Do Artists Always Lose Fan Funds?

When Frank Wu came out on the losing end of the latest TAFF race a disgruntled friend of mine declared his surprise because Frank is such a popular fan. But he consoled Frank with a seductive conspiracy theory – that no artist has ever run for TAFF or DUFF and won.

Some of you are trying to climb through the screen right now in your eagerness to correct this impression. Please be patient while I take care of a preliminary question before getting to the main event.

Just who is a fanartist for purposes of this discussion? A lot of fans have had art in fanzines, myself included, without ever being numbered among the field’s fanartists. At least in my mind. So if you feel I’m being too subjective about who they are for purposes of this post, chime in.

Tremendous numbers of fanartists have lost TAFF. Terry Jeeves did it three times (1955, 1971, 1977). Other artists who have lost include Bjo (1959), Eddie Jones (1962), Bill Rotsler (1970), Jim Barker (1980), Grant Canfield (1983), Taral Wayne (1983), D. West (1984), Luke McGuff (1989), Joe Wesson (1995), and Frank Wu (2009).

Frank Dietz (1973) may also belong on the list. His fanzine credits include Luna Monthly and I believe he did quite a bit of art for it, but I had trouble testing my recollection with online research because he shares a name with a well-known Disney artist.

Yet a look at TAFF history reveals the perhaps surprising fact that the list of winning fanartists is almost as long as the list of losers.

Lee Hoffman won TAFF in 1956, followed by ATom  (1964), Steve Stiles (1968), Eddie Jones (1969, winning on his second attempt), Stu Shiffman (1981), Jeanne Gomoll (1987), Dan Steffan (1995), Ulrika O’Brien (1998) and Sue Mason (2000).

The Down Under Fan Fund has also been kind to fanartists: Bill Rotsler (1977), Ken Fletcher (1979; he succeeded to the trip when I had to withdraw, having just been hired by the government), and the trio of Australian artists Nick Stathopoulos, Lewis Morley, Marilyn Pride (1986).

Fanartists can’t win fan funds? The real explanation may be that the winning fanartists are not remembered as they deserve, even by other fanartists. Several did fine trip reports.

Concave’s Annette Carrico Dies

Kentucky fan Annette Carrico passed away overnight on December 24 says Joel Zakem, who received word from Sue and Steve Francis. He adds:

Though confined to a wheelchair, Annette ran the con suite at Concave for as long as I can remember (even at the Park Mammoth which had no elevators and where the con suite was on the second floor), helped in the con suite at other cons, and she was scheduled to be the Guest of Honor at Concave 31 in February 2010. She was also Fan GOH at Rivercon 23. 

Annette was an avid reader and one of the nicest people you could meet. She will be missed.

Gary Robe’s 1997 article “History of Concave” emphasized:

Annette’s contribution cannot be understated. Since the success of a relaxacon revolves around the quality of the consuite, Annette’s tireless shopping, hauling, and food preparation has been central to the Concave’s deserved reputation as having one of the greatest consuites in all convention fandom.

Peter Watts To Face Trial

Canadian sf writer Peter Watts, whose arrest by border authorities immediately became an internet cause célèbre, appeared in St. Clair County (Michigan) District Court on December 22 for a preliminary examination before Judge John Monaghan.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer testified that Watts refused to follow commands and choked him, according to the Port Huron (MI) Times Herald:  

The officer, who has been with the agency for six years, said he attempted to get Watts out of the vehicle. In the process, Beaudry said the defendant grabbed either his uniform or jacket collar, choking him.

Beaudry said he used an elbow and leg strike to free himself and Watts exited the vehicle.

When the writer refused to follow orders to get on the ground, Beaudry said he sprayed him with pepper spray, and when Watts again didn’t respond to commands, he deployed his baton. He said Watts then got on the ground.

Judge Monaghan determined that Watts will face trial on a charge of assaulting and resisting arrest and bound his case over to the 31st Circuit Court of St. Clair County. A Circuit Court is the trial court with the broadest powers in Michigan, handling civil cases with claims of more than $25,000 and all criminal cases where the accused, if found guilty, could be sent to prison. If convicted, Watts faces up to two years in jail and a $2,000 fine.

People still question why Watts’ car was halted in the first place. During cross-examination, Watts’ defense lawyer “asked the officer why Watts was stopped for a vehicle inspection after he had paid to cross the bridge and enter Canada.” The news article doesn’t indicate that a direct answer to the question was given. Here is the reported response:

Beaudry said they were 10 to 15 feet past the toll booths doing the inspections, which aren’t done on a routine basis. He said it was the first vehicle they had stopped that shift. Beaudry wasn’t involved in stopping the vehicle for inspection.

[Via Steven H. Silver.]

The Writer Inside

Heather Paye’s interview with Francis Hamit, author of The Shenandoah Spy, rewards careful reading by writers who like to keep their muse lively. Here’s a sample:

Heather: Have you ever had writer’s block, and if so how do you get rid of it?

Francis: Nope. Writers block is simply fear of failure. You fear that what you are writing will not be accepted or will piss someone off that you care about (friends and relatives of writers tend to get delusions of reference and are not reassured when you tell them that not everything you do is about them.) Or you fear bad reviews or that it won’t be as good as the last thing you published.

I have two things going for me against those fears. Writing is something I do really well, and I am very careful about craft. I employ my own editor for the mechanical stuff like punctuation and grammar. When it comes to story I recruit readers to go over early drafts and give me feedback about where a story works and where it fails. You have to consult multiple sources because not everyone has a feel for what makes a good story and a lot of people get hung up on the mechanicals. I also try to write something everyday, even if it’s just a blog entry, to keep my skills fresh, and reading every word aloud of the final draft is another way to catch awkward phrases and repetitions. On some parts of my last book we went through 15 drafts. I think of this process as “product development” because we are in a marketplace and selling the work to strangers is the ultimate goal. I also use that Japanese management word “Kaisan” as a mantra. It means “Continuous Improvement.”

Opposed to that it the motto of old Soviet space program “The Perfect is the enemy of the Good.” There comes a time when you have to let something go and prove itself in the market, not just as a product but as an intellectual construct. When you do articles for other editors then you have deadlines to meet, so you learn to accept imperfections and how little other people notice or care as long as you spell the names right. With a long work like a book or a play, your deadlines are self-imposed and therefore flexible. You take the time to get it right, if not perfect, accept that you’ve done your best and move on.

Caren Gussoff Wins Gulliver Grant

The Speculative Literature Foundation has awarded its 2009 Gulliver Travel Research Grant to author Caren Gussoff. The $800 grant will assist Gussoff in visiting western Washington State to research the setting of her near-future novel The King of Seattle.

Gussoff’s stories have appeared in Abyss & Apex, PodCastle and Fantasy Magazine, and in several Seal Press anthologies. Her novel King of Seattle explores a post-pandemic Puget Sound, in which mental illness is a communicable disease.

Gulliver Travel Research Grants are awarded for use in paying for airfare, lodging, or other expenses related to research for a project of speculative fiction. Applications for the seventh annual Grant will open on July 1, 2010.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Darth Vader Visits Wall Street

Darth Vader on Wall Street

Darth Vader at NYSE

Representatives of Lucasfilm Ltd. opened the NYSE on December 22. President of Lucas Licensing Howard Roffman rang The Opening Bell® with Darth Vader at his side, while storm troopers trained their weapons on the traders below.

As Businessinsider put it, “Darth Vader finds your lack of faith in the market disturbing.”

The Globe and Mail’s create-a-caption contest for a photo of Vader stalking the trading floor produced some funny entries including “A wretched hive of scum and villainy,” and “Help me Oba-ma Barack! You’re my only hope.”

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story.]

Joe Haldeman Rehospitalized

Gay Haldeman has told readers that Joe Haldeman was readmitted to a hospital on December 21 to diagnose and treat various symptoms, including weakness and fever.

The CT scan shows an abscess between his stomach and his pancreas, as well as other pockets of fluid in his abdomen. The surgeons are exploring options, perhaps another drain as well as moving the drain he already has. The surgeon also thinks he may need to go in and remove more of the pancreas, ugh. 

Joe and Gay have been back home in Gainesville since December 9, where they returned following Joe’s 52-day hospitalization in Cincinnati plus a month of outpatient care. Gay adds, “Joe’s spirits are good; mine are a bit frayed but holding.”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Joel Zakem.]

Update 12/23/2009: Later on, things were looking up — see Gay’s quote below in David Klaus’ comment — though an endoscopic operation on the problem area still is likely.

Hertz on

John Hertz’ contribution to this December is a review of R.A. Lafferty’s Past Master (1968):

Science fiction in 1968 was athrob with protest.  There is no sign Lafferty marched to that drummer then nor does this book seem to now.  In the resonance of Past Master his warnings are neither because of nor despite what other people cry.  He speaks in a voice singularly his own.

TAFF Winners Announced

Anne KG Murphy and Brian Gray have been selected as North American TAFF delegates to the British Eastercon, Odyssey 2010.

Anne KG Murphy / Brian Gray, 49 first-place votes
Frank Wu, 30
No preference, 13
Hold over funds, 3

For more TAFF miscellany, including sort of a financial report, read The President’s Bathtub. (And I also donated and voted, no matter what the list says. Feel free to pencil me in…)

[Thanks to Steve Green and Chris Garcia.]

A Few Stories Reposted

Don’t you find having something else you’re supposed to be doing a great source of energy for irrelevant projects? I ought to be working on our family Christmas newsletter but, you know… When went away a bunch of my news stories went with it. I’ve never made a rigorous search of my saved files to see how many drafts of those stories I still have. Today I felt an irresistible need to look.  

There were quite a few, but most were either very short or transitory. About 20 had enough substance to seem worth reposting to File 770:

Wingding Planned for Tucker’s 90th
Water Brothers on Mars by 2024?
The Apprentice
LASFS Cuts the Birthday Cake
Baltimore Club Wins Tax Appeal
Clarke Okay in Sri Lanka
Frank Kelly Freas 1922-2005
Do-It-Yourself Steve Stiles Webpage
2007 NASFiC: St. Louis Stands Alone
Saving Private Enterprise
Remember Who Put The Bopp?
Middle-Earth Cuisine Offered at LOTR Marathon
Fans Find Biggest Diamond For Wedding
Octavia Butler 1946-2006
Bastards of Kirk
David Feintuch 1944-2006
Old Negro Space Program Ruled Ineligible for Nebula
Emerald City Folds
Heinlein Archives Online
Doris Lessing Doesn’t Give A Hoot

It would be nice if all the embedded links still worked, but these stories are up to four years old so there’s no chance of that happening.