This has been a reasonably bookish week for me. Went bookstore browsing, got a few, read a few. I've long since given up the fight to read everything that comes out in the s-f field, but at least I'm keeping up with my favorite authors, the books that look good, and the books that look Significant.
I had one very pleasant experience while bookbrowsing. I had recently learned that Dawson's Book Shop, a fairly specialized (Californiana) bookstore in Los Angeles, had published a book of its own that I just had to have, for reasons of personal interest. I visited the Shop this Saturday, and found that they had only one copy left, other than in a set of their books that sells for over $100. The book was $10 all by itself, which was more than I could spare until after my next payday. "Could I have this put on reserve until next month, when I can afford it?" I asked the clerk. "Oh, no need," he said, wrapping it up; "just take it with you and mail me a check when you can afford it." We'd never seen each other before, and he had no reason to expect that I'd ever visit his Shop again. (I may not; I'm not usually interested enough in their specialty field to shop there.) It was just a case of one book-lover trusting another.
In case you're wondering what one book could be worth $10, it's a history of the Republic of Lower California, 1853-1854. This subject has always been of interest to me; I wrote my B.A. thesis in college about it. It's one of those obscure subjects that usually doesn't get much more than a footnote in even the comprehensive histories of the SouthWestern U.S. or of Mexico. This book, though, gives a full account of the history of the "Republic", complete with illustrations, numerous extensive quotations from contemporary newspaper accounts, and a large selection of the "public documents" of the country. The definitive book on the subject, in other words; or at least as close to it as has yet been written. It's worth $10 to me, anyhow.
The history of the "Republic" was a brief episode in the career of William Walker, better known for his exploits in Nicaragua, where he made himself President of the country, fought a war against the united republics of Central America and Commodore Vanderbilt, sank the Costa Rican navy in a short but violent sea battle, completely razed the capital city before retreating from it (so thoroughly that the Nicaraguans didn't even try to rebuild it; they founded a new capital), and was ultimately executed. It was his preliminary attempt to establish an independent republic in Baja California and Sonora that led one of the parties in the then-current Nicaraguan civil war to ask for his help -- and did they ever regret it! Walker may have been short & skinny, but put him up against Conan and I wouldn't bet on who would win. A megalomaniacal Gray Mouser.
I gather from all the talk last week that this week's dist'n should be a pretty large one, filled with good material instead of mere padding. This is encouraging, of course; but I'll be interested in seeing how next week's dist'n looks, when no attempt is being made to puff it up beyond its normal size. I expect that it will be more representative of Apa L's future.
Larry Dopp -- A very good cover. A number of people who liked it asked me, "Who's Larry Dopp?", even though you've been coming to Meetings for a couple of months now. Our guests and new members take as long as ever to be noticed by the regular membership, evidently. (I'm always forgetting Sanford Burns' name when I talk to him, myself.)
Bruce Pelz -- Keep the "Secret Masters" verses coming. We're all waiting to see who's next. ## Sassoon died only a couple of months ago, I believe, though as far as the public was concerned, he was just one of the World War I poets. The classic in far-out names, though, goes to U.S. Congressman Outerbridge Horsey, who served back in the 1790's. ## Digby's objections against holding our July 4th Meeting at the F-UNCON do make sense, except that: a) I hope there won't be any LASFS members who won't have joined the F-UNCON(I will object to having to hold an outside Meeting because of Dwain Kaiser alone); b) I don't see anything wrong with admitting guests who aren't members of the F-UNCON (remember, the Meeting doesn't have to be a long one, as long as it's called to order and adjourned for the record; a Meeting lasting two minutes won't be long enough to give non-F-UNCON people a chance to crowd in even if any wanted to); c) are you sure that Apa L will still be around by July? I still vote for holding the July 4th Meeting at the F-UNCON. ## I'm not familiar with Ann Arbor Science Publishers; I don't think it's a part of the Xerox University Microfilms department. There's a Science Editions that's a division of the Wiley Co. (mostly scientific textbook publishing); is this what you mean? I wonder who prints Ed Aprill's comic-strip reprint books, which also come from Ann Arbor? That's a college area, and college areas seem to have lots of publishers. I'm constantly learning of new imprints from around the UCB-Stanford area. ## One respect in which our recent picnics have disappointed me is that they haven't attracted any of our newer members. I'd hoped that they would serve to bring members of LASFS' different ingroups together, like our club outings used to do. However, practically the only people to show up have been the same hard core of old members and club officers -- the Pelzes, the Craynes, Don Fitch, Don Simpson, etc. All fine company, yes, but where's anybody from the Third Foundation group, Mac McCaughan and his friends, etc.. ## Our next trip may not appeal to too many people, since it'll be a bit more formal than usual. This is to the Huntington Museum and Art Galleries, out near Pasadena. It's open to the public, but on a limited basis; only between 1 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and by appointment. And I expect that reasonably formal clothes would be called for -- more formal than we usually wear to a picnic, anyhow. Still, the art galleries, formal gardens, and library are worth seeing, and there are enough people in the club who'd enjoy the trip to make planning it worthwhile. How many people would like to attend, somewhere around late February or early March? ## Tina Hensel pointed out that the L.A. County Museum has been so changed in the last few years that a picnic trip there would be fun. The old museum, now that all the artwork in it has been moved to the new L.A. County Art museum, is filled with natural history material, mostly dioramas -- the "dead zoo". And the Museum of Science and Engineering, just across the street, is always a good place for having fun pushing the buttons in the Chemistry, Geology, Agriculture, Commerce, etc., exhibits. I don't think I've been in Exposition Park since we filmed the Persian Garden fantasy.
This weekend, an old LASFS tradition -- Moving the Trimbles -- will take place. the address will be 118 North Gramercy Place, L.A. 9004; the time will be whenever the Trimbles arrive in town with their belongings. If you're interested in helping, let me know tonight, and we'll contact you when the fun's about to start.