The WSFA Journal May 1999

The WSFA Journal

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

Edited by Samuel Lubell

Son of Disclave
Crossword Puzzle
She's an Obi-Wan Kenobi wannabe
Why Is This Meeting Different From All Other WSFA Meetings?
Openings that Render the Rest of the Story Unnecessary
Nebulas Awarded
Computer Strong, Telescope Weak
From Conde Nast Traveler
1999 Hugo Nominees
Tentative Plan for The Smithsonian Event
Jim Turner, 1945-1999

Son of Disclave


            The 3/19 Third Friday was held at the Gillilands due to the Lunacon swap.  It opened with begging from President Judy.  "Okay, let's have a meeting please.  Okay, It's 9:21 and I'm going to have a meeting whether anyone wants to or not.  Secretary, any old business?"  "Yes" replied Sam.  "Are you going to tell us?"  "You didn't ask that."  Sam filled the meeting in and the President called for the treasury.  "$4,904.24 and Michael spilling beer," reported the Treasurer.  Towels were passed and none of our money got socked.

            The entertainment committee reported that it was supposed to get a check, but his wife got the check and stuck it in her bra.  "Who says the treasurer can't have some entertainment?"  Erica suggested making money by selling tickets.  Disclave 2000 (Covert) reported, "we'll talk in new business."

            Joe had a talk with Marty Gear.  He'll arrange a room near the con suite at Balticon from 8 to 2.  "I don't recommend much in the way of refreshments as the con suite is close, but lacks space.  I suggest we have people go there for food and bring it to us.  It's a small room but a function room.  It's in the Omni Inner Harbor downstairs.  That should be sufficient as WSFA isn't the only thing going."  Mike Nelson suggesting calling it Disclave 99 and making Sam Pierce run it.  "You're really taxing our friendship," said Sam Pierce.  "Are you with the IRS?"  Erica suggested reviving the Interstellar Cookie Convention.  The club corrected her, International Cookie Conspiracy.  "Sorry, I'm on new drugs.  In it everyone brings a bunch of their own cookies either made or bought." The club exchanged stories of trunks full of cookies.  Judy said, "If people want to bring cookies, let's do a meeting."  Judy also suggested making flyers.  Sam Pierce asked if Bucconeer made a WSFA banner.  Erica said it was in her garage.  "We cried when that printer left," confessed a teary-eye Judy.

            For new business, Covert Beach stood up.  "Up-oh," went the club.  "I did have an evil impulse to make PowerPoint slides but decided against it.  I have three possibilities for Disclave. 

      Item One: I thought that being a C$ nonprofit we could do something useful.  In Bucconeer we found that Disclave was a good time for planning Worldcons.  DC is cheap to fly to.  It wouldn't keep us in beer but using Disclave as a planning convention would give us a reliable constituency.  We could fit in an airport hotel."

      Item Two:  Forget doing anything serious and just hold a relaxicon.  We could fit in a small hotel and build up slowly.

      Item Three:  A traditional Disclave.  This involves me resigning since I don't think it can be done."

Joe Mayhew pointed out that Smofcon is already being done and the WorldCon may want to do its own meetings.  A relaxicon sounds good.  Get a local audience.  We could do other things for our public service requirement like the events Lee is doing.  Before there were relaxicons, all cons were unstructured and simple.  Instead of six rooms of programming do one.  I don't think the club is ready for a full Disclave.  We are still tired from Bucconeer.  There are lots of small hotels out there.  We could get a resort hotel off-season like Virginia Beach after the swimming season."

            Richard Lynch  asked "What's your reason for #3?"  Covert answered, "Disclave's name is mud in the hotel community and I'm too busy."

            Joe said, "We've hit a low point and have to rebuild.  Other cons fall down sometimes.  We need to scale down and decide what it is we want.  We don't have to call it Disclave."

            Erica said, "I like the idea of a relaxicon.  You can create programming on the spot with rooms where people can gather and talk.  Promote at libraries where people can gather and talk.  If don't want to do an art show you will need a few things for people standing around to do."

            Richard asked, "How far afield do you want to go?"  Covert answered, "Someone is saying Fredericksburg.  That's about as far as I would like to go."

            Alexis said, "We're trying to preserve a small con in Washington.  Frederick is too far.  The con should be a lot less programmed so a lot less cooperation from the hotel will be needed.  Put it on close in and then next year grow it a little.  Whatever works.  We're not working at coming in with something dramatic and important with NSO and Nebulas awarded.  Do it small, changing the name if necessary.  SOL con."  Mike suggested, "SODcon, Son of Disclave."

            Evan, "Will it be large enough to have a GOH."  Covert said, "That's set in jello."

            Alexis said, "At minimum, there should be a mention in Locus.  We're not looking for thousands but 200 should be doable."

            Keith Lynch, "Number one this should be local.  There are lots of good conventions already existing whose only defect is that they are not here.  There is no point adding to them."

            Judy said, "I'm leaning to option 2 but call it a laid back convention consistent with our purposes while doing other things throughout the year to promote SF."

            Joe suggested, "Talk it over.  Maybe have four program items over the weekend while others do pick up programming."  Covert said, "We can build up our other activities, maybe a banquet."  Mike said, "A cluster of programming, not a track.  Perhaps based on GoH's work."

            Covert thanked the club for its thoughts, "This tells me what type of facility to look for."

            Joe had some more new business.  "BSFS has paid for its building.  We are using them for storage for a bunch of stuff we are not using.  Other stuff are things BSFS could use.  The soda machine is owned jointly.  We have a great amount of supplies that we need to dig through.  Mike Nelson tried to go through it and it was chaos. We need a group of 1-4 with authority to weed through it.  We shouldn't pay $1,000 to store stuff worth $300.  We have a good relationship with BSFS but they are more flush then when we made the arrangement.  I spoke to Martin Dutch about not paying.  If we don't pay they'll move the stuff upstairs where hard to get at.  Lots of useless boxes of toilet paper and Douglas the cow."

            Alexis said, "We're not going to be using it for 2-3 years.  If we do need it, we can borrow from Balticon.  We should save us all that rent."

            Judy made a ruling.  "If anyone is interested, see Joe."  Joe pointed out, "You'll have to appoint me a committee."  "You're a committee," said the Prez.  Covert, Sam Pierce and Mike joined the committee.  "Accept it or pitch it," said Covert.

            Judy said, "Okay, let's move on to old business.  Fifth Friday.  If anyone is willing to offer home, please do so."  Silence.

            Announcements:  The Gillilands will be hosting December Fifth Friday, Dec 31st at their house.  "A real blow out."  Lee also pointed out that the books are alphabetized.  "If you don't put books back, he's doing to get you."

            Erica said in a month she'll have stuff to move.  Two rooms will change places.  She's recruiting strong backs and weak minds in exchange for soda, beer, pizza and pictures of dead presidents.  She's teaching Lydia to draw pictures now.  Kathi announced the Oscar betting pool.  Mike Walsh is close to getting reprint rights to all of Edgar Pangborn including Davy.  Also 50 stories from Robert Ackman.  These are English ghost stories. 

            Elspeth walked in confused, "What are you guys doing here?  Pollyanna meets the real world and both are very surprised.  Strange world where someone with no income can walk in and get a bed delivered."

Judy is looking for judges for the Bucconeer student writers contest. 

The meeting adjourned at 10 PM. 

Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Treas. Bob MacIntosh, Trust. Steven Smith, Trust Michael Walsh, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Bernard Bell, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Erica Ginter, Eric Jablow, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Joe Mayhew, George and Michael Nelson, Kathi Overton, Evan Phillips, Sam Pierce, Rebecca Prather, George Shaner, Michael Taylor, James Uba, Madeleine Yeh, Kit Mason, Scott Hofmann, and Alan Grimes.


WSFA Crossword Puzzle

By the Grey Lensman


    2  Long's Title (6)

    3  Tan Maker (3)

    5  Mutton Chops (6)

    6  Flood Site (8)

    7  Doc or Frog (7)

    8  C+ (3)

  11  Ebon Inc. Author (4)

  12  LOTR (3)






    1  Al's end point (6)

    4  Really Big Boom (4)

    6  Got Worms? (4)

    9  Not Us (4)

  10  Mirror Journey Author (7)

  13  Circumnavigator (5)

  14  Braun's Spawn (6)

News From Reality

From the NC News and Observer


She's an Obi-Wan Kenobi wannabe -- in name only


By JOHN SULLIVAN, Staff Writer


DURHAM -- A schoolteacher's battle to change her name to that of the "Star Wars" character Obi-Wan Kenobi has risen to galactic proportions, complete with themes of good and evil and visitors from far-off lands.   What began as a radio stunt to win $1,000 has turned into a real quest for Jennifer Briggs, 28, of Durham, a language arts teacher at Cary Academy.


"What I wrote on the [name-change] application was I was doing it to win $1,000, but now it's much bigger because I don't want to disappoint my students," Briggs said Thursday.


But Jim Carr, Durham's clerk of court, says he won't approve Briggs' transformation from schoolteacher to Jedi knight unless she promises under oath to change her driver's license, Social Security and bank accounts to boot.


"I have no objections to the name," Carr said, "but feel that winning a contest is not good and sufficient" as a reason under state law.


Briggs applied for the name change April 21. That's when two disc jockeys at radio station WRAL, 101.5 FM, issued a challenge: The station would pay $1,000 to anyone who had his or her name legally changed to Obi-Wan Kenobi in time for the much-anticipated release of "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace."



Briggs intends to walk into the courthouse at 2:30 p.m. Monday dressed as a Jedi knight and carrying a light saber, willing to do whatever the law requires to complete her mission.


One call to Briggs' home would convince most skeptics that she is serious about her quest. Darth Vader answers the phone, breathing menacingly into the receiver, "You are not a Jedi knight yet."   Briggs' thin voice replies: "Maybe not, Vader, but on May 3rd I'll be Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi knight, so look out, empire."


Why Is This Meeting Different From All Other WSFA Meetings?

By Guest Scribe Joe Mayhew


Minutes of the WSFA 1st Friday meeting held at Balticon 33 on April 2nd 1999 at the Omni Hotel in Baltimore's Washington Room. Attending: Judy Kindell, Evan Phillips, Barry Newton, Judy Newton, Linda Melnick, Martin Morse Wooster, Todd Dashoff, Winton Matthews, Michael Nelson, Joe Mayhew, Mike Walsh, Bob MacIntosh, Victoria Smith, Charles Gilliland, Alexis Gilliland, Sue Wheeler, Ted Rosenburg, Dan Hoey, Peggy Rae Pavlat, John Sapienza, Barnaby Rappaport, Aly Parsons, John Pomeranz, Kathi Overton, Keith Marshall, Jeanette, and Chris Holte (with walk-ons by strolling vendors, troubled peasants, and diverse spear carriers).

     Judy Kindell called the meeting to order at 9:14, after asking Joe Mayhew to take notes. All reports were postponed except for the entertainment committee.  Alexis contributed the following, in the spirit of the Passover season:

          "Why is this meeting different from other WSFA meetings?"

          "On other meetings we go to Arlington or Beltsville.  Tonight we schlepp all the way up to      Baltimore. On other meetings we gather to party.  Tonight we are surrounded by party and gather to meet. On other meetings the party ends at 1:00 or 2:00 AM.  Tonight the party goes on till Sunday."

     Evan Phillips had brought a computer loaded with a CD version of the WSFA Web Site, which interested parties could browse.  John Pomeranz's contribution to the program was an instant ice cream demo.  Using some physics mumbo-jumbo, ice cream suddenly really good Ben & Jerry's vanilla materialized in the large pot he had brought. In response, WSFA , in perhaps less time than the instant the ice cream took to be made, made it disappear, perhaps by sublimation, in an assortment of pots.

     Michael Walsh announced that he had books for sale upstairs in the Huckster's room.  Joe Mayhew thanked BSFS and Marty Gear for granting his request for the room, which was, appropriately enough, "The Washington Room", and located just around the corner from the consuite.  Someone brought cookies & stuff, 'Fess up, if it was you.

     The meeting adjourned at 9:20 and was followed by ice cream.



Openings that Render the Rest of the Story Unnecessary

By Samuel Lubell


Contrary to the claims of my enemies, it was not until I was nine that I first came up with a foolproof plan to destroy the universe.


Even though Huwuvi freely admitted that his people were here to conquer the Earth and use humans as a food source, for some reason we didn't trust him.


Humans found the destruction of Earth and the relocation of the remnants of humanity to be slaves on the planet Xeifgo somewhat upsetting; but the actual rebellion didn't start until the aliens insulted our music. 


After the wizard Goldof had studied long, mastered the wisdom of five different elder races, and helped heroes defeat seven different Evil Tyrants, he was at least ready for the ultimate test of magical ability - pulling a rabbit out of a hat.


Although rival countries spent millions of dollars and dozens of spies trying to infiltrate Project Top Secret, they were totally unaware that the real work was done, completely unnoticed, in what the military labeled Project Decoy. 


Nebulas Awarded


Novel:  Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman (Ace, Oct 97)

Novella:  "Reading the Bones" by Sheila Finch (F&SF, Jan 98)

Novelette:  "Lost Girls" by Jane Yolen (Realms of Fantasy, Feb 98)

Short Story:  "Thirteen Ways to Water" by Bruce Holland Rogers (Black Cats and Broken Mirrors, Martin)

Grand Master:  Hal Clement

Author Emeritus:  William Tenn

Bradbury Award:  J. Michael Straczynski


Members Paid:  George Nelson and Dan Holte paid their dues.  Have you?


Computer Strong, Telescope Weak


The April 16th Third Friday meeting at the Ginters opened with Judy in charge.  "It's 9:16, let's start the meeting."  Old business was a Fifth Friday and an election coming.  The treasurer reported, "$4,840.24"  "Where is all this money coming from?" asked Sam.  "Coming from?" blared Bob, "I see nothing but a steady outflow."

            "Do the trustees have anything to say?" asked Judy.  "Regretfully no.  We haven't been able to get together," Mike reported.  "When's the election?" asked the Prez.  First Friday in May.  "I won't be here," Judy said <writing in her datebook, stay away from Virginia on First Friday."  "That's okay," said Mike Nelson.  "It just makes it easier to railroad her."

            The Entertainment Committee reported, "Computer strong, telescope weak.  People observing a star through a telescope saw a wobble and couldn't figure it out until tried a model with two planets, and the noise was still there.  Did three and the noise went away.  It is a solar system with three planets, 44 light years away.  Our own backyard." Joe reported that Channel 44 reported eight deaths due to twisters, seven of them fatal. 

            Covert Beach Disclave 2000 said he had nothing to say, "talk to me next meeting."

            Judy said, "After the last meeting I got a call from a woman about doing a program at the Smithsonian. 

John said, "I was appointed liaison and we had a lovely little lunch with Mary McLoulini, program coordinator for educational and cultural programs.  She wants WSFA to co-sponsor a seminar on writing science fiction for the Smithsonian Associates.  We would do a single track of programming for a day and half based on the romance writers convention they did.  We would bring in writers and they would pay for the costs.  Try to use local writers.  We said yes pending approval of the club.  It would be in the fall, October or November.  We have till June 1st to put this together.  Anyone interested should meet with me after the meeting.  We need to produce a draft with suggested panelists so they can run it past the higher-ups.  I expect we'll have five to seven items.  Straightforward.  The Romance writers had an hour discussion defining genre.  45 minutes with Nora Roberts.  Several panels:  characters, plots and spicy dialogue;  goal motivation and conflict;  subgenres; and "I've written the book, now what?"

The club would publicize itself.  It is a nice opportunity to get rid of the dregs of WSFA press and anything else.  We would hold it at a Smithsonian facility.  I pitched the idea of the Air and Space Museum but she was skeptical.  If it works we could do more with the Smithsonian.  I'm sure everyone can think of something.  After this meeting we'll do brainstorming.  I'll make notes and then arbitrarily come up with a list of sample activities than run them by you via email.  About 200-250 people came to the Romance one.  The Smithsonian Associates are mostly in 40s and 50s.  We draw younger although some approaching that age.  Smithsonian Associates get a reduced rate but anyone can attend."

Someone in club, "It can take on a life of its own like the mystery one that is done each year.  Authors attend for the cache."

John said, "This will help our tax status.  It will attract people we don't normally get." 

Colleen Stumbaugh "The library of Congress runs a `What If' seminar.  It always gets authors."

Judy.  "Also Lee is doing something."

Lee "The [Arlington] library is interested in doing a weekend thing.  Bring in authors.  A What is SF thing.  The library just did a Y2K test that blew up.  They lost 2000 books.  So they're busy right now.  Idea: Do something for schools and doing a list of books.

Judy, "The Golden Duck has a list."  John added, "And NESFA has one too."

Text Box: From Conde Nast Traveler.  

Near the end of an article about the Maya and how we are approaching their end of time, the author suddenly brings in science fiction.
    "Underneath is another god, the Old Woman Goddess, patroness of death and destruction, with talons for fingernails and toenails.  She too pours out water, from a bowl-and will pour it out for real on that fateful day of December 21, 2012.
     But times being what they are, cynics and nonbelievers are tempting fate by proposing a soiree the day after oblivion on December 22, at Chichen Itza.  The big bash will be held by the World Science Fiction Society which throws galas every year in various locales around planet Earth, including LA.  The organizers intend to hold a masquerade in the Mayan ball court and continuous astronomical readings at the dome-topped observatory known as El Caracol, least the end of time be inadvertently missed.  I expect them to be rubbing elbows with various ersatz Mayan spiritualists New Agers clutching 12-step guides to the end of time, and eagerly awaiting the dawn of the next age of the Maya, apparently not realizing that they will not be alive to see it."

Lee continued, "They're having a problem.  I reserved a book and they had lots of copies."

Erica.  "I think we should do this only if the library drops its policy of classifying hardcover SF as adult but pb SF always as juveniles."

"They have," said Lee.  "We'd be talking fall semester at the earliest."  "We could tie it to the student contest," suggested Judy.

Old business:  Judy said, "There is a fifth Friday, Any volunteers?  Or will we be homeless?"  Alexis replied.  "I think missing one won't kill us?"  Lee replied, "If you really want it dear." Joe tried to explain, "No what he said was..." but Erica interrupted, "Obviously, you've never been married Joe."

Judy asked, "Any other old business?"  "Just the small matter on an election, next meeting," said Secretary Sam.  "We should postpone it," John suggested.  "We can't, it is in the Constitution," Sam said to the author of that document.  "Are the current officers willing to run?" asked Joe.  All present said yes.  "So we are missing a VP and a trustee."  No, someone said that Elspeth was willing to run again.

Judy asked, "Any new business."  Lee asked, "Anyone want to do a theater party for Star Wars?"  Three fourths of hands went up.  Erica explained that she didn't get to Balticon during Easter because she was sick for two days.  "So you lay for two days and on the third you were risen." Said Joe. 

Joe found out from Australia that he is on the ballot.  Lance said the Washington Post paid him $50 so he is now a published author.  B5's J. Michael Straczynski will be at the Nebulas."

"If he doesn't get pneumonia" said John, the head of programming for Bucconeer when this did in fact happen.  John read from the Conde Nast Traveler about a convention at Chichen Itza.  This was based on a web page from a hoax bid he did three years ago.  "Having seen this scam taken up by the `journalists' at Conde Nast, I now doubt the whole Monica mess."

"If it is on the web, it must be real," said Mike Walsh.

"I'm going to update the web page," said John.  "To say as seen in Conde Nast Traveler.  I'm not going to Australia because we bought a house.  It is in Alexandria near First Friday."  Kathi said, "We made sure to get a place big enough to host Fifth Friday."

Eric recommends Our Dumb Century based on the last 100 years of publication of The Onion.  Mike Walsh said that Jim Turner, editor of Arkham House died.

Patrick Robbie was here for his second meeting.  His first was ten years ago.  Abner Mintz said he has 220,000 Magic cards.  The owner of a store called him and said, `my store is in trouble, could you come over and buy some stuff."  Sara said, "I said we're buying a small place, we're not letting the cards drive us out of the house."

Abner Mintz and Sara Miskevich paid their memberships.  Have you?

The meeting then moved upstairs to talk about the Smithsonian event.

Attendance: Pres. Judy Kindell, Sec. Samuel Lubell, Trust. Steven Smith, Trust. Michael Walsh, 2000 Chair Covert Beach, Alexis and Lee Gilliland, Erica and Karl Ginter, David Hines, Eric Jablow, Winnie Lim, Keith Lynch, Nicki and Richard Lynch, Joe Mayhew, Abner Mintz, Sara Miskevich, George and Michael Nelson, Lance Oszko, Kathi Overton, Evan Phillips, Johan Pomeranz, George Shaner, Colleen Stumbaugh, Michael Taylor, Ron Kean, Patrick Rabe, L. Ron Hubbard.



Puzzle Solution


    2  Long's Title (6)

    3  Tan Maker (3)

    5  Mutton Chops (6)

    6  Flood Site (8)

    7  Doc or Frog (7)

    8  C+ (3)

  11  Ebon Inc. Author (4)

  12  LOTR (3)



    1  Al's end point (6)

    4  Really Big Boom (4)

    6  Got Worms? (4)

    9  Not Us (4)

  10  Mirror Journey Author (7)

  13  Circumnavigator (5)

14    Braun's Spawn (6)


1999 Hugo Nominees: WSFA Winners Mimosa and Joe Mayhew Nominated


The Hugo will be awarded at Aussiecon 3, in Melbourne, Australia, from Sept. 2-6. This

year's nominees include:



      Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (Villard)

      Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

      Distraction by Bruce Sterling (Bantam Spectra)

      Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor)

      To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Bantam Spectra)


      "Aurora in Four Voices" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Dec. 1998)

      "Get Me to the Church On Time" by Terry Bisson (Asimov's May 1998)

      "Oceanic" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Aug. 1998)

      "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang (Starlight 2)

      "The Summer Isles" by Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov's Oct./Nov. 1998)



      "Divided by Infinity" by Robert Charles Wilson (Starlight 2)

      "Echea" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's July 1998)

      "The Planck Dive" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Feb. 1998)

      "Steamship Soldier on the Information Front" by Nancy Kress (Future Histories; Asimov's April 1998)

      "Taklamakan" by Bruce Sterling (Asimov's Oct./Nov. 1998)

      "Time Gypsy" by Ellen Klages (Bending the Landscape)

      "Zwarte Piet's Tale" by Allen Steele (Analog Dec. 1998)


Short Story

      "Cosmic Corkscrew" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog June 1998)

      "Maneki Neko" by Bruce Sterling (F&SF May 1998)

      "Radiant Doors" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Sept. 1998)

      "The Very Pulse of the Machine" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Feb. 1998)

      "Whiptail" by Robert Reed (Asimov's Oct./Nov. 1998)

      "Wild Minds" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's May 1998)


Related Book

      The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World by Thomas M. Disch (The Free Press)

      Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Awards by Howard DeVore (Advent:Publishers)

      Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years by Everett F. Bleiler (Kent State University Press)

      Spectrum 5: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art by Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books)

      The Works of Jack Williamson: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide by Richard A. Hauptmann (The NESFA Press)


Dramatic Presentation

      "Sleeping in Light" (Babylon 5)

      Dark City


      Star Trek: Insurrection

      The Truman Show


Professional Editor

      Gardner Dozois

      Scott Edelman

      David G. Hartwell

      Patrick Nielsen Hayden

      Stanley Schmidt

      Gordon Van Gelder


Professional Artist

      Jim Burns

      Bob Eggleton

      Donato Giancola

      Don Maitz

      Nick Stathopoulos

      Michael Whelan





      The New York Review of Science Fiction

      Science Fiction Chronicle





      File 770






Fan Writer:

      Bob Devney

      Mike Glyer

      Dave Langford

      Evelyn C. Leeper

      Maureen Kincaid Speller


Fan Artist:

      Freddie Baer

      Brad Foster

      Ian Gunn

      Teddy Harvia

      Joe Mayhew

      D. West


John W. Campbell Award (Not a Hugo)

      Kage Baker*

      Julie E. Czerneda*

      Nalo Hopkinson*

      Susan R. Matthews*

      James Van Pelt*

(* second year of eligibility)


Several categories have six or more nominees due to ties for fifth place.

My count gives three stories nominated from Analog, two from Starlight 2, one from F&SF, and a whopping 11 from Asimov's




Tentative Plan for The Smithsonian Event

By John Pomeranz


Draft of 4/28


Writing Science Fiction


Cosponsored with the Washington Science Fiction Association


Weekend Seminar:

            Friday, October 22, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

            Saturday, October 23, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


            Fifty years ago, science fiction was consigned to the pages of pulp magazines with lurid covers.  Today, science fiction has come of age. Science fiction (like the overlapping genres of fantasy and horror) is a near-constant presence on the best-seller lists, authors known for their mainstream fiction use science fiction elements and themes in their work, and science fiction blockbusters dominate movie and television screens.


            With this success has come a burgeoning interest in writing science fiction.  In this seminar, award-winning authors and representatives of the SF publishing industry offer advice for the new writer and writers new to science fiction.  Focusing on the elements and techniques that make sf unique, these experts will provide a fascinating introduction to the art and business science fiction writing.


Friday, October 22


6 to 7:15 p.m.

Panel Discussion: What is Science Fiction and How Do I Know if I'm Writing It?

(For this and all other panels, our target is three participants)

Possible Panelists: Hal Clement, John Clute, Gardner Dozois, James Gunn, David Hartwell, Charles Sheffield


What defines the science fiction genre?  Are there elements - for example, science - that are necessary for science fiction.  Must a definition of SF exclude fantasy and horror?  How does the field's past inform the current state of SF writing, and what current trends point to its future?


7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Keynote Address: Making a Life in Science Fiction

Possible Speakers: Ray Bradbury, David Brin, Octavia Butler, Orson Scott Card, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Kim Stanley Robinson, Connie Willis


SF giant _______ talks about his/her life as a successful science fiction writer, explaining how he/she got into the field and offering advice about opportunities and pitfalls for new writers.


8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Opening Night Reception

(Possibly sponsored by one of the publishers.  This event could also be scheduled at the beginning of the evening, with subsequent events pushed back by an hour.)


An informal gathering, giving participants a chance to meet the science fiction professionals in attendance and others who share their love of the genre.



Saturday, October 23


9:30 to 10:20 a.m.

Panel Discussion: The Building Blocks of SF

Possible Panelists: Roger MacBride Allen, Michael Dirda, Joe Mayhew, Lawrence Watt Evans


What are the basic elements and themes of science fiction.  What can authors safely assume their readers know about faster-than-light travel, robots, biotechnology, computers, etc.?  How and when should a writer violate those assumptions to increase a story's impact?  What plots have been done so frequently - or done so well by others - that writers should avoid them?

10:30 to 11:20 a.m.

Panel Discussion: Extrapolating the Future

Possible Panelists: Eric Baker, Brett Davis, Alexis Gilliland, Shariann Lewitt, Jamil Nasir, Charles Sheffield, Michael Swanwick, Steve White


Much of SF presents visions of the future (or at least a future).  What techniques do SF writers use to imagine and portray a world yet-to-come? Doe SF successfully prophesize the future or is SF set in the future more about the present?


11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lunch (on your own)


1 to 1:50 p.m.

Panel Discussion: The Science of Worldbuilding

Possible Panelists: Roger MacBride Allen, Catherine Asaro, Hal Clement, Eric Kotani, Charles Sheffield


Unlike writers in other genres, sf authors frequently must imagine their own worlds - alien planets, orbiting cities, interstellar spaceships, and more.  SF readers are often unforgiving of settings that ignore (or fail to explain why they ignore) commonly accepted scientific principles.  The panel demonstrates some worldbuilding techniques and discusses some of the resources available for non-scientist writers who want to create a new world.


2:00 to 2:50 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Writing for Franchised Worlds

Possible Panelists: Roger MacBride Allen, Ann C. Crispin, Lawrence Watt Evans, Eric Kotani


Check the SF section at your neighborhood bookstore, and you'll find much of the shelf space filled with books based on TV shows, movies, and other "shared worlds."  How is writing in someone else's universe different from other types of writing, and what opportunities exist for writers in the shared world industry?


3:00 to 3:50 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Characters: Human, Alien, and Other...

Possible Panelists: Orson Scott Card, Jack Chalker, Hal Clement, Nancy Kress, Stan Schmidt


What's the motivation of a bug-eyed monster?  How can you show character development in an immortal alien intelligence existing as pure energy?  SF writers have struggled to portray non-human characters as something more than everyday people dressed in rubber suits.  How do writers create believable characters that aren't human and yet are comprehensible to human readers?


4:00 to 4:50 p.m.

Panel Discussion: The Business of Science Fiction

Possible Panelists: Michael Capobianco, Brenda Clough, Ann C. Crispin, Lucienne Diver, Gardner Dozois, Scott Edelman, Beth Meacham, Betsy Mitchell


What should writers know about the SF publishing industry?  What outlets exist to sell your work, and how should you get them to buy it?  What traps and tricksters lie in wait for the unwary new author?


5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Book signing


Throughout the Workshop

Creativity Exercise: Alien Artifact Identification


Practice your creative skills.  Throughout the seminar, several unusual objects will be displayed and seminar participants will be encouraged to write brief descriptions of what these items might be.  Several creative and well-written examples will be read on Saturday afternoon during the book signing.


Possible Workshop Moderators

John Clute

Charles Sheffield

Robert Silverberg

Connie Willis

From Locus Online (

Jim Turner, 1945-1999

Former Arkham House editor and current Golden Gryphon Press publisher Jim Turner died on Palm Sunday, March 28th.

Turner was the third editor of small press Arkham House, founded (in Sauk City, Wisconsin) in the 1930s by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei as a publication vehicle for the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Turner became editor following Derleth's death in 1971, and expanded the publisher's focus from horror to contemporary science fiction with short story collections by many of the genre's leading writers. Books by Michael Bishop, Greg Bear, James Tiptree, Jr., Joanna Russ, Bruce Sterling, and others were published to critical and commercial success in the 1980s and 1990s. At the same time Arkham House maintained its Lovecraft tradition, with revised and corrected story collections edited by S.T. Joshi.

Turner parted with Arkham House in 1996 and founded Golden Gryphon Press, which continued the mix of SF and horror, producing collections by James Patrick Kelly, R. Garcia y Robertson, Robert Reed, and (forthcoming) Tony Daniel, as well as the anthology Eternal Lovecraft, edited by Turner.

Dear Locus,
I just wanted to say a word or two about Jim Turner. A generation of sf writers would never have seen their short fiction permanently in print if it weren't for him. He produced well made, well-thought-out volumes of cutting edge SF, at a publisher whose fans did not always like such fiction, and in a time when the industry said you could not make a profit on individual author short story collections -- and he made it work.

I will always remember his opinionated, occasionally abrasive, logorrheic, eccentric all-hours-of-the-day phone calls (I can't exactly call them conversations, as much of the time Jim seemed to have read-only memory). He loved good writing, and he loved our genre. He wrote abominable jacket copy. But he was a funny guy, an astute reader, a creative publisher and the most meticulous editor I have ever worked with. I'm proud to have had him publish a story collection of mine, and will miss his manic voice and strangely shy presence. Though he loved gossip too much and argued too readily to be any kind of angel, I will remember him as one of nature's innocents. Goodbye, Jim.

John Kessel
14 April 1999


A personal note...

Jim rarely attended the World Fantasy Convention, but he seemed to always be at the Worldcon which seemed odd for the then editor of Arkham House, but that was Jim. At Bucconeer he was his usual lively self, tossing off amusing (& sometimes rather caustic) comments, seemingly whenever he spoke.

I remember sending him a postcard addressed to James Turner. He made a point of letting me know it was Jim ...not James.

As for his Arkham House years, the authors he published are probably some of the most significant of the 1980s and 1990s: J.G. Ballard, Greg Bear, Michael Bishop, James Blaylock, Nancy Kress, Tanith Lee, Ian R. MacLeod, Mary Rosenblum, Michael Shea, Lucius Shepard, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, & James Tiptree. (Two Disclave and a Balticon GoH in that list.)

Michael Walsh