Mimosa Letters

{{ Our fourth issue again brought in lots of mail, Starting off, here are some comments on Maurine Dorris's article on Neos, which seemed to generate the most interest from readers...}}

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Marc Ortlieb, Forest Hill, Victoria, Australia
Thanks for the live fanzine. It was an absolute delight to read, even if it did reinforce my sense of mortality -- I refer to your introduction to Maurine Dorris. You speak of her as a "long-time Nashville fan" and, in her piece, she describes her first convention in 1979. I've never thought of myself as a long-time fan, yet I published my first zine in 1975. (Then I look at the latest YHOS from Art Widner, and feel much better.)

I'm afraid that Maurine's piece {{ "Of Neos and Neo Hunting" }} set off a whole string of vivid mental images in my mind -- of dirty old fans in overcoats, approaching starry-eyed neos and saying, "Hello, little neo. Would you like to see my fanzine collection?"

My own experience was rather different. I went to my first convention with a friend -- some neos travel in pairs -- and we enjoyed the con (the first Aussiecon) without really making many personal fannish contacts. We didn't even discover room parties. I came away with a couple of John Bangsund fanzines from a freebie table and was hooked on the spot. By my second convention, a smalf relaxacon in Adelaide four months later, I'd already published two fanzines and had joined ANZAPA. My friend, though hovering on the edge of fandom, wasn't smitten in the same way.

Thus I tend to have a more traditional Darwinist approach to neos -- I figure that fannish apathy to them is a useful way of weeding out those less fit.

{{ We tend to agree wtth you that neos either find their way into fandom and become fans or they don't. In recent times at Southern cons, we've noticed that small groups of young people will go from con to con, not as fans, but to be with the friends they came with, They aren't fans in that they don't know our traditions and don't interact with us. They buy in the huckster room and roam the halls. They have their own closed parties and occasionally come to ours. It's rare that we find a neo who is very interested in fandom. }}

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Mike Glicksohn, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I'm pretty sure Martha Beck learned to look out for lost neos at conventions from Walt Liebscher, a legendary old-time fan who made a habit of doing so for forty years. Fan hlstorians will know Walt left his mark in other ways as well (Chanticleer, "The Rooster Who Wore Red Pants", and, probably most famous of all, "Rosebud!") but perhaps his understanding of what it's like to be lost at a convention and his abillty to alleviate that feeling will be his most lasting legacy. Martha is certainly one of his outstanding disciples and it's great to see the influence spreading to other fannish generations. Good for Ms. Dorris and long may she remain so considerate.

illo by Charlie Williams
H.R. Bond, Surrey, United Kingdom
Maurine Dorris's article should prod the conscious of established fans everywhere. If everyone did take her advice to heart, you can imagine what fandom would be like in the year 2000. Trouble is, it might be stratified, with little groups of people who were taken under Avedon Carol's wing studiously feuding with students of Greg Pickersgill, and understudies of D. West lying in little drunken heaps all over the con. And think of what would happen if enough neos were indoctrinated by Michael Ashley... um, maybe this adopt-a-neo scheme isn't such a whizzy idea after all.

illo by Brad Foster
Dave Gorecki, Orland Hills, Illinois
Maurine Dorris' account of her first convention ties in so closely with my own that I wonder how universal it is. After reading SF for a dozen years, I found a flyer advertising a Chicago Convention called Windycon III in an SF book at a paperback store. After being dismayed at obviously having missed two conventions already, I decided to take the plunge and see what fans were like in the flesh.

It was my fortune that George Price (one of the founders of Advent Press) saw me doing the wall-blending act, and very graciously introduced me to a number of pros & well known fans. Throughout the convention whenever he'd see me he'd point out people and perform introductions, and treat a neo with kindness I've remembered for over fifteen years. I don't know if I would have found my way into fandom myself; I suspect so. But now at cons I always remember myself in `73 when I see that diffidence reflected in someone who's obviously at his or her first con and try to carry on the tradition, whether it's an introduction to someone or just a moment of friendly conversation.

Also at that first convention, I attended a panel called "The Neofan's Introduction to SF Fandom". Someone sat down next to me and asked the title of the panel. After I told him, he said, "This sounds like something I could really benefit from." The name on his badge was Tucker.

He looked like promising material. Anyone know whatever happened to him?

{{ Speaking of Bob Tucker, his retelling of his first meeting with Lee Hoffman, as expected, was well received. There was one letter in particular about the piece we were happy to receive, and here's a portion of it... }}

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Lee Hoffman, Port Charlotte, Florida
Re Mimosa 4, for the record the other fan with Shelby Vick and me at Tucker's door was Paul Cox. I expect Tucker thought of the name Oliver because Paul was associated with J.T. Oliver, who claimed to be Tucker's Number One fan at the time. I think they both lived in Columbus, Georgia, but only Paul made it to the con.

{{ Thanks for setting things straight. Bob has often said he doesn't let facts stand in the way of a good story, but that omission was obviously a memory slip. Still not too bad, though, for something that happened 37 years ago. They say that memory is the first thing to go, so that must mean that yau and Bob are good for another century or so, at least! }}

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Greg Hills, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Boo, hiss! I'm gonna submit your name to the SMOF Board of Censure. Last issue you talked about an Irish fan named Walt Lewis; this time, you have Bob Tucker talking about a fanzine named 'Quandary'! You fakefans...you...you... chindribblers! What have you got against Sixth Fandom?

{{ OK, what's a 'chindribbler'? You're right, of course; it's Quandry, and apologies to Lee Hoffman (again, several people caught us on this one). In defense, though, we think this was caused by one of the insidious features of the microcomputer age -- you live by the spelling checker; you die by the spelling checker, Now then, speaking of "Walt Lewis"... }}

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Walt Willis, Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
I was tremendously impressed by the dramatically unexpected appearance of Julius Schwartz in your pages, in a metaphorical pillar of fire, and I liked his story {{ "The Amazing Flying Wollheims" }}. I have been wondering what on earth I myself could have produced by way of anecdote from fandom's history, and his mention of the Wollheims reminded me that when Don and Elsie moved to their current address on Clyde Street in New York, Forrey Ackerman headed the CoA note in his fanzine with "WHEN WOLLS CLYDE". The last time I met Don and Elsie, at Leeds in 1986, I thanked them on behalf of fandom for steadfastly preserving this joke by not moving for the past 30 years. What an example they set to all these people who keep flitting about the country like the proverbial elephant in the rhubarb tree, to the despair of conscientious faneds. The worst af all in my time was a fan named Ed Noble, and I cannot remember whether it was Dean Grennell or Bob Shaw who called him The Roamingest Noble of Them All.

I also liked very much Pat Molloy's account of how he became involved in convention running. It was all strange and fascinating to me: I've never got involved in any kind of convention running myself, believing the Irish Sea was put there for some good purpose.

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Thomas D. Sadler, Adrian, Michigan
I very much enjoyed reading the various reminicences of oldtimers in fandom and frequently regret that I missed out on all that by not trying to become involved in fandom twenty or twenty-five years earlier. But that's neither here nor there. The really important thing is, there are still plenty of oldtimers around, and good fanzines, too. Reading about the different people in Mimosa makes me long to meet them.

illo by Craig Hilton
Rob Hansen, London, United Kingdom
I don't share your opinion, as expressed in the Mimosa #4 lettercol, that fandom is still young enough that it's still possible to document stories and anecdotes from the earlier years of fandom. Those around at the beginning, the 1930's, are already dying off in increasing numbers. If you don't start digging for what you're interested in now then you won't get another chance. When Vin¢ Clarke and I were researching them we had one old `30s fan die while a letter from us was on its way to him with questions about those days. One more avenue closed, one less in the diminishing number that can still be explored.

{{ You'll notice in this ish, as we always try to do, we have some fan history from the people who made it. Maybe we have more of First Fandom alive here in the States then you do in England, but we agree with you that it is very sad when we lose a fan who was part of fannish history, as was Doc Barrett. }}

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Harry Warner, Jr., Hagerstown, Maryland
One recent addition to the fan history shelf is The Story So Far, Rob Hansen's "A Brief History of British Fandom" from its start to the present. This is the only source for a summary of what happened over there during the past quarter-century. It doesn't devote much space to the earliest years of British fan history, but Rob is making amends by amplifying that booklet with a series of mimeographed publications entitled Then, the first of which contains many previously unknown facts about early British fandom.

It's doubtful if anyone will ever be crazy enough have the time and resources to write all-encompassing histories of fandom again, so the best we can hope for are publications on specific aspects of fan history like Rob's and the history of Canadian fandom that is now in preparation. Several years ago, Fred Patten was working on a history of Worldcons, and I have hopes that may still appear. We need histories of fandom in each of the major cities of the United States, a history of apas, and many other specialized works. Of course, there is always the problem of how to keep such basic reference material constantly available to newcomers in fandom. I understand The Immortal Storm is selling for quite high prices in second-hand form and you much be either very lucky or very rich to obtain a copy of the original first edition of the Fancyclopedia which contains some materials not duplicated in its second version.

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Richard Brandt, El Paso, Texas
Charlotte Proctor hit a responsive chord with her article {{ "Restaurants at a Slightly Greater Distance from the End of the Universe" }}. At our last local con, we decided to take the GoH to Juarez for Sunday dinner. This wound up as an excursion into the Juarez red-light district. GoH had to be forcibly restrained from leaning out the window and yelling, "Hey, chickie chickie," and other antics, the likely outcome of which he aptly summed up with, "You'll read all about it in Locus." We ended up in a show bar where he insisted on sending a drink over to one of the working girls -- who came over and attached herself to me all evening. Fortunately, we were all able to keep a straight face when we crossed the frontier and the customs guard asked, "Bring anything back with you?"

illo by Alexis Gilliland
Lloyd Penney, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re "Star Trek 101": I admit to enjoying ST/TNG, even though half the actors were stolen from soap operas. I have to wonder about Trek fans -- are they looking towards a utopian future, or a nostalgic past when it comes to Trek? Do they like the rosy picture it presents, or do they just get off on `60s television?

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Ladislav Peska, Slany, Czechoslovakia
Fanzine Mimosa was a very pleasant surprise for me. I read your fanzine with great interest, and I liked it very much. The article by Nicki Lynch {{ "Like a Car", in Mimosa 3  }} about problems in American fandom and about Corflu IV interested me the most of all. I am interested in fanzines, and it isn't by chance that our club (SFK Slany) has organized the 3rd "Seminar about Fanzines" this September. The fanzine seminar isn't really a con, it is three days discussion about various questions considered with Czechoslovak fanzines.

Fanzines in Czechoslovakia are very much different from American fanzines. At least I think so, because I only know Anvil and Mimosa from American fanzines. About 30 fanzines are published in Czechoslovakia at the present time. Most of them are intent on SF; they print stories and novelettes by Czech and foreign authors. The main reason for it is that no professional SF magazine is published in Czechoslovakia. Our fanzine Slan is half and half: 50 percent SF stories and 50 percent other articles. I can send you a copy if you take interest in it. But it is true Czech, and will be unintelligible for you.

{{ We've taken the liberty af fixing the grammar and spelling in your letter, so we hope you won't take offense. Actually, we get some English language fanzines that are pretty unintelligible, so there's no need to apologize, Yes, we'd like to get an issue, and thanks for the window onto Czech fandom. }}

illo by Teddy Harvia
{{ Another article that drew lots of comments was Anthony Scott King's "At Home Pet Neutering" guide. As we expected, readers either loved it or reviled it, with no middle ground. Here are some typical comments. }}

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Marc Ortlieb
Anthony Scott King is yet further proof that Americans are basically whimpy. As any Aussie brushie will tell you, the only instruments necessary for castrating (let's have fewer euphemisms, huh?) animals are a good pair of incisors. Quick bite through the scrotum, fish the balls out, throw them to the dog, and then a slap of tar over the wound...

{{ After reading your description, we've come to the conclusion that you're right; Americans are basically whimpy. }}

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Martyn Taylor, Cambridge, United Kingdom
I couldn't bring myself to like Anthony Scott King and his guide. There's enough of that crap going on for real out there among the sickies to laugh when it is brought into our charmed circle. No doubt it came over better live than on the page.

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Dorothy Tompkins, Knoxville, Tennessee
There was one article I didn't like -- "At Home Pet Neutering" by Anthony Scott King. I realize that it was all meant to be just in fun, but the animal lover in me cringed at the black humor he presented. It went several steps too far for my taste.

illo by David Haugh
Buck Coulson, Hartford City, Indiana
I disagree with the neutering information given. I always use a .30-06 loaded with tracer ammo, myself. This allows you to skip the anesthetic, since you can stay far enough away from the animal to avoid being bitten, and the flame from the tracer does the cauterizing for you. A .38 Special with tracer ammo will also work if you're a good enough shot, but the ammo for it is harder to find; you can get .30-06 tracers at most gun shows and now and then at flea markets. (You want gross, I'll give you gross.)

By the way, I disagree with Carolyn Doyle's letter {{ about the incursion of media fans into SF fandom }}; the media fans do read. And they put out fanzines, and actually sell them at cons, which is more than most fanzine fans do anymore. Media fans have these fanzines 200 pages thick that they call novels, and others only 60 pages thick that tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Star Trek uniforms, and stuff like that. And they sell! Ever try to get people to buy a stf fanzine at a convention?

{{ What you say about media fans, we've noticed, too. One reason we enjoyed Corflu so much was because there were so many fanzines available. We've noticed that at Worldcons, there are usually several tables of media fanzines for sale in the hucksters room, but the only SF fanzines for sale are in the fanzine room, which few people seem to know about. Some faneds use cons for distributing fanzines, but it's rare to see sample SF fanzines on a freebie table. However, we have seen media fanzines on freebie tables on many occasions. }}

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Mark Manning, Seattle, Washington
To start the LoC, I've got to admit that Mimosa is one of my favorite current genzines. For a while, I've enjoyed reading Holier Than Thou, Mainstream, and Outworlds most. Now I'm adding your zine to my fannish Pantheon.

Mimosa #4 was a different kind of zine, rather like its obvious model, the Outworlds that Bill Bowers did at Corflu 4, but populated with much shorter pieces. I figure the difference was that Bill's live zine was Corflu 4, while your live zine was more sort of a tolerated part of Chattacon, the lot stuffed into two hours.

{{ You're right, Corflu 4 was much smaller than Chattacon 13, but Outworlds 50 had a larger attendance than Mimosa 3.5. What you read in Mimosa #4 was edited down from a two hour live fanzine we had at Chattacon, so you didn't get to read all the pieces we actually had. We guess people liked it because we keep getting asked if we plan to do another one at Chattacon 14, but we have no plans for that. }}

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Milt Stevens, Reseda, California
Living fanzines do have some advantages over the other well-known form of real-time fanzine communication, the one-shot. In living fanzines, the participants appear to be sober. This is probably the direct result of the necessity of standing up while you are participating. This apparent sobriety reduces the physical risks of living fanzine production. With a one-shot, you always have the chance of catching your nose in the typewriter platen. If the typewriter is electric, this can result in dire consequences.

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David Palter, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for Mimosa #4. It was a bit shocking for me to discover that once again I had failed to make it into print. Although I pour forth my eloquent and inventive commentary, with my customary and much-practiced skill, my comments on issues 1-3 remain (apparently) unworthy of publication. Will I do better with #4? God, Mimosa is a tough nut to crack!

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We Also Heard From:
Harry Andruschak, C.S.F. Baden, Mervyn Barrett, Sally Beasley, Martha Beck, Lloyd Biggle, Sheryl Birkhead, Pamela Boal, David Bratman, "Gary Brown", Stven Carlberg, Avedon Carol, Carolyn Doyle, Brad Foster, David Haugh, Craig Hilton, Lucy Huntzinger, Don Lee jr., Krsto Manzuranic, Jeanne Mealy, Pat Mueller, Janice Murray, Rick Norwood, John Purcell, Warren Saloman, Leland Sapiro, Rickey Sheppard, David Singer, Garth Spencer, Erwin Strauss, Taral, David Thayer, Roger Weddall, George Wells, and Donald Wileman.

Illustrations by Charlie Williams, Brad Foster, Craig Hilton, Alexis Gilliland, Teddy Harvia, and David Haugh

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