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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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July 22nd, 2014
06:45 am

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Loc on OSFS Statement 424 (Grant Duff, ed.)
Dear OSFen:

Many thanks again to Grant for a Statement, this time issue 424. There must be something I can say about what's inside, and I will once again give it a try.

Marvellous photo of Saturn on the front…those images never get tired, as they remind us all that those wonders are still out there, and with luck, our species may yet get out there to explore, and see it first hand.

We see so few movies these days, there's so much to do elsewhere. We might see the third part of The Hobbit, but that would mean we'd have to see the second part, which we never did. There's just not the same kind of buss around the Hobbit movies that there was around the Lord of the Rings movies.

My convention list…Detcon 1, the NASFiC (North American Science Fiction (Interim) Convention) finished up in Detroit, and seemed to be a popular success. Yvonne and I spent this past Saturday at ConBravo! in Hamilton. While it's a convention that doesn't particularly cater to our interests, it had a confirmed attendance of 3772, so we are considering taking a dealer's table there next year, if we can get in. I will get a new list to you, Grant…perhaps attach it to the end of this loc.

Now that we're both working again, Yvonne actually…bought a book. Deborah Harkness has an amazing series on magic students, and the final book, The Book of Life is out, and she's reading it. I am waiting until August to buy The Magician's Land, the final book in the trilogy that makes the Hogwarts universe look a little tame and lame.

Plans for the future…next weekend is the big 3rd annual Murdoch Mysteries Experience, a weekend for MM fans from around the world. This Canadian-made show has become a world-wide popular hit. After that, we will be travelling to the village of Coldwater for the annual Coldwater Steampunk Festival, then a small steampunk bazaar in east-end Toronto where we will be vendors, and we will give Fan eXpo a skip for the Fan Events Forum in Etobicoke the weekend after. We've wanted to make our summer a busy and fun one, and I think we've succeeded.

Anyway, take care all, I've run out of zine, so that must mean it's time to sign off. See you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 19th, 2014
09:37 pm

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Loc on Broken Toys 29 (Taral Wayne, ed.)
Dear Taral:

Another pile of Broken Toys is on my desktop, issue 29. I will once again attempt to write up some comments on this issue, and if memory serves, do it better than I did last time.

I am glad you've gotten the improved funding, for in this potentially hot and humid city, air conditioning is becoming a necessity. We haven't had much in the way of heat so far this summer, but August is at the doorstep, and we should have some scorchers. Last year, though, we only had two or three days above 30C, but that was a fluke. The heat is coming, and we always keep in mind that September is the third month of summer, so that could be nice and warm, too. Bless Steven for his willingness to help out. Feels good to be able to treat yourself, doesn't it?

We had to get ourselves a new computer too, with our Frankenputer slowly dying through using Windows XP in a newer software universe. Desktop computers are still quite available, and we got ourselves something brand new with Windows 7 for a nice price, and we are roaring all over the Net again.

I never made it in to The River, but we'd been past it a few times. I still love bookstores, but not in this financial age. The old joke, "How you make a million dollars running a bookstore? Start with two million." isn't so funny any more, and like some of the comics I see in the paper, like Dilbert, it would be a lot funnier if it wasn't so damned true. I used to know where all the used book stores were in Toronto, and I still do. It's just that 75-80% of them aren't there any more. I have no idea where the nearest used book store is to my address.

There are times when I have to be a diplomat, just to make life a little easier. All I will say is that I agree with you about Hope, and end of statement.

I've conversed via e-mail with both Mike Glyer and Dave Langford about their respective newszines, and the fact that they are of mixed minds when it comes to an expanding obituary file for each zine, most issues. I get Ansible regularly through an e-mail notice, but I admit I must do some catching up with File 770, given it seems to have settled down into a blog format. (There are a thousand blogs out there I am told I must see, and I don't must see any of them.)

We all wish we were in better health, but admittedly, we have chosen a rather sedentary lifestyle. If reading were exercise, we’d all be Schwartzeneggers by now. Yet, we’re mostly of an age where we will have those aches and pains, and we’d best try to remember what our parents did for those. At least we have better medical tech, and those little problems can be mostly solved.

The locol…my greetings to Barry Kent MacKay, a name long missing from fanzines. It would be wonderful to see your works here again.

Yvonne and I don’t have pets, mostly because we wouldn’t be able to take the time to look after them, and our lifestyle wouldn’t be fair to them. We borrow everyone else’s cats when we visit, and like a typical aunt or uncle, we enjoy them, and give them back when we’re done. There’s been a number of cats who have meant much to us over the years, an they all belonged to someone else.

My loc…I have won five FAAn Awards, all for letter-writing, and I have won two Auroras, one for fan writing and one for chairing Ad Astra 13 in 1993. Then, there’s the Canadian Faned Awards, of which I’ve won two of them.

Over to the second page, and I think I’ve done enough for now. I’m starting to see a little double with fatigue, and there’s only so much I can blame on the computer. Take care, hope you’re getting out into the summer, and see you next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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08:59 pm

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Loc on Alexiad 75 (Joseph Major, ed.)
Dear Joseph:

Thank you kindly for the newest Alexiad, whole number 75, and that’s definitely a milestone to admire. Lisa, in your editorial, you found out something about comics fandom. As far as I know, it’s an offshoot from from SF fandom, but today, there are fandoms everywhere, not just us. More once I break to the next paragraph…

The simple joys of a bookstore. The musty smell, the sense of adventure in seeing what treasures you could find, the friendly bookseller, often with a dog or cat resident. I remember an old Basset hound named Charlotte who would accompany me on my searches with the occasional pause for a skritch on the head. We have sacrificed that past for an uncertain future, made more uncertain by dropping literacy rates. (I like steampunk, but have not caught on the steampunk novels, preferring their reference works.) What we want is not popular enough to provide, so we get stuck with the sparkly vampire and zombie drek. I rarely buy new books (perhaps I am part of the problem, not really wanting to drop $45 on a good hardcover), preferring to rely on my overstocked Books To Be Read shelf. I expect it will keep me going for a long time, as long as it need be.

Juan Carlos has all those titles? Must have looked good on the resume. Queen Victoria’s formal title before her death…Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, and Empress of India. Short and sweet in comparison.

Taral might know my own Bob Tucker story…it’s not much, but at one Worldcon, can’t remember which one, might have been Chicon V, I was placed on a panel with Tucker on Fannish Traditions. With Tucker, we knew what was to come…as we started, he bade one of his many ‘granddaughters’ to go to his room, and bring the bottle. Of course, that was a bottle of Jim Beam, and all on the panel was given two fingers. On command, we all downed it, and declared, “SMOOOOOOOOTH!” For a relative non-drinker like me, it was more scorching than smooth, but I did feel like I’d finally been admitted to the inner sanctums of fandom.

The Hugos…I am not a competent nominator or voter, and we sold our Loncon 3 memberships, so we have no franchise there anyway. I only recognize a few names on the list, and these days, they aren’t likely to win, unfortunately. In many ways, the awards have been taken over by newer fans and interests, which is fair. Do we feel entitled in that we feel there should be awards for what we like or approve of as fannish? That’s okay, SF and fandom has passed me by, and I am finding other things to invest time and effort in.

The locol…Canadian fanzines on paper. No, Rodney, there aren’t many of those left. BCSFAzine in Vancouver does have some paper copies, and I get one because I write regular letters of comment for editor Felicity Walker. I am looking at a big stack of zines in a Banker’s Box by my desk…nope, this might be the last Canadian paper zine left. All the rest of Canadian zines, like Opuntia, Warp, Ecdysis, Graeme Cameron’s zines, etc., are now electronic, to the best of my knowledge. To be honest, and it’s only happened over the last few months, I don’t think I have mailed anything in all that time. Bills are paid electronically, locs are e-mailed out, even with paperzines…the world has certainly changed, and it’s not done yet.

I certainly do not like our current government in Canada, and I eagerly await the next federal election, but to be honest, their decision to extend retirement age from 65 to 67 is smart, given that we generally now live longer. We need to work a few more years to build up enough money to retire and live longer. I haven’t been able to build up much in my retirement plan over the years, so as later retirement year will probably mean a slightly better retirement time for me.

Any word yet on your old job, any satisfaction? I hope there is a decision in your favour. It’s difficult enough to hold a job these days without being illegally (IMHO) pushed out of your job. Arbitrarily changing the job description shouldn’t be allowed. Some may disagree with my statement that fandom is drifting apart, but I can state that I am drifting away from it, and I will miss it. We did well at Anime North, with over $1k of sales. I can with relief say that both Yvonne and I have found new jobs, and we have started our financial recovery, while still having a little fun.

Hello, Sheryl…nope, no Loncon or Detcon for us, but a more financially secure future makes missing those conventions a lot easier to take.

I can see I have gone on at length, which is better than the half-pagers I have been producing lately. Maybe I am losing my touch, but I do try my best. Many thanks for this issue, and we hope your summer has been warm and sunny.

Yours, Lloyd Penney

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July 17th, 2014
08:27 pm

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Loc on The Drink Tank 377 & 378 (Chris Garcia, James Bacon & Vanessa Applegate, eds.)
Dear Chris, James and Vanessa:

The Drink Tank 378 just arrived, and 377 was in the hopper waiting to be responded to, so once again, here's a multi-issue letter. Seems to be what I do best…

377…Honestly, I had no idea Jay Lake had that many friends down there. As I've said in a previous letter, I'd never met Jay, and only knew of him as an author, one of many I hadn't read yet, and as one of the MCs from the Reno Hugos. Again, my condolences to the myriad of friends he left behind. I had friended him on Facebook as he fought his cancer, but followed his struggles, and he was gracious in this fight. I understand this well, losing my mother to colon cancer just over two years ago now. Fuck cancer, and fight it as best as you can.

378… Getting married??? Our Christopher…is growing up! Congratulations!!! Now there's a reason for us coming back down to SoCal! Moving and everything… Not too far away from the museum, I hope.

I know at least three trans people, all men becoming women. It isn't an easy path they take, but it is one they choose to be true to themselves. One is Christin Milloy, a local friend of fans, and someone who has raised hir voice to make the public aware of transsexual people. Even when there is a level awareness and acceptance, there are other groups within the LGBTQ2S group that need that awareness and acceptance from not only the public, but also the more visible members of their group. Only time and gradual changes in attitudes will help bring out the needed changes; overnight would be nice, but it's not feasible.

It's easy to take shots at the Hugos; it's the oldpharts' favourite sport. It's easy to question decisions made by the Hugo administrator. To get personal about it, to question his intelligence? Out of bounds, say I. I hope you will give Dave McCarty equal time to justify his decisions, and perhaps laugh at David B. Williams' physical shortcomings. Maybe we should just throw the two Dave in a locked room, and see if they come to an understanding, or if they weep to be let out. True wisdom at the end, Chris. We need more discussion, but I think the Hugos need to be renamed…fanzines really are a thing of the past, I admit it.

All done for now! Way to go, you soon-to-be-happily-married guy, you! Set a date, yet? Tell us more about your new plans next issue, okay? See you then.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 16th, 2014
10:07 pm

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Loc on Nth Degree 24 (Michael Pederson, ed.)
Dear Michael:

Thank you for issue 24 of Nth Degree from eFanzines.com. I admit that I'd never heard of this zine before, so thanks for putting it on the big zine website. And now that it's there, I hope there will be the opportunity for some Letters to the Editor, much like the one I am about to start.

I've been to two Corflus, and while Corflus are designed to bring fanzine fans together, I guess Your Mileage May Vary. The ones I went to, there were zines to be had, but in some cases, those zines were only for the right people. I wouldn't worry about being told that you don't have a real zine; I've heard that before several times with other fannish publications, and one media faned told me that he didn't consider many of the fanzines I might find on eFanzines to be real fanzines, in his opinion. It's all just opinion. I doubt I will go to another Corflu, but I have changed my mind before.

I've been called old-school before, and my interests in literary SF have been called old-school, too. I usually ignore that description because those times it was used, it wasn't used in a nice way. However, my wife Yvonne and I have tried to move forward with newer interests, like steampunk, and being a steampunk vendor. Yet, comics, gaming, anime and other current mainstream fannish interests fair to get our attention, so we are fairly picky at where we go convention-wise. This very weekend, we're going a newer convention, run by a group of fans in their late-20s/early-30s, and we will see if it's something we might like ourselves, and see if it's a con we could successfully vend at.

Arisia is a con I've always wanted to go to, but finances always said no, and I suspect they always will. We've made the decision to be local fans from now on, for there are enjoyable times to be had close by with local friends. Faraway friends will understand, I hope.

ConFederation was one of my first Worldcons, and we had a great time there. At that convention, Canadian fans first floated the idea of a Canadian Worldcon. It did take a while, but the idea gestated for a few years, and eventually turned into the successful Toronto in 2003 bid. Now if only Torcon 3 itself had been more successful…

I've read and enjoyed the fiction, but I have no comments on them…the one on Dolly reminded me of a couple of Twilight Zone episodes. I'm not good at critiquing stories; I know how personal they are, and not everyone takes that kind of criticism well.

Anyway, I think I have written up all the reactions I can come up with. Yvonne and I have reinvented ourselves as steampunk vendors, and we have at least one show coming up, and we will be researching a couple of conventions to see if they might be suitable places to buy a dealer's table in the future. Other than that, no London Worldcon for us, and Detcon starts without us tomorrow.

Thanks, take care, see you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 14th, 2014
08:14 pm

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Loc on SAM 16 (Steve Stiles, ed.)
Dear Steve:

I didn't know you had your own fanzine from long ago (31 years???), but thanks for this one, and it's on my desktop now; thanks for SAM 16.

Yvonne won't allow Ouija boards in the apartment; they creep her out. (I had my eye on a Ouija board t-shirt, but I guess I'm not getting that…) We can now fill our hard drives with millions of different typefaces, some of which must be made to promote SF movies. There are plenty of forms of new franc, and each one has at least one detractor who will scream bloody blue murder every time it comes up. Some of us are truly stuck in our own ways.

I am as guilty of this as anyone…on Facebook, some people might like what you say or present or link to, and they will 'like' your entry. Hurray for 'like's! What's the exchange rate between 'like's and a dollar? A 'like' is a momentary reading of what you've written and a click on a link, and then a nearly-instant forgetting. Popularity is even more fleeting than before.

Facebook is also where every online meme goes to live and die, and live again, infinitely. There are plenty of pushers on FB, ready to cater to your addiction to cute cat videos, and funny signs, Those Crazy Republicans, and anything else you might like. Sounds like Chris McDaniel of Mississippi may have seen too much South Park. Blame Canada? Hell, blame me! I did it! I did it all! And you'll never catch me! BWAHAHAHA! (Oops. Sorry.)

You should have that Hugo. Really. But, the Fan Hugos are no longer for the fans. They are for those who real and support SF, but they are not necessarily for us any more. That's why I don't recognize most of the names on the ballot; they are those who blog on the newest novels, and they are the supporters and friends of the newer writers. Our group looks at their group, and vice versa, and both groups say, Who? Never heard of him…

Hey, NSA! Yar boo sucks! I have three copies of the Qur'an at home! Plus the Talmud, several Bibles and the Pearl of Great Price! Chew on that one! It is truly the age of paranoia, and industry and government are trying to elbow each other out of the way. It's getting to the point where The Matrix will be re-classified as a documentary.

All I can say is…I always suspected Goofy. Now to see how the NSA responds…

Maybe I should just wind this up before I get either one of us into more trouble. Good thing I'm one of those horrible socialist Canadians on the other side of the border. NSA might contact CSIS and CATSA up here to take care of me, but finding me will be difficult…I am hiding in plain sight. Many thanks for this SAM, don't so long next time, and perhaps the nice suited men I might find at my door could form the basis of my next loc to you.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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07:16 am

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Loc on A Meara for Observers 17 (Mike Meara, ed.)
Dear Mike:

A Meara for Observers 17 arrived, with five staples yet. Luxury! Luxury! Ah, paper fanzines are real nice to get, and thank you for this one.

An interesting cover…can’t tell if it was Photoshopped like that, or it might be the reflection in a pond.

Corflu XXX…well, it would have been nice. So many seem to have such a good time at these, but then, they are old friends meeting regularly. All these years, I’ve only been able to get to two of them, and even while I was there, I still felt like I was on the outside looking in, so perhaps it’s just as well I don’t go. Yvonne asked me if I’d like to go to another Corflu, and my answer was…no.

And, we’ve said no on Loncon, too. The memberships are sold, the hotel cancelled. The old reason was no money, but the new reason is new jobs for both of us. It wouldn’t look good if we both went to our new bosses looking for time off to go to England. So, having jobs and no Worldcon sounds infinitely better than having Worldcon, and then no jobs. We have plans for a trip to England in a couple of years, anyway, and I suspect our plans will very little to do with fandom.

Many thanks for this issue, and I suspect I will be able to write a better loc with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 13th, 2014
04:27 pm

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Loc on Vibrator 2.0.4 & 2.0.5 (Graham Charnock, ed.)
Dear Graham:

Had a loc for Vibrator 2.0.4 ready, thought I’d sent it out. No, according to my e-mail, and not saved according to my records. Looks like I just erased the damned thing, without realizing I’d done it. Tell me why we like these computer-thingies again? And to add insult to injury, issue 2.0.5 arrives, so I know I’m late. I will rewrite what I can, and just keep going until both issues are well and truly responded to.

2.0.4…I can think of a few people where I’d say, “Still alive, hm?” or “I thought s/he’d died years ago.” or “I think s/he looks like s/he’d died years ago.” We’re all getting up there…there’s another pathetic euphemism about getting older, and therefore closer to death. We balance our discomfort with death with the feelings of the widow or widower left behind, and often make a hash of things. Yvonne’s a pretty straight shooter when it comes to saying what should be said, and asked Susan Manchester recently, “How’s life after Mike’s death?” Mike is of course the much-missed Mike Glicksohn. Susan told Yvonne how she was feeling, and revealed that Yvonne was one of the few people to ask that kind of question. Yvonne’s father died close to 30 years ago, and her mother is still alive, and living in a home. My mother died a few years ago of colon cancer, and my father is still out there…somewhere. I think Yvonne’s mother will be next, and that will cause a huge fuss. My father? Well, who really knows…

Easy to find things lost in your home, like your fly, Graham…start in the last place you’d look, and there it is. Starting in the first place you’d look just wastes time, and aggravates the fly.

(Don’t tell the wife you got a Vibrator in the mail? Hell, I printed my Vibrators at work. I’d like to see what IT will say when they ask about the print queue file for the main printer…)

My loc…no way to win a FAAn Award? That’s okay, I keep getting told I’ve got too many of the damned things, anyway. My doctor seems happy with my health, I keep taking the pretty pink and purple pills (they’ll be other colours later on), and I get a call from his office saying that I need to go in for a sugar test. Diabetes? Who knows? Another part of getting old sucking.

2.0.5…Can’t grease my palm for a Hugo vote, don’t have one right now. However, keep me in mind for a FAAn Award. Can’t have Lichtman winning them every year, can we?

Being a zombie isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Most of them seem to sneak into public office, and they’re too busy trying to eat brains to really use them. At least you can still count to ten…no, make that nine…eight…

Can’t help but agree with Paul Skelton re this getting old, but being alive means you can still complain. I know what he speaks of re the death of Mike Glicksohn. Died too young, but then I would prefer to say the same for us all…when our time comes, of course.

Glastonbury has come and gone…I know one of the performers, Paul Alborough, better known as Professor Elemental, a gentleman steampunk rapper. I’ve seen him perform, he’ll be in the Niagara Falls area in September, and I wish I could go and see him again, he’s great.

Right now the World Cup final game is on, really don’t care, the referees suck again, and the game is scoreless. And before anyone mentions that it is also pointless, I will sign off, finally caught up, and I will try to respond a little quicker with 2.0.6.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 11th, 2014
07:13 am

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Loc on Missives From Gre'thor 4 (Joe Casey, ed.)
Dear Joe:

I don't see a title anywhere, but I am going to assume that this is Missives From Gre'thor issue 4, and I will go from there, and write you another letter of comment on it.

Yvonne deals with a mild form of celiac disease. She cannot eat most modern grains, like corn, oats or wheat, but is fine with most rices, and can eat foods made with ancient grains, like spelt or quinoa. Dealing with such food intolerances are built up into such dramas by such people as Jennifer Esposito, whoever she may be. Everyone else finds out what they have, or what they can't eat any more, and they deal with it.

The new computer continues to work great, and Microsoft is sending it dozens of updates. We hope it will be a good, long time before we need to take it into the shop, but Windows 7 seems to have some self-repair programmes within it, so I doubt Raymond (the guy at our local repair shop in Mississauga) will see the new machine again soon.

Hockey…well, the Leafs lost a player or two to arbitration, but picked up a lot of non-names in the off-season. James Reimer wants out of Toronto badly…the Leafs have treated their goalies badly for decades.

The tables we had at CostumeCon 32 and Anime North 2014 were amazing. Our sales figures were beyond what we were hoping for, and now we are looking for more shows to be at. We are definitely not regular dealers, not the way some new friends of our are, but we are still enjoying ourselves and being creative, and that's what we really want. We're not running cons any more, so we need to do something, and being a dealer seems to be what we're enjoying, and we're making a few bucks along the way, too.

As far as employment goes…I was right. We are now both fully employed, me by Transcontinental Media in Mississauga, and Yvonne by Crown Wallpaper in Etobicoke. We are more relieved than anything else.

Mandy and Cindi? We get e-mails from Cindi lots. She was looking for work, and now it seems she has more employment than she can handle.

There will be lots of reflection on why the Conservatives and NDP lost in this past provincial election…I think even the PCs learned that with so many people out of work and continuing to look, hearing a politician say that he'd get rid of lots and lots of jobs doesn't exactly bring any confidence or votes his or her way. The interim leader of the PCs says the party has to stop scaring people, and he is right.

Jeremy Brett was my favourite Holmes, too. I haven't seen any episodes of the current Holmes shows, and for me, that's fine. I would be tempted to get all of the Brett shows on DVD or download, and just enjoy them, one after the other. On my Facebook feed was a picture of a very young Jeremy Brett paying close attention to Dame Jean Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur's daughter. He was perfect for the role.

And like Pope Yoda, done I am. Wind up this letter I can, and look for more issues in the future I will. Later I will see you!

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 10th, 2014
07:27 am

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Loc on Raucous Caucus 3 (Pat Charnock, ed.)
Dear Pat:

Thank you very kindly for a paper copy of Raucous Caucus 3! I can’t help it, I see fanzines I don’t get, and I am curious. I hope you’ll keep me on the mailing list, and I might even make it out of the WAHF list into the real, actual locol from time to time, you never know. Here’s my first attempt…

Dan Steffan certainly knows how to draw a motley crew. (Okay, how many of you said or thought “Excellent!”?) And, how many noticed that Elvish Presley down in the lower right has three legs?

Don’t blame you a bit if you decide to switch to an e-zine. We all love paper, but we all hate the costs, and they’re not getting any smaller. My collection is in about 25 Banker’s Boxes, but all the e-zines I have saved over the years would fit comfortable on a single 16Gb USB drive. Imagine your entire fanzine collection hanging off your keychain…

Inthebar had a big gathering in Lincoln? The university, the Oddfellows Hall or the castle? Only reason I ask is that I know John Naylor, who holds rather large events there, and we might be attending one of them in the next few years. The Asylum…

Ah, more Thrilling Two-Fisted Harlan Stories. When the oldest Angry Young Man in the world finally kicks it, I expect to see a fine anthology of fannish Tales of Harlan, and all the things he did, and all the people he did them to. Should be a nice, thick zine, and should enrage him enough to turn his ears red in the next world.

Taral’s letter gives me the impression that we are as bugfuck about certain authors, like Harlan, as media fans are about their favourite actors. We squee when they appear, we fawn at their presence, we beg for their autographs. If this is truly the case, then the fight of literary vs. media is truly over, and we have lost.

A columbarium…I have been in only one, and that was in a huge facility, especially for those of Italian descent, outside of the city of Windsor, Ontario, just on the other side of the border from Detroit. A busy fan who had a promising broadcasting career is interred there, and a visit to pay respects is long overdue.

Some years ago, during a riotous convention with an even more riotous con suite, a dear friend stopped in her laughter long enough to gasp out, “I need to PEE now!” We laughed even harder, and she barely made it to the commode. Definitely a TMI moment. She laughed even more when we ordered a couple of dozen buttons from a vendor in the dealer’s room with that momentous phrase on it…some on white, and some on yellow, and some looked like they’d been water-stained. Absolutely perfect. I can’t help but feel that “Don’t wee anywhere” would be a perfect companion button. I can imagine how much that dear friend would laugh at that button.

I’ve made the page, and my work here is done. Great fanzine!, and thanks for sending it to me. I imagine it cost a small fortune to get it to Canada, so I hope this letter will be considered good repayment. Take care, and I look forward to issue 4.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 9th, 2014
08:54 pm

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Loc on SF/SF 154 (Jean Martin & Christopher Erickson, eds.)
Dear Jean and Christopher:

Many thanks for issue 154 of SF/SF, just as the busiest time of the year is on its way. Summer seems to be the time when fandom around here slows down a little bit, but looks like you bunch speed up! More comments follow...

Clockwork Alchemy sounds very good, and with the numbers it got, it looks to have a bright future. I'd be there just for the tea. I have suggested to the local anime convention (Anime North) that perhaps they could sponsor a steampunk convention, the way Fanime does, but they are unfamiliar with steampunk, and the NOs seem to be automatic. I just want a steampunk convention to go to, and we might be going to the annual one in Michigan, Steamtopia, next year, just to have the experience.

I have taken the train to conventions before, and it is the most comfortable way of travelling, especially for the driver in the family, which in my case is Yvonne. We've gone to cons in Ottawa, Montreal, Rochester and Detroit by train, and we're looking into doing more of that in the future. VIA Rail doesn't seem to care what you bring aboard, for each car has a luggage area you can half-fill if you wish.

Coming up for us…this coming weekend is a fannish pool party, usually at the end of the year, but this year fairly early in the season, and we will happily take it, and enjoy. In just over a week, we're off to the city of Hamilton for a single-day membership at ConBravo!, an annual con we've never been to before. Now that we know the people who run it, we thought to see if it's a con we might like to go to regularly, and maybe see what it's like to be a vendor there. August sees the Coldwater Steampunk Festival in Coldwater, Ontario, and Suburban Steam, another steampunk bazaar. In September, it's the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, just across the river from Youngstown, New York. We can only afford a single-day membership, so we will go there, but sadly miss out on Abney Park, Steam-Powered Giraffe, Jardin Mechanique and Professor Elemental. If this event happens a second time, perhaps we will go for the full weekend.

Anyway, I think I am done and caught up with you once again. I keep finding little bit of time here and there to write letters…the jobs are challenging, shall we say, but at least they've saved us from financial disaster. Many thanks for your continuing good works on this fine fanzine, and I will continue to look for more of the same.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 8th, 2014
08:55 pm

[Link]

Loc on Claptrap 4 (Arnie Katz, ed.)
Dear Arnie:

I have Claptrap 4 here…many thanks for giving it to me. (That doesn't quite sound right, does it…) Oh, well, got your fanzine, and here's some comments that may or may not be as vague as the first one.

Not to worry about any typos that may creep in. You may have read elsewhere that after my never-ending job hunt, it finally ended. I now work for a major Canadian printer, Transcontinental Media, or TC Media, and I edit and proofread flyers for their clients, and in my case, the client is The Home Depot Canada. So, I am getting paid to find the typos and make the corrections. When I read fanzines, I find the typos, but I'm not getting paid to correct them. So, I correct them as I read, and carry on. I understand your vision problems, too. I am lucky to have the vision I have at my age, now 55. At least, that's what my ophthalmologist says.

The financial scheme has become the crime of choice in tis modern era, and it has become very easy to carry it off, and get away with it. The financial crisis of 2008 certainly showed us all that, but it is still happening, the rich are not only getting richer, but they now seem to have a larger and larger share of all available funds, and soon, they may have it all. What will the financial crooks do then? Print their own cash?

Specialty jewelry? That's what I do. I am a filthy huckster now, and we try our best to carry a line of jewelry and costume pieces, plus other things of interest, for the discerning steampunk. We source some of our stock, I make some as well, and we have a tablefull to offer as local shows, and we have been doing well.

Wish we could come back to Vegas for Toner 2 and GalaxyCon, but now that both Yvonne and I are working, it wouldn't look good to ask for time off so quickly. Same goes for the London Worldcon, so we sold our memberships and cancelled our hotel room. We're in better financial shape now, but the recovery will take some time yet.

"Peculiar" can mean strange or a little off, but it can also mean unusual. Most of us are peculiar, and for some, it is every meaning of the word. Fandom is peculiar? No kidding. Perhaps we could just say we are delightfully different, and leave it there. Perhaps we are peculiar because there's so few of us left.

Deterioration of professional journalism…very correct. Journalism is my training, so it partially consisted of getting the facts right, and being as unbiased as possible. Because it is so heavily influenced by political agendas belonging to their owners, news organizations reflect the opinions of those they cater to, which IMHO makes what they report not news but pure opinions. As a result, I simply cannot trust any American news source for fear of the bias baggage they all have. I look at CBC News because it is partially government-funded and they have no evident bias, and will not represent any special group. I also look at the BBC for the same reasons. It is painful to see how degraded my profession has become, and in some ways, I regret never having worked in the industry. In other ways, I am glad I never did.

I am not active in OTR fandom, but I have always enjoyed radio drama. The CBC has a proud history of radio drama that current management has decided to ignore and defund, mostly because they found that the ratings for the radio dramas they did have on air were low. I know Robert J. Sawyer has tried at least four times to bring to CBC national radio some kind of show SF based, with radio drama and SF discussions, but the network execs have never taken that chance. The BBC also has many radio dramas to enjoy, and they broadcast them on what was BBC7, but is now called Radio 4e. (If it's SF radio dramas, we can call it Radio Forry, and get away with it.)

Time to go, and many thanks for this issue. I'm looking for the the LoC issue next time; hope I got out of the WAHF list. Take care, and see you then.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 7th, 2014
08:19 pm

[Link]

Loc on Warp 88 (Cathy Palmer-Lister, ed.)
Dear MonSFFen:

Cathy has sent Warp 88 to me, and I like the fact the cover is…covered in books! This always appeals to me, but I have to ask a question, which I will ask as soon as I finishing this opening paragraph…

Good to see a wide selection of books, but these days, were they given for the sale because they were weeding some books out of the collections, or they getting rid of whole collections with the idea that books are more of a curiosity or even a nuisance or waste of paper in this e-book era. Just wondering…

My letter, and finally, good news. I started a new job with Transcontinental Media at their offices in Mississauga on my birthday, June 2, and Yvonne started a new job with Crown Wallpaper at their offices in Etobicoke on June 16. For the first time in more years than I can count, we are both fully employed, and it looks like we will make it past our three-month reviews. We sold our Loncon 3 memberships and cancelled our hotel room at the Aloft. Shame, but we can't exactly go to the new bosses and say we need at least two weeks off to go to England. We had excellent sales at our tables at CostumeCon 32 and at Anime North, and we had a splendid time at Steam on Queen on the first day of summer in Toronto. Life is finally looking up, and Yvonne's even talking about perhaps going on a road trip or two…I know we both miss the travel. We are planning to go up to the village of Coldwater, Ontario for their annual steampunk festival.

I need to work on another convention and event list, and get it to you and Grant Duff in Ottawa. On the list there, our next conventions are a single day at ConBravo! in Hamilton, and the Fan Events Forum in Toronto. Afterwards, SFContario 5 and the Toronto Mini Maker Faire.

For a future club meeting, I don't know if Daniel Proulx is a member, but he was at the last Steam on Queen, and he makes some amazing jewelry. Perhaps he could come and say a few words about his Catherinette Rings, and about the steampunk organizations in Montreal and Quebec City.

Sylvain is quite correct about CostumeCon 32…I'd heard that it was the largest CC in its history. Not sure if that is correct, but it looked quite large. The dealer's room was enormous, and most vendors had huge displays…you couldn't see from one end of the room to the other. Our own sales were amazing, and we spent some of those profits on some great things in the room. Hall costumes were great; we didn't stick around for the masquerades, but we gather they were amazing. There was a sudden bid to bring CostumeCon back to the Toronto area in three years, and they were successful!, so keep 2017 in mind for CC35, somewhere in the Toronto/Hamilton area. (I add in Hamilton because the folks who bid for it are the ones who stage ConBravo! in Hamilton, and they are looking at anywhere in the Toronto or Hamilton areas at which to stage it.)

I don't know who won this year's Constellation Awards, but you might have heard on the news that a hotel on the airport strip had been vandalized, and an electrical fire started…that hotel was the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel, and that's where Polar Chill was. The last day of the convention had to be cancelled because of the damage to the hotel. Someone was arrested and charged for the vandalism, and not to worry, not one of the con's members.

I remember getting good marks in my science classes in school for knowing the planets in the solar system. There's been so many additions over the intervening years, I certainly wouldn't get decent marks for what I reported on then. I've looked for an up-to-date map of the solar system lately, and I couldn't find one. Seeing what's been found beyond Pluto (which may be reinstated as a planet, seeing it's been found to have a thin atmosphere and now five moons), a comprehensive map may not be feasible.

I think that's all for now. I hope everyone's been having a great summer, and there's still more than a couple of months left in it. Enjoy the warmth, and see you all with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

08:12 pm

[Link]

Loc on Tightbeam 270 (David Speakman, ed.)
Dear Neffers:

Many thanks for Tightbeam 270. Once again, I will try my best to make some comments based on what I see here, and see if I make sense. Well, stranger things have happened.

Fandom exists on many levels, which depends on how much of yourself and your time and effort you put into it. In a letter to another fanzine, I said that I felt that fandom was fading, that many of the conventions and people that were central to my own concept of fandom were going or fading away. I was challenged on that observation, and I had to revise it to say that fandom is fading for me. It certainly is changing while my own interests remain the same, or I come across newer things to respond to. Maybe instead of fading, fandom is simply changing, and I am not.

My letter…the job hunt has ended, and I have finally found a full-time job, with some good paycheques. Yvonne found herself a new job, too, so we are both quite happy and relieved. As steampunk vendors, we had excellent sales at CostumeCon 32, and at the big anime convention in the Toronto area, Anime North. Steampunk is likely a major part of the changes I referred to above.

When Doctor Who returned from its lengthy hiatus, I had thought I could follow it, but I never did. Following shows like this require lots of time to sit and watch, and I simply don't have it. I am too busy with work, with writing and with making jewelry for my vendor's tables. There are plenty of Whofans in the Toronto area, with two major clubs (Doctor Who Information Network and Doctor Who Society of Canada) keeping things quite busy for their members.

That's all for now…take care, and see you with the next issue. Hope your summer is safe and warm.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

07:26 am

[Link]

Loc on Opuntia 279 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

I may never get used to Opuntia being electronic, but I do have issue 279 here, I have a little bit of time before I head off to work, and I am sure I will find something to comment upon in it.

It has been a while since I ready Blish’s Cities in Flight, and these days, I am not the reader I once was. I suspect that if I was to pick it up and start to read it, I might not finish it, and I might not like it as I did once. That’s a shame, for it would prove to me that I do not have the imagination I once did. I hope I’d still have enough sensawunda to enjoy it, but I am not quite the wide-eyed naif I once was. Your description of the books here sounds great, but there are so many books and movies and other entertainments that are attractive, but there are only so many hours in the day, and I would rather be creative and active, rather than passive.

Fukushima has indeed joined Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Cherobyl as words symbolizing nuclear disaster, but the more I see mentions of Fukushima online, the more it looks like the world is ignoring the radiation being given off, and is hoping it will go away. Already, it looks like Japanese radiation is spreading throughout the Pacific Ocean, and nothing is being done about it.

The World Wide Party…June 21 in Toronto was a major steampunk event in Toronto, Steam on Queen, a large bazaar and costume gathering. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and realized that this is a newer fandom, without much of the baggage SF fandom seems to have built up over the years. That evening, we did have our own World Wide Party, with a toast to fanzine fans, and fans in general, and a quiet evening. May we all find the activities and interests that fulfill us, and make us feel that life is worthwhile and fun.

Your pictures of utility box art in Calgary reminds me that I am starting to see much the same thing in Toronto. Instead of brightly coloured artwork, it looks like the boxes are being painted as if they are covered in green leaves to try to blend them in with surrounding nature. Unfortunately, the shade of green being used is a shade I am sure is not found in nature, but at least the attempt is there.

My letter…when Rob Ford returned from rehab, my letter was proved right. I said that he would do or say something stupid/arrogant/sexist/racist, and he’s already done most of that, and his brother Doug is adding to the furore, telling his critics to go to hell. I’d happily trade Nenshi for Ford, and so would many people here. Oh, well, the municipal elections are only a few months away, and we can give the Fords their walking papers then.

Almost filled the page, but I figure it’s a good attempt. Many thanks, and do keep them coming.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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July 6th, 2014
09:52 pm

[Link]

Loc on OSFS STatement 422 (Grant Duff, ed.)
Dear OSFen:

I have here the June issue of the Statement, number 422, and with a little bit of time on a Sunday night, I will try to whip up a quick letter of comment. Who knows what might happen? Might even be coherent…

The far side of the moon was always a mystery to many of us…there was the suspicion that the aliens had a base there, spying on us to see what we were doing, and how long it would take to destroy ourselves. Who knows, they already have the answers they were looking for, which is why we didn’t find them there.

Polar Chill happened this weekend in Toronto, and was foreshortened by a vandal (not a member of the convention) who caused an electrical fire and extensive flooding to the hotel, which is now closed for repairs. Our next convention on the list is ConBravo! In Hamilton; we’ve met the folks who run this convention, which is a possible successor to the missing and missed Polaris, so we plan to go down for the Saturday of the convention, July 19, and see what the con is all about. Might be a good place to be a vendor, too.

Steam on Queen was a great time, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. If you’d like to see pictures, go to my Facebook page, and there is an album of about 40 pictures. The costumes in such an event are so creative, and I get a chance to create my own costumes, too.

Anyway, time to get ready for work in the morning, so I will wind it up. Thank you for this issue, and I always look forward to the next.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

09:27 pm

[Link]

Loc on Ethel the Aarvark 172 (Richard Morden & Peter Ryan, eds.)
Dear MSFCers:

Ethel has arrived! Issue 172, to be exact, and I must get some comments composed and off to you, just in case someone is working on issue 173. Hope winter has been easy on you all so far.

Ah, hello, Mr. Morden! (I’ve been watching a little B5 again.) Greetings to President Natalie, and I’ve said it before, but congratulations on moving a possessions-heavy organization out of the old church. Again, I wish you all luck in finding a new home. I see the AGM is this coming Friday, so good luck to all in finding people for positions, and vice versa.

Thanks to all of you for remembering your own history, and honouring your founders and oldest members. I am sure that Race, Merv, Helena and Rob, and others, were more than pleased to be asked to the club to remember the MSFC’s earliest days. When people remember your deeds from time past, they truly feel that what they did had value, not just for them, but for those who have come afterwards. May every club have this remembrance.

My letter…nothing much has changed fanwise, but as far as life goes, Yvonne and I have both found full-time jobs, to our delight and relief. We still sold our Loncon 3 memberships and cancelled out hotel room, so we will not be attending this year’s Worldcon, now just mere weeks off. From what I have read, this Worldcon could be the biggest off US soil ever, and could even be the biggest Worldcon ever. I will be keeping an eye out to see what goes on with this convention, and I hope we will be able to see videos of the Hugos and other events.

Time to go, and get this to you. Many thanks, and I hope to read more about the club’s further adventures in finding a home. Take care, and see you all soon.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

July 5th, 2014
09:54 pm

[Link]

Loc on BCSFAzine 493 (Felicity Walker, ed.)
Dear BCSFans:

I am trying my best to get caught up with the unending flow of fanzines that come my way. And, you’re next! I have here BCSFAzine 493, and I will see what I can cook up on a Saturday night.

The locol first… Not going to Detcon 1, the Detroit NASFiC, just down Highway 401 from us. And, not going to Spokane for the 2015 Worldcon. Yes, we are working now. I start my sixth week at Transcontinental Media, and Yvonne starts her fourth week at Crown Wallpaper, both on Monday. However, we had to borrow from our investments and our savings to get by, so now, it is time to pay them back, and we don’t expect to have everything repaid for another year or so. Except for the Montréal bid, which doesn’t look like it has any traction, we really aren’t interested in any other Worldcon bids.

We don’t have any upcoming shows to take a table at for our steampunk wares, so we’re taking the time to come up with new product lines, and see what we can produce for it. I’ll take the jewelry tools, Yvonne will take the sewing machine, and we will see what we can come up with.

I will show how dated I am and say that the fiddler who has an extremely popular music variety show on the CBC was not Don Messner, but Don Messer. His Jubilee kept the CBC’s ratings up with old-fashioned fiddle music, old songs and good singing. I think both Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot were quite young when they guested on that show. And, poor Magnus Pyke, one of the most honoured scholars on British television…being on Thomas Dolby’s music video ruined his career, and made his look mad, every so often barking, “Science!”

I think this may be it. It’s getting dark, and there are big but nebulous plans for tomorrow. Perhaps I can get this to you, and once you’ve got the next issue ready, you could send that to me? Well, that’s how it usually works anyway. Thanks a lot, Felicity, and see you next time.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

06:18 pm

[Link]

Loc on The View From Entropy Hall 51 (Ed Meskys, ed.)
Dear Ed:

I hope your Fourth of July was a wonderful time, but now that both our national celebrations are done for another year, it’s time to get back to a regular schedule. Thank you for The View From Entropy Hall 51, and here are some comments.

I have wanted to get to Boskone for a long time, but no such luck, ever. Perhaps one day, but I am not holding my breath. I can say that about a lot of conventions, but I know my time is past. We find the transportation costs are too high, the hotels are very expensive, and even with new jobs, we don’t have the money, or don’t care to spend it. We are finding lots of less expensive good times can be had.

If there were geosynchronous satellites converting sunlight into electricity, could that electricity be somehow beamed down to huge storage batteries on Earth? I’ve read this kind of scenario for many years; I think it can be done, but of course, no one’s doing it, and no one’s willing to find it.

I remember seeing Chock Full o’ Nuts Coffee in Manhattan many years ago, but figured it simply went away, replaced in many ways by Starbucks. Is there once again a Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee shop somewhere?

You may have read this elsewhere…Yvonne and I sold our Worldcon memberships as we figured that even with extensive saving, we didn’t have enough to go to Loncon 3. We also cancelled our hotel reservations, and we had lucked into a room at the Aloft, too. And then…we both found excellent-paying full-time jobs within two weeks of each other. This was the best thing that could have happened, for we had borrowed from our investments, and now needed to pay them back. Also, we felt it best to give up Worldcon for the new jobs…wouldn’t look good if we needed to go to our new bosses and ask for time off for Worldcon, would it? We decided that Worldcons are now a thing of the past for us, and as said above, there are more enjoyable and less expensive times to be had.

I am done for now…hope you’re having a fun weekend. See you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

July 4th, 2014
10:01 pm

[Link]

Loc on NASFA Shuttle Vol. 34 No. 6 (Mike Kennedy, ed.)
Dear NASFen:

Happy Fourth of July to all of you! (We had our own celebrations a few days ago.) While you are all whipping up a huge long weekend, I will get a quick loc ready in hope of catching the end of the next issue. Here are comments on the June issue.

Both Yvonne and I have found full-time jobs, so you won't have to hear any more about our overly-long job hunt. Our new plan is to go to London in a couple of years, when we do have enough money to go. We want to see some of London, hang with some of the London fans, plus go to the Harry Potter exhibit in Watford, and there's an interesting event in Lincoln called The Asylum.

Welcome back to Pie Eyed! Quite a mix of universes here. I hope your visits to Hogwarts were pleasant. I would very much enjoy a story of any connections between Sherlock Holmes and the Hogwarts School of Magic. He might not have known all about it, but given his deductions, I am sure he suspected its presence.

My loc…the new job is great, and I am finishing up my fifth week there. They seem to like me,and the work I do seems to be of good quality, and is important to what's happening there. I am proofreading flyers for a major client, the Canadian operations of a chain of lumber and renovation stores you probably know well.

Toronto is in North America, but still, many still think that the NASFiC should be held in the US. (They forget that the NA stands for North American.) Toronto gets its share of other rotational conventions…the World Fantasy was here recently, as was World Horror, and World Mystery is returning in a few years. As I said, I am retired. I would support a NASFGiC coming to Toronto, but wouldn't work on it. 30 years of conrunning should get me a gold watch from somewhere. Our reasons for not going to London also apply to the NASFiC in Detroit. Wish we could go, but we're not.

Done for now, must get to work, that's what they pay me the big bucks for. See you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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