Es Cole Is Alive and Well in Ventura

By John Hertz:  Encouraged by John Coker, I went to visit Es Cole.  I found her in good spirits.  She’s 95.

She introduced me to her two dogs, fed ice cream to me and apple slices to them, and showed me a life-size reproduction of the Rosetta Stone text, Bob Bloch’s note about her cheesecake in his introduction to Les’ “Tripod” in the August 1957 Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction with the Barry Waldman cover, and Les’ library.

Some of the shelves you see here are empty now.  The books about the American Civil War, and about Minoans, have gone to a good home.

While I was there she took a phone call.  I was eating ice cream, but I heard her tell someone, firmly but not harshly, “Don’t say he passed away.  My husband died.”

She and he co-chaired the 12th World Science Fiction Convention.

Seeing A Wealth of Fable on another shelf, and turning to the photo of her and Les, I said “That’s how I knew who you were.”

Churchill’s memoir The Second World War, in hard covers, was on another shelf.  I said I’d read it through four times.  She said “That was my war.  I was a riveter.”

She’s still riveting – I mean the participial adjective.  If she sees that she’ll probably deny it.

Pictures at an Exhibition

By John Hertz: Here are Kenn Bates’ photos from Loscon XLVI —

  • The exhibit of Rotsler Award winners through 2018;
  • The exhibit (in the Art Show) of the 2019 winner Alison Scott (follow the link to learn about the Award too);
  • A close-up of her plaque, sent to her later;
  • The exhibit about Leonardo da Vinci which had been at this year’s Worldcon in honor of his 500th centenary, our genius neighbor;
  • And a close-up of the top of the Leonardo exhibit.

Thanks to Kenn for his photos.  Thanks to Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink for her graphics-wizard help with these exhibits. 

Thoreau Said It Wasn’t Indispensable

By John Hertz: (reprinted from No Direction Home 44, dated 24 Dec 19)

Caring what befalls,
Ardently helping, leading,
Reaching what can be,
Oh what fun it is to ride
Love and laughter currently.

It’s the International Year of the Periodic Table, so declared by the United Nations to honor the Table’s being substantially invented in its modern form 150 years ago by Dmitri Mendeleyev (1834-1907).

We had learned there were elements. Other organizations of them had been proposed. His predicted the existence and properties of new elements, which when discovered proved to be so. At the time elements were characterized by their atomic weight; some known elements did not behave according to his theory; he said their atomic weights must have been measured incorrectly; this too proved so.

He is said to have reported, “In a dream I saw a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down.” Luckily he escaped the Higamus Effect.

* * *

In the 23 Nov 39 Cleveland Plain Dealer, p. 20, the column “Good Morning from Claire MacMurray”, headed “Thanksgiving Nightmare”, recounted:

Mrs. Amos Pinchot…. dreamed one night that she had written a poem so beautiful, so wise, so close to the ultimate truth of life that she was immediately acclaimed by all the peoples on the earth as the greatest poet and philosopher of all the ages. Still half asleep as the dream ended, she stumbled out of bed and scribbled the poem down, realizing that she must take no risk of forgetting such deathless lines. She awoke in the morning with the feeling that something wonderful was about to happen – oh, yes! Her poem.

She clutched the precious paper and, tense with excitement, read the words she had written. Here they are.

Hogamus Higamus
Men are Polygamous
Higamus Hogamus
Women Monogamous

* * *

I sometimes think we may have run into a new element. The most recently recognized is Element 118, oganesson, symbol Og, synthesized in 2002 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, near Moscow, by a joint team of Russian and American scientists, and formally named (28 Nov 16) for the physicist Yuri Oganessian (1933- ), who has played a leading role in discovering the heaviest elements in the Periodic Table.

This new element, if it proves to be Element 119, should be an alkali metal, which seems right. It may be essential; certainly characteristic, widespread, and highly radioactive.

We could call it mnisikakía, after the Greek; its symbol could be M (Mn is taken, manganese). I thought of calling it iracundia, after the Latin, but the symbol I is taken (iodine) and so is Ir (iridium). Or we could keep the symbol M and call it by its common name, resentment.

What did Thoreau know?

                                              

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” H. Thoreau, Walden ch. 1 (1854)

My Life at Loscon, Part 3

By John Hertz:  (mostly reprinted from No Direction Home 43)  Saturday 11:30 a.m. at Loscon XLVI, a panel discussion “The Asimov Centenary”.

We were starting early, or maybe right; without birth records, he celebrated 3 Jan 1920 but it could have been in 1919.  Moderator, pro author and interviewer Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, with Fan Guest of Honor Edie Stern, Joe Siclari of FANAC (Florida Association for Nucleation And Conventions, sponsor of the 50th World Science Fiction Convention [which Siclari chaired] at Orlando, Florida, and currently a fanhistory Website <fanac.org>, fanac our long-time slang for fan activity), Matthew Tepper the con chair and Asimov scholar, and me.

The panel was billed as discussing “his growth as a writer, and the impact that his writings have had on real life culture and science”; I thought, as Johnson said, those people have gone to milk the bull.

The work of Asimov the SF author was imagination; of Asimov the science writer – his four hundred science columns for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, his six dozen popular-science books – was explanation.  He said he strove for clarity; at both this was his talent, his skill, perhaps we may say his genius.  Let us not turn away to having an impact (that wretched cant) on real life culture and science.  His growth as a writer – alas, I thought he shrank.  I could not think The Gods Themselves (1972) his best SF; on the contrary.  Nevertheless he was a wonder.

Tepper said Asimov brought sweeping stories up close and personal.  That also applied to his non-fiction.  Stern said, he worked out a premiss (yes, that’s how the logic kind is spelled, plural “premisses”; “premises” is the land kind).  He showed how social forces shaped.  Siclari said he could present complex science simply.  He had a spirit of play; not only in his writing, he was active in Gilbert & Sullivan fandom.  I said he was one of our best what if writers.

Zinos-Amaro asked, accusations of his mistreating women have emerged: does that complicate what we think of him?  Stern reminded us these things were no news; everyone with a skirt, she said, knew he was grabby.  She told of a woman in a shirt printed with six-finger outlines who retorted “Isaac, if your hands fit these, you can, otherwise no”; he stopped.  Tepper said, we’re faced with even greater creative personalities who were flawed – like Wagner.  We can’t minimize either side.  A woman in the audience said “I ran a convention; he was very professional.”

On yet another side, Stern told of a Boston collating session in the mimeograph days; just as a man declined to pitch in, saying “I’m a published author”, Asimov stuck his head out of the collating room calling “Hey, Tony, we need more of Page 2.” 

Zinos-Amaro asked us each what one book we’d recommend.  Stern said, Pebble in the Sky (1950).  Siclari said, Foundation (1951).  Tepper said, The Caves of Steel (1953).  I said, The End of Eternity (1955).  Look too for the collections of his short stories and of his science essays. With fiction and non-fiction he had published five hundred books – plus anthologies – plus founding Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine.

In the Art Show the best for me was Elizabeth Berrien. This extraordinary wire-worker was famous among us for years.  Her animals and other creations are in many of our homes.  At Lonestarcon II, the 55th Worldcon, she won Best in Art Show.  As her career grew, she found herself making things for airports, hotels, museums, offices, restaurants, television advertising, zoos.

Chris Marble said “It’s been 21 years since she exhibited at Loscon.”  In 2019 she was in the Art Show at Spikecon, the combined Westercon (West Coast Science Fantasy Conference) and NASFiC (North America SF Con, held when the Worldcon is overseas), fifty miles from where the Final Spike completed the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years earlier; Marble had carried her work to and from the 77th Worldcon in Ireland.

When she’s present, at a party or a panel discussion, you’ll see her listening or contributing to the conversation, all the while twisting wire.  She must carry the whole in her mind, like Michelangelo saying “I just get a block of marble and chip away anything that isn’t a Madonna and Child.”  If you look at wire sculpture around the world, you’ll see hers is distinctive.  It may be unique.

We have fan tables.  We don’t know any better name for them.  Along the traffic flow are people and displays on behalf of scheduled cons, bids to hold cons, contests, SF clubs, to answer questions and as may seem suitable.

At Loscon, the Orange County SF Club usually has a table.  Their logograph is a Space ship taking off from an orange.  To be friendly there’s usually an orange-colored bowl with orange-flavored candy.  I keep meaning to ask whether OCSFC is in touch with the Netherlands national football team.

Drawing by Tim Kirk.

If you can’t remember whether you have a membership in something or other there may well be someone at a table with a list paper or electronic who might, in case you don’t and want one, offer you a do-it-now discount.  Non-profit organizations have to get along somehow.

I had to go off-site three times for errands that took hours.  Half of one later proved needless.  Another could have been avoided, but Life is a continuing series of adventures in which you learn you’d have done better to think of something else in advance.

I saw I’d be late for the Saturday night Paul Turner memorial panel (1936-2019).  High-tech folk helped me tell Operations.  I arrived after 8:30, but I arrived.  Neola Caveny moderated Greg Benford, Paul’s son now known as the Wizard, Suzanne Vegas, and eventually me.

Paul was given the Evans-Freehafer Award for service to the LASFS in 1964.  He was Fan Guest of Honor at Loscon XX.  In our audience Bill Ellern said that while Paul is with some justice credited for inventing the LASFS Building Fund (Jerry Pournelle, “You’re out of your mind”; Paul, “Sure I am”), by which LASFS indeed bought a clubhouse, Betty Knight as Treasurer in the 1950s kept saying we should start one but nobody listened.  Paul held salons with SF authors, Jet Propulsion Lab scientists, and like that, for conversation and nourishment.  His mind ranged wide.

Sunday 2:30 p.m., the second Classics of SF book talk, C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra (1943; reached the Retro-Hugo ballot).  I’ll stay with “audience” although I invite and perhaps some would say drag in participation.  Is it a classic? why?  From the audience: the people – and the other characters – are genuine; I asked, how could we know; a woman said, “If we met them they’d be like that.”  She had hit on what Johnson said of Shakespeare (two geometric figures of the same shape are similar, regardless of differences in size):

He approximates the remote, and familiarizes the wonderful; the event which he represents will not happen, but if it were possible, its effects would probably be such as he has assigned; and it may be said, that he has not only shown human nature as it acts in real exigencies, but as it would be found in trials, to which it cannot be exposed. 

Another said the descriptions of landscape were almost as interesting as the plot.  Another: the portrayal of Ransom’s internal reactions.  Another: Ransom isn’t too perfect.  Sean Smith said he wrestles with his moral dilemma.  He asks “Why me?” and painfully answers.  Father John Blaker said, Lewis takes these questions seriously – but not, ran our consensus, at the expense of his fiction.

Unfortunately sermonizing, which might ideally mean inspiring, has too often proved to mean oppressing; we thought Lewis avoided falling into that pit.  Another said a truly loving person discusses.

If Perelandra had anything in common with our Friday book, Asimov’s Second Foundation (1953) – gosh – it might be the centrality of dialogue.  Look at the nearly impossible task of characterizing Ransom’s adversary – and I don’t mean Weston.

I bought Craig Miller’s “Star Wars” Memories (2019) from his own self.  Later, helping take down the Dealers’ Room; dinner; I got to the Dead Dog Party (until the last dog is –) round about midnight.  As it happens I’d helped to supply it – and the Staff Den; at length I’d been made Chief Hall-Costume Judge (the costumes some people build or assemble for strolling the halls; Marjii Ellers called them daily wear for alternative worlds) after all.

Some of us were still alive.  Karl Lembke, chairman (the suffix -man is not masculine) of the LASFS Board and a refreshments wizard, was still on duty.  A good thing, too.

My Life at Loscon, Part 2

By John Hertz: (mostly reprinted from No Direction Home 42)  On Friday night at Loscon XLVI (local SF convention, sponsored by the L.A. Science Fantasy Society; see here) after Regency dancing (see Mimosa 29; or read Georgette Heyer‘s Regency romances – or both) I changed back to my conventional attire and went to wander the world of parties.

I’ve long felt an in it but not of it quality is elemental to fandom.  More usually interest-groups seem tighter focused on, or entangled with, their topic.  It makes us harder to explain.  People ask me “Are you a writer?” and I have to answer with something like my father’s scrupulous reply when we played Guess What Daddy Had for Lunch, “Not within the normal meaning of that term.”  My best formulation so far is A love of SF is the thread on which the beads of fan activity are strung.  Anyway, it shows in our social life.

At our cons we have open (everybody welcome) and closed (invitation-only) parties.  Some of them have a particular reason for existence.  Some of them.  See what I mean?

Drawing by Tim Kirk

I dropped by the Baycon party.  This is the San Francisco Bay area local con, held over the United States Memorial Day weekend; Baycon XXXVIII will be in 2020 (we’re not always careful terminologists: Westercon XIV – the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference on or near U.S. Independence Day, though not necessarily within the U.S.; Westercon LXXIII will be in 2020 – was “Baycon”, apparently the first SF con [in two senses of “SF”] so called: later the 26th World Science Fiction Convention, combined with Westercon XXI, and famous in song and story, was also “Baycon”).

A calendar conflict keeps me from Baycon, although I have friends there, and am an honorary officer of the Bay Area SF Association (Club motto, also Rule 0, “We do these things not because they are hard, but because we are weird”), which was convenient when the 66th Worldcon was at Yokohama Bay – in a Bay Area, and BASFA wanted a quorum.  So I seek out Baycon parties.

To some extent a Baycon party is an attempt to sell Baycon memberships.  (Among our better acts of terminology we insist we sell not tickets, but memberships: not admittance to a thing others have made, but participation in making it.) Why not?  See, we can host a party: we can host a convention.  But also it’s a contribution to the conviviality (good word to look up) of the time and place where it’s held.  I’m in favor of that.  Also similar parties thrown by other cons, and by bids to hold cons.

Some cons have themes.  I’m not particularly in favor of that; I’d rather they had theremins (seems unfair to ask for the Island of Kalymnos dance Thymariotikos, although I’m fond of it).

The Baycon XXXVIII theme is “The future is now!”, elaborated as “This year’s theme celebrates science fiction’s influence on our present day”.  I found that particularly regrettable.  It seemed to draw in the notion that SF is in the business of predicting the future, one of the nastier poisons to afflict us.  Also the current cant of influence too often operates as a nasty distraction from actually looking, substituting instead what other people think.  So I had the nourishingly demanding task of managing conviviality with my friends, making new friends, and conferring about the health of our field.

Down the hall was Keith Kato’s, combined as happens at Loscon with Carol & Elst Weinstein’s, and Kenn Bates’.

At cons Kato has for years been hosting chili parties, some open, some closed.  He cooks up a vat of hot (“To Everyone Except Bob Silverberg”) and a vat of mild (“To Everyone Except Marion Zimmer Bradley”), recently also a vat of vegetarian and, at Loscon, one of bison.  He has not been hindered by his career as a physicist, his achieving a Black Belt in shõtõkan karate, nor his term as President of the Heinlein Society.  In File 770 159 (PDF) p. 35, his own story to that date, I was in his Gang of Four.  If he’s on the night of Regency dancing he knows I can’t show up soon; nor can I fairly ask him to save me a bowl of mild, I have to take my chances.

The Weinsteins at Loscon have hosted Herbangelist wine and cheese parties (on Herbie Popnecker, see Forbidden Worlds 73; he had his own title 1964-67; zeal lasts); Bates has hosted dessert parties, usually with a chocolate-fondue fountain; that they would co-host was inevitable, and they have.

Brad Lyau had been given the Moskowitz Archive Award at the 77th Worldcon (Dublin, 15-19 Aug 19).  I congratulated him.  The Award, named for Sam Moskowitz, is from First Fandom, for excellence in SF collecting; First Fandom is both a historical fact – those happy few active since at least the first Worldcon, 1939 – and an organization devoted to fanhistory.

Lyau had revealed in Scientifiction 61 (N.S., i.e. New Series) that he has Julie Schwartz’ copy of SaM’s 1954 Immortal Storm, inscribed to Julie by SaM – then when Lyau told them he’d gotten it, inscribed by each of them to him!  Gosh!  Forry Ackerman had helped with Lyau’s Ph.D. dissertation on 1950s French SF.  Lyau has been at it a while. 

I was fascinated to learn he’d studied with Hans Küng (1928-  ).  We spoke of epistemology (good word to look up); I repeated my jest that I’d long been an amateur epistemologist – I was a Philosophy major – and now I’m also a professional epistemologist, although we lawyers don’t like to think of ourselves as philosophers.  We’re engineers, too.

Lyau talked of the “scholastic stranglehold” in the days of the Schoolmen, say 1100-1700.  I said that wasn’t really fair to Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) for one.  Lyau said it wasn’t Aristotle’s fault (lived fifteen centuries earlier) that Aristotle’s work became ossified.  I said the poor Buddha (a century before Aristotle), if that expression could be used, told people not to make statues of him. Lyau said the Buddha was a messenger of universal truth.  I had been with a Japanese Buddhist priest during the Bon Festival (rhymes with “hone”; short for a Sanskrit word referring to suffering by the dead in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which the Festival hopes to relieve) who said “We don’t worship our ancestors, we just venerate them.”

Saturday 11:30 a.m., “The Asimov Centenary”, Joe Siclari, Fan Guest of Honor Edie Stern, Matthew Tepper, and me, moderated by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.  Isaac Asimov didn’t know his birthday, no records.  He celebrated January 2, 1920, but it could have been a day in 1919. Anyway, why not start now?

Siclari had chaired the 50th Worldcon (Orlando), has long been a student of SF particularly graphic art, also fanhistory; was the 2005 Down Under Fan Fund delegate; with Stern his wife received the 2016 Big Heart Award; heads (although he and Stern moved back to New York) the Florida Association for Nucleation And Conventions (yes, that spells FANAC, since at least the 1940s short for “fan activity”), sponsor of the 50th Worldcon and these days a fanhistorical Website.

Tepper, the con chair and in fact an Asimov scholar, had been the “Let’s kill him now” boy of Asimov’s anecdote in The Hugo Winners; to be fair, Asimov himself didn’t say that.

Zinos-Amaro has on his Website, along with Lao Tzû and Emily Dickinson, Asimov’s line from I. Asimov “The interplay of thought and imagination is far superior to that of muscle and sinew.”

To be continued.

My Life at Loscon – Part 1

By John Hertz: (mostly reprinted from No Direction Home 41)  Loscon is my local SF convention, sponsored by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society; Loscon XLVI was 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2019 at the L.A. Int’l Airport Marriott Hotel; Author Guest of Honor Howard Waldrop, Fan GoH Edie Stern, Editor GoH Moshe Feder; attendance about 730; Art Show sales about $5,500.

Radiant thanks to Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink for her computer-aided-graphics help with Rotsler Award displays.  The Award is for long-time wonder-working in amateur publications of the science fiction community, the fame of its eponym Bill Rotsler, to honor whom it was begun in 1998; it’s sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (yes, that spells SCIFI, pronounced “skiffy”), and announced at Loscon.  The judges are Mike Glyer, Sue Mason (since 2015), and me (since 2003).

For years I made Worldcon displays showing work of the winners to date, and Loscon displays showing work of the year’s winner, with photocopies and colored construction paper.  At Denvention III the 66th World Science Fiction Convention they were mounted on handsome black signboard contributed by Spike; otherwise on pegboard with hooks and clips.

Recently Klein-Lebbink with her expertise and equipment has labored with me to do both displays on computer-printed banners, which have looked swell, saved hours of at-con effort, and eased reaching overseas Worldcons I’ve usually been unable to attend. 

The 2019 Worldcon (the 77th) was at Dublin; we also made a display celebrating the 500th year after the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), who touched on SF with his designs for things not yet possible to available technology, and was generally amazing astounding planetary thrilling wondrous.  We mounted it at Loscon XLVI too.  Thanks to Jan Bender for getting it and the Rotsler-winners-to-date display to and from Dublin.

This year’s Rotsler winner is Alison Scott.  Thanks to Mason for helping wrangle Scott images (I mustn’t call them Scottish, she’s English) in time for Loscon.  You can see a note by me, with samples, here.

Photographs of the Loscon XLVI displays have been promised and no doubt will arrive Real Soon Now.  Meanwhile you can see the Dublin winners-to-date display here.

Drawing by Tim Kirk

At cons I’ve been leading Classics of SF discussions, one story (mostly book-length) each.  Once I did two books together – same author, same year.  I’ve been on but don’t recommend “What are the classics?” panels; I find they tend, instead of discussing, to become favorite-fights.

Sometimes a con puts me on, or has me moderate, a panel to discuss a story.  Most often it’s just I and the so-called audience – “so-called” because, from my point of view anyway, the blood of the SF community is participation.  I tell people “You needn’t speak up, but I hope you will.”  Also I believe the price of having strong opinions is recognizing that others can have strong opinions.

Do cons keep naming me alone because I’m so wonderful?  Maybe.  Maybe it’s easier for Programming than juggling the schedules of five people.

Loscon this year asked me to do two classics; I proposed, and when they were accepted I led discussions on, Asimov’s Second Foundation (1953), Friday afternoon at half-past one, and Lewis’ Perelandra (1943), Sunday afternoon at half-past two.

Perelandra had reached the Retrospective Hugo ballot.  It’s one of few books in our field to engage with mainstream religion.  Second Foundation happened to be the first Asimov I ever read.  It’s the third in a trilogy (Foundation 1951, Foundation and Empire 1952; decades later Asimov and others added prequels and sequels); Perelandra is the second (Out of the Silent Planet 1938, That Hideous Strength 1945).

Re-reading each before proposing them to the con I felt each could stand by itself.  Also I elected taking Second Foundation as a single novel, though composed of two shorter works “Now You See It –” (1948), “– And Now You Don’t” (1950; reached the Retro-Hugo ballot).

I try for stories interesting in different ways.  I think Second Foundation and Perelandra are.

Once a con asked me to do only one of these discussions; at another I did five.  Three seems to be about right, thinking of the con as an artform, its rhythm, its balance.  Some years ago when a Programming chief asked me what size rooms I’d need, I said “These discussions usually draw a dozen or two”; she said “That’s about what I thought.  Not huge crowds; but they’re a kind of thing we should be doing.”  I said “That’s what I think too.”

What’s a classic?  I’m still with A classic is a work that survives its time; after the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself.

I don’t think we’re very classics-conscious in fandom.  Not just SF classics; any.

Compare Shakespeare (1564-1616): we know his plays drew crowds; we know all kinds of folk went to see them; they’re full of references to Greek and Roman literature of the previous millennium; indeed if you could read and write in his day you could read and write Latin.

Compare Perelandra, which was written for the general reading public, and is full of references to the Bible, The Divine Comedy (1320), Goethe (1749-1832), Greek mythology, Milton (1608-1674), Pope (1688-1744), Renaissance painting and poetry, Roman history, Shakespeare, H.G. Wells – and Lewis Carroll.  A current that’s changed.

On Friday afternoon, no one wishing to amend my proposed definition, we proceeded to Is “Second Foundation” a classic?

David H. Levine (i.e. not David D., whom I don’t expect to see at Loscon) said it towered above other SF.  Many said its characters were distinct – which is largely achieved by dialogue.  We’re given little of how they look; what they wear; their music; their landscapes; but – speaking of Lewis Carroll – if this is a book without pictures, it certainly has conversations (Alice in Wonderland ch. 1, 1865).

It’s complicated; but it presents its complications with clarity.  It has a sense of event.  It has a sense of the telling detail.  It’s neat; indeed, spare.  It’s vivid.  And if, as Asimov later said, he heard from somebody in the late 1940s that no one could write an SF detective story, he didn’t disprove it in 1953 with The Caves of Steel – he already had.

Then Regency dancing.  This fad in fandom – England having had few regencies, we mean the one of 1811-1820, and the years before and after, since a historical period seldom starts of a sudden – is of course very much my fault, but it came about because of Georgette Heyer.

Her historical fiction set then, thirty superb books published until her death in 1972 and much reprinted – yes, they’re romances, yes I a heterosexual man was so dull I had to be introduced to them by a woman – spark with wit appealing to the fannish mind.  I took up the challenge of teaching the dances.  Fuzzy Pink Niven doesn’t make that eggnog anymore.

So on Friday evening I changed clothes to host.  Sometimes a dozen or two come by, in costume or not; at the 42nd Worldcon there were three hundred.  Neola Caveny, whom Greg Benford had found and who the next night would moderate the Paul Turner memorial panel, had come from Hawaii and had made a Regency gown.

To be continued

Nick Smith Wins LASFS Evans-Freehafer Award

By John Hertz:  The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS; pronounced like “lahss fuss”) is the oldest SF club in the world, founded 1934.

The Evans-Freehafer has been given since 1959 for service to the club.  It is currently announced at the SF convention LASFS sponsors, Loscon (held on the weekend of the United States Thanksgiving holiday, Friday – Sunday following the last Thursday in November; Loscon XLVI was November 29 – December 1, 2019).

E. Everett Evans (1893-1958; sometimes “Triple E”, “Tripoli”) and Paul Freehafer (1918-1944) were productive big-hearted LASFS members.

Evans chaired the first West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (“Westercon”, annually on a weekend including or near U.S. Independence Day, although not necessarily in the U.S.; Westercon LXXIII will be July 2-5, 2020, at Seattle, Washington).

Freehafer, who had been with the club since 1934, was so prized for cheerfully carrying club projects to completion that wherever the LASFS meets is Freehafer Hall.

The Evans-Freehafer is decided annually by the previous three years’ recipients, and kept secret until announced, sometimes flabbergasting the new recipient.  In fifty years only four people – Mike Donahue, Bob Null, Bruce Pelz, and Elayne Pelz his widow – have received it more than once.

Nick Smith is a long-time LASFS member who has held various offices including President, and served on the Board of Directors.  If you are familiar with hobby activity you know such positions less often result from a contest for who will be elected to them than a search for who will undertake them.

Hobbies sometimes extrude other hobbies; in the SF community a home-made song tradition (hmm, maybe not the right word) came to be called “filk music”, from a 1950s typographical error for “folk music” that stuck; Smith has been active there too, chairing filk conventions, singing, writing, placed in the Filk Hall of Fame in 2015.

NICK SMITH

Smith recently curated an exhibit “Dreaming the Universe” held March 3 – September 2, 2018, at the Pasadena Museum of History, exploring the interaction of science, fiction, and Southern California, with artifacts, fine and graphic art (those being somewhat technical terms), books, ephemera, photographs.  Building it took him two years.

Artist Selina Phanara with the hand-painted door she created for the LASFS Clubhouse (Courtesy of Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside)
William Pickering, James Van Allen and Wernher Von Braun hold a model of Explorer 1 after successful launch into orbit on January 31, 1958. Photo credit: NASA

Elsewhere in his life Smith has for almost forty years been a technician at the Pasadena Public Library.

I salute him.

The Cat That Walked by Himself

By John Hertz: (reprinted from No Direction Home 39)  John Paul Stevens (1920-2019) was the 101st Justice (as we call judges there) appointed to the United States Supreme Court (served 1975-2010), taking the seat vacated by the retirement of William O. Douglas (1898-1980; served 1939-1975).  Justice Stevens was appointed by President Ford; Justice Douglas had been appointed by President F.D. Roosevelt.

Upon retiring, Justice Stevens wrote Five Chiefs (2011), a memoir of the Chief Justices he had served under.  A fuller memoir The Making of a Justice (2019) appeared two months before his death.  Only Douglas and Justice Stephen J. Field (1816-1899; served 1863-1897, appointed by President Lincoln) were longer on the Court.

Justice Stevens and I both went to the University of Chicago Laboratory School and Northwestern U. law school.  He was and I am a Chicago Cubs baseball fan.  At Northwestern, he and I had the same professor for Antitrust law, James A. Rahl (1917-1994).

It’s been said that a man who wears a bow tie is a joker.  On the strength of my grandfather, of one of my brilliant first-year law school professors, and of Justice Stevens, it may be true.  The Making of a Justice is full of jokes, many dry, some wry.

I was a few feet from him at a law-school reception when he muttered to another of my brilliant professors – who didn’t wear bow ties, but always wore a gray three-piece suit, white shirt, black knitted four-in-hand; not until watching him closely in a second class I carefully took with him did I see from slightly differing lapels, or buttons, or tie weave, that he had several – “I never had the Latin for the judgin’”.

The only time The Making shocked me was a manifest set-up.  The title itself is a joke; how can it cover Stevens’ entire life and not merely the years 1920-1975? but he was famous for saying learning on the job was essential to judging (e.g. his 2006 article “Learning on the Job” [based on a 2005 speech], Fordham U. Law Review, vol. 74, beginning at p. 1561).

The consummation devoutly to be wished is that judges, most of all – supremely – on the Supreme Court, will study the law, study the facts of the case before them, and decide how the law applies to the case and with what result.  In the words of Gelett Burgess’ poet (“The Protest of the Illiterate”, 1897), that’s hard as the deuce; we can have panels of three judges, or seven, and on the U.S. Supreme Court are nine.

What can happen, what we hope will not happen, and what the mass news media and, it seems, many politicians insist always does happen, is that judges unconsciously or otherwise bend toward their existing opinions – alas, their prejudices – and reach results accordingly.  A Spanish proverb says Every man pushes his own sardine closer to the fire.  So we worry about liberal and conservative judges, if wisely then unfortunately.

To the extent that is real and not false wisdom I think the Supreme Court should have two thoughtful articulate liberals, two thoughtful articulate conservatives, and the rest moderates.  Thus various views will be expressed, and if I may quote Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (1906-1997; served 1956-1990, appointed by President Eisenhower), praised, when he is (literary present tense), as a thoughtful articulate liberal, It takes five votes to get anything done around here.

Law and politics are neighbors.  Supreme Court justices, who are not elected, are nominated by a President and confirmed by a Senate who are.  It is tempting, and some would say rightful, for the President and the Senate (where the President may not have a sympathetic majority) to try moving the Court in a favored direction.  Even so that does not always eventuate.

Justice Stevens, nominated by a President who was a moderate Republican, appeared to be a moderate Republican.  By his retirement liberals were boasting of him.  But he always said he was a conservative, and as time went on, he said the Court, not he, had shifted.

He had sometimes been called “even Stevens” for delivering both opinions conservatives liked and opinions liberals liked.  At his death both Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (born 1955; serving since 2005, appointed by President G.W. Bush), a conservative, and Justice Elena Kagan (b. 1960; appointed by President Obama to succeed Justice Stevens), a liberal, praised him for kindness, humility, and independence; Justice Kagan said he was fiercely independent.

She also called him a model of collegiality (which another of my brilliant law professors always deliberately pronounced “colleague-iality”).  That shows in both Five Chiefs and The Making of a Justice.

He many times wrote the opinion of the Court, many times a concurring opinion to record why he could not wholly agree, many times an opinion in dissent.  I’ll record one dissent of mine; to keep this note from being technical, not on a legal point – and I concur in his result.

Judging a moot-court competition which argued whether the actor Shakespeare (1564-1616) had actually written the plays under that name, he held that the challenger had not brought evidence enough to overturn the prevailing view in favor of the actor, but “confessed to having some doubt….  the striking difference between the spelling … of his … actual signatures and the name ‘Shakespeare’”, adding in his memoir that, when visiting the Shakespeare home in Stratford-upon-Avon later in the year, he “found no evidence whatsoever that the house ever contained a library.  The man who wrote those plays must have owned some books,” Making pp. 235-36.

In his legal opinions Justice Stevens insisted on understanding the facts.  Here in my own view he was alas ill-informed of contemporary spelling in written English, of what actors like Shakespeare had in ready memory, of the notorious errors indicating the playwright had not consulted books, and of the cost and availability of books then.

But in 2005 Gerald Ford said “I am prepared to allow history’s judgment of my term in office to rest (if necessary, exclusively) on my nomination thirty years ago of Justice John Paul Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court….  He has served with dignity, intellect, and without partisan political concerns,” Making pp. 527-28.  R.I.P.


Laboratory schools: some universities and other institutions engaged in teacher education maintain these to train teachers, further educational research and experimentation, and like that.  Antitrust law: so called in the U.S. because at the turn of the 20th Century businesses perceived to exercise oppressive economic power acted by using, or abusing, the form of legal entity known as a trust, one person (which need not be a natural person, could be a corporation) holding property for others’ benefit; thus e.g. the 1914 Sherman Antitrust Act.  “Never had the Latin for the judgin’”: P. Cook as E.L. Wisty (1960), see his Tragically I Was an Only Twin pp. 43-45 (2002).  Moot court: a mock trial or arbitration examining a hypothetical case as an academic exercise.

Rotsler Award to Alison Scott

By John Hertz: Alison Scott has received the 2019 Rotsler Award for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community.

The Award, established at the death of Bill Rotsler, has been given since 1998.  It carries an honorarium of US$300.

Rotsler did everything and knew everyone.  He sculpted with stainless-steel rods and went house-hunting with Marilyn Monroe.  He drew on paper, mimeograph stencils, food, body parts.

The SF community’s highest achievement award is the Hugo Award, named for SF pioneer Hugo Gernsback, voted annually in several categories by members of the World Science Fiction Convention.

Rotsler won the Best-Fanartist Hugo five times, in 1975 and 1979, 1996 (when he also won a Retrospective Hugo for 1946) and 1997, a remarkable span.  His cartoons were deft, his serious drawing fine, his fluency downright breathtaking.

Scott gained renown as layout wizard and cover artist for the much-loved – no, it’s British, better not say that – highly-regarded fanzine PLOKTA, “the journal of superfluous technology”, PLOKTA being an acronym for Press Lots Of Keys To Abort.

PLOKTA won the Best-Fanzine Hugo in 2005 and 2006.  Scott won the United Kingdom’s Nova Award as Best Fanartist in ’05, ’07, and ’08.  The Plokta cabal attended the 67th Worldcon (“Anticipation”, Montreal) and produced its newsletter Voyageur.

Scott chaired her national convention the Eastercon (held Easter weekend) in 1995 (“Confabulation”, 46th Eastercon, London) and 2018 (“Follycon”, 69th Eastercon, Harrogate).  She will be Fan Guest of Honour in 2020 (“Concentric”, 71st Eastercon, Birmingham).

These admirable distinctions are only mentioned as noteworthy.  They do not of course qualify or disqualify her for the Rotsler Award, which is a cat that walks by itself.

Here are front and back covers Scott did for an issue of Beam (then by Nic Farey and Jim Trash, currently by Farey and Ulrika O’Brien), 

and a front cover for PLOKTA.

The Concentric materials so far released say she is irrepressible.  Brits are understated.

The Rotsler winner is announced each year at Loscon, held at Los Angeles during the United States Thanksgiving-holiday weekend.  Loscon XLVI, 29 November – 1 December 2019, will have a display of Scott’s work in the Art Show, and elsewhere of all Rotsler winners to date.  A display of all Rotsler winners can usually be seen at the Worldcon; for “Dublin 2019”, the 77th Worldcon, look here.

Loscon is sponsored by the non-profit L.A. Science Fantasy Society, oldest SF club in the world.  The Rotsler is sponsored by the non-profit Southern California Institute for Fan Interests.  The current Rotsler judges are Mike Glyer, John Hertz (since 2003), and Sue Mason (since 2015).

More examples of Alison Scott’s artwork follow the jump.

Continue reading

Pixel Scroll 11/24/19 And It Glows So You Can Read It In The Dark

(1) SCIENCE THROUGH ANOTHER EYE. Jenny Uglow, in “Beauty in Ingenuity: The Art of Science”, leads readers through “The Art of Innovation: From Enlightenment to Dark Matter” exhibit on view at London’s Science Museum through January 26, 2020.

… Across the room, the quest for new materials continues, with a wafting terylene dress from 1941, and a screening of the exuberant 1951 Ealing comedy The Man in the White Suit, with Alec Guinness as the naïve inventor of an indestructible textile fleeing from angry industrialists and workers, saved only when his magic material disintegrates around him. There’s a lot of fun, as well as science, in this show—and some joyous artistic accidents, like David Hockney’s encounter with a polaroid camera, which he used for the dazzling grid of Sun on the Pool, Los Angeles (1982). “Drawing with a camera,” he called it.

In the next section, “Human Machines,” the note of fear enters fully with the trauma of mechanized carnage in World War I. A case holds pioneering artificial limbs from the 1920s, and in Otto Dix’s Card Players (1920), three disfigured soldiers sit round a table, their torn limbs and missing jaws replaced by fantastical prosthetics. The destructive technology of warfare and the constructive skill of limb-makers have turned Dix’s men into monsters. Have they, perhaps, become machines themselves?…

(2) KGB. Ellen Datlow has posted photos from the November 20 Fantastic Fiction at KGB event where David Mack and Max Gladstone read from their novels, entertaining a full house.

Ellen David Mack and Max Gladstone 2

(3) TOOLBOX 2020. Applications for Taos Toolbox will be taken beginning December 1. The two-week Master Class in Science Fiction and Fantasy will be taught by Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress, with special guest George R.R. Martin and special lecturer E.M. Tippetts. The class runs June 7-20, 2020.

The Terran Award full attending Scholarship is available again this year, sponsored by George R.R. Martin, to bring an aspiring SF writer from a non-English-speaking country to the Taos Toolbox. The award covers all tuition and fees  to the Toolbox (but not meals or travel).  Applicants will need to speak and write in English, but must be from from a country where English is not the primary language.   WJW and the Toolbox staff will select the winner.

(4) SHELF SHRINKAGE. Brenda Clough tells how she downsized in “Curating the Bookshelves” at Book View Café.

Seven years ago, my house had 20 floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and about the same number of half-sized bookcases — about 5000 books, excluding the comics. The house was essentially full of books and comic books. Today I have ten tall bookcases, and a couple short ones. What follows is the road map from here to there — halving the number of books in my life. I have been hearing of many friends having to smallify their space, and maybe this will help!…

(5) ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT. It’s The Joker vs Pennywise in the latest round of Epic Rap Battles Of History.

The Joker and Pennywise clown around in the eighth battle of ERB Season 6! Who won? Who’s next? You decide!

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • November 24, 1958 Devil Girl From Mars premiered in Swedish theaters.  It starred Patricia Laffan and Hazel Court, reviewers called this UK film delightfully bad. It however is considered just bad at Rotten Tomatoes with a 23% rating.
  • November 24, 1985 Ewoks: The Battle for Endor premieredon ABC. Starring Wilford Brimley, Warwick Davis, Aubree Miller, Paul Gleason and Carel Struycken, the critics found it mostly harmless.  It holds a 51% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. 

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 24, 1882 E. R. Eddison. Writer whose most well-known work by far is The Worm Ouroboros. It’s slightly connected to his much lesser known later Zimiamvian Trilogy.  I’m reasonably that sure I’ve read The Worm Ouroboros but way too long ago to remember anything about it. Silverberg in the Millenium Fantasy Masterworks Series edition of this novel said he considered it to be “the greatest high fantasy of them all”. (Died 1945.)
  • Born November 24, 1907 Evangeline Walton. Her best-known work, the Mabinogion tetralogy, was written during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and her Theseus trilogy was produced during the late 1940s. It’s worth stressing Walton is best known for her four novels retelling the Welsh Mabinogi. She published her first volume in 1936 under the publisher’s title of The Virgin and the Swine which is inarguably a terrible title. Although receiving glowing praise from John Cowper Powys, the book sold quite awfully and none of the other novels in the series were published at that time. Granted a second chance by Ballantine’s Adult Fantasy series in 1970, it was reissued with a much better title of The Island of the Mighty. The other three volumes followed quickly. Witch House is an occult horror story set in New England and She Walks in Darkness which came out on Tachyon Press is genre as well. I think that is the extent of her genre work but I’d be delighted to be corrected. She has won a number of Awards including the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, Best Novel along with The Fritz Leiber Fantasy Award,  World Fantasy Award, Convention Award and the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. (Died 1996.)
  • Born November 24, 1916 Forrest J. Ackerman. It’s no wonder that he got a a Hugo forfor  #1 Fan Personality in 1953 and equally telling that when he was handed the trophy at Philcon II (by Asimov), he physically declined saying it should go to Ken Slater to whom the trophy was later given by the con committee. That’s a nice summation of him. You want more? As a literary agent, he represented some two hundred writers, and he served as agent of record for many long-lost authors, thereby allowing their work to be reprinted. Hell. he represented Ed Wood! He was a prolific writer, more than fifty stories to his credit, and he named Vampirella and wrote the origin story for her. Speaking of things pulp which she assuredly is, He appeared in several hundred films which I’ll not list here and even wrote lesbian erotica. Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe him. His non-fiction writings are wonderful as well. I’ll just single out Forrest J Ackerman’s Worlds of Science FictionA Reference Guide to American Science Fiction Films and a work he did with Brad Linaweaver, Worlds of Tomorrow: The Amazing Universe of Science Fiction Art. Did I mention he collected everything? Well he did. Just one location of his collection contained some three hundred thousand books, film, SF material objects and writings. The other was eighteen rooms in extent. Damn if anyone needed their own TARDIS, it was him. In his later years, he was a board member of the Seattle Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame who now have possession of many items of his collection. (Died 2008.)
  • Born November 24, 1948 Spider Robinson, 71. His first story, “The Guy with the Eyes,” was published in Analog (February 1973). It was set in a bar called Callahan’s Place, a setting for much of his later fiction.  His first published novel, Telempath in 1976 was an expansion of his Hugo award-winning novella “By Any Other Name”. The Stardance trilogywas co-written with his wife  Jeanne Robinson. In 2004, he began working on a seven-page 1955 novel outline by the late Heinlein to expand it into a novel. The resulting novel would be called Variable Star. Who’s read it? Oh, he’s certainly won Awards. More than can be comfortably listed here. 
  • Born November 24, 1957 Denise Crosby, 62. Tasha Yar on Next Gen who got a meaningful death in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. In other genre work, she was on The X-Files as a doctor who examined Agent Scully’s baby. And I really like it that she was in two Pink Panther films, Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther, as Denise, Bruno’s Moll. And she’s yet another Trek performer who’s done what I call Trek video fanfic. She’s Dr. Jenna Yar in “Blood and Fire: Part 2”, an episode of the only season of Star Trek: New Voyages.
  • Born November 24, 1957 John Zakour, 62. For sheer pulp pleasure, I wholeheartedly recommend his Zachary Nixon Johnson PI series which he co-wrote with Larry Ganem. Popcorn reading at its very best. It’s the only series of his I’ve read, anyone else read his other books? 
  • Born November 24, 1957 Jeff Noon, 62. Novelist and playwright. Prior to his relocation in 2000 to Brighton, his stories reflected in some way his native though not birth city of Manchester. The Vurt sequence is a very odd riff off Alice in Wonderland that Noon describes as a sequel to those works.
  • Born November 24, 1965 Shirley Henderson, 54. She was Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. She was Ursula Blake in “ Love & Monsters!”, a Tenth Doctor story, and played Susannah in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, a film that’s if because of the metanarrative aspect. 

(8) GAHAN WILSON IN HIS PRIME. Andrew Porter shared three photos of cartoonist Gahan Wilson from the Eighties and Nineties.

  • Color photo of Gahan Wilson in 1992. Photo by & copyright © Andrew Porter.
  • Wilson enjoying his tea in 1989.Photo by & copyright © Andrew Porter
  • Gahan Wilson with Ellen Datlow, center, and agent Merilee Heifetz, 1980s – Photo by & copyright © Andrew Porter.

(9) IDEA TRIPPING. And John Hertz would like to direct you to his favorite cartoon by Gahan Wilson (1930-2019).

If you’re hip to fanziner jokes – maybe I should’ve said hep, many of them started in the 1940s and 1950s – and the Cosmic Joker just now led me to mistype started with a instead of the second – you know we send poctsarcds.  If you don’t, you can look it up here.  Or it’s a good occasion to consult A Wealth of Fable (H. Warner, Jr., rev. 1992; see here).

Once in my fanzine Vanamonde I sleepily let stand the mistyping – or mis-mistyping – “poctsacrd”.  Jack Speer promptly sent a letter of comment “Nothing is sacrd.”

(10) WISHLIST DESTINATIONS. Paul Weimer got a huge response to his tweet – here are two examples.

(11) DOUBLE FEATURE. Abigail Nussbaum starts in the Guardian — “The Rosewater Redemption by Tade Thompson review – stunning conclusion” – and finishes in a post at her blog Asking the Wrong Questions.

Since I have more space (and fewer limitations on things like spoilers) on my own blog, I’d like to elaborate a little on the review, and particularly the sense I got that the Wormwood trilogy changed as it expanded from a standalone to a series.  When I first read Rosewater (and even more so when I reread it last month, in preparation for writing this review) I was struck by how clearly it belonged to the subgenre of “zone” science fiction.  Originating with the Strugatsky brothers’ 1972 novel Roadside Picnic (and the 1979 Tarkovsky film, Stalker, inspired by it), “zone” novels imagine that some segment of normal space has erupted into strangeness, a zone where the normal rules of physics, biology, and causality no longer apply, and whose residents–or anyone who wanders in–are irretrievably altered in some fundamental way.  The zone also represents a disruption to existing power structures, and the plots of zone novels often revolve around characters who have been dispatched by the state to infiltrate the zone in an attempt to control or at least understand it–an effort that is doomed to failure.  Recent examples of zone novels include Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X trilogy and M. John Harrison’s Kefahuchi Tract trilogy (and particularly the middle volume, Nova Swing).  I’ve even seen a persuasive argument that the HBO miniseries Chernobyl can be read as zone science fiction, because of its unreal, heightened depiction of the region around the exploded reactor, and because the effects that the unseen radiation it spews have on people, animals, and plant life in the surrounding areas track so closely with the subgenre’s central trope of cellular-level change.

(12) CRYSTAL CLEAR. Nussbaum also dives deep beneath the ice in “Make the Next Wrong Choice – Some Spoilery Frozen II Thoughts” on Tumblr.

I saw Frozen II last night.  It’s an OK movie – I didn’t love the first one very much, but I do appreciate the attempt to expand the story into a broader fantasy epic (even if it seems to borrow shamelessly from Avatar: The Last Airbender with barely even a fraction of that show’s skill at constructing plot and themes).  But I’ve been thinking about the film’s handling of the theme of ancestral wrongs and making reparations for them, and the more I do the angrier I get, so here are some spoilery observations.

(13) NO THANKS. I was wrong – better for CNN to run more impeachment coverage than this news: “Pringles unveils turducken-flavored chips for an even crispier Thanksgiving feast”.

Pringles has unveiled a seasonal food-flavored chip feast, and it’s poised to replace the whole Thanksgiving spread.

Two words: Turducken. Pringles.

No, no, it isn’t a chicken chip stuffed inside of a duck chip crammed inside of a turkey chip. There are three individual flavors, so it’s up to the snacker to determine the order.

(14) ORIGIN STORY. “Copy of First Marvel Comic Ever Made Sells for a Record $1.26M: ‘This Is the Granddaddy'”Yahoo! Entertainment has the story.

An extremely rare and nearly perfect copy of the first comic book to feature the now-iconic “Marvel Comics” name was sold for a record amount at a Texas auction on Thursday.

The issue, Marvel Comics No. 1 — published in October 1939 by Timely Comics, which would later become Marvel in the 1960s — sold for $1.26 million, the highest price ever at public auction for a comic made by the company, according to a Heritage Auctions press release.

The comic was given a 9.4 rating out of 10 by Certified Guaranty Company, and is the highest-rated copy of the issue in existence.

(15) THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY. BBC reports “Bacterial allies make dengue fever cases dive”.

Recruiting a bacterial ally that infects mosquitoes has led to huge reductions in cases of dengue fever, trials around the world show.

Wolbachia bacteria make it harder for the insects to spread the virus, rather than kill them off.

Researchers say the findings are a “big deal” with cases falling by more than 70% in field trials.

New ways of controlling dengue are urgently needed as cases have exploded worldwide in the past 50 years.

See also NPR’s “Infecting Mosquitoes With Bacteria Could Have A Big Payoff”.

(16) RAINBOW CONNECTION. “Cinema Classics: The Wizard of Oz” on Saturday Night Live provides an alternate ending to the 1938 film.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, N., Mike Kennedy, Ellen Datlow, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]