In Memoriam – Waldemar Kumming, 31 July 1924 – 5 April 2017

By Wolf von Witting: It feels surreal writing “I only knew him for forty years,” but in fact Waldemar began publishing Munich Round Up [MRU] before I was born. He was among the pioneers of German fandom. MRU, the fanzine of the Munich SFCD-group, was launched as a newsletter in November 1958, but rose to prominence when the dynamic duo of engineers Waldemar Kumming and Walter “Fux” Reinecke took charge of its publication. By the time we first met in 1977, I was 17 and Waldemar 53 and the dynamic duo had already come out with MRU #143. Its appearances grew sparse after the death of Walter Reinicke in 1981.

On June 2, 1962 Waldemar became the second chair of the SFCD, which had experienced a turbulent infancy under Walter Ernsting. With Waldemar at the helm for six years, the SFCD had a somewhat peaceful period.

It hardly seems fair that our history books don’t teach us more about the good men who walked among us. Waldemar was such a good man. Humble. Generous. He was a good listener. Not much of an attention hog. Science fiction fandom was his hobby and he was literally a fan who had an impact on thousands, in Gerfany and abroad. He was not one who sorted his fannish activity among the follies of youth and then got away from it all for a couple of years, only to return to fandom by the time retirement approached. Waldemar was an active fan before I was born and he kept at it, into the new millennium.

In 40 years I saw him disgruntled only once. It was in Berlin, at BärCon 1985, as we had come to a restaurant over-challenged with the arrival of a dozen sf-fans. Most of us had to wait for our food an hour and a half. Waldemar was served half an hour later. One rarely heard him participating in the fierce verbal battles of the SFCD other than when he suddenly yelled; “Stop!” And everyone fell silent. Waldemar turned the tape in the recorder and signaled the heated combatants to resume their ruckus.

Denis Scheck, left, interviews Marion Zimmer Bradley, center, at STUCON 1980, while Waldemar Kumming captures it all on his tape recorder, right.

He was bestowed with the Kurd Lasswitz Award for Munich Round Up in 1993 and received the Big Heart Award at the WorldCon in Glasgow 2005.

Near the end of his life, he was unable to visit sf-conventions. It should not have been a surprise to hear that Waldemar is no more. Yet the news hit me like a punch in the face as Thomas Recktenwald casually mentioned in an email: “Btw Waldemar Kumming died two weeks ago.” We have been bracing for the impact of his departure for a couple of years. Yet, I can’t rid myself of the feeling, that a grand chapter of our fan-history now definitely has vanished into the mist.

P.S. Thanks to Michael Haitel, for reminding me of the classic Stop-episode. Recommended reading (page 20) “Waldemar Kumming – Behold the Fan”: http://efanzines.com/CounterClock#15/CoClock-15.pdf

Pixel Scroll 4/1/16 There Has to Be a Trophy in Here Somewhere

It’s the First of April you know.

Bruce Campbell as Doctor Who

(1) PHAKE PHANS LISTEN UP. We predict there will be a journey in your future.

PHLEGMATIC PHLEAS ANNOUNCE TPP PHUND 2016 NOMINATIONS OPEN Nominations for the Phlegmatic Phleas’ TPP Phund (Trans-Planetary Phan Phund) are open. Note: Trip awards are one way only. Another note: Current funding is available for up to a dozen winners. Fifth note: You may nominate slates rather than individuals. Pre-Fifth note: Nominate someone you feel has earned the right to go far. Post-Fifth note: Sponsored by the “You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog” Phoundation.

(2) A TALL TAIL. The Aurora Awards left a category out of today’s announcement: “Best Canadian Squirrel in a book, story or poem”.

  • Squirrelly McSquirrelface in, An Icebreaker goes North, Nuts Are Us books
  • Fuzzy Nutcracker in, The Galactic Safe, In Trees Publishing
  • Digger Moreholes in, “A Tail of Nuts”, Rodent Magazine, issue 341
  • Zippy Treeclimber in, “The Maze of Nuts”, Squirrel Poets, issue 1
  • Warhammer Graytail in, A Song of Oaks and Pine, Random Tree Press

We are proud to announce this special new category.  Stay tuned for more details.

(3) CONNIE THE DECEPTICON. Connie Willis’ April Fool’s Day blog post ends with a list of her dozen all-time favorite April 1 jokes. One of them is fake.

That’s another key to a good April Fool’s joke–details.  The more specific the story is, the more believable, especially if it involves science.  Or a technology that’s already in our lives.  Like lasers or smartphones.  Or digital watches.   My favorite April Fool’s joke of all time was the one the BBC did where they announced Big Ben was going to go digital.  A bright green digital readout was going to replace the four Victorian clock faces.  You can imagine how that was received!

(4) A HAIRY PROBLEM. At the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum “Tribble Trial Trends Toward Trouble”.

Stardate 1604.01: At 12:01 am EDT this morning, the National Air and Space Museum began breeding tribbles. This bold, innovative, not-at-all-ill-advised experiment will run for 24 hours, until 11:59 pm tonight, allowing Museum specialists to study the galaxy’s most adorable ecological disaster in greater detail than ever before. The tribble trial utilizes five original specimens of the species Polygeminus grex from the original Star Trek television series, donated to the Museum in 1973.

 

(5) THE DECENT THING TO DO. You heard it here last: “National Geographic to Stop Publishing Nude Animal Pictures”.

The media group says that it will no longer degrade animals by showing photos of them without clothes.

(6) MIGHT CHANGE HIS MIND TOMORROW. Joe Vasicek explains “Why I stopped writing”, at One Thousand And One Parsecs.

This will probably come as a shock to most of you, but I’ve decided to give up writing. It was a good run while it lasted, but the time has come to pack it away with my other childhood dreams, like living on a houseboat or becoming a paleontologist.

Why did I give up writing? Because frankly, I just don’t have any new ideas anymore. Whenever I manage to come up with one, it turns out that someone else has already done it. Accidental marriage in space? Firefly. Trek across a desert planet? Dune. Colonizing an unexplored nebula? I don’t know off the top of my head, but I’m sure it’s been done before.

(7) IT IS THE END MY FRIEND. io9’s James Whitbrook declared “There Was Only One Decent April Fools’ Day Prank Today, and This Is It”

Friends, we’ve finally made it: The hellishly wearisome event that is April Fool’s Day is basically at its end. We at io9 despise this black day, but even our curmudgeonly souls got a smile out of this “prank” by the Canadian Library and Archives, which claimed to have dug up Wolverine’s military records from its collection.

The organization announced today that it had secured the declassified journals and military records of Canada’s most famous son: James “Logan” Howlett, better known to his legion of comic book fans a X-Man Wolverine.

(8) JOKES BECOME REAL IF YOU PAY ENOUGH. ThinkGeek offers a “Star Trek White Noise Sleep Machine”

ivmt_st_white_noise_sleep_machine

As effective as the Vulcan nerve pinch

  • Drift off to sleep to a familiar low thrum
  • 8 sounds from 5 different spacecraft
  • Projects a moving starfield on your ceiling

Is this genuine? At a price of $149.99 it must be.

(9) TODAY IN FOOLISH HISTORY.

  • April 1, 1964 The Horror of Party Beach opens on April Fools’ Day.

Party Beach

(10) THE TRUTH WILL OUT. SciFiNow ranks “The Top 10 Avengers TV Episodes”. Number 1 is “The Hidden Tiger” (Mar 1967).

“Pussies galore!” Ronnie Barker’s cat-rescue home is the centre of a magnificently ludicrous plot to turn domestic moggies into man-eating killers. A feel-good feline frolic exemplifying prime Avengers.

(11) EDELMAN HOMES IN ON THE RANGE. Scott Edelman’s latest installment of Eating the Fantastic features Carolyn Ives Gilman —

CarolynIvesGilmanEatingtheFantastic-300x300

Carolyn Ives Gilman

A new Eating the Fantastic is now live! Episode 5 was recorded with Carolyn Ives Gilman at Range in Friendship Heights, Maryland.

We discussed what’s kept her coming back to her Twenty Planets universe for a quarter of a century, how her first science fiction convention was “total sensory overload,” what it was like working with David Hartwell as an editor, why she’s not visible on social media, and more.

Edelman says, “If all goes well, the next will be Andy Duncan.”

(12) DOC WEIR. Winner of the Doc Weir award for unsung UK fan heroes is Kathy Westhead. [Via Ansible.]

(13) MYSTERY GATHERS. Deadline Hollywood says an MST3K reunion is in the works – “Full ‘MST3K’ Casts To Reunite For RiffTrax 10th Anniversary”.

In the 17 years since the cult TV series’ cancellation, the creative team behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 have never fully reunited in public. That changes this summer as part of the 10th anniversary of MST3K offshoot Rifftrax, with RiffTrax Live: MST3K Reunion Show, a live event to be performed in Minneapolis on June 28 and broadcast to theaters nationwide by Fathom Events. Tickets will be available April 15th from the official RiffTrax website.

(14) MORE FROM LEVINE. David D. Levine’s new Wild Cards novelette “Discards” is a free read at Tor.com. And more!

My superhero story “Into the Nth Dimension,” originally published in Human for a Day, has been podcast at GlitterShip — narrated by me!. The full text is also available on the web to read for free. You can read or listen here.

I will be appearing at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle next Friday, April 8 (one day only). I’ll be on the panel “Aliens and Airships and Authors, Oh My!”, followed by an autograph session. At other times you can most likely find me at the WordFire Press booth.

I’ve sold an essay, “How to Sell a Novel in Only Fifteen Years,” to the nonfiction anthology The Usual Path to Publication. It comes out in June and you can pre-order it here.

(15) BVS WINS BY LOSING. This was posted on March 30, just saying…. “Batman V Superman Sets Unwanted Box Office Record”.

‘Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ may have netted the fourth biggest opening weekend of all time, but according to business site Forbes, it’s broken a record that may be rather less welcome.

It’s recorded the worst audience drop-off over a weekend for any superhero movie in ‘modern box office history’.

Attendance has plummeted for the critically-hammered movie, which sets Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel against Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader.

It dropped an eye-popping 55% between Friday and Sunday, a figure which even beats the 48% drop in numbers set by the much-despised ‘Fantastic Four’ last summer…

(16) POST TAFF STRESS SYNDROME. Wolf von Witting is still recovering from losing TAFF.

On the first day, it was grossly tear-jerking ballads. On the second day I went on to heavy metal and other music which blows the crap out from a brain (where there is one). But in the night before the third day, my scary godmother (she doesn’t like being called a fairy) came to me in a dream and announced that I was to become the pope of European sf-fandom. “You’re supposed to reform TAFF, not win it!” she said and hit me over the back of my head with her magic wand.

She had… a beaver sitting on her left shoulder, and suddenly it became so clear to me why I lost again. It was meant to be this way, folks. We’re not living in 1952 anymore. It’s EASY and relatively cheap crossing the Atlantic now. If the yanks wish to meet the pope of European fandom, there are two ways.

1) come to Italy – that’s where the pope lives.

2) I’d be absolutely delighted to accept any FGoH invitation they send (we have American guests all the time over here in Europe. You can afford it, if you care to meet the pope).

The Gods of fandom have resolved the issue to the best of all possible outcomings. Filkers are not stupid, mind you. They knew what they were up against. So they just did what was necessary to win and I have to both salute and bless them for that. Before my scary godmother went away, she uttered some magic mumbo jumbo in an obscure language I didn’t quite understand (could have been Albanian).I recall the final three words: “Nnn.. in come Pope!”

(17) HUGO PROBABILITY SEMINAR. Chaos Horizon’s Brandon Kempner reveals his prediction in “Estimating the 2016 Hugo Nominations, Part 5”.

By breaking these out into three groups and three turnout scenarios (40%, 60%, 80%), I produced 27 different models. To conclude, we can look to see if certain books show up in a lot models, and then I’ll make that my prediction….

So that makes the official 2016 Chaos Horizon Hugo prediction as follows:

  • Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
  • Uprooted, Naomi Novik
  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
  • Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie
  • Somewhither, John C. Wright

(18) CYBORG OLYMPICS. A video of people are competing in the world’s first “cyborg Olympics.” The Cybathlon competitors, called pilots, use technology to compensate for disabilities.

(19) VERTLIEB DOCUMENTARY GAINS MOMENTUM. Diabolique online magazine is getting behind the Steve Vertlieb feature documentary The Man Who “Saved” The Movies.

vert4The first film from Gull Cottage / Sandlot’s newly minted “Gull Cottage & Flying Bear” banner, STEVE VERTLIEB: THE MAN WHO “SAVED” THE MOVIES is the feature-length documentary delving into the colorful life, career and ultimate legacy of cinema archivist, journalist, historian and film music educator STEVE VERTLIEB – who’s quiet, unassuming persona belies his growing status as one of the most respected of figures to a new generation of cinema buffs, filmmakers, and, surprisingly, even that most fickle and verbose of filmdom’s family tree –  the genre fanboy.

A former on-air TV reviewer of film, and magazine writer, Steve’s learned and literate dissertations on cinema over the last near half-century have made him a much sought after consultant on numerous projects, including an appearance in the 2006 award winning documentary KREATING KARLOFF, and as consultant on TCM’s 75th Anniversary Restoration of Merian C. Cooper’s original KING KONG. Widely considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on the legendary “Great Ape”, his numerous articles on the subject (including that in the still definitive volume THE GIRL IN THE HAIRY PAW) is referenced to this day by film makers, teachers and cinema students alike.

vert5

(20) MY APRIL 1 INSPIRATION. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Lt. Worf Bloopers.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Clifford Samuels, Glenn Hauman, Hampus Eckerman, Steve Vertlieb, and Daniel Dern for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

Raftery Wins TAFF

Anna Raferty will be the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate to MidAmeriCon II.

The vote totals were:
92  Anna Raftery
82  Wolf von Witting
12  No Preference

(The news release did not break out North American and European voting.)

Jim Mowatt’s announcement congratulated the winner and praised the runner-up —

Many commiserations to Wolf who was a brilliant candidate and has done an incredible amount of work amongst fans from many countries to raise the profile of TAFF in continental Europe. As Nina will testify, the fan fund isn’t very well known in some parts of Europe so it can be quite difficult to engage your fellow fans if they aren’t very familiar with the TransAtlantic Fan Fund. Wolf moved mountains and came within just 10 votes of claiming the prize. A stunning campaign and a monumental achievement. In many other years the number of votes he managed to get would have taken him comfortably to the victory podium. Wolf, we salute you.

TAFF Voting Deadline Is March 29

By Curt Phillips: The deadline for voting in the 2016 Trans Atlantic Fan Fund election is fast upon us! Voting ends on March 29 – only two weeks away now and only a relatively small number of votes have been cast as yet.

Please consider voting in this TAFF election which will bring either Wolf Von Witting or Anna Raftery to Kansas City for Mid AmeriCon II, the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention. Both are good fans who deserve our support, and not only can the TAFF treasury use your donations, but the race is a close one. Your votes in these last two weeks could make a big difference.

Please go to the main TAFF page at taff.org for more information on the history of TAFF and information about the current race, and then please go to Jim Mowatt’s very convenient TAFF voting page at http://tafftrip.com/taff-voting-using-paypal/ to quickly and easily cast your vote and make your donation to one of Fandom’s best institutions.

Hurry! Time is growing short. Why not vote now?

Meet our candidates

Anna Raftery

What’s with all these whippersnappers running for TAFF?! Well, going to cons for more than half my life has to count for something, right?I’ve been an active fan, filker and con-goer since 13; at this point the community is quite literally my family. My love for being involved extends to being on con committees (including as filk programme head for Loncon 3) and setting up new cons from the ground up. I am so excited to run this race to represent Europe at MidAmeriCon2, meet fans across North America, and share that experience in my trip report.

Nominated by: Claire Brialey, John Coxon, Gareth Kavanagh, David Weingart, Christina O’Halloran

Wolf von Witting

“Gentlefen who desired to vote for both candidates in the previous race get their wish.

Now, my friends in Swedish and German fandom, I really need your votes too. But regardless of the outcome of this race, I hope to prove myself useful to TAFF for the following three years in relating the fund to continental sf-fandoms. I dislike talking about myself, but I can see the necessity in it. People ask. So I decided once and for all to answer all questions in CLOCKWISE #2016 end of January.

All I wish for is an interesting race. May TAFF win!”

Nominated by: Mihaela Marija Perkovic, Dave Lally, John Henri Holmberg, Teddy Harvia, Mike Glyer

++ Curt Phillips, North American TAFF Administrator

Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund Voting Opens

TAFF logo westAnna Raftery or Wolf von Witting – one will be voted the 2016 Trans-Atlanta Fan Fund delegate.

Their prize — a trip across the Atlantic to MidAmeriCon II, and the opportunity to meet lots of fine fannish folk and strengthen the bonds of friendship between Europe and North America.

The ballot form has been posted, and online voting is also available here.

Below are the candidates’ platforms and the names of their nominators.

Anna Raftery

What’s with all these whippersnappers running for TAFF?! Well, going to cons for more than half my life has to count for something, right? I’ve been an active fan, filker and con-goer since 13; at this point the community is quite literally my family. My love for being involved extends to being on con committees (including as filk programme head for Loncon 3) and setting up new cons from the ground up. I am so excited to run this race to represent Europe at MidAmeriCon2, meet fans across North America, and share that experience in my trip report.

Nominated by: Claire Brialey, John Coxon, Gareth Kavanagh, David Weingart, Christina O’Halloran

Wolf von Witting

Gentlefen who desired to vote for both candidates in the previous race get their wish.

Now, my friends in Swedish and German fandom, I really need your votes too. But regardless of the outcome of this race, I hope to prove myself useful to TAFF for the following three years in relating the fund to continental sf-fandoms. I dislike talking about myself, but I can see the necessity in it. People ask. So I decided once and for all to answer all questions in CLOCKWISE #2016 end of January.

All I wish for is an interesting race. May TAFF win!

Nominated by: Mihaela Marija Perkovic, Dave Lally, John Henri Holmberg, Teddy Harvia, Mike Glyer

Voting remains open until March 29, 2016 at 23:59 British Summer Time (aka UTC+1).

Wolf Von Witting Will Run For TAFF

The 2016 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund race has its first declared candidate, Wolf Von Witting.

Wolf, was born in Finland, worked in Sweden for 25 years, and now lives in Italy. He made a strong showing last year, however, finished behind Nina Horvath.

This second consecutive Europe-to-North-America trip in 2016 is the result of the administrators’ decision to synchronize TAFF with projected European Worldcons.

In the latest issue of his fanzine, Counterclock #23, Wolf announced:

Yes, I will stand for TAFF again in 2016, though I had hoped for two consecutive Eastbound races instead to tweak the direction for Helsinki in 2017 and possibly Dublin in 2019. Work needs to be done on this side of the Atlantic. Europeans coming to North-America are well taken care of. But the Americans coming to Europe should get the opportunity to see more than the United Kingdom. At least IMHO.

It is unlikely that I will make a second bleak race in Europe this time. My friends have understood that I am not a default winner, and that they actually have to give me their vote, if I’m to win. I don’t know yet, who the other candidate will be, but I wish him or her all the best. I know who I wish would not be the other candidate. That would be the sf-fans I hope to nominate as future candidates.

Final 2015 TAFF Voting Detail

Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund co-administrators Jim Mowatt and Curt Phillips have published the final voting statistics (one vote different that reported here earlier) plus the traditional geographic breakdown in TAFFworld #3. The newsletter also lists all the voters.

Voting Europe NA Other Total
Nina Horvath 30 14 2 46
Wolf von Witting 12 22 1 35
Hold Over Funds 0 1 0 1
No Preference 11 6 1 18
Totals 53 43 4 100

Nina Horvath Wins TAFF

The 2015 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund winner is Nina Horvath of Austria. She outpolled Wolf von Witting in a tight race. According to TAFF co-administrator Jim Mowatt:

One featured more strongly in Europe and the other was the  North American favourite. Both easily passed the twenty per cent test and both were impeccably behaved throughout.

The final count was so incredibly close that I had absolutely no idea who was going to win until the last few votes were counted….

Many commiserations go to Wolf von Witting. He came within a gnat’s whisker of victory. I do hope he runs again and I wish him all the best in a future race.