[APAK logo] Issue #72, January 3rd, 1997

And Now, Your Letters

[ APH: Various year-end loose ends to tie-up, such as this CoA from JANICE EISEN (3535 Tarrytown Road, Brookfield, WI 53005, e-mail to JMEisen.85@alum.mit.edu): ]

'Many of you know that we're about to move to Milwaukee; those of you I haven't informed, I'm sorry, but as you can guess, things have been crazy. We are leaving Johnstown on Monday the 23rd to spend a week with my Mom, then going to Milwaukee; we're closing on the house on the 31st (deo volente), but we probably won't be actually in there till the end of the week, so phone calls should be held off. Anyway, here's the new address.'

[ APH: See above. ]

[ VMG: Thanks for the update, Janice, and we're hoping your headaches have improved at least a little. We'd love to see you in these pages a little more often.

Now, welcome to Apak CHERYL MORGAN (21/60 Princess St. Kew, Victoria 3101 Australia, e-mail to 100610.3413@ CompuServe.com), with a loc converged from two rapid-fire e-mails: ]

'Your Aussie agent has been busy. A copy of Apparatchik #70 arrived in my mail box this morning. I found it an interesting read. I was particular struck by Lesley Reece's article. As a Briton living in Australia and holidaying in the US, I am making a hobby of studying our cultural differences. One thing that I noticed in particular about Americans is that many of you live in fear of the end of the world. In Europe the Gulf War was annoying but hardly scary -- it was just another war and we've been having them for 4000 years or so. And we are all happy about being at ground zero and don't think it is in any way dysfunctional. What is it with you guys?

'It can't be not being used to wars. You've had enough in your short history. Australians are not used to wars -- you can tell by the way they celebrate their "victories" in Vietnam with such fervour. Maybe it is because your experience of wars has been limited largely to the total war concept (which you guys did a lot to help invent during the Civil War) and the nuclear age. Any thoughts?

'I'm pleased to see that Andy is making a contest of the DUFF race. Of course, as one of Janice's nominators, I can hardly vote for him. I also note that the modest announcement is not entirely in keeping with the scrawled exhortation to vote for him on the back of the envelope my Apak came in. But it will be a fun race.

'Not much to comment on in #71, I'm afraid. Victor says nothing nonsensical about driving and is therefore boringly non-controversial. Steve is nice about Kim Newman and is therefore right. I'm not entirely sure what the phrase "get a life" means, but it is plain from his piece that carl has one and I don't. Damn.

'In the letters, I agree entirely with Pamela Boal about the relativistic nature of passengers' opinions. I have, after all, been a passenger in Karen Pender-Gunn's car, and I remember just how fast she took the bump over the railway line on Dawson Street.'

[ VMG: "Boringly non-controversial"? How dare you! ]

[ APH: Irwin has been a little more enthusiastic in regard to my DUFF candidacy than I believe I ever authorized, flattering though it is. People can shout all they like, as long as they remember to vote.

The debate on driving skills and practices is starting to get to some readers, including KEVIN WELCH (PO Box 2195, Madison WI 53701: ]

'Driving behavior has become the obsession of the media lately (Apparatchik being no exception), attaining the level of interest once accorded to missing children, flag burning and the ergonomic hazards of break dancing. A generation ago it was all so simple; you were just expected to learn how to drive and if you broke the rules, well, at least you knew that you were cheating somehow. The fact that this nation now seems to need a debate on driving behavior seems ludicrous in historical context and can only be explained by the deeply held American cowboy ethic that it's my car and nobody is going to tell me how to drive it. There seems to be no general consensus any more that cutting people off and driving real fast is wrong. I don't think there will be any such consensus simply because we are spending all our time arguing about whether we should flip off other drivers or else simply pull out a gun and shoot them. Gone is the quaint notion that traffic rules are there for common sense reasons. Now, speed limit signs are seen by some as the cutting edge of a totalitarian new world order to be enforced by peacekeeping UN thugs from Canada in blue helmets. Have a nice holiday season.'

[ VMG: I think you are simplifying what has been a fairly involved conversation, Kevin. No one in these pages has approved of either shooting, flipping off or cutting off other drivers; rather, the conversation had gone around whether it is appropriate to enforce the rules of the road yourself; for example, by doing the speed limit in the fast lane. And, since you've brought the issue up again, I thought I'd add something that I forgot in my column last time: If a driver pulled into the fast lane at the speed limit, got hit from behind by a car doing more than the speed limit, and later told the police why he pulled into the fast lane, the driver would be liable for a criminal penalty (probably reckless driving), I think. Enforcing traffic regulations on your own is at least as illegal as breaking the speed limit, for obvious reasons of safety.

Turning to ffwa lore is TED WHITE (1014 N. Tuckahoe St., Falls Church, VA 22044, e-mail to Twhite@logotel.com:  ]

'Just a brief note to comment on Randy's Presidential Address:

'I don't, of course, know the rules and bylaws of the FFWA, but I do know the definition of "Past President," having assisted in creating the category and term in 1984.

'Therefore, I regret to inform Randy that his term is already over! If the FFWA follows the format established by the FWA (or "fwa," to be technically correct), existing as it appears in parallel to the FWA, then it has no present president, only a president elected retrospectively to preside over a previous period of time.

'Each year, as you know, we elect a new Past President of the FWA at the annual Corflu. At the forthcoming Corflu Wave(less), for instance, we will elect the Past President for 1996. At present, FWA has no president, its last having been selected, earlier this year, for 1995. And that's the point, of course: There never is a current president of the FWA, nor ever will be. When the Past President is elected, his or her term is already over. Thus we circumvent the perils of bureaucracy!

'Sorry about that, Randy. But hold your head up high! It is, at this point, indeed A Proud And Lonely Thing to be the Past President of the FFWA. You are unique!'

[ VMG: Randy might be "Past Dictator-for-Life," which presents us with an interesting contradiction in powers. What do the other fringies think?

Here's a brief, declarative poctsarcd from HEATHER WRIGHT (418 E. Loretta Pl. #107, Seattle, WA 98102), spreading the word on ffwa: ]

'Sacre pâté de FFWA gras! Fringedom is no chopped liver!'

[ APH: Who can argue with that? And now here's this week's dispatch from ROBERT LICHTMAN (P.O. Box 30, Glen Ellen, CA 95442): ]

'To answer a couple of your questions about Corflus both past and future:

'The last to publish a mailing list of members was Corflu Nova in 1994. And yes, Virginia, there will be a fanthology for this year's Corflu -- I'm editing it again. A few months ago, I'd seriously considered backing out due to an inability to face having to type lots of it myself (about half of last year's was available on disk) and wrote Spike Parsons of my concerns. She called and agreed to handle the typing of everything that didn't turn up on disk, and with that assurance I agreed to carry on. I've made a final selection since then and sent out letters asking for permission to reprint. As with last year's volume, printing and distribution is the province of the Corflu committee (whoever it is this week) and inquiries should be directed to them.

'Yours in the first mention of FAAn Awards being made at this upcoming Corflu. One hopes to see a ballot soon, since February 28th isn't that far off. With this short notice, I might tend to lend more credence to the results of Arnie Katz's poll -- provided his long lead time and wide ballot distribution led to high participation. I hope he's able to publish and distribute the timely report of the results that he promised on the ballot form.

'Congratulations to Randy on being voted first past president of ffwa. (In looking ahead to possible successors, once you get shot down as dictator for life, I beg you to consider the estimable Tami Vining.) I seem to qualify under his strict tenets for both fan and fringe fan in that I still have an interest in sf, though these days it seems to manifest itself more as interest in reference works about sf than in reading the mother literature itself (and much of my interest in fandom is social). Fringe fandom has a long and noble history. Max Keasler was an early fringe fan. In her 1959 article, "I Remember Keasler," in my own Outworlds No. 1 (and only -- Bowers picked up the title five years later not knowing I'd used it), she writes of Max: "Max was the personification of Sixth Fandom in America: young, witty, enthusiastic. He openly avowed that he never read science-fiction. (In Sixth Fandom we broke fandom's ties with the mother literature. We weren't SFans. We were friends in search of fun.)" It's a proud but not especially lonely thing to be a fringe fan.

'Loved Randy's sly reference to the Thor Power Tool decision. Rest of issue also enjoyed, particularly Greg's look at his own process.'

[ VMG: Now wait a minute: Arnie's poll is for 1995 fanzine activity. Apak already won the best fanzine award in the 1995 FAAn balloting. We need a new fan poll, not a rehash of last year. The FAAn awards serve a purpose that the Fan Hugos long ago lost -- recognition of fannish fanzines -- and would, I hope, be continued. ]

[ APH: Good news about the Fanthology! And the more I think about it, the more sense a separate association for fringe-fans seems to make. A lot of my best friends in fandom have been openly averse to reading SF, yet loved to contribute to fanzines. But wait, where do fake and fringe fandom begin and end? Help!

A kind comment from GREG SHAW (P.O. Box 7112, Burbank, CA 91510, e-mail to Squishy@aol.com): ]

'I want to thank you for sending the last few issues of Apparatchik. At first I wasn't sure what it was, then I realized: it's an actual fannish fanzine! I really didn't know such things still existed. Then I see names like Ted White, Bob Lichtman, and (for gods sake) even Harry Warner, Jr. Is this a timewarp? Now I read that Science Fiction Five Yearly is coming out again! Just too much.

'I don't know what I did to merit free copies but I do want you to know I appreciate it. I was also flattered to see myself referenced in the last issue. I didn't think I'd left much of a mark on fandom, despite being active for 4 nutty years, being quite deeply involved in the Berkeley scene of the time, being a member of FAPA, etc. However my fannish activities moved over to rock & roll and after 1968 I never looked back. I wonder if whatever "fannish fandom" consists of these days has ever given itself the proper pat on the back for having inspired the enormous world of rock & roll fandom? I've always tried to apply the fannish aesthetic in everything I've done, as has Paul Williams and others of my generation who made the same transition. Anyway, I just want to say it's good to see you keeping the old traditions alive (though I have my doubts about TAFF . . . ) and thanks again for thinking of me.'

[ APH: Glad you liked the ish, Greg, and an SFFY is on its way to you as you read this. Death will not release you.

Bay-area scion BRUCE TOWNLEY (1732 Washington St. #8 San Francisco, CA 94109-3625, e-mail to SF1.BAT@ orrick.com) also graciously accepts his egoboo whole: ]

'Thanks very much for the very kind but, as always, accurate and insightful review of Oblong #4. "Meatball fanac" sounds just right and how did you know about my plans for starting a Strecker Worshipping Mystery Cult (should be a pretty good tax break y'know)?

'On another topic, zine-wise, I was wondering if any back numbers of Spent Brass are available? Please let me know the ordering particulars by e-mail at your convenience.

'Thanks again for the swell review and hope you have a good Christmas and New Years.'

[ APH: All of my fanzines from over the years are generally available, and I can make copies of those in short supply as well. Anyone wanting back issues of Spent Brass, Apparatchik, Prang, Nine Innings or any other fanzine I've published need only ask for the numbers they like and we'll go from there.

Now, from a much larger letter, a note from MURRAY MOORE (377 Manly Street, Midland, Ontario L4R 3E2 Canada, e-mail to murray.moore@encode.com): ]

'Because of APAK, I possess, courtesy of Bob Tucker, a copy of the seventh edition of THE NEO-FAN'S GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM (October, 1996). The text, by Tucker and others, is basically the same as the text in my copy of the first printing of the second edition (1966).

'I noticed that The Usual is not mentioned or defined in either edition. Neos are warned, in fact, to be careful in sending money for subscriptions to fanzines.

'When did The Usual become the usual way of receiving a fanzine? When did cash become unclean? When did faneds shift from trying to break even or pay most of their expenses, and become willing to bear and pay all of the costs of production and delivery to their audience, desiring a non-monetary response and discouraging cash?'

[ WAHF: Harry Andruschak, George Flynn, Terry Frost, Kim Huett, and Candi Strecker. ]

Fna fna, o o o, wa a, dey de bey, wa satt ha batt, a matter of dust contamination I want them now.

[APAK logo] Issue #72, January 3rd, 1997

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