Zineophile(From Proper Boskonian 39, January 1997)

by Bob Devney

From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, 1992:

fan•ac or FAN•AC (fan ak ) n. Slang. The activities of fans, especially fans of science fiction or skateboarding, usually involving the organization of conventions or writing of articles. [Perhaps FAN2 + AC(TIVITY).]

fan•zine (fan zen) n. An amateur-produced fan magazine distributed by mail to a subculture readership and devoted to the coverage of interests such as science fiction, rock music, or skateboarding. [FAN2 + MAG(AZINE).]


Apparatchik, #66, August 29, 1996 • Edited and published by Andy Hooper, carl juarez, Victor Gonzalez • The Starliter Building, 4228 Francis Ave. N. #103, Seattle, WA 98103 USA • Or inquire at fanmailAPH@aol.com • 12 pages including covers • 8 1/2 x 11 • Available for letter, article, trades (to both Andy & Victor), etc. (the usual); or 1 year for $12, lifetime $19.73

Yes, there are reasons why Apparatchik and Editor Andy Hooper both placed in the top 5 for this year's Hugo Awards. Energy, intellect, and the finest kind of amateur "professionalism" being the top three.

Getting something this good out every 3 weeks is not an adventure, it's a life. The Apparatchiki are seriously devoted to quality writing; many of the pieces in this zine are archetypal personal essays, with arc and deep infrastructure. There's more here than meets the eye. Probably literally - the editors boast of leaving lots on the cutting room floor.

Remaining are crisp stories about fandom plus anything else that looms large enough in someone's life to generate a serious need to write about it. All in a good hardworking layout, the old reliable two-column format on white paper (including self-covers) broken up nicely with titles, boxes, occasional stylish cartoons, and a great collection of prominent callout quotes.

These last - a great idea - originate not from the stories but from anywhere else in the editors' reading. (My favorite here: "There must be a sinister explanation." Maybe from FOSFAX?)

This time, Hooper starts by relating a discussion with fellow Apakistas in which he proposes that Gilligan "is Caliban, the walking id." Seems the Professor is Prospero, Mary Ann is Miranda, Ginger is Ariel, the skipper is Antonio, Mr. and Mrs. Howell are Alonso and Sebastian. While you're still trying to calm the tempest of horrified reaction this proposal arouses in your breast, he segues from the Island to Laetoli, Tanzania and some quite insightful musings on Australopithecine footprints.

Dan Steffan contributes a substantial TAFFboy report on his English trip, beginning by transporting you to a street market in East Ham, London, not on the main tourist map. Understandably: "The way the air smelled that afternoon was unforgettable. It was like inhaling next to an incontinent camel standing in the middle of a field of rotting papayas . . ." This evocatively sets the stage for picaresque wanderings around fan Rob Hansen's garden and to an Indian restaurant. You hear about nipple rings, bongs, Hansen's world-famous Fannish Landmarks and Pub Crawl, and an admission from Avedon Carol that she had recently shaved her legs for the first time in more than a decade. Thanks for sharing, Dan, Avedon.

Ted White announces his return to column writing as Dr. Fandom. Among his bits is half a page arising from the death of Marguerite Ganser Dorste of that urpunk 1960s girlgroup The Shangri-Las. However, he neglects to remind less erudite readers why they might have heard of the group: 1964's "Leader of the Pack." Oh, that.

Mark Manning proves again that fans read everything: in this case, the Apophthemata. This is a Greek Orthodox Christian collection of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, starving sunstruck hermit monks gafiating in Syria and the Sahara around 150 A.D. Pestered by pilgrims for advice, sunburnt old Father Arsenius replied, according to Manning, "'Will you put into practice what I say to you?' They promised him this. So he said, 'If you ever hear that Arsenius is anywhere, do not go there!'" Hhmm, "Don't go there." Add to my upcoming collection, Secret Origins of 90s Street Slang.

Then there's Pam Wells with a trif report on London's Farber Day celebrations, held to raise funds enabling American fan Gary Farber to visit Britain. Victory in the women's round of the erotic fruit eating contest was gobbled up by multitalented author Sue Mason. Would the festivities raise enough to bring Gary Britwards? Since today's Ansible (December 1996) reports that Gary has returned to America from his month's stay, guess so. Sometimes this reviewing gig has more lag time than a string-and-Dixiecup voice circuit with Uranus.

Also from Britain, Steve Green says British horror fandom may finally be developing a sense of community. The group that preys together stays together . . . Back in Seattle, Lesley Reece takes the time for a enjoyable little personal essay about breaking down and finally buying a watch. "By the time I got to the ninth store, I was ready to buy an alarm clock and wear it around my neck on a piece of string." . . . And Editor Victor Gonzalez, a journalist in so-called real life, bids hello to political reportage, farewell to mayhem with a wistful little piece on his last plane crash.

One of the chicest glories of Apparatchik is the famous Fanzine Countdown. This particular trisennight, heroic Hooper read 17 zines and wrote terse, insightful reviews of Attitude #8; Trap Door #16; Plokta Vol. 1, #2; Quipu #6; and The Best of Anzapa, Vol. 15, 1982/83. He loves Attitude as much as I do, and also makes me long to read the rest.

Speaking of "me long," me am running over here. So let's just say the letter column has great stuff from, among others, George Flynn, the Voice of NESFA in the fanzine world; Vin¢ Clarke, the Bane of PC Keyboarders; and my friend Ian, the Big Gunn of Australian Fan-Art and -Ac.



Idea, Vol. 2, No. 9, August 1995 • Editor Geri Sullivan • Toad Hall, 3444 Blaisdell Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55408-4315 USA • 58 pages including covers • 8 1/2 x 11 • Available for letter, article, trade, etc. (the usual)

Idea might be an ideal present for a non-fan who wants to know what fanzines are like. It takes the qualities of a number of zines and slightly exaggerates them to maximum (good) effect. It's humorous; cheery; often in fact nutty. Light on actual discussion of SF. Heavy on good graphics and art, with more photos of fans than any other amateur zine I've seen. (So THAT'S what Joseph Nicholas looks like!) Full of invigorating diversity. And ending with a letter from her farm in Argentina by Mae Strelkov, who always manages to persuade me while under her spell that fans are the best and most interesting people in the universe.

Aside from dogs.

Who show their winning ways in several places throughout the issue: starting with the dead-ringer 1950s-comic-book-style Dan Steffan cover, which recalls the time that Editor Geri Sullivan's then-new American Water Spaniel, Willow, ate the kitchen floor. Several pieces in the letter column also give Sullivan advice about teaching her old cat new acceptance of her dog. And elsewhere, English fan Skel contributes a wry article (with great illos by Ken Fletcher) on topics such as how he chose to adopt a Yorkshire terrier, "or a 'long-haired rat' as some have described them." But in the alternative, he reminds us that teaching, say, stick insects to sit, stay, and fetch "can take sodding years!"

The Fletcher cartoons and Steffan cover illustrate just two examples of the high frequency and quality of visual elements in Idea. Graphics by other artworld giants such as Brad Foster, Steve Stiles, Bill Rotsler, and Jeff Schalles are deployed with great effect to make every spread snap.

Crackle and pop are supplied with convention reports by Aileen Forman, Geri Sullivan herself, James White, and someone who internal evidence suggests may be Gary Farber.

Forman explains that she isn't a fanzine fan, just a fanzine writer. Nevertheless her friendly, chatty report shows her to be a big fan of everyone who showed up at Las Vegas for the April 1995 Corflu 12, the premier fanzine convention. Then Sullivan pops in with 5 ½ pages -mostly photos taken at the same venue, plus at Corflu 6, Corflu 9, and for good measure during a 1992 summit at the home of top British fan Vin¢ "Well typewriter keyboards had cent signs" Clarke.

White, long-time pro and legendary mainstay of Irish Fandom, contributes a totally charming advance-planning look at Worldcon 3000 A.D. Seems the committee will use time travel and faster-than-light starships to shuttle all worthy fans plus primo GOHs such as Wells, Stapledon, (Doc) Smith, and Weinbaum (he forgot Heinlein and of course Burstein) to the convention locus. Which is imagined as a glorious year-long luau inside a custom-built, hollowed-out fanplanetoid.

Put me down for a suite.

Wait, there's more! Chicago fan Kathryn J. Routliffe proffers an emotional (and genuinely touching) account of her 20th high school reunion in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia. Jeff Schalles has a perfect little personal essay - that's a distinct art form, one he's obviously mastered - on gardening, the desktopped death of fine typography, Jerry Garcia, and Wilhelm Reich. R.J. Berlien offers "The Polite Person's Guide to Chicago, " positing that profane personal abuse actually acts as social lubricant. Cumoffit, Berlien, ya loudmouth jerk.

Let's fade out with the anonymous con report by Gary Farber on Maryland's 1994 Corflu Nova. At 8 pages, deservedly the bull moose article in the issue. The apotheosis of its sainted form, this piece is full of in-jokes, rueful recollection, vulgarity, hilarity, sleeplessness - and a completely misplaced faith that unnecessary overcapitalization has Ever in the History of the World been for a Single Instant Anywhere Near funny. (See?) But there are many more hits than misses here. Such as the observation that returning to fandom after long abstinence is "not at all like coming to a high school reunion. No, it's like high school has never stopped . . . except that it's the high school alternate world where you were successful and popular."

And there's the wonderful moment when the narrator meets an old friend, Edie Stern, and tells her about an operation he had involving a certain anesthetic procedure. "Epidural" is the word he's searching for. But he hunts around for it a fatal moment too long. "I had an -an -"

Edie, helpfully: "Episiotomy?"


Gradient #14, June 1996 • Edited and published by Robert Sabella • 24 Cedar Manor Court, Budd Lake, NJ 07828-1023 USA • Tel (201) 691-0733, e-mail bobsabella@aol.com • 32 pages including covers • 8 1/2 x 11 • No availability info, but hey, the guy is crying out above for you to write, call, or e-mail

You know this is a profoundly personal fanzine - a paradigmatic perzine- from the first feature article. Entitled "Why China?," it leads with the sentence "I tend to have an obsessive-compulsive personality."

Not that you have to take Editor Sabella's word for this.

Just look at his Spartan, almost painfully clean layout. Probably 12 point body copy in a clear Roman face; two columns on white paper; suicidally generous margins; three small Terry Jeeves graphics the only visuals in 32 pages. Did I mention double-line paragraph spacing AND big para indents? There can't be a fanzine around that makes it easier to read its text.

After all my whining about other zines whose creators tamp in as much flyspeck copy as a muscled-up Ben & Jerry's counterperson hand-packing a pint of Chubby Hubby, I should be the last to complain. But by now, such legible luxury makes me slightly nervous.

"Earnest" is probably the best word to sum up the tone of Sabella's contributions, which make up the bulk of the issue. This is not the most sophisticated, multilayered prose around. But Sabella - a high school math teacher in Parsippany, New Jersey, and apparently quite a good one - knows how to put stuff up on the board for easy comprehension. His writing style is clear, repetitions and all, and his twin obsessions - Chinese history/literature and science fiction - should have inherent interest for many fans.

The China article starts with a long history of Sabella's SF reading. Beginning with Tom Swift, he swiftly went on to become a compulsive collector of Galaxy and Worlds of If magazines . . . then a compulsive maker of "best of" lists, whose maintenance completely dominated his reading schedule. Until last year, when his student-turned-mentor/friend Fei Fei 1) pointed out that inflexibly reading only for his lists was stupid, and 2) got him interested in her native country, China.

So now he's inflexibly against the making of "best of" lists. Sigh. But his literary tastes have relaxed, at least, leading to this issue's chief thesis: reading about China offers "everything science fiction does." Including a 5000-year-old culture so different that it delivers SF's sense of wonder in full, with exotic settings, adventure, fascinating military tales, and rich philosophy and characterization.

He highly recommends Mo Yan's Red Sorghum, a novel of a Chinese village under Japanese occupation in the 1930s; Jung Chang's Wild Swans, a memoir of three generations of the author's family whose emotional power Sabella claims equals the impact "of any science fiction book I had ever read"; and Yale scholar Jonathan Spence's far-ranging essay collection Chinese Roundabout.

Elsewhere in the issue, Sabella also urges skeptics to take a second look at Deepak Chopra's books on the mind-body connection and its importance to health. But if you're too open-minded, Robert, your brains falls out.

An article on SF's essence picks out authors who excel in several categories that Sabella considers essential: including Delany for milieu, especially in Triton and the Neveryon books; Stapledon, Clarke, and Card for thought-provoking theme; and for characterization, his dark-horse-favorite SF writer, Michael Bishop.

The issue's nine-page letter column mostly reinforces the importance of being earnest. But then, for those of us who like some raisins in our bran:

An eight-page Steve Carper study (Part 1 of 2) of the various radio, TV, and movie versions of Superman takes us up, up, and away. Breezy, light-hearted, encyclopedic, insightful, it made my day. Also my night, since I talked about it nonstop at the office Christmas party. "George Reeves . . . is the classic smirking Clark Kent . . . a smile never seems to leave his lips. 'I look exactly like Superman,' you can practically hear him say, 'I know things only Superman would know, I disappear mysteriously in time of danger with no good explanation and I'm never seen again until Superman leaves, and you still can't figure it out? This is more fun than setting puppies on fire with my X-ray vision.'"

Have Bag Will Travel, TAFF Bulletin #1 & 2, August 23-24 & 28-29, 1996 • Edited and published by Martin Tudor • 24 Ravensbourne Grove (off Clarkes Lane), Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 1HX, U.K. • #1, 6 pages; #2, 8 pages, both including covers • 8 1/2 x 11 • Completed series available for minimum TAFF donation equivalent of £5 (£3 inside U.K.), inclusive postage/handling; checks/money orders payable to "Martin Tudor"

Herein, Martin Tudor reaffirms the view that all English SF fans are sozzled butt-suckers. Look, even an unbiased observer might allow that they do drink and smoke a bit (OK, a megabit) and then go on about it in their fanzines. Which compensatorily display above-average writing, wit, and virulent political opinions.

These two issues more or less qualify. When the narrative hits the occasional dull patch, remind yourself it was written by a man who was very tired.

For those who still have a life and are not yet totally submerged (glug) in fannish culture: this is a TAFF report. TAFF stands for Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund. From what I gather (glug glug), money raised by fanzine auctions, bakes sales, etc. sends one British fan (elected by popular fan vote) to an American con. Also vice versa. The lucky fan is expected to spread goodwill, party hearty, and issue a trip report sometime afterward. (Apparently, in certain cases, way way afterward. Glug glug glug.)

What's slightly unusual about this particularly daffy TAFFy is that he decided to write and publish his trip report, in installments, from a borrowed laptop, DURING the trip. A trip in which he (accompanied by his wife and co-alcotobacconist Helena) flew around the world, attended a small fanzine con (Toner in Las Vegas), drank and smoked and partied, hit a big Worldcon (LACon in Los Angeles), drank and smoked and partied, and, before I forget, stayed up late every night for about 3 weeks drinking and smoking and partying. Thus, a fairly fatigued fellow.

As revealed by the first installment, some of the drinking may have been due to what happened before Tudor left. Like losing his job, suffering a postal strike, having his bank slam shut his account, learning his old job wanted to pay his last check into his tightly closed account, being notified his passport would be invalidated because his closed account bounced the check, having his fanzine copier break down (twice), almost missing his ride to the airport, and finally hearing his flight announced for . . . Gate 13.

Once aboard the plane, which somehow failed to plummet from the sky because the airline had bounced a check, the couple's fortunes seem to smooth out. In fact, in another departure from trip report tradition, Tudor says nothing nasty about airline food. Perhaps he sprinkled beer-soaked tobacco over it.

Installment the second takes you deep into Toner, which in Tudor's account seems more than merely a banquet for the mind. Although at a pre-con party he admires fans Arnie and Joyce Katz's "dining area complete with a serious, collating-sized table," he notices that local organizers realize a great truth: A fan marches on its belly.

"Then Joyce announced that dinner was served - dinner? We'd all been stuffing our faces for hours, but yes there was more to come . . . After a while both mind and stomach overloaded - Vegas fans are seriously into food!" Later, he heard "all about cans of Japanese helium beer from Karl [Kreder]"; went on a "bar stagger"; and discovered the "Las Vegas Club casino bar . . . I downed a number of glasses of the best beer I'd found yet - Rhino Chase Peach Wheat."

There are vague rumors here of a few program panels at the con itself. But mostly Tudor misses these by being busy writing or snoozing. Amazingly, he manages to publish Bulletin #1 by his third day in-country. Then counts good-natured coup on a rival.

"It was a great buzz handing out the first installment - the look of chagrin and venomous hatred from fellow fan fund winner [the Australian Down Under Fan Fund's] Perry Middlemiss being worth all of the effort in itself!"

A fanzine auction winds up part #2, where "an autographed, hard-cover copy of THE LEAKY ESTABLISHMENT by Dave Langford . . . fetched a disappointing $11.00." Although "RASTUS HOHNSON'S CAKEWALK from Pickersgill fetched a very respectable $35.00."

And there we must leave Master Tudor. To find out more, you'll have to send a check for the complete fanzine series. Or you could try just a pack of Camels . . .


Muse 134, Spring/Summer 1996 • Created by Steven desJardins • 1711 Massachusetts Ave. NW #134, Washington, DC 20036 U.S.A • E-mail to sdj@sff.net or stevendj@cqi.com • 16 pages including self-covers; no page numbers, dammit! • 8 1/2 x 11 • Available for $1.00 per issue or at the whim of the author

This zine has an unadorned layout (white paper with one or two columns of small but readable type, no visuals) and an enigmatic-to-the-newcomer title. (That 134 isn't an issue number, it's part of the permanent banner.) But not surprisingly for a perzine, what is mostly has (aside from three or four lively pages of letters and SFF Net posts) is the personality of Steven desJardins, its sole proprietor.

After reading this issue, here's what we know about Steven so far. Computer guy, works for the IRS. Unmarried, but with a 2-year-old niece he dotes upon. A con-goer; attended Disclave and Worldcon this year, and helped out at Lunacon. Good writer; a quiet style that seems to grow more eloquent and thoughtful as the issue progresses. Plus a few other salient characteristics that help give this solid zine its surprise-around-every-corner flavor:

He takes the road less traveled. Among desJardins's favorite authors is Stanley Weinbaum. OK, if you're reading Proper Boskonian, chances are you've at least heard Weinbaum's name. But how about Ferenc Santa? Ho ho ho, gotcha! Or the Orcadian writer George Mackay Brown? (If you guessed that the adjective "Orcadian" refers not to Tolkien's Orcs but the Scottish islands of Orkney, you win free haggis.) Other examples? There's one of desJardins' ideas for a Web site: "the mighty Shakespeare, Bard of Thunder page, to feature Hamlet's soliloquy as . . . written by Stan Lee" (creator of the Thor comic books). As a movie critic, instead of Son of Explosion Man he does perceptive reviews of films such as Kimia from Iran, The Monkey Kid from China, and The Garden from Slovakia. And for book reviews, he passes up The Explosion Man Cookbook to review the memoirs of Frederick Porter Wensley. Oh, you mean the British policeman who, serving from 1887 to 1929, became Chief Constable of Scotland Yard and created the Flying Squad - bobbies with autos and radios? Quite.

He's geeky. His light reading recently included 700 pages on Java and 1100 on Linux. Naturally, he has his own Web page, a geekmeister fashion accessory that has replaced the pocket protector and million-button calculator of a simpler age. Address: http://www.sff.net/people/sdj. In discussing it, he also answers a question I'd had concerning the disappearance of Greyware, a locus containing SF authors' home pages. DesJardins reveals to those who don't follow these things that "SFF Net is The Service Formerly Known as Greyware."

He's disabled. I considered heading this paragraph "He's gimpy," in the spirit of a college friend who was a leukemia victim; her roommates called her "Leuk." "You gimpy?" is a question desJardins has a character ask him in a dream narrative, his dream self replying "Yeah, I said. Bad spinal cord." But if you reviewed my own character there'd be a big paragraph headed "He's wimpy," so I'll settle for the D word. DesJardins himself doesn't seem to regard disability as his alpha or omega. He just mentions it in medias res. His last page reprints Christopher Reeve's speech to the Democratic convention this summer. But rather than taking a disabled person's perspective, desJardins talks about the difficulties of creating effective rhetoric. He's not so bad himself, commenting on Reeve's message: "In an age where the mainstream is anti-government and the fringe is building bombs, it is important to remember the value of social power harnessed in the service of the public good."

He's a recovering fiction writer. This Clarion graduate has now given up fiction. "[B]ecause the distance between where I was and 'good enough' seemed to have shrunk to a gap I couldn't cross. The skill was there. What was missing was the content. A writer has to be interested in people, and I've slowly come to realize that I'm

not . . . And by the time I quit I was comfortably into a routine of fanwriting, which gives me another outlet for saying whatever it is I have to say." Careful, Steven: that way madness lies.

He leaves you wanting more. "I agree about my writing seeming to end too abruptly, and . . . I haven't the faintest idea what to do about it


WOOF #16, September 1996 • Published by the Worldcon Order of Faneditors • Founder Bruce Pelz, Cover Mark L. Blackmun [sic], Collator Victoria A. Smith • Twenty-First Annual Capsule • LACon III, Anaheim, California • mostly 8 1/2 x 11 • 16 pages including covers

Some people just can't pass up the chance to take another bite of the apa. Yes, those zany faneditors are at it again. Crazy to pub their ishes at the drop of a gavel, it seems a few of them bring their zines to Worldcon every year, staple 'em up, and ship 'em out together in one big bundle.

This year's melange commences with a fairly rudimentary first page. It includes a table of contents, a list of masquerade and Retro Hugo Award winners, and a few paragraphs on new business. Chief (bad) news here is that it's dawning on world fandom - anent next year's Worldcon site - that the two main hotels are on opposite sides of the convention center. And that "to walk from the center to one of the hotels is like the walk at Confrancisco [sic] from the Moskone [sic] Center to the Parc 55 hotel. (Bring a big water canteen if you try to walk between the hotels during the daytime!)" Oh good, my main worry about San Antonio in August had been, would I get enough strenuous exercise outside?

Inside, Mark L. Blackman runs tiny rivulets of what electron microscope examination shows to be type from edge to edge of the four packed pages of his Yellow Matter Custard #15. Squint through the pain, though. You'll discover he's got a good idea here: kind of a Christmas letter to fandom about every interesting con, book, or fannish event he's experienced since the last Worldcon. Nice style and selection. At Lunacon '96, for example: "I attended a panel, 'Why Can't New York City Get a Worldcon?'; a few of the panelists were among the reasons." Also, GOH Terry Pratchett says a paleontologist is naming a newly discovered extinct species of turtle after him. Blackman gripes about the surreal layout that causes the con hotel to be nicknamed "the Escher Hilton." And adds that at the Lunarians' annual picnic, Dr. Charles Pellegrino "suggested that LAPD Det. Mark Fuhrman had planted that space iridium and framed the asteroid for killing the dinosaurs." [Mark L. Blackman, 1745 East 18th St., #4A, Brooklyn, NY 11229, U.S.A.]

For a more (well, almost entirely) graphic approach, there's Cornetto's Column. This is a page of Furry Fandom cartoons. (Assuming those big, sheaf-shaped objects on his characters' heads are ears and not feathers. If the latter, maybe these are Native American cartoons). On the reverse, Cornetto features an ad for I-CON XVI, April 2-4 in Stony Brook, NY. It highlights a really first-rate foursome of writers to attend: Joe Haldeman, Nancy Kress, Charles Sheffield, and Martha Soukup. (Martha didn't make Boskone last year, disappointing her big fans the Devney brothers.) [John Cornetto, 42 Hanrahan Ave, Farmingville NY 11738, U.S.A.]

In Trash Barrel, creator Dondald Franson saves an old, pure fannish format from the scrapheap. On 2 pages, in sometimes faded typewriter type, he presents capsule listings of 21 fanzines. Often with a comment or two on each. Donald shoots straight. Approves of Cube: "Fine example of what a clubzine should be." Unlike De Profundis: "I hate to say this, but this is the worst example of a clubzine extant." Hope he likes PB. My god, terseness is catching. [Donald Franson, 6543 Babcock Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91606-2308, U.S.A.]

I'm not much of an antiquarian, but blurry purple type on yellow paper brings back faint memories of tests my high school teachers mimeo'd. However, most of the blurry purple text on the two pages comprising Tales From The Frozen North concerns Syquest drives, MIDI gear, and doing program guides in semi-editable HTML. So two technological eras appear to be coexisting here. Along with neat talk about collecting piano rolls, playing in a newly formed community gamelan ensemble, and living the tragic consequences of having friends come to believe you're trying to build a collection of ugly ceramic fish. There'll always be a fandom. [Dean C. Gahlon, 3553 Pleasant Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55408, U.S.A.]

If you liked La mystere des voix Bulgares, you'll love Seleniko, a Green Linnet Release from the Finnish folk-rock group Varttina . . . E-mail "smilies" may be substituting for taking time to use careful phrasing that avoids misunderstandings . . . A certain Bessel Function describes, among other things, the circularly symmetric vibrations of a (circular) drumhead . . . An old HP-41C calculator makes a pretty fair alarm clock. Thus the highlights from the 1-page Report From Hoople. No relation to Mott, I believe. [Roger Hill, 300 S. Main St., #5, Edwardsville, IL 62025, U.S.A. E-mail: rhill@siue.edu]

OK, so Nine Thousand Iced Teas No Lemon has big clear laser type on white paper with big bold headings and decent margins. But I just hate the big ugly quasi-William-Morris border on all 6 pages. Almost as much as the zine's producer, Michael Mason of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, hates his life right now. His new boss has always loathed him and is equally cherished by his coworkers who long ago nicknamed her "Hitler," his beloved grandmother has died, and his favorite cousins are divorcing due to mental illness. Finally, another colleague who just left without saying goodbye was, is, and probably always will be the hopeless love of his life. I could trick up another flippant end-comment here, but the truth is I'm moved by the man's suffering. Hang in there, Michael. [Michael Mason, 12439 Magnolia Blvd 196 North Hollywood, CA 91-607-2450. E-mail: Caldesilk@aol com]

Let's see, what else. Ytterbium is a four-page listing of Australian fanzines, enlivened by titles such as Babbling On, Severed Head, and Get Stuffed. Plus four world-class cartoons by the astonishing Ian Gunn. I particularly like the eyes and posture of the guy who comes upon the recently shattered case in the arachnid zoo labeled "GIANT HORSE EATING SPIDER." [Alan Stewart, PO Box 222, World Trade Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, 3005 AUSTRALIA. E-mail: a.stewart@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au]

Then there's a flyer for Aussiecon Three in September 1999, Melbourne. GOHs: George Turner, Gregory Benford, Bruce Gillespie. Current full price to attend: US$140. To support: US$35. [Aussiecon Three, G.P.O. Box 1212K, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia or P.O. Box 266, Prospect Heights, IL 60070-0266, USA. Web: http://www.maths.uts.edu.au/staff/eric/ain99]

Last and most fun, there are two pages of a hoaxzine, Sempervivum. These things are always lively, don't you think? Supposedly "by William d'Bayeux," it features captions such as "Presentation of the Hugo Awards" and "WSFS business meeting." The visuals: stiffly posed renderings of ceremony and butchery from the famous tapestry of the Norman Conquest. What tipped me off was that none of the knights wear glasses, and they're all so thin.