May 8th to 29th, 1997
by Andy Hooper
1. Redd Boggs -- Selected Works, Volume One, edited by Dave Rike, P.O. Box 11, Crockett, CA 94525: At last, the May FAPA mailing has arrived, and I get my own copy of this fanthology. First off, Dave has done a Good Thing in reproducing Redd's work with it's original graphic design and layout intact. As Dave notes in his introduction, Redd was very particular about the look of his work, and I'm sure he'd be glad to see his laboriously justified margins intact. The essays, reviews and fan fiction included are an excellent introduction to Redd's style and attitudes, and I couldn't resist devouring the whole thing, when I merely intended to flip through it for the purpose of writing this review. We have been quick to praise Redd's talent and integrity as a fan writer, but it needs to be underlined that he was terribly funny as well, in a way that always made you feel like you were invited to be part of the joke. He reveled in the role of curmudgeon, and stood out in a fandom full of such types by the grace and taste which he usually brought to the part. Reading this collection made me miss him all over again, and I am looking forward to seeing further installments in the series. There's plenty of room for that, by the by, since most of the material included is from Redd's various FAPA and SAPS contributions like Discord, Spirochete, and Hurkle. I'll be interested to see if Dave digs up a bunch of material from Redd's genzine Skyhook for the next volume, since I think I've only seen one or two issues of that title. But no matter; this is an excellent step toward understanding a complex and talented fan, and I can only praise Dave, Bill Donaho and Lenny Bailes for assembling such a fine introduction.
2. The Neofan's Guide to Science Fiction Fandom, 8th Edition, edited by Bob Tucker, available from the Kansas City Science Fiction Society, P.O. Box 36212, Kansas City, MO, 64171-6212: This new edition of the venerable classic was released last October, but we just received a set of copies at the behest of Bob hisself. This is the same text as Bob's revision of 1976, and by the dates on many of the illustrations (by Canfield, Shull, Shiffman, Kinney, Rotsler and others), those may have accompanied the MidAmericon version as well. Tucker's definitions are in some cases slightly dated (contemporary filk singing, for example, bears virtually no resemblance to the cheerful, raucous pastime Tucker describes here), but on the thematic level, this is still the best introduction to fandom that has ever seen any wide distribution. An essential part of any fan's library, and available from the KCSFS for $3.00, which includes first-class postage.
3. Vanamonde #208, 209, written and edited by John Hertz, 236 S. Coronado St., #409, Los Angeles, CA 90057: I'm continually impressed by the quality of the essays which John manages to fit in just a portion of this single-sheet apazine. Both of these issues deal with Samuel Johnson, in 208 with a summary of his consideration of the character of Polonius in Hamlet, and in 209 Johnson's criticism of poetic justice in the same play gives way to Damon Knight and Salman Rushdie as colleagues in their reference to an unreasoning and haunted humanity. My only complaint is that John shares with so many cognoscenti the compulsion to defame the contemporary as an adjunct to his praise of the classical -- no matter that he chooses to deflate deserving targets, it still seems to consign him to cliché, and undermine his other telling observations.
4. Bob #12, edited by Ian Sorensen, 7 Woodside Walk, Hamilton, ML3 7HY UK: I read this most recent issue with an eye toward trying to decide what it is about Ian that seems to irritate so many British fans. I think I might know. It's his never-fading aura of capability -- sometimes Ian is optimistic enough to be taken for an American fan, or at least a Canadian. While he recounts just as many petty calumnies and obstacles as one would find in the average Martin Tudor postcard, their total effect on him is almost negligible. His account of how he was not allowed to take the dais at the Corflu Wave Brunch to present the "Leeds Bid" until he had just eight minutes left until he was supposed to be on the airport shuttle reads more like the climax of The Andromeda Strain, than the grinding, miserable torture it really was. I'm confident that no matter what happens at Corflu next year, Ian will judge it to be a success. The rest of the issue is filled out with an article by Evelyn Murray, about a brutal fall followed by a rousing series of hospital horrors that left me nervously rubbing my patellas. Interesting, if brief, letter column. And the two D. West cartoons gave everything just the right punch.
5. TommyWorld #13 - 15, edited by Tommy Ferguson, 798 Manning Ave., Toronto, ON M6G 2W6 Canada: Actually, #13 arrived in time for last issue, but I neglected to format and print a copy for myself until after we had gone to press. This continues to be a real treat, insightful, colorful writing that arrives with remarkable frequency, punishing work schedule and all. Issue 13 features Tommy's delighted reaction to the Labour victory in Britain, #14 describes his travails with a slightly delusional and largely hostile landlady (hence the COA for his mail address), and # 15 covers the debauched events at Mike Glicksohn and Mike Harper's traditional birthday weekend. I only wish I could have been there to see Glicksohn introducing Tommy to poker games like Anaconda and Diablo . . . something else we'll have to work on the next time you visit, Tommy.
Girabbit #7, edited by David Bratman, 1161 Huntingdon Dr., San Jose, CA 95129: This issue of David's regular FAPAzine is a special tribute to his friend and collaborator Seth Goldberg. While the demise of Seth from an inadequately-diagnosed virus is a loss to everyone who has appreciated his work with FAPA and the Hugo awards, for David it is the end of a fannish partnership that spanned 18 years. I think all of us hope that when we go, there will be someone who misses us as thoroughly as David clearly mourns Seth, and that they will be able to present such a detailed and well-written account of our lives and careers in fandom as David presents here. My most powerful emotion on reading this fanzine is to wish that I had known the man better than I did, and I suspect many readers will share that sensation.
The Reluctant Famulus #48, edited by Tom Sadler, 422 W. Maple Ave., Adrian, MI 49221-1627: Interesting editorial here, commenting on psychic hotlines and phenomena, that gives way to a sideways defense of costuming -- Tom actually has a rather distinctive voice, and I suspect his work is the highlight of most issues for me. But as usual, there's a wide variety of other articles here, including Robert Sabella's consideration of Toni Morrison's Beloved, more Terry Jeeves service memoirs, an amusing report on Marcon 31 by Johnny Carruthers, and Harry Turner's memories of an ocean voyage taken to see the great total solar eclipse of 1973. An active letter column and some thoughtful, if brief, fanzine reviews, bulk out the issue to 64 pages (not too many people appear to be WAHFed). And Tom puts the cherry on top with an editorial that considers both Sharyn McCrumb's "fandom" mysteries and a little about life on the net. On the whole, I thought this a great fanzine to use to introduce a really sercon SF-lover to the world of fanzines -- there's a lot of sf-related stuff, but enough personal memoir to make it clear that the field can support both kinds of writing. And how long has it been since you saw a new fanzine cover (front and back!) from Delphyne Woods? Well worth reading.
Opuntia #33, edited by Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta T2P 2E7 Canada: The bulk of this issue is given over to the final chapter of Garth Spencer's history of Ottawa Fandom. Harry Warner, in a loc in this same issue, notes that Garth's history is remarkable for its heavy reliance on primary sources and direct commentary by the people involved. I agree that this a laudable strategy, but I find myself wishing that his relatively Spartan narrative was supplemented by source readings, or that he had allowed himself a little more space to deal with personalities which make up Ottawa fandom. 50 years from now, however, Spencer's work will be considered of value when the context of more colorful, gossipy histories have been lost. Also featured are some comments on the Belgian origins of "Dutch" elm disease, and fungus in the fossil record by Dale.
Glamour #5, edited by Aileen Forman, 7215 Nordic Lights Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89119: Wow, not only has Aileen cranked out five of these little gems now, but she's done it in a remarkably short time. What is this, a frequent fanzine? This issue is half letter column, including notes from some new names -- but we need the street addresses too, Aileen, not just the e-mail directions. Aileen notes that for many reasons she's thinking of giving up her job at the casino -- I'm tempted to encourage her to pursue any opportunities she might find at the new Hilton "Star Trek Experience" complex, just so we can hear what a Cardassian restaurant is like. But the heart of the issue is a further consideration of Aileen's adopted parents and their conspiracy-centered, creationist belief system, which ought to inspire a lot of private reappraisal of just how crazy the reader's parents are after all . . . .
Pinkette #16a, edited by Karen Pender-Gunn, P.O. Box 567, Blackburn, Victoria 3130 Australia: The most important note in this installment of Karen's between-issues minizine is that Pink #16 (covering the topic fast food) has been completed, and copies are available. However, no doubt due to escalating costs, Karen will only send you a copy if you write and ask her for one, which seems well worth doing. In this Pinkette, Karen mentions her return to student life, offers statistics on last year's Christmas card motifs and the roadkill encountered on a recent drive to Sydney, and cranks out another single-day report from her and Ian's 1995 GUFF trip. Fun to read, but all too brief; consider this a request for the Big Pink, Karen.
Ethel the Aardvark #71, edited by Ian and Karen Pender-Gunn for the MSFC, P.O. Box 212, World Trade Centre, Melbourne, 3005 Victoria, Australia: I fear that all we really need to know about the current state of Australian fandom can be discerned from a box with no byline on page 3, bearing the title "Editorial Policy: FIAB," (for Fandom Is A Bus. ) This appears to be an effort to defuse some sort of triune class consciousness within Australian fandom with a clever simile about being trapped with the other fan-aspects on a cross-country bus trip, and which tries to gently chide with humor, but which mostly succeeds in making me feel like I ought to give the whole continent a wide berth until the current generation dies or gafiates. The reaction of Australian fans themselves might well be substantively different. As for the rest of the issue, I liked both Ian's music column, and Karen's website reviews, and the club news column is just chatty enough.
Pennstock #1, written and edited by Ken Forman, 7215 Nordic Lights Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89119-0335: Ken offers some insight into his experiences as a guide at Hoover Dam, the most famous, most visited dam in the world. They shoot movies there, Santa Claus apparently came by on vacation, and twice an hour he opens the doors, turns on the lights, lets one audience out and another in, fires up the VCR, turns the lights back off and closes the doors again, which is why watching the misadventures of various film crews and stunt performers seems like such a welcome break in the monotony. This zine was rushed out to save Ken's FAPA membership, the loss of which would be slightly embarrassing as he's volunteered to stand in as official editor for the late Seth Goldberg. Another example of how no good deed goes unpunished.
Jomp Jr. #17, edited by Richard Dengrove, 2651 Arlington Dr. #302, Alexandria, VA 22306: It's been a year between issues of this fanzine, but given Richard's often eccentric choice of subject matter, nothing here suffers for the delay. As is his fashion, Dengrove leads the fanzine with several essays and arguments on aesthetic and moral issues. He covers the image of witches in modern society, the social applications of the bell curve, and the uses and misuse of moral degeneracy. A lettercol wraps things up. Richard has no compunction about resorting to moral absolutism from time to time in his arguments, so I feel no shame in saying that his attitudes and ideas are largely opaque and occasionally repellent to me, and I generally find little here that I am inclined to respond to.
Situation Normal??, V.8, #4, edited by Dave Wittmann for Snaffu, P.O. Box 95941, Las Vegas, NV 95941: I note that SNAFFU meetings are moving to the Borders bookstore which has just opened in Las Vegas. The arrival of a chain bookstore/coffee house like Borders could be a godsend to fan clubs all around the country -- most of them are more than willing to provide a free meeting space in exchange for the increased business. Such ventures can always become less hospitable once they see what they've let themselves in for, but on the whole, it's still more stable than meeting at a specific member's home, and I hope this will be a good fit for SNAFFU. Dave is getting the essential news out for Vegas fans without incident here, but he sometimes has to go to uncomfortable lengths to fill up the issue. His review of Clement's Mission of Gravity was pleasant, but spreading a story on the new Game Works franchise in Vegas across a half-page is a clear indication that other SNAFFU members have to pitch in with the occasional contribution if they want to keep Dave in the editorial chair.
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