July 18th to August 7th, 1996
by Andy Hooper
1. Wild Heirs #15.5 , edited by the Las Vegrants, 330 S. Decatur, Suite 152, Las Vegas, NV 89107: A superb and eloquent memorial for Charles Burbee, without whose life in and contribution to fandom, it is hard to imagine that I would be writing this, or that you would be reading it. Bill Rotsler leads with a heartfelt overview of how his life intertwined with Burb's. This is followed by three accounts of the week around the trip to scatter Burb's ashes at Amboy Crater, by Rotsler, Arnie and Joyce Katz. Burbee's own "I had intercourse with a glass of water" inspires equal measures of empathic pain and humorous hysteria. And Tom Springer hits just the right notes with his "I touched his piano." As Tom is one of the brightest and best writers to emerge in the nineties, his appreciation and good-humored admiration for Burbee allow the memorial to close on an up note, and gives hope that fandom will continue to embrace the latter's irreverent energy for generations to come.
2. Crawdaddy! #13, edited by Paul Williams, Box 231135, Encinitas, CA 92023: Every time a new issue of this magazine arrives, I am once more amazed by Crawdaddy!'s intelligence, integrity and erudition. And three years into the new project, interrupted briefly by a bike accident and hospital stay, Paul seems to have summoned an impressive gestalt from the building blocks of his magazine. This issue features work by five authors other than Paul, some superb letters that could stand on their own as articles or columns, and then Paul manages to climb to the top of the heap and sound his usual pure note of love and admiration with his lead story on Neil Young and Crazy Horse: The Complex Sessions, a video by Jonathan Demme. Other highlights include Michaelangelo Matos (even the writers' names are remarkable) appreciation of the Swedish band the Cardigans, Carl Baugher's resurrection of Jimmie Rodgers, and as always, Donna Nasser's lovely woodcut illos. These days, when I imagine writing brilliant, clever pieces of criticism, I imagine them appearing in Crawdaddy!
3. Waxen Wings & Banana Skins #3 , edited by Claire Brialey (26 Northampton Rd., Croydon, Surrey CR0 7HA GB) and Mark Plummer (14 Northway Rd., Croydon, Surrey CR0 6JE GB): At 62 pages, this ought to nail the lid shut on the notion that American fanzines are habitually larger than their British cousins. I must admit, I envy them the space and money to spend almost as much space as an entire issue of Apparatchik on their report on Eastercon alone. And gosh, don't these people have fun! The whole seamy tale behind Pam Wells' mad Condoms For America TAFF fund-raiser, which pranged because Americans were obstinate enough to prefer to buy old fanzines is recounted here, as is the strange bibulous obsession in Croydon Fandom (Jesus, it certainly feels odd to type that phrase) with small animals, especially goats (I plan to emulate their pub-crawling bent for goats by adopting the phrase "Croydon" as they do "goat" in their bar orders, thus, a typical apparatchiki editorial troika order would be, say, a Henry Weinhardt's Red Croydon, a Rum and Croydon, and a Pyramid HefeCroydon). Although one has to wade through a large moat of verbiage to get to it, there is material in #3 that warrants the longer genzine form: Paul Kincaid's fanzine review is one of the best and more critically complex I've seen lately. Claire's hopeful thoughts on the future of fandom, and Mark's crisis of identity on finding his appetite for SF somewhat stilled, are solid pieces of fan theory. A fine rival and counterpoint to Attitude.
And oh, the dizzying smell of fresh mimeo ink as I opened the envelope . . .
4. Critical Wave #46, edited by Steve Green and Martin Tudor, say it with me, 24 Ravensbourne Grove, Off Clarke's Lane, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV 13 1HX GB: Reading all the news in CW at once is a good way to depress yourself; seeing all the losses fandom has suffered in the last quarter stacked end to end gives me a serious chill. But Graham Joyce's column is a tonic, as usual, and Dave Hicks appears to be writing the only serious ongoing fanzine criticism column in the English-speaking world. For this I will endure the mostly wrong-headed comments on SF media, three columns of award-related news in even smaller type than Apak uses, dour little mutterings on the once and future significance of prozines and the indifferent reproduction of the CW photocopier. Hmm, all these stripes of faded toner . . . wonder if ApakUK looks like this. Go now, and send Steve and Martin a subscription, so they can afford to have the machine serviced.
5. Jupiter Jump #25, written and edited by Mark Manning, 1709 South Holgate, Seattle, WA 98144-4339: Mark has emerged, more or less, from a year-plus bout with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and announces his return to publishing with this handsomely goofy SAPS zine. He's been keeping up on his reading, as always, and has correspondents from all over the globe still writing him with one odd project or another; this time one Moisés Hassón of Santiago, Chile is trying to document the original American publication of various stories that appeared in the Argentine pulp magazine Narraciones Terrorificas. And, as one feels is merely appropriate, Mark has a brother-in-law living in Azerbaijanistan, who sent a letter. All this and SAPS mailing comments too. Mark, fandom needs you.
Also Received: TAFFlon Tudor, Martin Tudor; The Flying Pig #38, Darroll Pardoe; Wild Heirs #15, The Vegrants; Door Knob #50 & 51, Robert Lichtman for SAPS; VFD #2, Arnie Katz; Brum Group News #295 - 298; Sempervivum, Dale Speirs for Canvention 16; The Reluctant Famulus #45, Tom Sadler; De Profundis #291 & 292, Tim Merrigan for the LASFS.
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