¡Rábanos Radiactivos!

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2207th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3655, August 30,2007.
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 #2690


A website of particular interest has just gone online, Science Fiction Awards Watch, on August 22nd. It lists 51 awards from around the world in the field of s-f, fantasy, and horror. It does not include the Ursa Major Awards, but I e.mailed it about the omission and got a prompt reply from editor Cheryl Morgan: "Yes indeed. You are not the first person to make that suggestion, so we will definitely be adding your awards soon."

Among the awards included is our Forry Award. Its entry reads: "Whereas the Constellation Awards are brand new, the Forry Award has been around for years. It was first awarded in 1966 (to Ray Bradbury) and has been going strong ever since. The award is for lifetime achievement in the field of science fiction (apparently broadly defined) and is voted on by the members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. The list of winners is like a roll call of the best and finest in the community: Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, and so on. It also includes notable names from fields other than books, such as Julius Schwartz and Ray Harryhausen. The award winner is announced each year at the LASFS annual convention, LosCon, which we don't often get to because it is held on Thanksgiving weekend but we gather is great fun." There is one comment, from Michael Walsh: "Hopefully they'll update their list of winners who are deceased. Looks like it's been ages since it was updated, even if it says "Page last Updated - 12/01/06? ". This is true; looking at the Forry Award list on our Loscon history webpage, some authors such as Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, and Robert A. Heinlein are noted as (deceased) while others who have been dead for years or even decades such as Leigh Brackett, C. L. Moore, Donald Wollheim, or Kris Neville are unnoted and by implication still alive. I am not sure there is any real need to note which Forry Award winners are deceased and which are still alive, but if we are going to note any who are no longer alive, we ought to be consistent about it.

Note the description of the Forry Award as "a roll call of the best and finest in the community: Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein and so on." This is something that the LASFS can take pride in. I wonder if the Forry Award would have gotten that description if last year's winner had been Charles Lee Jackson II instead of William Tenn, which it almost was by only three votes? The discussion in Apa L late last year about creating a new award for service to fandom, as the Mason Award or the Pelz Award, seems to have faded away with nothing accomplished. I hope that those who want such an award do not try to hijack the Forry Award again this year with nominations of CLJII, June Moffatt, Christian McGuire, John Hertz, Craig Miller, and other LASFen who may be very deserving of an award, but not one that pretends to put them in the same category as Andre Norton, Philip Jose Farmer, Frank Kelly Freas, Robert Silverberg, L. Sprague de Camp, Jack Williamson, etc.

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Yarst! I recently decided to try to replace my favorite anime music CDs of a couple of years ago, that I used to listen to over & over while writing, which were donated to the Eaton Collection along with the rest of my collection after my stroke -- until I saw today's prices, that is. $50 for the Oh, My Goddess! OAV music CD? $99 for the Record of Lodoss War TV series CD? $200 for the Wild Arms: Twilight Venom double-CD? I didn't pay more than $40 for any of these between 2002 and 2005, and the average price was only $15 or $20. At the Loscon last year I bought a replacement for my CD of the complete Conan soundtrack music (both movies) by Basil Poledouris, and that was a supposedly rare and out-of-print double-CD set, for only $40. Is the demand for out-of-print anime soundtrack music CDs - and the soundtracks to relatively minor TV anime series, at that (but with great music) - really in the $50+ range?

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Anthro #13, September - October 2007, should go online in the next couple of days. It will have my latest furry book reviews, plus reprints of my reviews in Yarf! of anthropomorphic s-f & fantasy from 1997 through 2003, when Yarf!'s last issue was published. With this issue, Anthro will have collected all of my reviews in Yarf! from 1990 to 2003, practically enough to fill a book by themselves; plus cover illustrations which most of the original reviews did not have.

Last week, I advised that LASFen should consider the book links in Anthro for buying for personal s-f collections, and I recommended three novels in particular. One of them, New Coyote by Michael Bergey, has just announced a sequel, Coyote Season, to be published on November 14th. Bergey himself has sent me an Advance Reading Copy that I am enjoying right now (although it is a direct continuation of the first novel, which definitely should be read first). My review of New Coyote in Anthro #6 is cited in the back-cover blurbs - but not where the review is from. Instead I am credited as the "coauthor" of Watching Anime, Reading Manga. "New Coyote is sometimes humorous, sometimes dramatic, often beautifully pastoral, and always highly imaginative." -Fred Patten, coauthor of "Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews." Presumably anime is more respectable than anthropomorphics when it comes to citing authorities. Oh, well, at least they spelled my name correctly. (Bergey says he will have the publisher correct "coauthor" to "author".)

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They also spelled my name right in another paper (or papers) that I just got. Sean Leonard telephone-interviewed me on November 25, 2003, according to his footnotes, but I have only now seen the result of that interview. It forms the basis of Leonard's Progress Against the Law: Fan Distribution, Copyright, and the Explosive Growth of Japanese Animation, a 104-page dissertation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology dated December 10, 2003. Leonard rewrote it as Celebrating Two Decades of Unlawful Progress: Fan Distribution, Proselytization Commons, and the Explosive Growth of Japanese Animation, a 72-page paper (in manuscript form) accepted for publication in the UCLA Entertainment Law Review, Spring 2005. It was apparently successful as a dissertation because Leonard is identified in the latter as an "Instructor of Japanese Animation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology".

Despite the title(s), the dissertation version is more of a history of American anime fandom from 1976 to 1993 than on the legality or lack of it in early anime fandom's profuse video copying and dissemination of Japanese animated movies and TV series without any attempt to get permission from the Japanese animation studios. The law review version, on the other hand, devotes half or more to the legal ramifications of "fan proselytization" of anime vs. copyright. I do not know quite how to take the dissertation or the first half of the law review article. I could spend a couple of dozen pages nitpicking misspellings and other minor or major errors. For example, Leonard credits the Gatchaman TV series to Go Nagai instead of Tatsuo Yoshida (which is rather like crediting Porky Pig to Walt Disney rather than Warner Bros.), and spells the villains in Star Blazers as the "Gamilans" rather than the "Gamilons". The 2005 law journal version corrects some of the errors in the 2003 dissertation, but adds new ones such as identifying the Hannifens in San Francisco as the "Hanisons". But both versions are tremendous egoboo for me because Leonard gives me almost total credit for creating anime fandom throughout America. "Patten's first exposure to anime occurred at the Los Angeles Science Fiction [sic.] Society (LASFS). During one of the weekly Thursday meetings, Patten met up with another fan who was an early adopter of Sony's Betamax technology. He said, "you've got to look at this recording I made of this Japanese science fiction animated cartoon," and proceeded to [show] it at one of the society's meetings." (dissertation, pg. 14) In the law journal version, this becomes, "Patten's first exposure to anime occurred at the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society (LASFS) in 1975 [it was 1976], where a fan showed him some animation that he recorded.27 Over the next year, the fan brought many Japanese giant robot cartoons with English subtitles to the science fiction club. Additionally, several other fans recorded shows from Japanese community TV and showed them at various fan events." (pg. 10) I don't believe that I have ever told this story without giving Mark Merlino full credit as that fan, and as the C/FO's first video programmer who actually showed the videotaped anime at clubs and conventions from 1976 until the early 1980s; but Merlino is never mentioned by name in the paper. (And Merlino had a Sanyo V-Cord in 1976, the "third" video recorder format that was discontinued almost immediately after he bought it; not a Sony Betamax until he could no longer get V-Cord tapes or servicing.) Leonard quotes more people in his 2005 law journal version, but there are still so many "Patten says" paraphrases in the first part as to imply that I personally observed most of the anime fan events throughout America, or was responsible for them, up to about 1986. I do like his description of the collapse of the C/FO:

In 1989 a power struggle ensued at the very top of the C/FO. Patten felt that he should step down for the organization and for anime to move to the next level. Many accused Patten of disloyalty because he began to write articles for general magazines.72 Patten reasoned that if the purpose of his fan involvement was to proselytize anime and make it better known in America, it would be certainly advantageous to publish his work in a popular culture magazine instead of a club zine.

In other words, the high priest of the closed proselytization commons recognized the value of an open one, but the custodians of the closed commons branded him a freethinking traitor.

Patten stepped down amidst the fury, but he did not set up a clear line of succession. In the infighting that resulted, new leaders came to power who wanted to change C/FO operations to fit their own images. (pg. 21)

I began writing articles about anime for general magazines around 1980, not as late as 1989, and had pretty much separated myself from the fan politics within the club by 1986; and I was never the club's president so it was not up to me to "set up a clear line of succession". I was sorry to see the C/FO tear itself apart, but not to the extent of giving up my professional anime writing to try to take the club away from the petty dictators who were throwing out any members they didn't like, and to persuade the ex-members who were resigning in disgust to come back. Anyhow, it is interesting to find out after four years what happened to that November 2003 telephone interview. I don't believe that I have ever been mentioned in a law review before.

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-- Comments on Last Week’s Distribution:


Fish Out of Water #237 - (Helgesen) Hmpph! I published that Superman-faced-with-a-new-open-phone-kiosk gag as a fanzine cover in CAPA-alpha in 1971 or 1972, while it was topical when the open kiosks were replacing the older enclosed booths; well ahead of the Superman movie in 1978. As you point out, by 1978 the old enclosed booths had been gone for several years and the joke was anachronistic. ## Aren't most businesses still closed on Sundays? Maybe not as many as were closed fifty years ago, but still a majority of them.

Vanamonde #744 - (Hertz) Doubtlessly writing more with my left hand would improve my penmanship with it, but so far I have not had to handwrite anything since my stroke except for my signature, and I am getting proficient enough with that to be legible. ## I remember trying to fly to Sacramento's annual s-f convention in February in the early 1980s and having my flight (almost) unable to land due to the Sacramento airport being completely fogged over. Two or three years in a row. Sacramento fandom discontinued their con because of so many fans not being able to get there (or having to take horrendously expensive taxis from other airports their planes were diverted to). Were the early 1980s before the "improved air travel" that you refer to?

Objective Reality: n. - (Cantor) I got my new computer and printer in January or February 2005, and had been using them for a little over a month before I had my stroke. During that time, my black toner cartridges ran dry three or four times and needed to be replaced with the standard models sold by Office Depot and Staples; so it was not just that the starter cartridge that came with the new printer was not a "full" cartridge.

De Jueves #1545 - (Moffatts) I saw a bottled egg cream soda at Galco's Soda Pop Stop a couple of weeks ago. Backtracking to its website, it claims: "EGG CREAM AMERICA, INC. - MANUFACTURER OF JEFF'S SODAS. In 1990's the founders of Egg Cream America developed their initial corporate mission - in simpler terms, to put the delicious fountain egg cream in a bottle for mass consumption. The beverage industry has been so impressed with our product development efforts that we have essentially defined within the industry a new beverage category, Dairy Based Carbonated Beverages. Yesterday's egg cream is today's dairy based carbonated beverage and we consider ourselves the next link in the continuing saga of egg cream. Our product line as currently comprised is broken down into three separate categories: FOUNTAIN SODAS, FRUIT & CREAM DREAM TEAM, DIET SODA." The chocolate soda is identified as "The Classic Chocolate Egg Cream". Since I have never had a fountain egg cream, I cannot say how closely the bottled Jeff's Chocolate Soda matches its flavor. But you describe drinking a mixture of chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, and seltzer. According to the Wikipedia recipe, an egg cream is made with chocolate syrup, seltzer, and whole milk, not vanilla ice cream. It sounds like you were drinking a regular chocolate ice cream soda. ## Oog, as Pogo might say. I went online to try to find a picture of Dogpatch's town square with the statue of Gen. Cornpone, without any luck. I did find four or five sites with a textual description, which by an amazing coincidence were word-for-word identical: "JUBILATION T. CORNPONE. A town as remote and forlorn as Dogpatch is bound to be hard up for heroes. Thus it comes as no surprise that its most famous son, memorialized by a town statue, is civil war General Jubilation T. Cornpone, best known for "Cornpone's Retreat," "Cornpone's Disaster" and "Cornpone's Rout." Within the "Li'l Abner" comic strip Cornpone and his statue are relatively minor elements. What the hapless general is really best known for is being the namesake of the most rousing and memorable song in the popular Li'l Abner musical." ## The 1910 Portuguese flag parody design is basically a political cartoon, and like all political cartoons of the past, is hard to "make funny again" by defining what it was parodying so long ago. That is why Sir John Tenniel, the most famous political cartoonist of the Victorian era, is known today almost exclusively for his illustrations for Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass which are "timeless", rather than any examples of his political cartoons. The Portuguese flag - well, Portugal was a monarchy since 1139. Various anti-monarchical plots got more common and more violent during the late 19th century and first decade of the 20th until the assassination of King Carlos I and Crown Prince Luis in 1908. The next and last king, Manuel II, only lasted until 1910 when he fled to England after a successful republican revolution. This left the country with a mixture of several left-wing to right-wing republican movements which barely agreed on how to share power, and several movements to restore the monarchy; to repeat the Wigan quote several dist'ns ago, "Between 1910 and 1926 there were 9 presidents, 45 ministries, 25 uprisings and 3 short-lived dictatorships. In the period 1920-1925 alone there were 325 bomb incidents." Getting back to 1910, since the national flag had been of the personal blue-&-white dynastic colors and crowned arms of the royal family, it was generally agreed that a new flag was needed, but there were umpteen-dozen different proposals on what it should look like; the traditional blue-&-white with a new design, any colors except blue-&-white, the traditional arms with the crown removed, a design as different from the traditional arms as possible, etc. Since one of the arguments was whether the new head of state should be a figurehead king, a civilian president, a military dictatorship (under the Army or the Navy), etc., the "something for everybody" flag design included a crown, a liberty cap, a general's cap, a sailor's cap, and a civilian homburg. Other elements were a battleaxe, an anchor, an arrow, and a cannon for those who felt that a flag should contain some martial emblem; a fasces to represent the authority of a civilian government over the military; blue and white and red and green backgrounds to combine both the monarchical and the republican colors; the Cross of the Order of Christ, a Portuguese medieval symbol so old (established 1319) as to be apolitical; and Portugal's historic national emblem of five sets of five silver nails on blue shields dating back to the personal arms of Joao II in 1485, but rendered as a modern hand of playing cards to remove the monarchical taint. There are other symbols such as stars and comets that I am unsure about. There is probably no reason for the total design other than to make it a ridiculous hodgepodge of as many elements as possible.

Toony Loons #56 - (Zeff) Okay, but you should be able to tell without me by checking the size of the type on your Westercon name badge against the type size that is required in the Westercon Bylaws published in the Program Book.

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