'Mimosa Letters' lettercol illo by Sheryl Birkhead
{{ As we mention in our opening comments, it's been a sad holiday season, with the deaths of two of our fan friends, Ian Gunn and Vincent Clarke. There wasn't enough time to include remembrances of them in this issue, but we will have articles about them next time. The article that received the most comments from our previous issue was actually Nicki's closing comments, about the growing disconnect between today's media-oriented fandoms and 'traditional' fandom. We'll begin with those but first, given the somber mood, it might be appropriate to start out with a few comments about the Mimosa 22 covers, by Peggy Ranson and Teddy Harvia, one of which depicted a somewhat somber winter scene. }}

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Joseph Major, Louisville, Kentucky
 Very artistic covers by Harvia and Ranson! {{"Suspension of Belief" and "Belief in Winter"}} Just gorgeous! These continue the Mimosa tradition of storytelling front & back covers. Are "Spring" and "Fall" forthcoming?

 Concerning Nicki's closing comments {{"Connections" }}, it looks like that humor piece I wrote about Worldcon facing three takeover bids (by thinly-disguised Disney, B5 and Creation Cons) is more real that expected.

 There is no single focal point -- sixties media fen had only Star Trek, seventies media fen had Star Wars, but today the Sailor Moon fan has nothing to say to the Sliders fan and neither can connect with the out-of-it dude, who, like, reads, you know? And each group grows on its own. Every media fan has its own netgroup, which encourages simultaneously growth and separation. I hear that Trek fictionzines have about died out, but Trek fiction continues on the Net. (The Star Trek Welcommittee has disbanded.)

{{You're right that the fracturing of fandom probably began in the late 1960s with the start of Trek-fandom. Media fandom fictionzines are probably dying out due to the expense of publishing and the cheapness of the Web. Actually, media fen have a lot to say to say to each other on the Internet and often crosspost to newsgroups devoted to other media-oriented subfandoms. We've never seen anyone objecting to participation in more than one media newsgroup. In some ways, media fen are even very similar to 'mainstream' science fiction fandom. A big difference is that media fen lack the history that we 'trufans' have. }}

 So of course does 'traditional' fandom and indeed many heretofore well-represented fans have vanished into this ephemeral medium. This may be another reason that SF fandom appears to be dwindling. It looks like, now more than ever, we need Scott Patri to come back from that writers' course. Those who recall his enthusiastic crudzine The Zero-G Lavatory will feel a thrill of nostalgia at his harum-scarum layout and amateurish drawings. But his main thesis, one which Nicki seems to be collecting evidence in support of, was that a new and unwholesome fandom was growing up, one that instead of creating its own fannish experiences was content to absorb it. If he had not limited his animus to 'Trekkies' this thesis would have been apparent.

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Roger Waddington, Norton, Malton, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
 Thanks for Mimosa 22; but entitling the front cover, "Suspension of Belief"? Surely a misnomer; I've seen it in reality -- well, the reality of fiction, that is. Beg, borrow or steal a copy of The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White and in chapter eighteen, where Arthur (the Wart) is taken to the goddess Athene, you'll find a perfect description of the scene on your cover. (Closely followed by an equally sfinal concept.)

 As Nicki points out, science fiction has never been so popular, especially in the media, in college and on the street; I like to think it was us single-minded fen who kept the dream alive, sustained it through the decades to give it the public recognition that it has now. And, in a sense, we are the last generation, because our purpose is now done. Of course, our one great failure has been to see 'sf' crushed into the dust by the relentless tread of 'sci-fi', but when the product's so prevalent, who cares what names it takes? For electronic fanzines and feedback, I'm sure there'll come a point when spending hours before a flickering screen will seem too much, when print on paper will be a brand-new concept. The one drawback I can see, though cheerfully ignored by most, is what happens when your machine 'crashes', when you can no longer contact the outside world via the Net? And, horror of horrors, it's no longer repairable and you've lost all your files? There's a lot to be said for old-fashioned paper.

 But, for the prevalence of media fandom, of Whovians and Trekkers -- well, there must surely come a point when every episode, every last scene has been analyzed to destruction, when they've exhausted all the fan-fiction about their characters, put them in more and more impossible situations. Then perhaps they might look outside, see what else is on the sci-fi shelves, start writing about it; include a bit of their personal lives and opinions; and fandom will be born again.

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Gary Deindorfer, Trenton, New Jersey
 You have had some incredible covers lately, and this issue's is certainly one of them. Cosmic concept, the woman-trees in summer and in winter, superbly executed. In fact, as fine as the written contents are, what really makes Mimosa stand out for me are its airy, spacious graphics. The large print is part of it, setting off some of the best art in fanzines.

 Dave Kyle's article about the first Worldcon {{"Caravan to the Stars" }} is vividly written fan history. It is difficult to realize how young these pioneering, legendary fans and pros were. Perhaps that explains in part their contentiousness; they hadn't aged enough to mellow a little. Plus the whole nature of their feelings themselves set apart by their passion for science fiction and fandom, then such a beleaguered thing, ignored or scored by the general public. There were Jiants in those days, even if they were also just kids, like as not bespectacled and pimply faced.

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Robert Coulson, Hartford City, Indiana
 Concerning Nicki's closing comments, I don't know of a lot of media cons here in the Midwest, though the ones I hear about are big, and largely professionally run. When Star Trek began, there weren't any other cons for the fans to go to, though they soon began starting some, and they did gravitate into fandom. For that matter, Roddenberry catered to science fiction fans to some extent -- he needed their support. Juanita and I got very good treatment -- including visiting an officially 'closed' set -- when we and Kay Anderson visited the studio. And one of the Trekkies who shifted over to science fiction fandom when she found out about it was Lois McMaster Bujold; I think she's worth more than the legions who stayed in TV-movie fandom. Fanhistory has always been a footnote in popular culture, and we're still getting some new fans. There is, after all, a limit to how many can be absorbed into printed-fanzine fandom, as prices go up for every-thing including conventions. Conventions are feeling the pinch, too; Louisville fandom has announced an end to Rivercon in the year 2000. Too many attendees, not enough workers, and the regulars are getting tired.

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Lloyd Penney, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
 With all the fanhistory books listed in your Letters Column, here's another project for the Timebinders -- assemble a list of all these fanhistory texts with titles, author/editor names, who produced them, and how to get them, if indeed they're still in print. I will heartily second Robert Lichtman's recommendation of Years of Light: A Celebration of Leslie A. Crouch. It's author, John Robert Columbo, is a literary historian with decades of research into Canadian literature, but has been on the outskirts of Canfandom with books like this and his friendship with many of the local SF authors. Part of the book is about Crouch and his fanpublishing, but another part is about Canadian fanhistory right up to Torcon II in 1973.

 Great closing comments, especially about e-zines and paperzines. I've received a couple of e-zines (Cheryl Morgan's Emerald City and Tommy Ferguson's Tommyworld), but in the long run, I received text files. BCSFA in Vancouver can now provide .pdf versions of BCSFAzine which are then translated back into visible fanzine form through the use of Adobe Acrobat. Still, a paperzine is physical, textural, and sent to you because someone wanted you to have it. A text file is downloadable if you want it.

 The popular of sci-fi today does indeed undermine SF. The new public popularity of the genre means science fiction channels both in the United States and in Canada. The Canadian channel, Space: The Imagination Station, will interview authors for filler pieces, but broadcasts some great (and many not-so-great) science fiction television shows. The last Canadian show to profile and showcase SF authors, Prisoners of Gravity, has been shown, but is now relegated to awkward hours. I've asked if there might be a programme dedicated to the sources of SF, the authors, but the reply was that that's dull, and most of the stations money is tied up in partnered production of sci-fi shows. It's great to have a science fiction channel, but not when it broadcasts mostly sci-fi.

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Edmund R. Meskys, Center Harbor, New Hampshire
 In your letters column, I liked Harry Warner's suggestion that Mike Resnick's list of fandom-related books, plus additions, be made into a reference bibliography for neos. I have added many of the titles to my 'must buy' list, but most are faanish or small press items and will be hard to find at this late date.

 Nicki's closing piece is all too true. I wonder if young kids who saw the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon or the movie Apollo 13 really feel they are watching real history, or if it just blends into Trek for them. I have met young fen at cons, but it is no longer "a proud and lonely thing to be a fan." Fandom has changed greatly since I got in in 1955 and I am afraid it will continue to evolve as the skiffy media fen take a larger and larger role.

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Tom Becker, Mountain View, California
 Dave Kyle's report on his "subversive" activities took a topic I thought I was familiar with and made it fresh and immediate. It seems now that we're on the Internet, the future has arrived and science fiction is irrelevant. But there still is war, and we're not living on any other planets besides the ever more fragile earth. Has anything really changed since 1939?

 If Mike Resnick had written an alternate universe version of his Worldcon memoir {{"Worldcon Memories (Part 1)" }} that left out his mean-spirited comments about ConFrancisco, it might have been entertaining. Resnick seems to have overlooked the very nice hotel on the same block as the Marriott (I think it's where the SFWA suite was), and he makes mountains out of streets that are about as flat as you can get in SF, but I don't want to quibble with him over his impressions. I am concerned, however, that some fans may get the impression that the clever stunt Resnick pulled with the Marriott was somehow okay. Depriving a con of room nights could throw a con into the red if it causes the con to come in below the required minimum in their hotel contract. Fortunately ConFrancisco got a good turnout so the loss of the room nights was not a fiasco, but it surely affected the bottom line, which in the case of a non-profit means less money was available for charitable causes. In other words, Resnick made sure his dollars went to extra hotel profits when they could have gone to future Worldcons and to TAFF and DUFF. Possibly even worse is the way Resnick went with a hotel that had been playing hardball with the con, and essentially rewarded it for being difficult. But enough of that. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since `93 and I wish those who are still holding grudges could just let go of them. I can't speak for ConFrancisco -- I'm just one of the local fans who helped out with the con -- but I have a lot of respect for Mike Resnick as a pro, and personally I'd be happy to accept an apology from him, buy him a drink, and move on to better topics...

 ...such as Richard Brandt's article {{"How Michelle Went to San Antonio, Attended the Hugo Ceremony, and Found God" }}, which was a hoot. It was nice to be reminded just how good a writer Richard is, plus the article itself is a wonderful reminder of the joys of fandom and even the satisfactions of helping out with a con. I wonder if his standing in for the Deity is what finally made it possible for the LoneStarCon 2 fanzine lounge to happen (late but worth the wait).

 In Greg Benford's article (("Save the Last Masque for Me" }}, his find of a bag of um, spaceship models on the Rotsler estate reminded me of something that happened while we were setting up ConFrancisco. Spike Parsons ran the Local Color division, which included exhibits, and Don Herron brought down some of Fritz Leiber's memorabilia, including one of Fritz's Hugos. The night before the con, because of a temporary shortage of display cases, Fritz's stuff had to share a shelf with the historic vibrator museum we had on loan from Good Vibrations. It was a sight to see, and I like to think of Fritz looking down and cracking up with the rest of us.

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Harry Warner, Jr., Hagerstown, Maryland
 With respect to the Six Degrees game in Richard's opening comments {{ "Six Degrees of Walter A. Willis" }}, I do quite well as far as political, literary, and show business people are concerned. For instance, is anyone else in fandom able to claim Stalin as a third degree connection? I can. The chairman of the board of directors for the local newspapers in mid-century was William Preston Lane, who served as Governor of Maryland for a while and was quite big in behind-the-scenes national Democratic party politics. I knew Lane pretty well, and he was acquainted with most of the big shots including FDR, of course, most of the Republican leaders and some world figures. FDR knew Stalin, Churchill, and just about everyone else, although I'm not sure if he ever met Hitler. I've also met Carl Sandburg, Clifton Fadiman, and Forry Ackerman. They should provide me with pretty close relationships with everyone in mundane and fantasy literature throughout the 20th century.

 The Lee Hoffman letter quoted by Walt Willis in his column {{"I Remember Me" }} is priceless, because it finally settles the old question of whether there really was a horse that caused Lee's gafiation. She had written about a horse in print but I don't think anyone in fandom had ever seen a horse that matched her description and we never heard about what happened to the mysterious horses. Obviously, it existed, as this bit of private correspondence proves.

 Ron Bennett's history of Skyrack {{"When the Sky Was the Limit" }} is useful information. His description of the Penitentiary (and there's nothing strange about the name of the apartment, because it refers to the famous Parker merchandise to be found in every stationery store) brings back to mind the strange change in Ella Parker, one of the most gregarious of all fans when she was active in fandom, and by the time of her death an extreme recluse.

 Finally, Nicki shouldn't feel too unhappy when people are unable to remember anything about the first moon landing. I saw somewhere the results of a survey of the American public on such things as who won World War Two (I believe only slightly more than half of the people knew the right answer) and how long it takes for the Earth to go around the Sun (fewer than half got it right). People are incredibly ignorant nowadays.

illo by William Rotsler and Alexis 
Darrell Schweitzer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
 The Willis piece touches on a bit of fannish history which I've never quite understood, though I'm old enough to remember the tail end of it. There was a time, circa 1950, when prozine letter-hacking was major fannish activity. Fannish reputations were made that way. I am not even sure the fans read the stories before rushing to get their next letter off to Startling Stories (there being no e-mail then, although the post was a lot faster). Prozines had 20 pages of letters in tiny type. This is a completely lost world, as I can tell you from my own prozine-editing experience. It is impossible to coax more than five or six letters an issue out of 20,000 readers. Weird Tales will get two or three good letters an issue, which I try to work into the editorials.

 But it was all different in days of yore, only there was another side to it. As the response from H.L. Gold to Walt Willis makes clear, a lot of readers in those days didn't want letter columns in prozines, and when Galaxy put the matter up to a vote, allegedly there were six-thousand letters received saying, "No!" The numbers are completely incredible in today's field, and as for the sentiment, well, when I was a kid I had a friend (who was sort of a fan) whose father had read SF (and they lent me a lot of early Galaxys to read), and the opinion of both father and son was that fandom was full of stuffed shirts and that given the chance, fans would wreck science fiction and certainly wreck any prozine they got their hands on. Meanwhile Galaxy prospered and Startling Stories folded, and while I am not sure that the presence of a fannish letter column had anything to do with it, certainly many readers felt that way. Nowadays most fans would probably never imagine themselves writing to a prozine. If I can work the subject into a panel sometime at a convention, I'll ask for a show of hands from the audience.

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Ahrvid Engholm, Stockholm, Sweden
 Regarding "The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game, I suppose I'm only one step away from anybody else, since I've met Forry Ackerman -- and he has met everybody else!

 Speaking of Bacon Numbers, I probably have a high Bacon Number for most world leaders, since I've met and interviewed the former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt who probably has met them all. I also have a Willis Number of 1, since I've met Walt Willis. (His article in the issue was, though a bit short, excellent as ever. I think he was right and Horace Gold wrong about letter columns. Most people writing letters to prozines don't write about too important stuff. But the letter column gives a feeling of intimacy that's hard to beat.)

 Dave Kyle's article was, for me, the most interesting in the issue. I don't think I'll ever read enough of the Nycon Exclusion Act. He managed to give some new perspectives on it, even if I thought I had heard everything. I'm convinced fans 500 years from now will still talk about Nycon, and Kyle will be quoted as an Important Source. However, it would be interesting to read that pamphlet he was supposed to distribute. I'm sure its quite innocent, but it would be interesting nonetheless. What did Moskowitz et al do with the copies confiscated? Did any copies survive?

{{The entire text of the pamphlet was reprinted in Dave Kyle's very first article for us back in Mimosa 6 ("The Great Exclusion Act of 1939"). We don't know how many copies of the original yellow pamphlet still exist, though it's been reported that at least one is in the Moskowitz collection; it's likely that most of the copies confiscated at the 1939 Nycon were thrown away that same day. }}

 Dal Coger's article {{"The Legendary Slan Shack" }} was interesting, but didn't answer all the questions around the original Slan Shack. Was the Slan Shack a collective dwelling or just the home of the Ashley's where they sometimes had fan meetings? I also lack details of day-to-day Slan Shack life. In my fannish universe, the different collective dwellings of the Futurians in New York in the `40s was always more of a model. Maybe this is because there is more written about them? (Like in Damon Knight's The Futurians, which also tells about daily Futurian slan shack life.) But Coger also makes it possible to correct an old mistake. Harry Warner wrote, in All Our Yesterdays, that "Jack Wiedenbeck was the first fake-fan." Reading about Wiedenbeck makes it obvious that he wasn't a fake-fan, but we have "Thelma Morgan, a dark, quiet woman, who loved to read and enjoyed fans, without being one herself." Thelma Morgan was the first fake-fan, perhaps?

 Nicki raises some discouraging questions in her closing remark. I too am not sure that "true fandom" will survive into the next generation, or at least the next to next generation. Star Trek, Star Wars, e-mail, the Web, etc., makes it difficult for the trufannish generations to come. Printed fanzines are on the way out. While Internet makes contact between people easier, contacts also becomes more shallow -- fandom has always been about deep, personal contacts. Web-versions of zines like Mimosa or mailing lists like Timebinders are steps on the right track, but far from enough.

 Is it even desirable that fandom as we know it survives the transition into the information age? I think it is, because fandom has at least one unique quality that makes it worthwhile: fandom was one of the first successful examples of the Global Village. Fandom established a Global Village long before we had Internet, CNN and whatever. Fanzines were sent all over the world, or at least in the triangle North America-Europe-Australia. The Worldcon hasn't been entirely successful as a WORLDcon, but people have tried their best (and there aren't too much of sf culture in Asia, Africa, etc., -- not the Worldcon's fault). You seldom see fans being excessively nationalistic (with some exceptions, but they are considered odd). Nobody says, 'your zine is shit because you're from Austria or India'. We send people around the world in fan funds. Healthy, non-threatening nationalism occurs in fandom, but on the whole fans tend to say: he's a fan first, and secondly he's Italian/Mexican/Norwegian (but that's not too important).

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Bob Tucker, Bloomington, Ilinois
 One small typo crept into Dal Coger's splendid report of the legendary Slan Shack. E.E. Evans joined the Slan Shackers, not E.E. Smith. That article brought back a torrent of memories and no, I will NOT tell you what my score was on that Jack Speer test that gave Al Ashley a score of 194. We had a lot of fun at Al's expense after that, in person, in letters, and in the fanzine prints. Someone coined the phrase "Ol' AA-194" and it stuck to him for the remainder of his life.

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Eric Lindsay, Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia
 I wonder what degree of closeness I can claim for having Bob Tucker stay at my house around the time of the first Aussiecon. Or indeed for visiting with him when I drove from Los Angeles (where if I recall right we had visited Mary Beth Wheeler) to the east coast with Rusty Hevelin. Or being in the same apa with him? Boy, those were the days.

{{The writers of many of the letters we received had fun describing some of their fannish 'connections', but surprisingly, nobody picked up on the main 'connectivity' feature of Mimosa 22 -- the issue was designed so that each article had a 'connection' to the article that immediately preceded it. Maybe we were a little too subtle. }}

 Like you, I'd read Pohl and Moskowitz and Knight on Nycon, most recently when I was making a few notes about Worldcon history for the Aussiecon Three web site. So it was great to see yet another account of those days from Dave Kyle. I was also amused to see Dave mention the formality of dress of early fans, as that was something I'd also noted in photos from the time. No wonder A.E. Van Vogt had some of his characters wearing ties in Slan, despite the plastic houses and the spaceships and atomic energy.

 Thanks for printing Greg Benford's memories of Bill Rotsler. Bill was one of many fans who stayed at my place around the time of the first Aussiecon in 1975. He was the one who complained about the quality of the toilet paper (cheap and harsh), but he forgave me that. Last time I saw him was at his birthday party at Loscon. I guess we will all miss him, every time we see another of his illos, which I'm sure will continue to appear over coming decades.

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Janice Gelb, Los Altos, California
 I would love to see the full con reports from which Mike Resnick extracted these gems. My favorite was his note about passing the little old ladies wearing sweaters in the furnace heat of Phoenix and deciding he didn't want to be immortal after all. Having grown up in Miami Beach (The Place Where Little Old Jewish People Go To Die), that had real resonance for me!

 Based on the LoneStarCon2 report from Richard Brandt, I seem to have passed on a fannish tradition. Lori Wolf 'interned' with me when I ran the Hugo ceremony at LAcon III, and I used the term 'Voice of Ghod' in my script, having stolen it from a previous Hugo ceremony's script (I believe Noreascon 3). My VoG was Marty Gear, who had done it previously so he didn't even blink an eye at the term!

 Finally, the behind-the-scenes look at the making of Men In Black {{"From Rags to Off the Rack" }} was fascinating and I enjoyed it thoroughly... up until the next-to-last paragraph, when Lowell Cunningham rated meeting Mark Hamill as a bigger thrill than meeting Tommy Lee Jones. He credits this to being a long-time SF movie fan, so I guess I don't qualify!

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Steve Jeffery, Kidlington, Oxon, United Kingdom
 Reminiscences from both Mike Resnick and Richard Brandt remind me that I was once probably a wide-eyed neo (I wonder what ever happened to him?) at conventions where Famous Real Authors were wandering around. Happily, the U.K. convention scene does not pander to the star syndrome, and you soon realise that many authors at cons are fans who happen to write the books that you like to read (in the same way that you might be making the car they like to drive). But you do get an impression of how it might have been when non-fan friends or colleagues learn that you've met Terry Pratchett or Anne McCaffrey.

 As intriguing as the tale of how Men In Black went from comic to film was Lowell Cunningham's story of how it started from a chance remark to become a comic in the first place. There must be hundreds of moments like that where you just go "oh yeah" and an opportunity sails into the lost realm of might-have-beens. Sometimes (I know this is criminal) they don't even get turned into fanzine articles.

 Pamela Boal's letter about Julia Morgan-Scott sends me straight back to the cover of Mimosa 21. Now that's impressive. I've played with scratch board, but not with results like that. I love the armadilly wimmen. Hell of a lot of work must have gone into that.

{{Here's what Julia told us about her M21 cover. "A confession about my cover for Mimosa 21: The idea for "Armadillo Ladies" came from my work as a scientific illustrator for Dr. Timothy Gaudin, a paleontologist who specializes in the study of Order Xenarthra (armadillos, sloths, and anteaters). Order Xenarthra -- 'Xenaville Saloon' -- get it? Obscure, I know.

"It wasn't until after I had finished the picture that it occurred to me that it fit right in with LoneStarCon's armadillo theme. Talk about being out of it! Another thing -- I realized, too late, that the original song is 'Buffalo Gals won't you come out tonight.' But Dr. Gaudin said, 'Perhaps female armadillos prefer to be called ladies.'

"Sadly, though, for Ruth Shields' wistful hope that the Armadilly Wimmin survived, I have a dark suspicion that they were doomed, or at the very least got their tails squished."

 I agree with Nicki's closing sentiments about science fiction and sci-fi. It's increasingly obvious in the proportion of media novelizations, tie-ins and 'spinoffery' in review books, and its most damaging effect on published sf/fantasy seems to be the destruction of the midlist as the market splits between high advance titles by established (and hence proven selling) authors and the pile it high, sell it quick media domination of shelf space. Would there be no room now (or in the future) for an author like, say, Tom Reamy, or Bob Shaw? It's a (literally) incalculable loss to sf if this proves the case.

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Martin Morse Wooster, Silver Spring, Maryland
 I'm not as depressed as Nicki about the state of fandom. I've been reading fanzines since 1975, and as long as I can remember, the core audience for fanzines has always been around 300 people. Obviously, the 300 fanzines fans today are not the 300 fanzines fans 20 years ago, but I am guessing that the core audience for SF fanzines has remained pretty constant over the years. What has changed is that the methods by which fanzine fandom reached out to new people have atrophied. No SF prozine reviews or even mentions fanzines. Science Fiction Chronicle still tries to mention some fannish events, but stopped reviewing fanzines about two years ago. There are few fanzine panels at conventions (and fewer conventions). I've found, however, that new fans are interested in fanzines. I run a small sf club, and routinely give away fanzines at each meeting. (Not Mimosa; I keep those.) Younger fans may not know about fannish traditions, but they aren't that much different from fans or our generation.

 Lowell Cunningham's experience as an extra in Men In Black was not terribly different from the one day I spent on the set of Twilight of the Dogs, a local sf/horror film in which I played a disciple of the evil Rev. Zerk. My part consisted of having an upside-down peace sign sprayed on my forehead, putting a while robe over my clothes, and spinning about a dozen times until an actress shouted, "Defiler!" in the general direction of the heroine. If the film is ever released, I am in it for one second. (How did you get Cunningham to write for you? Did he used to be a fan?)

{{ Actually, we've known Lowell for years (from well before his Men In Black fame), and he has always been a fan for as long as we've known him. As for Twilight of the Dogs (which featured several members of the Washington Science Fiction Association in "key roles"), we've heard that it's been released -- in Asia -- and will be coming out on video this spring. }}
illo by Alexis Gilliland
Ron Bennett, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
 Lovely, gentle article from Walt Willis, gentle because it sits pleasantly among pieces of more frenetic activity. Loved the mimeoscope story; haven't heard of one of thise things for goodness knows how many yonks. The piece was, of course, far too short.

 I also liked Ian Gunn's very original piece {{"Never Work With Children and Animals" }}. Very well told, like the story about the goat getting stage fright, but in context, his following remark about the storyteller being surrounded by kids is just a tad ambiguous. Ian deserves a medal for persevering with this group.

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William Breiding, Tucson, Arizona
 I was particularly fond of Curt Phillips' piece on firefighting {{ "10-70 Structure" }} -- it was vivid and incredibly lucid -- I felt as though I was right there with him. And Richard Brandt's piece was one of the best convention reports I've read in quite awhile, a singular report like this has a chance to be much more successful than one that starts with pre-con travel arrangements and rides the entire tide of the convention through the dead dog party and on back home. To write that kind of con report takes an incredible intensity of spirit and emotion that few fan writers have. My kudos to Mr. Brandt.

 Also, I was much amused when I saw the heading for Richard's Opening Comments. In most cases I am two degrees away; hard to believe that with Tucker -- I was at any number of Midwestern conventions in the `70s at which he was omni-present in those days, but somehow always failed to meet him, or even be in the same room with him. Odd!

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Jerry Kaufman, Seattle, Washington
 Both Lowell Cunningham's and Ian Gunn's memoirs were entertaining. Ian brought back memories of my visit to St. Kilda in 1983. John Foyster lived there at the time and hosted a big post-Natcon party for all the out-of-town, out-of-country visitors and locals; the highlight of the party was our visit to Luna Park. Cunningham's piece inspired me to want to read his comic books to get the original flavor of the thing. Julia Morgan-Scott's illustrations for Ian's piece were wonderful. Are these scratch board, like her work in the previous issue? They look like wood or linoleum cuts.

{{ Yes, Julia works almost exclusively in scratchboard for the covers and interior illos she does for us. }}

 Still more interesting stuff here, especially Curt Phillips on being a volunteer fire firefighter. Does he ever explain what a '10-70 Structure' is? I couldn't find it, but maybe I wasn't being careful enough.

{{We'll let Curt explain that one himself: "Good heavens! Did I actually forget to explain that in the article? '10-70' is the radio code for a fire. A '10-70 structure' is a house or building fire. We've also had '10-70 train', '10-70 dumpster', and '10-70 tree'. (The tree was hit by lightning and set ablaze. I ran that one. Took me nearly an hour to completely put it out.)" }}

 Dal Coger touched on the matter of fannish socioeconomic status. If he's right about where fans came from, then he might have touched on an explanation for differences between fandom then and now. Fans today seem to be in, or from, professional or solidly middle class families. I think there isn't the same pool of people forced to be underachievers because they couldn't afford higher education. Fans used to need fandom to find their creative outlet; the same sort of people today can express their abilities in work that's more challenging. It's a topic that deserves a lot more thought and even research than I can give it here.

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Dave Rowe, Franklin, Indiana
 Do you know how the 'Men in Black' legend started? It was with a book published in 1956 entitled, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, whose dust jacket proclaimed it was, "The true story of what happened to certain researchers and investigators who found out where the saucers come from." It was written by Gray Barker and centered mainly on Albert K. Bender who said he quit his amateur research after being intimidated by three men in black. About a decade later Bender finally 'reappeared' with a book of his own under the unimposing title of Flying Saucers and the Three Men in which he claimed that the M.I.B. had not been government agents, oh no, they were aliens and they actually took him up in a U.F.O., etc. etc. One reviewer in slamming it wrote, "I had got into a frame of mind where in I felt anything might happen," and Bender's publisher, desperate for a good blurb, quoted it word for word. Showing that if nothing else, the publisher knew the market.

 Ian Gunn's uproariously funny recollections of the Scout's Melbourne Gang Show and its urinating goats brought to mind an odd memory with a couple of tentative connections. The 'big time' Gang Shows were started in London by Ralph Reed who not only produced the show but wrote all the sketches and songs. Of all the songs Reed wrote at least one became a standard: "Strolling," which was made famous by the professional musical comedy team of Flanagan & Allen. Bud Flanagan was also a part of a comedy team called 'The Crazy Gang', and one time when they appeared on ITV's Sunday Night at the London Palladium, some bright director had the idea of having the whole Crazy Gang sing "Strolling" while walking dogs back and forth. You guessed the other conection -- on live television, as the Gang strolled from right to left, one of the dogs stopped at about center stage, cocked his leg, and a jet of liquid fertilizer watered a two-dimensional scenery bush. Bud Flanagan (to his credit and to the applause of the audience) reappeared, as the Gang strolled from left to right, with a mop and bucket, and as the song continued, he cleaned up the mess.

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Kevin Standlee, Sunnyvale, California
 Over the years, I have been personally connected to perhaps a dozen or so mundane news events that were covered by television, radio, or newspaper. With rare exceptions, the coverage has been wrong, or at least one-sided and incomplete. This bothers me, because it tends to imply that the reporters ALWAYS get it wrong.

 One might hope for something better from fannish sources, but clearly there are sometimes severe disagreements on matters of fact, not opinion, regarding events that should be clear. Witness Dave Kyle's mention of various errors of fact in previously-published fan histories in his article, "Caravan to the Stars." Obviously, multiple observers of the same events have completely different memories of it.

 With this in mind, it is with severe trepidation that I try to comment on Mike Resnick's "Worldcon Memories" of ConFrancisco. I cannot hope to change his mind about it. If anything, I will reinforce his opinions. I fear that my comments will be ignored as those of a biased member of the convention's Executive Committee with an ax to grind. However, in my opinion, Mike paints his word picture with too broad a brush.

 As one of the most visible people in the group that Resnick describes as "some committee members [who] have spent years on the computer networks arguing with unhappy attendees...", I would presume that my opinion would be highly suspect. After all, I was the convention Secretary, and one of its Division Chiefs. Presumably, I would like to paint a picture that was all sweetness and light, where all 7,100-plus attendees were perfectly contented and the convention ran utterly without blemish.

 This is nonsense, of course. ConFrancisco had some really annoying operational difficulties, and worse, they were the sort that inconvenienced a large portion of the membership. A major operational difficulty that only inconveniences a few people is rarely as obvious or commented-upon as forcing a large portion of your membership to queue up for excessively long periods of time.

 We would be fools if we didn't admit to, as a group, having made some serious tactical mistakes at ConFrancisco. Actually, we admitted to them rather pointedly during the 'Gripe Session' on the last day of the convention, with Tom Whitmore and me being among the first to admit our failings and apologize for them. (This seemed to surprise many in the audience, who apparently expected us to deny that it had happened.) In particular, our attempt to emulate a successful Registration area run by Noreascon Three four years before us missed some of N3's elements that turned out to be critical. In my opinion, our major events were not run with the audience or participants' interests in mind. Judgement errors by some of the convention management magnified the mistakes until they became nearly disastrous.

 In short, we blew it, and in a way that was impossible to disguise or deflect. The only bright side I can find about that part of the experience was that some of our mistakes were so irritating that we've been used as a specter with which to frighten other Worldcon committees into making sure they don't repeat our mistakes. As a result, registration for every Worldcon since then has been relatively trouble-free, and queuing for major events has been handled reasonably well (notwithstanding the people at ConAdian the following year who complained about the doors to the main hall opening too early -- apparently some people like standing in line).

 Without going into great detail about the loss of the San Francisco Marriott for the 1993 Worldcon -- a subject which would make an article of its own -- let me just say that the facts are not quite the way Resnick states them. Personally, I wish we had been playing closer attention to the hotel booking situation in San Francisco; that way, when Ford stiffed the Marriott, we might have been able to get back in there, with a hungrier, and therefore more cooperative, host hotel.

 I'm not sure where Resnick concludes that "the con committee was pissed because we cost them 300 room-nights." I do not recall ever saying anything like this; indeed, I remember one of our hotel liaisons being somewhat relieved that we had enough people staying "off-block" that we could accommodate everyone who wanted to stay in our convention hotels. ConFrancisco ended up drawing a lot more people (about 30% more) than we originally planned; depending on how you measure "attendance," it was either the second- or third-largest Worldcon held to date. Housing all of those people was a challenge, and it was a relief to be able to handle everyone. Any irritation I personally felt was not directed at the people staying at the Marriott -- who could blame them for getting what they perceived to be the best deal? -- but was rather annoyance that the Marriott would get any money from our attendees after having forced us into using other hotels. It isn't as though we were happy about having our headquarters hotel be located 960 meters (about six-tenths of a mile) from our convention center instead of one-third that distance. As I've often said, it was like driving cross-country on a mini-spare-tire. (It was still closer to Moscone Center than the places at which I stayed during ConFiction and Intersection were to their respective convention centers, but people seem to be more willing to accept this separation at non-North American Worldcons.)

 One of the good things about bidding for the 2002 Worldcon has been talking to many people who have good memories of ConFrancisco. I know that anyone reading Mike Resnick's article would have to assume that nobody who was there in 1993 could possibly have enjoyed themselves. With that many people attending, and with the mistakes our committee made, I know that there are some people whose Worldcon experience was certainly less than ideal, and for that I apologize. This is not the same thing as "arguing with unhappy attendees that they did so have a good time."

 It is regrettable that some of the things ConFrancisco did very well have been, in my opinion, ignored, forgotten, or at least have gone uncredited. For instance, I think we had excellent publications. In particular, a variation of the spiral-bound Pocket Program designed by Gail Sanders is now touted as one of the best ways to balance the conflicting demands of a Worldcon pocket program. David Levine very nicely cited Gail's design when he adapted it for Westercon 48 in Portland, but he is an exception. Memories of good things are shorter than those of bad, I guess.

 It is generally much easier to write a negative review than a positive one. Most of what Resnick wrote about ConFrancisco was correct, as far as it went. He merely didn't cover the entire story, and he left out enough that I know personally to be true that it concerns me that all of his convention memories are as similarly selective. This would be a shame, because they all are so entertainingly written that I want to believe them.

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Robert Whitaker Sirignano, Wilmington Deleware
 I didn't meet Mike Resnick at the swimming pool at the first Noreascon, but I did see that nude pool bash. I recall wandering by an amused happy-looking Robert Silverberg and seeing a couple in coital engagement at the shallow end of the pool (years later, I wonder if chlorine and water was really a good lubricant for this act). I felt left out. I was still a virgin.

 On a different topic, I got a mild shock while reading Stan Freberg's Autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh. Freberg mentioned that one of his duties during World War II was running a base newspaper. He turned over the editing and writing to some guy named Forry Ackerman. Small world?

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Leigh Kimmel, Herrin, Illinois
 I enjoyed the reminiscences in Walt Willis' "I Remember Me," in particular the observations about the travails of the often-overlooked bit-part characters, who are treated like so many objects in a set piece rather than valid characters with motivations. I also enjoyed the latest installment of "Through Time and Space with Forry Ackerman" particularly for the memory of his meeting H.G. Wells, who was quite a bit different in real life from his portrayal in the movie Time After Time.

 And Greg Benford's "Save the Last Masque for Me" was a very good remembrance of the late Bill Rotsler. Although I'm sad that I never got to meet him, I'm glad that there appear to have been quite a few unpublished cartoons among his personal effects, so that he will continue to be with us for a long time after he's gone.

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Marty Cantor, North Hollywood, California
 I would like to point out to Mike Resnick that I found the 1978 Phoenix Worldcon to be quite comfortable -- and I spent most of my waking hours (I stayed at the Adams) wearing a tie and a tweed jacket (among the rest of my clothes), even when I had occasion to cross 'The Anvil of God' (as I remember it being called, not 'The Sun's Anvil' as he refers to it). Where I found it uncomfortable was at the 1983 Baltimore Worldcon. One step out of the airport and I wanted to immediately reverse course and head back to California where the heat is dry. What I hate is humidity -- I love dry heat.

 I read Rodney Leighton's Letter of Comment about the 'We Also Heard From' listing with interest and then looked at the people you WAHFed, noticing some rather well known names in said listing. Any good faned knows that BNFs and WKFs are often WAHFed even though they have written good LoCs because other LoCcers have produced just the right word you need to express a certain thought and your space constraints force you to place the remaining LoCcers in the WAHF listing. Pubbed or not, the production of a LoC is always a pleasurable experience; and, like all writers (even of LoCs), it is my hope that what I create will be enjoyed by others. LoCcers do not just produce for editors -- we always hope that we can contribute to the enjoyment of a zine which the readers experience.

{{You're right that a good Letter of Comment serves many purposes, not the least of which is to actually provide some feedback for the contributors to the issue being commented on. That's why we make sure that we send a collection of all the comments we receive (whether or not they were actually published in the Letters Column) to the respective writers and cover artists. As for why a reader would send us a LoC, though, you didn't mention an obvious reason -- the person just dropped us a note to say thanks. While it would be nice to get long, substantial LoCs from everyone all the time, sometimes we get just a "thanks for sending me the fanzine, and I liked most everything in it" type of letter. Nothing wrong with that, because it shows they thought of us, but it's not really something for the Letters Column. }}

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Dennis Caswell, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
 Seeing all the history in your fanzine, I decided to tell you my own personal fan history. About 1977, I went to my first convention. This was a gaming convention, and I continued to go to these for several years. But in 1987, while I was at Windsor Gamefest, I picked up a brochure for a science fiction convention known as Contradiction, to be held in late October in Niagara Falls. Anne McCaffrey was scheduled to be its GoH. Now, I knew that Anne McCaffrey lived in Ireland, and rarely visited North America due to her problems concerning flying. I figured that I would never get another chance to see her, so I decided to go to the convention.

 What an eye opener! I found that I enjoyed myself at Contradiction more than at the best of gaming conventions. And while I was there, I found a brochure for another convention, known as Draconis, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 1988. Again, the GoH was Anne McCaffrey. I went to this one, and again enjoyed myself. An SF fan was born.

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We Also Heard From:
Forry Ackerman, Don Anderson, Harry Andruschak, William Bains, Martha Beck, John Berry, Pamela Boal, Bill Bowers, Ned Brooks, Ken Bulmer, Vincent Clarke, Chester Cuthbert, Sharon Farber, Naomi Fisher, Dean Grennell, Ian Gunn, Sam Helm, Craig Hilton, Irwin Hirsh, Ben Indick, Ben Jason, Terry Jeeves, Irv Koch, Robert Lichtman, Bill Mallardi, Todd Mason, Catherine Mintz, Murray Moore, Pär Nilsson, Marc Ortlieb, Elizabeth Osborne, Robert Peterson, Greg Pickersgill, Derek Pickles, Mike Resnick, Fred Smith, Steve Sneyd, Gene Stewart, Jon Stopa, Mae Strelkov, Alan Sullivan, Roy Tackett, David Thayer, Michael Waite, Ted White, and Zdenko Zak.

Title illustration by Sheryl Birkhead
Other illustrations by Alexis Gilliland and Alexis Gilliland/William Rotsler

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