Now my charms are all o'erthrown
by Andy Hooper
As Worldcon approaches, I respond with a last-minute flurry of fanac, not least this issue. The collective glows happily and meets its quota as ever, but the individual editors and contributors labored mightily to compile this extra-portly issue. Sunday night saw us sprawled around the Apak World HQ, trying to stay awake until we got the lettercol done. We thought of the fans partying in Las Vegas at Toner, and of palm trees, free drinks, and crooked valet parking.
Special Commissioner in Charge of Gothic Fashion Reece broke the delerium. "So what, really, did Gilligan want that he couldn't have on the island? It seems to me his situation was better there than back in the world."
"Oh, Gilligan is a Dionysian figure, no question about it. He is Caliban, the walking id. All he ever wants for is creature comforts, elaborate coconut cream pies, labor-saving devices to spare his scrawny frame. He is gulled by every weird visitor to the island, susceptible to every charm; remember the flying-with-a-big-feather-in-each-hand scene?"
"And he falls prey to ecstatic transports, like the time he joined the bug music band," said Lesley.
"The Mosquitos!" I exclaimed. Commisar juarez nodded.
"When are the Hugo awards?" asked Victor.
"Sunday night," I replied, "and yes I will log on right away and send the results back to you. If Gilligan is Caliban -- they even sound the same -- then the Professor is Prospero, who could build a drill derrick with bamboo and twine, but not a boat to get away. His exile is intentional. And Miranda -- "
"-- is Mary Ann! You must have thought of this before."
"No, it just came to me whole. Ginger is Ariel, The skipper is Antonio, Mr. and Mrs. Howell are Alonso and Sebastian . . . you can't fill out the cast of the Tempest with the castaways, but I bet Vito Scotti played some useful analogue to each during his dozen or so guest appearances."
"Yes, he played about 14 nationalities -- the weird Italian guy with the monkey, the Japanese soldier who didn't know the war was over -- "
"Martian Bacteria!" someone exclaimed. Someone else shushed me. A science-news summary was starting on CNN. The announcer intoned, "Shakespeare wrote 'What's past is prologue,' but at an ancient shoreline in Tanzania -- "
It boiled out of me: "Laetoli! Cool!"
Mary Leakey's group discovered the site at Laetoli, where a family of ancient hominids walked across a lakeside bed of volcanic ash something like 3,000,000 years ago, and left behind footprints that survive to this day. She left it where it was -- recovered it with fill, in fact -- for ten years, until she had the funding and resources to recover all the tracks. Her team has made resin castings of the tracks, so we should soon be able to find rubber Australopithecine feet at Archie McPhee's.
"Looking at these tracks, you can truly imagine the person that made them, a person not really so different from ourselves." Mary Leakey's voice spoke over a picture of a herdsman in silhouette against a sere landscape, dry grasses with a red scrape of a road arcing across them. It didn't look very different from the hills east of Yakima. But this is one of the secrets of happiness: everywhere you go, things are pretty much the same. Trees, rocks, sky. Some water running through the middle of them if you're lucky, lots of heat and flies if you're not. How would winning the Hugo award address this question, I wondered.
"Can I have another shot of Tequila?" asked Victor
"Is not this Stefano, my drunken Butler?" I replied. But he was already on his way to the kitchen.
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Next article: TAFFragment #5 -- Hotel Hansen (The Early Years), by Dan Steffan.