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

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November 27th, 2015
10:49 am


Loc on Alexiad 83 (Joseph Major, ed.)
Dear Joseph and Lisa:

Many thanks for Alexiad WN 83. It’s Friday, and I am at home…once again, as said last loc, I am job hunting. At least, I take Fridays off from the hunt, and take some time to write a few letters.

These days, it is difficult to meet and befriend total strangers. You never know what hidden agendas are behind those faces. It is also difficult to simply give charity. Our generosity has always been on standby, ready to give, and it will be given quite a test, with 25,000 Syrian refugees coming to Canada. We know why they’re coming, and we welcome them. With Christmas nearly here, and thousands of people being laid off by rich companies, can we be generous to the refugees when so many of us can’t even be generous to ourselves? I hope we can accomplish all we want to do, for ourselves and for the refugees, without financial pain and regret.

As we carry on in what’s left of our fandom, I am entering my late 50s, and Yvonne her early 60s. Much of what we liked about our first 20 years of fandom are largely gone, replaced by younger generations who like Doctor Who, anime, comics, gaming and cosplay. We have tried to keep busy with forays into steampunk and the young fandom around Murdoch Mysteries, and we’ve been successful. Yet, I am sure that fandom will change even further. We’ve been getting the impression from some people around us that perhaps we’ve been in local fandom just too long, and at some point, we will not have gafiated, but it will have been done for us. If and when we do leave, it will be because we have nothing to do in it. We need to be active, and fandom around us seems more passive than anything else. I see you say exactly the same thing at the very end of page 16. The active fan is becoming a thing of the past.

We hope you had a great anniversary! It’s difficult to celebrate, especially with it being at the start of the big end-of-year celebrations we all enjoy. Yvonne’s birthday is just before Christmas, so I try my best to make sure that it is always remembered. I am pleased to say that I have already finished her birthday and Christmas shopping, so now just have to concentrate on where to take her for a birthday dinner.

I think you and I have reached a stage of fandom that Bloch could not have anticipated…we’re perhaps not gafiating, but the fandom we loved is dissipating around us, moving on faster than we care to go. An essay on Who Killed Science Fiction Fandom? might be quite illuminating, and oddly consoling. I should take the time to have another look at Amazing Stories, and see what’s there for me.

Later on today is the start of a local convention called Fan Events Forum. It is a conrunner’s convention, and even though Yvonne and I retired from conrunning a few years ago now, it’s still interesting to go to, and tell the youngun’s about how things were in the 80s and 90s, and tell a few stories, and enjoy a well-laid-out consuite. It is a full weekend, but we will have the time to go the highway to Hamilton to drop a sales display for our steampunk business, and see if we can generate some remote sales. Perhaps we’re not as busy as we used to be, but we are trying.

Thank you for this issue, I’m a little more timely this time. Take care, and see you again.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 25th, 2015
06:28 pm


Loc on Ethel the Aardvark 175 (?????, ed.)
Dear MSFCers:

Just a month until Christmas!, and I am pleased to say that my Christmas shopping is already done. Just gotta wait for all the shipments to come in. While I wait for them, I have the time to write some letters, and here’s one now, on Ethel the Aardvark 175.

I’ve had a look through the zine twice now, and it looks like there’s a new editor in charge, but nowhere do I see who the new editor is! Well, new editor, it’s looking good so far.

Good pictures of Supanova, looks much like similar photos from the big US conventions, or the slightly-smaller Canadian conventions. I don’t go to many of these events, mostly because I don’t chase celebrities, either. The costumes are about the same. I don’t costume the way I used to, and any I do have these days are steampunk.

This past weekend was SFContario 6, which was also CanVention 35, the 35th annual Canadian National Convention, at which the annual Aurora Awards, Canada’s national SF awards, were handed out. Yvonne and I were nominees, but not winners; let me know if you want the full list of award winners. I am on the job hunt again, but I don’t think this will stop us from getting to London next year.

63 years of club operations? Well done keeping it going, and keeping it interesting for all those current members. I think I have run out of things I can say, except thank you for continuing to send Ethel to me, and I hope there will be lots more. See you when the next issue arrives.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 20th, 2015
03:30 pm


Loc on The Art of Garthness 6 (Garth Spencer, ed.)
Dear Garth:

I’ve got Art of Garthness 6 here, and I’ve got the time to write a letter. Let’s put the two together, and see what I can come up with.

I have been doing much of what you have done with your life. I have had a few achievements, but for the most part, I have been struggling to get what I’ve wanted to do done, and having more than my share of failure. I am trying to find out how to be a successful steampunk jewelry vendor, and finding the right shows to display and sell at has been difficult. Lots of people are sympathetic, but few actually help with leads. A manual is always helpful for just about anything you want to do or learn, but things change regularly. A manual for life would need to be updated almost daily. Pages and pages of topics to cover, too. Some are fixed, but some are quite fluid.

However, I am happy, mostly because I have the love of a good woman. I don’t know what I did to get this, but I am continually praying that I don’t somehow screw it up.

I am back on the job hunt, too. I was dismissed without cause just before Thanksgiving, so I was able to get my EI, and my former employer has some things to explain to the EI commission and the Ministry of Labour. This should be good, not even my ROE has anything on it to describe why I was let go. In the meantime, I have perked up my LinkedIn account, and have gotten back in touch with the Humber College Community Employment Services. There may be a community college local to where you are that can help in your search. Our biggest problem at this time is that we are both in our 50s, so our resumes have to have any reference to time or age removed.

Hurray for our new government. Cranio-rectal inversion was on my mind any time I saw the Conservative party in action during this past election. Justin Trudeau and crew could screw up immensely over the next few months, and they’d still be doing a better job than our previous government. The newest proof is that while the Conservatives were bragging about a $2.3-billion surplus, they actually had in store for the new Liberal government a further $3-billion deficit. They’ve tried their best to salt the field, as they knew they would lose the election.

(Common sense? Why do we always talk about this? It seems so uncommon these days. Assumptions, perhaps, but I thought the mysterious common sense came about from trial and error, and hard experience. It seems most right-wing politicians wouldn’t have a clue about common sense, seeing what they say is so nonsensical.)

Right now, my keyboard is set on US spelling. I will use Canadian spellings, but the US setting will mark colour and favour as wrong. I have Canadian French and Canadian Multilingual settings, but often, I will get a é instead of a ?.

My loc…our own Conservative nutjobs started off their new opposition roles by blaming the new Liberal government for the deficit the Conservatives left behind for them (see above). To Justin’s credit, he is ignoring this, and letting his new ministers handle everything while he appears in front of screaming crowds in Manila and other places.

Senility? Well, I thought I was heading that way myself. More and more, though, it is more of a case of utterly failing to give a flying fuck. As time progresses, I get more tired more easily, and rather than attack the keyboard, I’d rather put my feet up and have a nap.

Well, I gave enough if a flying fuck to actually write this letter, so there must be hope for me after all. I’m not holding my breath, and neither should you. Thank you for this issue, and see you when the next arrives.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 17th, 2015
04:31 pm


Loc on CounterClock 23 (Wolf von Witting, ed.)
Dear Wolf:

I hope your birthday celebrations were great fun. And now, I hope it will be considered a late present, a letter of comment on CounterClock 23.

That is a great cover. A little dystopian, I remember something some years ago about advertisers looking to put huge ads on the face of the moon. SFnal, perhaps, but we live in an age where SFnal ideas are now an around-the-corner reality.

I wish global warming was SFnal…I have seen a detailed map of the world with sea level raised by a few metres, thanks to the ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic being mostly melted. It’s not just Europe who would suffer…most of the US east coast would be underwater, and New Orleans would see damages Hurricane Katrina couldn’t have done. A question…you say that Dutch fandom is dying. Would it accurate or inaccurate to say that fandom as a whole is dying? It certainly has for me here in Toronto. Fandom seems to have become mostly passive mediafans looking for games, comics, anime, cosplay and Doctor Who, with a handful of literary fans who seem quite content to be obedient audiences for local writers. Few fans are actually doing anything anymore.

I still have all my copies of issues of Shards of Babel from Roelof Goudriaan. That kept me well-informed as to the state of European fandom. I figured that Kees was a Perry Rhodan fan, for I remember that parallel to the Worldcon was the Perry Rhodan Worldcon, and a peek inside made it look like a business meeting, which young men in suits, definitely outshining us rude fans in t-shirts and jeans. Can’t believe it was 25 years ago, but there are still some good memories.

Good for you for going for TAFF again, and again, if you need my nomination, I will happily provide it. Also, I wish I’d been able to get out to the local Toronto party that honoured TAFF winner Nina Horvath when she was here, but we could not go. I regret not going; I expect it would have been the only time I’d ever be able to meet here. I’m sorry, Nina.

This coming weekend is SFContario 6, which is also Canvention 35, the 35th Canadian National Convention. I am not sure how much of it I am going to be able to go to, possibly Sunday, and then, possibly only for the Aurora Awards luncheon on that day. Both Yvonne and I are nominees, and we are hoping that we might bring at least one trophy home that day. Wish us luck!

Time to send this off. Yvonne is winding up her day at work, I am a house husband again, and I want to have some dinner ready for her when she gets home. Take care, and see you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 15th, 2015
09:20 pm


Loc on OASFiS Event Horizon 336 (Juan Sanmiguel, ed.)
Dear OASFiSians:

Thank you all for Event Horizon 336, and I will try my best to earn at least some level of my keep by writing a letter of comment. Let’s see how long it will be this time… (Juan, hope the injuries are healing forthwith and fast.)

I actually go to few movies because my interest seems to have faded over the last few years, but still it is good to know what is coming out in case there is something we like that suddenly appears. Then again, our interests have been moving into steampunk quite a bit.

ContraFlow…Rob Sawyer is always a good guest. It’s hard to find anyone as erudite as Rob, and he certainly does his homework when it comes to just about any topic he’s given. I remember years ago when more scholarly conventions, like World Fantasy, barred people from entering if they were dressed in costumes.

When I downloaded the .pdf from your site, it reported being 12 pages long, but a look reveals that the six-page issue was in the .pdf twice. No problem, but thought you’d like to know.

This coming weekend is SFContario 6, which is also Canvention 35, in downtown Toronto. We will be there for the main event on the Sunday, which is the Aurora brunch, and the awarding of those great pointy trophies. Yvonne and I are each nominees, so our fingers are crossed, and we hope to have some good news.

We have a con-running con the weekend after that one, and then, we shut down for the season, and I don’t think I have another con to go to until this coming April. Thanks for this issue, and see you with the next one.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 14th, 2015
08:47 pm


Loc on Warp 93 (Cathy Palmer-Lister, ed.)
Dear MonSFFen:

Saturday night, and here I am at home, writing a letter of comment for Warp 93. I might want to get out more on the weekend, but it is cold outside, and comfortably warm inside…

My letter…well, after 13 months at MSR, they let me go. No warning, no reason, no advisory, and all of this is quite illegal. At least the advice of my employment advisors got me to go to Service Canada and tell all, and that got me my EI, so we’re safe for now. I suspect that my usefulness may have come to an end, but I really do not know what happened. The job hunt is on yet again, so wish me luck, or give me a winning 6/49 slip.

The Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition was indeed the great time I expected it to be. We purchased the Patron memberships, which gave us literally everything re special events. We ate a gourmet dinner at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and took a caliche back to Fort George afterwards, we had an afternoon tea with Professor Elemental, took a ghost tour of the fort, and had a relaxing paddlewheel tour of the Niagara River. Two concerts each night, and fun and informative activities each day. We will definitely be back next year.

I am not a gamer at all, but…very soon, Assassins Creed: Syndicate will be available as a video game. Go to YouTube, and look up Assassins Creed: Syndicate - Test of Bravery, and you will see me in the audience here and there, waving my cane about, and screaming for blood as unsuspecting gamers are ushered into the fighting pit. The Toronto Steampunk Society was invited to take part in this video, held in an even venue called the Berkley Church, and I had the time. It was great fun!

Next weekend is SFContario and the annual Canvention. Yvonne and I can only be there on the Sunday, but we will be there for the Aurora luncheon. Fingers crossed…

The weekend after the Canvention is the Fan Events Forum, sponsored by Anime North, and held on the airport strip. We enjoyed going to it last year, and with luck, we won’t bore too many people by bringing forth old stories from our own con-running days.

I am not sure if you are planning another issue for this year, so if not, the best of holidays to all in the club, and we will soon be entering that SFnal year of 2016. Given what’s happened in Paris, Beirut and other places over the last few days as I write, may 2016 be a happier year for all.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 13th, 2015
04:20 pm


Loc on Broken Toys 43 (Taral Wayne, ed.)
Dear Taral:

Thank you for issue 43 of Broken Toys. As you say, there aren’t many issues left, but in the meantime, we’ll enjoy the issues we do have, and are to come. Comments for you will come now.

Will our history end? Maybe not, but no one will know if we don’t record our history for others to read. Even then, no one may care, but that’s not for us to decide. All we can do is all we can do, and hope for a little posterity. Awards are markers of posterity…I read your essay on awards from earlier today. I understand your frustration. There’s a fannish attitude that insists you stand apart from such awards, but yet, the feelgood that comes from them can’t be denied. If there is any consolation in these words, know that I nominate you each year, for I certainly know your work. I believe that any time I appear on the ballot, it is only because the some of the members of the clubs in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montréal nominate me, and that is because of the letters I send to their clubzines. That won’t last much longer, and I expect this will be the last year Yvonne and I appear on the ballot.

There is pressure for the NaNoWriMo, or national writing challenge every November. I know of it, but do not participate in it. I write all the time anyway, and figure that such creativity isn’t anything you can turn on like a water tap. What few articles I have written for fanzines, I was asked to write, so I really do need an assignment editor.

Some in the locol are saying what’s next, and they are older than me. Yvonne and I have already had that conversation long ago. When we finally ended our con-running career after 30 years, we asked ourselves, what else could we do. Around that time, we saw displays from the local steampunk group. Yvonne and I had been involved in Worldcon costuming back in the 80s, so we had a look, and we quite liked it, and have been involved in steampunk ever since. That may not sound too fannish in some circles, but we have found a new community to have some fun with, we have added in our desire to be active and participate by me creating jewelry and Yvonne creating costuming pieces for steampunk costumes. The fandom we know is fading, and we’ve simply gone on to something else to stay busy.

My loc…I really do think the lists keep me going. I just check the list from time to time, do something on it, write down something else I think of, keep going. I have more time to look after the list… I lost my job of 13 months just before Thanksgiving. I had been given no warning, and no reason was given as to why I was dismissed, so Service Canada, the group that looks after EI, and the Ministry of Labour are all now curious as to why they did this. So am I. There are penalties for doing what they did, so this should be quite interesting.

Well, I have done the page, and I’ve gotten it done in good time, too. Don’t get used to it; I sure won’t. I’ve been asked why my production of letters has tailed off, and I wasn’t aware that it had. However, I am trying to accelerate my writing so I don’t have a pile of letters to write before Christmas the way I did last year. Many thanks for this, take care, and have a good weekend.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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02:06 pm


Loc on MarkTime 111 (Mark Strickert, ed.)
Dear Mark:

I received a paper copy of MarkTime 111 in the mail, and thank you! I don’t get many paper fanzines in the mail, but then, there aren’t many left to get. I will respond with a letter of comment.

I can see you’d be miffed at the lack of response to issue 110, but I checked my own records, and I never did receive 110. No matter, I will try to make up for that here. I think I can give you at least a page’s worth. I honestly think that the fandom that you and I know, the fandom of active participation (which has always been a minority anyway) is being slowly replaced by the fandom of passive consumption. You’ve been a busy dad and family man, so I can understand that it would be tough to get back to publishing and other creative pursuits. Maybe once the kids get old enough, they can do a little writing, too.

APAs…I haven’t thought to look for APAs for some time. I imagine there’s still a dozen or more around, but they are probably having a tough time keeping their rosters filled, if they can, and dealing with many people minaccing out. This is ancient fanac, after all. Probably not very cool, either.

Airlines I can no longer fly…for me up here, the only airlines I clearly remember from the past are CP Air, Wardair and Royal. Royal Airlines flew out of Montréal, and while I never flew that airline, we have one of their Royal purple blankets.

Condolences on the passing of Ernestina. I remember when I was a kid how proud I was to have all four grandparents, and they all died within a space of five years. It’s a difficult time for all the family.

Cassettes…by coincidence, one of the local transit paper ran an article from a commentator, advocating getting rid of cassettes as simply an old technology. I don’t understand that thinking. Old tech is not bad tech, and I think that’s mostly because it is familiar tech. I still have a handful of cassettes and a cassette player/recorder. I haven’t used it in a while, but everything is still in working order, and I know only dollar stores sell blank cassettes, but it is there, ready to go if I need it. Other electronics? The only portable communications electronics we have right now are cellphones. Smartphones and tablets are just too expensive and not useful enough for us. Getting content for these units are too expensive, too. We will get them when we truly need them.

And now for sports! The Blue Jays went from mediocre to great this season with the trades made by general manager Alex Anthopolous, but management was too stupid to even try to hang onto him. Next year could have been there, but now? We will see. The Leafs are horrible yet again, but the Raptors are looking good.

And in transit news…the TTC is now looking into suing Bombardier for breach of contract. You may have seen the smart new streetcars Bombardier has been building for the TTC over the last couple of years, but they’ve only been able to deliver about a dozen when the contract’s timeline says there should be close to 75 on the road now. Bombardier has had a lot of labour troubles to solve, plus materials made in Mexico have been poor quality, and the assembly plant in Thunder Bay has been slow in getting them built. I will continue to monitor the news on this story.

I lost my job just before Canadian Thanksgiving in early October, and I was not given any warnings or reason for my dismissal, which is quite illegal here. This will be interesting once several government agencies start their investigations. However, we have been frugal, and we have saved our money, and we will definitely be going to London for two to two and a half weeks next August. We are still in the planning stages. We’re both going for a big steampunk event, but there’s the big Harry Potter exhibit north of London, too. In 2017, we want to go to Orlando for the HP theme park there. By 2018, Yvonne will be retirement age, so we will see what we can do then.

All done for now, and it’s a Friday, too. Have a great weekend with the family, and please do keep producing MarkTime. It’s been good to see it again.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 12th, 2015
07:30 pm


Loc on Journey Planet 25 (Chris Garcia, James Bacon and Michael Carroll, eds.)
Dear James, Chris and Michael:

Another Journey Planet is here, issue 25. Once again, congratulations on the Hugo. It might be the last Hugo fanzine fandom actually wins; I hope I’m wrong. Now to see what I can write for you…

…and it might not be much, for while I do write a lot, and I know of NaNoWriMo, I have never participated in it, and wouldn’t really care to. However, I will get some writing done for you. November’s far too busy for me, anyway. I’d need to clone myself a few times in order to get to all the fun things that take place in this month. Looking forward to the Fan History issue, though.

Too bad you didn’t ask Barry Longyear about how he wrote his great novels…I think he was the one to say he got all his good ideas from a mail order house in Schenectady. One thing that just came to mind… My training is in journalism, which means I learned how to tell a story by putting the most important thing first, the second most important thing second, etc. One person who knew how to write for both newspapers and paperbacks was Clifford Simak, although David Nickle, the Canadian SF author, writes for my local newspaper Etobicoke Guardian.

Michael Carroll…based on your articles about how much you hate something, or you’d like to murder someone who makes literary mistakes…stick to writing. Editorial work is not for you. You sound like you’re begging for a prison sentence. Learn patience or get out the editorial business. Plotting murder for literary mistakes? Those writers might just plot your demise. I’ll bet many wannabe writers don’t stick around with any courses you might offer. You’re too dangerous.

Sorry, guys, can’t do more than that, it’s simply outside my experience. I will stick with the editorial end of things, and try to well by that. I hope the next issue will appeal to me more. See you then.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 7th, 2015
09:42 pm


Loc on Big Sky 5 (Pete Young, ed.)
Dear Pete:

Now if the time for all faneds to come to the aid of their letter-writers. I need a big, juicy zine to write a decent letter for, and I hope I am up to the challenge of Big Sky 5. Let’s find out.

Catatonia…the next state of the Union. I see so many people in that, what seems to be their natural state. I think we are driven to that state by society around us so that we will mindlessly buy whatever we are offered, and should we rouse to some semblance of reality, we will be unable to determine how much we’ve spent or how much we have to spend, and we will fail to care. We are ripe pickings for business, and we will truly become trickling fountains of money for business to harvest at will.

I’ve certainly stayed in my share of hotel rooms, having helped to run conventions at said hotels for 30 years. I know they are not havens of getting away from it all, and with so many people living for short periods in each suite, they are not the cleanest places to be. The CBC programme Marketplace went looking for the dirtiest hotels, and found many of them. A suite that looks clean could have anything on any surface within. I found that if anyone complains about concrud after a con, it probably doesn’t come from any other con member, but probably from the ice machine, a filthy incubator for who knows what. I know they can’t sterilize each room after someone stays in them, but each room needs to be cleaned more often than they are.

A shame about the Novas. I would wonder if someone might restart awards in Britain for fanzines and other fannish activities…that someone would need to have promises of participation and voting from a lot of people. I have always appreciated John Hertz sending to me any copies of Vanamonde…I do appreciate having the lack of time or money, so my thanks to John, you have done all you can do.

My loc on issue 2…I can tell that there was about 18 months between then and now. I started full time employment with one large publishing company, switches to a big customs company after three months, and I was there for 13 months until I was suddenly dismissed without cause, and I have taken some suitable actions. So, after 16 months of good, solid, well-paid work, I am looking again. Just let me win a lottery, and I will never darken an office door again. Mention of the movie Argo and the history behind reminds me that Ken Taylor died a very short time ago. And, my loc on 3 and 4…we did meet up with Lev Grossman at the first (and last) Toronto International Book Fair. We reminded him of some fun times had at the Reno Worldcon, and wished him luck on the television series being made, based on the Magicians books. I still wonder what happened to the book of condolences we indirectly sent to Fred Clarke. Your work on the ISFDB is considerable…I write on average 250 letters a year, and I would have to have a close look to see how many of those letters were actually published. I estimate that 75-80% of my letters do see print. If there is ever a time where you might return to Toronto on a working basis, let me know, and the first round is on me.

Social media is so important to us these days, perhaps giving us a false hope of really being in the loop. Even on my own Facebook page, I still feel like I am on the outside looking in. I have not taken to Twitter, for it provides something that is more usable by business than by individuals, in my opinion, and also the fact I do not have a smartphone.

Well, just over a page for a 94-page fanzine isn’t the best, but then, I am far from qualified to comment on the essays on the writings of Franz Kafka. I can only write upon what I know. Coming up soon are a couple of local conventions in Toronto, and soon after that comes some months of social hibernation before things start happening again in the spring. I thank you kindly for this issue; at least I got to it fairly quickly this time around. I do not know if you are at home, but I see that Thailand is exactly 12 hours ahead of me, so I shall wish you a good morning, or if you are at work on a jet somewhere, I shall wish you a safe day. See you the next time.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 6th, 2015
06:54 pm


Loc on The National Fantasy Fan Vol. 74 No. 10 (George Phillies, ed.)
Dear Neffers:

Many thanks for Vol. 74, No. 10 of The National Fantasy Fan, and again, it’s time to see if I can make any cogent comments on the issue at hand.

Congrats to all on the Neffys. I was a member of Hugo Fandom for a long time, but basically left it a few years ago, so I cannot take any part of the Neffy. Some might not accepting an award for feuding, though. I sincerely hope that this feuding and the mess caused by assorted Puppies ends, but I know it won’t. The Ken Burnside series of essays will explain some things. Some writers might say that fandom isn’t a part of their SF. Will this forever split fandom into left and right?

I can’t help but feel that fandom is slowly going away, at least, where I live. We still try to keep some fannish events going, like pubnights, and I write as many locs as I can, but as far as a fannish community goes, it’s mostly gone. Other interests are fandom-like, and they continue to prove it with feuds and fights, but mostly constructive events, and some real fun.

A great biography of Bob Madle. I’ve purchased a few things from his extensive catalogue. Keep running the biographies of your founders and other fans from fandom’s beginnings, and overcome the time differential between their day and ours.

Time to go, it’s a late dinner for me tonight. I will look for more issues; thank you all very much.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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04:21 pm


Loc on Fornax 6 (Charles Rector, ed.)
Dear Charles:

Thank you for issue of 6 of Fornax. We’re already getting ready for the weekend, so this might have to be quick. Let’s see what I can set in electrons.

Hallowe’en has come and gone, and while we didn’t go to any parties, we had gone to a special dinner at Casa Loma, the big castle in Toronto, and we were in full steampunk costumes, so we made that our Hallowe’en treat.

I get the feeling that now that Kate Paulk, whoever she might be, has championed a promised Puppies slate for the next round of Hugos, there’s going to be an awful lot of e-mails and other social media comments she’s going to have to ignore. She may regret speaking up and supporting what seems to be a very unpopular position.

Forever Knight…we used to watch that, not necessarily for the story or action, but to see the Toronto streets in the background, and how some would howl as Nick Knight’s car would travel from one street to another, and locals would know that the two streets are actually parallel. We’ve met Geraint Wyn-Davies and Nigel Bennett, both consummate actors.

That video I wrote about with the new Assassins Creed: syndicate game…it is now available on YouTube, and you can see me in a few places, in my top hat, shaking my cane. We had a great time with that, and I was paid nicely for it, too.

Losing interest in fanzines? Perhaps a little, not really sure why, unless it’s the fact that some fanzines I quite enjoyed have gone away. Other interests have presented themselves, and Yvonne and I are having great fun with them. Slowing down in my loc writing? Perhaps, but I expect I can still hit my usual 250 letters per year. There’s still just less than two months left in the year. I was working for a customs agency that had as a sideline paid access to databases full of criminal and terrorist names and information. I was one of the editors of the databases.

Yvonne will be home in a few minutes, so I will wrap it up. Take care, and please do send me issue 7.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 5th, 2015
04:20 pm


Loc on Opuntia 324 & 325 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

I’ve got another two issues of Opuntia, 324 and 325, so here are some pertinent (I hope) comments on the two.

324…I hope the town of Canmore has forgiven, or better yet, forgotten the Air Farce’s Mike. It’s one thing to smile, but the character got a little too much airtime over the years. Great photographs, and the telephoto lens really adds to the detail.

I think the only reason for SF movies to be set on Venus is that Mars was overused, and the fact that most of the Venusian surface was obscured just added to the mystery of what was there. So, anything could be there, including, quite conveniently, a mysterious tentacled beast waiting patiently to grab our heroes.

I remember the evening news report would tell us all how much gold was per ounce. I don’t see those figures any more, but we certainly see how much a barrel of petroleum is. I read stories here and there of how some countries have cleaned out their gold reserves, but have not reported their absence, and so their currencies are based on lies. Fiat currencies indeed.

My loc…I used to mark student literacy papers on a part-time basis, and when I’d receive them to mark, about one in ten papers had cursive writing on them. The rest had printing. SFContario is coming up near the end of this month, and we may go for the Sunday and the Aurora ceremonies.

325…Darned raven! I gather the Poe grave in Philadelphia isn’t quite as popular as it once was, and the regular roses no longer arrive. The philatelist in me appreciates the Poe commemorative postmarks. Every so often, I see a picture of someone at a convention cosplaying E.A. Poe, and I’d bet there are few, if any, at the convention who might recognize who that cosplayer is supposed to be.

Back to cursive writing for a moment…this past November 1 saw a show at the downtown reference library called Scriptus. Last year was the first show, and we returned for the second. It is much like a dealers’ room full of vendors who sell an amazing selection of fountain pens, ballpoint pens, fountain cartridges, ballpoint refills, pen caddies, amazing specialty papers to write on, pen repairmen, and portable lap desks, plus even subscriptions to Pen World Magazine. For the 2+ hours we were there, the place was packed, as it was last year, each time a reassuring event, for the future of cursive writing. We will definitely be there next year.

Time to go…this evening is a fannish pubnight downtown, and while the food isn’t the best, the company usually is. Take care, and see you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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12:52 pm


Loc on Vibrator 2.0.20 and 2.0.21 (Graham Charnock, ed.)
Dear Graham:

Issue 2.0.20 of Vibrator was coming up for me to respond to, and suddenly 2.0.21 arrives, too. I’d prefer to do a loc for each issue, but time only allows for so much, so here’s a loc on both.

2.0.20…A fannish pubnight is a good thing to have. We have a few of them here, but already, we’re having a schism that means one small group who wants a better restaurant to gather in instead of a comfortable little bar. Sigh…well, not the first time, and we’re also not the first local pubnight to have that kind of schism. C’est la vie. Another recurring pain.

Let’s hear it for libidinous perverts! They make the world go ‘round, and give us someone to gossip and complain about in the con suite. Reading crap? You’ve got to read the crap to appreciate the good stuff much more. I am sure Joseph Nicholas is looking forward to the big Paris global warming/air pollution summit, and for the first time in a decade, the worldwide community won’t get short shrift from the Canadian delegation. We’ve had a wholesale change in government, and the new Liberal government, under Justin Trudeau, will treat the subject with all the importance it should have.

Emotionally intelligent trousers. Well, that sounds like Professor Elemental. Look him up, steampunk rapper, slightly mad, but provider of a good time for lots of people around the world now. Nic, any opinions on the Uber controversy? (Ah, a look ahead at the next issue. Never mind…) We’re dealing with Uber in Toronto, and it’s all going to come to a head soon.

2.0.21…We didn’t have any Hallowe’en parties to go to, but we did dress up in our fineries to go to a big dinner at Casa Loma. A marvelous time was had by all. Indeed, even we see here that Hallowe’en is mostly an American phenomenon, meant to tell advertisers when to start advertising for Christmas. And, American Thanksgiving be damned, just gets in the way of the Christmas insanity.

Barack Obama is probably disappointed and frustrated with constant attacks from the biggest bunch of insane politicians cunningly disguised as the Republican Party, so he is having fun with kids in the Oval Office, and his wit is unblunted, taking great shots at the Republicans. I won’t go further with insane American politics, for I won’t say anything that hasn’t already been said.

Fandom is getting old? What’s this ‘getting’ bit? It’s already there, and telling kids to get off their lawns. In Toronto, I barely recognize what passes for fandom now, but there are other fandoms taking up our time, and frankly, giving us a lot more for our time and effort. There have been times recently where gafiation would be a welcome relief.

The job hunt is on again, and my recent employer may be in trouble with the government, so this should be good for a laugh. Let’s watch ‘em squirm as they try to explain why they let me go, and failed to tell me why. While I look, weekends can start early, and our own First Thursday is tonight. Many thanks for this, and I will try to keep up.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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November 3rd, 2015
04:17 pm


Loc on NASFA Shuttle Vol. 35 No. 10 (Mike Kennedy, ed.)
Dear NASFen:

Thank you all for the October Shuttle…I am riding the ragged edge of disaster with the deadline, but I am a daring letter writer I am, so here goes.

I hope everyone had a most fun Con†Stellation, and I keep hoping that I can join you at one of them, but I doubt we’ll ever make the connection. It’s good to live vicariously through the con reports. Also, I am a stamp collector from a long ways back, so I am hopeful I might score one of the Star Wars set of stamps from the Royal Mail.

The Faned Awards…I got my certificate! Graeme Cameron is still working on the trophies for this year, and the previous years, so I may have some interesting trophies to put on my shelf. David Clink did well with the Elgin Chapbook award, coming in third place; he’s also from the Toronto area.

Greetings, PieEyed! I am glad that after an awkward start Neville Longbottom got a plum position at Hogwarts. He overcame his awkwardness to excel. Given your adventures in the Wizarding World, I should say that Yvonne and I intend to go to London next year, spend a night or two in the Wizarding Hotel there (the Georgian), and then spend a day at the Harry Potter exhibit in Watford, north of London. We will see so much for ourselves.

My letter…well, bad news, I am unemployed again. After 13 months in a fairly good job, I have been dismissed without cause, which is quite illegal here. I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve this, but the dismissal is done, and the job hunt is on, with some interesting results already. My employment insurance is okayed because of this form of dismissal, and the company may have to deal with some penalties because of it. We will find out more soon. I have a representative from a local community college looking for work for me, so something should arise within a few weeks, fingers crossed. The steampunk event in Niagara-on-the-Lake was great fun, and we already plan to return next year.

I have a few places to be tonight, so I will say thank you for this issue, and look forward to the November issue, and I bid you a pleasant good evening.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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03:42 pm


Loc on Missives From Gre'thor 14 (Joe Casey, ed.)
Dear Joe:

Time to get caught up yet again with letters of comment, and next up is Missives From Gre’thor 14. I hope I’m caught up…

I remember 5.25” floppies, and 3.5” disks…it’s hard to believe that we are now onto SD cards and USB drives. I have a couple of 16Gb drives when that was the biggest you could get for a decent price, but I gather that is now 32Gb. I have seen something about 256Gb USBs, but they are expensive. Just give it time…I suspect we will see terabyte drives and cards soon.

Sometimes, I wonder if there is a safe way to transport oil. Burst pipelines and train crashes don’t make it look very feasible. The train crashes have mostly resulted from human error or laziness, and the burst pipes are from material failures. Both are efficient ways to move oil, especially the pipelines, but we’ve got to be less lazy, and find better way to construct the pipelines.

Coffee? Then not Starbucks. It tastes burnt to me. Tim’s is good in a pinch, but Second Cup and Timothy’s Coffees are much better, as does small chains, and independent coffee shops are the best. There’s a chain in Toronto we like most of all called P.A.M.’s., but the remaining shops are a distance away from us. There’s a Tim’s up the street, and a Timothy’s down the street, so we are spoiled.

Well, the election. Justin has his detractors, but some of the directions he’s already taking look at least a little better than Harper. Time will tell, but I think the population will be happier with Justin. The big ceremony in Ottawa is tomorrow morning, so off we go. (I think Harper lost the election with this Barbaric Cultural Hotline. That smacked of desperation, and showed off his true colours.)

Looks like we are coming up to Ottawa some time next year…we’ve been invited to Randy and Barb’s daughter’s wedding, and it’s in May. Lots of time to figure things out. See you then, maybe, and see you with the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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October 30th, 2015
04:10 pm


Loc on the white notebooks 2 (Pete Young, ed.)
Dear Pete:

I’ve got your zines, and now it is time to respond, if not in kind, then in spirit, with a letter of comment. I will get to Big Sky 5 soon, but for right now, it’s The White Notebooks 2 at hand.

Cafés can be great, and while I can imagine that nothing I’ve experienced might come up to what you like, one of the best local cafés in my area is The Yellow Cup Café (I’ll give you the general area, because you will probably recognize the geographical references) in the East Mall and Dundas St. W. area of Etobicoke. There are a myriad of yellow coffee cups, coffee pots, teacups, etc., everywhere, the place is usually jam-packed with people. The food is very good and plentiful, and the coffee is fantastic. I went looking for The Plantation on King George St., and the only King George St. I could find is off Keele Street, north of Eglinton Ave. I can’t find any café named The Plantation, although I did find The Plantation Tea and Coffee Co., a distribution business in Scarborough, I believe. Restaurants of any kind come and go in this city. I’ve been in a couple of Hard Rock Cafés, and I guess the spectacular décor is supposed to distract you from the usually poor food they serve. In my area, with all the Starbucks (yuck), Second Cups, Timothy’s Coffees of the World and Tim Horton’s, plus smaller chains here like P.A.M.’s, you have to wonder, is there that much coffee in the world? Yes, there is, and given demand, there will be a huge shortage of coffee in a short few years.

Toronto is very lucky in that its science fiction bookstore, Bakka-Phoenix, is still a going and growing concern. Yet, books seem like an awkward addition to homes now. Some even say that a paper book is a huge waste of resources, and books can now be put online. All of us who read zines like this know the adventure of looking through a used bookstore, the treasures to be found in any bookstore, the musty smell of a book signifying age and value, with some measure of romance. I used to know all the used bookstores in Toronto. I still do, but their numbers are literally decimated. Perhaps my years are showing, but I still find a comfort in a wall of books or a small library. I know we must weed our collection, but it’s not easy to even contemplate.

Creating music is one thing, but to be known for that is another. I knew the name Jay Chattaway because of the incidental music created for television shows like ST:TNG. Another fine composer was James Horner, and you know you like someone’s music when their passing causes you and many others great sadness. The exposure through movies and television seems to be what is needed by composers and musicians these days, seeing that there’s few places to visually pick out music to buy.

The locol…as I have been saying in many locs, the passing of Ned Brooks shocked me, as I know it shocked others. My question still is what happens to that amazing collection he put together? Could a university take it on as a whole, or would it be broken up into more manageable pieces?

My loc…my LiveJournal account is still updated every time I write a loc, and over the years, a few editors, when they lost my loc, would go to that LJ to find a copy for themselves. Still, I’d had to endure multiple shitstorms from some people who feel I am doing every editor wrong by publishing them on my LJ before they can publish them in their zines.

It’s great to still be getting such a good list of zines, but I have noticed through my own slowly slumping productivity of letters that the numbers of zines also slowly slumping. It could also be that I am no longer chasing every zine out there, which eases up on the pressure to produce, and allows me a little more time for newer interests.

Yvonne will be home from work soon, and we have some food shopping to do once we leave. So, a busy night beckons. Hope you have yourself a great weekend, thank you for this zine, and I will get to the newest Big Sky soon.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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October 28th, 2015
12:26 pm


Loc on The Zine Dump 35 (Guy Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

I am slowly but surely catching up with my stack of zines and e-zines I want to respond to, and The Zine Dump 35 is now at the top of the pile.

Ned Brooks’ death was indeed a shock. I can understand the cause of death; years ago, I nearly fell off the roof of our house while helping my father with re-shingling the roof. I am thinking what many others must be thinking of, what happens to all those books and other collections? Their disposal shall be quite the task.

Worldcons are a thing of our past now, but still, it would have been great to go. We hear about bids regularly from local fans like Alex von Thorn, Marah Searle-Kovacevic and Diane Lacey, who are working on standing Worldcons (Alex and Marah worked on Spokane, Diane is working on Kansas City), and we are under some pressure to support their bids. They are most displeased when we say no, we’re probably not going to one ever again…satisfying people is really tough these days, but pissing them off is easy as pie. I still get some flak from people who don’t like my letters…these days, Guy, gafiation has its appeal.

I would have liked to have seen that fanzine lounge in Spokane. After so many years where there was the choice of a daytime lounge or an evening lounge, it’s good to see that the relatively new habit of having both has stuck. Doubt I will ever see another one, but I like to see them continue.

As the list of zines goes on, I see some titles I have tried to get, but was never able. No problem…I am finding my time more and more drawn upon by other interests, so having fewer fanzines to respond to actually works out for me. Not that I don’t want them, but time, always at a premium, is moreso these days.

I saw the video of Chris Garcia at home with the twins as Journey Planet won the Hugo. Way to go, Chris! It is good to see that we can still win a Hugo or at least be nominated for one. The zine is an excellent one, but I am finding it tougher and tougher to loc. I think The Drink Tank may have been the last Garciazine that had a locol, and I wish Journey Planet did. (More and more fanzines do not have a locol, which makes my job a little easier.)

Once again, I am on the job hunt. This time, I have no idea why I was let go…no official reason was given, and here, that is illegal. I have hopes that I will be employed again soon, and my employment insurance will kick in soon, I hope. The resumes go out, nothing comes back…the usual. I am not worried at this point because this happens just too often. Take care, stay well, my best to Rose, see you next time.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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October 27th, 2015
07:53 pm


Loc on Alexiad 81 & 82 (Joseph Major, ed.)
Dear Joseph:

I have truly fallen behind when it comes to letter-writing for Alexiad. I didn’t see or pay attention to any notification for issue 81, and now, I’ve just gone beyond the deadline for responding to issue 82. So, no matter, off I go on loccing both these issues, and it will get there when it gets there. Here goes…

81…I hadn’t seen the last couple of races in the Triple Crown, so congrats to American Pharoah on an amazing feat. I am hoping that you might get some justice through the courts. Literally a week and a half ago, I lost my job, and I was never given a reason why, which is quite illegal in this country, so I hope that by reporting this illegality, I may have saved my employment insurance, and there might be some justice against my former employer. Good luck to both of us.

Taral’s list of animated movies not to watch…done. I admit I have a little more faith in an animated movie, and those we have seen we’ve greatly enjoyed. Two of the three are sequels, I see. That might be part of the dislike of the movies. I really enjoyed The Incredibles, and I know The Incredibles II is coming up. Will I like the sequel as much as the original?

My loc…well, as I said above, my good job came to an end. I had been there 13 months, and suddenly, I had been brought into the board room, told things just weren’t working out, and I was escorted to my desk to pack up, and then to the front door. I was never given any reason for my being dismissed, and I have reported this to the Ministry of Labour, and I may have some recompense coming.

82…I have not yet upgraded to Windows 10, but I am keeping an eye out…my computer consultant said I should wait until the end of October. I will probably make the transition, but not until Raymond has had a good look at W10 himself. Looks like still no changes as far as work goes for you, and I keep hoping for myself. I am dealing with, as I did before, the offices of a local community college, helping me to look for new work. I am upbeat on my chances.

I am intrigued to see that Worldcon will be going to Finland. I’d love to go, but I would have no funds to do so. We are still planning to go to London next August. Finland might actually be inexpensive, but the costs would be in the hotel and flight.

Rodney’s letter…I do try to respond to all fanzines I receive, or can download. I write these days anywhere between half a page and a full page. I know what he means when he says I was a little snarky, and I still stand by it. Sheryl Birkhead, you know the bad news now…I will try my best to get back to work again. Maybe one day I will learn why I was let go.

Time to go. I am fairly tired, and I tried my best to write a loc on both issues. I hope what I sent was suitable. As before, good luck to both of us re employment. Hope this arrived in time for issue 83.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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October 25th, 2015
06:02 pm


Loc on Claims Department 18 (Chris Garcia, ed.)
Dear Chris:

This is one of the few letters I’ve sent to you since the twins arrived! How’s it going, dad? Hugs to the kids and happy mom. I’ve got Claims Department 18 here, so here’s some fast comments.

I am still amazed that many Americans didn’t have health care before, and even with Obamacare, there’s a substantial number that don’t. A fannish friend in Rochester, NY disappeared for five years from the fannish scene because he had an appendectomy. My only hospital work over the past decade consisted of my operation to re-attach a separated retina in my right eye, and years after that, an operation to replace the resulting cataract with an artificial lens, and no financial hardship at all. Our provincial health care system took care of it all. Some may snarl at this as socialism, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Hospital artwork is usually a good attempt to make the place look less sterile (in the visual way). Sometimes, it works, in other ways…well, the artwork in hotels can be better, and you and I have seen plenty of hotel artwork…we’ve seen plenty of hotels!

Yvonne and I never had kids or pets, but we are aunt and uncle, and we’ve been close to a number of cats and dogs over the years. I am not sure if I would have been a good father, but I think we’re very close not having been parents. I am sure Benjamin and JohnPaul have suddenly a ton of aunts and uncles. They will never be alone. Even Merlin the cat should be quite attentive to the two new additions.

Yvonne and I have had a great summer…a few conventions, a few dealers’ tables, a huge steampunk convention near Niagara Falls, and we’re getting ready for a formal dinner at Casa Loma this coming Wednesday, connected with Murdoch Mysteries/The Artful Detective, staged by the CBC and Shaftesbury films. It will soon be November, and we’ll have to get the sweaters and fall coats out, but we’re used to it.

Take care, hugs to Vanessa and boys, and see you next time. Think you might do another Exhibition Hall?

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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