Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, December 21, 1966. Intended for Apa L, 114th Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1532, December 22, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 36321.
|Dave Fox for Senior Committeeman!||Salamander Press #227.|
The semi-annual elections for the Executive Committee posts are being more hotly contested this time than at any time in the past that I can remember. There are already at least two announced candidates for almost every post, and active campaigning has been going on for almost a month now in some cases. This is great; the club is hardly in any bad state with all this interest, even if our Meetings are smaller than they used to be.
Even better, all of this political contesting is being conducted in a friendly atmosphere; the club isn't splitting up into small individual cliques around different candidates, as it has on some occasions. Also, with only one seeming exception, all of the candidates seem to be well qualified for the posts they're running for. In most cases, though I've picked one candidate I'll be backing, I don't think it really matters who's elected because any of them would do a good job in the post.
For Director, the two announced candidates are Fred Hollander and Earl Thompson. I am definitely supporting Fred in this case; in fact, though I'm sorry to say it, Earl is the exception I mentioned above to all of the candidates being competent for the posts for which they're running. It's a matter of attitude, not ability; Earl could certainly do a good job of running the club if he tried, and I frankly don't think he's really interested in the post -- just in the glory of being able to dangle the title of "Director of the LASFS" around his neck. This seems evident in the campaign that Earl's been conducting; he's running for "Dictator" of the club, he's running for all of the top posts simultaneously because he'll be One Up if he can get them. Or, to look at the record, remember a few administrations back when we'd been having bad luck in getting a competent Junior Committeeman, and Earl decided to run for the post? For about a month prior to the election, we were hit with campaign promises from him, about how if he were elected he'd do a good job, he'd be active in welcoming our guests, and so on. So we elected Earl, and remember what happened? He immediately stopped coming to LASFS Meetings altogether. He did have a good excuse, as I recall -- he started taking some night class, I think it was. But the fact remains that he did not do the job he campaigned for; when something else came up, he put LASFS second. What guarantee do we have that the same thing won't happen again, if Earl is elected to a LASFS post and then something else comes along to conflict with the LASFS Meetings? And you can be darn sure that something is going to come along; the WesterCon, to be specific. Earl is also active on the WesterCon Committee, and toward the last month or two before the Con, when the Con Committee is going to be at its busiest getting everything arranged, is Earl going to have time for both the LASFS and the WesterCon? Maybe he will, but maybe he won't; and if he doesn't, then I suspect it'll be the LASFS that suffers. Fred, on the other hand, has no other commitments. He wants the job, not just the prestige of the title, and he's competent to do a good job filling its duties. He's served us well as Secretary for quite a while now, and proved that he's ready for promotion to our top spot. Good record vs. bad record, interest in the post and the club vs. interest in the glory of being "Dictator", no obvious conflict of interests coming up -- does anybody wonder that I'm backing Flieg for Director?
For Senior Committeeman, Bruce Pelz has been actively campaigning for the post, and Dave Fox, the incumbent, has been more quietly letting it be known that he'd like to serve another term. The candidates are about equally matched in most respects as to their qualifications, so I don't think it really matters which is elected; either will do an excellent job. However, since Bruce has so many other irons in the fire, and holding this office is Dave's only activity in Fandom, I've decided to back Dave's bid for re-election.
For Junior Committeeman, we have three active candidates: Dian Pelz, Lin Johnstone, and Dwain Kaiser. All are able people, but I think the two girls have it over Dwain, principally on the point of attendance -- Dian & Lin attend the club almost every week, and would almost always be available to serve as welcomer, whereas Dwain isn't able to get to the club quite as often. Also, the club welcomer should have the best public-relations appearance available, and, as Dian has been pointing out, both of the girls have it over their male opponent. Between Dian and Lin, then, it's pretty much of a tossup a gain. Actually, I guess Dian might be the better qualified as to personality, since she is more outgoing than Lin. However, things are about equal here, and, as in the Senior Committeeman case, the Pelz candidate is active in so many other aspects of Fandom, while the opponent has almost no "official" activities in Fandom at all. Let's let Lin have her chance at a LASFS office.
For Secretary, Sally Crayne and Jack Newkom are competing. Here again, I think both are about equally qualified. (Actually, I don't really know how either is at hitting the right balance of interesting writing and getting the information correct.) I like Sally's writing in Apa L better than Jack's, and Sally's attendance is a bit better than Jack's, so I think I'll support Sally.
For Treasurer, Chuck Crayne is running almost unopposed, except for Earl Thompson's all-inclusive candidacy. Chuck has done a good job in filling out Bill Ellern's term, and he deserves a full term of his own. Chuck for Treasurer again, then.
So it's Director - Fred Hollander; Senior Committeeman - Dave Fox; Junior Committeeman - Lin Johnstone (or Joyce McDaniel); Secretary - Sally Crayne; Treasurer - Chuck Crayne. I reserve the right to change my mind, of course, depending on the final list of candidates by voting time; if Al Lewis, or Don Fitch, or John Trimble should appear to run for an office, that would be something else again. But, since this is extremely unlikely to occur, I ask you to seriously consider the above recommendations for club office for the next six months.
-- BEING COMMENTS ON LAST WEEK'S DISTRIBUTION
Dan Alderson -- You, sir, either have gone completely off your rocker, or you have Jack Harness locked up in your attic. And I'm not sure I want to know which it is. If you had more press releases and less move orders, your flood of material might be worth reading. I think the dead silence that's resulted whenever anyone suggests getting up a Diplomacy game in Apa L is a good indication of how much interest there is here for all this. It's a waste of paper, really. Why do you persist in running it all through Apa L? We don't need our page count boosted this badly.
Tom Digby -- The Gregor-Arnold AAA Ace Interplanetary Decontamination Service stories were by Robert Sheckley, and appeared in several zines around the mid-50's. some of them are in various of his short story collections, while others have never been reprinted. I liked 'em; they were about the last genuinely funny stories that Sheckley wrote before turning ultra-sophisticatedly witty. AAA Ace, the Hokas, Manning Draco, Lancelot Biggs, Galloway Gallagher -- I miss the old humor series that used to be standard in the prozines. I don't exactly place your story about the psychoanalyst and the pills that project people into parallel worlds. I can think of a few that are vaguely the same -- Heinlein's "Elsewhen", Phillips' "The Yellow Pill", Bester's "Disappearing Act", and so on -- but none of them seem to fit your description exactly. Do you have any idea of about where or when it appeared?
Dwain Kaiser -- I've heard talk that the guy who told Forry about the Surprise Party has a long record of "accidentally" letting DNQs slip, even when he has to go to considerable trouble to lay grounds for a justifiable "slip of the tongue". Fortunately, he's not a fan, so he wouldn't have heard about the fanzine in advance -- otherwise he would've probably "innocently" asked Forry if he'd written anything for it, or something of the sort. Forry did find out about the fanzine before I formally presented him with a copy at the Banquet, because too many people were carrying them about during the dinner, but I don't believe he had any inkling of it before the Banquet itself, which is what counts. ## Personally, I would've skipped ValSFA, or even LASFS to attend the Banquet if I'd had to. Ordinarily, I do hold club meetings as of Supreme Importance, but occasionally some special event occurs that's of an even higher priority. Conventions, for instance. I once skipped a LASFS Meeting to attend a tour of Edgar Rice Burroughs' offices and collection, personally conducted by Hulbert Burroughs for about a half-dozen fans. I believe it was John Trimble who told of showing up at a LASFS Meeting once and finding nobody else present; it turned out that Forry had arrived just after the meeting had started and invited everybody to a special premiere of Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" which was just about to begin, and everybody dropped the Meeting and raced over to wherever the premier was. These special occasions come up now and then, and I'd be the last to turn one down for an average LASFS Meeting; I consider staying away from the Banquet to attend the usual ValSFA meeting as carrying loyalty to your club past the point of sensibility.
Fred Hollander -- What are the rules on voting eligibility? Does a member have to be all paid up on his dues, or does he just have to've paid dues at least once during the last three months, no matter how much more he may be in arrears? ## You're right about needing to make a distinction between our habitual deadbeats and the members who just forget (or can't afford) to pay for a meeting once in a while. I notice that over half of Chuck's "deadbeats" owe less than $1, and I wonder how many of them knew that they owed anything before reading it here? I know that I've let an occasional Meeting slip past, until reminded of it by the Treasurer a few weeks later. If Chuck's list really covers two years' worth of Treasury records, I'm surprised that there aren't more minor "deadbeats" than are listed here. On the other hand, some of those sums are monstrously large. ## I've considered getting out a quickie LASFS Directory, myself. I don't have the time or the inclination to do the full job that should be done in updating the old one, but it wouldn't be too hard to compile a one-page list of the addresses & phone numbers of the most active people in the club today, which is basically all that's needed. Apa L already has much of this information, and there aren't really that many other fans that you're likely to want to contact very often. Dave Hulan, Al Lewis, Ron Ellik, Ed Cox, and a few others like that, yes; but how often do you phone Milo Mason or Helen Urban? Such a short list would be a lot easier to use, and a lot easier to keep up to date, too. Would the club consider such a thing worth financing? (One disadvantage: such a brieflist would reduce even further the chances of the LASFS Directory being redone completely, which really should be done.)
Ruth Berman -- I agree with you about Barbara Leonie Picard's fantasies; they're well-written, but usually depressing -- like a whole diet of "The Little Match Girl", or "The Little Mermaid", or others that have sad endings. But I think that much of Nicholas Stuart Gray is the same way. Note that in both cases the mood is basically one of fatalism, not necessarily defeatism. The protagonist is usually content to let him/herself be pushed along by events, and at the conclusion, the result is a moderately happy ending through acceptance of the status quo, not total defeat. In the first of the two Picard stories you cite, Duke Roland did succeed in finding the courage he sought, and if it didn't get him his love, that was because the maturity he gained through his quest caused him to outgrow her. The ending may not be of the "happy-ever-after" sort, but he rejected her of his own free will; his adventure was not a total failure. In the second story, in which the farmer wearily gives up the struggle for existence in this world for a more pleasant life in the fairy world, the decision is again of his own will, and while it may not be as Noble as bravely starving to death, he is apparently satisfied with his decision. Gray's stories are of the same nature. The Star Beast, in Mainly in Moonlight, meets as pathetic an end as any of Picard's characters. In The Stone Cage, Rapunzel and the Prince are saved, and the witch meets a sad end; but she's been presented sympathetically enough that you can't really feel satisfied with her fate -- and the two protagonists of the book are apparently determined to spend their newly-won freedom in waiting for the rest of eternity, if need be, for her salvation. Again, though you can't say the ending is one of defeatism, you could hardly claim that joy is reigning unbounded, either. In The Seventh Swan, love may triumph, but it's the only thing that does; the hero loses his best friend, and ends up resigning himself to his fate instead of continuing to fight it. In fact, when Gray does give you an all-around happy ending (in The Apple-Stone, basically another rewrite of Nesbit's Five Children and It), it doesn't ring true any more than Heinlein's saving of Podkayne did; you feel that to be consistent with the reality of the story, Douglas should have been lost to the Night forces. All in all, Barbara Picard's and Nicholas Gray's stories seem enough alike to me that I can't understand anyone liking the one author and not the other. ## Incidentally, Gray's Over the Hills to Babylon is out of print; I hope to have the remaining books for you soon. ## I don't even read Judith Merrill's F&SF reviews any more; not so much because I don't agree with her judgment as because I find her style of writing completely tasteless. (I do like a well-written review that I can work myself up disagreeing with; I wish Damon Knight would return to reviewing books.) I agree with you completely as to the writing of Cordwainer Smith and Robert F. Young; it's polished, but it seems so affected to me that I can't see why everyone has been raving over Smith. Both have a large number of stories that I enjoyed very much, but these date from much earlier in their writing careers; their more recent stuff, which is what's being praised to the skies, is what I can't read. Come to think of it, the same goes for Robert Sheckley's writing, as I've said before. His earliest material, such as the short stories in his first few collections, are among my favorites, but when he went on to the Journey of Joenes and Mindswap -- which is when he began being praised as a Great Author -- he got too self-consciously precious for me. A pity.
Bruce Pelz -- Okay, I'll admit that I did phrase it a little too strongly -- I don't think that Earl wrote that fanzine with the intent of torpedoing the marriage. However, it was at the least a pointless bit of malicious gossip, and I still think that it stood a real chance of worsening the marital situation, whether Earl bothered to consider the point when he wrote it or not. (And when I pointed this out to him at the time, he seemed more concerned with his Right to circulate it through Apa L than with what result it might have.) ## I don't know what "interesting stories" there may be going around as to why I stopped the FANZINEs FOR JACK HARNESS, but what it boils down to is that I finally got tired of scotch-taping all those leaflets onto the back of RR every week. The precise details are that I happened to run out of scotch tape in mid-taping (not the first time), and was forced to make a side trip to a market on my way to LASFS to get more tape to finish that week's issue. The need for the side trip was just enough annoyance to make me reconsider the whole project, and I began wondering just how much money I've spent on scotch-tape for this fanzine during the year or more it's been running (a roll of tape costs 60¢, and lasts about three weeks). All in all, I decided that it would be just as easy, and less expensive, and probably to more people's interest, to add an extra page to RR instead, so I finished using up all of the inclusions I had on hand and called a halt to the zine. What other "versions" as to my Real Reason are there?