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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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August 16th, 2016
01:45 pm


Loc on Purrsonal Mewsings 53 (R-Laurraine Tutihasi, ed.)
Dear R-Laurraine:

Hey, it’s been a while since Purrsonal Mewsings arrived electronically, but now that it has, and time presents itself, I can whip up a fast loc. Here are some commentary on issue 53.

I must admit that Antarctica isn’t really a place I’d be interested in seeing. I think for you, the cold climate is different. I grew up with it, so I guess it isn’t any different for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in an APA, and I wonder if there is a current list of APAs extant. So many have simply gone away.

Still, the way you got to Antarctica is interesting. I have heard of Ushuaia, Argentina, as the stepping-off point for getting to Antarctica, and that is their means of making a living, tourism as they head off to the bottom of the world. It’s a shame you felt so badly through most of your trip.

So many people on Facebook are on their way to Kansas City for the Worldcon. It starts tomorrow! However, for us, no Worldcon, and I doubt we will  ever return. Tomorrow, though, we do leave… for England! As said in my previous loc, we will be spending a week in London, doing lots of touristy and Harry Potter things, and then afterwards, we will take the train up to Lincoln, and we will be a part of The Asylum, the annual biggest steampunk event in the world. We were looking forward to it so much, but now, it’s not a few months away, or a few weeks, but it’s now mere hours before we go!

We have been to quite a number of cons this year, but as vendors. As soon as we get back, we have four different cons or craft shows to go to. This has been a fun year, and more’s to come.

There are just a few last things to do to be ready for our two weeks in England, so I will fold it up here, say my thanks, and get this ready for you. Take care, and see you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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August 15th, 2016
02:52 pm


Loc on Fornax 11 & 12 (Charles Rector, ed.)
Dear Charles:

Thank you for the past two issues of Fornax; sorry I haven’t been able to keep up. We are very close to going on a vacation, so our time has not been our own. So, days away from our flights, here are some comments on issues 11 and 12.

11…No matter the corruption Hillary Clinton may be accused of, it doesn’t amount to the apparent insanity that is coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth. Looks like the US will be reduced to once again voting for the less of two evils.

So many good websites simply go away, and with one of them, I just printed out the contents of the website, and three-hole-punched it into a binder. In the current election, Clinton is starting to put distance between her and Trump, and she seems to gain a percent point lead with every stupidity that Trump utters.

The letter column…the Blue Jays are doing marvelous well, and will no doubt make the playoffs this year, but I have my doubts if they can win. They have been fighting with the Orioles all year, and have been soundly defeated by other teams. I hope they can overcome their own problems. Interesting to see that for the first time in some time, American voters are dealing with other parties. This is something I’ve always done. You probably will never have to deal with a minority government, though.

My letter…indeed, ‘other interests’ does include steampunk. No, we retired from running conventions voluntarily. I know of the TPP, and how much of a raw deal it can be for just about everyone. Clinton has announced her opposition to the TPP, and I hope that stays. My, you seem to think that I am deluded, or that I am blinded by hatred. Have we even spoken to each other?, or are you simply going to attack me personally because you do not agree with my politics?

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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11:40 am


Loc on NASFA Shuttle Vol. 36 Nos. 7 & 8 (Mike Kennedy, ed.)
Dear NASFAns:

Thank you for the last couple of issues of the Shuttle…I’ve been kept busy with preparations for our vacation. Two days from now, we are off to England for two weeks of touristy, Harry Potter and steampunk fun. Can’t believe it’s already here! And, to make sure we had a great time at the big steampunk convention, we have shipped our costumes to our hotel to ensure they are there for us. So, because of all this, I have the  July and August issues to comment on, and I will do that, now.

July…Well, I hope all those who are going to the KC Worldcon have a great time. I think the political attitude of the Worldcon, and many awards now, has soured Worldcon for us, so we will spend what little money we have having some fun for ourselves. We’re flying out from Toronto on the same day the KC Worldcon begins.

All the awards…good to see at least a few familiar names, like ChiZine and Gemma Files. The Aurora Awards were given out in Calgary, Alberta this past weekend, so if you need the list of winners… I can’t give them to you, for I will be out of town! We did not nominate or vote…we’re too far out of the loop now.

My letter…TAFF winner Anna Raftery was in Toronto a short time ago, but we did not have a chance to visit with her. I hope her stay was an enjoyable one. Last I heard, she was in Las Vegas, but I think will be in KC shortly, if she’s not there now. The Tragically Hip had their final shows in Toronto, and the final final show will be in their home town of Kingston, Ontario on August 20, and broadcast nationally on the CBC.

August…I gather the restoration of the original Enterprise was a long, drawn-out procedure, for while it hung in the Smithsonian, it was literally rotting away. It took a lot of restoration and cleaning to get that model ready for display in the public galleries. Good luck to the Worldcon business meetings on finding a way to foil the assorted Puppies and their intentions to game the Hugos for their own benefit. More familiar names…Kate Beaton and Donald Kingsbury, and many more in the Sunburst nominations.

Off this goes to you…by 6pm Wednesday time, we will be off to Pearson International Airport, and wait patiently for our WestJet flight to Gatwick. We will attempt to take as many pictures as possible, and slap them on my Facebook page. Still a list of things to do, but there’s just a few items left. Take care, and we will return by the end of the month.

     Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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August 12th, 2016
03:26 pm


Loc on fugghead 4 (Dan Steffan, ed.)

Dear Dan:

I have been fortuitous to find Fugghead Four, and I can’t think of anything else to start with an F because it’s close to lunchtime. Famished? Anyway, as I look at that lamp with the awfully odd shade on it, I will dive in, and see what’s being said.

We’ve all been to picnics, we used to have office picnics where everyone would bring in something different so we could all pig out in the office lunchroom, and even fannish picnics where without serious instruction of what to bring, the event would 24 slightly different varieties of potato salad. Years ago, after going to New Orleans for a Worldcon, Yvonne and I would make jambalaya to popular demand. I seem to recall some kind of dish with miniature marshmallows in it, plus fruit cocktail, and it was dubbed Mormon salad… You just have to make sure you don’t overdose on Kraft Dinner, which up here is short for mac & cheese.

Great illo for The Cracked Eye! I wonder who’d be writing these little gems, hm? Got a good idea of who’d be illustrating them… Old mags like these remind me of the heyday of reading. There’s still a Canadian version of Reader’s Digest, but it’s tiny in comparison to the thick copies produced in the 60s to 80s. There are magazine services available here where I could read all the domestic magazines I wanted for a flat fee…I guess I am one of millions who aren’t all that interested in them.

Gafiation continues to beckon, and the temptations are there. Local fan politics, politics in general, I just try to remember Glicksohn’s Maxim, IF3… If Fandom Isn’t Fun, It’s Futile. I’ve been thinking a lot about that these days. Another thing that reminds me of that is that in a few days, Yvonne and I are off on a vacation to England, to take the trip we couldn’t take a couple of years ago to the British Worldcon. There’s no Worldcon, but London is still there, so we are off to see it and the beautiful town of Lincoln for a total of two weeks. I might write a loc or two…but I doubt it…

Anyway, that’s it, that’s all. Take care, many thanks.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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August 11th, 2016
03:19 pm


Loc on Opuntia 347 & 348 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

I haven’t done much writing lately…our long-saved for vacation is almost here, and there’s still things to do before we go next Wednesday. So, zines have suffered here a little bit, but there is a little time now to get with it, and respond to Opuntia 347 and 348.

347…The Stampede Parade always looks like good fun. I’d like a cowboy hat myself, but I am not sure where around Toronto I could get it. I am sure there’s plenty of places just out of town. I hope the city has good relations with the aboriginal groups. Toronto is on the land of the Mississauga nation.

I am on a diet, and so far, I’ve lost about 15 pounds. After seeing the food pictures, that’s probably down to 12. I admit I am not sure how to deep-fry coffee, but I’d sacrifice a pound or two to find out. Same goes for the barbecue. There’s an annual barbecue competition on Centennial Park in Etobicoke, but it is so expensive and crowded. We haven’t been there in some years, but if we really want good ribs, we’ve got an old pressure cooker that make them fall off the bone.

My letter…I do not understand why the CBC can’t bring back radio drama. I was told that they needed to monetize every second of air time, and radio drama was cancelled because there were few listeners. This was some years ago now…I would think that now, it could be presented to the listenership as something new, and inexpensive to make.

348…As much as I like the attractions of the city, the attractions of the country are relaxing.  Woody areas, any park, and there is one across the street from us, are places we make time for to relax, and walk through. One of the shows we vended at this year was a bushy area in a residential area, with a historic house at its centre, and a big field with huge tress around the edges. Historic Benares House was both relaxing and profitable that day, and I hope the show will return there next year.

As we are leaving for vacation soon, one place in London we intend to go to is Baker Street. Not only is there the presence of Sherlock Holmes there at 221B Bake Street, but there is a big Beatles shop at 235 Baker, and we will be spending some time there, too.

Andrew Robinson was at VulCon this year? I met Robinson at a convention some years ago, and I had the opportunity to complement him on his portrayal of John F. Kennedy in an episode of The New Twilight Zone. That’s the last thing he expected to hear at a media convention, and we had a great chat about being on set with actor Lane Smith, and his experiences there before being hauled by his handlers for a session before a large audience.

I think I am done for the moment. Thank you for these two issues, and I will always look for more.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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August 10th, 2016
12:16 pm


Loc on Fadeaway 50 (Robert Jennings, ed.)
Dear Robert:

Thank you for Fadeaway 50…50 issues is quite the achievement. Congrats for that, and hope the knee is better. Time to see if I can make further comments in the next paragraph.

As I write, I had my regular annual appointment with my ophthalmologist yesterday. We’re of the age…I’ve had problems with my right eye, but now, there may be some with my left. I have a cystal tuft, and possibly a partial retinal separation that healed itself. Vision is fine, but now comes potential problems for the future.

We’d all like paper fanzines, but we all know the costs involved, and as time goes on, finding a place to store all the paper fanzines you get gets tougher, and the costs continue to rise. A .pdfed version does me fine right now.

I haven’t read many mystery novels over the years…SF has been my personal mainstay. But, I certainly understand the appeal, especially when it comes to making the reader think. Toronto is lucky in that there is still a mystery/detective book store (Sleuth of Baker Street), and next year, Bouchercon will be in Toronto for the third time.

There is always something new to learn…I had never heard of The Whistler. I suspect many of the American old time radio shows I know about came out of New York City and other east coast cities, and it looks like The Whistler came from the west coast, and perhaps Chicago later on. (On page 18, I see an ad for The Mark of the Whistler, also starring Paul Guilfoyle. The same Paul Guilfoyle who played Captain Jim Brass on CSI? IMDB says no, and not related, either.) Where could I listen to episodes of The Whistler?

Your conversation with Darrell Schweitzer…I still wonder of the end of the age of the collector is upon us. It’s not through lack of interest, but through the generations who remember such broadcasts and publications with fond remembrance. I have a few items at home which I think could be collectors’ items, but I have no idea who might be interested when the time comes for me to pass them along.

Perhaps the actor who best portrays Holmes for you is the one you saw the most of. The Rathbone movies were too Hollywood for me, and Watson was portrayed as a bumbler, which a Victorian doctor with a full roster of patients simply couldn’t be. The Brett episodes gave some of Holmes’ lines to a very intelligent Watson, and even to Mrs. Hudson. I would be pleased to have a full collection of Brett episodes on DVD, and regret only that he didn’t live long enough to complete the entire canon.

Greetings to chris sitko (no caps), and please do stay. I started responding to fanzines in the early 80s when I was in my early 20s, and here I am in my late 50s, still letterhacking away. Hope you enjoy this, Chris. I have my trusty desktop computer, plus now, I have an Android Samsung Galaxy tablet, but I do have a lot of paperbacks still on the shelf, tempting me from time to time. Some I know get all the writing of a particular author, and never read them; they seem content to have them available upon a whim.

My loc, and publishing…one of the local papers just announced 50 layoffs, mostly because people are just not taking to the tablet version of that paper. That doesn’t help me on my job hunt, which is still going on. The demand for reading material, or even simply readable English, is growing fainter all the time. Windows 10 has seriously slowed down my own computer, the one I am banging on right now.

One week from tonight…Yvonne and I will be on our way to England. We’ve been saving for this for five years now, and now, we have nearly everything planned and paid for in advance. We will spend a week in London, seeing some sights, and then up to Lincoln for a steampunk weekend. I suspect this will be our last overseas trip, so we will make it one to remember.

Thank you for this issue, and please do keep them coming. No doubt you are already working on the next 50. Many thanks.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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August 4th, 2016
02:57 pm


Loc on CounterClock 25 (Wolf von Witting, ed.)
Dear Wolf:

As promised, a little later than intended, here’s some comments on issue 25 of CounterClock. Congratulations on getting to 25 issues, few actually get to that number.

Many people do not understand what the various fan funds are about, and who can run for them. Yvonne and I have won CUFF (Canadian Unity Fan Fund) in the past, but it was by acclamation. I think most will agree that the oldest funds, like TAFF and DUFF, are kind of closed shops. Please do write the non-TAFF trip report, and I hope you will give TAFF a try again. Third time lucky… I think I came in 4th place for Best Letterhack, but I am never considered for Best Fan Writer. Maybe next time…

The advent of robots and other semi-autonomous mechanisms have improved things for many of us, but they also do away with many jobs. AI might do terrible things to humanity, for it is not human, and not saddled with such things as mercy and doubt. It is great to have this technology, but it must be employed intelligently, and if people say so, not employed at all. Can we?, will we?...should we?

The 160 best SF&F TV series…looks like all the shows I’ve always liked are there. Classic Twilight Zone, ST:TNG, ST:TOS, Babylon 5, Classic Outer Limits, Night Gallery, ST:DS9, 1995 Outer Limits, 1985 Twilight Zone, ST:VOY, ST:TAS, Time Tunnel, ST:ENT, Max Headroom, 2002 Twilight Zone, original Battlestar Galactica…all the Twilight Zones and Outer Limitses had great stories, which is what I prefer over great characters.

It is good to see that SF conventions can happen anywhere, and good to see one in Slovenia. I have received a few English versions of Bojan Ekselenski’s fanzine, and I hope there will be some more.

The costumes at the Zagreb Fantasy Convention looked great! Conventions outside North American prove that a convention does not have to be held in an expensive hotel. Schools and churches, with enough room, provide more than enough space. Cosplayers add character, and the costumes add to the weekend for the people wearing them, but in the long run, it is the friends you meet and make that makes a convention a great place to gather at. (If I recall, Ylva Spångberg put out a fanzine some years ago…) Big cons aren’t necessarily good cons, but there are so many who prefer the big cons over the small, based on what they can provide, mostly big-name guests. The small cons have their charms for me, mostly because guests are not the most important part of the event.

It is great to see the Worldcon go to Finland, putting more of the world in the Worldcon. Unfortunately, I cannot even imagine going, unless I win a lottery. But, we are doing some travelling shortly. Time for my loc… All I said about going to England, is finalized, and we leave in less than two weeks! No time for Iceland…we will be flying WestJet from Toronto to Gatwick, and taking the Gatwick Express to Victoria station. We’ll be in London for a week, taking in all the touristy things and a trip to Watford for some Harry Potter fun, and then up to Lincoln for The Asylum, the biggest steampunk event in the world, and then home again. We’ve been saving for this for five years.

In the 25 issues of this zine, I’ve had 19 letters? Excellent! I am glad you’ve been keeping track. A look at the calendar tells me that I shall be in the letter column of fanzines for nearly 35 years. Anna Raftery was in Toronto, but we did not get a chance to see her. I think she is now in Las Vegas. Please give TAFF another try, and you can make it to this side of the Atlantic!

Many thanks for this issue, and don’t quit; please do keep them coming. See you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 28th, 2016
10:05 am


Loc on Askance 37 (John Purcell, ed.)
Dear John:

You were good to your word, and you got me an e-copy of Askance 37. Now, I will do my bit, and try to write up a suitable loc. Nice Al Sirois illo for the cover, too.

I’ve never tried the playing and singing route, mostly because I can’t play, and definitely can’t sing. I used to be connected with the local filkers here, and there are many who also can’t play or sing, but still participate. Even some in the Filk Hall of Fame freely admit they can’t do either, but there they are in the HoF. You also mention how much rain you’ve gotten…where I am has had a severe drought for a couple of months now, with less than half the rain we usually get. The grassy areas are brown and crunchy. We’ve had about 20 days of temperatures above 30°C, or 86°F, which is a lot more than we usually get, too.

Sunday funnies? Well, I buy the Saturday Toronto Star every weekend, and the comics and the TV guide are the most important parts of the paper for me. Think there should be the funny pages in a fanzine? More opportunities for our talented fan artists, always a good thing.

I see so few movies, but we did see Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes. A wonderful movie, and the local Holmes club raved over it. McKellen is on in years, but he had to be aged further in order to portray a truly old Sherlock Holmes. I especially liked finding out where Holmes and Watson actually did live.

David Thayer’s Stars speak the truth, the Hugos are not what they used to be. Others will worry, but we won’t; I think we will return to Worldcon when it is local again, meaning in Toronto, or other places we can easily drive to, including Ottawa, Montreal, Detroit, Buffalo…not likely at all.

The locol…I believe I met Margaret Middleton some years ago, as a filker, she travelled around a fair bit, and came up to Toronto for its own filk con, FilKontario.

I see I offered another Tale From The Convention!, and then failed to do so. I must do better, and get with it. I did not get that interview with KPMG, and have temporarily suspended my job hunt, and the reason for that is our vacation! Since this letter, we’ve done a number of conventions and shows which we have vended at…besides the comic con in Kitchener, there was Ad Astra, Anime North (great sales that weekend, as always), a local alternative craft show called The Bazaar of the Bizarre, and another show at a historic house in neighbouring Mississauga, called Through The Looking Glass: Steampunk Invasion. Coming up is the Coldwater Steampunk Festival, and then our vacation, and in the fall and winter, the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition in Niagara-on-the-Lake (just attending, not vending), the Locke Street Festival in Hamilton, the annual Christmas Craft Show at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, and finally, the annual Historic Bovaird House Christmas Craft Show in Brampton. We’ve been busy, and sales have been fair so far… Correct, no snow on the ground here. We do intend to take lots of pictures, especially with the tablet I have, so I can almost immediately relay them to my Facebook page.

Being in Canada, we can look over the fence (no wall yet), and see the politics in action, and wrinkle our noses in disgust. I will not mention who is disgusting us, no need to, for he must disgust most American voters, but if he insists on building the walls along the northern and southern borders, he must remember that not only will it keep us foreigners out, but it will keep Americans in, and isolated from the rest of the world. Please don’t let that happen. Hillary Clinton might not be the best candidate, but she will be the best candidate on the ballot.

I have mentioned our vacation a couple of times…in 20 days as I write this,

All done! Got to the full page, and a little more. Thank you for this, and see you the next time you decide to commit fanzine.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 26th, 2016
04:06 pm


Loc on X-Rayer 121 (Ray Palmer, ed.)
Dear Ray:

Thank you for issue 121 of the X-Rayer. This might have to be short and fast, but then, that describes me, too. Let’s see what I can do.

Great cartoon on the front cover, and so true, too. Some must wonder if the final days are close by, and are starting to read Revelations. I think it’s just our insanity on the rise, and the veneer of civilization becoming thinner to the point of transparency. Far too many deaths at the hands of terrorists and police.

Suspension of disbelieve if great, but even better if you can believe entirely, immerse yourself in a great storyline, and emerge at the end emotionally moved. I think many of us would like that in a novel, too.

Brides of Blood…how did these aloof scientists ever get married? After that, how did they ever father beautiful scientist’s daughters? A real bunch of stoiks. Nudity? I guess as long as they are natives, it’s okay. Isn’t the Legion of Decency a comic book? Perhaps it should be.

My loc…still having computer problems. My ISP is Bell Canada, and it hasn’t been able to provide me with e-mail service for over three weeks now. I call and get the usual regrets at the inconvenience, but it is beyond the inconvenience stage. I have no idea who’s been trying to reach me, and Bell doesn’t seem all that motivated to fix their problem. I haven’t given up on the job hunt, for my benefits have just ended, but I have suspended them, for we’re going on the vacation to England we’ve been planning for for years.

Done for the moment. We will see you with the next ish!

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 22nd, 2016
03:20 pm


Loc on The National Fantasy Fan Vol. 75 No. 7 (George Phillies, ed.)
Dear Neffers:

I have TNFF Vol. 75, No. 7 here, and I will make the attempt to write something else for the letter column. Let’s see what I can generate…

A list of all SF conventions may be a difficult task, I know of others who are struggling to create a Canadian SF convention list. Most conventions do a lot of pre-con advertising, but not all, and sometimes, an event crops up out of the blue, with a week to go. Usually, that event is never heard from again. I went to an even event with Keri Dullea and Gary Lockwood some years ago in downtown Toronto…Dullea looks much the way he did back then, but you might not recognize Lockwood. I hope there will be issues of Tightbeam again soon, and I hope I might see them.

I have never really been a pulp collector, but I have held on to the issues I’ve been able to get over the years. I think I do have some issues of If; I’d need to start digging.

I enjoyed Superman way back when, but haven’t kept up with him over the past couple of decades. I always enjoy the George Reeves series, and all the Christopher Reeve movies, but my interest flagged after that. Perhaps the only thing that kept my interest was that one of Superman’s creators was Canadian, and that the Daily Planet was actually an homage to the Daily Star, now the Toronto Star daily newspaper. Postage stamps and collectors coins for Superman have been popular here.

I have seen flyers for Fan World in Niagara Falls…I don’t know how they will do it, but part of the con is in Niagara Falls, NY, and the rest of it in Niagara Falls, Ontario. They have some interesting guests, but I suspect it will literally be two very separate cons on the same weekend, a short distance apart. I guess a passport will get you back and forth…

A good healthy letter column! Always good to see. And with that, I think I will fold it up, and say thank you. We are less than a month away from our trip to England, and everything is coming together. I am planning to bring some fanzines with me to read and make comment on as we travel on the planes and trains. Many thanks, see you with the next one.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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02:42 pm


Loc on The Art of Garthness 15 (Garth Spencer, ed.)
Dear Garth:

Thank you for another Art of Garthness, issue 15. Is 15 the highest number a zine title of yours has gone to? Congrats on keeping personalzines going in fanzine fandom. There aren’t many left. I will do my part to help with that by creating some locol content.

Life is a learning process for us all, and we pick it up as best as we can. Social norms might be hard to realize, but grasping them, and then monitoring them fort slight and gradual changes is a challenge for all, especially as we get older, and the rate of change seems to accelerate in our subjective eyes. And, I think at some point, we eventually say screw it, I am tired of keeping up, and I’d say we’re at that age. Many do see the changes in social norms, and make the conscious decision to say yes or no to personal changing along with the social norms.

I am glad Graeme is taking on this website, with all the details he wants to put in it…he’s lucky he has the time to do this, seeing he’s retired. So many of us aren’t retired yet, and I can honestly say that I expect to be working to survive long after I turn 65. I also have to find work because Yvonne retires in less than a year and a half. Life does happen, and all our fannish activities have always taken time out of our busy schedules. I do put together a list of conventions in the Toronto area, and I can send that list to you and Graeme, if you’d like. My list not only contains SF conventions, such as they are these days, but also furrycons, toy collectors’ conventions, gaming cons, media SF cons, anime cons and more.

The more I see the idea of Donald Trump becoming American president take shape, the more concerned I am. Neither candidate is angelic, but so many are seeing Trump as the reincarnation of Hitler, and other fanciful notions. It happens from time to time, but this is another time when the machinations of the world convince me we’re off to hell in the proverbial handbasket. Reality does suck at times. We live in the relative safety and sanity of Canada, and good for us for that.

While I have struggled to find employment, Yvonne has been regularly employed, and has thriftily put some money away for a vacation. We were saving for some years to go to the London Worldcon in 2014, but we couldn’t save enough in time. Yvonne wisely kept saving, and now, we are less than a month away from going to England for two weeks, the first vacation we’ve had in a long time, and our first overseas non-Worldcon trip. We will have lots of touristy, Harry Potterish and steampunk fun during those weeks, and we are so looking forward to it. It will take away, at least for a short time, the stresses of not working, and having to find something real soon now. We were able to purchase our £££ at a reduced rate thanks to the Brexit, and we will enjoy ourselves that much more.

My loc…you’re right, we do find other things to enjoy, and that’s why Yvonne embraced Harry Potter fandom, and why we both embraced steampunk. Other enthusiasm and other communities have indeed arisen, and caught our eye. In the long run, it is being busy and indulging your whims that is important.

Caught the end of the page, and that usually means I have done blethering, at least for the moment. Thank you for this issue, and seeing what day it is, have a fun and relaxing weekend. I am sure you’re already working on the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 21st, 2016
09:41 pm


Loc on Alexiad 87 (Joseph Major, ed.)

Dear Joe and Lisa:

Thank you for Alexiad 87, and as is my habit, here comes some commentary on what I find inside. Inside is also a good place to be on a hot summer day.

I know where you are, Joe…I have not been able to find work, and my employment benefits are about to run out. However, much of the benefits have gone into a bank account, and I still have some savings, so that will keep me going. We are definitely going on our long-awaited trip[ to England for a couple of weeks of tourist, Harry Potter and steampunk fun, but as soon as we’re back, I must find some kind of work. I have progressives, too, and it seems every year, my prescription changes radically.

There’s a topic for discussion…are we past the age of the collector? We see value in what we gather, and we hope for a payday sometime in the future, but few others see value in our collection…is there yet value to realize as cash, or is it now just pretty paper for recycling?

I have now such a difficult time generating any interest in the Hugos, but it is always interesting to see who is bidding for future Worldcons, and there is now more of the world in it. I won’t be able to go to any of these, but still, seeing bids from New Zealand, Paris and Qatar shows some life in the old con.

The locol…I do not believe I’ve become over-specialized in my work, but I think I can safely say that my skills have become obsolete. I have been trying to apply them to advertising and other industries, but no luck…so far.

Our Syrian refugees have been fitting in locally just fine. In fact, Yvonne’s office has hired one of them, and he has started off well. There was plenty of screening to make sure we weren’t facilitating a terrorist cell anywhere, and most of the refugees we took were mothers and children and fathers. I hope nothing bad will happen, but all possible screens were in place to make sure.

I gave this a second read, and I am afraid I have done what I can. Thank you for this issue, and I hope I can do better with the next one.

     Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 20th, 2016
12:30 pm


Loc on Fornax 10 (Charles Rector, ed.)
Dear Charles:

Thank you for yet another Fornax, issue 10. I must concentrate here, it’s been a hot day, even with the AC on, so rather than just go lie down someone cool, let’s get with it, and  so some writing today.

I freely admit that I haven’t read any SF in some years now. I am also thinking of gafiating from local fandom, so I suspect that SF and its fandom have basically moved on without me. Like Michelle Zellich, I am not able to nominate anything for Hugos this year; I am not a competent nominator. And, we’re not going to Worldcon this year, so the point is moot. I think we have largely moved on to other interests.

I am a WASP male, so in many ways, I am part of the background, and I have read that I may be part of the last minority group. There are so many special groups…right now, I am unemployed, and for some companies, I may be considered qualified for the job, but because there are quotas for other groups, I do not fit their quota system, and I won’t get the job. Another differential factor…I speak English, but not French, so there are so many other jobs I do not qualify for because I am not bilingual. I have read much of Heinlein, but for me, he is like many authors that I have read and enjoyed, but no special comment.

I have done jury duty several times, twice in Toronto, and once in Peel Region, to the north west. At no time did I do more than read books, and with a laptop, write letters of comment to fanzines. I do not remember being paid to do it, but I made sure that waiting around was worth my time, and I got caught up on a lot of things. I know employers are never happy about this kind of thing, but they really can’t do much about it except try to make you feel guilty when you return to work.

There really are no perfect candidates; either they have done horrible things or have been accused of doing horrible things, which winds up being the same thing. And as we know, if your opponent tells the lie often enough, it often becomes truth, which makes the truth and the public the victims in every election. I just look at the potential results as a non-American, and Donald Trump’s presidency is truly dystopian for the whole world. Clinton is far from the best candidate, but Trump is much closer to the worst.

November gets closer and closer, and the world holds its breath. Fingers crossed, we will all breathe a sigh of relief then. We will all keep an eye out. Many thanks for this, and see you with the next.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 19th, 2016
08:06 pm


Loc on Spartacus 15 (Guy Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

Thank you for a real paper copy of Spartacus 15. I watch the news, and it’s been horrific, so I can see so much that will probably be going into issue 16. However, let’s deal with the issue at hand…

I will be honest, I never thought much of Mohammed Ali, I thought he was a blowhard. Besides, being Canadian, I knew more about George Chuvalo, who fought with Ali, and nearly won. But you are correct, it was all an act, and he was a gentleman to the end. It was a shame disease took his voice and thoughts away from him.

The public has weak recall. Even the most horrific of stories like the shootings at the Pulse club in Orlando fade quickly off the front page, and fade from the public’s collective minds. And then, there’s shootings in Baton Rouge (twice, now), and another shooting in Minnesota…when does it end? It just gets worse, and is so because of the love of the gun. Not being American, I am like many who see such madness, and the love of the semi-sacred gun will ensure that the interpretation of your Second Amendment will continue to let people be killed, either by criminals, or worse, by police officers who seem terrified in the commission of their jobs. Seeing Lewis and Warren having a sit-in just showed me how little these two parties do not talk to one another, and how single-minded they are.

Hillary Clinton is the better of the two party candidates, but Trump mirrors how many people exude hatred and racism and misogyny. Seeing how much the American presidency affects the entire world, much of the world will be watching that fateful day in November, and fearing a relapse into facism.

Trump is a horrific candidate, and so was Ted Cruz. I am so glad Cruz proved so distasteful to all voters. I do wonder if it’s time for the US to have at least one new party. I think it is needed. As for the Brexit, I don’t think anyone truly knew what the reaction to this would be, and now that billions of pounds sterling has been lost, they sadly know, and all those who led the campaign have quietly walked away, except for the idiot Boris Johnson, who I expect will embarrass himself on the world stage.

A little something fannish from us…we will be going to England in less than a month. We will be tourists in London, we will see the Harry Potter facilities in Watford, and spend the August bank holiday weekend in Lincoln, attending the Asylum, the biggest steampunk event in the world. It all makes up for the fact we couldn’t be at the London Worldcon in 2014. Should be great fun.

Time to go…we are having even more computer problems, so we must deal with substitute e-mail addresses and back-up plans. It’s a pain, but it is all we can do. See you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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04:06 pm


Loc on Nice Distinctions 29 (Arthur Hlavaty, ed.)
Dear Arthur:

Thank you for Nice Distinctions 29. I very much like the fact this will be a Trump-free zine; I wish this was a Trump-free world. Now that the Republicans are having their little convention, there’s already controversy with plagiarized speeches and racist commentary. What a madhouse…

I rarely read SF any more, and more and more just observe fandom as it fades around me. Yvonne’s gone on to enjoying Harry Potter and its related fandom, and the both of us are enjoying steampunk costuming. Perhaps the appeal of fandom has faded because the mess of the assorted Puppies, and the toxic politics of local fandom, such as it is, makes us shrug our shoulders, and look elsewhere to have some fun.

I see everywhere, graphics that show that many people are fed up with “adulting”. “If you want me, I’ll be in my pillow fort, colouring.” I sure can see the appeal of that, with the news being full of deaths of so many people, black or police, so many celebrity deaths, so many messes. Maybe I’ll just set my alarm for 2017, and hibernate until then.

Can’t do that, though…Yvonne and I will soon be enjoying two weeks in England. We will make the best of 2016, and have some real fun. This will be our first overseas trip in 26 years. Brexit be damned, and the exchange rate is much better.

I kinda expected there would be negative reviews of the new Ghostbuster, and the nearly-here third Star Trek reboot movie. I am vaguely pleased to see very positive reviews for both. I’d like to see them…but, these days, we don’t go and see movies we do want to see.

2016 has been a horrible year for the celebrity, the well-known and the infamous. At the end of the year, the Year in Review will be too big and detailed to be stuck in a one-hour slot.

Ah, I am done, it’s been a difficult afternoon. Can’t wait to go to England, and have some memorable fun. Thank you for this issue, and please bring on the next.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 18th, 2016
01:42 pm


Loc on Breaking It All Down - The Zine 9 (Alexander Case, ed.)
Dear Alex:

I have here issue 9 of Breaking It All Down – The Zine, and as I catch up on all the zines I have here, yours has risen cream-like to the top, and it’s time to respond to it. I am not sure how much I can say about it, but what I can say, I will.

Dale Speirs’ letter…the various Puppies have left a real mess behind for those people who manage the Worldcon. If anyone has looked good, IMHO, it’s the people who are using the business meetings to see how to avoid slate-nominating and bloc-voting. Perhaps there are many inherently good and positive characters in SF, but when we look at the world today, we are reminded that the F in SF stands for Fiction. I wish there was more truth in that.

Hyperbole? You’re going to use terms like these, others are going to use terms not usually found in a family fanzine. I did see the Star Wars Episode 7, and like many saw the similarities with Episode 4. In about a month, we are heading off to England for a Harry Potter and steampunk vacation, so that means we need lots of time to get the last preparations done before we head off to the airport. So, we’ve decided that we will buy some goods for ourselves there, and will pass on ConBravo for this year.

I can’t say anything about Little Witch Academy, but I do remember the grand adventures of Arslan, and I remember having a book with those adventures in it. Not the fantasy novels, but a much older book with pseudo-historical tales. The rest, there must be some market what appears to be bigger-than-reality men in fancy costumes, having unknown adventures. One character is named Richard E.O. Speedwagon? Nothing about the car or the rock band, hm? As you say, lots of music references and camp.

This year’s Anime North came and went, and once again, for the third time, we were vendors in their Crafters’ Corner section of vendors. As you’d expect, there were hundreds of anime-style vendors, but we were one of only three steampunk vendors, so we did very well. Anime North is always our best show every year, so we will be back next year, if they’d like us there.

The day grows late already, so time to go and get this off to you. Thank you for this issue, and I’ll be looking forward to the next issue, and see you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 15th, 2016
04:10 pm


Loc on Opuntia 345 & 346 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

Two more issues of Opuntia have arrived, so it’s time for some commentary on issues 345 and 346. I will try my best on these two…

345…I admit to not knowing a lot about the Mormons, but I believe the centre of Mormon in Alberta is at the big temple in Cardston. (Ah, there it is on the second page.) Not long ago, a huge temple for eastern Canada was built in Brampton, where I used to live, and I remember taking the public tour when it first opened. The Brampton temple has a huge white tower, and it does remind me of a big white rocket. I wonder if Fay Wray’s descendants know of this tribute to their most famous relative.

For Canada Day, I put up six 3x6’ maple leaf flags on the pigeon netting of our balcony, and they fit perfectly. I don’t know if anyone on Highway 427 noticed this, but I am sure the tenants of the buildings next door sure did.

Typewriters in fiction…ah, I yearn for those days when radio still had drama, and vocal entertainment. Even the CBC used to have radio drama not long ago, but it was shut down from lack of listeners.

Ah, steampunk!, one of my current interests. The book you comment on, The Steampunk Gazette (2012) by Thaddeus Tinker, is one book I have. Thaddeus Tinker is actually John Naylor, a retired BBC executive who got heavily into steampunk, and has chaired the annual The Asylum steampunk festival in Lincoln, England since it started; this year is its eighth year. The reason I know this is that Yvonne and I, during our upcoming trip to England, will be attending The Asylum. We’ve been in touch with John Naylor/Major Tinker for over a year now. I quite enjoyed the book, and should weight in our bag allow for it, I will bring my copy along for an autograph. I quite like the artwork, but what got us into it is the costuming.

My letter…yes, the Stampede is on, and Justin and Naheed seem to be out and about in their cowboy shirts and Stetsons. Goats trimming the parks…a good idea, if only goats would do as instructed. They do anything but, so I can see the need for goatherds, or someone to extract the goats from private yards they will invariably walk into. For me, Windows 10 has slowed down my system quite a bit, and I think it’s because W10 takes up so much more bandwidth than W7. I think I may need a wifi booster.

346…I don’t know what 99 out of every 100 anime costumes are from, but sometimes, I do recognize them. The end of May saw our own Anime North, which pulled in about 30,000 people. We had a crafters’ table there, and our sales were extremely good. I found the anime masks to be a little creepy. The CBC is usually a pretty good guest, and I have read that with more money coming from the government, the CBC ratings are rising. (As Calgary’s, Toronto’s Radio One is at 99.1 MHz.)

The American election is a true horrorshow, worse than any I can remember. Not only are Americans considering moving up here to avoid the shadow of a Trump presidency (shudder), but Brits are thinking of moving here to avoid the effects of the Brexit. We may have some more waves of refugees besides the Syrians. Some polls says that Trump and Clinton are neck and neck, so there may be some reason for worry. As you say, it may pass, but still, the idea of Trump with his hands on the reins of power should make anyone at least uncomfortable.

Some American readers who remember a character named Walter Diefenbaker in one of Sharon McCrumb’s books will have their question answered…where did she get the name Diefenbaker?

Well, about one month until we go to England, and while most of our preparations are made, there is still a lot to do. This weekend should take care of at least some of that, so we are looking forward to seeing what we can do. While I wait, I write locs! Many thanks for these two issues, and see you with the next one.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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02:05 pm


Loc on Rodney's Fanac 7 (2) (Rodney Leighton, ed.)
Dear Rodney:

Many thanks for Rodney’s Fanac 7. I see I’ve already responded to this zine, but that’s okay, different things to say. I hope you’ve been getting these letters! And so, here comes another one.

A lot of us are around the age where we’re having a few medical problems, but yours sounds worse than most. You had mentioned suicide, so I am pleased you’ve thought otherwise. I know a lot of guys don’t like the doctor, but I go when I need to, and see my doctor regularly, if only to renew prescriptions. I will be seeing another doctor soon about pre-diabetes, and my ophthalmologist to see how my eyes are doing. Good for Perry and Dave hauling you off to the doctor. I’ve read recently the best thing for edema (swelling of the legs) is warm compresses. I hate doctors that don’t get back to you on tests…I think you want to hear the news from your doctor, good or bad.

Hospitals are not the happiest places to be, but the last couple of times I was there were for eye operations, and it was smooth sailing both times. A friend of mine in Ottawa worked for the VON, and that was her living…I think she’s close to retirement now.

The phones stores hate me. I don’t want to buy a smartphone, a simple cellphone will do for me, too. But, they don’t want to sell those to me. I have a flipphone that’s probably 7 or 8 years old now, but hey, it still works, and best of all, it does for me what I want.

Good pile of zines you’re getting. I get most of the titles you list, but there’s a few I don’t. That’s okay, I have more than enough zines to keep me busy regularly. PearleVision is a pretty good place. Last time I went to Vancouver, I crushed my sunglasses, and Pearle fixed them for no cost.

Graeme Cameron does write good zines. His non-SF and non-fandom zines catch the eye because they are so different. We all need a change, even in fannish zines.

When we lived in Brampton, we were lucky enough to get a family doctor fairly quickly. When we moved back to Toronto and Etobicoke, we decided to stick with our Brampton doctor. It’s so difficult, if not impossible, to find a doctor these days, we will stick with the doctor we have.

Just about at the page…whatever title you use next, please send me an electronic copy, or get Chuck to do it. Send along what turns your crank, and I will try to use these letters as some kind of conversation. I think that’s what you need most of all, a little virtual company. Take care, stay well, stay alive. See you the next time.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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12:16 pm


Loc on OASFiS Event Horizon 344 (Juan Sanmiguel, ed.)
Dear OASFiSians:

I have issue 344 of the Event Horizon, and a fast letter will follow. I can’t wait for this weekend to arrive, so I hope this is a good zine, and can put it together quickly.

My condolences to all of you about the shooting at Pulse. Terrible news, and now comes the deaths in Nice, France. I hate to say that is a terrible world we’ve created for ourselves, and no wonder so many escape into much more positive fictional futures, needing a break from such harsh realities.

My letter…just after saying we don’t get any SF plays here, there will be a reading performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the downtown area. They not only want people to come, but they also want people to come from the audience to read some roles, and we are going to see if we can participate that way. It’s in early August.

Big pro-run conventions…no descriptions of panels in a programme book? This shows me that many of these corporations who stage these big cons have no real understanding of what fans like. Sometimes, I think they think we are fans of EVERYTHING they offer, and so we will be at every panel, so who needs descriptions? This is just one reason I don’t go to the big cons here. However, many do, and those big cons thrive.

It sounds like Bill Shatner has improved his opinions about going to conventions…as he said, he needs to eat, and going to conventions affords him extensive travel. Around here, the big fuss this past year  was Shatner playing Mark Twain in Murdoch Mysteries, one of the more popular police procedural shows.

Time to go; it was definitely a fast loc, and I hope has some decent content in it. Take care, and see you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 14th, 2016
02:19 pm


Loc on Warp 95 (Cathy Palmer-Lister, ed.)

Dear MonSFFEN:

Thank you all, and especially you, Cathy, for Warp 95. I will get past the dentist’s nightmare on the front cover, and head inwards…

As with many, the combination of Bell.net and Windows 10 has greatly hindered my computer work and job hunt. There are problems with Bell’s Internet services, and they are migrating from one se4rver to another. As a result, I haven’t been able to download any e-mail for just over a week, I have no access to my Bell e-mails, and my Gmail account is getting a workout. Also, because of Bell’s problems, it is much easier and faster for me to access everything with my tablet than with my desktop computer. I begin the see why so many ditch the desktop for the portable units.

We were recently at a traditional favorite craft show, the Bazaar of the Bizarre, our first time in, and given how people said they’d do well, we thought we would, too. Before that, we had our table in the Crafters’ Corner of Anime North, and we did amazing well, it’s always our best show of the year. Only a couple of vendors made their tables back, and we sure didn’t. However, we do have two events coming up. The event in Mississauga is called Alice in Wonderland: Steampunk Invasion (check it out on Facebook) on July 24, and two weeks after that is the Coldwater Steampunk Festival on August 6. Eleven days after that is our trip to England, so we’re once again having a busy summer.

Earlier in August at the Canadian Stage Company in eastern downtown Toronto will be a reading performance of J.K. Rowling’s latest Harry Potter writings, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. They are inviting people to take a role that evening, so I think both Yvonne and I will give it a shot.

I can’t help but feel that Houdini and Doyle is meant as a Victorian/Edwardian series for those who enjoy shows like Murdoch Mysteries, and I believe it is also made by Shaftesbury, but I simply haven’t had the time to see it, and from what I hear, it is well cast, except for the actor playing Arthur Conan Doyle, and the scripts are a little lackluster. I can’t say anything personally, but one evening, I will have to try it, and see what it’s like.

Today is a busy day…I went for a job interview this morning…two hours in transit for a two-minute interview in a dirty office…I don’t think so. This afternoon, I will be going up to Woodbridge to do some taping for BelMarra Nutriceuticals/Lombardy Financial. I am seeing a lot of the bus and subway today.

Everyone have a great time at the club BBQ in Angrignon Park, and please tell us of your day in the next issue. I look forward to it.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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