CONTENTS: Cover photo of “The Father of Seti” Frank Drake, and his famous equation, Upcoming Events, Obituary for Doug Engelbart (inventor of the computer mouse) and others for actors Michael Ansara, Jeanne Cooper and Karen Black, a LoC from Lloyd Penney (of course!), and articles on Voyager 1 and Drake’s Equation (formula for figuring how many advanced civilizations there might be in the Galaxy). COMMENTS: This issue strong on science and weak on club activity. The editor writes: “This seems to be another month without even a semi-formal meeting…” and blames the lactivity on it being Summer. He states: “I’m getting astronomy articles referred but otherwise am reduced to trolling the net (and finding a depressing number of orbituaries younger than I am).” On the other hand, he advises members to check the club website and their Meetup site for details re future meetings, so presumably the club will revive once summer is over. Hope so. I wonder how many members the club has? BCSFA is tiny, but a dozen or so members enjoy and look forward to the monthly discussion group held in a member’s condo rec-room. The Ottawa SF Society should try something similar, mayhaps.
CONTENTS: Letters of comment (Dave Haren, Lloyd Penney, Michael Bertrand), Calendar, News-Like Matter, ‘Red Planet Blues’ Book Launch Report part 2, Zine reviews. COMMENT: A bare recital of content doesn’t look like much, but (as typically) the calendar is nine pages long detailing recently happened and soon to happen SF&F-related events in the Vancouver Lower mainland area. Everything from a ‘Teen Manga Design Contest’ to special film screenings (Harryhausen films) to Steampunk meetups. Sadly, includes an orbituary for much-beloved local fan Andrew Brechin (he of VCON KidCon fame). The BCSFAzine Calendar is an ongoing record of local SF&F fans in action. News-Like Matter, as always, includes the editor’s account of conversation at the last BCSFA meeting on topics ranging from the 1953 Canadian TV show SPACE COMMAND (with James Doohan as a Scottish engineer in the engine room of a spaceship!) to the closest living relative of a T-Rex, namely a certain breed of chicken in Austria (as determined by DNA study). The letter column is small, but interactive and lively. Joseph Picard’s report on Robert J. Sawyer’s book launch describes the scene well, with mentions of local fandom, though I do wish he had reported on what Sawyer actually said in response to questions. Still, he observed that Sawyer, in response to small questions gives very BIG answers. Not a reluctant lad, is Rob. Always a fascinating speaker. To sum up, BCSFAzine well reflects the interests and activities of both club members and local fans in general. A nicely balanced clubzine that’s fun to read.
Contents: Editorial, Toronto Storm, Moderm Mysteries Solved, Faneds Song, superb Loc Column, Canada Day musings, on Censored, Enditorial. Comments: In his ‘Emotorial’ Taral reveals the joy of social relations and recognition in his fanac means more than SF as an interest, the problem being that it somehow adds up to not being enough. Every fan’s problem really, unless your sense of accomplishment can compensate… Ah the remarkable inconvenience of a major storm, well described… Why do dishes scoot across the counter by themselves? Taral knows. He can even duplicate the ‘mystery.’ Like most ‘mysteries,’ easily explained once you know the answer… Song explaining the decline of Faneds. Great repro of ‘First Fandom’ badge based on the club badge Gernsback used to give out in the early 30s… The extensive loc column concentrates on politics (depressing), the loc column itself, collecting vs hoarding (Taral makes the point that every zine collector thinks he’s preserving a unique collection of great value to future civilization, to which I add it’s no sillier than many an in-house motivational ‘myth’ employed by corporations) and what’s wrong with the Hugos… ‘Notional Holiday’ involves transit travel and dinner with friends, with much puzzlement over crowded conditions on bus and subway till late in the evening when Taral remembers it is Canada Day. I too, now that I’m retired, often fail to notice holidays, discovering them only when the Skytrain is jam-packed. When you are no longer a wage slave, holidays become a nuisance… There follows a thoughtful review of the issues of CENSORED Taral provided for this site… In his ‘Enditorial’ (written to fill in a blank half page) Taral wonders why “Canadian fans are so literal at naming things? Couldn’t Graeme’s site have been named something like ‘The National Gallery of Mimeo Art?’ …no doubt Graeme would say that nobody would find the site then. He may be right. But maybe nobody is looking for it either…” Not counting my own popping in and out to add or adjust things, I’m averaging over fifty visitors a day. This justifies my utilizing my site address as a meta-tag in and of itself. Online, ‘literal’ is a good thing, a necessary thing.
See BROKEN TOYS #19
CONTENT: Editorial: Fandom as cult? I Dream of Jeannie retro-review. Essay on an artist’s work ethic. Steve Stiles Hugo advocacy. Fictional character Saara Mar birthday. Excellent loc column. Essay: In Defiance of the Received Wisdom of Ayn Rand. COMMENT: Perzine.Taral is Canada’s most prolific fan writer and artist. Been going strong since 1970s. His editorial and musings on commissioned art suggest he is getting tired and jaded to the point of ‘Been there. Done that. Nothing new under the sun.’ But also concern over the lack of recognition or egoboo available to fen who put huge effort into fandom/zinedom. I was always under the impression it was ever thus. Still, in the past, at least, zines generated an enormous response percentage compared to say, newspapers (Don’t get excited kid. Tomorrow they’ll use your column to wrap fish.”) Lots of people read newspapers and magazines (even online ones) but few can be bothered to write letters to the editor. Those that do tend to be cranks. In the days of paper hard-copy zines the level of response was both high and (most of the time) relatively civil. Today, ezines are read, but not responded to (either because the reader figures they have no obligation since it cost the editor nothing to send it to them, or because the few fen active in zinedom are too busy producing their own zines to take time out to write locs). Taral seems to think lack of response means no one reads his work, so what’s the point of knocking himself out for nothing? But I think zines are in fact read, and appreciated, enjoyed even, but the modern trend is not to respond, a trend which is unfortunate for faneds as it lessons the influx of egoboo, but is irrelevant to the fact that zines do indeed get read. Hence the rising importance of segoboo (self egoboo) wherein the faned imagines ‘the’ reader who enjoys his work and that’s the person he writes for. Any response, any response at all, is mere icing on the cake. Or to put it another way, I view zinedom as the ideal hobby for solitary individuals who take pride in the creation of their zines and simply assume that other fen appreciate the effort when they read their latest publication. One should not not require ‘proof’ in today’s era since praise is no longer in vogue. In his editorial Taral wonders if fandom is now a ‘cult’ since, to him, all modern fen seem very much alike. Personally, I would call fannish zinedom a ‘religion’, inasmuch as it requires ‘faith’ to be successfully motivated to carry on. In short, the evolution of fandom has transferred emphasis from egoboo to segoboo, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from pubbing their ish in my opinion. It’s just the way things are these days.
See Taral zines
CONTENT: Perzine. Reflections on moving, aging, population growth. Loc column includes fannish fandom advocacy/debate. Articles on convention running, silly editing symbols, Garth’s Society for the Perpetuation of Fandom Facebook group, ‘Who Wants to be a Mad Scientist?’ Taral on US fighter plane competition. COMMENT: The usual eclectic mix, but unusual (in zinedom generally) for emphasis on the motivation and practice of fannish fandom, subjects which most fanzines (oddly enough) avoid completely. I believe it is fair to say that Garth consistently writes from an academic viewpoint, so much so that sometimes even his humour comes across as sercon to those not used to his dryly intellectual style of humour. For the uninitiated everything comes across as deadly serious, which, of course, is not Garth’s intention. The thing is, Garth doesn’t so much ‘live’ fandom as ‘think’ fandom. He can always be counted on to question everything, and in that sense comes across as a bit of a gadfly since most (regular as opposed to fannish) SF fans don’t care about the past, or the future for that matter, they just want to have fun NOW! But to those fans (like myself) who are fascinated by the origins of fandom, revel in current zinedom, and care about where organized fandom is heading, Garth is always interesting and certainly thought-provoking.
See Garth Zines
CONTENT: Clubzine Ottawa SF Society. News on Landset 8 satellite. List of mostly Ontario upcoming conventions. Three book reviews, including 1972 L. Sprague de Camp’s THE FALLIBLE FIEND. Lloyd Penney loc. Articles on old astronomy ideas and spaceport in orbit. COMMENT: Most issues put emphasis on astronomy. This is OK with me, as I like astronomy (especially planetary geology) but might not appeal to all fen (it being a curious fact that many fen ignore space doings as being too mundane!). Editor Grant Duff laments the decreasing amount of fanac in the club, especially as it impacts contributions to the zine. A problem with all clubs these days, it seems. From my experience as ‘God-Editor’ of BCSFAzine years ago, the trick is to convince lots of people to write regular columns (a trick I learned from the previous editor Steve Forty). This involves the care and feeding of said individuals with much egoboo, but no editor can afford to take his/her contributors for granted. In fandom, egoboo is the coin of the realm. Encouraging loc writers another good trick (especially if you can actually manage to do it). A loc column, with editorial interjections, can make for a lively debate that sparkles up any zine considerably.
See OSFS STATEMENT
CONTENT: Brad Foster cover. Opens with loc column. Calendar of Lower Mainland SF&F events thru end August. Notes on last club meeting’s conversation. Assorted SF news items. My open letter to Canadian Faneds. Red Planet Blues book launch report.
COMMENT: Unusual for a zine to open with the loc column, but I like locs, so works well for me. The Calendar is extensive and detailed, giving a good run down of what is going on locally. News items short and varied, which is a good way to do it. Always a good read.