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The Reluctant Famulus The Reluctant Famulus 76 The Reluctant Famulus # 76 July/August 2010 Thomas D. Sadler, Editor/Publisher, etc. 305 Gill Branch Road, Owenton, KY 40359 Phone: 502-484-3720 E-mail email@example.com This issue is dedicated to Terry Jeeves for his many years in fandom and his own fanzine, ERG Contents Introduction, Editor 1 Old Kit Bag, Robert Sabella 6 Rat Stew, Gene Stewart 9 Odd News Bits 10 (bottom, col. 1 & col. 2) Kentuckiana 11 I'm NOT Paranoid, Sheryl Birkhead 16 More News Bits 20 (Column 2) A reprint, Editor 21 LoCs 29 A Mystery Solved, Editor 49 Artwork T. D. Sadler Front and back covers, 49 Brad Foster 29, 32, 35, 38, 41 Kurt Erichsen 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27 Alexis Gilliland 8, 31, 34, 37, 40 A. B. Kynock 30, 33, 36, 44 Dave Rowe 39 (included with his loc) The Reluctant Famulus is a product of Strange Dwarf Publications. Many of the comments expressed herein are solely those of the Editor/Publisher and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of any sane, rational persons who know what they are doing and have carefully thought out beforehand what they wanted to say. Material not writ- ten or produced by the Editor/Publisher is printed by permission of the various writers and artists and is copy- right by them and remains their sole property. Permission is granted to any persons who wish to reprint material presented herein, provided proper and due credit is given both to the author/artist who produced the material and to the original publication in which it appeared. TRF maybe obtained for The Usual but especially in return for written material and artwork (Pretty please!) postage costs, The Meaning of Life, , and Editorial Whim. The Reluctant Famulus The science news which catches my eye, just when and how did it happen? The colli- while not always weird or bizarre, continues sion took place in less than 24 hours and the to be interesting, enlightening, and some- temperature of the Earth was so high (7000º times almost contradictory but still informa- C), that both rock and metal must have melt- tive and seems to advance our knowledge of ed in the turbulent collision. But were the the universe and everything within it. Here in stone mass and iron mass also mixed togeth- no particular order of importance are sum- er? maries of some of those articles which I The age of Earth and the Moon can be found while wandering online. I have tried as dated by the presence of certain elements in best I can to synopsize the articles and hope I Earth’s mantle. Hafnium-182 is a radioactive haven’t made them too confusing or left out substance, which decays and is converted some small but important detail. into the isotope tungsten-182. The two ele- ments have markedly different chemical prop- Earth and Moon Formed Later Than Previ- erties and while the tungsten isotopes prefer ously Thought, ew Research Suggests to bond with metal, hafnium prefers to bond to silicates, that is, rock. It takes 50-60 mil- Astronomers have long held the theory lion years for all hafnium to decay and be that the planet Earth and the Moon were creat- converted into tungsten, and during the ed as the result of a giant collision between Moon forming collision nearly all the metal two planets the size of Mars and Venus. sank into Earth's core. But did all the tung- According to the theory the collision was sten go into the core? thought to have happened when the solar sys- Using dynamic model calculations of the tem was 30 million years old, or approximate- turbulent mixing of the liquid rock and iron ly 4,537 million years ago. New research, masses scientists have found that tungsten iso- however, appears to show that Earth and the topes from the Earth’s early formation Moon must have formed much lat- remain in the rocky mantle The new studies er—perhaps up to 150 million years after the imply that the moon forming collision formation of the solar system. occurred after all of the hafnium had decayed According to recent research scientists completely into tungsten. determined the ages of the Earth and the According to Dr. Tais Dahl who did the Moon using tungsten isotopes, which can research at the Neils Bohr Institute, “Our reveal whether the iron cores and their stone results show that metal core and rock are surfaces have been mixed together during the unable to emulsify in these collisions collision. As has been stated, a giant collision between planets that are greater than 10 kilo- between two planets the size of Mars and metres in diameter and therefore that most of Venus and the two planets collided at a time the Earth’s iron core (80-99 %) did not when both had a core of metal (iron) and a remove tungsten from the rocky material in surrounding mantle of silicates (rock), but the mantle during formation.” Thus the likeli- 1 hood the Earth and Moon formed perhaps up In comparison, if all the water locked up to 150 million years after the formation of in Mars were put on the lunar surface, it the solar system would cover the moon to a depth of about 0.93 miles. If the same were done for all of Moon Has 100 Times More Water Than the water inside the Earth, it would cover the Thought entire lunar surface to a depth of 155 miles. The moon’s interior may harbor 100 Shining Light Around Corners: Scientists times more water than previous estimates, Explore ew Method for Curving ‘Airy’ according to a new study which took a fresh Light Beams look at samples of moon rocks collected by Apollo astronauts nearly 40 years ago. the Researchers at Tel Aviv University are lunar water likely originated early in the investigating new applications for their moon's formation history, suggesting that it recent discovery that small beams of light is, in fact, native to the moon. can indeed be bent in a laboratory setting, Scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s diffracting much less than a “regular” beam. Geophysical Laboratory, and other col- These rays, called “Airy beams,” were leagues, said it’s likely that the water was pre- named after English astronomer Sir George served from the hot magma that was present Biddell Airy, who studied the parabolic tra- when the moon began to form–some 4.5 bil- jectories of light in rainbows, and were first lion years ago. created at the University of Central Florida. They think the water, which is locked up Now, the fortuitously-named Prof. Ady Arie in lunar rocks and material, is likely more and his graduate students Tal Ellenbogen, widespread in the moon’s interior than previ- Noa Voloch-Bloch, Ayelet Ganany-Padow- ous studies estimated. These findings now icz and Ido Dolev of Tel Aviv University's suggest that the lower limit for total water on Faculty of Engineering have demonstrated the moon could be 100 times greater. new ways to generate and control Airy “When the rocks first returned from the beams. Employing new algorithms and spe- Apollo missions, it was obvious they were cial nonlinear optical crystals, their research really dry,” Francis McCubbin, lead author of is reported in a recent issue of the scientific the study. “A lot of people attributed the dry journal ature Photonics. nature to something fundamental about how Some of these new applications, such as the moon formed. I think an estimate was a light source to generate beams that can turn thrown out of less than 1 part per billion around corners, or lighted spaces that contain (ppb) water, because the presumption was no apparent light source, are still five or ten there was almost no water on the moon.” years away, said Prof. Arie. But his research The results of the new study found that has immediate applications as well. For exam- the moon’s water was likely present in the ple, because small particles are attracted to hot magma from the impact as it started to the highest intensities of a beam, the pharma- cool and crystallize. ceutical and chemical industries can use the Yet, compared to Earth and Mars, the new beam to sort molecules according to size moon is still remarkably dry, said McCubbin. or quality, filtering impurities from drug for- “If we were to take all the water that is mulations that might otherwise lead to toxici- locked up inside the moon, and put it in a ty and death. homogenous layer on the lunar surface, it Until now, Airy beams have been gener- would cover the moon to about a meter ated through “linear diffraction” using tools depth,” he explained. that project a single color of light through 2 glass plates of varying thicknesses. Using The scientists concluded the cosmos is crystals they built in the lab, Tel Aviv Univer- made up of 4% ‘normal’ matter, 22% ‘dark’ sity's approach uses another technique: non- or invisible matter and 74% ‘dark energy’. linear optics. Sent through crystals, light Debate about the exact nature of the ‘dark waves bounce inside the crystal, changing side’ of the Universe—the dark matter and their wavelength and color. It is through this dark energy—continues to this day. process that the door is opened for creating Sawangwit and Shanks used astronomi- new light beams at new wavelengths with cal objects which appear as unresolved points greater control of their trajectories. in radio telescopes to test the way the They’ve found a way to control whether WMAP telescope smoothes out its maps. an Airy beam curves to the left or to the They found the smoothing is much larger right, for example. Airy beams promise ad- than previously believed, which suggests its vances for engineering. They could form the measurement of the size of the CMBR rip- technology behind space-age “light bullets” ples is not as accurate as was thought. If true, as effective and precise defense technologies this may mean the ripples are significantly for police and the military, but also as a new smaller, which could imply that dark matter communications interface between transpon- and dark energy are not present after all. ders. As tiny, tight packets of information, Prof. Shanks says “If our results prove these Airy beams could be used out in the correct then it will become less likely that open air, researchers hope. dark energy and exotic dark matter particles dominate the Universe. So the evidence that Astronomers’ Doubts About the Dark Side: the Universe has a ‘Dark Side’ will weaken!” Errors in Big Bang Data Larger Than Durham astronomers recently collaborat- Thought? ed in an international team whose research suggested the structure of the CMB may not Research by astronomers in the Physics provide the robust independent check on the Department at Durham University suggests presence of dark energy that it was thought that the conventional wisdom about the con- to. tent of the Universe may be wrong. If dark energy does exist, then it ultimate- Utane Sawangwit and Professor Tom ly causes the expansion of the Universe to Shanks looked at observations from the accelerate. On their journey from the CMB, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe photons travel through giant superclusters of (WMAP) satellite to study the remnant heat galaxies. Normally a CMB photon is first from the Big Bang. They found evidence the blueshifted when it enters the supercluster errors in its data may be much larger than pre- and then redshifted as it leaves, so that the viously thought, which in turn makes the stan- two effects cancel. If, however, the superclus- dard model of the Universe open to question. ter galaxies are accelerating away from each Launched in 2001, WMAP measures differ- other because of dark energy, the cancella- ences in the Cosmic Microwave Background tion is not exact, so photons stay slightly (CMB) radiation, the residual heat of the Big blueshifted after their passage. Slightly high- Bang that fills the Universe and appears over er temperatures should appear in the CMB the whole of the sky. The angular size of the where the photons have passed through super- ripples in the CMB is thought to be connect- clusters. ed to the composition of the Universe. The The new results, based on the Sloan Digi- observations of WMAP showed that the rip- tal Sky Survey which surveyed 1 million ples were about twice the size of the full luminous red galaxies, suggest no such effect Moon, or around a degree across. is seen, again threatening the standard model 3 of the Universe. northern lowlands until this week. The north- “If the result is repeated in new surveys ern lowlands are covered in thick blankets of of galaxies in the Southern Hemisphere then lava and sediments up to several kilometers this could mean real problems for the exis- thick and that had hampered efforts to probe tence of dark energy.” what lay beneath. If the Universe really has no ‘dark side’, The ESA’s Mars Express found the first it will come as a relief to some theoretical hints of water in the northern plains, but the physicists. Having a model dependent on as outcrops were small and more detailed obser- yet undetected exotic particles that make up vations were needed to confirm the evidence. dark matter and the completely mysterious NASA’s Orbiter provided higher resolu- dark energy leaves many scientists feeling tion data that showed at least nine northern uncomfortable. It also throws up problems craters with phyllosilicates or other hydrated for the birth of stars in galaxies, with as silicates, the ESA said. The finding was much ‘feedback’ energy needed to prevent reported in the journal Science. their creation as gravity provides to help Those minerals formed in wet environ- them form. ments and were identical to those found in Prof. Shanks says, “Odds are that the the southern hemisphere. standard model with its enigmatic dark ener- “We can now say the planet was altered gy and dark matter will survive—but more on a global scale by liquid water more than 4 tests are needed. The European PLANCK billion years ago,” said the report’s lead satellite, currently out there collecting more author, John Carter of the University of CMB data will provide vital new information Paris. [Editor: An interesting coincidence in and help us answer these fundamental ques- the name of one of the researchers. Shades of tions about the nature of the Universe we live ERB!] in.” Scientists said it’s difficult to draw con- clusions about the type of environment that Mars once covered in water existed on Mars when it had water, but they do have some clues. The sites “are rich in Conditions favorable to life may once iron and magnesium, but less in aluminum. have existed all over Mars, according to the Together with the close proximity of olivine, European Space Agency. which is easily modified by water, this indi- Two spacecraft found evidence liquid cates that the exposure to water lasted only water was widespread over the red planet. tens to hundreds of millions of years,” said The ESA’s Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Jean-Pierre Bibring, the OMEGA principal Reconnaissance Orbiter have discovered investigator from the University of Paris. hydrated silicate minerals in the northern low- The scientists’ search concentrated on 91 lands of Mars, a clear indication that water sizeable craters where incoming asteroids once flowed there. have punched down the planet’s surface by The two spacecraft had previously found several kilometers, exposing “ancient crustal thousands of small outcrops in the planet’s material.” southern hemisphere where rock minerals The results could also suggest sites for had been altered by water. Many of these out- future Mars landers, because evidence of crops are in the form of hydrated clay miner- water during the planet's early history sug- als known as phyllosilicates. They indicate gests conditions in those spots may have the planet’s southern hemisphere was once been favorable to the evolution of primitive much warmer and wetter than it is today. life. No such sites had been found in the 4 Octavia the Android,[sic] Real-Life Rosie the year and half to get her to think and respond Robot in a way we humans would understand using what they call computational cognitive mod- She has an expressive, alabaster face, a els (and what we call really smart software). delicate touch—and two wheels where her Octavia is one of three MDS robots, or feet should be. She is Octavia, a brand new mobile, dextrous, and social robots in the lab robot designed to improve interactions with with facial expressions and human like humans. Just don’t ask her to dance. responses. The other two are Isaac and The robot’s main mission will be to sup- Lucas, the former named for the writer Isaac port and work closely with humans. She’s Asimov, and the latter named for the director designed to communicate clearly about her George Lucas. Octavia is named after the sci- goals and abilities, collaborate to solve prob- ence fiction author Octavia Butler. lems and interact with naval staff. Perhaps Her head and arms were designed and that explains the robot’s looks. built by an MIT spin-off, Xitome Design. Dr. “She has very expressive eyebrows, eye- Trafton’s team developed the rest, including lids, head movements, and she can even turn three separate computers and the artificial her eyes,” explains Dr. Greg Trafton, the intelligence software, which they have been head of the intelligent Systems Section at the working on for over a dozen years. To get Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, around, Octavia uses a Segway to move. D. C.. On the other hand, she has no hair. “But we actually added training wheels “But she has expressive hands and fin- on her for the trip so she doesn’t do a face gers that she uses not only to manipulate plant,” quipped Dr. Trafton. objects but also to help convey emotions like Octavia also isn’t much of a conversa- confusion and sadness,” says Dr. Trafton. tionalist—yet. She’ll be talking at Fleet Octavia can respond to humans in human Week, explaining facts about herself and how ways, such as raising an eyebrow to reveal she works to exhibit visitors, but Dr. Trafton skepticism or tilting her head coyly to sug- says the natural language software to have gest that she doesn’t understand something. her fully converse with humans isn’t good More important, she does this autonomously, enough yet. using a system of sensors and cameras to fol- low what’s going on around her and then [Note: I chose to delete a redundant thinking and reacting to her environment paragraph from the original news article independently. because it repeated what was in the fourth “It represents a more subtle form of com- paragraph and I removed a few other bits munication,” says Dr. Trafton. “Without which I felt were unnecessary. TDS] these cues you don’t get natural behavior at all, and then you're basically interacting with There you have it; just a few of the sci- a wooden post.” ence articles I found of interest. I make no The research, funded by the Office of judgment about any of them except to say Naval Research, is critical to the Navy that personally I too would feel more comfort- because if autonomous robots (versus remote- able without the idea of the existence of ly controlled machines) and humans are “dark matter” which can’t be seen by instru- going to work together in the future, we’ll ments (so far) and may never be detected. need to be able to trust and understand a But then my personal comfort has no bearing robot’s reactions. So Dr. Trafton and his upon the subject and I can’t very well do any- team of more than a half dozen researchers thing about it if dark matter does exist. Now, have been working with Octavia for over a on to the “good” stuff . . . 5 The Old Kit Bag #16: Along with The Wild Shore, they formed a Kim Stanley Robinson and Galileo loose “California trilogy” examining various possible futures for the state. Galilei Perhaps Robinson’s greatest acclaim came for Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, which might be his shining achieve- Kim Stanley Robinson is that rare sf writ- ment as a writer. The trilogy examined the er who is equally comfortable in both the sci- colonization and terraforming of the red plan- ence fiction pulp tradition and the literary tra- et in novels which were rich in political dition. He was an English major in college, intrigue. Red Mars won the Nebula Award yet he wrote a thesis on the fiction of Philip as Best Novel, while Green Mars and Blue K. Dick before Dick became the darling of Mars both won the Hugo Award. The trilo- the literati. Robinson’s stories straddle both gy was followed by a collection The Mar- genres very comfortably, being well-plotted tians, stories which filled in many gaps of with strong science fictional foundations and the trilogy itself. I have always felt that the sense of wonder but also concentrating on Marsseries ranks with Marion Zimmer Brad- characterization. ley’s Darkover and C.J. Cherryh’s Union/ I am probably a rare fan who believes Alliance as the best sf series ever written. that Robinson’s first novel The Wild Shore Next came two stand-alone novels. was the finest of the original group of Antarctica told a story similar to the Mars revived Ace Science Fiction Specials edited Trilogy but in miniature about near-future col- by Terry Carr in 1984. It had the misfortune onization of Earth's frozen continent. The though to be released in the same year as William Gibson's groundbreaking euro- Days of Rice and Salt was an alt history mancer, denying it of much of the attention look at the past 500 years of world history had the Black Plague wiped out nearly 100% it deserved. That same year Robinson released Ice- of Europe’s population. Instead of world dom- ination by western Europe, Robinson hypoth- henge, a science fiction mystery involving esizes that the past 500 years would have space exploration and the discovery of been dominated by Islam, India, and China strange structures at the edge of the solar sys- instead. The novel was heavily influenced by tem. Next came two near future novels set in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the California which were philosophical oppo- sites. The Gold Coast was a realistic dysto- West and earned another Hugo Award nomi- nation for Robinson. pia while Pacific Edge was a hopeful utopia. Robinson then released a near-future tril- 6 ogy about the conflicts between science and poverty-stricken that Marie Celeste is painful- politics in dealing with the impending ecolog- ly thin, and the situation in the convent has ical crisis. Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty become so dire that both the mother superior Degrees Below and Sixty Days and Count- and Galileo’s younger daughter, also a nu, ing combined the best aspects of Robinson’s have both gone utterly mad. Galileo’s only political insights (strong element of both his human decency seems to be directed towards Mars Trilogy and Antarctica) and characteri- helping the convent, bringing them food on a zation in an ecological thriller. regular basis, and eventually moving his en- Which finally brings us to the real pur- tire household nearby so he can give them pose of this article, Robinson’s newest novel whatever physical help they need. Galileo’s Dream. This is a different type of Dealing with authority is another matter novel for Robinson which offers two parallel though. At times Galileo can be obsequious plotlines. One plotline is pure historical fic- to the point of fawning, but inwardly he feels tion about the tribulations of the great Italian innately superior to other people to the point scientist Galileo in trying to publish his radi- where he often ridicules them in private. As cal pro-Copernican views in the face of a such, he is not a particularly likeable main domineering Catholic Church which sees character, but his brilliance and love of sci- those views as discomforting at best, hereti- ence (especially mathematics, which obvious- cal at worst. Robinson portrays Galileo as ly warms my heart) endear him to any reader headstrong and not particularly good at diplo- who shares some of his passion. macy, thus to a large extent he is dependent The far-future portion of the novel in on his supporters moreso than his own efforts itself is mostly interesting too. I enjoyed the in winning the approval of the Catholic hier- glimpses of life on the inhospitable moons, as archy for his writings. well as the political dealings between various The other plotline is set in the 30th centu- factions (which is often a strong point of ry where inhabitants of the four Galilean Robinson’s novels), as well as the alien enti- moons of Jupiter are engaged in a political ty itself which, unfortunately, is not explored struggle involving an alien entity living at the as deeply as I would have liked. bottom of the ocean covering Europa. One However, the major problem with the th group headed by a cultish leader named 30 century portion is the rationale for Ganymedealso the name of one of the moons Galileo being there in the first place. seems determined to keep the other group Ganymede returns periodically to 17th centu- away from Europa totally, while the second ry Italy to bring Galileo into the 30th century group is equally determined not to be to observe the dealings between the two war- stopped. Warfare has broken out between the ring factions. At times Galileo is dragged two groups which leads to bigger troubles for around by Ganymede, but at other times by both of them. two of his female enemies, Hera or Aurora, The historical portion of Galileo’s as the groups interact so frequently and Dream is much more interesting than the almost casually as if they were differing futuristic portion. Galileo is portrayed as a groups in a legislature rather than at war with largely disagreeable person, so obsessed with each other. his research and ideas that he treats all the Why Galileo’s presence in the 30th cen- people around him as little more than incon- tury is important to the groups’ activities is veniences whose sole purposes seem to be never explained very convincingly. Late in serving Galileo. The sole exception to his atti- the novel, Galileo is told that his actions back tude is his elder daughter Marie Celeste, a in Italy will have a profound affect on the cloistered nun in a nearby convent which is s entire future of life on Earth and subsequent 7 ly on the entire solar system. But since the into a separate, companion novel to the scientist is given an amnesiac before return- straight historical novel set in the 17th centu- ing to Italy, they are seemingly preventing ry. his presence in the 30th century from affect- The historical fiction part of the novel ing what he does at home, so again what pur- was very strong indeed and occupied the pose did it serve bringing him there if they majority of the book. Even though ultimately are preventing it from altering anything he we know Galileo’s fate in the 17th century, it does in the 17th century? was still fascinating seeing it play out, espe- To some extent, the true purpose of cially seeing how Galileo avoid being burned Galileo’s presence in the 30th century is giv- at the stake in the manner of the other great ing Robinson an excuse to judge his 17th cen- heretic of Galileo’s era, Giordano Bruno. In tury behavior by 20th century standards spite of all my nitpicking, I recommend (which are no different from 30th century Galileo’s Dream highly, just so long as you standards). In fact, Hera spends considerable do not dwell too much on the logical connec- time berating Galileo and trying to force him tion between the two portions (as perhaps I to admit that his attitudes and behavior were have done in this review). It is good reading unacceptable, and that apparently he should which verifies Kim Stanley Robinson’s deser- think and act more as a future man would ving place as one of the stars of the literary think. I’m not sure what purpose this serves end of the science fiction spectrum. in the novel since Robinson did such a strong job of portraying Galileo’s attitudes and be- havior in the historical portions that any en- lightened reader would have reached the same conclusions as Hera without our being beaten over the head by them. There are a few instances where some- thing which happened to Galileo in one story- line did affect his understanding in the other a bit, but these instances were a minor part of the two storylines so I was never convinced that Galileo was ever needed in the 30th cen- tury. And there was way too much exposition by Hera and Aurora in the 30th century show- ing Galileo the entire history between his cen- tury and the 30th century of both political events and mathematics. While some of it was interesting, the overall impact of all the lecturing was a bit boring. And yet, in spite of the weak rationale for having Galileo there, the 30th century por- tion did pose an interesting sfnal mystery which reached a thrilling climax. I actually wish that portion had not been abandoned so quickly by Robinson with a few suggestions by Galileo which attempted to justify his pres- ence there. I suspect this portion of the novel might have been better had it been expanded 8 In reading Peter A Peek Into Poe’s Children seems to be? Straub’s anthology Holder has pro- Poe’s Children I am underwhelmed so far. vocative material but she does not develop it This surprises me. Settling into the book, well, as most seems an excuse for a travel- relief at the level of literacy lulled me. Then ogue diary of writerly experiences. I’m bet- the first story, Dan Choun’s “The Bees”, not ting she once had a wild time in London, and about bees, was meh, and not memorable. In maybe it felt like a chrysalis experience to going for touching it veered too far into the her. If she meant to convey that in the story, flatlands. While it was written well enough she did so only askance. There is life, both on the sentence level, the story itself struck street and private; there is London, as alive a me as simply too mundane. city as ever there was one; and there is an Nancy Holder’s tale of London, eerie tone of wanting and needing, mixed “Cleopatra Brimstone”, was well written but with hints of darker shadows that definitely to no point; the end was tacked on, hasty, and include slightly kinky sex; it is superb stuff made only token sense. It wasted the long, with which to spin a yarn. It is almost as if excellent setup. This saddened me, as I she did not know what to do with it all. She perked up when I began reading it, so crisp writes a clear, solid sentence and has good was her prose. details, with even pacing throughout, and bal- Holder’s story, named for a butterfly anced narrative voice that is deceptively species, never demonstrated how the girl sane, but she is hesitant with plot. began becoming insectile—lepidopterous No real harm in that but, as in Smilla’s really—nor did it establish why or how the Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg, the whole men she bound turned into butterflies and points toward an ending of a certain type and moths after orgasm. This needn’t have mat- style, and in both cases the writer gets cold tered, except that it ends up making one won- feet and evades responsibility to follow der, precisely when perhaps it should not. through. Høeg did it because he feared com- Lepidoptera metamorphosis is suggested mitting a science fiction novel, despite his only obliquely in any case; it’s much more plot requiring a science fictional dénouement. about the woman, and she is singularly unre- Holder, on the other hand, was well with- flective. Some of her behavior seems random in dark fantasy and/or horror and had nothing and inexplicable, making us crave at least a to fear from such categories, as she is a well hint of inner turmoil or other reasons echoing known genre writer. Perhaps she got bored, inside her. Yes, she is changing, we see that, or ran out of time or space; her tacked-on but is it seasonal, part of her life cycle, or is end spoiled what could have been a classic. there a psychological component, as there Maybe she will bloat it into a novel with a 9 proper exploration of the implications; I hope Pet waste removal worker finds $58 in dog so. poop The next tale was the Tems’ story about their son’s suicide, “The Man On the Ceil- ST. LOUIS (AP) — ing”, but I skipped the novella, having read This is why your mother says to wash the novel. Good but not great, as a novel, was your hands after handling money: A St. my take; certainly unusual, confessional, and Louis worker found $58—packed in dog worth reading, especially as a textbook exam- poop. Steve Wilson works for DoodyCalls ple of how to use personal pain and private Pet Waste Removal. On a recent call, he journals fictionally. noticed money sticking out from doggie doo. I am now on to the next tale. I am by Wilson wasn't sure what to do, but eventually now not expecting much, sadly. Had high pulled out the bills, sanitized them, placed hopes for this anthology and, to be fair, it them in a plastic zip-locked bag and returned could still redeem itself and blow my face off them to the customer. It turned out to be $58. with a few superb pieces. We shall see, and I The company said the money was torn, shall report further. but the serial numbers were identifiable, which means the bills could be returned to a bank and replaced with new money. The Association of Professional Animal Odd News Bits: Waste Specialists says Wilson is the first per- son in his profession to find and report mon- Cops find naked drunk men covered in mud ey in dog poop. in woods ow we also know why people say, “Don’t LEWISTON, N.Y. (AP) touch that! You don’t know where it’s been.” Police in western New York said two Canadian men attended a church festival and Jail trusty allegedly uses leg for smuggling wound up in the woods drunk, naked and cov- ered in mud. State police said troopers found Alexandria, La. (AP) — a 22-year-old man from Hamilton, Ontario sit- Rapides Parish authorities accuse a jail ting along a road in the town of Lewiston, trusty of using his prosthetic leg to smuggle just outside Niagara Falls, around 5:45 a.m. contraband into the jail. The Alexandria Sunday. Town Talk reported the 42-year-old man was After questioning him, troopers found a arrested and charged with introduction of con- 23-year-old man from Hamilton also covered traband into a penal institution and posses- in mud and passed out in a ditch nearby. Po- sion of a controlled dangerous substance. lice said both men were highly intoxicated. Herman Walters, Rapides Parish sher- Troopers say the men had attended the iff’s assistant chief deputy, said during a rou- St. John de LaSalle Carnival on Saturday and tine check of trusties coming back to the facil- afterward decided to make it a “Woodstock ity Friday, correctional officers discovered event” by dancing naked in the woods. Both the contraband hidden in his prosthetic leg. men were taken to a local hospital where Walter said officers found bags of loose to- they were treated and released. bacco, 10 cigarettes, a container of smokeless Neither man was charged. tobacco and four Soma pills—a muscle relax- er. Those crazy Canadians! What’ll they do next? o wonder he was walking kind of funny . . . 10 Kentuckiana IX Kentucky in the American Civil War I Bull Nelson Bites the Dust! Of the many colorful figures that crossed son, whom he commissioned a brigadier gen- the stage of Kentucky during the American eral and sent to the Bluegrass to arm and to Civil War, perhaps none had a more train the loyal faction of Ken- outrageous career—or a more outra- tucky’s Home Guard. Nelson’s geous end to a career—than Major Al Byrd successful accomplishment of his General William “Bull” Nelson. mission lives on in the place name Nelson was born in Kentucky in 1824, Camp Nelson, first a military training facility but sought a career far from the common- and now a military cemetery outside of wealth’s hills and hollows. Becoming a mid- Nicholasville, southeast of Lexington in the shipman in the Navy during the Mexican Bluegrass. War in his mid-twenties, he had earned When Kentucky’s foredoomed neutrality respect at sea when Lincoln’s election led to ended, Nelson led his men east into the a nation’s division. Nelson’s nickname Appalachians to drive out Confederate troops “Bull” came in part from his physical appear- being raised there. Victorious in battle at ance, daunting by mid-Nineteenth Century West Liberty and at Ivy Mountain (as told in standards: he was six feet four in height, and an earlier installment in this series), he three hundred pounds in weight. “Bull” re- returned to the Bluegrass to receive the ferred also, however, to his demeanor: he reward of command of a division in the was loved by his comrades for his outspoken Army of the Ohio under Major General Don geniality, but feared by them for his volcanic Carlos Buell. After Ulysses S Grant had driv- temper. It would be the latter of these traits en the Confederates from western Kentucky, that would bring on his outrageous end. Buell’s army was engaged in operations in When Lincoln took office, “Bull” Nel- central Tennessee when a Confederate army son gained entry to the White House through led by Albert Sidney Johnston took Grant’s his brother, Thomas H. Nelson, a friend of army by surprise at Shiloh in southeastern Lincoln whom he made Minister to Chile. At Tennessee. There, “Bull” Nelson distin- war’s outset, Kentucky’s governor and legis- guished himself in two ways: he led the first lature sought a course of neutrality between of Buell’s divisions to come to Grant’s relief, hostile neighboring powers, but Lincoln, and he commanded this division ably in act- believing that to lose Kentucky would be to ion that prevented a disastrous Union defeat. lose the war, worked through a variety of Nelson’s military career, so far crowned agents to ensure the commonwealth’s enter- with success, took a turn for the worse. Hen- ing the war on the Union’s side. One of the ry Wager “Old Brains” Halleck, Grant’s suc- most effective of these agents was “Bull” Nel cessor in command of the Union’s western 11 armies, took so dilatory and so unaggressive obeyed Nelson’s order. Unwilling to give Kir- a course of action that he let a new Confeder- by Smith these prizes at no cost, Manson ate commander, the brilliant, but obstreper- advanced to battle. ous Braxton Bragg, spirit a whole army out He found this south of the university from under the Union’s nose in central Mis- town of Richmond. There, he and his men sissippi. With swiftness dizzying by the day’s learned of a maneuver called a “double envel- standards, this army turned up in eastern Ten- opment” as Kirby Smith’s outfit poured fire nessee. There, Bragg hooked up with two oth- onto the Union’s front and both of its flanks er Confederate commanders, Edmund Kirby- at once. Manson and his men fled in the only Smith and John Hunt Morgan, and concocted direction left open to them—to the rear. He with them a plan to invade central Kentucky, managed to re-form his men into a line of bat- then just about undefended. tle, but this, too, was soon doubly enveloped The Army of the Ohio, with Nelson in and routed. charge of one of its divisions, was occupying At this juncture, Nelson, who had been Nashville when Buell got wind of a thrust by taking care of military business in Lexington, Kirby Smith towards Lexington. Buell sent showed up on the scene. After having given Nelson hotfoot north to defend the Bluegrass. Manson an earful of invective over his strate- There, ever a skilled recruiter and organizer, gy and his tactics, Nelson formed the Union he put together an outfit grandiosely chris- regiments into a third line of battle, this one tened “The Army of Kentucky.” This consist- on a ridgeline holding, only too appropriate- ed of men bearing arms, but lacking experi- ly, a cemetery. As the twice-victorious Con- ence; to supplement green regiments raised federates came up, Nelson, to bolster his in Kentucky, the governors of Ohio and of men’s morale, paraded up and down in front Indiana sent green regiments recruited in of them and called out to them, “If those their states. It would be the men from Indi- Rebels can’t hit me, they can’t hit anything!” ana—the Hoosiers—who would be “Bull” Sadly for Nelson, the Confederates Nelson’s undoing. could, and did, hit him—twice. Although nei- Nelson had to make hard choices about ther wound was major, the two wounds what he would defend. Knowing that green together rendered him hors de combat for the Union soldiers would be cannon fodder for rest of the battle, which was brief. The Con- battle-hardened Confederates in the open federates pulled off an amazing third double field, he selected a purely defensive strategy, envelopment, after which the flight of the to hold the line of the Kentucky River. The Union troops who escaped being wounded, northern bank of this, consisting of tall bluffs killed, captured, or lost did not stop until running for miles in either direction, even a they had passed Frankfort. Luckily for Nel- small, inexperienced force should have been son, they took him along. able to hold indefinitely against many times The full story of the Battle of Richmond its number. Nelson’s strategy would have is best told in When the Ripe Pears Fell: The saved the key cities of Lexington and of Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, by D. Warren Frankfort from conquest by Kirby Smith. Lambert (privately published). The Battle of Thus, Nelson told his subordinates to Richmond was for the Union, by any reason- withdraw their forces behind the bluffs. The able standard, a disaster, resulting in seventy- commander of his Indiana regiments, one five per cent casualties for the defeated side Mahlon Manson, however, had looked at a and the loss of Lexington and of Frankfort to map and seen that the towns of Lancaster, the invaders. This battle yields in ignominy Danville, and Harrodsburg, lying south of the for American troops only to the Battle of river, would fall to the Confederates if he Bladenburg, Maryland, in the War of 1812, 12 in which militia led by President James Madi- they fought from hastily dug trenches south son skedaddled, letting the British sack Wash- of the city. ington, D. C., and burn the White House. Thus, it was silly season in Louisville Stories of commanders who bravely when its citizens got word that Jefferson exhorted their troops in the face of enemy Davis had come to town. They feared that the fire abound in the American Civil War. Of President of the Confederacy had shown up these stories, my favorite is a possibly apoc- to make them his subjects, but the truth was ryphal one from the Battle of Spotsylvania unthreatening to them. The Jefferson Davis Court House, Virginia. There, a Union in question was not the arch-Rebel from Mis- colonel, seeing his men take shelter from sissippi, but an unfortunately named Union Confederate fire behind breastworks, stood general from Indiana. Nelson was none too up before his men and shouted, “Why are fond of persons from Indiana just then—after you men skulking? Those Rebels couldn't hit the dismal performance of Mahlon Manson an elephant at this dist—” and his green regiments at Richmond, Nelson had made on the topic of Hoosiers many harsh remarks, which had irked Governor Oliver P. Morton of Indiana—but Nelson put Davis to work at overseeing the evacuation of civilians and the arming of soldiers. When progress on these two tasks fell short of Nel- son’s standards, he called Davis to an accounting in the Galt House, Louisville’s premier hotel, which had been commandeered as Union headquarters. Accord- In the aftermath of the Battle of Rich- ing to an eyewitness of the accounting, mond, it became the job of Nelson, recover- Davis, asked how the evacuation of civilians ing quickly from his wounds, to save the riv- was coming on, inexplicably said, “I don't er port of Louisville from the Confederates. know.” Asked how the organizing of soldiers His job grew doubly difficult when he was coming along, Davis gave the same learned that Bragg was leading a second col- answer. umn of Confederates into the commonwealth Nelson’s patience, already in short sup- to join the victorious column of Kirby Smith. ply for Hoosiers, was exhausted for Davis. “I Before Bragg was fatally delayed by a have made a mistake in selecting you for this strangely chivalrous battle at Munfordville duty,” Nelson called out in an angry tone, (perhaps the subject of a future article), it and ordered Davis in ungentle terms to leave. seemed possible to the Union that it would When Davis asked to be treated with the have to burn Louisville to keep its wealth respect due a general, Nelson went on to from falling into enemy hands. In any case, order him to report to Cincinnati for reassign- Nelson decided to evacuate the city’s civilian ment. population across the Ohio River into Indiana “You have no authority to order me,” so that civilians would not impede soldiers as Davis called back. 13 Nelson turned to an adjutant. “Captain, Davis said, “You threatened to arrest me if General Davis does not leave the city by and send me out of the state under a provost nine o'clock tonight, give instructions to the guard.” provost marshal [the officer commanding mil- Some authorities say that at this point itary police] to see that he is put across the Nelson called Davis an insolent puppy, and Ohio.” that in response to this insult Davis crumpled up a visiting card and threw it into Nelson’s face. All authorities say that Nelson slapped Davis twice with the back of his hand and said, “There, damn you, take that!” Again, for the time being, Davis retreat- ed, but he called out in a tone of bravado, “This is not the last of it; you will hear from me again.” He would keep his promise. When Davis went off in disgrace, Nel- son turned on Governor Morton. “By God,” Nelson called out, “did you come here to insult me also?” Morton showed some political astuteness Davis, unready to face Nelson in his just then. “No, sir, but I was requested to be wrath, chose the better part of valor just then, present and listen to the conversation be- and reported to Cincinnati. By Nelson’s tween you and General Davis.” lights, his dispute with Davis was over. Sadly Nelson turned to bystanders for support. for Nelson, it was not. “Did you hear the damned rascal insult me?” The commanding officer at Cincinnati, [Editor’s note: Nelson was being ambiguous one Horatio Wright, ordered Davis to return here. Surely, however, he meant Davis.] to Louisville. He did return there, but by a Nelson strode off into the ladies’ room— roundabout route. He went there by way of in those days not a restroom, but a salon in Indianapolis, where he poured out his tale of which gentlemen could engage members of woes to Governor Morton. The governor, the fair sex in genteel conversation. Seeming- already smarting over harsh words of Nel- ly not in a mood for this, Nelson stormed on son's about Indiana’s own Mahlon Manson, upstairs. Meeting an acquaintance coming agreed to go with Davis to Louisville to help downstairs, he said, “Did you hear that him set matters straight there. damned insolent scoundrel insult me, sir? I Thus, Davis had a governor in tow when suppose he don’t know me, sir. I’ll teach him he showed up suddenly in Nelson’s presence a lesson, sir.” just after breakfast in the Galt House. “Sir,” Nelson's intended lesson apparently in- Davis said to him, “you seemed to take advan- volved Don Carlos Buell, who had arrived at tage of your authority the other day.” the Galt House from Nashville by then. Nel- Nelson, sneering, placed a hand by one son had reached Buell’s room and had his ear. “Speak louder; I don’t hear you very hand on its doorknob when he heard some- well.” one behind him call his name. Davis spoke up. “You seemed to take He turned-- advantage of your authority the other day.” Davis had come unarmed to his meet- Nelson was growing angry. “I don’t ing with Nelson, but in 1862 a weapon was al- know that I did, sir.” ways near at hand for an angry man. Going 14 around the hotel’s lobby, Davis asked by- For the rest of the war Davis served standers for the loan of a pistol. After a time, ably, commanding troops under Rosecrans, a certain Captain Gibson cheerfully said, “I Grant, and Sherman in battles in Tennessee always carry the article” and handed it over and in Georgia. Because of his reputation as to the offended Davis. As he dashed upstairs, an unpunished murderer, however, he never the captain called out helpful advice about got the promotions that his service would his gun’s special trigger. ordinarily have earned him. Never expressing Seeing Nelson at Buell’s door, Davis regret for having killed Nelson, Davis would called out his enemy’s name. Nelson turned instead blame him for the lack of success in and started towards him. “Not another step Davis's life. farther!” Davis called out. Firing his pistol at # a range of about eight feet, he shot Nelson in The conversations between elson and the chest. Davis in this article come verbatim from eye- Nelson turned back towards Buell’s witness accounts quoted in The Civil War: door, but collapsed before he reached it. Fort Sumter to Perryville, by Shelby Foote, When men came running up to investigate and in Perryville: Battle for Kentucky, by the sound of a shot, Nelson called out, “Send Kenneth Hafendorfer. for a clergyman; I wish to be baptized.” With a great struggle the men lifted Nelson and got him into a bed in a nearby room. “I have Editor's Addendum: been basely murdered,” he murmured. There, half an hour later, he died. Regarding Al’s narrative of Bull elson. One It is not recorded that the clergyman of several magazines to which I subscribe is arrived in time to administer the desired rite. one called America’s Civil War. By an inter- Although “Bull” Nelson's life had ended, esting coincidence, in the latest issue was an the repercussions of his death had just begun. article titled “Getting Away With Murder” Buell had slated him for command of a full which dealt with Civil War officers who met corps in the Army of the Ohio. Command of their deaths other than on the battlefield and this corps now fell to an inexperienced, over- featured three examples. The first was Gener- confident officer whose failure to act in a al Bull elson. The author, Ron Soodalter timely fashion at the Battle of Perryville also tells of the account of elson’s question- would result in the destruction of a whole ing of Davis about the number of troops and corps of the army—not his own! weapons and details about the regiments and After Nelson’s killing, Buell at once had companies and Davis’ replies of “I don’t Davis arrested and set in motion a court mar- know.” But Soodalter goes on to state that tial to try him on the charge of murder. Buell, Davis was later to claim he had had only two however, was already in Lincoln’s doghouse days on the job and and “still lacking some for letting Bragg into Kentucky. After crucial reports, he couldn’t possibly have Buell’s unimpressive performance at Per- answered otherwise.” Also, though Davis ryville and his failure to bring the Confeder- had been arrested and was faced with the pos- ates again to battle before they left the com- sibility of “immediate hanging”, as Al noted, monwealth, Lincoln removed Buell from circumstances worked in his favor and he command of the Army of the Ohio. The court was never court-martialed but released a martial brought no charges against Davis. He week later. He continued to serve through the was indicted for murder by a grand jury, but, remainder of the war but was always thought released on bail, he returned to duty without of as the only Union general to have mur- ever facing trial. dered a fellow officer. 15 I am NOT paranoid...they really are out to get me! In January the electric- vealed that the new Macs ity went out for 24 hours. Sheryl Birkhead would read Quark--after When it came back on all, that is why I had just everything on my surge protector strip came updated to the Universal Quark- wrong.Only back up...except my desktop computer. It the brand new version 8 could be read by the was, kindly put- dead, dead, dead. new computer. I called around and was told I called Apple to see what I could do-hav- that the Adobe product competing with ing already prepared for this eventuality a Quark (In Design) would open my files even year or so ago. I already knew that the new with the new iMac. Hey, maybe not all is lost Mac would have a different system, proces- after all. sor chip, and would not play at all well with I called Adobe to be sure my research my hardware A D my software. That simply was correct. They assured me their software means a new Mac would be incompatible would open Quark files. Whew--at least the with everything-- printer, scanner, and all my pressing worry of income tax filing was software. Oh happy day! But, at least I had resolved. an inkling of this before the emergency hit. Before I found out Adobe lied, I asked Apple had a nice offer for a refurbished the cost--a mere $699. Okay, that is not iMac (and I could convince myself this was going to happen. Next I priced Quark 8-- merely a Christmas present returned for no okay, better, but still $300. Rumor has it that real reason...) and a combo printer (color no Adobe is trying to kill off Quark. They man- less) for $1299. The printer was $99.50 with aged to kill FreeHand by buying out the com- a $100 rebate. They offered me a three pany and then simply refusing to update the months delayed purchase and I was hooked. product--the next time I have to upgrade I Then they set the hook---I had to apply on will be forced to either buy Adobe’s compet- line. Um...er.. is anybody listening-- my com- ing product or find another drawing program. puter is dead. I asked if I could just fill out I figured that if I was going to jump ship the application at the library- nope- would from Quark, now might be a good time. have to be done from the site where the com- It all boiled down to economics: which puter would be used. I just said damn the tor- one could I buy for less? I went online and pedos (well, you know what I mean) and sign Googled both products. I couldn’t find Quark me up for Bill Me Later and I would figure 8 for much less than the advertised $300 out how to pay for it when later arrived. (although much later-- a few catastrophes lat- The week before the computer got fried I er--I found it selling for $99--but that is had finished all the business information for another story) but I did locate Adobe’s InDe- the 2009 taxes and was ready to file. Now, sign CS4 for Mac Full for $224. Okay, if it one teeny tiny problem--the new iMac would sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I not read any of my files. Don’t ask me why, checked it out. I made sure it was not an edu- but when I got my first Mac, I started using cational copy and, that it was, indeed, not an Quark on my business files--always overkill- upgrade but a full version. The company but now my records for about 15 years were responded to my email. They assured me that totally out of my reach. it was as advertised- full and not educational Right. My original research had re- etc. Okay--more plastic. 16 A few weeks later the software arrived. It took the guy about 15 minutes to get By now I was getting panicky- I had to open back to me. He then told me, no ID would those files for the taxes. If I could not get only open Quark 3 &4—but he had a solu- into those files I had no choice but to buy tion... there was this other bit of software.... I Quark 8. told him no thank you--if ID would not open As soon as the software was in my hot lit- my Quark files I had no use for it. My ID tle hands I got on the phone to Adobe to ask was not registered- right---that is correct.. it them how to “install” the software for a 30 is not registered. You are sure...it is not reg- day trial--to see if it would, as they had adver- istered? That is correct, it is not registered. tised it to me---open Quark files. They asked I wanted to be 100% certain because I for the serial number and I asked them-- intended to send it back to the online store why? I did not intend to register it until I that had sold it to me- which had a 30 day no knew for sure it would do what I needed. questions asked policy. I also emailed that Oh.... store to make sure that simply by tearing So, they walked me through how to set open the shrink wrap and doing a trial run I it up. I said thank you--goodbye. could still return it. They did not get back to I tried to open my Quark files. Noth- me right away (or ever for that matter). I for- ing...zip...nada. Before calling Adobe back, I got about it since the taxes issue was much did a little online hunting and discovered that more pressing! ID CS4 would only open Quark 3 and 4--a Out of curiosity, I went to take a look at fact they had forgotten to mention. C’mon- the Quark 8 site and--wow--they offered a Quark is up to version 8---3 and 4 are from free 90 day trial--hey, even though I felt I how many years ago? I located a converting was cheating, that meant I could have 90 piece of software (an Adobe plugin ) Q2I days to open all my files and get them con- (Quark to InDesign) that, for a mere $200 verted into something else. Two other Mac more.... Okay do the math--I could have users suggested Apple’s iWork--which is new bought Quark 8 for $300--now I had already every year or so--there is no updating. At spent $224 on software that would not do about $60 a pop, it was much more afford- what I needed and if I added in another $200 able than either of the other two possibilities. I was talking a gamble it would work. Adobe Sounds good to me. had not been truthful so far. That would I bought iWork ‘09. It was my goal to mean the ID solution would cost $423 versus change at least one file a day into it from the Quark 8 choice of $300. Hmm. Quark. It worked, but it took a lot of time. I had to learn about iWork and then move infor- mation back and forth etc. The next step was to buy this year’s Tur- Please note that all this research was boTax. If you have ever used it you know done by me. Adobe had not told me one that there is always updating that has to be thing truthfully yet! done. This year they made it impossible for I should have known better, but just to me--with my lowly dial-up--to get those see how much rope they would take to hang changes. They no longer provided them on themselves, I called Adobe back. I explained disc for the state. They would, however, mail that I had never used ID and it was supposed a disc of the federal changes at the end of to open Quark--right? Yes. Okay, would they March or early April. Oh great--just great. please explain how. Well--duh-- click on the Several of the phone calls to their customer file and ... Um er-- sorry, but I already tried service actually ended in their comments that that. you can’t use TT without at least DSL. Well, 17 then they should market it that way. open my files and I intended to keep it. I real- Right. Now I had the data available to ly did not want the poor unsuspecting eBay me and the tax software--but I couldn’t use it. buyer at the other end to walk into a hornet’s The public library had, in past years, allowed nest! people to bring in a thumb drive (or whatever In two time consuming steps I found out the PC term is) and download the files. This it was Adobe who had triggered the removal year they changed security and would no by eBay. But I would have to “speak” with longer allow it. The Lynches kindly allowed their abuse/piracy division and they only me to get the files from their DSL PC and I dealt with email. Both Adobe and eBay was back in (ahem) business. agreed that I should not contact the buyer Not too important directly, but I actually until things were a bit more settled. In the think I have DSL--that is another long and meantime, the proceeds (minus PayPal’s cut) expensive story told elsewhere and even the from the sale were in limbo and there was no ISP is not sure if I really have it or not. evidence at all that I had ever listed my item. Now the tax pressure was off..oops--I Without going into the gory details, I missed the 30 day return window. Okay--let could not get the name of anyone to call; I me think. Why not sell it on eBay? I finally had to email multiple places; I spent a lot of got around to listing it and agonized over time spinning my wheels. I now know that how to word it--finally settled on-- as unregis- OCI stands for notice of copyright infringe- tered (remember the Adobe folks had told me ment. There is something called the First twice). I figured that with the eBay charges Sale Doctrine and there seem to be multiple and the Paypal (had never used that before) court cases saying Adobe is in the wrong charges, if I could sell it for about $250 I with the...well...you’ll see. would be only $10-$20 in the hole. So, I put Adobe customer service informed me a reserve on it for $250. that they could not help me...that I would have to deal with their abuse arm. No one at that area would get back to me. So I kept calling the customer service people and ask- ing for help. Finally, they informed me that the only thing I could do was (okay--drum roll--ready for this??) was fill out a Transfer of License since the product was registered to It sold on a Sunday evening for $250. me.. Huh..say whaaa? Bright and early on Monday I mailed it from At that point Adobe said to contact the the local Post Office, using the same enve- buyer and see if he would fill out his part of lope in which it had arrived. I got home the form. Well, through this whole ugly from the Post Office and there was a full col- mess the buyer had been great about it. He or email from eBay informing me that my said sure. I filled out my part and emailed it item had been removed from eBay for allega- to him. He filled out his part and emailed it tions of copyright infringement, piracy, and back to me. Adobe then informed me that few other goodies. I, really panicked now, my customer account had too many weird tried to call someone--anyone but everyone password notations- I would have to come up was email only. Any time I thought I was with another email address and relegate this making progress I was asked about the item-- problem to that email address. I caved in and recall I had just mailed it!! No, I did not said, sure, but they would have to remember have the serial number, I had not registered it I never used that address and would not be and would only have the number if it would looking into it to check. I forwarded all the 18 lack of progress to the buyer and waited...and the transaction (which eBay no longer even waited... said had existed!) and I would figure out Five days later, the buyer emailed me to how to get his money returned to him. I had say he had contacted Adobe and they told absolutely no idea what all of this might be him (well- they were not talking to me!) in a doing to my eBay reputation/standing. short email that the serial number (which I emailed the abuse people of our deci- Adobe eventually gave me, since I did not sion and that I wanted things cleared up with have it!) was for an educational version and, eBay and my standing (etc.) cleared. I also hence, there could not be any transfer of wanted to know how the software had been license. Another huh????? A week later I registered to me--sounded illegal to me!! emailed the abuse section again-still no Then I called PayPal and got them to refund response--then--another short mail-asking for the full purchase amount to the buyer--I was the serial number (hey doofuses- don’t you on a roll! all talk or email each other????). Now that I The buyer said he would mail the soft- had what Adobe said the serial number was, I ware back for me since I had paid for the sent that along-quick response--it was from shipping to him an then we would be “even”. an educational version not to be used in . Hey-- this sounded like a win-win! America. Egads-- what else?? It dawned on me (remember that “other” email account??) that I had not checked emailt to see if anything was going on. To reiterate: Adobe said, educational ver- sion, can’t transfer license... copyright I sent that information to the buyer. He infringement, won’t change their stand. The was more philosophical than I was. He said software was--somehow magically- regis- he had worked in shipping for a short time tered to me. and maybe the place that had sold it to me There were two email from Adobe. had just shipped the wrong version by acci- The first one ( 9 days after this all started and dent. He would hold onto the software until 7 days after I had sent in all the paperwork we could find out. they requested) said they were happy to tell I checked the online site again to check me the transfer of license had been complet- the item number- yup still the Adobe full ver- ed. The second one said the case was closed. sion. But, my emails to them kept bouncing Well I’ll be.... and I was getting worried. That was on a Sun- I forwarded the emails to the buyer and day. First thing Monday I called them. Can asked him what he wanted to do--that I was we say fancy footwork?! They told me to suspicious that Adobe would wait until he send the buyer the link to the first sale court tried to use the software and then pounce... cases to show Adobe had no right to differen- can we say cynical? Personally, I would have tiate between educational and full versions. washed my hands of the whole mess as fast They persisted in sidestepping my direct ques- as I could. The buyer said he had not yet tion as to why the part number corresponded returned the software. He then contacted to Adobe’s full version and not the education- Adobe again and sent me a copy of the tran- al version. They also said- fine- just send the script. He had it on record that he said he was software back and they would give me full not a student, that he did live in the U.S., and reimbursement. Whew. that he did speak English (the U.S. English Okay- back to the buyer. thing had something to do with non-N. Amer- We decided, that with all this new infor- ican version). He also had it on record that mation, the prudent thing to do was to cancel Adobe said everything was fine and the prod 19 uct was now registered in his name. I’m More Crazy ews: guessing they realized they had mucked things up (legally if nothing else!) on the reg- PERTH, Australia (AP) — After being eject- istration to me, but... ed from a pub in Australia, a tourist from east- I told him not to delete any of the ern Australia broke into a zoo and climbed emails. He said he would send the check and onto the back of a crocodile named Fatso. not mess with anything more electronic!! The 36-year-old man climbed the barbed I had another two emails from the abuse wire fence surrounding the Broome Croc- people--one saying they would not rescind odile Park because he wanted to give the 16- the OIC and one saying they had sent an foot Fatso a pat.When he attempted to sit on email to eBay that the seller (me) had agreed its back, the croc took offense, spun around, there was copyright infringement. Oh no I and bit him on the right leg. Then it inexplica- didnnnt. How they got that out of the email bly let the man go. He climbed back over the saying we had decided to simply cancel.... fence to safety. The man suffered some “very Almost two weeks of strung out anxiety nasty lacerations” and was taken to a hospi- and two migraine headaches later, it looks as tal. Once Saltwater crocodiles get hold of if maybe, just maybe this is over. I will not you, they’re not renowned for letting you go. hold my breath. I will wait a while before I The man was lucky to have escaped with his send an email to the abuse people so I can go life. Saltwater crocodiles, th world’s largest on record that I do not agree with their state- reptile, can grow up to 23 feet (7 meters). ment that I admitted to infringement. Sigh- I They have become increasingly common in did everything I could to avoid any possible Australia’s tropical north since hunting was complications.. banned in 1971. So, what else has been going on? Stay tuned and you will hear, but right now I am And I thought drunken Canadians were not quite up to it! crazy. P.S. It is now almost 3 months after the MOSCOW (AP) — Authorities in Russia are fact. I just sent off the scathing email I typed opening an animal cruelty probe into a week- up back then--to the Adobe abuse depart- end stunt on a beach in southern Russia in ment. I wanted to get in the last word. I did which a donkey parasailed high over the surf. not agree that I fouled things up--aw...let’s Amateur video footage showed men attach- just forget the whole thing. ing a parasail harness to the trembling mule. The English-language Kremlin news channel P.P.S. Adobe informed me that the only Russia Today reported that sunbathers were legitimate online distributor of their products distressed at the sight of the flying donkey, is Adobe itself. They asked me if I had any which brayed in fear as it glided above the other of their products on my computer. They bay for half an hour. said Arobat Reader did not count. I had to Russia Today reported the donkey was think a while-remember- new Mac. Then real- shell-shocked but survived. Reports said the ized that sitting at my feet was a brand new- donkey flight was a promotional stunt. Em unopened Photoshop Elements along with ployees of a leisure firm in the village of Gol- the Classroom in A Book--just purchased ubitskaya on the Azov Sea could face two from Amazon.com--and it is still sitting there years in prison if they are charged and con- unopened. victed of animal cruelty. But then there are the Russians--and sober at that. 20 A Fannish Adventure II: The Bookstore It was a beautiful although 1 had been in and Autumn Saturday. The sky Tom Sadler through Royal Oak several was a brilliant blue with times. only a few small clouds scattered about. My But there was a solution to that. I knew wife, Ruth, had to work and that left me at someone who might be more familiar with loose ends for the day. Well, not quite. I had Royal Oak and who would also provide me a mission in mind, a search that would with some good, congenial company. That involve a minor trip.... was, if he was available Saturday and I could A couple of days earlier, while skim- suck—er prevail upon him to accompany me. ming through the Detroit ews on my coffee That might prove to be a bit of a challenge, break, I had come across a small advertise- especially if he remembered an earlier excur- ment. It was fora used bookstore, which sion with me. (And, unfortunately, I'm sure offered a wide variety of unusual and interest- he did recall; his memory is very good.) But, ing books at reasonable prices. (Reasonable? fool that I am, I had to try. I had wondered. Did that mean cheap? Hope That evening, I took the first step. I sent springs eternal in the fannish breast.... ) Of him an e-mail message. It was a simple one, particular interest was the fact that the store non-threatening, friendly, asking if he had also advertised it stocked a large selection of any plans for Saturday. Because it was quite science fiction and fantasy. Now that sound- late, I didn't expect a reply from him immedi- ed like something worth investigating. Espe- ately. cially if the prices were low enough. The next evening, I checked my e-mail, There were a couple of minor problems, deleting 17 mostly unimportant notes from a though. First, the store was located some- writers' discussion group. (I really must where on Woodward Avenue—in Royal unsubscribe to that. Those people didn't seem Oak. I couldn't check out the store that night to have anything better to do with their lives or the next, but there was always Saturday. than exchange piddly little messages all day Second, I wasn't very familiar with that area and half the night.) At last 1 came to the only 21 important message. It was brief. “I just have some yard work to do. Where do you want to go this time? I hope I won't have to save your life again. Lan.” After a few minutes' hard thought, I typed a reply: “It won't be far. A place in Royal Oak. And it couldn't possibly be dan- gerous.” Off went the message on its electron- ic way. “It couldn't possibly be dangerous.” Lit- tle did I know . . . So there I was that beautiful Saturday morning, cruising along 1-696, nearing Roy- al Oak. The sun was shining, Mozart's “Jupiter Symphony” was on the radio, and I “Well, I saw an ad in the paper the other was congratulating myself on having man- day fora new bookstore in Royal Oak. It's aged to avoid telling Lan exactly what time I somewhere on Woodward. It's supposed to would be arriving. There was no sense in tak- have a very good selection of SF and fantasy ing too many chances. books. I thought I'd check it out. And since It wasn't that I was afraid he would take you live closer to Royal Oak, I figured you off on some sudden, unexpected errand. I might know your way around fairly well and was sure he would be at home when I arrived could help me find the place. Besides, I enjoy ( Well, reasonably sure. Lan is an honorable being in your kind, clever, intelligent, sensi- man, after all), even if only to tell me how tive fannish company.” I finished with what I sorry he was that he wouldn't be able to hoped was a satisfying clincher. accompany me after all. “You don't have to lay it on so thick, Half an hour or so later, I turned onto Tom. It's not that far away and shouldn't take Valleyview and parked in front of Lan's and that long. Sure. I'll go with you. My plea- Kathy's house. I got out and checked the sure.” garage. The door was open and both cars “Really? But . . .?” He had taken me com- were parked inside. pletely by surprise by being so agreeable. Satisfied, I strode up to the front door That bothered me. It couldn't be right. There and rang the bell. A few seconds later, the had to be a catch of some kind. door opened and Lan cheerily greeted me “I beg your pardon?” Lan looked at me and let me inside. I gazed around their com- quizzically. fortable living room and noted that every- “There is always a 'but, and a price,” I thing looked the same as when I had been reminded him. “I don't expect you to come there last. Well, almost everything. Lan's two along purely out of the goodness of your Hugos were sitting side by side but seemed heart.” to be enveloped in a pale blue light. It wasn't “Now that hurts, Tom. That hurts a lot!” a spotlight exactly (Lan isn't that ostenta- The look of sadness and wounded pride on tious), but I couldn't quite figure out what the Lan's face tore at my heart. “Maybe I do light was. want to do it out of the goodness of my heart. “So what's up?” Lan asked. I could see Did you ever think of that?” him watching me closely as I studied his “Well, uh— You're a great guy, kind, Hugos from afar. “What do you need my considerate and thoughtful and all that—' I help with?” looked around the room again, then at the 22 floor. ”If you—uh—find a book you—uh — asked as we headed for Royal Oak. want, I'll buy it for you, provided it isn't out- “It's uh.” I dug out the slip of paper on rageously priced.“ which I had written the name and address of ”You really don't have to do that, but the bookstore. 'Another Dimension Books'. okay. I'll make sure it's a reasonably priced Hmm. I thought there was an 'in' in there. book. I'll go let Kathy know we'll be leaving. Maybe I miscopied it. Yeah. That must be I'll be back shortly.“ Lan hurried upstairs to it.“ tell Kathy. ”You should have cut out the ad and I ambled over to admire the Hugos up brought it with you.“ close. Instantly, three things happened simul- ”I didn't think of that,“ I said humbly. taneously. Red and blue strobe lights flashed ”Some people don't possess your foresight.“ wildly, bells and klaxons rent the air, and a Lan didn't say anything, but smiled to thick sheet of Plexiglas slammed down to the himself Several long, quiet minutes passed. floor between the rockets and me. I staggered After a few more minutes he made a left turn backwards as Lan reached the bottom of the down a cross street, we drove a little farther, stairs. He took in the situation, punched sever- and stopped at a traffic light. At last Lan al buttons on a keypad on the wall, and every- spoke, ”What's the address?“ thing calmed down. Except for my heartbeat ”It's—uh—as near as I could make out and respiration. from the ad, it looks like 10000 Woodward. ”I didn't try to take them!“ I shouted. Does that sound right?“ ”Honest. I was just looking!“ ”I'm not sure.“ Lan turned right onto ”Trying out the alarm system?“ Lan Woodward. We drove along checking the grinned wickedly. ”It works very well, numbers as best we could. A few blocks lat- doesn't it? Shall we go? Your car or mine?“ er, Lan said, ”We must have missed it.“ He ”Uh—yes. Let's go,“ I said, shaking my got turned around and we headed back the left hand to make the numbness go away. way we had come. Still no sign of the (That damned Plexiglas sheet came down address. fast.) ”Let's take your car, if that's okay. I'm ”This is damned strange,“ I said. ”I'm still a little—uh—jumpy from the commo- sure I got the address right at least. It has to tion.“ be around here somewhere. There's a row of ”I understand.“ Lan smiled fiendishly. ”I buildings maybe it's one of those.“ wanted an alarm that would be as effective as ”I hope so,“ Lan said grimly. ”Other- possible. It looks like I got it.“ wise, I'm going back home and you can come ”I'll say,“ I mumbled as I got into Lan's back and look around on your own.“ Lan car and buckled myself in. The numbness in changed lanes, made a right turn, and pulled my fingers was slowly beginning to wear off. into a parking stall. ”Too effective, if you ask me.“ We looked at the buildings. All but one ”It all depends on how you look at it,“ had signs out front designating what they Lan said as he backed out of the driveway. were. ”If a person wants to keep possessions safe ”Maybe that's it,“ I said, pointing to the from certain people. . . ” one building with no sign in front. I kept silent. I didn't like the way he ”And maybe the place is empty,“ Lan looked at me or the reproving tone in his said as we got out. voice. After all, I had promised I wouldn't try We walked over to the building. There to steal his Hugos again. I had just wanted to was a large display window but the glass was look at them up close. translucent. The entrance was a glass door, “What's the name of the bookstore?” Lan also translucent, with the words “Another 23 Dimension Books” in gold letters on it. “This is it,” I said, putting my hand on the door handle. “Wait a minute, Tom. I'm not sure we, should go in there.” “What?” I jerked my hand back. “Why? The place looks all right to me.” I gazed at the unopened door. “Doesn't it look all right to you?” “It seems normal enough. But—I don't know—I just have this feeling . . .” ”It's only a bookstore with an odd name. How bad a place can it be? I'm going on in.“ I took the handle and slowly pulled the door open. I watched Lan out of the comers of my eye, kind of hoping he would say or do something to change my mind. But he was exasperatingly silent Not quite so enthusiastically, I entered the store. It was a relief to note Lan was right behind me. But whether it was out of a sense of obligation to a promise made or because he wanted to see what sort of horrible fate befell me, I ion of the book's contents. Along the back wasn't sure. I hoped the former and not the wall were two tall, narrow glass cases with a latter. Because of Lan's hesitance and cau- door between. tion, I tried to prepare myself for some sort ”Not a very large selection,“ I observed. of nasty surprise. I stopped a few feet into the ”No. But I think it's an exclusive one,“ room and looked around. Lan said. ”Are you sure you still want to look ”Shuttle Bop,“ we both said at almost the around? This place may be more expensive same instant. ”No. Not quite,“ Lan amended. than the ad said.“ ”It looks more like something from The ”I think you're right.“ I looked around Weapon Shop of Isher.“ again and sighed. ”I figured it was too good ”Well it's not a dangerous looking place to he true. Yeah, 1 guess maybe we'd better anyway,“ I said as I looked around the room. go. Sorry for dragging you all the way over An earth-tone carpet covered the floor. here for nothing.“ Situated seemingly randomly around the ”I suppose we could look around a lit- room were small glass cases much like what tle,“ Lan suggested. ”We may be able to find one would see in a jewelry store. Each case something that isn't high-priced. Then the seemed to hold a single book, open, and illu- trip wouldn't be a total loss.“ minated by lights inside the case. Along the I looked at Lan to see if he was serious walls on either side were tall glass cases, all or putting me on. From his expression he softly lit. Instead of rows of books jammed seemed serious ”Well—okay,“ I said as casu- into the cases, each shlf supported only a few ally as I could. ”I would like to see what's so books, each one open and inclined at perhaps special about books that are kept in glass cas- a forty-five degree angle so a person could es like jewelry.“ 24 ”Maybe they're covered in diamonds or we headed for the entrance. bound in gold.“ Lan started toward one of the If this had been a television program or a nearer cases, which sat on a slender pedestal, movie, there would have been ominous made of obsidian or some dark substance. music playing at about that moment. But it ”It they are, then this place can't possibly wasn't and it wasn't. But, as if Lan's words do much business. How many people could had been some sort of cue, the door at the afford books like that?“ rear of the display area swung open. And ”Not me, that's for sure.“ Lan said. We then things began to get strange after that.... looked at the book. ”May I help you?“ a slow, deep voice ”Hmmm. What language is it written in, asked. We turned to see who the speaker Lan? It doesn't look like anything I've ever was. The voice belonged to a very short man seen before.“ in a long silvery robe. How such a big voice ”I don't recognize it either. Although it got into such a small body was beyond me. almost looks like Russian—Cyrillic. And the The man was completely bald and hairless, pages don't look as if they're paper.“ lacking even eyebrows or a five o'clock shad- ”But they don't look like metal either. ow. Let's check out some of the other books.“ I ”No thank you,“ Lan said. ”We were just headed for another case. Lan went off toward looking around.“ a third. ”This one's in a different language ”I know,“ the voice oozed out like a yet,“ I said. ”How about the one you're look- glacier. ”I was watching from the next room. ing at?“ You did not see anything you liked?“ ”Yes, another unrecognizable language.“ ”Not really,“ I said. ”You've got some Lan glanced at the book one last time and interesting books here but there aren't any went to another glass case. prices on them. I have a feeling my friend Between us, we checked the books in all and I couldn't afford any of them.“ the small glass cases. Every one was in some ”You wouldn't want any of these any- strange language although there were more way,“ The Voice said ponderously. ”These than one book in some of the languages. are just for display. The best and largest selec- ”This is definitely an unusual book tion is in the next room. If you would care to store,“ Lan said_ ”And it has some of the come with me, I will be pleased to show most unusual books I've ever seen.“ them to you.“ ”That's for sure.“ I strode over to the ”That's okay.“ I looked at Lan, who nod- large glass case to the left of the entrance and ded. ”We have to be going now.“ looked at some of the books. ”All ha! Here ”But you can't leave until you've looked are a couple in English. At least I think it's at the really interesting items in the next English. I can understand most of the words. room,“ The Voice insisted. ”It will be well I wish I could see who the author was.“ worth the time, I assure you.“ ”Let me see.“ Lan came over and studied ”I don't know...“ I said. ”My friend has a the book I was looking at. ”I can't tell from lot of important work to do. I don't want to the style of the writing. But it's sure an odd waste any more of his valuable time.“ kind of English. What kind of book store are ”Your time won't be wasted. Honest.“ we in?“ The little man with the Big Voice came up ”Beats me. I don't know about you, but I' close to us. ”Surely there are some books you but I've seen enough. Let's get out of here have been searching for for a long time? I before a sales clerk shows up.“ have them here! Guaranteed. I am even will- ”Speaking of sales clerks... I'm surprised ing to bet that I have books you don't even we haven't seen one before now,“ Lan said as know you want or need. Yet. Come and look. 25 You won't be disappointed.“ ”Here you are,“ he said. ”Look around all Before Lan or I could say anything, the you like. Take your time. If you have any Little Man grabbed us by an arm each and questions, someone will be there to answer began herding us toward the door through them. If you will excuse me, I have another which he had come earlier. The Little Man customer_“ The Little Man trotted off toward was strong! Or a nearby door on else he had some- the left and dis- how taken con- appeared trol of our through it. minds. (Well, Lan and I maybe not mine; looked at each it was too strong other. I could and sharp. But see an expres- Lan's now .... ) sion of extreme The door weariness on swung open as Lan's face. we. approached ”What have it. We stepped through the opening—and I you gotten us into?“ he asked at last. could swear we emerged into a space filled ”I don't know! I didn't mean to get us with more stars than either Lan or I had ever into anything like this. But, look, the Little seen before; as many stars as one might see Man is gone. Now's our chance to get out of near the center of the galaxy. A few steps here.“ I turned and started toward the door. more and we were standing inside another, ”Are you sure we can leave as easily as larger room. How we made it through that that?“ narrow door three abreast and not single file, ”Wh—what do you mean? Of course we I'll never be able to understand. Maybe the can. All we have to do is open the door and door widened itself somehow to accommo- step through. It's as simple as that.“ date us. ”Are you absolutely sure? What if the But even that possibility was nothing door is locked?“ ”It can't be.“ I looked at the compared to the room where all the ”good“ door. ”The Little Man wouldn't do that to us. stuff was. It seemed to stretch for miles, and Would he?“ had floor to ceiling shelves crammed with ”I have no idea. Try the door and see. books. There were other doors widely spaced Go ahead.“ apart along each side and, I guessed, at the ”I will.“ And I did. And it opened at a other end_ (I can't say for sure about that. I touch. I breathed a sigh of relief and grinned couldn't see the other end.) More disconcert- at Lan. ”There. See? Nothing to worry about. ing was the fact that the room looked to be We can go any time want.“ six floors high. I counted five wide balconies ”It looks as if you were right. I apologize around the perimeter of the room, each with for doubting you.“ shelves of books running along their walls. I ”That's not necessary,“ I said with all the knew that couldn't be possible. From outside, magnanimity I could muster. ”I had to do it the building looked to be only two stories as much to reassure myself as to prove any tall. This was a brain numbing paradox and point. So, shall we go?“ definitely more than even my brain could ”Something tells me you don't really comprehend. want to leave now.“ Lan shook his head sad- The Little Man let go of our arms as the ly. ”I was afraid of that.“ door snapped shut with unnerving finality. ”Well I figured since we were here, what 26 would it hurt to look around a little bit? We we're not smart enough to look at these know we can leave anytime. Look, if you books?“ want, you could leave me here, do what you ”You're from Earth, aren't you?“ have to do, and come back ”I thought we were on for me in a few hours. How Earth,“ I retorted, irked by about that?“ his air of superiority. ”I couldn't do that, tempt- ”I rest my case,“ the tall, ing though it is.“ Lan sighed. thin man said. ”The books in ”All right. Let's look around. this section aren't in your lan- Where do you want to start?“ guage anyway. Go to the ”You would ask that. I area reserved for your wish there was some sort of species. Go on now!“ He floor directory we could con- turned and strode off. sult.“ ”That's a heck of a way ”We could always try the to treat customers,“ I said. one on the wall by the door.“ ”'Not intelligent.' Doesn't he I turned around and know we're fans?“ looked. Sure enough, there ”Probably not,“ Lan said was an obvious diagram of reasonably. ”Why should he? the room we were in. It was If you're going to look at the most unusual diagram I books, we'd better get going. had ever seen. It was three The place he pointed out dimensional, like a hologram, and it seemed looks as if it's a long way off.“ to protrude from the wall. I peered at it close- ”I'm trying to look at books,“ I said as I ly. followed Lan toward the far end of the room. ”This isn't much use,“ I complained. ”It's not my fault we picked a bookstore with ”The print is too small. Let's just look around a lot of foreign language books.“ at random and see what we find.“ Lan stopped and stared at me a minute. ”Whatever you say.“ ”What do you mean 'we' picked? You're the We walked over to the nearest shelves. I one who found out about this place.“ reached out to pull out one of the books. ”Oh. Yeah. Right. Sorry.“ I clamped my Seemingly from nowhere, a very tall, thin mouth shut and looked around the room as man with a long pointed nose and fluorescent we walked along. blue hair and dressed in a fuzzy green suit Ten minutes later, we didn't seem to ran up and slapped my hand repeatedly. Lan have gotten much closer to the far end. I stepped back out of the way and watched. looked at Lan. He looked at me, then at his ”Don't touch that!“ the man said in a watch. He didn't say anything, but I knew he high-pitched voice. ”You don't want it. It's wanted to get out of there and go home. By not right for you. What you want is up there.“ now, I was starting to come around to his He pointed toward the far end of the room way of thinking. and one of the uppermost tiers. ”These are ”You know,“ I said, ”wherever it is we're for the intelligent species. The books for heading looks a long way off. It could take us your kind are in the back, where they should a very long time to get there. I was just think- be.“ ing . . .” ”`Our kind'? Gee, thanks, “ I said, rub- “Yes? What were you thinking.” There bing my hand. (It was the one Lan's Hugo was a hopeful sound in Lan's voice, and his shield had grazed.) ”What makes you think face brightened. 27 “I was thinking that maybe we Lan is too nice a guy and I didn't want him should—” mad at me if I could avoid it. After all, I Before I could finish what I was saying, might need him to accompany me some- the strangest looking contraption I have ever where else some other time. seen emerged from a nearby archway. The Lan shut off the engine, pulled the key only way I can describe it is that it looked from the ignition, and sat there silently. I like a shimmery, sparkling, silver wheel-less didn't dare move either until he did. The min- stretch golf cart that could accommodate at utes ticked by. I got more and more nervous. least eight passengers, not counting the driv- Finally, he turned to me. “Did you see the er. And the driver— Well the driver looked driver of that cart?” he asked. “And it spoke like a giant green and orange starfish with a very good English.” nearly human head. (I told you things started “Yeah, I saw it,” I said with a touch of getting strange when Lan and I passed apprehension. “I was afraid I was having through that doorway.) We stood gaping at some kind of hallucinations.” the vehicle and driver as it floated up beside “And what about that tall, fussy man us. who slapped your hand?” Lan chuckled. The driver looked at us and said, “You should have seen the look on your “Headed for the Humans, Earth section, are face.” He laughed, obviously relishing the you? Get aboard and I'll take you there. It's a sight. “You sure can pick some strange lot faster than walking.” places.” I looked at Lan. Lan looked at me. He “Yeah. Well I'm sorry you didn't get a rapidly shook his head. I nodded in acknowl- book, as I promised.” edgment. This was a little too much, even for “That's okay. The experience alone was me. I jerked my head in the direction we had worth it. Besides, there will be another time.” come. We turned in unison and started run- He opened his door and got out. ning as fast we could. I'm a little taller than “What do you mean?” I got out, shut the Lan, but he's younger and in better shape. By door, and looked at Lan over the top of the the time I reached the door, he had it open car. and was waving me through. We made a “You'll find out.” He came around the quick dash through the starry universe. By car and gave me a big hug. “Some day. It's the time I had reached the front door, Lan getting late and you ought to be heading was already outside holding it open for me. home. I'll see you again sometime. Drive care- The man is FAST. And polite. fully.” I just managed to shut my door and buck- “I will,” I said, seeing that I was being le myself in as Lan backed out of the stall gently but firmly shooed away. Lan headed and tore out of the lot and onto the street. He for the front door and I started for my car. didn't say a word and didn't look at me. I “See you,” I called back as the door shut. tried to apologize even though I had no way 1 got into my car, started it up, and of knowing what we'd encounter in the book- pulled away from the curb, got turned store, but he held up his hand and shook his around, and headed down the street. “What head. did he mean I'd 'find out some day'?” I whis- “At least don't be mad at me,” I pleaded. pered as I turned left onto Beach Road. “Find He still didn't say a word, so t finally shut up. out what?” Did he, I wondered, intend to By the time we pulled into his driveway, return to that bookstore? With me? Maybe I'd Lan didn't look so angry. In fact, unless it better not bother him fora long time.... was wishful thinking on my part, he might The End even have been smiling. I fervently hoped so. (Or maybe not.) 28 A Trickle of LoCs . . . From: John Purcell back up your statements, and the reaction June 18, 2010 you’ll get will be a noncommittal “Huh. That’s interesting; I didn’t know that,” and Tom - that will be that. I sincerely doubt that Ameri- cans will get it at all, but there is hope. Lewis Many thanks for the latest Reluctant Black gave a beautiful example of this on his Famulus. Once again, a wonderful fanzine latest Comedy Central special, “Stark Raving with interesting and fun contents, starting Black” when he held up this wafer-thin cell- with Sheryl Birkhead's covers. I have always phone and said, “This is Star Trek. I am hold- enjoyed her artistic style; very distinctive. ing a computer in my hand.” The audience Maybe she should do another cover for didn’t laugh—a few chuckles could be Askance; Sheryl did the heard—but Black's com- front cover for the third ment rang true. Until issue back in July, something like that is 2007. It won’t hurt to pointed out to the mass- ask. es, people simply don’t Like you men- think about it. Enlight- tioned in your response ened ignorance. Back to to my loc, I see you their normal lives the slipped in more Robot populace goes, oblivi- news articles. Your clos- ous to the massive ing comments about the changes happening practical applications of around them. robotics agree with my I have yet to really thoughts. As for your check out this Kindle final remark - “It probably won’t change thing that Gene Stewart wrote about—sure, most of their minds anyway, but maybe some I’ve heard some information and stories of them will be a tiny bit more respectful of about the Kindle, but haven’t had the time to the genre.” I would have to agree in princi- really do some digging on this development. ple. Science fiction writers and fans have All it does for me is envision a library on a been speculating for almost a century now file no bigger than an existing cellphone. It is about the advantages/disadvantages of the one hell of a development, one that I find fas- use of robots, but I think most people, being cinating, but I still prefer holding a book in rather uninformed of this kind of technologi- my hand. The practical applications certainly cal change, will react more out of ignorance exist and are appealing, but for us old pharts, rather than enlightenment. Maybe the best we like books. If anything, Gene has given those of us in the field can hope for is that the me something to research—whenever I have general perception of science fiction will be the time, whenever the hell that is! one of enlightened ignorance. You know Not much else I can add to how I already what I mean: tell a non-fan you’re an SF fan feel about Alfred Byrd’s Kentuckiana article. and give some solid, documentable proof to This is all so danged interesting, and he 29 answered a question I once posed: where “[[I hope by now you’ve asked Sheryl for a does Al get this information? From a book cover for Askance. She has been combating available at Amazon.com, according to the computer/printer problems for a while now end-note. Dare I say it? Okay, I will: all with only sporadic luck.//I just couldn’t help knowledge if not found on the Internet can be doing that with the robot articles—as I have found through some means you will find on also done in this issue with one being devel- the Internet. oped by the U.S. avy. And there are a cou- I think that sentence made my brain hurt. ple of others as well, but I’ll save those for Then Taral Wayne goes and supports the next issue. The robotics researchers seem how I feel about Adam Sandler movies: icky. to be very busy these days—as do the theoreti- Count me as one of those who finds his cal physicists. Im-proving most people’s atti- movies infantile, derivative, predictable,and tudes to- ward that and science fiction in par- unfunny. Personally, I believe Sandler is vast- ticular may not enjoy the success many of us ly overrated, just like some other SNL gradu- would hope for but at least—I think—most ates, like Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, and oth- people these days won’t look at us as if we ers best forgotten. After the first dozen years, were something to be avoided and shunned. the quality of the people involved with Satur- Of course with Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon day Night Live 5, Stargate, and oth- dropped significant- er motion picture ly, writers definitely and television orient- included. Once in a ed products (even if great while— like some of it is looked whenever the moon down upon by long- goes nova or SyFy time sf fans) science channel actually has fiction is becoming a Really Good Movie more and more on—the SNL folks nail it. I don’t watch it acceptable. It may never become totally anymore, and this is because of lackluster tal- respectable but it might be close. Re: Lewis ents like Adam Sandler. He just doesn’t Black. Cell phones are equivalent to Star strike me as a funny person—except for Trek communicators. The ipads would be maybe Opera Man and “The Hanukkah closer to what Black claimed. But computers Song”. The first couple times, those were and Kindles/Sony Readers, et al are science good. But that’s not a very lengthy resume to fictional.//Yes, we old pharts (many of us) do base a career upon. Keep trying, Adam. He prefer good old books but I believe there can needs better material to bring out any talent be a place for both. People shouldn’t auto- hiding beneath that bland facade. matically discard earlier technology just No real comments for me to make in the because something new and different has letters, aside from Dave Rowe’s comment come along. Recently there was an article about the over-use of the word “stuff.” Unfor- about technologies which should have disap- tunately, thatvs one of the words that people peared but haven’t. Someone commented simply use as a catch-all phrase. Maybe we about about one particular older piece of should all start using the word “plergb” in technology, manual typewriters: they don’t place of “stuff” in our normal, day-to-day require electricity. Admittedly, one would world occupations and see if it catches on. need a light source of some kind to see what Now that would be fun. Stuff like that he/she was typing but if the power were out amuses me. in the daytime there would be no problem. All the best, John Purcell Except during a storm there would be plenty 30 of light. Even at night, if a person were deter- parently the M2-F3. Then the Air Force said mined enough and had such things, it would they needed a vehicle with more lift, so the still be possible to use a typewriter by the Shuttle as built had wings—and in the end, it light of another technology which hasn't com- was never used for the loads for which it pletely vanished—oil lamps/lanterns. Printed would need the extra lift. books should never disappear no matter what “That Crazy Buck Rogers Stuff”: Alien techno-snobs may think.//You don’t “have microbes can cut both ways. We might not the time”! You and most of us. I hope your have immunity to their germs, they might not brain stopped hurting after a few minutes. have immunity to ours. Consider, for exam- That’s not a pleasant feeling. I know. I’ve ple, the epidemiology of syphilis, which was experienced the same sort of thing myself.//I endemic in Hispaniola in pre-Columbian haven’t seen enough Adam Sandler movies to times. fairly judge him but from what little I have The Old Kit Bag: I follow Bob’s point. seen I doubt I’d ever Worse yet, the field become a fan of his. has not only mutat- ot when there oth- ed from SF to fanta- er, much better per- sy, it has mutated to formers around. vampire sto- You’d think having ries—even worse better material yet, what I call Sexy would make a differ- Vampire stories, ence—but not neces- where the vamp, far sarily. A poor or from being a para- medi- ocre performer sitic domineering could probably ruin monster, is a sensi- even Shakespeare or tive sympathetic [insert your own example]//You have a good misunderstood fellow. Which in turn leads to idea about replacing “stuff” with some other Sparkly Emo Vampire stories, of which the word but if I recall correctly even the creator mere mention is enough said. of “Plergb”(note the capitalization) so far Rat Stew: Who uses coincidence more, hasn’t made the word widely used and proba- Charles Dickens or Edgar Rice Burroughs? bly only us old pharts even remember or (By the way, did you know that a son of know about “Plergb”. (See Tom Digby’s Charles Dickens was a judge, and a grandson internet site for more than you ever wanted was Director of Naval Intelligence?) So treat- to know about Plergb)We might have to think ing genre as “a 12-piece puzzle featuring the up a different word.//Oooh. That last sen- smiling visage of Poopy Panda” is rather be- tence . . . That sort of thing should be out- neath them. However, as Avram Davidson lawed.]] said some thirty-five years ago, now that pro- fessors are running out of things to say about From: Joseph Major <respectful voice> The Classics <respectful June 28, 2010 voice> they are forced to explore other fields of literature. Keep your eye out for “A Prole- gomena Into the Semiotic Transgression of Dear Tom: the GLBT Presence in ‘A Princess of Mars”. Burroughs’s attempt to reassure the reader, or Cover: One of the lifting bodies they someone, by having the story be as by used as experimentation for the Shuttle, ap- “Normal Bean” didn’t work. 31 Kentuckiana VIII: And people wondered eccentric neighbor Arthur. They became why a state that had provided so many more good friends after resolving the little matter troops to the Union voted to secede (in Turtle- of the tree and the swimming pool, and Sher- dove’s The Guns of the South, that is). man was really sorry when Arthur died dur- Question: When Hannah was ordered to ing heart surgery. crawl under the house to get the rooster, did Arthur was better known by his profes- the Home Guard sergeant say to the captain, sional name. Harpo Marx. “Do you think that’s wise?”? Did the captain Namarie, call one of his privates “Stupid boy!”? One Fan’s Search: Ah, the old days of Joseph T Major Lan’s Lantern! And when fan fiction was actually about fans! [[The cover. I wouldn’t know about the ori- From the Depths of Strange Matter: Ned gin of the spacecraft. That is something Brooks: To be fair, a lot of stories about you’d have to inquire about with the artist. More, such as the one ot using something for where he resolved an argu- which it was originally ment with a Protestant by designed or using it in a having the man tied to a different way is typical of tree in his front garden and just about any human flogged, come from works related institution or such as Foxe’s Book of group or govern- Martyrs. Which is Protes- ment.//Yes. It goes without tant propaganda. I’ve read saying (even if I am going Catholic propaganda from to say so) that we and that era which has a similar aliens are likely to harbor bloodthirstiness, but with microbes or germs which actor and target reversed. could fatally affect the oth- Me: “I am Mr. Under- er. So while space aliens hill, if any name must be might infect us with some- given.” LotR, Book I, Chap- thing (intentionally or ter 8. not) we could do the same to them. I wonder . Alexis Gilliland: Gemmatria are for peo- . . Has any idea like that been explored in a ple who have a lot of time on their hands. science fiction story? Maybe. Some research There were a good many back then. Howev- into that seems indicated.//I find myself dis- er, I have read that there was a typo in the gusted by all the mutations from SF into Book of Revelation and the Number of the almost an obsession with vampires (sexy of Beast was 616, thus throwing out millions of otherwise) and werewolves. As far as I’m con- identifications. cerned, Stoker’s Dracula and Polidori’s The Brad W. Foster: Khen Moore liked Vampyre should have been sufficient. And as “Dark Star” and used to show it fairly fre- for “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Destroyer” quently to the Nashville SF group. That’s . . . Let’s go no further into the “Sparkly when I saw it, having taken Annette Carrico Elmo Vampire” stories. Those words alone down there for a meeting. And now they’re should strike terror in the hearts and minds both gone . . . of us traditional SF fans.//Dickens and ERB Bob Kennedy: I remember Allan Sher- may possibly been even in their use of coinci- man because his autobiography had a couple dence. But then that was and has been a fea- of chapters about his relationship with his ture in a fair amount of fiction by other writ 32 ers. If some scholar did attempt a work along From: Lisa Major the lines of what you mentioned chances are June 28, 2010 he/she would get it wrong or assign interpre- tations to whatever Sf they were studying Another issue of TRF has arrived. Thank which the works never had, or at least the you very much. I am somewhat puzzled that writers of those works had never intended, or you offer your zine in exchange for the mean- else complicate the study all out of propor- ing of life. I thought everybody knew the tion. Maybe “ ormal Bean” was a momen- answer to that is 42. tary flash of inspiration on ERB’s part that We may be living inside a black hole? he should have suppressed forcibly.]]It’s Hmm, maybe this explains how dryers eat screwy how fan fiction went from being fic- socks. The little black hole inside the dryer tion about fans to being fiction by fans. But swallows them. then many SF fans are more creative than Bob Sabella. I have no intention of fans of other genres and able to make up demanding your removal from TRF. In the tales of their own about other worlds and peo- first place TRF is Tom’s zine. Even if I want- ple rather than writ- ed to, it would not be ing stories based on my place to tell Tom the work of the pro- what should be in his fessional writers zine. He seems to be whose works they doing quite nicely very much enjoy. without my supervi- There have been sion. Further, if I many SF fans who were to start making have become profes- such de-mands he sional SF writers--and not writing the might insist that I replace your writings with “other” kind of fan fiction.//As the saying mine. That would only be fair, really, but goes, history is written by the victors. So are then Alexiad would suffer. Joe would get accounts of historical personages and how unhappy with me and well, it just wouldn’t they're treated depends upon the side to be pretty. So I will just continue to enjoy which they belonged.//I had forgotten about your writings. about that line from Lord of the Rings and I would like to see a copy of Wartime the fact that Hobbits live in homes more or Daze. less dug into hills. Even so, the surname I liked Byrd’s Kentuckiana. referred more to people who lived at or near The senior piece was neat. the bottom or base of a hill (and, most likely) Re DSL, maybe we should loan Grant to in a conventional wooden dwelling of some Sheryl some weekend. sort rather than inside the hill.//People with I don’t think you should worry about “. . . A lot of time on their hands” do seem to technology killing you until your house starts come up with some bizarre and often useless telling you to get out. ideas. Like numerology, phrenology Scientol- I am currently recommending a book I ogy, and so onWas it a typo or perhaps a mis- stumbled on recently. It’s Grand Central Are- translation? The KJV Bible was, as copies na, by Ryk Spoor and it was written as a trib- state, “translated out ot the original tongues ute to Doc Smith. (languages)”, among them Greek, Latin and I think it’s well worth the $7.99. Anyone Aramaic.]] who likes space opera should take a good look at this one. Thanks for sharing TRF with us. 33 [[That’s what the late Douglas Adams would Jiant—not all that many general circulation like people to think but I suspect he was fanzines in SF fandom’s long and checkered either misinformed or trying to draw people history have reached that number, and it’s away from the truth—whatever it is. I almost something to be quietly proud of. learned the meaning of life once a couple of In this latest issue, it was interesting to decades ago when I thought drinking liquor read how Bob Sabella sidled into fandom, was a worthwhile activity—but ran out of out after a while, and then back in again. Scotch whiskey. And the liquor stores were I’m glad he’s here, not the least for his cur- closed.// Actually dryers don’t eat socks; that rent yeoman-like service as the Official Edi- was a nasty rumor started by jealous clothes- tor of FAPA (the Fantasy Amateur Press lines because more and more people were Association). And I rather enjoy his ongoing using dryers. The socks are turned into anti- personal diary in Visions of Paradise even matter and and kept though at one time I in storage. //The gently tweaked him only thing to keep over making me sali- Bob Sabella from vate uncontrollably appearing in TRF at his descriptions (aside from my ceas- of some delectable ing publication) meals. would be Bob him- Regarding your self becoming fed up explanation of why with supplying me this issue is late, with good things to please count me as publish. I think to one who’s interest- keep peace with Joe ed in a copy of your we’d better not go through with our plan of 120-page compilation of Terry Jeeves’s appropriating you for TRF. It could turn “Wartime Daze” columns. A PDF would be ugly. Let’s strive to keep things pret- entirely acceptable if you don’t want to ty.//Wouldn’t you (and Joe if he’s a mind to) spend the postage money—and on that point, like to have a copy of the Jeeves Tribute?// I hope you’re using “media mail” to send Kentuckiana: So do I. So does John Purcell. them out, saving yourself considerable on the So does Al, for that matter.//I rather liked the cost of doing so. Advance thanks! “senior” joke too. Obviously, or I wouldn’t I read with a mixture of horror and sym- have passed it along.//I’m very lucky: my pathy of Sheryl Birkhead’s DSL adventures. house hasn’t learned to talk. So far. That At least there was a semi-happy ending, and I means those voices come from somewhere hope she’s continued to have it and that “it else.//”Sharing . . .” Whew. I was afraid speeds up the transmission most of the time.” some people might think they were being (Those $0.00 and $2.94 bills are pretty nice, assaulted by TRF--or worse.]] too.) I had a similar adventure back in the late ‘90s when still living in Glen Ellen. For From: Robert Lichtman most of the time I was just a little too far from the service area—and then they upgrad- Hi, Tom— ed and supposedly I was now in reach. Go ahead and install it, I said, and they claimed And congratulations on reaching 75 they did. However, it never worked and I issues! Despite your demurrals to Ned backed out reluctantly—cursing mightily at Brooks, you are a “regular Publishing their insistence that I really had DSL when I 34 knew things were no faster—and stuck with Tribute special (sent by Media Mail) and I dial-up until I moved to Oakland. We’re with hope you found it worth my trouble and AT&T here, and take their fastest DSL ser- worth your keeping it.//As far as I know, vice. Like Sheryl experienced in her rural Sheryl is happy with her DSL service. ow if fastness, sometimes the speed lags a little she could only overcome all her computer bit—and just like there it’s because of line and computer-related problems she could usage. But overall we have no complaints. probably enjoy DSL ven more. You’re lucky In the lettercol Joe Major writes, “Lisa to have DSL through AT&T. When AT&T wants to go see the La Brea Tar Pits. She fig- acquired Bell South and before I got the ures that if we are going to cursed satellite internet I Reno for WorldCon, it’s not had hoped I could get DSL that much farther, by com- here. Unfortunately, to the parison.” Well, yes, com- best of my knowledge, the pared to driving from phone lines STILL haven’t Louisville to Reno it’s a been upgraded in this area piece of cake; but it is over and may never be for all I five hundred miles by any know. Wireless (more or route other than the scenic less) internet service isn’t one (where it’s 475) and available here although it driving time is over eight is available in Owen- hours however you go. ton—up to the city limits. You respond that Which are about 13 miles you’ve never been to the from here. I believe Frank- Tar Pits but that you fort also has wireless inter- “imagine they’re worth it.” net but, as with Owenton, Indeed so! When I lived in only within the city limits. L.A. as a kid, the existing Which is somewhere Page Museum didn’t exist. around the same distance, There was a tiny visitor’s plus or minus a mile or center in, as I recall, a con- two. So we’re in wireless no-man’s land, it crete block building with a minimal level of seems. And it really sucks.//Just curious: how displays. My brother and I liked walking can the “scenic route” be somewhat shorter around Hancock Park (in which the tar pits in distance? I can see how it would take are located) and poking sticks in the small longer if one stops to look at the scenery. I’ll outcroppings of tar that oozed up in many take your word for it the tar pits are worth locations. It was a simpler, gooier time. seeing. I’d still prefer experiencing LASFS or meeting you, Milt Stevens, Bob Kennedy, Best wishes, John Hertz or meeting Henry Welch again Robert Lichtman after many years. Um . . . Is there any other use for that tar or is it just for looking at? [[I am rather amazed at having gotten this Inquisitive minds want to know.]] far with TRF considering how many times I’ve considered putting an end to this fanzine So if physicists do find the “God particle” completely. Okay. I’ll “. . . Be quietly proud does that mean there's a “Satan particle” of” that accomplishment. ow to see how too? After all, there must be balance. long I last at it.//By the time you see this you should have received your copy of the Jeeves 35 From: ed Brooks phone would cost $28/mo whether I had DSL or not. I would have thought offhand that June 29, 2010 Sheryl could have the same arrangement with whoever the local phone company is there. In Hi Tom - the breakup of Ma Bell, this area was South- ern Bell for a long time and I think AT&T Thanks for the zine! You will get smoke- took over after I moved here but before I got stains on your ears if you keep thinking about DSL. universes in wormholes and the Higgs Great faan fiction! It seemed almost real Boson. That light might bend nanoparticles until you got to the booby trap :-P seems likely enough to me—after all they There was a theory that a lot of Earth’s now have a laser than can reduce macroparti- water came from icy comets that are hard to cles to smoking ruin. detect, because of course they vaporize in the Clarence Darrow claimed not to believe upper atmosphere. This has since been in ”free will“—and yet seems to have acted debunked—but that’s not to say it couldn’t as though he could choose. Perhaps he had be rebunked. The Moon obviously would get no choice . . .. I, on its share of such col- the other hand, lisions, but with no seem to have been atmosphere and the destined to believe low gravity, much of that I have at least the water would be some modicum of lost. At the poles, in free will—but I a shaded crater how- can’t prove it. ever, perhaps it Locally I come could persist. under the Kingdom of AT&T, from whom I I don’t think David Tennant has either have a land line at $28/mo. To get rid of my the range or the build to play Bilbo Baggins slow dial-up modem and have DSL instead, I in a movie of THE HOBBIT. He played the pay Earthlink another $40 a month. It works British scientist Eddington with exactly the pretty well most of the time, and is quite fast same quirky mannerisms used for the enough for my use of the Net. So that’s Dr.Who character, and he’s way too thin for $68/mo—note that when I had dial-up, I had a Hobbit. The director Del Toro has quit to have two phone lines in case my mother (though he stays on as writer) and Peter Jack- wanted to call me, so the change to DSL son (who should have been at it all along) didn’t cost much, as it multiplexes on the has come back as director. If they get with it voice line without interference in either. And they can have the same Gandalf, but it will the Earthlink charge also gets me a 10MB be a problem to get a credible Bilbo. space for a website. The only physical equip- ment required for this setup is the Netopia Best, Ned DSL modem (about the size and weight of a pb), and cheap filters on each of the five [[Luckily for me there hasn’t been any smoke phone extensions in the house—the modem coming out of my ears—or any other ori- came with four filters and I got the fifth at fice—thinking about such things. Usually I Radio Shack. Apparently this system works just get light-headed and dizzy and then pass because AT&T has something that directs the out briefly.//The things they can do with DSL feed to the local Earthlink server—but lasers! ow we can all be safe from those vio- they don’t charge me extra for that; the lent, rogue nanoparticles.//Sure people have 36 free will. They’re free to believe any stupid, From: Brad Foster nonsensical theories such as the doctrine of free will or not believe in it. Maybe. I think.// Greetings Tom - Earth’s water and that of the Moon. The news account I passed along in the introduc- Wow, seventy five issues. Three quarters tion provides some sort of insight or postula- of a century of issues. Too cool! tion on the subject. For now, anyway. Scien- I’m glad you've let me be a small part of tists just keep learning all the time.// The fan all these, and to keep up my end of things fiction. I had to make it seem real again, I’ve attached five more little bits of (verisimilitude and all that) but not too real. craziness for your consideration, including And actually Howard Devore was a pretty one in full color, since I see from this issue nice guy or he'd never have been given the you're not totally adverse to sprinkling a few Big Heart Award, small touches of col- And he was too or here and there in clever to use such a the interior. Hope crude tactic. He you like these. might have thought Got so many about it, though.//I deadlines breathing agree with you down my neck just regarding David now, really need to Tennant. In my opin- get back to work. ion he seems to have So no real loc this worked out all right time, just sending as one of the regen- the art as fannish erations of The Doctor but beyond that . . . coin. I’ll try to do better next time! Mean- What you wrote about the way he portrayed while, back to the drawing board--- Eddington makes me wonder what he was like when he played Hamlet. ”To Tardis or Brad not to Tardis—that is the question . . ..“ But then he was a stage actor long before he did [[75 issues produced is cool and a notable Dr. Who. So who knows. Tennant could accomplishment. It would be nice to make it always put on a little weight—or be fitted to 100 issues but even if I got to that point I’d with a fat suit. Better yet, maybe he shouldn’t probably have only one loc in the letters col- play Bilbo Baggins at all—if he was even con- umn. Everyone else would have probably sidered for the role. Barty Crouch, Jr. meets have de-cided they had much better things to Sauron. I think we know who'd win. It's far do.//Many thanks for the color fillo. I really better, if possible, that they find a credible like it. When online, I’ve seen the ones actor to portray Bilbo. I suppose they you’ve produced for Dave Langford’s Ansi- couldn’t make Ian Holm look young enough. ble and thought how nice it would be to have He probably wouldn't be interested anyway. something like those for TRF. ow I do.// But it's a relief to hear that Peter Jackson Once again, supplying me with fillos is a will be back to direct The Hobbit. Serves him great help worth and very much appreciated. right. He was the one who started with the Especially because I know your time is valu- Ring movies and did such a good job of it. able and you have professional obligations He shouldn't be allowed to avoid finishing which help you pay the bills and such. More the job.]] work goes into art like yours than many peo- ple would imagine. Keep it up.]] 37 From: Dave Rowe run moon base? Pretty good idea but JAXA's CGIs of the robots are comical in a macabre 8288 W Shelby State Road 44 fashion. The robot's base is a cross between a Franklin IN 46131-9211 Mars rover and a tank, on top of this is the upper half of a humanoid robot and out of the 2010-July-6 robot's head is a post with an upright solar Dear Tom, panel. No kidding. The whole looks like a paraplegic with a protest sign embedded into Thanks for TRF 75. his skull. With regard to Nikodem Poplawski's the- Remember about nine years ago you ory that our universe is in a wormhole in a included an article by Dave Henninger that black hole in a far, far larger universe: Can't theorized the Serpent Mound in Ohio was help thinking he is to astrophysics what built to commemorate an asteroid/comet David Thomson was to film criticism. That impact some 124,000 years before? is... say anything to Visited it in ear- get yourself noticed. ly June and found Have known a there are two new few fans with the theories that hold same attitude. much more water. And in forty Serpent Mound years in fandom, was constructed yours is the only around 1,000 years Why This Issue Is ago, probably by the Late excuse that was Fort Ancient People acceptable. Thanks or possibly by the so much for gather- Adena Culture. It is ing together Terry usually described as Jeeves' Wartime depicting a snake Daze and know that Terry will be over the about to swallow an egg. However this moon with it. So will a lot of other fans. description ignores a delta shaped tumuli just Sheryl's ability to laugh at her own mis- in front of the ”egg“. The latest thoughts on fortunes (”I Fail To Get The Connection“) is the matter are that the mound depicts a snake hilarious, heartwarming and affirmative. One with its mouth fully open (about to strike) as day there will be an article from her about seen from above, the ”egg“ being the lower everything going right and at that point The jaw/mouth and the delta being its lip. There Nine Billion Names Of God will no longer is a snake skeleton in the mound's visitors' be fiction. center made to conform to the shape of the You said with regard to reprinting ”One mound inducing a very convincing exposi- Fan's Search“... ”I hope you readers will not tion for the ”mouth-idea“, take exception to my doing so.“ Reckon that The other finding/theory is that the will depend firstly on whether the major of ”head“ looks exactly at the Summer Solstice your mailing list were not on your mailing sunset and if you look directly over any fold list when the article was first printed and sec- of the snake while standing between the two ondly (and sadly) how many remember Lan adjacent folds you will be looking in the di- Laskowski and Howard DeVore. rection of a major lunar or solar event, i.e. As for humanoid robots and moon bases, the maximum southern moon set, the equinox have you seen the Japanese plan for a robot- sunrise etc. Included here is a tracing of the 38 mound map to better explain all this. piece was first published. I thought those Oddly enough there is a connection who had read it back then might enjoy seeing between the mound and a deep impact. It's it again and those who had skipped over it built on the remains of a crater rim formed by back then might take the time to read it now. an asteroid impact but that impact was about I’m sure a good number of those on my mail- 300 million years ago, during the Carbonifer- ing list do remember Lan and Howard. How ous period. I miss Lan!//I’d like to see that Japanese plan Dave for a moon base. I’ll have to google it some- time. The images you evoke are bizarre ones indeed.//I do remember the Serpent Mounds article by Dave Henninger. Interesting new theories about the Mound’s meaning or sig- nificance. The latter theory sounds better to me. The Mound could be a orth American version of Stonehenge, It seems to me one of the theories about Stonehenge is that its is supposed to have a connection with solstices. And archaeologists have recently discovered a wooden Stonehenge not far from the famil- iar one which they think was built at the same time.]] From: Milt Stevens July 12, 2010 Dear Tom, In Reluctant Famulus #75, you discuss the subject of crazy science and possibly crazy scientists. That reminded me of Linus [[Unfortunately there are many people who Pauling. I remember the first time I saw him do indeed “say anything” To get themselves on television I thought he looked strange. He noticed even if what they say makes little or wasn’t saying anything crazy, but he did look no sense or is outrageous. And I too have sort of twitchy. From that point on, his public known a few fans with that attitude.//I kind of statements became stranger and stranger. The had a feeling my “why this issue is late” media should have stopped reporting his state- excuse might be acceptable to people. As you ments quite awhile before they did stop already know, Terry was very pleased with reporting them. his copy of the tribute. I’m not sure what Timothy Leary was another case. As sorts of reactions other fans will have. I hope things turned out, he was extremely ill-ad- positive ones.//When faced with the sorts of vised even at the beginning. Through his own misfortunes Sheryl has endured one has few efforts, he managed to convert his brains to choices: tear one’s hair out in frustration, cottage cheese. He then went on to advise oth- act like a Jeremiah—or find a way to laugh er people to do likewise. about it.//II know there were at least a few To make a career in theoretical physics, who were not on the mailing list when the you have to be either crazy or be able to fake 39 it. If you start making sense, your career [[I don’t recall if I ever saw Linus Pauling would be ruined. Which gives me an idea for on TV or not. I may have seen photos of a con program. We assemble a panel of theo- him—which probably made him look normal. retical physicists and let them judge an assort- You forget the media are always looking for ment of fan generated ideas as to the struc- strange, crazy, wacky, far-out people and ture of the universe. We would give an award ideas usually to make fun of them or to make to the idea judged to be the most insane. The readers/viewers feel a little better about them- universe leaves room for a lot selves and briefly forget of insane ideas. I think fans about their own eccentrici- have an inside track with a ties and peculiarities.//Yeah. competition like this. I Leary should have stayed remember in one apa some- away from the LSD and any one proposed that the uni- other peculiar hallucinogen- verse was composed of four ics with which he may have elements; Thursdays, roofing been experimenting. Appar- nails, chicken fat, and Irving. ently he wasn’t quite as This was discussed at length. smart as he thought he was. I There was another model that wonder how many of the peo- included puppy biscuits. That ple he advised to do likewise was also discussed at length. sensibly chose to ignore him. Can God annoy himself? //It does seem as if some of That seems to be the essential those theoretical physicists question with the Higgs parti- are crazy or very good at fak- cles. God created a universe ing it. But I’m afraid at least where the Higgs particles some of them are serious and could exist, but he found actually believe wholeheart- them so annoying that he had edly in their theories. And of to toss them out of the entire course they have the mathe- universe. The idea of anything that could be matical equations to back them up. Your pan- that annoying diddles my sense of wonder. el idea sounds as if it would be a fun one and I saw the reports of Hawking’s comment produce some truly strange results. There cer- on aliens. Of course, his statement is true. tainly is room enough and more in the uni- Aliens could be quite hostile. Then again, so verse for insane ideas as well as rational could we. Nothing gets to the top of the food ones. The first proposal you cited sounded chain entirely be being Mister Nice Entity. compellingly bizarre and wacky and appeal- However, no species would survive long ing to someone like me. All I can say is, enough to get into space if it was insanely “That Irving! He’s everywhere!” I would hostile. The total distrust of all other life love to have heard the resulting discussions. forms would lead to something like Von Nau- “Puppy biscuits . . .” I wonder how they fit man’s berserker machines. I think you would into that second model theory. Didn’t some- have to be basically insane to build such one once say something like, “Duct Tape. devices. The fabric of the universe.” It would fit in with some of the current theories since duct Yours truly, tape has a dark side which could equate to Milt Stevens dark matter or dark energy.//I don’t know the 6325 Keystone St. answer to “Can God annoy himself?” But I Simi, CA 93063 have an alternate question. ”Why would God 40 annoy himself?” Unless it was accidental. From: Alexis Gilliland Years ago I came up with my own theory of God, as scientist. In it He was the Supreme 4030 8th Street South, Being seeking knowledge and, as He went Arlington, VA 22204 along, experimenting to see what would result—with no more idea of exactly what July 15, 2010 would happen than do some of us Humans. (Like maybe Dear Tom, dinosaurs and politicians. And eliminated the wrong species. Thank you for The Reluc- So of course along the way He tant Famulus #75. A.B. made mistakes from time to Kynock’s front and back cov- time.//I agree with you that we ers were nicely executed if Humans can be quite hostile somewhat conventional. His and violent too. What else interior spots may have lost could you expect from a some of their visual impact species which seems to have by being reduced. Alas, we as a motto, “When all else fan artists can’t all be Persian fails—kill something.”// “Van miniaturists, and not all reduc- auman” berserkers? I’ve tion is a good thing. For exam- read some of Fred Saberha- ple, putting daVinci’s Last gen’s “Berserker” stories. Supper on the head of a pin Really nasty critters—both would present a formidable sides, Berserker and Human. framing challenge. Your edito- And you’re probably right rial touches on time travel, a about being insane to build fictional trope that seems to such machines—or even to think them up. have caught the fancy of some physical scien- But then again Humans always seem to be tists, including the noted theorist Stephen working on better, more efficient ways of Hawking. The suggestion that some sort of killing and destroying.// ote: I got curious Time Patrol is seeking out and obliterating and did an internet search for Von auman. the Higgs boson whenever it seeks to mani- I couldn’t find anyone by that name but did fest itself out is impressively weird but still a come up with (and in doing so, added to my cop out. Our mighty machines have so far obviously vastly inadequate knowledge) a failed to support our overly complicated theo- mathematician by the name of John Von eu- ries that predict a Higgs boson, but invoking mann who originally conceived of such self- divine intervention to account for what are, repairing and duplicating machines for deep after all, human failings, is anti-scientific. space exploration. The concept was adopted And while we are on the subject of time trav- and adapted by SF writers, Saberhagen el, note that our beloved Terra is moving among them. I may have heard about Von through space as well as time, so that if our eumann’s machines but if so, thanks to my imagined time machine were to go back x sometimes sieve-like memory the information years it would arrive in 2010 - x space while passed on through. Fortunately I've stayed being at the location appropriate for 2010 away from that Leary promoted and so my space. Which, for all practical purposes, brain isn’t cottage cheese. Yet. Kinda strange would be nowhere, Hawking to the contrary in some ways maybe—but then nobody’s per- notwithstanding. fect]] Gene Stewart considers writing and writ 41 ers, and art (Yay!) as opposed to commerce couple of the infernal devices, and there (Boo! Hiss!) In our present society, story was a great confusion as Lee sorted and telling has become a marketable skill, and rearranged our library, including the berm those who have mastered the art, such as in the bedroom. Three boxes of duplicates Steven King and J.K. Rowling, make a lot of and unwanted books went out, and maybe money, but it is also necessary to consider one more bookcase will be needed to readers. A lot of genre fiction, such as romances, fantasy, and (sigh) science fiction shelve what we have. The library is still a feeds specific markets, markets that are most- bit messy, but looks to be under control. ly young, and mostly female with a minority Joseph Major doesn’t watch Woody Allen of good old boys like thee and me complain- movies? Admittedly his output is uneven, ing that the modern stuff is such trash. and a lot of it is trivial, but Woody ranges Indeed, the romance novel has been format- all over the place, and Major might enjoy ted to such an extent that in principal a com- his 1975 “Love and Death” which is a puter could let you author such a novel by wonderful take on the epic Russian nov- answering a series of els. A sheet of car- questions about the toons is enclosed characters, their for your contem- brand name clothes, and their several plation and possi- posh environments. ble use. I used col- Thus do the corpora- or pencils on the tions pander to the Pixar Chthulhu, as reading public, pub- a sort of experi- lishing trash ment, seeing as because trash is what pays their divi- how you have the capability to do color dends. Art is more problematic because spots, but I don't think it adds all that art is what endures, holding the interest of much to my work. That should do for posterity. Shakespeare, a man of genius, now. did both, and his missing plays probably enhance his reputation by their absence. Best wishes, The average writer, struggling to put a Alexis verb in every sentence, has great difficul- ty leaping the bar of commere. The bar of [[I’m caught between the horns of a dilem- art? Hey, you do the best you can, and if ma. Larger color fillos would be nice of you are lucky some of your output makes course but the larger the fillo the more ink it the grade. takes (obviously) and, depending on the Ned Brooks mentions Sir Thomas More increased size and number of color illos who served as an enforcer for the Anglican could add extra pages and increase postage Church but was canonized by the Catholic costs. Third, the HP color cartridges aren’t Church after his execution. “Wolf Hall” by cheap and their output is all too often small- Hilary Mantel gives a detailed portrait of him er than claimed because HP uses 5% cover- that is rather less flattering than the pro-More age as its benchmark. That’s really not much “A Man For All Seasons.” I mentioned that space and might even be too small an area to action was being contemplated about more produce properly a color fillo. I will, howev- bookcases? Indeed, I bought and assembled a er, continue to experiment in the hope of find 42 ing a reasonable compromise if that’s [pos- “the berm in the bedroom.”? Is it anything sible.//I found the idea of someone or some- like graveled strips along the edges of roads thing from the future trying to obliterate the and highways intended to be used as stop- Higgs boson (if it even actually exists; which ping places in case of emergencies or when is a heresy I know) difficult to believe and a stopped by state police for traffic violations? rather flimsy premise. “. . . Overly complicat- Just wondering.//Thank you much for the car- ed theories . . .” You’ve touched on some- toons and especially for the “experiment”. thing else I’ve wondered about which is that Yours is usually a more cerebral sort of work maybe some scientists are making or trying which doesn’t necessarily require color to to make matters more complicated than nec- make a point. And, yes, I’m well aware to the essary or they really are. Invoking Divine (or points or observations, sometimes caustic or even malign) intervention has always been ironic. But the experiment will add a spot of the easy way out. “It was God’s will” or color and I promise not to reduce it to the “The Devil made me do it.” And so on. Terra size of a Persian miniature or a size which moving through space as well as time is some- would fit the head of a pin.]] thing I became aware of through various ways many years ago. And Earth is not only 1706-24 Eva Rd. moving in its orbit around the Sun but is also Etobicoke, ON rotating on its axis and that adds another CANADA M9C 2B2 complication. Then too there are the changes July 16, 2010 in Earth’s terrain over the centuries and mil- lennia. Even if a time machine could keep Dear Tom: pace with the Earth in its orbit and someone travelled say a few million years into the past Thank you for The Reluctant Famulus the traveler might find himself at the bottom 75. There’s a number few zines reach; con- of an ocean which existed back then but no gratulations for getting this far. Tomorrow is longer does in the time from which the trav- the first day of a local convention in town, so eller started for example.//One of the things I I’ve taken a little time from the job hunt to learned from the late Buck Coulson many get ready for it. Yvonne has a sales table years ago is that even our beloved science fic- there, and I’ll be assisting her there. A little tion is considered a product from which to time before the big weekend allows me to make as much money as possible for both the write a quick loc. writer and the publisher. But then with hu- When SF was referred to as ‘that crazy mans the profit motive seems to be the case Buck Rogers stuff”, I think it was done with from birth to death. People make money as- a little affection, and a knowledge of SF in its sisting other people in being born and yet oth- early years. Today, it just gets a four-letter er people make money off preserving and word of varying obscenity, and a complete placing the deceased into the ground, and in failure to understand it by the average person between there are people making as much on the street. There’s never been, as far as I money as they can off the living.//The works know, such an era where being knowledge- of Shakespeare and other greats have been able or curious about any given topic is so around for hundreds of years (good old Will ridiculed. You like a particular subject, so 400-plus). But they were in the minority and you’re a nerd or geek. The idea of multiple I imagine there were many writings which universes is interesting…if you can imagine deservedly became obscure or completely for- it, it has a chance of existing, no matter how gotten.//I have an undoubtedly silly or foolish unlikely. We enjoy our speculations about question—or so it may seem to you: What is the nature of particles and the universe, in fac 43 tual or fictional form. ning the Hugo last year gave me mixed emo- Mention of Stephen Hawking reminds tions. In spite of the opinions of some people me that for the next few months at least, I correspond with, I believe the Hugos, pro Hawking is living just down the highway and fan, have some value, and I am thrilled to from me in Kitchener-Waterloo, working at a be a nominee myself for the Best Fan Writer think tank called The Perimeter Institute. Hugo. I have some hopes… Yet, when the Hawking left Cambridge to come here, and editor of Electric Velocipede asked his read- he seems excited by the possibilities. I hope ers to nominate and vote, and they did, and something monumental will happen. he won, the Hugo lost some value there. Bob Sabella indicates how he got into Now, one of the nominees this year is a pod- fandom…these avenues are long gone, I’m cast, StarShipSofa, and it has a large audi- afraid. Today, if fandom presents itself to an ence that got it on the ballot. Will StarShipSo- individual, it’s usually through anime, or a fa win the Hugo this year? As Guy Lillian television show or movie. And then we com- has said, if I’m going to lose the Best plain about how few people are into our liter- Fanzine Hugo, I’d like to lose to a fanzine. I ary fandom? My beginnings in fandom were think I have a good chance, but I suspect I through Star Trek, but fortunately, there were will lose the silver rocket to this new guy in litfans who were friendly, and explained a the category, name of Pohl… few things to me. Gene Stewart compares My letter…still job hunting. And yes, I media fandom to kudzu? I’d certainly agree, would prefer books, too. I would like to see a but I find that as many of the local mediafans Hobbit movie, but with so many changes, age, they find other aspects of fandom to legal battles, etc., I have my doubts. I will interest them, in some cases, have asked me believe it when I go to the cinema to see it. about what areas of fandom interest me. I It’s been a hot summer, so I can imagine don’t think I’ve brought anyone over from it’s been hotter where you are. I am hoping the dark side, but there’s still time. this convention this weekend will help me Tom, I hope you are in regular contact take my mind off things, and after a weekend with Terry Jeeves, and that this issue will of parties, old friends and fun, I hope I can make its way to him. I hope he knows that he get right back on the band wagon and get job is remembered, and if he doesn’t, I hope he hunting again. As I usually say, I just want knows it now. My best to him. one… Take care, hope you’re well, and see Technology can be our friend, but only you next issue. if there is someone who can actually under- Yours, stand all this, and make some decisions for you about what is best for you. We are still Lloyd Penney. on telephone line and dial-up, but have been considering what a cable and dedicated line [[You’re welcome. Just think: it took me only might cost. Getting straight answers from our a little over twenty years to do it. If I decide cable and telephone providers has been to keep going I wonder how long it will take tough, so we are waiting until our employ- me to reach issue number 100. But then it ment situation firms up, if it ever will. seems more and more that when that hap- Lan used to make his way up here from pens—if it does—mine may be the only print time to time, to meet with local fans and espe- fanzine still in existence and the last to go. //I cially to meet with fellow fan and fellow can’t say for certain but I suspect even way teacher, Mike Glicksohn. Lan is someone back then the phrase was used in a derogato- else who is missed. ry and contemptuous way. I imagine, though, The fuss over Electric Velocipede win that even today there are those who would, at 44 the least, employ a four letter obscenity first one to receive a copy of his Tribute regarding science fiction. The really crude which is a separate and non-TRF publica- people. But then there are those who produce tion. The tribute is an independent project science fiction in some form (motion pictures published by Strange Dwarf Publications or novels) who attempt to disassociate them- (Me.) for and in honor of Terry. It is avail- selves from that designation by claiming able on a limited basis to anyone who wants their work can’t be science fiction because a copy merely by letting me know. I don’t [insert any excuse you’ve heard such people want to force it on those who might not be utter].//The absurd thing about many of the interested in it.//Yes indeed. Lan is greatly claims of theoretical physicists is that had sci- missed by me. I went to his funeral but don’t ence fiction writers dared produce a story remember seeing many fans. I think there involving such theories the mainstream were a few (who I probably didn’t know were would condemn the work as ridiculous, fanta- fans) but I’m not completely certain.//As far sy, crazy, or totally impossible.//Hawking as I know—and I could be wrong—editors/ temporarily living in Canada at a think tank publishers of regular fanzines never even not far from where you are. Too bad you thought of asking their readers to nominate couldn’t find a way to get his autograph. their fanzines. It seems to me that was some- Yeah. Riiight. You wouldn’t even be able to thing That Was Just ot Done or considered get close to him.//Although I got involved in tacky. Most of them, I believe, produced fandom relatively late in life compared to fanzines because they wanted to, enjoyed (at most fans it wasn’t through Star Trek or Star least for a while) doing them, thought they Wars but rather through the written word. could do a better job, and found them a good When I was a teenager an uncle of mine way to remain in contact with other fans. I loaned me a bunch of SF prozines from don’t think there was any sort of self-promot- around the time he was in the army during ing attitude toward getting a Hugo. Then too the Occupation of Japan and of course I read what good is winning any award when the every one of them in addition to the little contender has to ask people to vote for his or amount of SF in the public library and the her publication (or pay for memberships for paperbacks I could afford to buy (back when a group of fans). Surely fans were expected some could be bought for 35¢ and 50¢) to vote for fanzines they personally felt were Through the magazines I learned there was worthy of a Hugo, not because . . .//After such a thing as SF fans and SF conventions doing a bit of research I learned StarShipSo- but never tried to find out more about such fa is an “audio” podcast. My first thought things until well into my adulthood,//Yes, was, “Oh wonderful. That should really be media fandom is like kudzu (There isn’t any great for the hearing impaired or the deaf. of that up in Canada is there? I never saw it (Me being one of the former.) Although it in Michigan that I know of and suppose it would be reasonable for the blind.” I have prefers a milder climate.). It’s an apt compar- to wonder what sort of thinking prompted ison since kudzu seems to flourish all over them to think it was a good idea. Did they the place in the South, much to the disgust of somehow think that receiving a fan Hugo farmers and others. A good idea gone would result in fame and fortune for them? wrong.//I can’t say I’m in regular contact Or did they dream up the idea that having a with Terry but I try to keep track of how he’s Hugo would attract more people to the pod- doing through Dave Rowe and Terry’s daugh- cast? One suggestion would be to establish ter Sandra. He has received the last several the category of Best Audio Fanzine. But who issues of TRF and will be receiving this and the hell needs another Hugo category, either subsequent ones. And of course he was the Pro or Fan? Leave well enough alone.]] 45 From: Pamela Boal publishing world with a poetry collection and a book for young children. Sales are not July 24, 2010 impressive. My publisher assures me that within the next ten years fifty percent of all Dear Tom, new books will be published as ebooks. That hardly helps my sales now and I sincerely David is quite right in his supposition hope he is wrong. I that I would appreciate receiving the Reluc- shudder to think of the consequences, the tant Famulus. Not only did I enjoy it, I am effect on book shops, libraries the printing also grateful for your generosity in spending industry. Mostly I think of children, when a all that postage to send it to me. book at bedtime means Mum or Dad reading Your explanation as to why the issue from some form of computer even if it is was late most certainly did not involve the called an ebook reader. need for apologies. A wonderful project and I feel certain that Terry appreciated the end Warm regards result. Your editorial and comments in the letter Pamela. col made me wonder if we should perhaps PS. The following poem demonstrates some- change the name of our favourite genre to thing else I dislike about computers. Future Technology Fiction? That is for sci- ence fiction other than fantasy, sword and sor- You Were Late cery or modern fairy tales. After all science is the search, the finding out and understanding, The bluebells were early that year. technology is what is developed from that knowledge and that is where we go with our You were late and stayed but a while. fiction. Your two stories are great fun, a joyous Then summer walks once held so dear blast from the past when it seems to me fans had a greater appreciation of nonsense and You proclaimed no longer your style. possibly did not take themselves so seriously. Oh how I sympathise with Sheryl Birk- The playful breeze ruffled my hair, head, my own change from copper wire to Spreading abroad summer scents fibre optic broadband had its traumas but nothing like Sheryl's misadventures. As far And the courting songs of the birds. as I'm concerned computers and I will always have a love hate relationship. Obviously The rough tree bark and rich leaf mould being able to contact friends all over the world swiftly and at minimal expense is a Added touch. Feast of the senses. love part. Crashes, server break downs are just some of the hates. Personally my use is Autumn strolls most precious of all. limited by health and eye sight, even if it were not, I would never favour reading on Would they tempt you to come back? any form of monitor, lap top, ipad or what have you, over holding a book printed on Could winter and the first snow fall paper in my hands, even if I do have to use a magnifying glass more often than not. Give what our walks now seem to lack? I have dipped my toes in to the ebook 46 You showed me but still I can not comprehend. people like Dave Rowe and doesn’t deserve such problems.//I also have a love/hate rela- A sterile landscape lacking any beauty. tionship with computers, as I’m sure many people do. They’re great when they work the No natural sounds, just man made cacophony. way they’re supposed to and maddening and frustrating when they don’t. There were times No perfume carried on a caressing breeze. when I’ve wanted to drop kick mine through an open door out into the yard. People these No texture there nothing to handle or touch. days seem to spend a lot of time with their computers whether it’s part of their job or How did I loose you to a virtual world? not. Perhaps too much. Which may not be such a good thing. There was a news story Pamela Boal 07.06.10 recently which said it was estimated there were somewhere around 500 million people [[ ormally I don't publish poetry but I mad worldwide on FaceBook. While not a huge an exception in this case.//I was trusting to percent of a population estimated at around Dave’s judgment and it seems it didn’t let me seven billion people, it’s still almost an down. He has been a great guy to know, a alarming number. I imagine it will only grow very reliable, conscientious, and thoughtful larger.//The acceptance and increasing use person. There aren’t many of his kind these of e-books is inevitable and we’ll all have to days, inside fandom or out. Everybody seems accept it. Still, give me a print and paper so wrapped up in himself or herself and book any time and I’m happy and satisfied. unwilling to take time out for others.//I had They don’t need batteries to function. Fatal- hoped my “why this issue is late” explana- ist that I often am, I’m glad of one thing: I tion wouldn’t seem as if I were apologizing won’t be around when e-books have com- for being late—I was trying not to—but pletely taken over and there are absolutely rather offering what seemed like a good rea- no traditional books. But I suspect the kind of son. There are a couple of people who came books you and I and many others prefer will out and agreed with me. Ah well.//You have a still be around during our lifetimes and a lit- point about the nature of science fiction tle while longer. With e-books it is possible to being more about technology. It has often increase the size of the text, which is almost been stated Science Fiction is about the like using a magnifying glass; then again, affects on people of the results of scientific magnifying glasses don’t need batteries to discoveries and principles and/or the technol- operate unless one uses the kind with a light ogy developed from those discoveries; e.g. attached but who in his or her right mind is Atomic power, spacecraft, powerful weapons, going to be someplace where a lighted magni- faster than light travel, robots, and so on.// fying glass is necessary?//Even if it were the That piece of fan fiction, the one in this issue, case these days of 50% of new books being and the one which will appear in the next published (and older ones being converted to issue were written a few years ago in the electronic format) that might not help your hope of somehow recapturing the fandom of sales much anyway. Lots of competition and earlier times and—I had hoped—to amuse (supposedly) lower prices.//And isn't this just and entertain. Sadly, it seems as if those like me—to write a response longer than the times will never reappear. Although there are original LoC. I do need to exercise more still fans who appreciate nonsense and absur- restraint. dity (I’m one of them.)//Sheryl certainly seems to have had more misfortune than most people experience. She is also one of those 47 ROBERT KENNEDY dential I retired. I have now been happily 1779 CIPRIAN AVENUE retired for 17 years. Anyway, if Lisa and CAMARILLO, CALIFORNIA 93010-2451 you do decide to visit the La Brea Tar Pits (805) 987-2164 after RENOVATION also plan to visit the firstname.lastname@example.org museum that is right next door to the West. In addition there is an auto museum across July 25, 2010 the street. Also, you are welcome to stop and visit me as long as you do not make any com- Dear Tom, ment about the disgraceful look inside my house with all the books and other items My thanks for #75. piled everywhere. I’m glad to know that there is someone [[Electric can openers . . . Yes. And I’m else who sometime has a problem with get- amazed at how difficult a relatively simple ting electric can openers to work right. electrical device like that can be to operate. Because of your comment I tried to find But I’m determined not to let it get the better my copy of the April 2010 issue of Discover. of me.//Ah. RAEB C. That sometimes hap- However, apparently it was already put out pens. My contributors and I shall have to try with the recycle items. I do not remember harder.//I was joking of course when I asked the article “Back From the Future” and you about being a politician. It wouldn’t would like to have been able to read (or have mattered much if you were or had been. reread) it. At least when asked why you were running As usual, all the articles were enjoyed. you were honest about it. I suspect but No, I am not a politician. However, sev- couldn’t possibly provit that saome people eral years ago I mentioned to a group of peo- really do run for that reason--not that they’d ple that I was considering running for the admit it; and even those who nobly proclaim State Assembly. One of them asked me they’re doing it to make a change if elected. why? I said that it was because I needed the The only real change they’d make it the were money. The members of our State Senate elected and remain in office for very long and Assembly are incredibly well paid and would probably to become like all the other have outstanding fringe benefits. In politicians who have served longer. Thay and exchange they have bankrupted California. changing to the enjoyment of whatever power Joseph T Major: For 22 years I worked they may acquire. It’s certainly a long way across the street from the La Brea Tar Pits. from what some of the Founding Fathers The same side of Wilshire Blvd., just in the though elected representatives hould be like. next block East. Then Prudential moved my I wouldn’t be surprised if the elected officials area and others to Newbury Park while a new of most if not all the states enjoy the same building was being built in Westlake Village. kind of pay and benefits.//Regarding your They are in Ventura County and the reason final sentence to Joasph Major. It sounds ot that I moved from Pasadena to Camarillo. me as if you’re like a lot of fans. I may not When it was ready they moved us into the have piles of books all over but I do have new building. We only stayed there for a cou- books lying here and there and piles of ple of years when the company decided to papers and fanzines all over in my comput- sell the building and they moved us to er/library/publishing room. I hope to correct Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley that RS --maybe.]] which meant we moved back to Los Angeles County. Eventually, after 35 years with Pru 48 A Mystery Solved At Last wife was able to pick her up to return her to her owner who, I believe, was also outside To those of you who may actually have doing something. read the Introduction to TRF 69 “What In the My wife handed the dog to its owner World’s Going On Down There?”, a puzzle and, being more outgoing than I am, got into involving our neighbor south of us, I am now a conversation with the deputy about all sorts able to provide an answer to that question. of things. Then, at one point, she brought up And the answer, when it was revealed to us the events of a year or so ago and how we did turn out to be not quite what unrestrained were wondering what was going on then. We imagination would have lead to and in fact had feared something had happened to was in some ways more mundane. But first a Deputy Caldwell or one of his children. little bit of background, as briefly as I can Thankfully not. But it did involve our neigh- manage, on the circumstances which lead up bor to the south and what my wife was told too the somewhat surprising answer. cleared up a great deal. Our other neighbors to the north, the It seems that our other neighbor—whose Deputy Sheriff Brent Caldwell and his fami- name is Danny Thornton—besides having his ly, have a little dust mop of a female dog children residing with him also had a brother who, whenever she can get outside, loves to living there. It turns out that the neighbor and go wandering whether supervised or not. Her his brother got into an argument, as siblings appearances unfortunately irritate our own often do—and his brother stabbed him. Not somewhat larger female dog who has delegat- badly, apparently, but serious enough to re- ed herself as our protector and guardian of quire medical treatment which resulted in a our small realm and who objects to anyone or brief stay in the hospital emergency room. So anything she feels is invading her chosen that was the major part of the mystery. As for domain. Including the neighbor’s dog. Now all the police cars which went to the terminus the neighbor’s dog is a cute little rascal and, of the dead-end road . . . Well it was a crime it turns out, very friendly to one and all. scene and had to be investigated. So there We’ve had her fearlessly come up to us very you have it. Nothing exotic or unusual, just a closely, much to the annoyance of our dog. little family squabble. Case closed. We never know when the neighbor’s dog is And here you have it: the end of this out and about unless one or the other of us issue and a brief respite for us all. Until next also happens to be out at the same time or time, our dog is out and announces the fact. That’s Full thrusters! it for the background. One day not too long ago my wife had gone outside to put more food into the bird- feeder. She had, I think, just finished (I was inside at the time involved in something else) Mars Realty and saw the neighbor’s dog headed our way. For Sale: She, knowing how our dog can be, attempted Beach front to shoo the little critter back home. It did no property good. The dog kept coming. So my wife decided to meet it halfway and if possible lead it back to its own house. That didn’t work either. The little canine came right up to my wife, friendly as could be, and ready to play. Because the dog was so friendly my 49 Erg, n, the basic unit of energy or work in the CGS system, equal to the amount of work done by a force of one dyne, act- ing through a distance of one centimeter (10-7 joule). From Webster’s ew World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition Alternatively, a small, pleasant British fanzine edited and pub- lished by Terry Jeeves from 1959 to 2004.
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