The WSFA Journal

Edited by Samuel Lubell

December 1998

Cover December 1998 Journal


Con Reports by Joe Mayhew

In a flurry of fiawolic fanac, I actually went to two cons in two weeks Viable Paradise II, over the first weekend in October, and Albacon '98, over the second. My Brother Bill went along for both VP II, which was in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard and to Schenectady, NY for Albacon.

We had Brenda Clough for company on the Trip to Martha's Vineyard. Because we had to time our arrival at Woods Hole so that we could catch the 3:45 ferry (so I could get there for my first panel, we had to leave Greenbelt by 5:30 AM, Brenda came over and stayed with my brother at "Bill's Dog and Pony Show." There is always something going on there and I doubt she got much sleep. Still, Brenda was bright and chipper all the way up.

At one point she began to talk about venison. Those of you who know Brenda, know she is that tall, slender woman for whom most high fashion is designed. But her enthusiasm for the culinary arts would make most ordinary mortals bulge and sag in high fashion apparel and appear at the very least matronly. Which she does not, in the least.

We had to park some distance from the ferry dock and take a shuttle down to the quay. When a large workmanlike ferry pulled into the slip marked Oak Bluffs, we piled our luggage on the cart and as soon as the incoming passengers debarked, we started aboard. But I heard someone talking about going to another, and just as they were taking our tickets, I asked whether the ferry made several stops. "No," said the ticket man, as he tore off my stub, "Only Vineyard Haven."

We were puzzled, panicked and perturbed. But the ticket man just said, "Your ferry comes in over there in five minutes. I forgot to change the sign." Apparently everyone else knew that.

So we got onto the right ferry. I went up to the front deck almost expecting to see someone doing the Titanic hood ornament thing. The Island looked huge. It is 26 miles long and further away than it looks. The trip takes 45 minutes, but it was no worse than a ride on the Chesapeake. Instead of the usual pale gray North Atlantic murky soup I expected, the water close around the island is clear and you can see the bottom quite a way out.

Viable Paradise had Lawrence Watt-Evans as GOH, JAEL as Art GOH, and Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Haden as Fan Gohs. There were maybe about 100 fen. It actually took place in a Bed & Breakfast called the Pequot Hotel, in the town of Oak Bluffs. Rooms were around $85.00. Oak Bluffs is mostly made of bodacious Victorian gingerbread cottages, follies, and B&Bs (which you have to be especially careful not to nibble, even when it is off-season for forest witches). They and most of the other tourists had gone home by late September, as the island virtually closes on Columbus Day each year.

The Winter Vineyarders are a conservative lot. Even Winter People who have lived there for a mere 40 years still aren't "Island." I don't know how many generations you have to live there to become "Island." When "Island" folks go over to the mainland, they say they're going to "America." Their geography includes two nearly equal subdivisions: Island and Off-Island. Summer people may be rich, but they will never be "Island." There are some things that money just can't buy.

Martha's Vineyard is the Mayhew's ancestral home. My ancestor, Thomas Mayhew used to own it and tried to govern it as a feudal palatinate. In the first volume of "The History of Martha's Vineyard" by Charles Edward Banks, the silly tale of my family trying to bring the middle ages to North America is told in unmerciful detail. It is, however, the only place where the Europeans treated the Indians decently.

My branch of the family left there about 184 years ago, but I think I might still be "Island" to some of the locals. I hoped I'd run into a bunch of Mayhews, as they are supposed to be all over the place up there. However, I didn't encounter a single one until I phoned for a cab to go home. When the dispatcher asked for a name, I said "Mayhew" and he got all exited and wound up talking to me for about fifteen minutes - or more. His grandma was a Mayhew. It seems the Mayhews are sort of the official relics of the Island. It was the longest conversation I have ever had with a cab dispatcher.

I made it to the 5:00 Panel, "No alien is an Island. How to create an alien culture. I moderated with JAEL and James D. Macdonald. We actually had an audience, and by the end of the panel no one had got up to escape, so maybe it went well. Macdonald said his aliens were designed to reflect on the human condition, that he tended toward the didactic. I said I designed them to facilitate the plot, that I usually tried to figure out a lot more about their species than I planned to tell in the story. Jael told about the perils of inventing aliens for book covers.

I was also on "Where do you get your ideas (when Woolworth's is closed)?" with Brenda Clough, Jael, Darrell Schweitzer and Alan Steele (I told them that I edited a fanzine called "Spiffy Ideas" to which clever ideas are submitted by people who can't write for my readers who can); and "Reader's Block: Why is it So Hard to Begin `Must Reads'?" with Charlene Brusso, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and Jim Macdonald. It was about "the three R's": reading reviewing, and risking. Right after it was "Well Met By Moonlight - how I became involved in SF fandom." with Patrick, Teresa Nielsen Hayden (who stepped in as moderator), Jean Marie Stine, a fan whose name I didn't catch and Me. When my turn came, I said that "fandom's" roots predate Gernsback. That fanzine fandom began somewhere after the civil war as amateur press clubs. I was going to say that many elements were embraced by SF fandom and thereby reshaped. When Teresa said "We're not going there." I was either off-topic to her, or a heretic.

My last panel "Deus in Machina: the Religion of Technology," with Brusso, Patrick and Teresa (m) and Lawrence Watt-Evans. called This panel went a lot more smoothly than "Well Met by Moonlight."

On the way back, Brenda got to talking about Chinese food. She KNOWS what she's talking about and where the best Dim Sum can be found. Cultivate her!

Bill was on "And then I particular tales can be told" with Brenda Clough, Esther Freisner, and Jim Macdonald. They talked about telling stories, while Bill actually told stories.

The Thursday after Viable Paradise, Bill and I headed up to Schenectady, New York for Albacon '98, where I was Fan Guest of Honor. Esther Freisner was GOH, Jael was again Art GOH, and the "Don't Quit Your Day Job Players" were "Musical Guests."

Esther was doing her "Queen of the Hamsters bit, so I gave out a comic page entitled "Herod the Gerbil" which I had done for her, about an ancient king of the gerbils who goes out into space. The more I tell you about it, the less rational it will get. She liked it. By the way, Esther's Mom, Beatrice, is a real charmer. We celebrated her birthday with a masquerade (about 8 entered) and with a performance of her play "The Shame of Maudie Jones." I recreated the roll of "Maguffin," which I had tried to do a few years ago at Boskone after having lost my voice. I sounded a lot like Jack Benny's butler, Rochester. This time, I was too crippled up to stand for very long, and so I sat on a bar stool with my back to the audience when I was supposed to be off stage. It was a very broad farce with the cast ad-libbing shamelessly. I made up for the extra lines by forgetting mine.

They published a five pages of my comic strips in the Souvenir booklet: all of "Cosmic Tad," and "Bears in Space" and asked me fill a 6x4 panel in the art show and treated me like a star.

The art show had some work by Beryl Bush in it. She is someone to watch. Her classical compositions reminded me of Rubins and Tiepolo. It doesn't look like anyone else's illustration.

I was on "SF vs Sci Fi" with Steve Sawicki, and "D.M. Rowles (Deborah Shepard). I think we all agreed that SF was what we liked, and that what we didn't like was Sci Fi; that no format automatically makes something Sci-Fi, likewise pretentious trash don't get no respect, no how. It was fun. No one walked out.

Bill told stories at 6:00. Later that day people came up and told me how much they enjoyed my stories. I'm about 5" taller, out weigh him by maybe 60 pounds, but everyone seems to think we're twins or something.

I moderated "Is There a Mainstream Literature?" with Terry McGarry, Sally Caves, and Paul Levinson. Terry is a sou-chef at the New Yorker, but is breaking into SF. She is also mind- bogglingly beautiful. Sally, who is a professor of old and middle English, ain't hard on the eyes, either. Paul and I were of a less awesome vintage. The audience stayed and resisted a tad when it was time to quit.

My Fan GOH bit was at Noon. It was an iffy affair, as they had to put some computer "TIF" files of my cartoons up into a slide show format overnight. I didn't know whether anything would be there when the time came, but they came through. But they thought 40 cartoons would fill the time, but they actually took about 20 minutes, so I read a short piece of fan fiction "Rocketstuffcon", about a down-at-the-heels hotel that decided to run its own SF Con. Most of what happens actually did. You were probably there for a good bit of it. After that we talked about Rocket Stuff.

David B. Coe moderated "SF vs Fantasy" with Alexis Gilliland, one of the J.F. Rifkins (East), Suzanna Sturgis and belatedly me. It was a fun panel and nobody hissed me when I came in late (it pays to be FGOH!).

I was on time for "Libraries in the Future" After exploring the cyber future as expected, we degenerated into library horror, with the full collaboration of the audience, which was composed of at least 1/3 librarians. There are a LOT of us in SF.

At the "Saturday Evening Extravaganza." Esther's mom was interviewed by her son-in-law, Walter Stutzman. A lot of Early Esther was bustled out of the closet. Sadly, none of it was any where near as scandalous as we had hoped. By the way, Walter is a serious linguist, scholar, and generally a first class soul.

My last panel was at 2:00 on Sunday. As it turned out the only other panelist who turned up was GOH, Esther. So, I mostly interviewed Esther. It was billed as "Reading\Writing Another Culture." The audience stayed and Esther flourished. I was sad to see it end.

Albacon has a strong gamer presence, with a separate con- badge for those who only are there for gaming. There's a bit of other stuff, but it is basically a weekend holiday for readers with panels and a very friendly crew running it.

Kevin Allen and Joe Berlant denied that they were con chairs. They insisted, and in print, that the Chairperson was Danielle Allen (who didn't deny it—perhaps she will when she's old enough to talk).

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Gifts for SF Characters

This the season to be jolly. Here's my holiday list of what to give sf characters for Chanukah or Christmas.

John Sheridan (Babylon 5) A twenty-year clock

Telzey (The Universe Against Her) Mental earplugs

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) A stuffed animal to replace Mr. Pointy

Leisha Camden (Beggars in Spain) A Harvard sweatshirt big enough to be a nightgown.

Data (Star Trek) A backup personality

Cirocco "Rocky" Jones (Titan, Wizard, Demon) A parachute and extra strength aspirin.

Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) A family tree to keep track of his relatives

Alvin Smith (Alvin Journeyman & Heartfire) A law book in case he has to sit through another trial (I mean two books in a row?!?)

Gil the ARM Hamilton (Larry Niven stories). An invisible mitten to keep his invisible third hand warm.

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WSFA To Buy Russia?

The 11/6 First Friday meeting was called to order with a "Why don't we go ahead and get started. It's close to 9:20" from Prez Judy. "Any old business?" No. "How much money?" $5,925.57. "Let's buy Russia" said Lee. "Why?" "I'd run it and the rest of you could party there," Lee replied. "But what would we do with the rest of the money?" asked a fan.

The Entertainment committee reported an interesting election and rumors of Newt resigning. Joe said that "Monica Lewinsky brought him down." John thanked the committee for arranging the election of Jesse "The Body" Ventura, new governor of Minnesota. But Alexis said this was not his doing. "I found it very entertaining," laughed John.

Disclave had nothing to report. "We're going to take him out and beat him up afterward." Joe said, "Don't beat him up with a stool, you'll get your hand dirty." "Scat," said John. Judy thanked the publications committee for updating the web page.

There was no new business. Judy announced a Bucconeer meeting. Lee Gilliland said, "I wanted to find a book to lend but someone had put it in the wrong place. Please put things back where you found them." Michael Walsh explained the filing system. "It's alphabetical by the third letter of last name." He's selling Constellation 2 T-Shirts. William Rostler won an award and $500. Mike went to World Fantasy Convention, "eh". Next year in Rhode Island. All the new Lensman have been bought. <But the Lensmen are supposed to be unbribable!> Will do a second run of 8,000 each. "This is small publishing?" Barnes and Noble is buying Ingram <giant book distributor> for $600 million.

Joe said actor Joel del Funte from Space Above and Beyond is speaking at the Library of Congress. Joe will be guest on Thursday bringing his Hugo. Mr. Lee "On the Right" Strong saved the taxpayers $92,000 this week. "It was a slow week." He gave John his share, a 1998 quarter. "Now I can back my law school loans," said John. "I just got a notice saying mine is all paid," said Judy, proving that taxing people pays better than allying for justice. Rebecca said Musica Antiqua is doing a concert. She invited all WSFANs to her Gala Christmas party, 7 PM to Midnight on Dec 12th near 7 Corners call Rebecca Prather at 703-534-2274.

National Wildlife Federation has sold its HQ and will have a big sale. Lee does not recommend The Siege, "the equivalent of flying to the moon with propellers." Lance will party at Windycon for Eurocon and then will walk through the tunnel supplying water to DC. Bob Eggleton got married to Mary Ann. Motion to adjourn carried at 9:35.

Pres. Judy Kindell, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Steven Smith, '99 Chair Sam Pierce, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Doug Houts, Eric Jablow, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Joe Mayhew, Michael Nelson, Lance Oszko, Rebecca Prather, John Sapienza, George Shaner, Lee Strong, Michael Taylor, Madeleine Yeh, Gail Drood, Meredith Wagner, Geoffrey Drumheller, Luciana Lopez, Scott Hofmann.

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Death in Fandom
by Joe Mayhew
IAN GUNN, Fan Artist. June 1, 1958 - November 8, 1998.

Ian Gunn died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, November 8th, 1998 at 9:40 PM in Melbourne, Australia's Box Hill Hospital Oncology Ward. He had just turned 40. Ian and Karen Pender-Gunn, his companion for the past nine years, were married at the hospital the day before he died. His struggle with cancer is over, but he went down thumbing his nose at it.

A professional free-lance artist and public servant, "Gunny" also ran conventions, edited several fanzines, including Ethel the Aardvark (Melbourne SF Club), Artychoke (in Thyme), Mind Wallaby, and Stungunn.

His wry-but-gentle cartoons have appeared all around the English speaking world. They were disarming, often deceptively simple, but they could make you laugh your way into better questions. He was a cartoonist's cartoonist.

In addition to winning Australia's Fan Artist Ditmar in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995, and 1997 as well as the 1997 FAANZ Best Fan Artist award, he was nominated for the Fan Artist Hugo in 1995, 1996, and 1997. Gunny was also an able writer, winning the Fan Writer Ditmar in 1990 and the award for Best Short Fiction in 1997.

He and Karen were sent as FFANS Fan Fund winners to New Zealand, and as GUFF representatives to the 1995 WorldCon in Glasgow.

Also, former WSFAn Phil Cox passed away Sunday Nov 15th at the Reston Hospital Center.

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from the Internet

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves,"
"Vertically Challenged" they're calling themselves.

And labor conditions up at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with four pigs, which looked really stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
They made ruts deemed dangerous by the EPA

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.

Secondhand smoke from his pipe had his workers all frightened.
His fur-trimmed red suit was now called "unenlightened."

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

And had gone on TV, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in overdue compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

As for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.

Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was there to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even you.

So here is that gift, its price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

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"But This Is So Sudden!"

The 11/20 Third Friday meeting at the Ginters opened with the ritual "I suppose we can get started, OK Folks?" from Judy. "It's 9:18 by my watch and if no one pays attention who cares?" "Attention!" yelled Madeline, who apparently did. "You can't move to adjourn until you start," she pointed out. "Disorder, Disorder!"

"How much money?" $5745.57. "Let's have a Disclave!" "Speaking of which, is he here?" asked Judy.

Elspeth said, "We decided it was time to get a hotel. I contacted Washington Visitor's Bureau. A colleague of hers has gone to Disclave. She reads sf. Sent a long list of questions to Sam. Seems to be willing to work with the fact that we don't know what we want. He said he'll get to me if needs help. She said she thought she could help. The fact that our charter has changed helped and the fact we are willing to change our name helps more. She sounded positive. I managed to avoid saying, "Thank you, thank you!" She had files from our past Disclaves. Very positive. Neither she nor I mentioned what happened at New Carrolton. I tried to be tactful and vague."

Joe Mayhew said, "If anyone is trying to do something they should clear it with Sam first." Judy replied, "We met with Sam last meeting to see what we could do to help." Elspeth said, "I took it as far as we can go." Joe said that his brother offers his backyard. Alexis offered the park near his house.

Covert said that Disclave 00 is about to publish a memory book from 98 years ago. Otherwise nothing to report. Alexis said that the Entertainment Committee is proud to announce Sammy Sosa wins the MVP overwhelmingly. There was a to-do in Congress but that didn't look too entertaining. Elspeth thanked publications committee for updating the web page.

Any new business? "Where can I get a wire monkey with cloth?" asked Erica. When the club looked at her she explained, "So Lydia can cling."

Announcements. Judy announced that Peggy Rae Pavlat and John Sapienza are getting married this August and will be honeymooning in Australia. "But this is so sudden!" protested Erica. Joe read obituary for Ian Gunn (reprinted in this issue). Michael Walsh said the Lensmen exist but are trapped in a truck wandering Baltimore <undoubtedly part of a Boskonian plot>. Bill Squire said his sister's daughter, Dawn Cody plays a role in the movie Pleasantville <no-one offered her a role in Man of La Mancha?> Lance found out that Perogies are more popular than alcohol at Windycon. Dave Hines said that a movie playing Gods and Monsters about James Whale, the director of Frankenstein. He'll be putting a group together to see it.

Erica explained that her room's new layout was due to a new piece of furniture, a Japanese tea chest. Don't put drinks on it. Elspeth continued the saga or Morpheus the cat. He's lost a pound, teeth rooting. Fixing the cat would cost $500. She's become a 24 hour cat mom. She also announced that she and Dan are discussing separating in January when their lease runs out. The meeting was adjourned at 9:38.

Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Michael Walsh, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Lee Gilliland, Erica and Karl Ginter, Eric Jablow, Joe Mayhew, Michael Nelson, Lance Oszko, George Shaner, William and Bill Squire, Michael and Ron Taylor, Madeleine Yeh, David Hines, Walter Miles, Angela and Gerald Blackwell, Winnie Lim, Richard Pugh.

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Bheer Tasting

I am sorry not attending the last meeting. I injured my foot and could not do much walking that night. I will be able to attend the next meeting. I did not get the chance to tell everyone how to get tickets for the beer tasting at the Czech Embassy being held on December 11, 1998. Please forward this message those who might like to attend. I am told that there is a 95% chance they may have the original Czech Budweiser beer for the tasting. The church needs to receive the RSVP by December 4, 1998. There are only 50 seats. I have enclosed the information on the Beer Tasting Party.

The deadline for postmarking your checks for the Beer Tasting Party at the Czech Embassy is Dec. 4. ****Share with friends and Mark Your Calendars!!!**** Beer Tasting Party Dec. 11, Friday, 7:00pm-10:00pm Czech Embassy, 3900 Spring of Freedom Road, NW Washington DC Sample 6 beers from around the world! 8 oz. each beer, Dinner Buffet, Auction, Beer Lecture, Short Film about the Czech Republic $20 donation benefits the Homeless Breakfast Program of St. Margaret's Church. To RSVP write a check to "St. Margaret's Church" mail it by Dec. 4 to St. Margaret's Church 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW,

Washington DC 20009. Include your name, number of RSVPs, and telephone number and you will be put on our guest list. Directions to the Embassy from Downtown: Take Connecticut Ave. North; right on Tilden (before you pass Van Ness); right on Spring of Freedom Road (just before you reach Rock Creek Park); embassy will be to your right. For more information call Bruce McBarnette (703) 404-8429


Geoffrey Drumheller

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Revenge Served Cold
Information from Michael Walsh

For all of you who suffered getting your hotel room at Bucky . . . From the Baltimore Sun, 21 Nov 98, Business section, page 11c:

Biospherics Inc. reported a loss of $354,000, or 4 cents per share, on revenue of $4.7 million for its third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, compared with a $145,000 net loss, or 2 cents per share, on revenue of $3.2 million a year earlier.

The Beltsville company, which provides call-center and information services for federal and state agencies, reported a net loss of $126,000, or 1 cent a share, on revenue of $13.7 million for the first three quarters.

The company had a net loss of $326,000, or 3 cents per share, on revenue of $11.1 million in the same nine months last year.


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Bucky II?
By Lance Oszko

It seems that Jamaica is developing a Disney style Pirate Theme Park area near the Capital Kingston. Bucconeer 2- Port Royal in 2007 ???

Says Robert Stephens, chairman of the Port Royal Development Company. "By the fifth year, we will be looking for 25,000 passengers a week, which would be $2.5 million. That would mean a lot for Jamaica."

They have 1200 rooms and a 200,000 sf conference facility currently and plan future expansion. For more information:

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