¡Rábanos Radiactivos! #2219

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2219th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3667, November 22,2007.
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

Denvention 3 in 2008! Anticipation in 2009! Salamander Press #2702


Last Thursday my sister Sherrill, sporting one of her new Hallowe'en purses from Dark Delicacies (black with white spiderwebs and scarlet-glitter spiders), brought me to the LASFS meeting. Everyone was urged to attend the meeting of December 6th to vote for the expenditure of up to $30,000 on clubhouse renovations. It was emphasized that these were all important structural improvements, such as repairing leaky roofs, rather than nonessentials that could be postponed, so it was important that the vote passed. Jerry Pournelle wanted to know which club officer(s) would have the responsibility of making sure the moneys were spent wisely and the repairs were done properly. Help was solicited to load the Loscon fixtures into trucks, & unload and set them up at the hotel next Thursday. Congratulations to Mike Thorsen, Milt Stevens, and Arlene Satin on their election to the club's Board of Directors for the next three years. The meeting adjourned around 9:20 to the plaints of Jerry Pournelle; "But we've got time for a program! Why isn't there any program!?"

I spent Sunday afternoon at Sherry's apartment, working on more Furry projects at my computer in my study and listening to anime music CDs (Godannar, Final Fantasy Unlimited, The Adolescence of Utena). We had dinner there, and watched The Bishop Murder Case (1930) on TV. I have never seen Basil Rathbone look so young before.

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

1 Marty Cantor - (Cantor) Congratulations on keeping Joe Zeff up to date with Apa L.

De Jueves #1557 - (Moffatts) A bonfire in a barbecue after dark? Why not? ## I had the "Loscon perfect attendance" badge that you gave me at Loscon XXV, and wore it every year that I remembered to after that until my stroke in 2005. I suppose it is at the UCRiverside Library now with all my other convention badges. If I ever got a propeller beanie, I did not wear it beyond the first year. ## Oh, my computer does fine with Japanese. If I could print ¡RR! directly from my computer, it would print correctly. It is in the e.mailing of my ¡RR! to Vanessa Van Wagner to add the heading and fill up any blank space on the last page, and her e.mailing the result to Marty Cantor for printing, that the Japanese somehow turns into empty squares. ## According to Amazon.com, McCone and Friends is the twenty-first book in the series. I am currently waiting for the LAPL to send me #14, Wolf in the Shadows, and #15, Till the Butchers Cut Him Down. ## Does (or did) Grand Central Market have permanent booths, or were the merchants there on a daily basis? If the latter, I would imagine that they would want to sell all of their produce each day so as to not have to bring any home or throw it out.

Godzilla Verses #165 -- (DeChancie) I seem to remember that when I entered fandom in 1960, there were several extensive checklists of s-f & fantasy around to help the well-read s-f fan to make sure he had "read everything", most if not all of which included Portrait of Jennie (not Jenny). Everett F. Bleiler's The Checklist of Fantastic Literature (Shasta, 1948) was one of the rarest; Forry Ackerman let me read one of his copies. I do not remember if this book included Portrait of Jennie, but I made note of several obscure or borderline titles (like Solarion) from it that I was able to find in the public library that were not on the s-f shelves. This reminds me of another horrible book that disgusted me when I finally found a copy, in the UCLA library before I entered fandom, Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo's The Exploits of Esplanidan (1508), which I wanted to read because it was the fantasy with blonde, black-skinned Amazonian Queen Califia whom California was named after. To be fair, the descriptions of this book warned that it was also specifically named by Cervantes as one of the knightly fantasies that had rotted Don Quixote's brain. Anyhow, today there is so much genre s-f & fantasy around that fans do not have to hunt down peripheral fantasies to "get their fix".

Fish Out of Water #249 - (Helgesen) For some reason I could never generate much interest in the MINNEAPA zines that were included in Apa L. I certainly do not remember any of their contents. ## I would think that "Snap, Crackle, Pop!" was still close enough to "Snap, Crackle, and Pop!" that Kellogg's would have to legally protest to defend its trademark. If the radio commercial is ruled legally different enough to not conflict, then Kellogg's probably will be able to enjoy the publicity-by-association. I still wonder if the Japanese woman who is selling $800 skirts that transform into Coca-Cola vending machine disguises has cleared the rights to the vending machine images with the Coca-Cola company, or if the Coca-Cola company will endanger its rights to its vending-machine imagery if it does not protest?

Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) I was recently reminded of Dr. Oliver Sacks when Anthro reprinted my 1998 review of a British novel that has a parody of Sacks as a chimpanzee, Great Apes, by Will Self (another literary fantasy that will not be found on the s-f shelves), which you may want to read (the LAPL has it) if you are interested in Sacks: "... The camera pulls back, as it were, and the world is populated by chimpanzees-not anthropomorphized as much as intelligent. Self has educated himself in detail on chimp social behavior, and he has redesigned civilization in its image. The main viewpoint of this chimpunified society is that of Dr. Zack Busner, clinical psychologist, medical doctor, radical psychoanalyst, anti-psychiatrist, maverick anxiolytic drug researcher and former television personality (pg. 28), the prestigious author of such best-selling books on psychoses and neurology as The Chimp Who Mated an Armchair. (Self is obviously pastiching Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of the famous mid-'80s pop-psych The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales.) Busner is called in as a consultant by the puzzled Charing Cross staff, who have never encountered a fixation like Simon's: although clearly a chimp like themselves, he insists that he is a human and behaves as one might if humans were intelligent, acting out his delusion consistently down to the subconscious and instinctual level. Busner is intrigued-Simon's dramatic pathology could lead to a new armchair psychological best-seller-and he adopts Simon as his personal patient.

The reader observes this new world by following Busner and his medical colleagues at some length before the story returns to Simon. London is still London, but it has been redesigned for the smaller simian bodies. Dialogue is primarily translated hand-signs, with simian vocalizations inserted. The chimps wear clothing only above the waist, so they can proudly display their genitalia and engage in casual matings and groomings in the streets.

The two chimps met in the middle of the asphalt apron at the crest of the hill and fell on each other's necks with loud grunts, bestowing sloppy kisses on eyes, nasal bridges and mouths. They then settled down to groom. Wiltshire seemed to have an awful lot of sawdust in his armpit fur, Busner was trying to get the stuff out-while inparting tenderness-but finding it pernickety work, when Wiltshire pulled away and signed, 'Let me get a "huh-huh-huh" good look at you, old chimp. I haven't had my fingers in your fur for what... must be more than six months now-' (pg. 87)

Simon is convinced that he is human and that he has gone mad, seeing everyone turned into chimps. But since the story presents a panorama of a chimpunified London that is far more extensive than Simon's viewpoint, the reader is deliberately left confused. Is Simon crazy? Has the unique blend of alcohol and drugs that he took projected his mind into an alternate world? And what will happen to him? Will he remain in a padded cell for the rest of his life? Will he return to the human world? Or, with Busner's guidance, will he be 'cured' and released to blend into chimp society?

The novel starts in the human world, and does not become totally chimpunified until Chapter 6. By midway through the book, the reader has become used to a society in which male friends fondle each other's genitals in public; strangers casually fuck in elevators or during Underground commutes; parents who do not sexually caress their young children are considered guilty of emotional child abuse (not showing them sufficient love); and executives demonstrate their corporate dominance by dashing about their offices screaming, urinating, slapping and throwing shit at their underlings. Yet these gross activities are performed in an atmosphere of blasé rationality by sophisticated intellectuals.

Self has taken a step beyond the usual anthropomorphized world peopled with funny animals acting in a totally human manner. He has created a radical culture that is simultaneously anthropomorphized and animalized; that is both shocking and almost boringly commonplace. The London Times compares Self's vigorously raunchy satire to the style of the more outrageous standup comedians. "There is a Swiftian energy to Self's scatology," says The Independent. That's true... Great Apes is not completely unique, then. Simon Dykes is to some extent following in the footsteps of Lemuel Gulliver through the Country of the Houyhnhnms."

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