Nice Distinctions #17

Arthur Hlavaty carries on Nice Distinctions #17 in the witty, intelligent tone that you go to fannish parties hoping to find. But parties are hit-and-miss affairs, while Hlavaty never disappoints.

Hlavaty is a skilled practitioner of “idea-tripping,” Tom Digby’s term for applying rigorous Campbellian logic to twist an idea in a fannishly amusing direction. Short examples are often the best, like this one in issue #17:

That would be a weird job: texting copy-editor. “Spell out ‘you’ again and u r fired.”

Always interesting are Hlavaty’s verbal snapshots of the annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. He communicates contagious enjoyment of everything from scholarly insights to new juxtapositions of quirky ideas. He even shares my fascination with Philip K. Dick’s posthumous literary ascent. (Though he’s unlikely to share my feeling that this is the mundane world’s revenge on sf writers who took an optimistic view of the future.)

Hlavaty also makes many brief comments or entertaining connections from the political news of the day. I haven’t found it necessary to dwell in Hlavaty’s end of the political spectrum to enjoy his mind-stretching wordplay: I expect those who do will find it all the more delicious.

To read Nice Distinctions #17, click on the link and open the PDF file on

2 thoughts on “Nice Distinctions #17

  1. I’ve been reading Arthur’s stuph for about 30 years now, and have always found his wordwhipping to be as much of a Must Read as one is likely to encounter in fandom. That’s not a backhanded compliment, as we have more than our fair share of good fanwriters.

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