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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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December 22nd, 2014
08:05 pm

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Loc on Opuntia 290 - 293 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

Now that Opuntia has gone electronic, and you don't have to worry about printing, envelopes or postage, I guess it's easier to put issues out faster. That's why I am four issues behind suddenly. Comments are coming on all four, 290 to 293.

290...Avalanches must happen fairly often in that area of the Rockies. How many months of the year is there snow in that area? At that altitude, I'd think at least some snow would be there most of the time.

I met Terry Pratchett some years ago, as Ad Astra invited him as a guest, and I believe this was his first Canadian convention. I did read the first five or six books, but the previous year, I had read as many Xanth books as I could stomach, and saw the Discworld books as yet another money drain. I know I've missed some good books, but to know what's happening, you've really got to read the previous books to keep up, and there's only so many hours in the day.

In Toronto, I don't have to worry much about snow falling from buildings. A greater risk is glass panes falling from buildings, and injuring people below. It happens with cold and heat loosening the attachments to the panes, and they smash on the sidewalk below.

My letter...it's just before Christmas, and it looks like we might have a green, but wet Christmas. Old tech is still good tech, as long as it is still usable and useful.

291...I've never read a lot of alternate histories, mostly because they are mostly military-oriented, as in what if we lost the war instead of winning it. Some steampunk stories are a little dull, I find, but some alternate tales do intrigue.

If the animal pictured in Banff is a squirrel, it is a species I am not familiar with. With it's striping, I might have thought it was a chipmunk, which is sometimes seen in the Toronto area. Squirrels around here are usually black, with the odd grey one, whose numbers are dwindling, to the best of my knowledge.

292...I gather the Grey Cup game was a great time. I would like to meet Naheed Nenshi, and perhaps now that we've ditched our idiot mayor for someone half-decent, perhaps we will see Nenshi here.

You've got modern fandom nailed, although there are plenty of people who do run their own conventions, and they are most enjoyable. We know one of the famel gamers driven out of her home; we hope she will be ready to go home safely soon.

293...The Eaton Centre has huge reindeer as decorations, plus a giant tree.

We were in the Eaton Centre during shopping times, but made sure that we weren't mad enough to actually go shopping. For the first time, all our presents were ordered online, and all but one of them has arrived as I write.

That's all for now...we hope you have a great Christmas, and see you in that SFnal year of 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 19th, 2014
08:59 pm

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Loc on Argentus 14 (Steven H. Silver, ed.)
Dear Steven:

Thank you for Argentus 14, and 'tis the season to try to get responding to zines caught up. Good luck to me on that one, and here we go...

Great choice of people to profile here, R. A. Lafferty and Bob Tucker. I met both of them exactly once, and I may have met them both at one of the past Chicago Worldcons. I shared a panel with Bob on Fannish Traditions (got to smoooooooth with him), and got to shake Mr. Lafferty's hand, wish I had brought some of Lafferty books from home, didn't know he was going to be there.

I hope you can relay the news of the need of support from Frank and Brianne. I saw on Facebook that this battle with Gamergate is still on, and they may be running out of money while they are forced away from home and work. No one should ever have to go through this disgraceful nonsense. They are being tracked by Gamergate slime, and someone in her Facebook cadre of friends is a Gamergate mole. If anyone needs assistance and a hug or 12, it's those two. Frank, Brianna, I hope life returns to normal as soon as possible, and those children are put away for a long time.

The worst movies of all time, fortunately, for me, I haven't seen most of these movies, but I would like to see a better version of The Wild, Wild West. I remember the series fondly, and is on my list of series I could like to purchase on DVD if I could afford it.

Indeed, the canon of SF is changing. Time marches on, and so does popular culture, which is what fandom is based upon. We fix ourselves on the timeline of fandom on a particular interest, and then we get upset when fandom moves on, and leaves us behind. I could sit and carp, and be a cranky old man reminiscing about the good old days, but I figure the good day are yet ahead. I haven't left fandom, but as it fades into the past of the timeline, I look forward to newer interests, like steampunk and Murdoch Mysteries fandom. In the long run, you've got to satisfy yourself, and we have done that.

The locol...cetainly agree with Milt Stevens on WALL-E and Steamboy. There are true cautionary tales in WALL-E that as a species, I doubt we will ever take to heart.

My own loc...nope, we didn't make it to Loncon, but we do have plans for a trip to London and elsewhere in the next few years. Just have to make sure we have saved enough money to do it right.

Steven, I wish I had more to say on this issue, but I don't. More and more, as much as I like science fiction, I have little to say about it. It's given me a lot, and I have friends and contacts I'd never have otherwise. I feel like I'm cheating on it a little by looking further afield with steampunk (within fandom, as far as I'm concerned), and Murdoch Mysteries fandom (which isn't, but I can certainly see the parallels).

Take care, have some great holidays, and see you some time in 2015, I hope.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 18th, 2014
06:14 pm

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Loc on Journey Planet 18 & 19 (Garcia, Bacon, Montgomery, Harris & McKersie, eds.)
Dear James, Chris and Helen:

Many thanks for two more Journey Planets...18 & 19. Can't believe I've fallen so far behind. Comments follow!

18...Social media allows us to do some many things, and keep in touch with many friends. You can express your opinion, and I guess, be a troll if you so wish. You can discuss a topic, or simply argue, and then insult the one you're trying to convince. Like any other technology, it was be used to great advantage or disadvantage, depending on the use. That goes for Facebook, which can be used to create the cozy fire or the firestorm.

The cult of personality is indeed a problem, a potent idea that allows people to use social media to their own ends. I am sure that asking lots of people for nominations, or sales, or buy my book, or come and see me, works for many. I like the communication aspect of it, but being on it east up a lot of time, time I could be using for other things.

I am conducting my own experiment with Facebook... I am also a steampunk vendor, and we occasionally take a table at a convention or craft show. So, I have set up a Facebook page for our steampunk business. Some say I should set up an Etsy site, others say a website so that people can order directly from me...we are far too small to deal with an Etsy site or website, so we canny on with a Facebook page. It has indeed gotten me a couple of sales so far, but there is much more to do on it.

Gamergate, sexism in fandom, screaming criticism of SF writers, death threats...it is sad this happens, but some will blame social media for that. Not fair, people will abuse anything they can get their hands on to perpetuate their own agenda.

The part of the essay on the Old Fan's War is especially interesting. For many years, I identified with this older group for many years. I am 55 years old now, and while I do prefer literary aspects of fandom right now, I see how grumpy the old fans can be, failing to see that time and fandom marches on.

I am still heavily involved in fanzines, definitely an interest of Fandom per the essay, but we've picked up newer interests. As a result, we have many new friends, and many of them are younger to much younger. For years, I was the youngest in the crowd, and now, I am the oldest, or among the oldest. While my polder peers seem determined to the end of the rest of their days carping about the way things used to be, I plan to still be having fun. I needed to find other avenues to have that fun, and I did. Excellent, excellent article, and older fans need to read this.

Many awards around the world have a voting membership. The Aurora Awards have such a thing, and it provides a voting franchise to all who are interested, but may not be able to go to the national convention where the Auroras are handed out. Canada is a very big country, and if you are in Halifax, with the CanVention in Vancouver, it's not an everyday event to just catch a plane. The voting membership is actually separate from the CanVention, and is a necessity for the Canadian SF voting public.

I may have to trim some people off my Facebook friends list to make it more manageable. Same goes for interests and groups. Your page just gets too complex to use properly, and glean important information from.

Conventions are indeed run by volunteer hobbyists. Those who are successful at running these conventions enjoy some fame from doing it, but still only get credit from their last convention. On the other hand, there are people who volunteer at cons, and they appear incompetent. They seem professional enough to bring that level of competence to their work; why they cannot bring that level of competence to a volunteer position is beyond me.

Choosing which was the first SF convention may just split the assorted trufans who will say Philly or Leeds. There may be a level of importance, but I'd rather discuss something that will bring people together. Recently, there was the idea that given the important dates of fandom in its earliest times, that fandom itself is 85 years old.

My loc...As I've written too many times now, we did not get to Loncon. So, it looks like Reno was our last one, unless Montreal catches a break, and wins for 2017.

19...The Doctor Who issue! I may not have much to say here. I was never a fan in my initial days, but we've known many of the older Whofans in Toronto for many years. Because we never thought we'd be missing much if we were working the convention, we ran on-site registration for the last few Who Parties in Toronto. Greetings to co-editors Chris, James, Colin Harris and Alissa McKersie.

I may have written about this before, but there is a Canadian angle to Doctor Who. Sydney Newman, a Canadian, the Doctor's creator, at first tried to sell the Doctor to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in its beginning days of television. The CBC had gotten their hands on a Canadian version of Howdy Doody, so they turned it down. Newman carried on his television career and sold the Doctor to the BBC, as a silly little programme for kids to watch on Saturdays. If the CBC had said yes to Newman, the programme might have been cancelled in a few years.

(James...in a few days, we will be seeing a show in downtown Toronto called Potted Potter. It's about all seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes. The two crazies in charge of this show used to be Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner, who used to be hosts of Blue Peter, but they have passed on this show to their understudies, James Percy and Benjamin Stratton, who are currently touring. We’ll see the show tomorrow, for tomorrow is Yvonne’s birthday! Clarkson and Turner have produced a new show called Potted Sherlock…)

I did watch a little Doctor Who when it was broadcast on the provincial educational channel, TVOntario, but I remember more none other than Judith Merril coming on afterwards as the Undoctor, pointing out the science problems in the DW episode just played, and IMHO, being quite the humorless spoilsport.

We know a lot of the local Doctor Who fans, especially the older ones with the Toronto club the Doctor Who Information Network. We've helped out with local Who conventions, and even with the club elections one year. DWIN produces a long-term club fanzine called Enlightenment, which just a few issues ago went all electronic.

When there was notice of the return of Doctor Who, I wanted to see it to see what others thought of it. Just no time. Over more time, though, I have seen a couple of Tennant episodes, and a couple of Capaldis. They've been fun, but I feel like I have missed so much, I'd never catch up. I have seen Peter Davison on Law & Order: UK, and I gather the US version of Broadchurch was cancelled, so Tennant can be snarly on only one series now. Capaldi left The Musketeers, playing Cardinal Richlieu, to take on the role of the Doctor.

The article about the history of DW fandom includes The Doctor Who Appreciation Society, DWAS. I think that was an official club authorized by the BBC, and there was also NADWAS, the North American Doctor Who Appreciation Society, which meant at the time there was now an outlet for DW merchandise, if not much more.

It took a few years of hearing about Radio Free Skaro before I realized that home base was Edmonton, Alberta. Fandom is always bigger and more complex than you expect. And, I have seen the illustration on page 84 before on Facebook. Good for a smile, and makes you wonder if overall, the Doctor is an intergalactic, interdimensional playboy?

An idea which I have settled upon, and am relaying for discussion...who could possibly the greatest fan of all time? My current candidate is Peter Capaldi. Why? As a young lad, Peter was a Doctor Who fan, and even said he wanted to be the Doctor. Well, today...he is. He made his dreams come true. Can any of us make the same claim, that we made our SFnal dreams come true? Congratulations to that young man. I see the comparison with Hugh Laurie's Gregory House. Doctor House?

Just for the record, Yvonne and I bought ourselves fezzes. We added tassels, and we have jackets and bowties. We could show up anywhere as two short Matt Smiths.

Well, I think I am done. Available time for this kind of letter-writing thing is rare these days, so this was actually written in sections over four days. Did I say that tomorrow is Yvonne’s birthday? Yvonne and I wish you and Vanessa, and James, and Helen, and Colin and Alissa, the best of Christmases and New Years. Might be a bit of time before I get to a letter for The Drink Tank...serves you right for putting four issues out at once. See you all in that amazing, SFnal year of 2015.

` Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 14th, 2014
07:47 pm

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Loc on Treasure 2 & 3 (Bruce Gillespie, ed.)
Dear Bruce:

Many thanks for wonderful paper copies of Treasure 2 and 3. These are produced so well, and they are a pleasure to read. Rhymes with Treasure… I shall do my best to create a suitable letter for these zines.

2…I understand what you mean with it comes to cash. I’d have more DVDs, CDs and books if I could afford them. For the first time in years, we are both working steadily, but we have to pay back the monies we borrowed from various sources, including our investments. As a result, we are saving for a trip to London in the next few years, and we expect that will be our last distant travel of any kind. Worldcons are now officially a thing of the past for us.

Ten episodes in a series? I know sometimes there are three or four in a series in Britain… The last two series of Murdoch Mysteries, series 6 and 7, each had 18 episodes in each, and the currently running 8th series will also have 18 episodes.

I haven’t been getting anything fanzine wise from Bill Wright. Do you know if he is still producing Interstellar Ramjet Scoop? Sure hope so. I am pleased to see that you can still win awards for producing a fanzine, and good to see that Nalini Haynes is still appreciated for her efforts with Dark Matter. She recently released a new fanzine-style issue I must get and comment on. I have given up all hope of anything fanzine-oriented winning any awards on this continent. Fandom seems to have little to do with fan awards these days. I barely have time to respond to the fanzines I get, so I don’t look at any podcasts. I wouldn’t know where online to find them, there are so many. I don’t know if there is a central list of SF podcasts, the same way there’s a directory in eFanzines.com.

Casey Wolf has the right idea. I should go to my local bank, see if they can sell me some nice polymer Australian money (Canadian bills are now all polymer), and I will send it to that nice Mr. Gillespie. If I want more of those nice fanzines he produces, it might be a good idea to help out with it.

DVDs…we never did get the missing Babylon 5 disks, but we found the missing movies on the Net, and downloaded them. Our DVD player has a USB port in it, so we can n0ow watch the entire run of B5 and its sequel. We did that last winter, and we think we might do it again. We now have all seven seasons, or series of Murdoch Mysteries on DVD. Now that I am 55, more health problems may be on the horizon, as I have just had the second of a series of glucose tests to see if I am diabetic. I suspect the answer is yes.

3…We wanted to be in London for Loncon, but it wasn’t to be. We just hadn’t saved enough for the trip we wanted to have. We are still saving, and would like to go some time in the next few years. We’re too old to slap the costs on a credit card, and then wind up tapping our pension fund for the credit card payments. We purchased a new computer in 2014 as well, and it runs Windows 7, which has a few problems, but it just needs a cleaning every so often to get rid of the bugs.

I’ve been on Facebook for some years, but for some people, it becomes a pain. They might migrate to Google+, but eventually, they realize that this style of social media takes up too much time for them.

The contents of issue 3 were so personal, so I wasn’t all that comfortable commenting, or appearing to pass judgment on these folks, so I will say Read and Enjoyed. I’ve never had the chance to travel the world, so I must do so vicariously. I do a lot of that…

We’ve had a major snowfall, so we are a little chilly, but we’ve been out to Christmas parties and craft shows this weekend. It would seem that we’re off to work in the morning to rest a little bit.  Anyway, it’s been great to see life get back to normal gradually.

I will say thank you very kindly for the wonderful fanzines, and wish you and Elaine a very happy Christmas and New Year’s, and hope that 2015 is even happier and more profitable for everyone. See you next year.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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08:49 am

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Loc on Fadeaway 44 (Robert Jennings, ed.)
Dear Robert:

Thank muchly for another great paper copy of Fadeaway, this time issue 44. Here I am, taking part in that fading art of actually responding to fannish publications you get in the mail. A curiosity to some, an old habit for others, like me.

As I write this, I am not at home, so I think it likely that I have a Gerald Kersh anthology or two on the shelves there, but even if I don’t, I am sure I have read his weird fiction in other anthologies. I seem to remember thinking that his work was very Twilight Zone-ish. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of his work has been adapted for the Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, or another weird fiction series. I have loaned out books, too, and never had them returned, so on the odd occasion that someone asks, I sadly say no.

Could you tell me where in Canada Kersh lived? I can think of several people who might like that information, if they don’t already have it. Good to see his work re-emerging; I hope a completely new audience will enjoy his writing.

Your article about Bomba the Jungle Boy and all the Tarzan imitations reminds me of J.K. Rowling and the hundreds of Harry Potter imitations that flooded the bookstores. Magical schools, universities, finishing schools, institutes and more. Then there were Chosen One-style boys who were destined for greatness. I also remember the Tolkien imitators after successes of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I guess it’s easier to write something when you know what’s popular, and what sells. Bomba seems a young Superman, wise and strong beyond his years, something the young reader could yearn for, and that may have been one source of Bomba’s appeal. I have never seen a Bomba movie, but I would have thought that Johnny Sheffield would have been the natural choice, ahd I’m sure he was grateful for the extra work.

I think for most of us, we do have wide-ranging interests, which means an over-stuffed house or apartment. (I have two nearby lockers, full of magazines from the ‘70s to ‘90s,l and my fanzine collection.) I don’t think that anyone feel that they are a fakefan because they haven’t read a particular book or author or magazine. These days, I think we’re happy to have you if you show an interest in anything like what we like. I admit that my interests are narrower than others, especially today. I have never been interested in comics, gaming, anime and Doctor Who, yet these four interests make up the bulk of most modern conventions. I go for the friends I know will be there. And, now that we are steampunk dealers, we go to conventions we wouldn’t ordinarily go to for ourselves, but we go to see how our merchandise will sell, and our sense of a good con to sell at has been pretty good these days.

My letter…got the tassels for our fezzes, and have already worn them to a convention or two. We are automatically assumed to be Doctor Who fans, so we may go the whole nine yards, add the bowtie and jacket, and go as a pair of stubby Matt Smiths.

Done for now! Yvonne and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year, and we shall see you in the pages of Fadeaway again in that SFnal year of 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 12th, 2014
07:05 pm

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Loc on BCSFAzine 498 (Felicity Walker, ed.)
Dear BCSFen:

We've just had our first massive snowstorm of the season (and it's not even winter yet), which, I guess, gives everything a Christmassy look. Time to stay inside, warm up, and have a look at BCSFAzine 498.

Gamergate, or Lamergate, can dry up and blow away. This tempest in a teapot has seriously disrupted the lives of Frank and Brianna Wu, who deserve a great Christmas to at least try to make up for death threats at the hands of overgrown children.

Greetings to Sheryl Birkhead, and thank you for your good wishes. We're trying our best to stay fully employed, and with our experience and greatly improved resumes, I think we can do it. I hope you are enjoying the Murdoch Mysteries archive online. If you get the Ovation channel, they are broadcasting the episodes, but under the title The Artful Detective.

I think we all know the horrible news about Spider Robinson's daughter Terri succumbing to cancer. Not fair...how much pain is one man supposed to take? I hope there's been someone to help him take the pain away, as least as much as can be done. If you see this, Spider, know that you have many people who’d hug the stuffins' out of you if you'd let them, and share your burden with them.

Everyone take care, and Yvonne and I wish you all a joyous Christmas, happy New Year, peaceful Hanunkkah...whatever you celebrate, have fun, and see you in that SFnal year of 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 11th, 2014
07:45 pm

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Loc on Orpheum 8 (Alan White, ed.)
Dear Alan:

Many thanks for Orpheum 8, another beautiful artwork and publication. From what you said in an e-mail, this is the last issue. I've always believed that all good zines deserve some comment, and the last issue is no different.

Burning Man remains a neat event to go to, but I have already learned not to attempt to put together a bucket list. That way lies disappointment and resentment. Instead of not being able to complete a bucket list, I prefer an achievement list of all the things I've already done. I think I'm happier that way. (Guesting at Loscon a couple of years ago went on that list.)

Ah, Flesh Gordon! The Power Pasties! Saw that at a con, no surprise there.
What a trip to the BM. From those I know who have been there before, it really is an instant and tight community. Didn't know that over 65,000 were there, though. Love the shuttlecraft on wheels! I know I will never go, but living vicariously through your essay and your photos help bring it about for me.

Upcoming conventions...we have zine festivals up here, but us sci-fi geeks aren't exactly welcome there. Wish we could go to SteamCon/Steamathon 1 in February, but trips far afield will not be in the budget, I expect, for as far as I can see.

We're always looking for new places to sell our steampunk goods, so we bought a table at our home convention, Ad Astra, and as soon as ConBravo! starts up their box office, we're going to buy a table, and they get thousands of people every year now.

The last issue indeed. That's a shame. Looks like you were having a good time doing it, but as you found, there's few like me actually responding to converse, toss a few stories around, do a little personal journalism, and basically encourage the production of the next issue, which is what I always thought writing to the editor was all about. I'm sorry you didn't get more response to what always looked like a labour of love.

Lots of love to the group, and don't let the crankyfans get you down. They see their version of fandom dying out, and they are essentially right, but if you want to keep the good times happening, you've got to move on and find other things to have fun with. For us, SF fandom is still around, but it has markedly changed, and time will do that to just about anything. We're loving steampunk and being a steampunk dealer, and the series Murdoch Mysteries has its own fandom, and we are on the ground floor of that.

I hope there might be another zine or title down the road from you all...so, not goodbye, but see you the next time, and I hope there will be an excuse for us to come and visit some day. See you then.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 10th, 2014
07:59 pm

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Loc on OSFS Statement 427 (Grant Duff, ed.)
Dear OSFen:

Thank you for issue 427 of the Statement. I might have to make this quick, but still, it's always worth the consideration.

The third Hobbit movie is here soon. I think I might have to wait until all three movies come out on DVD before I can see the second one. Three movies truly was stretching things a little bit. With this movie coming out, our visits to an amazing Middle-Earth will come to an end. I felt the same way when I had read all the books.

Yvonne and I attended the gathering to honour Michael Lennick at Bakka-Phoenix Books. Standing room only, there were stories, remembrances, and videos from many of Michael's friends, including Harlan Ellison. It was a great gathering...for the wrong reason. I still can't believe Mike has passed. I still had hopes that he would make a movie from Rob Sawyer's Illegal Alien.

My loc...we have indeed purchased a dealer's table at Ad Astra 2015. I don't think we will be taking a room, though. We can commute back and forth from home. That won't stop us from taking in some room parties on Friday and Saturday nights.

Ken Tapping's essay on Why We're Here reminds me of an old cartoon. An alien speaks on a futuristic telephone to Universal Pest Control. "Yes, I'd like you to come and spray that planet called Earth...it's got an infestation of hoo-mans."

Time to wrap it up. Thanks for this issue, and Yvonne and I wish you all the best of holidays. Whatever you celebrate, Christmas, Channukah, Diwali, solstice, have the best time ever, and see you in that SFnal year of 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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07:52 pm

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Loc on Spartacus 5 (Guy H. Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

The drive to get caught up with a mountain of zines and e-zines continues on, and now, I have Spartacus 5 on the go. Here's what I thought of.

Democracy by itself is not to be doubted. It is a concept that benefits us all. It is how we treat it, or flout it, that deserves the criticism. I have been a critic of the way my country's right-wing government is eating away at democracy here. I have to ask your own opinion at the revelations of yesterday's report on the activities of the CIA. The phrase 'crimes against humanity' has risen on social media several times, and the United Nations would like to see those responsible for this taken to the World Court. Unfortunately, the US is not a signatory to the World Court, and I doubt a court in the US would ever take on the case of prosecuting those responsible. (I believe those who are responsible are Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, among others.)

I think Hilary Clinton would make a great president. Elizabeth Warren sounds pretty good, too. Together they might start making the repairs to democracy that the US sorely needs.

The Gamergate situation is beyond ridiculous. It's turned so many lives upside down, not the the least of is those of Frank and Brianna Wu, but the whole thing stems from childish young men with a grossly large idea of their own self-importance, and they complete disregard for the law in their death threats. I sincerely hope these children are caught and prosecuted.

I hadn't known that Nalini Haynes had produced another zine version of Dark Matter. Just found it, downloaded it, and will respond to it.

Malal Yousafzai received her Nobel Prize today. A dominant spirit indeed, and defiant to the last. Her father must receive some credit, for he wanted the best and a full education for his daughter, and has continuously supported her in all she has said and done. That gold medal is the proof of her (and his) efforts.

Thank you for your words on the shooting in Ottawa. I know the War Memorial well. And, I am surprised that you were able to see some of Rex Murphy's televised commentary. Rex is no pretty-boy, and he sometimes sounds like he had a thesaurus for lunch, but he will often tell is as it is.

Tim Bolgeo got raked over the coals over the accusation of one person, and disinvited from a convention. People who don't know him may have been offended by what he wrote, but those who know him aren't offended, know what he meant, and probably said, "Well, that's Uncle Timmy." Much the same thing happened with Rene Walling a couple of years ago now. Some were offended with things Rene did, but his friends in Montreal can't and don't believe those past accusations. Rene has not been tried, but others have found him guilty without benefit of self-defense or explanation. We are too eager to try and sentence others; let's ask a few questions before we (over)react.

Society is angry...prices continue to rise, jobs are lost at a whim, the news is always bad, politicians are corrupt and found with our tax money in their bank accounts, they are in bed with the top 1%, the law has nothing to do with justice, etc., etc., etc. Add in what we've done to this planet, and it's now too late to save it...I can see the reasons for anger. Those we placed in positions of trust, our politicians, our judiciary, our police...we all wonder why that trust was betrayed, and it's happening more and more often. No wonder barely one-third of the potential voting public actually votes.

A very pessimistic letter, but when it looks like society as a whole is going straight to hell in that proverbial handbasket, it is tough to smile, at least in the long run. If only this planet had a Reset button...

Even with all of this, a happy Christmas and a fortuitous New Year are still possible. And, we are hoping to have that, and we wish the same for you and Rose. Take care, and I look forward to the next GHLIIIzine.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 9th, 2014
07:43 pm

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Loc on SF/SF 158 & 158 (Jean Martin & Christopher Erickson, eds.)
Dear Jean and Christopher:

Here I am, behind again. I've got two issues to comment on issues 158 and 159. Time to get started before the end of the year.

158...I am amazed at how much travelling you are doing, and we do what little we can. We are still saving for our own trip to London sometime in the next few years, but closer to home, we will be vendors at our own local convention Ad Astra in April, going to the London Steampunk Society's annual Gala also in April (that's London, Ontario), and in May, we hope to go to Dearborn, Michigan for the annual SteamTopia. That's actually a lot of travel for us compared to the past three or four years. The only thing that might derail those plans is the Canadian dollar, which is continuing to drop in value against the US dollar.

I like Milt Stephens' comparison of neopros like baby tortoises. There's about a dozen or more in the Toronto area, and there's probably other in town I've never met. We try to help get the word out about them; they need as much help as they can get.

My loc...we did get to Fort George for the Grand Canadian Steampiunk Exposition, and it was a great day. Lots of steamy activities, hundreds of wonderful costumes, lots to see, do and buy. And we did go to Genrecon as vendors, and another great time, and very good sales.

We did see the Kubrick exhibit at the Toronto International Film Festival building, and we also saw Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea show up. Keir looks like a silver fox; time has been kind to him. Gary Lockwood, though looks like he's someone's grandpa. They had great reminiscences. We met with Lev Grossman at the new Toronto International Book Fair, and we reminded him of the Brakebills party and the Magical University Challenge at the Reno Worldcon. We also asked him to autograph a unreleased edition of The Magicians.

159...I tried to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Reall, I did try, but it didn't work. If I recall, I got about 200 pages in. It is a huge book. One series I wanted to see, but never had the time for it, was The Librarians. I may have to find it online.

I often listen to the BBC via the Internet, especially to Radio 2, Radio 4 and Radio Scotland. I've listened to Radio Wales and Radio Ulster from time to time.

Done for now, and I think I have said all I can say. I'll try not to fall behind in my writing of locs, but no promises. Take care, and see you in the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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December 8th, 2014
07:14 pm

[Link]

Loc on The Pleasure of Ruins 1 (R. Graeme Cameron, ed.)
Dear Graeme:

I have here The Pleasure of Ruins issue 1. I will admit this is definitely different from what you produce, but there should be something I can comment on here, and here's my attempt.

Archaeology is dull and dry as dust. At least, that's what the general public believes. It's been presented in a dull and dry fashion. It's got to sound exciting and be exciting.

I am not sure if the BC educational channel has shown it, but TVOntario showed for many years episodes of Time Team, the fun series from Channel 4 in Britain, hosted by Sir Tony Robinson. Every episode was fun because there were people who could explain archaeological concepts clearly, and there were a few crazy characters involved. The show itself was recently cancelled by Channel 4 after a 20-year run.

Found on FB as I was typing up this loc that archaeologists have found a vast medieval palace buried under a prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum in southern England. The story came from independent.co.uk, and I thought it would fit perfectly in this loc.

Stonehenge...saw a show on TVOntario, I think, on the area of Britain near Stonehenge, and after geophysical scanning and high-powered radar were used on the surrounding acreage, it was discovered that there are many more stones and landscaped areas that lead them to believe that the whole area, with Stonehenge at the centre, is a huge religious facility.

Anything can be presented well enough to attract the attention of the general public, though I admit that it's getting gradually tougher to do it. Discovery is a part of both SF and archaeology, and there's the crossroads of interest.

All for now...take care, and I am sure there are other fanzines of yours I have to catch up on.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

07:11 pm

[Link]

Loc on Missives from Gre'thor 7 (Joe Casey, ed.)
Dear Joe:

When it comes to responding to fanzines, I can't keep up any more. My spare time is spare indeed. I have here Missives from Gre'thor 7, and here's a few comments.

Our new computer is still going well, but I am finding one weakness with Windows 7. It is weak when it comes to malware. Even the most innocent cookies slow it down, or prevent some of its resident programmes from working. I do run SpyHunter on it, and it works fine after that, but even games won't work unless the system gets a good cleaning.

Anne McCaffrey was a lovely lady, rest her soul, but I never talked to her about her Pern books, mostly because I tried to read them, and just wasn't interested. I have always preferred SF to fantasy, and I have read some fantasy, but much of it isn't to my taste.

The problem with Ottawa sports fans is the same problem with Toronto sports fans. They're fickle. They want perfection now and always, and as soon as they don't get what they want, the players suck, and their attention wanders elsewhere. If the players pick it up and start winning again, they return and hop back on the bandwagon. Leafs are winning again, but because they are doing extraordinarily well right now, the Raptors are getting more attention. The RedBlacks are new, and most new franchises don't do well in their first years. Gotta be patient.

My loc...we do have a copy of Sky Captain, we just need to schedule a time to watch it, and there never seems to be time. Maybe around Christmas.

Lots of people are a little upset about the closing of their favorite video shop. Video shops are much like book stores in that they're still around, but there's few left, and who knows where they are? Our favorites were Starstruck Video at Sherway Gardens and Video Art Decor in the Junction area; both are long gone.

Yvonne and I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year's, and that you might be able to travel in the new year. Wish there was a convention we could all go to again, and relive some old memories. Take care, and see you next year in that SFnal year 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

December 6th, 2014
09:09 pm

[Link]

Loc on Warp 89 (Cathy Palmer-Lister, ed.)
Dear MonSFFen:

Thank you so much for Warp 89. Always good to see it, and I wish there was a convention in Montréal we could come to, to see you all. Looks like there are big changes afoot, so some comments to ask what’s going on.

I see President Berny is deposing himself, and from what he says, he is certainly going into exile. Only for a year? Well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Are there any big personalities who can fill his big shoes and follow in his imperial foot steps for that year? I hope so.

My letter…yes, I started that job at TC Media on my birthday, June 2. And, I started a new job at MSR eCustoms on September 9, so I’ll be there three months in just a few days. Yvonne did have that new job at Crown Wallpaper, but left to go to Royal Building Supplies just north of Toronto. Jobs are great, but you have to enjoy being there, and we didn’t enjoy TC Media or Crown Wallpaper. We did go to Coldwater, Ontario for their annual steampunk festival, and it was a great day in a beautiful little village. All the events we listed there were great fun, and full of valuable contacts. And, I believe Pluot has indeed been reinstated as a planet. The planet must have had good lobbyists.

Christmas is shopped for, and we are just waiting for the shipments to come in. We have set up a Facebook page for our Penney’s Steampunk General Store, so we hope you’ll look us up and visit. It looks like our next convention will be Ad Astra in April, although there is the slim chance we will be at Frostcon in Toronto in January.

The Canadian Air & Space Museum is definitely not the original CASM, which was in Toronto at the old CFB Downsview. They were kicked out of their facilities some years ago by the federal government, who decided that rather than honour our space heritage, they needed the space for new ice rinks. This museum is on storage close to Pearson airport, and we are trying our best to support those who would like to see the museum restored to its former glory. The worst insult is to have the name outright stolen for another facility.

I don’t get much time to read these days, but I just finished reading The Magicians’ Land, the final book in the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman, the book review editor for Time Magazine. I don’t know who’s reading this series, but it is a satisfying conclusion to the series, which has been a great read. Recommended, and would get my Hugo nomination if I had the franchise.

There’s Spider…he recently lost his daughter to cancer. If only distance didn’t matter, I’d reach out and give this man the biggest hug I could muster. If there’s anyone who needs the emotional support, it’s him. Spider, you are always in our thoughts.

I’ve been reading about Alice Novo, and her ordeals in hospital. Get better, and many of us are getting to that age, so everyone, look after yourselves. We’ll try our best to do the same.

Just made the page, and I ran out of fanzine. Many thanks, Cathy, and hope this makes it in on time for Warp 90. Take care all, and Yvonne and I wish you a wonderful Christmas, Kwaanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus (for the rest of us), and a great New Year. Whatever you celebrate, have the best time ever, and see you in that science fictional year of 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

December 5th, 2014
06:37 pm

[Link]

Loc on Rodney's Fanac 1 & 2 (Rodney Leighton, ed.)
Dear Rodney (and Chuck):

Thanks for the first two issues of Rodney's Fanac. I've got the first issue in a .pdf with no e-mail address, and Chuck must have sent to me a paper edition of the second issue, so I will respond to both.

1...Good to see another new zine title from you. Not available for letters? Well, I got it anyway, and got your e-mail address through issue 2.

I would imagine postage rates just about everywhere have killed many paper zines. No wonder e-zines have become popular, simply download and read. The .pdf format for e-zines seems fairly easy to download and read, and then, some zines take the form of webzines. The regular magazine style in a .pdf file is the best, in my opinion, because you do start at the top and read your way to the bottom, a linear fashion that is natural as a reader. Webzines take you places, and you're never really certain that you've read the entire issue. Some are now saying that .pdfed zines are old-fashioned, and newer formats for e-readers are the newest stuff. They make the assumption that we all have e-readers or smartphones to read these formats. Bad assumption. Zines should be available for all to read, and if paper can't be bought, then a .pdf on the computer is the next best thing. Bad enough we have to buy equipment (computer) to create and read the zines, but then buy another expensive bit of equipment.

Medical intervention? What's up? Operation or something like that? Hope it's nothing too serious. But, you keep hinting at surgery, and you gave up smoking...

Everything goes up in price, and our income stays the same, or even drops. On TV, well-off TV types scold us for not putting enough away for our retirement. You cannot put away what you need to live, or simply do not have. My employment record has been fairly spotty, so I doubt I shall have enough to retire on. Help me, 6/49, you're my only hope.

The CRA keeping tinkering with our tax forms to maximize the funds we send them. Here's the eventual end of the form...
1. How much money did you make last year?
2. Send it to us.
Just a matter of when.

2...The postage rates in this country are ridiculous. It now costs $2.50 to send a letter overseas. But, given how few people do it now, I am not surprised. More than 30 years ago, when I first started responding to fanzines, I always made sure I had plenty of paper, envelopes and postage. Today, the postal rates are 4 to 5 times the cost of back then, but that's okay...as of now, I do not mail any letters of comment. They all go electronically.

I have a few issues of Factsheet Five at home. I don't know of any general zine zines, perhaps other than Guy Lillian's the Zine Dump, but there is a Canadian magazine called Broken Pencil. Years ago, I wrote to them many years ago to ask about SF zines, and I got the usual ho ho, ho, wanting to keep in touch with Captain Kirk?, or some usual BS. I told them where to go, but I still subscribe to their Facebook page to see what's happening. They have two conventions a year of zine writers and publishers, but given how few Canadian zines there are, I don't think SF zines are represented at all.

You get a great selection of zines. I know how many there are out there, but I stick with the SF zines because it's what I know, and places a limit on what I get. I can only loc so many.

Didn't know there was a Thanksgiving in the UK, Chuck...guess American Thanksgiving gets so much press, and there's so much whining and kvetching about it because it is so close to Christmas.

I don't send money for zines...fanzine fandom has been very generous to me over the years. I have more than enough zines to deal with. I've never gotten the idea of a fannish article, and I can barely draw a straight line, so writing letters in response is where I've wound up, and I would like to think I've done a decent job of it. Harry Warner Jr. didn't think he could loc all fanzines...I know I can't, but I will try to loc what I do get.

I admit I was a little surprised when issue 2 arrived on A4 paper instead of the usual US Letter, but I've gotten plenty of A4 (and A3) zines over the years. Thanks, Chuck, for helping Rod get out and about zine-wise.

I think I am done for right now...Yvonne and I wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year, and hope to get to spend some of those holidays with your family. See you next time in that science fictional year 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

December 3rd, 2014
09:09 pm

[Link]

Loc on Breaking It All Down - The Zine 4 (Alexander Case, ed.)
Dear Alexander:

Many thanks for issue 4 of Breaking It All Down – The Zine. Time for a few comments, and I will flesh them out as best as I can.

For me, the original Star Trek, the original Star Wars, and dozens of SF anthologies and novels is what got me started. I didn’t find fandom until that Star Wars year of 1977, but I have stuck around ever since. Well done on the paid internship! Most internships here are salary-free, and some wonder at the legality of that.

Good to see John Purcell here. I started as a media fan, and helped to found a Star Trek club on the West coast of Canada, but I had to ask what else there was, moved to Toronto, and found so much more. After so many years of SF literature, fanzines, con running, costuming and more, we’ve added steampunk to the mix to keep things fresh. And, we’re now vendors at SF cons and at craft shows, so there’s more fun to be had.

My loc…Yes, no Sasquan for us, and two of the senior committee live here, and they are not pleased with us. In fact, I doubt we will ever get to another Worldcon, unless a lottery decides to burden us with untold wealth. C’est la vie.

Thank you for the article on Attack on Titan. The uniforms seem to be mass-produced, and that’s why I saw so many of them. I gather there is a lot of anime that also contains a lot of steampunk, and Steam Boy is the only title I can name, and the only title I own. Would Black Butler be part of that mix? Some of the other titles at the end?

Again, not much for me with gaming and video games, so I skip over them, and say that I am done for now. Thanks for this, and I look forward to the next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

07:50 pm

[Link]

Loc on Ansible 328 & 329 (Dave Langford, ed.)
Dear David:

It’s coming up on the end of the year, and I have the last two Ansibles of 2014 here, issues 328 and 329. Let’s see what we can say here.

328…good to hear the cataract operation was successful. With my op, and the new lens that went in (we’re now both partially bionic, I guess), my glasses gave me better vision. They were closer to the prescription. However, I do need new glasses, too, and in a few years, I am sure the other eye will need a cataract operation all its own.

We’ve known Frank and Brianna Wu for some years now…what they’re going through is unheard-of in my experiences. Words fail me right now, but they haven’t failed Brianna. Let’s make Gamergate a bad memory; it’s another of the terrible events plaguing SF and fandom.

That horrible, horrible RIP section…Gerry Parkes was a regular on Canadian television for many years, and I think his role with the Fraggles may have been one of his last ones. And, the news of Ann Methe’s passing…indeed horrible. With her passing, and the gafiation of the president of the local club, two major lights in Montreal fandom are going or gone. Stu Shiffman’s passing…this is getting all too much.

329…Paddy Bear and Winnie-the-Pooh…my, where has our innocence gone? We assume the worst in everything. They haven’t noticed that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck aren’t wearing any clothes, either… I was listening to Radio 2, and Hugh Bonneville was being interviewed by Steve Wright, and I think Bonneville has a few doubts about the Paddy Bear movie, too.

More horrible…Yvonne and I attended a memorial at Bakka-Phoenix Books in Toronto to remember the life of Michael Lennick. He was an old friend, and we saw many other old friends there, but so many people we didn’t know from the local film community. One of the many videos presented that day was one from Harlan Ellison, looking much like himself after the stroke, and also reminiscing about his experiences with Michael. A great day, for the wrong reason.

TAFF should be interesting…we’ve given Wolf von Witting our nominations, and we are hoping that Wolf and Nina Horvath can race together and one will win, without some big name suddenly droppinto the race from nowhere, and running away with it.

Well, I hope our Christmas card to you has arrived, but in case the Royal Mail is charging extra for storage, Yvonne and I wish you and Hazel a wonder Christmas and New Year’s, and may we all have good health, and better vision, for that SFnal year of 2015.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

06:59 pm

[Link]

Loc on OASFiS Event Horizon 324 (Juan Sanmiguel, ed.)
Dear OASFiSians:

Thanks for issue 324 of the Event Horizon, and as always, looks like there's lots happening in your part of Florida. Some observations I could make...

I will hint at my age when I say that while there are plenty of conventions to go to, they don't reflect my own interests in SF and fandom any more. Time marches on, so does fandom, and older fans are often left behind. Now that we have reinvented ourselves as steampunk dealers, we look at the conventions we wouldn't ordinarily go to, and see if they would be good conventions to vend at. As a result, we are still having some fun.

New shows coming up...there's one coming up called Ascension. It will be shown shortly on the Syfy Channel, and it is coming up in the new year on CBC. Looks very interesting, and for the first time in a long time, I might take the time to follow it, especially if it's only a four-part miniseries.

I wote something above about being a vendor... You can find us on Facebook now. Look for Penney's Steampunk General Store on Facebook, and I try to keep those who are following the page up to date with what shows and conventions we'll be at.

Time to send it out. We wish all of you a grand Christmas and a party-filled New Year, and the best present you can send us is more copies of the Event Horizon. Many thanks, and see you next year.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

December 1st, 2014
07:46 pm

[Link]

Loc on The Zine Dump 32 (Guy Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

My thanks to you for sending me the latest Zine Dump. Always a treat, and there’s been a ton of fanzines in the month of November, and I am desperately catching up.

It's more of an indication of my age than anything else, but I'd never heard of Kameron Hurley, never read any of her writing, and I am probably not likely to read any of it. Just more indication that fandom has lost any title it might have had to the fan Hugos.

Everyone must be heard, and that right must not be denied on the basis of gender, or any other basis. I have some passing familiarity with the Gamergate nonsense, and see that Brianna Wu is still getting such toxic tweets, and she has to deal with the impensing loss of a beloved pet, if that pet hasn't already passed away. She needs a break from all of this pain.

Joe Major needs a break...being shoved out of your job the way he was is illegal in Canada, and is called Constructive Dismissal. I hope he is able to find some replacement income soon.

A shame about John Boardman and the 658th and last Dagon. I certainly understand; it is the rare fan that I know who sticks with one interest for an extended period of time.

My time for responding to fanzines seems to have decreased, so I sneak in comments wherever I can. I am probably two issues behind with Robert's Jennings' Fadeaway, and sometimes time presents itself, and most of the time, not. In fact, I need to check to see if I have received those issues of Flag you mention; I might have fallen off the mailing list.

I think I am done for the moment…Yvonne and I wish you and Rose a wonderful Christmas, and hope that the SFnal year of 2015 is all you’d like it to be. Take care, and see you then.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

November 27th, 2014
08:08 pm

[Link]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

(Leave a comment)

November 25th, 2014
07:55 pm

[Link]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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