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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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March 26th, 2017
09:36 am


Loc on The National Fantasty Fan Vol. 76 No. 2 (George Phillies, ed.)
Dear Neffers:

Thanks to all for Volume 76, Number 2 of The National Fantasy Fan. It’s early morning as I write, for I will be going to my first day of work in about a year and a quarter shortly. However, the hunt for better work and more hours does continue; this is a first step long overdue.

I think the idea of the Franking Bureau, sending the membership fanzines from eFanzines.com, is a great idea. I hope those zines are being read and enjoyed, but I also hope at least a few will take the next step, and respond to those zines. I have been writing in the letter column of these fanzines for just more than 35 years now, and I do feel more a part of the fanzine community because of that. The N3F zines could definitely use that kind of feedback, too. I remember how much money was spent on paper, envelopes and postage…we don’t have to do that now, all that’s needed is your time and imagination.

I hope that Ionisphere will include more interviews with fans. I think we know much about the lives of our favorite pro writers, but I think there is more variety to examine in the lives of fans. The books from our favorite authors provide community by themselves, but in this age where it is too expensive for many to travel to other cities, we need other avenues of forming community, and such a zine as Ionisphere can do that. Finding out the biographies of fans of the past, like Dale Tarr and Elmer Perdue, and pros like Marjorie Bowen, is quite educational, and a window into how fandom and prodom operated in a past age, and could be an apt companion to current fan biographies in Ionisphere.

Fandom has certainly changed for us, and given how our interests have changed, but conventions have changed radically, IMHO, we now attend more events than conventions. Yet, there are some cons for us coming up. Now that I have at least a little work, we can make some plans for where we are going, and what we’ll be doing. Our own convention schedule…

April 20-24           CostumeCon 35, Mississauga, ON. This rotational convention comes back to Canada, for the third time, I believe, and we will have a dealer’s table there.
May 5-7                Ad Astra 36, Richmond Hill, ON. We’ve attended this con since its inception, but we will be there for the Saturday only.
May 26-28           Anime North 2017, Toronto, ON. This is the annual anime con, the third largest animecon on the continent, and we will have a dealer’s table there, too.
July 14-16            Motor City Steam Con, Romulus, MI. This will be our first time at this still-new steampunk convention, and we are hoping for a very good time.

Time to go…I should leave for work soon. Take care all, and see you with the next N3F publication.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 25th, 2017
06:22 pm


Loc on Lightning Round Vol. 3 No. 7 (Al Bouchard, ed.)
Dear Al:

Thanks for Lightning Round Vol. 3, No. 7, and some fast words in this here letter of comment. I can say something now, and it’s taken me long enough to do…after 16 months of sending out resumes like crazy, I finally do have some work. I start tomorrow afternoon. That’s right, Sunday. It is telephone solicitation, and I know how many people like that, but it is work, and it will tide me over until I find something else, and I have more than a few irons in the fire. 16 months of famine, and now, it is feast, with all the people who want to talk to me about a job. Fingers crossed, I will have daytime work again.

Politics…ick! It can be productive, and usually, it is just plain nasty. I have seen so-called Christian leaders do the most unChristian things to the people who voted them into office. Politicians need the reminder every so often that as representatives of their electorate, they are civil servants, and not special princes and princesses who answer to no one. The newsfeed that comes from the USA delivers fresh horrors every day. Healthcare…we all stand on the same side, but somehow, some are determined to shut it down completely.

Was page 2 meant to be partially empty? I get the feeling there was supposed to be another article there…

My letter…as you say, with Betsy DeVos as the new head of the Department of Education, she seems to me the Angel of Despair. Is she really intent in shutting down her own department, and take the idea of an educational system away from all American children? Makes you wish there really were superheroes who could fly down and save the American Way of Life. More than once have I seen mention of another American Revolution. That may be what it takes. I have also read that as soon as DT45’s breaking of the law becomes egregious enough, the Rethuglicans will dump Trump like yesterday’s dinner, and install Pence as President, who will then try to remake America as a theocracy, while Congress continues to rip apart the fabric of American life. The world is sad for you, given how rampant ignorance at the highest levels intends to make millions of poor Americans even poorer. No one voted for that.

Our own lives have been on hold for the moment…you might have seen on Facebook that Yvonne’s mother, Gabrielle, passed away yesterday morning. Now comes the will, and next month, a special service to remember her. This will give all of the Roberts and Duponts, and all family members, a chance to get together. Gabrielle will eventually be buried in Cache Bay, Ontario.

Hope I made the next issue before April Fool’s Day! Take care, hugs to Megan, and see you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 22nd, 2017
08:45 pm


Loc on OASFiS Event Horizon 351 (2) (Juan Sanmiguel, ed.)
Dear OASFiSians:

I will make it fast…I have a busy day full of interviews tomorrow, so I will write up a fast latter on Event Horizon 351. Or is it 352? Wish me luck on these interviews, I am so tired of looking.

Quite the selection of guests at these toy and comic conventions. Looks like most of them are voice actors, followed by comic book writers and artists. I have tried to be a professional voice actor, and I actually do have a regular gig for voice acting, but the step towards doing voicework for anime shows is a big one, and there aren’t as many anime shows with translation doe in Toronto as there used to be.

Great to see William Ledbetter on the Nebula ballot…I met William at a space conference in Dallas many years ago when he was a member of the local space advocates group, but he was just starting his writing career at the time. The nomination period for the Aurora Awards will be starting soon.

My letter…not only will Penney’s Steampunk General Store be at CostumeCon 35, but we will also be at our big annual anime convention, Anime North. Two big cons should help with our sales this spring. Can’t wait for them!

I think I must fold for the moment, and get moving again. I need to get some sleep tonight. Many thanks for this issue, and I will look for more in my e-mail. See you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 21st, 2017
07:30 pm


Loc on X-Rayer 133 (Ray Palm, ed.)

Dear Ray:

Thank you for X-Rayer 133…I am sure I have a few things to say about what’s inside, so the evening is mostly spoken for and I have a few minutes.

I remember the UFO days well. The family used to watch a show called Project Blue Book, and it seemed that UFO reports were taken pretty well seriously. It made us wonder, and it gave us something to think about, good points when it came to good ratings. I also remember seeing UFO magazines on the bookstore magazine racks, Flying Saucer Digest, if I recall. I think I have met Chris Rutkowski, who is billed as Canada’s leading UFO expert, and I think he had some fannish connections some years ago before going over completely to the UFO side.

My letter…I have seen Trump’s approval ratings lately…not too good. He did promise on international TV that he would never take a vacation with so much to do, and with that said, he has spent about one-quarter of his time in office travelling to and from Florida, and playing lots of golf. He seems without conscience, he is following his own bizarre agenda, and he seems smug over how he’s screwed over his opponents, and the American electorate, for that matter. While his antics continue to get press coverage, he serves as camouflage for the Republican majority, intent on ripping the heart out of your country.

The job hunt continues apace…I have a couple of interviews in a couple of days, wish me luck on those. It has taken about 16 months, but with today, it looks like my hunt may be coming to an end, fingers crossed.

It isn’t much, but there’s only so much to say with a six-page zine. Still…many thanks for it, and we will see you with the next one.

     Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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03:24 pm


Loc on NASFA Shuttle Vol. 37 No. 3 (Mike Kennedy, ed.)
Dear NASFen:

The March Shuttle is one screen, and Word is up on the other. With those two, I might as well compose a response to what’s inside. Here goes with gusto…

Now that the Hugo deadline is past, perhaps people can now discuss who they nominated, and why. I sincerely hope there isn’t a Puppies’ mess of bloc nominations to wade through. Whoops, nope, vain hope. I think Vox Day is finding that he can’t nominate all who he alone thinks is entitled. Let’s hope he goes away soon.

That Star Trek: DS9 documentary…I hope it’s made, and I’d like to see it. I don’t have the cash to help fund it, and I have to admit that it was during the run of DS9 that my interest in Trek was just starting to fade, but perhaps now is the time to look back and appreciate it.

Ah, there I am again in June. I will turn 58, and I admit I am starting to feel those years. Can’t move as fast as I used to, which means, I need to create more opportunities to walk faster. Use it or lose it, I guess. With luck, I will be spry in my 60s.

Not only has Rob Sawyer won this year’s Heinlein Award, but he has also received Canada’s highest civilian award, the Order of Canada. Rob will be travelling to Ottawa in August to be personally invested into the Order.

The locol…Sheryl, I have had some interviews lately, and I am hopeful to have some work soon. These days, there are no guarantees, but still… We have voted for TAFF, and we are hopeful that John Purcell can go to Finland for the Worldcon. The newest addition to ST:Discovery is Jason Isaacs as the captain of the Discovery. Mike, I certainly agree with you about fannish versus fan-adjacent. Fandom wanted some measure of acceptance…we got it. We won…or did we?

As for our little steampunk business, we’ve gotten ourselves into the two biggest events on the early 2017 convention calendar around these parts…CostumeCon 35, and Anime North. Our sales at smaller events have been flagging, so there is hope we can move the merchandise with these two big shows.

I am done for the moment…we hope everyone’s enjoying the new spring, and evenings outside on the patio can resume very soon. Take care, see you next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 19th, 2017
05:39 pm


Loc on Opuntia 368 - 370 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

By the time a copy of Opuntia rises to the top of my Zines to Loc file on my desktop, there is usually three issues waiting patiently. So, once again, three issues to respond to, this time Opuntia 368, 369 and 370. Here goes with hope.

368…Just recently, Montréal was smacked with a helluva wind storm, and 75cm of snow. From the Hamilton area, straight down to Niagara Falls, they received a huge blast of winter. And, here is Toronto in between, with not a flake on the ground. We have been extremely lucky. Still, that groundhog is an endangered species around here, with yet another crappy set of predictions. Tomorrow is the first day of spring, and it sure doesn’t feel like it.

The World Wide Party is on our calendar! I wish it was possible to get back in touch with both Benoit and Franz, so see how life has treated them. I suspect both of them have left fanzines behind, but have left something for us to enjoy, to remember them by.

Excellent light displays at the Glow Festival. Toronto real estate is priced beyond ridiculous, so we really don’t have a lot of open public areas, although Dundas Square might do the trick for something similar.

It looks like The Pocket Book Magazine was an attempt to draw on the popularity of Readers’ Digest at the time. I still see Readers’ Digest in my doctor’s waiting room, although to be honest, I don’t know if anyone subscribes to it any more.

369…It does get to the point where you see the Keep Calm… signs, and they simply don’t register with me any more. I think they have lost their appeal. I used to have an app for my tablet that would let me fill in a Keep Calm… poster of my own design. That lost its charm fast.

Winter sports…across the street from our building is a combination hockey rink and tennis court. The pavement has refrigeration coils underneath it, so it can serve as both depending on the weather. It is sometimes funny to see a Zamboni zipping around the court, getting the ice ready for the skaters.

My letter…there’s a number of record and CD stores left in Toronto, but many of them are specialty and collector’s stores. I can’t remember when I last bought a CD, and if we buy DVDs, it’s through a website like Amazon.

370…I think there may have been stories like the Jeffty style of stories you describe in some of the Twilight Zones, especially the remake series from the 1980s.

The H.T. Webster cartoons made me smile. I remember my own father napping on the couch, the TV going, and four or five empty coffee mugs where my mother had brought him tea. Unfortunately for the horror writers, and I know a few locals, most if not all horror just makes me laugh, or sometimes, roll my eyes. Not my literature, I guess.

Word of the old Zeppelin pulps makes me think that with today’s interest in steampunk, those pulps could be reprinted, and sold to the steampunks. I suspect most of them would enjoy them. I miss the online radio shows, although we have downloaded only a few of them.

Your mention of British authors writing articles full of misapprehensions and insults about colonials reminds me of what I’ve done the past couple of days…I worked as registration assistant/usher/ fulfillment clerk at the Real Estate Wealth Expo, where the American-based wealthy shysters dangle the temptation of wealth in front of you, and then they get rich by selling you over-priced seminars and classes. They would stand up on the stage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, make over-the-top simplifications about Canadians and Canadian life, say something extremely demeaning and stupid, and then laugh it off, and encourage the massive audience to laugh with them, and like sheep, they do. I wanted to leave, but I got paid for it, so… (The irony of the day was that while this real estate expo was going on in the MTCC North Building, the annual Toronto ComicCon was going on in the south building. We attended that last year, and has somewhat of a good time. I saw so many of the puffed-up, self-important entre-pren-ooers, in ill-fitting suits, and then I saw Captain America and various anime costumes that had come up from the south building, and I wondered which group had the funniest costumes.

Well, that’s not bad at all. Today is my only weekend day, after the nonsense of the Real Estate Wealth Expo, but at least I am relaxing after a 10-hour shift. I wish you a pleasant week, the jobhunt starts fresh in the morning, and we will see you next issue.

                                                                                              Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 14th, 2017
09:20 pm


Loc on Tightbeam 276 (Robert Jennings, ed.)
Dear Robert:

I have Tightbeam 276 here, and slowly but surely, I am catching up with all the fanzines resident in my Zines to Loc box on the desktop. I was five weeks behind, but now, only three. I must be doing something right.

My loc…I think what few fanzine reviews I wrote may have been inspired by Guy Lillian’s style of review. He is largely positive and concise when he writes mini-reviews of zines for The Zine Dump, and I’d rather be positive and supportive of the zines we still have.

Hugo Madness indeed. I have never liked military SF, especially because it is aimed directly at American readers. The rest of us will probably go and read something else. I don’t download e-books because I have plenty of paper books yet to read, not that I am reading them these days. Of all the books discussed, which one would I like to get? The new Bloom County book. I already have most of the books from the 80s, and this one would be great to get. But as you say, it is overpriced, and finding all those new strips online would be the best for our tight budget. Yvonne bought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and this big Harry Potter fan never finished the book. We had thought to go and see the two-part play when we were in London this past August, but the tickets were mostly gone during the time we were there, and what tickets were left were horribly expensive. I gather this two-part play swept the British stage awards this season, and had the best box office.

I have never collected comics, but even non-readers knew about Supergirl, and all the various incarnations she’s been in, from that issue of Action Comics, to the Supergirl TV show, to the modern DC Superhero Girls for the kids. She’s more of a theme than an actual character.

When it comes to films, well, nope. I don’t care to have Netflix at home; we know we’d be watching that all the time, not getting anything done at home, and besides, expenses again. On the other hand…Hidden Figures was a great movie, and it certainly deserves all the praise and awards it’s been getting. I gather at the Oscars, Katherine Goble Johnson was brought on stage to thunderous applause.

Later on this week, I was actually able to get myself a little bit of work, through an agency I thought I’d never work for again. As a result, while there is a big comic convention in the south part of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, I will be working the registration tables for a real estate expo in the north part. I expect to run into a few people I know, but I think I’d rather be in the north part. Right now, I need to make some money, not spend it.

Thanks for this issue, and I look forward to the next one, and that includes Fadeaway, Whichever title arrives, we will see you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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07:48 pm


Loc on The Zine Dump 39 (Guy H. Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

Got The Zine Dump 39! Got some time to write a loc! Are the brain cells in prime condition? Hell, I can barely spell. Let’s go for it anyway.

I do enjoy Joe Major’s Alexiad, partially because Joe is going through what I am enduring. The job hunt still continues, and the resumes go out, and little comes back. I am waiting for many HR types who make promises, and deliver nothing. The BCSFAzines Felicity works on are, a little behind datewise, and she has her reasons for it. Wolf von Witting has run for TAFF twice and lost; I hope he will go for the third time. I am sure he’d win it.

LASFS has sold their clubhouse on Tyrone Ave.? I was there once with Yvonne, but she’s been at the previous clubhouse made of shipping containers. I hope they can find some place for meetings. I know some clubs meet at church halls, and some that meet at hotel function rooms. I’d wonder if either is available in busy LA. I wish I could get my hands on some Instant Messages from NESFA. I’ve been out of touch with them for far too long.

A snowzilla blizzard? Isn’t that what the US East Coast is enduring right now? We were supposed to get a massive blast here in Toronto, but all we have right now is cold and a dusting. Taral is currently recovering from a stroke, but already, he is writing articles, so he’s obviously fought back, and largely won. It’s another indication of our collective ages.

Elizabeth II shakes hands and pushes you away, hm? Trump’s the opposite; he shakes hands, and tries to pull you off your feet is a display of dominance. Good to see that Justin Trudeau wouldn’t let him get away with that. I haven’t seen an issue of Vanamonde in some time, I wish John still mailed them out. In Warp, I think it was Leybl Botwinik’s son who wrote that Hebrew SF novel.

If you didn’t get my loc on the previous Zine Dump, let me know! I do try to respond to every issue. With that, I must say my thanks for this issue, and I look forward to the upcoming Challenger. We will try to keep warm, and relatively snow-free.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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06:46 pm


Loc on Askance 39 (John Purcell, ed.)
Dear John:

I can finally now get to issue 39 of Askance. Got a busy day and a busy week ahead, finally got some work. But, there’s time to get onto another zine, so here goes.

Well, we voted in the newest TAFF race! And yes, we voted for you. We’d better, we nominated you, hm? We will tag along vicariously, and see what happens, and wait for that great report. I still have most of my teeth, but hard scrubbing has kept what I have left there. I keep seeing ads here and there for replacement teeth that are literally screwed into your jawbone, is that what you endured?

The RIP section of Ansible is indeed depressing, for the size of that section gets closer to a full page with each issue. The world around us is granular, with each granule being a friend, an import name in your fandom, an artist, writer, creator, or just someone who makes part of that vivid background of your life. We are losing a lot of granules these days. The rest of you, stay healthy, okay? I didn’t get a chance to meet Peter Weston, and I wanted to.

Our common friend Steve Baldassarra has been keeping us apprised of your health challenges, Taral, so it is good to see things are coming back to you as you recover from the stroke. You have an excellent friend in Steven, please tell him that. I have spent some time in the hospital lately, too…not as a patient, but as a concerned in-law as Yvonne’s mother fights to get out of Toronto Western Hospital. The prognosis, to be honest, is not good, but this challenge was not unexpected. Gabrielle Klein-Robert is 94, and she was at one time a pillar of the local French-Canadian community in Toronto.

I might not have gotten many copies of Rune, but I remember them well. It seldom happens that any group can be as cohesive as a good Worldcon bid, or a vibrant club, or a good committee. Let’s see…I don’t have my collection handy right now, but based on the covers you reproduce here… 79, 78..I probably got the final dozen or so issues. Good, thick fanzines with lots of articles. Back when I got into fandom, Toronto fandom has lots of contacts with the fannish folks in Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis and Columbus, so there’s more than a few familiar names here. I also have that Willis/White edition of Duplicator…Convention.

The locol…I sure could use a slice of that pizza on page 24. Perhaps religion might not disappear if extraterrestrials were found, but the reaction of those who are extremely religious would be spectacular. I suspect they would call the ETs devilspawn, and try to declare a religious war on them. And, I am still not employed. Too many companies offer jobs that never seem to be filled, too many people are going for each individual job, and in many cases, the simplest jobs seem to require qualifications that not even PhDs can deliver upon.

We’ve had one show so far this year, Genrecon in the town of Guelph, to the northwest. Sales were poor because the convention took a year off, and I can’t think of a better way to shake your year-after-year attendees. Still, we had a good time. Coming up shortly is CostumeCon 35, the costumers’ annual rotational convention, this year in nearby Mississauga, and we have a dealers’ table there. For the record, Nasdaq Canada showed some interest in me, but did not hire me. What else is new…

I’ve made it past the first page, and I’ve run out of gas, or at least brain sparks to add some more paragraphs to the loc. These days, I spend so much time on the computer searching, I have to allow time to write for the locol. Thank you for this issue, and I look forward to seeing the 40th issue, RSN. Take care, and see you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 11th, 2017
07:41 pm


Loc on Fadeaway 52 (Robert Jennings, ed.)
Dear Robert:

As José Sánchez’s felinoid (I think) strains at the leash of its Roman attendant, I will have a look through the newest Fadeaway, issue 52, and see if I can whip up something coherent. It’s Saturday night, so no guarantees, but I will try.

Like most, I tried my hand at writing stories for sale in the SF magazines in the 80s. Of course, I got nowhere with it. I even joined a writers’ group that produced people like S.M. Stirling, Karen Wehrstein, Shirley Meier and Tanya Huff, but at the time, I was an esseff short story writer in a room full of fantasy novelists. “That was nice” doesn’t teach how to write, but it certainly does teach frustration. Rob Sawyer has called SF a 20th-century literature, and I hate to say that he is right, but he is. So, I will stick to the locol, and what I know.

I have mentioned the CBC TV series Murdoch Mysteries from time to time…one of the episodes this season has Howard Phillips Lovecraft as a character, with a young HPL being connected to a murder. He mopes through the episode, envying those who have died. I don’t know how accurate this portrayal of HPL’s youth is, but I know nothing of his politics. I think the US could use a New Deal, instead of the wholesale ripping apart of important features of American life.

I have never liked guns, and it’s probably I was never exposed to then as a child. Canadian society rarely wants or even needs them. I know many costumers, SF and steampunk alike, who must have something gunlike in their hands, and I’ve never liked that, either. Besides, I prefer to keep my hands empty. You never know when there’s a friend to hug.

My loc…my optometrist recently gave me a full check-up of my eyes…my astigmatism is gone. I am not sure how that happens, but that’s what she says. She now knows of my cystal tuft, and as long as it, or anything else, doesn’t stop me from seeing and doing all this things I want to do, she will not recommend any surgery, and that’s just fine with me.

It is getting late here, and a relatively new British series called Full Steam Ahead is coming on the local educational channel. In six parts, it is the story of how the technology of steam locomotive changed the history of Britain. Actually, I have seen it before, but it is worth seeing again, and it is that magic combination of being both educational and entertaining. Thank you for issue 52, and I will keep an eye out for 53.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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05:22 pm


Loc on Treasure 4 (Bruce Gillespie, ed.)
Dear Bruce:

Thank you for a lovely paper copy of Treasure 4. With that in mind, it is now time for me to go digging for whatever comes to mind in that pit called my febrile imagination. Off I go, and as always these days, no promises.

I do get a number of clubzines these days, and the clubs all have the same problems, getting people to participate or attend or pay their dues, and coming up with something for everyone to do that they’d like or appreciate, or care about. It’s a thankless task often for the club admins to tackle regularly, and make the club interesting, and excite its members into taking part or just returning for another year. I’d wish for a past year when belonging to a club was the social mechanism we all dreamed of, to bring us all together to share our dearest interest. Those were definitely the days. In my own experience, it was a Trek club in Victoria, British Columbia near the end of 1977. Thanks to Facebook, I am still in touch with a few of the friends I met at the club, I can now say, 40 years ago.

I have been approached a couple of times to join FAPA, and I have considered it. However, I have learned to conserve my energies and time, and these days, the never-ending job hunt takes up a big chunk of both energy and time. So, my time these days is tight enough as it is, with fannish activities like writing letters of comment like this one, and making steampunk costume jewelry, and finding venues at which to sell it. If I didn’t value my sleep so much, I might do more, and FAPA would be on my radar.

The tribute to John Collins reminds me of our own current activities…literally, portions of the last three days have been spent at Toronto Western Hospital, where Yvonne’s mother Gabrielle is recovering from unspecified injuries and dehydration. Gabrielle is 94 years old now, usually living in a French-Canadian assisted living home, and in the deep throes of dementia, and we do wonder if she will ever walk out of that hospital. Would it be a blessing for her to pass, or to go home again? I guess it depends on whether she could live well with more assistance, perhaps in a home, or whether some might think that 94 years is a good long time, or even too much. No matter, as I approach my 58th birthday, it’s a lesson in my own mortality, and what I might expect or have to deal with as I age.

Britain…I think the last time I was in Scotland, it was in 1969, I was nine years old, and my mother and two brothers were visiting with my grandparents in Ayr, and then with my Uncle John in Kilmarnock. I am pleased to say that the last time I was in England was this past August. Thanks to Yvonne’s thrift, we flew from Toronto to London in mid-August for a week’s of touristry in London, like the London Eye, Victoria Station, Paddington Station, Big Ben, the Parliament Buildings and the Churchill War Rooms, just to mention a few. We stayed in the Georgian House hotel for two nights (two different Harry Potter-themed rooms), and then at the Grosvenor Hotel at Victoria Station. After that, trains up to the town of Lincoln for four days of the strangest fun with The Asylum VII, the biggest steampunk event in the world, and yes, we did have our costumes with us. Marvellous fun, and we’d return in a heartbeat.

We came to our interests in SF through fandom, but any interest having such a fandom attached to it is not common, I’ve found. I did find local clubs for my past interests, stamp collecting and AM/FM/SW DXing, but I found those clubs to be exclusive, rather than inclusive. Also, such interests do not seem to have regional, national, or international groups. I don’t think we really know how lucky we’ve been to find one another.

Casey Wolf, you’ve got to come back to Toronto for a visit. I do know some of the local fans in Vancouver like Garth Spencer and R. Graeme Cameron, and there are some fans in Vancouver from Toronto, like Christina Carr and Martin Hunger. Yvonne’s heard of the Empire Diner, and I may have taken that same course in writing SF from Terrence Green. The Merril Collection is in the TPL’s Special Collections building on College St., but as I do, you probably remember where it was on St. George St. Fran’s is still around, as is the Mars Café. My condolences on Sparky…I have never had a pet of my own, but others’ cats have made a lasting impression on me. I miss Momcat and ChatChat.

(Greetings and hugs to Yvonne Rousseau! We all mourn the passing of Alan Rickman. As I write, my Yvonne is wearing her Always t-shirt.)

My loc…seeing the date on it is December of 2014, I can now say that I have been out of work for now 16 months, but the resumes continue to flood out, and I have at least one really good lead on a job at a company I can easily commute to. Murdoch Mysteries continues on, the most popular show on both the CBC and on Alibi TV in the UK, and it is now getting close to the end of its 10th season. My best to Bill Wright, and I hope he regains his health soon. We did get to London in 2016, and we are pleased. And, the computer is a bandwidth hog with Windows 10 now.

I think I am done now, and a page and a half is pretty good for me these days. I hope that’s fair exchange for a great fanzine, with excellent production values. I hope you haven’t been too warm, and some of your warmth will come up here soon, I hope. (It is currently -10C outside.) Take care, and see you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 10th, 2017
03:30 pm


Loc on Warp 97 (Cathy Palmer-Lister, ed.)
Dear MonSFFen:

Thanks to all of you, and Cathy too, for an e-issue of Warp 97. It’s almost the weekend as I write, so I’d better get with it before we go out for the evening.

There’s a Wellsian front cover. Well done, Keith! I find we need more and more reminders of the SF from past eras, for there is so much current SF, the past may be easily forgotten. Upcoming conventions…well, we won’t be at the Toronto Comicon this year, but we will be at Ad Astra, but only for Saturday (we decided not to take a table this year).

My loc…you must be tired of hearing me say this, but I am STILL jobhunting. I had an excellent interview just a few days ago, so hopes are up for that one, and our first vending convention of the year, Genrecon 2017 in Guelph, was a fun time, but sales were poor. We have a number of vending opportunities lined up, and our next convention with a table is CostumeCon 35 in Mississauga. From the look back at Warp 10…for me, a convention is fun where there’s something to do, something to participate in. I find many conventions these days, literary or media or other, simply need you as a source of income and as a quiet audience. Comments on this?

(Cathy, let me know if you need an update convention list. I think I sent one out to you sometime in the past month, but I can’t remember.

Worldcon is out of our financial league now, but I admit that I am still interested in what happens to it. To see it in Helsinki this coming August is great. I’ve always thought that there should be more world in the Worldcon, and Finland certainly fills the bill. The NASFiC will be in Puerto Rico, so some are angry over the fact neither convention is on the North American continent. In 2018, Worldcon comes to the Bay Area, so the complaints should be silenced by then.

One move we did see, especially for Yvonne, the big Harry Potter fan, was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As Josée writes, it is Harry Potter for grown-ups, and there is a steampunk tinge to it, which keeps both of us happy. Based on what J.K. Rowling said, there will be four more movies in this series.

I think that may be it for right now! I see there’s a meeting this weekend…enjoy your get together, stay warm, and see you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Lloyd Penney.

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March 6th, 2017
07:48 pm


Loc on Alexiad 91 (Joseph Major, ed.)
Dear Joseph:

Thank you for Alexiad 91, and finally, it looks like we both have some good news on the work front. I have a job interview tomorrow, some voicework coming up, and work for a trade show the weekend after next. Things are finally looking up. Good to see your income is rising, and best of all, life may be coming back to normal Real Soon Now. And, not a moment too soon.

I’ve never been on Twitter…I feel it’s good for selling a product you offer, so it’s good for your e-books. For me, Facebook, and LinkedIN for the job search, and LiveJournal for my loc archive. That is enough social media for me for the moment, and might be a little too much once I am working again.

A shame about the deaths of John Glenn and Eugene Cernan. The question is continually asked…if we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we put a man on the moon today? Some leaders are too busy accusing and deriding others, and rampaging on Twitter, which means they have no such lofty goals to share with us. Perhaps your President should read One False Step by Richard Tongue. Bimonthly digests may go quarterly at some point, and after that…well, I hate to think about it.

Loscon 43…can’t believe Loscon 39, and our own fun weekend, was four years ago. I think we have promised ourselves to return one fine year, and perhaps recreate the fun times, and see people we haven’t seen in the meantime. That would be great. But then, we’ve also promised ourselves that we will return to England, and we are saving for that, too. When we go to LA, I hope it is at a time when it is safe to cross the border. Right now, I am not sure.

With the current crop of predicted elements proven, I am not sure there’s any more room on the periodic table. Should there be more, they will have half-lives in nanoseconds, and be more curiosities on the tail end of the table. (Wonder where the Element of Surprise is on the table?)

My loc…conventions coming up are the rotational CostumeCon, which lands in Mississauga, Ontario, just west of Toronto, and we have a table there. The big annual anime convention, Anime North, is coming up the month afterwards, and we are trying our best to get a table there. There are so many restrictions to what we can or can’t sell, it had truly become difficult to know what is allowed. After those two huge cons, we have smaller events with fewer restrictions, and fingers crossed, we will have some decent sales this year.

Many thanks for all this…I think I write these letters for much the same reason you produce this fanzine. For me, the letters keep me in, in spite of some thinking they’re pointless, and not important in a zine of any kind. I am almost 40 years in fandom, and I admit my interest in SF has faded, being a grand field of literature I can’t keep up with, and do not have time to read any more. Steampunk has given me a new field of friends who will be around in our dotage, so we will not be old and alone, I hope. Thank you, good night, wish me good luck on tomorrow’s interview, and see you nextish.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 5th, 2017
09:32 pm


Loc on The Reluctant Famulus 115 (Thomas Sadler, ed.)
Dear Thomas:

Thank you for issue 115 of The Reluctant Famulus. Slowly but surely getting caught up. I will happily avoid that space cadet on the front cover (sorry, Kurt), and have a look further inside.

I agree with the editorial…remember The Simpsons, when they wanted to explore what’s the worst that could happen to America, came up with the horrific idea of President Donald Trump. They asked, hey, what’s the worst that could happen? The worst did happen, and we are all finding out. I also keep reading more about how the end of his tenure as President may be coming to the end soon. Enough of him, he’s a waste of type.

Wormholes are both scientific models and ideas, and fun SF tropes. Author pseudonyms  have their uses, and the authors have their reasons.  Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have used them, often to find out if their writing is selling itself, or if their names are doing the ultimate marketing. We all know that a pseudonym can also conceal how many people are actually doing the writing, and definitely can conceal the gender of the writer.

I have read about European pirate radio, and how adventurous it was to broadcast as you saw fit, the hell with the regulations, and put out what you see fit. Often, it was good music and good times, and many pirate broadcasters found lucrative careers waiting for them when they finally went legit. One can think of is Johnnie Walker, who left pirate radio behind to become one of the most honoured BBC broadcasters of the past 50 years. In my days before fandom, I was a shortwave/AM/FM DXer, and I still have my collection of radio station promotionals, and of course, all my QSL cards and letters.

The best of luck to Helen E. Davis in her journey from cancer. We all know people who have recovered, and some who haven’t.

My letter…we also have a Conservative Party here, and right now, they are going through a leadership sequence, trying to find their new leader. Some of these people sound like they’d be right at home in Trump’s cabinet, for they are racist and sexist, and one fancies himself a Trump-like businessman, with character to match. Ugh! I cannot see Canada electing any of them as Prime Minister, so we have to keep leaning on the current Prime Minister to keep to his promises. As far as work goes…nothing full-time, but I have gotten on with a company who provides occasional staff to trade shows and conferences, and I am being recalled for some voicework. Things are looking up. No drugs for me, either. I lived on a street in my childhood where four men, all with families, killed themselves with too much alcohol, so I can certainly see what drugs could do. I have my doubts it will ever happen, unless I get the fabulous job with fabulous pay, but we would very much like to return to England, to see more of that spectacular country.

(Just to let you know…Taral and I have a common friend, Steve Baldassarra, who let us know that Taral’s had a stroke, so he’s in for some recovery as he gets back abilities, like the use of a telephone, and soon, the use of his computer. I hope this stroke won’t affect the production of those great cartoons, and other artworks.)

Indeed, SF and its fandom will, must change. Either keep up, easier said than done, or reinvent yourself. Once I left conrunning, I needed to do that. Some thought I was gafiating, or gone. Before my fanzine days, Yvonne and I were costumers, and we competed in some of the Worldcon masquerades in the early 80s. Steampunk got us back into costuming, but not to compete, but merely take part, and have some fun.

TAFF!...we have voted and paid what we could afford. And, with some luck, we will be sending John and Valerie Purcell to Finland! We might even bring him back! Who knows?

Eric and Mary’s John the Eunuch books could be made into a series…I suspect the BBC might have a look long before the CBC here might, but the CBC does rely on Canadian writing to make Canadian series. John the Eunuch probably wouldn’t satisfy Canadian content regulations.

A page and a half on a Sunday night isn’t bad at all, better than my attempt last time. I will wind it up, say my thanks, and fire it into the æther. See you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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09:31 pm


Loc on Purrsonal Mewsings 56 (R-Laurraine Tutihasi, ed.)

Dear Laurraine:

I’ve got issue 56 of Purrsonal Mewsings, and many thanks. And now, it’s time to make a few comments on it, and see what I can compose.

I am not sure if Allegiance has made it here yet. I’d like to see it, but almost guaranteed prices will be far too high for our budget, such as it is. It’s good to see George has reinvented himself yet again to make this musical, and tell this important story. I never did see Rogue One, but I am looking forward to Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, coming in December, I believe. We did see Hidden Figures, and it was a great thing to see. Next should be a movie on the women who were trained for flight for the Mercury programme, and who were promptly forgotten by NASA, thinking only that good ol’ boys were the only ones to have the Right Stuff.

Twenty years ago, Yvonne went to Hawai’i with her two sisters, and they stayed on the big island. She didn’t travel much, but just enjoyed the wildlife and feral cats on the lanai of where they were  staying. They did go to see some of the lava flow from Kilauea, and sister Denise made the mistake of trying to take some lava rock home. I wouldn’t mind going some time, but I doubt it will happen.

I think I did answer this already…The Asylum in Lincoln, UK took place in various facilities around the city, including the Assembly Hall, a building with a façade that dates back to the 15th century. It was all over the historical part of the city, eleven different venues. This year, that number may increase, but the locus of the convention will move north to Bishop Grossteste University, in the north end of Lincoln. However, if crossing the border is not considered too dangerous, we plan to go to Detroit this coming July for a steampunk event called Motor City Steam Con, and all will take place within a hotel just north of the Detroit airport. The two events together will make for an interesting comparison.

Sheryl Birkhead had been wondering about Taral Wayne…a little while ago now, Taral had a stroke, and he is now in the midst of a long recovery. Our common friend Steve Baldassarra has been helping him with his recovery, and he will eventually get back all knowledge the stroke seems to have blocked access to. His prognosis sounds good, but he will need time to recover.

Anyway, I am about done here…it is a new year, the job hunt continues ever onwards, and I count the few blessings that I have, for I have to find something very soon. Tomorrow is Monday, the beginning of a new week, and with luck, there will be some new opportunities to find. Take care, and see you the next time.

     Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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04:55 pm


Loc on Breaking It All Down - The Zine 11 (Alexander Case, ed.)
Dear Alexander:

I know I am a little late with this, but better late than never. I have Breaking It All Down 11, and time for some comments.

Jose Sanchez has a lot of different drawing styles, which should make him an in-demand artist for just about anything.  It is always interesting to see what he draws, and how he draws it. Hope he’s making a good living with such talent.

My letter…no doubt you’ve been reading about, or hearing about, how refugees in the US have been crossing the border from the US into Canada, and the crossing between Minnesota and Emerson, Manitoba. Many of those refugees are afraid of how they would be treated by US-based police. I would wait…I get the stirrings of some kind of revolution that will bring Trump and the Republicans down. Time will tell. We had such a good time in England, we are already saving up for a return trip. No idea how long that will take.

We are trying our best to get a table of some kind at our local convention, Anime North. We’d been lucky enough to get in their Crafters’ Corner area the last four years, but this year, not as lucky. They do have an area called the Pro Plaza, and we are hopeful for a table there. In the meantime, Yvonne is making more Hawaiian-style shirts with anime, gaming or comics themed fabric, and I am making more costume jewelry, this time with LEDs in them. We hope they will sell well.

A dusting of snow, and you call it Snowpocalyse? We’ve had feet of snow on the ground here, and we’d get around by mountain-climbing the snowbanks. Actually, Vancouver, BC has had more snow than we have had, and that might be a first. And so far here, March has been colder than February. I don’t see how anyone can doubt the existence of global warming.

And you know I see little or no anime, so I can’t offer any comments on your nominations for Best of the year. Sorry about that…I actually see very little SF in book, movie or television form as well.

So, I guess I am done this time. I’m sure there will be more I can comment about the next issue. We’ll see you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 4th, 2017
09:09 pm


Loc on Probe 170 (Gail Jamieson, ed.)
Dear SFFSA Members:

Thank you for Probe 170…as always, there’s lots to see and read, and lots to make comment on. It’s a quiet Saturday night, so I suspect I should be able to write a good letter. No guarantees, though, so let’s go.

I hated to pass along bad news about any Worldcon, but better that you know. I would have loved to have gone to the Finnish Worldcon, but we did go to England for two weeks last year, and the money isn’t there, and probably won’t be for some time.

Andrew, I understand what you mean with time. There’s never enough to do/read/watch all you want to. I admit there’s little I want to watch on television these days, and I simply can’t keep up with SF, and haven’t even tried for a few years now. That allows me to write hundreds of letters like this one every year, but also allows me to make steampunk jewelry for sale at conventions. Science fiction fans won the battle for respect, and now, we have become mainstream, and we have simply too much to choose from. We won, but in some ways, it doesn’t feel like it.

In a totally computerized society, Error 451 means you are recorded as dead? Looks like Limbo needs a serious upgrade. If only we could control time the way this group does. If we only could see our role in time the way John is shown, we could choose the most interesting path. There’s an occupation of the future: timeline editor.

My letter…well, I am still job hunting. There is so much competition for the kind of job I do…editorial work for publications. Right now, though, I have many resumes out, so I am still hopeful after so long.

There’s been so many SF stories about God; I may have written one myself. This story seems somewhat fresh. He comes across more like a magician than anything else. Here, God seems more human than any of us, performs miracles on request, with the full knowledge that happiness doesn’t simply spring forth when you get your wish, no matter how extreme it might be. Has anyone checked to see if God really is on Facebook? These days, it would appear to be the best way to contact us. It’s where we seem to be watching and listening, and paying the most attention.

It is getting late here, so I will thank you all for continuing to support my Probe habit. Keep sending them to me; they are a reminder that fandom is truly a worldwide phenomenon, in spite of my waning interests. See you all with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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March 3rd, 2017
12:47 pm


Loc on The Interesting Times 5 (Garth Spencer, ed.)
Dear Garth:

The big catch-up continues on with the big e-stack of e-zines I have, and next up on the long list is The Interesting Times 5. I hope I can get it to you before IT6 comes out.

Good Stiles cartoon, but I suspect that isn’t Hell, but somewhere in Washington. I didn’t know about the Northwest Fan Fest, but I wish WCSFA good luck on managing this. My own experience here is that literary and media groups don’t work together well, but that may just be what happens here. Science at conventions has worked well in the past…for a number of years, Yvonne was in charge of the science programming at Ad Astra, which was very popular, especially with the panelists, who had rarely had the chance to tell others about their own scientific passions. Yvonne ran the track the same way space conferences do, with speaker gift packages for all who took part as a way of thanking them. Could that be the way to get the Mad Science Fair going?

My loc…Taral has made another trip to the hospital, and he is slowly recovering from a stroke. Local fan Steve Baldassarra is helping him with his recovery. We didn’t do well in Guelph sales-wise, so our next sales event is CostumeCon 35, April 20-24 in Mississauga. We notice that while SF cons aren’t good for us, trade shows, craft shows and flea markets are actually better, so we are starting to aim that way, and provide something the general public has never seen before.

Mad scientist? Probably just slightly perturbed. If nothing else, a good excuse for a hall costume. A mad scientist’s lair would be some fun, but only with funding from a far richer source than me.

Alternative news is fine, as long as it doesn’t contain alternative facts. There are times I think the public is made docile and easily confused by the huge selection of popular culture available these days, which keep their attentions away from the sneaky politicians who line their pockets with the contents of the public purse. The campaigns of the past US presidential election prove that the Republicans accused the Democrats of doing that the Republicans were doing themselves, and the Democrats were largely right about what they said the Republicans would do in office. It’s all one big diversionary tactic.

For me, the big jobhunt continues ever onward, as if that was something new. The resumes pour out, and there is little or no response, which makes me wonder if they advertised jobs ever existed. Bless Yvonne for trying to make life as normal as possible during these trying times.

I think I am done for the moment. Lots more fanzines to work on, so I will get with it. After lunch, of course. Take care, see you the next time.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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February 28th, 2017
08:45 pm


Loc on Lightning Round Vol. 3 No. 6 (Al Bouchard, ed.)
Dear Al:

Thank you for Vol. 3 No. 6 of Lightning Round. It is indeed a new year, and given the date above, it’s already two whole months in. I know what you mean about education…sometimes, when I say something on Facebook, I have to explain what I mean, something I thought was fairly straight forward.

We lose lots of people every year, but in this popular culture era, we lost an awful lot of familiar names and faces. We’ve had a few major names leave us this year, but it hasn’t been like it was last year. Congrats on the B.A. in Film! It is difficult to realize what must be done, and then figure out how to do it, and then do it. I make lists for myself, so there’s one-third of the battle.

My loc…DT45 seems to have gone out of his way to piss off the Australians, and now he’s got the intelligence community against him. It will be interesting to see what they dig up on him. If half the stories I read online are true, there is plenty to impeach him with…someone just needs to step forward to lay the charges. We’d like to return to England for another trip, but given the costs of this past one, a future one probably won’t come for some time. Our steampunk table is doing okay, but more and more, conventions are not doing it for us, and public craft shows and flea markets are.

I hope with some investigation, we may yet see a Watergate-ish investigation, court cases, etc., to clear up the current nonsense in Washington, or even, something the Supreme Court is playing with, declaring the November election null and void. These next four years will be interesting indeed.

I am having some trouble keeping my eyes open, so I will sign off here for the moment, say my thanks for this issue, and hope you’re working on another one. See you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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February 25th, 2017
03:59 pm


Loc on Spartacus 18 (Guy H. Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

I’ve got a couple of your zines right now, but up first is Spartacus 18. And, I hate to say it, but the most popular subject matter comes up first…

As I have seen him termed, DT45. He is pugnacious, rude, forgetful, arrogant, a waste of protoplasm, and the biggest liar ever. He has no love for tradition, and he’s already golfed more, and spent more money on himself than his predecessor ever did. Lies, lies, lies. He railed against self-interest in his campaign, and is relying on his supporters to look the other way as he breaks law after law. I hope to go to the Detroit area this coming July, and right now, I am not sure if I can cross the border safely without being arrested on a whim, being held against my will, and possibly being physically assaulted by US Customs staff. We have stopped watching the news at night because DT45 is usually the lead story, and what has he said or threatened now? I know you are embarrassed by his actions…I have read that the FBI, CIA and other intelligence services are gathering their intelligence, and will act against DT45 with proof of his treason against the American public. And, the Supreme Court will entertain a motion to nullify the last election. I pray they can gather all the dirt, and make it stick.

The passing of John Glenn happened just before he appeared in the movie Hidden Figures. A great movie, and I am pleased to have chosen to see it over the latest Star Trek and Star Wars movies. Because Yvonne is a huge Harry Potter fan, we enjoyed Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. As always now, I have no opinions on the Hugos. I have no franchise or preferences. Same goes for the Oscars.

The locol…John Purcell can rely on our support, but our TAFF votes are in the mail. I hope 2016 will be but a poor memory very soon. Toronto is a sanctuary city, as are Vancouver, Montréal and Calgary. Canada has taken in over 40,000 Syrian refugees, all thoroughly vetted, and most of them are settling into Canadian life, quite happily. Soon, we will be taking in Yazidi refugees. So many refugees are making their way to the border, and surrendering themselves to Canadian authorities, mostly because they know they will be treated gently by arresting Canadian border guards. They are not even sure they will be left alive by a similar US guard in DT45’s America.

Soon, PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts will be defunded. How many valuable organizations will be defunded and shut down because of his multiple executive orders? The Republicans complained about the few executive orders Obama signed, saying he was ruling by fiat. Yet, their endless hypocrisy carries on the DT45’s multiple executive orders, and they encourage his decisive movements. What??

It is not easy to stay positive in this day and age. I want to go to Detroit in July, but some of the news stories I have read makes crossing over a potentially dangerous move. The changes in America have been fast and horrific. I hope something can be done beyond the aim of a well-aimed bullet. There’s, it’s said. Thank you for this issue, and I sincerely hope for better news for us all the next time.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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