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 #37

THE VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL #37, 28 January, 2006, for APA-Q #504, from Ed Meskys, 322 Whittier Hwy, Moultonboro NH 03254-3627, [email protected]

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Corrections made after APA distribution in braces. I guess this could also be called NIEKAS #46.09. To help you move around in the email edition, I mark new subjects with “•", authors of letters with "|", fanzines commented on with "~". My thanks to Sandy for cleaning up and formatting the last few ish.


I have lived in this same house since I bought it July, 1967, but just had my address change for the fourth time. I am even now recognized by the post office as living in the next town over. My official address is now:

Ed & Sandy Meskys
322 Whittier Hwy
Moultonboro NH 03254-3627.

The RR #2 Box 63 has gone the way of all flesh, tho the PO will honor both addresses for several months.


If you expect a response from me and do not get one, or if you want to be really sure I got an important message, please send your email with a “receipt requested” on it. As I said last time, lengthy fanzines are sometimes blocked by my ISP’s spam filter. If this happens to you and you send a short note about it, I can put you on my ISP’s “white list.” Today I just found out that 2/3 of my email was blocked for several days around Nov. 1, and neither the sender nor I knew it had happened. If you do not get back a receipt you will know I never got the message.

A minor nuisance is Outlook express downgrading some symbols available in Office, or somewhere in Windows. Available symbols include letters with French, Spanish, or German accents, paragraph and section markers, big and little bullets, fractions, some superscript numbers, etc. I tried marking sections here in ENTROPY with the big bullet, but after emailing it is received as a simple period. I am keeping it in the few print copies, but have to come up with another, transferable, symbol for email distribution. Also, the first “s” in my name should have a v-shaped accent over it, but emailing strips the mark. Nothing to get upset over, but mildly annoying.


We arrived in Glasgow Wednesday morning, August 3, a day early for the Worldcon, to be acclimated and ready for the con next day. We stayed at university housing a 15 minute walk from the convention center, closer than any hotel except for the Moat House. Each floor had a kitchen, so Sandy cooked a good breakfast and made sandwiches to carry. Jim Reynolds had the next room, which he was supposed to share with Toni Piper, but last minute hassles kept her from attending. We usually had breakfast together, and were often joined by a British fan. Later we found a couple active in the Boston S.C.A., John and Kristin Page, whom Sandy had known 20 years ago, and they became part of our Breakfast group. The dorm also held many fen from Poland, but not on our floor.

We arrived tired from our over-night flight but explored the city a bit Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. We walked the streets of downtown and toured the oldest house in Glasgow. We were very interested in the Museum of Religion attached to St. Mongo’s cathedral. I had never heard of this saint before, and kept thinking of Flash Gordon and Ming the Merciless. The exhibit gave the history of religion in Scotland from the pagan predecessors thru the Christian era. St. Mongo and another with an unfamiliar name were responsible for bringing Christianity to Scotland and to Glasgow in particular. The museum exhibits covered very gingerly but fairly the religious wars in Britain. There was also good coverage of non-Christian world religions. [] We did not visit the cathedral itself, but I heard it was one of only two in Britain which was not destroyed or suffered major damage during the religious wars, especially during the Commonwealth. From what I vaguely remember of courses taken some 50 years ago, lowland Scotland was very drawn to Calvinism, from which the modern Presbyterians are descended. As I remembered it, the official church in Scotland was Presbyterian with only a small part of the population being Anglican. I had the mistaken memory that the name “Church of Scotland” had applied to the recognized Presbyterian church, but in correspondence Diana Paxson tells me that it is applied to the Anglican church in Scotland. Does the official Presbyterian church have any designation other than “Presbyterian?” And do the Anglicans or Presbyterians own the St. Mongo Cathedral? (Now that Catholics are tolerated and have built new churches, I wonder what they call their cathedral.) I had assumed that St. Mongo’s was owned by the official Presbyterian church and wondered what use they made of it since they do not have bishops. (The word “cathedral” means “chair” and is the chair where the bishop sits.) I had worn Sandy out reading the long captions and panels, so did not get to all of them. At that time I was sure that the “Church of Scotland” was Presbyterian, and that St. Mongo belonged to them, so I did not look for clarification in the museum exhibits.

Sandy and I got together with friends to go out to dinner twice in full restaurants, Indian and Japanese, once as guests of Jim Reynolds. Otherwise we ate at pubs where we got excellent food at reasonable prices. We purchased two cans of haggis at a local market which we brought home to serve to friends.

I did not bring my guide dog, Judge, to the con because, while it is now possible to bring a mammal into the U.K., the procedure is very elaborate and all of the kinks had yet to be worked out. That summer Judge was 11.5 years old and tired easily, and too old to learn the British traffic patterns. When I get my next dog I will have the necessary chip implanted right away so he would be ready should I again want to bring him to a restricted land. Also, by then the hassles about allowing guide dogs in the passenger cabin on long-range flights into Britain should be worked out. The path between the dorm and the convention center was very complex, including crossing a large parking lot with no landmarks. I never did fully learn it, so I had to walk with others.

The convention complex consisted of three buildings which came close together at a point, and enclosed bridges connected them. Most of the convention was in the “International Convention Center,” but the big auditorium and a few meeting rooms were in the building called “The Armadillo”, and the bar, fan(zine) lounge, and a few meeting rooms were in the Moat House Hotel. I believe that in 1995 only the ICC existed. The Hilton Hotel was the official party hotel, and it and all the other hotels were in down-town Glasgow, a mile or two, or a five minute train ride, away. Moshe Feder’s pre-con party was in the Moat House, but I could not stay awake for it, and the dead dog party was in the bar and connecting fan lounge. In LOCUS, Charlie Brown wrote that all the publishers’ and pro parties were in the Moat House. Most of the fan parties were on the second floor of the Hilton, tho a few were on the 3rd floor. There were several large rooms facing a sort of lobby and people drifted from one to another. There was a bar set up in the lobby. As could be expected, at first the parties were awful crowded, but after a while they became manageable. I am getting old and only partied a bit past midnight, after which I shared taxis back to the dorm. I did find interesting people to talk with in the parties and the fanzine lounge. In the latter I had a very long talk with Ahrvid Engholm from Sweden. Also, Moshe Feder introduced me to Magner’s Irish Cider, which is excellent. On return we found it in one local supermarket and stocked up. [] There were the usual con promotion or bid parties, most interesting of which was for Moscow in 2017, to mark the anniversary of the largest ever attempt at social engineering. Thursday night the big party was one for people who had been to four or more worldcons on that side of the Pond, then the following nights the big parties were thrown by Danish, Swedish, and Finnish fandoms.

Programming was interesting and I found panels to go to almost every hour, and when I didn’t I hung out in the fanzine lounge. Meeting rooms were small for many panels and security would not let in more people than they regarded as safe. Late comers missed panels, or were allowed in only when someone else left, but the rooms never became overcrowded and stifling.

The huckster room was very small, but had a good selection of books. In it, I was fascinated by the “Zaphod Beeblebrox rainbow bear.” I simply took it for a mutant Teddy-Bear with two heads and three arms. It was skillfully crafted and sewn and I faunched to buy it, but the £35 (apx. $65) was just too rich for just a joke. It is years since I had listened to my tapes of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” radio programs, and had forgotten the character, “Zaphod Beeblebrox,” who had two heads and three arms. It was a passing mention in Chris Garcia’s fanzine, DRINK TANK, which reminded me of his name and appearance. I just wanted to put the bear on display in my living room as a mutant Teddy-Bear.

We had two days to spare before the start of the Tolkien conference in Birmingham and had planned to spend it in Shrewsbury to explore “Brother Cadfael” country, but when we called bed-&-breakfasts” about making reservations they hung up on us, without saying one word after “Hello, this is….” So we extended our stay in the university housing in Glasgow. It did cost a bit more than the con rate, since we did not reserve it thru the con booking agency. We had planned to see more of Glasgow. However we were tired and on the verge of coming down with colds so on Tuesday we did little more than sleep, do laundry, and have lunch at a pub Fred Lerner had recommended. We also went to the convention center and with the help of their housing agent firmed up reservations for our last week of vacation, in Cardiff. Thus we never did get to the various Macintosh architectural sites or the Burrell Collection, which had been highly recommended by several friends when they learned we were going to Glasgow. Jim Reynolds, who did go, described it as “It was the personal collection of Sir William Burrell, a Glaswegian shipping magnate who bought what -he- liked, and who was, apparently, a very astute buyer. The collection was given to the City of Glasgow in 1944, together with a sum of money to build a suitable home for it; which home was erected on the grounds of Pollok Park, another estate which had been given to the City.” I guess it was the Glasgow equivalent of San Simeon or The Cloisters.

Last day we went to the children’s science museum, just past the convention center, which was excellent. And none of the exhibits were broken, but all worked. However, we did miss the top floor because the elevator was broken, and Sandy is extremely uncomfortable with stairs whose steps have no “risers.” We were still very tired and not at our best because of our insipient colds, and did not want to take the chance of tripping on the stairs. The exhibits and a half hour movie emphasized ecology, global warming, and conservation. Actually we saw concern about global warming all over Glasgow. Another example of this awareness of global warming was a postcard showing two men in white robes on camels in a lifeless desert. Sandy read onto tape for me the caption, but some words were too faint to hear. It said: “[unintelligible words] Scotland may have looked like this [unintelligible words] during the Permian Period, about 250 million years ago [when it was at the latitude of the Sahara]. This scene may return if the greenhouse effect reaches its logical conclusion.” [] We had been told that there was an exhibit of Macintosh artifacts near this museum but could not find it. Macintosh was to Scott architecture what Frank Lloyd Wright was to that in the US, and to Scott interior furnishing what William Morris was to that in England.

Britrail had been broken up into a half dozen parts and sold to independent companies. The train from Glasgow to Birmingham was operated by “Virgin,” which is the same company as runs Virgin Airlines. There was much confusion at the train station. After we boarded we were told to get off and take special busses instead for part of the trip, and then were sent back to the train. We ended up leaving three hours late. We were not told what was happening, but just ushered from place to place by silent workers. We speculated that there was some kind of bomb threat or other security scare, but later learned that there was track work on a segment and they were not sure whether a train could get thru.

The conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of {Lord of the Rings} was on Aston University campus. The dormitory housing included an excellent, full breakfast. For an additional $35 or $40 a day it also included dinner, but that was not worth the extra money. There was a nearby convenience store where we bought food, and each group of dorm rooms had a kitchen. Fortunately Sandy traveled with her cook set as all that was in the kitchen was tea cups and tubes of instant coffee. (These tubes, about the size and shape of a non-king-size cigarette, seemed common in the U.K.) There was a snack bar in the classroom building where sessions were held, and an excellent pub right on campus.

It was an “academic conference,” so all the papers were read from prepared manuscripts. Thus there was no spontaneity or life in the presentations. Still, the material was interesting enough to slog thru the presentations. Last day we had an embarrassing moment. Sandy’s cold was really bugging her, and during a poorly prepared presentation she fell asleep and started snoring loudly. The speaker was, naturally, quite offended and thought someone awake was making the sound as criticism. I quickly woke Sandy. The Mythopoeic Society did have part of one track, and did have a few lively panel discussions. One evening the con presented an amusing one-hour dramatic presentation of the whole {Silmarillion}. Unfortunately this was the same evening as the local SF club, “Brum,” meeting which I had hoped to attend. There were no announced room parties at night but many gathered in the plaza outside the dorm at night for socializing and singing. I did get to talk some with Joe Christopher and his wife, Bonnie Callahan (formerly GoodKnight), and Donna Ring, a blind fan from Baltimore. I tried to meet up with Tim Kirk, whom I had not seen in many a year, but we kept having conflicts with proposed meeting times. I did get his eddress and have written to him. Incidentally, Worldcon was not able to provide an accessible pocket program, but the Tolkien Conference had a Braille one. The con daily newsletter was only produced in a very small edition, and it was posted in Elevators and other strategic places. There were none to take with you.

Sunday morning a party got together to share a cab to church, going to “The Oratory” where Tolkien spent much of his youth. After she was widowed his mother had converted to Catholicism to the annoyance of her family. When she was dying herself she arranged for a priest in this church to be the young Tolkien’s guardian, to be sure he was brought up Catholic. This church was also the home of Cardinal Newman for many years, so after mass we got a tour of the rectory, saw a trunk which had belonged to Tolkien’s mother (with much joking about it containing many unpublished JRRT manuscripts), and the apartment where Cardinal Newman had lived, including his library and private chapel. Leader of this expedition was Charles Coulomb, a Tolkien scholar from L.A.

While in Birmingham Sandy wanted to see a bit of the surroundings, but the major site was a foundry where iron bridges were made. This was quite far out of town, and the guide book said you should take at least two days to see it all. Our colds were getting a bit worse, and a local convenience store sold us some of the best over-the-counter meds we had had. This was Beecham’s All In One. Monday afternoon we left the con a bit before it ended and caught our train to Cardiff, where we spent our last nine nights.

We took a cab the Backpackers’ Hostel. It was a garish purple and yellow building, not affiliated with Hostelling International. We had a very pleasant stay and enjoyed the amenities, including a rooftop patio on the second floor with chairs and tables for lounging, and clotheslines for drying your wash. They provided a continental breakfast of toast and jam, and those tubes of instant coffee.

Our first day we toured Cardiff Castle, which included a magnificent manor house inhabited by a wealthy coal magnate’s family until the 1940s, when it was donated to the city and established as a museum with tours. On the same property was a Norman tower with an outside stair which we climbed. This had been the keep of the fortification built by the Norman conquerors soon after William the Bastard’s invasion. Another building housed a gift shop and regimental museum, but the stairs were too difficult when we were recovering from climbing the tower. The wall surrounding the property had many clever carvings of animals. The manor house was also well endowed with carvings of biblical scenes from the Old Testament. We did the off-and-on double-decker bus tour of the city, and took a local bus to St. Fagan’s, about 15 minutes out of the city. On the bus we met 4 or 5 local blind people who had arranged for a guided tour of the manor house. This, too, had been donated as a museum shortly after WWII. Some tax laws must have changed in 1946 or 1947 that made it impractical for wealthy persons to retain large holdings. We asked these people if we could join their tour, which was quite good. The manor house was at the entrance to a large park, which housed many other exhibits. It was something like Sturbridge, in Massachusetts, to which many old buildings had been moved, and showed various aspects of past Welsh life. As we wandered the estate and stopped at places like a blacksmith’s shop Sandy read the signs to me, and we asked the docents to explain in words for my benefit what they were doing. The other blind people heard this and asked to go along with us. We also asked the docents to allow us to feel some of their exhibits. One of the most interesting exhibits was a set of a half dozen identical houses moved from a early 19th century tract for shale mine workers. They were furnished, as they would have been by successive generations of inhabitants, starting from shortly after they were built. First there were 50 year steps between the houses, later 30 year jumps. British homes are very small compared to what we are used to, and very efficient use was made of every square inch. The workers were quite prosperous before the great depression, and some built secondary structures so they had a formal sitting room for visiting with guests in one building, and an every-day living room in the other. Museum staff normally did not let visitors enter the 1950s house because it was impossible to find carpeting from that period in good condition. They were afraid that too much foot-traffic would destroy their irreplaceable rug, but they let our group enter. The last house was equipped as for the 1980s, when the exhibit was built. The living room included a video recorder, which was a Beta-Max, appropriate for the period. We ate lunch in one of several cafeterias, and had a rest with tea a few hours later. We saw only a small fraction of all the exhibits, and hope we can return on a later trip to a British worldcon, or perhaps make a special trip during off-season. I am especially intrigued by a reported exhibit of a house of the future, as envisioned in the 1980s. [] One couple, David and June Groves, told us that a number of local blind people were having a party in their garden (back yard) Sunday afternoon, and invited us to join them. Another lady, Sue Evans, who lived a block away from the Groveses, invited us to dinner so we would know the bus route there, and we stayed for excellent spaghetti and conversation. We did return for a pleasant Sunday afternoon and met 8 or so people. There were three guide-dogs present, tho one was retired. Some of the people used to belong to the parallel National Federation of the Blind of the UK, but none were currently active. I was surprised that most of the beer served was chilled lager, mostly fosters from Australia. [] Before taking the bus out to the party we went to mass at the Catholic cathedral, St. David’s. During the Irish potato famine, exacerbated by the British land-owning nobility, many Irish fled to other lands in addition to the United states, and many settled in Wales. There were no Catholic churches in Cardiff, so the Irish raised the funds to build St. David’s. I think St. David is the patron saint of Wales, so I was surprised that the Irish chose that name.

We did two day trips out of Cardiff, to Shrewsbury and to Hay on Wye. [] We used the last uncommitted coupon on our Britrail Pass to go to Shrewsbury, the home of the fictional Brother Cadfael. Since Shrewsbury had not wanted us to stay over between Glasgow and Birmingham we didn’t want to spend any money there, and packed a lunch which we ate in a park. The ladies’ loo at the train station was out of order so we had to have ciders at a pub, which was a pleasant experience. Had a very nice conversation with the lady bartender at a time they were not at all busy. [] The monastery had been almost completely destroyed by Henry VIII and there was little to see. Part of a church survived, which was still in use. There was a visitors’ center celebrating Brother Cadfael, with two specially commissioned stained glass windows. Also silver footprints were inserted in the sidewalks to mark locations mentioned prominently as visited by “him.”

Our other day trip was by bus to Hay on Wye, a town of 5,000 people known for having some 40 second-hand bookstores. It took three busses and close to three hours to get there. A few decades ago the owner of one bookstore, Richard Booth (, decided to put the town on the map by encouraging others to open used bookstores. He was successful and now many come to his town just to visit the shops, and despite the competition his business has gone way up. Stores specialized in subjects like horses, history, or classic fiction. It reminded me of the long-gone glorious days of “book row” on 4th Ave., Manhattan, between 8 and 13 Streets. Now only two stores remain in the neighborhood (Strand and Forbidden Planet). Mr. Booth was recently interviewed on National Public Radio and said he will try to do the same thing in a small town in Nebraska. Also, in her GoH interview in Glasgow, Jane Yolen mentioned a similar town in Scotland, Wigtown. The last busses home involved a very local bus which stopped at every crossroad, and it took us four hours to return.

We also spent time shopping in Cardiff. Sandy loved the lace curtains that adorned most Cardiff windows and bought a set for our dining room window. We went to the tea counter of the local department store and bought some of every kind available. We brought home over three kilograms of tea, including a half-kg tin of English Breakfast and a half-kg tin of Earl Grey. We ate most lunches at pubs, while Sandy cooked breakfasts and dinners in the hostel kitchen. The pub we liked best was Trader’s Tavern, a short distance from St. David’s Cathedral. We were still fighting colds, and Sandy got conjunctivitis, so we did less than we had hoped. Sandy went into a pharmacy to get something to relieve the pain in her eye and was croggled to be sold an antibiotic, Chloramphenicol, without a prescription. It worked a wonder! We missed two other living museums outside of town, a Roman military encampment and a medieval village. (I understand that at one time members of the SCA in Massachusetts had acquired some land in NH and had dreamed of doing something like that here. Unfortunately nothing came of it.) Well, maybe we will be able to return to Cardiff some day.

Our original plan was to take a train to London, have dinner with Donald Bailey and Catherine M. Johns, friends of Anne Braude’s, stay over in a hostel, and catch a morning train to Gatwick. However they recommended we skip going to London but go straight to the airport next morning because Londoners were jittery and not at all friendly as a result of the recent tube bombings. They sounded like wonderful people to meet and we were sorry we missed them.

After the great delay in the Glasgow to Birmingham train we were nervous about missing our flight home we took a VERY early train, and got to the airport very early and tired. Then problems started. Because of electronic problems with flight control our plane was an hour late leaving London. The international arrivals in Philadelphia were hell on earth and we will never return to the US thru it. If we have to, we will pay a higher fare to use an airline which does not return thru Philadelphia, it was THAT bad. We got thru customs very quickly but after that we had no direction of where to go. We were nervous, being an hour late, of missing our connection to Boston. There were no signs or personnel to tell us where to go. Finally someone pointed us to a stairway and we had to go down seven flights carrying our carry-on baggage, and me trying to use my long white cane. We found ourselves in a long passage with no signs, but after a thousand or more feet we found an US Airways employee who directed us to keep going and told us the gate number we would need. When we got there, tired and feeling ill, there was no sign of our flight. The gate was marked for a totally different destination. None of the nearby gates had any personnel, either. We were exhausted and hysterical when we finally found a person who really did a heroic job of helping us. The time of our flight was past, but she said that US Airways had a plane to Boston every hour and she would get us on the next one. Then she noticed that our original flight was delayed and we could still board it. They re-opened the door and got us on, but that was a mistake. One of four redundant satellite navigation devices was not working and they tried for another hour to fix it. Then they took one from another plane, but that wouldn’t work either. Finally they took all of us off the plane and put us on another. We arrived in Boston three hours late, two hours later than we would have had we taken the next plane. Baggage was fine, but we had missed the last bus into Boston and had to take a very expensive taxi. As planned, we stayed overnight at the Youth Hostel (aka Hostelling International) and caught a bus back to concord and our car the next morning. Despite the colds and the hell in Philadelphia we had a very good trip and are looking forward to the next UK worldcon, or separate off-season visit.


Shortly before his death, Howard Devore posted the following on the N3F listserv:

Bill Crawford of Pennsylvania put out a semi-pro magazine called MARVEL TALES for 10 cents in ‘33, ‘34. He set the type and hand printed it himself. Andre sent him a story (“All Cats are Grey”?) and it was accepted but Bill went broke and out of business. In 1947 he put out FANTASY BOOK magazine and printed the story. That one was SF, Andre had already had some pirate and adventure books by that time but she was a fan in the thirties and worked for the Cleveland library.


I enjoy a newsletter I get every Friday called “WHAT'S NEW from Robert L. Park. Here’s the one for 21 Oct 05:

1. SUPREME QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE NOMINEE'S VIEWS ON SCIENCE? Our request for questions that should be asked of Supreme Court nominees to elicit their views on science drew a huge response. Traditionally, nominees are not questioned about their religious views on the assumption that an oath to uphold the constitution makes the nominee's religious views irrelevant. Science, which bases judgments solely on the evidence, is the antithesis of religion and is clearly relevant. The WN staff felt the question that best captured the consensus of our readers' views in the fewest number of words was from Abi Soffer at SLAC: "How does being descended from a monkey affect your judicial philosophy?" WN will include more suggested questions each week until the confirmation process in the Senate is over. [] 2. INTELLIGENT ASTROLOGY: TRIAL FOCUSES ON DEFINITION OF SCIENCE. In early August, expecting it might come up in the Dover School Board case, WN copped a definition of science from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. It mentions the natural world, but not the supernatural. On Tuesday, Michael Behe, the defense's irreducible-complexity guru, testified in favor of a broader definition. According to a NY Times story, Behe acknowledged that "scientific theory" by his definition would fit astrology as well as intelligent design. [] 3. SPACE RACE: SO WENT THE LAST ISLAND OF SANITY IN A CRAZY WORLD. Who would have believed that the United States, having landed men on the Moon 36 years ago in a race with the Soviet Union, and having spent more than $600B on its space program, would today be locked in another race to send humans to the Moon? A race with China? And China may be ahead? Go on! Now suppose I told you that the United Kingdom, long admired by scientists for staying clear of the ISS, is urged by a commission of the Royal Astronomical Society to enter the race? "Say it ain't so, Joe." 4. BUT I HAVE SOME GOOD NEWS: THE MOON MAY BE A SOURCE OF OXYGEN. In a 1989 interview on CNN, Vice President Dan Quayle explained why the U.S. should undertake a manned mission to Mars: "We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe," That didn't pan out, but I have some good news: we don't have to go all the way to Mars for oxygen. UV images obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope show ilmenite deposits on the Moon. Need to breathe on the Moon? Just smelt up a little ilmenite. [] THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND. Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the University of Maryland, but they should be. Archives of What's New can be found at What's New is moving to a different listserver and our subscription process has changed. To change your subscription status please visit this link:

I always enjoy his comments on funnymentalists vs. evolution and other absurdities, but am unhappy about his hostility to any manned space missions. And I am afraid that in its tax cutting frenzy Congress will bankrupt the nation and then kill all space projects, manned and unmanned, to give token appeasement to a balanced budget. I suspect his comments on a new race to the moon with China is hyperbole. China just had its second manned launch, but that is a long way from being able to go to the moon. I have heard on the radio that China wants to build its own space station. On the other hand, this from Arthur Lortie on the Trufen listserv:

“One of these days, Alice”

I'm saving up ... And I'm willing to bet one of the sign-ups would indeed be honeymooners.


Rocket Maker Offers Rides Around the Moon By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer Thu Jul 28, 1:40 AM ET

MOSCOW - A Russian rocket manufacturer is proposing sending space tourists on a ride around the moon for $100 million, and a top official of the nation's space agency said the project could be viable. Nikolai Moiseyev, deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, said the agency had just started considering the proposal by the RKK Energia company. The trip around the moon would include a weeklong stay aboard the international space station, Energia chief Nikolai Sevastyanov said Wednesday. The project would involve reliable Soyuz booster rockets that have been the mainstay of the Soviet and Russian space program since the 1960s. "The project is absolutely realistic and we have come close to implementing it," Sevastyanov said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. The cash-strapped Russian space program has sought to supplement scarce government funding with revenues from space tourism. California businessman Dennis Tito paid the Russian space agency about $20 million for a weeklong trip to the international space station in 2001, and South African Mark Shuttleworth followed suit the a year later. A millionaire U.S. scientist, Gregory Olsen, has signed a deal with the Russian space agency to fly to the orbiting station as early as October, when the next Soyuz mission is scheduled to bring supplies and a new crew to the station. Sevastyanov said sending space tourists to fly around the moon could help generate interest in its exploration, including tapping helium-3 as an energy source to satisfy energy demands back on Earth. Scientists believe the moon's supply of helium-3 could be used in futuristic fusion reactors on Earth that would generate electricity without producing nuclear waste. Such fusion technology could also power rockets for deep space travel in the future.

And more good news from Russia (D. Gary Grady in Trufen):

“The Russian space agency is developing an interesting new spacecraft called the "kliper" (English "clipper") for transporting cosmonauts to and from low Earth orbit and possibly farther:

It has aspects of the U.S. Space Shuttle as well as the older Dyna-Soar and Big Gemini projects. Unlike previous Russian crew modules it's designed to maneuver aerodynamically and to be partially reusable. In one version of the design it would dock with an orbital maneuvering module that would be launched separately and could be used to reach high orbits. This module would remain in space and could be used for more than one mission depending on their nature. [] While primarily for transporting humans (up to six per trip), the Kliper is supposed to be able to carry over a half-ton of cargo, such as food and air for the Space Station, more if launched from a tropical base. Both NASA and the European Space Agency are said to be very interested in the design and possibly in supplying some funding.

Ahrved Engholm provided a few more details, and mentioned similarity to the shelved European Space Agency “Hermes” which was to be launched by Arien-5, and a Japanese shuttle. What ever happened to the Russian shuttle, about the size of the US shuttle, which had one successful unmanned flight, and a smaller shuttle?


I recently read {Glory} by Alfred Coppel, TOR, 1993, 349pp, first volume in the “Golden Wings” series. The concept is that large interstellar transports driven by sails harnessing a tachyons wind from the galactic center took colonists from earth to habitable worlds around the galaxy, depopulating the home system. After the great migration these ships were no longer needed, and most were scrapped. A few survive, carrying cargo from colony to colony. They travel at near light speed and time dilation allows the crews to make the trips in reasonable subjective time, but from when a world places an order for some needed project several generations might go by before the cargo arrives. Occasionally a crew member might decide to stay behind on a world, or be forced to remain behind because of an unstable relationship with the rest of the crew, and occasionally a new crew member with the rare needed talents might be recruited.

In this story a ship delivers a cargo 13,000 years after the original expansion to a planet which was settled by racist South Africans. They had resented being forced to give up their “peculiar institution” by the world community, and moved en masse to a new world. By promising, and not delivering, equality to blacks they got some to go with them, and then these were forced to become the under-class. The story is a good one about the interactions of the crew and various planetside factions, and I can recommend it highly. However I want to talk of some of the technical details of the story.

Using a hypothetical tachyons wind interacting with miles long special wings solved the problem of carrying enough fuel to accelerate the ship to near-light speed. This reminded me of Cordwainer Smith’s “The Lady Who Sailed the Soul,” with its interstellar riggers. Smith wrote long before tachyons were hypothesized, and I no longer remember what wind those sails caught. Anyhow, this is an excellent workaround of the difficulties of accelerating enough to take advantage of time dilation. Of course in our known world tachyons are only a scientific hypothesis, but still this is a far better rationalization of interstellar travel than “warp drive”, “jump”, “inertialess drive”, etc., found in many a space opera.

However I have to fault the author on a couple sloppy usages, trying to be clever but failing. A 220 pound earth-man would weigh about 35 pounds on the moon, but his mass would remain 100 kg no matter where he was, even in free fall. Heinlein was very clever to have a future interplanetary society specify how much a person “masses.” Thus a 40 kg woman would be known to be petite whether she were on earth, in a city floating in Jupiter’s atmosphere, or in a space station. It looks as if Coppel copied Heinlein’s use of “masses” without really understanding it. At one point a character was said to mass so much in the artificial gravity of the ship, but a different amount when planetside! This really brought me up sharp, and really grated. Similarly, earlier in the story the term “delta V” was misused and broke the flow of the story. I no longer remember just what the problem was, but it took a while to get back into the story.

Despite these minor flaws the story was well told, and I recommend it.


Armistice Day weekend we drove out to Rochester, NY, to attend Astronomicon and visit son Stanley. We had never done Astronomicon before, but it was Stan’s home town and they had many featured speakers we wanted to see, Spider & Jeanne Robinson, Carl Frederick, Forry Ackerman (who had to cancel the last minute due to illness), the eldritch Wombat (Jan Howard Finder), Lloyd & Yvonne Penney, Josepha Sherman (whom we never did see), and Roberta Rogow. I also got to meet Don Anderson, with whom I had corresponded, shared APAs, and exchanged fanzines for some 45 years. We arrived at Stan’s house around 6 PM Thursday, in time for dinner and lots of talk. Next day he took us out to lunch to share restaurants he enjoyed. First we tried Swan’s Market, a German place, but it had a one-hour wait. Instead, he took us to an Indian restaurant, Puket Thai. Noteable was an appetizer called “curry puff,” a roll with chicken based yellow curry paste baked inside of it.

It was a small con, 202 paid attendees and about 60 guest speakers. Many of the attendees seemed to be locals who commuted, so few people were around at any one time. There was only one announced room party, and that was for members of a writers’ group. The large (3 room) con suite never had more than a dozen people present. There were two tracks of panels/talks, one track of readings, and one or two video tracks (I am not sure whether animae had its own track or was mixed with general videos). There was a small, but good, huckster room, with several book dealers, an art show, and a masquerade. Finally they had a meet-the-pros party where I had several enjoyable conversations and some nice snacks. The programming was good, and I went to about 15 panels or talks in all. In fact, even with only two tracks I was frustrated and wanted to go to both several times

Driving out Sandy saw a neat bumper sticker on the NY Thruway, “Bush lied. Thousands died.” While it is an oversimplification, I like it so much that I have adopted it as my email signature.

Spider Robinson spoke of the Heinlein Society and their plans for a celebration of RAH’s hundredth birthday in Missouri July, 2007. Since we are not going to Worldcon in Japan, Sandy and I might try to make it, depending on cost. Heinlein Society banquets are out of our reach, so this celebration might also be too expensive. Spider also bubbled about being chosen to complete a novel, {Variable Star}, which RAH had outlined about the same time as he wrote one of his best novels, {Double Star}. It will be out summer, 2006. In discussing movies made from RAH stories, he said that they “raped, mutilated, and left for dead” the books, but still helped because after each appearance there was a spike in sales of that book. As a result, many new people got to experience the real Heinlein. Spider and Jeanne were given an hour slot to play and sing their folk music, and late Saturday night they also sang Beatles songs in the con suite.

. When I wasn’t at a program item I hung out in the con suite. Hope Leibowitz, Murray Moore, Don Anderson, and Lloyd and Yvonne Penney were almost always there, and I had an excellent time talking with them. Saturday night Hope, Charles Levi, Murray Moore, Sandy, and I went a short distance to Tapia restaurant, on St. Paul St. This had a mix of Caribbean and Polynesian fare, and was excellent. Charles had ostrich, which I had never tried. I have to do so next time it is available. The previous night Hope had gone to LJ’S,a Jamaican restaurant right across St. Paul Street from the hotel which she highly recommended. When I next visit Stanley I have to try it.

I was amazed at the large number of guest speakers. Others well known to me included Nancy Kress and Robert Sawyer. I did not recognize many of the other names, tho each had credits including numerous stories and novels. I was croggled that the bio of Roberta Rogow included that she was mentioned here in ENTROPY HALL! The concom seemed knowledgeable of fandom in general but expected that many attendees weren’t. They tried, discretely, to explain backgrounds in the program book. Sandy described the Clarion Riverside hotel as “shabby genteel,” with shabby carpeting and seat covers, but clean.

All in all I enjoyed the con, tho I could have wished for more people in the con suite, and will go back next year and combine it, again, with a visit with Stanley.

But I wanted to remark on Dr. David DeGraff’s (Alfred University) presentation on the number of planets in the Solar System. The discovery of Kuiper belt objects in orbits ranging from that of Neptune to many times greater than that of Pluto has thrown into doubt the classification of Pluto as a planet. One Kuiper object even larger than Pluto has been found, given the unofficial working name of Xena, with its moon Gabriel. Its semi-major axis is three times that of Pluto, but its orbit is very eccentric and crosses that of Pluto. (Incidentally, two additional, small, moons have been found around Pluto. Also, a flock of little “Plutinos” have been discovered with orbits close to those of Pluto.) Dave Locke quoted in TRUFEN a story from a Minneapolis newspaper which reported a total of nine Kuiper objects around the size of Pluto, which have the working names of Santa, with a moonlet named Rudolph, Easter Bunny, Orcus, Quaoar, Ixion and now Buffy. The most distant such object is called Sedna; its elliptical orbit carries it more than 9 billion miles beyond the sun (almost 100 times as far away as the earth).

Dr. DeGraff pointed out that the definition of “planet” has evolved with new discoveries. To the Greeks there were seven wandering stars, including the sun and moon. With Copernicus and Galileo the number dropped to six, replacing sun and moon with earth. When the first asteroid was discovered around 1800 it was counted as a planet. but more and more were found, mostly between Mars and Jupiter, so they were demoted to “asteroid,” so called because they looked like stars, showing no disk with then current instruments. Dr. DeGraff gives current estimates at 100,000 asteroids in all.

So what should our current definition of planet be? And how many are there? If you limit it to bodies comparable to Galileo’s six, then there are eight planets. If you define a planet as a non-satellite body with sufficient gravity to collapse it into a near-spherical shape, then you include the largest asteroids, Pluto and Xena, for a total of 20…with more Kuiper planets yet to be discovered (at least 7 according to that newspaper story).

The story gives another tentative definition of a planet, an object with its own orbit (not a moon), with a diameter of 1000 km (625 mi) or more.


I received the email below from Hal Hall, Curator of the SF and Fantasy Research Collection at the Cushing Library, Texas A&M University. He's planning a Sam Moskowitz bibliography and collection of letters, and is looking for help. Please respond directly to Hal:

[email protected]

Information Request: Sam Moskowitz was an active fan and amateur historian of science fiction. He had a broad knowledge of the early history of the field, and wrote extensively, in magazines, fanzines and correspondence. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at Texas A&M University houses a portion of the Sam Moskowitz Collection, including the majority of his subject files, his correspondence, and his manuscripts and notes. A finding guide is in preparation and will be available

soon. [] We seek to make this archive of Sam Moskowitz more complete, and request the help of the science fiction community to that end. The request has two components. First, we seek copies of correspondence Sam Moskowitz wrote to others. The correspondence files in the collection are significant, but Moskowitz did not make carbons of many of the letters he wrote to scholars, writers and fans. Secondly, a preliminary bibliography is under development. The draft bibliography can be viewed on the Web at:

We request the help of anyone who knows of material not listed in the posted bibliography by providing information about additional items, and a photocopy if possible. In particular, articles and letters in fanzines are lacking. The preliminary bibliography is a work-in-progress. Please send any information about additional material to:

Hal W. Hall

Curator, SF and Fantasy Research Collection

Cushing Library, Texas A&M University

5000 TAMU

College Station TX 77843-5000

[email protected]

I am so glad to see SaMs correspondence, manuscripts, etc., preserved in this collection. After he had died his widow Christine had unsuccessfully tried to find a library to preserve his collection and documents. Obvious collectors’ items went to auction but I wondered what had happened to items like the purchase records of WEIRD TALES magazine, which had information on authors’ real names and locations, invaluable as a research tool.


Magic Carpet, the mass market YA line from Harcourt, has just reissued Patricia McKillip’s marvelous 1974 {Forgotten Beasts of Eld} for $6.95. I am so glad to see it back, and find it as good as ever.

•LETTERS (address or eddress published only with explicit permission)


[from BLANCMANGE #421, APA-Q 501]

Spam: some SF group spam filters reject Lunacon ad solicitations. Mark Glasser, reporting on his wife’s condition, found that some spam filters disallow any mention whose subject is a female name, believing it to be porn. [] Young Merlin: I immediately thought of Mary Stewart. A different take on Merlin’s youth is in Peter David’s {Knight Life}. Picking up on the legend that Merlin aged backwards, he’s a kid in the 20th century. A young Merlin also appeared in our era in the comic series MAGE by Matt Wagenr. He’s called Mirth, short for Myrddin. [] Palter comments: Re great epic fantasies, Goodkind? I’d say Robert Jordan’s work or Terry Pratchett’s Diskworld. [] Nan Scott comments: Americans aren’t familiar with that veddy British genre, the boarding school tale, except for Tom Brown and David Copperfield, where Harry Potter firmly fits with the mentor, the school bully, etc. [The only boarding school books I read were Kipling’s {Stalky & Co} and {Eric, or Little by Little} by Frederick W. Farrar, a dreadful book Fred Lerner had talked me into reading 40 years ago—ERM] The RETURN OF THE KING film had problems and the epilogs seemed endless, but I preferred it to TWO TOWERS’ endless battle scenes. [] The Congregationalists, , our Pilgrims, and Puritans had doctrinal, methodological, and organizational differences, true, but note that they were allied in the Civil War or Revolution. The Puritan “Round Heads” were commanded by the Congregationalist Cromwell, and Puritans, not Congregationalism, held sway under the Protectorate. It should also be noted that the colonial forms of Puritanism and Separatism were more rigid and intolerant than those in Britain, and as John points out, getting away from them was easier. [] Ten Commandments: the version that’s getting exhibited is the King James or Protestant one. The original Hebrew scripture version is different. For one thing, “have no other gods” is the first sentence of the second commandment, tied to its second sentence prohibiting graven images. If the remainder of the first commandment seemingly makes no sense, it’s because they’re the “ten assertions.” Catholics put them in different order from both Jews and Protestants. Also, it’s not “thou shalt not kill,” but “thou shalt not murder.” A sectarian Protestant document has no call to be placed in public venues in a secular multi-cultural society. And a fat lot of good it did hanging in the homes of Jim Bakker (thou shalt not steal, not commit adultery) or Pat Robertson (thou shalt not kill[who has recently called for the assassination of the president of Venezuela as cheaper than fighting a war—ERM]). [] Hubbard’s {Mission Earth} is a “decalogy” (ten books, cf trilogy), not an “ecology.” Though both are permeated with shit. []Somehow putting SF elements into a western seems fresh--I liked both “Wild Wild West” and “Brisco County”—while re-setting a western as SF seems like hackwork, a matter of changing a few words, “Dry Gulch” to “Rigel VII,” six-shooters to ray guns. Exceptions were Trek “Spectre of a Gun” and Dr. Who’s “The Gunslingers.” The inconsistent accents were cringeworthy but it was amusing that The Doctor was mistaken for Doc Holliday. [] I think losing bids was good for Boston. It looks like they took criticism to heart, so N4 (’04) was less adversarial towards attendees than N3 (’89)This year’s Philcon almost didn’t happen. It was mid-year before they could confirm a date and site. Lunacon 05 didn’t lose money, but even has a surplus. Philcon lists both the ’36 visit by New Yorkers as Philcon-1 and the first SF con (which Leeds disputes) yet PSFS as existing since 1937. [] Yes, a few years ago Crews did a sequel to {The Pooh Perplex}, {Postmodern Pooh}. {Winnie the Pooh} has been adapted into Yiddish, {Vini der Puh}. [] {Sixth Column} is considered Heinlein’s first full novel. Again the snag is

The appearance as a serial, in this case ASTOUNDING January to March 1941, vs. publication as a book. {Jonathan Hoag} was first published in one piece in UNKNOWN WORLDS. As the paperback publication is entitled {…and Other Stories} I’d say it’s not a novel. [] When I was at CARE, I worked with the fund-raisers who worked with the Lions. That approach is standard procedure in relief and development, and indeed applied to the Lions themselves. [using funds raised now to pay for work already done] Their donations weren’t building schools that they adopt, but re-reimbursing CARE for schools that it is building or had built. (I arranged with overseas staff for “Thank you, Lions” plaques to be affixed, and schools and kids to be photographed.)


[Late comments on ENTROPY 35 from DAGON 593:]

Thanks for the quotation of unknown authorship on evolution. It will come in particularly useful now that we learn that the new pope has issued blasts against everything from evolution to Harry Potter. Like Pope Urban VIII when he opposed heliocentric astronomy, he apparently feels that the Catholic Church is under severe pressure from hostile forces, and that he cannot make any concessions to them. [] You're right - the British did not partition Pakistan from India. Ghandi wanted India to remain unified after independence, but the drive for a nation with a Muslim majority was too strong to be resisted. And look what it wound up with. [] How did wooden shoes, once worn by peasants all over Europe, come to be regarded as solely Dutch? I have no idea, unless it arose from the closeness of the Netherlands to England. Similarly, poodles are widely believed to be a French breed of dog, and unfriendly caricatures of the French as poodles have proliferated in American newspapers ever since the French declined to get blown up in Iraq. But the poodle is originally a German breed, and is there spelled "Pudel". "French" fries originated in Belgium, the "Norway" rat came from Asia, "Gypsies" came not from Egypt but from northern India, and of course the turkey is an American, not a Turkish, bird. (In Hebrew it is tarnagol hodu, "Indian fowl", which is also wrong. Hodu is the same word as "Hindu", and appears in the Book of Esther as referring to India. []

"The 4 contradictory gospels"? Allegedly a newspaper editor once said that if he sent four reporters out to cover an execution, and they turned in four reports like the gospels, he'd fire the lot of them. [] There may not have been any "Little People" in the literature of fantasy before {Gulliver's Travels}, but there were a great many of them in folklore all over the world, from the leprechauns of Ireland to the menehune of Hawaii. Since almost every square meter of the Earth is inhabited by people whose ancestors took it by force from someone else, the "little people" may be distorted folk memories of the remnants of the conquered peoples. Sometimes, if the original inhabitants were larger rather than smaller stature than their supplanters, we get tales of giants. Or perhaps the size of the original inhabitants was just exaggerated to emphasize the prowess of those who defeated them. Cf. the jøtnar of Scandinavia. [] That claim in Revelations, that 12,000 will be saved from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, is part of the theology of the Jehovah's Witnesses. They have these three central beliefs:

1. Only 144,000 people will be Saved.

2. All Jehovah's Witnesses will be Saved.

3. There are now over a million Jehovah's Witnesses. [] Michael J. Lowrey claims that the name of Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) has "falsely been attached to 'A Visit from St. Nicholas' for so many years now." I have never heard that anyone but Moore wrote this poem, which was first published anonymously in 1823. His picture of St. Nicholas, inspired by Washington Irving's {Knickerbockers History of New York}, was modeled after a Dutch-American neighbor named Jan Duyckinck. And while I regard Washington Irving as a very amusing writer, I do not regard him as a reliable historical source. In his "history" he slanders the honest Yankees of Wethersfield, Connecticut. The Boardmans then lived in Wethersfield. (But I also have Dutch ancestors cited by Irving in this book.) [] To the best of my knowledge, the comparison of relativistic time dilation with the time-bending "visit to faeryland" of folklore was first put into print by L. Sprague de Camp in his short story "Finished", written for the famous "predicted issue" of Astounding Science Fiction (November 1949). A native of the planet Krishna is about to go to Earth to recover some items stolen from him, and an Earthman warns him that his journey will seem to take much less time than will have passed on Krishna during his absence. The Krishnan doesn't believe it; he protests that he is an educated man and therefore does not believe the old folk-tale about the man who partied all night under a hill with the elves and then returned to find that all his friends had grown old. [] The story about "an American arriving in heaven [who] finds that it so large that he cannot find the section for his people among all the other peoples, including from other worlds" is Mark Twain's "Excerpts from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven". It was written sometime in the early 1870s, though it was not printed until 1907. Another Twain work in which he was well ahead of his time was "A True Story" (1875), an account of her life by a woman identified as "Auntie" Rachel, who had lived her first forty years in enslavement and had seen her children sold away from her. Twain eloquently displayed the full humanity of African-Americans to a public which did not then altogether believe it. [] Under the Yüan (Mongol) Dynasty, China engaged in extensive sea trade with southern Asia and even Africa. But when it was overthrown by the Ming Dynasty in 1368, China then adopted a more isolationist policy, probably because gold was being drained out of the country by such trade. (This is supported by caches of Chinese coins, found in eastern Africa.) A Muslim eunuch with the singularly inappropriate name Zheng-He ("Three Jewels") led large naval expeditions to the nations around the Indian Ocean from 1405 to 1431. However, these were regarded as too expensive, and the Ming Dynasty did not care to expose China to foreign ways and products. Ships were restricted to coastal waters - just as European nations began expanding down the African coast. China is now memorializing the exploits of Zheng-He, although they are not happy about the fact that he behaved just as harshly towards the native peoples of those regions as European imperialists did in subsequent centuries. [When was China’s attempted mass invasion of Japan smashed by a storm, causing China to give up attempts to annex Japan?-ERM]


Hi Ed - Thanks for the ENTROPY 36. The first issue of Alpajpuri's CARANDAITH was July'68, so it falls in the middle of the 1965-70 run of THE TOLKIEN JOURNAL. My fanzine index has the four issues of Greg Shaw's ENTMOOT dated "all before 1966", so I went and looked at the issues, which are shelved with the Tolkien books. Greg apparently had an aversion to dates, as none of these zines has a date in it! Even the postmark lacks a date.... I dated them to "before 1966" because I received them at the old Newport News address where I boarded before I bought a house in 1966. [For a while the pest office used undated cancellations on non-first class mail since they made no promises on speed of delivery.-ERM]

Best, Ned Brooks


Regarding the Rotator Cuff tear - they must be very common. Ron also had one. He was an outpatient and then did physical therapy on his own. Basically the physical therapy was to do a wall crawl. You stand next to a wall with your arm outstretched and your fingers touching the wall and try to crawl your hand up the wall as high as you can. You do this like 10 times in a row, 2 times a day. Slowly you go up higher and higher, and gradually regain the full range of motion. I'm sure if you did a search on the internet you'd find some more exercises to do. The important thing to do with this sort of physical injury is to keep doing the exercises past the point of pain. Ron now has regained full use of the arm. [This is one of the exercises I have been doing for 18 months now, but a muscle connection was actually torn and the muscle was too atrophied to be successfully be re-attached surgically. I have regained some use of the shoulders as other muscles have strengthened and compensated for the missing ones, but I am still totally incapable of certain motions.-ERM]

Best, Linda


A few comments: Sheesh, $250 for TJ 1-13? Wish that would qualify as famous-making. My first published art was for one of the 1968 issues. Funny you should mention the "Geology of Middle-Earth" as "stupefyingly dull". I found it to be amusingly inexplicable, (the geology AND the article), seeing as I'm a geology nut. [It was the ad, not I, who said that about the article.-ERM] But I'm rich! I have a COMPLETE SET. It would pay for a tank of gas today....

Greg Shaw ended up here in L.A. and totally disavowed his Tolkien connections, became a well-regarded music producer. He seemed really POed once when I wrote him about the availability of ENTMOOT. He died just a year or 2 ago, only in his '50s.

Tim just received an interesting book to review for Skeptic Magazine; {The Cult of Alien Gods; H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture} by Jason Colavito. Mythopoeism at work in our lifetimes! The premise is that Lovecraft's Cthulu imagery may have "leaked" into the culture at large and influenced the growth of UFO beliefs over the past 70-odd years. It's still in "Galley Proof" form, not yet available publicly. If you're interested in this aspect of fantasy, I'll keep you posted.

Another travel option between Boston & NYC for future ref; the Chinatown buses were the best bargain. (Around Harrison St. near South Station.) [Is there room for luggage, or is it just designed for day-trips?-ERM]

Best to you both, (& the pup)



Hi, Ed:

I always enjoy Entropy, but rarely have anything to add worthy of actually commenting. This time, however.... You said to Mark: "~ BLANCMANGE 412 (APA-Q 492) Just noticed again in your colophon "fwa" for Fanzine Writers of America. Is this a real group or is it a joke? Is the group (if it does exist) a bit of faanish satire? " The answer to all your questions (including the two-part mutually-exclusive one) is Yes. (Mark -- and other readers -- may reply differently, of course.) A group of fans (at an early Corflu, I think, and probably sparked by Ted White) came up with this fannish version (or satire) of the Science Fiction Writers of America, quite opposite that Organization in as many ways as possible. [] We're so unpretentious that we write the acronym in the lower- case, have no membership requirement but accept that anyone who claims to be a member (I'm not sure that doing this in a fanzine colophon is actually necessary) is automatically a member, have no dues, formal meetings, or Official Hierarchy. (An informal gathering at Corflu selects a "past president", by consensus (or maybe railroading), but there is no present president or other Official in any formal sense. [I believe the Past President is selected at random from the attendees, after which heesh must give a GoH speech at the Sunday luncheon-banquet.-ERM]) Oh, yes, we also -- exercising some Fast Footwork -- define "Fanzine writers of America" as having ever written anything that appeared in a fanzine that's had as much as one copy circulated to the Western Hemisphere, with a strong trend towards accepting electronic venues (including fannish Lists) as qualifying -- and even towards using "fan" rather than "fanzine" in the name.

You also wrote: "[] Very interested to read ‘Pizza was invented in the US in the 19th century, and imported into Italy, possibly by returned immigrants.’" I, too, find that interesting ... and somewhat questionable. The Romans baked bread in disk-shaped loaves, and I understand that there are indications they sometimes (more often in some regions than in others) sprinkled herbs and cheese on top of them before baking. Just how profuse and elaborate this topping would have to be, and how thin the loaf of bread would need to be, before it qualifies as pizza is the kind of thing fans (and Italians) could happily argue about for many hours.

Best Wishes, Don Fitch

"I don't often read books on Religion, but the title of this one -- _The Joy of Sects_ -- was too tempting to pass up." ...Don Fitch


You wrote, "Perhaps there are liberal Mormons who accept their scripture as allegorical, the way liberal Christians like Anglicans and Catholics do." Orson Scott Card once told me that one should think of The Book of Mormon as "story". I gather that some Mormons regard him as only dubiously orthodox – though as he wrote the script for the pageant that the Mormons put on at Hill Cumorah in upstate New York, he can't be regarded by the Church as unacceptably unorthodox.

Fred Lerner


Thanks for the latest issue of Entropy. It was very interesting. I don't know if you remember me, but I e-mailed you over the summer inquiring about the Tolkien interview in Niekas. Thank you very much for sending me a copy of that interview. Anyway, I am e-mailing you regarding the letter from Nan C. Scott in the latest issue. I recently stumbled upon an article she wrote entitled "Tolkien--Hobbit and Wizard" in _Eglerio! In Praise of Tolkien_ and I had a couple questions I wanted to ask her. If there is anyway possible of requesting her e-mail address or forwarding an e-mail to her for me, I would really appreciate it. [Nan does not do email, and does not even like to use a typewriter. I will be glad to forward a print letter to her.-ERM]

Sincerely, Josh Long


Dear Ed:

Did I tell you that I ran into Dick Plotz's mother at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where she is a volunteer gardener? She sends her regards. [] Going off tomorrow to a "Post Card Show and Political Button" sale at the Hotel New Yorker. I have several hundred old postcards, mostly of NYC and Brooklyn, but also some other areas, including London scenes. Also a lot of old Wills Cigarette Cards, esp. from World War II. And lots of other stuff, I guess. But no longer buying much SF (less than a dozen books a year, now). Turned into a fakefan somewhere along the way...

Best, Andy


In my letter last issue, “Mieville,” not “Melville,” is the new sci-fantasy author. The movie I liked was “Hellboy,” from the comics hero, not “Cowboy.”


Thank you for the copy of Entropy 36. There is not a lot upon which I can comment, but I noticed the mention of San Francisco Muni's Boeing-Vertol streetcars. I think they are now all retired and mostly scrapped, and won't really be missed. The new generation cars now in service were built by Breda. At least two of the Boeing-Vertol cars have been preserved. One is at the Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista, California, and another is at the Oregon Electric Railway Museum in Brooks (near Salem), Oregon. I and my wife (Lisa Hayes) are members of the Oregon Electric, and she is an active member. At last year's summer members' barbeque, I got to ride on the Boeing car as it was being driven by my wife. Alas, the car is in very poor condition, and the museum does not appear to be spending any time on restoring it. For example, they are afraid to close the doors, on account of they might not be able to reopen them. Muni gave them a complete set of maintenance manuals, but nobody is investing the time and energy to learn how to maintain the notoriously balky machine, so there it sits, operated occasionally but mostly in a state of arrested decay.

Best, Kevin Standlee


Hope you don't mind an e-mail out of the blue like this, but I saw The View From Entropy Hall #35 on the website, so here's an e-mail letter of comment. [] Your problems trying to open different file formats must be very frustrating. In theory, the most up-to-date versions of Word and Works (which are, after all, both Microsoft products) can handle each other's file formats. Even some of the older versions are meant to (with the emphasis on meant to) be able to convert back and forth. My Microsoft Word 97 here has an option to open "Works for Windows 3.0" and "Works for Windows 4.0" formats. But, as you appear to have discovered the hard way, how well it actually handles them in practice is another matter.

Is Adobe Acrobat PDF a useable format for you? The new version of the Adobe Acrobat reader (version 7) seemed to be making a big issue over "accessibility issues," but when I went to the website, all it seemed to be was that it would work with whatever Windows or Mac screen-reading software the user already had. Which to me is pretty much what I would have assumed anyway. The main issue presumably is whether the screen-reading software is capable of handling multi-column layouts properly. [] But then, manually creating a simple text file from Adobe Acrobat shouldn't be a big job for any sighted human reader these days. Even if they don't have access to the original Word, Works, Publisher or Wordperfect file. They can just cut and paste the whole lot in one go, then go back and put the paragraph breaks and article breaks in. Once it is in plain text, presumably any kind of text-to-voice computer package can use it? I guess it's just about whether the original authors are enthused enough about accessibility to actually take the time. [] I've had to handle format issues with my own mini-zine, OCTOPUS'S GARDEN. This started as a postal games sub-zine, but now seems to be evolving into more of a small S.F. zine. The "master copy" was always the web site version, written in HTML. But as it was also distributed via a mailing list, I always had to do a plain text version as well. To be fair, HTML to plain text is a fairly easy conversion, especially with the simple HTML formatting I used. I'll send a copy of the plain text version of the latest issue on a separate e-mail for you.

Best wishes, Peter Sullivan

[and later….]

Hi Ed. A letter of comment for Entropy #36.

What's the notional or official frequency of APA-Q these days? I know that it was originally weekly, as it inspired the weekly APA-L of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, but presumably this no longer applies. [It is officially every 4 weeks, or 13 times a year, but of late the schedule has often slipped—ERM]

Good to see at least one American who actually likes dollar coins. I guess that U.S. bills are almost impossible for you to distinguish. You'd probably have a better chance with British notes, which are at least different sizes. The one pound coin wasn't popular here to

start with, although with no one pound notes any more (outside Scotland) most people have no choice. When it was first introduced, I heard one suggestion that it should be nicknamed the "Maggie" after our then Prime Minister. On the grounds that it was thick, brassy and thought it was a sovereign.

Two hundred and fifty dollars for thirteen zines is indeed croggling. I bet you wish you had held back a few more back issues! I saw Richard Lupoff commenting in another zine that when he first produced Xero, he almost had to chase people around the con to get them to take copies of the first issue. And now he had recently seen an early (single) issue pop up on e-Bay recently for one hundred and fifty dollars.

Ruth Berman talked about the U.S. Civil War in terms of central control of the slavery issue. Wasn't Utah (not yet a state, but already settled by the Mormons) somewhat involved in the Civil War on the side of the Southern States? Because they feared that increased central control being used to ban slavery could also become central control being used to ban polygamy. Correctly as it turned out.

I've driven through Berwick-upon-Tweed several times when I've had to drive up to the south-eastern part of Scotland. I can't confirm whether or not the town itself is twee, but the view of the river from the bridge is magnificent. I assume you know the old story of how Berwick-upon-Tweed was at war with Russia from the start of the Crimean War until Nineteen Sixty Six?

Regarding Puritans and Pilgrims. It fascinates me how people are taught even today that the Puritans came to America "for religious tolerance." As historian High Brodin put it, it would be much more accurate to say that they came to America for religious intolerance - only this time they would be the ones intolerating!

John Boardman says "Creation by several co-operating gods appear in the myths of several polytheistic religions." At a stretch, you could even include The Silmarillion in that. And Tolkien has a much better answer for "Where does evil come from?" than some real religions. The idea that evil could arise from someone who tried to change things because they thought that they could be "improved" is an interesting one. Of course, there are clear parallels between Melkor and Lucifer anyway.

"Is Fandom Jewish?" I should live so long...

Voice recognition software is a mixed blessing at best. I tried it some years ago, but despite doing the full training session with it (i.e. training the software in my voice) it was never really useable for me. My wife got on with it much better, and used it to take notes for her Masters. At one point she noted that the local Medical Officer of Health's report showed that the district nurses had paid twenty thousand visits to the people of Sunderland during the year. This came out as "Mister Stiffness paid twenty thousand visits," which isn't quite the same thing.

I used to be able to navigate without a mouse on Windows Three Point One, but I seem to have lost the knack these days from under-use. My proudest moment was at work when my monitor blew half-way through a long, unsaved, document. I managed to save the document, exit Word and close down Windows cleanly all sight un-seen. I guess it's always like that for you.

I believe that the Fan Writers of America is mostly fannish satire. The Fan Writers Awards at Corflu are, I gather, under their notional patronage. The only officer that the F.W.A. has is the Past President, elected at the end of each Corflu. I think this is on the insurgent principle that having a President could be dangerous, but a Past President is fairly safe. [The Past President is not elected but drawn at random during the concluding luncheon banquet Sunday, and is then expected to give a Guest of Honor speech, if I understand correctly.—ERM]

C.S. Lewis wrote briefly about the liturgy in the book Letters to Malcolm, which I got as a confirmation present. I seem to remember his main point was that he wasn't too fussed about it, as long as it didn't keep changing. Something like _"People should remember that Jesus’ charge to Peter was 'Feed my sheep,' not 'Perform experiments on my lab rats' or even 'Teach my performing dogs new tricks.'"_

Incidentally, the Screwtape Letters are the classic refutation that Christians don't have a sense of humour.

The Twelfth Amendment doesn't explicitly forbid the President and Vice President coming from the same state, but it does make it unlikely. What it says is that the voters of the electoral college in each state should cast their ballots for President and Vice President, at least one of whom must be from a different state. I guess the intention behind this was to avoid an outbreak of parochialism where every state might vote for its own Governor and Lieutenant-Governor on the national ticket. So what it means is that you can have the two candidates on a party ticket from the same state, but that one of them (presumably the Veep) is not going to get any votes from his own state. This would only matter if the margin of victory is less than the number of electors in his home state. Which in a close race or a large state it might be.

Actually, if your party controls the Senate, you could always do it via the back door. Get your home state to vote for John Q. Nobody for Vice President. Then, if you don't have a majority for Vice President without your home state's electoral college votes, the election gets thrown into the Senate, where it's a straight fight between the top two. And although I appreciate that Senate votes aren't normally straight party votes, I have a feeling this might be an exception.

Yes, I did study U.S. politics, both at school and at college. How could you possibly tell? (Hee, hee.)

If the story about pizza being exported from the U.S. to Italy is true, then it's not totally unprecedented. I understand that Chicken Tikka Masala was invented by British Indians, and then exported back to India. Some people have suggested that this, rather than Fish and Chips or Roast Beef, should be the English national dish.

You say "Henry VIII had written against Luther before splitting from Rome himself." He was awarded the title of Defender of the Faith for this by the Pope, and kept the title after the split. Indeed, British coins still have "F.D." as part of the monarch's name and title shown on the back. We had to drop the "Ind. Imp." bit after India left the Empire in 1948.

There's a story about the Hapsburg pretender that is probably apocryphal, if only because it sounds too good to be true. But, allegedly, when Austria and Hungary were drawn against each other in the European Soccer tournament, someone from the media rang up the old boy for a quote. "Austria and Hungary are playing football," they told him. "How wonderful!" he replied. "Who against?"

Doctors Without Borders is called by its original French name of Medecins Sans Frontiers over here. I guess we are all assumed to have enough school French left to translate for ourselves! It's one of my favourite charities, as it seems to be able to turn gallic arrogance into a kick-ass, can-do attitude compared to some of the more traditional or staid charities. But both attitudes have their place.

Peter Sullivan

[and from a later letter] It sounds as if APA-Q is pretty much only kept going by force of will and enthusiasm of John these days. It would be a shame if it ceased publication, as it must be one of the oldest S.F. APA around. (I know that the original, non S.F., APA is still publishing with a history back to the 19th Century, but that's somewhat different.) And other paper-based APAs have declining memberships as well. I understand that FAPA has not had a waitlist for several years now. I saw one person comment that they could remember when there had been a waitlist for the APA set up for people on the FAPA waitlist!

I can appreciate your difficulties in keeping current in paper APAs. I don't know if the electronic APA I am in, called e-APA, would be easier for you. Alongside APA-Q of course. At least everything would automatically be in electronic format for you. We use P.D.F. as the standard format, and most people use fairly simple layouts. Typically just two columns. So a screen reader working with Adobe Acrobat Reader should not have too many problems. Even if that did not work out, it would be a fairly small job for someone to cut and paste the whole distribution into a text file. We will be making our October distribution an "open" issue as a bit of a recruitment drive. Would you like me to send you a copy when it is available?

I can definitely empathize with John's photocopier problems. My postal games fanzine was almost entirely done on mimeo - probably less than 10 of the 142 issues were photocopied. We used to have a saying that "Real Zines are Mimeo." As well as being a way of twitting the editors using photocopying, some of whom got snotty about their "superior" layouts, this did have a serious point. In that there was much less that could go wrong with a mimeo that you couldn't fix in some way yourself. Whereas most editors who did photocopied zines were dependant on other people for printing. Even those who had their own copier seemed to have far more problems with it than mimeo users. A friend of mine once said that watching an electric mimeograph was probably the nearest any human being could get to being God of a deterministic universe - each part of the mechanism would be going away chukka-chukka, with you grokking what each part was for and what it was doing. I guess photocopiers have too much of a tendency to exhibit "free will."

I've never heard the phrase "The Slaveholders' Rebellion" before, although it's a good one. I though that the alternative name for the 1860-1865 conflict was "The War of Northern Aggression." I guess it depends who you ask. (Heh, heh.) I would have to check my sources, but I seem to remember reading that the Utah Mormons sent some token or symbolic force (a bit more than a platoon, but certainly nothing the size of a regiment) to fight alongside the C.S.A. troops in one of the Civil War battles.

The story about Berwick upon Tweed being at war with Russia has been around for years. I always assumed it was an urban legend, but it has been cited extensively, so may well be true. Because Berwick upon Tweed is right on the border between England and Scotland, it changed hands fourteen times when they were separate countries. After 1482, it stayed English. But it was always referred to separately in documents. So the King would be "His Britannic Majesty, King of Great Britain, Ireland, Berwick upon Tweed and the British Dominions beyond the sea.

When the Crimean War started, the declaration of war on Russia gave Queen Victoria's title in full. But when the peace treaty was signed, Berwick upon Tweed was left off. Which technically meant that Berwick upon Tweed was still at war with Russia. This wasn't noticed until years later, and the town council used it as an excuse for some publicity in Nineteen Sixty-Six. They invited the Russian ambassador up to sign a separate peace treaty, and had a civic party to celebrate the outbreak of peace. In his speech, the mayor got to say "You can tell the Russian people that they can now sleep peacefully in their beds".


~BLANKMANGE #421 (APA-Q 501, Mark Blackman) You were unable to send me the text files of the last few issues, but while visiting me over New Years John Boardman read a few highlights. Thus I do not have the usual comments. But I DID like your statement, “Meanwhile the Mississippi and Louisiana national guards were unavailable to help [after the hurricanes] because they were in the wrong gulf.” And “They ought to re-name the place Atlantis and take a star off the flag. Now, instead, billions will be spent to rebuild. No doubt, the job will go to Halliburton.”

~BLANCMANGE #422 (APA-q 502, Mark Blackman) Thank you for sending the e-text just before I put this ENTROPY to bed. [] I had never thought of comparing the number of US dead in Iraq to those killed in 911. I note your point that it has reached 2/3 of the 911 victims. I am sure it will surpass that number before the US is done there. Just heard on National Public Radio the large number injured, 20% of them with permanent brain damage. []also liked your “photo of Jr. Bush from Rupert Murdock’s Sky News (Fox News’ UK sibling; via Matt Saha). Caption said "BUSH: ONE OF WORST DISASTERS TO HIT THE U.S." Obviously they intended it to be a quasi-quote from Bush, but it looked like a description of Bush.“

~DAGON #593 (APA-Q 499, John Boardman). You referred to S.T. Joshi’s study of Lovecraft as being unusual in emphasizing his atheism. I have not read this work, but have seen other references to Lovecraft’s strong atheism. I am pretty sure I saw it in Moskowitz’s history of Lovecraft in his collection of such author bios…{Seekers of Tomorrow}? Perhaps in de Camp’s biography? Certainly it was no surprise to me. [] Thanks for your further comments on the LotR parody movie, “Lord of the G-Strings.” If I had had an electronic copy of your original remarks I would have added them to these comments and reprinted them here for the many ENTROPY readers who do not see DAGON, and circulated them in the CouncelsAtRivendell listserv. [] You referred to “Henry De Wolf Smyth's Atomic Energy for Military Purposes (1940), popularly called ‘the Smyth Report’.” I am surprised that they had speculated about possible military uses that early, and wonder just what it had contained. I would have expected theoretical speculation about the possibility of a sustained chain reaction. I would love to know how far their speculations about military use had gone, and how accurate it was. Around 1950 I had read a newer version which had, for instance, photographs of buildings destroyed in the western desert tests in the US, and detailed analysis of the pressure and winds caused by nuclear explosions. At least this, too, was called the “Smyth Report” and I assume was a revision and expansion of the original 1940 volume you cite. [] I had never heard of the sequel to the original movie “King Kong,” “Son of Kong.” I had seen, while still sighted, the original on TV, and its rip-off, “Mighty Joe Young,” in the theaters. Can someone give a plot summary of the sequel? Was it, too, just a rip-off? Or was it worth seeing. I have not seen the re-make of “King Kong.” Was it worth seeing? [] I greatly enjoyed your discussion of fan-written sequels and parodies of popular books, movies, and TV shows. I remember Roberta Rogow wrote about a convention of people interested in such fanfic, including “slash” of all types. There has been considerable discussion of Tolkien fanfic on the “CouncelsAtRivendell” listserv, and I have read some of the recommended pieces, which WERE really good. Here is one recommendation: “Okay--a good part of why I have not been as active as I have been in the past on these lists is because I have become involved in reading Fan Fiction sites, mostly sites focused on the characters of Tolkien's Middle Earth, of course. On these sites those inspired by their favorite authors or stories or series can continue on the adventures of their favorite characters, make up new characters and place them within the setting, speculate on what happened ahead before or after or during the unremarked times of their favorite installments. | The most comprehensive of these sites I'm currently aware of is the site, whose url is . For those who love The {Lord of the Rings}, books or movies, I particularly recommend the following story: by the member known as Chip of Dale (Tom Fairbairn on the FanFiction net site), which focuses on Frodo's thoughts at the moment in the film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King when he faces telling his friends he is going aboard the elven ship to the Undying Lands with Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn. The "Search" link on the page will allow you to do a search on all kinds of different worlds and stories, from Lucy Maud Montgomery's Prince Edward Island from her {Anne of Green Gables} series and related stories to Star Trek and beyond--even {The Lord of the Flies}! Of the three sites I'm recommending today, this is the most comprehensive, and is also full of the most rocky works. Some of the stories I've read have been exceptionally fine (I especially recommend those written by Tom Fairbairn, Baylor, and Anglachel); while some were written by young teens with more love of the stories than skill at writing, I fear. Anglachel and some others also publish on the web at the Romenna Stories site, url , where only a few authors have gathered many of their stories. Still another site which has some fascinating stories is the Henneth Annun site (named for the cavern behind the waterfall where Faramir and his men take refuge after the assault on the Southron army in Ithilien in {The Two Towers}), url . This site focuses strictly on LOTR stories, and there are quite a few. Some of these stories are available on more than one of these sites at the same time, so be aware of the possibility of duplication. It is fascinating to me how many focus on the idea of bringing people from our world into the worlds of their favorite stories (these are often called "Mary Sue" adventures), while others explore the idea of sexual relationships between characters. If such offend you, DO read the description of the story first to see if it says Adult Themes, Sexuality, or Slash so as to avoid them. Drabble is a purposely limited story of no more than a hundred words in length; some do adaptations of favorite songs, while others will attempt to copy various forms of poetry. It is a fascinating world, so be advised. | And, if in visiting one of these sites one day you happen to see a story by Larner, be forewarned that this will be my own attempt to honor one of my favorite authors. Bonnie L. Sherrell” [] Speaking of k/s fiction, I really liked your quote, “Roberta Rogow has sagely observed that the characters in these works are not male homosexuals, but "lesbians in male bodies". Maybe it ought to be called "K/Y fiction".” [] In your discussion of minor wars not in the almanac you mentioned wars “against France in 1798 and 1942.” I am puzzled by these references. 1798 would have been during the second year of John Adams’ only term, and only ten years into the real operations of the US government. That was an era of turmoil and paranoia (the Whiskey Rebellion and the Alien and Sedition Act), so what brought on the conflict with France? Was it connected with the French Revolution? I think the US was sympathetic with the rebels throwing off a monarchy. And 1942? Was this somehow related to the Vichy government acting as Hitler’s puppet? Why wouldn’t it be considered just another aspect of WWII, which the US had already entered. I found no surprises in the rest of your list of unlisted wars, “the 1801 campaign that left the Marines singing about the "shores of Tripoli", the Second Mexican-American War (1913-1916), the 1919 invasion of Siberia, any number of "interventions" to secure U.S. economic interests in Latin America, and of course the campaigns against this continent's original inhabitants.”

~DAGON #594 (APA-Q 500) The file I received had only the colophon and a few lines about guessing why several cities are not being bombed. When you visited you went over some highlights and I liked your “How does intelligent design account for the existence of George W. Bush?”

~DAGON #595 (apa-q 501) Wow! Blondie is 75 years old. I remember Daisy’s pups as still around when I was reading the strip in the 50s. I did not remember them having names, and always thought of them as a herd galloping across the scene with no individuality. I wonder when they disappeared from the strip. Thank you for reading to me all the tributes in other strips when you visited over New Years. [] I love the “Who would Jesus bomb?” buttons you described. What a lovely putdown of the militaristic funnymentalists like Pat Robertson who support aggression in the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace!

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