After readlng some of the letters of comment on Mimosa 6, it occurs to us that we never did explain some of the fannish references in Teddy Harvia's wonderful wrap-around cover from last issue. Several people asked us about it, among them Dave Kyle, who wrote "I've puzzled over the wrap-around cover artwork because it seems to be loaded with symbols which I only half understand," and Jeanne Mealy who asked, "Do I detect brooding presences in the cover?" Well yes, there was some symbolism in the covers, starting with the observation that the difference between the wilds of Tennessee and the Washington metro area is like night (back cover) and day {front cover). Beyond that, the back cover features a Mimosa tree, symbolic of this fanzine, and a saber-toothed tiger, a reminder of our previous fanzine. Some of you readers may be familiar with that other fanzine, Chat, which we published every month from 1977 to 1981. It was ostensibly set up to be the newszine/clubzine of the local Chattanooga SF organization, but it managed to take on a life of its own and eventually became much more than just a clubzine like Anvil and FOSFAX seem to have done. But what, you ask, was the significance of the saber-toothed tiger? Well, this will all be explained, and more. Read on...

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Visit to a Small Fanzine --
the Life and Times of Chat

by Dick & Nicki Lynch

We don't know what originally possessed us with the idea of doing a fanzine. It was early autumn in 1977, and we had just lost a bid to hold the 1978 DeepSouthCon in Chattanooga, which had left a bad taste in our mouths from the way the winning campaign had been conducted. All that is now water long ago gone under the bridge, but at the time we remember it was like being all dressed up with no place to go -- creative energy was present, looking for an outlet now that chairing a convention was no longer in the cards. At any rate, the local SF club, the Chattanooga SF Association (or CSFA) was fairly new and growing. There was a need for some kind of central focus, and out of all that Chat was conceived.

It was Nicki who came up with the name, a double-entendre from the zine's purpose (club news) and place of origin (Chattanooga). There was some opposition to the idea from a couple of CSFA members who claimed that it cou1dn't possibly help the club and would be a drain on its meager resources. But most members embraced the idea, and in October 1977 the first issue appeared.

The first few issues of Chat were pretty scrawny, being only two or four pages long and limited pretty much to local fan happenings with maybe a review or two thrown in. We didn't get a letter of comment for several months, and the first verbal comment we received was sort of a backhanded slap -- a club member told us he already knew all the news in the issue. The first continuing feature, a monthly column co-written by two local fans, didn't begin until Chat 7 (April 1978). During that six-month start-up period we did most of the writing, all of the production work, and assumed all of the production costs. Later on, quite a bit of the material published each month came from other fans, both local and out-of-region; however, the club never really did take to the idea that the monthly newszine could in fact be a unifying club activity.

Chat might well have remained at that level of effort indefinitely, except for a spur-of-the-moment decision in February 1978 to attend a small convention in Little Rock, Arkansas, where we met Bob Tucker.

It's no secret that Bob Tucker has been a big influence and encouragement to us over the years. He was a frequent guest at our house when we lived in Chattanooga, and has been the source of several articles that have appeared in Chat and Mimosa. The result of that first meeting was a four-page interview which appeared in the sixth issue of Chat (March 1978), and boosted that issue's page count to eight pages, a seemingly astronomical level of activity for us at that time. But it turned out that after that, we would never do another issue of less than eight pages again.

That Tucker interview, in retrospect, isn't as interesting as later things involving him we've published. We asked him what his favorite novels were and he told us; we asked him how he came to be a writer and he told us; we asked him what he was working on and he told us. It is to Tucker's credit (and his wit) that the interview came out as well as it did; we didn't ask him a single question about any of the fannish hijinks he's been involved in over the years like the Staples war or the Tucker Hotel. The nearest thing of fan historical interest was his account of his airplane trip to Australia for the 1975 Worldcon. He must have thought we were just a couple of neos, and who knows -- he may have been mostly right.

We eventually conducted and published much more interesting interviews with Don Wollheim, Hal Clement, Jack Chalker, Vincent DiFate, and Jack Williamson; there were also a couple of three-way interviews, involving us, Bob Tucker, and other writers; one of them was with Frank Robinson and one with Robert Bloch. The Bloch interview, from Chat 12 (September 1978), was particularly memorable, and even today it still reads well. See for yourself...

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The Two Bobs
an Interview with Bob Bloch and Bob Tucker

On Friday, July 28 at Rivercon, Chat had the opportunity of meeting Robert Bloch and, with longtime friend and fellow author Bob Tucker, discussing various remembrances. Following is a portion of that dialogue.

illo by Kurt Erichsen Chat: Let's talk about old-time fandom.

Tucker: All right.

Chat: When did you meet Bob Bloch?

Tucker: In 1946. The 4th World Convention was in Los Angeles in 1946. Pacificon it was called. And one day I was out on this lake; it was in a little park across the street from the convention hall, and I was out there boating, taking a break from the convention. So I was out there in a little electric boat, and lo and behold, here comes Bob in his little electric boat. When I tell this story, I exaggerate for effect; he really didn't ram into me, he didn't capsize me and knock me over, but I tell that he did. That's how we met. We went back and he told a story on the program about his typewriter, which introduced me to the humor of Robert Bloch. He underwent a harrowing experience not too much before then, and he was a poor struggling writer at the time. And if you remember the story, Robert, you did something with your typewriter that you talked about in 1946.

Bloch: No. I don't even remember 1946.

Tucker: (Laughs) Well, he hocked his typewriter to buy groceries, and then when he had the idea for a story he no longer had the typewriter. He couldn't get it out of hock because held consumed the groceries and they wouldn't take the wrappers.

Chat: Were you living in California at the time?

Bloch: No. I went to California for the first time in 1937; I stayed with Hank Kuttner five weeks. It was at that occasion I met Fritz Leiber, Forry Ackerman, and C.L. Moore. I fell in love with California; it was a different world, an ideal place to be. So when 1946 came around with Pacificon, I went out there again. Tucker and I did meet on the lake, we were in boats, and we did bump into one another. We switched chicks or something of that sort and we spent the rest of the weekend together, and from that time on it's been downhill all the way. I went back again in `47; I didn't move out there until the end of 1959.

Chat: When did you become a professional writer?

Bloch: I was a professional in 1934, I'm afraid to say, but it's true. I've known this gentleman, and I use the term ill-advisedly, for 32 years. It's been quite an experience.

Chat: What was your first published story?

Bloch: "The Feast in the Abbey," in Weird Tales, in the January, 1935 issue which actually came out the first of November in 1934. They always issued them two months in advance in those days.

Tucker: Robert has seniority on me. He sold that story, although it appeared in the January `35 issue, about June or July in 1934 as I recall. Magazines have a long lead time. So he became a dirty old pro, underline the word dirty, in June or July of `34 and he has a terrific seniority on me because I did not sell my first story until about January of `41, something like that. It was called...

Bloch: "Slan."

Tucker: (Laughs) "Slan!" I used the pen name A.E. Van Vogt! No, it was called "Interstellar Way Station." Fred Pohl bought it and published it in Super Science Novels. So anyway, Bob has seven years seniority on me, and believe me, on him it shows!

illo by Kurt Erichsen Bloch: (Laughs) I've always wondered about Bob's first story, you know. I wonder why he didn't quit when he was ahead.

Tucker: (Laughs) Robert and I discovered something at Pacificon; we discovered that we could have more fun milking an audience by pretending to stab one another, heckle one another, than we could by playing buddy-buddy. We get up on stage together and play buddy-buddy and they doze, they nod, they fall asleep. We heckle one another and they're wide awake and alert awaiting the next sharply pointed knife.

Chat: Bob, how did you get involved with Hollywood?

Bloch: I got involved with Hollywood when I was about 3 years old, by going to silent movies. I'll never forget it. There was one silent film where a train would rush toward the audience and everyone would cower in their seats. I went under my seat, and when I lifted my head again there was a picture on with a very funny comedian in it; it was a two-reel comedy with Buster Keaton. And it took me until 1960 to meet Bus, when I went out to Hollywood and I found myself on a baseball team with Buster. He was the pitcher and the late Dan Blocker was the catcher. That was quite a game!

Tucker: What position did you play?

Bloch: I was, um, way out in left field! (Everybody laughs) From that moment we became fast friends. But the point, if any, was that I became a movie fan, a real movie buff. And I was very, very enamored of screen work. I never thought I'd get into it. But finally in 1959, 1 got an opportunity to do a television show. I went out and did it, and at the same time my novel Psycho was bought, which was then screened and released in 1960. So I've been involved more or less ever since.

Chat: What are your thoughts on Psycho? It's made you famous, if nothing else, but has it made you famous in a way you desire?

Bloch: Believe me, I have nothing but gratitude for all the things that have happened to me in my life. Look at the wonderful things that science fiction has done. By picking up a magazine when I was 10 years old, I didn't realize I was opening the door to a world that was going to give me a whole lifetime of pleasure and enable me to meet hundreds of people that I would not otherwise have met. I'm very grateful to all it has given me, in spite of Tucker.

Chat: You won your Hugo in 1959 for the short story, "That Hell-Bound Train." How many times have you been nominated?

Bloch: That's the only time. You know, I didn't even know I was up for it. I really didn't know that the story had been nominated. In 1959, I was at the Detroit Worldcon; Isaac Asimov was the Toastmaster and he asked me to help him out because, you know, he's pretty inarticulate. (Tucker laughs at this) I was to hand out the Hugos. I was opening the envelope and I saw my name on the list of nominations. I didn't even know of it. When the story won, I was flabbergasted.

Chat: Bob, you won your Hugo for Best Fan Writer, I believe. When was that?

Tucker: The award was granted in 1970 for the year 1969. But do not accept that at face value. I've been writing for fanzines since my first fanzine appearance in 1932. When they got around to nominating me in 1969 for the 1970 award, it was for those 30 or 40 years of fan writing rather than the previous year. They were simply giving me a grandfather award, and it was understood as such.

Chat: Have you felt disappointment never having won for fiction?

Tucker: I've had two books nominated. The first Hugo awards were given out in 1953 in Philadelphia. They weren't called Hugos then; they were merely Achievement Awards. My book The Long Loud Silence, published in 1952, was one of the nominees for that year, but lost to Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man, which truly deserved to win. In 1970, The Year of the Quiet Sun was nominated along with Silverberg's Tower of Glass and Niven's Ringworld. And Ringworld won. My book came in number four of the five finalists. So I've been nominated twice, and quite honestly, I've been beaten by better books both times.

Chat: Thinking back over your years as a writer and a fan, can you think of anything especially significant or noteworthy?

Tucker: Go back to 1943, the first time you were Guest of Honor.

Bloch: Oh, yes, Toronto! I was Guest of Honor at the Worldcon in Toronto because this character over here made that suggestion. He's the guy who said "Make him Guest of Honor," so they did. We went up there; things were a little bit different. There were about 200 people at this affair and they had a small banquet. We paid for our own banquet tickets; I mean, the Guests of Honor and Toastmaster paid for their own banquet tickets!

Tucker: No freebies in those days. The cons were too small and too poor. They couldn't afford to pay for it. At that Worldcon he was Pro Guest of Honor and I was Fan Guest of Honor. This was the first time we appeared on a program together. That's how we discovered we could play straight man or jab at each other.

Bloch: What happened was that Tucker had gotten together a very elaborate survey on fandom; an anthropological study complete with charts and diagrams. He'd done considerable serious and intensive research through correspondence, questionnaire, and documentation. He presented this thing as part of the formal program. As luck would have it, they had to have something to do at the banquet; it was a matter of whoever was there would contribute something. So, I turned up the next day at the banquet, and I, too, had a survey of fandom with some charts which I had done in my room the previous night. It was a deliberate contradiction of Tucker's findings.

Tucker: (Laughing) Bloch did the most beautiful job imaginable. Now, picture me with this solidly researched and backgrounded survey; I actually sent out hundreds of questionnaires, and my charts were accurate as of that day. Imagine Bloch getting up there with his fake charts and very neatly in a few words, a few quick slits of that knife, he cut the ground from under me and I fell through the stage. He sabotaged me wonderfully well.

Bloch: What was the situation when you laid down on the streetcar tracks?

Tucker: Ah! In 1948, the United States was abandoning streetcars in favor of buses. Canada, being more enlightened, kept their trains and trolley cars. And Toronto, on a Sunday in 1948, was the deadest thing next to Jacksonville, Illinois in 1978. I live in Jacksonville. {{ed. note: at that time, anyway}} In Jacksonville now, during the week the good citizens go out in their backyards, sit on the patio and watch the grass grow. That's excitement! On that Saturday night in Toronto in 1948, the whole con goes down to the intersection and watches the red light blink. So the next day, Sunday, we left the hotel and went to the restaurant and it was closed, we got to the bar and it was closed; the only thing to do was go down the street to where the convention was in the process of closing. And it happened that we had to cross the street where there was tramway tracks in the middle. We looked up and down the street and there wasn't a damn thing to be seen, so to show these backward Canadians how forward-looking we Americans were, I laid down on the streetcar tracks and dared one to run over me! And nothing happened! All the streetcars were in the garage!

illo by Kurt Erichsen Bloch: But there was a streetcar on Sunday. That morning I took one to a park to see the elephants. I'm very big on elephants.

Tucker: Well, Robert has always followed the elephants. Usually with a shovel. (And everybody laughs)

Chat: You two are amazing. Have either of you any last comments? Or rebuttals?

Bloch: I'm so glad you did this on Friday night while we're still alive.

Tucker: And reasonably sober.

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illo by Charlie Williams That first year of Chat also produced another friendship that's lasted to this day, although we rarely see much of him anymore. In Chat 8 (May 1978) we were the first fanzine to publish work by fanartist Charlie Williams. We were introduced to Chuckles through a mutual friend; at the time he was co-owner of small comics store in Knoxville and teaching a University of Tennessee extension course in cartoon illustration. Dick's intro of him in Chat read:

"In my opinion, Charlie is a damn fine illustrator, good enough to win some day (soon!) the fan artist Hugo. Remember you saw his work here first!"

Well, it's turned out that Charlie has never been ultra-active enough to garner enough interest for a nomination, but he has over the years gained notice. Mike Glyer once even listed him in File 770 as one of the five best fan artists of the year. From his slick style and sharp wit, it's easy to see why...

illo by Charlie Williams Charlie Williams was the bridge that took us from year one to year two of Chat. We had gone to our first Worldcon (IguanaCon in Phoenix) that August, and had brought a few issues with us for trade or giveaway. While in Phoenix, we went to a program item on fan publishing and met Brian Earl Brown, who was just starting his fanzine reviewzine, Whole Fanzine Catalog, about then. Not too long after, we started getting favorable reviews from Brian, and one of the things he often mentioned (and what undoubtedly caught his eye in the first place) was the Williams artwork. And soon after that, tradezines started appearing with regularity, and letters of comment on any particular issue started becoming commonplace instead of unusual. It was clear that we'd reached "critical mass".

illo by Teddy Harvia New contributors started showing up that second year, too. SFWA members Sharon Webb, Ralph Roberts, and Perry Chapdelaine all provided material for publication; Chapdelaine's was a free-wheeling, opinionated monthly column on writing, small press publishing, and related things. About then, we also started getting noticed by other fanartists. Cartoons and spot illos by local area fanartists Cliff Biggers, Roger Caldwell, Jerry Collins, Rusty Burke, and Wade Gilbreath started adding variety to each issue, and we even received contributions from some well-known out-of-region fanartists, like Jeanne Gomoll, Victoria Poyser, and Alexis Gilliland. The 18th issue (March 1979) had a full-page cover by Gilbreath; previous to Chat 21 cover by Earl Cagle that, we had just run a logo and colophon at the top of page one and jumped right into local fan news. The club members seemed to like it, and we never did publish another issue without full page cover art. Succeeding months featured covers by Williams, Taral Wayne, and Kurt Erichsen, as well as by local fanartists Julie Scott, Tom Walker, Bob Barger, Earl Cagle, and Rusty Burke. One other fanartist who responded to a request for artwork was Teddy Harvia, and his cartoon, that appeared in the 21st issue (June 1979) introduced the saber-toothed tiger mascot that became identified with Chat during the second half of its run.

Cat cartoons were a common theme in Chat after that. Letters of Comment or their envelopes often had some kind of cat sticker or stamp. We even received a coffee cup in the mail from the Barnard-Columbia University SF Club (in lieu of a LoC, presumably) that depicted a contented-looking cat and the words "Le Chat". Harvia followed up his Chat cartoon in that same issue with an amusing commentary about how he came to draw it; here it is again...

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"A True Story"
Teddy Harvia

Saturday last, dhog brought me the mail. I hadn't even heard the postman at the box. I tossed dhog a bheer and he preceeded to pound on the tab with his teeth.

illo by Teddy Harvia A "Mpls in 73" flyer, a love letter from my girlfriend in France, and a fanzine from Chattanooga -- not much, I thought, as I glanced through the mail. But the last had me wondering. I don't know anyone in Chattanooga except McPherson Strutts, and he doesn't count.

A hand-marked block on the inside page explained why I had received the fanzine. Its editors wanted art. No problem, I decided.

Suddenly, a shower of bheer suds descended on my head. Dhog had opened his bheer. I glared at him as he happily tried to catch the jet shootlng from the can. You'll have to clean up this mess, I told him, but knew that he wouldn't. He never did. A creature as independent as dhog, who insists on opening his own bheers, has no master.

I set the fanzine aside to dry.

Later that day I relaxed with dhog on my feet to read Chat through the bheer stains and teeth marks. Words and comments here and there brought cartoon ideas to mind, but I dismissed them one by one. All in Chat seemed temporal, unlikely to recur in the next issue. I needed a cartoon idea which was outside time.

Why not just send a cartoon from your file, dhog suggested. They would know, I responded. They would think I hadn't even taken the time to read their fanzine.

For two hours I read and reread the issue. I went line by line, word by word, until my mind and body finally fell exhausted into a fitful sleep.

In a dream, the 'h' in the title of the fanzine faded away. It was so obvious, I suddenly realized, that the stuff of fannish legends had been staring me in the face all the time.

I leapt awake, rolling dhog off my feet and across the floor. The idea became a scrawled note. Dhog mumbled for another bheer.

The next day, with only slight changes, I inked the caption. But the accompanying sketch seemed inadequate. Dhog yawned with disinterest at the cat I had drawn.

The sketch lay for three days on my desk. The gulf between conception and execution seemed infinitely wide. I knew eventually I would send off the cartoon, whatever its final form. But I hesitated. The legend seemed to demand time.

Tuesday afternoon a vision from my past entered my mind. I remembered as a child wondering at the drawing of a saber-toothed tiger in the encyclopedia. Suddenly the beast was before me. His scream lifted the hair on the back of my neck. I was face-to-face with primal fantasy.

As quickly as it had appeared, it vanished back into prehistory. I hurriedly tried to sketch its essence.

At home that night I faithfully traced the creature in ink. When I showed the finished drawing to dhog, his ears shot straight up in the air. And I knew I had captured the legend on paper.

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It turned out that Teddy Harvia's "Fourth Fannish Ghod" article generated more fan mail than anything else that ever appeared in Chat. But what was more interesting was that it seemed to be the catalyst for a larger number of LoCs. Where we were hard pressed to find two or three pages of letters to print, every issue after that we didn't have any problem filling five or more pages, even with the tiny reduced print and narrow margins we were using to keep the pagecount to a manageable number. The most amusing response to the "Chat" article was from Sharon Webb, who wrote:

"Loved Harvia's fourth fannish ghod, Chat. I was so impressed that I was driven to do some research on the subject: The ghod is, of course, a chatamount. His favorite food is chatfish, but chatbird is violently poisonous to him. Upon ingestion of chatbird the chat will exhibit the chatastrophic symptoms of chataplexy. If the remedy (Chatalpha Chaterpillar) is withheld, the chondition rapidly progresses to a state of chatalepsy.

illo by Teddy Harvia "I would hope that the fourth fannish ghod Chat sees fit to reveal himself to us at Chattacon 5."

Unfortunately, it was not to be. While Chattacon 5 (January 1980) indeed had a masquerade, nobody entered as "Chat". Back then, convention masquerading had not become the relatively big-time craft it is now, and apparently nobody who read Chat was very much into that aspect of fandom. A "Chat" costume would have been amusing.

By the time Chattacon 5 rolled around, most of the "Chat" puns had run their course; by then everyone in the club was thinking more about the upcoming convention than of mythical saber-toothed tigers. After more than two years, the club itself had grown quite a bit from its modest beginnings. No longer were meetings held at the home of one of the members; it wasn't unusual to have 25 or more Chat 24 cover by Teddy Harvia people at a meeting by then, and the club treasury had grown to *gasp* over a hundred dollars (those were big numbers back then for a small metro area like Chattanooga). It didn't go unnoticed by a certain few club members that even though the club was contributing less than half of the publishing costs, Chat was still siphoning off what was considered a significant share (usually between $5 and $15 a month) of club dues that could have gone into more down-to-earth endeavors, like throwing a big treasury-depleting party each month. And smaller, less costly issues of Chat would mean more money for bigger and better parties yet. Personality differences within the club were starting to build that would affect the club as a whole and Chat in particular, even if we weren't fully aware of it at the time. We certainly wouldn't have believed it then if somebody had told us that we would cease publication after just one more year.

For that and other reasons, the Chattacon 5 issue of Chat, number 28 (January 1980), was another transitional issue. Gone was the photocopier method of repro; Dick had felt more and more uncomfortable about using his employer's Xerox machine to run off higher and higher copy counts of greater and greater pagecounts each month. It had become unmanageable, so we had acquired an honest-to-goodness Gestetner mimeo and electrostencil machine for future fanzine projects. Chat 28 was the first of them.

That issue was also memorable from the article by Bob Tucker in it. Every January since our first meeting with him in Arkansas, he'd been a guest at Chattacon, and had spent a few days with us before or after the convention. His visit in early 1980 was particularly memorable, because he drove down with Lou Tabakow from Cincinnati; Lou was already in the early stages of Lou Gehrig's Disease that would eventually claim him, but we remember the two days they spent with us before the convention were two of the most fun days we've ever had. Bob was Toastmaster of that Chattacon and was the subject of "The Last Whole Earth Bob Tucker Roast" at the Saturday night banquet, a truly funny and entertaining event of which sadly no documentation remains. He had also contributed an amusing article of fan history interest that was printed in the Program Book and also in Chat. Here it is again...

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A Scholarly Report on an Almost-Lost Art Form
Bob Tucker

"Lez-ettes" was the name given to the very-short stories which appeared between 1940 and 1968 in a fanzine called Le Zombie. That was a time when fandom was very young and had not yet gained a social conscience, and refused to take itself seriously.

The appeal of the stories was that they each consisted of only three chapters, and each chapter contained but one word. (A very few stories contained more than one word per chapter, but they were not as popular and as pithy as the single-word chapters.)

Two examples follow:

Chapter One:

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

Chapter One:

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

The Lez-ettes were the invention of the old Slan Shack gang in Battle Creek, Michigan, and were written by Walt Liebscher, Al Ashley, Jack Wiedenbeck, E.E. Evans, and myself. The rules for writing them were simple: each chapter was to contain only one word, if possible, and the three chapters taken together should tell a coherent story, with the third and last chapter being reserved for the climax or culmination. The kind of story a Big Name Editor was likely to buy if he wasn't afraid of being fired.

The chapters were to be set out as illustrated in this report, and the desired goal was to be as terse and as clever as possible but to always tell a complete story.

That which follows is a reprinting of the "better" stories taken from the pages of Le Zombie during the years mentioned above, and you are invited to contribute to the art form and so prevent it from becoming entirely lost. Try your fine hand at this exciting kind of fiction. You may win fame and fortune, but, unfortunately, you won't become eligible for membership in the Science Fiction Writers of America.

illo by Charlie Williams

Chapter One:

Chapter Two:
Nitrous Oxide

Chapter Three:

illo by Charlie Williams

Chapter One:

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:
All Done

illo by Charlie Williams

Chapter One:

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

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Switching over to mimeo had an additional side benefit -- it allowed us to use color in Chat. Issue 31 (April 1980) was the first one where we used different colored mimeo inks; it had a three-color cover by local fanartist Bob Barger. There wasn't as much reader response as we thought there would be, Chat 31 cover by Bob Barger although it did catch the attention of Taral, who was doing fanzine reviews for Mike Glyer's File 770 at the time. Taral gave Chat a somewhat positive review -- he praised it for use of color mimeo and appearance, but thought we were pretty well hemmed-in by the clubzine format and monthly deadlines. He suggested we might be better off doing a different kind of fanzine.

We were starting to think along those same lines ourselves, but frankly, we liked publishing Chat and the growing number of fannish contacts we were making because of it -- it wasn't unusual to find letters from Canada, England, Australia, Italy, or even Minnesota in our mailbox. Besides, after three years, that little saber-toothed tiger was part of the family. So we pressed on.

There were other color covers after that. For very next issue, Chat 32 (May 1980), we managed to work in all four mimeo ink colors we had; fortunately it was a fairly simple cover with lots of white space as buffer between colors. And there were three issues after that, 34 through 38, that had two-color covers. However, we soon discovered to our dismay that although we now had the means to do multi-color mimeo, we still didn't necessarily have the time. Deadlines fell just too close together. And it added somewhat to the cost of the fanzine, which again was starting to be an issue with the club.

By the time that the third annish, Chat 37 (October 1980) came out, growing personality differences had polarized the club to the point where it was in effect two different and competing fan organizations. There wasn't any semblance of unity anymore, and meetings had started to become confrontational to the point where we no longer looked forward each month to attending. It was obvious that sorneone needed to stir things up a bit, to at least try to regain some semblance of unity. So, in issue 37, someone did.

The article was titled "A Statement of Intent," and was written by a club member known for his sharp sense of humor. We ran it as an editorial, although in retrospect it might have been betten as a letter of comment. In any event, it succeeded in stirring things up, but probably not in the way that was intended. Here is the text:

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"Some time ago at a meeting-after-the-meeting meeting, it was noted that the Chattanooga fandom had lost sight of itself. That is, that it is no longer concerned with science fiction and SF fandom, and that it had become chaotic, directionless, and was turning into a party club. Let's face it; any bunch of half-drunk mundane idiots can get together and have a party. SF fandom is supposed to be better than the mundane world, not just like it.

"So it was decided that CSFA needed a leader, one who would provide a structure of continuity both within the meeting and from meeting so meeting, not just someone who just stands in front of everybody and lets everybody talk at once. The SMOFs conferred on this leader (as yet nameless) as unlimited an authority over meetings as his henchmen could secure for him. However, there seemed to be no one to entrust this power to due to either lack of time or fear of lack of experience in wielding power. No one that is, but myself.

"I did not want this position but I recognized that another candidate might not have my determination for reform and improvement for CSFA. The SMOFs understood this and assented to the inevitable.

"Therefore, at the October meeting there will be a short ceremony of investation wherein I will assume power and appoint my henchmen. Afterwards the meeting will begin along guidelines set forth by me.

"Wishing myself well and the CSFA renewed health and prosperity, this is your friend and servant..."

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Unfortunately, the message that was presented, namely the obviousness that the club needed some revitalization, was misinterpreted as an attempt to wrest control of the club. The fact that there was never any control to wrest, the club having been organized as essentially an anarchy, wasn't considered. An uproar ensued, with all kinds of accusations being tossed about, and what happened was that Chat itself became the focus of all the unpleasantness that was going on. The next three issues had a lively debate in the letters column about what does or doesn't make for an interesting meeting, and we were both surprised and pleased to get correspondence from readers in other cities comparing similar situations in their local clubs with CSFA. The most interesting and gratifying was from a fan in Philadelphia, who wrote:

"It is interesting to note the comments about a 'power struggle' and factionalizing within your club.

"This has heen a problem which has plagued the Philadalphia Science Fiction Society for the last eight years (since I've been in). The people who do the work are inevitably accused of trying to grab power. What most people don't realize is there is really almost no power to be obtained by running the typical regional SF club. And the positions of responsibility are generally available for those who are interested and dedicated enough to use them. Unfortunately, there are those who aren't willing to take that approach, and instead seek titles for their own sakes. This leads to the downfall of the club, as the workers get disgusted with all the drones. This series of events has occurred countless times in PSFS and other clubs."

Chat 40 cover by Charlie Williams That letter appeared in Chat 40 (February 1981), which was the final issue. By early 1981 we had decided that Taral had been right after all; we were pretty well hemmed-in by the clubzine format and monthly deadlines, and had taken Chat about as far as we thought a clubzine could or should be taken. Twenty pages a month may not sound like much in these days of powerful personal computers and slick word processing software, but back then each page had to be laboriously pasted-up from hand-typed copy. We also had decided that things with the club were probably not going to get better any time soon (they didn't), and we were tiring of all the bullshit. We longed to do a zine that didn't have or need any affiliations or sources of co-funding. It was time to try something else -- a different kind of fanzine with a more open publishing schedule. And so Mimosa was born, the name indicative of our southern fan background, but like ourselves, not necessarily or even originally from the south.

It's been almost nine years now since the demise of Chat. In that time, CSFA split into two separate clubs. The original CSFA hung on for another couple of years before atrophying away; the rival club still exists, illo by Charlie Williams although it has undergone so many changes in its cast of characters that the differences that originally led to its formation are probably only dimly if at all remembered. There were other Chattanooga clubzines after Chat; however, none of them persisted as long, appeared as regularly, or had as wide a circulation or as varied and interesting a content. Chat was a product of that rarest of times in any new fan organization, the first few years when feuds hadn't yet had time to develop.

And we admit there were times during the early and mid 1980s when we vaguely, but not really seriously, considered resuming publication in a more newszine-type format. We remember one of those times well; it was a breezy Tennessee autumn night with the wind singing through the branches of the big Sweet Gum tree in our backyard. We thought it sounded kind of like a big cat yowling...

Illustrations by Kurt Erichsen, Charlie Williams, and Teddy Harvia.
Chat 21 cover by Earl Cagle.
Chat 24 cover by Teddy Harvia.
Chat 32 cover by Bob Barger.
Chat 40 cover by Charlie Williams.

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