Volume 1_ Issue 21 May 2011.pdf

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					Volume 1, Issue 21
May 2011
                                                                                     2


Editorial:
Well, this time, the lateness hasn’t been a result of being lazy, but of having too
much to do at work. See, in addition to the tornadoes that hit NC (which weren’t
quite as bad as the ones that hit Alabama), we’ve also had a rash of bad wind and
hail storms. Working for an insurance company, that’s meant a lot needed to be
done (hail creates more work for us than tornadoes, as it tends to create a high
volume of smaller losses rather than a smaller number of total losses), and I
found myself spending a couple of weeks in the mountains working on claims.
Speaking of the weather, I’m happy to report that to the best of my knowledge,
Southern fans are decent tornado dodgers, though I think I’ve heard of at least
one roof getting hit. Stay safe out there, y’all. The calendar of events is nice and
thick, which is fitting for the upcoming summer months. We’re still getting a
regular stream of Rebel Yells, too, and there’s a tidbit in there about the historical
Rebel Yell that I hope you’ll find interesting. After that, I’ve gotten back on the
current-SF reading wagon, and I’ve got a short review of a Hugo nominee for you
(and I hope to read them all, this year). Then, we’ve got a couple more sercon
entries – I’ve persuaded Mitra Salehi to share a talk she gave on steampunk at a
recent academic conference, and Dr. Jeff Thompson has a piece on the music
from The Bride of Frankenstein. Add to that a more robust slate of art, and I’m
pretty happy with this issue, even if it is a week late.

Contents:
Calendar of Events (Warren Buff) – page 3
Rebel Yells (y’all) – page 11
Review: The Dervish House (Warren Buff) – page 14
Steam Shenanigans (Mitra Salehi) – page 16
Franz Waxman’s Music for The Bride of Frankenstein (Dr. Jeff) – page 21

Art Credits:
Greg Rieves: Cover, page 10
Brad W. Foster: Page 12
Jose Sanchez: Page 23

Colophon:
Editor & SFC President: Warren Buff
warrenmbuff@gmail.com
(919) 633-4993
8712 Wellsley Way
Raleigh, NC 27613
USA
All contents copyright their creators. This zine is free, either by direct email or
www.efanzines.com. A letter of comment or other contribution will get you on my
mailing list, as long as I remember to put you there. If I forget, bother me a
second time, or however long it takes to add you. I haven’t been printing this one,
which leaves me free to use as many pages as I wish, and do things like color. It
also lets me use all the contributions I can muster, so fire away!
                                                                                   3


Calendar of Events:
May 13-15:
Gaylaxicon (Atlanta, Georgia – Holiday Inn Perimeter. Outlantacon is hosting
this year’s edition of Gaylaxicon, the premier SF con for the queer audience.
Expect to find their take on Family Feud, Project Cosplay, a chocolate
symposium, Gaylactic Jeopardy!, and the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards. Guest of
Honor: Amber Bensen, Melissa Carter, Steve Scott, Don Schermerhorn & Wayne
Hergenroder. Memberships are $60 at the door. www.outlantacon.org)
Full Moon Tattoo and Horror Fest (Chattanooga, Tennessee – Chattanooga
Downtown Marriott Hotel. Around 30 tattoo booths, plus horror celebrities like
Michael Berryman, Richard Brooker, Andrew Bryniarski, Brad Loree, Tiffany
Shepis, and Stacey Dixon. $35 for the weekend, ten bucks less for each day you
don’t care to go. www.fullmooninc.net/fr_nashvillefest.cfm)
Tiger Con (Memphis, Tennessee – University of Memphis campus. Student-run
anime convention. Featuring Johnny Yong Bosch, ?Confusion?, and
Per(sonic)fied. Free, but they request that you RSVP.)
Starfleet Region 1 Summit (Pigeon Forge, TN – Mainstay Suites. Annual
meeting of the Starfleet organization for Region 1. They’ll be having a duck race
in the lazy river for charity. Adult registrations are $30. Banquet tickets are still
available. http://sites.beyondweb.com/r1-summit/)
Pulp Ark (Batesville, AR – Main Street. This is one of those events where the
town is basically taken over for the weekend by pulp fans. Hard to explain much
more than that. www.proseproductions.com/Press/pulpark.html)
May 14-15:
NOLA Comic-Con (New Orleans, Louisiana –- Westin New Orleans Canal
Place. Comic book convention. www.nolacomic.com)
WonderFest (Louisville, Kentucky – Crowne Plaza Hotel. Toy and model
collecting convention with a focus on SF and a good selection of artists. Tickets
are $30. www.wonderfest.com)

May 19-22:
Nebula Awards Weekend (Washington, D.C. – Washington Hilton. Annual
presentation of SFWA’s top awards, with workshops, panels, and great
networking opportunities for SF professionals. The weekend alone is $50, the
banquet dinner alone is $125, or the whole shebang for $150.
www.sfwa.org/nebula-weekend)

May 20-22:
Dice Head Siege (Chattanooga, Tennessee -- Chattanooga Choo Choo. Gaming
with lots of tournaments and prizes. $25 membership, some tournaments extra.
The extra, in such cases, is usually to cover the costs of material and/or prizes.
www.diceheadseige.com)
Mobicon XIV (Mobile, Alabama – Ashbury Hotel & Suites. Science fiction
convention with all the trimmings. Guests of Honor include Robert Picardo and
Weatherly B. Hardy. Registration is $40. www.mobicon.org)
                                                                                   4


Texicon (Fort Worth, Texas – Sheraton Hotel. Gaming convention that seems
to have somehow snagged a name that’s so obvious it astounds me no one was
using it yet. Registration is $40, with discounts available to gamemasters.
http://texicon.net)

May 26-29:
Comicpalooza (Houston, Texas – Hilton Americas Houston. Great big guest
list of film actors, artists, game designers, voice actors, etc. Looks like a pretty
good assortment, too. Tickets are $35. www.comicpalooza.com)
May 27-30:
Balticon 45 (Baltimore, Maryland – Marriott Hunt Valley. One of the South’s
oldest conventions (I count Baltimore). Guests of Honor: Dr. Benjamin Bova,
Vincent Di Fate, Bill & Brenda Sutton, Philippa Ballantine, Steve Geppi, Paolo
Bacigalupi. Memberships are $62 at the door. www.balticon.org)
May 27-29:
Animazement 14 (Raleigh, North Carolina – Raleigh Convention Center.
Long-running anime convention in downtown Raleigh. Guests of Honor: Hiroaki
Hirata, Todd Haberkorn, Cherami Leigh. Pre-reg $50 through May 8th, $55 at
the door. www.animazement.org)
Rocket City FurMeet 9 (Huntsville, Alabama – Embassy Suites Huntsville.
Three days of furry fun in beautiful Huntsville. Guests of Honor: Kyoht, Scape
the Goat, and a mystery GOH drawn from the paying members at opening
ceremonies. $35 pre-registration, $40 at the door. www.rcfm.net)
Oasis 24 (Orlando, Florida – Sheraton Downtown Orlando. Guests of Honor:
David Drake, Tommy Castillo, and Carla Ulbrich. Membership $35 until 5/26,
$40 at the door. http://oasfis.org/oasis/index.php)
TimeGate (Atlanta, Georgia – Holiday Inn Select Atlanta Perimeter. Stargate
and Doctor Who convention. Featuring Mike Dopud and Sophie Aldred.
Membership $40 through May 6th, then $50 at the door. www.timegatecon.org)
NashCon (Franklin, Tennessee – Cool Springs Marriott. Historical miniatures
wargamming. Their website bears a design I find strikingly familiar, though I
think they haven’t made any modifications to the layout. Membership in the
convention is $25. http://hmgs-midsouth.org/nashcon/)
Florida Anime Experience (Kissimmee, Florida – Ramada Orlando
Celebration. New anime convention in Florida. Also, it appears that Orlando is
following the SF Bay Area’s three-cons-this-weekend trend. Guest of Honor:
Steve Blum, who voiced Spike in Cowboy Bebop. Tickets are $31 until May 20th.
www.floridaanime.com)

June 3-5:
ConCarolinas (Charlotte, North Carolina – Charlotte Hilton University Place.
One of the fastest growing cons in the region, and hosts of last year’s DSC.
Guests of Honor include: Harry Turtledove, John Billingsley, Bonita Frierdericy,
Keela & Katkith, Jamie Chambers, Carla Ulbrich, and Justin Chung. Pre-
registration is $35 through May 16th, then $40 at the door.
www.concarolinas.org)
                                                                                     5


HeroesCon (Charlotte, North Carolina – Charlotte Convention Center. Fan-
friendly comics convention. I went once, early in my con-going days, though I
haven’t been back since they’ve moved onto ConCarolinas’s traditional weekend.
It also tells me I’ve been out of reading comics for a long time that I hardly
recognize the names on their guest list anymore. The biggest names I recognize
are Mike Mignola and Bernie Wrightson, but the art for the others they’re
highlighting looks fantastic, too. Yes, I need to hand in some geek street cred for
that remark. $30 for the weekend, $15 for one day.
www.heroesonline.com/heroescon/)
Seishun-Con (Atlanta, Georgia – Doubletree Hotel Atlanta NW/Marietta. This
appears to be a fan-based anime convention. I don’t see any guests listed, though
I do see a call for panelists. Pre-registration is $25, while registration will be $30
at the door, or $20 for a day pass. http://seishun-con.com)
HamaCon 2 (Huntsville, Alabama – Holiday Inn Downtown. These guys list a
handful of guests, such as Brina Palencia and Chris Cason. They’re another
anime convention, and look to have been founded about the same time as
Seishun-Con. Hopefully, they’ll find a way to stagger their weekends, since
they’re only two hours away from each other. Pre-registration is $25, with extra
food events available. www.hama-con.com)
OMGcon (Paducah, Kentucky – Julian Carroll Convention Center and Expo
Center. Anime convention with guests including Robert & Emily DeJesus, Greg
Ayres, Christopher Ayres, Tavisha, and Eric Stuart. Pre-registration $35 through
May 20th, less for groups. www.omgcon.com)
Bob Con (Winter Springs, Florida – Not much to tell yet, but this gaming event
(Legends of the Shining Jewel) will hark back to the old days of Southern
conventions, when they largely took place in someone’s home. Limited to 30
players, details forthcoming. http://warhorn.net/bobcon-2011/)


June 10-12:
Sci Fi Summer Con (Atlanta, Georgia – Crowne Plaza Atlanta NW Perimeter.
This looks like it’s either on the relaxacon end of things or really behind schedule.
They’ve got some guests listed on their flier, but I don’t recognize any names, and
without bios, it’s hard to tell who’d actually get your attention. The website is a
disaster. Memberships $20 through May 20th, $35 at the door.
http://sfscon.tripod.com)
Rapier (Jacksonville, Florida – Jacksonville Clarion Hotel. Gaming convention
that aims to provide a friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately, their website appears
giant-sized, but I gather that they’ve got a dual theme of Napoleonics and
Fantasy. Pre-registration is $20 through May 11th, $25 at the door.
www.rapiercon.com)
A-Kon 22 (Dallas, Texas – Sheraton Dallas. Established anime convention.
Plenty of voice actors, artists, comics folks, musicians, and writers on the guest
list. Actually, the writers list would make for a pretty good SF con all by itself –
Elizabeth Moon, Esther Friesner, Phil and Kaja Foglio, Lee Martindale, and then
some. Pre-registration is $50 until May 1st. http://a-kon.com)
                                                                                 6


June 10-11:
PariahCon (Lakeland, Florida – Imperial Swan Hotel & Suites. Small anime
con, with some decent attention to computer gaming. Weekend passes $25.
http://pariahcon.com)
Robert E. Howard Days (Cross Plains, Texas – several locations. There’s only
one motel in town, the 36 West, and it’s likely to fill up. See the website, which
lists the location for each event on the schedule, and gives recommendations for
nearby motels. Most are at the library or the museum. Saturday includes a large
outdoor Barbarian Festival. Guests of Honor: Dennis McHaney and Damon
Sasser. Pre-registration $15. http://www.rehupa.com/?p=2398)

June 17-19:
Anime Mid-Atlantic 11 (Chesapeake, Virginia – Norfolk Marriott Chesapeake.
Established anime convention serving the Tidewater. Guests include Todd
Haberkorn, Chris Cason, Charles Dunbar, DJ Asu Rock, and Amy Howard
Wilson. Pre-registration is $40 through May 28th. www.animemidatlantic.com)
MetroCon 9 (Tampa, Florida – Tampa Convention Center. Florida’s largest
anime con will this year be themed around monsters vs. hunters. Guests include
author Max Brooks, voice actors Crispin Freeman and Katie Gray, and a decent
slate of artists, cosplayers, and musicians. Weekend passes are $55.
www.metroconventions.com)
Comic & Anime Con (Knoxville, Tennessee – Holiday Inn Cedar Bluff. Guests
include Rosearik Rikki Simons, Mellissa Cowen, Jason Craig, and Dan Jolley. $5
per day. www.knoxvillecomicanimecon.com)
Hypericon (Nashville, Tennessee – Holiday Inn Express Airport. Guests of
Honor will be Glen Cook and Loren Damewood. Registration is $35.
www.hypericononline.com)
June 18:
ConFederation Celebration (Atlanta, Georgia – See March ish for details.)

June 24-26:
Apollocon (Houston, Texas – DoubleTree Hotel Houston International Airport.
Houston’s own SF convention takes advantage of the obvious space connection in
its name. Guests of Honor: Martha Wells, Ann VanderMeer, B.E. Johnson,
Jeanne Gomoll. Memberships are $35 for pre-reg, and $40 at the door.
www.apollocon.org)
Contamination (St. Louis, Missouri – Holiday Inn Viking. Horror, sci-fi,
music, and pop culture. Eric Roberts, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and
David Dela Rocco will headline. Weekend passes $30. www.con-
tamination.com)
Texas Comicon (San Antonio, Texas – San Antonio Event Center. I like that
they make a distinction between creators and celebrities in their guest list. The
creators include the likes of Allen Bellman (Guest of Honor – he worked on the
original Captain America run in the 40s), Steve Engelhart, Dave Hooper, and
Chris Roberson. In addition to folks like Brent Spiner, their celebrities list
includes Herbie the Love Bug and the General Lee. Weekend tickets $30.
www.texascomicon.com)
                                                                                       7


Fal-con (El Paso, Texas – 2501 Mesa Ave (Google Maps thinks that’s Mesa St,
and shows it as an address at UTEP). No details about guests, so this may be fan
programming. Anime and gaming (Fal stands for “fellow anime lovers”). Pre-
registration is $30 (they put “tickets” in quotes – I think they find the concept of
tickets to a con alien). www.fal-convention.com)
Cape Comic Con (Cape Girardeau, Missouri – Osage Center. Guests include
Billy Tucci, William Katt, and Jeremy Haun. Plenty of gaming in addition to the
comics. Three-day passes are $15. www.cape-con.com)

July 1-4:
Florida Supercon (Miami, Florida – Miami Airport Convention Center.
Media-heavy big tent convention. Full 4-day passes are $47.50 until June 2nd.
www.floridasupercon.com)
July 1-3:
Delta H Con (Houston, Texas – University of Houston campus. Anime
convention with Chris Patton and Robert Axelrod as guests. There is a page for
registration, but I don’t see anything denoting whether it costs anything or not.
http://www.detlahcon.com)

July 8-10:
Shore Leave 33 (Baltimore, Maryland – Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn. Featuring
guests Christopher Judge, Tricia Helfer, Eddie McClintock, John de Lancie, John
Grunsfeld, Emilie Ullerup, Gary Lockwood, Sally Kellerman, and Cliff Simon.
Fan-run media-centric convention that also boasts a good slate of authors and
artists. Pre-reg rate is $80 through June 15th. www.shore-leave.com)
Anime Blues Con (Memphis, Tennessee – Hilton Memphis. Anime convention
with a decent sense of where it is. Guests include Josh Elder, The Man Power,
Maile Flanagan, Vic Mignogna, Martheus Wade, and Kyle Hebert.
www.animeblues.com)
July 8-9:
Omnicon (McAllen, Texas – McAllen Convention Center. Billed as a convention
for video games, comics, music, and anime, its guests include Johnny Yong
Bosch, Jason David Frank, and Eyeshine. Membership passes are $35 through
June 1st. www.omnicononline.com)
July 9-10:
Ancient City Con 5 (Jacksonville, Florida – Hyatt Regency Jacksonville
Riverfront. Guests include Pika Belle Chu, Don Perlin, Kevin A. Ransom, Linda
S. Cowden, T.S. Robinson, The Killer Robots, and Shawn Lightfood & the
Brigade. Pre-registration is $25 until June 17th. www.ancientcitycon.com)

July 13-17:
LeakyCon (Orlando, Florida – Royal Pacific Hotel. Harry Potter convention
thrown by the staff of website The Leaky Cauldron, who use it to generate
charitable contributions. It looks like many events are separately priced,
including the already sold-out lit day. They’ve also arranged a special deal with
the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. In spite of that, their
programming looks pretty fannish. You have to sign up for a website account to
                                                                                    8


register for the con, so I leave it to the determined to find out what the price is.
www.leakycon.com)
July 15-16:
24 Hours of Potter (St. Louis, Missouri – Crowne Plaza Clayton. This 24 hour
event will take its structure from a wizarding school year, with feasts, club events,
classes, and broomstick sports. Registration is $25 through July 3rd, or $80 if
you want to attend the feasts. Regular registration will be available at the door
for $30. www.24hoursofpotter.com)
July 15-17:
LibertyCon 24 (East Ridge, Tennessee – Comfort Inn & Suites. This year’s
guests of honor are S.M. Stirling, Theresa Mather, Stephanie Osborn, Julie
Cochrane, and Allen Steele. LibertyCon is consistently one of the best cons
around for both its top-notch programming and relaxing and engaging
conversations in the lobby. Fierce competition abounds in both Hearts and
Spades, though Spades has the larger following there. Memberships are $40
until June 25th, at which point they’ll go up to $50. www.libertycon.org)
PersaCon (Huntsville, Alabama – Radisson Suite Hotel. Anime-centric
convention appealing to the young geeks of Huntsville. Pre-registration is
currently $30, with no indication of the cut-off date. www.persacon.com)

July 17-30:
Shared Worlds (Spartanburg, South Carolina – Wofford College. Creative
writing summer program, which looks geared towards high school students.
Instructors include Jeremy L.C. Jones, Jeff Vandermeer, Christine Dinkins,
Joseph Spivey, and Christopher Dinkins. Tuition is $2250, but financial aid is
available. www.wofford.edu/sharedworlds/)

July 29-31:
Otakon (Baltimore, Maryland – Baltimore Convention Center. Big darned
anime convention. Guests include Chemistry, Tony Oliver, Lisa Ortiz, and Tom
Wayland. Memberships are $65 through July 16th. www.otakon.com)
Megaplex (Kissimmee, Florida – Radisson Worldgate Resort. Furry convention
with a theme, this year, of arcade classics. This year’s Guest of Honor is Chad
Krueger. Pre-registration is $40, at the door will be $45. www.megaplexcon.org)
July 29-August 1:
Play On Con (Birmingham, Alabama – Birmingham Marriott. SF & gaming
convention. Featured presenters include Voltaire, Anya Martin, Sean Patrick
Fannon, IK the Troll, and Andrew Greenberg. Registration online is $40, and
will be $45 at the door. www.playoncon.com)

August 5-7:
Anime Festival Orlando 12 (Orlando, Florida –
www.animefestivalorlando.com)
San Japan (San Antonio, Texas – www.san-japan.org)
Whedon Fest (Scottsville, Kentucky – www.whedonitesunited.com)
                                                                                    9


August 12-14:
Guns of August (Williamsburg, Virginia – www.odms-club.com/convention)
Sukoshicon (Birmingham, Alabama – www.sukoshicon.com)
August 13-14:
M:TG Open Cup (Poplar Bluff, Missouri – http://warhorn.net/semo-mtg-
open-cup/)

August 17-21:
Renovation, the 69th Worldcon (Reno, Nevada – Reno-Sparks Convention
Center, Atlantis Hotel, Peppermill Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott. Hotel booking
will open 8 AM PST, January 17th. Guests of Honor: Ellen Asher, Charles N.
Brown (in memoriam), Tim Powers, Boris Vallejo. If you’ve never been to a
Worldcon, you should try one. This one has the added bonus of not conflicting
with the major Labor Day events so many of us go to, reducing your excuses.
This is five days of science fiction, but more importantly, it’s a chance to meet
fans from all over the world. It’s not uncommon for a group of friends at one of
these to span three continents (or more – I’ve met fans from five at Worldcons –
South America and Antarctica, I’m looking at you). It’s also where fandom
presents its annual Hugo Awards – members can nominate and vote, though
you’d better hurry if you want to nominate. This will be my third Worldcon, and
I’m already getting a bit excited about it. I hope to see all y’all there.
Membership is $195 through July 17th, though there is a discounted rate of $100
available for fans 17-21. www.renovationsf.org)
August 18-21:
Game Fest South (Chattanooga, Tennessee – www.gamefestsouth.com)
August 19-21:
Mizu Con (Miami, Florida – www.mizucon.com)
Motaku (Kansas City, Missouri – www.motaku.org)
August 19-20:
Onyx Con III (Atlanta, Georgia – www.onyxcon.com)

August 26-28:
Armadillo Con (Austin, Texas – www.fact.org/dillo)
MechaCon (New Orleans, Louisiana – www.mechacon.com)

September 2-5:
Dragon*Con (Atlanta, Georgia – several hotels in downtown, though most have
already sold out. The guest list is huge, and they’ve named Terry Brooks and
Michael Whelan as Guests of Honor. [Thanks, Regina! –ed.] The attendance at
this will be in the tens of thousands. You will be surrounded everywhere you look
by folks who share some interest in fandom. It’s a great four-day weekend, and
always vibrant. Membership is $90 through May 13th. www.dragoncon.com)
Mephit Furmeet (Memphis, Tennessee – www.mephitfurmeet.org)

September 16-18:
Intervention (Rockville, Maryland – www.interventioncon.com)
                                                                                10


Con*Stellation XXX (Huntsville, Alabama – www.con-
stellation.org/constell/index.html)




September 23-25:
FenCon VIII/DeepSouthCon 49 (Addison, Texas – Crowne Plaza North
Dallas. Guests of Honor: Gail Carriger, Joe Bethancourt, Steven H Silver,
Vincent Di Fate, Les Johnson, Bradley Denton, and Lou Anders. DeepSouthCon
finally comes to Texas! I’m thrilled to be returning to FenCon, as well, which I
found to have the friendly atmosphere appropriate to a good Southern con. I also
found that the panels tended to have actively interested audiences, the game
room stayed busy, folks attended the filk concerts and circles, the art show had a
great mix of stuff (including some Tolkien-inspired quilts!), the video room was
actually attended, the consuite well-stocked, and the dealers room balanced. The
hotel bar also carried a few local Texas beers, which I appreciated. For DSC, I’ll
be in charge of the fanzine lounge, which seems like an entirely appropriate place
for the SFC to set up shop. FenCon will be taking advantage of Gail Carriger’s
attendance to have some fun with steampunk as well. All in all, I’m looking
forward to this year’s DSC, and I hope to see many of you there. Membership is
$30 through June 1st, with a special $45 rate which gets you a t-shirt or tote bag
and first crack at the autograph line with the GoHs. A $15 rate is also available
for fans 21 and under. www.fencon.org)
ScareFest (Lexington, Kentucky – www.scarefestcon.com)
                                                                                       11


September 30-October 2:
Anime Weekend Atlanta (Atlanta, Georgia – www.awa-con.com)
Archon 35 (St. Louis, Missouri – www.archonstl.org)
GameCon V (Memphis, Tennessee – www.gameconmemphis.com)

June 15-17, 2012:
DeepSouthCon 50 – Lunar Party (Huntsville, Alabama – venue TBA. This
will be the first independent DSC in about a decade, and the Moon Princesses
have put together quite a crew to run it. Guests of Honor will include Lois
McMaster Bujold, Howard Tayler, Travis “Doc” Taylor, Larry Montgomery, David
Hulan, and Dr. Demento. Larry and David ran the very first two DSCs back in the
60s, and this will be a rare opportunity to get to meet them. I’ll have more
information on this con in coming issues. Attending Memberships are currently
$40, or $15 for pre-supporters. Supporting Memberships are $20.
www.dsc50huntsville.com)


Rebel Yells:
News and note from all over

Tom Feller had a brief note for us this time:

Thanks for the e-zine. My only comment is that Anita and I attended the 2008
Westercon in Las Vegas and saw several people we knew and who knew us,
because we've attended many Worldcons.

Tom

Thanks, Tom. I suppose getting more of us going to Worldcons would help with
that connection more than anything.

Brad Foster checked in as well:

Greetings Warren ~

Checked out the new issue today. Hope the move goes well for you. I trust the
change in address will apply only to your physical address, and not to emails?
(That's the beauty of emails, can follow you anywhere- as long as the server
doesn't crash!)

That fillo worked nicely to relate to the logo. Attached is a new one. Playing
around with that interlocking lines stuff I like to do, but this time it turned into
an actual thing. Well, at least 'I' thought it did!

Looking forward to more con reports from Allegra-Chainmail Chick. Sometimes
convention reports can be a bit, shall we say, "dry". But there is such excitement
in how she writes it up, it makes you want to go yourself. Got to get her to a
                                                                                 12


Worldcon, or the
big San Diego
Comicon. (Well,
heck, she'd
probably explode
from the
excitement of that
last one!)

Back to the drawing
board.

Brad

Brad W Foster
PO Box 165246,
Irving, TX 75016
bwfoster@juno.co
m

As you say, the
email address
remains the same.
This is actually the
fourth one I’ve had
– the freebies I
chose in high school
and college, and the university account. I eventually wanted one that was just
my name and wouldn’t go away, and I’ve loved Gmail’s functionality. I’ve gone
ahead and included this illo here with your loc – I’m going to try to include
more this issue. I doubt SDCC would make Allegra explode (she’s survived
Dragon*Con, after all), but I would like to see what she thought of a Worldcon.
I’ll hopefully be able to get more conreports from her to share with y’all.

J. Andrew World caught up to me at RavenCon and sent me down the trail of a
rather interesting historical curiosity: a reconstruction of the sound of the Rebel
Yell, based on the two extant recordings of Confederate veterans. Here’s a
YouTube video from History Publishing Company, Palisades, New York, on the
subject:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssLMroT2euQ&feature=related

Eerie.
                                                                                13


Joy V. Smith dropped us a brief note:

Warren,

Intriguing cover art, and what a fantastic diversity of cons! I enjoyed everyone's
LOCs, but I loved The Chainmail chick's con reports! They were a lot of fun!! I'd
love to see more con reports from her.

Appreciatively,
Joy V. Smith
My other blog (media tidbits and more)
http://pagadan.livejournal.com/

Glad to hear you enjoyed last ish, Joy! Hope this one goes over well, too.

And of course, Lloyd Penney sent us another substantial LOC:

                                        1706-24 Eva Rd.
                                        Etobicoke, ON
                                        CANADA M9C 2B2

                                        April 18, 2011

Dear Warren:

Many thanks for SFC Update Vol. 1 No. 20. I will try my best to make this quick,
and get it out asap.

We may have the equivalent of The Chainmail Chick here. Liana K has been on
nation-wide television here and there, and she is now heavily involved in local
fandom, going to every show there is, showing off an assortment of costumes that
generally cover, to various degrees. I’m a diplomat, aren’t I? Liana is one of the
three chairs of the big steampunk convention that’s coming up here in less than a
couple of weeks. It’s on the same time as World Horror, but I don’t think there’ll
be much overlap.

Another great convention list…I think Yvonne and I have decided we’re definitely
going to Reno for the Worldcon, so we will see you there. Rich Dengrove’s
letter…yes, I was worried that you’d burn out quick, being as busy as you’ve been
with the SFC and other activities. I have avoided that fate for more than 30 years
by taking inventory of our activities, and then make a hard decision. Deciding to
hang it up after 30 years of conrunning wasn’t a hard decision, though… it’s a
great present to give ourselves. We always get to talk and party with the people
there, but lately, we’re feeling our years and feeling like Mom and Dad at the
young kids’ convention, so retirement sounded good, and 30 years is a nice,
round number.
                                                                                      14


Hello to Allegra! We’ve got some nearly naked costumers up here, too.
Fortunately for us, they look pretty good nearly naked. The rest of us should keep
our clothes on for a variety of reasons we can guess at.

Short but sweet. I know a lot of people at cons like that…but in this case, I refer to
the letter of comment I am now attempting to finish off. Thank you for another
issue, and see you again with the next!

                                         Yours, Lloyd Penney.

Hope the steampunk con and World Horror have both gone well. This issue is a
little late because April was a bad month for weather in NC, and I got assigned
to work on some of the claims up in the mountains. It was nice to get away
from things down here, and gave me some nice reading time. Congrats on your
30 years, and I hope you can get some relaxation time at cons for a while! I can
imagine that Toronto’s a fair bit colder for the nearly-naked costumers than the
South.

And finally, we heard from new (to us, at least) artist Greg Rieves, whose work
graces our cover and interiors this ish:

Hello,

  My name is Greg Rieves I met you at last years Con Carolinas in Charlotte
and inquired about your fan magazine SOUTHERN FANDOM
CONFEDERATION UPDATE. I am a cartoonist/artist and I wanted to send
some art work your way. Enclosed is a color illustration and some black and
white cartoons that you may use if you wish. I enjoy reading your magazine at
Efanzines.com along with many other fan publications.

Thank you for your time and I hope like my artwork,

Greg

Thanks, Greg! I’m always open to running work by more artists, and I’m
finally taking the time to actually include more than one artist per issue these
days. It’s one of those things I kept meaning to do….

WAHF: Regina Kirby, with info on Dragon*Con; Dr. Jeff Thompson, with
another article (see below); Toni Weisskopf.


Review:
To give myself a fair scale for ranking the Hugo nominees for Best Novel before
I've read them all, I'm going to rank the 8 nominees of the previous decade that
I've actually read. My rating for a given book will be where I would slot it, if it
                                                                                    15


were added to this hypothetical ballot. I don't believe any of these works ranks
below No Award, so it takes the ninth slot. A rating of 10, therefore, would
indicate that a book is utterly unworthy of a Hugo, whereas a 1 would mean I
would give it a rocket even against extraordinarily stiff competition – three of
them got rockets of their own, after all. Keep in mind, then, that I really liked all
eight of these books. This doesn’t, however, correspond to the actual weight I
gave them at the time. I voted Julian Comstock above The City & The City, for
instance. A rousing good adventure story is enough to get my vote over No
Award, but a book that makes me think and feel as well will get higher marks.

The Power Ballot
(1) Anathem by Neal Stephenson
(2) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
(3) The City & The City by China Miéville
(4) The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
(5) The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
(6) Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson
(7) Old Man's War by John Scalzi
(8) The Last Colony by John Scalzi
(9) No Award

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
358 pages, seven evenings to read.
Rank on the Power Ballot: 2

Ian McDonald has done something here that
modern fantasy writers should take note of: he has
written a complex story with half a dozen point-of-
view characters, using a rich level of detail and
long chapters covering fairly compact spans of
time, with a grand setting that experiences
sweeping changes, introducing multiple power
systems with discrete rules previously unfamiliar
to the reader – and he has done so in under 400
pages. Oh, and he did it with an awareness of
these characters' class, gender, religion, and
ethnicity, none of which he shoved in the reader's
face.

The story hinged on new technologies with the ability to change the world, but it
was moved all the while by its characters. This was a story about an old man who
has carried a broken heart for 47 years. This was a story about a boy with a
disability who refused to let it stifle his intelligence. This was a story about the
ethics and ambition of a commodities broker at the height of his power. This was
a story about his wife, who wants him to see that she can be a dealer, too, and the
beautiful patterns she sees in the world. This was a story about the religious
awakening and redemption of a callous young man. This was a story about a girl
                                                                                    16


from the country who wants very badly to succeed in the city, and the family
crisis that gives her an opening to do so.

This is what science fiction does so well, and Ian McDonald has done it very well.
Read it. Read it now.

Steam Shenanigans
By Mitra Salehi

[Note from the author: Please include the note that this was a presentation
paper, necessarily (painfully) truncated for time - there are major things left
out or to be added - what who considers the major definitive steampunk to be,
all the citations, etc. I really owe my theoretical frame to Rose, most of what I'm
doing is expanding her idea across artistic media, so there are lots of things that
are her ideas but not marked as such. The more ambitious project that this came
out of was an attempt to look at SteamPunk crafting as physicalizing "semiotic
ghosts", a concept jacked explicitly from Gibson's "Gernsback Continuum"
(though that was about retrofuturism of another era - I didn't know at the time
that "retrofuturism" had already been articulated and was casting about for
what I was on to).]

         "Steampunk": Even if you don't recognize the term, you've probably
experienced it. The 1999 summer blockbuster Wild, Wild West, for example,
starred Will Smith and Kevin Kline opposite Kenneth Branagh’s steam-powered
wheelchair and enormous mechanical spider. That movie was based on the 1965
proto-steampunk television series The Wild, Wild West, which was itself full of
steam train adventures and relentless gadgeteering. Other Hollywood films with
notable Steampunk elements from the last decade or so include Sherlock Holmes
(2009); Van Helsing (2004), Jonah Hex (2010) and The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), adapted from the graphic novel of the same
name, by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.
         Steampunk is a retrofuturistic genre with its roots in the speculative fiction
of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and has enjoyed increasing international
attention since its 1987 naming by K.W. Jeter, the author of Steampunk novels,
Morlock Night and Infernal Devices. Despite its origins as a literary fiction genre,
there are now identifiable works of Steampunk sculpture and design, film, music,
roleplaying games, videogames, costume construction, costumed performance,
and even new self-identified communities and events. How, then, can we
conceptualize “Steampunk” as a cohesive genre?
         Academic work on Steampunk is in its very early phases; while the genre is
not new it had not attracted the attention of the academy until its recent
explosion in general popularity. Such useful articles as are available are
concentrated in the journals Neo-Victorian Studies, Science Fiction Studies, and
Verniana. Though not an academic journal, discussion among subculture
participants in SteamPunk Magazine has added much to the intellectual
discussion since 2006. Academic analysis of Steampunk has focused primarily on
its literary facet, often in the analysis of one of its seminal texts, such as Willam
                                                                                 17


Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine. However, Steampunk's
proliferation across different media calls for a more flexible conceptualization of
genre, a way to think about Steampunk as Steampunk across modes of
expression. Barbara Fuchs presents a useful way of looking at genre in her work
Romance. Instead of looking at “romance” as a settled body of literature fixed in
time, it can be seen as a strategy, a set of concerns and themes that can be
resituated in each particular historical occurrence, such as medieval romance,
renaissance romance, or even gothic romance. Borrowing Fuchs’ approach and
applying it laterally rather than chronologically, I look at Steampunk as a
strategy, with common elements and themes that can make a work recognizably
Steampunk regardless of creative medium. This way, a costume, a piece of music,
or a film can all be meaningfully called Steampunk, without losing their
particularities as distinct forms of art.
         There are a great many potential identifiers of Steampunk. Mike Perschon,
Grant MacEwan University’s Professor of Literature and blogger at “The
Steampunk Scholar”; proposes “technofantasy, retrofuturism and neo-
Victorianism.” I am not attempting to present a comprehensive definition of
“the Steampunk strategy”, but to explore one aspect - Steampunk’s particular
relationship to history expressed across artforms. I am particularly indebted to
two pieces of existing literature.
         In “Extraordinary Pasts: Steampunk as a Mode of Historical
Representation," Margaret Rose articulates Steampunk as a term that combines
two major elements:
         ““steam”, evokes specifically the nineteenth century and a focus on
         technology, past and present; “punk” evokes an irreverent attitude
         toward history and...an iconoclastic concern with the origins and
         conventions of [science fiction]”.
It is this focus on technology and playful impiety towards carefully studied
histories, Rose concludes, that really separates Steampunk from more nostalgic
traditions, such as the gaslight romance. To move beyond Rose’s focus on the
literal written word, I supplement her work with Rebecca Onion’s insights on the
Steampunk relationship to technology articulated in her article, “Reclaiming the
Machine: An Introductory Look at Steampunk in Everyday Practice." I have
organized this presentation as an illustrated introduction to the way that
Steampunk “Punks History”.
         Steampunk art’s playful relationship to history is one of the genre’s major
identifiable topoi – commonplace elements and themes – and one of its most
important for our purposes, as a discussion of public memory. Steampunk’s
concern with history is not limited to Victoriana as costuming and backdrop, nor
is it simple nostalgia. As Rose put it,
         “steampunk is a fiction that places a premium on minutely
         accurate historical detail, within flamboyantly wronged imagined
         pasts, in order to explore the ways in which the conventional
         historical sensibility sometimes gets it wrong”
These “wronged” pasts can include alternate histories (usually in which there is a
technology-related hinge-point or point of divergence from real history, at which
point the fiction picks up), fantasy settings with little correspondence to Earth’s
                                                                                 18


history, or futures extrapolated from a technologically anachronistic Victorian
past. Engagement with Victorian culture and tropes is what is important , rather
than adherence to a strict historical period or physical location. Steampunk
narratives have been set on Mars, for example, or in an alternate historical
timeline, as in comic Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio, “in which the Industrial
Revolution escalated into a full-on war”. War Machine, a strategy game,
integrates many elements of Steampunk despite an overtly non-Earth fantasy
setting.
       This mixture of Victorian tropes and historical detail with fantasy and
anachronism does not, and Rose makes this point emphatically – indicate a
disregard for or denial of the reality and importance of history, but instead a way
to “explore the intersections and limitations of the various textual ways in which
we access it.” How we make sense of historical fact, organize it and receive it in
narrative forms is what is in question. If the historical artifacts strewn about the
narrative (or about the costume) are verifiably real, but they do not fit in with a
received historical picture, we must pay closer attention to narrative-making in
both history and fiction, and in that moment, says Rose, lies a big part of
Steampunk’s subversive potential. In these works, loving attention is paid to
historical details, while the “Great Men” (and women) of history are featured
both prominently and irreverently – in Paul DiFilippo’s short story “Victoria”,
constant nods are made to period figures, international political and military
events, and common dress practices, while a young Queen Victoria runs away to
be temporarily replaced on the throne by a prurient salamander-human hybrid
who happened to bear a resemblance to the missing monarch. Queen Victoria
also appeared as a single-celled organism in short story “Petrolpunk.” Abraham
Lincoln, another genre favorite, appears as either a zombie or robot, in
roleplaying game setting DeadLands and Robert Reed’s short story “American
Cheetah”, respectively.
       To further explore our senses of the historical, Rose points out the ways in
which Steampunk literature uses signals of pastness – archaic diction and
constant references to anachronistic facts, and social and technological forms,
such as the penny dreadful, music hall, or steam train, and then complicates or
even upends these signals with juxtaposed fantasy or stylized anachronism, an
almost Brechtian move in which the viewer must acknowledge their own
disrupted expectations of the boundaries between history, fiction, realism, and
representation.
       This is also in play in Steampunk performance, music, crafting and
costume, all of which often share venues or even directly overlap in the same
performance. Steampunk performance art often takes visual vocabulary from the
carnival sideshow, and has cross-pollinated with the growing neo-vaudeville and
burlesque revivals, such as Cabaret Decadance and Tragic Tantrum Cabaret.
Costumers play with 19th century visual signals of gender and class, such as
corsets, full skirts, parasols, and top hats. By pairing these signals with
anachronistic elements taken from gothic or rave fashion vocabularies,
ostentatiously unreal technological props or prosthetics, or displays of body that
would have been inappropriate to the gendered and classed signals in the rest of
the outfit, Steampunk costumers interrupt a straight reading of what that
                                                                                19


costume would historically signify about the wearer. Steampunk craftspeople
seek to make apparent and material the workings of consumer technology that
modern science and design have made microscopic and invisible, hidden within
an inaccessible “black box”. By creating pieces of technology and art in the visual
vocabulary of 19th century industrial technology, Steampunk craftspeople
deconstruct and reconstruct, both literally and mentally, objects both functional
and sculptural, that if read “straight” as 19th century reproductions would do
blatantly anachronistic or fantastical things. Brass, wood and leather cases that
contain working computers, for example, refitted old iron stoves that hide
working electric ranges, or even prosthetic or prop pieces that imply cybernetics
or ray guns. In music, elements of arrangement or instrumentation such as
accordion waltzes can signal pastness, as can sung storytelling forms– ballads,
cautionary tales, etc. Lyrical handling of Steampunk concerns (such as
anachronistic technology) is often, for example, put into a ballad form while
juxtaposed with modern instrumentation or diction, such as in “Victorian
Gentlemens Boasting Song” by The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing).
       The name of London-based band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For
Nothing is an excellent example of the hidden historical jokes common in
Steampunk. Their name is a reference to graffiti found at the site of one of
London’s famous Jack the Ripper murders, as may be the name of their label,
“Leather Apron”, another object found at the scene of the crime. Their lyrics often
explicitly spoof Victorian society or Steampunk itself, such as in their song
“Goggles”, in which they play on a common Steampunk fashion accessory to sing
the praises of technologically adept women.
       In Steampunk, production and performance are often heavily integrated,
blurring the lines between not only performer s and craftspeople, but between
performers and audiences. Professional acts run the gamut from mostly musical
groups like Abney Park that perform as costumed personas, to the League of
S.T.E.A.M (a “steampunk ghostbusters”-esque theater group who produce their
own YouTube distributed adventure videos, as well as live theater performances),
and the crews of Airships Isabella and Neo-Dulcimer (who do everything from
performance to crafting, Steampunk education to visual art). Not only do bands
perform in costume, often on modified or self-built instruments, but costumed
attendees (costumers and artists themselves) are common at Steampunk
gatherings, conventions and musical events. As Emmett Davenport writes of one
such event, North Carolina’s own Clockwork Ball, “It's part dance party, part
costume ball, part theatre, part concert, part dance lesson, part photo shoot and I
suppose there's a smidgen of role playing in there.” Costumed event attendees,
using clothing and props that are often home-made or at least individually
assembled, often complete with developed personas, blur the line between
fashion, crafting, and performance.
       Progress narratives, both technological and cultural, come under fire in
Steampunk narratives of many kinds. The technological optimism often
expressed in Steampunk work is tempered with an awareness of the potentially
negative consequences of “progress”, the dangerous connections between the
drives for technological and social improvement and “the drive for power or
mastery over the world” – the gentleman tinkerer is often dangerously close to
                                                                                    20


becoming the mad scientist, and both are often depicted in Steampunk art (Rose
329) The anachronistic development of robot and computer technologies as
analog, mechanical machines in the 19th century is a common feature of both
modern Steampunk literature and its 19th century source material (Onion), but
these technologies are never played straight, or put to their historical uses;
zeppelins are home to airship pirates, Charles Babbage’s historically proposed
“difference engine” was not only built but rivaled modern computers, and in
DiFilippo’s “Victoria”, the very first nuclear-steam hybrid train explodes, killing
the inventor’s parents and most of a town, and further nuclear experimentation is
abandoned.
         Steampunks’s critical play on history can also be used to question the
inevitability of Western imperialism and hegemony. What would the world look
like if the Turkish experiments with submarine technology during the Crimean
War had been successful? What would one wear in an anachronistically
technological 19th century China? If the Babbage engine changed the course of
history, how would Native American groups adapt? Two notable web presences
that discuss the possibilities of Steampunk beyond “the West” are bloggers “Ay-
leen the Peacemaker”, with her blog community Beyond Victoriana, and Miss
Kagashi, on her blog Multiculturalism for Steampunk. As Ay-leen puts it,
         “The nineteenth century was a time of intellectual achievement,
         innovation, and geopolitical expansion. At the same time, that
         greatness came at the expense of slavery, oppression, social
         inequality, and racism... So when speaking about steampunk from
         non-Eurocentric settings, difficult issues about race, class,
         marginalized histories, and cultural appropriation will be
         addressed.”
         Both bloggers publish costume and technological histories intentionally
chosen from non-Western historical moments they feel are underrepresented, as
well as pieces of Steampunk art that they feel creatively engage with these
dialogues.
         The juxtaposition of historical detail with fantasy to create an open critical
space is also notable in the Steampunk handling of gender. Criticisms of the
gender politics of The Difference Engine abound, but Rose found a range of
potentially empowering female characters in the short-story anthology
Extraordinary Engines. Steampunk costuming is rife with corsets and their
centuries of accumulated, conflicting textual baggage, but almost never go
untroubled - bustles and corsets are often paired with adventuring gear, with
rayguns as often as parasols. The proliferation of Copelia-esque stories, in which
a genius of questionable morals creates a doll-like “daughter” he keeps locked
away, might imply a straight rehash of the romantic objectification of women, as
in Abney Park’s “Herr Drosselmeyer’s Doll” and Death of the Cog’s “The
Inventor’s Daughter”, but the (perhaps ironically named) Clockwork Dolls write
and perform subversively anachronistic ballads, women’s laments and story
songs for arguably feminist ends. Their song “Maiden Voyage”, for example,
couples the technological achievement of flight with a woman’s independence,
while strident proprietress Anne Fernale takes center stage in “No Guns Allowed
in My Bar.”
                                                                                 21


        It should be noted, Steampunks’ analytical fascination with history
extends to their own – self-reported histories many aspects of the genre itself are
common on Steampunk websites, and critique and debate thereof can
be...spirited. The presence of active Steampunk communities on the internet,
including the Brass Goggles forum and the troublesomely named The Steampunk
Empire, provide a forum for debate and self-reflection, as well as for the
dissemination of tips, historical articles and resources, how-to’s and insider genre
histories. Jokes and censure help define the boundaries of Steampunk practice,
including “what not to wear” articles about over-done costuming tropes.
Particular ridicule is reserved for those who blindly follow the aesthetics of
Steampunk in a way that demonstrates a lack of understanding of its underlying
critiques, i.e. you just pasted a bunch of gears on a tophat.
        Even as I present this paper, my work is becoming a small foreshadowing
of what will doubtless be a more complete (and much better illustrated) overview
of Steampunk in its many manifestations – The Steampunk Bible, by Jeff
VanderMeer and S.J. Chambers. In a recent interview, author and artist S.J.
(who, even in her own biography, does not explain her initials), notes that,
        “These steampunks work within their own cultural heritages to
        rewrite and explore their histories in an imaginative way without
        diminishing the seriousness of the issues they raise.” – S.J.
        Chambers, interview.
By presenting these ideas in an inviting space of play, Chambers suggests, they
may be more positively and widely received. As the Sepiachord crew note - like
Steampunk literature and film, Steampunk music is “something that looks back
to the past to comment on the present while looking sideways at the future.” By
entering into this imaginative space, Steampunk authors and artists can explore
the rich tropes of the 19th century world while simultaneously complicating the
legacies with which they are engaging.


Franz Waxman’s Music for The Bride of Frankenstein
(1935)
Jeff Thompson

       Much of the success of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) as a
horror/fantasy film is because of its rich, memorable music score that enlivens
and interprets the film’s scenes. One of the reasons for Dracula and
Frankenstein’s stagy feel is those 1931 films’ almost total lack of music. In The
Bride of Frankenstein, Franz Waxman’s brilliant score, along with still-effective
special effects and then-state-of-the-art sound effects, elevates the film to a
product that contemporary audiences regard as a complete, real Hollywood
movie. The Bride of Frankenstein is the complete package: action, sets,
costumes, scares, laughs, sound effects, special effects—and plenty of music.
       Franz Waxman was born Franz Wachsmann in Konigshutte, Germany
(now Chorzow, Poland), on Christmas Eve of 1906. Beginning in 1923, the young
pianist studied at music conservatories in Dresden and Berlin and was the piano
player for a jazz band called the Weintraub Synkopaters. Waxman left Germany
                                                                                22


for France in 1934; soon thereafter, he came to the United States where Waxman
met director James Whale at a Hollywood Christmas party in December of 1934.
Having liked Waxman’s music for Fritz Lang’s Liliom, Whale invited the
composer to score Whale’s upcoming Bride movie, which would begin filming on
2 January 1935. Franz Waxman went on to compose music for more than 150
films, including The Invisible Ray, The Devil-Doll, A Christmas Carol, The
Philadelphia Story, To Have and Have Not, Sorry Wrong Number, Stalag 17,
Mister Roberts, Peyton Place, and Return to Peyton Place. Waxman scored four
of Alfred Hitchcock’s films—Rebecca, Suspicion, The Paradine Case, and Rear
Window—and the composer won two consecutive Academy Awards for his music
for Sunset Boulevard (1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951).
        Like the stunning female creature who lives on-screen for only five
minutes but who has become one of the foremost Universal monster-movie icons,
Franz Waxman’s score for The Bride of Frankenstein transcends this one movie
and has enjoyed exposure and recognition far beyond its point of origin. The
Bride music score—especially the unforgettable five-note “Monster Theme” and
the misterioso “Pretorius Theme”—was reused in numerous Western films, some
B-movies, and the Flash Gordon movie serials. The very best film music can lend
color, emotion, nuance, and subtext to whatever film with which it is paired.
Franz Waxman’s Peyton Place theme song may have made him the most
money—and his Oscar-winning music for Sunset Boulevard and A Place in the
Sun may have granted him the most prestige—but Waxman’s rousing, scary,
playful, clever music for The Bride of Frankenstein has bestowed upon him
immortality among Universal monster-movie fans, Flash Gordon fans, baby-
boomer viewers of TV’s Shock Theater and Creature Feature, and today’s cable-
TV watchers and DVD consumers.
        According to film-music historian Richard Bush, “Certainly, Waxman’s
score [for Bride] provided a sophistication that was simply out of the ordinary
and unrivaled in its time by the majority of film scores.” Indeed, Max Steiner,
with his brilliant scores for King Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, The Son of
Kong, and She, and Franz Waxman, with his dazzling music for The Bride of
Frankenstein, The Invisible Ray, The Devil-Doll, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(the Spencer Tracy version), seemed to “invent” effective, intrinsic music for
horror/fantasy/adventure movies. About Waxman’s Bride score, Bush adds, “It
should be noted that Waxman employed whole-tone scales for the majority of the
cues in Bride. Whole-tone scales, unlike traditional diatonic scales [e.g. do re mi
fa so la ti do], have only six notes to the octave with each interval in the scale
composed of a whole tone. Whole-tone scales were cultivated by and usually
associated with the music of Claude Debussy and are characterized by a “restless”
feeling. The technique was often used in film music to provide a supernatural
atmosphere.”
        Waxman evokes the style of Debussy in the scene in which the
Frankenstein monster (Boris Karloff) wanders through a peaceful countryside
and encounters a shepherdess. As the idyllic scene takes a dark turn, the music
segues to a march variation of the “Monster Theme” and then to an agitato
“Chase Theme” as the villagers pursue the creature, capture him, and truss him
up. This scene has been compared both to 1930s-era lynchings and to the
                                                                                23


Crucifixion of Christ. Franz Waxman probably infused his personal experience
into the emotional music accompanying the monster’s capture and mistreatment,
for the event that prompted him to leave Germany in 1934 was that the 27-year-
old Waxman was beaten up on a Berlin street by a gang of anti-Semitic
hoodlums.
                                                                 Virtually every
                                                         character in Bride has
                                                         his or her own theme
                                                         song or leit-motif which
                                                         recurs, in different keys,
                                                         instrumentations, and
                                                         treatments, throughout
                                                         the score. The thrilling
                                                         main-title music
                                                         introduces the monster’s
                                                         theme, Dr. Pretorius’s
                                                         theme, the female
                                                         creature’s theme (a weird
                                                         blend of romance and
                                                         horror), and even
                                                         Elizabeth’s “A Strange
                                                         Apparition” theme which
                                                         returns at the moment
                                                         that an hysterical
                                                         Elizabeth predicts the
                                                         appearance of Dr.
                                                         Pretorius. The leit-motif
                                                         theme song of Mary
                                                         Shelley, Percy Shelley,
                                                         and Lord Byron in the
                                                         film’s prologue is a
                                                         quaint minuet, played
                                                         first by a string quartet
                                                         and later in the scene by
celesta, harp, bassoon, clarinet, and muted trumpet. Even the servant Minnie
(Una O’Connor), the comic relief of the film, has her own theme which is played
by various woodwinds as Minnie unknowingly helps the monster up out of the
fiery pit. In the homunculi scene, Waxman deftly interpolates Felix
Mendelssohn’s “Spring Song” when Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) displays the
miniature ballerina. The mad doctor even identifies the piece of music to Henry
Frankenstein (Colin Clive). Later, Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” punctuates a
poignant moment near the end of one of the film’s most memorable scenes: the
monster’s bittersweet encounter with a compassionate blind man (O.P. Heggie).
This is a sequence that is mercilessly spoofed in Mel Brooks’s Young
Frankenstein, a film which draws upon key elements in Frankenstein, The Bride
of Frankenstein, and Son of Frankenstein for its satire.
                                                                              24


       Waxman’s breathtaking “Creation” music is a musical tour de force
combining the misterioso theme, the agitato theme, the exotic “Bride Theme,”
and an insistent tympanum suggesting a heartbeat. (Years later, Waxman
complained that the deafening sound effects in the creation scene obscured much
of his music!) Finally, when the female creature comes to life and Dr. Pretorius
campily (and ambiguously) christens her “the bride of Frankenstein,” Waxman
gamely joins in the fun by cueing wedding bells. Waxman has left no bizarre
stone unturned—and neither has the film itself. The Bride of Frankenstein
(1935) can be considered a fantasy (in my opinion, merely the hysterical,
delirious fever-dream/hallucination of Henry Frankenstein, who was in an
incoherent fog at the conclusion of Frankenstein), a horror movie, a campy
comedy, a pre-feminist statement about gender issues, a political statement
about race and sexuality, or—best of all—one of the most fondly remembered
movie memories from one’s childhood and a universally recognized and
embraced staple of popular culture.

      Dr. Jeff Thompson teaches English at Tennessee State University and
Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film in Nashville. He is the Rondo Award-
nominated author of The Television Horrors of Dan Curtis: Dark Shadows, The
Night Stalker, and Other Productions, 1966-2006 (McFarland, 2009) and House
of Dan Curtis: The Television Mysteries of the Dark Shadows Auteur (Westview,
2010). He collects film music on LP and CD, as well as Dark Shadows
memorabilia, autographed books and pictures, monster models, comic books,
and other popular-culture artifacts.

				
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