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Thursday, August 26, 2004


(B) Baryon Magazine, Batteries Not Included, BCSFAzine, Ben's Beat, Brooklyn!

Baryon Magazine 95-6 / Barry R. Hunter, 114 Julia Dr. SW, Rome GA 30165-7999 / $3 by mail, free at www.baryon-online.com / One of the most comprehensive book review pubs opens with a eulogy, and a touching one: Jerry Page on his lifetime friend, Jerry Burge. (I wanted to reprint one of Burge’s exquisite Bok-esque drawings in the N4 program book, but the idea got lost in the crush.) Then the reviews begin, by the editor and the able Harriet Klausner, numerous and varied – romances, fantasies, horror, biblical, mysteries, even a little SF. Most exciting is the volume with which he leads off issue #96: The Runes of the Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson, first volume in the third Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The reviews go heavy on plot but are entertaining to read in themselves. But is there any order to them? And why doesn’t Hunter run a guide at the start of each issue?

Batteries Not Included Vol. XI #s 5-7 / Richard Freeman, 513 N. Central Ave., Fairborn OH 45324 / $3@ US, $4@ outside / The latest issue of this dedicated appreciation of adult filmography is more thoughtful and critical than most – it features an autobiographical effort by the editor, who makes a living reviewing porn for Adam Film World, an angry denunciation of a “date-gangbang” trial in California (as a defense lawyer, I can’t condemn the tactics alleging consent, but as a citizen on the jury, I wouldn’t fall for them), and David Steinberg defending the beauty and dignity of acting in a movie about masturbation. Only Jeff Jarvis’ continuing paean to the unvirtuous virtues of porn star Kylie Ireland provides a lighter mood. Lives on the sexual extreme convey more sadness than anything else, but sadness has a lot to tell us.

BCSFAzine 372-4 / Garth Spencer, Box 15335, VMPO, Vancouver BC V6R 2H7 Canada / hrothgar@vcn.bc.ca / http://www3.telus.net/dh2/bcsfa / I’ve made it a matter of pride to add at least one number to the GHLIII Press every month since I began this hobby, back in 1969. (In October, in fact – coming up on 35 years.) Nevertheless I am still awestruck by faneds like Spencer who produce a nice 36-pp pub like these on such a schedule. Each of these monthly issues boasts an attractive Taral Wayne furry on the cover, club events (birthdays are accompanied by a biographical paragraph and silly illo), the occasional book review, the occasional con report, news from all over. Neat pieces in #372 on protecting the V’Con trademark and a defunct newszine Garth published in the 1980's. Lots of talk, too, on CUFF, the trans-Canadian fan fund.

Ben's Beat 77 / Ben Indick, 428 Sagamore Ave., Teaneck NJ 07666-2626 / Ben’s FAPAzine is fandom’s only consistent avenue to real theatre, but even without its signature “Broadway Beat” it would be worth reading. Beginning with a tribute to fellow FAPAn Robert Silverberg’s six decades in SF, it reviews a number of theatre tomes (including one “honey,” Dale Wasserman’s The Impossible Musical and a “biography” of 42nd Street, once and perhaps always the wildest avenue in New York. Ben’s voluminous play reviews highlight a poor version of Tiptree’s Hugo-winning “The Girl Who Was Plugged In”, a “sparkling” revival of a pre-Sullivan W.S. Gilbert play, Engaged, and the odd and controversial Prymate, which made the news for having a fine black actor thumb his nose at both political correctness and repulsive stereotype by portraying a gorilla. Apparently the play isn’t as good as he is. The most fascinating portion of the zine follows, a report on a seminar on “Creating Very Old People”, “Scenarios” for oldsters in the future – I hope to be one – and some nifty quotes on old age. He closes where he should have begun, with a color photo of one of his wife’s exquisite sculptures; although I’m sure Silverbob appreciated the reprinted F&SF cover depicting his own peerless chops, this abstract beauty would surely have wowed him more.

Brooklyn! No. 45 / Fred Argoff, 1800 Ocean Pkwy #F-10, Brooklyn NY 11223-3036 / $10 per 4 quarterly issues / For some reason this issue of Fred’s ongoing love letter to his great borough strikes me as the best issue I’ve seen yet. Maybe it’s the sheer joy Argoff takes in the decor of anonymous apartment buildings, in evoking the history behind a graffiti-laden bridge an abandoned train track, or a forlorn creek bed – or in the classic language of the Brooklynite (so similar to the “yat” patois of Nawlins’ “Nint’ Wawd”), or the story of Coney Island. A request: Fred should devote some space to the most famous Brooklyn monument, the wonderful Bridge that bears its name. We’ve walked across it, an exalting experiences that will now forever mean New York.

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