Tick, tick, tick….
Can’t you hear it? That’s your life passing. Another year has joined the dearly departed, and with it all the hopes, aspirations, dreams, and ambitions of countless fans.
But wait you say! It’s not all over with…yet. There’s a final reckoning coming in London at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention to be held August 14-18. More details for membership, etc., can be found at: Loncon3
The Con website has already opened nominations for the 2014 Hugo Awards and 1939 Retro-Hugos. The ambitious and determined have already begun caviling and jockeying for position as the pack begins to narrow. All attending Adult, Young Adult, and Supporting members of Loncon 3 are eligible to nominate, along with full members of the 2013 and 2015 Worldcons. Nominations are now open until March 31. Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year.
There are several interesting award categories. Of some small interest and note is the Best Related Work category. This means that my book, The Anthem Series, is eligible for an award in that category. Even though Robert Silverberg reached out to me telling me how much he enjoyed my extensive bibliographical work on the specialty publishers of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, I have my doubts that I’ll be nominated.
Now, it’s not because of the nature or quality of my work, which modesty forbids me to brag about, but was nonetheless the very best work of this type to date. And it’s not because of the intentionally small numbers published. Small numbers, and exclusive viewing have often been the hallmarks of a successful award winning work. This is something Pop taught me. When he produced his 1961 Hugo Award winning fanzine, Who Killed Science Fiction?, Pop printed out about 100 copies, and most went to the very exclusive in-group, FAPA.
When the 1961 Worldcon rolled around very few people had seen a copy, much less read one, and many had never heard of it and were very surprised that he won.
No, the problem with the process of nominating is that it is much less about the work at hand, and more about the political process that is inherent in the odd and unique aggregation of individuals that make up fandom. In other words…buzz counts.
So, let us be like busy bees and buzz.
For the buzz of the day, just in case you haven’t heard about my amazing book, here are some details:
The Anthem Series A Guide to The Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Weird Specialty Publishers of the Golden Age
What is The Anthem Series? The best science fiction, fantasy, horror and weird ever published by those original specialty publishers of the Golden Age of the genre. More precisely, The Anthem Series is contained within these pages. All of the imprints: Fantasy Press, Visionary Publishing Company, Fantasy Publishing Company, Incorporated, Griffin Publishing Company, Carcosa House, and Fantasy Book, Prime Press, Avalon Company, and Chamberlain Press, Shasta Publishers, and Gorgon Press, Gnome Press, Arkham House, and Mycroft & Moran, Grant-Hadley Enterprises, Buffalo Book Company, Hadley Publishing Company, Grandon: Publishers, Fantasy Fiction Field (FFF), Shroud: Publishers, Kenneth J. Krueger, Donald M. Grant, and The Phantagraph Press, Hyman Kaner, Trover Hall, The New Collector’s Group, New Era Publishing Company, The NFFF (National Fantasy Fan Federation), Merlin Press, Macabre House, The Council of Four, Squires & Beck, Perri Press, Science Fiction and Fantasy Publications, ASFO Press (Atlantic Science Fiction Organization), Walter R. Cole, MITSFS (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science Fiction Society); and Advent:Publishers, Inc. Here are all the titles (over 410), the stories, with their dust jackets, including variants, including a master checklist. Added to this are bibliographic details containing information pertaining to first edition publication of these titles by the specialty publishers, as well as such details about the first appearance of these stories in the pulp magazines of the era, and information about their first paperback appearance (over 960 scans). As an added feature many of the first appearance pulp magazine covers appear, peppered by paperback covers and miscellaneous related covers, such as fanzine appearances. Further, a synopsis for each and every story, as well as a brief criticism completes this work. For more details, see: The Club House
Since this is a fanzine review column let’s consider the applicable Hugo Award category that not only applies to all the fanzines reviewed by Yours Truly, but applies to this online, ongoing, present reincarnation of Amazing Stories as well.
To be clear: Amazing Stories is eligible for nomination this year!
The World Science Fiction Society Constitution defines the Best Fanzine category as any generally available non-professional periodical publication devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that by the close of the previous calendar year has published four (4) or more issues (or the equivalent in other media), at least one (1) of which appeared in the previous calendar year, that does not qualify as a semi-prozine or a fancast, and that in the previous calendar year met neither of the following criteria: paid its contributors or staff monetarily; was generally available only for paid purchase.
There’s a reason that I’ve quoted the definition at length, I intend to continue reviewing fanzines with a shout out for all those that are eligible for an award. As appropriate, I’ll indicate those individuals that I’ve determined are also eligible for Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Artist.
The qualifications for these last two categories are far less stringent. To be eligible the fan writer or fan artist merely has to have had their work appear in semi-prozines or fanzines during the previous calendar year.
Gosh! That means I’m eligible for nomination as Best Fan Writer. (Ha Ha! Something tells me that this happening is equally unlikely. Sigh!)
This will be quite a task. Yours Truly will also make every effort to be impartial and unbiased, but will most certainly fail. So, whataya gonna do, shoot the messenger?
One thing is certain, a sure-fire guarantee, this column will be much more interesting for the next couple of months as the nominating process heats up. And Amazing Stories, as an easily available weekly forum with an ever increasing readership, will become a major player in this and future upcoming Worldcons.
So, now the fun begins in earnest, contestants to their marks, let the campaigning start!
December produced a wealth of fanzines as many quarterly, annual, and end-of-year issues appeared. First up is:
Reluctant Famulus #96: November/December 2013. Bimonthly. 48-pages. Edited by Thomas D. Sadler. A Strange Dwarf publication. Cover art by Steve Stiles. Well, first off here’s a shout out to the Best Fan Artist of the Decade, Steve Stiles. It is high time he was not only nominated for his fine artwork, as he so often has been, but also far overdue for Steve to finally receive the Hugo. Howzabout it guys? Let’s step-up and get Steve his Hugo this year. Well, back to my review of Sadler’s excellent zine with even more impartial and unbiased coverage. By way of an editorial, Sadler treats us to “I Have a Little List,” wherein he covers self-publishing by authors of note from the last couple of centuries, made-up words and their mispronunciation, and UFOs. Sadler delivers quite an entertaining tour-de-force. “Rat Stew,” by Gene Stewart follows. Gene delivers a thoughtful essay on modern publishing, what passes for quality, and the change in the business model. “Apropos December,” by Adam Medenwald is a short piece about the evolution of music. “Ruminations,” by Dalmer Shasto in which he discusses why some people rank science fiction lower than pornography. “Kentuckiana,” by Al Byrd, is a fascinating look at the American Civil War. “Folk Music Novel,” by Eric Barraclough, reviews “Revival,” by Scott Alarik, which is essentially a series of interviews related to folk music. “In My Spare Time,” by Aldo H. Masters. Aldo shares with us his love of obscure words and their meanings. “Indiana-ania,” by Matt Howard, is a touching memorial to Bob Carter, a late-night horror show host. “The Crotchety Critic,” by Michaele Jordan, has a review of “The Woods,” by Stephen Leigh. “Silver Linings,” by Sheryl Birkhead, in which she recounts her struggles with a computer in quite an entertaining manner. The “Letters of Comment” is very long, indicating that this “Hugo nomination eligible” fanzine is very well read. If you haven’t already, read a copy and send them a letter, looks like a lot of fun.
Fadeaway #38: Dec. 2013-Jan. 2014. Bimonthly. 41-pages. Edited by Robert Jennings. Cover by 91-year-old John Cody. Bob gives with updates on his recent activities in his brief editorial. “The Tyler Rifle,” by Jefferson Swycaffer. (Jennings has his name as “Swacaffer” but I’m pretty certain that’s wrong.) Noted science fiction writer Jefferson P. Swycaffer entertains us with his tale about building a prop replica of Dominic Flandry’s rifle (Poul Anderson’s “Ensign Flandry”). Next Robert Jennings gives with “Yesterday’s World of Tomorrow” in which he reviews “Miracle Science and Fantasy Stories” and others in a historical retrospective that covers a great deal of ground. “Reader Reaction” contains pages of letters from all the usual suspects (you know who you are). It would seem that this fanzine is Hugo nomination eligible as well.
Fanstuff #41: December 2013. Irregular. 22-pages. Edited by Arnie Katz. Without bias (well, at least without much bias) this is the premiere fanzine of the day. And you may ask what makes it so? Whereas there are many Hugo nomination eligible genzines that are incredible feats of writing and production, Arnie remains true to his roots. He writes about fandom, rather exclusively. Once again, in the very unbiased opinion of Yours Truly, Arnie is one of the top four fan historians living. Where other faneds might touch on the topic at times, Arnie lives, dreams, breathes, and writes about it all the time. His only departure is when he tries his hand at writing fan fiction, which he does with a deft touch. Arnie Katz is the double-threat, not only is his fanzine “Hugo nomination eligible” but Arnie is most certainly eligible for a Best Fan Writer nomination. Arnie kicks off this issue with “Fuggheads: A Closer Look,” wherein he bridges the gap between old school usage and present day application of this sometimes incendiary fan speak insult. Arnie continues with “Fen Den,” a brief, touching memoir of his relationship with SaM (noted First Fandom Fan Historian Sam Moskowitz). David Williams demonstrates his wit and wisdom with “The Fanzine Reader’s Bill of Rights,” an entertaining look at fandom from a pseudo-political point of view. All too soon we reach the “Loccer Room,” you guessed it, the place for letters of comment. This is without a doubt one of the liveliest fanzine discussion groups. This zine is recommended reading. If you only have time to read a couple of fanzines, make this one of them.
The Wright Stuff: Published for WOOF! (World Organization of Fanzine Editors) at LoneStarCon 3 by 2013 DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) winner Bill Wright. Cover by Ditmar. Gosh those Aussies really do know how to do up a fanzine right. Bill was the DUFF winner and guest at the 2013 Worldcon. This is his conreport. It contains many wonderful photos, an autobiography, overview of fan history, with a particular emphasis on Australian fandom. Alas, this is but a brief, faint piece, a dash as it were, a mere taste of Bill Wright, faned extraordinaire.
BCSFAzine #487: The Newsletter of the British Columbia Science Fiction Association. December 2013. Monthly. 28-pages. Edited by Felicity Walker. Cover Brad Foster. This is the OO (Official Organ) for the club and contains a calendar of events for this month and the next, info about BCSFA, an out-right calendar, zines received, e-zines received, and letters of comment. What I really love about the letters of comment are the footnotes! The Notes from the November meeting are the most detailed proceedings documented by any fanclub. Of small note is a mention made of my favorable reviews of a couple of their past zines. (Gosh! Note to self: Someone really does read my column! Red-letter day for my journal!!!) This club strikes me as well organized, highly structured, with enough stuff going on for anyone, old or new to the club, to find something interesting and fun to do. If you’re in town, or visiting, look up this club, you won’t go wrong.
Now, from a well established club OO to a brand new fanzine.
Ecdysis #1: December 2013. Planned quarterly. 30-pages. Edited by Jonathan Crowe. Excellent cover and other art work by Jennifer Seely. In his first editorial Jonathan gives with “Reimagining Fanzines,” wherein he discusses his views about contemporary fanzines. He’s against printed fanzines as “artifacts.” Crowe liked Journey Planet #16, but eschews most of the others, especially those focused on older forms of fandom (just like those focused on older forms of production). While beating his drum for a new type of fanzine, and discussing the down failings of all present attempts, Crowe does seem to miss formulating his vision concisely. To be fair, he does come close, but just when I was intrigued, thinking I was about to see and read something new and marvelous, Crowe seems to stop, loosing his thread, and recapitulates the past after all, and offers nothing new but yet another set of New Emperor’s clothing; all smoke and mirrors, signifying nothing. Still, I’m curious to see if he will flesh out his vision, move beyond substituting new technological improvements and updates of form, to creating something new under the sun in terms of contents (as promised). The first such promised article is “Clockwork Fish,” by Jonathan Crowe. I won’t spoil the essay, suggesting instead that the reader determine if Crowe has hit the promised mark. Next is “The Opera of ‘Pacific Rim’,” by Tamara Vardomskaya, which is a solid, well-done, if overly long, movie review, pretty much old school despite the promise to be otherwise. Another movie review follows, “Equally Large Boas and Snakes on Planes,” by Jonathan Crowe. In this review, despite the blog-style hyperlinks to other articles, Crowe comes close to his promised vision. If content, as he tells us, is the important aspect of fanzines, and how the writer delivers that content, with the reader in mind, is the end, then Crowe still needs to develop this concept. It is a great idea. The initial elements of his vision are apparent. Let’s give him some time, and room to grow, and see what he delivers next. I suspect the troubling part in his current execution is his interpretation of what he considers important content. In “Reading and Remembering ‘The Hemmingway Hoax’,” by Jonathan Crowe, he comes close once again in demonstrating his vision as he considers the audio book version of this story. “The Numenoreans and Navigation,” by Jonathan Crowe, on LOTR and attempts to make fictional details fit into real world constraints. Finally, with “Miscellaneous Correspondence,” by Tamara Vardomskaya, we find something worthy of the editorial desires. This is a highly entertaining group of fictional(?) letters, very witty…and something new (sort of). “’Contraceptive Brown’ to Be Movie Series,” by unknown, follows. This is a brief bit of amusing criticism, in which one is brought to wonder at the translation of a children’s book to the big screen…what do you do with a “penis snake”? For my money (hey, these fanzines are all free), this is the fanzine to watch. Crowe has a vision, not completely realized. Let’s help him find his way! I’m kinda curious to see where this journey might take all of us.
Now for one giant fandom leap from a new fanzine to one edited by a fan legend, Robert “Rebel Lee” Lichtman. (If you have to ask about the “Rebel Lee” then you aren’t the fan you think you are!) While chatting with Bob about his zine he reminded Yours Truly that these things cost real pesos, not just the kind that grow on trees. For those interested in getting copies of his latest zine, you can find the contact info in the last issue that has been converted to a PDF file by Bill Burns. Costs are $5 per copy, with an additional $2 for international mail. Not bad at all when you consider what you get.
By the way, just in case I’ve forgotten to mention, when asking for printed fanzines, you should at the very least offer to pay the postage, if not the cost of printing out a copy. This is and has always been the traditional way, unless you are trading copies of your own zine, one for one. In any case, you should not expect to receive more than one copy for any ask or exchange, even if you’ve written two lines about the zine once upon a time telling the editor that you liked his work.
Well, now back to Bob….up for review are two issues, one can be found as a PDF, the other one is printed, and will be converted when the next issue is published (whew!).
Trap Door #29: December 2012 (not a typo). Annual. 26-pages. Edited by Robert Lichtman. Cover by Harry Bell. This zine is pubbed once a year. When the latest issue appears, the one from last year is converted and posted online…so it goes. Bob kicks off this issue with “Doorway,” in which we discover that he is an old school hippie (I’ll bet my bottom dollar he calls me on that label…oh well!) as he recounts some more of his adventures living on the Farm in the early ‘70s. Andy Hooper follows with “A Tuesday in July,” which is a mélange of historical references wherein Andy connects the First World Science Fiction Convention to the Yankees at bat during the same time frame, quite a feat. Andy is excellent at finding unusual contexts for his articles. David Redd comes next with “A Different Culture,” a semi-autobiographical essay about marrying Welsh. Then Greg Benford gives us “A Cambridge Evening,” and we find out why Bob Lichtman is a faned to be reckoned with, as Benford recounts a 1976 meeting at Cambridge with many of the noted physicists of the day, chief among them Stephen Hawking. From many discussions about time and time travel Greg “gathered background that eventually appeared in…[his]…1980 novel Timescape…” Finally, at long last, we get to the good stuff (ha ha) with “Escape From Lemuria,” by Pop (Earl Kemp). This article was the asked for and intended introduction to Richard Toronto’s magnificent masterpiece of period research into Amazing Stories editor Ray Palmer and his misunderstood pal, Richard Shaver (he of the Shaver Mystery which led to Palmer hiring my godfather, Rog Phillips, to salvage Amazing Stories with his column, The Club House, when the magazine fell out of favor for promoting the Mystery). Toronto’s publisher, McFarland Books, rejected this introduction out of hand with comments like “His disdain for Shaver is palpable,” and “interesting reading, but we’d lean against it barring some revisions and tweaking.” As Pop tells us, “There was nothing positive about Richard Shaver, so why pretend?” There are very few people still living who had contact with Palmer, Shaver, Rog Phillips, and Bill Hamling, and Pop is one of them. This is a must read! No question about it. Primary historical sources for this era are rare. Now, if all the above isn’t enough to sate your fannish appetites, there are “Burblings,” by one of the most famous, noted fan writers of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Charles Burbee (as edited by Linda and John). These installments(?) are “The Venus Fly Trap Story” and “Burbee, Bartender.” Lenny Bailes follows with “The ‘Proud and Lonely’ Thing Re-examined” in which he discusses Jo Walton as a backdrop for his thoughts about fandom, life, and “great publications of Earl Kemp: Why is a Fan? And Who Killed Science Fiction?” And, now our journey is nearly complete as we read many excellent, well thought out letters of comment in “The Ether Still Vibrates.” Paul Skelton tells us the Pop (Earl Kemp) is “some sort of eminence grise (SMOF).” Gosh, you learn something new everyday. Not the Latin I’d use to describe Pop. This is one of the best zines pubbed. It is certainly a benchmark for new editors to strive to match.
And now to the scoop of the day, this zine is only available to a limited number of people until next year when a PDF file will most likely be posted online:
Trap Door #30: December 2013. Annual. 44-pages. Printed. Digest. Edited by Robert Lichtman. “30 Years of Celebrating the Fannish Experience!” Cover by Dan Steffan. This is the Big Ish! Not many of us can or will ever be able to make a 30-year claim. (However, back at the 1988 SFWA convention I amused science fiction writer Bradley Denton when he tumbled to the fact that I’ve been in fandom since my conception. Hey, I dropped a name; guess that makes me an eminence grise, too!) Robert Lichtman begins with his editorial introduction “Doorway.” This is a sweeping, somewhat sentimental, reflection by Bob on his fifty-five years pubbing zines. Quite a task to encapsulate so many years, so many people, and so many adventures into a few pages, but Bob manages to succeed. Jeff Schalles follows with his autobiographical account of entering fandom in “Looking for the Lost Valley Prairie.” Bob Lichtman features another anecdotal piece by Greg Benford entitled “PKD in OC.” Short, sweet, and fondly told by a friend and admirer. Andy Hooper reprises his contextual experiment of odd connections to the 1939 World Science Fiction Convention with “Bradbury’s Worldcon,” wherein we discover why Andy is one of the best fan fiction writers around. The discerning reader might note and reflect that of these last two pieces, the first one is a primary source account, and the second a secondary (or tertiary) account cobbled together to great effect by the deft hand of Andy Hooper. He makes it seem that he was there….a very difficult feat. In “A Long, Live Night in Nimes,” Pascal Thomas tells us about attending a Neil Young concert in Nimes, with plenty of historical references to make this quite a colorful trip. Rob Hansen follows with “I Am Iron Man,” which is not only about the fan fund that allowed him to attend Corflu 2013, but also about his highly personal genetic disorder. Finally, or sadly (perspective is everything) we reach “The Ether Still Vibrates,” the very long letter column, wherein I find, according to Greg Benford, that “Earl Kemp seems to have done everything…and everybody. What a life!” This is a nice sentiment, and an even nicer phrase. It has quite a ring to it. However, Greg, let me correct you. Pop did not do everybody, not even close. Although I suspect that he has come closer to doing everything than either of us might imagine. The tale Pop tells of how he…ah…scammed his way into getting Press Credentials and papers in order to visit Vietnam during the height of the war is truly incredible and impressive. See “Shrink, I Wanna Kill…” and the companion piece “The Dragon’s Asshole” at eI16.
Maybe you (my reader) are still thinking that this column is just a flash-in-the-pan, just another review column among so many, but you’d be wrong. I asked and received special permission to review the following zine. Sorry folks, but this is a very exclusive zine, sort of a one-of-a-kind, and not available to the general public (yet!?!). So, enjoy the review as a kind of sneak peak at what’s really out there, and has been for longer than many of us have been alive. So, without further ado:
Scientifiction, New Series #37: Fall 2013. 10-pages. Edited by Joseph P. Martino. A publication of First Fandom, the Dinosaurs of Science Fiction. A little background information may be required to explain how this zine came to me. For a number of years, actually for over a decade, I’ve been working on a top secret project. It started when I asked Pop about First Fandom and why wasn’t he a member? He demurred, stammering for one of the only times, trying to tell me that he didn’t think he qualified. But I already knew he was wrong. Fast forward several years, and Pop is getting older, receiving a few well-deserved acknowledgements for his years in the service of fandom. There was still one that had eluded him, induction into the First Fandom Hall of Fame. Many of his peers had been inducted. There was old time pal, Frank Robinson, as well as the other Ziff-Davis staffer and fellow pornographer, Bill Hamling, and there was the lovely super-fan, Martha Beck, whose aunt was the stupendous Sally Rand of the bubble dance, all inducted. So, I began my secret campaign, and two years later (2013) Pop was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame, an honor he well deserved. John L. Coker, III and Earl Korshak got behind the campaign (thanks again) and made it all possible. There are few things that can be done for the man who has “done everything and everybody” and this was one of them. I had a fine time doing it. John Coker passed along to me the latest issue of the First Fandom zine upon request as it mentions the induction.
The zine begins with several news blurbs, address updates and the like, by John Coker. One is a notification of the now available PDF version (for members only). A LoneStarCon3 convention report by Keith Stokes follows. Keith mentions the ceremony before the Hugo Awards Ceremony conducted by David A. Kyle and Earl Korshak inducting Earl Kemp (Pop) into the First Fandom Hall of Fame. Next Joe Martino gives us “Context” about the regional convention of the same name. John L. Coker, III next up recommends the book “Super Boys,” by Brad Ricca, which contains everything you ever wanted to know about the creators of Superman. John also notes that Ray Palmer (Amazing Stories editor) was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. They have a swell photo of Pop as a young man, posing with the cover to his 1954 fanzine, Destiny, as well as a tender letter of acceptance, “Adrift in Space,” by Earl Kemp, wherein he acknowledges my efforts in securing him admission. Nice! Finally, there’s a swell obit for Fred Pohl. The thing about this zine are all the names, no name-dropping required, these guys are all the real deal, First Fandom, something for newcomers to think about while they strive to come up with revolutionary ways to reinvent the wheel.
Now, for a brief break from fanzine reviews with a news update. This just in: Curt Phillips, present OE (Original Editor) of FAPA, has resigned. Curt is a swell guy and has done a fantastic job, but tells us that it is time to hire a new gun. I’ll keep you all posted as this develops. Let’s hope that with a new OE that FAPA will find the opportunity to energize itself as an organization and reinvent itself in this new century. Since this might well happen, anyone interested in joining FAPA better hop on that bandwagon now while there are still open memberships. Time is fleeting and so is this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’d provide a link to OE Phillips or Treasurer Robert Lichtman, but let’s wait a few more weeks until the dust settles and a new contact person makes a stand for the future of FAPA.
Well, back after the pause that refreshes, still trying to catch up with the December fanzine backlog, with a look at:
Science Fiction/San Francisco #148: January 2013. Monthly. 46-pages. Edited by Jean Martin and Christopher Erickson. Subtitled: “The Monthly News Zine for the Bay Area.” It lives up to its claim. Cover titled “Walking the Coast Near Half Moon Bay,” by Lucy Huntzinger. Christopher Erickson kicks off this issue with his Christmas editorial wherein he rounds the corners connecting the dots between his Christmas sentiments to this issues contents. Jean Martin follows this with “The Force is Strong at the ‘Star Wars’ Exhibit at the Tech Museum.” The title pretty much tells it all. The article has a lot of nicely taken photos from inside the museum. Next Jean Martin has “Steampunktoberfest: A Celebration of History, Science and Science Fiction,” a con report on the October 5th Steampunktoberfest Ball at the San Mateo Masonic Hall. Lots of costumes. Lots of photos of same. In “Golden Years: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’” Christopher Erickson reports on the subject of the title. He follows this with “’Tis Dickens Season: The Dickens Fair 2013,” in which the title gives us the clues to content. Lots more excellent photos. Staff writer Diane B. Rooney has “Mark Your Calendars for Edwardian Weekend 2014!” Once again the title tells all. More photos. This looks like a fun group of fans that like to dress up and clearly put the effort into their looks. Pages of Letters of Comment follow. This is a well read, and much-followed zine, put out by a group of very active fans. The “Bay Area Fannish Calendar” illustrates this point with practically something interesting going on every week.
Askance #30: December 2013. Bimonthly. 36-pages. Edited by John Purcell. Cover by Steve Stiles. John kicks off this issue with “Bemused Natterings,” in which he updates us about his family (new son-in-law and first grandchild). John includes an interesting LoneStarCon 3 report. It seems the last Worldcon he went to was in 1978, so this lends a unique perspective to his thoughts. Steampunk seems to be catching on, as John and his lovely wife, Valerie, demonstrate in costume. John does something interesting; he introduces his contributors with a short blurb. “Lonestarcon 3 Assessment Test” is a marvelous idea, a real test, with clever multiple-choice answers. Walt Wentz continues this entertaining turn with “A Complaint to Hanes.” Yes, it is about underwear, and if it doesn’t make you laugh you have no sense of humor. Next is “Portfolio: WOOF 2013 Covers.” The artwork is by Valerie, and the comments by John. There is no doubt that this is an incredible zine, chock full of talent. There is even a comic strip, “Figby,” by Bill Fischer. With “Fanzines Reviews Revisited” John gives my column a run for the money. Nuff said. “Day Trip to Weird West Fest” is exactly that, a con report style article about the December 14th event in Giddings, Texas. “From the Hinterlands” is the title for the extensive loc column. With “Regional SF and Related Subject Matter” we find out what fannish things are happening in Texas. In “What’s Next,” John speculates about the contents and date of appearance for his next zine. This is one of the more amusing and entertaining zines out there. Let’s hope that John keeps up the good work. Read his zine and tell him so!
Orpheum #5: December 2013. Monthly. 16-pages. Edited by Alan White. Cover by Alan White. Alan White is another one of those double-threats. Not only is his zine eligible for a Hugo, but Alan who is a fan artist is as well. Good luck! Alan White and his lovely wife, are the center of one of the two very active Las Vegas based fan clubs. In his opening editorial, Alan gives with “Cold Feet” about the staggering shift in temperatures that Las Vegas undergoes every year. In “Apple Sauce” he very briefly touches on his problems with Apple’s latest “word pusher” software, Pages. This is a very club oriented zine. In “October: Vegas Science Fiction Association Party!” we find out why, with plenty of photos of the entire rogues gallery. “Walk or Run, Zombie Fun” highlights the Halloween 5K dash. “Life is Beautiful” boosts the Las Vegas growing art scene. And if all that isn’t enough stuff, “Beam Me to Vegas, Scotty” tells us that William Shatner will have a one-man show in Vegas beginning in 2014. “Other Things that Rocked October” tells us that there’s more to Las Vegas than gambling. There’s the Age of Chivalry Festival, the Las Vegas Burlesque Festival, and the Las Vegas Bike Fest. If that’s not enough, there’s the “Reading is Not Optional” blurb about the Vegas Valley Book Festival. “Nic’s New Digs” tell us all about fan writer Nic Farey move…with a fest. “Capt. Timothy’s Pirate Ramble & Pizza Pillage” gives with another fest at another club member’s domicile. Lots of costumes. Lots of photos. Lots of fun. “These Old Fanzines” recounts with a nostalgic eye some of the better known fanzines of the ‘80s. In “DeDee’s Book Den” Alan White’s wife reviews “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou. Yet another party is recounted in “A SNAFFU Do For You!” Seems this crowd really likes to party. A couple of locs from the usual suspects rounds out this ish. Nice reading, and lots of vicarious party fun for the reader.
Remembering Al Andrews: This is a touching one-shot tribute to pal Al Andrews, by his buddies, Bill Plott and Larry Montgomery. Bill, Larry, and Al were all founding members of the Southern Fandom Press Alliance. December 2013. One-shot. 28-pages. Edited by Bill Plott and Larry Montgomery. This is a walk down the memory lane of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Lots of photos. This is an important fan historical zine. It contains lots of context, and perspective. Read it and weep!
Well, that’s all for this week. Still quite a backlog to catch up with, so if you don’t see your zine reviewed this week, look for it next week.
Now, for one final note this week. In keeping with all the mentions of First Fandom, this just in: The cover for my upcoming book, The Club House, as done by Steve Stiles. (Thanks again, Steve!)
As a tribute to Rog Phillips, my godfather, and his memory, I’ve spent several years collecting all of his writing. With attention to detail I’ve carefully transcribed all 67 appearances of his original fanzine review column from the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, The Club House, editing them for consistency. I’ve added over 300,000 words annotating the nearly 300,000 words he wrote in his column, all with an eye toward finding a context for the people, their times, and what they did and wrote in their fanzines. Now I’ve just completed the index with over 5,800 single items, and more than 14,000 individual entries.
And just like Rog, I’m using my bully pulpit to bring the upcoming publication of this massive, nearly 630 pages, 8 ½ x 11, softcover tome, to the attention of the reading public.
I’m taking advance orders for a limited number of signed editions (just like Shasta once offered). The preliminary price will be around $25 to $35 a copy (shipping not included…ha ha!). The final price and number printed will depend on interest. So, let me know, and place your order now! One thing is certain, only a limited number of signed copies will ever be offered to the public. To place your order, or contact me directly: The Club House
So, keep fanning until next week when Yours Truly will be bringing you another exciting, jaw-dropping installment of The Club House.