914 W. Willis
Detroit, MI 48201
Concealed weapons are quite common in Detroit. I don't make an everyday practice of carrying them, but there have been "special occasions." One was right after I'd been mugged, learned that the mugger lived in the neighborhood, and found myself developing a paranoid frame of mind. Carried a blade in my pocket at all times for a few weeks--luckily never had to use it, and I'm damn thankful that nobody took me by surprise back then, for I'dve had an instant reflex reaction, and before I even know who they were...
More recently--in relation to my substance abuse work--I had to bar a guy who came in smashed and proceeded to hassle innocent people. As he left he loudly announced plans to get back at me via murder. Although he didn't pull it, he showed me the handle of his gun just before splitting. I thought nothing of it until I learned he was a professional hoodlum often considered by the locals as ultraviolent and suspected of suffering from a mental problem. He'd allegedly even been an "insufficient-evidence" murder suspect a little while before then.
I found myself packing a knife for protection. Unfortunately--or depending on how you look at it, maybe it was fortunate--I didn't/don't have a gun, although I thought of getting one and I'm a nonviolent person under ordinary circumstances. The big anticlimax came about a week and a half later. I was heading for the bus stop after the end of my work day when who should come up the cross street at such proximity that we almost bumped into one another, but the threatener? Too late to turn back, I told myself, and clenched the object in my pocket. Why, that motherfucker--after raising such sound and fury, he didn't so much as flash a look of recognition. Apathetically muttered "Excuse me," without looking into my face, and continued on.
Funny reactions I've had when I thought I was going to die? The first time I'd overdosed on cocaine. Was only about 22, you know. The whole thing went swimmingly for a while and I hadn't made any rational connection to the fact that it looked like I was never going to come down. Finally began crashing while alone in my apartment. Powerful chest pains, mighty uncomfortable "head rushes," marked difficulty breathing, almost equal difficulty ambulating and although I felt a terrible need to vomit, all I managed was a dry retch. Whether heart failure or a stroke would get me first, I didn't know, but either way, I knew I was a goner--and strange thing is that all of a sudden I wasn't very concerned about passing on per se, but I was very concerned about the possibility of going alone, or even in the company of strangers. Seeking aid from one of my neighbors--if I could manage it physically--struck me with distaste, for I imagined an ambulance arriving before I'd had a chance to say goodbye to my friends. That was the terrifying thought. Luckily, a friend dropped by almost immediately, and rushed me over to the local hospital emergency room. Even though it was under protest as I felt there were still people for me to see.
The other time happened when a pair of burglars broke into my apartment while I was at home. After tying up my wife and I they searched the place and, finding nothing they considered of value, they grew enraged. One exchanged his knife for a pistol which he put to my temple and began alternating between threats and racial slurs. (He was black. I was, and continue to be, white.) Funny thing--I had no doubt he was going to pull the trigger, but it wasn't fear I felt. Instead, I was overcome with concern for my wife and intense anger at not having been left with the option of choosing my means and time of departure. Had my hands been free I'd no doubt have tackled the guy with all manner of what they call savage fury, and if I'd managed to get the gun away, use it myself. I was that angry!! After a few minutes of fancying that he had made Whitey grovel, though, he withdrew the weapon, instructed me on how to get loose--"but it will take a few minutes and by that time we'll be gone!"--and split.
Twice when I've been mugged, I had no thoughts of being killed or even undergoing serious injury, provided I played my cards right, and I didn't even feel fear, just a healthy respect for the other dude's weapon. I don't know if I'd been thrown into a state of shock or what, but quite frankly, I felt nothing! Only later on did the impact of what had just happened hit me, and then I commenced shaking.
Fan politics bored me even when I was more active in fandom. When it comes to "mundane" politics, I hardly see the subject as fun, but I think it's something we have to pay attention to if we care what happens to us or anyone else. Some people become activists just because they want a place to hang out and some because they really want to accomplish something. But, once politics is perceived as something having power over daily lives rather than just as an abstract ritual going on behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, I don't think anyone but a corpse can afford to be apolitical.
GPO Box 5195AA
Melbourne, Vic. 3001
But that's not quite what you're saying, is it? Sometimes a person does not have the choice, and you feel just a bit shaky about the edges.
7234 Capps Avenue
Reseda, CA 91335
John Shirley says that fan personalities are "malformed, soft and inchoate." I had to look up "inchoate." For those of you who didn't know what it meant either but didn't give enough of a damn about what John Shirley was talking about to look it up yourselves, "inchoate" means "Only partially in existence." Shirley to the contrary, I feel my personality is malformed and solid as a rock. He should try changing my opinion on something and he'll find out just how unsquishy I am. Shirley apparently uses fascist as just a general insult word. If I had to describe Jerry Pournelle's politics, I would probably describe it as Bullmoosism (a la Teddy Roosevelt). You may not like that approach to things, but it still isn't fascism.
|Robert Whitaker Sirignano
P.O. Box 11240
Wilmington, DE 19850
Brad Foster is a genius with a pen.
I'm thinking better of paying what I did for The Improbable Irish a few years ago. Ned Brooks sold me a hardcover copy of it for $10. Nice clean dust-jacketed copy.... ((Damn! Don't tell Walter....))
Hertsd ALIO 8JU
I certainly do like the account of the Austin affair, and may I say I also belong to that fannish fraternity who believe that detailing one's personal problems in fanzines is extremely therapeutic. However, I doubt the wisdom of the confession that you are a Kelly Girl; such admissions are taken out of context and duly appear in back-cover quotes.
((It occurs to me to wonder idly what the words "Kelly Girl" might be taken to mean over there. This is as good a place as any to note that I am no longer a Kelly Girl. The company was not happy with their policies, and arranged a deal for me with another agency. The upshot is that, after less than a year am an office temp, I'm making what I did after five years at KDBC-TV.))
|Chester D. Cuthbert
1104 Mulvey Avenue
Canada R3M 1J5
32 Warren Road
Donaghadee BT21 OPD
|Harry Warner, Jr.
423 Summit Avenue
Hagerstown, MD 21740
I was glad to read about Pat's wedding, both because of the entertaining way you described it and because I'm always happy when a fan goes against custom and actually marries the individual he or she loves. I hope someone somewhere publishes a picture of that beanie-equipped veil.
I wonder how many people who vote on things do as Alexis Gilliland suggests they do, let their decisions be conditioned in part by guesses on who will be the winners. In my case, I never do it, in either fannish or mundane circumstances. But I suppose some people don't want to lose their votes, the local way of describing what happens when you vote for someone or something that obviously has no hope of winning, and some other people may be so anxious to conform that they can't bear the thought of not voting like the majority.
((Personally, if my favorite seems to stand small chance of winning, that merely confirms me in my support. After all, votes like mine are the only chance it has!))
2 Copgrove Close
Cleveland TS3 7BP
I've only read one Robert Adams book, but if it is a symptom of the rest, no wonder Effinger wants the series, and Mr. Adams, stopped. I could think of other authors I'd like to stop writing, but only because (a) they are taking up space that more agreeable authors could fill, or (b) they are promoted solely because they don't affect the current status quo in sf, that is, none of the book's elements contravene the strictures in sexual politics, et al. ((I picked up a couple of Horseclans books once, and my God, no wonder the series has no end in sight. It doesn't have any beginning, either. The whole thing is one damned middle...))
508 Windermere Avenue
Toronto, Ontario H6S 3L6
You are completely correct in assessing the main problem with the Fan Hugos. But that doesn't mean that we have to give up at least trying to make them more valid. Regrettably they seem to be becoming more and more of a political football (as with Universal Translator this year) but until someone else puts forth a motion to drop them altogether I'll still take an active interest, I'll try to get others to vote more intelligently and I'll participate myself in the entire process. (I won't put forth a motion myself because I almost enjoy the quixotic task of making them valid awards but I'd probably support such a motion this time around. And something tells me I won't have to wait too long...)
323 Dodge St.
East Providence, RI 02914
1. I think the whole idea of sitting around and voting awards for ourselves is silly. I realize that this in counter to my participation some years earlier in the Faan Awards bit, but I think I've gotten a clearer picture of reality since. Certainly my opinion has changed. I think that the competition for awards tends to make contenders mediocre and bland.
2. The way the Hugos are voted for is senseless anyway, and I'm not talking about the Australian ballot. When such a small number of people can affect the outcome of an election on a REGULAR BASIS, the award is meaningless.
I don't happen to think the ad was the beat method of dealing with the issue, and I would have phrased the ad differently if I had written it, but the point is that the Fan Hugos are a joke, have been for years, and continuing to give them to people under these circumstances just cheapens them further, and frankly doesn't pay any compliment to the recipients either.
30856 Agoura Road #E-10
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Of course, we could go way back to an idea I proposed years ago: abolish the Fan Hugos. What with worldcons becoming more and more media-oriented these last five years or no, my personal belief is that the Fan Hugos have become meaningless and exercises in futility for those deliberately trying to win a Hugo. Furthermore, in LASFAPA #120, Lew Wolkoff made a tongue-in-cheek comment that if Lan's Lantern can win a Fan Hugo, then why not LASFAPA? Fans being fans (silly creatures that they are), they would think this a grand idea to poke fun at the system and do it! I would wager LASFAPA could garner close to 100 votes from current-and-previous members of the apa. Who knows? Maybe someone should do this to point out the idiocy of not only the Australian Ballot but also how totally meaningless the Fan Hugos have become. I say let the worldcons award pro and semipro awards (the Hugos) and at the same event the fans should have their own awards ceremony; the FAAn Awards. (Yes, resurrect them, and I'll probably get screamed at for this cockamamy idea ... ((See Ted White in FILE 770:62 for Nycon 3's experience on this.))
2809 Drew Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55416-4209
|Pamela J. Boal
4 Westfield Way
Oxon. OX12 7EW
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