Westwind No. 136 December 1988
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Westwind No. 136 December 1988
Rena Bassilvergorian is the artist who created this month's frant and back cover. A professional belly dancer and an avid costumer, Rena has attended all but the first Norwescon. For the past six years, she has been staff artist for Ye Crier, the newsletter of the Society for Creative Anachronists, and co-editor of the same publication for a couple of years.
Editor: Robert Suryan
Art Editor: Doug Booze
Layout Editor: Judy Suryan
Printing: Michael Brocha
Typing: Sue BartroffJudy Suryan, Robert Suryan
Mailing Labels: Lauraine Miranda
October Collating: Sue Bartroff, Michael Brocha, Lauraine Miranda, Robert Suryan
CONTRIBUTORS: Sue Bartroff, Elisabeth Eldred,Jon Gustafson, M. Elayn Harvey, Mark Manning, Chris McDonell, Lauraine Miranda, Joe H. Palmer, Dora Shirk, Doug Shirk, Von L. Stevens
ART CREDITS: Andrew Bartroff, Robert Bartroff, Sue Barrtoff, Brad Foster, The Unknown Artist
BACK COVER: Rena Bassilvergorian
Just Another Tinsel Trimmed Christmas by Von L Stevens: Page 5
Kennings by Joe H. Palmer: Pages 6-7
Other Matters by Dora Shirk: Pages 8-9
Little Paper Faces by Mark Manning: Pages 9-10
Open Forum by Sue Bartroff: Page 11
Serpent's Tooth by Jon Gustafson: Page 12-13
Moscon X Review by Chris McDonell: Page 13
Reeltime by Doug Shirk: Page 14
Star of Wander by M. Elayn Harvey: Pages 16-19
Social: Page 3
Calendar: Page 3
Announcements: Page 4
Birthdays: Page 4
Personals: Page 4
Lauraine's Newsfs: Page 7
LoCs: Page 15
Book Review: Page 15
WESTWIND -- the newsletter of the Northwest Science Fiction Society. Issue No. 135, November 1988. Published by Northwest Science Fiction Society. Chairman: Judy Suryan (redacted). Vice-Chairman: Becky Simpson (redacted). Secretary-Treasurer: Sue Bartroff (redacted). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the editors or publisher.
Contents copyright (C) 1988 for contributors by the Northwest Science Fiction Society. Westwind is mailed monthly to members of NWSFS, (redacted), SEATTLE, WA 98124. Memberships in NWSFS cost $12.00 ($15.00 for out of country - in U.S. funds only) per year including 12 months of Westwind. Advertising is accepted; must be received Camera-read by the 5th of the month prior to issue. Mail to NWSFS. Full page (7.5 x 10), $20: Half-page (7.5 x 5). $12: quarter page (3.5 x 5), $7: eighth page or business card, $5. NWSFS INFORMATION HOTLINE: (redacted).
New Year's Eve Social
Congratulations to Chris McDonell for bravely volunteering to host the New Year's Social on Dec 31/Jan 1.
First some caveats. Chris has a cat and allows no smoking in the house. Overnighters are welcome but it will be B.Y.O.E. (everything). And don't arrive before 5:00 p.m. Pot luck begins at about 7:00 p.m.
Activities planned for this social are: Boffo fireworks show at midnight, Go tourney (Chris says: "Honest, I promise this year."), VCR, The Wall of Sound for dancing, Asteroids, pinball and lasers.
Chris' address is (redacted), Lynnwood. Phone: (redacted).
Remember, if you are planning on drinking, please do plan to pack your teddy dragon & asprin and spend the night.
December 2-4,1988: TROPICON VII. Lauderdale Surf Hotel & Marina, Fort Lauderdale, FL. GoH's Poul Anderson, Walt Willis, Karen Anderson, Madeleine Willis. Memb. $20 until Nov. 1. Info: South Florida Science Fiction Society, (redacted), Fort Lauderdale, FL 33307.
Jan 6-7, 1989: KNIGHTCON. GoH Vonda N. McIntyre. Memb. $12 to 12/1/88. $15 at the door. Info: (redacted), Monroe, WA 98272.
Jan 20-22, 1989: RUSTYCON SIX. Sea-Tac Hyatt. (redacted). Rooms $55/night + tax. GoH Jack Chalker, AGoH Kelly Freas, FGoH Richard Wright. $21 to 12/31/88, $25 at the door. Info: (redacted), Seattle, WA 98146. (redacted).
February 10-12, 1989: VIKINGCON X. Parks Motel, Bellingham, WA SGoH Robert Forward, FGoH Terry Whyte.
February 17-19, 1989: WISCON 13. Holiday Inn Southeast, Madison. GoHs Gardner Dozois, Pat Cadigan. Memb. $20 to 1/31/89, $25 at the door. Info. (redacted), Madison, WI 53701-1624. (redacted).
March 23-26, 1989: NORWESCON 11. Tacoma Sheraton. Memb. $26 to 3/1/89, $30 at the door. $3 discount for NWSFS members. Agoh David Mattingly, FGoh Mike Glyer, TM Steve Barnes. Info: (redacted), Seattle, WA 98124
March 24-26, 1989: S.T. CON '89. Marlborough Inn, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Memb. $10 to 12/31/88, $15 to 3/23/89, $20 at the door. GoH Diane Carey, Gregory Brodeur, Sandy Fries. Info: (redacted), Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2K-OV4.
May 5-7, 1989: ANGLICON II. Hyatt Seattle Hotel. GoHs Michael Keating & Mark Ryan. Memb. $30 to 12/31, 1988, $35 -1/1/89 -3/31/89, 1989, $40 therafter. Info: Anglican II, (redacted), Kirkland, WA 98034-8207.
May 26-28, 1989: V-CON 17. Totem Conference Center, U.B.C., Vancouver, B.C. GoHs Robert Sheckley, Spider Robinson, Jeanne Robinson, TM Bob Shaw. $16 ($14 US)to 11/30/88. $18 ($16 US) to 3/31/89. Info: (redacted), Dentall Centre, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, V7X 1A2.
June 30, July 1-2, 1989: CONTEXT '89. Lister Hall, U of Alberta. GoH William Gibson, Fantasy GoH Charles de Lint, AGoHs Diane and Leo Dillon, SGoH Dr. Brad Thompson. Memb. $20 to 6\89, $25 at the door. Info: (redacted), Edmonton, AB T6E 5G5.
August 11-13, 1989: ZERO G, A RELAXCON. Cavanaugh's Motor Inn, Moscow, ID. GoH John Dalmas, FGoH Jon Gustafson. Memb. $10 to 2/1/89, $12 to 8/1/89, $14 at the door. Info: (redacted), Moscow, ID 83843.
August 25-27, 1989: DRAGONFLIGHT '89. Gaming Convention, Bellermine Hall, Seattle University. Memb. (Dragonflight + Con.) $18 to 12\11\88. Info: (redacted), Seattle, WA 98111. (redacted).
August 31-September 4, 1989: NOREASCON III/47TH WORLD SF CONVENTION. Sheraton-Boston/Hynes Convention Ctr., Boston, MA GoHs Andre Norton, Ian & Betty Ballantine. FGoHs The Stranger Club. Memb. $50 (children $30) to 9/7/87, ($20 supporting). For info. Noreascon 3, (redacted), MIT Branch P.O., Cambridge, MA 02139.
October 6-8, 1989: BANFF INTERNATIONAL 89. Banff Parks Lodge, Banff, Alberta. GoH Brian Aldiss, AGoH Vincent Di Fate, FGoH Mike Glicksohn. Memb. $25 ($21 US) to 1/1/89. Info: (redacted), Red Deer, Alberta T4N 5H3, or (redacted) Moscow, ID 83843.
BOOK/MOVIE DISCUSSION GROUP
The monthly Book-Movie Review group meeting to discuss Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions and the movie, ALIEN NATION, has been rescheduled to Friday January 13, 1989 at the Suryan's. Munchies are welcome.
Moscow Moffia Writers' Program presents a writer's seminar the evening of Wednesday, March 22, 1989, in Eugene, Oregon at C. Wiliker's Grill on Coburn Road from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Cost is $25.00. Guest speaker is Patrick Lucien Price. Info: (redacted), Moscow, Id. 83843 or call Jon Gustafson, program director, (redacted).
IMPORTANT REGISTRATION INFORMATION
The Rustycon childrens and registration policies previously published have been revised. Below are the updated policies. Please read them and tell your friends who'll be attending the con about them. If you have any questions, please call (redacted).
- All persons 6 years of age or older must have a membership.
- Memberships for persons 6 to 12 years of age is 1/2 the price in effect at the time of purchase.
- All children 12 years of age or under must be accompanied at all times by an attending member who is 18 years of age or older.
- Any person under the age of 18 must have written permission from a parent or legal guardian to attend this convention. If someone under 18 years of age is staying overnight at the hotel they must have an attending parent or legal guardian who is 18 years of age or older with them.
- Parents or legal guardians of children under 18 years ofage must accept responsibility for their childrens actions.
- If a child under the age of 12 is found unattended, Rustycon may: First Occasion - charge that child for the balance of the full adult membership rate, Second Occasion - ask the child, and the parent or Guardian, to leave the convention.
We reserve the right to require that legal I.D. be presented at the discretion or request of a convention official to determine if a person meets the age requirements of the childrens policy. We request that all members provide the convention with a real (Mundane) name at the time of registration. Failure to do so will result in not being admitted to the convention.
Birthdays For the Month of December
Mike Raabe: Dec 1
Paul Schaper: Dec 2
Jerry "Mom" Lorent: Dec 3
Thomas Monahan: Dec 3
Dave Grinles: Dec 5
Peter Kafka: Dec 5
Sharon Lind: Dec 5
Greg Cox: Dec 9
Angela Suryan: Dec 11
Irene Vaughn: Dec 12
Mark Anacker: Dec 15
Karen Whitaker: Dec 26
Autumn Grieve: Dec 29
Keith Johnson: Dec 30
Rae Chamberlain: Dec 31
Room to Share
Santa Claus seeking jollies. Looking for willing reindeer and/or elves who are into French Culture. Have room for rent at Rustyron at 1/4 cost. Call Bob at (redacted).
JUST ANOTHER TINSEL TRIMMED CHRISTMAS
by Von L Stevens
Jessica popped another starlite mint into her mouth, savoring the peppermint taste of Christmas. These were her favorite candies, not just because of the pleasant memories of holidays past, but also because of their name...'starlite mint', it made her feel as though she were enjoying something that originated on some alien world.
Ah, enough wishful thinking, time to get back to work! With that thought she started the vacuum on which she had been leaning and got busy on the office.
Janitorial duties are not for everyone, however they suited Jessica just fine. As a matter of fact, she felt quite lucky that she was not one of the Business men or women who flooded the building every morning. Their lives were so hectic, and they were always in such a hurry that she felt very sorry for them. Rush, rush, rush, they were all trying to climb the same ladder, and they were stepping on each other in the process. So intent were they on some distant goal that they were oblivious to the beauty and magic surrounding them. Why, just for example, it had snowed for the first time today, Christmas Eve, and Jessica was positive that not one of them was aware of the power of a Christmas snow! They were more likely to find it a nuisance then to take joy in it at all!
"What ever happened to the time when people saw magic in their world and respected it?" Jessica asked no one. "To the old ways when the wife set out a saucer of milk each night for the wee folk? Oh, they didn't need it, to be sure, but it did make them feel good to be thought of."
Jessica shut off the vacuum, unplugged it, and left the now immaculate office. Pushing her cleaning cart and vacuum down the hallway, she paused to look out over the city. She had a spectacular view, as she was on the top floor in the executive offices, and one entire wall of the hallway was made of glass. The city lights stretched for miles, their usual twinkle enhanced by the multi-colored glow of holiday decorations. Looking at it, she thought that it was like a fairy tale galaxy, all dressed up in its finest gown, ready for some stellar ball.
"But tonight the magic won't end at midnight!" she said, and the idea made her smile as she continued on to the company president's office and opened the door.
A man sat behind the desk. His head was bent over his work, and a tired frown was on this face.
"Why, hello Mr. Lindon, you're still here."
"Oh hello Jessie, is it so late already?"
"I'm afraid it is Mr. Lindon, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself too, working so late on a Christmas Eve."
"Maybe so Jessie, Maybe so, but I'll be here tomorrow too. Christmas for me is just another day that has a bit of tinsel trimming added."
"Oh no sir, its a magical day!"
"Sometimes I wish I could see the world the way you do Jessie," Mr Lindon said with a sad smile, "but you're right about one thing, I ought to be getting home. Good night Jessie."
"Good night Mr. Lindon, and Merry Christmas!"
He paused, surprised, "Thank you Jessica, and Merry Christmas to you too!"
After finishing the office, Jessica shut off the vacuum cleaner and pushed it into the hallway. Just as she was about to close the door, she noticed that the lights on the little Christmas tree in the comer had burned out.
"Oh! This will never do!" she exclaimed, and muttering a few quick words under her breath, she gave a little nod in the direction of the tree. In the comer, the colored lights began to blink on and off, illuminating the room in soft pastels. "There, that's better!" she said, and shut the door.
On his way home, Mr. lindon smiled at the beauty of the city on a snow cover Christmas Eve.
Joe H. Palmer
"I can still make the flames burn up or die; it is one of the simplest of magics, the most easily learned, the last forgotten." So muses the aged Merlin, in the prologue to Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave. For people who actually look at the sky, there is also "the most easily learned, the last forgotten"; it is the group of seven northern stars known variously as the Septentrion, or the Plough, or the Big Dipper. Many who know no other pattern in the entire sky can recognize the Big Dipper.
Certainly it is a distinctive group; seven conspicuous stars fairly well matched in brightness, though the one where the handle joins the bowl is distinctly fainter than the others. Probably it is significant that there are seven stars in the pattern. for that number has had a special magic in Western cultures for millennia. And surely it helps that knowing this particular group can be defended as "useful" in this sometimes overly-practical world. For the line between the westernmost two stars, at the end of the bowl, can be extended for five times their separation to locate another moderately bright star: one high above the North Pole of the spinning Earth, most commonly known as Polaris, or the North Star.
Four hundred years after Copernicus the common speech still treats the Earth as the center of the Universe, and we speak of "sunrise" and "sunset". As James Branch Cabell once put it, "...we wax sagacious over state elections and the children's progress at school and the misdemeanors of the cook, and other trivialities which accident places so near the eye that they seem large: and we care not a button that all about us flows and gyrates unceasingly an endless and inconceivable jumble of rotary blazing gas and frozen spheres and detonating comets, where through spins Earth like a frail midge." Seventy years later we still have many who seem terrified by the immense reach of space and depth of time disclosed by our understanding of astronomy, geology, paleontology, and other sciences. I sometimes wonder if this cosmic version of acrophobia (fear of heights) or agoraphobia (fear of open spaces)is the real reason behind America's virtual cessation of the exploration of the Solar System, and the simultaneous turn from rationality toward credulity, cults, and mysticism.
In such an intellectual, if that is the appropriate word, climate, I suppose it isn't surprising that almost no one questions why we happen to have a fairly bright star nearly (not exactly) above the Earth's North Pole. In fact, quite a few seem to take it for granted that Polaris, because of its significance for (northern hemisphere) human affairs, must therefore be the brightest star in the sky. It isn't, of course; in fact Polaris isn't even among the forty brightest stars and just barely makes it into the list of the brightest fifty.
There is nothing comparable to Polaris over the South Pole of the Earth. Sigma Octanis is about as far from the South Pole of the sky as Polaris is from the North, but Sigma Octanis is nearly 25 times fainter than Polaris and is detectable to the unaided eye only if you are well away from streetlights and have a moonless night with little or no haze. The closest star to the South Pole of Earth's sky which is comparable in brightness to Polaris is Beta Carinae; slightly brighter than Polaris but more than twenty degrees or two thirds the length of the Big Dipper from the pole.
The specification of "the South Pole of Earth's sky" may have seemed over-precise, but now I want to talk about the pole stars of the other planets, so the distinction seemed worth making. The rotational axes of the other planets are not very close to parallel to the Earth's, or to each other; so each planet has its own North and South Poles in the sky and its own possibilities for Pole stars. Planets behave like gyroscopes, by the way, in that their axes always point in the same (almost) unchanging direction with respect to the distant stars, as the planet orbits from one side of the Sun to the other.
Saturn's axis is most nearly parallel to the Earth's, but even it points nearly 7 degrees away, or about one-and-a-half times the distance between the Pointer stars in the Big Dipper; Saturn's north pole is on the other side of Polaris from Earth's, but Polaris would work roughly as a North Pole star for Saturn. Saturn's south pole points near the Delta Octanis; that star is brighter than Sigma Octanis, but still three or four times dimmer than Polaris.
Mercury's south pole points close to Alpha Pictoris, which is about as bright as the dimmest star in the Big Dipper; but the closest reasonably bright star to Mercury's north pole is about 7 degrees away. There's nothing particularly bright within 4 degrees of either of Venus's poles, although the Large Magellanic Cloud is about 5 degrees away from the planet's south pole.
Mars is the closest to the Earth in how much its spin axis is tilted to the plane of its orbit; but the Martian poles are nearly forty degrees away from ours. There's no good north pole star for Mars; the nearest reasonably bright star is Mu Cephei, over seven degrees away. Appropriately enough for the Red Planet, Mu Cephei is a deep red star, the one William Herschel named "the Garnet Star". Mars's south pole is about four degrees away from Delta Velorum, one of the stars in the group called the "False Cross". The "False Cross" is four stars in Vela and Carina which form a pattern resembling the Southern Cross but about half again as big and rotated about fifty degrees counterclockwise. The group rises about three hours before the real Southern Cross, and is often misidentified as that constellation by northern hemisphere visitors eager to spot it.
The only other planet whose pole points anywhere near a fairly bright star is Uranus, and here we have a different problem; namely, which pole is which? All the other planets, except Pluto, have their rotation axes roughly (within 30 degrees, say) at right angles to the plane of their orbits, as the Earth does, and all except Venus rotate in the same direction as Earth. Until fairly recently no one had the slightest idea of how the poles of Venus or Pluto were oriented, because of the cloud cover on Venus and the distance of Pluto. So they didn't really enter the problem, and for the others there was never any conflict between the two different ways people defined the North pole of a planet. One way was to say the North Pole is the one on the same side of its orbital plane as the Earth's North Pole. The other way was to say the North pole of a planet is the one from above which you would see the planet turning counterclockwise. For all the planets where the axis direction was known, the two definitions gave the same answer--except for Uranus.
Uranus was the exception, for its axis of rotation lies almost in its orbital plane, so that sometimes one pole points directly at the Sun and the other is in darkness for many years; then halfway around the orbit the other pole points toward the Sun. Here the two definitions give different answers. You can use the first to say Uranus's axis is tilted some 82 degrees to its orbital plane and the planet rotates backwards, or use the second to say that the axis is tilted 98 degrees to the orbital plane and the planet rotates in the normal direction (it has to, by the second definition). Well, as you might expect, the worst happened and some astronomers used one definition and some the other, with a great deal of confusion. A few years ago the International Astronomical Union came down on the side of the first definition (north pole on (Earth) north side of the orbital plane) and things are getting better, though not all reference books have caught up.
Having said all that, I can now say that Uranus's South pole is pointed moderately close (a little over 8 degrees, or half the length of the Big Dipper) to Aldebaran, the bright yellow-orange star that is the baleful eye of Taurus. This is the brightest star anywhere close to either pole of any planet, some six-and-a-half times brighter than Polaris. Of course you couldn't see Aldebaran from Uranus right now, as Uranus's South pole is pointed almost directly at the Sun and you'd have to look past the Sun's glare to see the star. But wait 15 or 20 Earth years, or about a quarter of Uranus's year, depending on where you are in the planet's Southern hemisphere, and you should get a good look.
You may remember that earlier, when I wrote that planets act like gyroscopes and keep their spin axes pointed in the same unchanging direction as they go around the Sun, I qualified the statement with an "almost". Here I want to explain about that "almost", for the Earth. For one trip around the Sun, or even several dozens, it is a good approximation that the direction of the planet's spin axis doesn't change. For times of hundreds or thousands of years it is not. The same gravitational forces from the Sun and Moon which produce the tides also try to make the Earth ''straighten up"; that is, to make the planet's spin axis point at right angles to the plane of its orbit instead of the 23-1/2 degree angle it now has to that direction. Because the Earth is spinning (once a day, of course) something else happens instead.
Have you ever watched a top, or a toy gyroscope, spin with its axis tilted? Gravity is trying to make it fall over, but it doesn't (until it runs down). Instead, the spin axis keeps the same tilt and swings around; if you imagine a beam of light shining along the spin axis it would trace out a circle on the ceiling. This behavior is called precession. The spinning Earth does the same thing as the Sun and Moon pull on it, but the swinging of Earth's spin axis is a lot slower than the toy; a full circle takes about 26,000 years. The result of this is that the Earth's pole stars change: not because the stars themselves are moving but because the spinning Earth is pointing in different directions. More on this to come, next time.
Lauraine Miranda's NEWSFS
Our newest members as of this issue are:
1134 Judy Swanson, Seattle
1135 Norah Hogoboom, Seattle
1136 John Fox, Seattle
1137 Bill Johhnson, Everett
1138 Thomas Shere, Tacoma
1139 Sandra Endof-Hom, Tacoma
1140 Larry Osterman, Bothell
1141 Valorie Osterman, Bothell
1142 Irene J. Prekeges, Bellingham
1143 Caravansarai, Federal Way
1144 Bruce Anderson, Seattle
1145 Lynn Webber Perkins, Riverside, CA
1146 Carolyn Barnhill, Santa Barbara, CA
Hi and welcome to the group!
You should have your new Green Book #11 with this Westwind, and as you will notice, it really is new. I would very much appreciate any comments and/or suggestions you have on the new format (just keep it clean, ok?)
I plan to list the Other Groups and Publications section is each GB from now on. I hope to add a Paid Advertisers section in the June issue (S2 per listing). Also, any NWSFS member who wouldn't ordinarily be listed (those expired at least six months before GB publication) will be able to have a listing for a $1 fee.
Vox, the beep and I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.
by Dora Shirk
Hello, and welcome to another thrilling collection of news that is sure to take your mind off the Christmas frenzy for at least 10 minutes. You wanted to get away longer than that? Go curl up with a good, loonngg book and I'll talk to you next year when things have settled down -- at least until the frenzy of con-prep begins in earnest.
No, I still don't have a definitive answer for the meaning of the "Locus Bulletin Board". Does anyone????
Guess who's signed a contract to collaborate on three novels? Rohen Silverberg and Isaac Asimov! The three that they will do are all based on shorter works by Asimov, including Nightfall, The Martian Way, and The Ugly Little Boy. Don't rush to your bookstore though - the first one is not due until '90 or '91.
So far there are over 40 genre-related calenders for 1989 on the marketplace.
Now, while it is marvelous to hear from you (more, more), it would be nice if you responded a little more like you'd read the column - for example, I got a card from someone who said yes, they'd read Paperback Inferno. That wasn't the question! I asked if anyone had a copy they would let me see!!
The Minnesota SF Society has sponsored a series of lectures by pros at U of M. The theme was Social SF: beyond the nuts and bolts. Gordon Dickson spoke on the reader as collaborator, and Fred Pohl on imaginary politics. I have written to them asking if any of this is available in hard copy and when I get an answer I'll let you know. There were a few more lectures that I'm not sure who did, or on what.
Have you seen the MSFS's Tales Of The Unanticipated? Good mag.
If you are a C.S. Lewis fan - did you know that he died the same day JFK did? The C.S. Lewis Society can be contacted through Beverly Ariton, (redacted), Croton NY 10520. The society is celebrating its 19th anniversary.
For those of interested in the non-fiction side of SF (where have you heard that before?) - the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts is now making their quarterly journal, The Journal of the Fantastic In the Arts, aYJilable to the public for $25 a year. To subscribe, write to Helen Albert, M.E. Sharpe Inc., (redacted), Armonk NY 10504 (and say you saw it here).
A thumbs-up to Andy Poner and his beautiful editorial, "The Changing Landscape: Science Fiction and The World" in his November SFC. Well done.
The following books banned in schools this year include: Watership Down, Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Ewoks Join the Fight, Flowers For Algernon, Lord of the Flies (thank god), Cujo, Carrie, The Bachman Books, Christine, The Dead Zone, Salem's Lot, The Shining, Different Seasons, Night Shift, Animal Farm, and Slaughterhouse Five. These red hot rednecks are getting just a bit carried away don't you think?
Available now from the Crossing Press is a book put together by Sharon Yntema entitled More Than 100 Woman Science Fiction Writers: An Annotated Bibliography. Books like this make me want to throw bricks! If women are so damned interested and worked up over equality then why do they put out books like this that are a giant step towards segregationism??? Yes, this is a sore point with me, want me to list a bunch of other titles?
Another new mag? Yep. This one is called Night Shades: The Art & Fiction Journal of the Erotic & the Macabre. For info, drop me a line.
And yet another new mag? Yep.
David Hartwell "et al." is/are editing a new monthly magazine entitled The New York Review of Science Fiction. Issue #1 (Sept) is available for $2.50, or you can subscribe for a whole year for $24.00. To get it write to Dragon Press, (redacted), Pleasantville NY 10570.
Tis the season to be snippy and critical-right? Right! So beginning now and continued next month and perhaps February too, I'm going to do a comparative review of books that call themselves "encyclopedias" of science fiction. Some are, and some, well, aren't - at least not when compared to others. So, let's begin our study ....
PART 1 of TO BE OR NOT TO BE...AN ENCYCLOPEDIA
Let's start with a list of abbreviations for books that we will be talking about: GNESF, HESF, TESFF, NESF. What's that? What are the titles of the books these abbreviations stand for? Not so fast! To begin with, these are not the only books that claim to encyclopedias on SF or F, but they are the only ones currently in my possession either by purchase or a trip to the library. First we are going to take a general comparative overview of what these books have to offer.
GNESF - 900+ entries total, at least 500 of which are on writers and 250 are on films. There were 100+ (how do you measure a + person?) contributors.
HESF - 13 long major entries, a couple of which contain what would be many entries in a "normal" encyclopedia. It had 11 contributors.
TESFF - This one is not really an encyclopedia of SF, its an encyclopedia (2 volumes wonh) of authors, editors, anthologists, and artists - their biographies and their bibliographies. Volume 3 (not seen - yet) contains 5 sections including one called "general".
NESF - 2800+ entries (not counting cross-reference) which include: 1817 author entries, 286 film entries, W7 magazine entries, 40+ fanzines, 175 theme entries (most of which are over 1000 words), and a whole lot more. There are over 700,000 words of text written by 34 contributors.
Next month we'll compare some entries that they have in common and see what the differences are. If there's time we'll also take a look at what some of them leave out altogether, or put in altogether too much of.
Have a good Christmas and take care of yourselves!
See you here next month - REMEMBER - AS OF JANUARY 1ST, ITS ONLY 81 DAYS TIL *N-O-R-W-E-S-C-O-N 11*
Little Paper Faces
Happy holidays, everybody. Hope you've finished all your holiday shopping, and that you get lots of days off from work or school. Feels like I've already received one present: "Little Paper Faces" has a new logo! Special thanks to Brad Foster, winner of the last two fan artist Hugos.
I ended last month's column with a reference to Jophan. This comes from "The Enchanted Duplicator," a classic 1954 pamphlet by Walt Willis and Bob Shaw. Jophan escapes from the land of Mundania to go on a quest to the Tower of Trufandom, where he hopes to run off the Perfect Fanzine ('pub his ish').
If you'd like a reprint of this goodie, send $2 to The Cantors (Norwescon Alternacon's Fan GoHs), (redacted), North Hollywood, CA 91606.
And so to business. The Portland clubzine Pulsar (address and ordering info given last month) has reached #121, the November ish, edited this time out by Pat Gulley. I guess everyone was working on Orycon, because Karen Kelleher drew a cover showing those "American Gothic" farmers as zombies, Seattle zinefan Janice Murray contnbuted a LoC (Letter of Comment) on RoseCon and other for-profit cons, and then it was pretty much time to go home.
Bcsfazine, the Vancouver clubzine, has RW Clark's Frankenstein cover on #185 (October); must be a surplus of monsters in the Northwest this fall. "Ask Mr. Science" explains that pens can't write upside down because of the shape of ink molecules--yeah! A long article by Spider Robinson complains about a disaster in copy editing with the Ace pb edition of his Time Pressure. Then there's a rundown on the major film zines by R. Graeme Carneron, and other goodies.
The Ft. Lauderdale club sent the September and October numbers of The SFSFS Shuttle. #42 uses larger, much more legible dot matrix (thank you!) for local announcements, and runs two nice articles: Edie Stem's eyewitness of the recent Discovery launch, and a 50s Walt Willis piece about a shrink analyzing the sexual significance of fanzines. The guest editor for #43 forgot to identify him/herself, but at least ran more great Willis (Tropicon Fan GoH next month).
Most folks wouldn't get much out of the Boston clubzine, Instant Message, since it contains mostly minutes and budgets. #448 (10/16) reprints, from 1969, an article on a picket line to protest the cancellation of Star Trek, and minutes which show Isaac Asimov repeatedly fined for puns (one attendee "protested against recording puns on the ground that posterity has never done anything to us"). Contemporary minutes in #449 (10/30) feature hard-hitting discussion of the pine tree on NESFA's logo, which may be a fir after all. Some wanted to declare firs to be pines, others wanted NESFA to genetically engineer a correctly-shaped pine.
Last month, I feared for the life of the Louisville clubzine, Fosfax. From ish #130 (November), it looks like the tension in the 13-member club has diminished. And thank goodness! These folks arguably put out the best clubzine around (although if a few more NWSFSers would write for Westwind ... ). This time, they've got a lovely Paul Young cover, Janice Moore's editorial fear that fannish Pagans will catch (undeserved!) flak after Geraldo Rivera's show on Satanism, lots and lots of top-flight book reviews, and superb LoCs by Piers Anthony, L Sprague de Camp, and the like. Club prez CT Fluhr's objectionable article (which begins, "It pays to be poor, have lots of babies, and be a minority.") reminded me why I left Louisville, but otherwise, it's a great zine.
From the SF Association of Victoria comes FTA/Phoenix (no price listed, so ask the SFAV at (redacted), Victoria, BC V8W 2Y3). Vol. 5 No. 5 (November), probably edited by Tami Hayes, includes a rambling space-filler on SF TV shows by Hayes, Roger I. Williams' mixed review of the new Elfquest, Tami Hayes again with a club outing report, and some fiction excerpts and poetry.
Here's a clubzine that could give Fosfax a run for its money, if only it came out more frequently, the quarterly Neology ($12/year or the Usual -- trade zincs, LoCs, artwork, or fanarticles -- from the Edmonton SF and Comic Arts Society, (redacted), Postal Station South Edmonton, Edmonton, AB Canada T6E 4S8). For Fall 88 (#65), editor T. Phinney talks about the first seven years of ESFACAS, there's one nice long film review and one nice long book review, Chuck Connor relates the history of werewolf lore, and Cath Jacket's 65 zine reviews give me an ideal to aim for with "Little Paper Faces."
Norwescon XI's Fan GoH, Mike Glyer, sends ish #76 (September) of his newszine File 770 ($5/5 issues or fannish gossip, trade for a newszine, artwork, or 'selected mimeograph equipment' from Mike at (redacted), Van Nuys, CA 91401). If it really came out when the colophon claims, oh so long ago, Glyer had the scoop reporting this year's Hugo winners. In any case, the meat of the ish is his no holds-barred interview with Algis Budrys on Writers of the Future, L. Ron Hubbard, and whether the Scientologists are trying to take over fandom. And I like the lovely old (1980) Taral cover showing dancing fanzines.
Now for some sercon: Serious, constructive criticism of SF. Ed Meskys puts out a professionally laid-out, semi-pro serconzine with expensive paper and saddle stapling, Niekas ($15/4 issues from Niekas Publications, (redacted), Center Harbor, NH 03226-9729). The nice stuff in this pretty package (#37, August) includes 20 pages of excellent LoCs, Fred Lerner's imaginary trip to a Silverlock theme park, David M. Shea's analysis of the class structure of Pern, Thomas M. Egan's expose of firms who fraudulently offer to let you name a star, and Piers Anthony on, umm, well, he doesn't really explain why he's not involved in Amnesty International because he spins off into talking about the power of the Word and the joy of story telling and, umm, other stuff.
The next four zines all came to my home, so they're not in the club library unless the faneds (editors) send extra copies to NWSFS--contact me at my Green Book listing to read them.
Staying with pretty packages (Keith, could you track the violins over this paragraph?), the new (#4) Renaissance Fan just came out (the Usual from Rosalind Malin and Dick Pilz, (redacted), Portland, OR 97215), with a cool brew on the hand-painted, signed cover, and with leaves and seeds glued to the poetry pages. In this 'fermentation issue,' Dick tells how to brew your own beer, Terry White relates his days as a yogurt maker for some-Southern hippies, and Roz and Eleanor Malin contribute good fan fiction. The next ish will deal with transportation; I'll be along for the ride!
From the Melbourne SF Club ((redacted), World Trade Centre, Melbourne, 3005, Australia) comes the Aug/Sept (#21) number of their clubzine, Ethel the Aardvark (A$8/6 issues or trade zines; probable editor, Alan Stewart). They announce they'll keep the zine's name (hooray!), review lotsa books and movies, and include a GUFF ballot to pick a European fan to attend the 1989 Australian National Con at GUFF expense.
Hazel Ashworth's still sending out #1 (June 1986) of her zine, Lip (presumably for the Usual from Hazel at (redacted), Embsay, Skipton, North Yorks. England). "So what will it be about?" she asks. "Being in in Leeds fandom...unashamedly self-indulgent ramblings on...our almost-but-not-quite exclusive little group." Hazel on Leeds fannish dancing, Simon Ounsley on a Leeds nerd in Greece, Scottish fan Lilian Edwards on a fannish Leeds visit, Leeds, Leeds, Leeds! Very fannish, and plenty of Leeds.
Finally, here's the quaintly named Fuck the Tories #5 (October), from that charming, Marxist, fannish, anti-nuke couple, Judith Hanna and Joseph Nicholas (for the Usual from (redacted), Pimlico, London SW1V 2ER England). Actually, most of the zine is straightforward fannishness: Lionel Trippett's meditation on footnotes, Seattle fan John Berry on visiting London, Judith on Joseph's model airplanes. And then there are cute illos and cartoons, many lifted from the English labor press. The cut-out do-it-yourself bust of Karl Marx is a scream! Finally, the editorial and LoCs discuss feminism, intolerance of leftist politics within fandom, and the like. It's a great zine, but don't let mundanes see the cover!
There you have the reviews for this month. Your humble (ha!) columnist just pubbed the latest ish of a perzine, but modesty forbids (ha!) reviewing my own zine (bloody act of genius, really).
If you pub a zine, send it in! And if you run an apa, I'd be happy to inform Westwind readers about membership. So until 1989, vote Rottnest Island for Worldcon, everybody!
NORWESCON 11 SNEAK PREVIEW
IN TWO MONTHS
Look in the January Westwind for details.
A Modern Fable
A tattered old man sat by an empty, crusted over pot under the viaduct. He mumbled to himself occasionally and scraped the muck from the bottom of the pot. Around him sat a varied collection of humanity apathetically watching. Finally a woman of indeterminate years, heavily swathed in cast off clothing asked him what he was doing.
"Why," replied the old man, "I'm just about to whip up a delicious batch of soup. Would you like some?"
The group moved closer and one of the teens in leather with his blue hair roached up over his forehead jeered at the old man because there was no fire. One or two of the group scrabbled around in the refuse and came up with stuffing from a stained mattress and cardboard. A hush fell over the little group as the fire flickered fitfully in the damp and the sign of relief when it finally flamed up blew like a gust of wind among the concrete pillars that soared up to the freeway bed.
Two of the women carried the pot away to a place where runoff water trickled down and cleaned it with hand fulls of the scrub grass. Slowly the pot filled with murky water and was set over the little fire to boil away the impurities.
"What sort of soup will you make?" asked one of the children hopefully.
The old man did not answer but reached into his pocket and pulled out a smooth, flat blue grey stone about the size of his palm. Slowly he polished it upon the worn knee of his pants and held it out to the firelight. Looking at the handful of children that were shivering near the fire, he slid the stone into the water.
Crazy Molly shuffled up to the fire and coughed noisily as she reached into one of the many bundles she lugged with her. Out came a can opener and a bag of rice marked "government surplus--local issue only." As the water began to steam she poured the rice into the pot. Her eyes looked around the little circle and she offered the can opener to one of the other women.
Little by little, the carefully hoarded supplies came out to be dumped into the pot. A can of beans, two cans of corned beef, some split peas. The punk with the blue hair and his shivering girl friend crunched noisily off to return a few minutes later with half a dozen potatoes and some limp looking carrots.
Time passed and the aroma curled out around the pillars and the small group became animated and almost festive. That night the children would sleep in their cardboard home with full stomachs and the adults would remember other, better times.
When morning came, the fire was out and the old man and his pot and the blue-gray stone were gone. In his place lingered memories and the reborn hope that a little shared by everybody can make quite a lot.
In this city of Seattle, there are many families living in cars with small children because they can not afford housing. Perhaps only one of the parents can find a minimum wage job and the other must stay with the children during the day. Missions offer them soup during the day and a meal a night. The lucky get in a shelter where it is warm and they might get a shower.
Often parents opt to stay in the car for security reasons and to stay together as a family. Of the hundred families in acute need in this city, social service agencies can help only thirty or so a month.
Food banks can stretch their resources only so far and government subsidies have been cut and cut again. These children can not get into school because they have no permanent address. Many are too young for school.
Just like the old man gathered his community together and the rock he put into the pot brought a little food from everyone to make soup to feed not only their bodies but their souls that night, we can gather together as a community and do something to alleviate a little of the pain in this city.
Ifyou don't have money, volunteer. Go to the Millionair Club -- they need help all the time. Volunteer at the food bank, look through your cast off clothing and blankets and take them to the salvation army depot. Your children's cast off toys and books will be valued by other children this holiday.
If you have money, even a little, make a donation to your local food bank. They need protein items, vegetables, fruit, powdered milk, juice and baby food and formula. They also need disposable diapers (laundromats may be totally out of the reach of the people who are trying to feed a family) and even pet food. Sometimes the only friend some of the elderly in this city have is a beloved pet.
Even mismatched gloves and whole socks can be used. Let nothing go to waste -- if you are not using it, pass it on. This holiday season, perhaps as you shop, you could forgo that extra dessert and buy a few cans of tuna instead. You could cut down on the size of the turkey and slip an extra juice or peanut butter into your cart. In this time of plenty when most of us could stand to lose a few pounds here and there, let some of what we have go to those that don't have anything. Most stores have a box or barrel at the front of the store for foods to go to the food bank. On your way out, share.
Food banks also accept checks. In a society that has so much, how can so many be in pain. alone and homeless? How can we, knowing that, allow it to continue?
I seem to have noticed, in one of the past Westwinds, that one of the other columnists objected to Algis Budrys reviewing a book that he had edited. Well, here's something a little closer to home to bitch about: I'm going to review two books I had something to do with.
The first is Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Pulphouse Publishing [Dean Wesley Smith], (redacted), Eugene, OR 97440; hardcover; 267 pages; 1,000-copy trade edition -- $17.95; 250-copy signed, boxed edition -- $50.00), a brand-new publication and a brand-new idea. This is aimed primarily at the collector's market, with a very limited circulation, high production values, and quality writing throughout. Issue number one is their Horror Issue and contains such short stories as Harlan Ellison's superb She's a Young Thing and Cannot Leave Her Mother, Kate Wilhelm's The Loiterer, On a Phantom Tide by William F. Wu, Edward Bryant's chilling While She Was Out, Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Works of Art, and 16 other really nifty and nasty horror stories. If that weren't enough, each story has an introduction by Rusch and there are non-fiction articles by Jack Williamson, Kim Antieau, and myself. This is a superb first effort by Smith and Rusch, with an amazing list of authors collected in the first volume. By the time you read this, the signed edition (beautifully bound in leather, boxed, and signed by all the authors) will be sold out and there will be very few of the trade edition remaining, so if you want one, you'd better hurry. This is one book -- and one series; it will be coming out quarterly -- I most highly recommend.
The next item I had something to do with is the MosCon X tenth Anniversary Program Book, which I edited (available from me at (redacted), Moscow, ID 83843; 144 pages; trade edition -- S7.50 + $1.50 postage; numbered hardcover edition -- $25.00 + $2.00 postage; checks should be made out to "MosCon"), and which is something the fannish world has, quite simply, never seen before. It is a program book for a convention, to be sure, but it is much more than that. What I did for MosCon X was to ask all of our previous Guests of Honor to contribute something to the book, either fiction, article, or art, and they all responded. The MosCon X Program Book has fiction by Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Algis Budrys. F.M. Busby, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, John Varley, M.J. Engh. and William R. Warren, most of which has never seen print before. There are articles by Jerry Sohl, Robert A. Heinlein, Kate Wilhelm, Dean Ing, Jack Williamson, Robert L. Forward, Stephen Gillett, Fritz Leiber and many more, plus art by George Barr, Tim Kirk, Alex Schomburg, Rick Sternbach, Ken Macklin and Lela Dowling, Alicia Austin and others. Most of the items in the book were either done specifically for it, or heavily re-written and updated. The softcover edition (both softcover and hardcover are 81/2 by 11 inches) has full color front and back covers, and both editions have a two-page color Kelly Freas foldout. The hardcover edition features a dustjacket as well. This book is lavishly illustrated by professional and fannish artists such as Randy Mohr, Vincent Di Fate, Jacqualynn Duram-Nilsson, Vixen, Gary Davis, and Robert Everton. And, if all this weren't enough, there is the history of PESFA and the complete "Ask Mr. Science." In short, there is a awful lot of good stuff in this volume. This book must be a collector's item...because no way am I going to do another one like this before MosCon XX!
Well, on to some more "standard" fare. Jo clayton is the author of many excellent science fiction novels (and she's a delight to talk to as well) and her latest is Shadow of the Warmaster (DAW books, #88677-298-2, 398 pages, $3.95). A greedy corporation has been making lots of extra profit in dealing in slavery, but now they have stolen the daughter of Adelaar aici Arash, who not only objects but has the resources to do something about it. She hires Swardheld Quale and his troubleshooting crew to help find and retrieve her daughter. They eventually find her on a rather primitive planet about which is orbiting a huge ancient war platform, called a Warroaster. All Quale and Arash have to do is get her daughter out from under the nose of the most deadly fighting machine known in the Galaxy, while dealing with rebels on the planet's surface and a traitor in their own midst...no problem, right? Jo Clayton pulls the reader through this maze of plot and counter-plot with a master's touch, throwing in just the right amount of futuristic slang and other touches to make the scenes come vividly alive. Highly recommended.
And last, but far from least, is Terry Brooks' latest novel, The Black Unicorn (del Rey/Ballantine, #33528, 307 pages, $4.95). This is the second book in the Magic Kingdom of Landover series, and takes place a year after Ben Holiday bought the magic Kingdom. Ben, the wizard Questor Thews, and the sylph Willow all have incredibly vivid dreams one night, dreams that send each of them on missions. Ben is compelled to return to Earth to see to the health of his old friend, Miles Benett; Questor Thews seeks out the lost Books of Magic; and willow must find the bridle of spun gold with which to bind the Black unicorn. Ben unwittingly brings back his arch-enemy, Meeks, who replaces him as King and sets Ben loose in the Kingdom, disguised so not even his best friends could recognize him. All he knows is that he must find Willow and the Black Unicom, for they hold the key to saving the Magic Kingdom from Meeks. As I said in an earlier review, I like this style of Brooks' writing far better than his Shannara junk, and hope he continues it. He makes the people and the creature of the Magic Kingdom live in these books. Recommended.
CLUBS AND CONS
September 23-25, 1988, Moscow Idaho. Guest of Honor: Anne McCaffrey, Artist Guests of Honor; Lela Dowling & Ken Macklin, Science Guest of Honor: Dr. Robert L. Forward, Fan Guests of Honor: Ed & Norma Beauregard.
MosCon Ten was my first experience of fandom outside of the greater Seattle area. The hotel that the convention was held at, Cavanaugh's, is found only after driving for a long time across the vast desert plain that is Eastern Washington and into the town of Moscow, just over the border in the land of famous potatoes.
Cavanaugh's is a warm, cozy hotel staffed with the kind of folk that understand Science Fiction/Fantasy Fandom. When I checked into my room, I found the sort of things one expects from a class hotel. Clean room, paper wrapped drinking glasses, a pen and pad of paper by the phone for writing down the crazy ideas that us fen get late at night (or any other time), and of course, a delightful assortment of gummy dinosaurs on the pillow.
One of the nice things about smaller conventions is that autograph sessions are not so crowded. The autograph session did have the long snake that coiled about the room, the head ending in front of the GoH, Anne McCaffrey; but as fen were limited to two books each, the snake was quickly dealt with, leaving time to actually talk to the pros, the GoH included.
I have been told that MosCons are known for their genial room parties, and can attest to the rumor as fact. Not a very bold partygoer, I found the parties an easy place to meet friends, new and old and enjoyed many interesting conversations, none of which I can seem to remember for some reason. But it had nothing to do with what ever it was that I was ?Drinking. Very good parties indeed.
The slide show by the Art GoHs, Ken Macklin and Lela Dowling, allowed a chance to see artwork of years gone past as well as a glimpse of work done as commercial projects, quite different in style, showing the versatility of the artists as well as their awesome talent.
MosCon's Science Guest of Honor was Dr. Robert L. Forward. His panels on real science included explanation of anti-matter propulsion systems that we can build right now (not too cost effective just yet, though), and seven impossible things before breakfast, including anti-gravity (takes a lot of neutronium) and FTL travel (better get the jumbo pack of neutronium for this one).
The art show featured a broad spectrum of media, plenty of drawings and paintings, various sculptures, and quite a few wall hangings, including hooking, needle point, and beadwork. The theme of dragons was present in all areas, particularly the wall hangings. I must especially compliment the art show staff on the lighting systems they installed for the show. It helped turn ordinary hotel rooms into a well lit if cozy art gallery.
The dealer rooms has a good assortment of wares, but although one could find functional fantasy weaponry, including razor sharp daggers, finely wrought armor and swords whose lofty price tag would surely deal a mortal blow to even the stoutest of checking accounts, nobody had an Ruthergian matter dismantlers, Alkad ray blasters, hull-piercing grapplers, or even a functioning phaser. I just think that the SF fen should be able to get authentic hardware too. But then there would be even less space for books, so maybe it's for the best.
Although Friday and Saturday had plenty of different programming items, if you didn't go to the brunch on Sunday, there was not much else going on. Unfortunately for me, the banquet sold out and I missed the chance to sample the infamous green eggs and ham that MosCon has become famous for. I understand that there was also normal food for those who had never read Dr. Suess.
The art auction showed that not only do fen have taste, some actually have money and the desire to spend it on the piece that catches their eye. The bidding was brisk, for the most part and a painting by Lela Dowling got bid up from $500 to over $1000. I was sitting next to the man who calmly made the final bid but did not find out until later that he was bidding in absentia for Anne McCaffrey. A piece that I was interested in buying quickly jumped out of the reach of my pocket book, leaving me with the desire to take up gun running or perhaps TV evangelism to fund next years bidding efforts. But I did manage to get a very nice print by Ken Macklin at one of the dealer tables.
In all, a very nice, friendly convention that proved there is intelligent life in spud land.
by Doug Shirk
WHERE WE WRITE A SHORT, CHURLISH COLUMN FOR X-MAS
I'M PAID TO BE POLITE FOR A LIVING
FOR THIS I DON'T GET PAID
How's that for Christmas Spirit, boys and girls. The title actually has two meanings. I was going to write a long, meanspirited article continuing my rantings on the 1988 TV season, but it's late, and so is my copy, so you get a short, meanspirited collection of random notes and thoughts.
First, a typo correction, Ed. Yes, Jon Gustafson, you are a winner. Yes, Gidney and Cloyd were the two moonmen from Rocky and Bullwinkle, and yes, they were looking for the Kirwood Derby, and no, no more phone calls. I'm not as think as you dumb I am. A second drink at Rustycon for the first person who tells me what the Derby was for, and how it related to the Moose.
Scanning back a couple of months, I noted that the crew list for Who Framed Roger Rabbit looked a lot like The Creditors parody column of a couple years back. Well, Tessa Horan of Premiere magazine was kind enough to count, and Frank Robinson of Locus was kinder enough to report the total. The envelope please? 771 names were listed in the credits to ROGER. Ye gods! That would have been a good contest. And as a bit of useless trivia, that column was based on an English short called The Creditors, (from 1967) that was 12 min. of credit and story line crawled over a shot of an English taxi going down a country road.
A GOOD reason (as if you need another one - there are many already) to go to Rustycon is the Northwest premiere of the English version of Legend, Ridley Scott's 1986 boy meets girl, girl does dumb thing, boy loses girl to evil prince, etc. film which I generally didn't like. One recurrent problem in the film was Tangarine Dream's score, added by Universal after the film was done to make it more "accessible" (their word) to the teenage audience. The full Jerry Goldsmith score was left on the European cut. If this has the full score, it should be a real treat. Legend needed a driver, and the score might just be it.
Harlan Ellison ("Noted Futurist" [?]), commenting on J. Michael Straczynski's comment that Twilight Zone, the TV show, would take a more "humanistic approach"; dealing with homelessness, alcoholism, and etc., as opposed to "special effects and explosions" said "Mr. Straczynski's a good friend, but he's stuffed full of wild blueberry muffins." Ellison called the show "one-punch, gimmicky amputees", probably in reference to the 22 minute episode length. This has not stopped the noted pitchman from selling "Crazy As A Soup Sandwitch" to the production.
Ellison's right. The 3 episodes I've seen don't have the writing punch and tightness of the CBS re-incarnation, and the strict 30 min. time period, along with the need for extra commercial time hamstring's the stories. A second drawback is budget, the syndicated TZ probably not having as much money to play with. But wild blueberry muffins? A far cry from insects having intercourse, Harlan.
Speaking of scripts, Rod Serling left 3 unused Twilight Zone episode outlines, one of which is being done by Straczynski for use in the TZ re-creation.
Alien III has made its first pop in the rumor mill in a while. Current? John McTiernan (Predator) is rumored as director, though Sigourney Weaver has been quoted as expecting Ridley Scott to do it. I didn't think Weaver had signed. I know she wasn't originally contracted for III.
Frank Robinson (Locus) comments that the BIG picture for 1989 so far looks like Total Recall, from Philip K. Dick's short We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (F&SF, April, 1966). Directed by Paul Verhoeven (Robocop), the $50 million film will lead with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently the set designs are first rate, though the story may have to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to make it filmable.
One of the (many) things that has bothered be about the "Starlog" style fan magazine is their complete and total lack of objectivity, mainly their inability to critique anything. What used to bea bit of a stitch was their annual review issue, where reviewers would come in and lambaste most everything the mag had spent the last 11 months hyping.
They seem to have gotten around that problem somewhat with Starlog, The Science Fiction Universe, Presents: Science Fiction Video Magazine. Ta-Da! What we have here is your basic guide to SF film and TV available on video cassette. Where it shines is that it is basically honest. It calls a spade a spade, and a bomb a bomb. Points are awarded for the Prisoner section, and its listing of cassette releasers instead of original production houses. No points for the obligatory Star Trek list and reviews, and negative points for the inconsistency among the reviews themselves, but we're all guilty of that. Remember, you're reading the guy that not only liked Ice Pirates, but bought the damn cassette. This is not one of the better Video books/mags, but for "Starlog" it ain't bad.
That about wraps up this piece of filler for the month, although I can't leave without giving a cheer to Robert, Doug, Judy, Michael, and Mark, the Ed, Art, Layout, Print, and Typing of this rag. My Westwind #135 (Nov.) was absolutely beautiful. The layout was super, the writing is better and better (Mark Manning deserves a big hand for Little Paper Faces), and the print quality is unbelievable. These people (and everyone else on the masthead) put a lot of work into this little 'zine that shows up in your box every month. I just write. It's thems that cuts and pastes, so if you see them, let them know you appreciate their work. I do.
May the holiday season see you fit and well, and the our best from the snowy side of the state to you all in 1989.
I feel you were much too kind in your review of War Of The Worlds television version of the Wells' classic. It was obvious to me, as I forced myself to sit through the one episode I watched, that the show was written by and aimed at the six year old mind. The basic premise of radiation reanimating the dead is ridiculous; the idea that cow blood can somehow rejuvenate decaying human tissue is absurd; and the alien's ability to conscript a fresh human body (leaving the old one to ooze all over the floor); grow, at least, a hand inside that body which can burst out through the chest (sound familiar?), and presumably retract again, healing the flesh instantly, is utterly unbelievable. (I thought gaping holes in the body were their big problem?) The entire effects are designed to titillate the juvenile's fascination for gore.
They don't expect a six year-old to be smart enough to notice these minor inconsistencies. Then why are they airing the show in the prime time adult slot? It's so laughable it belongs in the Saturday morning cartoon line-up.
As an adult viewer, I can on]y say WOTW was the most insulting hour of television I've seen since Invaders, to which it bears a tedious resemblance.
Your still respectful reader,
M. Elayn Harvey
[Remember we're talking about television here, not great literature or even film. As SF/TV it ain't bad. But then they call television a medium because very little of it is well done. -Doug Shirk ]
Neglected Visions, edited by Barry N. Malzberg, Martin Harry Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander. New York, Doubleday, 1979.
Neglected Visions showcases nine SF writers whom the editors believe deserve more recognition than they have received. The stories representing those authors here were published in the 1950s and 60s, but are still fresh, not technologically dated. Randall Garrett may be the best known of the authors in this collection; he is represented by The Hunting Lodge which includes future technology immortality and politics. Peter Phillips' Lost Memory has a different approach to a first contact; like so many other SF works, the title has at least two meanings (a pun if you like). As in much of SF, humor is well represented in this collection. Robert Abernathy's Junior has many gently funny bits, including the hilarious-in-context "child of an only parent". Ballenger's People by Kris Neville is a wry look inside one character's unusual way of handling reality. The other authors included in this volume are Mark Clifton, Christoper Anvil, Norman Kagan, Wyman Guin, and F. (for Floyd) L. Wallace.
The editors have considerately included listings of the nine authors' other works, including magazine and anthology appearances of short stores. Like many other anthologies, Neglected Visions is a reminder that speculative fiction is rich in fine but relative]y unknown works and creators.
STAR OF WANDER
by M. Elayn Harvey
In all that day-long wandering of confusion, Joel remembered only the promise; this Christmas mom could afford to give him a gift. But tonight was Christmas Eve and he had nothing, nothing save the clothes on his back and her Saint Vinny's sailor's coat. He had shut away the promise, in that cluttered place where children keep all the broken promises of adults, and had wandered the blind city to proclaim the betrayal in dirty, empty alleys, and lost memories too heavy on his small bones.
Joel came back to First Avenue to find the street light broken and the neon black, but he had a votive in an old mason jar. He crossed the street and sneakered quieter than the rats into the canyon behind the boarded-up Starmint club. By the flickering light he saw the star, chalked white and gritty on the sooty walk. Underneath it, Pin was waiting for him.
He didn't ask how she'd found her way back; he was afraid to say anything that would crush the small birth of hope inside him. She was there, and right now, that was enough.
"Bring your light closer," she whispered, "There's something written next to the star." Joel raised his candle jar and read the scratched words:
ALTAR IN THE SNOW SHED
SUFFOCATE THE HALF DEAD
Behind him, her voice in shadow, Pin said, "He was angry when he wrote that."
"He's not angry now."
"What's it mean?"
"It has something to do with the club."
"How do you know?"
"Snow shed -- so much coke in there, they should have called the place North Pole. I think that's why it was torched."
"Don't!" Joel retreated up the alley. Pin followed. The mason jar lit their way and warmed Joel's bare hands. "I still don't understand what the poet means."
"Yes you do, it's about loss."
"I know where we can get some money."
They turned uptown, narrow, dark alleys and bright towers, across Second Avenue and Third, where they were stopped by the red hand. Thev waited on the corner and watched two University girls tap acappella on torn squares of linoleum. They wore matching white scarfs and their working breath was white smoke, and late shoppers tossed change into their upturned fedoras on the pavement. They smiled at him.
"If I could dance like you," said Joel to Pin, "we could make some money like that."
"There are better ways, come on, the walk man is lit up." They crossed the street and toiled uphill, and saw another star. Joel slipped into the alley and held his candlelight high.
IT'S EASY TO DREAM NOT TO BELIEVE
IT'S EASY TO PRETEND NOT TO CARE
He read the message three times. "Is it about failure Pin?"
"Yes, haven't I always said you were smart?"
"Not as smart as you." They returned to the sidewalk.
"You're plenty smart for fourteen." They came to a busier intersection: the hurry and rumbling impatience of homebound cars, the loud gift-wrapped store windows, foil and tinsel on plastic trees and paper snowflakes dusted with glitter, and frozen-smile mannequins dressed in styles no one he knew could afford to buy. Silver Bells caroled from a speaker. "...it's Christmas time in the city..."
Joel pressed his face to the tall window. "What do you want for Christmas, Pin?"
"I want only one thing."
"Light. Corne on, you must be hungry."
"Yes, very." But they stopped at the corner, even though the walk man beckoned them. There was a black madonna propped in rags against the marble of the Bon Marche. She sat on a blanket, with a baby in her lap. A coffee can, wrapped in bag paper and lettered with a magic marker, proclaimed in humble annunciation: MILK MONEY. Shoppers detoure.d past them the way they stepped around soiled puddles at the curbside.
Joel hugged his candle jar and knelt in front of the child. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
The mother said, "a girl." The speaker sang, "Away in a manger ... " .
"She's pretty, said Joel. "Here." He pushed his jar next to the baby. "It'll keep her warm. If you take good care of her, she won't leave you." He got up and walked away.
Pin sounded hurt. "Why did you say that?"
Joel shrugged in his over-sized coat. "I don't know."
"You gave away our light, how are you going to find our way?"
"Lots of light up here."
"But the alleys are dark."
"Follow the star. Isn't that what you said?"
"Yes, I want to...."
"Hey, we're like the wisemen, but there are two of us."
"The third one's on the wall, but you can't see your way now."
"What does it matter."
"The park's up ahead -- the fountain has money. People throw it in there and make a wish. We'll take it out and make a wish. What do you want for Christmas?"
As if she didn't know, but her sincerity made him confused, so he lied. "A fat goose dinner, with stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes with lots of butter, and cranberries and mince pie."
"There's no cop, pick up the coins."
Joel took off his sneakers and rolled his jeans. "Geez, the water's cold."
"Not as cold as it could be, there's no ice on the gutter lakes."
"What does that mean?"
"My mom told me when she was a kid there used to be ice in the gutters and she would skate on her way to school. But when I was a girl the city put in sewers and there was no more ice. But you know what I used to do?"
"No. Oh look, I found a quarter."
"I used to tie scrub brushes to my shoes and wash the kitchen floor, pretending I was ice skating."
They both laughed. Joel waded out, his balance teetering, almost falling, and they laughed over that too.
Pin peered over his shoulder. "How much did you get?"
Joel stacked the coins in their denominations on the pavement. "One quarter, five dimes, seven nickels, and eleven pennies."
"That's a dollar and twenty-one cents. Pretty good."
"There's a MacDonalds a couple of blocks away." Joel dried his feet with a coat tail, unrolled his jeans and retied his hightops.
Out of the park, heading north, Pin stopped beside the third star, and leaned in. "The street light doesn't quite reach inside."
"There's only one match in my book." Joel came into the alley. "That's all right, I can just make it out."
"What does it say?"
EYES IN THE CITY ARE BLIND
SIGHTLESS OF OUR MADNESS
He turned away. "Well, I knew that already."
"It was a reminder."
"Do you know the wiseman? Why he writes all these weird things in alleyways?"
"It's a reminder for you to find a way out. We'll find him whenwe reach the last star."
"It's a big city, what ifwe don't find them all?"
They entered the back parking lot of MacDonalds. Joel stayed in the shadow of the trash bin. There were four boys at the take-out window. They stood in a square and the boy at the left back made motor noises, while the boy at the front left gripped his hands around an invisible steering wheel. The boy at the front right held a flashlight, and the boy behind him cocked his arm, as if hanging it out a window.
Three girls were crowded into the take-out booth, in their prim uniforms, and giggling. They exchanged puffy white bags for money. Legs pumping in unison, the boys drove away, then broke formation. They laughed and swaggered down the sidewalk, eating their burgers.
Joel clung to the trash bin, laughing and slapping his knee. "Did you see that, Pin? Wasn't that something?"
"Illusion can be funny, I guess." She didn't sound amused. "They remind me of a brother I had once. Go get something to eat and I'll tell you about him."
Joel crossed the lot and went inside. He squinted in the bright light and studied the menu. The salty smell of fries and bun-wrapped meat watered in his mouth, but he wanted to buy Pin a gift. He began to feel nervous, waiting in line. There was something very dangerous about the noise and press of solid reality, he wanted to run back to the safe darkness of the night. The teller looked down.
"Welcome to MacDonalds, may I take your order?"
"A large cup of hot water?"
She fit her hand to her hip. "Is that all? Hot water?"
"You'll have to pay for the cup."
"I have a dime." He dug it out and pushed it across the brushed chrome. She drew the water and put a lid on the styrofoam, set it in front of him and put the dime in the till.
Thank you," said Joel. "Merry Christmas."
She looked over bis head. "Next?"
Joel stopped at the napkin bar. He pocketed three catsups, one salt, one pepper and a straw, and hurried out. He and Pin sat on the island between Macdonalds and Minit Lube, brittle junipers sheltering them.· Joel wedged the cup between his thighs and pried off the lid. "You were going to tell me about a brother?" He tore the catsups open with his teeth and squished the red paste into the water.
"You're making tomato soup -- I taught you that a long time ago, I didn't think you remembered."
Joel stirred in the salt with the straw, and said nothing about remembering.
"Lots of pepper, it makes you warm."
"The story, Pin."
"Yes, well...when I was nine mom brought a boy to live with us, and said he was my brother. I asked her where he'd been these past eight years, because he was a year younger than me. She said he'd been in the east. Anyway, I had a three-legged hamster named Pook, and Larry collected caterpillars, and we put on a circus and charged the kids in the neighborhood a penny each to watch the show."
"What kind of show?" He blew and sipped at the watery soup.
"Pook would run inside a number three peach tin with the ends cut out, and it would roll across the ground. Larry made his caterpillars crawl a tightrope of string and climb the high dive into a tuna can of water. He'd put one on Pook's back, but it would always curl up and fall off."
"What kind of caterpillars?"
"Those fat orange and black ones --it was summertime."
"I wish it was summer, now, I don't like the cold. What else?"
"Nothing else. Peg-leg Pook ran away,the caterpillars went into cocoons, and we went into a state home -- mom had run off, too."
"You never told me about this." His breath steamed.
"It wasn't a good time in my life, but it's why I stay with you. I'll always take care of you, as long as you need me. It's my Christmas present to you."
He didn't understand. "Was the state home bad?"
"It was okay. The people were nice, they bought me a slate tablet and a box of colored chalk. I liked chalk because it smelled of second grade, and I was happy in second grade. That was the year before Larry came."
"Oh, you didn't like him?" He finished his soup. "Pin?"
"I loved him, Joel."
"But something happened?"
"One day we were in the playground and some old people came, in a fancy car, and they took him away. I don't ever remember crying so hard, not before then, not after. I never saw Larry again."
"I couldn't understand why he left me, why I couldn't go, too. The state people said those were his grandparents, but not mine, so he was only my half-brother."
"I'm glad you told me, a half-uncle is better than no uncle at all. Even if we don't know where he is, he's out there somewhere."
"Not now." The city had fallen silent. Pin said, carefully, "He didn't want go, I'm sure of that, but he wasn't allowed to stay. Do you understand the difference?"
"He doesn't know, but he taught me not to hold people too lightly. We all go away. I just wish I could have said goodbye."
"I won't leave you."
"Do you know, now, why you said that to the child's mother?"
"You will. It's getting late, we should start back." Joel tossed his litter in the bin and they headed back to First Avenue. At a Circle K, Joel stopped.
"Wait for me," he said, "I want to get something." He came out a few minutes later, stuffing a square-shape in his empty pocket.
"Are you still there, Pin?"
Her voice came from shadow. "Yes. Hope that's your breakfast?"
"No, you'll see, it isn't Christmas yet. The clock in the store said eleven-thirty -- we have time."
They walked together along the echoing, deserted streets. The dancers, and the madonna and child, had gone home with their gold. Joel and Pin trudged silent and hunched against the December night.
Finally, Joel said, "We haven't seen any more stars. You think I've gotten us lost?"
"No, don't worry, there's only one more."
They were at the end of First, across from the burned-out Starmint club, when Pin saw the last star. "See? There it is."
"The street light's broken."
"You have one match in your book."
They stole into the blackness and sat down. "It's probably after midnight by now, I got you a present." He pulled out the brown-wrapped package. "Merry Christmas."
"Joel, you shouldn't have spent your money."
"I can get more, you showed me how."
"Open it for me, I can't see."
He opened the paper bag, and took out the box. He shook a disk from the cardboard, and pulled out his last match. His fingers were shivering but the match caught on the first strike. He lit the little candle disk.
"Light," marveled Pin.
"I bought you a whole box." He pulled out the rest. "Light for your last Chmtmas." Last Christmas; he looked into the flame and felt a strange movement inside him, like a sooty veil of pain on his soul had gotten up and tiptoed away. He sniffed and set the candles out in a row and lit the wicks. They bathed the narrow alley in a warm nativity glow.
He crouched with his back to the wall and swaddled his mother's big coat around his thin knees. "Are you happy, Pin?"
"It's the best Christmas ever, thank you. What did the wiseman write on the wall?"
"Just a minute, it's so cold." He rested his head on his knees.
"The candles help, don't they? I don't want you to be cold or hungry, or sad. I wish...."
"Don't worry." He remembered the soft touch of her good-night kiss. He was tired, but he felt safe.
"Joel? I have to go. I don't want to...but it's getting so bright. What does the wiseman say? Read it to me."
Joel sighed heavily, levered himself up and stood in front of the blank brick. He took the well-abused chalk from his jeans and wrote.
LIFE IS A WANDER, NIGHTMARE AND DAYDREAM
IT IS WHAT IT IS, NOT WHAT IT SEEMS.
Pin's fainter whisper came from somewhere beyond the candles. "Does that mean hope?"
"I loved you, Joel, never forget that. There's another star in my pocket. I...I'm not allowed to stay."
"I know," he nodded. And he knew she had led him as far as she could. And she had kept her promise, she had given him a gift, the only one she had to give.
There was one last star, and a message with a meaning that could not be written, one that he had not been able to read; the pain had been too fresh, and the grief too numbing. Forgetting had been his only solace. In it he had lost himself, and only now did he know how near he had come to the chasm of madness. But she had led him out through the alleys of his own denial, led him to the gift he needed.
Joel sat down alone and pulled from her pocket the wadded and cloth-smudged clipping, and smoothed it open. He read the headline by flickering candlelight:
DANCER DIES IN FIRE AT STARMINT.
Pin smiled up at him in paper and ink, in dark and in light. He knew now what he'd said to the madonna and why. Pin hadn't left him; she'd been taken away, and that made all the difference. In streaming tears, he whispered, "I love you, mom. Good-bye."
Note to my readers:
If you get lost in the city it's for good reason. This Seattle somehow got folded into Auburn. I'm well aware that downtown MacDonalds doesn't have a drive-through, nor a minit-lube, or Circle K, but they were there for me; and thus are the landscapes of dreams.
M. Elayn Harvey
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