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 #31

THE VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL #31, Sept 14, 2002, for APA-Q #475, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected] Back issues at www.angelfire.com/zine2/entropy {Corrections made after APA distribution in braces.} I guess this could also be called NIEKAS #46.3. My thanks to Sandy for cleaning up and formatting the last few ish.

>I'M LATE!
\NFB business kept me away from ENTROPY too long and it is about a year since last issue. Thanks to all who sent their AAPA-Q zines by email or disk so I could read and comment on them. Those who haven't, if you do it now I will be sure to comment in E-32. Also I still want LoCs on NIEKAS 46, which I will put in E-32.

>CHANGE OF EDDRESS
\Sandy and I have changed ISPs, for economic reasons. Worldpath was $20 a month and charged $2 extra for maintaining a second eddress. Localnet is only $10 a month and gives up to five eddresses at no extra charge. The quality of the service is comparable. Thus my new eddress is [email protected] One problem is that sometimes incoming email is rejected for no apparent reason. If a message bounces, please try again a little later.

>STILL MORE NIEKAS LOCS Again the address will be published only with explicit permission of the author.

| JOHN BOARDMAN [taken from a DAGON]
\There are numerous similarities between the Scottish uprisings of 1715 and 1745 and the American Civil War. Both were attempts to preserve a way of life that was passing from the scene and could not sustain itself against the pressures of a commercial and increasingly industrial civilization. Both were violent counter-revolutions against largely peaceful revolutions. Both appealed more to emotion than to reason and were a challenge by the most developed portion of a nation against the section with a larger population and a better industrial base. Both aimed at the preservation of a feudal agrarian social order dominated by a landed aristocracy and opposed to pluralism. Both had some success due to the high spirits of the rebels. Both were crushed by a society that was somewhat more democratic and much better armed and supplied. And after the defeat both failed rebellions were heavily worked for nostalgia by the rebels' descendents. To this day Stuarts and Confederates are the heroes of most historical fictions set in the times of the rebellions.

\Many time travel stories seem to be an author trying to emend something that he or she feels had gone wrong in the past. Many others illustrate the author's conviction that the past is so strongly resistant to change that nothing can divert it from arriving at our present. The best time travel stories, in my opinion, fall between these two extremes. The tree of time branches, as L. Sprague de Camp proposed in {Lest Darkness Fall}. Provided that the extrapolation is plausible it is interesting to speculate on what would have happened had some major historical event gone otherwise. But plausibility seems to be the major problem for writers that try this approach. In Ward Moore's {Bring the Jubilee} and MacKinlay Kantor's {If the South Had Won the Civil War} a total rebel victory comes about which is so far fetched as to be ludicrous. Robert Skimin's {Gray Victory} (1988, reviewed in DAGON #386, 25 February 1989) is somewhat more plausible. In this book the Union offense against Atlanta boggs down and out of war weariness Abraham Lincoln is voted out of office in favor of a successor who signs a peace of exhaustion guaranteeing Confederate independence. But in that review I had a few doubts about this approach as well.

\Your account of this series of novels by Diane Gabaldon makes it appear that she never heard Robert Graves' famous aphorism, "A writer's best friend is his wastebasket."

| Eric Lindsay
Dear Ed, I know I've had NIEKAS for some time. Probably since Corflu in Boston in fact. The only reason I can think for the delay in responding is that I was totally put off by the title "Strange Sports Stories".

Sports are about the last thing I am interested in. I hate professional sports, with their money grubbing attitude, and excuses for every failure to win (none of them apparently lose). I have noticed a few sports based stories in the prozines, but usually skip them. I always found Andy Hooper's interest in sports somewhat weird. Then on our GUFF trip we found Paul and Cas Skelton were fanatical sports followers. It was a strange experience. I do hope you get advice of use in making NIEKAS more of a commercial success. For myself, I think I already own my last printer, and that my future fanzines will be exclusively on the web. Economics will be the driver, rather than readability. I don't think paper will die, any more than radio was killed by TV, but I do think the final economic importance will be small, whatever the audience figures.

When Jean and I moved from two houses to one small apartment, we had to decide what to do with vast quantities of paper. The sad fact is that most of it doesn't seem to matter to anyone. I was able to send my fanzines to the Melbourne SF Club, and someone took away a station wagon full of SF books, but mostly I couldn't move stuff. The opening of Amerika Singing reminds me of America songs:

America!
America!
Man sheds his waste on thee!
And hides the pines
With billboard signs
From sea to oily sea!

I think that was George Carlin somehow.

| Steve Sneyd
In NIEKAS you discussed the problem of finding homes for science fiction fanzines. Both the Science Fiction Foundation Collection here located in the University of Liverpool and the Popular Culture Library of Bowling Green State University welcome donations of relevant SF material including fanzines and letters. Here there is a parallel to the Siclari led fanzine collection you mentioned, i.e., Greg Pickersgill's Memory Hole. You also mentioned fandom histories. Rob Hansen wrote a series of these coming from the 30s to the 70s inclusive which were published some years ago. I doubt any are still in print, sadly.

| Jon D. Swartz
Just received and read Niekas #46, and found it fascinating. Of particular interest to me were the editorial (which told me a lot about you and the history of Niekas) and the section on sports. I'm one reader who likes both sports and SF. I participated in sports in high school and still watch/listen to games on TV/radio. I started reading SF as a teenager, still read it today, and have always enjoyed the occasional SF sports story. I must be in the minority, however, judging from the comments of your other readers. In the 1970s National Periodical Publications (DC Comics) came out with a comic book, Strange Sports Stories, that tried to combines/fantasy and sports. If I remember correctly, it lasted less than a year. A while back I reviewed The Wonder by J. D. Beresford (titled The Hampdenshire Wonder when originally published in England) for the AAAS journal Science Books & Films. The edition I reviewed was from the University of Nebraska Press series, "Bison Frontiers of Imagination," that includes about twenty other titles, many of which should be of interest to older SF readers. The books are published in a uniform paperback format, and are quite affordable. In addition to The Wonder, the series originally included the following: Burroughs' The Land That Time Forgot and At the Earth's Core, Camille Flammarion's Omega: The Last Days of the World (Introduction by Robert Silverberg), Mary E. Bradley Lane's Mizora: A World of Women, Jack London's Fantastic Tales and Before Adam, Verne's The Chase of the Golden Meteor (Introduction by Gregory Benford), and Wylie & Balmer's When Worlds Collide (Introduction by John Varley). I understand that Shiel's The Purple Cloud, Wells' The Sleeper Awakes, and Gernsback's Ralph124C 41+ were added to the series later, and that other titles (including Merritt's The Moon Pool) are in the works. Just thought you and your readers might be interested.

>ENTROPY LOCS
\Note: For non APA-Q readers I reprint relevant mailing comments from the APA.

| RUTH BERMAN \Thanks very much for the e-copy of "Entropy." Much enjoyed! I think I mentioned the last time we were in touch that I was working on an article about the ways that Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books are and are not like fairy tales. Well, I'm a slow worker, and I'm still working on it -- but I've finished the first draft, so I'm reasonably sure of finishing it up in not too much more time. I'll probably send it to one of the Lewis Carroll Societies. \So now I have to start thinking about something else to be working on. I do have another project on hand that's coming along slowly, but it doesn't involve much writing. It's basically an editing project, if it works out.

| JOHN BOARDMAN [taken from his mailing comments in DAGON #556]
\The View from Entropy Hall #29: I'm sorry to hear that the production of NIEKAS has got so difficult. You need reliable help from sighted people, and I fear that you are not getting enough of it.

\Postal rates to foreign addresses have indeed gone way up. Nowadays the only way you can send anything outside the country is by air mail. I'd have to charge a game fee of $100 to any postal Diplomacy player outside North America, compared to $35 to U. S. addresses. \As Ruth Berman pointed out, "ditto juice is a mixture of methanol and water, and ethylene glycol". By now, Edi Birsan's improvisation is famous in postal Diplomacy fandom. About 30 years ago, he was running off a 'zine on a ditto machine when he ran out of fluid, on a Sunday when supply shops were closed. Because of a postal gaming deadline, the print job had to be finished that day. So Edi finished the job with twelve-year-old Scotch, which worked perfectly well.

\The origin of the Chinese dragon is the Yangtze River alligator, the only alligator found outside North America. It is a generally benevolent water spirit, which is important in a country like China, which is subject to droughts and has to watch its water supply carefully. The original of the Greek drakon was the Indian python, which got mixed with the griffin from central Asia, itself a mythical compound of the lion, eagle, and snake. Then refinements like wings, poisonous fangs and breath, collections of fabulous treasures, and an appetite for virgins were added. In the western tradition the dragon is always evil, particularly after Christianity imposed the dragon from the book of Revelation. \Commenting on Joseph T. Major's letter, after reading that VILLAGE VOICE article about "Otherkins", I am not surprised that a lot of people believe that Aliens Are Among Us. (See my comments on this "Otherkin" business in DAGON #554.) After all, with the Great Red Menace no longer marketable, allot of conspiracy geeks are lost and lonesome without some ridiculous conspiracy to warn us all about. I send a copy of #554 to Rick Silva, editor of the "Otherkin" fanzine KINSHIPS, who protested that, while he is not himself an "Otherkin", he is married to one. But of this, more in DAGON #557.

\Romance novels featuring time travel? It's not a new idea. Back in the 1950s, I think, there was a romance film in which a 20th-century man goes back to 18th-century New York, and falls in love with a woman of that time. Eventually they have to part romantically when he returns to his own time. I cannot now locate information about this film. But there was a similar theme in the 1998 film The Love Letter, based on a story by Jack Finney.

\"General Celtic fantasy", which seems to be the basis for much 20th-century fantasy writing, is what led me to describe Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels, and their imitators, as "Keltic twilight plus telepathy." Sometimes I have the impression that wherever my remote ancestors set up their battle standards in Keltic territory, their bards loosened their voices, their women loosened their kirtles, and their warriors loosened their bowels.

\"If Tolkien and Lewis had written only Arthurian novels, would we remember them?" It could have been worse. Major's kinsman James Branch Cabell once mentioned casually, in one of his novels, that the young John Milton had considered writing an Arthurian epic. Then circumstances turned his politics anti-monarchical, and he went on to other themes. Two centuries later, Tennyson wrote THE IDYLLS OF THE KING in an effort to defend the Throne against Chartist and even republican agitation.

\Anent Lisa Major's comments, I read most of John R. Tunis' books as a boy and enjoyed them greatly. I didn't discover HIS ENEMY, HIS FRIEND until some time later, but enjoyed it too.

\It is popularly believed that hockey originated in Canada, but I believe I have traced its origin to Iceland. In a major episode in the Njal Saga, which is set early in the 11th century, Njal's oldest and most interesting son Skarp-Heðin learns that a certain Þrain Sigfusson, who had killed Skarp-Heðin's foster-father, had been seen in the vicinity. Skarp-Heðin collected two brothers, a half-brother, and a brother-in-law, and went hunting for him. Þrain was soon spotted, along with seven friends and relatives, by the bank of a frozen river. At that instant, Skarp-Heðin had lagged behind to tie up a shoe-thong. But when he saw his target, he leaped up and ran towards him, sliding along on the ice "faster than a bird". As he passed Þrain, he hit him with his ax, so hard that his back-teeth fell on the ice, and just kept going. This, I maintain, was the origin of hockey. The puck and the goals came later, but the essential elements of the game were in place.

\Since Ed commented on him, Peter Singer has gone off into weirder and weirder back alleys of thought. He draws his distinction not between fetuses and babies, but between animals who can, and animals who cannot, display intelligence. Newborns are in the latter category for him, which is why he condones infanticide. But some of the more advanced animals are, for him, in the former category, which is why he is willing to condone sexual relations with them. Singer has clearly gone over the edge, and at this point no more belongs in a discussion of ethics than does Ruth Wedgwood, of the National War College, who defended the "compassionate bombing" of Belgrade.

\Any belief that humanity begins at conception rather than birth leads into preposterous situations. Implants of zygotes created by in vitro fertilization are not always successful. This means that couples who create them make more than may be needed. As a result, fertility clinics have a great many frozen zygotes on ice, that will never be needed by their parents. Some of these zygotes have been in storage for many years. If these are human beings, do they have a "right" to be born? If so, from whom? Will convicted female felons be required, as part of their sentences, to be implanted with and to bear these potential human beings? How about cases like that wealthy Australian couple who were killed in a plane crash, leaving no children but several frozen zygotes? Are these zygotes their heirs, or a legacy to collateral relatives? If they are heirs, who will be required to bear them? If they are a legacy, can the collateral heirs have them destroyed? Or used for embryonic stem cell research? Obviously, by deciding that life begins at birth rather than at conception, the U.S. Supreme Court has swept all these questions out of the dialogue. Politicians and clerics who want to change the laws ought to have answers to these questions, but you can be sure that they do not. [These unanswerable conundrums have caused some to argue against the practice of in-vitro fertilization. I expect Lesbians and women with defects in their ovary systems who want to bear children are seeking these zygotes in order to bring them to term. ERM]

NED BROOKS
\Hi Ed - Thanks for the cyber-apazine. Since I wrote the letter you published, I have gotten some ditto juice from the ABDick website - haven't used any yet.
\Best, Ned

| Jim Caughran
\Notes on Entropy 29
\Ruth Berman on ditto: "One of the odder uses of Hecto (or possibly Ditto) . . . The process is now so unknown, however, that the Kerlan's listing described the item as 'mimeographed.'" For a long time, people referred to ditto inaccurately as "mimeographed". Basically, anything short of printed was mimeographed, to the uncaring mind. Did you know that *Mimeograph* was once a trademark of A. B. Dick? Ditto was its own trademark, I think, but was also used for any spirit duplication process. [Yes, Ditto was the trademark of one particular brand of spirit duplicating equipment and supplies. Like Scotch Tape and Xerox Ditto is a trademark but the general public tends to use it generically. Dick Eney made that error in FANCYCLOPEDIA II and put a correction into the supplement. I used to buy supplies at a Ditto emporium on an upper floor on 14th Street, Manhattan, near 5 or 6 Ave. Their emblem was ''. ERM]

\Dragons: I suspect people tried to explain the dinosaur fossils they found; something like an allosaurus head looks like a dragon to me.

\Vasiliauskas quotes you: "You wrote as long as there are aggressors, no pacifist society can exist, then invited someone to prove you wrong." Look at the results, in the 20th century. Tell Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Solidarity (and a dozen other successful, non-violent, anti-Communist revolutions) that pacifism doesn't work. Then consider the non-pacifists. If Israel's policy of aggressive retaliation worked, they [should be] the safest country in the world. Jesus preached subversive non-violence. Interpreted correctly, the Sermon on the Mount counsels defiance-but not violent defiance, which would have been (and later was) disastrous. Now I'm preaching.

\Jim Caughran [and later....]

\Nano-machines lead to the thought that if someone wanted to create a computer virus, they could, with nano-technology, do it literally.

\I think I commented that dragons were probably a reaction to fossils in my loc on Entropy 29. Wish I'd read the articles; I'm sending you second-hand comments referring to things I haven't read.

\There are advantages to using Earth mass as a unit. The gravitational constant is eminently forgettable in the m-k-s system, but in the system of Astronomical Units, Earth masses and years, its value is 39.

\You say, "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." They forgot more than that. Michelangelo's sculpture of David isn't circumcised!
Jim Caughran

| DAVID PALTER
\Dear Ed, It was quite interesting to receive your e-mail with the various letters of comment. I noticed that my own contribution was quite long. This letter will be shorter.

\Although I may be accused of being obsessive on this topic, I am going to make one more comment about my utopian scheme for peace in the middle east, first published in NIEKAS some fifteen years ago. While nearly everyone told me that my scheme was impractical, I think we have now seen that it also was hardly practical to leave that particular problem unsolved for half a century. Now we have a global war on terrorism, which is likely to continue for the indefinite future, and there is no telling what additional calamities may result as this conflict goes on. Consider how many lives might have been saved if a peaceful solution was implemented, when it was still possible to do so

\

| LLOYD PENNEY
1706-24 Eva Rd. Etobicoke, ON CANADA M9C 2B2
\I was shopping around the eFanzines web site a few days ago, and I found The View From Entropy Hall. I checked it out, and found within it the letter of comment I sent to you on Niekas 46. So, I've printed out View 30, and will attempt a letter of comment.

\I hope Harry Andruschak is getting the support he needs from friends now that he's had to undergo such a drastic operation. It's a good trade for an extended life. It's a new life, too, so no more Andy. (And as soon as I wrote that, I thought Andy= andro...my mind delves to the scariest depths sometimes.)

\It's a shame Piers Anthony is as cynical as he is, but he does have good reason. People will take advantage of past generosities, without thought for those who offer them. And, he's right about the Golden Age...12. Now that I am more than three times that age, I take what goshwow I can get, and actively look for it.

\I have wondered what to do with our collection of SF books and other media formats. I'm under no illusions about its scale or grandeur or value, but still, I have a few diamonds amongst the gravel, and I'd like to see these treasures be preserved should they survive me. I believe the Merril Collection, resident in Toronto, has absorbed a few small collections in the past few years, and they could easily absorb mine. My only caveat would be to preserve my fanzines as well. Some years ago, I found a filing cabinet at the Merrill, with a few dozen fanzines strewn about a drawer. I'd heard they'd since trashed them, but cannot confirm this.

\My own letter...I see some of what I said about Canadian pro sports teams migrating south is about to happen again. The Montreal Expos are playing what looks to be their final year in Quebec, and will move south to become the home team in Washington, DC. I also said something about preservation on listservs...there are some articles and photo areas on the home website for these listservs, and they are definitely worth saving. For the possibility of greater numbers of people being able to see them, a website is probably the best place for them to be reproduced. As for flames...they're best in a fireplace. Wish we'd been able to get together in Philadelphia...sometimes, a Worldcon is too long. To meet everyone you'd like to meet, they're not long enough. We could only afford to stay three days.

\Our plans are to go to Torcon 3 in 2003 and Noreascon 4 in 2004. As for the rest of the decade (Britain in 2005, LA in 2006, Japan in 2007, who knows for 2008, and Australia in 2009), the probable choices will mean that Worldcons will be permanently out of our financial reach.

>CUSP POINTS FOR ALTERNATE HISTORIES
The book {WHAT IF}, edited by Robert Cowley, (Putnam-American Historical Publications, 1999, 395pp) has 20 historians discuss points where a military outcome had hung by a thread and a very small change could have greatly affected future events. The book was based on a symposium published in a special issue of MHQ (Military History Quarterly) so they stuck to military situations. The editor also pointed out that military cusp points were easiest to find. I have enjoyed this book very much and do recommend it.

\The first point covered was the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701 BCE. They had wiped out Israel earlier and deported its population, which had amalgamated with the captors and lost their distinct religion and culture. ("The Ten Lost Tribes") The Assyrians were now destroying Judea and its king retreated to his last city, Jerusalem. A plague decimated the encircling army and they retreated. The Judeans took this as divine intervention and it strengthened their faith, so that when they WERE conquered and deported later they were able to retain their identity until they could return. Very few details remain of the exact happenings but the author speculates that the Jews had control of the limited supply of water, so that the Assyrians had to drink foul water and became ill. Had the Judeans been dispersed there would be no Jews today and neither daughter faith, Christianity or Islam, would ever have arisen. It is hard to imagine how different the world would be today.

\The second crux point was the battle of Saladon in 480 BCE when Greeks, under the leadership of Thomasticles, defeated the invading Persians in a great sea battle. It was only because of thomasticles nagging insistence that the Greeks were equipped for the battle, and fought it in a favorable location. With the help of geography and trickery they defeated the much greater Persian force. The Greeks were just beginning to develop their proto-democracy, unique in the world, and their concepts of literature and culture. How would society have evolved without them?

\The third cusp discussed in this book was the brush with death by Alexander just as he was starting to conquer the "known world" in 334 BCE. He was saved from a fatal axe blow by an aide. Without his leadership the Macedonians/Greeks would never have conquered from Egypt to Pakistan and made Greek a world language spoken everywhere. Also the Jewish bible would not have been translated into Greek (The Septuagint) and thus spread around the known world, which would then never have been ready for Christianity.

\The author speculated that the Persians would have controlled the eastern Mediterranean, making Aramaic the language there, while the Romans would have developed and controlled the western Mediterranean. I am puzzled...I thought Parsi was the language of Persia. Was it Aramaic? Also, Fred Lerner once told me that Aramaic is closely related to Hebrew and some historical Jewish materials were written in that language, and printed in the Hebrew script. Fred had said that a person who knew Hebrew could read Aramaic. I know Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Hebrew or Greek. This means Aramaic must be a Semitic language, while I know Parsi is Indo-European.

\In 13 BCE the Romans crossed the Rhine and started to pacify the Germans. As usual they took in and made part of their army natives whom they felt they had civilized, and even made them high officers. An incompetent in-law of the emperor, Varis, was in charge of the area and he had the German Arminias (later known as Herman) as his chief officer. Arminias secretly hated the Roman conquerors of his land and in 9 CE arranged for German tribes to ambush and totally destroy the three Roman legions, 15,000 soldiers plus camp followers, etc., in Tudorborg. This broke the spirit of Rome and it made no further effort to civilize Germany. Would Rome have stayed strong had a better administrator acted more wisely? Germans co-opted as Romans would probably never have invaded England, which would have remained Roman.

\The next chapter deals with a battle lost and a battle won which resulted in a fragmented Europe without an organizing empire. In 378 invading barbarians destroyed an even larger Eastern Roman Empire army at Adrianopl because the general wanted the glory of the victory alone and did not wait for the help of an approaching western Roman army. This allowed the barbarians to finish destroying the western empire.

\Muslim hordes conquered the Iberian peninsula in 20 years and had taken the Mediterranean coast of France. A raiding party was rapidly moving north in France conquering and despoiling towns and were only 200 miles from Paris when Charles Martel stopped them and killed their leader in Potier in 732 or 733. The Muslims made no further efforts to move into the rest of France and on to Germany. Had the Roman empire survived, or had the Muslims conquered the rest of Europe, finally taking the Balkans by also attacking from the rear, a unified empire would have ruled Europe and kept it peaceful and civilized. While he says that there never were any real Dark Ages from 500 to 1300, still civilization would have remained at a higher level and the Roman and Greek knowledge would not have been lost. The author claims that the Arab rule of Spain was extremely civilized with great intellectual ferment.

\I have doubts of the rosie alternate histories he portrays. All assume that after the crux point everything had gone just right to lead to a wonderful, or disastrous, future. Also he admits that the divisions and ferment in northern Europe were beneficial in the long run. This reminds me of Diamond's book {Guns Germs and Steel} which pointed out that when one power dominated a land, the whim of one ruler could do irreparable harm to a whole civilization. Diamond cited the Chinese emperor who stopped international contact and prevented China from becoming a world power. There is even evidence that Chinese explorers had reached the American coast before he put a lid on travel. Then there is the Muslim who stopped the intellectual development of the Arab culture dead in its tracks, after it had preserved, studied, and passed on to Europe the fruits of Greek civilization. The Muslim world went intellectually dead as the result of one man. The next chapter is by historical novelist Cecilia Holland, and deals with the almost destruction of Europe by the Mongol Horde. They swept thru Asia, the middle-east, and eastern Europe, destroying every city and murdering its inhabitants. They totally flattened every city they encountered for they hated the very existence of cities. They were at the gates of Vienna when their leader back in Mongolia died. Their rule was that when the chief dies all must return to the capital to choose a new one, so Vienna was saved by this timely death in 1242. Had he not died the Mongols would have swept thru the rest of Europe and totally destroyed all civilization. They did go down into the Muslim controlled middle-east and destroy the heart of that civilization and kill the head of the "caliphate." After that the Arabs no longer had a single ruler. The Mongols destroyed the great artistic and scientific culture. Also, some believe that the current Russian paranoia dates from the Mongol invasion. The Mongols had killed millions and the author compared them to the Camaire Rouge and the Cambodian killing fields. The Mongols had killed many millions of people in their sweep of Asia, Europe, and the middle east. They were as intrinsically evil as the Vikings had been at the other end of Europe.

\The 1520s were a time of great turmoil. Lutheranism was taking hold, the German peasants' revolt, the hatred between the Hapsburgs and non-Hapsburg lands, etc. Many events could have gone in a different direction and changed the history of Europe.

\In 1526 the Turks totally conquered Hungary and returned home to rebuild, as they had after conquering Bulgaria. Their next target was Vienna. Had they returned the next year Vienna would have been unprepared and would have been taken. This would have put pressure on Charles V and he might not have attacked and sacked Rome later that year. This attack had brought an end to the Italian renaissance, killing, disheartening, or scattering countless scholars and artists. The Turks did attack in 1529 and weather and Viennese preparedness turned them back. The weather bogged down and stopped the Turkish heavy artillery in mud, and caused the army to take five months to make the march, giving Vienna plenty of time to prepare.

\The loss of Vienna could also have turned the Hapsburg attention elsewhere and they might not have gained control over the papacy. Then Henry VIII would not have been rebuffed by the church when he wanted to divorce Catherine. Also Luther would have gotten less support. Thus the two main thrusts of the Reformation would have been delayed, but not stopped. A century earlier Jan Huss had almost started a Reformation but had been defeated, to be followed by the successful Lutheran and Anglican movements in our time line.

\Also in 1521 Cortez's conquest of Mexico had been iffy. He left for Mexico just before the orders from the governor in Cuba forbidding his move reached him. Despite help from tribes chafing under Aztec tyranny he came close to losing the fight several times. Once he was rescued from capture and sacrifice by a lieutenant who died in the effort. He was the only real leader in the party and without him the effort would have disintegrated. Since the governor had opposed this venture, wanting to have a trading mission with the Aztecs, nobody would have made an immediate effort to conquer them. Perhaps another effort would have been made after the Incas in Peru had been conquered since the riches were a temptation. However by then the Aztecs would have regained control over their client kingdoms and learned tactics and technology from their near defeat. A native empire could well have endured and prospered, which would have stopped the westward expansion of the US.

\An ill wind and missed connections kept the Spanish armada from conquering England in 1588. Philip II's ego and demand for total control did harm his cause, and would not have allowed any victory to be long lasting, but it was mainly bad luck which kept the initial invasion from succeeding.

\The next chapter tells 13 ways the American Revolution could have lost. It is freakish weather conditions, for instance, which saved Washington and his army in the Battle of Brooklyn(aka Long Island). Winds in the wrong direction kept the British gunships out of the East River from which they could have pounded his army. Then next a pea soup fog allowed Washington to complete his Dunkirk-like evacuation undetected. There were countless other narrow escapes, such as a British soldier deciding not to shoot Washington (not knowing who is) in the back as he left a personal confrontation. And even after the war was won Washington's marvelous personal intervention prevented a military rebellion which would have destroyed or greatly changed the new nation.

\I had not thought of it before reading this book, but the English had recently put down with great violence rebellions in Scotland and Ireland and made the lives of the surviving natives very harsh. According to this book, for the first year into the American rebellion the British were fairly tolerant and offered mild conditions if the rebels returned, but after that their repression and vengeance would have been very hard.

\Napoleon also has many crux pints around his career. Had he lost to the Austrians and Russians early in his career in what is now the Check Republic Prussia would never have dominated and unified the German states totally changing European history.

\Napoleon was incapable of stopping when he had achieved enough or stopping on one front in order to concentrate on another. He should have left the Iberian peninsula to the British. He should not have invaded Russia without consolidating elsewhere. He would have done better to go south into the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, etc) than into Russia and perhaps challenge England in India. His brilliance was flawed and he would have lost in the long run, but the circumstances of his loss would have left vastly different Europes.

\If he played things better he could have won at Waterloo, but would have lost later to the Russians, Austrians, and Prussians, who would have dictated the peace instead of England. His flaws were like those which eventually defeated Hitler a century later. The book presents a number of scenarios by which the Confederacy could have won the Slaveholders' Rebellion. Because a northern soldier had found lost orders from Robert Lee the north was able to counter an early offensive. Had these orders not been lost the south would have had a major victory which might have inspired recognition by European powers including England and a fast victory. A number of scenarios were presented for various outcomes ranging from a fast victory for the south or north to a much longer protracted war. In one scenario McClellan defeats Lincoln in the '64 election.

\A number of variants were presented for WWI and WWII. As the time gets closer and our knowledge gets better more and more alternate scenarios can be presented. From the American Rebellion thru WWII many such possibilities are suggested.

\The book concludes with a few quick chapters on post WWII scenarios. What if the US had not constrained Chang in China right after WWII? He would have retained control of a large part of the country, leaving two Chinas on the mainland, the communist one much smaller (like the split of Germany or Korea). This would have resulted in great changes on the American psychology. McCarthy might never have gained his influence on the '50s.

\France could have won in Vietnam and the US never became involved. The authors presented variant possibilities on the cold war conflict over Berlin. The final chapter was about a conflict I never realized had occurred. In 1983, under Reagan, the west was preparing for war games. The Soviet Empire became convinced this was a mask for a pre-emptive strike on the part of the US and it and its satellites went into emergency readiness stand to fight off this attack. The US noted this mobilization and did not understand its cause, assuming that Russia itself was preparing for such a pre-emptive strike.

\This book should be a goldmine for alternate history writers like Harry Turtledove. Some of the "what ifs" are very plausible, others strike me as far fetched, but nowhere near as far fetched as Turtledove's {The Two Georges}. (I found the characters and plot of the story interesting and enjoyable, but could not accept the initial premise.) However Robert Cowley's {What If} is well worth the reading, both for its ideas and its sense of wonder.

>MEDIA VS PRINT SF In early May, Garth Spencer had a wonderful posting on the Timebinders listserv about the difference between media and print SF, an on-going discussion on that listserv. I quote it here: It finally occurred to me what real science fiction has, and media sci-fi lacks. Film and television series tend to revolve around special effects, gadgets, silly alien costumes, and trappings like spaceships or time travel. Real science fiction revolves, not around action-adventure stories, or the future, or space exploration, but about reasoned speculation; about playing with ideas. Defined that way, apparently impossible things like teleportation or slow glass or FTL travel have their place - they exercise imagination and reason at once. How many times have people raised the notion that all the really original SF ideas have been used up? How often has it been beaten to death on convention panels, do you think? Garth Spencer

>BEARS
\Since my family name derives from the Lithuanian slang word for "bear" I accumulate items with bear references or images, but not fanatically. I just got a review copy of a book for very young readers from Harcourt, and even though it is not in our genre I will discuss it here.

\The book is {A Story for Bear} by Dennis Haseley and illustrated by Jim LaMarche. (2002, $16) It is a large format (quarto) book with only a few words per un-numbered page. It took Sandy only about ten minutes to read the whole book to me.

\It is told from the viewpoint of a young, curious bear. It is totally realistic in terms of the bear's abilities. The bear finds a letter to "Eliza." He does not know what it is but somehow the small black marks on the paper fascinate him. He carefully picks it up with his teeth and takes it back to his cave.

\Several years later while exploring a new section of his woods he comes across a cabin in a clearing. The smells of food and household items intrigue him and he watches from the woods. On one occasion a woman comes out of the cabin, sits in a chair, and starts to read a book. Of course he does not know what a book is or what she is doing. When she goes inside he comes near and sniffs and turns over the book, and he sees lines of funny marks like in the paper he saved in his cave. He retreats when she comes out, but continues to watch from the woods. She encourages him to come closer and eventually he lies down nearby and she starts to read to him. He returns every day and she reads to him. Of course he does not understand her but picks up on the emotions of what she is reading...excitement, fear, sadness, etc. He is happy in her presence, and towards the end of the summer he brings her the letter that he had found, one sent her by her parents long ago. She reads it too.

\Then summer is over and she is gone, but she left a stack of books for him, with a note wishing he could understand them. He carefully takes them back to his cave and gets comforting feelings from them during the winter until she returns the next summer.

\I really did not understand the point of the book. Perhaps it was supposed to convey to the child listener the feeling that books are a comfort, especially when a parent reads them to him/her. Sandy says that the major characters in the illustrations are clearly portrayed. Then as you look further into the background, it is as if there is a fog and things become gradually less distinct. It is sort of like the story could only happen in isolation from the real world and so only the bear and the girl and their immediate surroundings are definitely defined.

>JEANNE CAVELOS I just heard on NH public radio an interesting interview of Cavelos, author, editor, and writing teacher. She started out as an astrophysicist but is now a full time author and editor. She had written the book {SCIENCE OF STAR WARS} so they sought her out the night before WAR OF THE CLONES opened. She spoke knowledgeably of the differences between media and print SF. Her take was that good print SF dealt with the behavior of mankind under unusual conditions. She spoke of the difference between SF and fantasy, and regarded the original STAR WARS movie as fantasy, focusing on the mystical force, which had no rational justification. In her own mind, as new movies come out, she keeps dithering as to whether the STAR WARS movies are SF or fantasy. Fantasy focuses on the struggle between good and evil, and as Luke learns of the evil of his own father he has to struggle with his own anger and temptations to go to the dark side. She said many did not like PHANTOM MENACE because there was no strong sympathetic character. When asked whether there were any good movies with real SF themes she pointed to GADICA. I had not heard of this title and Barbara Deneise, on the N3FNAPA listserv, sent me the following information:

From Internet Movie Database site:Plot Summary for Gattaca (1997) Gattaca Corp. is an aerospace firm in the future. During this time society analyzes your DNA and determines where you belong in life. Ethan Hawke's character was born with a congenital heart condition which would cast him out of getting a chance to travel in space. So in turn he assumes the identity of an athlete who has genes that would allow him to achieve his dream of space travel.

\Summary written by {[email protected]}
Vincent is one of the last "natural" babies born into a sterile, genetically-enhanced world, where life expectancy and disease likelihood are ascertained at birth. Myopic and due to die at 30, he has no chance of a career in a society that now discriminates against your genes, instead of your gender, race or religion. Going underground, he assumes the identity of Jerome, crippled in an accident, and achieves prominence in the Gattaca Corporation, where he is selected for his lifelong desire: a manned mission to Titan. Constantly passing gene tests by diligently using samples of Jerome's hair, skin, blood and urine, his now-perfect world is thrown into increasing desperation, his dream within reach, when the mission director is killed - and he carelessly loses an eyelash at the scene! Certain that they know the murderer's ID, but unable to track down the former Vincent, the police start to close in, with extra searches, and new gene tests. With the once-in-a-lifetime launch only days away, Vincent must avoid arousing suspicion, while passing the tests, evading the police, and not knowing whom he can trust.

On the Trufen listserv D. Gary Grady added:
\It reminds me of a fair number of decent, journeyman sf novels I read as a kid. It's not a perfect film and not as emotionally involving as it might be, but it definitely deserves to be seen. It's short of special effects and long on actual science fiction.

\When asked what book she thought would make a good movie she opted for Lovecraft's {At the Mountains of Madness} and explained why.

\She said that the book she is working on deals with ethical considerations of genetic manipulation about twenty years in the future. This seems a radical departure from her previously published works, {Science of Star Wars}, {Science of X-Files} (an oxymoron?), and four BABYLON FIVE novelizations.

\She is involved with "Odyssey," an academic summer workshop on writing SF, which has been publicized at the last few Boskones. The program mentioned several times that she is an editor but did not explain what she edits.

\On the Trufen listserv Michael J. Lowrey WROTE
She was a book editor at Dell, and was responsible for their Abyss horror line. Here are the URLs for an SF-oriented interview with her:
http://www.strangehorizons.com/2001/20010611/cavelos.shtml and her home page: http://www.sff.net/people/jcavelos/index.htp

\Finally, sherry Treehouse wrote
Friends have recommended her Babylon 5 novelizations, especially {The Passing of the Techno-Mages} set. I bought them but haven't read them, so I have no opinion. The movie about which you wanted to know more is Gattaca (1997) There is a review on the Amazon site. For what it is worth, I loved the movie and consider it one of the films closest to written SF.

\Anyhow, when her non-media novel comes out I think I will try to read it.

>BLIND PEOPLE WITH VISION
\The June, 2002, issue of DISCOVER magazine had a very interesting article, "Sight Unseen" by Michael Abrams, page 54.

This article is about people who have been blind since infancy having surgery to give them sight as an adult. This was the theme of a 1999 movie from MGM, AT FIRST SIGHT with Val Kilmer & Mira Sorvino. The movie was loosely based on one chapter of Oliver Sachs' book {An Anthropologist on Mars} about the real person Virgil Adams who had the experience of gaining his sight in adulthood.

\Also there was Daniel F. Galouye's novel, {Dark Universe}, published around 1963. It was about people living for many generations in a large underground fallout shelter after a disaster had cut off their electricity. They have lived in total darkness and have forgotten about vision. The people have learned to get around and function by using sound echoes, which they call "ziv." (how cute, reversing the first syllable of "vision!") Tony Boucher gave the book a rave review, largely because the author went thru and in all conversations replaced "see," "look," etc., by "ziv." That is not likely to happen because today blind people still use "see" etc. to mean perceive, as in "See you tomorrow," "Let me see that" (meaning "let me handle it to get an idea of its nature"), etc. But the worst flaw in the book is when the hero finally makes his way into the outside world. He immediately understands what he is seeing. Some critics even then knew that you have to learn how to interpret the nerve signals from your eyes, usually done in infancy. (I never learned to identify people by sight even before I lost my sight in 1971, because I was born so nearsighted that the world was a blur until I was properly diagnosed around the age of 5 and given correct glasses.) One reviewer pointed out that monkeys raised in the dark would play touch their eyes and damage the corneas, so they cannot see at all when finally brought out into the light.

\Anyhow, the article in DISCOVER is very interesting and goes into detail about a scientist who became blind as an infant and had his sight restored in one eye by a new procedure. This happened two years ago, when he was 48 years old, and he has never learned how to interpret what he sees. It took a long time to recognize the roundness of a ball, etc. His vision is more distracting than useful, and he still uses his guide dog or a cane while walking. He cannot recognize the face of his wife, but can pick her out from a small group by the color and length of her hair and other broad features...but not the face itself. When really blind he was a champion down-hill skier and only with great difficulty he has learned how to get a little useful information with his eye. The article goes into great length about how the brain learns to interpret vision during infancy, and that the quick-learn feature is turned off by adulthood. Thus he can never learn how to interpret what his eyes present to his brain, no matter how long he works at it. He can only get the smallest bit of information from his eyes, and has to remain using the alternative techniques of blindness. Mr. May is one of only about 20 people who have been blind since infancy who have had their sight restored. Mr. May refers to himself as "A blind man with vision."

\I ran an early draft of the above thru three listservs and the following helped me fill in some missing details: from nhblind-talk, Donna V. Gilbreth, Tom Mattock, Denise M. McFarland, Carol Nedeau. From nfb-talk, Dave Hyde, Wayne Merritt. From trufen, Ned Brooks, Bill Burns, Ted White, Sherry Treehouse. My thanks to one and all.

\Dave Hyde added, "As far as adjusting to vision, psychologist call this problem of resolution a figure ground problem, e.g. the inability to distinguish an object from its surrounding. It will be interesting to follow this fellow over a series of years to see whether vision is a learned activity.

>COMMENTS
\My thanks to those who have provided me with e-text copies of their zines so I could read them on my talking computer and comment on them. If others are sent to me I promise to comment next time.

| BLANCMANGE (Mark Blackman)
\BLANCMANGE #382 (APA-Q #462)
\You mentioned reading some Nero Wolf novels by Rex Stout. Crime fiction is only a minor interest of mine and I have never read any Wolf. I have read books recommended by friends which I come across soon after the recommendation and so have read crime fiction by Ngao Marsh, Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman, Tony Boucher (his Rocket to the Morgue was instrumental in getting me into fandom), Georgette Heyer, and an occasional other. My mother had been a real enthusiast of non-violent crime fiction and Wolf had been a favorite of hers. I used to listen to a lot of crime fiction on the radio in the 40s, like The Fat Man, The Thin Man, Mr. Keene: Tracer of Lost Persons, The Shadow, Nick Carter, Sam Spade, and probably others I have forgotten. In the declining days of radio (1953 or 1954) I came across That Hammer Guy based on Mickey Spilane. Of course today I listen to Guy Noir, Private Eye. Anyhow, I have only the vaguest memories of the shows from the 40s. Was "The Fat Man" Nero Wolf? [] You mention the perpetual conflict over capital punishment. I am re-reading LotR and Gandalf made a relevant comment near the beginning to Frodo in re Bilbo not killing Gollum ~"You say he deserved death and Bilbo should have given it. How many deserve life and die. Can you give them that?"~ (I am using the tilde to designate quasi-quote.

\BLANCMANGE #383 (APA-Q #463) Enjoyed your Milphil experiences. I am glad to see Charlotte bouncing back from the defeat to run for the 05 NASFIC. I am sorry to see Seattle run against them. Both cities deserve a major con, though I am opposed to the whole concept of NASFICs. I have never gone to one and am not that likely to do so. For the sake of both bids I wish Seattle had selected to run for the 07 NASFIC when the Worldcon will probably go to Tokyo. I definitely will not go to 05, wherever it is, because I am planning to go to Glasgow. Sandy and I are already making preliminary plans for where else we will visit while there. We do not plan to cross the Pacific as Sandy is not interested in seeing anything there. (That is why, plus the cost, why we have not gone to Aussiecon.) Son Stanley, a Japanimation and oriental culture enthusiast, is planning for Tokyo. I see Columbus OH is running against Tokyo. I have no idea of how strong their bid is. The only times overseas bids have lost the election were when the overseas bids themselves fell apart. This includes Sidney in 83 and a Scandinavian bid in I forget which year.

\BLANCMANGE #384 (APA-Q #464) I greatly enjoyed Holt's {EXPECTING SOMEONE TALLER} and have been intending to read more by him. I now have a copy of his Beowulf book, reissued with TALLER in a single volume by NESFA Press. I hope to have it recorded or try scanning it in the near future. [] In the fifth century Christianity rejected the then millennium old Greek proofs that the Earth is a sphere because it contradicted the bible. (Genesis and at least one Psalm present the earth as flat with a dome, The Firmament, over it, and doors in this dome which God opens when he wants it to rain.) In the fifteenth century Christianity rejected the Earth moving around the sun because it contradicted the bible (Joshua made the sun stand still so Jericho could be destroyed.) Now the funnymentalist branches reject evolution and an ancient universe. (Bible studies indicate creation was only 6000 years ago.) I wonder how long it will take for this controversy to be as forgotten as that over the flat earth. [] In re your comments about President Wilson having been progressive but not progressive enough, I was surprised to read in {LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME} that it was Wilson, under the influence of his extremely racist wife, who introduced Jim Crow into Washington DC. Also he jailed a film maker for a movie about the American Revolution for portraying the British as bad guys when he was trying to drum up support for WWI.

\BLANCMANGE #385 (APA-Q #465) In this issue and several before there was brief mention of the Dutch briefly regaining control of NY City and renaming it New Orange. I did not see the zine where this first came up. When did this happen, and how did it come about?

\BLANCMANGE #386 (APA-Q #466) You mentioned seeing a couple dozen movies, mostly from the '20s but a few into the '30s, and then some contemporary ones. The only one of these I had seen, while still sighted and living in Brooklyn, was "M". What was the occasion of your seeing them? A film festival? A series at a museum? You mentioned a BARON MUNCHOUSEN film with Robin Williams, so that must be contemporary, or almost so. I had not heard of it. When did it come out? How good was it? At either the 64 or 68 Barea Worldcon they showed an East European (Check?) film of Munchausen which I had missed seeing because I had fallen asleep. It was supposed to be quite original in its technique and I always regretted in missing it. Both the story and the visuals were supposed to e great, but since I could understand neither the dialogue nor the visuals it would do little good to look for a video. [] You mentioned that Bouchercon did not look like an SF con despite having been started by an SF writer. I had gotten a flyer for the first one, soon after Tony Boucher's death, held in LA. The program looked like that of a one-track Worldcon of the time, including an awards banquet, a masquerade, panels, etc. The concom was made up of LA area fen and pros. I gather it has evolved since. A few years ago, when it went to England, Ethel Lindsay had commented ~"Thank heavens it does not have a masquerade!"~

\Blancmange #387-393 (APA-Q #467-473) Thank you for emailing all of these, but they arrived just as I was putting thish to bed, and if I were to read and comment on these I would not finish ENTROPY before leaving for Worldcon on the 28th. Comments will follow in ENTROPY #32.

| DAGON (John Boardman) My thanks to John Boardman for saving a simplified text file of several issues of DAGON and to Mark Blackman for emailing them to me.

\ In DAGON for APA-Q #461 you wrote of the renewed interest in LotR with the upcoming release of the new film, and wrote about the previous filmings of Tolkien. You mentioned that one major criticism of Ralph Bakshi's version of LotR was that it had omitted the Tom Bombadil sequence. You wondered why Tolkien had included it in the story at all. Bombadil just didn't seem to fit. I have heard that Tolkien had had a Tom Bombadil doll on his mantelpiece and loved to tell stories of him to his kids, but the kids hated the character and had tried to stuff the doll down the toilet on one occasion. I have not yet read the official Carpenter bio of Tolkien but believe the story comes from there. Anyhow, in the beginning Tolkien did not know where the story was going, and when the characters got to Bree he still did not know who Strider (originally called Trotter) really was. Since Bombadil was a favorite of his, I assume he simply worked him into the story as the hobbits were wandering thru the woods. And note that the new film also omitted Bombadil. I had forgotten that the orks were supposed to be small in stature, rarely as tall as a man. I had mentally pictured them as hulking guerilla-like creatures. They were supposed to be bred from elves by Morgoth, and I pictured elves as tall and slender. I was very interested in your speculation that Tolkien may have created "Balrog" from the Hebrew ba'al ragzah, "Master of Wrath". You point out that Tolkien knew Hebrew as he translated the Book of Job in the Jerusalem Bible. I have heard that it was "Noah", not Job, which Tolkien had translated. Also, the Jerusalem Bible was actually translated from French with references back to earliest known texts of the Bible, so he did not have to know Hebrew to do it. However I suspect he did. The reason the Jerusalem Bible was translated from French was that American scholars wanted a new translation from the originals without the obligation to defer to the Vulgate, once regarded by the church as definitive. Thus they could also bypass errors in the Greek Septuagint in use in Christ's time. The French Jerusalem Bible had all the accuracy they had wanted and had squeaked past the Vatican censers, so they made the claim they were translating theirs from the French. Of course they went back and checked the originals (oldest surviving versions). [] I was interested to read your description of Wells' "atomic bomb" in his WWI novel THE WORLD SET FREE. I have to try to get and read the U of Nebraska Bison Press reissue under title THE LAST WAR with the intro and analysis by Greg Bear. Sounds very interesting. I have seen Bison Books mentioned several times, (see Swartz's letter above) most recently by Silverberg in his ASIMOV mag column, on the occasion of his doing an intro to a Merritt reissue.

\In the Sept 2001 (Q463) Dagon, you wrote of problems at Milphil. Main problem I had with Milphil was the fault of whoever produced the recorded pocket program. Because of time constraints they had recorded an early draft of the program and thus did not show the changes when the concom gave up a whole block of meeting rooms and moved the panels elsewhere. The print pocket programs had a later closing date and did show these changes. The agency which had recorded the program made a mistake which was not the concom's fault, and which did not bother me. Talking book cassettes are recorded on 4 tracks at half speed. The recorder will record at either standard or TB speed, and was set at standard so those who did not bring TB capable machines could understand the tapes. Unfortunately they set the recorder on "sides 3 & 4" rather than "1 & 2." The result was that the sound came out of the right channel and backwards. You could hear the tapes properly ONLY if you had a talking book machine and could set it on "sides 3-4." This was an error made by the recording studio and was not the concom's fault. [] Yes, Poul Anderson had been a very good filker too. I had only heard about half of the songs you cited. [] I had not remembered that Irving Berlin had written "God Bless America." I had had the vague memory that it had been written by a woman. I read an article about it in some magazine five or so years ago and the author of the article mentioned that the 4th (of 5) stanza pointed out some of America's flaws. I rarely hear more than one stanza sung, and the only time I heard more only one additional verse was done. At Lions Clubs dinner meetings it is this, rather than the Anachrion filk, which is sung. [] In discussing the Beaker People Libation Front you gave two phone numbers for yourself, both with Brooklyn area codes. The second number, 718-951-5808, is unfamiliar. Do you and Perdita have separate phones? Or is one number a spare so a phone would be available when Perdita is on-line? [] In your discussion of the "Otherkin" movement you mentioned someone who believed he was a werewolf and got fired from his job when his boss found out he ate dog biscuits. Nothing wrong with that. When Carl Frederick worked at NASA in New York he kept a box of "Milk bone" in his desk and would occasionally munch one. Speaking of Carl, he is trying to break into writing SF and has been attending Boskone and Readercon and doing writers' workshops. He gave me several stories on computer disk, including a novel set in the Bronx Zoo. This tells the same story from seven viewpoints, and one of these is a fantasy. All take place at the same time, but involve different people, some of whom do not interact with characters in other story lines. They simply take place at the same time and have some events in common. He had posted it on the Web and got recognition for a superior story.

\At the 2002 Readercon he was very happy at having sold four stories, including an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest.

\Sandy and I visited him about two years ago when it was a small side trip from going to Rochester NY to visit son Stanley. It croggled Anne Braude when I mentioned that his house was full of wolf ikons, but that Carl is a vegetarian. He always did have a fascination with wolves. When he was living in NY, before he started work on his PhD at Yeshiva/NASA he had a home-made alarm clock which woke him with wolf calls, and had other wolf souvineers. He then created the company "Wolf Data" which made MODEMS of his design, and software, if I remember, and it was selling this company which made him financially independent.

\I accidentally erased before reading Dagon #559 from Q # 465 and #560 from Q 466 which Mark Blackman had emailed to me. I meant to delete everything before the issue numbers but accidentally erased everything after. I cringe in embarrassment.

\In Dagon #566 (APA-Q #472, 8 June) you remarked that a thorough exegesis of The Koran would be useful, but not liked by devout Muslims. I would love to read as thorough analysis of the Koran as Asimov had done with the two parts of the bible. [] I liked your designation of North as "Lieutenant Criminal Oliver North," and believe your statement that he " was little more than a human switchboard. He took the fall so that his superiors, principally Admiral Poindexter, could get off the hook." [] I believe that George Scithers had started his Volume II of AMRA before George Heap's death but am not sure. When I was living in California in the early 60s I saw a copy of the only issue in volume I, which was owned by Liz Lokke. It was only 3 pages and consisted mainly of the mailing list of the Hyborian Legion. We had planned to reprint it as a curiosity. [] I appreciated your mention of "Daniel Harms, Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (1994, Chaosium Inc., Suite 5, 900 Murmansk Street, Oakland, CA 94607-5018; $11, tpb)". I am putting it here for easy reference should I feel I need it. I have never been a Lovecraft enthusiast, but am interested in the structure of his mythos, and appreciated the details you gave here.

\In DAGON #567 (APA-Q Distribution #473, 20 July 2002) you remarked on the Greek term "electron" which you said was Latinized as "electrum" had two meanings...amber and an amalgam of gold and silver. I had always wondered why (however it is spelled) electron was a precious metal in Dungeons and Dragons. This explains it, though if I remember from my fleeting contacts with the game there it is more valuable than gold. [] I greatly enjoyed reading your write-up of the river tour you and Perdita took up the Rhine and down the Danube. [] Sorry to hear that Der Captain and der Kids/The Katzanjammer Kids is almost extinct, appearing only in a few rural papers. It had been one of my favorites when I was a kid. Incidentally, why did some newspapers use one title and some the other?

| QUANT SUFF-John Malay emailed me the last 3 issues, #255-257, so I can comment on them. [] I emphatize on your employment and medical problems. Good luck! [] Your baseball prognostications had not included Arizona, though you were right that it would be NY in the other league. It is nice to see the NY team lose in the end, with their overwhelming budget. [] Enjoyed your write-up on the demise of the head of the "flat earth society" and the follow-up on the hollow earth idea. Unfortunately if the earth were hollow, there would be no detectable gravity field inside. This is because gravity is an inverse square law, so anywhere inside the hollow earth the pull of gravity from the nearest surface would be exactly countered by that on the other side. Picture your position inside as the contact point between two identical cones. The further away some attractive matter is, the more there is inside the cone. The mass goes up with the square of the distance, and the force per bit of matter goes down as the inverse square of distance, so the two pulls cancel. This is known as Gauss's Law. Around 35 years ago, during the great Burroughs revival, Dick Lupoff and some other ERB fen tried to work out a Pellucidar speculating that in addition to the normal gravity falling off as the inverse square there is a very short range component of gravity falling off as the inverse cube, which would attract the explorers to the inside surface of the earth.

/ Willy Ley wrote about the crackpots whom Hitler listened to. One had the idea that WE are on the inside of a hollow earth, and we think we are on the outside because of optical illusions caused by the refraction of light. He had been given money to try to build an observatory to look up from Holland to spy on England. No one thought that if air refraction made the world seem convex, it would also refract the light falling on the viewers in Holland, so it would not come from England. [] I too remember reading that C A Smith lived in VERY rural California...in a shack without electricity, if I remember. He had not written for many years but when Lin Carter reissued some of his old stuff ... Cele Goldsmith? ... the editor of AMAZING & FANTASTIC got ahold of him and got some new stories from him. I think I read about his rural existence in a blurb in one of these zines. You praised "magic realism" in issue 256 and named a favorite writer. I have a feeling I mentioned this before, but I understand John Crowley is also considered to be a magic realism writer. I do enjoy his stuff but find it very strange at times.

\You praised a web service by saying "NewsBlogger, a service that allows you to link to online articles from a large number of publications. Since they have set up lists of categories you can read in areas of interest from sources you might never otherwise notice." This sounds very interesting and if I ever get more skilled in using the web I would look for it. That way I could track subjects like subways, astronomy, and space more easily.

\In Quant Suff #257 you were talking about the problems of baseball and had suggested a realignment into a senior and junior league so teams like Seattle would not obliterate teams like Tampa Bay. It is now a year later and players are threatening to strike again. It will be resolved before this gets published so comments are superfluous.

\In QS 258, you had your initial reactions to Sept 11 and its effect on your community. I wish our politicians were as reasonable in their reactions as you are.


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