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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 tomfamulus@hughes.net




           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
robertk@cipcug.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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