September 18th to October 10th, 1996
by Andy Hooper
1. Crawdaddy! #14, edited by Paul Williams, P.O. Box 231155, Encinitas, CA 92023: Every now and then, when chatting with Paul at one convention or another, I get this little shiver: Fuck, man, this is Paul Williams I'm sitting next to! The guy who basically invented the music fanzine, who hobnobbed with Phil Dick and Tim Leary, and as related in this issue, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Paul seems to be inserting at least one historical article along with the reviews of contemporary music and musicians; the gem this time out is a memoir of his trip to Montreal John and Yoko's second "Bed-in for Peace" and the recording of "Give Peace a Chance" at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Paul is visible in the tape clip of the recording which shows up on VH-1 every now and then. Also noteworthy are Lewis Shiner's thoughts on Maria McKee, Mark Hagen's report on seeing the Sex Pistols Reunion Tour (which still sounds like a hoax to me, even after having seen them on Letterman last month), and brand-new Seattle resident Michaelangelo Matos' lengthy consideration of James Brown and his place in recent musical and cultural history. Matos comes up with just a few insights that I had not seen other writers offer, but his powerful, passionate love and respect for Brown's work burns like an arc-light and kept me reading all the way to the end. An up-and-comer I expect to see more from in the future.
2. Ansible #111, edited by Dave Langford, 94 London Rd., Reading, Berkshire RG1 5AU UK: The most notable news in this issue, to my eye, is the word that Martin Tudor and Steve Green have finally knuckled-under to the inexorable pressure of their financial wounds, and will cease publication of Critical Wave after one more issue. One can't blame them, certainly, but it will be terribly sad to see the end of a decade-plus era. Langford also notes the departure of Kris Rusch from the editorial helm of F & SF, the completion of the Fantasy Encyclopedia (Clute, Grant, et al), the apparent recovery of Pat ("You Dog!") Cadigan from gall bladder surgery, and openly repeats rumors that his more famous brother Jon Langford is hung like a musk-ox. Has the man no shame? Less amusing is the story of a massive net-borne virus hoax perpetrated by Penguin Books to flog an interactive novel assembled by Stephen Baxter, editor Hugh Barnes and electronic publicity boffin Guy Gadney. Mr. Baxter protests his innocence in the affair, while Barnes seems to have remained wisely mute, and Gadney has confirmed his status as a low-grade moron by expressing surprise that this bright idea ended up causing something of a panic. Oh, brave new world.
3. VFD #4, edited by Arnie Katz, 330 S. Decatur Blvd. Suite 152, Las Vegas, NV 89107: In many ways, VFD has become the fanzine I've wished Arnie Katz would do ever since I first became aware of his return to fandom, nearly five years ago. Through his pursuit of a dialogue with his letter-writers, he is able to make excellent use of his vast experience and knowledge of fandom and its history, and the both the prodding of the readership and his desire to recount daily events in Las Vegas fandom keep Arnie away from the more indulgent discursions which have been a feature of his prose in the past. In the editorial passage which opens the issue, Arnie confirms that this is no accident; he notes that last year's perzine, Swoon, was too close in style to his work in Wild Heirs, and that he really wanted to do something different this time. I think he has succeeded. His discussion of the reasons why he hasn't embraced fandom on the Internet ought to be eloquent enough to keep him from being assigned to any electronic fandom panels in the future. And I was quite taken with his discussion with rich brown about the place of amateurism in fandom, Laney's homophobia, and his report on events at Toner, where things seem to have been quite entertaining enough without any need for instant mythologizing. I could do without the imaginary correspondence between the cats, but that's a minor complaint. This is a good fanzine, which shows what a strong writer Arnie can be.
4. Australian SF Bullsheet #63, edited by Marc Ortlieb, P.O. Box 215, Forest hill, Victoria 3131 Australia, on the web at http://www.vicnet.net.au/~sfoz/bullsheet.htm: This is the last issue of Marc's bulletin of doings in the antipodean science fiction community, and I am seriously considering sending him the ten dollars he wants for a lifetime subscription. While Thyme remains a more exhaustive and certainly more physically-impressive document of Australian fandom, the fact that this appears so quickly gives it a unique utility. Someone in the U.S. really ought to do something like it -- we need a real newszine so that I can stop feeling so guilty about not providing our readers with more breaking news.
5. The Flying Pig #39, edited by Darroll Pardoe, 36 Hamilton St., Hoole, Chester CH2 3JQ UK: The one drawback to the letterzine format which Darroll pursues here is that we get to see all too little of his own writing as a result. Interesting as everyone's response is to Ro's previous comments on leaving her prosthesis behind, I was even more fascinated by Darroll's brief observation on the parallels between his late-sixties experiments with multigraphing and those pursued at the San Francisco Oracle. And his memories of "The Perfumed Garden," a show hosted by John Peel on the late, lamented Pirate Radio London, was even more fascinating to me. I could have read eight pages on that alone. But the beauty of the letter zine form is that with subsequent issues, I may yet have the opportunity to do so.
Also Received: De Profundis #292 & 293, Tim Merrigan for the LASFS.
Clinton, against the clear will of the people, has made baby-killing the law of the land.
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