The View From Entropy Hall #33 edited by Ed Meskys

THE VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL #33, May 10, 2003, for APA-Q #483, from Ed
Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708,
[email protected] Back issues at and website. {Corrections made after APA distribution in
braces.} I guess this could also be called NIEKAS #46.5. My thanks to Sandy
for cleaning up and formatting the last few ish.

Note the correction to the ENTROPY websites in the colophon! I hope this
will be the last change for a long time as Brian has set it to link to
where-ever he might have to move the site in the future.

First, I want to point out that 99% of the "comments" section is totally
understandable and (I hope) interesting to people who have not seen the
zines which inspired the comments. I feel rather strongly about some of the
matters discussed.
I am progressing slowly on NIEKAS 47-8 and hope to finish by the end of
the year. I am still waiting for a few items but much is in the computer.
However much is also on 5.25 inch floppies from my old computer and I have
to transcribe these to modern 3.5 inch floppies.
I am sending this by email to any NIEKAS readers whose eddresses I have.
I procrastinate on sending print copies to the others because it takes my
printer 20 minutes to do one copy of one issue. Also since I can only print
on one side of a page the postage builds up. I ask such readers, would it be
possible to send it to you on floppy as a text or word file? If you want to
get print copies regularly I will have to send two or three ENTROPIES at a
time and deduct one ish from your NIEKAS sub.
I suggest that you download this and save it as a text or word file. Then
you can use the MS-WORD "find" function to move around and skip parts which
do not interest you. Also, if this is too long to read on screen, you could
read part of the saved document, bookmark it, and return later, or print it

I ask several questions, mostly in the "comments" section, which I hope
that readers in Lithuania or familiar with Lithuanian culture can answer.

In NIEKAS 46 I gave my personal reaction to the first five Wizard books
by Diane Duane, {So You Want to Be a Wizard}, {Deep Wizardry}, {High
Wizardry}, {Wizard Abroad}, and {Book of Night with Moon}. Anne Braude
appended a short review of the next book in the series, {To Visit the
Queen}(UK title is {On Her Majesty's Wizardly Service}), which I had not yet
read. I have read it since and enjoyed it just like all the others. Since
then two more books have been published, {The Wizard's Dilemma} (Harcourt
Brace, 2001, 403 pp., $17; cover Cliff Nielsen) and {A Wizard Alone}
(Harcourt, 2002, 320 pp, $17).
In {Dilemma} Nita's mother develops brain cancer and Nita can help cure
her only if she surrenders to The Lone Power by giving up her wizardry and
her fight against darkness. Throughout the book Nita distances herself from
friends and family as she struggles with her conscience, and matters resolve
in the only manner they could. Diane Duane again is wonderful at showing the
human consequences of magic. Magic is serious business and when one takes it
up he/she takes on major responsibilities to use it wisely. It is dangerous
and one takes risks even when acting properly. All the books deal with the
responsibilities that Nita and Kit took on when they took the Wizard's Oath.
However this book is very heavy for a juvenile. No intended reader should
have to contemplate having to make a choice between saving her mother and
rejecting evil.
Sandy read and enjoyed {Wizard Alone } but I am still waiting for the
agency to put it on tape for me. I am eagerly awaiting reading it. I did see
an excellent review by Bonnie L. Sherrill on the "Readingclub4theblind"
listserv which I am quoting here:
I just read {A Wizard Alone} by Diane Duane, the latest in her Young
Wizards series.
Kit is troubled because his common partner in wizarding, Neeta, is still
grieving for her mother and is also apparently suffering from depression.
Then at home, his dad has just bought a new entertainment center, and the
DVD player and the universal remote have taken a deep dislike to one
another, and he finds himself having to explain the concept of cooperation
to them while they shout nasty names at one another in Japanese.
But the senior wizards of the region have a new job for him--a young boy
has apparently become stuck in his Ordeal, the initiatory experience that
begins the young wizard's new life focus, and they want Kit to see if he can
slip into the Ordeal and perhaps give him a nudge toward completing it. With
the help of his dog Ponch, Kit sets off to explore the worlds constructed in
Darryl's mind to figure out what is wrong, and Neeta finds herself rushing
to catch up so she can help both of them from being caught forever facing
the Lone Power.

Overheard at the 39th Boskone, 2002.
Science fiction is not about cheering us up about who we are, but about
turning a searchlight on who we are and {doing} something about it.
...How many children do you think died of starvation and dehydration on
September 11? More than 5000. You won't read that in your fucking
newspaper...because we don't {care} about those children...We live on top of
a seething cauldron of misery and pain.

In January we got a postcard inviting us to a free dinner at an Italian
restaurant in Laconia if we listen to a 45-minute spiel on health. The talk
was supposed to be relevant to chronic pain, insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis,
headache, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, injuries, osteoporosis, bursitis,
tendonitis, and restless leg syndrome. I was wondering what they were
pushing, but with such a long list I suspected something really wacko.
They made the claim that the field of a thousand or so strong magnets in
or on your mattress would cure everything from baldness to hangnail, and I
only exaggerate slightly! What got me was his saying that it worked in part
by magnetizing the iron in the hemoglobin in your blood. I remember
listening to a crime drama on the radio in the late 40s where a swindler was
claiming to use a magnet to influence the iron in a mark's blood, and after
the arrest the detective saying that not even a cyclotron magnet was strong
enough to do that. I suspect any help people claim to have received was a
placebo effect, but even if there was some unknown mechanism which helped a
few people I am sure it was not accomplished by magnetizing the iron in the
person's hemoglobin.
I do not accurately remember pricing, but think the prices went from
around $1000 for a twin size to $2000 for a king size, with a 30% or so
discount if you purchased then and there. They also had magnetized seat
cushions for your easy chair or desk chair for about $200, and sleep pillows
for your bed for about $50. The salesman had been doing several
presentations a week for fifteen years and apparently making a living at it.
I suspect he could get by by making one or two sales per presentation.
The manufacturer is Greentree Health Systems, 1316 Madrey Rd., Lebanon OH
45036. I do not know where they got our name and address from, and there was
no clue from how the postcard was addressed.

At Boskone Sandy attended a presentation by Full Cast Audio (P O Box
6110, Syracuse NY 13217-6110, 800-871-6152) and brought back a brochure and
sample tape. The company is entering the "spoken word" market. They do not
just have one narrator read the whole book, but use a cast of actors to
present the dialogue while the original author him/herself reads the
connecting text. This reminds me of a program I used to listen to on
National Public Radio, "The Spider's Web," though that program had added
sound effects, such as chugging train, animal howls, crashes, etc. (My
station has not carried this program in over a decade, but does it still
appear on some public radio stations?)
The sample tape, Bruce Coville's "Clean as a Whistle," 30 minutes long,
is not in their catalog. The story is about Janie Carhart, the messiest kid
in the town, perhaps in the state, who is given a Brownie ("house elf" as in
the 2nd Harry Potter book/movie, or the lead character in K.M. Briggs'
{Hobberty Dick} or Joan Aiken's "Luck of the House"). The girl's grandmother
had inherited the Brownie when the last of her line still living in Ireland
died, so she assigned the creature to Janie who "needed it." Janie comes
home from school one day and finds, to her horror, that her room is
completely neatened up.
The tale is of the war between Janie, who resents the interference in her
lifestyle and privacy, and the Brownie who was not allowed to leave even if
he wanted to. The war comes to a climax when the Brownie is driven to
despair and seemingly vanishes. Of course Janie is then sorry, especially
since she thinks she might have killed the creature. After a few days she
finds him dying in a box in her closet and convinces him to come back, and
comes to a compromise on the state of her room.
The story is delightful and very well produced. Bruce Coville is
wonderful narrating the text of his story, and the actors are just right in
doing the voices of Janie, the Brownie, and Janie's mother. The tape
includes promotional excerpts of other stories in this line. The production
has very high value.
Here is a list of their titles:
{Song of the Wanderer} Bruce Coville, $25.95
{Circle of Magic: Sandry's Book}, Tamora Pierce, $25.95 note: two
of the sequels have been recorded and will be out soon.
{The Beloved Dearly}, Doug Cooney, $17.95
{The Moffitts}, Eleanor F. Dee, $25.95
{United Tates of America}, Paula Danziger, $17.95
{The Monsters of Morley Manor}, Bruce Coville, $21.95
{David and the Phoenix}, Edward Ormondroyd, $17.95
{The Girls}, Amy Goldman Koss, $17.95
{The Misfits}, James Howe, $21.95
{The Monster's Ring}, Bruce Coville, $17.95
Books can be ordered toll free at 800-871-6152, their web site is ,
Email [email protected] , and fax 315-471-9902
They seem to have gone out of their way to make things accessible. I found
their website easy to navigate. Their cassettes come in cardboard cases but
for about 10% extra you can get the "library edition" in plastic boxes, and
for about 40% extra on CD. They have various combination prices saving from
25% to 40%.
I have also heard their production of Tamora Pierce's {Sandry's Book}
which was on four cassettes. Magician Neeko brings four children of diverse
background and unusual talents to Winding Circle Temple where they will
learn the proper practice of their magic. Each is a misfit in his or her
circle and in need of refuge. Sandry, noble, has spinning and fiber magic;
Daja, of traders, has metal magic; Trys, of merchants, causes extreme
weather when upset; Briar, a street kid and thief, has plant magic.
Neeko's special talent is recognizing undeveloped exotic talents in
others and uses this to find and gather the four. Sandry was locked away to
escape a plague but any who knew her location died and she could not get out
until Neeko rescues her. Daja was the sole survivor on her family ship
destroyed by a storm and is outcast as a bringer of bad luck, exiled from
her people with no where to go. Briar is caught stealing a third time and is
to be sent to a fatal work sentence when Neeko paroles him into the custody
of the Temple. And Trys is rejected by all her family because of the damage
she causes whenever she is unhappy. She is sent to a boarding school but is
expelled because she does not fit in, is picked upon by the other kids, and
creates havoc, so is given to Neeko to be taken to the temple.
The four are from very different backgrounds from four totally
incompatible classes and mistrust each other. The story tells of how they
come to trust each other and work together, and merge their four magics.
They grow into the life of the Temple and help repel a magical attack by its
This is an excellent YA book and would be good for parents and children
to listen to together and discuss after each listening session.
Again the author's narration and the actors' roles are very well done. I
am looking forward to seeing the other books in this series.
The copy I have is in a cardboard box about the size of a trade paperback
book and will shelve easily. The four tapes slide into angled slots in a
plastic tray inside the box.
At the conclusion of the story Tamora Pierce explains how she got the
idea of making magic out of normal tasks like sewing and weaving, and
blending these into a series of stories.

I did make my almost annual pilgrimage to Lunacon and NY City this year
and enjoyed it very much. This year son Stanley decided to go for the first
time so he and his friend Sean drove out to NH on Thursday and then drove
down with me to NY.
I attended many interesting panels and was on a panel on the history of
early Lunacons. (I have been to most since the first in the '50s.) The
programming was well done under the direction of its new head, son of the
late writer Larry Jannifer, and they tried to have faanish items but
unfortunately these did not draw much of an audience. My panel had only
about a half dozen attendees, and the panel on the "State of Fandom" had
only two in the audience. For the last one timing was bad, as it was the
last item on the program Sunday afternoon, but still I am disappointed that
so few were interested. I do hope that the committee does not give up on
faanishness and keeps trying for items of faanish interest.
After the con I stayed with the Boardmen for a few days, as usual. Monday
John and I hit a few bookstores in Manhattan, had lunch at my favorite
Indian restaurant, Karahi at the corner of Broome St. and West Broadway, and
visited Recording for the Blind and Dyslectic where I left four books to be
taped. These are Erik Leif Davin's {Pioneers of Wonder}, {The Annotated
Hobbit}, Josepha Sherman's {Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts} (Josepha is a
volunteer narrator at RFB&D and will be assigned her own book to read), and
the 50th anniversary edition of {Farmer Giles of Ham} which includes an
early draft of the story and an unfinished sequel. Then we went into Grand
Central Station and the small branch of the Transit Museum. The main exhibit
was of posters for passenger railroads from the 20s to the 50s. The museum
was selling small (4 inch) Teddy Bears bearing the letter or number
designations of various subway lines with "fur" in the map colors of the
lines, green, red, etc. I cannot imagine why someone would want to buy a
bear with the designation of the line heesh commutes to work on. On the way
home we stopped at the White Eagle Polish Market at 18St. and 5 Ave. in
Brooklyn where I bought Lithuanian bread and babka to bring home for Easter,
and some fresh (non-smoked) kielbasa which Perdita cooked for dinner that
night. Sandy and I love the stuff but it is extremely fattening, so Sandy
will not allow it into the house. We are both trying to lose weight and have
lost 30 pounds each, but Sandy is taking it more seriously than I.
Next day John and I went to the Museum of Natural History so John could
describe for me the Einstein exhibit. After that we looked a bit at the
re-organized dinosaur and early mammal exhibits and the special Margaret
Mead room in the Pacific islands exhibit. On our way home we had dinner at
the excellent Polish family restaurant in the East Village, Theresa's on 1
Ave. between 6 & 7. Whenever I am in NY I try to eat here and at the Indian
restaurant above.
Next day I took the train to Boston and the bus home.

Alien space adventure! Departs September. 18250000 Earth day adventure.
Trip Highlights Garbonula death rays, Huzputz Falls, Garbanzo bean
salads, Boozula hippo rides, and certain death!
Year 1 - 11.4 Depart Earth at light-speed. Suspended animation
to Tau Ceti.
Year 11.4 Day 1 Depart Adventure Ship to explore Tau Ceti.
Year 11.4 - 16.7 Depart Tau Ceti at light-speed. Suspended animation to
Epsilon Eridani.
Year 16.7 Day 1 Depart Adventure ship to explore Epsilon Eridani.
Year 16.7 Day 2 See Einstein and eat some cheese.
Year 16.7 Day 3 Free day.
Year 16.7 - 33.4 Depart Epsilon Eridani at light-speed. Suspended
animation to Earth.
Join us as we travel on a 11.4 light-year trip to Tau Ceti. From there,
it's a quick 5.3 light-year ride to Epsilon Eridani, and a few other
interesting star systems in the neighborhood. At each of these destinations
we'll enjoy Filpsnar soda, Blardin chocolate sundaes, kayaking on a sea of
liquid methane (long pants and a jacket recommended), and finally, after
picking up some extra dilithium crystals for the antimatter reactant
injector, we'll travel back in time to snap a picture of Einstein wearing an
Adventure Bus tee-shirt and eating cheese. Last, thanks to Einstein's Theory
of Relativity, we arrive back home about 50,000 Earth years later to a
post-apocalyptic planet and certain death at the hands of giant intelligent
spider monkeys!
One thing most travelers enjoy about this trip is the stars and how
different they appear from here on Earth. Perhaps it's easier for you to
visualize them at home by following the example below!
36 Ophiuchi is 17.7 light years from Sol, which is 5.43 parsecs,
and it's apparent magnitude as viewed from Sol is 5.07.
AbsMag = AppMagSol - ( 5 * Log ( DistFromSolPC / 10 ) )
AbsMag = 5.07 - ( 5 * Log ( 5.43/ 10 ) )
AbsMag = 5.07 - ( 5 * Log ( 0.543 ) )
AbsMag = 5.07 - ( 5 * (-0.265 ) )
AbsMag = 5.07 - ( -1.326 )
AbsMag = 6.39
Trip Dates And Pricing
Departs Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the moon, and Dimension X. $425,000,000,000
+ 36.50 food fund . Food fund covers approximately 70% of your liquid goo
(Important: This is not a real trip. If you think this is a real trip, you
have very serious mental problems, but we'd be more than happy to take your
money and play along. No spider monkeys please.)
Spring 52002: September 23
"Never try to walk across a river just because it has an average depth of
four feet."--Martin Friedman

Anyone who can put such an imaginative tour on their website must be bent
in the right direction.
In 2002 Sandy and I had a wonderful time at Yosemite, as recounted in
ENTROPY 32, in a tour organized by Incredible Adventures of San Francisco.
In 2004 we are thinking of a two week tour of ten national parks as
organized by "Adventure Planet." The cost is reasonable, we sleep in the bus
whose seats become beds, and get to see ten national parks, all for only
$1300. This is their flyer.
See the best of the National Parks! A 14 day adventure offered June,
July, August, and September. This trip is good for all physical
levels/abilities. Trip Highlights: You'll never forget hiking, biking,
rafting, swimming and exploring in the 10 best National Parks and Monuments
in the Western USA! Now Includes Colorado River Canoeing, and Horseback
Riding or Jeep excursion. Explore the Grand Canyon NP, Bryce Canyon NP,
Zion NP, Yellowstone NP, Monument Valley, Dinosaur NP, Arches NP, The Grand
Tetons NP, Flaming Gorge, Moab & The Canyon lands, Antelope Canyon, & stops
at Las Vegas, The Colorado River, Green River, San Juan River & Lake Powell!
Visits 8 states! Itinerary
Day 1 Depart LA (van shuttle or flight required) or Las Vegas ... We start
this fantastic trip by picking up you and your fellow Adventurers in Las
Vegas. We'll prep you for your adventure and then enjoy a comfortable
journey to your first destination...
Day 2 Zion NP...Wake to the towering sandstone walls and waterfalls of this
magnificent park. Hike the world famous Narrows, the trail to the Emerald
Pools or climb the magnificent Angels Landing Trail. Enjoy a short drive to
campout at a lake near our next great park...
Day 3 Bryce Canyon NP... Almost out of a fairy tale, it's nothing like
you've ever seen! Spend the day walking among the Hoodoos of Bryce! An
amazing maze of ancient rose colored pillars of red sand and stone.
Day 4 Yellowstone NP... The USA's first National Park! Watch the Old
Faithful Geyser erupt boiling water and steam 30 meters into Wyoming's blue
sky. Visit the Fountain Painted Pots, Yellowstone falls & hike or bike
around looking for wild buffalo, moose, bear and elk and a swim in a hot
spring fed river among other things!
Day 5 Explore the 'Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone' with its 300 ft
waterfalls and herds of buffalo. Later we'll take a peek inside the
bubbling dragons cauldron and end up with a midnight soak in the hot
Day 6 Grand Tetons NP It's A short drive to this beautiful park known
for its sharp, snow capped peaks and excellent hiking trails. We'll let you
loose on one of the finest hikes in Wyoming. Here near the lakes and in the
high meadows is where folks usually see bear, elk, and moose. Breathe deep,
this is good air!
Day 7 Jackson Wyoming... Explore this cowboy town for the day or here's
your chance to Do a little whitewater rafting on the Snake River! Sit in a
coffee shop with a view of the Tetons and email your jealous friends or hang
on tight as your raft is thrust through the lunchbox rapids!
Day 8 Dinosaur NP... South to Flaming Gorge Recreation Area to do some
sunbathing and take a swim. Then a short journey to Dinosaur NP where our
10-ton friends used to roam. Here you might dig up your very own T-Rex and
then take a dip in the winding Green River.
Day 9 Arches NP... Spend the day hiking among the giant natural
sandstone arches sculpted by wind and time in the Devils Garden. There is
no other place like this in the world! Later, it's off to a secret swimming
hole to cool down!
Day 10 Free day in Moab Utah... raft, canoe, mountain bike, stroll
Moab's shops and galleries or rent a jeep (opt) and then it's dinner at
Eddie Mc Stiffs Brewery! Camp out that night on the Colorado River.
Day 11 Canoe trip near Canyon lands National Park... Journey by canoe
through beautiful winding canyons (included but optional). If you would
like another free day in Moab to mountain bike, stroll Moab's shops and
galleries or rent a jeep (optional) you may.
Day 12 Monument Valley, & Lake Powell (Antelope Slot Canyon
Option?)... View this famous American Indian Monument from the Northwest
Plateau and then a short drive to Lake Powell for a swim and cookout. If
time allows, we'll have the option of venturing into the amazing Navajo
Antelope Slot Canyons!
Day 13 The Grand Canyon... Wake to the Sunrise at the North Rim, then
hike or take an optional mule ride down into this 'erosion gone wild'! ...Or
lazily enjoy breathtaking views and eventually watch the sunset from the rim
of this amazing canyon.
Day 14 We'll roll back into Las Vegas this day to wind down, hit the
pool, have a little fun, have dinner and say goodbye to our Las Vegas drop
offs. Arrival to Las Vegas approximately 5-6pm. Please arrange flight/room
accordingly if this is your stop.
Day 15 Back to California. It's an early morning (1-3am) departure from
Vegas as we head back into Los Angeles for our good-byes! Arrival 7-10am
into LA.
$1149 + $151 food fund. Food fund covers approximately 70% of your
meals. Trip price Includes Canoe Adventure, Monument Valley horseback or
Jeep Tour and all park entrance and camping fee's.


The March, 2003, issue of Talking Book Topics lists the following book.
Can anyone tell me anything about who these people were?
The Far farers: Before the Norse, RC 51550, by Farley Mowat, read by Michael
Kramer, 3 cassettes.
From his research, travels, and archaeological evidence, Mowat theorizes
that another European people, the Albans, visited North America before the
Norse. He combines fictionalized accounts of the Albans' lives with
historical clues to describe their houses, sailing vessels, hunting and
foraging skills, and lifestyle. 1998.

Hi Ed,
It seems we're relatives. My granddad Andrzej or Andrew was a nobility /
gentry man from Lithuania from Nowogrodek surroundings who as the nobleman
got his manor and lands given back in 1922 when Soviets were pushed back by
Polish marshal Pilsudski. He joined his army but enevertheless he remained
active in Lithuanian circles in Poland. In 1939 when Germans invaded Poland,
and then Soviets he escaped to Lithuania and became a commander of Polish
Lithuanian unit but died in pneumonia in 1940 shortly before Soviets
incorporated Lithuania.
My father and his son Charles was sent then to Siberia by the Soviets but
succeeded to join Polish army in exile under British command. He died in
As you probably know from other folks I had been a pro writer and had
several SF books, stories and hundreds of articles published both in Poland
and overseas, the USA inclusive but then in the 1980s I turned to full time
translation. My customership is world wide and includes Chinese (Taiwan), US
Army, Czech, Russians and of course Poles. I still write some sf and
articles on SF and prepare news for pro and fanzines all over the world.

There are 4 sf magazines in Poland: The oldest and most hated by its
competitors is NOWA FANTASTYKA [tr. New Science Fiction] that started in
1988. The editor is a writer Maciek Parowski. The second in line is a digest
size FENIKS that started in 1989. Then in the year 2000 two big competitors
emerged SCIENCE FICTION and MAG, slick prozines from fanzines PUBLISHERS
There are 4 big publishing houses: Rebis and Amber from Poznan and Solaris
NE Poland and NOWA (Warsaw). They publish approx. 80 books a year mostly
- (Richard) /full name in Polish: Ryszard P.Jasinski/
- Polish and Russian Translator / Interpreter
- Home Office: Ul.Kormoranów # 27/4 str PL 71 - 696 Szczecin
- [email protected]


|MARK BLACKMAN (excerpted from mailing comments)
Cusps & Alternate Histories> The Judeans, by necessity, were always good
about stockpiling water. Also, Kashrut kept them from eating animals that
died of disease (which also saved the Jews during the Black Plague). # The
Aramaeans (whence Aramaic) were Semitic, centered around Damascus.
Aramaic became a lingua franca in the region, including for the Judeans (as
Hebrew came to be regarded as a sacred language), and even the official
language of the Persian Empire, ca. 500-300 BCE. (Cf. this to the official
status of English in India.) # Modern scholarship tends to say that "the
Dark Ages" is an unfair misnomer for the Middle Ages, but it's a matter of
one's criteria. There was indeed much artistry & intellectual activity, but
they were largely wasted on Christian religious matters, and slavish
devotion to Aristotle's dicta stunted science; the Church was that "one
power dominat[ing]". You may recall an article in the Times a year ago on
how Islam "lost the lead in science". Religion is about dogma - is it in the
Bible or Qoran? - science the independent search for truth, wherever it
leads. Muslims studied astronomy not just to navigate deserts, but because
they needed to know the qibla, the "sacred direction" (of Mecca). Whether
Ptolemy or Copernicus was right was irrelevant to ritual, so they stuck with
Ptolemy, even though they knew his model was flawed. In contrast, the West's
acceptance of outside (non-Christian: pagan, Arab) sources (the
Renaissance), as well as its later economic (capitalism) & political (the
Reformation's weakening the Church's stranglehold, the Enlightenment, the
American & French Revolutions) developments spurred scientific advancement.
(It must be noted, though, that its religious authorities opposed Galileo,
Copernicus, Darwin, et al.) The article didn't cite any one man for "the
Muslim world [going] intellectually dead". And the destruction of the
Caliphate by the Mongol Horde would have removed the power of any single
Muslim ruler to "stop the intellectual development of Arab culture dead in
its tracks". Btw, the medium for transmitting Eastern knowledge to the West
(that helped transform it) were multilingual Sephardic Jews.
Blind/Vision> I imagine that blind people given sight would have trouble
with the sheer quantity of sensory input. After my father's ear surgery (he
was hard of hearing, but never deaf), he was irritated by background noise
that we filter out (like street traffic when we're indoors). # The real-life
case of the scientist given sight is fascinating.
I understand foreign resentment toward NASFiC, and Worldcon should go
worldwide. Still, other countries (even Canada) have national conventions,
while the US doesn't; it's impractical for most US fans to get to Australia
or Japan; and those who can afford foreign travel seem to be able to go to
Worldcon & NASFiC both. | I think the Scandinavian bid was for '83. And
Zagreb ran for '93, beating Phoenix, though losing to San Fran.
In 1673, the Dutch briefly regained NY, renaming it New Orange (before
1664, btw, Albany was called Fort Orange), then handed it back in 1674 in
exchange for Surinam (Dutch Guiana).
You're either remembering that "God Bless America" was famously sung by
Kate Smith - or confusing it with "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Julia
Ward Howe. "God Bless America" seems to consist of 2 verses, an intro & a
chorus; the latter is usually what's sung ("... land that I love ..."). When
reintroduced in 1938, it was - which may come as a surprise - a peace song.
It opens "While the storm clouds gather far across the sea" and expresses
gratitude that we're here instead, in a free & beautiful land, then goes
into the "prayer". [I got the titles mixed up. I was thinking of the song
which begins "My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty" and did confuse
that with "God Bless America."" I read an article in a magazine a year or
two back about a four-verse song where one verse spoke of faults in our
land, but the others were peons of praise. At Lions Club meetings we usually
sing the one which includes "From the the ocean white with
foam," occasionally "My country tis...," and I do get them confused.--ERM]
At ConJose, covering panel & reading rooms for Program Ops, I saw how
immense the Convention Center was; the 15-minutes [between program items]
were needed! # I'd've liked to get to Karen's party, Poul Anderson having
been GoH at my Lunacon. # Torcon also had edible Legos; in the US, Lego
would be sued by someone swallowing a regular (non-edible) Lego. # Worldcon
Rotation & NASFiC> Rotation plan history noted. I'm glad that NASFICs did
not get the role of awarding the Hugos. Raybin, btw, founded Lunacon. # I
understand your objection to NASFiC (under the no-zone plan), but, judging
from the cries of "Both!" at the WSFS Business Meeting at Con Jose upon
hearing that the Charlotte & Seattle bids' dates were a week apart, many
welcome more cons. And some people attend both Worldcon & NASFiC. I've only
been to one NASFiC, Austin's in '85. # Re Baseball sf, I ran across a story
(in Andromeda In-Flight Magazine, an Aussie small prozine) "Mighty Joe
Jung", about the first (talking, sentient) gorilla in the Majors. # My
source re Shards of Honor as, at least in its earliest draft, a Trek story
was an interview with Bujold in Lan's Lantern in the mid-'80s. I understand
that Bujold nowadays more emphatically distances herself from Trek
influence; perhaps due both to artistry (obviously, the series diverged
greatly with the introduction of Miles) & legality (to avoid any suit by
Paramount). # Reconstructionist [Jewish] services are similar to
Conservative, but their de-emphasis on the supernatural leads some to regard
them as atheists. (The same was said of the deists.) // Boardman ct> He may
have a point re physics advances, but the 20th century saw its share of
medical advances - antibiotics, transplants, laser surgery. # The Apostles
were the Judeans for Jesus. // Or did Plantzilla eat & replace the family
with human-shaped plants? // The School of the Americas is a shameful
remnant of US support for any group claiming to be anti-Communist. Latin
America was, of course, not the only victim of US-funded terrorism - it
sponsored the armies that became both the Afghan warlords & the Taliban. #
No, The Captain & the Kids was drawn in the '50s by Dirks' son; the strip
ended in '79. The Katzenjammer Kids had a variety of cartoonists in the '50s
(Knerr died in '49) and is still running, I believe.

|JOHN BOARDMAN (excerpted from mailing comments)
There is a misprint, or more likely an error in transcription, on the
first page of The View from Entropy Hall #31. You quote from one of my
'zines about the similarity between the 18th-century British revolts to
restore the House of Stuart, and the 19th-century American revolt for the
preservation of slavery. What I actually wrote in the fourth quoted sentence
was: "Both appealed more to emotion than to reason and were a challenge by
the least developed portion of a nation against the section with a larger
population and a better industrial base."
Some fossils were identified as dragons or giants. In one of his books,
Willy Ley cited a "dragon's skull" that had belonged to a woolly rhinoceros,
and a "dragon's tongue" that was a swordfish blade. Since an elephant's
skull without tusks looks like huge, misshapen human skull, it might be
attributed to a "giant". Herodotus wrote of such a "giant's skeleton," found
under a smithy in Greece, and presumed to be the remains of Orestes. Also,
according to Herodotus, the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem failed because mice
ate the besiegers' bowstrings.
Yes, Parsi was and is the language of the Persians, but Aramaic was the
language in which their empire was administered, because most of the subject
peoples spoke Semitic languages.
In other favorite nexi for studies of "alternate history," the Muslims
were over-extended when they invaded France, as the Mongols later were when
they invaded the Holy Roman Empire. Indeed, the Mongols decisively won the
Battle of Lignica against the Germans in 1241, but could not follow up their
victory because of troubles back home. It could similarly be argued that
Napoleonic France over-extended itself by 1806, and the Soviet Union
over-extended itself in 1945, and that neither ever recovered. Almost all
subsequent wars involving Communist states, until partition in 1991, were
fought instead by their allies in Asia - who are still Communist.
The late Swedish paleontologist Bjorn Kurtén wrote a monograph about the
extinct European cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), claiming in the introduction
that he got interested in this extinct monster because his name is Swedish
for "bear." In that book, Kurtén gave a curious example of how improperly
collected statistics can affect scientific conclusions. A few decades ago,
there was a census of skulls of the cave bear in the collections of museums
and universities. It was found that the skulls of males greatly outnumbered
those of females, and someone speculated that this larger relative of the
brown bear (Ursus arctos) had become extinct because a sexual imbalance of
unknown cause made it impossible to keep up the number of females necessary
for a breeding population. Then a little thought was given to the matter.
Almost all of the remains of this species were found in caves. Someone
collecting specimens for study and exhibit would most likely select and
remove the largest and most impressively armed individuals.
Kurtén also wrote two novels set in Sweden just before the last
glaciation, {Dance of the Tiger} and its sequel {Singletusk}. These novels
deal with the first contacts between the blond Neanderthalers and the
swarthy Cro-Magnon folk. Several writers have observed that, allowing for
the recession of the ice, the regions where Neanderthaler remains are common
are the regions where today blonds are common.
I once speculated about "explaining" Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar on
the assumption that its central sun exerted a repulsive gravitational field
that would hold objects to the inner surface of a hollow Earth with an
acceleration a little less than one gee. (Burroughs specified this
about gravity in Pellucidar.) In order for Pellucidar's internal satellite
to revolve around the central sun with a period of one day, so that it
always stayed over the same spot of the inner surface, it would have to have
an engine in it. However, I never got around to working out the engine's
power output.
The {Jerusalem Bible} is not an English translation of a French
translation of the Roman Catholic version of the Christian scriptures. After
a group of French Dominican scholars had completed their translation, they
turned their notes over to a group of English scholars including Tolkien,
who then did an English translation from the original texts.
The Bible does say that the Earth is flat. The exact text is Isaiah
40:22: "He lives above the circle of the Earth." Like English, Hebrew
distinguishes between "circle" and "sphere." The word used here, chug, means
circle - a flat, round disk. If Isaiah had meant "sphere", he would have
written kedur.
There was indeed a Dutch re-conquest of Nieuw Amsterdam. In 1664 an
English fleet had sailed into the harbor of Nieuw Nederland, and its
commander Major Richard Nicolls informed Governor Stuyvesant that King
Charles II had been pleased to bestow this territory on his well-beloved
brother James, Duke of York, so would the Dutch kindly surrender or get shot
to pieces. Stuyvesant snorted defiance, but cooler heads realized that the
town was in no condition to defend itself. So, after vainly trying to
dissemble, Stuyvesant gave in. Major Nicolls renamed the place "New York" in
honor of his master, and became the new governor. He promptly guaranteed the
security of the Dutch residents' lives and property, allowed them to
continue trading with the Netherlands, and even guaranteed full freedom of
religion, which was more than Peg-Leg Pete had ever done. But in the next
year the Second Anglo-Dutch War broke out, and trade with the Netherlands
was suspended - permanently, as it turned out. Eight years later, just after
Stuyvesant's death on his farm in Manhattan, the Third Anglo-Dutch War broke
out, and in July 1673 the tables were turned. While the British fleet was
elsewhere engaged, Admiral Evertsen led a Dutch fleet into the harbor, and
landed 600 troops just west of the site of the World Trade Center, where
they were joined by 400 armed Dutch irregulars. The outgunned English
surrendered. Evertsen renamed the town not "Nieuw Amsterdam" but "Nieuw
Orange" after the principality of the late Prince Willem the Silent. (He was
a Zeelander, and might have done this in resentment of the dominant
Hollanders, who seemed to get most of the good jobs in the Seven United
However, in 1674 the English and Dutch, faced with a major threat from the
France of Louis XIV, made peace. The Dutch felt that Surinam was more
desirable than New York, and cut a deal that made New York English.
Frey was the ancient Norse god of fertility, and therefore the monks who
wrote about Norse Paganism were a little reluctant to describe him and the
rituals in his honor. With Oðin and Þorr, he was a member of a sort of Norse
trinity, and idols of all three stood in Pagan temples. Noblemen and poets
worshipped Oðin, warriors and freeholders worshipped Þorr, and peasants
worshipped Frey. Describing these idols, one monk called Frey Deus cum
ingente priapo. ("The well-hung god.") Frey's love affairs constitute
several episodes in the Poetic Edda. According to the Lokasenna, his sister
Freyja was not excluded.
Most ancient historians put mythical elements in their works, whether or
not they were eventually included in anybody's scriptures. Herodotus was
particularly given to including tales of miracles in his history. He is
entertaining reading, but not particularly trustworthy. This was further
complicated by the later composition of exchanges of correspondence, and
speeches, for various historical characters. The composers of these
documents regarded them not as deliberate forgeries but as rhetorical
exercises expressing their beliefs. The funeral oration of Pericles, and the
speech with which King Herod Agrippa II tried to talk the Jews out of
rebelling against Rome, were literary compositions of this sort. Thucydides
and Josephus were respectively expressing viewpoints held by people of the
time, not transcribing actual speeches. I will leave to biblical critics an
application of these ideas to the letters ascribed to St. Paul.
The money-changers may have been in the ancient Jewish temple for the
same reason that they congregate at Mecca. Until the development of modern
media of exchange, pilgrims to Mecca carried their money in gold for greater
convenience, but once in Mecca had to change it for silver and copper for
day-to-day expenses. Naturally, the money-changers took them for a bundle on
the exchange rate. No wonder Jesus was angry at this sort of thing.

Len & June Moffatt share this e-mail address:
[email protected] .
[The parody about the HMO arbitrator reprinted from the Brooklyn College
Teachers Union] was hilarious. I wish that I had seen this in the original
so that I could have asked permission to reprint it in NO AWARD.
Thanks for sending me Entropy 32.
Marty Cantor
[email protected]

Hi Ed (and Sandy!),
I enjoyed reading Entropy last night-I've been feeling pretty isolated from
fandom what with the kids and having been sick for a couple of years and
all. We're all doing very well now and will be at Lunacon this year (hope
to see you there). I'll probably stop in at Boskone if I am not working that
week-end, but won't be staying in Boston as we live less than an hour away.
I was thinking that when we first met I was not even 20, and now I am nearly
42 and have a 7 and 4 year old and all the attendant banalities of suburban
life (though our neighbors still find us a bit odd and for that I am
Take care, amysue chase

|DON DEL GRANDE [excerpted from mailing comments]
I read {What If}, as well as {What If 2}, and have noticed something that
is in pretty much every alternative history story. It always seems to cover
"what if the other side won." How about something like "what if Hitler had
not sent troops into the USSR in 1941."
There are reasons a number of counties don't have BART. Sonoma and Santa
Clara, which is where San Jose is, never voted to join in the first place.
Besides, Sonoma would have had to withdraw when Marin withdrew in 1963 or
so when engineers determined that the Golden Gate Bridge's second deck
wouldn't support it and you couldn't close the shipping channel long enough
to construct an under-water tube like they used to connect San Francisco
with Oakland. It wasn't dug the way the Channel Tunnel was. San Mateo, the
county just south of San Francisco, also opted out early, deciding instead
to depend on the commuter train system (Caltrain, similar to LIRR, I would
guess). This has caused quite a bit of complaining from people who live in
some of the outlying Contra Costa County cities like Antioch, where the city
council tried to pass a law, and might have even succeeded, requiring all
home purchasers to sign something saying they realize that the Antioch
commute was one of the worst in the USA because the only road from there to
the larger freeways that lead to San Francisco tend to get clogged up,
especially when there's an accident, and is one of the reasons the planned
Freemont to San Jose extension is on hold. The map may stop at Warm Springs
but I see plans for extending all the way to a connection with San Jose's
light rail system, and even further south to Santa Clara. As for Napa, the
state probably feels they spent enough on the North Bay with the new
suspension bridge to replace the older span of the Carcanez Bridge.
New subway lines in San Francisco? Besides anything resembling a surplus
would have to be spent on solving the city's growing homelessness problem in
order to prevent a riot. The only new line I can think of is the extension
of the Muni Metro to Pacific Bell Park, whose name will change to "SBC Park"
as a result of the sponsor's merger.

You mentioned that you might try scanning the NESFA Press Tom Holt book
so that you could read it. I'll bet that the book was scanned by NESFA as
part of the production process, or that they worked from an electronic copy
of the text. Perhaps you could get an electronic copy from them.
I finally got to try some of the kosher bison steak: Sheryl made it for my
birthday dinner. Very tasty, and very lean. Even if the meat was expensive
on a per-pound basis, as there was no bone and almost no fat, a little bit
went a long way. we had a splendid meal for about the cost of going to
Burger King.
Fred Lerner
81 Worcester Avenue
White River Junction, Vermont 05001
<[email protected]>

How lovely! I excerpted the comment about Theo Bikel and forwarded it to
Thank you very much for taking this extra trouble.
Thank you [for ENTROPY #30]- that was a good read - especially the Piers
Anthony. You do good work!
Here's a tentative publishing schedule for Jean Lorrah and me for the
next year or more. Jean's award winning e-book that's just been published
this week as a Trade Paperback, {Blood Will Tell}, has soared into the
6,000's in sales rank at amazon (out of like maybe 3 million!)
March 19-22 Jean Lorrah appears at International Conference on the
Fantastic in the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida reading her article from
{Seven Seasons of Buffy} (see Oct.)
April 2003 - {Blood Will Tell} by Jean Lorrah
Jean Lorrah appears on Burrages Bag, on WPSD-TV, NBC, Paducah KY.
May 2003 - {Molt Brother} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
May 16-18 Jacqueline Lichtenberg appears at Leprecon in Phoenix, AZ
May 23-26 Jean Lorrah appears at MediaWestCon in Lansing, MI.
June 2003 - {The Dorian St. James Saga} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
July 2003 - {Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean
July 1-7 Westercon sponsors a writing workshop by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline
Lichtenberg. Publishers sponsor launch party for {Sime~Gen: The Unity
Trilogy} and autographing for {Blood Will Tell}. Seattle, Washington
July 20 - Jacqueline Lichtenberg - autographing in Phoenix AZ
August 2003 - {City of a Million Legends} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Aug. 27 - Sept 2 -Jean Lorrah, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Anne Phyllis
Pinzow available in Toronto, Canada, appearing on the program at the World
Science Fiction Convention and launch party for {Sime~Gen: The Unity
September 5-7, Jacqueline Lichtenberg appears at Coppercon in Phoenix, AZ
October 2003 - {Those of My Blood} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
October 2003 - {Seven Seasons of Buffy}, Glenn Yeffeth, ed. Articles by Jean
Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg among "science fiction and fantasy's most
important authors."
November 2003 --Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah appear at the
Darkover Grand Council Meeting near Baltimore, Maryland
Spring 2004 - {Dreamspy} by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
July 2004 - {Sime~Gen: To Kiss Or To Kill} by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline
Live Long and Prosper,
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
More about Sime~Gen ---

Many thanks for Entropy 32. I enjoyed your worldcon report, and was
pleased to hear that you had time without tending to a table. You did a
wonderfully evocative description of it all. Living in an area without
decent chocolate shops, I particularly liked the Ghirardelli festival visit.
I was also impressed by the territory Judge led you across during your trip.
Eric Lindsay
[email protected]
Airlie Beach, Nth Qld, Australia ph +61 7 4948 0450
NEW Airlie-SF-Psion-Epoc

Ed -
Appreciated and enjoyed the 32nd ENTROPY. Not sure I've got your marking
system committed to memory just yet, but..." I [...] had to have someone
else convert it to text." You might be interested in a little freeware
program I use called Text Extract v2.2.0 for Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP. I
say small. If you have the VB6 runtime files installed it's a 38kb zip
download. Just extract the two files to a new directory and you're ready to
go, no install required. The EXE is 116kb and the accompanying ReadMe file
is 8kb. From the ReadMe file: "Text Extract is a program that scans one or
more files for text strings, extracts them and saves them into a separate
file. Useful if, say, you have a corrupted word processor file, or if you
just want to see what text, if any, is inside a file." It works. It doesn't
work perfectly on every type of file, but it works. And it does more than
just extracting text, but that's all noted in the brief instructions.
Clicking on this will download it:
If you really want an installation routine (670kb), the main page at
will provide a link to that as well as to the VB6 runtime files if you need
those as well. All best to you and yours from me and mine,
Dave Locke
[email protected] "

I'm not sure from your formatting who said this -- maybe Piers Anthony [It
was Mark Blackman in his APA-Q mailing comments which I had copied, keeping
his formatting-ERM] -- but I'm responding to a line in View From Entropy
Hall 32. "Bujold's {Shards of Honor} began as a Trek novel, with the Betans
Vulcans and the Barrayarans Klingons." This is a canard that has been going
around for a long time and, like most such, is more unkillable than Dracula.
I asked about it on the Bujold discussion mailing list, and was given the
following citation from the old list archives, in a post from Lois on 14 Oct
1997 (digest 971016-918): "Now, this Star Trek thing. This is going to be
the third time I have knocked it on the head *this year*. It's getting
profoundly irritating. *{Shards of Honor} is not now, and has never been, a
Star Trek story.* Six *years* before I started writing it, to entertain
myself driving to work, I had worked out a vaguely ST-universe [with a] two
enemies-lost-on-planetside scenario. You have only my word for this, by the
way, as I am reporting on my private thoughts here. Nothing was ever
written. When I did sit down in 1982 to write my original novel, I used
some elements from this scenario in the opening chapters, while also drawing
on not less than my whole life and everything I'd learned in it. By the
time the first word hit paper, I wanted to write my *own* books, thank you
very much. And I did."
I'd appreciate it if you'd publish this correction, which is as close to
authoritative as you can get unless Lois herself decides to tell you.
-- Mark Mandel

Dear Ed,
Thanks for e-mailing your zine and for the report on ConJose and your
adventures in the Bay area. Made me nostalgic for the times when June and I
used to drive or fly up there to visit friends in the area, attend
Lamplighter's performances of G&S, North Beach, Earthquake McGoon's with
Turk Murphy and Clancy Hayes, the party at the Bouchers where Fritz Leiber
danced a fandango--ah yes, those were the days!
We were unable to attend ConJose due to previous commitments as well as
not being all that fond of Big Cons. The only Worldcons we manage to attend
are the ones in the Los Angeles/Orange County areas. We drive up to Los
Gatos (near San Jose) twice a year for our grandchildren's birthdays and a
third trip wasn't financially feasible last year. We did make it to the
mystery fiction worldcon, the Bouchercon, in Austin as we hadn't been to one
since 1999 and we had never been to that part of Texas before.
Speaking of which, I must comment on Joe Christopher's letter. He refers
to me as the one who started the Bouchercons. One might say that is only
1/3 true. June and I and good friend, the late, great Bruce Pelz created
the Bouchercon and put on the first three. I don't think that I said that
the Austin Hall character in Rocket to the Morgue was based only on Cleve
Cartmill. I was told many moons ago (perhaps by Tony) that the character
was a composite of Heinlein and Cartmill. Some time later someone said that
it was a composite of Heinlein and Kuttner. In any case, I think the
character was more Heinlein than anyone, if only because he (like RAH) had a
History of the Future Chart on the wall of the room where he worked.
Unless there is more than one Joe Christopher, he should have our mailing
address as a Joe R. Christopher purchased (by mail) a copy of the Edward D.
Hoch Bibliography from June last year. In any case it is: Box 4456,
Downey, CA 90241.
Thanks again, Ed. June sends her best wishes as does yours truly,
Len Moffatt

Dear Ed, Thanks for the latest View From Entropy Hall. I am going to
briefly comment on your quote from Goering, that leaders can always control
the population by claiming that their nation is under attack, and that peace
makers are merely being unpatriotic and are exposing the nation to danger.
This is certainly an interesting quote to bring to our attention at a time
when many people believe that the Bush administration is engaged in exactly
that kind of war-mongering. But it would be well to remember that even
though such a strategy can be used for unworthy ends (as it certainly was in
the case of the Third Reich) it is also true that sometimes the nation
really is under attack, and sometimes the pacifists really are exposing the
nation to danger (although I would never call pacifists unpatriotic; at
worst, they exhibit a misguided patriotism, which is well meant but which
will have unfortunate consequences). Personally I believe that the current
war on terrorism must be fought and won, and I believe that the current
regime in Iraq actually is a danger to the rest of the world, and to the US
in particular. I also believe that in the long term we should also address
and remedy the fundamental issues that have resulted in the tremendous
hostility which now exists between the Islamic and the Western worlds.
Peace is indeed better than war, but when you are in a war, it is better to
win than to lose, and as we have seen from the attack of September 11, 2001
(among other clues), we are at war. We can pretend that we are at peace,
but that won't prevent our enemies from attacking us. Half a century of
American political mistakes have lead us to the current unfortunate
situation that we are in, however, while America might apologize for those
mistakes, that is not going to solve the current problem. Let's solve the
problem, and then try to correct the underlying mistakes that created the
problem. That would be my preference. -- David Palter

1706-24 Eva Rd.
Etobicoke, ON CANADA M9C 2B2
Dear Ed:
I've downloaded issue 32 of The View From Entropy Hall, and many thanks
for putting another issue together.
It's a shame you decided not to take a dealers' table at Torcon. Are you
sure you'd have the cross-border problems you say you'd have? I know the
Torcon committee was willing to smooth out any possible problems.
I made some enquiries to Dave Kyle some years ago about First Fandom, and
he mentioned something about an associate membership. He didn't specify
dues, but he said something about qualifications for associate membership
being involvement in fandom for 30 years or more. With your report on the
First Fandom panel at ConJosé, it makes me wonder if such dues and
qualifications are still being decided. [I just became a member by paying
$10 and filling in a simple application. 30 years is the cutoff, and I have
been in fandom for 47 years.-ERM]
Your article about the fuss over rotation zones for Worldcon made me
smile. Imagine being upset when Worldcon went to Germany. Just like the
World Series...the rest of the world need not bother with it. I can only
imagine that the furor over Heicon in 1970 rivaled the consternation when
the Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-US based team to win the World
Series. If you don't want the rest of the world to have it, why put the word
"World" in it? I know of some fans who have put forth the idea of a
continental con, either for every year or for when Worldcon goes some place
unaffordable, but I have heard little of it in the last few years. Because
Worldcon attendees demand at least some committee members with some
convention management experience, there's a select few who have enormous
amounts of experience (I speak, of course, of the Permanent Floating
Worldcon committee), and many who have a little or none. Some committees win
with little or no experience in working on Worldcons. Bouchercon is
mentioned here, and I can tell you that the 2004 Bouchercon will be in
Toronto, using some of the same facilities Torcon will.
The Goering quote is spooky. We truly are doomed to repeat history if we
fail to learn from it. Bush and Blair seem determined to plunge the world
into war. At least Blair will do it only with the blessing of the United
Nations. Bush will make the US a rogue nation in the eyes of many if he
attacks Iraq. Mr. Bush...I thought you represented the good guys?
It's been only a few days since the Columbia disaster...only a few
Luddites have stepped forward to say that any money that NASA gets now
should be stripped from them to make SDI a reality. This may slow us down
for a short time, but it will not stop us. I cannot say what others have
said already, and said better.
That's all for now...give Judge a scratch behind the ears for me, and
I'll perhaps meet you again at Torcon.

Yours, loyd Penney.

Thank you for sending me Entropy 32 with your ConJose trip report. I do
appreciate hearing as many reports as possible, given how little of the
convention I was able to experience, and given how skewed my view from the
co-Chairman's job was.
Here are some comments about your comments on the rail and transit
services in the Bay Area.
"Aside from the state-run Caltrain to San Jose,...." Caltrain is not run
by the State of California. It used to be, and that is why it is called
"Caltrain" (from Caltrains, the California Department of Transportation, who
took over the service from Southern Pacific and ran it from 1980 to 1992).
In 1992, the service was taken over by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers
Board, a board consisting of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara
Counties. Those three counties run Caltrain, and pay the subsidies. The
state no longer runs the service. The Caltrain Peninsula Corridor Joint
Powers Board contracts with Amtrak to actually run the trains and maintain
the track. Union Pacific has trackage rights and runs a freight train or
two over the line most days.
"I believe Caltrain also runs a service between San Jose and Stockton."
No. There is a train service between Stockton and San Jose, but Caltrain
(Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board) does not run it. The service is
called ACE (Altamont Commuter Express). It runs six trains each weekday
(three trains to San Jose in the morning, three trains back in the evening,
commute hours only). ACE is run by a different multi-county agency
consisting of Santa Clara, Alameda, and Stanislaus Counties. The ACE agency
contracts with Herzog (not Amtrak) to run the trains. The trains operate
mostly over Union Pacific tracks (some former Southern Pacific, some former
Western Pacific), except for a small bit of Caltrain (ex-Southern Pacific)
track between Santa Clara and San Jose. Yet another multi-county agency pays
for the Amtrak-branded "Capitol Corridor" trains between San Jose and
Sacramento (ten trains each way daily). Amtrak operates the trains and
reservation system. California state rail bonds paid for the equipment and
track upgrades. The counties through which the service runs pay the service
subsidies. The trains themselves are painted "Amtrak California."
"Sandy read me signs calling this the "Muni Metro," a term I had not
heard used before. I wonder if this designation is new, or nobody had
mentioned it to me before." Ever since I've known about it, the underground
portion of Muni light rail service in downtown San Francisco on the level
above BART has been called the "Muni Metro subway," so as far as I know,
that has always been the name since they built it.
"While the Market St. tunnels were still under construction I had read in
the Electric Railroaders Association magazine HEADLIGHTS that Muni was
considering building a new underground line along Geary St., but nothing
came of this." The Geary line was, I am told, part of the original BART
proposal, but it was of course never built. That's too bad in a way, as it
is one of the few lines that really had enough traffic to justify it. The
38/Geary surface buses are always full. There is some justification for a
surface-level light rail line along Geary, too, but unfortunately, for
political reasons, the Third Street line is being built instead (see below).
"I wonder if there are any thoughts of new subway lines in SF?" Yes.
They are building one: the Third Street light rail line. This line will run
partially above ground and partially through new subways in downtown. Most
transit advocates think this line is a bad idea, and that the money would be
better spent on the Geary corridor, but politics overrides engineering as
usual, I'm afraid.
"[The F-Line] got antique trolley cars from various cities,...." While
they are old, the actual cars running in daily service are relatively
modern, as they are mostly 1950s-vintage PCC cars. The real antiques are
saved for special occasions and holidays.
"BARTD is a modern high-speed system much like that in DC, but very
expensive to ride." My British friends, conversely, are amazed at how
inexpensive BART (or any of the Bay Area transit systems) is, compared to
things like the Tube or commuter trains in the UK.
The vertical leg went from Richmond in the north to a little past Hayward
in the south." I think Fremont is more than "a little" past Hayward. I live
in Fremont, about halfway between the end of the line at Fremont and the
next-to-last station at Union City.
"From time to time an extra station was added extending one of the lines,
and a decade ago construction started on a new branch going east from
Hayward to Pleasanton and Livermore. That branch is now open, but ends in
Pleasanton, five miles short of Livermore. I wonder why it was not
finished." Money. Politics. And the Dublin/Pleasanton line has terrible
ridership. I
don't think it ever should have been built.
"Maps indicate that the next hoped-for expansion is to extend the Hayward
line further south, but still not all the way to San Jose." The extension on
the maps is known as the Warm Springs Extension, and is apparently actually
moving forward, although it will probably be a long time yet before any dirt
is turned on it. This will extend the Fremont line two stops through the
Irvington district of Fremont to a new terminus at Warm Springs, near the
Alameda-Santa Clara county line. Santa Clara is not part of BART. Santa
Clara county voters voted for a sales tax expansion (which won't take effect
for a few years yet) that was supposed to pay for a bunch of transit
improvements, chief of which was to extend BART from the beyond the Warm
Springs terminus into downtown San Jose and then north to Santa Clara in a
circuitous, looping line. I campaigned against it, even though I'm a transit
advocate. Nearly every sensible transit advocacy group opposed it, but it
passed with a huge majority. The problem with BART is that it is horribly
expensive to build and acts like a money pit. Even now, years before any
construction could possibly start, Santa Clara county's transportation
agency is saying that trying to actually build and operate the system would
bankrupt them. Sensible transit advocates such as myself call for expansion
of conventional rail service like Caltrain and the Capitols. That costs a
lot less and provides quicker return on investment. In fact, if Santa Clara
County's politicians -- particularly San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales -- hadn't
decided it was going to be "BART or Nothing" we would have _right now_ a
conventional rail link between San Jose and Fremont/Union City BART. The
money was in place, the equipment was on order, and the politicians scuttled
it so that they can have BART someday. I hope that someday never comes,
"There is at least one opportunity to transfer from BARTD to Muni and to
AC Transit." You can transfer from BART to Muni at every San Francisco BART
station, but you pay an additional fare anyway. You can transfer from BART
to AC Transit at every Alameda County station, but again there is extra
"WORLDCON ROTATION PLAN AND NASFICS" Your explanation of what we call
"no-zone" and you call "keep your distance" is substantially accurate. Well
"Is Dragoncon, with its 20,000-30,000 attendees a threat to the Worldcon
today?" Yes, especially now that Dragoncon moved to Labor Day weekend. There
are people who would go to both if they could, but if they can only pick
one, they'll go to Dragoncon. I know that ConJose caught heat from people
because we weren't more like Dragoncon. There is a new generation of fans
for whom multi-media pop cultural extravaganzas like Dragoncon are what they
think conventions are supposed to be, and over-priced events like Worldcon
are for old folks. Basically, most of the younger generation want passive
entertainment, while Worldcon is an interactive event. They want something
where they pay a few bucks and sit back to be entertained, like at a
concert, movie, or sporting event. Sad, really.

[And in response to a follow-up letter from me....]
"When I was in Livermore my closest friends were in Palo Alto and I drove
to Pleasanton, then south to the "water temple" where an aqueduct ended, and
then a narrow, twisty canyon road parallel to railroad tracks " That's Niles
Canyon Road, California State Route 84. The larger, well-maintained railroad
on one side of you there is the former Western Pacific (now Union Pacific)
track. The old rickety track on the other side, which crosses the road a
couple of times, is now the Niles Canyon Railroad, a tourist line. That old
line is former Southern Pacific, and actually descends from the _original_
Western Pacific (not the later one that became part of Union Pacific in
1980), and it is part of the original transcontinental railroad. SP
abandoned it in the 1980s in exchange for trackage rights on UP, and of
course SP is now part of UP anyway.
"which left me near the Dumbarton Bridge. I think that was in Fremont."
That is correct. State Route 84 runs through Fremont and over the Dumbarton
Bridge. Fremont is actually the fourth largest city in the Bay Area (after
San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland), but because it's a bedroom community
suburb, nobody pays any attention to it.
"I was only to Stockton once,... As I remember we drove across some hills
to Tracey (which I had done several times) and then on to Stockton. What
route does the San Jose-Stockton train take? Does it use the tracks in that
canyon I remember?" Yes. The train starts in Stockton, runs to Tracy, then
through Altamont Pass over the former Western Pacific line, then through
Pleasanton, Niles Canyon, and Fremont. There it joins the former Southern
Pacific route through Newark and Alviso, to Santa Clara, where it joins the
Caltrain line into San Jose.
"Do the Sacramento trains go up thru Oakland?" Yes. The Amtrak
California Capitol Corridor trains stops are, from south to north: San Jose
Santa Clara (Great America) Fremont (Centerville) Hayward Oakland (Jack
London Square) Emeryville Berkeley Richmond (BART Station) Martinez Suisun
City/Fairfield Davis Sacramento Roseville Rocklin Auburn
"This new 3rd Ave is along 3rd?" Yes. The best I can do here
is to quote the description from the Muni web site. Long quote coming: ----
Begin Quote ----
Phase 1 will extend Muni Metro light rail service south from its current
terminal at Fourth and King Streets. The line will cross the Fourth Street
Bridge and run along Third Street and Bayshore Boulevard, ending at the
Bayshore Caltrain Station in Visitacion Valley. Tracks will be constructed
primarily in the center of the street to improve safety and reliability and
19 stops will be provided. This phase of the light rail project is expected
to open for service in 2005. Phase 2 will extend light rail service north
from King Street along Third Street, entering a new Central Subway near
Bryant Street, crossing beneath Market Street and running under Geary and
Stockton Streets to Stockton and Clay Streets. Underground subway stations
will be located at Moscone Center, Market Street, Union Square and Clay
Street in Chinatown. Muni and the City are actively pursuing funding for the
Central Subway. ---- End Quote ----
"What happens to the line then? Will it ark around the waterfront to meet
the F at Market?" It does not need to do so. Several years ago, they
extended the underground streetcar lines down to the Caltrain station by
bringing them to the surface beyond Embarcadero, looping along the
waterfront, and terminating at the Caltrain station. They then extended the
N-Judah streetcar line so that it runs to Caltrain. (The other four subway
lines continue to terminate at Embarcadero.) There was for a short time an
E-Embarcadero line that ran as a shuttle between Embarcadero and the
Caltrain station. They still sometimes run short shuttle trains between
Caltrain and Castro Street on the subway line during baseball games.
"I understand the new baseball park is somewhere in that region." Yes.
Pacific Bell Park is at the corner of Third Street and King Street. The
Caltrain station is at Fourth and King, one block away. The old Southern
Pacific terminus was at Third and Townsend (Townsend and King are one block
apart, parallel to each other). Years ago, they tore down the SP station and
cut the line back one block to Fourth and Townsend. When they built the Muni
Metro extension down King Street, they renamed the Caltrain station location
from "Fourth and Townsend" to "Fourth and King", to make it more obvious
that Caltrain and Muni connect at that point. The Caltrain station did not
"The specific mention I heard on BARTD PAs was to get a transfer to a
...trolley? "Trolley" in this case is being used as a synonym for "Muni
Light Rail Streetcar." the ballpark from the Embarcadero station. Was
this transfer, as I assumed, either free or at a reduced fare?" No, unless
you already are using a Bart "fast pass" that includes unlimited travel on
BART within San Francisco and all Muni lines. Otherwise, you have to exit
the BART station and pay the Muni fare separately. This can be especially
annoying because BART is on the lowest level, Muni is on the middle level,
and the station lobby is on the top (surface) level. So you have to exit
BART, go up to the surface, buy a Muni ticket, and go back down to the Muni
platform. Bay Area transit is balkanized to an amazing degree. There are
dozens of agencies, all of whom have the attitude of "your children must die
so that mine may thrive."
"The [Ashby] transfer had special tickets which permitted you to ride the
[Ashby] bus at half fare. You said that all BARTD stations had transfers to
AC busses. Were they all at reduced fare?" Yes, all BART-to-AC connections
have a machine that generates a coupon good for a reduced price on AC
transit buses, including a reduced fare coming back to the BART station. The
discount is not much; about 25 cents each way. The regular AC Transit fare
is $1.50. The fare for seniors and disabled is $0.75. With the BART
transfer ticket, the regular fare is $1.25, and the senior/disabled fare is
"When my son was small I took him to a one-day Trek convention in
Manchester, 60 miles south of me, and found nothing interesting so I did not
stay. My wife and I did other things until it was over around 5 PM and took
him home. Actually it was a 2-day con but the second day was just an
identical repeat of the first day." That is exactly what so many people
want. They don't want to make a multi-day commitment like a Worldcon (or
even a smaller local convention). They don't want something takes all day.
They want to pay a little bit of money and be entertained for a couple of
hours. It's all very passive, like watching television. They certainly don't
want to have to work for their entertainment. It's very sad.
Best, Kevin Standlee

Thanks for the excellent con report, Ed. By the way, one of the tour
guides at Alcatraz, is a fan, Craig Glassner. Wish this was longer-- I'm
battling the flu, plus trying to make a few fan art deadlines before
buckling down on some ambitious non-art, non-fan, projects of my own.
(Still: at some point in the future, after I've satisfied the itch on those
projects, I wouldn't mind contributing some art to NIEKAS --keep me in
best, Steve

"...a Muslim cannot enter paradise if the body is buried with that of a pig
or dog." Assuming there is a paradise to enter...the process is simpler than
that...just bury two or more Muslims together...a process I strongly
encourage as often as possible (why pick on dogs and pigs that are in
limited supply?). Someday, not withstanding Heinlein's 'Stranger,' someone,
somewhere, will create a religion (a hobby of idle men) that is not quirky
and it will sweep the planet like a plague. Won't last, however, as all men
are born ignorant. Which makes ignorance a totally recyclable resource.
Whatever happens to those buried with pigs and dogs will be the same as
those eaten by dinosaurs or to be eaten by various and sundry space
invaders. Whether or not they bow to Mecca, and thereby show their asses to
the rest of the world, is of only minor passing note. But I like the pig and
dog thing...I think camel's testicles are also a no-no.
George C.

Thanks very much for sending me an email copy of Entropy. I have
forwarded a bit of your email to Susan Shwartz, whom I have been
corresponding with recently. I expect she'll get in touch with you.
Your email to the SMOFS mailing list about getting text versions of the
Torcon progress reports was discussed at length at the Torcon committee
meeting in January. We're glad to be able to make this available to you.
Torcon is also looking for volunteers to work on handicapped access. Anyone
with skill in this area is encouraged to email [email protected]
Actually, we'd like to encourage anybody will skill in any aspect of running
conventions to get in touch with us. The more the merrier!
I hope to see you at Boskone, if you can come to the party I will be
hosting for the Seattle in '05 NASFiC bid. We're just back from our
party at Confusion in Detroit, where we won the party award for "Best Food".
Worldcons are important and I encourage everyone who can afford to go to
Glasgow in 2005; I plan to be there. But not everybody can afford to travel
overseas. I spoke to one author recently who just didn't have a good time at
the '95 Worldcon and didn't plan to go back. I know some dealers, artists,
and costumers who need to go to a convention in a big van, which limits
their ability to go overseas. That's why the Chesley awards stay with the
NASFiC when the Worldcon goes overseas. I wasn't able to afford to go to
Australia in 1999, so I was glad to have the option of Los Angeles instead
of having to skip a year entirely. And 2005 is supposed to be a west-coast
year, even if we don't have the zone system in the rules anymore. It would
be a disappointment to lose the vote after the effort we've put in; I've run
six bid parties for Seattle so far. But traveling the country and seeing our
friends and many interesting people on the road is a reward in itself. I'm
sure that whoever wins the NASFiC site selection, we'll have a great con in
You mention finding Lithuanian beer in San Francisco. If that's your
interest, you'll like Toronto; there is an active Lithuanian community in
the city's west end, with a weekly Lithuanian-language newspaper, a busy
community center on Bloor Street West, and a Lithuanian museum in
Take care; we look forward to running into you somewhere. Alex von Thorn
|Jane Yolen
Tanks, Ed. Interesting reading, but no comment hooks.
Jane Yolen
|WAHF: Wendy Gold, Terry Jeeves, Mark Mandel (who got it twice by
mistake), Genia


Dear Ed,
You had written "Thanks for your renewal. Trust you are back from your
California trip. Business? Did you get to read the new NIEKAS on the plane?"
My 'California trip' lasted until the end of June. That is, I began a
project with Philips Semiconductor, Sunnyvale, California, in February of
this year and my participation continued until 29 June when I left the
project. During that time, I would stay two weeks in Sunnyvale and then
enjoy a weekend home with the family. I may have written this to you before
but I can not recall: At present, I am a 'hi-tech migrant worker -- have
laptop, will travel'. I carry most of my office in a shoulder, computer
bag. I communicate via e-mail and long distance phone conversations.
Occasionally, I work from my office at home (which is nice when it happens).
In a sense, I am living the life written about in science fiction not so
terribly long ago. (Just found a copy of my earlier postal-delivered letter
in which some of the preceding was, in fact, written ... but not all.)
Later this morning, I hope to participate in a Webcast for my company, Atos
Origin, Inc., in which short-term marketing plans will be covered -- imagine
that, folks linked together from across the country, and possibly the world,
via the Internet rather than gathered together physically in a conference
room somewhere.
NIEKAS 46 was an excellent read on the flights to & from California. I
am astounded by the amount of information you can compress into such a slim
volume. I do hope this response does not fall under the "write to NIEKAS &
die" category as I have other fanzines in my stack to read one of these days
Yours, J. R. Madden


~ BLANCMANGE #394 (APA-Q #374, Mark Blackman) Much of interest, especially
your remarks on Arab terrorists. Only comment is on your passing reference
to an on-going discussion of wooden shoes and the image of the Netherlands.
I assume these were for ethnic/historical dressup at festivals, and are not
worn today. I had not had read to me the DAGON with John's first half of his
Rhine/Danube trip and gather that he had said something about these shoes
there. Apparently such shoes had been used in other parts of Europe at one
time, because I saw a picture of a pile of them on sale in Lithuania
sometime between the World Wars. Before I moved to California in 1962 I went
to cultural events in the hall of Annunciation Lithuanian church in
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and sometimes home movies taken in Lithuania between
the world wars were shown. The man showing this particular movie did not
comment on that brief scene and I never thought of asking my mother, who had
lived in Lithuania until 1931, when and where they were used. She had a doll
of a woman in a traditional Lithuanian festival costume and Sandy describes
the footwear as "golden Mary-Jane slippers." Maybe one the readers of
Entropy in Lithuania could comment on this.

~BLANCMANGE #396 (APA-Q #476) Interested in your description of the book,
Larry Beinhart's {American Hero}, the basis for the movie Wag the Dog. I am
croggled that the president in the book was the elder Bush, but since the
movie was made when Clinton was president I can understand them updating it
and taking advantage of the Lewinski scandal. [] I like your point that King
George II's war is far from the first "pre-emptive" strike by the US. In
fact, I will quote: "Over 180 Marine landings 1800-1934, including years of
occupation of the Dominican Republic & Haiti. All military interventions
since Dec. 8, 1941. The Dominican Republic was invaded (again) in 1964 and
Grenada in '83 to "prevent" them from "going Communist"; ditto Chile re the
CIA's assassination of Allende. As Spain didn't blow up the Maine and there
was no Tonkin Gulf "Incident", the Spanish-American & Vietnam wars are also
instances of the US attacking first." [] You joked about Anglicans using
coffee and Oreos as communion. The Center Harbor Congregational Church had a
young, liberal, minister in the 60s who didn't last long, but he hung out in
the Belknap College faculty lounge so students could consult with him. He
told me about a convention of ministers where they tried to emphasize that
bread and wine were everyday items in Israel by doing a communion service
using coffee and donuts. [] You asked what is the exact meaning of my name
in it a euphemism or a real word for bear? I grew up using
"mes`ka (mesh-kah) as the word for bear. Later my mother told me that the
real word for bear is "laukis," which seems related to "lauk (outside),
"laukas" (field) and "laukinis" (wild, ferocious). I learned that many words
I had used growing up were borrowed words and not proper Lithuanian words,
and my mother told me the real words a few years ago fan Alexei Kondratiev
told me that in Russian a word like "mesh-kah is used by children, but not
adults, to refer to "bear." I do not know if it has a "real" meaning in
Russian. My father was born in 1894 when Lithuania was a subject of the
Russian empire, and in Lithuania it was illegal to teach reading and writing
in Lithuanian. His papers, in Russian, gave the name as something like
"mesh-ko" and when he was stranded in the US by WWI in 1917 immigration
turned his name into "Maske." I had it legally corrected to the proper
masculine form "Meskys" just before I graduated from college so it would be
correct on my diploma. (Mesh-kah is a feminine word...I wonder why a word in
popular use in Lithuania for bear would be feminine.) As I have often
recounted, several generations ago the family name was "Glinskys" and became
"Meskys" by accident. When an ancestor was born his father was seven feet
tall, wore a bearskin coat, and had the nickname of "the bear." At the
baptism party all got drunk and when the baby of honor was taken to the
church to be sprinkled and registered the drunken godparents gave the
nickname as the family name. This happened with my great-grandfather or
earlier. Thanks to a newspaper clipping from John Boardman I got in touch
with Joyce Meskis, the manager of the Tattered Cover Bookshop in Denver. She
knew the same story about the origin of her family name. My father had no
brothers, only two sisters, so his father or grandfather must have had a
brother who was her ancestor. [] You wonder about the propriety of using
"look" and "see" around me. Blind people use "look" and "see" as a common
idiom, like "See you tomorrow," or "Let me see (perceive, handle) that." []
I did a mental skid when I said that I had heard that Tolkien had translated
the (non-existent) Book of
Noah. I had meant to say "The Book of Jonah."

~BLANCMANGE #397 (APA-Q #477) Today Catholic and main-stream bible
scholars believe that the various parts of the bible were written in the
words and concepts of the time, and only the general message was inspired.
Thus at the time Genesis was assembled from two or three pre-existing
documents (often called something like the Yahweh Document and the Elal(?)
[lord] document, it was believed that the earth was flat and the firmament
was a dome over the earth. Heaven was a city sitting on top of the dome, and
there was water above the dome. Thus the waters above the dome were
separated from those below the dome on the first or second day of creation.
In the story of Noah flood gates were opened in this dome to cause the 40
days of rain. (Also at least one of the psalms referred specifically to this
dome.) I have only recently read that a major early Christian scholar
proclaimed that the Greek idea of a spherical earth had to be wrong for it
contradicted the bible.
Today this does not bother mainstream Christians and apparently
funnymentalists do not think about it. I wish I could remember who that
major scholar was.

~BLANCMANGE #398 (APA-Q #478) I had only heard the apocryphal story of
Teddy Roosevelt "sparing" the bear cubs, which had inspired the newspaper
cartoon, and then the toy Teddy Bear. I am very interested to learn the real
story, and that the bear in question had been killed after all. Several
years ago I had heard on NPR that a soldier while in Winnipeg Canada had
bought a bear cub and brought it back to London, and when it became too
large gave it to the London zoo where it acquired the nickname Winnie (for
Winnipeg). The "Pooh" came from Milne and his toddler son speculating on
what the bear would do if a fluffy feather landed on its nose...go pooh
trying to blow it off. In the 60s Poul Anderson used the pen-name "Winston
P. Sanders" on at least one ANALOG story, and the claim was that he was
paying homage to Winnie the Pooh. If this is true, he mistook what "Winnie"
was short for. And why the "Sanders?" Pooh was not part of my childhood and
what I learned of him is from Sandy, and I do not know whether Sanders
plays any part in this.

~BLANCMANGE #399 (APA-Q #479) As you point out, the Calvinist Puritans of
Mass were dead set against Christmas, but I was surprised to learn that it
was barely noted in colonial Church-of-England Virginia. A couple of years
ago Sandy and I did a "Elder Hostel" in Yorktown on "Colonial Christmas,"
but the whole thing was humbug. They had to admit that Christmas was not
celebrated anywhere in the 18th century. I have heard that in England
Christmas had fallen into disrepute and was not celebrated by proper folk.
It was regarded as a time of rowdy drunkenness of the lower classes when
they demanded booz and food of their betters (the Wassail song). One
magazine article claimed that it was Dickens with his {Christmas Carol}
which rehabilitated Christmas and popularized its celebration. Can any
reader collaborate this? And was it the same book which spurred the
celebration in the US? Also I expect non Anglo-Saxon or Keltic (Calvinist)
immigrants brought their celebrations to our shores. [] In reference to
Heinlein and militarism vs. Libertarianism, I think I remember reading a
Heinlein novel in the mid or late 50s where cars were manufactured in a
government price-support program, akin to farm price supports, only to be
crushed, and since they were never to be used they were built in a slipshod
fashion. In the same book the point-of-view character complained about
veterans who had lifelong benefits just because they had spent a couple of
years in the army. Was this really in a Heinlein book or has my brain turned
into fudge? The character's anti-military opinion was never repudiated as he
developed, and this seems so counter to the attitude of {Starship Trooper}
where one cannot vote unless one has risked his life for the common good in
some manner. [] I liked this paragraph so much that I am quoting it here:
"War Bores> Some love war for its own sake ("glory"); others because it's a
means to their end (the destruction of the Commies, say); still others don't
like it, but see it as necessary sometimes (as WWII was); and still others
hate it, but find it interesting (why does a pacifist run war games?). Some
authors write about it not because they're warmongers but because it's a
shorthand way of presenting dramatic or character conflict; a few simply
because there's a market for it. Military sf exploits an already existing
demand. (Video games like Battletech are far more prevalent, and
indoctrinating; they're even encouraged as training by the military, as you
say.) Some are just loudmouths, some hacks, some undeserving. Not every
novel about war advocates it, nor every alternate history its author's ideal
world. Turtledove's "The Last Article" says that the Nazis were more
ruthless than the Brits. Was Phil Dick a war-loving Nazi because {The Man in
the High Castle} had an Axis victory? Roberta [Rogow] writes murder
mysteries; does that mean that she advocates homicide? Btw, Bujold's Miles
has been away from the military & mercenaries for 5 books."

~BLANCMANGE #400 (APA-Q #480) You mentioned that trolley tracks still
exist on McDonald Ave. in Brooklyn. I would guess that this is because these
tracks were also used by the South Brooklyn Railroad which went from the
waterfront around 38 St., shared tracks with the West End/Culver line to the
yards around 7 Ave, and went under the Culver El on private right-of-way
from 10 Ave to McDonald Ave, and then shared tracks with the McDonald Ave
trolley to Coney Island. I saw on the "3rd Level" listserv for SF fen
interested in railroads that the South Brooklyn Railroad has since then
been absorbed by another small line. I believe most of the trackage has
since been abandoned by the freight railroad but do not know for sure. [] I
understand that Brooklyn's Fulton St. runs to the waterfront just south of
the Brooklyn Bridge. The Fulton St. in Manhattan also terminates on the
waterfront a little south of the Brooklyn Bridge, and I wondered if the two
were directly opposite each other. Before it was diverted to the Brooklyn
Bridge, the Fulton St. El in Brooklyn went to the waterfront, presumably to
a ferry terminal, and this remained as a stub shown on maps I own from the
30s. (The Broadway El in Brooklyn also went to the waterfront in addition to
crossing the Williamsburg Bridge one block north. I remember seeing, as a
child, the demolition of this stub.) Three major elevated lines originally
converged on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Myrtle Ave., El, the Fulton St., El,
and the 5th Ave. El. The Myrtle Ave. El continued to cross the bridge until
about 1950 when trolley and el tracks were removed and the bridge was
"modernized" into an auto only viaduct. [] I had always heard that the
singing group "Clam Chowder" had originated in Boston when the original
singers accidentally met in a bar and found that they sang well together. It
was my understanding that now most of the current members are in the
DC-Baltimore area with one on the West Coast. [] I do not know after whom
the "Theodore Huff Memorial Film Society" was named. It had been in
existence for some time when I first went, on the recommendation of members
of the local SF club (The NY SF Circle) in 56 or 57. I do not remember if I
resumed attending meetings when I returned to the East Coast in 1966, but it
was there that I met Julius and Naomi Postal and brought them to local SF
club meetings. All my friends from that group have passed away, so I do not
know who could identify the source of the name today. Perhaps Pat & Dick
Lupoff know, as they were part of the NY film scene at the time. I went to
meetings in their home at the invite of Chris Steinbrunner, where complete
movie serials were shown on a Sunday afternoon.

~DAGON 569 (APAQ 475 John Boardman). I was very interested in your
description of Michael Heym's book {The King David Report}. I wonder if it
is still in print, and if it had ever been recorded by an agency like RFB&D.
For non-Q readers I reprint your description. It "is a satire on the way
dictatorships order history re-written to order. It is told by a minor
biblical character named Ethan the Ezrahite, who is assigned by King Solomon
to write the official biography of King David, justifying his suppression of
rival religious centers and promoting Solomon as his only rightful heir.
Ethan's investigations reveal the truth of several matters which King
Solomon wants suppressed. It is Ethan's account that eventually makes it
into the bible, despite the fact that Ethan privately believes it's a pack
of lies." You said it was written by an East German before the fall of the
Soviet Empire. Was it published in East Germany or exported and published
elsewhere like Pasternak and Solzanitzen? What was the agenda of the author
and the publisher? Satire of government disinformation or discrediting
Judeo-Christian faith? [] Iraq was far from the only country cobbled
together by British and other colonial powers disregarding ethnic
boundaries. When various African colonies achieved their independence in the
decades after WWII their boundaries were purposefully set to mix hostile
ethnic groups in single nations in order to make the nations difficult to
govern, so they would have to rely on the former colonial powers for help.
That is why there is so much ethnic violence today in the former African
colonies. [] I found the reminiscences of your and Perdita's visit to Vienna
very interesting, especially the history you gave us. I liked the story of
the six-year-old Wolfgang Mozart proposing to the six-year-old future Marie
Antoinette. [] You spoke of the difficulty of getting to Iceland. Fred
Lerner flew to a European vacation on Icelandic Airlines and that has a
built-in 3 day stopover. He said that Icelandic tourist services are built
to cover the essentials of the country in that time period. He praised the
itinerary and we are thinking of trying to schedule our trip to the '05
Worldcon in Glasgow on Icelandic. [] Your mention of the various fannish
parodies of Gor, Free Amazons of Gor," "Housewives of Gor," and "Buckets of
Gor," remind me of that I had described to me at a con a year or two back a
delightful poster or mock dust jacket for "Smerfs of Gor." [] You wrote
interestingly about the use of suicide in military and paramilitary
operations, from the 911 attack on NY to the Japanese kamikaze planes of
WWII to Palestinians in Israel. I like your point that these are the last
desperate gasps of a failing cause and in the long run hurts the offenders
more than the victims. The Palestinians regard the Israelis as western
colonialists like the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem in the middle ages, and
they believe that just as the Christians were driven out, though it took
almost 200 years, the Israelis will also be driven out. However you feel
that the Israelis are technologically and militarily superior, and have no
place to retreat to. Sandy and I just attended a talk by Dr. Johnson, prof.
Of Middle Eastern Studies at NYU and he spoke of the emotional reaction of
all Arabs to Israel, regarding it as a colonial invasion similar to that
ancient Christian kingdom, and that they will never co-exist with Israel. He
made a number of interesting points, like when in 1944 US ambassadors (or
was it Roosevelt himself) broached to King Saud the establishment of a
Jewish state in Palestine, Saud countered suggesting that the Jews be given
the Ruhr Valley as a homeland. It was the Germans who persecuted the Jews
and so they should lose land to give them a homeland. Dr. Johnson also
mentioned that Iraq has one of the largest Christian populations in the
middle east, and just six months ago a new Eastern Rite Catholic bishop was
welcomed to Baghdad. It was US foreign policy which led to the current
problems throughout the world. In 1948 the "Kennan Approach" focused on
availability of mid-eastern oil and prevention of further expansion of the
influence of the Soviet empire, and this led to many unwise alliances. This
reminds me of the Truman quote [approximately] "Sure he's a stinker, but
he's OUR stinker." Dr. Johnson indicated that the current administration is
on an imperial binge, the first one since the reign of Teddy Roosevelt. In
Roosevelt's time writers like Mark Twain opposed his imperialism, and
intellectuals today are doing the same with Shrub. He said that it is clear
that Shrub's advisors are planning a number of conquests to follow Iraq,
namely Iran, Syria, and eventually North Korea. [] Speaking of the middle
east, I just read a marvelous article in the March 10, 2003, issue of
AMERICA, a liberal Jesuit weekly. The article was "Wahhabism and Jihad" by
Patrick Lang("a retired senior official of The US Defense Intelligence and a
life-long student of the Arab world"). While many Muslims are interested in
living the western ideal of a secular state with religious freedom, this
particular sect still believes that it is right to kill any non-Muslims and
even Muslims who do not agree with their extreme views. And the royal family
in Saudi Arabia are members of this sect! I have gotten a print copy of this
article to share. Only the first paragraph is available to non-subscribers
on the "America magazine" website, but my town library was able to print out
a full copy for me. [] This was a superb issue of DAGON and I recommend that
any non-APAQ readers of ENTROPY get a copy from John(234 E 19 St., Brooklyn
NY 11226-5302). The pieces on Vienna and on the middle east are musts!

~DAGON 570 (APAQ 476) You said that the {Jerusalem Bible} was a direct
translation from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek sources, using the French
translators' notes. I keep seeing remarks to the effect that the translators
were worried about the Vatican rejecting some of the more liberal
interpretations in their translation so they presented it as a translation
from the already approved French translation. I have recently heard that
there is a second edition of the {Jerusalem Bible} but do not know how much
it was revised or when. I saw a passing reference to improved notes in this
second edition. [] I had also read that a church scholar or authority had
decreed in the 3rd or 4th century that the bible declares that the earth is
flat, so theories about it being a sphere must be wrong. Would you know just
who this authority was and when he made his declaration?

~DAGON #571 (APAQ 477) You compared the bad rap of lutefisk to that of
haggis and polpi. Of course I have often heard remarks about lutefisk on
Prairie Home Companion, and have a vague idea that it is a form of preserved
fish which has been treated with lime (the mineral, not the fruit) and
dried. I have never had the opportunity to try it, but wonder if it would be
available at one of the Smorgasbord restaurants a bit north of Times Square,
or does the Sons of Norway Hall still exist on 8 Ave. Brooklyn around 59
St., and does it still serve Norwegian dinners? Haggis I have enjoyed a
number of times while in Scotland and at Scottish Games. Polpi I have never
heard of. What ethnicity does it belong to, and what is it like?

~DAGON #572 (apa-q 478) I had never thought about the energy involved
when new universes split off of ours at decision points. I assume that there
is a decision point at every radioactive decay, though most do not influence
the universe as drastically as that in the "Schro"dinger's Cat" experiment.
Since each split off universe would continue to have decays we would have
branching after branching and by now there must be an almost uncountable
number of parallel universes, most trivially different, if that particular
model of quantum theory is true. It is a very good point, asking just where
the energy to create each of these universes comes from. It is a point I had
never thought of before. [] You remark that in German the gender of "moon"
is masculine, that of sun feminine, opposite of the romance languages. You
go on to mention that Old Norse is the same as German, but in Russian sun is
neuter and the moon feminine, while both are masculine in Hebrew. Lithuanian
follows the German/Old Norse tradition. [] You often recommend I. F.
Clarke's {Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars 1763-3749} (Second Edition,
1992, Oxford University Press). When narrating at RFB&D could you check if
this has ever been recorded? If they have, please order it for me. If not,
both you and I own copies and I would like to get it recorded. I hope it is
still in print, since RFB&D do not do OP books.

~DAGON 573 (APAQ 479) You reported rumors that glucomosine causes memory
loss. Sandy and I are taking it for our arthritis, after the help it gave
for guide dog Judge. I have to check with my physician on what he has heard
about this. [] I find it interesting that the NY POST originated as a
conservative newspaper 200 years ago, and is now ending its days as such
now. In the 1950s it had the reputation of being extremely liberal, and in
those days of McCarthy it was smeared as sympathetic to Communists.

~DAGON 574 (apa-q 480) Appreciated your elaboration on the Norse gods,
which I copied into the lettercol above. Sorry, but while I enjoyed thish I
have no other comments.

~HOW TOO #85 (Don del Grande for APAQ 479) I tried sending you email to
the [email protected] listed in your zine and it bounced. Did I make a
error in transcribing it from your zine or have you changed eddresses? []
You said that the Star Trek NEMESIS movie was made at three hours and edited
down to two hours. I wonder if a VCR or DVD version will have the complete
movie. I remember when TNG first went on the air Wesley was a major
character written in for girls in their early teens to drool over, and he
was very annoying to older viewers. Since he was downplayed after the first
season or so I guess he didn't even attract the teenyboppers. I had heard
that he was Roddenberry's picture of an ideal young self and it was with
great reluctance that Gene cut him down. It is interesting that the
character was put into the movie, and then cut out again. The actor must
have some real enemies at Paramount if they never told him that he had been
cut, and then sent him to a staff showing rather than the real premier. This
reminds me...I had heard that Sulu had had a major role in the film about
rescuing the whales, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. Does the DVD
restore his cut scenes? I have seen the video with descriptive video service
on it and this was the theatrical version of the film. [] In discussing
inadequate school funding you suggested that local towns might impose their
own local taxes to improve their schools. Sorry, but that is the situation
here in New Hampshire and it is not working. Each school district imposes
its own local real estate tax and gets very little help from the state. The
poor towns do not have enough property to support their schools, and so have
poor schools. My town has a lot of lake-front property which has very high
evaluation, so the tax rate is low. On my 7 room house on almost 2 acres of
land I pay less than $1,000 a year. Towns with industry also have lower tax
rates, but towns without either expensive property or industry just cannot
raise enough money for their schools. The poor towns took the state to court
and won, and now the state is squirming to come up with the money to help
them. There is a lot of bickering, due to the stinginess of the population
which does not want any broad-based taxes. (Our sales tax only applies to
meals and hotel rooms, and our income tax applies only to interest and stock

~How Too #86 (for APAQ 491) I appreciate your statement "Space business as
usual. No Chicken Little allowed. Keep that next Mars mission on
schedule...." [] Thanks for the correction on the name of BART. They were
voting on setting up the Bay Area rapid transit system when I lived out
there and they referred to it as the B.A.R.T.District, and I had assumed
that BARTD was the name of the agency which now ran the system. And just
saying it as an acronym does not reveal whether the D is present or not. []
As for what trolley cars are on the Market St. surface line, I had only been
told that they were antiques, but see Kevin Standalee's LoC above. But by
antiques they meant the streamlined PCC cars as opposed to modern "light
rail" trainsets as under Market St. Living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, in the
'40s I experienced boxy double-ended cars which were long skinny octagons.
They were boxes with slim wedges cut out from all four corners so as to
clear obstacles better when making tight turns. These were on the two lines
I used regularly, the 5th Ave. Line and the 8th Ave. Line. These formed my
mental picture of antique cars and were what I imagined the Market St.
surface cars to be. (I only used the Church Ave. line in the 50s to visit
friends in Flatbush just before that line was converted to busses, one of
the last two lines to be converted in Brooklyn. This was the only time I
rode on PCC cars in Brooklyn. Until recently PCC cars were used on the Green
Line in Boston.) [] It is a decade or two since I wandered the streets of
downtown Berkeley. The Little Men still existed but met in a bookstore on
Telegraph Ave, but I was not in town at the time of a meeting. I did go into
the store but do not remember if it was Hobbit or Carnival. I did go into
Change of Hobbit this time, and it was on the island of buildings between
the two halves of Shattuck Ave. which make up Shattuck Square. I do not
remember the cross-street. This trip I passed Dark Carnival, on College a
bit south of Ashby, but it was closed at the time.

~JERSEY FLATS TOO (Roberta Rogow) for APAQ 481 I greatly appreciate your
statement supporting continued manned space flight despite the risks. Every
aspect of life has some risk to it, some more than others. The astronauts
know what risks they are taking and go ahead gladly. [] I was very
interested to learn about the existence of Eclecticon centered on "fan
fiction." You mentioned Starwars and Sherlock Holmes, so it is not only
media centered fiction but all pastiches? What other universes were
discussed this year? Some authors like Jacqueline Lichtenberg and the late
Marion Bradley encourage(d) fan fiction in their universes. Were these
represented at Eclecticon? Which authors/studios encourage/tolerate fan
fiction? How bent out of shape do they get by gay porn like K/S stories? I
have heard that K/S is the most popular of this sub-genre of "slash," but in
which other universes is there gay porn?

[email protected]
Niekas Publications
National Federation of the Blind of NH
RR 2, Box 63, 322 Whitter Hwy Center Harbor, NH 03226-9708

Return to home page