Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2123rd Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3571, January 19, 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
|L.A.con IV in 2006!||Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Salamander Press #2606|
Last Thursday I got a surprise telephone call from Kees van Toorn, whom I have not seen or spoken with in years. He was not in Rotterdam as usual, but "passing through America (although nowhere near Los Angeles)" and took the opportunity to say hello. We promised to get into regular e.mail correspondence after he gets home. It would be nice if he were to begin contributing to Apa L again.
An hour or so later, Kay Shapero visited me at the hospital to deliver a half dozen books from the L.A. Public Library, and to spend about an hour tape-recording the first part of an interview about the history of Furry fandom and my Best in Show anthology, to be published/posted in Anthro eventually.
Michael Burlake brought me to last week's LASFS meeting. I forget who brought the home-baked chocolate cake (to celebrate their first professional sale, if I understood correctly), but it was the best chocolate cake I can ever recall eating including all professional cakes. YUM!!! If the author's stories are anywhere nearly as good, we have a new potential s-f Grand Master in our midst.
The LASFS' program was to look at & critique a promotional film-in-progress by Galaxy Press about the L. Ron Hubbard Writers/Illustrators of the Future Contests and how they work. The film includes much footage of the last annual Awards presentations at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. The film was very slick, and I was glad to see the closeups of so many notable s-f authors. But while I do not disagree with anything that it said (I have been recommending the Contests myself to wannabe writers who ask me where they should submit their first stories), hard-sell promotions always seem to rub me the wrong way. I was also uneasy about the way the film implied (innocently?) that Seattle's S-F Museum is one of the Ron Hubbard organization's creations. Did others get this implication that the Hubbard organization is co-opting the S-F Museum,, or am I imagining it?
Saturday morning it did not look like I would be able to go to the Cinema Anime meeting because it was raining steadily, but by the time Rob Powell arrived to pick me up in the early afternoon the rain had tapered off to a light mist, and by the time we arrived at Freehafer Hall the clouds were clearing away completely. Besides the next episodes of our regular anime TV series like Kamichu!, Bleach, Fruits Basket, Heat Guy J, Slayers Next, Planetes, Samurai Champloo, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - 2nd Gig, we saw the first episodes of Aim for the Top 2 and Karin. AftT2 is officially the sequel to the megapopular OAV series of the 1980s, but it has gotten lots of bad reviews from the fans. I can see why; it is rather like calling Pirates of the Caribbean the sequel to Citizen Kane. Aside from the fact that both Aim for the Tops are animated and have basically the same plot of a teenage girl who wants to become a space pilot, there is no similarity. The original series was about a serious space cadet and was dramatic high-tech s-f, full of mentions of the Lorentz-FitzGerald Contraction Effect, etc, The new series is a comedy with no serious science and different characters, about a cute airhead who still babbles in baby talk and wants to fight Space Monsters because she thinks it is Cool, etc. But without the comparison to the original series, this "sequel" is not without merit. It has very nice art design and many beautiful scenes, very fast-moving action (all the better to distract you from noticing that the story makes no sense - why must teen female space pilots be "Topless"?), and one of the most charismatically vivacious (if brainless) heroines that any anime production has ever had. Karin is yet another (this must be the "In" concept for this Japanese TV season) barely-teen girl vampire comedy. Karin is the oddball of her vampire family; she cannot sleep during the day and likes sunshine, which means she does not have any excuse to avoid attending middle school, where she has to try to keep her new school friends from noticing her fangs. Is that strangely embarrassing feeling she gets when she looks at a handsome boy in class Bloodlust or Something Else? Mildly amusing for young ladies, I presume. The feature was The Place Promised in Our Early Days, a November 2004 theatrical feature that almost nobody in Japan, much less elsewhere, ever heard of, and it was easy to see why. It is a very slow romantic s-f drama about young lovers separated by parallel worlds even though they are in the same world, About ¾ into the movie, Powell & I debated leaving before the end but decided to stick it out to see whether the climax explained anything. No. The audience's consensus was that the filmmakers didn't really care about the concept of parallel worlds; they just used the phrase as a Maguffin to make the movie s-f. The first superpower to reach parallel worlds will win the Cold War. Uncontrolled parallel worlds may destroy civilization. The government must control all research into parallel worlds for the public's good. The good guys must destroy the [Soviet] Union's parallel worlds machine to prevent a Parallel Worlds Gap. A major plot element is the two young protagonists' building their own experimental airplane, but when it finally got airborne at the climax, everybody after the movie compared it to the Seaview or the Cygnus (the greenhouse spaceship in The Black Hole); pretty to look at but absolutely aerodynamically unconvincing, therefore very anticlimactic. Something like Aim for the Top 2 can get away with making no sense because it is a silly comedy, but a serious romantic tragedy/adventure had better be at least dramatically plausible to win its audience. The Place Promised in Our Early Days is a good movie to stay away from.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
De Jueves #1461 - (Moffatt) I, too, read the seven Narnia novels as they were originally published, which meant that I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first. I still think that this is the best order to read them in, but Lewis was politely adamant to everyone who expressed this opinion that he wanted them read according to the internal chronological order: The Magician's Nephew first because it explains how Narnia got started and answers all the questions that those who read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe will have, then TLtWatW, then The Horse and His Boy because it is set during the period covered in TLtWatW (even if it seems more pleasant to return to this period after a couple of adventures further in Narnia's future), etc. The publishers have followed Lewis' wishes in the current numbering in boxed sets and in the order in the one-volume edition. Since I generally support an author's right to control his or her own works, I have difficulty arguing with this; even though I disagree in this case (as many of us have been doing here in our feelings about Robert Heinlein's opinions of his unedited novels being superior to the edited versions). ## My grandmother used to reminisce about Los Angeles' Big Red streetcars, which I do not remember even though she said I rode on them when I was four or five years old just before they were replaced by buses. I do remember the regular streetcar lines, which continued running through my high-school days. Even the L.A. accent has changed. It used to be a lot more "cowboy" before so many Midwesterners and East Coasters moved out here after World War II. ## I recently got a government "Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement" in the motion asking to require the L.A. County government to keep Rancho Los Amigos open instead of closing it on or after March 13, 2009, as the County wants to do; requesting Medi-Cal patients who object to the closure to submit proof that Rancho Los Amigos offers medical services that are not available elsewhere. Since I am on Medicare now, I assume that this no longer applies to me. ## I always wondered, when Holmes said he would never need to know whether the Earth orbited the Sun or the Moon, what would happen if he needed to investigate whether a supposed astronomer was genuine or not. ## I wonder if the someone in a Herbie Popnecker costume at the 1967 Westercon might have been Elst Weinstein? It would have been appropriate. Does anyone remember when Weinstein started the Church of Herbangelism?
Godzillla Verses #71 - (DeChancie) Since the Eaton Collection of S-f, Fantasy & Horror at the UCRiverside Library is constantly being added to (and just got my 800+-box donation, probably too recently to add to statistics), it is difficult to compare its size to other collections. Is Forry Ackerman's collection still in one piece at the S-F Museum in Seattle, or was it split up with the S-F Museum only getting some of it? But if the Eaton Collection is not the world's largest s-f collection yet, it must be approaching that status. ## Amazon.com lists The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose, by Keith Scott (1st edition St. Martin's Press, June 2000; paperback also St. Martin's, November 2001) as available, used in the hardcover edition and new in the paperback reprint. Both the Los Angeles County and Los Angeles Public libraries have it available, if you want to read it without buying it. ## Yes, thrush is also a disease. I was surprised when I learned the bird usually known as a robin in America is actually a thrush. The genuine robin is an English bird, entirely different. ## "Never say never again," but I hope you can stay in L.A. (sleeping through Cinema Anime meetings?) from now on.
An Innate Quibbling of Enjoyment - (Cantor) I shudder to think of what your stringsaver zine for me may look like if you have not updated it in "a while". ## As long as the company that made my wheelchair acknowledges that it owes me a right brake extender that I can lock/unlock with my left hand, we have a valid excuse to continue to nag them about it, starting with when they expect to get the extender. Lee Gold, can you ask if they have an estimated arrival date for the part yet?
I Alphabetically Queue - (Gold) The proper titles of those two novels by Clive Woodall are One for Sorrow, Two for Joy and Seven for a Secret (Never to be Told). There is a full-page advertisement for the former (the U.S. edition) in the January 2006 Locus which quotes rave reviews, although in my opinion anyone who reads it will get more sorrow than joy (unless they like Eye of Argon-type bad writing). According to the first paragraph of a story (which reads like a press release) in School Library Journal, "Could U.K. supermarket manager Clive Woodall be the next J. K. Rowling? That's what one small publisher is banking on. And so far, so good. Released in March, Woodall's bedtime story has taken England by storm, with enthusiasts hailing the 47-year-old first-time novelist as the next publishing phenomenon. Disney has already laid down $1 million for the film rights to Woodall's fantasy tale, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy (Ziji/Gerald Duckworth), which was brokered by filmmaker Franc Roddam, who also published the book." If anyone in fandom has read Ace Books' U.S. hardcover edition, I would like to see their comments on it. I have not seen any signs of the public or of fandom raving over Woodall's novels, or even being aware of them at all. ## Powell & I brought your plastic raincoat with us to the Cinema Anime meeting just in case it was raining again when the meeting ended, although since it was not, I did not need the coat. It was reassuring to have it, in any case. ## The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is also the last Heinlein novel that I enjoyed, although I am not sure I would call it his best book. It is certainly not my favorite Heinlein novel, although I cannot make up my mind which is. Most of my favorites are among his 1950s novels, although I also love Sixth Column, the first s-f novel I ever read.
Fish Out of Water #153 - (Helgesen) Wallet-sized calendars are what I meant. ## I never heard or meant to imply that the "contest" to slip a risqué reference past Kay Tarrant into ASF was only for new authors. Presumably any s-f authors aware of it would have had to already be active among the s-f pro community. ## Yes, and the English name for Russia's capital city remains Moscow, even though most educated people are aware that the Russians themselves call the city Moskva. ## The Big Bang fulfilling the commandment "Let There Be Light!" was used literally by the solipsistic robot bomb in the s-f movie Dark Star. ## Your query about Southern California s-f conventions predating the 1958 SoLACon has already been answered. The question of whether it is worth the effort to correct the Eaton Collection (or whoever at the UCRiverside Library writes its publicity) remains.
Luny Tunes #8 - (Castora) National Gorilla Suit Day! January 31st! Dawk! ## The GR LNTRN license plate could belong to one of the comic book's writers or artists, not just a fan. It might be interesting to find out who the car's owner really is. ## But "Jay" Ward's actual name, or the earliest form of it he made public in the first press releases about Crusader Rabbit in 1948, was J. Troplong Ward. What did the J. really stand for? ## According to most American history books, the Republican Party bosses at the 1920 convention spent only one night in the infamous Smoke-Filled Room discussing which potential candidate would be the most controllable by them if elected, and they picked Harding. ## Dieticians at three hospitals have given me a long list of foods to avoid, most of which I have forgotten, but it includes lots of stuff usually considered healthy like spinach and broccoli (anything with Vitamin K). I was also turned down for a flu vaccination when the hospital gave them to patients recently because I was told it would react badly with my regular medication.