Lloyd Penney Lends a Hand

By John Hertz:  Trying to catch up with your fanzine reading, for Hugo Awards nomination or otherwise?

Lloyd Penney, who sees lots of fanzines and sends letters of comment widely, made a chart of fanzines he saw and locced (as we sometimes say) in 2018, and sent it to the 2019 administrator of the Fannish Activity Achievement (FAAn) Awards.  You can see it at p. 3 of this year’s Instructions, which you can find here (PDF).  Many fanzines he notes are available electronically.  The FAAn Awards are managed (if that word may be used) by the annual fanziners’ convention Corflu; the Instructions have various reference-jokes and like that.

By Ray Nelson

Worldcon Wayback Machine: Friday at MagiCon (1992) Day Two

INTRODUCTION: Twenty-five years ago today MagiCon began in Orlando, Florida. A great con, and I thought it would be fun to reprint the report I ran in File 770. Here is the second of five daily installments.

The Worldcon was held in the Orange County Convention and Civic Center, The Peabody Hotel, and The Clarion Hotel.

PROGRAMMING: Interview With Vincent Di Fate: Questioned about his career by Joe Siclari and Roger Reed, of Illustration House (a coordinator of the Di Fate retrospective displayed in the Art Show), MagiCon guest of honor Vincent Di Fate continued to dazzle listeners with his historical knowledge, critical perception and capacity for explaining technical art matter to everyday fans in understandable terms.

“It was not my intention to go into art,” insisted Di Fate. “It seemed like every artist I ever talked to was angry about something and I didn’t want to spend my life in the visual arts.”

Attracted by the set design of Rocket Ship X-M, the Disney style and the astronomical art of Chesley Bonestell, Di Fate brought to him profession a great deal of intuitive knowledge about the look of spacecraft and equipment.

Part of MagiCon’s bookmark set, with artwork by Vincent DiFate

Di Fate answered his interviewers so candidly that their open-ended questions about doing art drew responses too sophisticated for listeners to fully comprehend without the translations he supplied. For example: A generic question about his reputation as a hardware artist launched Di Fate on a cryptic commentary: “I have found no market for the exploration of the viscous properties of paint.” Said Di Fate, art directors want the images more sharp and hard-edged, adding dismissively, “but that’s what photographs are for.” He has faith the current standard will ultimately be abandoned. “The artist needs to provide an alternative. There needs to be some room left for viewer participation, imagining what those shapes mean.”

Answering another question, Di Fate observed that artists absorb a sense of how spaceships capable of flying in atmosphere must look from the way Cadillacs are shaped and the design of thousands of other familiar artifacts. Yet if the spaceship never needs to fly in atmosphere it can look like anything. One John Schoenherr black-and-white spaceship in Analog was based on a washing machine agitator; the artist created false details simply by varying his brushstrokes.

Like the stereotyped artist, DiFate has never done a painting that satisfies him. “When paintings leave the studio I utterly loathe and despise them, and loath and despise myself.”

John Young

Keynote Luncheon: The guests of honor and astronaut John Young were presented at a Friday luncheon. Young’s speech, which was repeatedly interrupted by applause, was all the more remarkable given some of the obstacles he overcame. According to Becky Thomson, Delta canceled Young’s Thursday night flight. Mere hours before his talk he reached Orlando as co-pilot of a military plane. Since NASA had not relayed Magicon’s correspondence to Young he didn’t even know he was appearing at a science fiction convention before talking to Thomson. On the ride from the airport Young pored over the Program Book and pocket program — often uttering things like, “Oh, I’ve read that!” Thomson concluded, “By the time he was done he knew more about last year’s Hugo nominees than I do!”

An inspired track of programming recreated panels from the first Worldcon in 1939 — and even fielded one of the original panelists, Sam Moskowitz. Hal Clement gave a contemporary version of “Seeing the Universe”, Vincent DiFate paid tribute to Frank R. Paul’s 1939 talk “SF: The Spirit of Youth,” and after 53 years such panels as “The Changing SF” (this time with Gardner Dozois and Beth Meacham) and “The Fan World of the Future” have become traditional fare.

Rudy Sigmund and Sam Moskowitz at an ERBdom event in 1990.

Sam Moskowitz delivered two talks at the 1939 con, one of them “The Fan World of the Future.” In concept, he was to deliver his original talk again, followed by a discussion between himself, Bruce Pelz, Wilma Meier and myself. By the time SaM got to the con he still hadn’t found his original text: perhaps it had even been extemporaneous. So he began with his own look back at the way fans lived 50 years ago, a series of recollections that enthralled everyone.

In 1939 many fans still didn’t have phones — including the four who organized the first Worldcon. But in those days if Moskowitz mailed a Special Delivery letter by 6 p.m., the other party would get it by 11 if he wasn’t more than 50 miles away, at a cost of 3 cents. Progress isn’t always progress.

Moskowitz’ own Fantasy Times in 1940 was the first offset fanzine. Early fanzines were often reproduced by hektograph: a process in which a typewriter’s impressions on a purple master were transferred to a bed of hekto jelly, and a careful fan could make about 60 readable copies by pressing down one sheet at a time.

Most early fans didn’t own automobiles or travel by plane, but a legendary trek to the 1941 Denvention involved both forms of transportation. Art Widner owned a 20-year-old car that broke down every 15 miles. He and six friends from Boston and New York contributed $10 each for the round trip to Denver. Moskowitz winked, “Needless to say, there was a bit of thievery along the way.” One of the riders, John Bell, became so disgusted with Denvention he made the first recorded fan plane trip — home.

Returning to the topic Moskowitz said they planned to hold a 1939 World’s Fair Convention. The fair had agreed to give them meeting space, and declare it jointly “Science Fiction/Boy Scout Day.” But the fair expected fans to pay admission: three days at 75 cents, $2.25, was out of the question so “fair” was dropped from the name of the event.

They also shortened it to a one-day con because none of the fans could afford a hotel room. Except Jack Williamson put himself up for $1 a night at Sloane House — sort of like a YMHA — an expense befitting his status as a successful author!

During the first Worldcon, fans took the opportunity to visit Coney Island where this foto-op took place: Front: Mark Reinsberg, Jack Agnew, Ross Rocklynne Top: V. Kidwell, Robert A. Madle, Erle Korshak, Ray Bradbury Coney Island, July 4, 1939)

A Talk With Walt Willis: Ted White conducted an interview with fan guest of honor, Walt Willis. It took a moment to pick up Walt’s lilting Irish accent in the room’s bad acoustics — but once anyone did he was likely to keep it! (Later in the weekend Art Widner explained the odd diction of his First Fandom award acceptance speech as the product of listening to James White for hours.)

The health and age of guests Vance and Willis contributed to each man’s decision to be interviewed rather than give a GoH speech. This was certainly a successful choice for Willis who sat surrounded by an audience of fanzine readers who were encyclopedically familiar with his work and offered questions more to express their appreciation than to learn anything new. For example, Moshe Feder recalled, “I embarrassed Walt at Tropicon by saying it was like meeting somebody out of the Bible.” Then Feder asked who Walt admired in fandom. Willis answered that he admired Charles Burbee for his versatility, and Bob Tucker for his faanfiction.

Ted White interviews Walt Willis. Photo by Carol Porter

THE JACK VANCE FESTIVAL OF ALL WORLDS: Answering a call for jugglers, mimes and “balloon zoologists”, fans instigated an indoor street fair Friday night in honor of GoH Jack Vance.

Martin Morse Wooster walked about in an orange and red balloon headdress looking like he’d survived a bungee jump into a vat of giant Life Savers. He called it his idea generator. “I go out and stand in the crowd and ideas come to me.” I agreed, “People passing by will shout them out at you!”

ALTERNATE AWARDS CEREMONY. Guy Gavriel Kay emceed a Friday event set aside for groups who wanted their award announced at a Worldcon. He said, “All these awards show the diversity and scope represented in the field of science fiction.”

Jerry Pournelle at MagiCon. Photo by Lenny Provenzano

The non-Hugo awards ceremony suffered a notorious glitch because Brad Lineaweaver sent Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle to the wrong building.  Together with Michael Flynn, they were to receive the Libertarian Futurist Society’s prize for Best Libertarian Novel of 1991: Fallen Angels. Making the mistake memorable for photographers, Niven and Pournelle later posed driving the award plaque through Lineaweaver’s skull at a 45-degree angle…

  • Electric SF Award (from ClariNet Communications): Geoffrey Landis, “A Walk in the Sun”
  • Prometheus Hall of Fame Award (from the Libertarian Futurist Society): Ira Levin, This Perfect Day
  • Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel (from the Libertarian Futurist Society): Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn for Fallen Angels
  • Golden Duck Award for Best Children’s SF Book (from DucKon): Bruce Colville’s My Teacher Glows in the Dark
  • Golden Duck Award for Best Children’s SF Picture Book (from DucKon): Claire Ewart (illustrator), Time Train
  • Golden Duck Honorable Mention (from DucKon): Monica Hughes, Invitation to the Game
  • Seiun for Best Foreign Novel in Translation: Charles Sheffield, The McAndrew Chronicles
  • Seiun for Best Foreign Short Story or Novelette in Translation: John Varley, “Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo”

Peabody Hotel. Photo by Carol Porter

PARTIES: The Peabody had been designated the ‘party hotel’ so that hosts would reserve their rooms in a central location. Lloyd and Yvonne Penney brought their 14-year-old niece Nicole with them to the con who discovered the heavy-metal group Metallica was staying on their floor at the Peabody when she met them in the lobby.

Over the weekend the Peabody boasted 10 to 20 open parties each night, plus the invitational receptions held by publishers. Crowds were rationed into the elevator cars a dozen at a time by monitors doing the second-most-thankless worldcon job (emcee of the meet-the-pros being first, of course…)

Counters at the “Slightly Higher In Canada” party said over 1000 fans came through in just one night. That made them better off than the Atlanta in ’95 bid party: I think when the thousand fans got there, they just stayed. Pressing through a solid wall of flesh to enter the party made me so claustrophobic I promptly shoved my way out again. According to Kurt Baty, Atlanta bidders kept a quiet VIP room in the rear of the suite and steered guests like Kelly Freas and Dave Kyle there to comfortable seats and the hospitality of a well-stocked bar.

New Orleans’ favorite son, Joey Grillot, visited the LA in ’96 party. Joey laughed about confusing the hell out of somebody at a party he’d just left when he told him, “I’m going to LA.” The other fan said, “But LA’s in California!” Joey said, “No, it’s up on the ninth floor.” His slower companion asked, “How’d they get it up there?” Joey smiled, “They got everybody out, then folded it up REAL SMALL.”

At another point Joey remembered John Guidry’s announcement to New Orleans fans they had won the 1988 bid. Guidry told them the rules required the committee to do certain things, like present the Hugos. “What’s that?” Joey asked, wondering if he’d heard right. Said Guidry, “That’s the science fiction award we give every year.” Joey was amazed. “John, how’re you gonna get 26 of those Hungarian automobiles in the grand ballroom of the Sheraton?”

CONTINUES: Worldcon Wayback Machine: Saturday at MagiCon (1992) Day Three

Lloyd Penney and the Regents

By John Hertz: Letters of Comment, it’s been said, are the lifeblood of fanzines; not only for any boost they give to the recipient’s self-esteem, but even more because fanzines are communication and at best communication goes both ways: fandom is participatory. We write “LoC” and “loc” which we pronounce without preference ell-oh-see or to rhyme with flock. Comedy, when successful, may cause LOL (short for LOLFFSC i.e. Laughing Out Loud, Falling on the Floor and Startling the Cat).

The other day while being shown the Great and Terrible Internet (“who are you, and why do you seek me?”) I came across a remark by Lloyd Penney, who said – quite rightly – we must loc, loc, loc the zines. Even Claire Brialey has urged this. Maybe it should be sung.

Loc loc loc, loc loc the zines.

Baritone joins
Loc loc loc, loc loc the zines.

Tenor over them
Oh, loc the zines.
Go make their scenes.
Oh, loc the zines.

Get out there loc’ing and a-lol’ing,
Flocking and a-feeling,
Loc the zines.

Try Doctor Who,
Try manga too,
Try Mary Sue,
But you know they’ll never do.
So loc the zines.

The title seemed better – the word appealed to me somehow – than troubling Hawthorne, California, by suggesting Penney, who practices what he preaches, was a son of the beach.

First Canadian “Faned Awards” Given

R. Graeme Cameron announced his selections for the first Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards on October 2 at VCON 36:

  • Best Fan Artist: Taral Wayne.
  • Best Fan Writer: Garth Spencer.
  • Best Loc Hack: Lloyd Penney.
  • Best Fanzine: WARP, Cathy Palmer-Lister, Editor.
  • Life-Time Achievement: “The Unknown Faned” who published Canada’s first SF fanzine in early 1936 under the title The Canadian Science Fiction Fan. (Unknown because in his 1936 review of the zine Donald Wollheim neglected to mention the editor’s name!)

All winners will receive “The Faned” figure sculpted by Lawrence Prime, and a certificate designed by Taral Wayne.

Cameron knows his new award needs lots of publicity if it’s going to have a bright future:

These first awards are entirely by fiat, being my personal decision based on what I consider to be the most obvious choices, the CFF Awards being entirely a one-man show at this point.

I’m hoping this is so outrageously abnormal compared to the usual peer-determined, incestuous, in-fought, excessively emotionally violent fan activity (of any sort) we are all used to that vast amounts of publicity will be generated by fan reaction to the awards (and this sentence).

Got to seep into widespread fannish consciousness somehow!

Next year I will be taking peer input into account. After that? Maybe an actual vote (rigged or otherwise).

Since I currently publish five fanzines (and am about to launch a sixth) I withdrew my name from my own consideration to create an illusion of impartiality. My first impulse, to award myself all five Faneds, took at least an hour to argue myself out of… for this year anyway. I make no promises.

(And if the above paragraph doesn’t generate yet more publicity I’ll be greatly surprised. I’m discovering that ‘doing’ publicity can be fun!)

2010 JWC Memorial Award Finalists

Toronto-area fan Lloyd Penney sent me a link to Quill & Quire’s post about the John W. Campbell Memorial Award nominees that focuses on the four Canadian finalists — Margaret Atwood for The Year of the Flood (McClelland & Stewart), Cory Doctorow for Makers (Tor Books), Robert J. Sawyer for Wake (Viking Canada), and Robert Charles Wilson for Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America (Tor).

Scrolling down to the comments I found coast-to-coast complaints about Margaret Atwood’s presence on the list from people offended by denials that she writes sf, one quoting her 2009 line that “a book is only sf if it is set ‘somewhere in space, far, far away in a distant galaxy’”.

My own reaction went in a different direction: Does a Campbell memorial award signify anything today? How many of the nominated works would Campbell have wanted for Analog? And no doubt the feeling would have been mutual — How many of the writers would have offered their fiction to that renowned gatekeeper of the Golden Age?

The other authors on the shortlist are: Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl (Night Shade Books), Iain M. Banks, Transition (Orbit), Nancy Kress, Steal Across the Sky (Tor), Paul McAuley, Gardens of the Sun (Gollancz), China Mieville, The City & the City (Del Rey), Adam Roberts, Yellow Blue Tibia (Gollancz), Kim Stanley Robinson, Galileo’s Dream (Spectra), Bruce Sterling, The Caryatids (Del Rey).

The award will be presented during the Campbell Conference awards banquet at the University of Kansas on Friday, July 16.

For Fanzine Fans at Anticipation

Lloyd Penney has an update about the fanzine lounge at Anticipation. It is not in a dedicated room, but “is one part of a larger lounge area the convention is calling the Relax Area.” That’s close to the Art Show. It’s also supposed to be near a concession stand, a necessity because “any budget the fanzine lounge had went to its furnishings.” The area has free WiFi, though Lloyd still needs to determine if webcasting from the lounge is possible. He’d like to have a Ustream event, but no promises.

The hours for the lounge are:
Thursday          11am – 6pm
Fri, Sat, Sun     10am – 6pm
Monday            10am – 4pm

The deadline for submitting zines to the Worldcon apa, WOOF, will be Saturday (August 8) at 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, Cathy Palmer-Lister has scoped out the restaurant where fanzine editors will meet for lunch during Anticipation, on Saturday at 12:30. They’ll dine at the Fourquet Fourchette

a restaurant in the convention centre which serves really interesting food, such as bison, caribou, etc, at very reasonable prices. Unibroue is the beer, and I highly recommend it!

The lunch directly follows the faneds panel. Cathy adds, “The restaurant is usually closed at this hour on Saturday but opened for us, so we really need people to show up!”

Update 08/01/2009:: Note that the date and time of the lunch have been changed since this post — see Faneds Lunch Reset.

WOOF Returns

Lloyd Penney says his last message to fanzine fans got a rave response, “and there will be fanzines in the lounge, no matter what the lounge looks like.”

As if that challenge wasn’t enough, Lloyd has picked up another gauntlet:

Now, John Hertz has persuaded me that WOOF, the Worldcon Order Of Faneditors apa, moribund for several years now, should be relaunched. If anyone is interested in contributing to the 2009 WOOF, please bring 50 copies of your apazine to the Lounge, and we will set a time for collation, and post it in the lounge area.

If you know people who have contributed to WOOF in the past, or have done so for many years, please send this message to them, or give me their e-mail address, and I will relay the information to them.

Any other comments? Any words about things I should know or remember about WOOF? Any history of WOOF I need to follow? Please let me know asap. Thank you!

WOOF was created by Bruce Pelz for the 1976 Worldcon. Google returns plenty of references to it in archived Worldcon publications – perhaps one of them will be helpful?

To contact Lloyd by e-mail, use this address: <penneys [at] allstream.net>

Calling All Faneds

Lloyd Penney need to stock his Worldcon fanzine lounge with fanzines. He’s just sent out a plea for fans to tell him what they intend to bring to Anticipation, and whether the zines will be for sale, for placement in the reading library on site, or for giveaway.

The fanzine lounge at Anticipation will be about 500 sq. ft. in size, located on the second floor of the Palais des congrès in Montreal.

You can help even if you are not personally attending the con – mail your zines to the following address and, Lloyd promises, “…we will get them out on tables for people to peruse. If you have anything else, like flyers for fanzines, or disks, or APAs, or anything else fanzinish, bring/send those along, too.”

c/o Rene Walling or Marc Durocher
Unit 6092
344 Nazareth
Montreal, QC CANADA
H3C 2L3

He’s also in need of people to sign up for shifts in the fanzine lounge. The address to contact Lloyd by e-mail is: <penneys [at] allstream.net>

Clarke Condolence Book Delivered

After the sudden death of Sir Arthur C. Clarke last spring, Yvonne Penney created a book of condolences to be sent to the Clarke family and circulated it at conventions for fans to sign. The Penneys brought it to Ad Astra and at Corflu Silver, then Apogee Books publisher Rob Godwin took it to several space conferences.

Fred Clarke now has the book. Godwin spoke with him by phone and reported back to Yvonne: “He got the book and was genuinely thrilled to receive it. I wrote a blurb in the front explaining that it was started by you. Anyway, he just told me that the local town council have finally agreed to give him a building to put in an Arthur C. Clarke museum and the book will be going on display under glass with all the pages blown up and displayed behind it. Just thought you’d like to know that it was a really nice thing you did and it was genuinely appreciated. Last person to sign it was Buzz [Aldrin]…”

Yvonne’s reaction was, “I’m so touched by this… really…I was not expecting this.”

Thanks to Lloyd Penney for sharing the story.

Minehead & West Somerset HospitalI searched for more information about the Clarke museum. It may be part of the plan for the West Somerset Hospital in Minehead, the town where Arthur C. Clarke was born:

A shared vision for the future of the West Somerset Hospital in Minehead has united community and public sector organisations across West Somerset with a single aim to try to keep the historic listed building for the community…

Julian Luttrell, Chairman of the group, explained, “The hospital was built as a town hall in 1889, before it was converted into the Luttrell Memorial Hospital and, latterly, the West Somerset Hospital

The aim of the feasibility study is to establish the ways in which the hospital can be developed to play a significant part in social and cultural life locally. The study will look at the possibilities of incorporating a library, exhibition and museum space, and community arts space, study rooms and offices. It will also explore whether the works and theories of Minehead-born author, Arthur C Clarke, can be celebrated, and there will be scope to look at commercial and residential aspects of any proposals.

And I believe the image above is a picture of the hospital.

Bastards of Kirk

Lloyd Penney’s acting talent is in demand. The perennial FAAn Awards contender for Best Letterhack has already performed for a CD of SF radio dramas titled Sectarian Wave. Now he’s about to appear in a film – or at least his voice will.

Maninder Chana at Red Fort Films, who worked with Lloyd on the Sectarian Wave project asked him to work on their newest project, a fan film called Bastards of Kirk, looking into how a certain starship captain might have left little ones throughout the galaxy.

The project’s website teases: “In the 23rd century, 60 Minutes searches out the whereabouts of one James T. Kirk, who has disappeared following a row of paternity lawsuits. As the news magazine investigates, they uncover a conspiracy by the Federation that could have universal consequences and create all-out war among the planets. And Kirk is at the centre of it all.”

Lloyd was invited to an audition and asked to put on his best Scottish accent. And he got the part. He writes: “Taping should start in just a couple of weeks, and while I will not be seen in the film, I will be heard. (Possibly my profile, with perhaps a moustache and a red shirt.)”