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 #20

The View From Entropy Hall #20 for APA-Q 417, 7 February 1998, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected], 603-253-6207. Text online at: and as email list. {corrections in braces added after APA distribution}

I missed the last disty for the first time in a while. I anticipate being a bit irregular for the next few months but will try to make at least every second one. Holidays delayed thish, but tomorrow I am off to D.C. for five days on NFB business. Then there will be Boskone for three days and Lunacon combined with a visit to the Boardmen for six days. I have to start work on the next ish of the NH FEDERATIONIST and I am about to send NIEKAS 45 to the printers (at long last!) and will have to collate 1,000 copies of a 120 page fanzine.

Last time I had started discussing Forry Ackerman's anthology, REEL FUTURES. I was commenting on the stories in order and the movies they had inspired.

Nest in line was Ray Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man." I am puzzled by this short story as I do not remember it being in the book of the same title. As I remember the book, it is a framed collection of about a score of unconnected stories. The opening scene has the point of view character camp out with a fellow hobo whose body is covered with tattoos. As he looks at the individual pictures they start to move and tell a story, many with an ironic or grizzly twist. At the end the PoV character sees himself being strangled and flees. In this short the main character is a carneval worker who becomes obscenely fat and disgusts his wife. He can no longer function as a roustabout because of his weight and his boss suggests he go to a nearby tattooist to get covered and become a sideshow attraction. Two of the pictures are magical and reveal the future when uncovered, the second his own death. From tattooing to death is only two weeks so there is no time inbetween for the events of the book. I have NOT seen the movie but gather it was based on the book, using the frame and about three of the stories. If so, the short in the anthology was an unconnected story which bore the same title.

Arthur Clarke's "The Sentinal" was, of course, the basis for 2001, or at least its beginning. The short is only an incident where a crew exploring the moon finds an artifact left by aliens millions of years earlier, and when it is disturbed it sends a signal to its makers. In the movie all this happens off stage. We see the aliens leaving several artifacts a million or so years ago and then jump to the results after the one on the moon is discovered.

I did not like Sheckley's "The Seventh Victem" when I first read it in GALAXY magazine many years ago, and did not like it on rereading. I have not seen the movie, retitled TENTH VICTEN, so cannot compare it with the short. In a future time psychological pressure is vented by allowing aggressive persons to hunt each other in a controlled fashion and someone with ten kills is admitted to the prestigeous "Tens Club." After every hunt the hunter must serve as huntee for another hunter who is given your picture and basic information. A sexist condescending creep is given a woman as his seventh victem and she traps him by playing an innocent who has to do her turn as victem after a botched first attempt as hunter. After seducing the protagonist into falling for her she kills him gloating that this admits her to the Tens Club.

I was not familiar with "The Racer" (Deathrace 2000) and forgot to note down the author's name. A past champion runs the annual coast-to-coast road race where the number of pedestrians killed adds to your score. He is well on his way to winning with a new record of kills but He cracks mentally when a victem calls him a butcher. He loses the race, unable to race again.

Again I forgot to note down the name of the author of "The Fly."{George Langelaan} The story was new to me and I have not seen the movies (there were two). The story was excellent, told by the wife of the victem after she helped him kill himself. I knew the gimmick...a man developing a matter transmitter has parts of his body mixed up with parts of a fly which got into the sending booth with him. When he fails to undo the mischief, after undergoing much internal torment, he has to destroy himself and needs his wife's help to do so.

Ray Nelson's "8 O'clock in the Morning" was made into THEY LIVE. Ray talked about this in a recent article published in NIEKAS. Aliens have taken over the earth by infiltrating and hyptonising all humans into believing they are normal, harmless, human beings. They have enslaved mankind and no one knows it. The lizard-like creatures even kill and eat human beings. One human being wakes up from the hypnosis, realizes what is happening, and manages to wake up the rest of humanity.

Philip K. Dick's I CAN REMEMBER IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE (filmed as TOTAL RECALL) has the author's usual questioning of what is reality. There is layer after layer of hidden actuality. False memories can be implanted and this is done both as an entertainment business and by the government. A loser feels he always wanted to go to Mars, preferably as a secret agent, but knows he will never be able to afford it on his salary. As a substitute he pays to have such a memory implanted, which brings up a REAL hidden memory of having gone as a real agent on a top secret assassination mission. The government cannot afford to have him loose with this memory and his submerged superhuman abilities and decide to kill him. He convinces them to try again with another false memory, one which would leave him satisfied and not looking for a new memory implant. They agree to have him believe that as a child he did a favor to an alien invading force and in gratitude they decided not to destroy humanity as long as he is alive. And lo! That turns out to have really happened, too. A friend, Brian Thurston, who saw the movie and didn't like it said it did follow the plot of the novel as I described it, except he was vague about the twist ending.

Roger Zelazny's DAMNATION ALLEY is a powerful story of a motorcycle trip across America, from California to Boston, in a time after a great disaster has ruined most of the country. The hero is a violent sociopath who is given the choice of making the trip or spending a lot of time in jail. There is a plague in Boston and a shipment of vaccine MUST be delivered but fast, or this remaining island of civilization will perish. Most of America is uninhabited and there are areas under the controll of murderous gangs. The war or whatever had made drastic changes in the climate and destroyed most roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. Two cars, more armored military vehicles than anything else, are to make the trip with two drivers in each. Eventually the others get lost or killed and he is alone on the motorcycle "lifeboat." He picks up a girl who had been part of a motorcycle gang that had tried to kill him, but she too dies before he arrives.

ENEMY MINE by Barry Longyear is the best story in the book, and I cannot imagine how it was ever made into a movie! Earth and a race from a planet around a sun in the constellation Draco both expand into the same uninhabited area and get into a territorial war. A human and a Drak pilot are in a dog fight in single seaters over an uninhabited planet, consisting mostly of ocean with a few small islands. The human shoots down the Drak, but he rams the human ship and both crash on the same island. They come to terms and help each other survive and learn each others' societies and philosophies. Eventually the Drak, who is a hermophrodite, dies while giving birth and the human brings up the child. After the war is over they are rescued and return to their home worlds. Both are mistreated and the human must rescue the Drak frombrain washing on his home world where he is considered insane. At the end they return to their planet of isolation where they must live away from both societies, and the human helps several more generations of the shorter lived Drak grow up. HOW could this have ever been made into a movie? If it was done well it should have a reputation comparable to that of THINGS TO COME, DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, TIME MACHINE, or 2001!

The last story in the book is John Varley's "Air Raid," originally published under a pen name in the first issue of ASIMOV'S. It was the basis of a bit of the movie MILLENIUM, much like "Sentinal" was the seed for 2001. Later Varley did a novel of the whole movie using the movie title. The earth is dieing of pollution and genetic deterioration and time travelers from the future snatch victems out of doomed aircraft, train them, and prepare to send them in a colony ship to make a fresh start on a new world. The short and novel are both very good, and Varley had been taken on as a script writer for the movie. I have heard that he had had a miserable experience working with Hollywood and left with a feeling of violent loathing for the whole industry. About 20 years ago he wrote a trilogy starting on a small ringworld out past Jupiter. I have forgotten the titles but had read the first two books when they first came out. As far as I know the third was never recorded because the agency which had been doing it, "Northwest Foundation for the Blind," went belly up before finishing. Anyhow, reviews I read at the time indicated that this third book expressed his opinion of the film industry. {The books are TITAN, WIZARD, and DEMON.}

All in all I recommend this book most highly. I do wish the original dates of publication were given with the stories. If they were given on the copyright page, this information was not on the recording.

Also it would have been great if the screen play could have been placed opposite the story for comparison, though this would have almost doubled the size of the book. I have seen only five of the movies in question and most of these back in the '50s and only have vague memories. As an example, I remember the first half of THIS ISLAND EARTH very well, where it followed the book, but after that I only remember that the hero ended up on another world where he met a hideous alien monster. I do not remember why he met it, what came of the meeting, or how the movie ended.

I always thought that H.B. Fyfe was an obvious penname of H. Beam Piper. Both wrote for ASTOUNDING during the same period and their stories were not that different. I was surprised to read in the December LOCUS an obituary of Fyfe! He just died November 17. His full name was Horace Baum Fyfe and he was born 30 Sept 1918. His first story was "Locked Out" in an 1940 ASTOUNDING, and his next did not appear until after WWII. The obit did not say why he stopped writing in the '70s.

A couple of years ago the late Peter Gilman recommended that I read LEGENDS OF THE BIBLE by Louis Ginzberg (JPS, copyright 1956, trade paperback reissue in 1992, $19.95, xxxix+646 pp.), so I bought a copy and sent it off to Volunteers of Vacaville for tapeing. VoV took 18 months to do the job because they were having some difficulties and just before they finished the Jewish Braille Institute also came out with the book on tape.

In the Christian tradition there are many extra-biblical stories dealing with Christ and his followers and with saints in later times. The oldest were recorded in the apocrypha, books like the gospel of Peter. While the books themselves were rejected by the Christian church as non-canonical, stories from them were incorporated into the belief system of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. One example is the belief that after her death Mary was taken into heaven body and soul. Later devotees of Mary added more and more frills onto her story. In Christ's time many used the Septuagent translation of the bible (our old testament) into Greek and there is the well known error in Isiah of using virgin when only young woman had been meant. The evangelists assumed that to fulfil this prophecy Mary had to have been a virgin and that Jesus was conceived miraculously. This miracle is accepted by all Christians except for the most liberal. Most protestants, however, take the references in the gospels to brothers to mean that later Mary and Joseph had additional children in the conventional manner. In medieval times the accepted picture was that Mary remained a virgin and that Joseph had been a widower with children from an earlier marriage. I do not know why today the Catholic church no longer says this but points out that the word translated as "brother" can also mean a close cousin. The medieval view is further bolstered by the lack of mention of Joseph in the gospels or acts, implying that he died before Jesus began his public life. Mary's more fanatical devotees have gone even further. They say that the word "virgin" not only means that intercourse never took place, but that the hyman is still intact. Therefore Jesus had to be born by a process akin to teleportation leaving it intact!

Well, Jewish scholars have made similar elaborations of their accepted books of the bible, and Ginzberg devoted his life to tracking down every one he could find. Many were oral traditions which carried over to Christians and got put into stained glass in cathedrals and into Christian writings. Thus Ginzberg scoured not only Jewish but also Christian sources. Since Muslims accept the Jewish and Christian bibles I wonder if they had retained any legends which Ginzberg was able to use.

Over the years Ginzberg published a total of seven volumes of his findings, and this is a one volume compilation of all his findings put into the order of the books of the bible they apply to.

I wanted to know more about Lilith, Adam's other perported wife, and was disappointed on how little was in the book. Ginzberg only devoted one or two paragraphs to the story. Apparantly when Yahveh made Adam from the dust of the earth he made Lilith at the same time and from the same substance. Because of this she considered herself to be Adam's equal and would not be subserviant to him. Their relationship got worse and worse and eventually Adam sent her away and asked Yahveh for a new mate. As a result a part of his body was cut out in order to make Eve. Since she came along later and was made from a small part of him she was properly deferential to him.

This was the most interesting story in the book, but I did find much to think about here. Just as Christians have greatly elaborated the original story of Mary so too have the Jews elaborated the stories of the patriarchs and prophets. For instance, the dietary laws had not yet been laid down but they could not imagine Abraham, Noah, or even Adam eating meat which is not kosher. There were also many miracle stories about their lives and eventual deaths. For instance both Adam and Moses were miraculously entombed in rock which had opened to receive their remains. Just before his death Moses begged, whined, and nagged God to let him at least see the Promised Land even if he could not enter it, but got turned down on every suggestion. Just like the Christian tales, some of these are preposterous elaborations, but all are very interesting.

In almost all of the stories an afterlife is assumed. From the Christian bible I gather that in Christ's time the question of an afterlife was open and hotly debated. From Fred Lerner I gather that the faction which did not believe in such an afterlife won out and modern Judaism does not accept its existance. Immortality is in the memory of descendants.

I was startled by references to baptism in Jewish practice. But then thinking about, John the Baptist who promoted ritual washing away of sin was accepted as normal by the Jews of his time, so the practice must have existed. Even today ritual bathing is an important part of Jewish practice. After her period a woman must take a ritual bath before she is pure again.

While reading the book I was bothered by the anachronism of Moses and other patriarchs studying the torah and even later books like the Mishna which was only written down in the second century of the Christian era. Fred Lerner explained that Torah had a more general meaning than the first five books of the bible, but could mean God's laws in general. Also before the Mishna was written down much of it existed as oral tradition.

This book was written by a Jew for Jews so some obscure words were not explained. From context I gather that "shikina" {corrections provided by John Boardman and made after APA distribution are in braces; shekhina is the correct spelling}means something like "the glory of God," his awe-inspiring presence. Quotes from the bible and even non-biblical elaborations were given in Elizabethan English which bothered me. I had trouble with obsolete words like "Kine" which seems to mean kosher animals and "halt" disfigured, damaged, cripled. Finally all measurements were given in original terms with no effort at translation into modern units. For example I gather "shekel" is a small unit of weight somewhere between an ounce and a kilogram{varied 10 to 14 grams, 2 to 3 x the weight of a nickel; = 4 Greek Drachma or 1/6000 talen} . On the other hand "talen" is a large unit of weight for the entire treasury of the temple contained 40 talans of silver and 10 of gold{a talen is what a healthy man can carry for a full day, about 30 kg or 66 pounds}. A heavy rock weighed "40 seyun."

Similarly units of length were used without explanation. A cubit was a small unit of length, perhaps as little as a centimeter but not more than a foot{it is the distance from elbow to fingertip, about 1/2 meter or 20 in}. A parasan is a large unit of length, something like a kilometer or mile. The city Jonah saved had a length of many parasams{a parasang is a Persian unit. Its value varied but was around 5.5 km or 3.5 miles.}Stadia is a unit of length common to Greek civilization and its actual value was different at different times. As I remember from the history of astronomy it was long but still somewhat shorter than a kilometer{It was about 60 m or 200 ft}. An "el" must have been smaller than a cubit since there were, "60 els between samson's shoulders."{ell is a German unit between 90 and 110 cm or 36 to 45 inches}

Lawrence E. Keaveny
1030 Tyrus Ct.
N. Merrick NY 11566
22 Nov 1997

Dear Mr. Meskys,
My wife Susan and I are friends of John and Perdita Boardman who we met through the L.I. Science Fiction Society.

With regard to your query about the book titled 700 SOMETHING in the August issue of APA-Q, the exact title is 722 MILES, which is the number of miles of subway trackage in New York City, not route miles which is somewhere around 226 I believe. This book is a compilation of official documents from the 19th century relating to the construction of the first subway line, meant to illustrate the dirty dealing and skullduggery that went on behind the scenes. It came out a few years ago and if I can locate a clipping I have somewhere of a review of it I will pass it along.

Like I said, it's a collection of official documents, minutes of meetings, and so forth, regarding the building of the first subway, so I figured it would be pretty dry and I didn't persue it further. I looked through it in Barnes & Noble and there are no pictures, just text.

I myself am a rail fan, primarily of the Long Island Railroad and the Pennsylvania, since it owned the L.I.R.R. from the '20s and sent it their equipment. I have some knowledge of the subways and although I was born in Brooklyn I haven't the faintest idea of trolly or el lines that were there. The only Lexington I know is the Lexington Ave. Subway of the IRT division in Manhattan, which was the very first subway line to open, in October, 1904. A special train was driven out of City Hall Station by then mayor McClellan, son of the Civil War general. The route began at City Hall and went north to 42 St. where it turned west to 7 Ave. and then turned north again to 135 St. The portion along 42 St. is now known as the Grand Central-Times Square Shuttle. The City Hall Station is where the Lexington Ave. Local terminates downtown. The trains then descend below the express track underneath and then emerge as the uptown local. At the loop is the original City Hall Station which has been closed to the public for many years. I understand it is very ornate and is going to be restored and made available again.

I hope this has been helpful. Best wishes,
Larry Keaveny

[After I read your letter John Boardman showed me his copy of 722 MILES, a trade paperback published in 1993 by Johns Hopkins Press. Like many publishers, they are ashamed to put the price on the book. It has 263 pages not counting index and notes. I forgot to note down the author's name. The table of contents and list of maps made it sound very interesting but I have such a backlog of books waiting to be put on tape for me that I do not know when I could get to it.

[Many years ago I read SUBWAYS AND TUNNELS IN AND AROUND NEW YORK published early in the century. In 1953 I had a summer job in the "science & Industry" stacks of the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library where I found it. It gave the history of the original IRT subway, through the extension into Brooklyn as far as Atlantic Ave., if I remember correctly. It also told of the Penn RR tunnels under the Hudson, and the Belmont Tunnels under the East River at 42 St. This pair was built for trolly cars and was not yet in use at the time of publication, but eventually was used for the Flushing line. The Hudson Tubes originally had a branch under 14 St. to connect with the subway at Union Square. There were many interesting stories and pictures.

[That reminds me of two other matters. I read several times that a subway tunnel had been started from Brooklyn to Staten Island long before my time, and that there is a grate in Owl's Head park next to the Belt Parkway which leads to the unfinished tunnel. My father told me that the job was botched and stopped in the scandals of a currupt mayor...Jimmy Walker? I don't remember. Anyhow, in those same stacks was a brochure produced as a result of a study proposing a combined subway and freight tunnel to SI, and freight tracks across the island to join the national rail network. These would continue across brooklyn to Jamaica Bay which would be dredged, piers would be built, and it would become a major harbor and freight terminal. I do not remember what the title of the brochure was so cannot give directions on how to find it, if it still exists in the library stacks. Incidentally, a recent newspaper clipping sent me by John Boardman reports of a new proposal for a freight railroad tunnel from Brooklyn to S.I.

[The other thing I wonder about is what were the original plans for the unused Court St. IND station in Brooklyn. Was it supposed to go on to a new tunnel to Manhattan? In the same stacks was a wonderful series of articles in bound volumes of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN for 1915. It was then a weekly with pages the size of LIFE, SATURDAY EVENING POST, etc, and in three successive issues were a series of articles about the massive subway construction under way at the time. Where the BMT Nassau Loop line joined the Broadway line for the Montague St. tunnel there were stubb ends for another tunnel which was supposed to go to a new Subway under Atlantic Ave. I wonder if later they considered joining in the IND at this point.]

Rick Brooks
PO Box 834
Angola, IN 46703-0834
December 6, 1997

Dear Ed:
I am way behind on ANALOG too. The problem is that I have trouble getting into the stories. Can't stay interested in most of them. The last time i tried several issues of ISAAC ASIMOVs, I was unable to read any of the stories through. I am afraid that the sf field started diverging from me in the sixties. I still think that sf peaked in the forties and that the 1942 issues of ASTOUNDING have more good stories than all the sf mags published in the last ten years.

My sister Betty and I both enjoy Diskworld. Fortunately the Science Fiction Book Club has most of them. The HOGFATHER hardcover is nearly forty dollars, more that we want to pay.

I've ran into a couple members of pulp fandom that duplicate old pulp magazines. I traded a batch of Captain Future yarns for Shadow stories. One fellow even sells facsimiles of THE SHADOW and WEIRD TALES as well as other magazines. No color covers, but the text is complete.

I have placed over 20 stories with CLASSIC PULP FICTION STORIES, SUPER SCIENCE STORIES, WEIRD STORIES, and DOUBLE DANGER TALES. Only get paid in copies. But since a copy costs five bucks plus a dollar postage, I get to read other people's stuff for free. The mags are basically 5.5 by 8.5 inches, sheets of 8.5 by 11 folded once and stapled in the center. Tom and Ginger Johnson have put out nearly 100 issues of ECHOES, the pulp fiction fanzine. So they understand the finances of small scale publishing.

Almost like old times corresponding with you and Ned Brooks again. Been ages since I heard anything about John Boardman. From what I read, he's still got the same job and going about his life the same way. Not what I expected after he came out of the closet and revealed himself a right-wing Nixon supporter.

Incidentally my grandfather Walter Colpus made Ripley's Believe It Or Not. After he was totally blind. He put in all the plumbing in their house in Pontiac MI. He trusted his sons to do the house wiring, but not the plumbing. Right now, I probably have more books and mags than I'll ever read. My idea of Social Security.

James Blish and C.S. Lewis forgotten authors? I am out of touch. How many people remember Arthur J Burks?

Re: ENTROPY 18: ANALOG and ASIMOV'S both cut back to 11 issues a year a few months back. At least ANALOG combined July/August as a double size issue.

Your remark in ENTROPY 17 that Mars would be the easiest to teraaform may not be true. I read a book on terraforming (not sure of title or author__NEW EARTHS by Oberg?) that stated the moon would be. Smaller and can build up an atmosphere easier. Lot of water on Saturn's moons. The author thought that it would take on the order of ten thousand years for the moon to lose its new atmosphere. Easier by far would be the O'Neill cylinders.

Entropy 15: I have a copy of the book on the subway system with the 700 miles in the title. Got it for 50 cents at our Friends of the Library's used book sale. But It is packed away somewhere and will take me a while to find.

I've been in fandom about 40 years. I started as an sf collector by mail, got into fanzines, but don't think I met another fan until the 1960 Pittcon.

The Tolkien stuff in ENTROPY 12 brought back memories. I started a Tolkien zine, NARGOTHROND. You and I both got hooked on the history aspect and I wrote an article on it for the first issue. Unfortunately Al Thompson graduated before the second issue. He and his wife published all the issues, and we parted due to major differences on how they handled the next two issues. They wanted a Trekkie zine.

You write about a lots of fans that I hadn't heard of in years. I pretty well became inactive when Father was ill in 1974 and '75, and when Mother did in 1986 and '87. Didn't do a lot in between. Right now, I'm an N3F member and mostly active in pulp mag fandom.

18 rue de l'Odeon
75006 Paris France
2 September,1997.

Dear Ed,
I'm glad you found the Fellini book interesting. BUNUEL is now finally to be published in the US, by Carroll and Graf, who are also doing KUBRICK in October. SPIELBERG is selling very well. It went into three printings in hardback in Britain and is now selling extremely well in paperback. In Australia they sold three thousand copies of the hard-back. We've also sold it to Japan, mainland China (I'll probably get paid in rice), Poland, Holland, the Czech Republic and a number of other territories

In the US, it has been up against Joe McBride's biography, which is very approving of Spielberg. By comparison, my book is often felt by US reviewers to be mean, since it shows him in a very skeptical light, as a kind of threat to the variety and intellectual content of cinema everywhere. However, it's this view which has made the book such a success everywhere else. I guess you can't have everything.

You're quite right that New York is not the great book town it used to be though I did very well on my most recent visit. Strand does indeed have a rare book room, and I spent a few hundred dollars there on, among other items, the first edition of Edward Abbey's THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG ($75). I also dropped a few hundred more in the main shop, where my finds included the first edition of Woody Allen's first collection of humour pieces ($7.50).

My best finds, however, were in completely unlikely places at opposite ends of Manhattan. One Saturday morning, I noticed an ad in the VILLAGE VOICE for a bookshop called THE LAST WORD on 118th Street, near Columbia. As I arrived, a man was laying out books on two trestle tables marked $1 each . The first thing I picked up was a sample book produced by the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1931 to encourage sales. It contained most of the articles about movies and theatre from that year's edition - including Lon Chaney's entry on make-up, which only appeared that year, being pulled after his death. Also Cecil B. DeMille on production, Lillian Gish on screen acting, a full colour page of Emile Benda masks designs...

It didn't look as if anyone had been in this place for decades. The stock was a terrible mess, but I just filled boxes with incredible items; a book by the Irish poet Alfred Russell, who wrote as 'A.E.' which he'd inscribed, and in which he'd done a small painting - $9! First editions of Tennessee Williams, Vladimir Nabokov, and, best of all, the first edition in English of Antoine de St. Exupery s FLIGHT TO ARRAS, signed by both him and his illustrator, Lewis Galantier. St. Ex, as the French call him, lived in New York from 1942-44, but signed almost nothing, and since he died in 1945, this was his last book. From the dust on it, it had been there since the war.

The other place was around 30th St. I'd gone down to have lunch with a friend, and as we were walking back to his offce, we passed a junk shop with piles of books out front. The top item was the bootleg US edition of Jean Genet s OUR LADY OF THE FLOWERS, with a fake introduction by Jean Cocteau, in its original dust wraper. and the interior of the shop yielded everything from a signed copy of Sophie Tucker's memoirs to three booklets on Vedanta by Christopher Isherwood. All for around $1 each. So there are treasures to be found, though you often need to dig pretty deep.

If you ever find any Edward Gorey books, or want to get rid of the ones you have, I'd be interested to buy them from you. Likewise anything by or about Henry Miller, especially older things. There are lots of paperback editions kicking around books with Miller introductions etc. Beat generation items, of course, are always interesting: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Corso, Gary Snyder. Anything on the bohemian life or bohemian literature really, especially of the [scanner lost some text--ERM] to the seventies And I'm always interested in any book inscribed by the author.

I have a number of novels warmly inscribed from Harry Harrison. He even gave me a copy of the Saint novel he ghosted for Leslie Charteris - VENDETTA FOR THE SAINT, if you ever see a copy.

You are also looking for Jules Feiffer's childrens' books, I notice. I saw him when I was in New York recently, and he gave me an inscribed copy of BARREL OF LAUGHS, VALE OF TEARS, as well as a few other items. He's a charming if somewhat gloomy man, as one can tell from his cartoons. Among the revelations from our conversation this time was the fact that Stanley Kubrick asked him to write DRS TRANGELOVE before he tapped Terry Southem. One wonders what sort of film Kubrick and Feiffer would have come up with - but it was not to be. As Feiffer says, 'My idea of anti-nuclear satire and Kubrick's were miles apart.'

BLAnCmANGE (Mark Blackman). In the November APA I found your visit to Israel very interesting. I was surprised that such a najor memorial to Ytzak Rabyn (I am guessing at the Anglicized spelling)would have been agreed upon and built so quickly. [] You referred in passing to the Dreyfus Injustice of 1894. I have often seen passing references to it and just missed a retrospective story on NPR as I tuned in Morning Edition or All Things Considered. Could you give a one or two paragraph summary of what it was? [] You mentioned an acquaintance in another apa who opposed unions as obsolete and who got laid off by his lumber mill a short time later. When unions are too strong, they abuse the employers. When there are no effective unions the employers abuse the workers. I remember that the press unions in NYC were very powerful in the '60s. They enforced a number of make-work rules where union members had to re- set type from other sources long after the material had been printed. There were seven major papers plus the BROOKLYN EAGLE. Revenue was going down and three of the papers wanted to combine into one morning and one evening paper, and wanted permission to reuse some of the articles from one edition to the other. When the union would not agree all three papers folded. The unions preferred to lose the work to giving up their power. On the other hand I knew several people who worked non-union jobs who were endlessly harrassed by their employers. [] Thanks for digging out the title MEN INTO SPACE for the TV show I remember reading about in the late '50s. You say it was on 1959-1960. It was done in the era of kinescope, before videotape, I believe. I would be very curious to experience it today in view of what happened in reality. Wonder if media fen have somehow gotten ahold of it. Have to ask someone like Tamar Lindsay or Linda Bushyager. Another show that showed progressive development in space was TOM CORBIT, SPACE CADET on ABC TV in the late '40s. It was on three evenings a week for 15 minutes, a strange schedule by today's standards. I have no memory of what was on the other two days or what filled out the half hour. Anyhow, for a year or so while I watched they had adventures within the solar system, and then were part of the first interstellar trip to the Alpha Centauri system where they found a planet without intelligent life but with dinosaurs. After that either I stopped watching or the show went off the air. [] The NFB favors the placement of Braille floor numbers on elevator buttons and door jams, and room numbers on public rooms as in hotels and office buildings. We advocate the aids as they are not intrusive to the general public (tactile edges on train platforms can hinder a person on crutches), can be installed with minimum effort and expense, and do not convey the impression that we are helpless without them. In fact, we are starting a new campaign concerning computerized Kiosks and computer hardware which IS inaccessable because it interferes with the ability of blind folks to get and hold jobs or access needed governmental services. For example, when software called "Lotus Notes" came out totally unusable by blind folks we, and other blind organizations, raised a stink and got the Social Security Administration and several other government agencies to refuse to buy it unless it is made accessable. We have a number of blind persons working for the SSA in various positions and their jobs would have been in jeapordy. Because of similar pressure through SSA, etc., Microsoft is finally trying to cooperate with adaptive computer software companies (like screen access program developers) to make Windows more blind friendly. If we hadn't put pressure on via agencies like SSA this probably would not have happened, or happened at a much slower pace. But after every step forward there is a half step backwards. Version 3 of the MS Web Browser was very easy for blind folks to use, but then version 4 came out without the hooks for the screen reading software to latch on.

In the December APA you said to me that you didn't recognize the name "Ralph Milne Farley." From context he obviously was a writer in our genre's past. While I recognize the name I could not name a story by him myself. I am in the process of cataloging my fiction collection (mostly SF & F) and am at 5500 titles, with perhaps 2500 to go. I only own two books by Farley, EARTHMAN ON VENUS, also known as THE RADIO MAN, reprinted by Avon in 1950 with an original 1924 copyright, and OMNIBUS OF TIME published by F.P.C.I. in 1950. I have been making a separate listing of anthology and collection contents but have only done about a third of them. The only Farley I found was "House of Ecstacy" in two different anthologies, Alfred Hitchcock's SUSPENSE (Dell, 1945) and Phil Strong's 25 MODERN STORIES OF MYSTERY & IN[rest garbled](Garden City, 1941). While I have few of his stories in my collection I seem to remember from histories of the field that he WAS an important figure in the early days. [] I liked your comment to John Boardman pointing out that the Soviets treated as criminals persons liberated from German prison camps and exiled most of them to the Gulogs. Thus if drafted it is not always safe to allow yourself to be captured by the other side. And that was mildest of Soviet actions. My father's sister was about the only person to escape alive from a German camp in Hungary. When the Germans fled they left the people locked in the camp, and when the Soviets arrived they surrounded it and burned it down with all inside. Then there is the matter of how the prisoners are treated by the captors. When I was in summer camp in 1948 one of the counselors bragged that he was on prison guard duty during WWII and had such a fierce hatred of the Japanese that every so often he would spray the compound with his machine gun and, winking, tell his commander that there had been an escape attempt. [] Your comment that Heinlein wrote STARSHIP TROOPERS partly in reaction to the possible US abandonment of nuclear testing reminds me of the fannish quip that RAH said that "fallout is good for you." As I remember it, there were lines in the book to the effect that on a world with negligable natural radioactivity mutations were so rare that evolution never got very far, implying that radioactive fallout will help mankind further evolve and stay on top in interstellar competition. On the other hand Heinlein never did write that ONLY soldiers should vote. It was mentioned that the military was the easiest way to become a citizen but there were other routes. One had to sacrifice something for one's society in order to have a say in how it is run. If a deaf-blind paraplegic wanted to become a citizen the government HAD to find a task for him to do which would earn the right. [] Loved your remark that "all that goes on in the UN building is posturing and name calling which sounds like a Lunarians meeting accomplishing nothing." Beautiful comment on both the UN and the Lunarians! I remember attending a Lunarians meeting at Devra Langsam's several years ago where someone tried to save a little time by combining two routine motions and someone got so insenced about this that he spent a half hour on parliamentary maneuvering over it. Have to remember your comeback to the psychic peddler asking if you want a reading, "You can't be a very good psychic reader if you don't know."

In the Jan disty, Thanks for the info that Wells' FOOD OF THE GODS was not only made into a film, but twice (VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS). I had seen MAN WHO COULD WORK MIRACLES on TV several times around 1950 when Hollywood was still not releasing to TV anything made after a date in the late '30s. I understand that the movie THINGS TO COME was originally based on his non- fiction book, THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, but Wells got to write the script as a story. The script was published as a hardcover book and I have a copy. It is something like George Pal making a fictional story about a trip to Mars based on the non-fiction book, THE CONQUEST OF SPACE. Only here, as far as I know, the script was never published as such or as a novelization. [] I take it there is a reference book for radio series, like the one for TV that you and Del Grande use. Interesting that the Buck Rogers series I remember listening to ran 1946-7. I could have sworn it was while I was in Junior High, fall '48-Spring '50. How I wish my memory was more accurate! Anyhow, I remember that kids radio ran on WOR, the Mutual outlet, from 5 PM to 6, then was 15 minutes of news with Gabriel Heater, and then one more program, TERRY & THE PIRATES. I remember five programs so one must have replaced another while I was listening. They are JACK ARMSTRONG, THE ALL AMERICAN BOY, CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT, SKY KING (the flying cowboy), SUPERMAN, and HOP HARRIGAN, about someone running a small town airport. Soaps ran until 5 but at some point another kids' program was added at 4:45. For one year it was BUCK ROGERS, and at another time it was a program which serialized each week a different classic of literature. The only thing I remember them doing is a non-musical version of THE MIKADO. In this circa 1950 period on TV I saw three different FLASH GORDON serials but only one BUCK ROGERS. I didn't know there were two others. (I also saw a silent HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.) Loved your comment "Chicago might have been a radioactive wasteland [in the TV BUCK ROGERS] but it still voted." [] You mentioned no longer working a 9-5 job. I remember that part of your job used to involve writing book publicity. What are you doing now?

DAGON (John Boardman). In the library take a look at the November 1997 issue of BYTE magazine, Jerry Pournelle's column "Chaos Manor." You will be amused by his references to the 70 year war with the Soviets. Also, he refers to an Out of Print book of his which he says was used as a text in the US Military Academies. He gives an address where the complete text, with up-dateing notes, can be downloaded from the Web for free. You might ask a friend with Web access to download it for you so you could give one of your devastating critiques.

In November you spoke of Santa Ana. Someone else, Mark?, mentioned that he lived out his last days on Staten Island and explained how he invented and marketed chewing gum. How did he end up in the US? [] I was extremely impressed by Edgar Burrough's poem "Black Man's Burden" satirizing and answering Kipling's "White Man's Burden." [] You mention the past opposition to war by the labor movement, such as the IWW in the '20s. A number of SF stories written between the world wars pushed the premise that war would not happen if the greedy munitions manufacturers didn't push it with propaganda and politics. This thesis is no longer in favor but I think had a lot behind it. Look how much of the US economy depends on selling weapons to the third world, and how the government fumes when China or parts of the former Soviet empire do so.

Commenting on the December ish: I see the obvious reason for referring to the mental ward in a VA hospital as the "vegetable garden," but why "flight deck?" [] When I was teaching Physics out of Halliday & Resnick I was very surprised that they had absolutely nothing about AC circuits, impedence, reactance, etc. I wonder if Kane (Caine?) added this to the updated text. [] Is the comic strip DONDI still being published? When it first appeared about 50 years ago, the hero was an Italian war orphan brought to America who spoke broken English. I remember him as constantly exclaiming "goshes!" I gather that this war orphan origin was dropped as time went by in order to keep him young. I stopped reading him around 1960 and don't remember when or if his broken English was dropped. [] Gary Deindorfer did a cruel satire of a New Jersey fan, Seth Johnson, as "Fandi" which appeared in a Dick Lupoff or Ted White fanzine. Seth was a good hearted, not awfully bright, fan who made a living of sorts in the summer by selling ice cream for Good Humor, Bungalow Bar, or one of those companies. He also was somewhat deaf and wore glasses with a hearing aid built in. He was a regular at ESFA meetings in the '50s and '60s. [] I heard a few years ago that tests comparing Anastasia's {spelling corrected later}DNA with that of purported relatives in the British royal family that proved that she was DEFINITELY a fake. What was the plot line of the animated movie? I take it the film took her claim as real. What period of her life did it cover and how did it end? (Since writing the above I read DEAD MEN DO TELL TALES by William R. Maples and Michael Browning (Doubleday, 1994), the reminiscences of a forensic anthropologist who, among others, examined the remains of theRomanoffs. He mentioned final proof of the reality of these remains came with DNA tests comparing mitocondrial DNA with that of Prince Phillip who had a common grandmother. The author said there were many claimants pretending to be Anasthasia and her siblings but the principal one died in London in the 1970s. Here remains were cremated but there are some bits preserved as a result of surgery but legal entanglements prevent these from being used. The hair is useless as only hair pulled out with the roots have the needed DNA. Was a test done after the book was published or did I totally confuse matters with news stories of the positive test results of the Romanoffs?) [] You said you decided not to register and vote for the Democratic candidate for mayor because she accused the Republican of being a draft dodger. Isn't it possible that she was simply trying to turn a Republican weapon against themselves without approving of the weapon itself or what it stands for? When the infamous William Loeb was publisher of the radical rightwing MANCHESTER UNION LIAR a book came out called WHO THE HELL IS WILLIAM LOEB? The author dug out all sorts of interesting facts about Loeb's background including the fact that he got out of serving in WWII by using a phony medical condition. This relevation left Loeb, who kept urging the US to send troops here and there and criticizing draft dodgers, apoplectic. I don't think the author (name forgotten) was particularly in favor of military service, but did a beautiful job of turning a Republican weapon back on a Republican! [] Enjoyed the engineer's perspective on Santa.

In the Jan. disty, I am puzzled by your saying that Cherryh is pro war. I have only read her Chanur series, where there are about a half dozen races with interstellar travel. Each has a very different mindset and objectives and there is threat of open conflict, but most characters seem to be working towards preventing such a war. Misunderstandings or villainy might lead to isolated fights, but things are quieted down without a war. [] I agree it was the incompetence of the Soviet government that brought the empire down, but disagree that the American cold war policy had nothing to do with it. Republican paranoia and foaming-at-the-mouth militarism caused such an increase in arms and new weapon development that the Soviets were thrown into a panic and spent more money than they had to try to counter it. This helped bankrupt the system which helped the unrest of the populace. [] I mentioned elsewhere thish the book DEAD MEN DO TELL TALES. Among other things, the author was part of the team which had dug up Zachary Taylor and proved that he had not been poisoned with arsenic. The most probable conclusion was that the raw fruits and vegetables he had eaten just before sickening were improperly washed and he got a GI infection and, with the wrongheaded treatment of the time, died of it complicated by dehydration. Anyhow, the author went on to say that Taylor, while a Southerner, was strongly pro-federal government and took no nonsense from southern extremists. His successor cowtowed to the South on issues such as the admission of New Mexico as a free state, emboldening them. He speculated if not for that meal the South would have been reigned in and the Slaveholders' Rebellion might never have happened or at least been significantly delayed. Do you have an opinion on this? [] I am puzzled. No STAR TREK captain was ever played by a white American male? Are you referring to the actor or the persona of the character? I believe that Kirk was born in the American heartland but of German ancestry. And isn't Shatner American? Picard was French while the actor is British. In DEEP SPACE NINE the captain IS black and in Voyager a woman. So while true in three of the shows, this does not seem to apply to the original. I am not enough of a Trekker to be able to say anything about the captains of other Federation ships which the protagonists encounter. [] Enjoyed the newspaper story satirizing the Convex computer show. Unfortunately it is all too true. Who in APA-Q commented that if cars were built like computers you would have to get a new one every three weeks.

HOW TOO (Don Del Grande). In the November disty, thanks to you tfor also finding the name of the program I was trying to remember, MEN INTO SPACE. You also gave the info that it was on CBS on Wednesdays. See also my remarks to Mark Blackman. [] Very glad to learn about the comic strip, FOX TROT, where the protagonist has a blind girl friend who is treated very reasonably. I wonder if officials at NFB headquarters know of it. Could you give me titles of published volumes, the author/artist, and publisher? I would forward this to NFB. [] Speaking of camic strips where babies talk with each in a language incomprehensible to adults, in the 1940s I listened to a radio program BABY SNOOKS featuring Fanny Brice. As I remember it, the heroine was a female Dennis the Menace getting into all kinds of trouble. Later in the show her parents had a baby boy, Roguespeare, and Snooks & Roguespeare would converse in gibberish, to the annoyance of the parents. The father kept complaining about having to use Snooks as the interpreter.

In the January disty you said that position 154 in the "accessories and character map" will do the Lithuanian letter "sha." I assume this is in MS WORD. If I do go to Windows95 this summer, as I am contemplating, I will be glad to have this symbol. Are the other two Lith letters, "cha" and "zha," also in the character map? A friend who works at BYTIS magazine, published in English by the Knights of Lithuania, uses many Lith. words and names and has many problems doing so. I have to ask her what word processor she uses. I know there is no ASCII symbol for the letters with the inverted circumflex. Also, when Brian read me this disty he said that the character maps differ depending on the typeface used, so this symbol might be in a different position or not there at all in a different face. He just read this paragraph over my shoulder and said his remarks apply to "True Type" fonts. [] You asked about just what concessions the NFB got out of Disney as a result of the MAGTOO fracas. I do not know but will try to learn while at the Washington Seminar Feb 1-3.

JERSEY FLATS, TOO (Roberta Rogow). In December you commented that professionally produced non-fanfiction Trek zines had better news and stills than the fan produced ones. But what about zines that analyse plots, discuss background, etc.? Several years ago I read on Talking Books TREK ## (actual number forgotten) published by ROC books, apparantly the severalth selection of articles from a fanzine called TREK. I reviewed this in NIEKAS 44 but I cannot find my floppy with the text and cannot easily check back in a print copy. There were several excellent articles treating the Trek universe as real and speculating about the meanings of some incidents. for instance one article speculated that "Q" (Cue?) of NEXT GENERATION was the alien brat in a CLASSIC TREK who had harrassed the crew until he was caught and punished by his parents. Their behaviors and powers seemed similar. Another article dug out all references to Enterprise class starships and gave a listing. To me THIS is what a fanzine should be. The zine TREK must have had a good following or ROC would not have published several volumes of extracts. Is it still published? Are there any other Trek zines like it today?

D QUANT SUFF (John mALAY). In November you expressed surprise that Vance WAS at Confrancisco as you thought he had little to do with fandom. The only time I had seen him at a con before this was when he was GoH at the 1965 Westercon in Long Beach. He gave his speech at the banquet and spoke so softly that few heard him. I do not know if there was no mike or he was too far from it. I sat quite close and did hear him, but he was so upset that he vowed never to do it again. I had forgotten about that until I started making these comments, and wonder whether he had been GoH at any other cons in the intervening thirty years. Yes! He was GoH at a World Fantasy Con a decade or so ago. I wonder if he gave a speech there. Anyhow, I assume he didn't give a speech or appear on any panels at Confrancisco because he was uneasy about his blindness. As I said, I wish I had known that he had set up at a table to talk with anyone who wanted to meet him. [] I had met him on two or three other occassions. I arrived in California on a Thursday in mid-June 1962 in order to start a job at Livermore the following Monday. I spent the weekend at an inexpensive hotel in SF while I did some sightseeing, and Bill Donoho told me that there was a party at Poul & Karen Andersons' that Saturday and drove me out there. The party was an all-nighter tho I had fallen asleep for a few hours in a corner. Early in the morning Karen drove me into San Francisco to show me a few things she wanted me to see, but it was a little too early. She wanted to take me into the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park which was locked, but we did do a few other things, ending up with a breakfast at a small restaurant in Chinatown where we were the only non-orientals. Then she took me over to Oakland to see a house boat that Poul, Frank Herbert, and Jack Vance were building. Later I ran off several issues of NIEKAS on her Gestetner and on at least one occassion Jack & Norma Vance was a dinner guest there. Unfortunately the ish I was pubbing had an article by John Baxter, "Jack Vance: Dab Hand With a Dactyl," which upset him when he saw it. I think it was after that that I lost the use of Karen's Gestetner. I did an ish or two on Dave Rike's and then bought my own. While the Andersons, Emil Petaja, and Tony Boucher were very active in local fandom at the time, Neither Frank Herbert nor Jack Vance ever appeared at a meeting, even as a guest speaker.

TALES FROM FLYOVER COUNTRY (Andrew Byro). Enjoyed the 53 rules for survival for characters in a horror movie. They would also be useful for a character in a gothic or suspense novel.

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