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Lloyd's Locs Box - Fanzine letters of comment Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Lloyd Penney" journal:

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November 27th, 2014
08:08 pm

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Loc on For the Clerisy 81 (Brant Kresovich, ed.)
Dear Brant:

Many thanks for the latest paper edition of For the Clerisy, issue 81. I hope you weren't among those who got that enormous dump of snow on their heads, and hope you aren't affected by the melt and subsequent freeze. This is already a horrible winter for you, and according to the calendar, it hasn't even started yet.

Some urgent news for all readers...found out that P.D. James passed away today. She had a life peerage in the British House of Lords, and died at age 94.

I think like many of Hollywood's earliest start, I believe Mack Sennett was Canadian. A quick look reveals to me that he was born in Danville, Quebec. There were many talented Canadians who saw the emerging Hollywood as a place to go and perform to appreciative crowds, bigger crowds than in places like Montreal or Toronto.

Speaking of Montreal...I like how French-based names in the US are pronounced in English, like as Fred says, Calais and Montpelier. Laliberte is pronounced Lally-berty. How about a French place name like Detroit? As Punch Magazine used to say, Let's Parlez Franglais!

We did get to meet Lev Grossman at the Toronto International Book Fair, and he remembered us from the big Magicians party at the Reno Worldcon. People must have wondered how he knew us, it would just take too long to explain things. Five minutes of chat, got our autographs, and we were away. Yvonne also got her Deborah Harkness books autographed. We were there from Friday to Sunday, and we had a great time, definitely will be back next year!

I make comments on other things rather than the books because I haven't read them. Too many books, and nto enough time, is the readers' plaint. It is now close to that time of year, so Yvonne and I wish your family a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, the whole bit, and see you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 25th, 2014
07:55 pm

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Loc on NASFA Shuttle Vol. 34, No. 11 (Mike Kennedy, ed.)
Dear NASFen:

Thank you for the November Shuttle, and there is always something of interest to find within. Time to find it, and write a few comments on what I find.

Worldcon bids...there are now four bids for 2017, Japan, Finland, Montreal and Washington. Given that Montreal is in the running, that's the only year I am really interested in. That's a difficult year to call; there's some good bids here, and Worldcon fandom will choose based on how much money they have, where they'd like to go, how adventurous they are, and what memories they have.

Not sure what happened with CUFF this year, except that it does look like real life caught up with the winner. Deb Yeung will do a fine job...again.

Greetings to Pie Eyed! Another very readable episode, and in one of Yvonne's favorite universes, the magical one with Hogwarts in it. Very autobiographical, too. PED, any information and technology you could give the humans in this benighted world would be of great service.

My loc...I have officially nominated Wolf van Witting for the 2015 TAFF race, and I wish him the best of luck. If there is another Toronto Worldcon bid, I would expect the Toronto-based bidders and Worldcon runners who are on the committees for Sasquan, the Kansas City bid and other bids to call in favours, and start a bid for a future year for Toronto. We may yet see a Torcon 4. I won't be a part of that committee, I've done my time, but I hope I am right in my suspicions. I agree with you, Mike, about overcommitting. We take stock of what we're doing every few years, and especially when we feel like we are stressed, and we make a decision about what activity to drop, and that decision is never easy.

Must get this to you, and with plenty of time to spare for a change. See you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 23rd, 2014
07:38 pm

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Loc on Broken Toys 32 (Taral Wayne, ed.)
Dear Taral:

It has taken a little time, but now Broken Toys 32 has made it to the top of my loccing list, and I will try to write up a decent loc for you.

Hallowe’en came…and left. We did have a party to go to, but it was cold and damp, and an evening at home is always an opportunity to write or create or get caught up on things. There’s never enough time for everything, and sometimes, no time for anything.

I do get a lot of fanzines, and have read almost everything I get. I have always figured that the least I can do for a fanzine is write a letter of comment. Some disagree with that, and that’s fine. Some think my letters are shit, and that’s fine too. At least I make the effort to write, and I’ve gotten some good words, and some trophies and certificates out of it. They’re meant to make you feel good about what they do, and they generally work. I’m usually on the outside looking in, anyway. Yes, fanzine fandom has changed, but there are times I think we’ve got to spend so much time just making a living that fanzine writing comes along when you’ve got time only, and I’ve had to become expert at time management to get caught up with all the zines I do get.

Bucket lists? There are things I’d like to do, but I am at the age where a bucket list is simply an invitation to disappointment. I will enjoy the accomplishment of what I can do, instead of the anger of what I can’t. Or, can’t afford. I do remember the little plastic disks Sherriff put in their potato chips, and tried to collect them. I also tried to collect the few comic books I could get my hands on, but my mother, rest her soul…my mother had the attitude of you’re not reading those comic books, so you must be done with them, and they can be thrown out. That’s where my plastic disks went, and my comic books, too. I do remember also the little ceramic items you’d find in the Red Rose tea, and at least we still have a lot of them.

Steven must be your best friend to keep you going and be by your side when time are tough. He doesn’t come to our pub nights very often, and we enjoy his company when he does. He’s always got good stories to tell.

It’s interesting to see how wide and deep fandom is, and completely outside our own little corner of it. Explaining curry fandom isn’t the easiest thing to do or understand. I remember the SF needlepoint society Tanith Lee set up many years ago, the fuss over the Trek zine being nominated for the Best Fanzine Hugo, and now explaining steampunk to people unfamiliar with the term. Fandom resembles magic in that it not only larger than you imagine, it is larger than you can imagine. If there was a list of all interests encompassed by fandom, we’d question some, and openly disagree with others.

Bill Plott says that being in journalism is not much fun any more…it may be a profession for the idealist. Not long ago, I met Hana Gartner. She was one of the hosts of the news magazine The Fifth Estate for many years, and she is now retired. I greeted her, shook her hand, and said that I’d been a J-grad, and had hoped to become the next Lloyd on television. (Lloyd Robertson is about my height, 5’4”.) She smiled and said that I was lucky I didn’t get what I wanted, for it is a hard profession, and it’s only the lucky one who actually makes a living at it. I wonder of some of the experienced journalists wonder if they have frittered their lives away.

I have not seen the animated features you mention in the last article, and don’t intend to. And then, there’s lots of really good animated features I probably should see, but probably won’t. So much to see, read, watch and do, and so little time and money. It’s the way of the world, c’est la vie. As I get older, it’s getting tougher to care.

Time to fire it off! I have some data entry and database editorial work to do, and I am getting paid well to do it, but one fine day, I may actually find a place I like to work at, and who likes me enough to pay me well and want me to stay. Or, I will win 6/49, whereupon I will never darken an office door again. Thank you for this, wrote a decent letter, I think, and hope you find it the same. Take care, see you when the next Toys arrive.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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06:30 pm

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Loc on The Drink Tank 390 & 391 (Chris Garcia, James Bacon & Vanessa Applegate, eds.)
Dear Chris:

I’ve got two more issues of The Drink Tank, issues 390 and 391, thanks for those. I will try to make this fast; there’s work in the morning,

390…I wouldn’t wish any of this on anyone, but seeing it’s someone I know, it’s terrible. Brianna and Frank never asked for this, they don’t deserve it, but because Brianna is fairly visible in her field, she is a target. Horrible. I hope they are caught soon and prosecuted. Some could use their diapers changed, too. They probably need this as they must be trembling in their shoes, crapping themselves.

Yvonne and I have never been gamers, but we do know a lot of people who started with games like Settlers of Catan, and gone from there. Table games, LARPing, and into video games for a lot of them.

I can’t really say more about it, other than I pray that this idiocy is over soon, and Brianna can get back to a normal life, and the jerks behind this spend lots of time in prison for this.

391…To Chris, James and Vanessa, hello! If you plan to do more on movies, talk to Alan White, about the friends he had in Hollywood. He’s written about them before in his own fanzines, and he might let you reprint something.

I read the entire issue through, and all I can say is Read and Enjoyed. So much of it is outside my own experience, I can’t write anything knowledgeably.

So, Chris…what’s happening with this zine? Have you determined which zine number will be the last one? Ending it with 400, perhaps? Just got the latest Journey Planet, so it goes in the Zines IN box on the desktop, and have no idea when I will be able to get to that. I hope soon.

Wish this was a better loc, but keeping in touch with you anyway. Take it easy, I am sure the wedding plans are keeping you busy, and see you in the next Garciazine I read.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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04:08 pm

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Loc on Lofgeornost 117 (Fred Lerner, ed.)
Dear Fred:

My thanks for the newest issue of Lofgeornost, no. 117. There's always something new to think about, or even old themes to revisit...

Such as the idea of genre. I have read that genre is the filing system used by literary snobs to file away stories they feel is beneath the title of literature. Perhaps it's been useful to those of us who like a particular kind of story, like SF, fantasy, mystery/detective, suspense, western, sports, etc. It's just a tool for our use, and in the long run, a decent story could be enjoyed by all, if a good tale was really all we wanted.

This past weekend was the Toronto International Book Festival, and it was a great time, like the old industry events of some years ago, but this time, it was open to the public, and the public flooded in. Yvonne and I got to meet our current favorite authors, Deborah Harkness and Lev Grossman, and we came away with a few autographs, and some great chat with friends who are also authors, or who work in the publishing industry.

Come to Toronto...winter is here. Better yet, go to Buffalo, and it looks like south of Buffalo got the entire winter's snow all at once. I gather 30 roofs have collapsed on buildings.

I have enjoyed what I have read of China Mieville, but I think like most people, once I finish the book, I feel like I need a shower.

History is indeed written by the victors, but the rose-coloured glasses and high emotion of the victors mean that the history of very slanted. If only there had been objective observers in all camps ready to write a subjective history. Then, we'd know what really happened.

Yvonne and I have also enjoyed the Brother Cadfael books, and we watched most of the series based on those books on PBS. I haven't watched anything like this on PBS for some time, but I suspect PBS has been cash-starved enough to stop buying shows like that.

I must get going again with what seems a huge workload...I don't have a smartphone, so I make up a single sheet of paper with all the things I have to do and remember on it. The list threatens to go bigger than one page sometimes. Take care, many thanks, and see you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 20th, 2014
08:30 pm

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Loc on BCSFAzine 497 (Felicity Walker, ed.)
Dear Felicity:

Many thanks for issue 497 of BCSFAzine, for the not-as-green-as-it-could-have-been month of Spocktober. Live long, and stay warm! This November, it shouldn't be this snowy and cold! And, we're just up the highway from the Buffalo area, which has had the worst lake-effect snows ever. Stay inside, and write this letter.

I saw the CBC Nature of Things programme about Stonehenge. If you wondered about why they'd build that in the middle of nowhere, it's because this religious ceremonial site was in the middle of everything. There were other formations here and there, and some were meant to be used for crowd control as the community gathered for special events and ceremonies there.

Yes, things have improved for me...I am now working for a private customs agency. However, the boss is a micromanager, so I am thinking it's time to move on, and the hunt continues once more. Money is one thing, but working where you are comfortable is another. Yvonne's current job is a good one, but she's been there about three months, and they has yet to get her a desk and telephone number. She works where there is space, and borrows a phone where she can. It's like they weren't ready for her. Worst thing is that others who have come on board have desks and phones, and she asks why she can't have that, and doesn't get an answer. The contract is for four months, and I don't thing she will stand for a renewal.

The last convention I was at, I had spent the weekend elsewhere, and I only got to see the dealers' room and con suite. And, I was okay with that...sometimes, it's enough. Got caught up with friends, did a little business, had some laughs and a few snacks, all in the space of a few hours.

Technology by itself is not evil or horrible. It's all in how it is used. It's also not to be feared, but it has to be taught properly, especially to older folks (like me) who have some tech experience, but who either can't afford the new tech, or haven't had the chance to learn about it. For example...I don't have a smartphone, and I don't expect to ever have one, but if I ever do get one, I think I'd need a Dummy's Guide or something like that. I would need something to bridge the knowledge gap.

My loc...the Facebook page for Penney's Steampunk General Store is up and running, with several albums of pictures from the assorted shows and conventions we've been to over the last few years. We weren't accepted at the juried show, but it looks like we will be returning to our original convention, Ad Astra, and I will be taking on a role I've never had before there...dealer. I hope it will be a good time for everyone.

Given how Taral has been the subject of a Betascript Publishing instabook, perhaps it's just as well that few others of us have been so prolific. It looks like they didn't ask for permissions at all, assuming that whatever was online was fair game for inclusion. such is the Web these days, and what we choose to scatter across it.

Time to go, and get it to you. Take care, and I'll be looking for the December issue asap.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 19th, 2014
09:01 pm

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Loc on Opuntia 287 - 289 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

The pressures of work are a pain these days, and retirement sure looks good. Unfortunately, it’s 12 years away for me. While a big snowstorm dumps its load on the city, I will say in where it’s warm, and get caught up on three issues of Opuntia, 287 to 289.

287…I’d wonder if Thrilling Typewriter Stories #2 might be considered early steampunk by some of the punkers I know? The technology always improves, but I still wonder if older teach is still good tech. Usually, it is. 3.5” disks seem archaic, but to me storage is storage. I’d like to get a remove 3.5” drive. How many others would be able to read it? That’s secure. There’s a guy in Toronto with an amazing typewriter collection that goes long before the QWERTY board. I don’t think we really fear change; we fear looking out of date. Myself, I don’t mind, but others will buy every model of iPad, and drain their wallets prematurely.

The typewriter ads are great. I still think learning to type is a necessity, but I gather most kids pick it up anyway. I am also in favour of teaching cursive writing, but that’s just me… I could go further, and say that Yvonne has a small collection of fountain pens. Not nearly as bulky as typewriters…

288…What a horrific event in Ottawa. It made Remembrance Day much more meaningful, especially when it was held right at the War Memorial.

Purdy’s is great chocolate, and I know of three locations in Toronto. Buy the stuff? Are you kidding? Not at that price.

289…Always great pictures from the Rockies. If you moved to Calgary for the climate, I suppose I should move away from Toronto. We’re dealing with a very early snowstorm, just the edge of the huge storm that is centered close to Buffalo, New York. Our family moved to Victoria for the better climate in the late 70s, but I didn’t stay there, and neither did they.

I would have loved the chance to perform with an ensemble The War of the Worlds. We almost did that, but there’s too many who are big on words, and small on action. Maybe one day…

The snow ploughs scrape the pavement, the planes are flying low…it’s almost noisy outside. And already, I am starting to fade, and I have a lot more to do tonight. Thanks for these three issues, and I will try to respond to them a little faster next time.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 18th, 2014
09:02 pm

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Loc on Ecdysis 4 (Jonathan Crowe, ed.)
Dear Jonathan, Jennifer and Tamara:

Many thanks for issue 4 of Ecdysis. Good to see it, good to read it, and we need all the Canadian fanzines we can get.

There’s been a number of stories on the Hugo ballot in the past where a few people question a story’s SF or fantasy content, but I don’t recall seeing that kind of doubt in a blog. This may not be new, but seeing open doubt about a tale’s lineage is new to me. There was a fuss over Apollo 13 winning the best dramatic presentation Hugo, not a big fuss that I recall.

We made a short appearance at SFContario 5 just this past weekend, and while I can’t comment on the con’s content, the con suite was pretty good… We spent most of last weekend at INSPIRE!, the Toronto International Book Fair, and it was an excellent time. We met up with Deborah Harkness and Lev Grossman to get some autographs.

We are hoping for Jennifer’s speedy recovery, and hope this cancer nonsense will soon be just a bad memory. We’ve lost too many friends to cancer, and this must stop, now.

I’ve never even thought of Clarion for myself, and I am far too old to be considering it, but it’s good to see that it’s still going on, still training the next generation of SF writers, and people like the VanderMeers are teaching. As you detail here, it’s not cheap; none of the workshops are cheap, but I guess you have to choose what you need and can afford should you want to learn how to be an SF writer.

My loc... Yvonne and I will be at Ad Astra 2015, and we hope you will be there, too. We will be there as steampunk vendors. The job hunt…the jobs we got for ourselves in June were replaced by new jobs in September, and we might be looking for more new jobs soon. You might find that people would say that this year’s SFContario was also a little abandoned, a little slim in the attendance column. It was fun the short time we were there.

Time to get this to you…good health to everyone!, and get better soon, Jennifer. See you all with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 12th, 2014
08:20 pm

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Loc on Feline Journal 51 (R-Laurraine Tutihasi, ed.)
Dear Laurraine:

Thanks muchly for Feline Journal 51. Something new, I see, so I will respond anyway, and see what I can say about it.

Perzines are few and far between these days, so I can see dividing up your zine into two. The best thing to do is to see how the two zines do, and see if it’s worth reuniting the halves.

I’ve seen the Sunshine Boys before, but the cast I saw looked like they’d never read the script, nor had a rehearsal before going on. Mistakes, skipped lines, and a half-hearted round of applause afterwards. Three more performances after that, and they were toast. Never again!

We haven’t done many cons in the last year or so, but we did go to a small convention northwest of Toronto in the small city of Guelph. Genrecon is the typical convention for the younger crowd these days… anime, gaming, comics and cosplay, with lots of Doctor Who. But, we were dealers!, and we figured the con would be perfect for us. We did well, not as well as we had hoped, but we were surrounded by old and new friends, and it was a fine weekend. Yvonne was a masquerade judge, and people are now discovering that she is a past costuming master. We are looking for more conventions and other shows for dealers’ tables.

We haven’t seen the Dennises in a very long time. Worldcons are officially a thing of the past for us, so we rarely travel. Please say hello to them for us.

I’ve only been to two Corflus, one in Toronto, and one in Las Vegas. I don’t think that’s a convention for me, either. I still feel on the outside looking in; I always have. I think I will leave that convention to the close group that attends it regularly, and continue on with locs.

Used books are my SF lifeline these days! I have Pangborn’s Davy on my shelf, and it’s been some time since I’ve read it. Perhaps it is due again.

I have been in Tijuana exactly once. Yvonne had been there before, and when we were there, the bus driver said he’d grown up there, and had lots of good tips for us. We bought serapes and cheap Kahlua, and pure vanilla extract for less than $30…this was in 1984, though. Still, the day we spent there contained lots of bargains, and somehow, the word got out about los Canadianos, and suddenly, we were surrounded by “real deals”, none of which we took advantage of.

My loc…we never did get to London and Loncon; couldn’t save enough money, and both had new jobs we couldn’t set aside for a trans-Atlantic trip. It’s almost time for Loscon 41, and still wish we could return. The new lens is in my eye, and all is well.

I guess I am done for the moment…thanks for this, and hope there’s more soon.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 9th, 2014
02:24 pm

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Loc on Fadeaway 43 (Robert Jennings, ed.)
Dear Robert:

I am hoping this won’t be late like the last loc, and it’s only on one issue this time, too. Here are comments on issue 43 of Fadeaway.

We’ve all got medical problems, and I have some new ones that must be dealt with now. No biggie, but I have got to lose some pounds. We’re all in the same boat, so no news here.

It has been a very long time since I’ve read Smith’s Lensman series, and I am not even sure if I have read it all. I do remember thinking that it was perhaps quaint, and definitely dated, but the suspension of disbelief and the knowledge that it was an honoured part of the early science fiction made it easy to read and enjoy. Perhaps it’s time for a return to Arisia, and relive those high adventures.

For those who enjoy seeing Andy Hooper in a fez…recently, Yvonne and I found a sutler (military supplier, I believe) who sell military style headwear going back a century or so, and he now sells fezzes. And, Yvonne now have a fez each. Now, to find suitable tassels for them…

(For the old Star Trek fan in me…the picture on page 15, with Joan Davis, is that Stanley Adams?)

At some point, Yvonne and I are going to have to go through our stuff, and there’s a lot of it, and make hard decisions on what to keep and what to turf. It’s so easy to say that it’s just stuff, but we are silly humans, and we invest so much emotional attachment to this stuff, and at our age, we’ve accumulated 30 years of stuff. We’ve gone through several clean-outs, and made a few bucks off some of them, but there is always more to sort, inventory, save, or possibly throw out or put up for sale.

I admit I am worried about the newly discovered state of my health, so I am having trouble concentrating on the job at hand, so I am going to say thank you for this issue, and may both of us enjoy improved health soon. I could use a nap…

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 8th, 2014
09:48 pm

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Loc on Auroran Lights 12 & 13 (R. Graeme Cameron, ed.)
Dear Graeme:

I’m doing it again…time rarely allows these days for a sit-down at the computer and get a pile of locs out, and sometimes, I fall two issues behind on some titles. Such is the current case with Auroran Lights. I have issues 12 and 13 here, and it’s time to get caught up.

12…Believe me, I’d like nothing better than return to Vancouver for a VCon, but money never allows, and I suspect that it never will. Nice to wish, though.

Ann Methe’s passing was indeed a shock. With the end of Con*cept, we lost a lot of close contacts, and we haven’t been to Montréal in quite a while. We’ve all lost something valuable with Ann’s leaving. May we all be able to leave such a legacy and impact on the people around us.

Great to see Spider out and about. Our prayers are with you and your daughter, good sir. We are getting to that age, and even my doctor is a little concerned, as am I.

I am not sure, I think I might be due a nominee pin, but I will rely on the Aurora management to keep track of these things. I do not know when the CanVention will be back Toronto-way, but perhaps I could pick it up then. Perhaps I might make it onto the ballot again, and perhaps I will participate again. A high tea? Now, that will get me there.

As I roll my eyes on speculation as to who my parents might have been, I am pleased to say that I am still hacking away on all the fanzines I get. Some days, I just can’t seem to keep up, but for the most part, they are still fun. After a number of years of 300+ letters per annum, I won’t come close this year, but I am at least still above 200.

We did indeed vend our wares at Genrecon in Guelph in October. A nice little convention, full of talented and fun-loving people. I didn’t share their interests (gaming, comics, anime, Doctor Who), but that’s less of a factor when you want to sell your goods, and we did sell our share. Nice convention, and we will consider going back. There are other small conventions we may go to, and there are also small craft shows we are looking into as well.

13…I knew Rusty Hevelin to see him, and he me. We often talked at Mike Glicksohn’s annual birthday party, and at the odd Worldcon we were both at, or even at a few Michigan conventions. It’s good to see that his collection will be preserved, but it is a shame that it won’t be easily accessed by other fanzine fans, the way the Eaton Collection has things set up.

Upcoming conventions…Yvonne and I will be attending SFCOntario 5, but only in the evenings. They have the misfortune of being up against the premiere of the Toronto International Book Fair, otherwise called INSPIRE!. That’s where we will be spending our days.

I am sure you have heard from Rob Sawyer and others about the sudden passing of Canadian SF film maker Michael Lennick. A shame, a very talented guy with a great portfolio of films, and a pedigree going back some time in Canadian entertainment.

I cannot think of what else to put in here, so off it goes to you, just after your dinner time. Thank for these two issues, and keep them coming, but more fan news, okay? 

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 7th, 2014
09:54 pm

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Loc on Pips XI (Jim Mowatt, ed.)
Dear Jim:

Greetings!, and ta for Pips XI. I want to respond properly to this zine, but if most of it is about Loncon, I might not be able to say much. The whole fannish world must know by now that we weren't there, and we lived vicariously through the reports of others, but for the most part, it was Read and Enjoyed.

What Will Fanzines Look Like in Five Years...my own thoughts. Paper will become a thing of the past, putting zines into exotic computer formats will probably mean having to purchase an expensive piece of hardware in order to read it, and having a document hyperlinked, with perhaps 30 or 40 links in it, will make it extremely difficult to read. This is all assuming that zines will exist in five years. Many publications I see have no interest in feedback from the readers, so I expect to see the Glades of Gafia when all that happens.

Kylie Ding looked great as the cigarette girl. See, that steampunk stuff gets everywhere...

Looks like the fan area was great fun, and I am sure I would have spent most of my Worldcon in that area. We did that at the Reno Worldcon... The fanzine lounge was a very comfortable space, and we often used it as a base to gather at after we'd been to an event or a panel or two. We'd rest up and have something to eat, and there were more than a few snores heard in that room over the five days.

For the most part now, with not being able to go to Loncon or most other Worldcons, we've decided to stay as local fans only, and Worldcons are now a thing of the past. This will cut us off from a lot of friends, but we also have to think of our retirement, which is not as far off as one might think.

Our new directions...while steampunk is great fun, and allows us as past Worldcon masquerade participants to get back into costuming again, it is best done as a local fandom phenomenon, and we are definitely having fun with our local group, and some nearby groups as well. Also, we are in at the beginning level of a relatively new fandom, for the Canadian police procedural series Murdoch Mysteries, available on Alibi in the UK, and produced and shot in Toronto and elsewhere in the province.

I think I will fold it here; I don't think I am gafiating, but interests are leaving, new ones are arriving, and current interests are shifting in priority. Such as it's always been in my 37-year fannish career, but as I age, those shifts are tougher to handle. I've loved going to Worldcons, and I even got nominated for a Hugo one year, and leaving all that aside is tougher than I thought it would be. Take care, and see you with the next one.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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09:48 pm

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Loc on Challenger 38 (Guy & Rose Lillian, eds.)
Dear Guy and Rose:

Many thanks for Challenger 38. I keep finding that generating comments for the fine fanzines I get is getting tougher all the time. I certainly don't want to RAE,BNC everything I get, but I can see myself doing that in the future. Until that happens, a loc for you two...

A fine cover from Al Sirois. Colour is always appreciated, and it's fine combination of future science and tarot. I've never taken tarot too seriously, but I take them as I think many people do, as a deck of fine art, and some of them are amazingly good.

I've had this discussion in another fanzine, but I am still trying to pinpoint the time I changed from looking forward to the future with optimism, to looking back to the past with nostalgia and longing. Might be a middle-age crisis, not sure. Perhaps we are in the future we read about in our favorite SF novels, and we've found it wanting. That may be why our involvement in SF fandom has been scaled down somewhat, and involvement in other interests (steampunk, Murdoch Mysteries) has ramped up.

Some SF books date well, others not so much. I read some older books, and am amused when they refer to that distant year of 1995! or some such. We ARE in the future; I can refer to the Y2K complaint, "Where's my flying car? Why aren't we just like the Jetsons?"

Verne and Wells, for many, are two sides of the single coin of fantastic literature. They've both received their due in the modern day, although it would have been better to give them their due before their deaths. Posthumous honours are truly hollow, IMHO. Sometimes, time shows off their true talents, or time brings along a more appreciative audience.

Metropolis' Maria on page 29... Scott Maple is a local artist who has created a marvelous reproduction of Maria, and it's getting lots of press and other attention. I've seen it twice; amazing work.

Hey, Chris Garcia, writer's block happens to everyone, and I am surprised it hasn't happened to you sooner. Sounds like life is changing for you, all for the good, and this may be one price you have to pay for it. I know it was tough to break up with Linda, but I would like to think that these things happen for a reason. I've said it before, but congrats on your engagement to Vanessa.

My loc...Niagara-on-the-Lake was a great time, and the event there will be staged again in 2015, and we plan to return. Since that loc was written, we both got new jobs, and then new jobs again, and we are happier with our second choices. No regrets on no Loncon and no more Worldcons, although some bidders are unhappy with us for our decisions. Hey, we'll go if you pay the shot. Right now, we are close enough to retirement to pay more attention to that. I still yawn at television, but recently, we changed suppliers, and now have many more channels to ignore. However, we are paying much less for it with the new supplier, so it made sense.

There's a whole lot of RAE,BNC for the rest of the zine...I sometimes wonder if I have anything else to say about anything I read. Maybe I am slowly morphing back into the appreciative audience. What I do here doesn't seem to generate any response any more. Anyway, take care, and I have a Zine Dump of yours I will attend to soon.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 5th, 2014
08:37 pm

[Link]

Loc on Vibrator 2.0.8 & 2.0.9 (Graham Charnock, ed.)
Dear Graham:

It always happens...just before I can get to one issue of a fanzine, the next issue comes along, and I feel bad about not keeping up. All I can do is respond even more to two issues rather than just one. And, that's happened with Vibrator. Comments on issues 2.0.8 and 2.0.9 coming right up.

2.0.8...TV is becoming the bane of my existence. We just switched suppliers, and now we have even more channels to ignore. However, we are saving about $100 a month, so it made only financial sense to do so. Watch Murdoch Mysteries on Alibi...the title character has his own tools, but in Victorian times, he has invented all the tools he needs to help him solve crimes in Victorian/Edwardian-era Toronto. (The local education channel shows a lot of BBC documentaries, and goes through all the various Farm series regularly.)

Years ago, Yvonne and I attended the only Toronto Ditto for the Friday night, and we were in a car crash on the way home. All I remember from the Saturday we were in the hospital was two hugely swollen knees from the impact, and the feeling I'd been forgotten, as I lay on a gurney in a hallway.

I understand what Milt Stevens writes about...when Yvonne and I left conrunning after 30 years, some people assumed we were gafiating entirely. Some seemed disappointed that we were there at all. Then, a few conventions shut down, and everything seems so different for us. New interests have made things fresh again for us, but we can't keep up with fandom, and fandom certainly won't wait for us. At one relatively new convention northwest of Toronto, Yvonne volunteered to be a masquerade judge, and with her bio in the programme book, people have rediscovered her, seen how experienced she is in costuming, and realized she's been around a long time, cool! Fandom just needed a quick reminder.

2.0.9...Barcon sounds like a good time, but I will ask a bold question...how old is the youngest in the group? What's Lincoln like? Yvonne and I have plans to be in Lincoln in a few years.

The Dalai Lama is a good sort; he's definitely not the type to start proselytizing for any cause, not even his own, and who knows, he probably doesn't have one.

I don't watch the NCIS or CSI shows...The CSI shows use tech that hasn't been invented yet to solve murders and examine corpses within the allotted time slot, so in some ways, they are SF-related series. I prefer shows that show the history of cold cases and other forensic- related events. I prefer the fact over the fiction.

Time to go; I think I've said something on all the things I can say something on. Or something like that. And now that I am done, I can say I am caught up, and am looking forward to the tenth issue at the end of the month. See you then.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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08:30 pm

[Link]

Loc on Tightbeam 271 (David Speakman, ed.)
Dear David:

Not long after my loc on the newest TNFF, I have here Tightbeam 271, and I am going to try my hand with this one. Don't worry about dates, you create these when you have the time, and when life allows for it.

I have read many histories of SF fandom, and there are always differences, updates and revisions of just about any written history. Any article that might call itself a definitive history, I'd take with a grain of salt. I know of a history of fandom in the 70s that was started, but I think the author/researcher discovered that such a history would be simply too big to write up. Fandom truly exploded in size and scope during that time.

The article about your place in fandom...fandom has become very much a social forum, with hundreds of potential activities to take part in, and hundred of fellow fans who will share that interest. My own interests have varied and changed over time. I started as a Star Trek fan, and have moved to conrunning to club management, to masquerades and costuming, to fanzines and correspondence, to steampunk and other areas, where we can have some fun, and perhaps make our mark. Where letters of comment were a big part of fanzine fandom, it would now seem that the paper zines, and even the .pdfed zines, have been replaced with blog-type websites. As far as I go, I'm either horribly old-fashioned, or I am retro. I prefer the latter.

Time to finish up. I hope this will add something to the next issue. Take care, and see you then.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

08:23 pm

[Link]

Loc on Griff 7 (Ian Millsted, ed.)
Dear Ian:

Thank you so much for a real paper issue of Griff 7. I will now try my best to write up a decent letter of comment in return.

Hope I can do it, though. While I certainly have a handful of John Brunner books on my shelves, and I have read extensively about him through various British fanzines, all I can say is that I may have seen him at a Worldcon or two. I never knew the man at all, except for what others have written. Rather than a lot of comments, I may be doing more learning than anything else.

It is interesting to read about familiar corporate names, like Lever Brothers and ICI. Both businesses have offices here, and I never knew their British origins, until now. It's also interesting to see how many famous relatives and neighbours go into the mix. They seemed to be an influential family with lots of the right connections.

My loc...well, we didn't make it to Loncon, and it is looking more and more like Worldcon is a thing of the past for us. However, with sufficient saving, we should be able to go to London in a few years. There are a few places we'd like to go to, and in this case, a science fiction convention isn't likely to be one of the stops. We are both working, and our finances are getting back to normal.

I don't want to be done by now, but I think I have written all I can. Take care, many thanks, and if the costs of printing and postage get too much, let me know. I'd be happy with a .pdf. See you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 2nd, 2014
07:54 pm

[Link]

Loc on The National Fantasy Fan Vol. 73, No. 2 (David Speakman, ed.)
Dear Neffers:

Thanks for The National Fantasy Fan Vol. 73, no. 2, and as always there’s something to say about what’s inside. Still recovering from far too much chocolate around Hallowe’en, so I’m on the bread and water diet, without the bread…

Cats are indeed an alien intelligence, but we do try to anthropomorphize them, in an effort to figure them out, I suspect. I think the worst thing we do is make assumptions that they love us somehow. I think we can please them and satisfy them, but thinking they love us back is a futile wish. I love cats myself, but I thinking pleasing them will be about the best we can ever do. For the record, we enjoy everyone else’s pets, but have none of our own.

Congrats to Michael Simon as the winner of the Short Story contest. I don’t know where in Canada Michael is from, but if he’s from my area, Toronto, he needs to get touch with the local pros to hone his writing skills further. Winning the contest is a good first step.

The convention list…we attended Anime North in Toronto as vendors, and we did amazingly well. I sincerely wish we could go to Loscon 41 the end of this month…we had such a good time there a couple of years ago as Fan GoHs. We did not get to Bloody Words, but the annual Bouchercon will return to Toronto in 2017, and we will be fulfilling minor roles on the committee.

Coming up soon for us is SFContario 5 in Toronto, a very literary convention indeed, but at the same time is the brand-new Toronto International Book Festival, and we are looking forward to both events. It will definitely be a busy weekend.

Time to fold, and get this to you. Take care, and see you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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October 30th, 2014
10:17 pm

[Link]

Loc on The View from Entropy Hall 52 (Ed Meskys, ed.)
Dear Ed:

Thank you for The View from Entropy Hall 52, and now, it is my task to try to respond to this issue, and write something worth reading. Well, you don't want much, do you? :-) Try my best, I will...

Looks like your home in North Carolina is doing you well, and you are fitting in with many groups. Will you permanently move there, or stay in Moultonboro?

I think as we all age, our circle of friends shrinks through simply dying, or in many cases, gafiating and moving away to new places and interests. We have found other interests in which we are having fun, with people our age or younger, sometimes much younger. It's good to have friends of all ages.

I have no faith, and so cannot understand why some would dismiss all of science, and go on faith alone. It is not logical to me. Hearing Pope Francis agree with us to say that evolution is correct is a wonder of our age, but I suspect the church will shout him down. I thought the pope was supposed to be infallible?

I will say that our health care systems, American and Canadian are different. I do like the fact that as premiums go, it is money in the bank, and pace of mind. Over the years, I had a retinal reattachment operation, and a few years ago now, a cataract operation, and both times, I did not receive a bill. My provincial health insurance plan paid for everything. Do not pay any attention to those who would liken healthcare to socialism; it is plain common sense to have this kind of insurance. Our current government is anti-VIA, anti-CBC, and is currently curtailing the rights of its citizens in various ways. It is time for a change in Ottawa, long overdue.

My letter...after both of us getting new jobs, we went and got even newer jobs. Yvonne works for a big construction company, and I work for a customs brokerage. We are saving our cash, and making plans for London in two to three years.

It is now long after Worldcon; hope you enjoyed it. We have decided that Worldcon is no longer for us, given how expensive they have become. I hope Montreal gets 2017, but after that Europe is welcome to keep bidding. Just today, I found out about a San Marino bid for 2019, and it seems serious.

All for now, take care, see you with the next one.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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10:12 pm

[Link]

Loc on BCSFAzine 496 (Felicity Walker, ed.)
Dear Felicity:

Thank you for BCSFAzine 496. I've got a little time to get with it and get a letter to you, in time, I hope. By the time people see it, it will be November, so we hope everyone had a great Hallowe'en, and please, no Christmas ads on television or carols in the stores, please...

Renovictions are happening here, too, although usually, it's a (illegal) huge jump in rent that kicks people out. We are lucky in that we've been in our building and unit for about 18 years, so our rents creep up a percentage or two every year, or sometimes, not at all. I do not have an implant (smartphone), nor do I really want one. Smartphones seem to be around $600 or so, not to mention the monthly costs of some software, and that money can go to paying bills. Right now, I am doubting having a cellphone.

My loc...we had ourselves a great time at Genrecon in Guelph. Business at the table was okay, but we ran into old friends, some of whom were connected with Polaris, the big fan-run media SF convention in town, before it shut down from lack of staff a couple of years ago now.

Any reports on the festivities at VCon this year? I never hear anything concrete. Anyone have a good time? Same goes for the ren faire, and anything from Times Past Entertainment. Good luck to Chris and Martin, and break a leg, you two, and the rest of the cast, too.

We hope to do a few more shows with our Steampunk General Store, and we've applied to one big local juried show, and hope we are accepted. Doing this has been fun, Yvonne has the opportunity to make small crafts she likes, and I have discovered that I enjoy making jewelry. I have started setting up a Facebook page for Penney's Steampunk General Store, and will let you know when it's done.

I guess I can wrap...take care, see you with the next issue, and everyone, stay warm.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

October 29th, 2014
09:59 pm

[Link]

Loc on Big Sky 3 & 4 (Pete Young, ed.)
Dear Peter:

It's been some time since issues 3 and 4 of Big Sky arrived...life has gotten even more crazy than usual, and I had this loc about a quarter written, and it disappeared. So, start again, thank you for these two issues, and while you have supplied us with 431 pages of classic SF book reviews, it may be difficult to write a relevant and coherent loc. No promises, here we go.

(By the way, saw on Facebook that some are considering nominating issues 3 and 4 for a Nova. If I had that franchise, I'd nominate them, too.)

What you've covered here is what I read these days. I cannot keep up with, nor can I afford to buy, modern-day SF books. SF and fandom have largely passed me by. I barely know what's available these days, and when I do, the books are usually by names I don't recognize, so I wouldn't know what to look for in my local library. The exception to all this the final book in the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. A most enjoyable series, and Grossman will be in Toronto in November, so I hope to meet up with him again, and get an autograph for the final book.

I will go through both these issues, see what books are commented upon, and see what I can add. Some of these books, I may have read only once 20 years ago, and there will be a few that I have not read at all. That's why I am confident that I can stick with the classics of SF for the rest of my reading days. Maybe I should use the list in these two issues to find classics I haven't ready yet. So...

3...My greetings to Farah Mendlesohn. It is a pleasure to see so many familiar names, but also a few I know from having met them, and a few are friends. I am pleased to see Richard Matheson here... Years ago, because we truly enjoyed the movie What Dreams May Come, based on Matheson's work, I purchased what consisted of most of the Matheson library from a used book seller.

I know I've told this story elsewhere...a friend of mine, a big Babylon 5 fan (like me) liked the character Alfred Bester on the show. I told her about how Harlan Ellison named the character after his SF mentor, and when she expressed some doubt, I pulled my Bester books off the shelf to prove my point. Yeah, she freaked a bit, but my point was proven, and I did feel a little old.

I met Roger Zelazny once at our local convention, and was ready to meet him again when we got bad news. He was packed and ready to fly to Toronto the next morning when he passed away in his sleep. We had to explain to that year's attendees that there was a very important reason why Mr. Zelazny was not able to join us.

Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men has left a lasting impression on this old fan. He seemed somewhat hopeful for the future of man; I wish I could be so hopeful. May we smarten up as a species quick enough to save ourselves.

Flowers for Algernon was poignant in so many ways. We have deep-seated fears, logical or not, and once we attain some level of intelligence that we could take pride in, the worst thing we can think of happens, we begin to lose those smarts. This plays on our fears of getting older and perhaps mentally decrepit.

So many Clarkes in the list...Sir Arthur was Yvonne's favorite author, and Childhood's End was her favorite Clarke novel. We mourned when he passed away, and through several SF conventions and a space conference or two, Yvonne started a book of condolences that eventually got to Air Arthur's brother Fred. Yvonne's signature was the first one, mine was the second, and Buzz Aldrin's was the last. Fred is gone now... I wonder if the ACC Museum is still in the preparation stages?

We also miss Hal Clement. Hal and his wife used to come to Toronto for our annual SF convention, and he'd do a lot of panels for us. He was our good luck charm for many years.

4... More and more good stuff. I need to make a list of all the books in these two issues, turn it into a checklist, and then check off what I’ve read. Then comes one of my favorite things to do, a book hunt to get those books that are unchecked.

With my own current interest in steampunk, perhaps I should pull out Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, and perhaps view it in a different light. I have a little Simak lately…Cliff Simak could stuff an amazing story into 130 pages or so, and too many current SF masters need five to six hundred. Dangerous Visions…still one of my favorite anthologies, and I cut my sci-fi eye teeth on anthologies. And blessing for putting Douglas Adams in there. Twice. Three times. He died far too young.

Ah, Asimov. As Clarke was Yvonne’s favorite author, Asimov was mine, and I consider myself lucky to have met Dr. A. twice, once at a Star Trek convention in Manhattan, and again at a Worldcon in Philadelphia.

Thank you for all of this. I think these two issues together could be SF Novels 101; go forth and read these, and understand what science fiction is all about. And, this is the loc. It is long, but I can’t comment on these books the way your reviewers did; I can’t really do more than Read and Enjoyed, or do anything more than they did. Perhaps there is no best way to respond to something like issues 3 and 4, except to say that it was big, and good, and the graphics were the usual phenomenal. Good on yer. Get that Nova. Thank you, take care, and see you whenever the fanzine bug bites you big time.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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