August 8th to 26th, 1996
by Andy Hooper
1. Attitude #8, edited by Michael Abbott, John Dallman & Pam Wells, 102 William Smith Close, Cambridge, CB1 3QF Great Britain: It's very hard to pick between this and a new issue of Trap Door, but I must give Attitude #8 the nod. This is simply the best genzine being produced on a regular basis, and note well: We will only see four more issues before they cease publication. So if you have a fan article over 1,000 words that you would like to appear sometime in the next six to 12 months, this is where I would try to place it first. Another solidly built issue this, with stone and steel piers extending 40 feet below the surface of the fanzine. Thus, the stout foundation of boiler-plate like Rhodri James filk convention report, Taral's lengthy and annotated discussion of the Lion King, and editor Dallman's plodding defense of role-playing games are there to hold up the abruptly-rising curtain wall papered with Anne Wilson's discussion of Sheri Tepper, Martin Tudor's vestigial boy's adventure discourse on Alexander the Great, crowned by the crenelations and murder-holes of Allison Freebairn's fanzine reviews, Caroline Mullan's con reports and the exhaustively diverting "Legel Briefs," by Mike Siddall and Michael Abbott. All this ought to be driven down into the swamp by the 19 pages of letter column and five more pages of group editorial, but there's the miracle: The whole tottering edifice floats like an aerogel Taj Mahal, held aloft by mysterious stellar conjuctions and plenty of bluetack. Look upon the wonder of the age.
2. Trap Door #16, edited by Robert Lichtman, P.O. Box 30, Glen Ellen, CA 95422: One doesn't receive a fanzine featuring a previously unpublished chapter in Charle's Burbee's series of Al Ashley adventures every day. Every issue of Trap Door is a critical fanhistorical resource, as it provides the only source of contact between contemporary fandom and many venerable fans who do not appear in or receive many other fanzines. The downside of that familiarity with earlier fan generations is revealed in the large number of people whom Robert has had to say goodbye to in the last few months: Redd Boggs, Ethel Lindsay, Burbee himself and Robert's own father, and that's not a complete list. So this installment of "Penseroso" by Boggs is quite literally elegaic, and Burbee's memories of the late Elmer Perdue seem less funny than they ought to. Amid all this age and wisdom, Gary Hubbard's account of his experiences as GoH at Corflu Vegas feels positively sprightly, and Dale Speirs' memories of boyhood on a farm in Red Deer, Alberta seem right at home. A healthy letter column lets a number of writers deliver personal updates before their comments on #15; yet another way TD keeps tabs on the pulse of gafia. And yet, Robert's is the most respected long-running count of fanzines published from year to year. He'll surprise you, that Lichtman.
3. Plokta Vol. 1, #2, edited by Steve Davies (52 Westbourne Terrace, Reading, Berkshire RG30 2RP, GB) and Alison Scott, (42 Tower Hamlets Rd., Walthamstow, London E17 4RH, GB): For all that they protest at my characterization of them as "either neofans or a hoax," Plokta continues to show the kind of manic energy one associates with teenage gamers on speed. Although they have been running conventions and enjoying a variety of activities in fandom for years, Scott and Davies are relatively unknown over here, and ought to have expected a few people would look up at their juggernaut as it careened by and ask "Who ARE these people?" Any lingering question ought to be settled by the larding of digital photos and the raft of personal detail apparent in Alison's slightly nauseated account of her current pregnancy, and Steve's equally queasy memories of his work on the Intersection newsletter. Lots of funny stuff here, superfluous technology, tennis-ball cannons, half-nekkid second-generation fan-cuties and a letter from Mae Stelkov. We may not know what it is, but Plokta still tastes Ploktariffic.
4. Quipu #6, written and edited by Vicki Rosenzweig, 33 Indian Rd. # 6-R, New York, NY 10034: Another issue of a thoughtful and well-written personalzine. Vicki offers some thoughts on the Martian Bacteria Flap, offers a report on Wiscon 20 that moves quickly from scene to scene and spends very little time on the trip to the convention (always a good sign), and describes a visit to the butterly exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. Just six pages, but exactly the right six pages. A good example of what the personal essay can achieve in the fannish idiom.
5. The Best of Anzapa, Vol. 15, 1982/83, edited by Perry Middlemiss, GPO Box 2708X, Melbourne, Victoria 30001, Australia: Perry Middlemiss, current DUFF-traveler and future administrator, continues his vast project to reprint the best material from Anzapa, the longest-running apa in Australian Fanhistory. 1982 and 1983 saw contributions by John D. Berry, David Grig, Judith Hanna, Joseph Nicholas, John Bangsund, Bruce Gillespie and numerous others. Most noteworthy here are Allan Bray's "For Sale," detailing the history and particulars of his grandfather's home, and John Berry's breezy Thirsty Boots #14, a very model of a good con report twined with some very good ideas about fanzines and fandom. As always, the layout is simple and attractive, and Perry is to be praised for another fine installment in this intriguing series.
Also Received: Ansible #109, Dave Langford; Canadian Journal of Detournement #12, Dale Speirs; File 770 #114, Mike Glyer; Empties #17, Martin Tudor; Lettersub #10, Terry Hornsby; Opuntia #28.1B, Dale Speirs; Brum Group News #299, Martin Tudor for the BSFG; The Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet #58 & 59, Marc Ortlieb; T.R.'s Zine #5, T.R. Miller; Situation Normal?? Vol. 7, #8, Aileen Forman for SNAFFU; K65, dated August 1996, A. Vincent Clarke for Pieces of Eight; Stairway to Cleveland #2, Marc Ortlieb for ANZAPA.
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