December 13th, 1996 to January 3rd, 1997
by Andy Hooper
1. fHapa #2, collated by Lindsay Crawford, 5335 Daisy St. #94, Springfield, OR 97478: I think the misleading thing about fHapa is that the various official minutes and notes of Timebinders meetings give an impression of being an official record, while the rest of the zine/apa verges on total anarchy. I choose to regard the more sercon aspects of the fanzine as anomalous, and choose to concentrate instead on the personal fanhistorical research of some of the members. This issue features a segment of Rob Hansen's continuing history of fanzines in the eighties, and Vince Clarke's discussion of the final year Novae Terrae, Britain's first fanzine, both solid, engrossing articles. Perry Middlemiss offers some discussion of very early Aussie fanzines, and an annotated contents list for John Bangsund's Australian Science Fiction Review. And Ahrvid Engholm is back with another Smorgasbord of odd material, including a dialogue between a neofan and a Zine Master, and a list of Swedish/English false cognates. One's eyelids tend to droop at the endless listing of Universities with SF collections, and some of the less creative personal memoirs included here, but even so, fHapa contained the best material to arrive during this last month of the year. I hope this will make Crawford feel better, as Victor's review of fHapa #1, way back in Apak #56, seems to have sent him into a prolonged funk and he offers this as one of the reasons why this zine is about nine months late. Nigel Rowe is listed as being the editor for the next and subsequent editions ( 5224 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL 60640), so perhaps this will free Lindsay from the effects of such reviews in the future. But honestly, Lindsay, are you responsible for all the material here? If I speak in less-than-glowing terms of Garth Spencer's laborious 20- page contribution, why should that reflect on you? As long as it remains unclear whether this is more an apa or more a fanzine, it is also not clear how much responsibility the editor should take for its contents. Now that situation would depress me more than any bad review.
2. Canadian Journal of Detournement #14 & 15, created by Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta T2P 2E7 Canada: I'm almost reluctant to review these, because I'd love for you to experience the full chilling effect of them on your own. All Dale has done here is print some poetic excerpts accompanying clip art and Xerox photo images of space technology, yet his ironic subtext comes roaring through loud and clear. These tend to come in an envelope with issues of Opuntia, and I'm always struck by the immediacy of their impact when compared with that more involved project. I imagine one of these being picked off a freebie table by someone at a Canadian convention, and the head-shaking discomfort that would probably result. Now that everyone and his pet rhino are no longer doing mail art, the effect of an individual piece is much greater.
3. Lettersub #12, written and edited by Terry Hornsby, 66 Johns Ave. Lofthouse, Wakefield WF3 3LU, UK: Great Ghu, another one! Terry Hornsby seems to lack the mechanism which prevents most people from telling unhappy stories about their friends and family, let alone putting them into print. It is his tendency to relate events most of us would shy away from that keeps this from being a standard letter-substitute or perzine. His portrait of brother Derrick and his family is deservedly scornful, but I kept catching myself thinking, "My God, why would you want people to know this stuff?" But for Terry there seems to be a certain catharsis in all this, and he's no less unblinking in his fiction. #12 has the last segment of his story "Burning down the House," still a unique item in my fannish experience, and another blow to the notion that no fiction published in fanzines is any good.
4. Ethel The Aardvark, edited by Ian & Karen Pender-Gunn for the Melbourne Science Fiction Club, P.O. Box 212, World Trade Centre, Melbourne, Victoria 3005, Australia: My fears that Ethel would suffer an interruption of publication after the departure of the former editor have proven to be unfounded. Ian and Karen Pender-Gunn, who are doing their best to give the impression that they are Australian fandom, have taken over editing the zine and seem to be doing a fine job so far. Reasonably interesting club news redeems Phil Wlodarczyk's computer game reviews and the Australian SF TV listings by James Allen. Pleasant surprises come from Cheryl Morgan and Michael Jordan (Perhaps a middle initial might help, Michael), describing recent trips to the US. Jordan describes his trip to Seattle on a quest to meet Julian May, and offers a short interview with her to prove he was successful. And Cheryl offers a review of The Bay Area Science Fiction Association, a unique an entertaining piece of writing. And thanks to Karen for mentioning our web site in her review of fanzine-related sites. A model of what a clubzine can achieve with creative editorial control.
5. The Rogue Raven #49, written and edited by Frank Denton, 14654 8th Ave. SW 98166: This arrived just before I departed for a Christmas visit to Madison, and it would have been valuable to look a little more closely at Frank's descriptions of his experiences in Reno before I left. We were within a hair of being stranded there by floods, and perhaps Frank's descriptions might have directed us to a hotel on high ground . . . . also featured is a letter from Randy Mohr about his trip to various sites in Israel, some brief but fascinating reading recommendations from Frank and some discussion of events at the Puyallup Fair, an event with which Frank has a sixty-year acquaintance. It takes a good fan-writer to time-bind around a county fair, but Frank pulls it off. A fine model for beginning perzine publishers to follow.
6. Ansible #113, written and edited by Dave Langford, 94 London Rd., Reading, Berkshire RG1 5AU UK: I thought that I sensed a slightly tired quality to this latest installment of the most valuable piece of paper in fandom, but given the heroic efforts of UK TAFF supporters, followed closely by the cancellation of the race, I'm surprised anyone over there has the energy to get out of bed. Having to report the results of the BSFA awards in December might have some entropic effects as well. But the news marches on: Joe Haldeman reports a windfall of $365,000 for the film rights to The Forever War, and a never-published piece of Lovecraftiana by Fritz Leiber will see print in 1997. Why does Apparatchik have no correspondents capable of reporting the true events surrounding the party in Moreton Pinkney mentioned by Ian Watson in this issue? Langford is God, we intone, while Pat Cadigan assures us he is Dog.
7. Opuntia #29.1, edited by Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta T2P 2E7 Canada: This issue is largely concerned with the many trades Dale receives for this frequent half-size zine. I appreciate this because Dale gets some titles that I don't (Revealing that some people are receiving Apak and not sending their own efforts in trade when they publish them. Such people are going to be dropped from the Apparatchik mailing list, even if I have to refund subscription money to do it. If you can't be bothered to send a semi-annual perzine in exchange for a tri- weekly zine with 15,000 words per issue, neither can we be bothered to keep you on the list.) , but while his reviews are descriptive and useful, only rarely does Dale give us much of an idea of what his personal evaluation of a given zine might be. He does give a clear endorsement of Zines!, the newest title in the Re/Search series, which, while doomed to perhaps three to six months of currency, at least seems to have a clue as to what fanzine production is all about. I rather like the cover series Teddy Harvia has been doing for Opuntia; extremely silly.
8. Vanamonde #184, 187, written and edited by John Hertz, 236 S. Coronado St. #409, Los Angeles, CA 90057: Hmmm, John's now annotating these one-sheet Apa-L zines in blue ball-point, presumably trying to make up for the fact that I never see any of the other apazines he's commenting on here. The effort is appreciated, but the brief notes on traditional haiku, and John's experiences at Loscon are quite enough to make this worth reading, even for a non-member of Apa-L. But I do wonder what was in # 185 & 186 . . . .
Also Received: At the very last minute, Wave #1, a 12-page Corflu progress report from Alyson Abramowitz (more on this next time).
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