Beam 07 : LoCs 05

ROBERT LICHTMAN 

I loved Steve Stiles’ Alien Flashing cover on Beam #6! And Andy Hooper’s riff on the next step beyond mere gender parity was a hoot. I could take a side trip here and express in detail my view that Gender Parity In All Things is a crock, but I’ll avoid all that and say that from my admittedly heterosexual point of view it works best in sexual matters. Others’ mileage will undoubtedly vary, and I’m okay with that.

In Catherine Crockett’s article I resonated most with her statement that “it should not cost the guest anything to attend the con, they should not have to make their own arrangements for anything unless they prefer to, and the concom should be hospitable to them.” I’ve only been a guest of honor twice over the years, having successfully avoided (mostly by payment of bribe money) having my name drawn from a hat at any Corflu. The first time was in 1991, the very first of the five Silvercons held in Las Vegas. I don’t recall the details of that very well, but I’mpretty sure I didn’t have to pay for my accommodations. That may have been because I stayed with Bill Kunkel, who provided a comfortable bed and excellent hospitality. The other time was in 2002 when Bruce Pelz invited me to be fan guest of honor at that year’s Westercon. He offered a free room, a generous per diem, and a round-trip plane ticket. Preferring to drive, I

declined the latter in favor of gas money. I was well-liaised by various members of the committee, but never had an opportunity to thank Bruce in person since, sadly, he passed away two months before the convention was held. Kat Templeton writes that she was born in November 1978; this makes her nearly two years younger than any of my four sons. She notes that “a large chunk of fandom is made up of people who were fans in the 1960s, which means they had to have been born in the late 40s andearly 50s at the latest. That is, they remember a time before we started going to the moon, let alone stopped. They remember a time before Star Trek, which started the interaction of media and fandom. And they definitely remember a time before that certain little movie from 1977 kicked off the whole transition to what we dub media fandom.” I go back even further, of course, and remember such events as the launching of the first space satellite in 1957. And Star Trek was first aired during a time when, as Kat says for her now, I didn’t “watch a lot of television or movies.” Although still technically a fan when it was first-run, I wasn’t aware of its existence until it had been canceled and Bjo Trimble launched her huge campaign to save it. And that “certain little movie” came out when I was living on The Farm. I remember a huge flap there when a handful of Farm people paid a dollar apiece to see it at a matinee in a small mallbased multiplex and Word Got Out later. Oh, the lack of all sense of proportion! It was commonly accepted (with winks and nods, at least) that people would spend a dollar or so for a soda and a snack while off in town, but…a movie!? Shock! Horror! Anyway, I was glad to come to the end of the article and see that Kat had found a mirror mantra for sticking around fandom.robertLichtman

Nic, you done good with “One Pissed-Up Fanroom Morning” (and “Golden Age” at the back of the issue) and I liked seeing Al Johnston’s Novacon 42 photos, putting faces to some of the names I run across in con reports. Christina Lake, who I saw most recently in Portland last May, looks absolutely radiant in the phoot of her.

I smiled in Alan White’s LosCon report where he wrote that he “shelled out for a large format printer: Epson R2000; an amazing thing. Epson swears the ink quality will last forever, but since forever has yet to occur, I’m not sure how they’d know that.” I think that if Epson manages to be around forever but the ink quality doesn’t hold up they’d do their best to make good on their audacious 21st century claim.

Ron Gemmell writes, “I never met Patrick Moore, never heard him lecture, and never got his autograph. But I did read his books.” That puts him well ahead of me, because I never heard of Mr. Moore until after his death. He does sound like an interesting writer, and when I was eleven years old I certainly would have been fantisted by running across a book in the library with the title The Atlas of the Universe.

In your article, “The 20% Solution,” I wonder if you, Nic, might be referring to me (at least in part) when you wrote, regarding Theresa Derwin’s TAFF candidacy, “other comments and missives were frankly a bit brutal.” You do say you’ve “no interest or desire to rehash who said what, or point fingers,” but I freely admit that when I encountered her initial TAFF promo flyer with its laser-like focus on how she was going to bring the Joys of Gender Parity to we benighted North Americans “Oh joy, we so need that!” was not my first, or even my second reaction. I also thought she played up her professional credentials in a rather overblown way, but that was also secondary. As for the 20% rule, I was around when it was formulated, felt it was a good idea then, and still do despite the “problem” it caused in the 2011 race.

In Jim’s article he writes, “Fans also don’t seem to want to download and print zines from the efanzines website. They want their fanzines to arrive as they have always done, through the post, dropping on to the doormat with a gratifying thud.” Please don’t include me in this, since as my dozens of letters to Arnie’s fanzine make clear I have no problem with downloading. I don’t print all that I download, however, since some of the zines in question I’m merely archiving with at best attention only to the parts that engage me—and rarely resulting in a letter of comment. His statistics about the number of responses selected electronic fanzines receive as compared to my Trap Door and the Fishlifters’ Banana Wings are interesting, but as he points out perhaps a bit skewed due to the popularity of both examples and the fact that both are primarily print fanzines. As for my only putting the previous issue on efanzines once the next one is in the mail, this is so there’s no opportunity for a “free ride” through the current one that could lead to no desire to respond—since, after all, response is the name of the game so far as I’m concerned. I marvel that Chris Garcia feels exactly the opposite. robertLichtman2

Jim contrasts my LoC in this issue to his on the most recent Trap Door, writing that he “focused very much upon a single article that I considered well written and engaging. In my letter of comment I barely mentioned any of that other content all of which was valuable and interesting. It seems to do them a disservice not to mention them and yet when I approached it I had decided that I specifically wanted to single that one out as the one which engaged me most of all.” I don’t feel that your LoC was deficient in any way because of that. Not everyone has the time and/or energy to write a letter covering everything in a given fanzine, but yet wants not to let the issue go by unnoted at all. As a fanzine editor, I receive quite a few letters similar to yours. I’m grateful for them and don’t think less of the writer because they chose that path.

I don’t remember the incident in Mark Plummer’s letter where at the 1989 Eastercon on Jersey I credited him “with asking the hotel to turn down the canned music in the programme room one morning, and I had to decline that credit for that anyway as I’d only left the room to go to the toilet.” I don’t remember this at all, and wonder where I made such crediting.

Response is the name of the game indeed although if it’s the primary goal of the fanzine then wouldn’t an apa be a better tool for that particular job? An apa has more fixed rules that are often spelled out specifically in the admin pages. Everyone contributes and everyone is expected to comment on the contributions of everyone else.

Many thanks for your LoC Robert. I always enjoy the way you skate not only across all the different elements of this fanzine but also touching on the conversations going around elsewhere. I also now have the extra advantage of being able to hear your voice inside my head when I read your words. It was great to meet you, Jay and Dixie in San Francisco during my TAFF trip.

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