Miguel Alberto Vazquez and John Purcell will bring Corflu, the fanzine fan’s annual gathering, back to
They have chosen the College Station Hilton Hotel and Convention Center as the site for Corflu 37, which will be held March 13-15, 2020.
Now begins the contract negotiation period, which we hope to finalize before summertime ends. Of course, in Texas that means Halloween, but I mean by end of August so that attendees can begin making reservations this coming September.
It has been twelve years
since Corflu Quire (#24, chaired by Pat Virzi) was held in Austin, Texas.
The committee members to date are –
John Purcell: Co-Chair
Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez: Co-Chair & Program
Valerie Purcell: Hospitality, Award Certificates
Bill Burns: Webmaster
David Thayer, John Purcell, Brad Foster: Publications
Rob Jackson: British Agent & Online Corflu
membership rates (at present, but this may
change according to projected membership numbers):
$ 50 / £ 40 (June 1 – Aug 31, 2019)
$ 75 / £ 60 (Sept 1 – Dec 31, 2019)
$ 100 / £ 80 (Jan 1 – February 29, 2020 if March or April 30, 2020 if May)
$ 125 / £ 100 (from either March 1 or May 1, 2020 and at the door)
Attending membership is inclusive of the Sunday brunch banquet.
Supporting $25 /£ 20 from now until December 31, 2019
Supporting memberships change to $ 50 / £ 40 on January 1, 2020 up to Corflu 37.
Supporting memberships converting
to attending pay the difference during the time frames shown above.
Details for purchasing memberships are available at the Corflu 37 website.
… Ian McEwan, who has published a novel about artificial intelligence and somehow feels he is the first to discover that this thing has serious implications for people to be expressed through literature. Thus he now joins a long line of literary snobs who have “borrowed” the trappings of science fiction even as they take a dump on the genre. I would say they misunderstand it, but that presumes they have read any. What seems more likely is they’ve seen some movies, talked to some people, maybe listened to a lecture or two about the genre, and then decided “Well, if these unwashed hacks can do this, I can do it ten times better and make it actual, you know, art.”
…I have always thought that people who are dismissive toward SF have a problem imagining the world as someday being fundamentally different. By that I mean, things will so change that they, if they were instantly transported into that future, will be unable to function. Things will be radically different, not only technologically but culturally and therefore even the givens of human interaction will seem alien.
That is the meat, bone, and gristle of science fiction and I would like someone to tell me how that it not “dealing with the effects of technology on human problems.”
Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader is reportedly not allowed to hear any cases prosecuted by Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter’s office for at least the next two months while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation sorts out a complicated dispute between the two public officials.
Porter confirmed news reports that a visiting Fulton County judge issued the ruling barring Schrader from presiding over cases for 60 days during a hearing Thursday.
The ruling stems from an unusual case in which Schrader accused Porter of hacking her work computer, and he in turn raised concerns that the county’s computer network may have been compromised. He then asked that she recuse herself from any cases his office is prosecuting.
…The unusual case first surfaced in March after it was revealed that Schrader hired private investigator T.J. Ward because she believed her work computer was being hacked. Ward, in turn, brought in convicted sex offender Ed Kramer, who Ward said has computer training, to look into the matter.
(3) OREO NEWS. Glows in
the dark, no less!
(4) FIELD REPORT. Joe
Siclari’s FANAC Flash summarizes
their accomplishments at Corflu 2019.
We took the FANAC scanning station to Corflu FIAWOL last weekend, and scanned 3500-4000 pages (the count is not complete yet). We received material to scan and help from many Corfluvians, and are getting the scans up on line. So far, we have a little over 1,800 of those pages online. They’re marked in the index pages as “scanned at Corflu 2019”. Fanzines scanned at Corflu include Terry Carr’s Innuendo, John D. Berry’s Hot Shit, Charles Lee Riddle’s Peon, Ron Bennett’s Ploy, some of Forry Ackerman and Morojo’s Voice of the Imagi-Nation, and lots more. At Corflu, we also received scans from Rob Hansen’s OCR project. There are some gems there too. Watch the “What’s New” on the Fanac.org page to get details on what’s been put online.
The series had quite a few eyes on it with 3.16 million total live viewers combined with a 0.75 in the 18-49 demographic it hit the sweet spot for commercials. On top of that, the show gained a $15.8 million TV tax credit for the third season which was up $1.3 million from season 2. This was a nice bonus that was nothing to scoff at.
…If I were to sum up the movie in one word, that word would be “sensitive”. I was brought to tears in a few places and I think those who have the sensitivity of an artist will enjoy the film. It’s no Lord of the Rings, no. Do not expect it to be. This is a story about a compassionate man with revolutionary ideas concerning the world around him, and his journey to tell the tale of evil and the fight for survival which often can only be heard through parables.
(7) DS9 NEWS. CBS News interviews director Ira Steven Behr and actress Nana Visitor about the new documentary, “What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
TRIBUTE. The family obituary for Tim Bolgeo, who died yesterday, is online here.
…A lifetime reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Uncle Timmy was Founder and Chairman of Liberty Con 1 – 25, an original Board Member and Chairman of ChattaCon 7 – 11, and a staff member at numerous conventions throughout the southeast. He was the long running Editor/Publisher of the Fanzines The LibertyCon Newsletter (1987-1997) and The Revenge of Hump Day! (1997 to 2018)….
(9) GREEN OBIT. Patrice Green, fan and wife of SF author Joseph L. Green, died May 5, “after
deciding that the glioblastoma she’s battled for 2 1.2 years had had enough,”
says son-in-law Guy H. Lillian III. “She was deeply interested in Genealogy and had made several
trips to Europe tracing her family roots. Glorious human being.”
(10) UPTON OBIT. Ilaine Vignes Upton (1952-2019),
a New Orleans fan deeply involved in past DeepSouthCons, passed away April 26.
She became a bankruptcy lawyer who practiced in Virginia.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 13, 1937 — Roger Zelazny. Where do I start? The Amber Chronicles are a favorite as is the Isle of The Dead, To Die in Italbar, and well, there’s very there’s very little by him that I can’t pick him and enjoy for a night’s reading. To my knowledge there’s only one thing he recorded reading and that’s a book he said was one of his favorite works, A Night in the Lonesome October. (Died 1995)
Born May 13, 1945 — Maria Tatar, 74. Folklorist who that if you’re not familiar with, you should be. She’s written, among several works, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, The Annotated Peter Pan and The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen which is reviewed here on Green Man.
Born May 13, 1946 – Marv Wolfman, 73. Editor at both Marvel and DC, and writer of comics, animation, television, novels and video games. Most known for The New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths, with George Pérez. Creator of Blade, and more characters adapted into movies, TV, toys, games and animation than any other comics writer except Stan Lee. Winner of Inkpot and Eagle Awards, CBG Awards, 2007 Scribe Award for his novelization Superman Returns, and 2011 Will Eisner Hall of Fame Award. Notable fan activity was publishing Stephen King in Wolfman’s horror fanzine Stories of Suspense.
Born May 13, 1947 — Stephen R. Donaldson, 72. I suspect y’all know him from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, his long running series. He’s got, to my surprise, a sf series called The Gap Cycle which he says “in part to be a reworking of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.” H’h.
Born May 13, 1949 — Zoë Wanamaker, 70. She forms one of the crowd in “State of Decay”, a Fourth Doctor tale. She’s Elle in The Raggedy Rawney and Madam Rolanda Hooch In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. She’s Clarice Groan in the BBC Gormenghast series which I really should see. And I note that she made a return appearance on Doctor Who during the time of the Tenth Doctor in The End of the World” and “New Earth” episodes.
Born May 13, 1951 — Gregory Frost, 68. His retelling of The Tain is marvellous. Pair it with Ciaran Carson and China Miéville’s takes onthe samelegendfor an interesting look at taking an legend and remaking it through modern fiction writing. Fitcher’s Brides, his Bluebeard and Fitcher’s Bird fairy tales, is a fantastic novel!
Born May 13, 1957 — Frances Barber, 62. Madame Kovarian during the time of the Eleventh Doctor. Fittingly she played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. I’ve got her doing one-offs on Space Precinct, Red Dwarf and The IT Crowd.
Born May 13, 1958 — Bruce Byfield, 61. No idea if he has academic training, but he certainly has a fascination with Leiber. He wrote Witches of the Mind: A Critical Study of Fritz Leiber which was nominated for a Locus Award for Best Non-Fiction, and many fascination sounding essays on Lieber and his fiction including “The Allure of the Eccentric in the Poetry and Fiction of Fritz Leiber” and “Fafhrd and Fritz”.
Born May 13, 1964 — Stephen Colbert, 55. Ubernerd. Currently hosting charity showings of Tolkien. Genre credits a cameo as a spy in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the voice of Paul Peterson in Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the voice of President Hathaway in Monsters vs. Aliens.
The way the extension works is pretty simple: Just scroll through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads as you normally would. When you do, the extension will display where you can find the book at a local library as well. The extension has been available for Amazon for a bit now, but has expanded support over the years to additional spots as well.
(14) POLL CATS. There must be a reason it isn’t easy to get non-English speakers to vote in a poll on my blog. I’m sure it will come to me….
Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World
May 14–August 18, 2019
A vast throng of animals tumble, soar, and race through the pages of the bestiary, a popular medieval book describing the beasts of the world. Abounding with vibrant and fascinating images, the bestiary brought creatures to life before the eyes of readers. The beasts also often escaped from its pages to inhabit a glittering array of other objects. With over 100 works on display, this major loan exhibition will transport visitors into the world of the medieval bestiary.
The next time you visit Epcot, you may be able to dine in outer space. Two years after announcing a space-themed restaurant would be opening near the Mission: SPACE ride, Disney World is finally gearing up to open the doors. While there’s no actual stratosphere breaking involved, from the looks of it, the dining room will look and feel like you’re on a space ship.
(17) SILVER LINING. Ron
Koertge, South Pasadena’s Poet Laureate, was honored by the Independent
Publisher’s Book Award with a silver medal for his illustrated books of poems
about the secret life of the Greek gods
Alice Kleman’s clever illustration of gods like Zeus and Persephone in modern dress contributes to the magnetism of this book by a popular and prolific poet. Gene Yang, recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, says, “Ron Koertge and Alicia Kleman will help you see Mount Olympus with new eyes. Who knew those old gods could be so funny, so charming and so disarmingly tragic.”
The book is available a Vroman’s or directly from Red Hen Press.
An internal favorite of new Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, the drama is a fact-based thriller about the emergence of a rogue AI that combines action with an examination of how tech transforms culture in a way that isn’t always understandable. Manny Coto (24) penned the script and exec produces alongside John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. Mad Men grad John Slattery stars and reunites with former AMC president Collier on the drama. The series hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment. Time slot: Midseason
Fort Bragg, the US Army’s largest base issued an apology earlier this week following an unannounced exercise to see what would happen in the event of a cyberattack. The base lost power for 12 hours on Wednesday and Thursday [24–25 April], and caused some confusion and concern on the base.
Army officials told the Charlotte Observer that the exercise was designed to “identify shortcomings in our infrastructure, operations and security,” and wasn’t announced to the public in order to “replicate likely real-world reactions by everyone directly associated with the installation.”
[…] In recent years, officials have become increasingly concerned that the country’s power grid and infrastructure is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Such attacks aren’t unheard of: a couple of years ago, Ukrainian power plants and airports experienced such attacks, and US officials have said that they’ve detected Russian-linked actors targeting US facilities.
The Loch Ness Monster is perhaps our most famous sea monster, known for drowning locals in front of saints and avoiding motorcycles on its early morning cruise back to the loch. But Scotland’s Nessie is just one of the many, many sea monsters people have allegedly seen. In the 19th century, saying you saw a sea monster was very common indeed. And the reason why this happened, a new study in Earth Science History argues, is based on something very real.
The collective illusion — that creatures in the water were actually mysterious monsters of the deep — was driven by so-called “dino-mania,” researchers reported this week. This conclusion is based on their statistical analysis of the nature of sea monster reports from 1801 to 2015.
[…] They are the first scientists to seriously test a theory first posited by American science fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp — famous for coining the abbreviation “E.T.” — in 1968. His hypothesis, reprinted in the study, is this:
After Mesozoic reptiles became well-known, reports of sea serpents, which until then had tended towards the serpentine, began to describe the monster as more and more resembling a Mesozoic reptile than like a plesiosaur or mosasaur.
(21) SCARY ROBOT VIDEO OF
THE DAY. In “IHMC Atlas
Autonomous Path Planning Across Narrow Terrain” on YouTube, software
developer IHMC Robotics showed how they programmed a large Boston Dynamics
Atlas robot to walk across very tiny blocks.
Joe Siclari, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Guy H. Lillian III, Chris M.
Barkley, Daniel Dern, Nancy Collins, Michael J. Lowrey, Martin Morse Wooster,
Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Michael Toman, and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Dave Clark.]
(1) I WAS A FAN FOR THE FBI. Rob Hansen’s THEN documents the FBI informant who joined the LASFS and enjoyed fandom so much he stuck around — Samuel D. Russell. I heard the story from Milt Stevens, who made sure the legend was handed down to future club members, but I never had the opportunity to read these articles before.
…The name of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society was brought into the proceedings of the trial of eleven local communist leaders, currently taking place in this city. The eleven men and women being tried for the alleged act of advocating the use of violence for overthrowing the government of the United States.
The prosecution introduced various witnesses who had joined the communist party as informers for the FBI. One of these witness was the once well-known fan, Samuel D. Russell. Among many other activities, Russell was co-editor and publisher, with Francis T. Laney, of THE ACOLYTE, which was for many years one of the leading fan mags of the nation.
…Yet the film devotes more time to idle bantering and boozing than it does to the group’s literary and moral purposes. It also overlooks a crucial exchange: a meeting in December 1914, dubbed “the Council of London,” which was transformative for Tolkien. “In fact it was a council of life,” writes John Garth, author of the magisterial Tolkien and the Great War. The prospect of the trenches had a sobering effect. Late into the night they talked and debated — about love, literature, patriotism, and religion. It was at this moment, and among this fellowship, that Tolkien began to sense his literary calling. “For Tolkien, the weekend was a revelation,” Garth concludes, “and he came to regard it as a turning point in his creative life.”
If the film’s writers wanted to depict such a revelatory scene — which they don’t — it would have required familiarity with an ancient source of wisdom. We no longer appreciate how the educated classes of Tolkien’s generation were schooled in the classical and medieval literary traditions….
21-year-old insurance salesman Tim hasn’t seen his police detective dad for years, but when news arrives that his old man has mysteriously disappeared, he heads to the Pokemon paradise of Ryme City – where humans and Pokemon live side by side – to look into what’s happened.
Poking around his father’s flat, he discovers his dad’s Pokemon partner, “Detective Pikachu”, wandering around with no memory of what has occurred.
Together, Tim and Pikachu must solve the case and save the world, meeting a whole host of different Pokemon along the way, battling the occasional Charizard and negotiating with Mr. Mimes. As you do.
(5) BOLGEO MEDICAL UPDATE. Marcia
Kelly Illingworth alerts friends of Tim Bolgeo that he has entered hospice
I am getting damned sick and tired of having to write to you about things like this. My dear, old friend, Tim “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo, a well-known, Southern fan, founder of LibertyCon, in Chattanooga, TN, is in the hospital in Chattanooga TN, and has been placed in Hospice care.
I know that a lot of old school fans have problems with Timmy, due to his Conservative political views, and his old school, unconscious, presumed racist jokes. Be that as it may, I am here to say that he is a good man, a caring man, and a better friend anyone would be hard pressed to find. He’s been active in Southern fandom for more years than I can say. His electronic fanzine, The Revenge of Humpday, was nominated for a Hugo.
Timmy has been fighting health issues for years. He started having heart trouble back in the nineties. I remember when his first heart surgery had to be postponed, because his cardiologist had a heart attack that morning and had to have heart surgery himself that day. Some guys just can’t get a break! He has been battling congestive heart failure for some time now, with ever increasing medication. He was hospitalized last Friday, and today the family has advised us that he has been placed in Hospice care. They are asking prayers for a peaceful passing. We were so hoping that he would make it to one last LibertyCon.
(6) LEWIS OBIT. The Reverend Allen L. Lewis, 77, of
Sioux Falls, SD passed away on Monday, April 29 at the age of 77. The family
obituary is here.
…Over the course of several decades Father Al amassed one of the largest private collections of Science Fiction and Fantasy hard bound first edition books in the world. The bulk of his collection was donated to the University of Iowa in 2015.
After 20 years of collecting, he is donating his one-of-a-kind collection of 17,500 books worth an estimated three quarters of a million dollars.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 11, 1899 — E. B. White. He’s a co-author with William Strunk Jr.of The Elements of Style. In addition, he wrote Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. (Died 1985.)
Born May 11, 1916 — Maurice Nahum. ISFDB credits him with being Editior in the Fifties of the Futuristic Science Stories, Out of This World Magazine, Supernatural Stories and several other publications. Langford at the usual source says of them that ‘All were juvenile, undated and of poor quality.’ (Died 1994.)
Born May 11, 1920 — Denver Pyle. His first genre performance is in The Flying Saucer way back in 1950 where he was a character named Turner. Escape to Witch Mountain as Uncle Bené is his best known genre role. He’s also showed up on the Fifties Adventures of Superman, Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe, Men Into Space, Twilight Zone and his final role was apparently in How Bugs Bunny Won the West as the Narrator. (Died 1997.)
Born May 11, 1918 — Richard Feynman. Ok, not genre as such but certainly genre adjacent. I wholeheartedly recommend Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick for an entertaining look at his life. (Died 1988.)
Born May 11, 1936 — Gordon Benson Jr. Publisher and bibliographer who released the first of his many SF bibliographies around the early Eighties. Writers such as Anderson, Lieber and Wellman were covered. Early bibliographies written solo were revised for the Galactic Central Bibliographies for the Avid Reader series, are listed jointly with Phil Stephensen-Payne as later ones. (Died 1996.)
Born May 11, 1952 — Frances Fisher, 67. Angie on Strange Luck and a recurring role as Eva Thorne on Eureka. Have I mentioned how I love the latter series? Well I do! She’s also shown up on Medium, X-Files, Outer Limits, Resurrection, The Expanse and has some role in the forthcoming Watchmen series.
Born May 11, 1976 — Alter S. Reiss, 43. He’s a scientific editor and field archaeologist. He lives in Jerusalem, he’s written two novels, Sunset Mantel and Recalled to Service. He’s also written an impressive amount of short fiction in the past ten years, most published in places that I’ve never heard of.
Born May 11, 1997 — Lana Connor, 22. Jubilation “Jubilee” Lee in X-Men: Apocalypse, Koyomi in Alita: Battle Angel which is based on the manga series Gunnm, and she voices Kaoru in the Netfix series Rilakkuma and Kaoru.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
Bizarro depicts state-of-the-art medicine for robots.
(9) YEAR’S BEST. Congratulations
to Jim C. Hines for scoring a first –
(10) FANAC.ORG UPDATE. The
award-winning resource site, Fanac.org, is
continuing to put up classic old fanzines. All the
zines listed, except Innuendo, were
provided by Rob Jackson from Paul Skelton’s collection and scanned at Corflu
2019. Innuendo was provided by Joe Siclari and scanned at Corflu 2019.
Innuendo, 1956-1958. Edited by Terry Carr and Dave Rike (later by Terry
Carr alone). 5 issues with contributors like Terry Carr, Robert Bloch, Carl
Brandon, Harry Warner Jr., Bjo Wells (Trimble?), Bill Rotsler, Ray Nelson, Jack
Speer, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Outstanding stuff.
Tomorrow, issue 4, Winter 1938. Edited by Douglas Mayer. Published by the
Science Fiction Association.
Umbra, 1955-1956, edited by John Hitchcock. 3 issues with contributors
like Larry Stark, Ron Bennett, and Greg Benford.
Voice of the Imagi-Nation, edited by Forry Ackerman and Morojo. Issues 24, 27 and 33 from
1942-1944. Letters from fandom, with correspondence from folks like Bob
Tucker, Tigrina, Walt Leibscher, Harry Warner, C.S. Youd, Francis Towner Laney,
Jimmy Kepner, Vol Molesworth, Robert Bloch, Milt Rothman and more.
Vulcan, edited by Pete Graham and Terry Carr. Issue (August 1952).
Features, Fan humor, serious constructive stories, and serious constructive
poems. Lots of Terry Carr content.
Also from Corflu, a recording of the Saturday panel,
“The Void Boys Speak!” Thanks Rob Jackson, and thanks Bill!
VOID was a focal point fanzine of the 1950s, and launched the science fiction careers of Jim and Greg Benford. This panel, held at the 2019 Corflu, covers the history of VOID. With original editors Jim and Greg Benford, co-editor Ted White, and with Luis Ortiz (who is publishing a book on the topic) , the panel covers all aspects of VOID. If you are familiar only with the professional careers of Jim and Greg Benford, and Ted White, this video will give you perspective on their fannish careers. The video ends with a rousing rendition of the Void Boys song! Note that the video was streamed live, and there are slides in use showing the VOID covers that are not visible in the video. If you are interested in seeing the covers, or reading Void, check out http://fanac.org/fanzines/VOID.
Toddlers pass this test easily. They know that when we point at something, we’re telling them to look at it—an insight into the intentions of others that will become essential as children learn to interact with people around them. Most other animals, including our closest living relative, chimpanzees, fail the experiment. But about 20 years ago, researchers discovered something surprising: Dogs pass the test with flying colors. The finding shook the scientific community and led to an explosion of studies into the canine mind.
Cats like Carl were supposed to be a contrast. Like dogs, cats have lived with us in close quarters for thousands of years. But unlike our canine pals, cats descend from antisocial ancestors, and humans have spent far less time aggressively molding them into companions. So researchers thought cats couldn’t possibly share our brain waves the way dogs do.
Yet, as cats are apt to do, Carl defies the best-laid plans of Homo sapiens. He trots right over to the bowl Vitale is pointing at, passing the test as easily as his canine rivals. “Good boy!” Vitale coos.
Amazon entrepreneur Jeff Bezos has unveiled a mock-up of a new lunar lander spacecraft that aims to take equipment and humans to the Moon by 2024.
The reusable Blue Moon vehicle will carry scientific instruments, satellites and rovers.
It will feature a new rocket engine called BE-7 that can blast 10,000lb (4,535kg) of thrust.
“It’s time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay,” said Mr Bezos.
Mr Bezos presented the Moon goals of his space exploration company Blue Origin at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC, to an audience consisting of potential customers and officials from Nasa.
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. After
School on Vimeo is a
cartoon by Hanna Kim about the adventures of a girl coming home from school.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Microtherion, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
Corflu 36 FIAWOL (Rockville, Maryland, May 1-4, 2019)
“They toiled over their crude mimeographs, turning out their magazines. These magazines have long since crumbled into dust, but who amongst us can ever forget the names? Grue and Hyphen; Amazing and Astounding;Galaxy and Quandry and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Startling, Confidential, Infinity,Dimensions—these names will never die!”
Robert Bloch, “A Way of Life” (1956)
By Martin Morse Wooster: One of the advantages of living in Washington is that eventually all the branches of fandom you’re interested in will come to you. I’ve been to three previous Corflus—two held in the Washington suburbs in 1986 and 1994, and the one held in Annapolis, Maryland in 2002. I always am happy to go to conventions I can get to on the bus, so when I heard Corflu was coming to the Maryland suburbs, I signed up. I had a good time.
Michael Dobson, with Curt Phillips as second-in-command, organized Corflu 36. Phillips, among other things, ran a very well stocked con suite, including three kinds of orange marmalade for breakfast.
Members got quite a lot of stuff. Dobson edited a 163-page fanthology of members’ writings, which is also available on Efanzines. Some mossbacks grumbled that Dobson used CreateSpace as his publisher, but I thought the book was well done. Also included in the members’ packet was Thy Life’s A Miracle: Selected Writings of Randy Byers, a 135-page anthology edited by Luke McGuff.
But that wasn’t all! We also got a framed print by Dan Steffan, in a limited edition of 90, which showed a nude Japanese woman with creatures on her back that resembled those of British artist Arthur Thomson. It was a very handsome piece of art, and I will put it on my shelf next to the Star Wars thingie I got at Nationals Park.
The attendance was around 55, with half a dozen fans from the United Kingdom, Murray and Mary-Ellen Moore from Canada, and 10-12 fans from the West Coast. You could spot the Californians because they were most of the attendees at the wine tasting organized by Spike.
Younger fans allergic to grey hair would not have enjoyed themselves. Four of the fans attending—Greg Benford, Jim Benford, Steve Stiles, and Ted White—began their fan activity before 1960. Most attendees began to be fans in the 1970s and 1980s. No one surveyed became a fan after 1990.
I spent much of the time in the con suite listening to stories about 20th century fan legends. I heard about the Scottish fan who, after losing a feud with everyone else in his club, dropped out only to appear in the pages of a tabloid completely nude except for a hand coyly placed over his manhood. The headline of the piece about the fan was ‘IT’S ORGYTASTIC.”
“Do you mean this guy discovered orgy fandom?” I asked.
“No, it was more like orgy con-dom,” said my source, who added that the fan liked showing up at the orgies he organized in a gorilla suit, because women liked sitting on his lap and stroking his fur.
But the story too good to check was whether two Arab sheiks offered to buy Baltimore fan Lee Smoire at Discon II in 1974 for two camels. This claim would be absurd and ridiculous about any other fan than Lee Smoire, who stories cluster around like gaudy barnacles. I cite it to add to Lee Smoire’s legend.
The first day of Corflu had the opening ceremony, where a sacred box is unearthed that included a crusty bottle of correction fluid or “corflu.” The convention chooses a guest of honor by pulling a name from the box, but you can opt out of the honor with a $20 donation. The winner was Jim Benford, who got all the donation money, which he reportedly spent at the fanzine auction on Saturday. His other prize was a pillow, designed by Alison Scott, which says “Dave Kyle Says You Can’t Sit Here” and has the badge of the Science Fiction League of the 1930s.
Saturday’s program included three panels and I went to two. A panel on archives featured Non-Stop Press publisher Luis Ortiz, who has just published an anthology of fanzine writings from 1930-1960, Michael Dobson, University of Maryland (Baltimore County) archivist Susan Graham, and Joe Siclari, head of fanac.org.
Susan Graham said that her library bought the fanzine collection of Walter Coslet in 1973 and subsequently acquired the fanzines of Peggy Rae Sapienza, who was graduated from the school. These fanzines included many of Sapienza’s first husband, Bob Pavlat, a famed collector. They’ve also gotten some Frank Kelly Freas art and some papers, including manuscripts by Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny, and Lawrence Watt-Evans. They’re still organizing their zines, but their website https://lib.guides.umbc.edu/fanzines has a finding aid and essays on feminist fanzines of the 1970s, fanzines’ role in society, and the Atlanta Science-Fiction Organization fanzine Cosmag.
Fanac.org scanned 2,000 pages of fanzines at Corflu. Siclari said that he had gotten research requests from unexpected places. They helped out the recent documentary on Ursula K. Le Guin, for example. And when the family of fan H.F. Koenig asked for copies of Koenig’s fanzines, they donated a copy of the family genealogy to Fanac.org.
There are also reports of what happened to Harry Warner, Jr.’s fanzine collection. It is apparently in one piece and is being stored at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. No one knows what Heritage plans to do with Warner’s collection.
The second panel was on Void, which included the zine’s editors, Greg Benford, Jim Benford, and Ted White, and Luis Ortiz, who is working on an anthology of pieces from the zine. Void began in 1955, with teenage fans Greg and Jim Benford as editors. When the Benford brothers moved from Germany to Dallas, Tom Reamy became an editor.
The Benfords put out 13 issues of Void between 1955-58. But Jim Benford decided to give up fanac for college. Another catalyst for change was when Kent Moomaw, a columnist for the zine, killed himself on his 18th birthday rather than be drafted. In 1958 America was at peace, so there was about a 20 percent chance he would be drafted.
Void then moved its headquarters to New York City, and continued with editors including Greg Benford, Ted White, Pete Graham, and Terry Carr. It lasted another 14 issues through 1962 with a final issue published in 1967.
Both Greg Benford and Ted White said that writing for Void inspired their professional careers. Greg Benford said that his fan writing prepared him to win a contest sponsored by Fantasy and Science Fiction that launched his career as a novelist.
“All of our fanac was fun because of the challenges we met,” White said. “I thought Terry (Carr) was a better writer than me, and it was a daily challenge to write to his level.”
Void even had a song, with the music being whatever you’d like. Here is the first verse.
“We are the Void boys We make a lot of noise! We sing songs of fandom Hitting out at random Because we are all co-editors of Void.”
Saturday night had two panels. “Just a Minac,” organized by Sandra Bond, was the fannish version of the British game show “Just a Minute.” The idea is that the contestants—John D. Berry, Rich Coad, Rob Jackson, and Nigel Rowe—would give one-minute speeches, delivered “without hesitation, repetition, or deviation”—on topics such as “The Nine Billion Names of God” or “My Favorite Beer.” This was not as easy as its sounds, and I thought it was agreeably silly. Nigel Rowe seemed the most creative contestant to me, but Rich Coad was the winner.
“The Time Chunnel” was a play by Andy Hooper that described two worlds, one where sf dominated and one where fandom ruled. In the fannish world, mimeos were much better but leaf blowers didn’t work. It had plenty of in jokes about fanzines, but also weird popular culture references; if you are excited by references to comedian Durward Kirby, best known as a host of Candid Camera in the early 1960s, “The Time Chunnel” is a play for you. I didn’t think it worked.
Since the FAAN Awards have already been covered, I’ll skip them, but I should write about Jim Benford’s guest of honor speech, which was very good.
If Greg Benford’s day job was as a physicist at the University of California (Irvine), his brother worked in technology. He said that fanzine writing prepared him to write proposals. “I had the best proposals,” Benford said, saying that fan writing ensured his proposals were better organized than other physicists with less writing experience.
Jim Benford has spent most of his career developing particle beams and other energy weapons. But three years ago he was given a ten-year contract by billionaire Yuri Milner to design starships. He now works on solar sails that could guide a future mission to Proxima Centauri.
The problem with solar sails, Jim Benford said, was “The Fearless Fosdick problem.” Li’l Abner fans will recall that Fearless Fosdick valiantly fought the bad guys until they blasted him full of holes. How do you create a solar sail that wouldn’t tear apart? Benford showed how a spherical shape would produce the best outcome.
He said that if someone in 1959 told him that 60 years in the future “I’d be talking to a bunch of fans about starships, I’d be a very happy man.”
Next year’s Corflu will be run by John Purcell in College Station, Texas, in a date to be determined.
The best story I know about Lee Smoire is that, after John Lennon was
assassinated in 1980, Yoko Ono asked for a moment of silence to honor him. Smoire was escorting people around the
Baltimore Convention Center and when the designated minute occurred spent the
time shouting, “DON’T YOU KNOW YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE QUIET?”
After Smoire left Baltimore for Perth, Australia, packed panels at the next two Disclaves told stories about her.
By Taral Wayne: We live in an on-line world in which Corflu is no longer entirely for the enjoyment of a couple of score fans who have the means to travel. Now everyone can watch the proceedings live as they happen. For the first time in quite awhile I was able to witness a Corflu that was not merely virtual, but actually real … and it does still make a difference.
I was somewhat nervous when I set out, despite having done all this before, having planed it all ahead, and actually pretty confident that nothing ought to go wrong. And by George, it really didn’t seem to! I arrived on Friday afternoon after somewhat more than an hour on the road. Traveling Matt cam through beautifully, and at the first opportunity it was plugged in to top up the juice.
I have to say I had a pretty good time, and even recognized a number of people I had not laid eyes on for 20 or 30 years… In one case, I may have last seen one fan in the 70’s!
I collected an envelope of con pubs, fanzines and a badge at the front desk — despite a certain tardiness in preparations, Catherine and Colin seemed to have matters under control, and no-one seemed to think delays were anything unusual or to be excited about. With the last detail in place … I relaxed.
Saturday was pretty full, with most of day engaged in traditional talking heads. The amount of media evident would have done a White House press conference proud. I expected to be press-ganged into one panel on the use of fanart in comparison to photos, but I bowed out when it was found that the table was not really large enough for five. That was all right with me … I think I could have expressed my thoughts entirely in about three sentences, and more or less did exactly that from the audience.
I seem to recall a break after that, prompting me to locate the con suite where I hoped to find some grub. I found better than grub, and was never short of food. However, upon leaning that the con auction had begun, I met my first set-back at Corflu. The hotel was genuinely peculiar in that some of it was in one building, and the rest in another, connected by a glassed in bridge. This was no problem for most people, since there were only four or five steps to mount one side and cross to the other. It should not have been a problem for me, either, since there was a motorized lift. It was rather flimsy looking, and as first I was nervous about sliding off the side and falling to the ground. But my fears were groundless, so to speak. I was given a key by the front desk and instructions on its use. It worked exactly as it should have, and that was how things stood when I returned the way I came to raid the con suite. However, that was not how it worked the second time! I was able to mount the lift and drive to the other side and, but nothing would make the second half of the lift operate so that I could dismount on the other side! We called for three increasingly more important employees to come and look at me – hanging precariously on the lift – but only pronounce in the end that is was “broken.” At least I was able to dismount on the far side and re-mount on the near side, and wasn’t trapped until someone could repair the lift however many days later…
There was another route into the other half of the hotel, which would have allowed me go through the lobby there, enter the authorized only area to use the employee’s elevator to re-enter guest area on the other side, and finally join the Corflu auction in progress. But I just plain thought it wasn’t worth the effort at that point.
All the same, that was exactly what I had to do on Sunday, to join the brunch. It actually didn’t turn out to especially complicated once I had done it. However, I didn’t know where everyone had gotten to, and stupidly waited in the program room for several minutes before someone wandered by to remind me where I was supposed to be! So I was fortunate enough not to miss lunch. As soon I as I had cleaned the plate, of my last pound of bacon, the tables were cleared for announcements and the FAAn Awards.
Mike Glyer has already announced them on File770, so I won’t repeat then. All the same, it must be admitted that there were a few unexpected surprises. I don’t feel it is my place to comment on them, but I trust there will be quite a lot said in the next few days. You have probably seen the obvious … that I was acclaimed as the new Past President of the Fanzine Writers of America. What may seem even less likely was that I honestly had no idea – with other things on my mind over the last year — who the nominees were or anything else. In fact, I was feeling rather drowsy while the nominees were read and the winners announced. So when was told I had suddenly become the Past President, I was not entirely kidding when I said I had missed the whole thing.
By unlikely coincidence, Alan Rosenthal was chosen of Corflu 35’s Guest of Honour. The only reason I had a place to stay at the hotel was because Alan offered me the fold-out couch in the other room. As a result, the con had the new Past President asleep on a couch, while the Guest of Honour was asleep in the bedroom with Jeannie Bowman.
It was late afternoon by that time, and out-of-town guests began to drift away to taxis and airports. What was left of the food and supplies were carried up to the Dead Dog Party. There was quite a decent number of fans who were staying over to Sunday, and I might have stayed in the other for a third night if I chose. It was a near thing, since the night was cool and had rained. But I was fairly tired and would be grateful to sleep in my own bed instead. I stayed while Traveling Matt was entirely re-charged once more, then said my goodbyes around 9 or 9:30
I have to admit that I really enjoyed seeing so many I hadn’t seen in years, for many reasons. The odd thing was that I experienced it in a way that I hadn’t before. Worldcons are too busy, and you often spend only a few minutes with people and then never encounter them for the rest of the con. I’m forced to say, as well, that I was a late bloomer. I was only really getting to know fandom — and then me, I suspect – late in life. But there had been almost no opportunity to genuinely relate to the names and printed words as real people. I may not have another chance … but … well, who ever really knows?
Accessing more than a hundred years of science fiction thought experiments, TASAT will tap into a passionate, global community of writers, scholars, librarians, and fans to crowdsource science fictional stories (across media) that may provide applicable insight into the problems we face today and anticipate facing tomorrow.
Applying Science Fiction to Solve Real World Problems
Envision: You work at an agency, corporation, or NGO, or you’re a citizen who has come across something… unusual. You’ve gathered a team to make recommendations. There seems to be a clear explanation. And yet, you wonder…
…might someone have thought about this very situation, in the past? Perhaps with an alternative idea your team missed? What if, already in some archive, There’s A Story About This?
As TASAT founder David Brin explains here, far-seeing tales can help us avoid mistakes, or at least give us a wider selection of scenarios to think about.
Accessing more than a hundred years of science fiction thought experiments, TASAT taps into a passionate, global community of writers, scholars, librarians, and fans. We aim to curate a reading list applicable to problems and possibilities of tomorrow. TASAT operates on two levels…
The 3rd Annual Sippy Awards keep right on moving! That’s right, the SFF awards that no one asked for and few pay attention to is back! I’ve shipped my favorite relationships, and I’ve cowered in fear before my favorite horror stories. Which means that it’s week it’s time to reduce myself to a small puddle of tears somewhat resembling a functioning human being. yes, it’s time for… The “There’s Something in My Eye” Sippy Award
for Excellent Making Me Ugly-Cry in Short SFF
I’m something of an emotive reader, which means that there are times when reading that a story just hits me right in the feels and I need to take a moment to recover. These are stories that, for me, are defined most by their emotional weight. By the impact they have, the ability to completely destroy all the careful emotional shields we use to keep the rest of the world at bay. These are the stories that pry open the shell of control I try surround myself in and leave me little more than a blubbering mess. So joining me in smiling through the tears and celebrating this year’s winners!
Artemis is a multiplayer, multi-computer networked game for Windows computers.
Artemis simulates a spaceship bridge by networking several computers together. One computer runs the simulation and the “main screen”, while the others serve as workstations for the normal jobs a bridge officer might do, like Helm, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control.
Artemis is a social game where several players are together in one room (“bridge”) , and while they all work together, one player plays the Captain, a person who sits in the middle, doesn’t have a workstation, and tells everyone what to do.
San Diego LAN is a group of people who love getting together and playing PC games over LAN. We always balance the teams and we have a very friendly bunch, (typically ages 18 to 45).
Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science, Fiction, & Southern California… explores the history of science fiction in Southern California from 1930 to 1980, and how it interacted with the advances of science, the changes in technology, and shifts in American society. Curated by Nick Smith, president of Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, the exhibition will feature historic artifacts, fine and graphic art, books and ephemera, and historic photographs. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The museum is at 470 W. Walnut St. , Pasadena, CA 91103.
(5) DEEP DISH. The next Great Deep Dish SFF reading in Chicago will be on March 1, 7 p.m.
…thanks again to all the readers and speakers (Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephen Segal, Michi Trota, Michael Moreci, Angeli Primlani, Dan Gonzalez, Sue Burke, Valya Dudycz Lupescu) and everyone else who worked to make it a success, esp. my co-host, Chris Bauer.
Del Arroz’s defenders claim he’s a nice guy, and accusations that he harasses or trolls people are absurd. Del Arroz told me on Facebook that he doesn’t “escalate feuds.” He claims he’s just the victim of blackballing, harassment, threats, and so on.
I’m not saying nobody has ever given Del Arroz shit online. He alleges that people once doxxed his children and sent a glitterbomb to his house. Both were done anonymously. I have no problem condemning both incidents, whoever was responsible. I’ve also heard that people mocked him for his last name, which…yeah, that just seems racist to me.
But if you look through Jon Del Arroz’s interactions with others… Well, here’s a sampling of what people are talking about when they say Del Arroz harasses, insults, and trolls others, and distorts things for publicity and what someone once described as martyrbatiuon.
My goal isn’t to trash Del Arroz, but to document a pattern of behavior.
Warning: there’s a lot of material here….
Hines does an excellent job of mapping many of JDA’s acts of harassment and misogyny over the past year.
(7) LEST WE FORGET. Hines also noticed —
Just realized San Jose Worldcon abbreviates to … SJW!
My plan is to devote each installment to a particular work and discuss how its themes reflect current issues. Even more importantly, I want to talk about how science fiction imagines ways of ordering society that are different from the ones we know, that offer alternatives to the existing social order.
That’s by no means the norm. A lot of the time, when science fiction tries to engage with hot-button political issues, it does so in the terms of post-apocalypse or dystopia. Most climate change novels, for example, can more accurately be described as climate catastrophe novels. That’s not unjustified, obviously, but my interest is in stories that imagine functional societies, even if those societies are also flawed or predatory. And while talking about accuracy and realism in the context of science fiction worldbuilding is often just an excuse to be nitpicky and dismissive, I’m more interested in stories that show their work, that think through how a policy or an institution would come into being, and how it would affect society as a whole.
To give an example from the negative, while I enjoyed it very much as a piece of TV-making and a feminist statement, I’m not planning to write about Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (though that might change according to how the second season shakes out). When Margaret Atwood published the original novel in 1985, she constructed its gender-dystopia world in response to forces she saw around her, a combination of anti-feminist backlash, Phyllis Schlafly’s Christianist anti-women doctrine, and the Iranian revolution. That this was an incoherent patchwork didn’t matter because the focus of the novel was on Offred’s mental state, and its scope rarely extended past her confined viewpoint. The television series recreates that world more or less uncritically, and even with the gloss of topicality it layers over, the result doesn’t really hold water. That’s not a criticism of the show, which to my mind is one of the most essential pop culture artifacts of the current era. But it means that I don’t have much to say about it as a piece of political worldbuilding.
Sir Roger Penrose will give a talk on his latest research and provide an insight into the thinking of a modern day theoretical physicist. Is the Universe destined to collapse, ending in a big crunch or to expand indefinitely until it homogenizes in a heat death? Roger will explain a third alternative, the cosmological conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC) scheme-where the Universe evolves through eons, each ending in the decay of mass and beginning again with new Big Bang. The equations governing the crossover from each aeon to the next demand the creation of a dominant new scalar material, postulated to be dark matter. In order that this material does not build up from aeon to aeon, it is taken to decay away completely over the history of each aeon. The dark matter particles (erebons) may be expected to behave almost as classical particles, though with bosonic properties; they would probably be of about a Planck mass, and interacting only gravitationally. Their decay would produce gravitational signals, and be responsible for the approximately scale invariant temperature fluctuations in the CMB of the succeeding aeon. In our own aeon, erebon decay might well show up in signals discernable by gravitational wave detectors. The talk will blend Roger’s accessible style with an unapologetic detailed look at the physical principles. It should be of interest to practicing physicists and lay people who enjoy taking a more detailed look at physics.
Sir Roger Penrose, Emeritus Professor at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, winner of the Copley Medal and the Wolf Prize in Physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking, has made profound contributions encompassing geometry, black hole singularities, the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity, the structure of space-time, nature of consciousness and the origin of our Universe. In 1989 Penrose wrote The Emperor’s New Mind which challenged the premise that consciousness is computation and proposed new physics to understand it.
On January 19, 2018, 3 p.m. in Liebow Auditorium, UC San Diego. Free and open to the public (seating first-come, first-served).
Bill Bowers was one of the most respected fanzine editors of his time. He started publishing fanzines in the 1960s. His most notable fanzines were Double-Bill, edited with Bill Mallardi, and Outworlds. Outworlds was published for 70 issues. Bill chaired Corflu IV, Cincinnati (1987). A highlight of the convention was this performance of the 50th issue of Outworlds, Outworlds Live! It featured readings and performances by Bill Bowers, Art Widner, Richard Brandt, Gary Hubbard, Al Curry, Bernadette Bosky, Arthur Hlavaty, Ted White, and Stephen Leigh. Featured is art by Steve Stiles and Joan Hanke-Woods.
Here’s the beginning of a 13-video playlist:
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
January 14, 1959 — Journey to the Center of the Earth premiered.
January 14, 1981 — David Cronenberg’s Scanners debuted.
January 14, 1976 — The Bionic Woman aired its first episode.
January 14, 2005 — The first probe to land on Saturn’s moon, Titan, signaled it survived its descent. The Huygens space probe was designed to last only minutes on Titan’s surface, but surpassed the expectations of mission managers. Huygens descended the atmosphere, contacted the surface, and transmitted for at least an hour and a half.
Scientists think they have the answer to a puzzle that baffled even Charles Darwin: How flowers evolved and spread to become the dominant plants on Earth.
Flowering plants, or angiosperms, make up about 90% of all living plant species, including most food crops.
In the distant past, they outpaced plants such as conifers and ferns, which predate them, but how they did this has has been a mystery.
New research suggests it is down to genome size – and small is better.
“It really comes down to a question of cell size and how you can build a small cell and still retain all the attributes that are necessary for life,” says Kevin Simonin from San Francisco State University in California, US.
So, while doing a legitimate work thing I found out about the greatest HTTP error code ever invented: 418 Error – I am a Teapot. It was issued in RFC 2324 (https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2324) by the IETF as part of an April Fool’s day gag in 1998. But here we are, 20 years later. We are living in an age of the Internet of Things, with networked devices of all kinds in their home. Including, internet enabled electric kettles. And, if you attempt to make an HTTP connection to that electric kettle on the TCP port it uses to communicate with the world the the standards dictate the response code 418 Error – I am a Teapot.
The punk connection takes center stage with “Dr. Demento Covered in Punk,” an exceedingly ambitious and densely packed double album — triple in the vinyl edition — being released Jan. 12.
The album comprises 64 tracks spread over a pair of CDs, pulling together new recordings of “mad music and crazy comedy” songs long associated with the quirky radio emcee. Participants include Yankovic, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, William Shatner, Adam West, the Vandals, Fred Schneider of the B-52’s, the Misfits, Japan’s Shonen Knife, Los Straitjackets, Missing Persons, the Dead Milkmen and at least a dozen more.
Quartz’ video compilation is at the link. Here’s the introductory video from her channel:
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]
By Milt Stevens: Approximately 40 people attended Corflu 34 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, California on April 28-30, 2017. Corflu is a convention for people who publish or used to publish fanzines on paper. Yes, paper. If you want to read more about these atavistic characters, you can go to eFanzines.com.
This is the end of the convention.
The banquet. Since most cons no longer have banquets, Corflus have them. The Corflu banquet is in the form of a Sunday brunch, and it includes such traditional items as awards, the guest of honor speech, and other business. The results of the Faan Awards have already been announced.
As you might expect, Corflus don’t handle guest of honorship the way other cons do. We feel we are all worthy of honor, so the name of the goh is picked out of a hat during opening ceremony. The goh is then obligated to give a speech at the banquet. If you really, really don’t want to be goh, you can give the chairman of the con a $20 bribe to have your name removed from the hat. Last year at Chiflu, the chairman , Nigel Rowe, forgot to give himself a bribe and ended up as goh. This year’s guest of honor was Randy Byers who gave a quite well-received talk.
One of the usual items of business at Corflu is the election of the past president of Fan Writers of America (FWA). Fan Writers of America is an organization for people who are doing fan writing, or have done fan writing, or have at least thought about doing fan writing. You might wonder why we would be electing a past president rather than a current president. Well, we’re the sort who don’t like being told what to do, so we never elect a current president to tell us what to do. The past president for 2016 is Pete Young from Thailand.
Another item of business is the choice of a site for next year’s Corflu. The choice for 2018 is Toronto, Canada. In case current international stresses increase, the Toronto Committee will make arrangements to have American fans smuggled across the Canadian border in truckloads of melons.
This is the beginning of the convention.
I thought we might start the convention with opening ceremonies, but Marty Cantor said such things just weren’t done. “Whyzat?” I asked. Marty intoned “TRADITION!!!” and did a funny little dance. It’s hard to argue with a proposition like that.
So we began the con with a panel, “Remembrance of Corflus Past” with Andy Hooper, Jerry Kaufman, and Ted White. Sometimes we get a little bit confused about past, present and future. However, when we can figure out which one is the past we love to reminisce about it. Many and noisy are the sagas of Corflus past. Names like Corflu Chromium and Corflu Titanium make the blood of all trufen run sideways. Names like E Corflu Virus and Chiflu give most fans a rash.
Not long before the end of the convention.
Andy Hooper designed a diabolical trivia contest. There were two teams in the contest, the Slan Boys (Rich Coad, Jerry Kaufman, and myself), and The Winning Team (Sandra Bond, Ted White, and a third person who was a bit too far away for me to recognize.) It’s obviously hubris to name your team The Winning Team, and you know how the gods are about hubris. Of course, they lost. Also, our wildass guesses proved to be luckier than their wildass guesses.
The audience was quite amused by the totally obscure questions and the expressions of indescribable horror they produced on the faces of the panelists.
As an example of an obscure question, “In the softball game at the 1939 Worldcon, what position did Art Widner play?” Of course, we knew who Art Widner was, but fans don’t pay attention to sports. While nobody got the correct answer, Art Widner played catcher in that game.
As an example of a medium grade question, “Of the following articles, which one wasn’t written by Charles Burbee?”
(A) Al Ashley, Successful Novelist
(B) Al Ashley, Indefatigable Gardener
(C) Al Ashley, Elfin Edison
(D) Al Ashley, Galactic Observer
I knew that Al Ashley, Elfin Edison, and Al Ashley, Galactic Observer had been reprinted in A Sense of FAPA and were by Charles Burbee. That gave me a fifty-fifty chance on the other two.
Somewhat after the beginning.
Panel: “Fandom and Us” with Rob Jackson, Karl Lembke, and myself. Are we even in fandom anymore? Does it matter? What the heck is fandom? As a reactionary, I think fandom should be about reading and stuff. It’s the “and stuff” that causes the problem.
Somewhere in the middle.
I think it was nighttime. I could tell because it was dark outside. We were in the con suite. As always, Karl Lembke did a great job with the con suite. After the con, prominent Toronto fan Murray Moore reviewed the con as “The program was good, the cookies were great.” Somebody or possibly several somebodies had donated a case of various wines to the con suite. This was in addition to the homebrew and exotic beers. As the bottles became either half empty or half full, the attendees became either half sober or half inebriated. Funny how things work out that way.
Spike mentioned she was organizing the program for the next World Fantasy Convention. WFC only has two tracks of programming which is a lot more sensible than most cons. Since I’ve organized a few con programs in times past, we talked about doing programs for awhile.
Bill Burns asked me what I thought about Mr. X. I’m not quite sure what I think about Mr. X. I’m one of the few people who regularly writes letters to his fanzine, but I don’t really know anything about him.
I told Michael Dowd I thought he was the most atypical fanzine I had ever encountered. Issues of his fanzine Random Jottings are about the same size as issues of Analog. He has had one issue devoted to Watergate and another devoted to the Samaritans. Several people told me I had a letter of comment in the current issue which Michael was distributing at Corflu. That isn’t really surprising, since I think I write letters to most issues of most fanzines.
After the middle but before the end.
Auctions at Corflus are lively affairs. This year’s auction was heavy on fanzines from the Los Angeles area such as VoM and Shaggy from the forties. The most expensive single item was a hardback anthology The Best From Xero which included material from Dick and Pat Lupoff’s fanzine which sold for $55. Graham Charnock was making bids in the auction while still being in England. Graham was doing it through a laptop carried by Rob Jackson. At Graham’s requests, Rob would move the laptop around so Graham could get a better look at what he of bidding on. At the beginning of this, I described the attendance as “Approximately 40.” Graham was part of the “Approximately.” How should you count someone who is participating in the con from thousands of miles away.
After the beginning but before the middle.
Strawberries. Lots and lots of strawberries. We didn’t pick-up enough room nights, so we had to buy more stuff from the hotel to make up the difference. This took the form of strawberries and chocolate. The chocolate included brownies, and cookies, and candy. With a maximum effort from the entire membership, we were able to consume all of it burp
Probably sometime but maybe not around here.
Panel: “Beyond Numbered Fandoms” with Greg Benford, Sandra Bond, Mike Glyer, and Ted White. The idea of numbered fandoms is based on Arnold Toynbee’s conception of history in his book A Study of History. Toynbee thought a civilization was defined by the universal state and the universal church. With numbered fandoms, the universal state and the universal church are replaced with the Focal Point Fanzine. With the decline of each Focal Point Fanzine, an interregnum begins and fans retreat into the apas (amateur press associations). This model also includes a few barbarian invasions. Strangely enough, this model seemed to work for quite awhile. Then Harlan Ellison proclaimed false seventh fandon, and all fandom was engulfed in guacamole.
Efforts were made to salvage the numbered fandoms model, but they never really worked. There was muttering about a model based on dialectical fanac, but that gave everybody stomach cramps. Some suggested fan history might even be influenced by things outside of fandom such as WWII and the introduction of the hula hoop. Others suggested we might be living in a post modernist fandom where the center was marginalized, the margins were central, and rationalism was the bogey of small minds. Stay tuned for further developments.