Beam 07 : LoCs 03

JOHN NIELSEN HALL

That is probably the single funniest article Andy Hooper has ever written. I laughed like a chorus of drains. Unfortunately, those who would be ( or ought to be) most chastened by such satire probably won’t read it.

Speaking of being chastened, that was me on reading Kat Templeton. I cannot speak for any North American fans, but in relation to the U.K. at least those of us of a certain age and of a common fannish background are probably a very “in” group to those outside it. When Jacq was here on her TAFF trip last year, I frequently found myself stopping and explaining ( or, rather, trying to explain) what it was I was talking about, and ending up by admitting that perhaps you had to be there. Its not much of an excuse. On the other hand, I am always amazed by how much a comparatively very young person like Sandra Bond knows about fannish history, which knowledge she has largely obtained by the voracious reading of fanzines going back to prehistoric times.For all I know, Kat has done the same, and if she has not I do not suggest that doing so would make her feeling of being an outsider in our fandom any less, but in all those fanzines lies our history and the much of the common ground that, here in the U.K. at least, we take for granted. But I feel we old farts must resolve to try and do better.old fart illo

I agree with Jim’s conclusions on e- fanzines. What is needed is to restore the sense of a fanzine being something crafted and personal between the editor and the readers, which, at present pdfs on Bill’s site do not do. ( Which, obviously, is not his fault.) E- readers may well be the way to go. But you will still have the problem of most of the older generation of fans not having any e- reading devices apart from their computers. Can you imagine most of the readership of Relapse settling down to read the latest collection of learned papers of fannish archaeology on a Kindle? No, neither can I.

Andy’s article was tremendous fun and I feel privileged that it was in our zine. I think this subject (gender parity) is going to run for some considerable time and we will often have occasion to refer people back to that fine satire on the subject.

I’m not sure that we will find a slower take-up among older people. It actually seems to be older people who are leading the rush toward use and ownership of e-reader devices. One of the reasons may be related to a little problem of my own that I’ve just encountered (no, not that one – how do you know about that anyway?). I was reading some text recently and found it seemed a little too small for me to read. However, I thought I had read something of similar size only a few weeks ago. I mentioned this to a friend at the time and he chucked his reading glasses across at me. I tried them and the words were crystal clear. It seems my eyes have suddenly decided that they are receding into old age. Every day now I’m finding text that I could read only a few months ago is just a blurred collection of squiggles. It’s all most disconcerting. My Kindle is a blessing here though as it is the work of a moment to increase the text size on the screen and I can read text comfortably again without feeling that I’m squinting at it. My mother and my wife’s mother have both started reading books on Kindles recently so I think there is going to be a very large take-up among older people for e-reader technology.

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