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 #33

THE VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL #33, May 10, 2003, for APA-Q #483, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected]. Back issues at and website. {Corrections made after APA distribution in braces.} I guess this could also be called NIEKAS #46.5. My thanks to Sandy for cleaning up and formatting the last few ish.

Note the correction to the ENTROPY websites in the colophon! I hope this will be the last change for a long time as Brian has set it to link to where-ever he might have to move the site in the future.

First, I want to point out that 99% of the "comments" section is totally understandable and (I hope) interesting to people who have not seen the zines which inspired the comments. I feel rather strongly about some of the matters discussed.

I am progressing slowly on NIEKAS 47-8 and hope to finish by the end of the year. I am still waiting for a few items but much is in the computer. However much is also on 5.25 inch floppies from my old computer and I have to transcribe these to modern 3.5 inch floppies.

I am sending this by email to any NIEKAS readers whose eddresses I have. I procrastinate on sending print copies to the others because it takes my printer 20 minutes to do one copy of one issue. Also since I can only print on one side of a page the postage builds up. I ask such readers, would it be possible to send it to you on floppy as a text or word file? If you want to get print copies regularly I will have to send two or three ENTROPIES at a time and deduct one ish from your NIEKAS sub.

I suggest that you download this and save it as a text or word file. Then you can use the MS-WORD "find" function to move around and skip parts which do not interest you. Also, if this is too long to read on screen, you could read part of the saved document, bookmark it, and return later, or print it out.

I ask several questions, mostly in the "comments" section, which I hope that readers in Lithuania or familiar with Lithuanian culture can answer.

In NIEKAS 46 I gave my personal reaction to the first five Wizard books by Diane Duane, {So You Want to Be a Wizard}, {Deep Wizardry}, {High Wizardry}, {Wizard Abroad}, and {Book of Night with Moon}. Anne Braude appended a short review of the next book in the series, {To Visit the Queen}(UK title is {On Her Majesty's Wizardly Service}), which I had not yet read. I have read it since and enjoyed it just like all the others. Since then two more books have been published, {The Wizard's Dilemma} (Harcourt Brace, 2001, 403 pp., $17; cover Cliff Nielsen) and {A Wizard Alone} (Harcourt, 2002, 320 pp, $17).

In {Dilemma} Nita's mother develops brain cancer and Nita can help cure her only if she surrenders to The Lone Power by giving up her wizardry and her fight against darkness. Throughout the book Nita distances herself from friends and family as she struggles with her conscience, and matters resolve in the only manner they could. Diane Duane again is wonderful at showing the human consequences of magic. Magic is serious business and when one takes it up he/she takes on major responsibilities to use it wisely. It is dangerous and one takes risks even when acting properly. All the books deal with the responsibilities that Nita and Kit took on when they took the Wizard's Oath. However this book is very heavy for a juvenile. No intended reader should have to contemplate having to make a choice between saving her mother and rejecting evil.

Sandy read and enjoyed {Wizard Alone } but I am still waiting for the agency to put it on tape for me. I am eagerly awaiting reading it. I did see an excellent review by Bonnie L. Sherrill on the "Readingclub4theblind" listserv which I am quoting here:

I just read {A Wizard Alone} by Diane Duane, the latest in her Young

Wizards series.

Kit is troubled because his common partner in wizarding, Neeta, is still grieving for her mother and is also apparently suffering from depression. Then at home, his dad has just bought a new entertainment center, and the DVD player and the universal remote have taken a deep dislike to one another, and he finds himself having to explain the concept of cooperation to them while they shout nasty names at one another in Japanese.

But the senior wizards of the region have a new job for him--a young boy has apparently become stuck in his Ordeal, the initiatory experience that begins the young wizard's new life focus, and they want Kit to see if he can slip into the Ordeal and perhaps give him a nudge toward completing it. With the help of his dog Ponch, Kit sets off to explore the worlds constructed in Darryl's mind to figure out what is wrong, and Neeta finds herself rushing to catch up so she can help both of them from being caught forever facing the Lone Power.


Overheard at the 39th Boskone, 2002.

Science fiction is not about cheering us up about who we are, but about turning a searchlight on who we are and {doing} something about it.

…How many children do you think died of starvation and dehydration on September 11? More than 5000. You won't read that in your fucking newspaper…because we don't {care} about those children…We live on top of a seething cauldron of misery and pain.


In January we got a postcard inviting us to a free dinner at an Italian restaurant in Laconia if we listen to a 45-minute spiel on health. The talk was supposed to be relevant to chronic pain, insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, headache, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, injuries, osteoporosis, bursitis, tendonitis, and restless leg syndrome. I was wondering what they were pushing, but with such a long list I suspected something really wacko.

They made the claim that the field of a thousand or so strong magnets in or on your mattress would cure everything from baldness to hangnail, and I only exaggerate slightly! What got me was his saying that it worked in part by magnetizing the iron in the hemoglobin in your blood. I remember listening to a crime drama on the radio in the late 40s where a swindler was claiming to use a magnet to influence the iron in a mark's blood, and after the arrest the detective saying that not even a cyclotron magnet was strong enough to do that. I suspect any help people claim to have received was a placebo effect, but even if there was some unknown mechanism which helped a few people I am sure it was not accomplished by magnetizing the iron in the person's hemoglobin.

I do not accurately remember pricing, but think the prices went from around $1000 for a twin size to $2000 for a king size, with a 30% or so discount if you purchased then and there. They also had magnetized seat cushions for your easy chair or desk chair for about $200, and sleep pillows for your bed for about $50. The salesman had been doing several presentations a week for fifteen years and apparently making a living at it. I suspect he could get by by making one or two sales per presentation.

The manufacturer is Greentree Health Systems, 1316 Madrey Rd., Lebanon OH 45036. I do not know where they got our name and address from, and there was no clue from how the postcard was addressed.


At Boskone Sandy attended a presentation by Full Cast Audio (P O Box 6110, Syracuse NY 13217-6110, 800-871-6152) and brought back a brochure and sample tape. The company is entering the "spoken word" market. They do not just have one narrator read the whole book, but use a cast of actors to present the dialogue while the original author him/herself reads the connecting text. This reminds me of a program I used to listen to on National Public Radio, "The Spider's Web," though that program had added sound effects, such as chugging train, animal howls, crashes, etc. (My station has not carried this program in over a decade, but does it still appear on some public radio stations?)

The sample tape, Bruce Coville's "Clean as a Whistle," 30 minutes long, is not in their catalog. The story is about Janie Carhart, the messiest kid in the town, perhaps in the state, who is given a Brownie ("house elf" as in the 2nd Harry Potter book/movie, or the lead character in K.M. Briggs' {Hobberty Dick} or Joan Aiken's "Luck of the House"). The girl's grandmother had inherited the Brownie when the last of her line still living in Ireland died, so she assigned the creature to Janie who "needed it." Janie comes home from school one day and finds, to her horror, that her room is completely neatened up.

The tale is of the war between Janie, who resents the interference in her lifestyle and privacy, and the Brownie who was not allowed to leave even if he wanted to. The war comes to a climax when the Brownie is driven to despair and seemingly vanishes. Of course Janie is then sorry, especially since she thinks she might have killed the creature. After a few days she finds him dying in a box in her closet and convinces him to come back, and comes to a compromise on the state of her room.

The story is delightful and very well produced. Bruce Coville is wonderful narrating the text of his story, and the actors are just right in doing the voices of Janie, the Brownie, and Janie's mother. The tape includes promotional excerpts of other stories in this line. The production has very high value.

Here is a list of their titles:

{Song of the Wanderer} Bruce Coville, $25.95

{Circle of Magic: Sandry's Book}, Tamora Pierce, $25.95 note: two

of the sequels have been recorded and will be out soon.

{The Beloved Dearly}, Doug Cooney, $17.95

{The Moffitts}, Eleanor F. Dee, $25.95

{United Tates of America}, Paula Danziger, $17.95

{The Monsters of Morley Manor}, Bruce Coville, $21.95

{David and the Phoenix}, Edward Ormondroyd, $17.95

{The Girls}, Amy Goldman Koss, $17.95

{The Misfits}, James Howe, $21.95

{The Monster's Ring}, Bruce Coville, $17.95

Books can be ordered toll free at 800-871-6152, their web site is ,

Email [email protected] , and fax 315-471-9902

They seem to have gone out of their way to make things accessible. I found their website easy to navigate. Their cassettes come in cardboard cases but for about 10% extra you can get the "library edition" in plastic boxes, and for about 40% extra on CD. They have various combination prices saving from 25% to 40%.

I have also heard their production of Tamora Pierce's {Sandry's Book} which was on four cassettes. Magician Neeko brings four children of diverse background and unusual talents to Winding Circle Temple where they will learn the proper practice of their magic. Each is a misfit in his or her circle and in need of refuge. Sandry, noble, has spinning and fiber magic; Daja, of traders, has metal magic; Trys, of merchants, causes extreme weather when upset; Briar, a street kid and thief, has plant magic.

Neeko's special talent is recognizing undeveloped exotic talents in others and uses this to find and gather the four. Sandry was locked away to escape a plague but any who knew her location died and she could not get out until Neeko rescues her. Daja was the sole survivor on her family ship destroyed by a storm and is outcast as a bringer of bad luck, exiled from her people with no where to go. Briar is caught stealing a third time and is to be sent to a fatal work sentence when Neeko paroles him into the custody of the Temple. And Trys is rejected by all her family because of the damage she causes whenever she is unhappy. She is sent to a boarding school but is expelled because she does not fit in, is picked upon by the other kids, and creates havoc, so is given to Neeko to be taken to the temple.

The four are from very different backgrounds from four totally incompatible classes and mistrust each other. The story tells of how they come to trust each other and work together, and merge their four magics. They grow into the life of the Temple and help repel a magical attack by its enemies.

This is an excellent YA book and would be good for parents and children to listen to together and discuss after each listening session.

Again the author's narration and the actors' roles are very well done. I am looking forward to seeing the other books in this series.

The copy I have is in a cardboard box about the size of a trade paperback book and will shelve easily. The four tapes slide into angled slots in a plastic tray inside the box.

At the conclusion of the story Tamora Pierce explains how she got the idea of making magic out of normal tasks like sewing and weaving, and blending these into a series of stories.


I did make my almost annual pilgrimage to Lunacon and NY City this year and enjoyed it very much. This year son Stanley decided to go for the first time so he and his friend Sean drove out to NH on Thursday and then drove down with me to NY.

I attended many interesting panels and was on a panel on the history of early Lunacons. (I have been to most since the first in the ‘50s.) The programming was well done under the direction of its new head, son of the late writer Larry Jannifer, and they tried to have faanish items but unfortunately these did not draw much of an audience. My panel had only about a half dozen attendees, and the panel on the "State of Fandom" had only two in the audience. For the last one timing was bad, as it was the last item on the program Sunday afternoon, but still I am disappointed that so few were interested. I do hope that the committee does not give up on faanishness and keeps trying for items of faanish interest.

After the con I stayed with the Boardmen for a few days, as usual. Monday John and I hit a few bookstores in Manhattan, had lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant, Karahi at the corner of Broome St. and West Broadway, and visited Recording for the Blind and Dyslectic where I left four books to be taped. These are Erik Leif Davin's {Pioneers of Wonder}, {The Annotated Hobbit}, Josepha Sherman's {Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts} (Josepha is a volunteer narrator at RFB&D and will be assigned her own book to read), and the 50th anniversary edition of {Farmer Giles of Ham} which includes an early draft of the story and an unfinished sequel. Then we went into Grand Central Station and the small branch of the Transit Museum. The main exhibit was of posters for passenger railroads from the 20s to the 50s. The museum was selling small (4 inch) Teddy Bears bearing the letter or number designations of various subway lines with "fur" in the map colors of the lines, green, red, etc. I cannot imagine why someone would want to buy a bear with the designation of the line heesh commutes to work on. On the way home we stopped at the White Eagle Polish Market at 18St. and 5 Ave. in Brooklyn where I bought Lithuanian bread and babka to bring home for Easter, and some fresh (non-smoked) kielbasa which Perdita cooked for dinner that night. Sandy and I love the stuff but it is extremely fattening, so Sandy will not allow it into the house. We are both trying to lose weight and have lost 30 pounds each, but Sandy is taking it more seriously than I.

Next day John and I went to the Museum of Natural History so John could describe for me the Einstein exhibit. After that we looked a bit at the re-organized dinosaur and early mammal exhibits and the special Margaret Mead room in the Pacific islands exhibit. On our way home we had dinner at the excellent Polish family restaurant in the East Village, Theresa's on 1 Ave. between 6 & 7. Whenever I am in NY I try to eat here and at the Indian restaurant above.

Next day I took the train to Boston and the bus home.


Alien space adventure! Departs September. 18250000 Earth day adventure.

Trip Highlights Garbonula death rays, Huzputz Falls, Garbanzo bean salads, Boozula hippo rides, and certain death!


Year 1 - 11.4 Depart Earth at light-speed. Suspended animation to Tau Ceti.

Year 11.4 Day 1 Depart Adventure Ship to explore Tau Ceti.

Year 11.4 - 16.7 Depart Tau Ceti at light-speed. Suspended animation to Epsilon Eridani.

Year 16.7 Day 1 Depart Adventure ship to explore Epsilon Eridani.

Year 16.7 Day 2 See Einstein and eat some cheese.

Year 16.7 Day 3 Free day.

Year 16.7 - 33.4 Depart Epsilon Eridani at light-speed. Suspended animation to Earth.

Join us as we travel on a 11.4 light-year trip to Tau Ceti. From there, it's a quick 5.3 light-year ride to Epsilon Eridani, and a few other interesting star systems in the neighborhood. At each of these destinations we'll enjoy Filpsnar soda, Blardin chocolate sundaes, kayaking on a sea of liquid methane (long pants and a jacket recommended), and finally, after picking up some extra dilithium crystals for the antimatter reactant injector, we'll travel back in time to snap a picture of Einstein wearing an Adventure Bus tee-shirt and eating cheese. Last, thanks to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, we arrive back home about 50,000 Earth years later to a post-apocalyptic planet and certain death at the hands of giant intelligent spider monkeys!


One thing most travelers enjoy about this trip is the stars and how different they appear from here on Earth. Perhaps it's easier for you to visualize them at home by following the example below!

36 Ophiuchi is 17.7 light years from Sol, which is 5.43 parsecs, and it's apparent magnitude as viewed from Sol is 5.07.

AbsMag = AppMagSol - ( 5 * Log ( DistFromSolPC / 10 ) )

AbsMag = 5.07 - ( 5 * Log ( 5.43/ 10 ) )

AbsMag = 5.07 - ( 5 * Log ( 0.543 ) )

AbsMag = 5.07 - ( 5 * (-0.265 ) )

AbsMag = 5.07 - ( -1.326 )

AbsMag = 6.39

Trip Dates And Pricing

Departs Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the moon, and Dimension X. $425,000,000,000 + 36.50 food fund . Food fund covers approximately 70% of your liquid goo meals.

(Important: This is not a real trip. If you think this is a real trip, you have very serious mental problems, but we'd be more than happy to take your money and play along. No spider monkeys please.)

Spring 52002: September 23

"Never try to walk across a river just because it has an average depth of four feet."--Martin Friedman


Anyone who can put such an imaginative tour on their website must be bent in the right direction.

In 2002 Sandy and I had a wonderful time at Yosemite, as recounted in ENTROPY 32, in a tour organized by Incredible Adventures of San Francisco. In 2004 we are thinking of a two week tour of ten national parks as organized by "Adventure Planet." The cost is reasonable, we sleep in the bus whose seats become beds, and get to see ten national parks, all for only $1300. This is their flyer.

See the best of the National Parks! A 14 day adventure offered June, July, August, and September. This trip is good for all physical levels/abilities. Trip Highlights: You'll never forget hiking, biking, rafting, swimming and exploring in the 10 best National Parks and Monuments in the Western USA! Now Includes Colorado River Canoeing, and Horseback Riding or Jeep excursion. Explore the Grand Canyon NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, Yellowstone NP, Monument Valley, Dinosaur NP, Arches NP, The Grand Tetons NP, Flaming Gorge, Moab & The Canyon lands, Antelope Canyon, & stops at Las Vegas, The Colorado River, Green River, San Juan River & Lake Powell! Visits 8 states! Itinerary

Day 1 Depart LA (van shuttle or flight required) or Las Vegas ... We start this fantastic trip by picking up you and your fellow Adventurers in Las Vegas. We'll prep you for your adventure and then enjoy a comfortable journey to your first destination...

Day 2 Zion NP...Wake to the towering sandstone walls and waterfalls of this magnificent park. Hike the world famous Narrows, the trail to the Emerald Pools or climb the magnificent Angels Landing Trail. Enjoy a short drive to campout at a lake near our next great park...

Day 3 Bryce Canyon NP... Almost out of a fairy tale, it's nothing like you've ever seen! Spend the day walking among the Hoodoos of Bryce! An amazing maze of ancient rose colored pillars of red sand and stone.

Day 4 Yellowstone NP... The USA's first National Park! Watch the Old Faithful Geyser erupt boiling water and steam 30 meters into Wyoming's blue sky. Visit the Fountain Painted Pots, Yellowstone falls & hike or bike around looking for wild buffalo, moose, bear and elk and a swim in a hot spring fed river among other things!

Day 5 Explore the 'Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone' with its 300 ft waterfalls and herds of buffalo. Later we'll take a peek inside the bubbling dragons cauldron and end up with a midnight soak in the hot springs!

Day 6 Grand Tetons NP It's A short drive to this beautiful park known for its sharp, snow capped peaks and excellent hiking trails. We'll let you loose on one of the finest hikes in Wyoming. Here near the lakes and in the high meadows is where folks usually see bear, elk, and moose. Breathe deep, this is good air!

Day 7 Jackson Wyoming... Explore this cowboy town for the day or here's your chance to Do a little whitewater rafting on the Snake River! Sit in a coffee shop with a view of the Tetons and email your jealous friends or hang on tight as your raft is thrust through the lunchbox rapids!

Day 8 Dinosaur NP... South to Flaming Gorge Recreation Area to do some sunbathing and take a swim. Then a short journey to Dinosaur NP where our 10-ton friends used to roam. Here you might dig up your very own T-Rex and then take a dip in the winding Green River.

Day 9 Arches NP... Spend the day hiking among the giant natural sandstone arches sculpted by wind and time in the Devils Garden. There is no other place like this in the world! Later, it's off to a secret swimming hole to cool down!

Day 10 Free day in Moab Utah... raft, canoe, mountain bike, stroll Moab's shops and galleries or rent a jeep (opt) and then it's dinner at Eddie Mc Stiffs Brewery! Camp out that night on the Colorado River.

Day 11 Canoe trip near Canyon lands National Park... Journey by canoe through beautiful winding canyons (included but optional). If you would like another free day in Moab to mountain bike, stroll Moab's shops and galleries or rent a jeep (optional) you may.

Day 12 Monument Valley, & Lake Powell (Antelope Slot Canyon Option?)... View this famous American Indian Monument from the Northwest Plateau and then a short drive to Lake Powell for a swim and cookout. If time allows, we'll have the option of venturing into the amazing Navajo Antelope Slot Canyons!

Day 13 The Grand Canyon... Wake to the Sunrise at the North Rim, then hike or take an optional mule ride down into this 'erosion gone wild'! ...Or lazily enjoy breathtaking views and eventually watch the sunset from the rim of this amazing canyon.

Day 14 We'll roll back into Las Vegas this day to wind down, hit the pool, have a little fun, have dinner and say goodbye to our Las Vegas drop offs. Arrival to Las Vegas approximately 5-6pm. Please arrange flight/room accordingly if this is your stop.

Day 15 Back to California. It's an early morning (1-3am) departure from Vegas as we head back into Los Angeles for our good-byes! Arrival 7-10am into LA.

$1149 + $151 food fund. Food fund covers approximately 70% of your meals. Trip price Includes Canoe Adventure, Monument Valley horseback or Jeep Tour and all park entrance and camping fee's.


The March, 2003, issue of Talking Book Topics lists the following book. Can anyone tell me anything about who these people were?

The Far farers: Before the Norse, RC 51550, by Farley Mowat, read by Michael Kramer, 3 cassettes.

From his research, travels, and archaeological evidence, Mowat theorizes that another European people, the Albans, visited North America before the Norse. He combines fictionalized accounts of the Albans' lives with historical clues to describe their houses, sailing vessels, hunting and foraging skills, and lifestyle. 1998.


Hi Ed,

It seems we're relatives. My granddad Andrzej or Andrew was a nobility / gentry man from Lithuania from Nowogrodek surroundings who as the nobleman got his manor and lands given back in 1922 when Soviets were pushed back by Polish marshal Pilsudski. He joined his army but enevertheless he remained active in Lithuanian circles in Poland. In 1939 when Germans invaded Poland, and then Soviets he escaped to Lithuania and became a commander of Polish Lithuanian unit but died in pneumonia in 1940 shortly before Soviets incorporated Lithuania.

My father and his son Charles was sent then to Siberia by the Soviets but succeeded to join Polish army in exile under British command. He died in 1979.

As you probably know from other folks I had been a pro writer and had several SF books, stories and hundreds of articles published both in Poland and overseas, the USA inclusive but then in the 1980s I turned to full time translation. My customership is world wide and includes Chinese (Taiwan), US Army, Czech, Russians and of course Poles. I still write some sf and articles on SF and prepare news for pro and fanzines all over the world.


There are 4 sf magazines in Poland: The oldest and most hated by its competitors is NOWA FANTASTYKA [tr. New Science Fiction] that started in 1988. The editor is a writer Maciek Parowski. The second in line is a digest size FENIKS that started in 1989. Then in the year 2000 two big competitors emerged SCIENCE FICTION and MAG, slick prozines from fanzines PUBLISHERS There are 4 big publishing houses: Rebis and Amber from Poznan and Solaris NE Poland and NOWA (Warsaw). They publish approx. 80 books a year mostly translations.

- (Richard) /full name in Polish: Ryszard P.Jasinski/

- Polish and Russian Translator / Interpreter

- Home Office: Ul.Kormoranów # 27/4 str PL 71 - 696 Szczecin

- [email protected]


|MARK BLACKMAN (excerpted from mailing comments)

Cusps & Alternate Histories> The Judeans, by necessity, were always good about stockpiling water. Also, Kashrut kept them from eating animals that died of disease (which also saved the Jews during the Black Plague). # The Aramaeans (whence Aramaic) were Semitic, centered around Damascus.

Aramaic became a lingua franca in the region, including for the Judeans (as Hebrew came to be regarded as a sacred language), and even the official language of the Persian Empire, ca. 500-300 BCE. (Cf. this to the official status of English in India.) # Modern scholarship tends to say that "the Dark Ages" is an unfair misnomer for the Middle Ages, but it's a matter of one's criteria. There was indeed much artistry & intellectual activity, but they were largely wasted on Christian religious matters, and slavish devotion to Aristotle's dicta stunted science; the Church was that "one power dominat[ing]". You may recall an article in the Times a year ago on how Islam "lost the lead in science". Religion is about dogma - is it in the Bible or Qoran? - science the independent search for truth, wherever it leads. Muslims studied astronomy not just to navigate deserts, but because they needed to know the qibla, the "sacred direction" (of Mecca). Whether Ptolemy or Copernicus was right was irrelevant to ritual, so they stuck with Ptolemy, even though they knew his model was flawed. In contrast, the West's acceptance of outside (non-Christian: pagan, Arab) sources (the Renaissance), as well as its later economic (capitalism) & political (the Reformation's weakening the Church's stranglehold, the Enlightenment, the American & French Revolutions) developments spurred scientific advancement. (It must be noted, though, that its religious authorities opposed Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, et al.) The article didn't cite any one man for "the Muslim world [going] intellectually dead". And the destruction of the Caliphate by the Mongol Horde would have removed the power of any single Muslim ruler to "stop the intellectual development of Arab culture dead in its tracks". Btw, the medium for transmitting Eastern knowledge to the West (that helped transform it) were multilingual Sephardic Jews.

Blind/Vision> I imagine that blind people given sight would have trouble with the sheer quantity of sensory input. After my father's ear surgery (he was hard of hearing, but never deaf), he was irritated by background noise that we filter out (like street traffic when we're indoors). # The real-life case of the scientist given sight is fascinating.

I understand foreign resentment toward NASFiC, and Worldcon should go worldwide. Still, other countries (even Canada) have national conventions, while the US doesn't; it's impractical for most US fans to get to Australia or Japan; and those who can afford foreign travel seem to be able to go to Worldcon & NASFiC both. | I think the Scandinavian bid was for '83. And Zagreb ran for '93, beating Phoenix, though losing to San Fran.

In 1673, the Dutch briefly regained NY, renaming it New Orange (before 1664, btw, Albany was called Fort Orange), then handed it back in 1674 in exchange for Surinam (Dutch Guiana).

You're either remembering that "God Bless America" was famously sung by Kate Smith - or confusing it with "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Julia Ward Howe. "God Bless America" seems to consist of 2 verses, an intro & a chorus; the latter is usually what's sung ("... land that I love ..."). When reintroduced in 1938, it was - which may come as a surprise - a peace song. It opens "While the storm clouds gather far across the sea" and expresses gratitude that we're here instead, in a free & beautiful land, then goes into the "prayer". [I got the titles mixed up. I was thinking of the song which begins "My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty" and did confuse that with "God Bless America."" I read an article in a magazine a year or two back about a four-verse song where one verse spoke of faults in our land, but the others were peons of praise. At Lions Club meetings we usually sing the one which includes "From the mountains…to the ocean white with foam," occasionally "My country tis…," and I do get them confused.--ERM]

At ConJose, covering panel & reading rooms for Program Ops, I saw how immense the Convention Center was; the 15-minutes [between program items] were needed! # I'd've liked to get to Karen's party, Poul Anderson having been GoH at my Lunacon. # Torcon also had edible Legos; in the US, Lego would be sued by someone swallowing a regular (non-edible) Lego. # Worldcon Rotation & NASFiC> Rotation plan history noted. I'm glad that NASFICs did not get the role of awarding the Hugos. Raybin, btw, founded Lunacon. # I understand your objection to NASFiC (under the no-zone plan), but, judging from the cries of "Both!" at the WSFS Business Meeting at Con Jose upon hearing that the Charlotte & Seattle bids' dates were a week apart, many welcome more cons. And some people attend both Worldcon & NASFiC. I've only been to one NASFiC, Austin's in '85. # Re Baseball sf, I ran across a story (in Andromeda In-Flight Magazine, an Aussie small prozine) "Mighty Joe Jung", about the first (talking, sentient) gorilla in the Majors. # My source re Shards of Honor as, at least in its earliest draft, a Trek story was an interview with Bujold in Lan's Lantern in the mid-'80s. I understand that Bujold nowadays more emphatically distances herself from Trek influence; perhaps due both to artistry (obviously, the series diverged greatly with the introduction of Miles) & legality (to avoid any suit by Paramount). # Reconstructionist [Jewish] services are similar to Conservative, but their de-emphasis on the supernatural leads some to regard them as atheists. (The same was said of the deists.) // Boardman ct> He may have a point re physics advances, but the 20th century saw its share of medical advances - antibiotics, transplants, laser surgery. # The Apostles were the Judeans for Jesus. // Or did Plantzilla eat & replace the family with human-shaped plants? // The School of the Americas is a shameful remnant of US support for any group claiming to be anti-Communist. Latin America was, of course, not the only victim of US-funded terrorism – it sponsored the armies that became both the Afghan warlords & the Taliban. # No, The Captain & the Kids was drawn in the '50s by Dirks' son; the strip ended in '79. The Katzenjammer Kids had a variety of cartoonists in the '50s (Knerr died in '49) and is still running, I believe.

|JOHN BOARDMAN (excerpted from mailing comments)

There is a misprint, or more likely an error in transcription, on the first page of The View from Entropy Hall #31. You quote from one of my 'zines about the similarity between the 18th-century British revolts to restore the House of Stuart, and the 19th-century American revolt for the preservation of slavery. What I actually wrote in the fourth quoted sentence was: "Both appealed more to emotion than to reason and were a challenge by the least developed portion of a nation against the section with a larger population and a better industrial base."

Some fossils were identified as dragons or giants. In one of his books, Willy Ley cited a "dragon's skull" that had belonged to a woolly rhinoceros, and a "dragon's tongue" that was a swordfish blade. Since an elephant's skull without tusks looks like huge, misshapen human skull, it might be attributed to a "giant". Herodotus wrote of such a "giant's skeleton," found under a smithy in Greece, and presumed to be the remains of Orestes. Also, according to Herodotus, the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem failed because mice ate the besiegers' bowstrings.

Yes, Parsi was and is the language of the Persians, but Aramaic was the language in which their empire was administered, because most of the subject peoples spoke Semitic languages.

In other favorite nexi for studies of "alternate history," the Muslims were over-extended when they invaded France, as the Mongols later were when they invaded the Holy Roman Empire. Indeed, the Mongols decisively won the Battle of Lignica against the Germans in 1241, but could not follow up their victory because of troubles back home. It could similarly be argued that Napoleonic France over-extended itself by 1806, and the Soviet Union over-extended itself in 1945, and that neither ever recovered. Almost all subsequent wars involving Communist states, until partition in 1991, were fought instead by their allies in Asia - who are still Communist.

The late Swedish paleontologist Bjorn Kurtén wrote a monograph about the extinct European cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), claiming in the introduction that he got interested in this extinct monster because his name is Swedish for "bear." In that book, Kurtén gave a curious example of how improperly collected statistics can affect scientific conclusions. A few decades ago, there was a census of skulls of the cave bear in the collections of museums and universities. It was found that the skulls of males greatly outnumbered those of females, and someone speculated that this larger relative of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) had become extinct because a sexual imbalance of unknown cause made it impossible to keep up the number of females necessary for a breeding population. Then a little thought was given to the matter. Almost all of the remains of this species were found in caves. Someone collecting specimens for study and exhibit would most likely select and remove the largest and most impressively armed individuals.

Kurtén also wrote two novels set in Sweden just before the last glaciation, {Dance of the Tiger} and its sequel {Singletusk}. These novels deal with the first contacts between the blond Neanderthalers and the swarthy Cro-Magnon folk. Several writers have observed that, allowing for the recession of the ice, the regions where Neanderthaler remains are common are the regions where today blonds are common.

I once speculated about "explaining" Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar on the assumption that its central sun exerted a repulsive gravitational field that would hold objects to the inner surface of a hollow Earth with an acceleration a little less than one gee. (Burroughs specified this

about gravity in Pellucidar.) In order for Pellucidar's internal satellite to revolve around the central sun with a period of one day, so that it always stayed over the same spot of the inner surface, it would have to have an engine in it. However, I never got around to working out the engine's power output.

The {Jerusalem Bible} is not an English translation of a French translation of the Roman Catholic version of the Christian scriptures. After a group of French Dominican scholars had completed their translation, they turned their notes over to a group of English scholars including Tolkien, who then did an English translation from the original texts.

The Bible does say that the Earth is flat. The exact text is Isaiah 40:22: "He lives above the circle of the Earth." Like English, Hebrew distinguishes between "circle" and "sphere." The word used here, chug, means circle - a flat, round disk. If Isaiah had meant "sphere", he would have written kedur.

There was indeed a Dutch re-conquest of Nieuw Amsterdam. In 1664 an English fleet had sailed into the harbor of Nieuw Nederland, and its commander Major Richard Nicolls informed Governor Stuyvesant that King Charles II had been pleased to bestow this territory on his well-beloved brother James, Duke of York, so would the Dutch kindly surrender or get shot to pieces. Stuyvesant snorted defiance, but cooler heads realized that the town was in no condition to defend itself. So, after vainly trying to dissemble, Stuyvesant gave in. Major Nicolls renamed the place "New York" in honor of his master, and became the new governor. He promptly guaranteed the security of the Dutch residents' lives and property, allowed them to continue trading with the Netherlands, and even guaranteed full freedom of religion, which was more than Peg-Leg Pete had ever done. But in the next year the Second Anglo-Dutch War broke out, and trade with the Netherlands was suspended - permanently, as it turned out. Eight years later, just after Stuyvesant's death on his farm in Manhattan, the Third Anglo-Dutch War broke out, and in July 1673 the tables were turned. While the British fleet was elsewhere engaged, Admiral Evertsen led a Dutch fleet into the harbor, and landed 600 troops just west of the site of the World Trade Center, where they were joined by 400 armed Dutch irregulars. The outgunned English surrendered. Evertsen renamed the town not "Nieuw Amsterdam" but "Nieuw Orange" after the principality of the late Prince Willem the Silent. (He was a Zeelander, and might have done this in resentment of the dominant Hollanders, who seemed to get most of the good jobs in the Seven United Netherlands.)

However, in 1674 the English and Dutch, faced with a major threat from the France of Louis XIV, made peace. The Dutch felt that Surinam was more desirable than New York, and cut a deal that made New York English.

Frey was the ancient Norse god of fertility, and therefore the monks who wrote about Norse Paganism were a little reluctant to describe him and the rituals in his honor. With Oðin and Þorr, he was a member of a sort of Norse trinity, and idols of all three stood in Pagan temples. Noblemen and poets worshipped Oðin, warriors and freeholders worshipped Þorr, and peasants worshipped Frey. Describing these idols, one monk called Frey Deus cum ingente priapo. ("The well-hung god.") Frey's love affairs constitute several episodes in the Poetic Edda. According to the Lokasenna, his sister Freyja was not excluded.

Most ancient historians put mythical elements in their works, whether or not they were eventually included in anybody's scriptures. Herodotus was particularly given to including tales of miracles in his history. He is entertaining reading, but not particularly trustworthy. This was further complicated by the later composition of exchanges of correspondence, and speeches, for various historical characters. The composers of these documents regarded them not as deliberate forgeries but as rhetorical exercises expressing their beliefs. The funeral oration of Pericles, and the speech with which King Herod Agrippa II tried to talk the Jews out of rebelling against Rome, were literary compositions of this sort. Thucydides and Josephus were respectively expressing viewpoints held by people of the time, not transcribing actual speeches. I will leave to biblical critics an application of these ideas to the letters ascribed to St. Paul.

The money-changers may have been in the ancient Jewish temple for the same reason that they congregate at Mecca. Until the development of modern media of exchange, pilgrims to Mecca carried their money in gold for greater convenience, but once in Mecca had to change it for silver and copper for day-to-day expenses. Naturally, the money-changers took them for a bundle on the exchange rate. No wonder Jesus was angry at this sort of thing.


Len & June Moffatt share this e-mail address:

[email protected] .

[The parody about the HMO arbitrator reprinted from the Brooklyn College Teachers Union] was hilarious. I wish that I had seen this in the original so

that I could have asked permission to reprint it in NO AWARD.

Thanks for sending me Entropy 32.

Marty Cantor

[email protected]


Hi Ed (and Sandy!),

I enjoyed reading Entropy last night-I've been feeling pretty isolated from fandom what with the kids and having been sick for a couple of years and all. We're all doing very well now and will be at Lunacon this year (hope to see you there). I'll probably stop in at Boskone if I am not working that week-end, but won't be staying in Boston as we live less than an hour away. I was thinking that when we first met I was not even 20, and now I am nearly 42 and have a 7 and 4 year old and all the attendant banalities of suburban life (though our neighbors still find us a bit odd and for that I am grateful).

Take care, amysue chase

|DON DEL GRANDE [excerpted from mailing comments]

I read {What If}, as well as {What If 2}, and have noticed something that is in pretty much every alternative history story. It always seems to cover "what if the other side won." How about something like "what if Hitler had not sent troops into the USSR in 1941."

There are reasons a number of counties don't have BART. Sonoma and Santa Clara, which is where San Jose is, never voted to join in the first place. Besides, Sonoma would have had to withdraw when Marin withdrew in 1963 or so when engineers determined that the Golden Gate Bridge's second deck wouldn't support it and you couldn't close the shipping channel long enough to construct an under-water tube like they used to connect San Francisco with Oakland. It wasn't dug the way the Channel Tunnel was. San Mateo, the county just south of San Francisco, also opted out early, deciding instead to depend on the commuter train system (Caltrain, similar to LIRR, I would guess). This has caused quite a bit of complaining from people who live in some of the outlying Contra Costa County cities like Antioch, where the city council tried to pass a law, and might have even succeeded, requiring all home purchasers to sign something saying they realize that the Antioch commute was one of the worst in the USA because the only road from there to the larger freeways that lead to San Francisco tend to get clogged up, especially when there's an accident, and is one of the reasons the planned Freemont to San Jose extension is on hold. The map may stop at Warm Springs but I see plans for extending all the way to a connection with San Jose's light rail system, and even further south to Santa Clara. As for Napa, the state probably feels they spent enough on the North Bay with the new suspension bridge to replace the older span of the Carcanez Bridge.

New subway lines in San Francisco? Besides anything resembling a surplus would have to be spent on solving the city's growing homelessness problem in order to prevent a riot. The only new line I can think of is the extension of the Muni Metro to Pacific Bell Park, whose name will change to "SBC Park" as a result of the sponsor's merger.


You mentioned that you might try scanning the NESFA Press Tom Holt book so that you could read it. I'll bet that the book was scanned by NESFA as part of the production process, or that they worked from an electronic copy of the text. Perhaps you could get an electronic copy from them.

I finally got to try some of the kosher bison steak: Sheryl made it for my birthday dinner. Very tasty, and very lean. Even if the meat was expensive on a per-pound basis, as there was no bone and almost no fat, a little bit went a long way. we had a splendid meal for about the cost of going to Burger King.
Fred Lerner
81 Worcester Avenue
White River Junction, Vermont 05001
[email protected]>



How lovely! I excerpted the comment about Theo Bikel and forwarded it to him.

Thank you very much for taking this extra trouble.

Thank you [for ENTROPY #30]- that was a good read - especially the Piers Anthony. You do good work!

Here's a tentative publishing schedule for Jean Lorrah and me for the next year or more. Jean's award winning e-book that's just been published this week as a Trade Paperback, {Blood Will Tell}, has soared into the 6,000's in sales rank at amazon (out of like maybe 3 million!)

March 19-22 Jean Lorrah appears at International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida reading her article from {Seven Seasons of Buffy} (see Oct.)

April 2003 – {Blood Will Tell} by Jean Lorrah

Jean Lorrah appears on Burrages Bag, on WPSD-TV, NBC, Paducah KY.

May 2003 – {Molt Brother} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

May 16-18 Jacqueline Lichtenberg appears at Leprecon in Phoenix, AZ

May 23-26 Jean Lorrah appears at MediaWestCon in Lansing, MI.

June 2003 – {The Dorian St. James Saga} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

July 2003 – {Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean


July 1-7 Westercon sponsors a writing workshop by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg. Publishers sponsor launch party for {Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy} and autographing for {Blood Will Tell}. Seattle, Washington

July 20 - Jacqueline Lichtenberg - autographing in Phoenix AZ

August 2003 – {City of a Million Legends} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Aug. 27 - Sept 2 -Jean Lorrah, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Anne Phyllis Pinzow available in Toronto, Canada, appearing on the program at the World Science Fiction Convention and launch party for {Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy}

September 5-7, Jacqueline Lichtenberg appears at Coppercon in Phoenix, AZ October 2003 – {Those of My Blood} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

October 2003 – {Seven Seasons of Buffy}, Glenn Yeffeth, ed. Articles by Jean

Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg among "science fiction and fantasy's most

important authors."

November 2003 --Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah appear at the Darkover Grand Council Meeting near Baltimore, Maryland

Spring 2004 – {Dreamspy} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

July 2004 – {Sime~Gen: To Kiss Or To Kill} by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Live Long and Prosper,

Jacqueline Lichtenberg


More about Sime~Gen ---


Many thanks for Entropy 32. I enjoyed your worldcon report, and was pleased to hear that you had time without tending to a table. You did a wonderfully evocative description of it all. Living in an area without decent chocolate shops, I particularly liked the Ghirardelli festival visit. I was also impressed by the territory Judge led you across during your trip.

Eric Lindsay

[email protected]

Airlie Beach, Nth Qld, Australia ph +61 7 4948 0450

NEW Airlie-SF-Psion-Epoc


Ed -

Appreciated and enjoyed the 32nd ENTROPY. Not sure I've got your marking system committed to memory just yet, but..." I [...] had to have someone else convert it to text." You might be interested in a little freeware program I use called Text Extract v2.2.0 for Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP. I say small. If you have the VB6 runtime files installed it's a 38kb zip download. Just extract the two files to a new directory and you're ready to go, no install required. The EXE is 116kb and the accompanying ReadMe file is 8kb. From the ReadMe file: "Text Extract is a program that scans one or more files for text strings, extracts them and saves them into a separate file. Useful if, say, you have a corrupted word processor file, or if you just want to see what text, if any, is inside a file." It works. It doesn't work perfectly on every type of file, but it works. And it does more than just extracting text, but that's all noted in the brief instructions. Clicking on this will download it:

If you really want an installation routine (670kb), the main page at

will provide a link to that as well as to the VB6 runtime files if you need those as well. All best to you and yours from me and mine,

Dave Locke

[email protected] "


I'm not sure from your formatting who said this -- maybe Piers Anthony [It was Mark Blackman in his APA-Q mailing comments which I had copied, keeping his formatting—ERM] -- but I'm responding to a line in View From Entropy Hall 32. "Bujold's {Shards of Honor} began as a Trek novel, with the Betans Vulcans and the Barrayarans Klingons." This is a canard that has been going around for a long time and, like most such, is more unkillable than Dracula. I asked about it on the Bujold discussion mailing list, and was given the following citation from the old list archives, in a post from Lois on 14 Oct 1997 (digest 971016-918): "Now, this Star Trek thing. This is going to be the third time I have knocked it on the head *this year*. It's getting profoundly irritating. *{Shards of Honor} is not now, and has never been, a Star Trek story.* Six *years* before I started writing it, to entertain myself driving to work, I had worked out a vaguely ST-universe [with a] two enemies-lost-on-planetside scenario. You have only my word for this, by the way, as I am reporting on my private thoughts here. Nothing was ever written. When I did sit down in 1982 to write my original novel, I used some elements from this scenario in the opening chapters, while also drawing on not less than my whole life and everything I'd learned in it. By the time the first word hit paper, I wanted to write my *own* books, thank you very much. And I did."

I'd appreciate it if you'd publish this correction, which is as close to authoritative as you can get unless Lois herself decides to tell you. Thanks.

-- Mark Mandel


Dear Ed,

Thanks for e-mailing your zine and for the report on ConJose and your adventures in the Bay area. Made me nostalgic for the times when June and I used to drive or fly up there to visit friends in the area, attend Lamplighter's performances of G&S, North Beach, Earthquake McGoon's with Turk Murphy and Clancy Hayes, the party at the Bouchers where Fritz Leiber danced a fandango--ah yes, those were the days!

We were unable to attend ConJose due to previous commitments as well as not being all that fond of Big Cons. The only Worldcons we manage to attend are the ones in the Los Angeles/Orange County areas. We drive up to Los Gatos (near San Jose) twice a year for our grandchildren's birthdays and a third trip wasn't financially feasible last year. We did make it to the mystery fiction worldcon, the Bouchercon, in Austin as we hadn't been to one since 1999 and we had never been to that part of Texas before.

Speaking of which, I must comment on Joe Christopher's letter. He refers to me as the one who started the Bouchercons. One might say that is only 1/3 true. June and I and good friend, the late, great Bruce Pelz created the Bouchercon and put on the first three. I don't think that I said that the Austin Hall character in Rocket to the Morgue was based only on Cleve Cartmill. I was told many moons ago (perhaps by Tony) that the character was a composite of Heinlein and Cartmill. Some time later someone said that it was a composite of Heinlein and Kuttner. In any case, I think the character was more Heinlein than anyone, if only because he (like RAH) had a History of the Future Chart on the wall of the room where he worked.

Unless there is more than one Joe Christopher, he should have our mailing address as a Joe R. Christopher purchased (by mail) a copy of the Edward D. Hoch Bibliography from June last year. In any case it is: Box 4456, Downey, CA 90241.

Thanks again, Ed. June sends her best wishes as does yours truly,

Len Moffatt

Dear Ed, Thanks for the latest View From Entropy Hall. I am going to briefly comment on your quote from Goering, that leaders can always control the population by claiming that their nation is under attack, and that peace makers are merely being unpatriotic and are exposing the nation to danger. This is certainly an interesting quote to bring to our attention at a time when many people believe that the Bush administration is engaged in exactly that kind of war-mongering. But it would be well to remember that even though such a strategy can be used for unworthy ends (as it certainly was in the case of the Third Reich) it is also true that sometimes the nation really is under attack, and sometimes the pacifists really are exposing the nation to danger (although I would never call pacifists unpatriotic; at worst, they exhibit a misguided patriotism, which is well meant but which will have unfortunate consequences). Personally I believe that the current war on terrorism must be fought and won, and I believe that the current regime in Iraq actually is a danger to the rest of the world, and to the US in particular. I also believe that in the long term we should also address and remedy the fundamental issues that have resulted in the tremendous hostility which now exists between the Islamic and the Western worlds. Peace is indeed better than war, but when you are in a war, it is better to win than to lose, and as we have seen from the attack of September 11, 2001 (among other clues), we are at war. We can pretend that we are at peace, but that won't prevent our enemies from attacking us. Half a century of American political mistakes have lead us to the current unfortunate situation that we are in, however, while America might apologize for those mistakes, that is not going to solve the current problem. Let's solve the problem, and then try to correct the underlying mistakes that created the problem. That would be my preference. -- David Palter


1706-24 Eva Rd.

Etobicoke, ON CANADA M9C 2B2

Dear Ed:

I've downloaded issue 32 of The View From Entropy Hall, and many thanks for putting another issue together.

It's a shame you decided not to take a dealers' table at Torcon. Are you sure you'd have the cross-border problems you say you'd have? I know the Torcon committee was willing to smooth out any possible problems.

I made some enquiries to Dave Kyle some years ago about First Fandom, and he mentioned something about an associate membership. He didn't specify dues, but he said something about qualifications for associate membership being involvement in fandom for 30 years or more. With your report on the First Fandom panel at ConJosé, it makes me wonder if such dues and qualifications are still being decided. [I just became a member by paying $10 and filling in a simple application. 30 years is the cutoff, and I have been in fandom for 47 years.—ERM]

Your article about the fuss over rotation zones for Worldcon made me smile. Imagine being upset when Worldcon went to Germany. Just like the World Series…the rest of the world need not bother with it. I can only imagine that the furor over Heicon in 1970 rivaled the consternation when the Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-US based team to win the World Series. If you don't want the rest of the world to have it, why put the word "World" in it? I know of some fans who have put forth the idea of a continental con, either for every year or for when Worldcon goes some place unaffordable, but I have heard little of it in the last few years. Because Worldcon attendees demand at least some committee members with some convention management experience, there's a select few who have enormous amounts of experience (I speak, of course, of the Permanent Floating Worldcon committee), and many who have a little or none. Some committees win with little or no experience in working on Worldcons. Bouchercon is mentioned here, and I can tell you that the 2004 Bouchercon will be in Toronto, using some of the same facilities Torcon will.

The Goering quote is spooky. We truly are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it. Bush and Blair seem determined to plunge the world into war. At least Blair will do it only with the blessing of the United Nations. Bush will make the US a rogue nation in the eyes of many if he attacks Iraq. Mr. Bush…I thought you represented the good guys?

It's been only a few days since the Columbia disaster…only a few Luddites have stepped forward to say that any money that NASA gets now should be stripped from them to make SDI a reality. This may slow us down for a short time, but it will not stop us. I cannot say what others have said already, and said better.

That's all for now…give Judge a scratch behind the ears for me, and I'll perhaps meet you again at Torcon.

Yours, loyd Penney.


Thank you for sending me Entropy 32 with your ConJose trip report. I do appreciate hearing as many reports as possible, given how little of the convention I was able to experience, and given how skewed my view from the co-Chairman's job was.

Here are some comments about your comments on the rail and transit services in the Bay Area.

"Aside from the state-run Caltrain to San Jose,...." Caltrain is not run by the State of California. It used to be, and that is why it is called "Caltrain" (from Caltrains, the California Department of Transportation, who took over the service from Southern Pacific and ran it from 1980 to 1992). In 1992, the service was taken over by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, a board consisting of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. Those three counties run Caltrain, and pay the subsidies. The state no longer runs the service. The Caltrain Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board contracts with Amtrak to actually run the trains and maintain the track. Union Pacific has trackage rights and runs a freight train or two over the line most days.

"I believe Caltrain also runs a service between San Jose and Stockton." No. There is a train service between Stockton and San Jose, but Caltrain (Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board) does not run it. The service is called ACE (Altamont Commuter Express). It runs six trains each weekday (three trains to San Jose in the morning, three trains back in the evening, commute hours only). ACE is run by a different multi-county agency consisting of Santa Clara, Alameda, and Stanislaus Counties. The ACE agency contracts with Herzog (not Amtrak) to run the trains. The trains operate mostly over Union Pacific tracks (some former Southern Pacific, some former Western Pacific), except for a small bit of Caltrain (ex-Southern Pacific) track between Santa Clara and San Jose. Yet another multi-county agency pays for the Amtrak-branded "Capitol Corridor" trains between San Jose and Sacramento (ten trains each way daily). Amtrak operates the trains and reservation system. California state rail bonds paid for the equipment and track upgrades. The counties through which the service runs pay the service subsidies. The trains themselves are painted "Amtrak California."

"Sandy read me signs calling this the "Muni Metro," a term I had not heard used before. I wonder if this designation is new, or nobody had mentioned it to me before." Ever since I've known about it, the underground portion of Muni light rail service in downtown San Francisco on the level above BART has been called the "Muni Metro subway," so as far as I know, that has always been the name since they built it.

"While the Market St. tunnels were still under construction I had read in the Electric Railroaders Association magazine HEADLIGHTS that Muni was considering building a new underground line along Geary St., but nothing came of this." The Geary line was, I am told, part of the original BART proposal, but it was of course never built. That's too bad in a way, as it is one of the few lines that really had enough traffic to justify it. The 38/Geary surface buses are always full. There is some justification for a surface-level light rail line along Geary, too, but unfortunately, for political reasons, the Third Street line is being built instead (see below).

"I wonder if there are any thoughts of new subway lines in SF?" Yes. They are building one: the Third Street light rail line. This line will run partially above ground and partially through new subways in downtown. Most transit advocates think this line is a bad idea, and that the money would be better spent on the Geary corridor, but politics overrides engineering as usual, I'm afraid.

"[The F-Line] got antique trolley cars from various cities,...." While they are old, the actual cars running in daily service are relatively modern, as they are mostly 1950s-vintage PCC cars. The real antiques are saved for special occasions and holidays.

"BARTD is a modern high-speed system much like that in DC, but very expensive to ride." My British friends, conversely, are amazed at how inexpensive BART (or any of the Bay Area transit systems) is, compared to things like the Tube or commuter trains in the UK.

The vertical leg went from Richmond in the north to a little past Hayward in the south." I think Fremont is more than "a little" past Hayward. I live in Fremont, about halfway between the end of the line at Fremont and the next-to-last station at Union City.

"From time to time an extra station was added extending one of the lines, and a decade ago construction started on a new branch going east from Hayward to Pleasanton and Livermore. That branch is now open, but ends in Pleasanton, five miles short of Livermore. I wonder why it was not finished." Money. Politics. And the Dublin/Pleasanton line has terrible ridership. I

don't think it ever should have been built.

"Maps indicate that the next hoped-for expansion is to extend the Hayward line further south, but still not all the way to San Jose." The extension on the maps is known as the Warm Springs Extension, and is apparently actually moving forward, although it will probably be a long time yet before any dirt is turned on it. This will extend the Fremont line two stops through the Irvington district of Fremont to a new terminus at Warm Springs, near the Alameda-Santa Clara county line. Santa Clara is not part of BART. Santa Clara county voters voted for a sales tax expansion (which won't take effect for a few years yet) that was supposed to pay for a bunch of transit improvements, chief of which was to extend BART from the beyond the Warm Springs terminus into downtown San Jose and then north to Santa Clara in a circuitous, looping line. I campaigned against it, even though I'm a transit advocate. Nearly every sensible transit advocacy group opposed it, but it passed with a huge majority. The problem with BART is that it is horribly expensive to build and acts like a money pit. Even now, years before any construction could possibly start, Santa Clara county's transportation agency is saying that trying to actually build and operate the system would bankrupt them. Sensible transit advocates such as myself call for expansion of conventional rail service like Caltrain and the Capitols. That costs a lot less and provides quicker return on investment. In fact, if Santa Clara County's politicians -- particularly San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales -- hadn't decided it was going to be "BART or Nothing" we would have _right now_ a conventional rail link between San Jose and Fremont/Union City BART. The money was in place, the equipment was on order, and the politicians scuttled it so that they can have BART someday. I hope that someday never comes, myself.

"There is at least one opportunity to transfer from BARTD to Muni and to AC Transit." You can transfer from BART to Muni at every San Francisco BART station, but you pay an additional fare anyway. You can transfer from BART to AC Transit at every Alameda County station, but again there is extra fare.

"WORLDCON ROTATION PLAN AND NASFICS" Your explanation of what we call "no-zone" and you call "keep your distance" is substantially accurate. Well done.

"Is Dragoncon, with its 20,000-30,000 attendees a threat to the Worldcon today?" Yes, especially now that Dragoncon moved to Labor Day weekend. There are people who would go to both if they could, but if they can only pick one, they'll go to Dragoncon. I know that ConJose caught heat from people because we weren't more like Dragoncon. There is a new generation of fans for whom multi-media pop cultural extravaganzas like Dragoncon are what they think conventions are supposed to be, and over-priced events like Worldcon are for old folks. Basically, most of the younger generation want passive entertainment, while Worldcon is an interactive event. They want something where they pay a few bucks and sit back to be entertained, like at a concert, movie, or sporting event. Sad, really.


[And in response to a follow-up letter from me….]

"When I was in Livermore my closest friends were in Palo Alto and I drove to Pleasanton, then south to the "water temple" where an aqueduct ended, and then a narrow, twisty canyon road parallel to railroad tracks " That's Niles Canyon Road, California State Route 84. The larger, well-maintained railroad on one side of you there is the former Western Pacific (now Union Pacific) track. The old rickety track on the other side, which crosses the road a couple of times, is now the Niles Canyon Railroad, a tourist line. That old line is former Southern Pacific, and actually descends from the _original_ Western Pacific (not the later one that became part of Union Pacific in 1980), and it is part of the original transcontinental railroad. SP abandoned it in the 1980s in exchange for trackage rights on UP, and of course SP is now part of UP anyway.

"which left me near the Dumbarton Bridge. I think that was in Fremont." That is correct. State Route 84 runs through Fremont and over the Dumbarton Bridge. Fremont is actually the fourth largest city in the Bay Area (after San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland), but because it's a bedroom community suburb, nobody pays any attention to it.

"I was only to Stockton once,... As I remember we drove across some hills to Tracey (which I had done several times) and then on to Stockton. What route does the San Jose-Stockton train take? Does it use the tracks in that canyon I remember?" Yes. The train starts in Stockton, runs to Tracy, then through Altamont Pass over the former Western Pacific line, then through Pleasanton, Niles Canyon, and Fremont. There it joins the former Southern Pacific route through Newark and Alviso, to Santa Clara, where it joins the Caltrain line into San Jose.

"Do the Sacramento trains go up thru Oakland?" Yes. The Amtrak California Capitol Corridor trains stops are, from south to north: San Jose

Santa Clara (Great America) Fremont (Centerville) Hayward Oakland (Jack London Square) Emeryville Berkeley Richmond (BART Station) Martinez Suisun City/Fairfield Davis Sacramento Roseville Rocklin Auburn

"This new 3rd Ave is along 3rd?" Yes. The best I can do here is to quote the description from the Muni web site. Long quote coming: ---- Begin Quote ----

Phase 1 will extend Muni Metro light rail service south from its current terminal at Fourth and King Streets. The line will cross the Fourth Street Bridge and run along Third Street and Bayshore Boulevard, ending at the Bayshore Caltrain Station in Visitacion Valley. Tracks will be constructed primarily in the center of the street to improve safety and reliability and 19 stops will be provided. This phase of the light rail project is expected to open for service in 2005. Phase 2 will extend light rail service north from King Street along Third Street, entering a new Central Subway near Bryant Street, crossing beneath Market Street and running under Geary and Stockton Streets to Stockton and Clay Streets. Underground subway stations will be located at Moscone Center, Market Street, Union Square and Clay Street in Chinatown. Muni and the City are actively pursuing funding for the Central Subway. ---- End Quote ----

"What happens to the line then? Will it ark around the waterfront to meet the F at Market?" It does not need to do so. Several years ago, they extended the underground streetcar lines down to the Caltrain station by bringing them to the surface beyond Embarcadero, looping along the waterfront, and terminating at the Caltrain station. They then extended the N-Judah streetcar line so that it runs to Caltrain. (The other four subway lines continue to terminate at Embarcadero.) There was for a short time an E-Embarcadero line that ran as a shuttle between Embarcadero and the Caltrain station. They still sometimes run short shuttle trains between Caltrain and Castro Street on the subway line during baseball games.

"I understand the new baseball park is somewhere in that region." Yes. Pacific Bell Park is at the corner of Third Street and King Street. The Caltrain station is at Fourth and King, one block away. The old Southern Pacific terminus was at Third and Townsend (Townsend and King are one block apart, parallel to each other). Years ago, they tore down the SP station and cut the line back one block to Fourth and Townsend. When they built the Muni Metro extension down King Street, they renamed the Caltrain station location from "Fourth and Townsend" to "Fourth and King", to make it more obvious that Caltrain and Muni connect at that point. The Caltrain station did not move.

"The specific mention I heard on BARTD PAs was to get a transfer to a ...trolley? "Trolley" in this case is being used as a synonym for "Muni Light Rail Streetcar." the ballpark from the Embarcadero station. Was this transfer, as I assumed, either free or at a reduced fare?" No, unless you already are using a Bart "fast pass" that includes unlimited travel on BART within San Francisco and all Muni lines. Otherwise, you have to exit the BART station and pay the Muni fare separately. This can be especially annoying because BART is on the lowest level, Muni is on the middle level, and the station lobby is on the top (surface) level. So you have to exit BART, go up to the surface, buy a Muni ticket, and go back down to the Muni platform. Bay Area transit is balkanized to an amazing degree. There are dozens of agencies, all of whom have the attitude of "your children must die so that mine may thrive."

"The [Ashby] transfer had special tickets which permitted you to ride the [Ashby] bus at half fare. You said that all BARTD stations had transfers to AC busses. Were they all at reduced fare?" Yes, all BART-to-AC connections have a machine that generates a coupon good for a reduced price on AC transit buses, including a reduced fare coming back to the BART station. The discount is not much; about 25 cents each way. The regular AC Transit fare is $1.50. The fare for seniors and disabled is $0.75. With the BART transfer ticket, the regular fare is $1.25, and the senior/disabled fare is $0.55.

"When my son was small I took him to a one-day Trek convention in Manchester, 60 miles south of me, and found nothing interesting so I did not stay. My wife and I did other things until it was over around 5 PM and took him home. Actually it was a 2-day con but the second day was just an identical repeat of the first day." That is exactly what so many people want. They don't want to make a multi-day commitment like a Worldcon (or even a smaller local convention). They don't want something takes all day. They want to pay a little bit of money and be entertained for a couple of hours. It's all very passive, like watching television. They certainly don't want to have to work for their entertainment. It's very sad.

Best, Kevin Standlee


Thanks for the excellent con report, Ed. By the way, one of the tour guides at Alcatraz, is a fan, Craig Glassner. Wish this was longer-- I'm battling the flu, plus trying to make a few fan art deadlines before buckling down on some ambitious non-art, non-fan, projects of my own. (Still: at some point in the future, after I've satisfied the itch on those projects, I wouldn't mind contributing some art to NIEKAS --keep me in mind.)

best, Steve


"...a Muslim cannot enter paradise if the body is buried with that of a pig or dog." Assuming there is a paradise to enter...the process is simpler than that...just bury two or more Muslims together...a process I strongly encourage as often as possible (why pick on dogs and pigs that are in limited supply?). Someday, not withstanding Heinlein's 'Stranger,' someone, somewhere, will create a religion (a hobby of idle men) that is not quirky and it will sweep the planet like a plague. Won't last, however, as all men are born ignorant. Which makes ignorance a totally recyclable resource. Whatever happens to those buried with pigs and dogs will be the same as those eaten by dinosaurs or to be eaten by various and sundry space invaders. Whether or not they bow to Mecca, and thereby show their asses to the rest of the world, is of only minor passing note. But I like the pig and dog thing...I think camel's testicles are also a no-no.

George C.



Thanks very much for sending me an email copy of Entropy. I have forwarded a bit of your email to Susan Shwartz, whom I have been corresponding with recently. I expect she'll get in touch with you.

Your email to the SMOFS mailing list about getting text versions of the Torcon progress reports was discussed at length at the Torcon committee meeting in January. We're glad to be able to make this available to you. Torcon is also looking for volunteers to work on handicapped access. Anyone with skill in this area is encouraged to email [email protected]. Actually, we'd like to encourage anybody will skill in any aspect of running conventions to get in touch with us. The more the merrier!

I hope to see you at Boskone, if you can come to the party I will be hosting for the Seattle in '05 NASFiC bid. We're just back from our

party at Confusion in Detroit, where we won the party award for "Best Food". Worldcons are important and I encourage everyone who can afford to go to Glasgow in 2005; I plan to be there. But not everybody can afford to travel overseas. I spoke to one author recently who just didn't have a good time at the '95 Worldcon and didn't plan to go back. I know some dealers, artists, and costumers who need to go to a convention in a big van, which limits their ability to go overseas. That's why the Chesley awards stay with the NASFiC when the Worldcon goes overseas. I wasn't able to afford to go to Australia in 1999, so I was glad to have the option of Los Angeles instead of having to skip a year entirely. And 2005 is supposed to be a west-coast year, even if we don't have the zone system in the rules anymore. It would be a disappointment to lose the vote after the effort we've put in; I've run six bid parties for Seattle so far. But traveling the country and seeing our friends and many interesting people on the road is a reward in itself. I'm sure that whoever wins the NASFiC site selection, we'll have a great con in 2005.

You mention finding Lithuanian beer in San Francisco. If that's your interest, you'll like Toronto; there is an active Lithuanian community in the city's west end, with a weekly Lithuanian-language newspaper, a busy community center on Bloor Street West, and a Lithuanian museum in Mississauga.

Take care; we look forward to running into you somewhere. Alex von Thorn

|Jane Yolen

Tanks, Ed. Interesting reading, but no comment hooks.

Jane Yolen

|WAHF: Wendy Gold, Terry Jeeves, Mark Mandel (who got it twice by mistake), Genia




Dear Ed,

You had written "Thanks for your renewal. Trust you are back from your California trip. Business? Did you get to read the new NIEKAS on the plane?"

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 Webcast 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.

Yours, J. R. Madden


~ BLANCMANGE #394 (APA-Q #374, Mark Blackman) Much of interest, especially your remarks on Arab terrorists. Only comment is on your passing reference to an on-going discussion of wooden shoes and the image of the Netherlands. I assume these were for ethnic/historical dressup at festivals, and are not worn today. I had not had read to me the DAGON with John's first half of his Rhine/Danube trip and gather that he had said something about these shoes there. Apparently such shoes had been used in other parts of Europe at one time, because I saw a picture of a pile of them on sale in Lithuania sometime between the World Wars. Before I moved to California in 1962 I went to cultural events in the hall of Annunciation Lithuanian church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and sometimes home movies taken in Lithuania between the world wars were shown. The man showing this particular movie did not comment on that brief scene and I never thought of asking my mother, who had lived in Lithuania until 1931, when and where they were used. She had a doll of a woman in a traditional Lithuanian festival costume and Sandy describes the footwear as "golden Mary-Jane slippers." Maybe one the readers of Entropy in Lithuania could comment on this.

~BLANCMANGE #396 (APA-Q #476) Interested in your description of the book, Larry Beinhart's {American Hero}, the basis for the movie Wag the Dog. I am croggled that the president in the book was the elder Bush, but since the movie was made when Clinton was president I can understand them updating it and taking advantage of the Lewinski scandal. [] I like your point that King George II's war is far from the first "pre-emptive" strike by the US. In fact, I will quote: "Over 180 Marine landings 1800-1934, including years of occupation of the Dominican Republic & Haiti. All military interventions since Dec. 8, 1941. The Dominican Republic was invaded (again) in 1964 and Grenada in '83 to "prevent" them from "going Communist"; ditto Chile re the CIA's assassination of Allende. As Spain didn't blow up the Maine and there was no Tonkin Gulf "Incident", the Spanish-American & Vietnam wars are also instances of the US attacking first." [] You joked about Anglicans using coffee and Oreos as communion. The Center Harbor Congregational Church had a young, liberal, minister in the 60s who didn't last long, but he hung out in the Belknap College faculty lounge so students could consult with him. He told me about a convention of ministers where they tried to emphasize that bread and wine were everyday items in Israel by doing a communion service using coffee and donuts. [] You asked what is the exact meaning of my name in Lithuanian…is it a euphemism or a real word for bear? I grew up using "mes`ka (mesh-kah) as the word for bear. Later my mother told me that the real word for bear is "laukis," which seems related to "lauk (outside), "laukas" (field) and "laukinis" (wild, ferocious). I learned that many words I had used growing up were borrowed words and not proper Lithuanian words, and my mother told me the real words a few years ago fan Alexei Kondratiev told me that in Russian a word like "mesh-kah is used by children, but not adults, to refer to "bear." I do not know if it has a "real" meaning in Russian. My father was born in 1894 when Lithuania was a subject of the Russian empire, and in Lithuania it was illegal to teach reading and writing in Lithuanian. His papers, in Russian, gave the name as something like "mesh-ko" and when he was stranded in the US by WWI in 1917 immigration turned his name into "Maske." I had it legally corrected to the proper masculine form "Meskys" just before I graduated from college so it would be correct on my diploma. (Mesh-kah is a feminine word…I wonder why a word in popular use in Lithuania for bear would be feminine.) As I have often recounted, several generations ago the family name was "Glinskys" and became "Meskys" by accident. When an ancestor was born his father was seven feet tall, wore a bearskin coat, and had the nickname of "the bear." At the baptism party all got drunk and when the baby of honor was taken to the church to be sprinkled and registered the drunken godparents gave the nickname as the family name. This happened with my great-grandfather or earlier. Thanks to a newspaper clipping from John Boardman I got in touch with Joyce Meskis, the manager of the Tattered Cover Bookshop in Denver. She knew the same story about the origin of her family name. My father had no brothers, only two sisters, so his father or grandfather must have had a brother who was her ancestor. [] You wonder about the propriety of using "look" and "see" around me. Blind people use "look" and "see" as a common idiom, like "See you tomorrow," or "Let me see (perceive, handle) that." [] I did a mental skid when I said that I had heard that Tolkien had translated the (non-existent) Book of

Noah. I had meant to say "The Book of Jonah."

~BLANCMANGE #397 (APA-Q #477) Today Catholic and main-stream bible scholars believe that the various parts of the bible were written in the words and concepts of the time, and only the general message was inspired. Thus at the time Genesis was assembled from two or three pre-existing documents (often called something like the Yahweh Document and the Elal(?) [lord] document, it was believed that the earth was flat and the firmament was a dome over the earth. Heaven was a city sitting on top of the dome, and there was water above the dome. Thus the waters above the dome were separated from those below the dome on the first or second day of creation. In the story of Noah flood gates were opened in this dome to cause the 40 days of rain. (Also at least one of the psalms referred specifically to this dome.) I have only recently read that a major early Christian scholar proclaimed that the Greek idea of a spherical earth had to be wrong for it contradicted the bible.

Today this does not bother mainstream Christians and apparently funnymentalists do not think about it. I wish I could remember who that major scholar was.

~BLANCMANGE #398 (APA-Q #478) I had only heard the apocryphal story of Teddy Roosevelt "sparing" the bear cubs, which had inspired the newspaper cartoon, and then the toy Teddy Bear. I am very interested to learn the real story, and that the bear in question had been killed after all. Several years ago I had heard on NPR that a soldier while in Winnipeg Canada had bought a bear cub and brought it back to London, and when it became too large gave it to the London zoo where it acquired the nickname Winnie (for Winnipeg). The "Pooh" came from Milne and his toddler son speculating on what the bear would do if a fluffy feather landed on its nose…go pooh trying to blow it off. In the 60s Poul Anderson used the pen-name "Winston P. Sanders" on at least one ANALOG story, and the claim was that he was paying homage to Winnie the Pooh. If this is true, he mistook what "Winnie" was short for. And why the "Sanders?" Pooh was not part of my childhood and what I learned of him is from Sandy, and I do not know whether Sanders plays any part in this.

~BLANCMANGE #399 (APA-Q #479) As you point out, the Calvinist Puritans of Mass were dead set against Christmas, but I was surprised to learn that it was barely noted in colonial Church-of-England Virginia. A couple of years ago Sandy and I did a "Elder Hostel" in Yorktown on "Colonial Christmas," but the whole thing was humbug. They had to admit that Christmas was not celebrated anywhere in the 18th century. I have heard that in England Christmas had fallen into disrepute and was not celebrated by proper folk. It was regarded as a time of rowdy drunkenness of the lower classes when they demanded booz and food of their betters (the Wassail song). One magazine article claimed that it was Dickens with his {Christmas Carol} which rehabilitated Christmas and popularized its celebration. Can any reader collaborate this? And was it the same book which spurred the celebration in the US? Also I expect non Anglo-Saxon or Keltic (Calvinist) immigrants brought their celebrations to our shores. [] In reference to Heinlein and militarism vs. Libertarianism, I think I remember reading a Heinlein novel in the mid or late 50s where cars were manufactured in a government price-support program, akin to farm price supports, only to be crushed, and since they were never to be used they were built in a slipshod fashion. In the same book the point-of-view character complained about veterans who had lifelong benefits just because they had spent a couple of years in the army. Was this really in a Heinlein book or has my brain turned into fudge? The character's anti-military opinion was never repudiated as he developed, and this seems so counter to the attitude of {Starship Trooper} where one cannot vote unless one has risked his life for the common good in some manner. [] I liked this paragraph so much that I am quoting it here: "War Bores> Some love war for its own sake ("glory"); others because it's a means to their end (the destruction of the Commies, say); still others don't like it, but see it as necessary sometimes (as WWII was); and still others hate it, but find it interesting (why does a pacifist run war games?). Some authors write about it not because they're warmongers but because it's a shorthand way of presenting dramatic or character conflict; a few simply because there's a market for it. Military sf exploits an already existing demand. (Video games like Battletech are far more prevalent, and indoctrinating; they're even encouraged as training by the military, as you say.) Some are just loudmouths, some hacks, some undeserving. Not every novel about war advocates it, nor every alternate history its author's ideal world. Turtledove's "The Last Article" says that the Nazis were more ruthless than the Brits. Was Phil Dick a war-loving Nazi because {The Man in the High Castle} had an Axis victory? Roberta [Rogow] writes murder mysteries; does that mean that she advocates homicide? Btw, Bujold's Miles has been away from the military & mercenaries for 5 books."

~BLANCMANGE #400 (APA-Q #480) You mentioned that trolley tracks still exist on McDonald Ave. in Brooklyn. I would guess that this is because these tracks were also used by the South Brooklyn Railroad which went from the waterfront around 38 St., shared tracks with the West End/Culver line to the yards around 7 Ave, and went under the Culver El on private right-of-way from 10 Ave to McDonald Ave, and then shared tracks with the McDonald Ave trolley to Coney Island. I saw on the "3rd Level" listserv for SF fen interested in railroads that the South Brooklyn Railroad has since then been absorbed by another small line. I believe most of the trackage has since been abandoned by the freight railroad but do not know for sure. [] I understand that Brooklyn's Fulton St. runs to the waterfront just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. The Fulton St. in Manhattan also terminates on the waterfront a little south of the Brooklyn Bridge, and I wondered if the two were directly opposite each other. Before it was diverted to the Brooklyn Bridge, the Fulton St. El in Brooklyn went to the waterfront, presumably to a ferry terminal, and this remained as a stub shown on maps I own from the 30s. (The Broadway El in Brooklyn also went to the waterfront in addition to crossing the Williamsburg Bridge one block north. I remember seeing, as a child, the demolition of this stub.) Three major elevated lines originally converged on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Myrtle Ave., El, the Fulton St., El, and the 5th Ave. El. The Myrtle Ave. El continued to cross the bridge until about 1950 when trolley and el tracks were removed and the bridge was "modernized" into an auto only viaduct. [] I had always heard that the singing group "Clam Chowder" had originated in Boston when the original singers accidentally met in a bar and found that they sang well together. It was my understanding that now most of the current members are in the DC-Baltimore area with one on the West Coast. [] I do not know after whom the "Theodore Huff Memorial Film Society" was named. It had been in existence for some time when I first went, on the recommendation of members of the local SF club (The NY SF Circle) in 56 or 57. I do not remember if I resumed attending meetings when I returned to the East Coast in 1966, but it was there that I met Julius and Naomi Postal and brought them to local SF club meetings. All my friends from that group have passed away, so I do not know who could identify the source of the name today. Perhaps Pat & Dick Lupoff know, as they were part of the NY film scene at the time. I went to meetings in their home at the invite of Chris Steinbrunner, where complete movie serials were shown on a Sunday afternoon.

~DAGON 569 (APAQ 475 John Boardman). I was very interested in your description of Michael Heym's book {The King David Report}. I wonder if it is still in print, and if it had ever been recorded by an agency like RFB&D. For non-Q readers I reprint your description. It "is a satire on the way dictatorships order history re-written to order. It is told by a minor biblical character named Ethan the Ezrahite, who is assigned by King Solomon to write the official biography of King David, justifying his suppression of rival religious centers and promoting Solomon as his only rightful heir. Ethan's investigations reveal the truth of several matters which King Solomon wants suppressed. It is Ethan's account that eventually makes it into the bible, despite the fact that Ethan privately believes it's a pack of lies." You said it was written by an East German before the fall of the Soviet Empire. Was it published in East Germany or exported and published elsewhere like Pasternak and Solzanitzen? What was the agenda of the author and the publisher? Satire of government disinformation or discrediting Judeo-Christian faith? [] Iraq was far from the only country cobbled together by British and other colonial powers disregarding ethnic boundaries. When various African colonies achieved their independence in the decades after WWII their boundaries were purposefully set to mix hostile ethnic groups in single nations in order to make the nations difficult to govern, so they would have to rely on the former colonial powers for help. That is why there is so much ethnic violence today in the former African colonies. [] I found the reminiscences of your and Perdita's visit to Vienna very interesting, especially the history you gave us. I liked the story of the six-year-old Wolfgang Mozart proposing to the six-year-old future Marie Antoinette. [] You spoke of the difficulty of getting to Iceland. Fred Lerner flew to a European vacation on Icelandic Airlines and that has a built-in 3 day stopover. He said that Icelandic tourist services are built to cover the essentials of the country in that time period. He praised the itinerary and we are thinking of trying to schedule our trip to the '05 Worldcon in Glasgow on Icelandic. [] Your mention of the various fannish parodies of Gor, Free Amazons of Gor," "Housewives of Gor," and "Buckets of Gor," remind me of that I had described to me at a con a year or two back a delightful poster or mock dust jacket for "Smerfs of Gor." [] You wrote interestingly about the use of suicide in military and paramilitary operations, from the 911 attack on NY to the Japanese kamikaze planes of WWII to Palestinians in Israel. I like your point that these are the last desperate gasps of a failing cause and in the long run hurts the offenders more than the victims. The Palestinians regard the Israelis as western colonialists like the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem in the middle ages, and they believe that just as the Christians were driven out, though it took almost 200 years, the Israelis will also be driven out. However you feel that the Israelis are technologically and militarily superior, and have no place to retreat to. Sandy and I just attended a talk by Dr. Johnson, prof. Of Middle Eastern Studies at NYU and he spoke of the emotional reaction of all Arabs to Israel, regarding it as a colonial invasion similar to that ancient Christian kingdom, and that they will never co-exist with Israel. He made a number of interesting points, like when in 1944 US ambassadors (or was it Roosevelt himself) broached to King Saud the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, Saud countered suggesting that the Jews be given the Ruhr Valley as a homeland. It was the Germans who persecuted the Jews and so they should lose land to give them a homeland. Dr. Johnson also mentioned that Iraq has one of the largest Christian populations in the middle east, and just six months ago a new Eastern Rite Catholic bishop was welcomed to Baghdad. It was US foreign policy which led to the current problems throughout the world. In 1948 the "Kennan Approach" focused on availability of mid-eastern oil and prevention of further expansion of the influence of the Soviet empire, and this led to many unwise alliances. This reminds me of the Truman quote [approximately] "Sure he's a stinker, but he's OUR stinker." Dr. Johnson indicated that the current administration is on an imperial binge, the first one since the reign of Teddy Roosevelt. In Roosevelt's time writers like Mark Twain opposed his imperialism, and intellectuals today are doing the same with Shrub. He said that it is clear that Shrub's advisors are planning a number of conquests to follow Iraq, namely Iran, Syria, and eventually North Korea. [] Speaking of the middle east, I just read a marvelous article in the March 10, 2003, issue of AMERICA, a liberal Jesuit weekly. The article was "Wahhabism and Jihad" by Patrick Lang("a retired senior official of The US Defense Intelligence and a life-long student of the Arab world"). While many Muslims are interested in living the western ideal of a secular state with religious freedom, this particular sect still believes that it is right to kill any non-Muslims and even Muslims who do not agree with their extreme views. And the royal family in Saudi Arabia are members of this sect! I have gotten a print copy of this article to share. Only the first paragraph is available to non-subscribers on the "America magazine" website, but my town library was able to print out a full copy for me. [] This was a superb issue of DAGON and I recommend that any non-APAQ readers of ENTROPY get a copy from John(234 E 19 St., Brooklyn NY 11226-5302). The pieces on Vienna and on the middle east are musts!

~DAGON 570 (APAQ 476) You said that the {Jerusalem Bible} was a direct translation from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek sources, using the French translators' notes. I keep seeing remarks to the effect that the translators were worried about the Vatican rejecting some of the more liberal interpretations in their translation so they presented it as a translation from the already approved French translation. I have recently heard that there is a second edition of the {Jerusalem Bible} but do not know how much it was revised or when. I saw a passing reference to improved notes in this second edition. [] I had also read that a church scholar or authority had decreed in the 3rd or 4th century that the bible declares that the earth is flat, so theories about it being a sphere must be wrong. Would you know just who this authority was and when he made his declaration?

~DAGON #571 (APAQ 477) You compared the bad rap of lutefisk to that of haggis and polpi. Of course I have often heard remarks about lutefisk on Prairie Home Companion, and have a vague idea that it is a form of preserved fish which has been treated with lime (the mineral, not the fruit) and dried. I have never had the opportunity to try it, but wonder if it would be available at one of the Smorgasbord restaurants a bit north of Times Square, or does the Sons of Norway Hall still exist on 8 Ave. Brooklyn around 59 St., and does it still serve Norwegian dinners? Haggis I have enjoyed a number of times while in Scotland and at Scottish Games. Polpi I have never heard of. What ethnicity does it belong to, and what is it like?

~DAGON #572 (apa-q 478) I had never thought about the energy involved when new universes split off of ours at decision points. I assume that there is a decision point at every radioactive decay, though most do not influence the universe as drastically as that in the "Schro"dinger's Cat" experiment. Since each split off universe would continue to have decays we would have branching after branching and by now there must be an almost uncountable number of parallel universes, most trivially different, if that particular model of quantum theory is true. It is a very good point, asking just where the energy to create each of these universes comes from. It is a point I had never thought of before. [] You remark that in German the gender of "moon" is masculine, that of sun feminine, opposite of the romance languages. You go on to mention that Old Norse is the same as German, but in Russian sun is neuter and the moon feminine, while both are masculine in Hebrew. Lithuanian follows the German/Old Norse tradition. [] You often recommend I. F. Clarke's {Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars 1763-3749} (Second Edition, 1992, Oxford University Press). When narrating at RFB&D could you check if this has ever been recorded? If they have, please order it for me. If not, both you and I own copies and I would like to get it recorded. I hope it is still in print, since RFB&D do not do OP books.

~DAGON 573 (APAQ 479) You reported rumors that glucomosine causes memory loss. Sandy and I are taking it for our arthritis, after the help it gave for guide dog Judge. I have to check with my physician on what he has heard about this. [] I find it interesting that the NY POST originated as a conservative newspaper 200 years ago, and is now ending its days as such now. In the 1950s it had the reputation of being extremely liberal, and in those days of McCarthy it was smeared as sympathetic to Communists.

~DAGON 574 (apa-q 480) Appreciated your elaboration on the Norse gods, which I copied into the lettercol above. Sorry, but while I enjoyed thish I have no other comments.

~HOW TOO #85 (Don del Grande for APAQ 479) I tried sending you email to the [email protected] listed in your zine and it bounced. Did I make a error in transcribing it from your zine or have you changed eddresses? [] You said that the Star Trek NEMESIS movie was made at three hours and edited down to two hours. I wonder if a VCR or DVD version will have the complete movie. I remember when TNG first went on the air Wesley was a major character written in for girls in their early teens to drool over, and he was very annoying to older viewers. Since he was downplayed after the first season or so I guess he didn't even attract the teenyboppers. I had heard that he was Roddenberry's picture of an ideal young self and it was with great reluctance that Gene cut him down. It is interesting that the character was put into the movie, and then cut out again. The actor must have some real enemies at Paramount if they never told him that he had been cut, and then sent him to a staff showing rather than the real premier. This reminds me…I had heard that Sulu had had a major role in the film about rescuing the whales, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. Does the DVD restore his cut scenes? I have seen the video with descriptive video service on it and this was the theatrical version of the film. [] In discussing inadequate school funding you suggested that local towns might impose their own local taxes to improve their schools. Sorry, but that is the situation here in New Hampshire and it is not working. Each school district imposes its own local real estate tax and gets very little help from the state. The poor towns do not have enough property to support their schools, and so have poor schools. My town has a lot of lake-front property which has very high evaluation, so the tax rate is low. On my 7 room house on almost 2 acres of land I pay less than $1,000 a year. Towns with industry also have lower tax rates, but towns without either expensive property or industry just cannot raise enough money for their schools. The poor towns took the state to court and won, and now the state is squirming to come up with the money to help them. There is a lot of bickering, due to the stinginess of the population which does not want any broad-based taxes. (Our sales tax only applies to meals and hotel rooms, and our income tax applies only to interest and stock dividends.)

~How Too #86 (for APAQ 491) I appreciate your statement "Space business as usual. No Chicken Little allowed. Keep that next Mars mission on schedule…." [] Thanks for the correction on the name of BART. They were voting on setting up the Bay Area rapid transit system when I lived out there and they referred to it as the B.A.R.T.District, and I had assumed that BARTD was the name of the agency which now ran the system. And just saying it as an acronym does not reveal whether the D is present or not. [] As for what trolley cars are on the Market St. surface line, I had only been told that they were antiques, but see Kevin Standalee's LoC above. But by antiques they meant the streamlined PCC cars as opposed to modern "light rail" trainsets as under Market St. Living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, in the ‘40s I experienced boxy double-ended cars which were long skinny octagons. They were boxes with slim wedges cut out from all four corners so as to clear obstacles better when making tight turns. These were on the two lines I used regularly, the 5th Ave. Line and the 8th Ave. Line. These formed my mental picture of antique cars and were what I imagined the Market St. surface cars to be. (I only used the Church Ave. line in the 50s to visit friends in Flatbush just before that line was converted to busses, one of the last two lines to be converted in Brooklyn. This was the only time I rode on PCC cars in Brooklyn. Until recently PCC cars were used on the Green Line in Boston.) [] It is a decade or two since I wandered the streets of downtown Berkeley. The Little Men still existed but met in a bookstore on Telegraph Ave, but I was not in town at the time of a meeting. I did go into the store but do not remember if it was Hobbit or Carnival. I did go into Change of Hobbit this time, and it was on the island of buildings between the two halves of Shattuck Ave. which make up Shattuck Square. I do not remember the cross-street. This trip I passed Dark Carnival, on College a bit south of Ashby, but it was closed at the time.

~JERSEY FLATS TOO (Roberta Rogow) for APAQ 481 I greatly appreciate your statement supporting continued manned space flight despite the risks. Every aspect of life has some risk to it, some more than others. The astronauts know what risks they are taking and go ahead gladly. [] I was very interested to learn about the existence of Eclecticon centered on "fan fiction." You mentioned Starwars and Sherlock Holmes, so it is not only media centered fiction but all pastiches? What other universes were discussed this year? Some authors like Jacqueline Lichtenberg and the late Marion Bradley encourage(d) fan fiction in their universes. Were these represented at Eclecticon? Which authors/studios encourage/tolerate fan fiction? How bent out of shape do they get by gay porn like K/S stories? I have heard that K/S is the most popular of this sub-genre of "slash," but in which other universes is there gay porn?

My thanks to Mark Blackman for e-mailing issues of Blancmange and Dagon so I could read them on my computer, and to John Boardman for reading onto tape other materials from the Dec 2002 thru March 2003 disties of APAQ.

I have commented on all the zines I got by email or which John read to me. There are at least two disties which I have not seen, but I am not going to comment on them thish even if I get them in time. I want to finish several incomplete pieces above, reread and polish the whole zine, and get it to John in time for the May 10 disty.

END {I have scanned "Wahhabism and Jehad" and will email a copy on request.}

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