¡Rábanos Radiactivos!
Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2155th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3603, August 31, 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
Nippon 2007 in 2007! Denvention 3 in 2008! Salamander Press #2638


L.A.con IV is now history, and it was a big success! 6,000 were predicted/hoped for, and about 6,500 joined. Everything went well; there were no disasters. The biggest mistake that I noted was that the Life Achievement Award that I was presented with on Friday night was reported in To Say Nothing of the News #10 as the Robert A. Heinlein Award, and the error was never corrected. Big deal!

I was just happy to have been able to attend the 2006 Worldcon at all, much less to receive such a special award. I would like to thank all the people who made it possible for me to be there, except that so many of them were anonymous donors. It cost $1,000 to hire the caregiver service that took care of me around the clock for five days, and I thank Marc Schirmeister for starting that fund and collecting the money. Glen Wooten made the business arrangements with Care Plus Nursing Services in Laguna Hills, reserved my room at the Anaheim Hilton, and came to the hotel to make sure that I got checked into a handicapped-accessible room even though he could not attend the Worldcon himself. Cora Buffa, the person at Care Plus who made the arrangements, came to the Hilton on Wednesday to meet me in person and introduce Abner Pacaigue, my Certfied Nursing Assistant who would be my companion and wheel me through the convention for the five days. (I also needed a separate nurse to come to the con twice a day to give me medications in the morning & evening, whom I met later - I actually had two different nurses, Analen Blancaflor, a nurse supervisor for Wednesday through Friday, and Lizette Valdevia on Saturday & Sunday. I had not expected that I would be so care-intensive.) My sister Sherrill drove me from Golden State Convalescent Hospital to the Worldcon on Wednesday and took me back on Sunday. Thanks, all.

I was on about a dozen panels; eight officially and four of the Furry program's "Special Interest Groups" which do not have formal panelists but which I was asked to participate in. The most popular had an audience of about 100; the least popular was the one that nobody came to. The average attendance was about 30.

To make this con report more orderly, my sister Sherry came to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon to help me pack two large duffle bags for my first multi-day trip away from the hospital since I moved here over a year ago. Sherry returned Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. so we could get an early start. We arrived at the hotel & Convention Center about 11:30 a.m., and went to the con's Green Room first for Program Participant registration. As a program participant, I was entitled to a "guest of" membership, which I had promised to Rob Powell for taking me out so often during the past months (Michael Burlake could not get the vacation time to attend the con), which I collected in addition to my own. The con committee had promised me additional admission badges for my caregiver & nurse, but the Green Room did not know about that, so it took a few minutes to confirm this and prepare the extra badges. Sherry then took me into the Hilton, where I met Glen Wooten & the people from Care Plus, and Sherry turned me over to Abner. Rob Powell was not there, so I left his badge with Glen Wooten who promised to get it to Rob if he showed up, or deliver it to Ken Pick if he did not. (Pick has been trying to sell a Furry space-opera novel and wanted to meet the publishers at the con, but could not afford a membership, so I had promised him my guest-of membership if neither Michael nor Rob could use it. Rob never showed up, so Glen delivered the membership pack to Ken that evening.) Glen got me an early check-in (regular check-in was 4:00 p.m.), so Abner & I rushed our bags to our room (13-404), and then we raced to the Opening Ceremonies. They had just started, so we missed the beginning of the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet pilot, but we saw the last half of it and the live part of the ceremony opening the convention. Then we returned to our hotel room to finish unpacking properly and discussing what I would want from Abner during the next five days. From there we went to the Dealers' Rom to start looking it over. We only saw a few tables before the first panel that I wanted to attend.

This was "Alternate Science Fiction" at 4:00 p.m. with Bradford Lyau (moderator), Tony Lewis, Harry Turtledove, John DeChancie, and Jim Frenkel. It was about how s-f might have developed if Stanley Weinbaum had not died, if John W. Campbell had remained a writer instead of becoming the editor of Astounding, and so on. Most of the "if" points discussed remained in the 1930s & '40s. The panel thought that the field would not have been too different, although a lot of their ideas sounded pretty different to me. (What if Campbell had written the stories associated with the Three Laws of Robotics himself instead of giving the idea to Asimov?) After the panel, I asked Frenkel (an editor at Tor Books) if he could get me a review copy of a forthcoming Tor Furry novel.

My own first panel was "Manga Mania" at 5:30 p.m., with me moderating, Buzz Dixon, and Tom Schaad. The three of us looked rather isolated at a table set for six speakers, so Peter Ahlquist, who works at TOKYOPOP, volunteered to join us. He probably saved the panel, because my own and Tom Schaad's knowledge of manga was more historical & generic, and Buzz Dixon is writing & marketing manga-style morally-uplifting comic books for the Christian bookshop market. The audience was most interested in the latest news about the American manga market - what titles and authors are selling best, what new titles can be expected - and Ahlquist knew about what is currently hot & coming next.

Dr. Melissa Conway of the University of California at Riverside's Library met me as the panel ended. We had agreed to "do dinner" because all of our panels turned out to be opposite each other, and this was the only way we could meet. A couple of other UCR librarians were with her. We went to the hotel's fancy Pavia restaurant for dinner, on Conway's expense account, thank Ghu. Conway said that a preliminary estimate of my donation to the library's Eaton Collection was that my collection had increased the Eaton Collection by 220,000 items. My donation was mentioned prominently in their presentation on the Eaton Collection, which I had to miss, and in their exhibit and brochure in the con's Exhibit area, which I promised to see. I was urged to come out to Riverside and see the Library soon. Apparently John DeChancie has already done so, and seen the portion of my collection which has already been unpacked & catalogued. The nurse, Analen, arrived during dinner and gave me my medicine; several pills crushed into powder & mixed with applesauce.

Dinner ended about 9:00 p.m., just as the evening's parties were starting. Abner took me to the Hilton's 5th floor where they were all located, and we cruised from party to party until 11:30, when I got tired enough to go to bed. L.A.con IV was my first Worldcon since I had my stroke, and I found it difficult to get really interested in which of the three bidders might get the 2008 Worldcon since I do not expect to be able to attend any of the sites so far from Southern California. We enjoyed all the parties neutrally.

The bed was so high that for awhile it looked like Abner might not be able to get me into it and I might have to sleep in my wheelchair. During the night, Abner probably saved me from choking to death. The beds and pillows were so soft that I sunk into them with my head lower than my feet. After a couple of hours, partly-digested food flowed back up from my stomach into my throat, and I could not cough it out. Fortunately, Abner awoke swiftly and got me into my wheelchair so gravity could get my digestive juices flowing the right way again. We fixed the problem by taking the hard cushions off the room's chairs and putting them onto the top of the bed, so my head stayed higher than my body and feet. We asked the hotel for extra pillows the next day, but they were all so soft that we ended up using the chair cushions as a base for the bed pillows every night. The room turned out to be "handicapped-accessible" only in having metal bars around the toilet to make it possible to pull myself upright from my wheelchair while being pivoted by a companion onto & off the toilet. This was indeed a big help, but the rest of the room was hard to get around in.

Thursday. Abner & I had the Oasis coffee shop's breakfast buffet. It was good enough that we ate in the Oasis for the rest of the Worldcon. Analen came to give me my medications.

There was no programming that I was interested in until 1:00 p.m., so we spent the morning in the Exhibit/Art Show/Dealers' Room area. I signed the Wall of History under 1958 with some difficulty, but legibly enough. Dave Kyle congratulated me on still being around. So did lots of other fans, but they tended to do so from behind my back, and were gone by the time I turned around. A similar problem is that my wheelchair puts me on a level of looking at fans' stomachs or chests, not their faces, so I never found out who was talking to me.

Glen Wooten had said that the donors to my fund had been generous enough that I could pretty much buy any new books I wanted; but I found almost none that I wanted. I am very concerned with my limited shelf space today, which makes me reluctant to spend money for a book that I want to only read once. One book that I did want was Beth Hilgartner's sequel to her Cats in Cyberspace, which Meisha Merlin had been announcing as forthcoming since 2003 and was now supposed to be published in early 2007. I asked at the Meisha Merlin booth if that date was really firm, and was disappointed to learn that Hilgartner had missed her deadline one time too many and her contract had been cancelled. "If she ever finishes it, she'll have to find a new publisher for it."

We went at 1:00 p.m. to "L.A. Confidential" with Rick Foss, Michael Cassutt, and Mike Glyer. (Two other panelists did not show up.) This was about s-f stories set in Los Angeles, which could only be set here because of some innate "Losangelesity". Most of the usual stories such as Heinlein's "And He Built a Crooked House" were mentioned. I said that, considering how popular alternate histories are today, it seemed surprising that nobody had written one around the attempt in 1846 by Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of Alta California, to give the state to Britain as a colony. Pico was aware that Mexico could not protect California from the coming Americans, and he thought that Britain would be powerful enough to stave off American annexation, yet little enough interested in Britishizing California that the Californios could keep their own culture. But Britain was aware that any attempt to expand into what America considered its sphere of expansion would mean war with America, and declined Pico's offer. This would seem to be worth an alternate history story in which California did become a British protectorate. The panel agreed but was more interested in discussing the possibilities of the Bear Flag republic becoming a permanent independent nation.

My first panel of the day was "South Gate in '58" at 2:30 p.m., which I moderated with Roger Sims and Len Moffatt. The audience barely outnumbered the panel, and consisted mostly of 1958 Worldcon attendees like June Moffatt and Fred Prophet. Roger Sims, who was Chairman of the 1959 Worldcon, gave me an unused surplus membership card from it, which I later gave to Melissa Conway for the Eaton Collection.

We raced from there to "Estate Planning for Collectors" at 4:00 p.m.,, with Fred Lerner moderating and Andy Porter, Nicki Lynch, Don Sakers and me as panelists. This was full of horror stories about huge collections that had been thrown out after their collectors had died due to lack of a will, or to wills that had left everything to non-fannish relatives who did not understand the value of old books & fanzines. Several in the audience seemed seriously interested in finding out the market value of their collections, hopefully without having to hire an expensive appraiser. The Eaton Collection was touted heavily as a good home for collections.

At 5:30 was "Publishing Science Fiction" with Michael Walsh moderating and Tony Lewis, Lou Anders, Jaime Levine, and Alan Rodgers representing the range of publishers from the biggest (Levine, from Warner Books) to the smallest s-f specialty publishers. Levine said that Warner and other mass-market paperback publishers would not touch a book that they thought would not sell at least 100,000 copies. Most of the s-f specialty presses would consider 1,500 copies to be a big seller. Everybody warned against would-be authors giving their books to print-on-demand publishers just to get them published easily, instead of continuing to try to sell them to a "real publisher" that would actually get them into bookstores. I missed part of this panel because Analen arrived to give me my evening medications.

The LASFS meeting was at 7:00 p.m., close enough to the Furry Lounge that we had time to stop there first so I could deliver some flyers for Anthro. The LASFS meeting was packed. I was glad to meet Marty Helgesen in person for the first time. Everyone went wild when Forry Ackerman made a brief appearance. I had thought that the meeting would be very short, just to maintain the club's record of not missing a Thursday meeting since 1939 (not 1934, as the club's publicity states; the LASFS did not begin meeting weekly for several years), but it was a full meeting and ran for an hour.

I had expected to go to dinner right after the LASFS meeting, but Abner said that Christian McGuire had privately told him that it was important for me to attend the Guest of Honor speeches at 8:00 p.m. This turned out to be because of the convention presenting me with its Life Achievement Award. It was a complete surprise, and I hope that I did not embarrass myself too badly with my improvised acceptance speech. We stayed for Larry Niven's & Jerry Pournelle's presentations of the Robert A. Heinlein Award next (to Jack Williamson and Greg Bear, despite what the con's newszine reported later), but I was too hungry to remain through all of the GoH speeches. Abner & I had dinner in the Oasis coffee shop, and then went up to the evening's parties which were all under way by then. We got an invitation to the private Mad Tea Party, and otherwise again cruised up & down the 5th floor, going into the various parties, until about 11:30 when we both were tired enough to go to bed. Abner arranged the pillows carefully on my bed, and I had an uninterrupted good night's sleep.

Friday. Continued next week. Attached are extras of one of my Anthro reviews that George Van Wagner prepared for me as a handout at my Saturday panel on "Are There Too Many Cats in Science Fiction?".

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Godzilla Verses #102 - (DeChancie) Were 8 m.m. prints of movies ever complete? The only thing I knew about them as a child was from the advertisements for them in comic books, and they were for versions that had "all the highlight scenes" and were usually advertised as 10 or 15 minutes long, which were obviously not the complete movies. Were there complete 8 m.m. prints for a separate film collectors' market? ## Does Galaxy Press still serve the lavish banquet of hors-d'oeuvres to all the attendees at its Writers of the Future Awards ceremonies, as it used to when the affairs were held at the Hubbard Life Exhibition museum in Hollywood?

Toony Loons #9 - (Zeff) You can see/hear (mostly hear) feral parrots around Culver City, too. Most Angelinos who live near the feral peacocks would rather have rats in their neighborhoods. Olympia, Washington is currently being terrorized by packs of raccoons; fortunately, those in L.A. have not gotten organized yet: "Raccoons rampaging Olympia. Animals have killed 10 cats, bitten one person. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. OLYMPIA -- A fierce group of raccoons in a west Olympia neighborhood has killed 10 cats, attacked a small dog and bitten at least one pet owner who had to get rabies shots, area residents say. Some people have taken to carrying pepper spray to ward off the masked marauders, and the woman who was bitten now carries an iron pipe when she goes outside at night. "It's a new breed," said Tamara Keeton, who with Kari Hall started a raccoon watch after an emotional neighborhood meeting drew 40 people. "They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid." Tony Benjamins, whose family lost two cats, said he got a big dog -- a German shepherd-Rottweiler mix -- to keep the raccoons away. One goal of the patrol is to get residents to stop feeding raccoons and to keep pets and pet food indoors. Keeton and Pam Corwin also have installed cat coops so their pets can spend some time outdoors. One raccoon is especially large, "the biggest raccoon I've ever seen," Benjamins said. "He was a monster." Lisann Rolle says began carrying an iron pipe when she goes outside at night after being bitten by raccoons when she tried to pull three of them off her cat Lucy. She obtained rabies shots afterward as a precaution. "I was watching her like a hawk, but she snuck out," Rolle said. "Then I heard this hideous sound -- a coyote-type high pitch ... It was vicious. They were focused on ripping her apart." The attacks have been especially shocking because raccoons came within five feet of cats without any problem in previous years, Benjamins said. "We used to love the raccoons. They'd have their babies this time of year, and they were so cute. Even though we lived in the city, it was neat to have wildlife around," he said, "but this year, things changed. They went nuts." In one case five raccoons tried to carry off a small dog, which managed to survive. Some residents also have managed to get to their cats in time to save them. The attacks, all within a three-block area near the Garfield Nature Trail, are highly unusual, said Sean Carrell, a problem-wildlife coordinator with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, adding that trappers might be summoned from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove problem animals. "I've never heard a report of 10 cats being killed. It's something were going to have to monitor," Carrell said. Meanwhile, residents have hired Tom Brown, a nuisance-wildlife control operator from Rochester, to set traps, but in six weeks he has caught only one raccoon. He and Carrell said raccoons teach their young -- and each other -- to avoid traps. Brown said he had seen packs of raccoons this big but none so into killing. "They are in command up there," he said." There is a reason why raccoons have never become popular as pets.

The Golden Horse-Apples of the Sun - (Cantor) For the present, it seems simplest and safest to have you continue to print my ˇRR! for Apa L than to ask Sherry to get it printed and deliver it to you by the collation deadline, even though I would prefer the better reproduction of photo-offset rather than mimeography. ## If my former telephone number was merely reassigned by the phone company to a new user, the phone company should not be billing me for it.

De Jueves #1493 - (Moffatt) It was good to see you at the Worldcon after your long absence from the LASFS. ## Thanks for the recommendations of good restaurants in the North Hollywood area. I will show this to my sister. ## As far as I know, the burrowing owls are still nesting throughout the Loyola Heights hillside. I was not able to personally check after the Hughes Aircraft Company moved to El Segundo, and the road alongside the bottom of the Heights to the old Hughes buildings was closed to the public. ## As I recall, Lindisfarne in Kevin & Kell was originally identified as a porcupine, until it was "discovered" that she was born in Britain and thus must have been a hedgehog instead. That was one plot development that must have been very unconvincing to anyone who knows the real, extremely obvious differences between porcupines and hedgehogs.

Vanamonde #693 - (Hertz) I like crickets. Presumably the staff at Golden State Convalescent Hospital does, too, because the place is infested with them (one just skittered across my floor) and nobody seems to mind. We are all ruthless against cockroaches, however. There is a feral kitten on the hospital grounds that can be watched stalking, catching, and eating crickets. ## Bugs Bunny is unmistakably a rabbit, while Jiminy Cricket is a generic cartoon bug. With only four limbs. ## The Rose Parade floats were officially those of General Motors Corporation, not Hughes Aircraft Company. Hughes employees were asked to volunteer to help the regular GMC team after GMC bought HAC. They were already serving boiling hot Dr. Pepper in the refrigerated assembly hangars when I volunteered for a couple of years; I don't know when the custom started.

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