This Year in File 770

Mike Glyer experiencing “Sheer Terror” - photo by Alan White

This was my first year of blogging, and the hundreds of posts added since January represent a certain amount of work, occasional sheer terror, and a great deal of fun. I decided to make a list of the 10 blog posts I most enjoyed writing in 2008.

The ones I picked seem easily cataloged into two types. The first group are intentionally humorous or just plain silly:

Why Spock Can’t Grok

A Humble Dissent

That’s great! The solution has finally been revealed. Get rid of the corrupt dimbulbs who have been voting for Hugo Awards all these years. Yes, turn the rascals out! I hereby fire myself as a voter. Finally the Hugos will work as Tucker and nature intended. High quality replacement voters will be imaginative enough to select the best professional artist each year, who will nevertheless always be a different person than has ever won it before! Cue Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” — we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden!

Roddenberry’s Son on His Way to Vulcan

Spock Days/Galaxy Fest gives people a more compelling reason to visit this small town than when its fame depended on being “the point in the British Empire from which the largest number of bushels of grain is shipped direct from farm to rolling stock. Which wasn’t much to work with, especially since none of it was quadrotriticale.

When the Cover is Worth More than the Book

Alan Frisbie showed off a Houston phone book at a LASFS meeting in the original clubhouse (so, sometime after October 1973), allowing us to enjoy finding the hilarious details hidden within an elaborate pen-and-ink drawing of the Port of Houston shipping channel and surrounding city. A closer inspection revealed bits of business worthy of Mad Magazine, like a tiny Viking ship rowing downriver, and a 19th century steam engine under attack by Indians on horseback.

(A great moment when I had a whim to find something I’d only seen once in my life 35 years earlier, and Google pulled the needle out of the haystack.)

The others all explore an aspect of fanhistory, some addressing mysteries that required imagination and research to solve:

How Tall is the Hugo?

A lot of fans thought it was perfectly fine for a Japanese Worldcon to honor an icon from its country’s sf tradition. But for or against, all fans seemed to take for granted that the figure of Ultraman was exaggerated. No one ever asked whether Ultraman and the rocket might, in fact, be in proper proportion to one another, or how to find that answer.

First Fannish Enough

They say you can never be thin enough or rich enough, although I’ve never noticed these being particular concerns of anybody in science fiction fandom. We reserve our anxiety for another subject altogether — any attempt to actually define science fiction fandom. If anyone hints that our fanac might be on the wrong side of the line, our petulance knows no bounds

A Salute to Tim Kirk

The Unpredictable Best Novel Hugo

How valuable are SFWA’s Nebula Award and the Locus Awards for predicting the Hugo-winning Best Novel?

They aren’t worth a darn, as it turns out.

A Footnote to Fanhistory

Before Mapquest, fans depended on Kevin Standlee’s feet.

Make That Only 3 SF Clubs Owning Clubhouses

Many fans heard in 1997 about the South Florida Science Fiction Society (SFSFS) joining the ranks of sf clubs with their own clubhouse. Fewer heard that in 2001, due to a lack of funds, SFSFS moved out of its clubhouse and resumed a nomadic existence. Despite the Fanac.org site having posted that information, it doesn’t register because the main page on the history of the original 1997 clubhouse leaves readers with the impression that there is a clubhouse to this day.

Who Owns the Moon?

Unfortunately, the governments of the world bigfooted all over the Little Men’s claim in January 1967 when they signed the Outer Space Treaty declaring that the Moon belongs to all mankind.

Science fiction fandom did not take this lying down. At a December 1970 meeting of the New England Science Fiction Association, “[Tony Lewis] showed the moon map… As a result of this increase in cultural knowledge it was [moved, seconded and passed] that the Moon be designated NESFA’s Moon and that the Aerospace Cadets protect it.”