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Monday, August 30, 2004


The Zine Dump #8 -

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF ADDRESS: We're now at 8700 Millicent Way #1501, Shreveport LA 71115. Phone is now 318/797-1822.

Also note -- and I blush: Challenger, my genzine, is a HUGO NOMINEE at this year's worldcon. The zine, now up to its 21st issue, is accessible on-line at www.challzine.net. I hope you'll read it and respond to it with a LOC -- and maybe (though this is a stretch) vote for it. And on that subject, a note:

My practice for years was to respond to every zine I get in the mail with an issue of Challenger -- but that cost, oh, how it cost. That cost, plus postage, has become prohibitive -- so now, I must refer zine editors to the website. For now, paper copies of Chall are available for $7.50 -- and soon, a downloadable .pdf file. We're working on it.

Paper copies of TZD are still available for trade, though, at the address above, for any generally available SF fanzine in English! I want to see (and review) them all.

The following are reviews published in APRIL, 2005. Ignore any other dates that may appear.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


(A) Alexiad, Alter Ego, Ansible, Argentus

Alexiad Vol. 3 No. 6, Vol. 4 No. 1 / Joe & Lisa Major, 1409 Christy Avenue, Louisville KY 40204-2040 / jtmajor-@iglou.com / $2 / There is more good writing in a single Alexiad than in a year of other zines. Mostly reviews, but there's also natter on everything fromnhorses (Lisa's forte) to colonoscopy (Joe's tail .... uh, tale). The December issue rolls a log for nominatiung Terry Pratchett for a Hugo for Going Postal, a splendid idea that alas, fell on deaf ears. When Joe deals with historical non-fiction (or fiction) he is in his element, and superb. Reviewing a book on the British Navy, and completing a three-part review of Melissa Scott's A Choice of Destinies, Joe displays an almost spooky knowledge of past times. He also touches on Ann Rule true crime tales, con artists, the like of Alan Shepard -- and, through Johnny Carruthers, classic candy bars! The letter column is far-ranging -- it mentions the underrated Star Wars/Magnificent 7 ripoff Battle Beyond the Stars -- and Milt Stevens brings up the fascinating question of how masked superheroes could testify in an American court. Think about it! Finally, Major gives us a few paragraphs of a projected Flashman, set in Indo-China; we've got a new Fraser coming up later this year, and please God the Civil War book sometime before our breathing days are over!

Alter Ego No. 40 / Roy Thomas, 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews SC 29135, subs to 10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh NC 27614 / roydann@ntinet.com / $8@, $60 for 12 issues / Half of this remarkable and essential comics fanzine is devoted to the same sad business as the last issue -- memorializing Julius Schwartz, with tributes, reprinted comics covers, Julie caricatures -- all overflowing with the greatest fannish spirit of all time. The zine is both delightful and agonizing to read. God, I loved that man. There's a lot more, though. highlights are interviews with Russ Heath and the late Gil Kane, and there are even a couple of photos of me, taken 30 years apart. i haven't aged a minute! (No, I've aged 30 years!)

Ansible #208 / Dave Langford / 94 London Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 5AU, U.K. / U.S. Agent: Janice Murray, P.O. Box 75684, Seattle WA 98125-0684 / SAE or. / I haven't seen an issue since December of British fandom's indispensable gossipzine. The news -- mostly of the British scene -- is invaluable, but the features -- "How Others See Us", "Random Fandom", and above all, make Ansible irreplaceable.

Argentus No. 4 / Steven H Silver, 707 Sapling Lane, Deerfield IL 60015-3969 / shsilver@sfsite.com / http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/argentus.html / $5 or. / With this issue, Argentus becomes eligible for the Hugo. Uh-oh. I don’t know how a mess like Challenger can compete with such a superb production. To begin with, this issue sports a fine Brad Foster cover, one of those supremely detailed illos that must have taken Brad days to draw. For another thing, the content – well-wrought, varied, and intelligent – not a woofer in the lot. Rich Lynch describes a disturbing luncheon with Buzz Aldrin. Joe Major brags on Louisville activities away from the track in Derby Week. John F. Carr tells the terrible tale of H. Beam Piper, an enormously affecting piece. Silver himself leads us on a moving tour of the Kennedy Space Center. The signature Mock Section – which Steven says he might scrap – boasts interviews with fictional characters like Miles Vorkosigan and Larry Niven’s Svetz. This is hardly all – and it’s all good writing. If Argentus has a problem it’s with its layout – Steven has yet to display much of an eye for page design. But the text here is prime.


(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.


(C) Cacophony Too: The v Generation, Chunga, Comic Effect, ConNotations

Cacophony Too: The v Generation Vol. XXVIII, Issue 6 / Tracy Majkol c/o KaCSFFS, P.O. Box 36212, Kansas City MO 64171-6212 / tmajkol@mindspring.com / The July newszine of the Kansas City group bears a photo on its cover of Campbell Award winners, but this is not the worldcon’s JWC Award for Best New Writer. Fred Pohl, George Zebrowski, Brian (not “Brain”) Aldiss, Greg Benford, Harry Harrison and this year’s winner, Jack McDevitt, are depicted, and however many their virtues, these gents are hardly new. Obviously, this Campbell conference was an important event, but I find little information about it within. There’s a nice ConQuest report, a Spiderman 2 review, lots of neat upcoming plans for the club, all of which is great, but an outsider feels a little lost. Context, Tracy, context!

Chunga #7 / Randy Byers, 1013 N. 36th, Seattle WA 98103 / $3.50 or trade / Chunga is a superb fanzine that always makes me feel left out – somewhat in the way Plokta does. Too bad for me; there’s nothing exclusionary in any of these pages. The skillful writers and artists share their world in breezy, readable prose and elegant, funny drawings – so unless you’re a paranoid nut like me, you have no excuse to feel excluded from its marvelous realm. Noting the whimsical Brad Foster cover, one observes that most of this issue’s content deals with intercontinental travel. Lilian Edwards heads for Mexico, specifically Mexico City and Cancun (“wet and listless” during her visit). Byers, the lucky s.o.b., heads for Australia, specifically Queensland, to pursue a lady love and “good piss” (true Australian beer). It is an enviable trip, and a righteous report ... and I suspect it gives rise to Ulrika O’Brien’s hilarious bacover. Also here: funny pieces from Luke McGuff, a thoughtful reflection on John Brunner’s Shockwave Rider by Andy Hooper, and the readable lettercol, yclept for some crazed reason “The Iron Pig”.

Comic Effect # 39 / Jim Kingman, P.O. Box 2188, Pasadena CA 91102-2188 / jkcomeff@aol.com / www.comiceffect.com / 6 for $24 / It’s terribly tough to read this issue’s tribute to Julie Schwartz’ comics career – but this is a zine I’ll keep. Solid articles on some of Julie’s sterling accomplishments, well-written (as is par for Comic Effect) and informative. Special applause for Kingman’s piece on The Atomic Knights and Gene Pope’s review of the Schwartz autobiography, Man of Two Worlds. Would you believe I only now picked up on the play on Julie’s most famous Flash story?

ConNotations Vol. 14, Issue 4 / Stephanie Bannon, CASFS, P.O. Box 62613, Phoenix AZ 85082 / editors@casfs.org / 6 issues/$15 but free to any number of people / The word I always find for this tabloid newspaper – it’s far more than a mere clubzine – is “comprehensive,” and it is: there is a lot to fandom and ConNotations does its best to include it. Lee Whiteside is the best media correspondent I’ve found in fandom. The reviews of current film and DVD releases are voluminous and on target. Club and con listings, of course, accompany game and “musty tomes” reviews. Damn! I note the passing of fan Woody Harper here and realize that I didn’t include his name in the N4 program book. LISTEN UP, EVERYONE ... If one of your fannish number passes, please alert the next worldcon and NESFA (see address elsewhere) which keeps a database of such information. Make sure Harper gets his due in ‘05.


(D) Dagon, DASFAx, Data Dump, De Profundis, The Devniad, Ditto

Dagon #585-7 / John Boardman, 234 E. 19th St., Brooklyn NY 11226-5302 / trade / April and May issues of John’s distinctive publications for Apa-Q. How is Dagon distinctive? Each issue has a cover composed of comic strips, some sharing a theme (May’s is cats, for instance), an inside front cover reprinting “unintentionally comic displays of mystical gullibility,” i.e., a flyer advertising psychic healing or somesuch, The Colin Ferguson Award attacking some author John considers pro-war, a page on the abuse of patriotism by yahoos high and low – and, as should be obvious, a defiantly leftist point of view. It’s an interesting point of view – I wouldn’t have caught Johnny Hart’s “I-Slam”/outhouse crescent dig in B.C. – but I find it self-destructive. I won’t hold my nose quite so tightly when I vote for Kerry. Also distinctive, if not political, is Boardman’s involving chatter about New York fandom, Lunacon, fannish ferry rides across NY harbor, and the like. In #587, Boardman describes a nice encounter with that fine, shy lady Bujold (Lois, not Genevieve), adding more evocative New York notes (we too have been to St. Paul’s Chapel). He tries to justify not voting for John Kerry because Bush bamboozled him into voting for the Iraq War – to me, that’s blaming another victim for the crime. If ever there was a time for supporting the much, much, much lesser of two evils, this is it! A “review” of The Good Soldier Schweck [sic] makes me wish I’d read the novel back when I was into academic literature. Intelligently, this dedicated liberal vows to avoid Manhattan during the fascist festival planned there for early September.

DASFAx Vol. 36 #s 5-8 / John & Tammy Fiala, 741 King Street, Denver CO 80204 / editor1@dasfa.org / http://www.dasfa.org / I like the new logo and format for this mile-high clubzine, and the personal spin to the reviews and natter. Fred Cleaver’s review of the new Kim Stanley Robinson novel would make me want the book even if I didn’t admire Robinson as much as I do. Cute – no other word – Stu Shiffman illos adorn the latest issue, which includes reviews of the new Charles Stross and China Mieville novels and a challenging word scramble. Gimme a few minutes ...

Data Dump #71 / Steve Sneyd, 4 Nowell Place, Almondbury, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD5 8PB U.K. / $2 / Subtitled “Proto SF Poetry – A Provisional Timeline”, Sneyd’s overview runs from Gilgamesh 4000 years ago to the first netzine devoted to poetry, a mere five years ago. I’ve got to read “Aniara”, Henry Martinsson’s poem; it’s said to be the only Nobel-winning SF. What about The Glass Bead Game and Steppenwolf and Grass’ The Tin Drum?

De Profundis 376-8 / Marty Cantor, c/o LASFS, 11513 Burbank Blvd., N. Hollywood CA 91601 / www.lasfs.org / LASFS’ meeting minutes – “Cream of Menace” – are the core of its clubzine, always arch and funny, complete on details like clubhouse repairs and rich in collateral reportage from members, like Larry Niven praising the cover to his new novel, stupid crook stories and the every-Thursday staple, three cheers to a Patron Saint. There’s even space for Ed Cox to doodle in, and how ancient is that schtick? (Here’s some more:)

The Devniad / Bob Devney, 25 Johnson Street, N. Attleboro MA 02760 / bobdevney@aol.com / Everyone come to the Fanzine Lounge at Noreascon, and participate in Bob’s project for First Night: a massive convention oneshot!

Ditto 17 / Pat & Roger Sims, 7030 Villa Estelle Dr., Orlando FL 32819-4246 / roger.sims@att.net / Advertising the 2004 “other fanzine convention,” to be held October 8-10 at ... well, if you can go, you should, so write to the Simses and find out more.


(E) Earisheen, Erg, Emerald City

Earisheen #3 / James Bacon, 211 Black Horse Ave., Dublin 7, Ireland / The first issue I’ve seen of an attractive zine from this year’s TAFF winner, with photo-illustrated articles about beer (I’d enjoy it more if I knew what “Sproutlore” is), Mecon 7, and – not photo-illustrated – an exhaustive philological analysis of “the ‘C’ word,” correctly described as “the most offensive word in the English language.” Then up spake the Bey of Algiers. After a paean to the Ford Capri, Andi Evans and Mike Capey exult over the life and career of the unfamiliar Irish novelist Flann O’Brien, whose work I should evidently tap, and Bacon adds an anecdote about how local fandom repaired a lout’s damage to their meeting pub, purely out of largesse. And speaking of Irish novelists, I just made a Joycean pun.

Erg 166 / Terry Jeeves, 66 Red Scar Dr., Scarborough, N. Yorks. YO12 5RQ, U.K. / Treasure this issue of what must be fandom’s senior fanzine, since Terry claims it will be his last. Ailing, 82, and annoyed unto near insanity by a clogged e-mail inbox, he just can’t handle it anymore – and that makes this zine an occasion to regret. But it’s a good entry – the ninth installment of Terry’s World War II memoirs, informing us boomers of a soldier’s laugh-a-minute life. The story of the shipboard latrine and the wags who sent flaming wads of ... paper down its slough would make a pacifist out of Jerry Pournelle. (Terry asks for volunteers to print the remaining 12 chapters of his reminiscences, and Challenger’s hand is raised.) A long article on “tail-less” aircraft features Terry’s own artwork and some fascinating facts. I send Erg to Rosy’s stepfather for just such articles: he’s a WWII bomber navigator and aviation buff, so he can groove on these pieces. Oh, we will Erg, and Terry’s art, and articles, and Penelope Fandergaste, and the sense that fanzines belong to real people in the real world and that they’re not just recording life, but making it better ...

Emerald City / Cheryl Morgan, cheryl@emcit.com / http://www.emcit.com / What can I tell you: the very best. I must reluctantly leave e-only zines out of this issue, but don’t be fooled: Emerald City represents the future of this hobby. Read it.


(F) Das Fangold, File 770, For the Clerisy, Future Times

Das Fangold # 7 / Alexis A. Gilliland, 4030 8th St. S., Arlington VA 22204 / Very irregular perzine (I’ve never seen an issue before) by one of fandom’s great personalities, a distinctive (multi-Hugo-winning) fan artist and published writer. This issue sports Morrie the Critic talking politics with a right-wing “I” character (Alexis swears it’s not Taras Wolansky) on election politics, Abe Ghraib, and other horrors of the W age. Set up Morrie with another brewski, I’m with him all the way.

File 770 143 / Mike Glyer, 705 Valley View Drive, Monrovia CA 91016 / NEW E-DRESS MikeGlyer@cs.com / $8 for 5 issues, $15 for 10 / The way Mike’s been publishing, it might take a few years to work out a subscription; this is the first issue in about 18 months. Much of the news and many of the eulogies are stale. Still, it’s good to be reminded of the dispute over Harry Warner’s fanzine collection (thanks to Robert Lichtman and Rich Lynch), and of historical interest are the ‘03 Westercon (thanks to John Hertz), the ‘03 Con-Version (from Calgary, thanks to Dale Speirs), and the ‘03 World Fantasy Convention (thanks to Martin Moose Wors- ... Martin Morse Wooster). One of F770's unique functions was always to serve as a fannish yearbook, and all kidding aside, these are well-wrought accounts. Another forte of this multiple-Hugo-winning fanzine is the publication of beat tidbits of fannish life, such as David Bratman’s misadventure with paranoid airport security after a Loscon, a fans competing in weightlifting competitions and – please God – surviving Iraq. There’s also a piece about Janice Gelb’s close brush with the California gubernatorial race, Forry Ackerman’s largesse with Hollywood, Dennis Lien on Minn-STF’s penchant for mock-murdering its presidents. But best are Glyer’s impeccably-reproduced photographs, and I’m not talking about the one of me, or even that of legendary Lionel Fanthorpe. I’m talking about the shots of Sierra, Mike’s daughter – loveliness incarnate. F770 has been fandom incarnate in the past, when its news was fresh, its stories new; it was then a true locus, a genuine focal point, for our hobby, a place where all could find all, where events and dates and stats didn’t o’erwhelm the humanity of fandom. Let’s hope this issue marks a return to that status, to frequent publication, up-to-date information, a current and unifying voice.

For the Clerisy #s 56-57 / Brant Kresovich, P.O. Box 404, Getzville NY 14068-0404 / kresovich@hotmail.com / $2, LOC, or trade / The clerisy are people who read for pleasure, but the real world lends an edge to these issues. He compliments my comments on the Abu Ghraib atrocities, but true to his calling, Brant has found the perfect quotation to sum up the obscenity. That’s about it, though; books and spectacles, of all things, take over the text: Brant discusses the superb work of Kate Wilhelm, include her surprise Hugo winner Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang just before depicting “Glasses-wearing People We Admire or Dread”, from Groucho to Buddy Holly, then launches into a cool discussion of Auto-Experimentation, which is not what you’re thinking, but rather the familiar type of story in which the hero tries out his secret serum on himself. Dr. Jekyll to LSD. Oscar Levant, the FBI, rock journalism all get notice in these enthusiastic yet critical journals of what and why people put their eyes onto written language and the things they glean from the experience.

Future Times Vol.7 #5-8 / Jayne Rogers, Atlanta Science Fiction Society, P.O. Box 98308, Atlanta GA 30359-2008 / www.asfs.org / Good clubzine from a group of media fans, with broad interests. A number of enthusiastic contributors – Lewis Murphy, Bill Downs, Mark Woolsey, Jan Sides – keep members up to snuff on SF, horror fiction, Dark Shadows and so forth with solid reviews and lots of news. Moving article about actor Richard Biggs, dead far too soon. Good cover art, especially Tim Flanagan’s sexy Ubik girl in May. August is the Dragon*Con issue, and since I’m mad at Dragon*Con for denying me the chance to see Julie Schwartz at Torcon, I’ll ignore that event here. Zine is good, though – a negative review of Fat White Vampire Blues a positive review of King Arthur, a rather snitty review of Spider-man 2, and an interesting interview with writer Karen Traviss. ASFA has a lot percolating, such as guest speakers and a rather suspicious alliance with a Klingon group that recently hosted a putt-putt challenge, for charity. T’gor-ha!


( I ) Instant Message, Interstellar Ramjet Scoop

Instant Message 735-9 / NESFA, P.O. Box 809, Framingham MA 01701-0809 / info@nesfa.org / http://www.nesfa.org / The monthly newszine of the revered Massachusetts club is all about the club, and there is much to report – many of its pages are consumed by columns of figures, and what’s left are reports of committees on the clubhouse, on donations, on the NESFA Press (best small press in science fiction), on Boskone. In #739 it’s revealed that even though Boston caught a piece of Hurricane Charley, it wasn’t enough to damage NESFA’s clubhouse. Club minutes deal with everything from building repairs (at astounding length) and the Fellows of NESFA to cleaning melted cheese out of the microwave.

Interstellar Ramjet Scoop April-August 2004 / 4 - 1 Park St., St. Kilda, Vict. 3182 Australia / Each of Bill’s ANZAPAzines is fronted by a beautiful Ditmar design. The August issue salutes the 70th birthday of Mervyn Russell Binns by dropping a photo of the gent – in an apron – into a psychedelic idyll; Ditmar (Dick Jenssen) appends a special paragraph explaining the technique. A photo- and info-0rich report on Continuum 2 follows. Bill exults over the flight of SpaceShipOne (launched near my birthplace in Mojave, California), and takes a historical look at the Pied Piper legend. I had a dream about the Pied Piper once that actually frightened me. In earlier issues, Jenssen adds mathematical articles that stagger my innumerate mind, Lisa LNU (that stands for “last name unknown) contributes journey reports to Laos and other exotic ports o’call. Interleaved, flyers for the Bring Bruce Bayside Fund, which has garnered enough geld through fanzine sales to ... well, bring Bruce (Gillespie) bayside – which is to say, to the SanFran area Corflu. If he went by Berkeley, I hope he thought of me.


(K-L-M) The Knarley Knews, Lofgeornost, Memphen

The Knarley Knews #105-7 / Henry Welch, 1525 16th Ave., Grafton WI 53024-2017 / welch@msoe.edu or LethaWelch@aol.com / $1.50 @ / Welch hasn’t even started law school yet and already he’s had hassles, with his employer about paying for it. Whateve rhappens, I predict he’ll do well – he’ll bring an engineer’s precision and clarity to occasioanlly murky issues, and the law – believe me or don’t – values clarity above all else. Preparing to start his extended nightmare, Knarl describes a relaxing trip to the L.A. area for his mother’s MBA graduation, and another jaunt to attractive Salt Lake City. (Utah’s is the most beautiful state capitol building I’ve ever seen.) Sue Welch’s columns describe this year’s family assemblage in Vail – an evocative, nicely-written account – and review the odd PBS reality series, Colonial House. Todd Bushlow contributes a piece on the Sonora Caverns and Milt Stevens ranks this year’s fiction Hugo contenders – he says his choices never win, but I hope some praised here do. Also here, a thoughtful piece by Gene Stewart and zine ruminations by Rodney Leighton. In the latest issue Knarl surrounds himself with techno-toys, and anticipates law school. Pain addict! A family trip to Pennsylvania brings the Welches to the desolation of Centralia, where a coal fire has been wasting the landscape since 1961. Sue Welch describes Oregon, Terry Jeeves pops in with a good-natured rant about everything from phone horoscopes to crop circles, and Rebel winner and former SFC President Julie Wall tells a terrible traffic tale. In the lettercol, Joseph Nicholas compares winger adulation for Ronald Reagan with the idolatry heaped on Staling when that old horror went to Hell. Good writing in these zines, and a peachy-cute cover to #105 by Sean Russel Friend.

Lofgeornost #75-6 / Fred Lerner, 81 Worcester Ave., White River Junction VT 05001 / fred.lerner@dartmouth.edu / FAPA and trade / Ever traveling, Fred noses into Nova Scotia in this spring FAPAzine, and it’s a fine journey. Seals, fishing villages (I always liked the word “picturesque”) with “Lunenburg bumps” (reminding me of Charleston’s unique side-entry porches), delightful Halifax and its museums, and any number of nifty inns and pubs. One can practically smell the sea air – and one also wonders if Fred & frau have ever visited Fremantle. Various apt mailing comments follow, and a discourse on bibliometrics ends things on a baffling note. The later issue tops its predecessor with a trip of anyone’s lifetime: St. Petersburg, and I don’t mean Florida. Planes, trains, buses, feet – awesome journey! Fred takes us through Lappeenranta on the Finnish-Russian border through Vyborg and its “White Night” (sun doesn’t set that far north) and militant babushkas to St. Petersburg itself. Down Nevskiy Prospekt the Lerners go, through Peter the Great’s Summer Palace and the Russian Museum and gaggles of cathedrals. Finally, after losing his wallet, touring the Grand Palace, and riding the hydrofoil, Fred reaches the Hermitage. The site dwarfs the effect of the art. A rich, detailed, dignified but never dull account, Lofg #76 is another gift from fandom’s busiest and most generous world traveler. But – what is “stuffed dolma”?

Memphen #s 279-281 / Greg Bridges, 141 Stonehaven Circle, Jackson TN 38305 NEW ADDRESS / Trade / Greg sent several back issues of the Memphis clubzine from 2002, all with excellent, funny cover cartoons by Tom Foster; pencilled on each is “for Best Fan Artist”, and if Foster’s work reached more venues, he would certainly merit a nod. Content is the usual for a clubpub, dated now, of course, but some is moving and timeless, such as #281's series of heartfelt memorials for Memphen Dal Coger, P.L. Caruthers-Montgomery and Sid Jones.


(N) The NASFA Shuttle, N.I.N.N.Y., Nippon in 2007, No Award, No Time, No Energy & Not Much to Say, Noreascon 4

The NASFA Shuttle Vol. 23 No. 9-11 / Mike Kennedy, c/o North Alabama SF Association, P.O. Box 4857, Huntsville AL 35815-4857 / nasfa.shuttle@con-stellation.org / $1.50@, $10/year / A clubzine, yes – with a calendar of upcoming NASFA events and minutes of club meetings. But with this much variety, one might describe the Shuttle as a min-genzine, to which editor Kennedy, a Rebel Award winner, is the most significant contributor. He reviews cons (the resurgent Xanadu and the Rocket City Fur Meet, every bit as frightening as CSI made its attendees out to be), movies (what’s this American Astronaut?) and cogent responses to LOCs (the ubiquitous Lloyd Penney). But there are other fine contributors – “PieEyedDragon” gives us a truly wackmo playlet about dragons, Doug Lambert reviews a book on dragons (hmm, a theme?) – and lots of awards news. In the August issue Mike reviews LibertyCon 17, latest of one of the South’s best relaxacons, and Spider-man 2, and provides the first report of the World Fantasy Award nominations. Huntsville obviously tries to keep in the national fannish loop.

N.I.N.N.Y. #1 / Randall Fleming, P.O. Box 625, NYC NY 10276-0625 / ninnyzine@yahoo.com / The good reverend returns to the Apple, with evocative essays and vignettes inspired by the city that inspires more stories than any other. A happy surprise is an interview with Brooklyn!’s Fred Argoff, and perhaps in honor of this motorman, many of Randall’s New York yarns take place on the subway. Ah, that familiar smell of burnt insulation – a shame to waste it on Republicans this month! Fleming isn’t into SF, as far as I can tell, but it’s good to have him back in the fanzining fold.

Nippon in 2007 progress report ver. 0.5 / The Gaijin Fan in Japan / Rene Walling, P.O. Box 314, Annapolis Junction MD 20701-0314 (American address) / As it says, a pre-selection p.r. for “the first Worldcon [to be] held in Asia.” It’s rather plain but well-written, a paean to a very exciting bid, with a piece by stalwart John Hertz on the enticing “strangeness” of a Yokohama worldcon, a report on a Japanese trip by anime fan Paul Blotkamp, and remarks on the Seiun Award by Takumi Shibano, the indisputable #1 Sfer from the chrysanthemum isles. Impressive list of pre-supporters! Gaijin Fan is a very nicely written & illustrated piece of propaganda for the bid, incorporating a long and informative article by Allen Baum and Danya White. The photographs are works of art. Nippon will almost undoubtedly win the ‘07 contest and those attending will be in good company. Hope we can get there; my father saw Yokohama after a certain unpleasantness some decades back, and I’d like to visit it again, for him.

No Award #15 / Marty Cantor, 11825 Gilmore St. #105, North Hollywood CA 91606 / hoohahpubs@earthlink.net / $5 or the usual / Marty does something I heartily approve of: not just post his excellent genzine on the web for most readers, but publish a paper version for paperhounds like me. Very funny cover by Steve Stiles based on that underrated show, Futurama; except for the unspeakably sad episode about Fry’s lost dog, I’ve never seen a flop episode, and the “snu-snu” show deserved a Hugo nomination. After telling the story of the neighbors from Hell, and the new managerial job this ill chance brought him, Marty credits Corflu for re-energizing his fanac. In gratitude he reprints Andy Hooper’s “Fanorama 3004 A.D.”, a crazed – and lengthy – play presented there. Featured are great fan writers from Walt Willis to Susan Wood. Who in today’s fandom will catch all the in-jokes? Stalwarts Joe Major and Milt Stevens are next up, Joe with a nice review of a nice fanzine, Peregrine Nations, and Milt with a spirited re-telling of S. Fowler Wright’s The World Below, from 1928. Milt is so savage he should wear a bone through his nose. I miss Ed Green in this issue, but still, No Award remains a consistently fun fanzine – as long as Marty keeps these paper versions coming.

No Time, No Energy & Not Much to Say #13 / Dwain Kaiser, P.O. Box 1074, Claremont CA 91711-1074 / dgkaiser@hotmail.com / “the faanish ‘Usual’” / Dwain needs to change the title of this zine, since he seems to have a great deal to say – starting with the satirical cover, a housewife pledging to be an obedient Bushie. The issue displays contrary sympathies through a righteous biblical letter to the celebrated homophobe, Dr. Laura, a review of an Irish book about same-sex unions, a savage poem on “The Grinch in the White House”, plus off-the-wall reviews by Thom Digby that are better than the junk they review. The Passion of the Christ is twice reviewed. (I haven’t seen it – I like Jesus, so why watch him getting tortured?) Quite a lot to say. Received with Nothing like Working Off a Little Anger #18, bedecked by a photo of Sandra Bond. Dwain reveals his terrifying recent illness, which medics erroneously – thank the aforementioned Jesus – said put him within spittin’ distance of the Happy Hunting Ground. Zines bought at Corflu brought him through. I wonder when Corflu will come to New Orleans ...

Noreascon 4 P.R. 7 / The Utilitarian Issue / Joe Siclari, MCFI, P.O. Box 1010, Framingham MA 01701-1010 / info@mcfi.org / http://www.noreascon.org / Sent to members 1296A and 1297A in the 2004 worldcon, this short and fairly plain newsletter is just what it says, a helpful guide to Noreascon a month before it opens, with directions to the con, parking advice (both of which we’ll need), a guide to First Night (which we’ll be part of), a link to restaurant reviews, a general schedule, some rules (no animals except service animals in convention space, the big meanies), new members, and to juice things up, a piece by N4's delightful Fan Guest (or one of them, anyway) Peter Weston and a trivia hunt. 25 questions, the 25th of which gives ten first lines and asks for identification. I think I can do one, “i”, The Island of Dr. Moreau. Right?


( O ) OASFiS Event Horizon, Opuntia

OASFiS Event Horizon issues 202-205 / Leslie R. Hammes, 4324 Fetrow Dr., Orlando FL 32812 / $12/year / These summer issues of the slim Orlando clubzine mention award nominees and some club news (that picnic sounds nice), but it’s not for such that I anxiously await the September number: I want to know what vicissitudes were visited upon these nice folks by the savage him-a-cane Charley.

Opuntia 54 & 54.3 / Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2E7 Canada / $3 @ or. / Why “.3"? It has to do with Dale’s unique numbering system. Whole numbers are sercon in nature. “.1"s feature reviews, “.2" indexes, “.3" apazines, “.5" perzines. What are “.4"s??? Leaving that question for the philosophers, this whole number announces the ‘05 Westercon in Calgary and reviews scattered sociological and scientific tomes – reminiscent of Major Marko’s library in The Manchurian Candidate. Articles append on a terrible fire in Dale’s home town in 1928, Canada’s numerous nut-fringe political parties (with a fun evolutionary diagram), a loony cult’s appropriation of a local hillock, and a reprinted piece on surviving terror from a political publication, The Thought. Very sensible, very cogent. As for “.3", it is indeed an apazine, for FAPA, and its commentary thereon is none of an outsider’s affair.


(P) Peregrine Nations, Plokta

Peregrine Nations Vol. 4 No. 1 / J.G. Stinson, P.O. Box 248, Eastlake MI 49626-0248 / tropicsf@earthlink.net / $2 or t.u. / A collage of stickers adorns this issue’s color cover of one of my favorite perzines – we don’t see enough personal zines nowadays, and I blame the net. Anyway, Jan leads off with LOCs, as usual, a lettercol of a lively tone, just like the zine. (No shock, that.) Featured is Jason Burnett, a local dude just entering fanzine fandom, whom I got meet when Geri Sullivan came to town. After the letters Lyn McConchie describes “Concepts of Hospitality” she’s encountered in fandom, and E.B. Frohvet discusses end-of-the-world SF. Quite a sub-genre, “eschatological” science fiction ... it runs the gamut from War of the Worlds through When Worlds Collide to Mad Max and Lucifer’s Hammer. When a whelp I used to scan such disaster stories as The Big Eye and One in Three Hundred and give myself nightmares. Seems to me such stories aren’t so much about the destruction of the world as about rebuilding society according to the writer’s utopian fantasies. Jan’s concluding “free book” contest asks about Tom Disch. See? I knew ...

Plokta 31 / Steve Davies, 52 Westbourne Terrace, Reading, Berks U.K. RG30 2RP; Alison Scott, 24 St. Mary Rd., Walthamstow, London U.K. E17 9RG; Mike Scott, 2 Craithie Rd., Chester U.K. CH3 5LJ / locs@plokta.com / www.plokta.com / One of the “warning lights” on the iPlokta (get it? For “iPod”?) drawn by Alison Scott for the cover reads “Too Many In-Jokes”, and the brilliant, evial cabal that creates this perennial Hugo nominee takes care to avoid this pitfall in this issue. After all, everybody loves underwear (or “foundation garments,” which must be the British term), so they can identify with Flick’s article on same, and all pet owners can commiserate with Giulia de Cesare as she tries to fit her cat with the proper collar, and everybody, no doubt, has gotten soused with her book club and gone about shouting the “c” word with Lilian Edwards, and everybody needs “Olde Plokta’s Almanack” to tell them what the dates mean, true? True? True. I no longer feel alien amongst Sue Mason’s wonderful fan art and the incomprehensible stories in the margins of this joyous creation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


(R) Recipes for Disaster, Rodney’s Messy Zine_Like Thing

Recipes for Disaster / Deb Geisler for Rune Press, P.O. Box 8297, Lake St. Station, Minneapolis MN 55408 / Epic cookbook cum souvenir book for Minicon 39, prepped by the Noreascon 4 chairman, designed by Geri Sullivan, with tips for the best bid party, appreciative notes on con GoH Connie Willis, a Bostonian lexicon (“shot (adj) Not tall”), and some cute personal natter from this pink-o-phobic genius of a conventioneer.

Rodney’s Messy Zine_Like Thing #3 / Rodney Leighton, R.R. #3, Tatamagouche, N.S. B0K 1V0 Canada / In which Leighton perambles about the letters and zines and books that have come his way of recent, messy indeed but all the more human and accessible for that. Rodney thinks I’m sneering at him because he’s still mourning the recent loss of his parents, and that’s just not so, since I still think about Guy Lillian Jr., lost to a coronary far too young (he was 62) in 1988, and mourn the mother I’ve lost to Alzheimer’s while she still breathes. I’m just worried that Rodney is hurting himself, he hurts so much. Well, it takes as long as it takes. The only thing I’d “sneer” at Leighton about is his consistent swan song: he’s been claiming that he’s quitting fandom for five years.


(S) SFSFS Shuttle, Statement, Sugar Needle

SFSFS Shuttle / George Peterson & Chris Negelein, c/o South Florida SF Society, P.O. Box 70143, Ft. Lauderdale FL 33307-0143 / chairman@sfsfs.org / New look to the newsletter of the Ft. Lauderdale group, with funky covers, a calendar of the month’s events, and media news. The editors call for local contributions, an excellent move – clubzines should spread the word about its membership to science fiction, not just the word about science fiction to its membership.

Statement #317-318 Vol. 28 #5-6 / Sandi Marie McLaughlin, OSFS, 18 Norice St., Ottawa ON K2G 2X5 Canada / sandimarie@ncf.ca / memberships or trade / The 5th issue prints a press release touting the opening of Seattle’s SF Museum and Hall of Fame, which looks like quite a spread, plus stories about space elevators and other space-oriented news and columns. I especially like astronomer Ken Tapping’s pieces – basic, but well-written and as they deal with the thrill of looking into deep space through the Hubble, exciting. The following issue notes club member Lyn Saunders’ fund-raising participation in an Ottawa footrace, gives Hugo and media news. Nice broad scope to this local newszine, but I’d like to hear more stuff about the local folks.

Sugar Needle #25 / Phlox, 1174-2 Briarcliff Rd., Atlanta GA 30306 / The most delectable zine I receive has nothing to do with science fiction, and everything to do with candy. So what? Candy will get you through times of no science fiction better than science fiction will get you through times of no candy, and Rosy has me on a diet, so I know whereof I speak. Anyway, amidst the reviews of candies foreign and domestic and the laudable calls for a regime change in Washington, there’s an interview with the guy who buys zines for resale at Tower Records. He’s just picked up Sugar Needle, which means Phlox might actually make some money off this hobby. Guess how much cash Challenger has brought yours truly?


(T-V) Terminal Eyes, Vanamonde, Visions of Paradise

Terminal Eyes 12 / Tim Marion, c/o Kleinbard, 266 E. Broadway, Apt. 1201B, New York NY 10002 / To my infinite discredit, I admit that the first thing I do when receiving a new issue of Tim’s FAPAzine is scan the illos. No one presents better eye candy. Yes, the Grant Canfield portfolio of old covers from The Alien Critic and Outworlds is fine, as are the rare and welcome George Barr illustrations from ‘97 or thereabouts, Andy MacDonald’s ace drawings of the Green Hornet, and even the photo of Tim’s cats. But it’s the girls that really shine. Oh man. The pictures of Kate Beckinsale almost make me forget that Underworld and Van Helsing were godawful wastes of time (though I did like the vampire harpies in the latter), the bacover stills from Catwoman almost erase the pity heaped on Halle Berry after the film flopped – though the chaste nudes of Nefertiri Shepherd Marion feels compelled to print make Berry look like Beery, as in Wallace Beery. Awesome voyage, this, into the realms of feminine pulchritude, and hooray for Tim. Oh yes. He also writes some passionately heartfelt reviews and natter and FAPA mc’s and responses to LOCs, well worth reading when and if you can rip your gaze from the illustrations.

Vanamonde Nos. 543-547
/ John Hertz, 236 S. Coronado St. No. 409, L.A. CA 90057 / Trade / I have but one complaint about John’s sublime one-sheeter: I don’t get to see it fresh. These issue are from last October. Guess I’ll just have to join Apa-L ... Anyway, read this for the introductory paragraphs and occasional haiku, because John, a polymath, will always throw something new at you: in these issues “Smokey Stover” gets a mention, as does the passing of Hal Clement. John is running the Fanzine Lounge at N4 and is hosting us during the DUFF/TAFF reception.

Visions of Paradise #99-100 / Robert Sabella, 24 Cedar Manor Court, Budd Lake NJ 07828-1023 / bobsabella@nac.net / Perhaps my favorite section of this issue of Bob’s per/genzine is that devoted to Jack Vance, a chronology (illustrated by a nautical photo) and reviews of some of his seminal works. Well I remember inviting myself to Vance’s house in 1968 to bug that generous gentleman with silly neoish questions about writing. He was far kinder to me than I deserved. These reviews are no kinder to his work than it deserves – which is good. Also here, a “rant” by Steve Garper against what he considers to be schlock non-SF collaborations by promising SF writers, “Would It Kill You to Write an SF Novel?” Most of the issue is devoted to Sabella’s personal natter, a diary of the last 12th and first 6th of last year and this, and three pages of here-I-am-at-the-computer-ho-hum-what-now natter about the past, sports faves, food, and the music playing at the moments. #100, as befits its celebratory numeration, bears none of the signs of ennui shown in #99. Sheryl Birkhead provides covers striking and cute by turns to all three parts. Bob’s personal natter is involved and quite personal – his “Snapshot” autobiography is compelling; I can see myself in some of those short paragraphs. His “Brief History of Science Fiction” is actually a short story in which an Italian bookstore passes from owner to owner, surviving by through patrons’ love of the genre. Eeb Frohvet contributes an appreciation of Alan Nourse, M.D., a staple of his and my youth as an SF reader. There’s even a wonderful collection of Marc Schirmeister cartoons on a common theme – “Remember When Kids Used to Build Their Own Spaceships?” It merits exhibition at a worldcon Art Show, just as Schirm merits a Hugo, for “Starship Enterprise” if nothing else. Swell way to turn 100 – and capped by some good jokes. Jokes! On purpose! In a fanzine!


(W) Warp 57, The Weekly TAFF News, Weirdness Before Midnight, Westwind

Warp 57 / Cathy Palmer-Lister, MonSFFA, P.O. Box 1186 Place du Parc, Montreal, Quebec H2X 4A7 Canada / www.monsffa.com / The spring ‘04 issue of this creative clubzine features a Locus parody on the cover and good stuff inside. There’s even a theme – although I suspect it’s accidental and I know it’s R-rated. For instance, there’s a hilariously-illustrated piece on Furries, mostly dealing (fortunately) with the comics, although some flabbergasting photos from AnthroCon 2003 finish the piece and come close to finishing me. In this vein, there’s an article about fictional ape-human sex (I’d hate to see an article about factual ape-human sex) with the inspirational quote “Concupiscence overcame me!” Wow! After all this, the page about real Unas, as opposed to those on Stargate:SG-1, is downright relaxing. Another neat bit follows on the making of chain mail, Reinhardt take note, itself followed by a squib on the Dracula myth, in turn followed by reviews of The Chronicles of Riddick (which left me cold) and Taking Lives (notice how its poster is dominated by Angelina Jolie’s lips?). Then there are photos of local fans in Renaissance garb, book reviews, model reviews, meeting reviews ... a lot to MonSFFA and its fanzine, ‘ey?

The Weekly TAFF News / Randy Byers, 1013 N. 36th St., Seattle WA 98103 / fringefaan@yahoo.com / The annual publication of the TAFF winner, listing the voters in the USA-to-UK race (the subsequent contest was won by James Bacon), thanks those who stood in for him at Torcon (Alan Rosenthal and Mary Kay Kare were indeed great auctioneers), and gives a preliminary account. He reports on the grand time afforded him at Seacon ‘03. Hope we do as well for Bacon at N4.

Weirdness Before Midnight #3 / Dave Szurek, 503 North F #829, Aberdeen WA 98520-2601 / dzsurek@iopener.net / $2.50 or trade / I can’t figure out if Szurek has the sensibilities of a schizoid teenager or affects them as a defense. He says he’s 40; he must be an old hippy like me. Perhaps he figures only insanity would justify his obsessive love for horrible horror movies of the ilk of Plutonium Baby and Crack in the Floor – but hey, this is the choir he’s preaching to. He shouldn’t change his style, anyway, because there’s something nobly askew about purposefully devoting a percentage of one’s life to the enjoyment of seriously stupid stuff, and his deadpan reviews are invested with humorously self- and film-deprecating disgust. (“Unexciting crime drama is like getting an enema.” What need we know more than that?) Besides, occasionally he finds precious brio in this baggage, diamonds in the dross – what my friend Mark Verheiden used to describe as “something there.” It’s fun to watch him search. There’s a lot more here, and mostly, it’s worth hacking through Dave’s terrible layout – a long series of cyberposts on life, the world, and the internet (how come we never see ads about enlarging one’s foot?), and pages of introspection that defy comment but are worth the plunge. Throughout the zine, Chris Friend contribute good paranoid artwork. So, yes, I want to see more issues, if only to share Szurek’s anguish when he finally sees Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell, and realizes it’s simply dull.

Westwind #270-1 / George Nyhen, NWSFS, P.O. Box 24207, Seattle WA 98124 / westwind@nwsfs.org / free to members; dues $20/year / Spring issues of the NWSFS clubzine, a little plain but impeccably reproduced and utilitarian. NWSFS has socials, mass excursions to fannish restaurants, cruises, and CascadiaCon. These issues champion all, review the director’s cut of Alien, which I found less edgy than the original release. Single candidate elections are pending, with mugshots printed here of the contenders. Talk about a sinister-looking krewe!


Never Ending Story...

I thought I had this issue finished earlier today, August 25 – and then checked our post office box. Twelve new fanzines awaited me there – eleven of which demanded notice (Ken Faig doesn’t want Snake Den reviewed). So I’ve hastily scanned some excellent zines. Once again I must disappoint those faneds who publish exclusively on-line – great members of this community like Arnie and Joyce Katz and Earl Kemp. Time doesn’t permit me to scroll down the incredible listing of publications on eFanzines and review the many masterworks thereon.

But though I can’t review each and every e-zine, I can refer your eye to www.eFanzines.com. It’s where the action is; some of the most impressive and most important amateur writing in the genre is being done there. Read Kemp’s eI, for instance, for an unapologetic and inimitable perspective of the sleaze industry of the last quarter century – and a beautiful appreciation of Avram Davidson. (I wish my 1970 photo had been in better focus for you, Earl.)

So see you at Noreascon 4 – and if you read this later, well then, see you later.

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