The View from Entropy Hall (Online Archive) - From Ed Meskys - RR2 Box 63 - 322 Whitter Hwy - Center Harbor NH 03226
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Issue #13

The View From Entropy Hall #13 for APA-Q 409, 28 June 1997, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, (322 Whittier Hwy Mbo), Center Harbor NH 03226- 9708, [email protected], 603-253-6207.



ENTROPY #12 was intended for the 31 May disty but was late and will be in the 28 June one. This ish is also running late and I expect it will be in the 26 July disty, unless the June one is late. In that case I will have over 20 pages, rivaling John Boardman. On June 28 I am leaving for the NFB convention in New Orleans and will return July 6. I doubt I will have time to prepare another zine by July 26. Happy summer, and I will be back when I can. Wonder if John Boardman will be able to have distys follow him on his vacation, and prepare his own contributions. Looks like we will have two very skinny distys.

Brian Thurston ran off ENTROPY #12 on his computer with an inkjet, so its repro should be excellent. I am back to my 9- pin dot matrix for thish which, I gather, looks lousy even on "nlq mode" and with a new ribbon. Best, Ed



ENTROPY #12 failed to make the 408th disty because of a misalligned ribbon on my typer and an obtuse pest office. The ribbon had slipped and the bottom half of the 2 in 234 in John's address was not clear. The address did have the 9 digit zip so it should have made it. Also Brian said that if you look carefully you can see that the number IS a "2." This is not the first time I have had trouble sending stuff to John. About a year ago two issues sent to him disappeared completely. He seems to have a lazy carrier.

I just talked with the local post mistress and she said my new address will not become official before mid-August [if then!!] and they have not decided whether or not to accept the "911" addresses (322 Whittier Hwy in my case). Until further notice please use both the RR #2 and the 322 address, the latter in parenthesis.



Brian had problems with both his www software and his listserv software. The first 10 issues of ENTROPY remain on the web site, but he hopes to have the newer ones added before you see this. He expects to solve his listserv problems soon and I will start sending this out by email. If you hear about this and want on,let me know. Ditto if you get this and want off.


Today I just finished reading a really outstanding book by Susan Shwartz, GRAIL OF HEARTS(TOR, 1992, 308 pp). It is her retelling of the story of Parsifal and the Graille from the viewpoint of the sorceress Kundry. In her afterword susan explained her sources and her melding of them and her innovations. Her principal source was Wagner's opera PARSIFAL. When I was sighted I used to like to listen to recordings of operas while following in a translation of the libretto, and I had heard PARSIFAL a number of times, but it is almost 30 years since I last did so. I do not remember Kundry as being a "wandering Jew" cursed to wander the earth eternally for laughing at The crucifiction, but Susan said it was in Wagner's notes or libretto. Almost half of the book is Kundry's re- living Holy Week When her master, Klinger, sends her back in time as a punishment for disobeying his orders. This section was VERY well handled. It was moving without being maudlin. Susan uses her knowledge of medieval literature (in which she has a PhD from Columbia) and modern knowledge of the time. She is very respectful of Jewish AND Christian beliefs, and the magical encounters are powerful and exciting. Susan has given a rational explanation of many of the inconsistant beliefs in the grail legend. . Pius medieval persons were very credulous about the survival of relics and found it easy to believe that a cup which caught Yeshua's blood at the crucifiction (why and how?) had been preserved. Susan says that the earliest version of the Graille legend said that the Graille was this cup. Later versions had the Graille be the cup used by Yeshua at the last supper, and some said it served both functions. Still later versions said it was just a numenous experience and not a physical object. Anyhow, Susan came up with a plausible scenario for how it could have been used at the last supper and how it was on the ground at the foot of the cross when the Roman pierced His side with the lance, and how it could have been brought to England.

Susan, like T.H. White explicetly and Mallory implicetly, sets the Arthurian stories in the eleventh century, with all the trappings of knighthood and chivalry. The graille is kept in a secret castle in a magical woods by a consecrated order of knights, who also possess the lance used at the crucifixion. Only someone in a specific line of succession can handle the cup. Every noon it must be elevated by the designated custodian and this act refreshes and heals the knights. The previous custodian is infirm and incapable of the act, and needs its healing virtues to sustain himself. The next custodian died under mysterious circumstances a year or two before the book opens and his younger brother is chafing under the task, which is also exhausting. He is the last surviver in the line and cannot pass the task to anyone else. The opening scene is from his viewpoint and tells how Kundry seduces him, steals the lance, and Klingor mortally wounds him with it. From here the book is from Kundry's viewpoint.

Klingor is a magician who has lived from Yeshua's time, and has enslaved Kundry. She had been forced into prostitution when she refused to marry a fellow villager who had raped her in order to gain her property. Klingor sensed Yeshua as a very powerful magician and wanted his power. He manipulated behind the scenes many of the events surrounding Yeshua's execution and ever since sought to acquire the Graille and lance in order to enhance his powers. After he gets the lance Kundry rebels and refuses to seduce Parsifal, the last hope of the Graille knights. He threatens to send her back to relive Holy Week again and she cannot take it, so gives in. There is a terrific climax where Kundry is redeemed and Klingor defeated.

I found Susan's reconstruction of the legends and her portrayal of Israel in Yeshua's time very interesting, and the story very moving. I would put this among the best five books I have read in the last year.

Another story of the Graille, but set in modern times, is Molly Cochran-Warren's THE FOREVER KING (TOR, 1992, 364 pp). Here, too, an immortal magician seeks to control the Graille and use it to enhance his powers. However here the cup starts as a magical item that falls from the sky as a meteorite in Summarian or even earlier times (it is a year since I read the book and am hazy on some details; can any reader help me before I reprint it in the second edition of ONCE & FUTURE ARTHUR?) The magician Saladin steals it from the wanderer who had found it and used it to heal Saladin. Whenever Saladin has it in his possession he stops ageing so is desperate to retain it. It is hidden in a ceremac cup and ends up being used by Yeshua at the Last Supper, but Saladin regains it. He lives on for thousands of years doing many things, including being ruler of a Moslim empire for a time. Today he considers himself to be a great artist and, like in the movie THE WAX WORKS, uses the corpses of his murder victims as cores for sculptures. He is discovered and jailed, and hides the Graille in Chicago until he can get out of prison. Just like the One Ring by design found its way into Gollum's and Frodo's hands, so too by a string of coincidences the Graille falls into the hands of a boy in Chicago. Every generation the major players of the Arthurian saga have their resonances and this boy is Arthur's. There are also resonances of Merlin and other major players. Except for flashbacks the whole story is set today as Saladin struggles to regain control of the Graille. The story is not corny but has much magic, adventure, and emotional impact. While it does not have the powerful emotional impact of the Susan Shwartz one it still is quite good and well worth reading.



This generation there must have been 50 different retellings of the story of King Arthur. Now authors seeking new legends to conquer are turning to Robin Hood, among others.

I liked very much Parke Godwin's SHERWOOD (Morrow, 1991, 526 pp., $20.00). In his intro he explained that there were many who got into trouble with the law and hid in the forest. There was no one person who could be named "Robin Hood" but he grew out of an amalgum of popular tales about many such refugees. The final folk version placed him in the time of Richard the Lion Hearted and King JOhn but, like T.H. White, Godwin placed him in the time right after the Norman conquest. (White's story is an alternate history story where Uther Pendragon is the leader of the Norman Conquest, and the young "Wart" [Arthur] runs into Robin one day.)

I am so used to Arthurian fiction where the Saxons are the bad guys that it is disconcerting to have them the good guys suffering under the yoke of the Normans. I had the same problem with the movie BECKETT.

Robin's real name is Edward and he is the thain of the village of Denby in Sherwood Forest. Times are very hard and the French are very cruel in trying to pacify a populace unhappy with their foreign overlords. William has deposed most of the local lords and replaced them with camp-followers he had to reward for their support. The sherrif is a real three-dimensional character who admires yet fights Robin. He ends up marrying Robin's cousin, and Robin marries Marion just before fleeing into the forest. She stays home with his mother while and a handful of friends hide. Later his mother is appropriated by Queen Maud as a servant where she acts as a spy until she is discovered and put in a dungeon. The classic stories of stealing the bishop's treasure and winning the golden arrow are included but worked into a really plausable account. This is, actually, an excellent historical novel of the post-Conquest period with the legends of Robin worked in in a very plausible way. In the end Robin helps William and is pardoned and given back his lands.

The book has many good touches and succeeds in conveying a reasonable view of what the mindset was at that time. for instance, Robin had a Welshman and his wife and children as slaves whom he inherited from his father. When the half-dozen of his band divide the treasure plundered from the bishop each has unimaginable wealth, L3 in silver coins. The value of a slave is L1.5 and Robin is very bent out of shape when his slave uses his share to buy his and his wife's freedom, finding it inconceivable that he would want to do so. In a tiff Robin points out that the welshman will have come up with L.5 each to free his three children.

The people are Christian on the surface, going to mass every sunday, going to confession, turning to the village priest for advice, etc., but many pagan practices have survived. Robin and Marion also undergo a pagan wedding in the forest, and there is a old woman in the village who is a deviner. The only touch of magic in the story concerns some of the pagan resonances in the forest and the scrieing of the old woman.

In an afterword the author explains much about the culture of the time and gives other background details. If like me you know little of the time this is a very enjoyable novel which will give you a good feel for what did happen and how.

In the sequel, ROBIN AND THE KING, Robin and William, the king's second son, become good companions. Robin gets into trouble again. He has learned to read and write, and is a very clear thinker. He writes a document claiming under Saxon common law that the people have certain rights under the king and this is taken as treason. He is kept as hostage by the two Williams when they return to France, but is helpful in fighting off some French attacks on the king's holdings. The kings older son is rebellious and leads some of the attacks, but when William I dies he leaves his French holdings to the elder and his British holdings to his middle son, William II. On his deathbed he grants Robin a full pardon. The younger William wants Robin to take a position in court and is angry when Robin refuses in order to return to his people and village. A priest who is chancellor plans to plunder the treasure of the local cathedral for the king and Robin leads one last escapade to steal it first and hide it until there is a new bishop who can be entrusted with it. He and Marion are killed while diverting the possey from the trail of those carrying the treasure. In a postscript the gay William II has died without having married and his youngest brother is now Henry I. Robin's son, also named Edward, is part of the group who force the weakened king to sign the precurser of the Magna Carta.

I enjoyed both stories very much and am not such a traditionalist as to be bothered by the variations on the traditional Robin Hood legend. Look at the variations of the Arthur story which have been written, some really playing fast and loose with the traditional tale, and which are very acceptable. I also was very pleased with the vivid picture of the period.

Cynthia Voigt, an excellent writer of contemporary YA tales, has written a pseudo-historical novel about a Robin Hood like Character, JACKAROO (Fawcett, 1985, x+288 pp., $2.95). The culture is, for the most part, very British but with differences. There are a number of small kingdoms, something like in Lolah Burford's THE VISION OF STEPHEN (copyright 1972, reissued by Ace 1979). However there are differences. The kingdom of the story is divided into two earldoms and the heroine is the daughter of an inkeeper. The strangest feature of the society is that it is a capital offense for anyone but the nobility to know how to read and write. The heroine has to accompany the young heir to the earldom and his small son on a mapping expedition to the mountain fronteer of their land. They are separated in a blizzard and she is isolated in an abandoned house with the young boy. They must stay there for many days and have to overcome their misunderstandings due to different stations in life and experiences. To pass the time he teaches her to fight with a sword, and to read and write which she must keep secret.

The people have a mythical folk hero, Jackaroo, who plays a Robin Hood like role. While cleaning out a deceased relative's house she finds a Jackaroo costume, silver mask, blue cape, leather boots, and sword. She decides to use it to right some wrongs. She does not want to marry and says she could marry only someone who has her sympathy for the oppressed. She is helped a lot by a young family servant but because of his lower station she does not see his sympathy until it is rubbed in her nose at the end of the book.

Voigt is an excellent writer and I have enjoyed several of her contemporary novels. This is an interesting story about real people in an interesting society.

Voigt seems to be very careful not to specify a particular time and place for the tale, and I must take it for a totally imaginary land. There two sequels, each involving descendents of the main character taking place two generations after the last story. They are ON FORTUNE'S WHEEL(Atheneum, 1990, xii+276 pp., $14.95) and THE WINGS OF A FALCON(Scholastic, 1993, x+467 pp., $4.50). In the first book Voigt mentioned potatoes as a staple crop, but in the later ones makes no mention of them. I assume she did not know that potatoes originated in Peru, and tried to forget her error in the later books. Finally I must mention one more book, though I did not read it yet. It is LADY OF THE FOREST by Jennifer Roberson (Zebra Books, 1992, 755 pp., $5.99). The late Peter Gilman had recommended it to me and I bought a copy in 1994. Vacaville recorded it but damaged their master tapes before I could get a copy, so will eventually have to get it recorded again. Sandy has read it and says it is quite good, dealing with the women in Robin's band, and while the book is VERY long it covers the events of only three days.



In a past ish of ENTROPY I asked specifically just how did the tarot deck evolve into the modern card deck, giving the intermediate steps. John Boardman and some other APAQers gave a few details but I also got a LoC from Tamar Lindsay, below, and John Boardman sent me a LONG newspaper clipping about it. Unfortunately I had some trouble with my scanner and haven't yet been able to read (and possibly reprint) the clipping.

05-21-97 05:26:33

From: [email protected]

To: Edmund Meskys (Rcvd)


Hi, Ed. Just a quick note. In your e-zine you asked about the development ofTarot cards into regular cards.This happened partly because the French invented a way of making them faster bystandardizing the court cards. Instead of carving a new woodcut for each king,they carved a single woodcut with a space in the corners, and then stamped thespaces on the printed cards with the suit marks. To do that, they had to makethe suit marks smaller, so a sword got shrunk into a spade, the flowering rodbecame just the flower (though still called a club), the covered cup wasstylized into a heart shape, and the coin became a paving stone which we nowcall a diamond.Different countries had different suits up until then, and different people inthe court cards. Spain I think always had all male court cards, so they hadknights instead of queens, but it might have been Germany. I know Germany hadtwo pages, one called an Over and the other called an Under, after where thesuit mark was on the card itself, over or under the picture of the page. Iforget which country had the Lady instead of the Knight; it was not at allcommon. Germany had leaves and bells instead of swords and cups, I think. Thehistory of cards is complex because of the differences among differentcountries, many of which still have different types of decks from the standardFrench Deck.The change to modern card decks came partly when England banned imported decksin the eighteenth century, and started to print their own; they copied theFrench deck because it was cheap and easy to play cards with. The Tarocco deckscontinued to be used on the continent, but Tarocco wasn't a popular game inEngland.I hope this message comes through complete. = Tamar



I am starting this the day I mailed #12 off to John for the 408th disty. I have only made half my comments on the 406 and 407, so I will finish them up while I wait for the arrival of 408. Also, I have had only half of 407 read to me. I usually have Brian available only one hour a week, though I did get in two hours last week, and it takes 4 to 5 hours to read a disty. If anyone could send me hiser zine on a ascii disk (any size or density) or e-mail it to me, I would really appreciate it.

ARE NON- ORTHODOX JEWS STILL JEWS (Mordechi Hausman). I found the whole article interesting but have nothing to add to the discussion. I guess the whole thing hinges on the ethnic and religious meaning of "Jew."

BLAnCmANGE (Mark Blackman). In disty #406 you commented on the long time it took the transit authority to open a free transfer between the BNT anb IRT at Pacific St/Atlantic Ave. In my experience even after the Transit Authority took over the private IRT and BMT companies they operated them separately with almost no free transfers. The only ones I had been aware of in the '50s were at Times Square and Queens Plaza (or is that Queensboro Plaza, I forget which is which. I mean the one where the Astoria and Flushing lines touch.) When it was finally done it did require a considerable re-organization of barriers and exit/entrance gates. An even more notorious case was the connection between the IND and BMT at 4 Ave./9 St. When the IND line, then terminating at Church Ave., was built in the '30s or '40s a passage was constructed to connect it with the BMT station. I have been told, but unreliably, that early on that passage was in use, but when I was using the subway to commute to high school and college in the '50s it was boarded up. Only when that branch was extended beyond Church Ave. to connect with the Culver Line did the passage open up. Why had it been blocked all those years?

In Disty 407 you commented to me that except for royalty and in Islamic countries (Brian mumbled the word on the tape--polygyny?) and concubinage were practiced from ancient times until about 1,000 CE when a rabbi outlawed it. I didn't pick up on this while Brian was reading it, but perhaps he left out a negative in reading it. In the bible Shlomo is credited with hundreds of wives and concubines. Just how much was it still practiced in Yeshua's time? In the Christian bible there is no passing mention of anyone having a second wife. If Brian did reverse your meaning, I gather it was only practiced by Jews living in Moslem countries in the latter half of the first millenium, CE. I would like to learn more on the history of the decline of the practice of polygyny. What prompted the rabbi to ban it in 1,000? And from recent discussion I gather it is still legal but unconventional among super-orthodox Jews to have a concubine.

Have you read Spider robinson's NIGHT OF POWER? At the 1984 World Fantasy Con in Canada he had read excerpts from it and talked about the background. I do not like terror and violent confrontation in fiction and avoided it at the time. I might consider going back and getting a copy to read if it isn't too gory or tense.

In the on-going discussion of cloning, I believe that identical twins have different fingerprints. About 8 years ago I read an article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN about zebra stripes and leopard spots. Only the general patterns are genetic and stripes and spots appear in a random fashion to fulfill the broad requirements from the genes, and I believe that fingerprints work the same way. Also I read that human hair tends to form circular whorls and these are in the opposite direction in pairs of twins. The clone would no more be the same as the original than an identical twin, and would differ even more psychologically since the life experiences in growing up would have been very different. I do remember a Sturgeon story in F&SF which i read summer of, 59 I think, (and it might have been in a back issue) where the loved one (spouse? child?) of a very powerful person was accidentally killed, and the responsible person was made to raise a clone exactly as the original had been raised, and then many years later, return it to the "owner." Don't remember the title, but it was very powerful since I remember it after all these years. (I can place the year because I read it while teaching a lab in a summer course in general physics in the downtown Brooklyn branch of St. John's.)

Speaking of cloning, in a Clarke novel, IMPERIAL EARTH?, the hero is an n-th generation clone of the original whose germ plasm had been damaged and so could not reproduce. Since, apparently, non-damaged tissue was used to create the first clone, wouldn't he have grown up normal with normal testes? I think this was an error on Arthur Clarke's part.

I liked your comments drawing a parallel between the Saucer Cult's members changing their names to that of Budha (isn't that only a title, meaning something like "the enlightened one"?) Abraham, and Catholic popes. Actually in many Catholic religious orders novitiates, male and female, change their names upon taking final vowes.

In re your remark that "New agers have adopted what is called Pop Psychology and others have used it to avoid taking responsibility for their actions." Reminds me of the Anna Russell parody of a folk song in which she gives the refrain "Hey lebido, bats in the bellfree, jolly old Signumd Freud." In it people who are violent to spouse or children, have cleptomania, etc., can attribute it to things they saw in childhood like the father kissing the maid. The concluding line is something like "And what I have learned is that everything I do which is wrong is someone else's fault."

In disty #408 in your Disclave con report you talked about the chlorine taste of the Coke in the con suite soda fountain and blamed it on the non-food-rated hose used to supply the water. I find it hard to imagine that any residual chlorine from use at the swimming pool or the like would have remained in the hose the whole weekend. I am spoiled by the excellent city water of New York and my own artesian well, so when I visit a city with heavily chlorinated water, like Laconia NH, I really notice it. Does DC have heavily chlorinated city water? What was tap water like in the bedrooms? Restaurants would probably have filtration units so their water would not taste funny.

Disclave does seem to have been a disaster with room break-ins and flooding. The hoax con newsletter did have some amusing water jokes. When Brian read this to me he said the hoaxer missed the movie RIVER DANCE.

I remember when the worldcon was in Atlanta they had a cartoon ikon "Johnny Reb" in their literature but were very careful to say it was in no way meant to be taken seriously. It was simply a symbol of local color and humorous, not a sign of racism or real anti-Americanism on the concom's part. Now you say the Lonestarcon concom is having to backtrack in the same way on their "Republic of Texas" joke.

Good point about Vietnam being a dead issue except for John Boardman and Dick Eney. (I do not get any zines from Dick so have to take your word that he is still on the subject.) What did you mean by "...the Breen exclusion continues to be active in fandom." I do not see enough fanzines with my very limited reading time, but have seen no mention in the ones I did see. I did see a bit of "I told you so" when Walter was jailed for child molestation shortly before he died, but no great discussion of the issue, and nothing since then. (Still this is no excuse for the over-reaction of the concom to his reputation.) Or are you implying that there are other "exclusion" attempts, for whatever reasons, parallel to that of Walter?

BLOOD ON THE BOARD. I assume this was franked in, if not written by, John Boardman. A very good parody of the anti-gaming mentality. i am a bit slow at picking up subtle things, but about a quarter of the way through I figured out that the game being "attacked" was chess. Very well done! However some of the "attacks" on the game are identical to those against war fic or Rambo SF.

CLEAR ETHER I am happy whenever a classic is brought back into print. However I won't be financially supporting the project since I cannot afford to be a completist collector of variant editions and already have the original hard covers (including VORTEX BLASTER) and the Pyramid paperbacks. I am, however, tempted by the new Klute forewords. Perhaps I will be able to get someone to read these to me. And how about Dave Kyle's three Lens books? I have only two of them, missing Z LENSMAN. And Terry Jeeves mentioned that there was another Lens story in ASTOUNDALOG reprinted as a chapbook, by William Ellern (spelling?).

DAGON (John Boardman). Finishing up on disty 406, you quoted a news story on the family of one of the flying saucer suicides wanting to bury him in the same cemetary as the Alamo "heros" in Texas, and others saying that the site should not be defiled by his remains. I don't see why the Alamo dead should be especially honored. After all, they died fighting for the right to own slaves. Isn't the Mexican prohibition of slavery what started the Texans' revolt?

You mentioned that Kaiser Wilhelm's chaplain studied the scriptures, decided THE prophesies had not been fulfilled, and became a Jew. I just read in an article in JBI VOICE, a cassette magazine published by the Jewish Braille Institute, that a number of funnymentalist Christians in the US south are doing the very same thing today and are being welcomed by their Jewish "brethern."

Didn't the earth actually pass through the tail of Comet Halley in 1911? I seem to remember reading in some book or magazine article that there was panic that gasses from this tail would have adverse effects on life on earth, the general populace not realizing how diffuse the tail is. Jules Verne died, I think, in 1905, well before Halley's return, but wasn't his novel OFF ON A COMET inspired by some sort of fear about Earth colliding with a comet? I haven't read the book and do not know what year it was published. Even if it were the last book Verne wrote, I doubt the orbit of the comet, after perturbations by the gas giants, was well enough known to predict the near collision.

Last ish I had commented on your discussion of the three end-of-the-world cults which fathered on-going religious movements. I just read an excellent article in the 31 May issue of AMERICA. "Judgement Day or Jubilee: Approaching the Millenium" by Brian E. Daley (Daily?) examines many apocolyptic visions in pre-Christian and post-Christian times and the responses to them. St. Augustine, among others, had investigated the issue and came to the conclusion that we cannot know when the end will come. The article lists many predictions of the end and says that there was a flurry about 500 and 1,000 CE. He also examines the various types of modern funnymentalist trains of "thought" on the matter, about the millenium of peace, the rapture, etc. I am sending you the tapes as I am done with them. Either pass them on to someone else in APAQ who might express interest or recycle the tapes. The article starts near the end of side 1 and goes on to side 3, running over an hour, so you might prefer to read a print copy in the library. The tapes are commercial format and can be played on any machine. I am sending them to you cued to the start of the article.

In Q407 when you reviewed Pratchett's INTERESTING TIMES you mentioned a whole series of myths about the Chinese which are not true, including that their women's sexual organs are structured differently from others. This reminds me that I recently read two volumes of Joseph Campbell's PICTORIAL ATLAS OF WORLD MYTHOLOGY (title approximate). In one he gave various creation myths and included among them the modern scenario of condensation of interstellar gas into sun and planets, through several different dead end species of Homo which had disseminated out of Africa until the current one finally succeeded in achieving world dominion. He went on to discuss the various "races" of man and enumerated six, but not the ones I am used to. He considered the red Amerinds to be the same race as the yellow Orientals. When I was in school ages ago genetic drift was considered to have been sufficient to consider them separate. However one race I had never heard of before, an "apricot colored" people who lived in extremely southern Africa. Their skin color, hair, and other physical features were significantly different from those of the equatorial Blacks with whom we are familiar. What brings them to mind is that he said the women had some sort of flap of skin over their pubic area called "the Hotentot aprin." The library of congress makes no effort to describe the pictures and maps in a book, but merely narrates the captions. Campbell's description was not sufficient for me to understand just what this was, but apparently at least one race is different from the others in the genetal area.

Your review of Piers Anthony's BALLOOK makes it sound very interesting and I have added it to my "must buy" list. I will be looking for it at Readercon.

Sandy heard Rosemary Edghill speak at some recent con and was impressed enough to try one of her books. She bought and read a fantasy, The Sword of Maiden's Tears, the first in a series called "The 12 Treasures." She liked it enough to buy and read the second, Cut of Morning Shadows. Sandy has a large vocubulary, like most fen, and at least a nodding background in many areas, and was almost intimidated by these books. She said she felt like she needed to read it with a dictionary at her side. I will show her your reviews but I doubt she will be interested as she reads no crime except Dick Francis. (She does read some spy/adventure like the Mrs. Polyfax series.) I have in the back of my mind to try Edghill some day, but have so many other books that I want to read!

Could you please send a copy of this review and your list of historical mystery reviews in GRAUSTARK to Anne Braude (6721 E. McDowell, #309A, Scottsdale AZ 85257). She has a strong interest in crime books and a non-believer's interest in neo-paganism.

In your discussion of sex in free fall you say "weightlesness" is an improper term. Is there an exact definition of "weight?" I always thought of it as the force which the floor exerts on you to prevent you from falling, and then in free fall the term would be OK. Or is weight defined as the force exerted by gravity whether or not it is resisted by a floor? I notice now that the environment in an orbiting spaceship or spacestation is referred to as "micro gravity." Because of the gradient in the gravitational field of the near-by earth one experiences no apparent weight only near the center of mass of the craft. There would be a tide-like force pulling you towards the top or bottom wall depending on whether you were below or above the center of mass. This strikes me as an even worse term than "weightlesness." There IS full gravity there, and the ship is falling in the field.

There is a complete filk about sex in free fall by Diane Gallegher, "Docking Maneuvers in Zero Gravity" or something like that. She does mostly pro-space and Trek filk and I have this song on three different cassettes. I found it on the one called "Diane Gallegher Live." The words go, as best I can take them down from the tape, as:

Making love in a zero gee environment may not produce the satisfaction we project. The proposed erotic possibilities deny Newton's laws of motion and how they will effect our romantic inclinations In space stations. Momentum changes in proportion to the force acting on a resting body and making it move, and every action is opposed by an equal reaction of the same magnitude in the opposite direction without exception. Now I may be wrong but it seems to me when contemplating the dynamics of sex that trying to do it in zero gee may present some pressing problems we did not expect. Making love in a zero gee environment may be more hazardous than advocates assume. Adrift in compartments three dimensional pelvic push may find lovers parted and marooned or rebounding off the walls. Ricochet freefall. Zero gee may have industrial advantages for pharmaceuticals, ball bearings, and steel, but in matters of human sensuality friction is essential. Future studies may reveal that weightless copulation induces frustration. And now I may be wrong but it seems to me that carnal stimulation will be desired, and so in order to do it in zero gee some new techniques may be required. Making love in a zero gee environment may foster changes in our moral attitudes. Nature provides for the planet bound but the state of the art in orbit must improve. Desperate lovers may engage space age sex aids. Together, tethers would prevent a random wandering, magnetic harnesses incorporating alternating poles could sustain an interaction electrically, rear thrusters would supply perfect docking control and to speed and rhythm sex. Easy on the retro jets. Now I may be wrong but it seems to me that we'll never be sure unless we go and try it. So for reasons of promoting space industry we should encourage the idea the general public will buy. Making love in a zero gee environment is a problem we must solve to survive. Oh, with a dash of erotic inginuity, and invention of necessity, science will arrive at a feasible solution to the 21st century dream. sensual revolution.

You commented it would take a powerful engine to spin up a space station to give earth-like gravity. No, just one that could operate for a long time. Even a pair of one-newton thrust motors on opposite sides of the station would have it spinning fast enough if left on long enough. And of course, once it is spun up nothing more would have to be done. Inertia would take care of the rest. Given enough time, even a pair of milli-newton engines would do.

Just because one waitor made one mistake and dumped a pitcher of water in your lap, after years of going to that restaurant, is that reason to assume it will happen again?

Speaking of the mark over the s in my name which is used in several east European languages, I have always wondered why the Cerenkov who discovered optical shock waves is often written with that mark over the C in his name. I understand he was a Byelorussian, so I assume his name was written in the kyrilic alphabet. What is the historical reason for transliterating his name using that mark instead of using "ch?"

I loved your remark, "After all, what was Richard Nixon but Elmer Fudd with hair?" However that does not reflect Nixon's major flaws, paranoia, arrogance, and a total disregard for the law. He was the man we all "loved to hate." However he did have strengths in foreign policy (opening up to mainland China) and in social policies. He had proposed a negative income tax which would have guaranteed a minimum level of income to every family and individual which even today is almost utopian in its vision.


hOW tOO (dON DEL gRANDE). I have read two books which take place after RETURN OF THE JEDI, titles and author forgotten, in which Hans and Liya have twin children and a baddie is trying to revive use of the old cloning machines. In one book either Liya or the kids are kidnapped to try to get Luke. The books did not impress me and I remember them only vaguely. Usually books like these are written under close supervision of the franchise owners, if not dictated by them. The authors only get a writing fee and no royalties. If these represented the plots of the never-made sequels, the "final trilogy," it is just as well that the project was abandoned.

JERSEY FLATS, TOO (Roberta Rogow). I first heard about Sanders' SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM at a Boskone or Lunacon panel where a contributor mentioned it. However he said it was for the library market and cost $75. Perhaps he was talking about the signed edition? Do you know how much the regular edition costs?

METROPOLITAN FANTASY, WARGAMING, AND SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION flyer (Robert Sax). Good to see that there will be another SF club in the city. As near as I can piece things together, the NYC proper groups are the Lunarians, some sort of descendant of the NYU group, and Moshe Feder's Last Chance Salons. How widely known is that last? I see it publicised in the TIMEBINDERS listserv every month inviting all readers, but Moshe asks anyone bringing a guest to call first. This seems to be a strange mix of open and closed group. If I ever am in NYC on the last Sunday afternoon of a month I will give it a try.

As I understand it in suburban NY there is the Long Island group and The New Jersey Science Fiction Society that meets somewhere in North Jersey (about 10 years ago John & Perdita took me to a meeting somewhere past the Washington Bridge). Is there still a South Jersey group? Or is Brunsfa or its descendants long gone?

QUAINT STUFF (John mALAY). The similarity between the movie ALIEN and the van Vogt book VOYAGE OF THE SPACE BEAGLE is more than just that an alien ran amock in an exploration ship. In both the alien planted parasitic eggs in the human crew members which would eat the person from the inside until they broke out. Van Vogt gave the simile to a species of wasp which lays its eggs in a living caterpillar with similar results.

Speaking of the "Republic of Texas," someone else in APAQ has pointed out that California was also an independent nation, but only for one week. From Fred Lerner I understand that Vermont also was independent for a while. I vaguely remember from history school books that at the time of the ratification of the US constitution what is now Vermont was a part of NY state. I no longer remember the sequence but Fred has told me, long ago, that for a time Vermont was independent with its own national government before being admitted as a state.

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