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 #30

VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL #30, Sept 29, 2001, for APA-Q #463, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected] Back issues at {Corrections made after APA distribution in braces.} I guess this could also be called NIEKAS #46.2. My thanks to Sandy for cleaning up and formatting lastish and thish. >WEB SITE CHANGE

Brian Thurston, who maintains my ENTROPY web site for me, had to change the url a bit. "nh" has been replaced by "zine2" to make the site: >NIEKAS

Starting with the last issue I started running LoCs on NIEKAS here since I cannot maintain a frequent schedule for NIEKAS itself. I will send this to every NIEKAS reader whose eddress I know, but almost no print copies outside of APA-Q. This goes to a very few people who are not NIEKAS readers, and if you are one of these and curious NIEKAS is available for $4.95 or the "usual." Some back issues are available at varied prices. As I finish this I am still putting names into my Outlook Express "address book" and have several hours work left. As soon as I finish I will e-mail the last ENTROPY, and e-mail this one two weeks later.

>NIEKAS LETTERS I will edit out e-mail and postal addresses unless specific permission is given to print them. More NIEKAS letters will appear in the next ENTROPY. Please keep them coming

Dear Ed:
Thank you for sending NIEKAS #46. You forgot to include subscription information on the cover, so I have no idea when my sub runs out and it is time to renew. I hope I am OK in the subscription department, since your zine is still one of the best around. I also noted your comment on page 63 about the death of so many fans between issues. For a while there it almost looked as if I was going to join them. What happened is that medical reasons required me to have an orchiectomy on 14 May. The operation was successful, and the patient died, in the sense that my sex life died. But I will probably die with prostate cancer rather then from prostate cancer. I had to suffer hot flashes and night sweats as my body adjusted to my testosterone levels crashing, burning, and stabilizing, but that stopped about a week ago. With the enormous help of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have worked my way into acceptance of my condition, and seem to have developed "The Eunuch Calm", a sort of deep calm serenity of restful bliss.

One interesting side effect is that my blood pressure seems to have dropped at least 20 points, and my physician is in the process of taking me off all my high blood pressure medications. Don't need them anymore, after taking them for over 35 years. I am now at elevated risk for osteoporosis, and take 1,500 mg of calcium daily. In spite of the fact that I am not having any sort of HRT, my body may undergo some mild feminization. I can accept that and live with it. And I have a very good chance of living a very long time with it thanks to the surgery.

I am not sure how all this is going to affect my social life or my relations with fandom. For example, it has been over 9 years since I did an apazine, perzine, or indeed any kind of zine. Yet out of the blue came an invitation from Marty Cantor to contribute to the 20th anniversary edition of LASFAPA in October 2001. So I am in the process of relearning how to do an apazine. I have the first draft completed, and can send a copy to you or anyone else on the NIEKAS mailing list who requests it.

Yours, Harry
((PS: Yes, Harry, not Andy. Andy died on that operating table. Time for me to resume the name my father gave me.))

Dear Ed,
You sent me a copy of NIEKAS #46 a month or so back, and it arrived here June 29. It has been some time since I left NIEKAS, and perhaps I have made my point : run my address and I'm gone. It was never personal against you, but my tolerance of cleverness or carelessness by your associates in this respect is low. There is just one address I do not mind publishing: my website. That already gets an average of 10,000 hits a day and a few more won't hurt.

I have limited comment on the magazine, mainly your Bumbejimas column. You speak of times past, and I was there for some of them. I was doing an index of science fiction reviews, and you helped, as did Buck Coulson. Later a university man gave it a contract for publication, then, with it safely locked away, published his own index instead at GALE. I couldn't do anything because I had signed away the rights for nothing, assuming there would be fair play. It was one lesson among many, and today I am more cynical.

I had my own experiences with hectograph and mimeograph and another process where had to write dialogue backwards on the master sheet so it would print forwards. I rather liked hecto, because it could be done in full color in a single stage. But time and technology do crunch on, and today's fanzines are already mostly websites on the internet, though they don't realize it. I regard my own site as a personalzine and service to the aspiring writer community.

Of course I remember John Brunner. He was born in the same county of England I was, Oxford, about six weeks later. I was always a slow starter-remember, I took three years to make it through first grade-and by the time I had placed one novel he placed 40. But by the time he died I believe I had passed him in number and certainly in success; my total through this year stands at 119 books, and I never had to sell off assets to survive. He was a good, sometimes brilliant writer, and I remain disturbed by the way the system evidently squeezed him dry and threw him away. As for Temple and {Four Sided Triangle}-I loved that novel, but later when I saw part of the movie it was too dull to finish. I'm still not sure how so good a novel could lose so much in the translation.

I do remain bemused by the evident viciousness and dishonesty inherent in the human condition. I was raised in a pacifist religion, the Quakers, or Religious Society of Friends, and subscribe to many of their principles. But I did not join, because as the smallest member of my school classes I learned the futility of pacifisms early. The schoolyard bully just loves pacifists, because they don't hit back. This applies to nations too.

My direct dealings with Sam Moskowitz were limited. But I loved SF+ and was sorry to see it fail. Which reminds me deviously of an indirect contact with Forrest Ackerman: my daughter encountered him, and told him of my objection to the term "sci-fi." He gave her his business card to relay to me, writing on the back "sci-fi shall not die." I hate like hell to admit it, but he seems to have been correct. So now if it is junk, like much of the movie offerings, I call it sci-fi.

About Rick Brooks' remark that SF peaked in the early 40s I think Tucker's Rule of the golden age of the genre applies: Age 12. You never again find the wonder you found at that age. I discovered it at age 13, and have never since found a matching level to late 40s. But if Rick finds Xanth spoiled by puns, he should try some of my serious fiction, such as {Hope of Earth}. As a commercial writer I either write what sells, or I go unpublished. That's true for other writers too.

Thank you very much for your Niekas #46.
All the best,

Dear Mr. Meskys,
I was interested to read in the latest _Niekas_ (46) your column on "Of Age and Libraries". My wife and I have faced the same question of the ultimate disposition of our vast quantities of books, magazines, compact discs, etc. We have no children, and no relatives who would be interested in our collections or would know how to deal with so many thousands of items. Your plans for the disposal or dispersal of your books etc. seem well thought-out. My wife and I have bequeathed our collections in the first instance to the rare books library at Williams College where I have worked for twenty-five years, who may keep or refuse anything except for certain groups of material, such as our substantial J.R.R. Tolkien collection, which must be kept together; and then any materials not wanted will go to the general library at Williams for their selection, and after that to the local public library, to keep or sell for their benefit.

In the course of your article you mention that you have letters from Tolkien in your files. If you can easily lay your hands on them, my wife and I would be interested to know something more about them, at the least their dates of writing -- if you don't mind our asking. We're writing a reference book about Tolkien for HarperCollins and the Tolkien Estate, along the lines of Walter Hooper's companion to C.S. Lewis, and will include in this an extensive chronology of Tolkien's life and works. To this end we have been recording, as far as possible, all the letters he wrote, to whom, when, and so forth, all the better to have a full picture of how Tolkien occupied his time. I wish you continued success with _Niekas_ and look forward to the next issue. Sincerely,
Wayne Hammond

Just got the latest Niekas in the mail today. Wow. Strange Sports Stories? Hmmm, that's going to require me to do some thinking. I've been so anti sports all my life that just about any sports story is strange to me. The exception is sports movies. I love the ones where the underdog team comes out from behind to win (or almost to win). I think one of my favorite movies of all time is Cool Running.

Anyway, this is off topic and I'm ashamed of myself. Will send you a LoC soonish.
dK [to which Dave Locke added]
"Strange Sports Stories? Hmmm, that's going to require me to do some thinking. I've been so anti sports all my life that just about any sports story is strange to me."

AOL that. With the exception that I've always liked the strange duo of boxing and tennis. I like tennis a lot less now, despite having played an awful lot of it, because the equipment has ruined the professional game.

Sports movies, no exceptions on that with me. I finally gave up watching sports movies because I just didn't appreciate them. I put it on a par with this conversation I once had: "But, this is a *great* nurse novel. Maybe the best one ever written!" "I don't care."


Dear Ed,
I was very happy to find the latest issue in my mail when I got back earlier this summer, but now I am about to leave again. This time we are headed for Harry Turtledove territory, the eastern mountains of Turkey. I wish I were a novelist. I wish Harry wrote more about my Byzantines (some is never enough).

You can count on me to renew my sub in September at Worldcon in Philly if we aren't wiped out when we get off the plane at Dulles. Otherwise it will be by mail. I didn't check the address on the envelope, but we have been hit by the 911 bug: we are in the same spot, but it now sports an address just like the city folks. (Only the postal inspectors look at it, though.)

I have been enjoying your reviews of Diana Gabaldon's books. You will inspire me to go back and read the third one, which I abandoned about fifty pages in. I was particularly interested in Gabaldon's method of attacking a novel, writing scenes and then tacking them together with narrative. I will never forget how I first encountered her work: a total stranger grabbed me by the arm as I looked at the bookshelf in my favorite chain. "If you haven't read this one, you have got to read it. Here!" Her enthusiasm hooked me. I loved the first two books.

I'll look forward to the LOCs. Thanks.
Kathy Lynch

Dear Ed,
My 'California trip' lasted until the end of June. That is, I began a project with Philips Semiconductor, Sunnyvale, California, in February of this year and my participation continued until 29 June when I left the project. During that time, I would stay two weeks in Sunnyvale and then enjoy a weekend home with the family.

I may have written this to you before but I can not recall: At present, I am a 'hi-tech migrant worker -- have laptop, will travel'. I carry most of my office in a shoulder, computer bag. I communicate via e-mail and long distance phone conversations.

Occasionally, I work from my office at home (which is nice when it happens). In a sense, I am living the life written about in science fiction not so terribly long ago. (Just found a copy of my earlier postal-delivered letter in which some of the preceding was, in fact, written ... but not all.) Later this morning, I hope to participate in a Web cast for my company, Atos Origin, Inc., in which short-term marketing plans will be covered -- imagine that, folks linked together from across the country, and possibly the world, via the Internet rather than gathered together physically in a conference room somewhere.

NIEKAS 46 was an excellent read on the flights to & from California. I am astounded by the amount of information you can compress into such a slim volume. I do hope this response does not fall under the "write to NIEKAS & die" category as I have other fanzines in my stack to read one of these days realsoonnow. Hope you are doing well these days.

J. R. Madden

Dear Ed, Anne and Todd:
Many thanks for the unexpected gift of Niekas 46. The combination of SF and sports is an unlikely one, but of some familiarity to me, as I have worked as a sport reporter in the past. I'll see if I can write a decent letter in response.

I know that baseball fan George Alec Effinger has combined SF and sports in at least one short story, and I admit that my first thought about that combination was the movie "Field of Dreams", an intriguing combination of sport and fantasy. I used to follow some sports, but as you have, Ed, I've become disillusioned about the multi-million-dollar pay cheques, and the blackmail sports teams regularly employ upon the cities they do business in. I still follow the fortunes of the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays, but am finding that many Canadian teams slowly are sold and move to the US, or the pay amounts demanded and received are so great, only US-based teams can afford the star players, and Canadian-based teams cannot afford this kind of usury.

A sidebar about how Star Trek and Tolkien brought women into SF...I believe that Lois McMaster Bujold and Lillian Stewart Carl were also brought into prodom by Star Trek. I've seen one of their fanzines.

I have enjoyed the Warner and Moskowitz fanhistory books, and I'm eagerly awaiting the publication of the Lynches' book. I am mostly a lurker on the Trufen, Memory Hole and SMOFs listservs, but find that their contents are general conversations, arguments, rehashing of old feuds, and nasty oneupmanship. To be brutally honest, I see very little reason to preserve what's there. That's why I would prefer to preserve the news, articles and concentrated information that comes in a paper fanzine. Many of the fanzines I receive that take the form of a Word file, a .pdf file or similar computer file are printed out for my convenience, but should be burned onto a CD-R for preservation, but for the length of time I'll enjoy them, paper is fine. It's familiar, it's physical, and as I've said in other fanzines in the past, I'd rather have something to hold and enjoy, something that was made and sent to me as a gift.

While your copy of Archie Mercer's The Meadows of Fantasy might not be available in the original mimeo, the text of the novel has been filed, and can be downloaded from the website As for subway stuff, Moshe might find a home for those subway/railway books with NJ/NY fans Arwen Rosenbaum and Peter Dougherty. Peter is the author of an extensive mapbook of the New York City subway system.

For me, the closest sports usually comes to fantasy is when there is the hint of a magical quest being achieved. Such an event came when Joe Carter struck a home-run to win the World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993. Such events are nearly mythical, and it was needed to win it all, and the hero came through with just what was needed to win and emerge victorious.

I see what Ed means when he laments the passing of so many people. I see that Ethel Lindsay, Walt Willis, John Brunner and Buck Coulson are on these pages, and they have all since left us. Mention of L. Sprague deCamp and Douglas both gone, too. Funny SF...first, I think of Robert Sheckley, a pleasant man to meet, and unfortunately on hard times, as were John Brunner and William F. Temple. I also remember The Flying Sorcerers by David Gerrold and Larry Niven as a book that would make me smile and roll my eyes...

Ed, you say you're surprised that Canada doesn't share America's cowboy ethic. Of course, at one point in Canadian history, most of the Canadian prairies and north were nearly unknown territory, but anything resembling a cowboy ethic here came a little later, and was tempered by the advent of the Northwest Mounted Police, which was formed not only to police the west and north, but also to make sure that American prospectors and settlers didn't take Manifest Destiny too seriously. However, if you were to go to Alberta or Saskatchewan, you'd find modern remnants of the cowboy ethic alive and well.

I will fold up and get this ready to come to you via e-mail, and I look forward to the letter supplement this summer. It does look like the previous issue of Niekas came some years ago. I know how expensive it is to produce such publications, having done a few in my time, so I understand the time between issues. Good luck on getting the next issue on the go, and I hope you'll keep me on your mailing list. Many thanks, and see you then. Maybe see you sooner in Philadelphia for the Worldcon?
Yours, Lloyd Penney.

Hi Ed:
Thanks for finding my address and sending me Niekas #46. This is my first issue and I am quite impressed. The art was excellent all around. Dickinson's dragon player is really cool. One thing, though, about the issue, was that some of the pages of my issue got loose from the staples. Not big deal but I better watch that, so I don't lose those pages. Now, about the articles, I mean what I can say? I love them all. Put some stand more than other of course. Foremost, Diana L. Paxson's article "Patterns: Sharing a World with Marion Zimmer Bradley." I learned of Bradley a couple of years ago after I moved to United States from Puerto Rico. Before 1993, the only fantasy I have ever read was fairy tales in Spanish and a really nice translation of Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. But that was all my experience with the genre and my idea of SF was more in the Star Trek, Star War TV/movie kind of experience. When I moved to NY in 1994, I started reading mainly Dragon lance books and then I stumbled into Piers Anthony. He was my first introduction into fantasy and science fiction but not only that, but also introduced me to other SF and fantasy writers, e.g.Bradley. I believed, reading his autobiography, Bio of an Ogre, he recalled meeting her in the 60's when he was starting his writing career and that he considered her a very talented, wise and fair lady whose works he admired. So, when I moved to California in 1996 and one happy day I stumbled into "Marion Zimmer Bradley Fantasy Magazine" I did not hesitate and got a subscription to her magazine. It was always a pleasure to get the magazine, read her editorial and enjoy the wonderful selection of short stories of established and new writers. I still remembered when I sent two short stories for her consideration and I was kindly rejected. It was sort of funny because she was getting so many submissions at the magazine that she had to use form letter of rejections. But you could tell that she hated to do it. Still, I could see that she took the time to read my manuscripts and little notes were be here and there on the manuscript with corrections or little comments. She was a tough editor but honest.

Still, I hadn't read her novels yet and finally I got my hands on "The Mist of Avalon" and I was very moved by it. I have always hated the Arthurian tales because they are so depressing but she imbued the story with such a fresh perspective that even though I was depressed and teary eyed I couldn't drop the book until the end. Darkover, on the other hand, was a different story. I love the way the series blends SF and fantasy settings and deals with brutal honesty with so many issues: gender disparities, homosexuality, prejudice. I believe she was the first writer that I encountered that had portrayed homosexuals as normal, honest and sweet people, instead of the derogatory portrayals that TV and movies had exploited for years.

Another thing that always impressed me about her was her total involvement with fans and fandom. The Keeper's Price is a fine example of how a writer can interact and enrich his/her art with his/her fans. Bradley's human touch and caring touched me in the same way that Piers Anthony impressed me with his caring attitude to his fans. To find the time to read and respond to fan mail or to create new fiction with fans is for me one of the most important qualities of a writer.

So, thanks Diana for sharing with us your wonderful memories (the good and the bad) of Marion. We will miss her terribly indeed. I think it is real sad that her estate decided to fold the magazine but that is the way it goes.

Ok, that was long. The other article that I thought was really interesting was Joe Christopher "I hear Amerika Singing (No. 1)" I just wish I had read these stories before reading his column or maybe I had to have classes about verses analysis :-( Although Joe's article is very intriguing, sometimes I couldn't follow all his arguments. Still I can tell that he has put a lot of time studying these stories and music and look forward for more. Although, I wish it were possible to have a glossary of terms for those of us not too familiar with music and stanzas and all that stuff? It would help me follow the article better.

The whole section of Sports fantasy stories was awesome. The reviews were very good with very insightful analysis of structure, form and content of the stories. Now, I have added more books to my shopping list :-)

The same applied to the other reviews in the issue and I was intrigue with the many different books reviewed in this issue. It is kind of funny,though, to read about a book that is the middle one from a series ;-)

A more disturbing article, though, was Dr. Raymond Kurzweil's address to the National Federation of the Blind. I don't know if I should be happy or scare to death with the kind of nanotechnology that he was referring to in his address. I just don't know if I will be happy to have miniature robots or whatnots residing permanently in my brain or skin or whatever. I work with computers and I am a student in a graduate school of Information Studies but I can tell you that I am not ready to jump all the way to the bandwagon of technology, especially the one for storage of information. I am 31 but I am sort of old fashion for certain things like books. Not e-books for me. :-) Still, it is amazing the development in voice recognition software and I believe that new technology will come to assist the blind and other handicapped people.

Anyway, this is long enough for my first loc for Niekas so I will stop here. Thanks Ed for sharing your 'zine with me! Good luck!
Marisol Ramos-Lum

Ray Nelson's article--well, it's very interesting. Some of it is fully identified with and a bit, I do not. One thing that Ray Nelson is saying is true, but hasn't this always been the case? If C.A. Smith were around today to read what's been written by poets like Sutton Breiding and artists such as H.K. Potter have done in response to his works--well, I think he'd be rather pleased.


I don't like the article. It reads more like a letter from those who support this or that form of poetry or prose (or art). If I've read one I've read 50. I'd not call this an article, I'd call it a gripe letter. And I hope I never get too old to say what I really think.

Please don't misunderstand me. I fully agree about Nelson's problems with society and lack of thus and suches. I just can't understand why NIEKAS would go to this extent to publish this when everyone who does think like Nelson but is possibly even more open-minded (????) would do this.

The mundane is a source for fantasies. If we lived without that mundane stuff, we'd all be as nuts as that world of the future that H. G. Wells writes about in {The Time Machine}. Hemingway and Salinger and Brendan Behan--and gosh, how many others inspired me to push ahead. I think the whole thing is a terrible scheme to get those with talent to use it. Those who read, think and stuff.

Dear Ed,
Despite the theme of Strange Sports Stories for Niekas #46, the article on technology for the blind by Dr. Raymond Kurzweil seemed to be the dominant item in the issue. He deals predominantly with computer technology. In the last few years, I've had the feeling that genetics and biology have taken over the center stage, and the really evolutionary developments of the next twenty or thirty years are going to come from that area. If that is so, then it may become possible in the not too distant future to regenerate or replace tissue and nerves to correct the problem entirely. Some years ago, I heard the estimate that aggregate human knowledge was doubling every fifteen years. What you include in aggregate human knowledge could be debatable, but that estimate seems highly likely. Some areas are advancing faster than others. For the last twenty or thirty years, computer technology has been the hot item. The speed of light sets an upper limit on computer processing speed. The three dimensional architecture Dr. Kurzweil suggests may be a way of squeezing some additional speed out of computers, but there is still an upper limit somewhere. While we will always be able to use all the computer speed we can get, do we really need an infinitely fast computer? Computers will continue to improve in overall capability for a long time to come, but the rate of improvement is likely to be slower than it has been in the last twenty years. Nanobots are fascinating gizmos. The only thing I know for sure about nanobots is that you need really teeny hands to work on them. Dr. Kurzweil's explanation of how nanobots can influence the activity of the brain suggests some curious possibilities. I can imagine terrorists dumping trillions of nanobots over the entire planet, and tomorrow everybody on Earth is a Moslem. It would certainly create a land office business for circumcisions.

I'm sure AI entities will be developed, because it sounds like such a fun idea to do. If I were just starting a career at the moment, I would love to try cooking one up myself. Dr. Kurzweil does a good job of summarizing some of the philosophical problems of AI devices. They may not really be conscious, but they may believe they are conscious. Situations like that can lead to a headache very easily. It is a little easier to accept that an AI version of me would not actually be me. It might be able to beat me every time at chess, but it sure wouldn't have much of a chance in a pissing contest.

Endlessly improving technology suggests that we will eventually need improved end users. There doesn't seem to be much resistance to the idea of eliminating defects in human design. However, trying to make improvements is a different matter entirely. I don't think there will ever be much resistance to AI devices, because the sort of people who object to technological innovation will never believe in them. The same people will be perfectly willing to believe that genetic engineering is doing something diabolical to children. Before you could go about increasing intelligence, you would have to address the issue that some people already have more of it than others. This has been a political no-no in recent decades.

By the end of the article, Dr. Kurzweil gets to the possible union of the organic and the electronic. I think this brings us to the Borg. The Borg could be regarded as a metaphor for American technoculture. We do seem to assimilate most everything. Regarding the Borg, I suppose someone could take the position that you shouldn't knock it if you haven't tried it. However, I've never been much of a fan of togetherness, and the Borg represent vastly more togetherness than I would tolerate.

Anne Braude's comments on the low state of sports ethics reminded me of a cartoon I saw years ago. The cartoon depicts a wrestling ring with a rather anthropoid looking wrestler sitting in one corner. In the center of the ring, the opposing manager is saying to the referee "My guy doesn't wrestle until we hear it talk." That is rather the problem with professional sports. They are looking for very limited skill sets, and they don't care about the rest of the person at all. If a gorilla could play lineman in the NFL, they would use a gorilla.

It seems to me that the sports hero and the military hero are both related back to the mythic hero. The mythic hero excelled at whatever needed doing. The desire to excel is common to both the sports hero and military hero. The emphasis on the desire to excel has influenced many people. George S. Patton competed in the 1924 Olympics and came fairly close to winning a medal. It was just one part of his effort to become the mythic hero.
Yours truly,
Milt Stevens

Dear Ed, Anne, and Todd,
Many thanks for NIEKAS #46 although maybe it's little wonder that you included a slip with 'last ish-do something.' As I have just discovered that my LoC, printed in this issue, had a dateline of 25 July 1994...(especially uncanny, as I'm starting this LoC on that very same day in July.)

Also noted the invitation to e-mail "if only!" must be my reply. Well, I embraced the new technology back in 1990; the only snag, thanks mainly to long-term unemployment, is that's where I've stayed. No updates, no new machines; what I was using then is what I'm using now. Have to say, it wasn't even state-of-the-art then; they were pushing at the limits with 4 megabytes, while my Atari could only manage half a megabyte. (Now, it's the 64Mb level that's bog-standard.) However, its saving grace both then and now is that I could use an ordinary TV set as a monitor; and that's proved its worth several times, when our main TV has been taken away for repair. But e-mails? Well, even if I could break into a museum to find the appropriate modem and we had a phone installed, with the lack of power it would probably need half a day to transmit something; so I'm stuck with snail mail. I was able to hard back to the previous LoC because it's still there on a floppy disk; but I do tend to wonder, like you, about longer preservation. Even in my short time, I've seen computers go from punched cards and paper tape through floppy disk and on to CD-ROMs with DVDs waiting in the wings; so how long will CD-ROMs last? My solution would be the traditional "hard copy" on archival quality paper, ready to go under the scanner of whatever new system comes along. Even if it's incompatible with the last, they'd all have paper and printing.

It's a problem I've already met, as my Atari is incompatible with any other computer and there a couple of projects I'd like to carry on beyond it. One, largely completed, is a memory bank of my childhood and early youth, started in panic when I realized how many memories had already vanished into oblivion; the other is an on-going history of the country village where I was born and brought up. Both have their printouts; but also-perhaps more in hope than in anticipation-they're preserved as ASCII files on supposedly PC-readable disks, thanks to a freeware program; thought that's yet to be tested.

Must admit, my collection hasn't been as extensive; but even so, there was a time when I gazed fondly on what I'd created and thought, all this I'm handing down to posterity. Now more often, there's disquieting thought; what if posterity doesn't want it? So now I am saving for myself; but even so, I've had to be ruthless. With the limitations of space, this two-up two-down doesn't have any chance of expansion, or even a garage attached, so I've had to make some hard choices. Decimating the magazines, for one. My own Golden Age was from 1965-69 when I was buying every prozine in sight, both American the British, but that couldn't last; now my collection has been reduced to the most nostalgic, which has left of IF (expanded from 62 onwards), WORLDS OF TOMORROW, and ASTOUNDING/ANALOG (extended back to the 50s.)

The serried ranks of books have mostly tended to go the same way. They've undergone the same judgment, so most of those left have earned their place for their high nostalgia content; some have even been with me since childhood. Although while there's been a brief feeling of freedom, of having found daylight, there's also the thought of maybe having been too harsh, that there could be room after all. (I wonder, could it be an offshoot of Parkinson's Law, that books expand to fill the space available?) So now you'll find me browsing through dealers' catalogs seeing what once cost me pennies now translated into pounds; but that's the cost of making mistakes, isn't it? Mind you, having given up on posterity, there's much to be said for the Rick Brooks approach. Like him, I've now got more, both old and new, than I'll ever read; but I can look forward to a long and happy retirement.

That is, if the curse of NIEKAS doesn't get in the way; or if it exists at all. Certainly it's not comparable to the curse of HELLO! Magazine, the celebrityzine where every happy showbiz marriage splashed across its pages is instantly doomed to divorce. No, I'd say that it's more than an inevitable fact of life, that with your leisurely schedule some fen will be lost to us in the time between. I can certainly be proud )if a little nervous) to be sharing the same LoC pages as Buck Coulson, Ethel Lindsay, and John Brunner; you can be as well, that you have their last published writings.

Here, I have to admit that the main remit of this NIEKAS, Strange Sports Stories, leaves me musing. Not about sporting heroes, or marvelous matches; but why haven't American sports made the crossing so well as everything else from the USofA? Coca-Cola and MacDonalds are the prime quoted examples; but what child of my generation (i.e., before computer games) wasn't out there playing Cowboys & Indians, fueled by such TV programmes as The Lone Ranger, Champion the Wonder Horse, and Rin-Tin-Tin? In my case, even before discovering American science fiction it took only one Roy Rogers Annual to turn him into a childhood icon.

However, I can't see that American sports have made anywhere near the same impact. We can maybe relate to American football where the nearest equivalent is our game of Rugby, albeit played without any protection; but baseball is forever associated with the childhood game of rounders and so beyond the pale. I understand that it's big in Japan, as the song goes; but over here, they're only minority sports. Mind you, reading Fred Lerner is a marvelous insight into why baseball is so much a part of the American psyche.

But whatever sport it is-football, baseball, soccer, cricket, basketball, athletics-there's no longer the spirit of 'play up, and play the game'; now it's more a case of 'win, whatever it takes', whether with drugs, cheating, or sheer intimidation. There were early signs, as Anne Braude mentions, with colleges signing up those entrants who'd do well on their sports teams. Sponsorship was another step along the way; what firm wants to be associated with a losing team? Soccer teams, in particular, have discovered the millions to be made out of their loyal fans. Every season, like any fashion house, they bring out new home and away replica strip, and charge even small-screen followers to watch their matches with pay-and-view TV. One of the famous, and ridiculed, comments of a famous soccer manager was "football isn't a matter of life and death; it's more important than that." Now that business has taken over, I can see what he meant.

Mr. Meskys:
Thank you for sending me a copy of NIEKAS 46. Mark Sunlin's essay, "The Origin of Dragon Beliefs," was interesting. Many people do, indeed, fear snakes and in most Western cultures serpents and dragons are now used as symbols of evil. On the other hand, Eastern civilizations generally regard these creatures as creature-beings and bringers of good fortune. Such opposing views may have resulted from the rise of Christianity in the West. This religion has associated serpents with the devil in paganism. This is apparent in the tales of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland, and St. George killing the dragon.

Long before the arrival of Christianity, many early cultures used snakes as symbols of regeneration; of the eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Perhaps, they were inspired by observing snakes as these creatures shed their old, worn skin and emerged, reborn, and new.

In many societies, dragons and snakes have been associated with creator goddesses. In ancient Mexico, Coatlicue, the mother of all living things, wears a skirt of writhing serpents. Australian aborigines worshiped Eingaga, snake-goddesses, mother-creator and death goddesses. In Chinese mythology, Nukua, a serpent-bodied goddess, was the maker of humanity.

Unfortunately, as these goddesses were replaced by gods as the basis for many religious beliefs, the life-giving aspects of these female deities were lost. They were then demoted to the status of evil, death-dealing crones, witches, and wicked step-mothers and all the other forms of female villains found in children's fairytales. The serpents and dragons associated with these former goddesses suffered the same change of faith. Sincerely, Susan Zuege

In June, 2001, we received from DAW a review copy of {The Fall of Neskaya} by "Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross." Sandy immediately read it but it will take some time for me to get it taped for reading. I want to pass on some comments from her. She says this "tastes" much more like Bradley than did the last few Darkover books, largely written by Adrian Martine Barnes. The Darkover books were always really "science fantasy" with the magic of Loran playing a major role in the character of the world, but set in the far future with spaceships and interstellar colonization. However the magic was controlled and could be considered to be a science whose basis we do not yet understand. However Adrienne had introduced supernatural magical elements into the last few books. Also, Adrienne has taken the series beyond Marion's original ending at {The World Wreckers} This book is set back during the "Hundred Kingdom Wars" before the Compact was put into effect and Loran and the Towers were used in warfare. Also, this book is the first volume of a trilogy. Hawk Mistress} is set in this same period. They are groping after the Compact while in great tumult.

The writing style is much more like Marion's when she was younger and writing powerfully. Adrienne's writing style is very different and does not feel like Marion's. At the 1999 Darkover Con in Baltimore Adrienne had told us that she had done most of the writing on the last three or so books based loosely on ideas provided by Marion. Now we almost seem to have Marion back.

by Patricia C. Wrede [Yolen/Harcourt books, 1996, xii + 234 pp., $17] is a wonderful collection of YA stories. These stories have the wit and humor of her Enchanted Forest books ({Talking to Dragons}, etc.), and some have a strong punch. All but one of these stories was originally written for some anthology, and two are set in the Enchanted Forest of the Dragon books. I have read many of her books and all have been extremely enjoyable. They are bent the way Esther Friesner and Diana Wynne Jones are.

"Rikiki and the Wizard" is in the Livak shared world and is about how the slow-witted chipmunk god frustrated and made a laughing stock of a greedy wizard. In "The princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn" a prince enchanted into a cat returns to human form after drinking the water of the pond belonging to a supercilious unicorn in the Enchanted Forest.

"Roses by Moonlight" is a strong, not funny, story about human weakness. An older sister, perpetually annoyed by her sister whom she dislikes, is given a chance to sample moments from possible futures in a magic rose garden and select one. She comes to realize that she is behaving badly towards her sister and resolves to do better without locking herself into a future but her resolve dissipates after her return to reality. I have seen such dissipation of good intentions in myself and others so many times.... In her afterward the author said that thinking about the prodigal son's disgruntled brother in the bible story inspired this tale.

In "The Sixty-Two Curses of Aranshad," an {Arabian Nights} story, father and daughter are turned into werewolves by a temperamental wizard Caliph and must manage to get the spell undone. This is impossible, but the Caliph's son realizes that no one can be under two curses at the same time. The daughter insults the Caliph so he will curse her and her family lifting the werewolf curse. I really liked the logic and characters of this story.

A king gets supernatural help from the "Earth Witch" to defeat an army conquering and savaging his land but at a high personal price.

"The Sword Seller" is set in Norton's Witch World a ruler desperate for an heir unwittingly puts himself in a position of having to trick an innocent soldier to his death to satisfy the demands of the god which had granted him his heir, but the soldier's innate goodness destroys the god.

The Lorelei" enchants and tries to kill two students touring Germany. Good rationalization of the origin of the legend of the Siren of the Rhine, and a good story of how the students escape.

If the prince failed to get to Sleeping Beauty in time to wake her his ghost must waken her with the help of an ageing woodcutter in "Stronger Than Time."

In one version of the English folksong of "The Cruel Sisters" there is a third sister who watches the jealousy and hatred of the two which leads the older one to drown the younger, only to have the ghost return in a harp fashioned from her body. In this version you are left in doubt as to whether she had really been murdered or drowned accidentally and her ghost told the story spitefully to destroy the other sister.

In "Utensil Strength" the Frying Pan of Doom enters the Enchanted Forest and an appropriate wielder must be found. Remember that it is in the Enchanted Forest that one heroine defeats greedy wizards by melting them with buckets of lemon scented mop water. This gives a taste of the twisted logic of this world.

Here is the blurb for {Bobby's Girl} by A.G. Austin (Ace, 2001, $5.99, 268pp.) Ket turned to the man nearest her, a heavy set tattooed biker type, and said, "Gentlemen, please, let us take care of our friend."

The biker put a hand on Ket's shoulder. "That's where you're wrong, Blondie. We take care of your friend, and maybe you too."

Frank and Bobbie turned to each other. "Oh, Oh," they said in unison.

Without rising from her bar stool Ket turned to the biker and smiled slightly. In an action too quick for the eye to capture she placed her hands under his chin and pushed. The biker flew across the room, flipped over a table, struck the bar wall under the dart board. Another biker took a swing at Ket who caught the fist in her much smaller hand and floored her assailant with a head-butt.

"Kathy," Frank called, "Let's get...."

"/soit down." The order came in a voice that hadn't issued from her since Tradon, a low powerful tone that cut through all the noise in the bar. The general had spoken. "Have you noticed something interesting about our script girl?" Frank asked Bobby. "Because I have."

"And what might that be?" Bobby replied.

"She doesn't fight like a girl," Frank replied raising his beer as a hapless Ket fighter slid along the bar past them.

"What do you think?" Frank asked Bobby who had been staring open-mouthed throughout the proceedings.

He stared at his friend with a bewildered face. "I think I'm in love," Bobby said.

Now to Sandy and me that bacover excerpt promised a funny romp of an adventure, but this was the ONLY scene in the whole book which had this tone. I had intended to get it taped after Sandy finished reading, but she was so disappointed in its not living up to its promise that I will not bother. Of course the blurb is not the author's fault, but it prepared the reader for what heesh did not get and ruined the book. With different anticipation the book might have been quite enjoyable, but it was ruined.

The book {is} about a deposed alien ruler hidden on earth as a rallying point for a counter-revolution. The story alternates between the war and her life in hideing. Sandy commented that she read the military SF about Honor Harrington and Miles Versakian and that written by Moscoe, and in comparison this just does not make it as military SF. There is a very little excellent soul-searching on the nature of war and its means and ends by people on both sides, which is quit einsightful, but again there is very little of this. Our heroine has been surgicly modified to hide on earth. These changes are irreversible and make her unsuitable to ever return to her own world.

There are other inconsistencies and unrealistic actions of characters. She is dumped near LA wandering around disoriented, and is taken for abused trailer-trash. A self-made wealthy couple take her in to clean up and shelter. In reality such a couple might take her to the hospital or woman's shelter, but not to their spare bedroom. Then when she is recovered they talk their son into giving her a job as a script girl in his studio.

Finally, she keeps blowing her cover and eventually far too many people know her real identity.

I am trying to review this second hand based on Sandy's verbal discription, but I am not sure how successful I am at conveying her disappointment and perceived flaws. She says this book is trying to tell two stories, the war and her hideing in our society, which do not mesh, and neither story is told well.


I just found my notes from when Q457 was read to me. Harry Harrison can be a wonderful satirist as in {star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers} or {Bill, the Galactic Hero}, but I only tried one Stainless Steel Rat book which I found tedious and not funny. After George Scithers had been editing ASIMOV'S SF MAG for a while he and the publishers decided to launch a sister mag, ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURE MAG. This was quarto size, with a spot illo on every page, and was aimed at trying to seduce comic book readers to written SF. He idea didn't fly and the mag was folded after only a very few issues. Anyhow a Stainless Steel Rat "novel' was published in the issue I read and I just wasn't interested in reading any more of them after that one. [] I loved your survey of smaller bodies in the solar system giving their masses in terms of micro-earths. I am putting some of the data here where I will know how to find it later. Charon is Pluto's satellite, Chiron is the asteroid out past Jupiter. (Some astronomy texts, like Unsold's point out that the Earth-moon system is really a twin planet since the moon's worldline around the sun is everywhere concave towards the sun. Charon has one of the highest satellite to planet mass ratios, so perhaps they are also twin planets? That would be true only if the separation was large enough to make the period very long. What is the period for Charon?) Pluto is 2.2 micro-earths, Moon is 12.3, Mercury 55, Triton 3.58, Ceres .2, Did I get it really correct? Mercury has only 55 millionths of the mass of the earth? Or did I write "micro" in my Braille notes when I should have written milli?

Mark Blackman sent me his BLANCMANGE and Boardman's DAGON by email so I was able to read them right away for myself and comment on them.

|BLANCMANGE(Mark Blackman):
There was a whole series of numbers at the beginning of BM which made no sense to me. Incidentally, I could not save the email to disk to open later in Word, so have to read in Outlook where I cannot edit or annotate. When I come across a comment hook I speak it into a tape recorder to come back to later. [] When I attended Lunarian meetings fairly regularly in the late 60s they got boring at times, and there was some senseless bickering, but nothing like the sheer hatred and vindictiveness you describe today. And since I wasn't interested in the minutiae of running the club I often retreated with others to another room like the kitchen to gossip. I remember one meeting a few years later at Devra Langsam's where there was no place to retreat to and I had to sit thru the meeting. One person tried to save a bit of time by combining two routine housekeeping motions and some fanatic ranted for a half hour about how that is illegal. I did not go back to another meeting for a long time. Later it was meeting in a hall east of Union Square if I remember, and I suggested to John that we purposefully arrive late to miss the business and be there just for the socialization, but I messed up. Turns out that now the socialization was BEFORE the meeting and I arrived just in time for the boring business part. Sigh. A few years later I attended a Sunday afternoon meeting in another hall where Esther Friesner was guest speaker, and she read a very moving, not funny, story about war. There was almost no business and no bickering at that meeting, if I remember. I guess they were on good behavior in front of company. [] I hate to see competing Worldcon bids where one has to lose, like this year. I am supporting Boston because I have enjoyed the cons they have put on, including the World Fantasy Con in TRI recently. I didn't vote for them for 98 because I liked the Baltimore bid and Boston was divided. I had a very hard time deciding how to vote for 01 because I liked the Boston in Orlando bid but I also felt it was Phili's turn. They have not had a turn since 1953, and recently lost at least two bids. Phili won out for me. Perhaps Boston would have put on a better con, but it was time for Phili to have a crack at it. You could say the same about Charlotte, but they have not run and lost before this. Losing a bid is disheartening, after all the time and money spent, but I do hope they reorganize and try again in a few years. I am glad to see that the two elections after that went unopposed as competition dropped out or was only nominal, and the next few bids seem to be unopposed. It looks like Glasgow in 05, LA in 06, and Tokyo in 07, tho the last is, I am told, a shaky bid and might collapse. I have heard rumors of a Texas bid for 08 and Australia in 09. If we go for "South Gate again in 2010" the rest of the decade is sewn up. Whenever Charlotte chooses to run again (IF they lose which they might not) I do hope they are unopposed. [] You commented that daVinci's "Last Supper" shows them using leavened bread which Judas is shunning. I suppose by the renaissance the Church had forgotten that at Passover only unleavened bread would be used. This is why I have not understood the fight between the Eastern and Western churches over what kind of bread to use of Eucharist. If they are trying to re-capture the Last Supper it SHOULD be unleavened. [] I am puzzled. You said that other actors did the Beatles voices in the movie Yellow Submarine. Why? Couldn't they do their own voices? Then you went on to site a gag about a Russian sub which has a Lenin closet. I am being dense but do not get it. Is this some sort of pun on the Russian vs. the English Lenin? Why a closet? A euphemism for water closet? Or a linen closet for storing bedding? [] When you listed many of the odd characters you use in your fanzine my speech program remained silent for most of them, and gave very strange readings for a few, saying things like "double bottom left corner". When I get e-mail from England their pound sign comes in as "number."

When John Boardman wrote about the German effort to counterfeit five pound notes my synthesizer said "oh five." I currently use Windows 98B, Word, Outlook Express, and Access, and my speech is JAWS [job access with speech] For Windows. Until a few months ago I was still using DOS, PC-Write, PC-File+, and Vocal-Eyes for speech. I had a scanner and OCR running and used that to input many of the articles in NIEKAS 45, the Dark Fantasy issue. Joe Christopher's vampire comedy play had a Hispanic character and the scanner and speech software handled things like the upside down exclamation and question marks with no problem. [] Thank you for sending me your zine by e-mail. It made reading the whole zine easy. I am sorry that I rewarded you with so few comments, but the rest while enjoyed brought forth no remarks.

|DAGON(John Boardman):
I really liked your remark that it is Russia and not the States which is taking capitalism into space. [] Also loved your remark, "The FBI dismissed Philip K. Dick as a kook. Even they can't be wrong all the time.""

I was fascinated by this Jewish view of the "real" story of Yeshua you related. If I understood correctly it was presented on a U of PA website and posted by Alan Humm, based on {Jesus in the Jewish Tradition} by Goldstein. Of course in response to the Christian calumnies against the Jews they had come up with their own. I had not seen before the one that Joseph was the real father and Miriam/Mary was betrothed to another. A common one seemed to be that she had been raped by a Roman soldier and pawned off the pregnancy as a miracle.

Yeshua and his disciples were all Jewish and scriptures portrayed Jewish life of that period, and I remember seeing an article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN a year or two back on how Jewish historians are using them to get a better understanding of what Jewish life was like at that time. Last year I attended a series of lectures by a retired Catholic priest-scholar on the three synoptic gospels and their portrayal of the time from Yeshua entering Jerusalem thru the ascension, and the differences in content and emphasis. He pointed out that the three authors were writing for different audiences and had different backgrounds, so while one gave a lot of detail on Jewish ritual and belief, another barely mentioned them. The genre of history did not exist when the gospels were written and these were reminiscences told with imperfect memory. He told us to try to imagine that today there were no newspaper, radio, and TV archives which could be referred to, and 37 years after his death we were asked to tell what we remember of John Kennedy. People would come up with snatches like "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country" and "By the end of the decade we will send a man to the moon and bring him back safely." And these would be only paraphrases and not exact quotes. The gospels were that sort of reminiscence and not biographies as would be written today, with exact quotes and specific dates filled in from archives. Of course funnymentalists would disagree violently with this interpretation.

According to one of the gospels a discoverer of the empty tomb was told the disciples should go to another town--Capernaum?--where Yeshua would come to them. However none of the gospels speak of anyone following these instructions and all subsequent events take place in Jerusalem. Scholars have no explanation for this inconsistency.

A book I recently read was {History of the Jews} by Paul Johnson (Harper & Row, 1987). It was written by a Christian who became very interested in Jewish history and was a very fair presentation and very detailed covering the period from Moses thru today. It was such a fair history that the Jewish Braille Institute recorded it for its clients to read. Around the era Thomas Aquinas gave formal structure to Christian philosophy, basing it on Greek, and al-Ghazzali was a leading Muslim thinker who decreed that Muslims should not engage in secular scholarship, Memodes was a leading Jewish scholar who organized much Jewish thinking. From reading the gospels, acts of the apostles, and letters in the New Testament it is obvious that Yeshua did not intend to start a new religion but to reform the existing Jewish faith. It was not until some time after his death that that there was a complete rupture between the Christians and other Jews. I had never thought about it, but had assumed that Mohammed was some sort of wild eyed charismatic fanatic who attracted a following and started a movement which militarily captured and converted large hordes of people. According to this book, he like Christ tried working within the Jewish faith, and tried to reform it to his standards, and started his own faith when the majority of Jews rejected his proposed reforms. Also, according to this book there have been many proposals to "reform" Judaism, mostly rejected, but resulting a century ago into the current principal divisions of Judaism-Hassidic, orthodox, conservative, reform, and reconstructionist in descending order of funnymentalism.

Speaking of the Christian efforts to reform Judaism, Sandy and I caught a sequence of several one-hour programs on one of the History/Discover/Learning/etc channels. One evening they around Easter they ran three or four programs one after the other ending so late that we could not stay awake for the whole sequence. The theme was, what was it about Yeshua and his teachings which led the Jews to demand his execution, and the answer seemed to be the extremity of his demands for reform within Judaism. His "cleansing of the temple" was an example of this. I would love to see this sequence again but Sandy went to the web site of those stations and could not figure out just what were the titles of the programs. I want to see this again and completely and would like to know the title so I could try to borrow it, or if absolutely necessary, buy it.

I think absolutely everybody is acting stupidly or maliciously in this fuss over the so-called art. "Sensations" is only the most recent example. A five year old will find hilarious a joke whose punchline is a scatology and laugh uproariously at his wit. The artists are of the same mentality. The "artists" who create this stuff are not trying to create something meaningful but merely to gain notoriety by pushing the buttons of patriotism, obscenity, or religion and would be disappointed if they didn't get screaming fits from the masses. In this way they promote their own notoriety and hope to charge large sums from the liberal fools who will flock to buy their "art."The museum and salon managers play into their hands or knowingly go along in order to advance their own agendas. And of course the New York mayor and various commissions just play into the hands of the "artists." Both the screamers and defenders would do best to just ignore such publicity junkies.

This reminds me of an incident at the Lunacon right after Phil Dick died. John Shirley and a few satellites showed up for the memorial discussion, and he started out by insulting fans, saying they are stupid, thoughtless, crass, etc., and was disappointed when he got no reaction. He got madder as he heaped more and more abuse on fans and fandom without reaction, and finally stomped out in high dudgeon. These artists deserve the same response as Shirley got.

|QUANT SUFF (John Malay)
I have not yet read anything by John Blaylock but you make him sound interesting. Would John Crowley be considered magic realism? I am thinking of {Little Big} and the first two volumes of his Aegypt sequence, set today but with just a little bit of strangeness. Three of his early novels ({The Deep}, {Beasts}, and {Injin Summer} have been reissued in the omnibus {Three Novels} by Bantam. The first is a sort-of non-satirical Diskworld story, on a limited world atop an infinite crystal pillar, the second in a future where genetic engineering has vcreated man-animal crosses, and the last in a very far future where mankind has declined greatly and is grubbing around in the ruins of its former greatness. Interesting. I liked the middle one best, but none of these come anywhere near magic realism! [] Very interesting point that almost all of this century's woes can trace their origins to the Balkins, especially Macedonia. [] I enjoyed all your short bits of odd news or facts. Your discussion of a massive book about the Beatles reminds me of my first hearing of them. I was living and working in Livermore, CA, in the early 60s and used to listen to the CBS radio station out of San Francisco in the mornings. Among other delights it had a Feghoot every morning. Anyhow, the Beatles had just started their first world tour and the morning show played 15 second snippets of their performances to mock them and the teen girls who worshipped them. I was struck by the fact that as soon as they started singing the teeners would start screaming so no one could hear a note of their music. I never got into pop music but gather that at the beginning they were nothing but sex objects to adolescent girls, but later developed real musical skill. I would say the same thing was true of Elvis Presley. Towards the end he was singing some moveing songs with social conscience like the one about a kid who gets into gangs and is eventually killed. [] I am startled by all this talk here and in DAGON of minor league baseball's success. John Boardman wrote of the Brooklyn Cyclones' success with sold out games. (Did they take their name from a roller-coaster I remember from my youth at Coney Island?) Perhaps people really ARE getting tired of the megabuck pro ball and turning to the minors for real sportsmanship?

|APA-Q (all).
I did get QUANT SUFF read to me and so was able to comment on the whole disty, but am finishing this Monday morning, Aug 27, two days after the deadline. Sandy still has to poorf and format this, so I will bring it to Worldcon to give to John for the Sept 29 disty. PLEASE send me your zine as a text file or RTF file by email, preferably not as an attachment. I canr ead them for myself and have a fighting chance of reading them in time to comment.

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