A secret British spy unit created to mount cyber attacks on Britain’s enemies has waged war on the hacktivists of Anonymous and LulzSec, according to documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC news.
Too many secrets!
Edward Snowden has been accused of many things including being a traitor and being in the not-so-secret employ of Mother Russia. Consider this, he is never mentioned (or hardly ever) as being a patriot and a hero, which is well worth thinking about. I thought that the Cold War was over, and that the U.S. had won. But it seems that the U.S. has now turned its secret spy apparatus around in order to spy on all the citizens in this country.
Instead of being concerned about our own governments’ illegal and criminal activities, which have been recently aired by the world media in great detail, the majority of people still follow the same pattern, of believing that Uncle Sam knows best.
We have become a society filled with those who at all times attempt to be all things to all people. How’s that working for you? The world economy is in the toilet. The world is heading for an extinction level event that far exceeds anything ever written as catastrophic climate change is at long last apparent.
Blindly following our so-called leaders is to be a lemming. Our leaders consistently make us look bad, and try at all times to take credit for what we do, while going out of their way to diminish our activities as if they are of no worth or of no account.
Why would any rational, reasonable being allow anyone to diminish them in any way? In order to make their so-called leader look better? Why? What for when the payoff is regularly rescinded. What would be the point?
No, a far better thing to do is to expose these self-appointed leaders for who and what they are, deed-by-deed, fact-by-fact. But no one likes a whistleblower. The fairy tale about the child exposing the Emperor’s New Clothing to the world for what they really are, and who that person really is, is a myth. In the real world the whistleblower, like Snowden, is always castigated, ridiculed, and belittled.
Yet, the facts remain, the Emperor is wearing nothing but smoke and mirrors, and all the howling by our so-called leaders is meaningless. Our government is spying on all of us all of the time. This is not paranoia. It is a fact.
What are the signs to look for? When you are diminished out of hand. When the things you do are slighted. When your freedom of expression is eliminated out of hand and only allowed when it is bent to the service of these crooks and criminals, these very unethical people who have gained the reigns somehow, and now are using them to whip you.
These people only have power if you let them have it. So, take it away from them. Ask yourself what these people are really doing for you. If you determine that they are doing nothing for you, but beating up on you regularly like any bully, then you know the answer. Ask yourself what you are doing for them. If you determine that you are giving fair value but receiving nothing in like or kind, then you know that these people are totally bankrupt.
Why would you give them your money? Why would you give away things of value to those that only take? Life is not a one-way street, for the bullies and takers to dominate those that create and produce.
How does all the above translate into fandom? Fandom has a long history of publishers and editors who make a go of it, successfully staying at the reigns before they became their own worst enemies and drove everyone away. John Campbell was one such, he drove away his readers and writers by promoting Dianetics. Ray Palmer was another, he drove everyone away by insisting the Shaver Mystery was real.
Some publishers can’t make a go of it, spending their career bouncing from one failed magazine to another, or simply failing in the task of being an editor, which does require some English language skills after all, and not a reliance on spell check.
The same is true about writers. Some have exhibited a glib, clever style and faded because they have no real staying power. A rare few, like Robert Heinlein and Robert Silverberg, have made decades long careers from their talent. And a few, like Alfred Bester, have come and gone, and come back late in life.
The same is true about fans. Some stay, some go, and some come back.
The “why” is interesting. Some have their own, private reasons for leaving. It might be the wraith of a bitter editor. Rog Phillips faced this wraith when Amazing Stories editor Howard Browne replaced him with a staff of high-paid cronies. Other writers have found more lucrative genres, like Westerns, or detective stories, or even screenwriting, and so left the science fiction field.
The same is true with fans. Some have gone from editing their fanzines to collecting coins, finding it more rewarding.
What does seem to be true is that most people leave after a bitter encounter. For a writer it might be a very harsh intentionally destructive criticism. For a fan it might be after a very harsh intentionally destructive encounter. For my father it was when Robert Jennings pubbed the scurrilous fanzine, A Trip to Hell, as written by D. Bruce Berry, in which he accused Pop, Frank Robinson and Harlan Ellison of robbing him at gunpoint. D. Bruce Berry ended up being committed to a mental hospital. Robert Jennings released this fanzine at Chicon III, which Pop chaired, in a blatant attempt to cause harm, to diminish him and his efforts. Jennings attempted to highjack the Worldcon for his own bitter purposes, like all SMOFs do, and failed, as well. (Point of fact, I’ve read the lavender inked, very insane letters written by D. Bruce Berry to Pop. There was no question that he was insane, anyone with any sense would have detected it immediately, and not put out a fanzine in support of this incredible lunacy. Naming Pop, Frank and Harlan as criminals was intentional libelous slander.)
The entire story regarding A Trip to Hell, D. Bruce Berry and Robert Jennings can be found at: eI11
These days, with the seeming endless variations of fanning, it would seem that anyone could easily find a place, without the need to highjack someone’s thunder, without the need to lambaste someone endlessly for an inadvertent word. Yet this doesn’t appear to be the case. New generations have a very bad tendency to try to apply their own rules retroactively to older generations. Whether it is in terms of their very poorly defined and unequally applied social conventions and requirements, or in their callous and demeaning way of dismissing all of the past. And older generations are just as bad as they try to desperately hold onto the past, doing or saying anything in order to have one more moment in the sun.
Yet, everyday the sun rises and the day is new and renewed. Fandom is the same way. It is constantly being renewed by those avid fans, writers, and yes, even a couple of publishers and editors. Fandom is strong. It is resilient. It has been able to endure the slanders and bitterness of countless inept bullies. It will continue to do so as it constantly changes, forming itself anew, reconfiguring itself to adapt to new generations and new technologies.
Fandom is Great! So are all the people involved in this saga, whether they are desperate mean-spirited people, or talented generous mentors. All contribute to the Great Story that is Fandom. And we, their humble chroniclers take careful note.
Now for some shameless self-promotion, in my role as chronicler I’ve written a book about Fandom. It covers the feuds, the scandals, the lies, the corrupt, as well as the amazing, and the wonderful. It covers all of those post-WWII people who made fandom what it is today.
Here’s yet another scoop by Yours Truly.
It’s official. Bob Silverberg has written a tremendous Afterword for my upcoming book, The Club House.
Well, without further ado, here are the fanzine reviews for this week, beginning with:
Space Cadet #25: January 2014. Monthly. 14-pages. Edited by R. Graeme Cameron. Subtitled: Or, The Aging Old Fhart Nostalgic Time Waster Gazette. Cover art by Teddy Harvia. Cameron kicks off with his editorial, “A Shift in Focus,” in which he details his feelings about being a weekly Amazing Stories columnist. He tells us from now on he is only going to do fannish things for fun. Taral Wayne follows with, “Man Without a Country,” wherein he discusses being from Toronto and being an outlier from mainstream Canada. “On Collecting Miniatures ‘How to Game’” an uncredited article follows. The title says it all. Taral Wayne is back next with “A Pocket Full of Histories: Coin Notes,” which is about coin collecting. Letters of Comment follows, with comments from Neil Williams, Taral Wayne, “Loyd” [sic] Penney, and Dave Haren. I’m going to stick my neck out here and offer two criticisms. First, this fanzine comes in a PDF format, yet the typeface appears to be wrong. (It might be intentional, but I don’t think so.) It jumps from bold to regular every couple of letters making the zine hard to read. Also, the two-column format is difficult to follow reading from the computer; the reader is constantly forced to go up and down, page by page. Oh well, I sincerely doubt that Cameron will read this review or make any adjustments to his zine by making it easier for his public to read.
SF Commentary #86: January 2014. Monthly. 120-pages. (Yes, 120!) Edited by Bruce Gillespie. Cover art by Ditmar. The back cover art is a DJFractal by Elaine Cochrane. This is an immense zine, really more than a zine. It’s a pocketbook of fannish topics. Some of the highlights include Ditmar’s cover story. There’s just too much information to do this zine justice in a brief review. It is loosely divided into sections: “I Must Be Talking to My Friends,” subtitled “Farewell to Peter Darling” with a segment on “Graham Stone” both about the passing of notable fans; “J.G. Ballard News”; three sets of articles about “Science Fiction’s People” including segments on Bob Bloch’s visit to Australia in 1981, an interview with John Clute, and memories of Jay Kay Klein; and “The Real Science Fiction” which is an advanced book review section with nine articles about well-known science fiction writers, such as Joanna Russ, Arthur C. Clarke, C.M. Kornbluth, A. Belyanin, Phyllis Gotlieb, Audrey Niffeneger, Olaf Stapledon, Ray Bradbury, and J.G. Ballard. This zine includes articles by Bruce and Ditmar, as well as Peter Gerrand, Miranda Foyster, Chris Nelson, Daniel King, James Doig, Darrell Schweitzer, Mike Glyer, Pamela Sargent, George Zebrowski, John Litchen, Patrick McGuire, Taral Wayne, and Fred Lerner. Frankly, it does suffer from having two columns per page, making it necessary to scroll up and down. However, that is only a mild detraction for this zine. It a comprehensive, intelligently written work by some of the major talents in fandom. It is highly recommended. It compares favorably to Joe Majors’ zine, Alexiad, which if slimmer, is as brilliantly piercing.
Bunyip and Ayotochtli #3: February 2, 2014. Weekly! 16-pages. Edited by Robert Hole. This zine looks nice, but…I found it nearly impossible to read. I use Mozilla Firefox as my browser. Going to the website hosting this zine, and tapping on this issue as a PDF brings up a split screen. Not only is the zine in two-column format, but a matching TOC alongside the zine makes only one column available to read. So not only does the reader have to shuttle up and down, but side-to-side as I have a roughly 7-inch wide by 5-inch deep window to try to read it. No titles can be read without scrolling side-to-side. There is a standard icon for printing the zine, which brings up another screen with the entire zine as a PDF, from which one can print to file if they have the software. I used PDF Creator for this purpose. The file failed, with only 12 of the 16 pages printing. I tried again, canceling the pop-up screen for printing to file, and the PDF file finally populated my screen. So, after several steps and delays and nearly fifteen minutes I was finally able to read this zine. In his editorial “Wet and Dry” Hole explains this issues theme. “The Fisherman and the Draug,” from “Weird Tales from Northern Seas,” by Jonas Lie, translated by R. Nisbet Bain, follows. It is a short fiction story about the trials and tribulations of said fisherman. Not bad, it was fairly interesting. A book review of “Deadshifted,” by Cassie Alexander, comes next, with “8 typos noted, 5 of them in the last 50 pages.” There is a complicated “Word Search” puzzle entitled “Pharoahs” due to the geometric shape of the word puzzle. For sheer breath we have “Egyptian Love Poetry” an extract from a 3,000 year-old papyrus. Once again, when I reached page 12, the zine timed out, and wouldn’t display the rest. After a long wait, when I was finally ready to give up, the rest appeared. It does force me to comment that I want to read my zines, not struggle with tech and software and alternate website. Too bad it was so distracting and troublesome, I was actually getting interested and liking this zine after I was finally able to read it. The missing part that wouldn’t download was “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” by Robert W. Service, a poem. Followed by a line drawing entitled “Color Your Own Paper Doll.” There is an upside-down page with the answers to the word search puzzle. “Fhear A’Bhata (The Boatman)” comes next. More poetry. So, I think that this is an interesting zine and it shows promise. If editor Hole can trick out his original files so that they don’t take so long to download, and don’t glitch out, he may be onto something.
British Columbia Science Fiction Association #488: January 2014. Montly. 24-pages. Edited by Felicity Walker. This is the BCSFA OO. It follows the same pattern as last month, with “This and Next Month in BCSFA”; “About BCSFA”; Letters of Comment from Steve Green, Dave Haren, Brent Francis, Michael Bertrand, and Lloyd Penney. These letters come with footnotes! ; a calendar of upcoming area and club related events; News-Like Matter; Zines Received; E-zines Received; and art credits. If you’re going to be in the area, this is the zine for you. You could also look up the club, and maybe join.
Well, once again, Dear Friends, we reach the end of this journey for this week. If you are interested in reading the full, unedited, unexpurgated column, just follow this link to Twenty Second Century Enterprises and explore my website, dedicated to all things Rog Phillips, among others.