This Just In: I Enjoyed Loscon

Sometimes it takes reading a good conreport to convince a fan that he had a terrific time at the con after all. Chris Garcia’s Loscon report in SF/SF 78 has done that for me. Thank goodness I held my opinion til Chris worked his magic on this experience of ours:

I walked over to my second panel of the day, What Makes a Good Fanzine, and there were two total audience members: Robert Kennedy and another fellow whose name I forget. It was very much like the Fanzine panel we’d had earlier, and we had the exact same panel again: me, Hertz, Glyer and Milt. It’s something that got to me again. I’ve been to well-attended Fanzine panels, but none of the ones at LocCon got much attention. It happens.

The participants enjoyed themselves, which justifies running the program item, right? Just like that Roman chef who toned down the bill of fare one night when there were no guests and was criticized, “Don’t you realize? Tonight, Lucullus dines alone!”

LosCon fanzine panels always draw an audience of two. When they used to be scheduled on Sunday morning at 10 a.m., Marty Cantor and I would blame the timeslot, when everyone was still asleep after a night of partying. The explanation when the panel is placed in prime time on Saturday afternoon, as it was this year, is well, ah… I’ll have to get back to you about that.

The SF/SF staff has loaded the rest of issue 78 with equally compelling reading, not the least of it this note about SMOFcon:

Kevin [Standlee] reviewed SMOFcon in Columbus, Ohio as having about 100 attendees and a lack of new programming and that next year’s SMOFcon will be in Austin, TX.

The Perspicacious Post

Michael Walsh’s Old Earth Books has received another hat tip from the Washington Post’s Michael Dirda for its Howard Waldrop collection:

Old Earth Books (Baltimore). Other Worlds, Better Lives: A Howard Waldrop Reader, Selected Long Fiction, 1989-2003 is a companion to Waldrop’s selected short stories, Things Will Never Be the Same, a volume justly praised by a certain Washington Post reviewer of admirable perspicacity (me). Waldrop parodies and pastiches popular culture and literary tradition with seriously manic brilliance. See, in this volume, his novella-length retelling of the labors of Hercules in 1920s Mississippi, “A Dozen Tough Jobs.”

Business is Booming

For fans of things blowing up, here’s CNN video of the demolition of the RCA Dome, where pro football’s Indianapolis Colts once played. This caught my eye because I didn’t realize there even this much of RCA left to blow up.

The stadium was named for the defunct corporation that once owned NBC, where my father spent his entire career as a technician. From him, I heard that RCA’s General David Sarnoff dreamed flat-screen tv would someday be practical, and keep that big piece of furniture from taking up so much space in people’s living rooms.

Yet now that we have flatscreen, those living rooms are completely taken over by “home theaters.” Bradbury, better than Sarnoff, recognized the perverse degree to which people want tv to invade their homes, in stories like “The Veldt”

Incidentally, the RCA Dome was finished in 1984. RCA was finished in 1986.

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (1932-2008)

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry died December 18 of leukemia, according to the family.

She was part of Star Trek from the beginning, as Number One in “The Cage” and Nurse Chapel in the original series, then later as the Betazoid Ambassador Lwaxana Troi on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

Majel Barrett married Gene Roddenberry in 1969. After he died in 1991, she brought two more of his series ideas to television under her guidance as Executive Producer, Earth: Final Conflict, and Andromeda

She also provided the regular voice of starship onboard computers for four Star Trek tv series and most of the Star Trek movies, and according to Variety, the upcoming film by J.J. Abrams.

Her son, Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, Jr., said online:

My mother truly acknowledged and appreciated the fact that Star Trek fans played a vital role in keeping the Roddenberry dream alive for the past 42 years. It was her love for the fans, and their love in return, that kept her going for so long after my father passed away.


New File 770 Issue
Posted at eFanzines

Cover of File 770 #154Now find File 770 #154 at

A cover collaboration by Brianna Spacekat Wu with Frank Wu adorns the issue. The news inside is complemented by Taral’s article about La Dolce Vita of being a fanartist. My Denvention 3 report is matched with Chris Garcia’s autobiographical explanation about “How to Present a Hugo.” John Hertz’ Westercon Notebook covering the con in Las Vegas, is followed with con reports by Martin Morse Wooster, James Bacon and Francis Hamit, and the collected Adventures in Speerology from Patricia Rogers.

Snapshots 12

Here are three developments of interest to fans.

(1) The look on Ed Green’s face is priceless in the new Livescribe ad — click on “At Work.”

While the director didn’t ask for a “You just won a Worldcon look”, it seems to be the one I managed (and credit to Grant Kruger for thinking of that line).

(2) Ursula LeGuin, who vocally disapproved of two other media adaptations of her books, has not been deterred from selling rights to The Left Hand of Darkness to another filmmaker.

(3) Maddie Blaustein, a voice actress for hit shows such as Pokémon, has passed away.

[Includes links from Andrew Porter and David Klaus.]

Comic Fans Support Faber Family

The comics community is known for its generosity, and this holiday season is pouring out support for one of their own. A Publishers Weekly blog reports:

Inker Andy Owens has donated a page from Buffy #11 to held raise funds for the Faber family. ‘Rich [Faber] is a well-known comic book inker and co-creator of the indy superhero series Buzzboy. His wife Traci is battling Stage 4 metastic melanoma’ and they need all the help they can get to ‘pay for costly cancer treatments for Traci.’ All proceeds from the auction will go to the family.

David Klaus checked the eBay auctions and says they offer “not just Buffy art, but also art by Paco Diaz (the Flash), George Tuska (Iron Man), Andy Kuhn (the Joker), Tim Bradstreet (the Punisher), Ethan van Sciver (Batman), and Paolo Rivera (Wolverine).”

And as Drew Geraci points out:

If you get outbid on your favorite items, you can always purchase art from Rich Faber himself at: – Homepage of Rich Faber, Illustrator; – Online Illustration Journal; – Homepage of Roboy Red, Thermonuclear-Powered Boy Robot Fun!

Capclave 2009

Capclave logoCapclave – where reading is not extinct! – will run next year the weekend of October 16-18. The con, sponsored by the Washington Science Fiction Association, has selected Harry Turtledove as Author Guest of Honor and Sheila Williams as Editor Guest of Honor.

Capclave 2009 will take place at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville, Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

Membership rates are: $35 through 31 December 2008; $45 from 1 January to 30 June 2009; $55 from 1 July to 30 September 2009; $60 from 1 October to 11 October 2009.

Wanna Buy a Used Shuttle?

“Does LASFS want to buy a shuttle orbiter?” asks David Klaus. “Of course, it won’t quite fit into Freehafer Hall.”

NASA plans to retire three space shuttles in 2010. One is heading to the Smithsonian. The others are up for grabs, though don’t miss the fine print:

Beware: NASA estimates it will cost about $42 million to get each shuttle ready and get it where it needs to go, and the final tab could end up much more. The estimate includes $6 million to ferry the spaceship atop a modified jumbo jet to the closest major airport.

Keeping the Sue in Superhero

Litigation may delay the release of the Watchmen movie:

The theory at the time was that Fox originally owned the rights, some stuff got muddled, and Fox, instead of mentioning the situation to Warner Bros. when the studio started casting, decided to bide their time in the hopes that the production would just pay them a lot of money to go away once they had an actual movie shot and ready to go.