Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2138th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3586, May 4, 2006.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:fredpatten@earthlink.net
L.A.con IV in 2006! Nippon 2007 in 2007! Salamander Press #2621


Michael Burlake brought me to last week's LASFS meeting. He got the Alderson parking spot for us for May in the monthly auction. Marc Schirmeister gave me the latest news on his private project to collect enough donations to hire a professional caregiver to get me to L.A.con IV. Glen Wooten is San Diego is helping out, and it looks good. I gave Karl Lembke my L.A. County Library card so he can get books from his local branch (La Crescenta) of the County Library for me, as Kay Shapero is doing for me with books from her local branch (Mar Vista) of the L.A. City Library. Kay Shapero trimmed my fingernails; she does a better job than any of my hospital nurses (when I can find one willing to) even if she is not an experienced manicurist. (I got the hospital's monthly free haircut that afternoon. The Golden State Hospital is great with haircuts, even if it will not cut fingernails.) The LASFS program was Brad Lineaweaver reading one of his stories, but Burlake, Rob Powell & I skipped it to go outside and discuss the possibilities of one or both of them taking me to CaliFur 2.2 in Costa Mesa this weekend - a tricky proposition, since I will have to commute daily from my hospital, and North Hollywood to Costa Mesa & back is quite a distance.

I decided against trying to attend the LA LA Con this year. It always packs Freehafer Hall with a humongous crowd, which is hard enough to move through even when not in a wheelchair. One of the main enjoyments of the La La Cons for me has always been all the free food; the Chili Cook-Off and the sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs and stuff. But that is all in the front building, and I have not been able to get into the front building since my stroke. So it has seemed that attending this year would be more frustrating and awkward than enjoyable, even if I could afford the admission which (as I explained in my comments to John Hertz recently) I cannot. Maybe next year.

Last weekend my sister Sherrill came from New York City to visit my mother for a week. After spending the weekend with my mother in Mission Viejo, she rented a car and drove to visit me on Monday afternoon. While she was looking over my personal effects, Sherry broke my electric fan and my razor (she immediately went out to buy me new ones). We also found that the car she planned to take me out in was much too small for me & my wheelchair, even though it was a "medium" sedan. Aside from that, I was very glad to see her in person after so long. (We e.mail each other regularly.)

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This Saturday, May 6th, is the deadline for voting for the Ursa Major Awards. Please vote on the online ballot, even if you are only familiar with the nominees in the Motion Picture category: The Cat Returns; Chicken Little; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Madagascar; and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Also, the ballot has links to the nominees in the other categories. Even if you cannot learn enough about all of them to feel comfortable voting in some categories, you can get a clear picture of most nominees in the Comic Strip and Published Illustration categories.

We hope for a larger vote than usual this year, because four of the five Comic Strip nominees have announced that they are finalists for the Award on their websites: The Adventures of Fifine, Faux Pas, FreeFall, and Tales of the Questor. (VG Cats has not.) Normand Bilandeau of Fifine is actively lobbying his fans to vote for his strip; Mark Stanley of FreeFall says he is not impressed by awards and urges his readers to vote for one of the others; and Robert & Margaret Carspecken of Faux Pas and Ralph Hayes of Questor have merely noted that their strips are nominated with a link to the online ballot.

I think that I wrote about Fifine in ˇRR! several years ago. At the time, it was in barely comprehensible English, and Bilondeau was making a big mystery of coming from a country where English was unknown (but with too many references to recognizable Montreal landmarks). Since then Bilandeau's English has improved considerably and he has dropped most of his Quebec Libre politicking. He is admittedly a huge fan of Hergé's Tintin books, and his Fifine is basically a funny-animal version of Tintin. FreeFall has had enough reprints and discussion in Apa L that all of us should be familiar with it. I enjoy Faux Pas and Tales of the Questor very much, and so should most LASFen; though watch out for Hayes' political ravings on his livejournal which would raise some blood pressures. (To oversimplify the way he does about his enemies, he thinks that George Bush is God, and anyone who does not agree with the White House 1,000% is an America-hating active al Quaida terrorist. I respect Hayes for keeping his political views out of Questor and simply telling an excellent Furry adventure story.) VG Cats is undeniably well-drawn, witty, and very funny if you like sophomoric gross-out humor. The online Ursa Major ballot makes it easy to connect to all of them.

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Anthro #5, May - June 2006, is now online with my latest book reviews.

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Can a s-f novel be worse than Xanthan Gumm? Yes! Several months ago, Kay Shapero gave me a copy of Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate, by Kenneth Che-Tew Eng (DNA Press, April 2005), an attractive $21.95 hardcover that she said looked like a bargain marked down to only $5.00. It was not; she could not get through the first two pages of it. She gave it to me since it features talking dragons, which are sort-of Furry, but I could not stand more than two or three pages of it myself. (I made it through 16 pages of Xanthan Gumm.)

I was not planning to mention Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate in Apa L, but last week I got an e.mail from Kenneth Eng. His e.mail address, no fooling, is "Kenneth Eng, Youngest SF Novelist in the US" <name@hotmail.com> He hoped that I could find him a new publisher:

Fred Patten:

I was referred to you by some people at the NY Comiccon. I am Kenneth Eng, the youngest published science fiction novelist in America and an anthropomorphic artist. I understand you are one of the major figures in anthropomorphic studies. All of my books and artwork are centered around furry/animal characters, and I treat the subject matter in a way more seriously than most other people have.

I would like to know if you know any people who might be able to help me get my work published under a larger imprint or an imprint that specializes in my type of work. My current publisher, DNA Press, is no longer doing sci fi so I am looking for another. Here is a link to my first published novel, which is about cyborg dragons fighting in the middle ages:


My intention is to get more anthropomorphic stories onto the silver screen, as I hate humans. If it would not be a bother, would you mind directing me to some people or strategies that would be helpful in my task?


Kenneth C. Eng, Novelist

Just how old is the "Youngest SF Novelist in the US"? He says in an Internet interview that he was 20 when he sold his first novel. Big deal; Isaac Asimov's and Robert Silverberg's first s-f stories were published in their teens, and Silverberg's first s-f novel was published when he was 20. I cannot help comparing Eng with the recent much more successful story of a dragon novel by a much younger author. Christopher Paolini was a 15-year-old Montana high-school graduate when he wrote Eragon, his dragon adventure. Eragon was published in February 2002; by the end of 2003 it was in its 14th printing with over a million copies in print, Paolini had sold the movie rights, and he was working on its sequel, Eldest, which was published in August 2005. Paolini is currently writing his third novel. The Eragon movie website is online; 20th Century Fox will release it on December 15th. Is it a significant sign of Paolini's talent that he was a high-school graduate at 15? (I was still a high-school freshman at 15.)

I answered Eng that I could not recommend any mainstream publishers that were interested in buying Furry fiction (how Furry are cyborg dragons?), or in bringing more anthropomorphic stories to the silver screen. I felt it would be cruel if not futile to direct him to Alfred A. Knopf (Eragon's publisher) or to 20th Century Fox. They have probably been deluged with dragon manuscripts and screenplays by young writers already since the publicity for Eragon began. If Eng is unaware of this, he has not been following the field as closely as the professional s-f writer he considers himself should.

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Vanamonde #675 - (Hertz) April obviously can be simultaneously National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, National Pecan Month, National Poetry Month, and National Frog Month, because it is. But your comparison with multiple saints sharing the same calendar days seems invalid, because those official saints' days have all been assigned/approved by the Catholic Church. The original question was, who approves such holidays as National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month? I did not want to belabor the point earlier, but April is also National Anxiety Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, National Kite Flying Month, International(!) Guitar Month, and National Welding Month, among others. Again, who decides these? Is there a National Science Fiction Month; and if not, why not? Everything else seems to have its own national month.

Godzillla Verses #85 - (DeChancie) Does the LASFS Library have Resnick's I, Alien? If it does, I can check it out there. I have already read your story in it since you reprinted it here, but I would like to read the others. ## Good luck on getting the L.A.con IV to stock Jarritos &/or Barrilitos Mexican soft drinks. You have made them very tempting, and I would like to try them. I asked one of the Mexican nurses at the Golden State Hospital about them. He says that he likes them because they store well. American soft drinks lose their carbonation and go flat after a couple of months, but he can open a year-old Barrilitos or Jarritos and it still tastes fine.

Fish Out of Water #168 - (Helgesen) The Library of Congress has Van den vos Reynaerde cataloged under Genechten, Robert van instead of van Genechten, Robert as other libraries do? No wonder I did not find it. It is certainly an animal story, but as far as I have been able to tell, it was published in the Netherlands as an adult political satire rather than as a children's book. Since it has been out of print since 1945 and most people would rather not talk about it, it has been hard to get much information about it. The only reviews mentioned in articles that I have found were in the Dutch Nazi press which praised it for its wit and imagination, but since van Genechten was a top Dutch Nazi official, I do not count this as meaning much. The articles do not imply that it was meant primarily for children. The book itself is mostly text with only a few illustrations; about the same length as Orwell's later Animal Farm, which is an animal story, too, but not a children's book.

De Jueves #1476 - (Moffatt) I had also forgotten that you had published that "If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort, ..." in Apa L several months ago, since I have seen it reprinted so many times in so many places. I also forget what Lee Gold and you found out about Gene Ziegler being the real author. When I tried to research it on the Internet last week, I found a few sites that credited him, but others that credited a Murt Sullivan. None offered any verification, and there were far fewer sites than those that said "anonymous", "author unknown", or attributed it as a genuine Dr. Seuss poem. Did Lee or you confirm that Ziegler is the real author? ## The 1969 Opium Books edition of Volkov's The Wooden Soldiers of Oz has extremely crude outline tracings of the full-color illustrations in the Russian book. I have my own copy (or had; it is in UCRiverside's Eaton Collection now), so I do not need to re-see it. Speaking of Opium Books, operated by March Laumer, reminds me that prior to Xanthan Gumm and Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate, March Laumer (under his Felix Severance pen-name) was my candidate for Worst S-f Author Ever; although since he just published The Wooden Soldiers of Oz, he did not translate it himself, the quality of its writing cannot be blamed on him. ## Shirley Temple would have been closer to the age of Dorothy Gale in Baum's story, although considering how Awfully Cute Temple was, it may have been a good thing that the role was played by Judy Garland.

Phil Castora's International Union of Aeroport Plutocracy and Spelling Nit-Pickers - (Cantor) Thanks for the information about the resolution of the parking situation with the LASFS' next-door neighbor. This is important news that I have not seen anywhere else. If the dentist is gone, who is occupying the building now? We should presumably stop calling it "the dentist's office".

Toodequirtle #9 - (Castora) A lot of the pre-copper-dipped zinc pennies that are real copper (or bronze) are still in circulation. The bullion value of them is even more than that of the zinc coins. ## I do have a computer; it's a printer that I don't have. Vanessa Van Wagner visits me at the hospital every week to copy ˇRR! onto a computer file. I do not know what computer magic she uses to make it ready for Marty Cantor to publish on the LASFStetner. ## Unfortunately, since iBooks declared bankruptcy less than two weeks after publishing my Furry!, I am not expecting any royalties on it at all. ## According to the Internet Movie DataBase, the 1944 Gaslight was Angela Lansbury's first film at all, in America or Britain. Of course, the IMDb also lists a film about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as having been produced in 1938, so I do not take all its information as Gospel.

I Plead Gilty - (Gold) Thanks for the suggestion. I had never thought to check whether the Los Angeles libraries have any English translations of Volkov's other Oz novels. They do not (although the LAPL has several in Russian), but I should have thought to check myself before now. I do not want to read them enough to bother asking the Los Angeles libraries to try getting them from other library systems. ## The picture of the tuatara that you printed does not look any more beak-headed than the Southwestern horned toad.

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