve cream at a crematorium. Which is topped by an audience member: -- So, wait, what did I have?
Fan Jonie Knappensberger accepts her Big Heart Award with a full one, too: Outside of finding fandom when I was a small child, I think this is the nicest thing that ever happened to me.
Fan Guest of Honor Milt Rothman recalls his 1953 worldcon chairship, in those vanished days when cons were created by all-volunteer labor with many last-minute disasters and sudden saves: I'd like to take credit for designing the Hugo, but I actually took the Chesley Bonestell design from the cover of Willy Ley's THE CONQUEST OF SPACE. ... We found out that the person who was supposed to be in charge of producing the awards never even started. Jack McKnight came to the rescue ... He spent all of our 11th Worldcon, Philcon II, turning out those first Hugo statuettes in his own machine shop for the ceremony. He missed practically the whole convention ... And it turns out that Jack McKnight was the father of Peggy Rae Pavlat, who's the chair of this convention!
Presenting the fan artist and writer awards, Terry Frost reminds us fanziners do it for love: Everybody else who's been up here made a buck out of science fiction. But it's cost us money.
Apparently nice-but-not-quite-talented-enough guys finish fourth (the list ran David Langford, Mike Glyer, Evelyn Leeper, me, Andy Hooper, Joseph T. Major); the absent Langford's acceptance speech for his billionth Fan Writer Hugo was fresh and funny, damn the brilliant bastard, with usual mouthpiece Martin Hoare mouthing the piece: Some people have complained that after all these years I know Dave's acceptance speech back to front. So I'd just like to say briefly: "Award Hugo this for much very all you thanks Langford Dave. surprise complete a as came It. A. M. four at me telephone to going is Hoare bastard that suppose I Now. Maybe year next anagrams."
Joe Haldeman wins a Hugo for FOREVER PEACE, his "thematic sequel" to that masterpiece The Forever War: Every 22 years like clockwork I write a novel with "Forever" in the title and pick up this award. In the year 2020, I hope I can find my way to a Xerox and make a copy of FOREVER AMBER.
Apparently NESFAn Tim Szczesuil has just heard the news that Boston's Orlando in 2001 bid has gone down to defeat, flamingo feathers aflame, at the predatory claws of Philadelphia's Millennium Philcon bid: Fandom gets the worldcon it deserves.
At his Saturday kaffeeklatsch, writer John Kessel discusses a work in progress: It's more serious than CORRUPTING DR. NICE -- a story set on the Moon in the 21st century, about a separatist colony of feminists. I'm intrigued how the social structure might be different ... Do you know about bonobos? They're primates that look like chimpanzees, live in the Congo -- but we're realizing recently they have a completely different social structure than chimps. Chimps have male domination, a hierarchy of brute force, war, and infanticide. Bonobos have female domination, no infanticide, fighting but no war. If a male threatens, the females gang up on him. ... They have sex all the time. Which means that a male can't pick out other males' offspring and kill them; they might be his... Thinking about bonobo society has influenced my moon colony ... The working title is SOFT UPSET. You know, like when cosmic ray particles hit a microchip? You can get a software upset that causes the thrusters to fire.
Simultaneously, in an alternate time line (well, another program track anyway),
Darcy records some calculated quips as writer Michael F. Flynn discusses How to Lie With Statistics: ... Of course, that DOES raise the question of how a deviant can be standard... There is, for example, a positive correlation between the size of the universe and the size of my suits. Both are expanding ... I don't dare diet.
Tor editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden in the panel on What Every Pro Should Know About Fandom: I find that fandom is full of people who are interesting and perhaps more successful in some interesting field than is true of many pros. None of whom I will name.
Fan Gay Haldeman says we stack up pretty well: Lecture organizers who have hosted mainstream authors are always pleasantly surprised and pleased with SF writers, they're so articulate. Remember, Nielsen Hayden works with SF writers every day: "Articulate" being the nice word for "won't shut up."
Gay Haldeman has to agree that: ..There ARE some professionals who would sell a lot more books if they just stayed home. But she says hubris isn't confined to writers alone: I saw an airline lady once trying to help out a long line, and some guy strode up and demanded, "Do you know who I AM?" And she got on the intercom and announced, "We have a gentleman here who doesn't know who he is ..."
In the dealer's room, editor Warren Lapine of ABSOLUTE MAGNITUDE complains
that the editor of LOCUS put him on, well, the shitlist: So Charlie Brown listed our publication schedule as "irregular." I showed him that since I took over, we've come out pretty much on schedule: Winter, Spring, Summer, and so on. He said, "I didn't mean your magazine."
Meanwhile, it's a purple and prosy night at the Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose Competition, an import from Readercon wherein panelists have written fake endings for a para of really rotten prose and the audience tries to sniff out the real thing; Let's just run all together a bunch of the best worst lines read by various panelists, shall we?
"The deadly alien language has claimed another victim ..."
"A world where rich and poor alike can get the best medical care they can afford ..."
"Suddenly, his awareness was all within his nose ..."
"Almost against my will, I reached for a chocolate cupcake ... I felt I would die if I did not sample those Twinkies of Terror, those Ho-Hos from Hell ..."
Moderator Eric Van on the discovery of a sacred relic from the career of the patron saint of fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, reeking, stinking, stenchful, and did I mention really repetitive prose, Lionel Fanthorpe
Geary Gravel has testified he found the edition of the thesaurus that Fanthorpe used. Because the words were in exactly the same order as in sentences he wrote.
At his kaffeeklatsch, British hard SFer Stephen Baxter slices to the heart of the writing trade: I do like to overwrite, then cut. Makes it seem economical even if it wasn't. TITAN started at 300,000 words; I cut it to 200,000.
Baxter has done some work for television, as for the British series SPACE ISLAND ONE: An SF story is driven by the idea. But these media people, when you're preparing the work -- they know what the look and feel are going to be, but not what the IDEA is. They try to just pitch it in later.
Baxter on NASA, where's he spent tons of research time: You get this feeling of great age. It's an engineering culture, yes, but there's great inertia.
On the Moon Rocks: Half of those crates are still unopened, you know. We can't be absolutely sure what's in there ...
Standing in the one-hour-plus line waiting on Sunday to mail home con loot via two game but overworked U.S. Postal Service people, fan Judd Cohen lovingly describes his SF art collection back in El Monte, CA - and incidentally proves once more that there will always be a fandom: It's very well rounded. Violent femmes in the bedroom ... spacescapes in the computer room ... dragons in the living room.
At the panel on Forgotten Horror Writers, writer/editor Jack Chalker seizes the chance to talk about his and Mark Owings' big history of THE SCIENCE FANTASY PUBLISHERS: The latest take is so up-to-date, it covers news of Martin H. Greenberg's scheduled appearance at this very convention ...
In the panel where our favorite authors talk about theirs, George R. R. Martin gets right to it: In my mind, the greatest living science fiction writer without a doubt is Jack Vance. He is literally the writer I cannot put down ... One of science fiction's greatest stylists, his prose unfailingly magical, poetic ... His Dragon Princes novels alone are incomparable ...
Harry Turtledove has his hero too: One of the biggest influences on me was L. Sprague De Camp. If I hadn't read LEST DARKNESS FALL ... I wouldn't have taken the degree I have, married the lady I married, had the kids I have ... Other than that, he was of no consequence in my life.
Dozois gets serious, for just a minute: One of our best short story writers is living in poverty in upstate New York... So buy his new collection GOING HOME AGAIN and get Howard Waldrop some well-deserved MONEY.
Let's end with one of the major lessons of a convention: that all pros are fans, as Elspeth Kovar Burgess finds when she meets an idol, artist Michael Whelan, at the volunteer party Sunday night, and tells him she's trying not to babble in coherently; Whelan understands: That's all right, I know just what you mean. I just got to meet Greg Bear ...
Joe Mayhew of Research Road won a Hugo for his cartoons. The Science Fiction Achievement Award, commonly called the "Hugo" is given out at the World Science Fiction Convention. This year's awards, covering calendar year 1997, were presented in Baltimore.
Last year's convention was in San Antonio; next year it will be held in Melbourne, Australia. Joe won in the "Fan Artist" category. This was Joe's fourth nomination for the award (1990, 1996, 1997, and 1998). His cartoons have appeared in Analog, Asimov's, Pirate Writings, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and in many "fanzines" (amateur publications) in the USA, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, and Holland and will soon appear in the Republic of South Africa.
Joe is also a writer. His short fiction has appeared in Tomorrow, Aberrations, and Aboriginal Science Fiction magazines. From time to time he reviews for The Washington Post Book World, and is a regular columnist for Absolute Magnitude.
He has been appearing on Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction (a cable-TW show) since 1990. Fast Forward is produced at Arlington's Channel 33 and shown by all local metropolitan Washington cable venues (except Prince George's County!) as well as in Denver, Minneapolis, New York City and elsewhere.
Joe retired from the Library of Congress (LOC) in 1992, where he was LOC's first Recommending Officer for Science Fiction (in charge of developing the library's collection of science fiction-related materials).
Joe has lots of ties to Greenbelt. His aunt, Sarah Thornton, lived with her family in a GHI home from the early 1940's and another aunt, Mary, lived in Old Greenbelt near Mowatt Memorial Methodist Church where her husband, the Rev. Clifton D. Cunningham, was pastor. He lived for a while with his brother Bill (longtime librarian at Greenbelt Elementary School, and well-known story-teller). In 1987, when Bill married his Greenbelt neighbor Maren Stewart, Joe bought her house. After Bill won the Maryland Lottery, he and Maren moved to Beltsville.
In 1992 Joe was inducted as a Fellow of the New England Science Fiction Association, an honor he shares with the late Dr. Isaac Asimov.
Every now and then you'll find Joe down at Greenbelt Lake carving one of his elaborate walking sticks.
Katherine Anne Potter (Ship of Fools) asked Joe to decorate her casket "like a pinata." He suggested painting it bright yellow before covering it with big sloppy Mexican flowers. Porter said, "No, I've never looked good in yellow." The casket is on permanent display at Maryland University, on the third floor of the McKeldin Library. It is mostly red in color.
The 10/16th Third Friday was called to disorder by Elspeth. "Okay folks and Joe and Whoever's talking in the back of the room." Joe Hall warned WSFA, "She'll rip your heart out." Ignoring Joe, Elspeth said, "No one knows where Judy is, so I'm it for the night." "Tag," yelled WSFA happily. "It is 9:21 by my watch. The Treasurer is not here. Do we have any old business."
"Yes," said Sam. "But I'm doing it as a poem.
On the night before Halloween
Oh where can WSFA be seen?
It's Fifth Friday night
But WSFA lacks a meeting site.
Please give WSFA a home
So I can end this silly, stupid poem
Faced with this pitiful plea, Erica said, "Actually Karl isn't going to be here that night. He said it is okay to have WSFA here." So, said someone, "while the boss is away/ the floozy will play."
Elspeth asked if anyone has heard from John. Erica said that his thing is Halloween. Elspeth and the club thanked Erica for her kind offer. "Costumes are encouraged," Erica said. "Could someone post it on the web site?"
Then Judy walked in and took over the meeting. "Trustees?" Mike Walsh said, "I haven't been here in ages so I don't know what's going on." The Entertainment Committee went to Albacon where Joe Mayhew was GOH and the McGuffin in a play. Disclave present and future had nothing to say. "But you are talking to each other," put in Elspeth. "They're having covert conversations," Mike Walsh assured her.
New Business: Elspeth got an email from a potential new fan named Jeff saying, "Where were you at the last meeting. I had nothing about it. I checked the web site, there is nothing about the regular meeting there. It is well designed but it's a piece of sh!t newswise." Erica commented, "No one checks the email. There was one person who emailed me saying `where is the meeting?' He emailed the address and got no response."
Joe asked if this was new business. Elspeth said, "I don't have a motion but it has nothing on Sam's Disclave. It still says we are looking forward to Worldcon. The Disclave mentioned is Joe. There is a link to the International Cookie Consipiracy that's black. There are only two photos and I know WSFA has interesting stories. And the Journals are from 1997. On history I know Disclave was visited by a SWAT Team. A lot of stuff is written but not up."
Joe said, "The problem is access. I know Pomeranz has access." Evan said, "I scanned three Journals as an experiment to see if we could put them on a cd." Elspeth said, "Judy, you have the power to put someone on the publicity committee." Joe asked, "Can we get our own site?" Erica said, "Karl and I have a server. The problems with security have been fixed. John would have to talk to Karl. We can put it on our server. We're not going anywhere." Erica said, "That would be ideal." Erica said, "I don't think there would be a problem. Karl understands computers. If anything comes up and needs more memory, that's the only thing the club would have to buy."
Sam pointed out that, "We don't know if there is a problem until we talk to John. Time may be more of a factor. Does anyone have both time and a knowledge of HTML?" Evan said that there is a problem of what goes on. "We need someone to manage and make sure there is no Dunegate [reference to long-ago feud in the club newsletter]" Judy said, "John and I are both lawyers and aware of issues." Joe recommended that the club give Evan a password.
Elspeth said that the constitution says that the Journal be published once a month, "I would recommend that the WSFA Web page be checked once a month." Joe disagreed with her interpretation of the constitution, "But the WSFA Journal has been bimonthly, quarterly, and at other times." Elspeth asked Sam if he had a copy of the Constitution. "Not since it was updated." Judy said she would email him one. [hint, hint] Elspeth said, "I have the notes from looking over the web page."
Many new faces were here so we introduced everyone. Mike Walsh was introduced as the only person to run both a Worldcon and a World Fantasy Con, "and I'm only 18." "Now everyone get out a pen, they'll be a quiz." Joe explained how to be a member. Shirl replied, "We figure that if you've been to three meetings and you still join, you'll get what's coming to you.
Bob MacIntosh walked in and said we have $6,072.12.
Erica called on people to read the house rules including the new one. "Don't lick the cat." Candy got excited when Erica offered hanging folders. Perrianne is moving. Her email stays firstname.lastname@example.org. Nicki spoke about the Goodwill book sale Oct 29-Nov 3. Abner Mintz has a nephew Noah. Sarah and Abner are house hunting. Lee said he completed a special project that has saved taxpayers $10 million. "Ken Starr can use it," said Mike. Joe Hall asked, "Where's my money?" Lee tossed him a penny. Lee then showed a videotape box labeled: New Genesis: Twilight of the Dogs. It will come out Jan 26th. Lee is the executive producer. "Let's block vote it for the Hugos," said Mike Walsh. "Too late".
Gerald Blackwell attended the Rising Star Convention and studied at the feet of Hal Clement. He is playtesting a game, Living Legends that's a sequel to Villains and Vigilantes. Joe Mayhew went to Albacon as fan guest of honor. He practiced saying Schenectady. There are no goths. This is a convention to discover but is 8 ½ hours away. Still, it's a nice con. Eric became an uncle, "before that I was only an aunt." He went to his nephew's bris, "everyone was happy but the GOH." Nephew is Caleb Joseph Bogin.
Elspeth's cat is recovering from high blood pressure. She recommends Hospital for Animals near Woodly Park.
Mike Walsh will be releasing a signed collection of Charles Harkness' stories. Bucky was the author's first convention; he's 85 and was quite bemused by it all. The Lensmen books will ship Nov. 2nd. He printed 5,000 of each and they all sold. He has to go back to the press. Altogether, 31,000 copies were printed. This from a series NY publishers have refused to print for 10 years. He will print a novel by Charles Hawkness next. Erica did the copyediting and recommends it. "I loved it. I had to slow myself down to edit it." Joe had a WSFA poster. He left it in Erica's custody.
Events: Dec 10th Beer Sampling at Czeck Embassy featuring Budwiser beer. Robert Jordan will be doing a reading Nov. 21st at Borders at Bailey's Crossroad. A move to adjourn was made at 10:13.
Attendance. Prez. Judy Kindell, VP Elspeth Kovar Burgess. Sec. Samuel Lubell, the late treasurer Bob MacIntosh, Trust Michael Walsh, '99 Chair Sam Pierce, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Steven desJardins, Alexis Gilliland, Eric Jablow, Perrianne Lurie, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Joe Mayhew, Abner Mintz, Sara Miskevich, Candy Myers, Barry and Meridel Newton, Lance Oszko, Hirl Phelps, Evan Phillips, George Shaner, Lee Strong, Michael Taylor, Joe Hall, David Hines, Winnie Lim, Angelea and Gerald Blackwell, Sheri Bell, Geoffrey Drumheller, Richard Pugh, Walter Miles.
To celebrate the new quarters with state mottos here are a few that probably won't be appearing:
Alabama: At Least We're not Mississippi
Alaska: 11,623 Eskimos Can't be Wrong!
Arizona: But It's a Dry Heat
Arkansas: Litterasy Ain't Everthing
California: As Seen on TV
Colorado: If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother
Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, Only Dirtier and With Less Character
Delaware: We Really Do Like the Chemicals in Our Water
Florida: Ask Us About Our Grandkids
Georgia: We Put the "Fun" in Fundamentalist Extremism
Hawaii: Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru (Death to Mainland Scum, But Leave Your Money)
Idaho: More Than Just Potatoes... Well Okay, We're Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good
Illinois: Please Don't Pronounce the "S"
Indiana: 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free
Iowa: We Do Amazing Things With Corn
Kansas: First Of The Rectangle States
Kentucky: Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names
Louisiana: We're Not All Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That's Our Tourism Campaign
Maine: We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster
Maryland: A Thinking Man's Delaware
Massachusetts: Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden's (For Most Tax Brackets)
Michigan: First Line of Defense From the Canadians
Minnesota: "10,000 Lakes and 10,000,000 Mosquitoes"
Mississippi: Come Feel Better About Your Own State
Missouri: Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars at Work
Montana: Land of the Big Sky, the Unabomber, Right-Wing Crazies, and Very Little Else
Nebraska: Ask About Our State Motto Contest
Nevada: Whores and Poker!
New Hampshire: Go Away and Leave Us Alone
New Jersey: Ya Wanna ##$%##! Motto? I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right Here!
New Mexico: Lizards Make Excellent Pets
New York: You Have the Right to Remain Silent, You Have the Right to an Attorney...
North Carolina: Tobacco is a Vegetable
North Dakota: We Really are One of the 50 States!
Ohio: We Wish We Were In Michigan
Oklahoma: Like the Play, Only No Singing
Oregon: Spotted Owl... It's What's For Dinner
Pennsylvania: Cook With Coal
Rhode Island: We're Not REALLY An Island
South Carolina: Remember the Civil War? We Didn't Actually Surrender
South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota
Tennessee: The Educashun State
Texas: Si, Hablo Ingles (Yes, I speak English)
Utah: Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus!
Virginia: Who Says Government Stiffs and Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?
Washington: Help! We're Overrun By Nerds and Slackers!
Washington, D.C.: Wanna Be Mayor?
West Virginia: One Big Happy Family -- Really!
Wisconsin: Eat Cheese or Die!