Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2156th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3604, September 7, 2006.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:firstname.lastname@example.org
|Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Denvention 3 in 2008!||Salamander Press #2639|
L.A.con IV: Marc Schirmeister has given me the names of all those who contributed to the fund to hire a caregiver for me at the Worldcon, so I can thank them properly, after all. Thank you very, very much to Robert Alley, Mark Ashworth, Will Faust, Don Fields, Chuck Garofalo, William Haskell, Len & June Moffatt, Larry Niven, Roy Pounds, Jerry Pournelle, Melody Rondeau, Steven Scharff, Milt Stevens, Joe Strike, and Edd Vick. And thank you again!
Friday. There was nothing that I was particularly interested in before 11:30 a.m., so my caregiver Abner & I had a leisurely breakfast buffet in the Oasis coffee shop, then went to the Convention Center to see a bit more of the Art Show. At 11:30 we returned to the Hilton for the "Furry Mythos" discussion in the 4th floor's Furry Lounge. "From ancient cultures, to movies and TV, to the modern world of the Internet, anthropomorphic characters abound. What's our fascination with talking animals? What does it say about us, and our culture?" As with most of the Furry programming, hardly anyone showed up to this. We left early to get some snacks in the Con Suite, then went downstairs to meet my sister Sherrill in the hotel lobby at 12:30 p.m.
We had arranged for Sherry to take over Abner's wheelchair-pushing duties and his badge from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., so I could show her around the Art Show and exhibits areas. I figured that Sherry would want to see the photo-exhibit on the Eaton Collection, which included two or three of parts of my donation. Fortunately, Dr. Melissa Conway was there at the time, so she & Sherry got to meet each other. Our conversation included a promise that Sherry would take me to the UCRiverside Library to see the Eaton Collection at some time in the reasonably near future. We hastened through the Art Show and the Dealers' Room, where Sherry bought me Turtledove's Every Inch a King (10% discount at the ISFiC Press table), and a set of Soviet Republic flag pins at the Russian Things table to replace the set I had which was presumably sent to the UCRiverside Library with the rest of my stuff. (I am glad to see that the "Soviet going-out-of-business sale" cosmonaut pins & similar stuff has not disappeared from the Worldcons.) Sherry wanted to buy some "official souvenirs", so we went to the L.A.con IV shop in the Convention Center's lobby where she got one of the T-shirts with James Gurney's Dinotopia painting.
Sherry handed me back to Abner at 3:30, for my 4:00 p.m. panel, "Anime 101" with Tom Schaad moderating and Rachel Manija Brown and me. This was supposed to be an introductory survey of the history and current status of Japanese animation, but as at the "Manga Mania" panel on Wednesday, the audience was more interested in hearing about what titles are currently the "hottest" and "what's new" than about the past.
At 5:30 I was back in the Furry Lounge (or the room next to it) to join in the "Venus in Furs" discussion. Rod O'Riley had brought an armload of Furry erotic art as visual aids for "The adult and erotic aspects of Furry art and story. Just what is the appeal of fur?" But this event had barely started when I got so sleepy I could barely stay awake through Analen's coming to give me my evening medicine. I asked Abner to take me to our room for a nap for an hour, so that we could go to dinner about 7:00 to be ready for the Masquerade at 8:00 p.m. However, when I woke it was almost 8:00. Abner had felt that I needed the extra sleep, and that we should just have dinner and go right to bed for the evening, without trying to attend the Masquerade or any of the night's parties; particularly since Saturday was scheduled to be my busiest day. I was still so tired that I agreed with him.
Saturday. We got up after a good night's sleep at 7:00 a.m., to have time for a good breakfast (Lizette took over as my nurse bringing my morning and evening medications) before my first panel at 10:00 a.m., "Anime Girls" with the same panelists as "Anime 101" plus Paul Cornell. The pocket program description of this panel was, "How did Japan's male dominant culture produce so many kick-butt female characters? Did Japanese anime creators develop the concept themselves, or did they all watch lots of Avengers episodes when they were young?" We both agreed and disagreed with this, since it implied that all the girls in anime were kick-butt aggressive and ignored the greater number of demure, ladylike girls. I cited Mrs. Moroboshi, Ataru's mother in the Urusei Yatsura series, as the earliest example in anime (that American fans saw, at least) of the Japanese social reality that housewives are self-effacing in public but ruthlessly rule the family within the home while Dad retreats behind the newspaper.
My biggest panel of the Worldcon was the 11:30 a.m. "Are There Too Many Cats in Science Fiction?", with Jody-Lynn Nye moderating and Connie Willis, Lisanne Norman, and Nicki Lynch as my co-panelists. "Cats seem to be every-where. Science Fiction. Fantasy. There are entire anthologies of cat stories. And not just in our genre. Romances and Mysteries have more than their share of cat tales as well. Are dogs anywhere to be seen? Why is literature so catty?" For this panel, George Van Wagner had helped me prepare a two-page printout of one of my reviews in the then-current Anthro of two cat-fantasy anthologies, Magic Tails (which included stories by Nye and Norman) and Twisted Cat Tales (included in Apa L last week) as a handout for all attendees, plus a 15-page bibliography of feline fantasy novels for the other panelists. I had also brought three tape recorders to record the panel, and Chaz Baden had promised to send someone to photograph it. It was my best-attended panel, with an audience of around 100, although several turned out to be dog fanciers who wanted to humorously complain about the preponderance of cat stories. The mood was light and the discussion was mostly superficial, barely mentioning the titles of favorite books with a promise that they were worth reading. Afterward, one of the audience (as usual, all that I could see was her stomach) thanked me very much for the handout with the review of Twisted Cat Tales, since she was one of the authors in it and she had never met anyone else that had even heard of it.
Abner and I had a hasty lunch in the coffee shop, and went to my 2:30 p.m. panel, "Independent Booksellers", moderated by Lawrence Person with Greg Ketter, Tom Whitmore & Willie Siros as the panelists besides me. I felt very out of place and had almost nothing to say here, since all my experience with being an independent bookseller was over thirty years ago, and Wonderworld Books only stocked current s-f paperbacks besides its main line of comic books. The others talked about the current difficulties of independent specialty bookshops keeping in business in these days of the mass-market bookshop chains, the problems in determining the value of used out-of-print s-f books, and of finding rare books that collectors ask for, etc.
At 4:00 p.m. I was supposed to moderate "Learn About the Ursa Major Awards", in the Furry Fandom Lounge with Rod O'Riley and Kay Shapero as fellow panelists. We were the only three in the room (besides Abner). I would have adjourned and left early, except that I was already scheduled to get my evening medications in this room, and my next panel at 5:30, "Twenty Years of Furry Fandom", was also here. That got an audience of four or five people, but Mark Merlino was doing a good enough job of telling about Furry history that Abner & I left early. I took another two-hour nap in our room, and then we had dinner in the coffee shop and went to the 9:00 p.m. "Furry Fandom Reception and Artist Gathering". That was almost as deserted as the afternoon's events had been. After hanging out there for maybe a half-hour, I remembered that I had promised to visit the Fanzine Lounge sometime during the con, and I had no idea where it was except that it was supposed to be somewhere on this floor. It took Abner & me about another half-hour of wandering up & down the halls, even with knowing the name of the room it was in, before we found it. It was in a very large suite, with almost nobody besides Milt Stevens and Don Fitch there, and a very good assortment of nibblements for partygoers who presumably couldn't find the room, either. So I spent the rest of the evening there, munching on cheeses & chocolates & mixed nuts, and finding old reviews of mine in Science Fiction Review and other old fanzines of books I would swear today that I'd never heard of. (Including the novel by A. E. van Vogt that I remembered him accusing me of giving a bad review only because I mistakenly thought he was a Scientologist and I was obviously a Scientology-hater - clearly the only reason for giving him a bad review - but I had long since forgotten what the novel had been. It was Children of Tomorrow. Rereading my old review did not jog my memory, but if it were as bad as my plot synopsis made it sound, I would not change my opinion of it.) About 12:30 a.m. Abner suggested we should go to bed since we had to pack up and check out by noon tomorrow.
Sunday. We had breakfast in the coffee shop, and Lizette gave me my morning medicine for the last time. We checked out of room 13-404 well before noon, and left our luggage at the luggage desk. We went back to the Convention Center to finish seeing the Art Show, and the part of the Exhibits area that we had not seen previously. The Art Show was already over half empty, with the art that had been auctioned off gone and artists already starting to pack up; but the Exhibits Concourse was up through the closing of the convention. I got into a long conversation with Kim Gottlieb-Walker at her "Behind the Scenes With John Carpenter" & "Photos of Science Fiction and Fantasy Creators" photo-exhibits. She had an extensive display of photos from L.A.Con I, which she said was the first event that she had photo-recorded. I identified some of the pros in the photos, and she gave me very attractive metal pins from the Superman Returns and Beowulf promotional campaigns.
At 2:30 p.m. we returned to the Furry Lounge for what I thought was supposed to be a discussion of Furry fanzines. I wanted to promote Anthro, but it turned out to be a discussion of Furry villains instead. "OUR FAVORITE FURRY VILLAINS AND WHY WE LOVE TO HATE THEM. Discussion group on a popular topic: Furry characters who are mean, selfish, cruel, and oh-so-watchable! From General Woundwort to Dr. Zaius to Scar and beyond." This had a goodly attendance. Most of the villains named were what I would call misguided egotists; characters who considered themselves incapable of making mistakes and who knew what was best for everybody (like career politicians). I named Jupiter, the "Dark God" (a cat) in Robin Jarvis' "Deptford Mice" novels as my candidate for a Furry villain who is truly evil.
At 4:00 p.m. were the Closing Ceremonies. Christian McGuire formally adjourned L.A.con IV and handed the gavel to Hiroyuki Inoue for Nippon 2007 in Yokohama. Abner took me back to the Hilton's lobby where Sherrill met us. She drove me back to the Golden State Convalescent Hospital, stopping for dinner at Marie Callender's in Toluca Lake on the way. It was about 9:00 p.m. when I returned to the hospital, after a delightful 'vacation" but in need of several days' rest after it.
Apparently the flyers for Anthro in the Furry Lounge, and the handout of my review in Anthro at the "Are There Too Many Cats in Science Fiction?" panel paid off. Editor Cubist just e.mailed me: "ANTHRO's host server keeps track of what kind of web-traffic the zine is getting; on 29 Aug, the day after WorldCon, there was a significant spike (about 2* the 'baseline' normal traffic level), plus a second, similar, surge on 1 September... Let's hope that this is indicative of a permanent increase in readership, not just a one-shot deal..."
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Last Thursday, Michael Burlake brought me to the LASFS meeting as usual. The meeting was packed with leftover clutter from L.A.con IV, and with guests who had learned about the club at the Worldcon. There were several cakes, which seemed to be Worldcon leftovers also, although they were still fresh. The program was reviews of the Worldcon, which everyone agreed had been about as perfect as a Worldcon could be.
On both Saturday and Sunday, Sherry brought me to her apartment. She had taken possession of my art collection, which Glen Wooten had transferred to her during the Worldcon. She was rather dismayed because she had planned to hang all my pictures in her apartment, despite my warning her that I had far too many to display at the same time. We began sorting them out. Most of the framed paintings were filthy after over a year in storage, and will need major cleaning of the glass & frames.
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There were 193 episodes of the original Astro Boy TV cartoons produced in Japan from 1963 to 1966. Only the first 104 of them were dubbed into English for American TV in the 1960s, and they are now available on DVD in two boxed sets for $233.98 at Amazon.com ($116.99 each, including Amazon.com's 10% discount).
An anime fan just asked me if the remaining 89 episodes are available in Japan on DVD, and how much they cost? Sure. Amazon.co.jp has them for „79,947, which (if my foreign exchange reckoning is accurate) comes to $682.90. That is with Amazon's 10% discount, but not including shipping from Japan to America.
DVDs in Japan are expensive. This is why some Japanese animation licensors have forbidden the American licensees of particularly popular series (like Gundam) to include the original Japanese language with English subtitles on their DVDs. The Japanese public would order the American DVDs, which are often less than half the Japanese retail price, and just not turn on or suffer through the English subtitles.
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Anthro #7, September - October 2006, is now online with my latest book reviews, plus the annotated feline fantasy bibliography (over 160 titles) that I compiled for L.A.con IV.
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I have updated the LASFS and Loscon histories on my computer for the Loscon 33 Program Book. Last year's Program Book editor did not check with me, and the writeups were only current to 2004. I hope someone will have this year's Program Book editor get the updated information from me instead of just reprinting it again from last year's Program Book.
There is one detail that I am unsure about; the statement that the LASFS currently runs "a SF exhibition booth at the annual UCLA Book Fair," Is this still true? The LASFS did not this year. Is it expected that we will resume our booth next year, or have we given up the booth for good?
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Bat's Not All, Folks - (Jackson) I agree that it would be much more convenient for the handicapped in wheelchairs and on scooters if there was some seating provision made for them, especially for such major events as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies which are known in advance will be in very crowded rooms which will also have the lights turned out except on the stage or for video presentations. People who did not see me in the dark because I was below their expected line-of-sight level constantly buffeted me and stood right in front of me. This was not as serious a problem in the well-lighted rooms where the panels were held.
Vanamonde #694 - (Hertz) Metal that could flow into new shapes at room temperatures was the nature of the T1000 Terminator robot in Terminator 2, in 1991, two years before Babylon 5.
De Jueves #1494 - (Moffatt) Coffee was not brought to Europe from the New World. It originated in Turkey, and was supposedly introduced into Europe by the Ottoman invaders during the 16th & 17th centuries. You may be thinking of cocoa/chocolate, which was imported from the Aztecs. ## I have already read Andrews' Meg Langslow murder mysteries, except for the latest hardcover, No Nest for the Wicket, which I have reserved at the Los Angeles Public Library. ## No, you may not posit a 1946 novel illustrated by Howard Pyle (died 1911) as written around the illustrations; at least not convincingly. The novel is described as wonderfully original and imaginative, by a hitherto-unknown brilliant new author, and its illustrations are only mentioned in passing. If the illustrations had been unusually important, as they certainly would be if the text had been written around them, that would presumably have been worth mentioning in the novel. It is easier to assume that the author describing the fictitious brilliant new childrens' novel simply made a careless anachronism in her naming of its famous illustrator.
I Precede Goldfinches - (Gold) I am more impressed by Wikipedia all the time. It has already added my Life Achievement Award from L.A.con IV to its entry on me. ## I have now read all of the MCI bills and letters that you passed on to me. Since the latest of them acknowledges your letter stating that I never asked for my old telephone account to be reactivated, and states unequivocally that the account has been closed and all charges cancelled, there does not seem to be anything to complain to the police department about. I will keep all this, so if MCI ever bills me again, let me know and I can then go to the police with the appopriate documentation. ## "Swearing a blue streak" and "blue movies" did refer to rigid moral codes since they were what would be on the lists kept by those censors who felt that the users/viewers of improper words and movies should be punished. Whether the lists were ever on blue paper was never considered important. The modern equivalent would be to referring to something exceptionally sexual or erotic as X-rated, whether it is actually rated or is even the sort of thing that would be submitted to the MPAA for a rating or not. (And bureaucratically the X-rating no longer exists. The current equivalent is the NC-17 rating.)
Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) Is it too early to start getting ready for National Gorilla Suit Day at the end of January?