Boskone 33


Table of Contents

Introduction Boskone 33 was held February 16-18, 1996, in Framingham, Massachusetts. While last year we had no traffic problems and it took us only five hours to get there, this year we had a blizzard, and it took us eight and a half! If Boskone is thinking of moving either later, or closer, or both, I'm for that!

Attendance was slightly up from last year, with about 800 attending. Boskone has been growing about 10% a year, apparently, and will soon outgrow the Sheraton Tara. The question of where it will move to remains unanswered.

Arriving as late as we did (we managed to register just as they were closing at 10PM, even though the materials said registration was until 10:30PM), we didn't get to any Friday night panels, though the one on "Literary History and SF" sounded interesting. Instead, we sat around the Con Suite, eating brie and talking to Jim Paradis and some other folks. Around 11PM we went back to the room and Kate showed up about a half hour later. She had arrived earlier, even though the bus ride scheduled for an hour and a half took four hours. (Kate also notes that, contrary to what the con materials say, the hotel will not pick one up at the bus stop. Also, the con shuttle is listed as running Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.)

The Dealers Room was a round-up of the usual suspects. I found one book I was looking for (the second novel in an alternate history series), and subscribed to Crank!, but most of what I was looking for was either unavailable because it was British, unavailable because it was canceled, or unavailable because it was out of print. I used to buy a lot more, but I must either be getting more selective, or just buying less.

Maybe I'm getting "paneled out," or maybe it's that Boskone panels tend to repeat themselves with minor variations, but I went to fewer panels this year than in previous years. (Of course, our late arrival on Friday precluded attending any panels Friday evening.)

Alternate Holocausts
Saturday, 12:00N
A. J. Austin, Mark Keller (m), Evelyn C. Leeper, Jane Yolen

The description for this said that what was meant was the Holocaust (with a capital "H," also known as the Shoah), rather than holocausts in general. We did stick to that, but almost completely ignored the "alternate" aspect of the title. In part this may be because although there have been many alternate histories about World War II, few deal with the Holocaust. This avoidance, in fact, was the central issue we discussed during this hour.

Keller included the Romany (gypsies) in his panel definition, and also mentioned that other groups were targeted: Communists, Jehovahs Witnesses, and "sexual perverts" (as defined by the German criminal code). This led one person to suggest a panel next year on alternate sex acts--the last light-hearted comment in this otherwise very serious panel.

Someone from the audience asked about whether revisionists could be considered as writing alternate holocausts. This simple question determined the direction of the panel, which focused more on the Holocaust and the teaching of it than on any alternate history versions.

Yolen observed that revisionism, or perhaps just ignorance, was rife. Her young adult Holocaust novel, The Devil's Arithmetic, was published in Austria, and even won a major award there, yet the Austrian publisher's salesman asked why they were publishing it, since there was no such thing as Yolen described.

The major (or at least best-known) revisionist is Bradley Smith of the Institute for Historical Revisionism. (In passing, the fact that these people label their groups and work "revisionist" suggests that perhaps they are subconsciously acknowledging that they are trying to revise a history that is real.) Austin said when he had Smith on his talk show, there were two hours of calls from Holocaust survivors, one after the other, telling Smith and the audience that there had been a Holocaust, and Smith wondered what would happen when all the survivors are gone. I noted that this was the primary reason behind many of the projects going on now to film and otherwise record the stories of Holocaust survivors.

Yolen said that from her dealings with young people, "anything more than eight years ago is the Bronze Age." In addition, "we re-invent history every half-generation," meaning that we re-evaluate the meaning of history, thereby "re-inventing ourselves" as well.

Even given this, Yolen said she is amazed by the fact that people don't know what is real. (I was reminded of Connie Willis's story of someone asking her in regard to her alternate Civil War story which characters were real--"for example, what about this Grant character?")

And with the Holocaust, it's even more difficult, because young people find the truth difficult to believe. When parents, or teachers, or other adults tell students about what happened, the students' reaction is largely, "I know you wouldn't lie to me, but I can't believe this would happen."

One difficulty that was discussed at length is that until recently there was very little, if anything, taught about the Holocaust. Even for many students today, their only exposure to World War II other than Schindler's List is Hogan's Heroes. (Do people still watch that?) And even watching Schindler's List often doesn't evoke an "appropriate" reaction, but rather laughter. One could be charitable and say it is because people often laugh to cover up stronger emotions, but what some young people say is that it looks like just another slasher film.

People talked about their first exposure to knowledge about the Holocaust. Most of the Jews said they had heard about the Holocaust all through their youth. Other people mentioned Exodus (the book and the movie) and The Diary of Anne Frank. Yolen mentioned a recent book, Lois Lowry's Number the Stars, which won a Newberry Award, but which she found offensive in that it was about a very smart Christian girl who saves a fairly unintelligent Jewish girl (Yolen gave the example that the Jewish girl wasn't even smart enough to remove her Star of David necklace when she was trying to hide her Jewishness). I suggested that some of the reticence to teach or talk about the Holocaust was that parents want to protect their children, and that this "protectionism" was even stronger a couple of decades ago.

Austin said that it wasn't just ignorance of the Holocaust, but ignorance about Jews in general that was more common than many might think. He said he was in college before he even met any Jews, though he did say he didn't believe that they had horns. (You may laugh, but a Jewish friend of mine said when she went to work in Texas, a co-worker kept staring at her hair and finally asked where her horns were.)

This led fairly directly to the question of how ones writes about the Holocaust. Yolen said she often encountered the attitude that since she wasn't a Holocaust survivor, she was not entitled to write about the Holocaust. There are a couple of problems with this. One, it implies that after all the Holocaust survivors are dead, no one is allowed to write about the Holocaust. The other is that if this attitude is extended to other groups (and it has been), then only women can write about women, only blacks can write about blacks, and so on. As someone pointed out at another panel a few years ago (and I think in fact it was Yolen), Shakespeare managed to write about a variety of characters--young, old, men, women, white, black, Christian, Jewish--without actually being any of them.

Another problem Yolen has encountered which is particularly relevant to a panel at a science fiction convention is that fantasy ("non-realism" would perhaps be a better term) is looked down upon. It is looked down upon in general, of course, but it is even more negatively perceived in regard to a topic as serious as the Holocaust.

Rebecca Brown in the audience said that it was important for the children of Holocaust survivors to come forward. While I agreed that this was valuable, I said that this was not the same as first-person accounts, and that the revisionists had an easier time saying, "Well, that's just what you were told; you didn't really see it" to the child of a Holocaust survivor than, "You're lying about what you say you saw" to a Holocaust survivor.

Keller said that the children of Holocaust survivors also had their own stories to tell, since there were multi- generational effects. Yolen said that frequently Holocaust survivors carried a lot of guilt, and avoided telling their children the full story. She quoted Victor Frankel as having said, "The best of us did not survive," meaning that to survive one needed to have been selfish, and those who gave away their food, or took the place of others in the death sweeps, did not survive. And since the mind often shuts down in times of stress, it is also true that the Holocaust survivors may not remember everything that happened, or remember it incompletely, and so avoid its telling.

Yolen said that in writing about the Holocaust, there were issues of believability besides the obvious. She said that when she asked Holocaust survivors who were children in the camps what they did there, they answered, "We played." But if she writes that, people won't believe it.

Again, we returned to the issue of ignorance. Even physical evidence is questioned: bones are often attributed to other groups, and in many cases we can't tell how the people died. So the revisionists say the bones belong to soldiers killed in battle, or to people who died of disease. I have heard, for that matter, that at Auschwitz the only groups told that Jews were killed there are the American groups; all the other groups are told only that Poles were killed there.

On the other hand, the Nazis were great record-keepers, and it was their records that eventually condemned them. As the panelists noted cynically, the moral is to burn your documents. Of course, the Nazis thought they would win and not have to answer to anyone for what they did. Yolen said that even though there is lots of evidence, writers need to "make the scene live," to be something the reader feels emotionally rather than just knows intellectually.

The discussion about documentation led to the question of who knew what when. Austin suggested that it may be true that many Germans didn't know about the Holocaust since most of the camps were outside of Germany. However, people are skeptical, because even people who lived right outside of some of the most notorious death camps claim they had no knowledge of what was happening. It is often claimed that the answer for this is that people didn't want to know, and so blocked out anything that might tell them.

Towards the end of the hour, the role of the United States was discussed. The United States not only barred Jewish refugees here (Eleanor Roosevelt had to push Franklin Roosevelt hard to get him to set up one refugee camp for Jewish children in Oswego), but it also actively prevented Jews from coming to other countries in the Western Hemisphere such as Cuba and Haiti. Someone in the audience asked if Roosevelt perhaps did the right thing based on the situation at the time, but my response was that any decision that resulted in millions of people dying who might have been saved was the wrong decision.

In closing, Yolen said that she had done two Holocaust novels, and did not have the energy to do another.

Movies We'd Like to See
Saturday, 1:00PM
Daniel Kimmel (m), Mark R. Leeper, Steven Sawicki, Darrell Schweitzer, Edie Stern

Kimmel broke this into several smaller topics. The first was films that were announced or made but we didn't see. He mentioned Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man from Brian DePalma. In fact, scenes in Dressed to Kill were an experiment with showing telepathy, and DePalma decided he couldn't do it well enough. (I thought Twilight Zone's "Mute" did a reasonable job.)

Kimmel also said that Kathryn Bigelow has announced she was doing "New Rose Hotel" by William Gibson, but this eventually mutated into the recent film Strange Days. And he said he'd still like to see a director's cut of Dune. Later he mentioned that H. G.Wells's When the Sleeper Wakes was supposedly in production at one point (according to Castle of Frankenstein, which tells you how long ago that was), and called it "one of the great movies that never was."

Leeper started by saying, "Over the years I've seen several books I've liked announced as films and then canceled, and all I can say is, 'Thank goodness.'" The main problem, Leeper felt, was that people kept trying to turn novels--and long novels at that--into films, when they should really be looking at forty-page novellas. (A television mini-series could of course do a longer story.) For example, Leeper suggested that Christopher Anvil's "Mind Partner" could make a good film.

As far as announced but not made films, Schweitzer said that he had heard that all of Robert A. Heinlein has been optioned, though he said that a movie of Farnham's Freehold could really hurt Heinlein's reputation. Of all of these, only The Puppet Masters was made.

The next topic was remakes we would like to see. Schweitzer listed Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Frank Herbert's Dune, and Bram Stoker's Dracula. Regarding the latter, Schweitzer described as the scene with Dracula turning Mina into a vampire in Coppola's film as "the single greatest perversion of any scene in literature." (Leeper commented later that since Schweitzer said he liked the Hammer version, authenticity didn't seem to be his only consideration.) Regarding the question of authenticity, though, Kimmel noted that a best-selling book reaches fewer people than even a mediocre movie.

As far as films which should not have been made (a slightly different question than desired remakes), Stern offered Beastmaster (from the Andre Norton novel). A film that Sawicki cited was I, Robot, which wasn't actually made, but based on Harlan Ellison's script would have been longer and more complicated than the original story by Isaac Asimov, not to mention less fun (according to Sawicki).

The prime fact to remember, Sawicki said, is that novels and movies are two different forms. And Kimmel also said a movie should stand on its own, and not depend on the viewer having read the book.

Kimmel said that another problem was the Hollywood mindset, For example, he said, Hollywood wanted to take the Nazis out of The Producers, and to put in Japanese instead.

Kimmel then asked for movies they made badly (which sounds like a cross between the previous two questions). He started off with Screamers, which he said used the story ("Second Variety" by Philip K. Dick), but with a cold and off-putting style.

Kimmel said that the Philip K. Dick movies made so far leave the public with the impression that Dick writes slam-bang action books. And Schweitzer said that there was the same problem with H. P. Lovecraft. As he said, "'Herbert West--Reanimator' was worst piece of trash Lovecraft wrote and the film did justice to it." This led to his asking if a film can damage the reputation of a writer. Sawicki thought not, because audiences leave films very fast, before the credits roll, so they don't know there was an author involved.

Sawicki also said that the movie Dune had nothing to do with Frank Herbert. By this he did not mean that it didn't follow the book, but that Herbert was not involved in the production in any way. The real problem with filming our favorite work, he said, is that a film is somebody's vision of a piece and we want to see our own vision.

Various other upcoming projects were discussed, included Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers from Paul Verhoeven, and both David Brin's Postman or Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land with Tom Hanks. (Schweitzer described the story of the latter as "New Age fascism.") Isaac Asimov's Nightfall was mentioned by audience and Kimmel said that the producer of the first version still owns the remake rights for it, and also for Brian Aldiss's Frankenstein Unbound.

Schweitzer cited Curse of the Demon as an intelligent expansion of a short story (M. R. James's "Casting the Runes"). Other good adaptations from literature included The Innocents (from Henry James's Turn of the Screw), The Haunting of Hill House (from the Shirley Jackson novel), Charly (from Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon), and The Lathe of Heaven (from the Ursula LeGuin novel).

Someone in the audience said that Doc Savage, Man of Bronze was a "missed opportunity," and Schweitzer thought Conan the Barbarian was a travesty. He suggested that for a good Conan movie one should combine the Robert E. Howard stories "The Tower of the Elephant" and "Roads in the House."

Kimmel asked the panel for "films we wish they would make." He said he had suggested Greg Bear's "Blood Music" to David Cronenberg, and Cronenberg said he was not the first person to suggest it to him. Kimmel also said he'd like to see Terry Gilliam directing Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash or Billy Crystal doing Robert Sheckley's "Language of Love." Leeper thought that Christopher Anvil's "Mind Partner" or many of John Collier's stories would be good, but said he doesn't want really beloved stories brought to the screen.

Schweitzer would like to see Ursula LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea, but is afraid that Hollywood would make it either a straight fantasy or a children's film and change the racial makeup as well. (The latter led me to wonder just who will be cast as Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers.) Schweitzer also thought that there could be a decent Lovecraft film, and suggested "The Whisperer in Darkness," or "Dreams in the Witch House." Someone said something about David Lynch doing "The Shadow Out of Time," which led back to the observation that Lovecraft is gaining a reputation as a splatter writer. As Kimmel quoted, "They call it show business, not show art."

Stern said she would like to see some of the well-known science fiction juveniles filmed for today's youth. In particular, she would like to see more films that say, "Science is good; thinking is good," while at the same time are shoot-'em-ups that kids will watch.

Sawicki said that Hollywood does big epics best, and suggested John Carpenter doing Roger Zelazny's "Amber." Other possibilities he listed (apparently not concerned about the inability to do a long work justice) were Larry Niven's Ringworld, David Drake's Hammer's Slammers, C. J. Cherryh's "Faded Sun" trilogy and Paladin, Alexander Jablokov's Deeper Sea, Jack Vance's Brave Free Men, and Samuel Delany's Dahlgren. (The latter, was proof to me, anyway, that I don't want Sawicki picking stories for Hollywood to film.) Sawicki himself has written an as-yet unsold screenplay for Piers Anthony's On a Pale Horse.

Someone in the audience said that Kurt Vonnegut lends himself to movies, but Stephen King does not. This led the panelists to note that there were actually several excellent films based on King's works: Carrie, Stand by Me, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, The Shawshank Redemption--in fact, the rule seems to be that the less King does on a movie based on his work, the better it is. Kimmel observed that the King film that King himself directed, Maximum Overdrive, was so bad that when the press kit for Stake-Out listed Emelio Estevez's films, it omitted that one.

Sawicki closed by reminding the audience that screenplays read differently from stories, and suggested they compare the novels and screenplays of two works, The Wicker Man and Harold and Maude, to see the differences.

(A week after Boskone, we saw Mary Reilly, proof that you really don't want Hollywood to make a good book into a movie.)

Alternate Christianities
Saturday, 2:00PM
Michael F. Flynn (m), Esther M. Friesner, Evelyn C. Leeper, Joe Mayhew

[Thanks to Mark for taking notes on this one, especially since as he noted, it is very difficult to take rapid notes on a lot of obscure heresies with unusual spellings and pronunciations.]

Flynn wasn't sure why he was on the panel, having never written any stories with alternate Christianities (though he has written an alternate history story), and Friesner suspected her inclusion was due to her latest, The Psalms of Herod, which is about a sort of alternate Christianity where Herod is a god-king and the Slaughter of the Innocents is a sacrament, but in the future. She also has an alternate history coming out soon with Venus saving Julius Caesar. I said I was a fan of alternate histories and particularly those based on religion. (I think I may have actually suggested this panel, in part because an alternate history panel needs to have some specific focus to avoid being too diffuse.)

Mayhew said that he came from a long line of ministers, and believes that if there is a God there is only one. He studied for the priesthood, and described the Catholic Church as an alternate Christianity. As far as his writing goes, he wrote a story in which aliens reproduce serially and the offspring literally inherit the beliefs of its parent. Friesner said this was sort of like the Mormon Church's system of having people baptize their ancestors, only in reverse. Mayhew agreed, and further said that so far as he could tell, no one should convert to the Mormon religion because one of your descendants can save you. (Of course, this supposes that one of them will. Also, I think that the baptism of ancestors may be limited to those who did not have an opportunity to convert in life. It does require the consent of the baptized in the afterlife, though.)

Flynn asked if there could be an alternate Christianity, to which Mayhew replied that there was. I noted that when this sort of question arose on the Internet, there was always someone who said, "But this is God's plan and couldn't have been any different." Regardless of one's beliefs, I said, the "game" of alternate history requires that you allow that history might have been different.

Flynn then asked, "What if the apostles came up with different gospels?" to which Mayhew again replied that they have (the Gnostic gospels, perhaps?).

Someone asked, "What if we were all Pelagians?" Someone asked, "What if Christianity had remained a Jewish sect?" A third person asked, "What about Mithraism?" to which Friesner replied that the reason Mithraism failed was that it left out women. (Given that many successful religions are accused of this, I would be curious about more details.) I said if people were interested in that alternate history, they should attend next year's Boskone, since Guest of Honor John M. Ford had written just such a book (The Dragon Waiting, winner of the World Fantasy Award).

Flynn said that in order to write an alternate Christianity which had a chance, you should just pick your heresy to succeed and see what changes. I held up the encyclopedia of heresies I had brought along for reference and suggested there were lots of starting points in it.

Friesner said she was fascinated by the Arians (at least as described in The Cartoon History of the World). She described their beliefs as being that the Father and the Son (God and Jesus) were different beings. I said this sound a lot like the "homoiousian/homoousian" debate (about whether the Father and the Son are of like substance or the same substance). Mayhew compared it to monophytism (which says that the nature of Jesus is wholly divine), which I contrasted with adoptionism (where the nature of Jesus was wholly human until he was "adopted" by God). By now, the audience may well have been wondering what they had let themselves in for, much as the person who sat down at our table in the cafeteria one day only to hear one co-worker telling another, "The reason that you believe in transubstantiation is that you have bought into the Aristotelian idea of substance." Given that most cafeteria discussions seem to do with work, this was quite a departure, and this panel seemed perhaps equally odd at a science fiction convention.

I did, however, explain to the audience here that Arian was spelled with an "i", not a "y", as well as commenting that most heresies seem to arise from attempting to explain the Trinity.

Flynn said that the Arian heresy became popular with the Germanic tribes, and that Arianism saw the Goths as dominant, rather than the Romans. One possible branch point would be the Theodoric the Great.

Mayhew asked just what would be different in our society, and I suggested that there might be more variation in the belief system altogether. But Mayhew suggested a slightly different perspective. To orthodox Christians, beliefs are more important than appearances: you must profess a certain set of beliefs. To the Arians, public sin would be all that mattered, not private sin: one's beliefs were less important than one's actions. The early Christians were martyred not because of what they believed, but because they insulted the state.

[I realized afterward that this tied in with the Jewish concept that appearances count. That is based, however, on the idea that if you are known to be pious and appear to be doing something, people will assume it's allowed. For example, if a pious man is seen eating something that looks like a cheeseburger, people might think eating cheeseburgers are okay. He may know that the cheese is fake, but they don't.]

We got sidetracked briefly into the question of Messiahs, anointed and otherwise, and a discussion of who has how much power in various religions, before returning to the Arians. Mayhew said that unlike Jimmy Carter, an Arian could not "sin in his heart," because there was no such concept. Orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy was what was required. Mayhew later claimed that everything Garrison Keillor said about Lutherans was true, and that they are like the Arians in their emphasis on appearances. According to Mayhew, whether you mow your lawn is very important to Lutherans. However, since Mayhew made a lot of statements that I know were either hyperbole or wrong, I would take this with a grain of salt. Speaking of which, Friesner said that Lutheran cuisine consisted of removing all spices. I thought that was Jewish cuisine. (Actually, I should say "traditional European Jewish cuisine." I have developed my own Jewish cuisine which is considerably spicier. My Moroccan Fish could take the roof of your mouth off. And Chicken Tikka and Garlic Curry beats boiled chicken and potatoes any day. Send now for your Passover recipes! But I digress.)

But I will digress a bit more with the "white food" story that I told in response to Friesner's talking about Lutheran food as "white [bland] food." When Paul Robeson, the great black actor and singer first arrived at Rutgers University, he was one of the first (if not the first) black students there. His first day in the cafeteria, the woman behind the counter took one look at him and said, "We don't serve colored food here," to which he replied, "That's all right. I'll have the chicken--white meat only--the mashed potatoes--no gravy--the cauliflower, two slices of white bread, vanilla ice cream, and a glass of milk." His first night in the dorm, he heard students outside his door singing "Old Black Joe," a derogatory song. After two verses, Robeson (who had a marvelous bass voice) relates, he couldn't bear it, and joined in. After another couple of verses the students gave up and went away, but the next day he was approached and asked to join the chorus.

Boy, was that a digression!

In addition, it was suggested that if the Arians, rather than the Roman Catholics, had been the main group, law would have followed Germanic or Scandic law rather than Roman, although Mayhew thought that if the Romans had become Arians their legal system would have spread regardless.

With a different Christian group as the main group, there might not have been the Great Schism, or the Protestant Reformation. There would almost definitely have been a different attitude towards sex (in Celtic Christianity, for example, a woman caught in adultery was fined rather than stoned).

We discussed the variations seen within the Roman Catholic church even today, with Latin American Roman Catholicism (particularly Brazilian) showing a lot more influence from older religions than that of European Roman Catholicism. However, even there one sees traces of Zeus, Isis, and so on, and in the Russian Orthodox church one can find traces of Russian pre-Christian gods.

Mayhew also liked Pelagianism, which was not what Pelagius believed, and thought Jansenism was an ugly heresy. My understanding of Palagius was that he believed that people could choose between good and evil and were responsible for their choices, while the orthodox belief was that people were inherently sinners who needed God's help (through the Church) to be saved (i.e., original sin). (Augustine answered the question of why, if the orthodox position were true, people should be held for their evil acts by saying that people were free enough to be blamed for their sins, but not free enough to lead a good life unaided. Sounds like, "Head I win, tails you lose.") Jansenism went a step further then Pelagianism, saying that not only were people incapable of being good without God's help, but they when He grants it, they were incapable of doing evil.

Flynn thought the biggest turning point for an alternate Christianity was when the Emperor Justinian made it the state religion, even though he himself didn't convert until he was on his deathbed. It was pointed out, however, that at the time one was allowed only one confession, so many people waited until the last minute.

Saturday, 3:00PM
Patricia McKillip, Felicity Savage, Teresa Nielsen Hayden

In addition to getting a couple of books autographed by McKillip, and one by Nielsen Hayden, I also got Maureen McHugh to autograph her China Mountain Zhang. Nielsen Hayden got into a discussion of whether the change to the Hugo Fan Writer category (counting works published in "generally available electronic media") was made because of her or because of me. I think it was because of her, but I'm willing to hear dissenting opinions (or supporting ones, of course).

Great SF Films of the 1950's
Saturday, 4:00PM
Bob Eggleton, Daniel Kimmel, Mark R. Leeper (m), Jim Mann

For this panel, Leeper had a list of all 1950s science fiction films, which is included in this report as Appendix 1.

Leeper started by asking for the panelists' favorites. Eggleton said his was Gojira (Godzilla) in its original version. (For its United States release, the Raymond Burr sequences were added and several changes made to the plot.) The effects are very crude by our standards, perhaps, with Godzilla obviously a man in a suit, but thinking that a negative aspect may be a cultural difference, just as most Americans find Indian films very different from what they expect from films. Eggleton also listed The Day the Earth Stood Still and Them, and said that he had heard that someone is remaking Forbidden Planet, even though the original already had a certain "thing" to it.

Leeper commented that he doesn't like the use of the unicorn legend in Forbidden Planet, and would also change the editing, which is confusing in spots. As his favorite film, Leeper named Quatermass II.

Mann listed Forbidden Planet, Gojira, and The Thing from Another World (except for the last ten minutes), and said his "guilty pleasure" was The Crawling Eye, which is good until you see the monsters.

Kimmel listed The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invaders from Mars, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The last two, along with I Married a Monster from Outer Space, were what Kimmel described as "50s paranoia films." (Director Don Siegel dismisses the notion that the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers are either Communists or McCarthyites, although the film is usually interpreted that way.)

Regarding The Day the Earth Stood Still, it has been suggested it was a science fiction film without horror. Leeper thought that there was certainly an element of horror in it. Kimmel said that one of the problems with the film is the casting of Frances Bavier, since viewers now see her almost entirely as Opie's Aunt Bea in "The Andy Griffith Show." (I have the same problem watching Leslie Nielsen in his pre-Airplane!! roles.) Leeper suggested he found the premise of "militant pacifists" in the film a bit peculiar. Kimmel said he thought the idea of Gort was supposed to be comforting to the 1950s, but that director Robert Wise intended the duality that Leeper noted. Leeper also said that in the story the robot was in control of the human, and that the film could be seen that way as well. Kimmel said that all this indicated that The Day the Earth Stood Still was a quality film, since it was one you can go back to for repeated viewings and discussion. He also said that Wise claimed he didn't realize the Christ symbolism until after the film was released and someone pointed them out to him. (This doesn't quite square with the report that the studio forced script changes to reaffirm the authority of God.)

Leeper asked the panelists what 1950s films produced a different reaction when viewed years later. Eggleton again mentioned Gojira, though the different reaction was in part because the version he saw later was also substantially different. The panelists discussed how Gojira made Gojira impressive because the camera was aimed up at him, and later films dropped this and shot on a level with him. Eggleton did say that the most recent series of films have gone back to the original shooting angle. The middle films, rather than being serious films or even reasonably straightforward science fiction films, were more comedies or children's films. Eggleton said that Ray Harryhausen has said he doesn't like the "man-in- a-suitasaurus," but that may be because Gojira was more popular than the "beast from 20,000 fathoms." Mann thought that this might be because Gojira has a name, and also has more movies about him (though whether this is cause or effect is not clear). Someone in the audience said that Gojira is a more attractive character. One of the panelists said that the name "Gojira" came from a studio hand's nickname, which in turn came from a combination of the words for "gorilla" ("gorira") and "whale" ("kajira"), and that there is a college course in Japan about Gojira.

Kimmel said that he had a different reaction to War of the Worlds on watching it again, and also that The Incredible Shrinking Man turned out to be more than it might have been. He also recommended Yeux sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face), which Leeper said had a theme used in a lot of European horror films after that. Both Kimmel and Eggleton said that Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Invaders from Mars appear different now. Kimmel said that both are against blind thought processes, and against going with the group mind. Leeper talked about this being politics moving into the field of horror, and Kimmel said these were two of those paranoia films about how you can't trust the people around you.

Leeper said another recurring theme was whether science was getting out of hand, often involving a discussion of whether the atomic bomb scientists were wrong in what they did. Leeper said The 27th Day is one of the few films that does not blame scientists; it lays more blame on politics. Leeper said this film was good up until the last third.

Someone in the audience claimed that written science fiction was out of step with filmed science fiction of the same period. I suspect he actually meant this the other way around, but in any case it's been true of just about every decade that I think about. Kimmel said that one reason was that in the 1950s Hollywood was depressed and paranoid because of McCarthy, and because of the competition from television, while the writers were all gung-ho for science and the future, although primarily right-wing and conservative.

Someone in the audience said that the main science fiction author known to the public today through films, Michael Crichton, is anti-science. The panelists noted that there were pro-science films in the 1950s, such as Destination Moon and The Conquest of Space. Kimmel thought that while there was some discussion of limits to science in serious films, the films that showed the most fear of science were comedies: The Man in the White Suit and The Twonky.

Eggleton said that he likes that the science fiction films of the 1950s science fiction films "had stuff before we knew it was wrong," but that now we're constrained by what we know. To me, it seems this makes the 1950s science fiction films a sort of replacement for the "lost race" films. They were popular when there were still some parts of the world unexplored where there could be a lost race. As that became impossible, science fiction films took their place as being films that stirred the imagination of the viewer in exploring the unknown.

Saturday, 9:00PM
Bruce Coville, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Esther M. Friesner, Laura Anne Gilman, Joe Mayhew, Patty Wells, Jane Yolen

This was not, as had been promised last year, King Lear. It also started so late that we gave up waiting for it and proceeded to the parties.


We dropped in on a few parties. At the Chicago in 2000, I got into a discussion with Robert Sacks about whether the "boat bid" was allowed under the WSFS constitution. He claimed it wasn't, on the basis of what I thought was the rather dubious argument that everyone who joins must be allowed to attend the business meeting without additional cost--except that he doesn't count transportation costs in this.

At the Readercon party, I got involved in a discussion about Hugo voting and the infamous Hugo scandal of 1989 (involving identical ballots arriving with membership applications with sequentially numbered money orders from a post office in Brooklyn).

At the Australia in 1999 party, I heard that they hadn't filed as an official bid yet, and had only a week left to do so. Since they appear to be the only viable bid for that year, this worried me a bit. (They did file in time. The only other official bid for 1999 is Zagreb.) And we dropped in briefly at the Boston in 2001 party as well.

Books We Love That Aren't SF
Sunday, 10:00AM
Bruce Coville, Peter J. Heck, Mark Keller, Katya Reimann, Faye Ringel (m)

[Note to the hotel liaison--the chandeliers in this room rattle with the slightest vibration.]

Heck began by saying that since he was working on three-book mystery series with Mark Twain as the major character (Death on the Mississippi, A Connecticut Yankee in Criminal Court, and The Prince and the Prosecutor), anything by Twain was on his reading list.

Reimann said she enjoyed Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago and Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe" series. She didn't like the Patrick O'Brien series, however, because while they are superficially authentic, they are obnoxious in more subtle ways. Since her dissertation was on seafaring and pirate narratives of the period, she has some knowledge in this area.

The panelists noted that many science fiction fans read historical fiction. Keller thinks this is because it has the same things that grab us about science fiction and fantasy: a different environment, and characters think about things differently. Keller himself likes George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman" series (based on "Tom Brown's Schooldays") and James Clavell's Asian series. He also likes Cornwell, and (in spite of Reimann's comments) O'Brien. (Perhaps it is true that a little learning is a dangerous thing, but drinking deep from the Pierian spring doesn't always solve everything either.)

Coville said that he finds himself shifting to reading non-fiction, because he finds it the best source of story ideas; he particularly likes biographies. Heck also likes biographies and has recently read two of Darwin, one of Einstein, one of Hubbell, and Longitude by Dava Sobel (about the longitude problem in general and John Harrison in particular). Someone said that there is another book about John Harrison that just came out as well.

Keller said that while some fans are big on New Age stuff, others are fascinated by detail and read about the history of science instead. He observed that essayists still exist in popular science where they have disappeared from other disciplines, and gave as examples David Cuomen (from Outside magazine), Diane Ackerman, Stephen Jay Gould, and Isaac Asimov.

Coville said that there are fans who have read everything and remember it all, but if one wanted to be more specific, fans like books that aren't science fiction, but feel like science fiction. Coville's favorite books in last few years include Robert McCammon's Boy's Life, Toni Morrison's Beloved, A. S. Byatt's Possession (Byatt also did Angels and Insects), Lawrence Norfolk's Lempriere's Dictionary, William Browning Spencer's Zod Wallop, and Greg Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Keller, noting the recurrence of Beloved on people's lists, said that mainstream reviewers won't admit Vladimir Nabakov's Ada or Toni Morrison's Beloved are science fiction. Heck added that Joe Haldeman's 1968 falls between the cracks as well, and I would include Mark Helprin and some of E. L. Doctorow.

Ringel said (apropos of not much that had come before) that her pet peeve is that most people don't read anything written before their time. Heck said because of his writing he has been reading Mark Twain, George Washington Cable, and Rudyard Kipling; he particularly recommended Kim. (Someone mentioned that Timeri Murari had written two sequels to Kim. I could find a listing for one, The Imperial Agent.) People said they particularly liked Twain's non-fiction, especially Christian Science.

Coville said he was "relatively anal-retentive," and so keeps a record of what he has read and a plan of what to read. (Doesn't everyone?) Apparently he had shown this to his fellow panelists, and Ringel said she hasn't see such a random selection since Brandeis's library's "uncategorized" shelves. (Maybe next year there should be a reading list swap, where everyone brings copy of their previous year's reading list, they all get thrown into a box, and then everyone pulls one out at random for ideas of what to read the next year.)

As far as non-science fiction books with science fiction sensibilities, Coville said he was disappointed in E. L. Doctorow's Waterworks, Peter Ackroyd's Trial of Elizabeth Cree, and William Hjortsberg's Nevermore (with Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini as a team of detectives).

One audience member said she disliked medieval novels which the author assumes medieval Catholic theology is the same as today's Catholic theology. One of the panelists noted that Cecelia Holland was the first to have an illiterate heroine. Before her it was felt that all the heroines had to be literate, no matter how unlikely that was for their historical period. Ringel said than Evan Rhodes's Children's Crusade is full of howlers, such as characters eating an omelette with tomatoes and potatoes, references to "Gothic" and "Romanesque" architecture, a troupe of Yiddish players, etc. Keller said that Louis L'Amour couldn't do background at all, and had characters say things like, "In about two hundred years, these people are going to become the Mongols, aren't they?" On the other hand, Larry McMurty does background well, in both his "Lonesome Dove" series and in True Grit. Coville reminded us that what people "know" that isn't true is often a problem in historical fiction. He also talked about Austen Lee (a descendent of Jane Austen), who wrote a version of Emma in which she carefully used the vocabulary of the early 19th century, but the sentence structure, etc., was still all late 20th century. As he said, computers make it possible to get the vocabulary right easily, but the rest of it is tougher.

Someone recommended Zoe Oldenbourg's Goodness Star (for which I could find no listing in Books in Print).

Keller said his "Guilty Pleasures" included New Age books and Christian prediction books: "It's fun to read through these because you can feel so superior to their other readers." People also talked about UFO books ("you see that aliens now are the elves etc. who used to abduct people") and recommended the urban legend books by Jan Brunvand.

Coville recommended William Goldman's Street (for which I could find no listing in Books in Print) and Color of Light, Annie Dillard's American Childhood, John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Douglas Coupland's Microserfs, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men and a Boat, David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars, and P. J. O'Rourke. Heck suggested the topic "books with which I've embarrassed myself on public transportation" (by laughing so loud) and named Carl Hiassen's books, and David Lodge's Small World: An Academic Romance and others. Ringel suggested Jane Smiley's Moo and Malcolm Bradbury's Mensange (for which I could find no listing in Books in Print).

Why the Web Is Changing the World (or, is it?)
Sunday, 11:00AM
A. J. Austin, Daniel P. Dern, Gary Farber, Jeff Hecht (m), Sarah Smith
written by Mark R. Leeper

[Generally when I scribe for Evelyn's panels, I leave it to her to forge my almost incomprehensible notes into readable paragraphs. I am still experimenting with my style for panels where Evelyn is not present. Part of the problem is my whole attention is in typing like crazy and less is in thinking about what is said. I apologize to the panelists and member of the audience if I leave something out. Comments here are much abbreviated but give the gist of each person's comment.]


Hecht: The fax machine caught the public eye very quickly. Within months publishers would ask me "do you have a fax number?" and then a year later the question became "what is your fax number?" The Internet came on scene very quickly like fax, the Net was there before the Web. It was Nowhere two years ago, not above horizon until last two years. Twenty years ago the British Post Office had experimented in into teletext, offering access to a central set of computers computer over phone lines and a TV terminal. The graphics were crude, phone lines at 300 baud. The info providers had little idea what doing. Knight- Ridder lost $50M in the project, but what was created evolved into the Web. The subject of the panel is, will this continue on?

Dern: What is magical about the Web is that it is popularly used. Unlike Infotext, it has really caught the public eye.

Audience member: Infotext did not have the structure of Web.

Farber: One reason that the Web is so powerful is that it easily gives people the ability to link text together and to jump to other text.

Audience Member: Pages on the Web are easy to set up and use.

Smith: The structure of the Web is distributed.

Dern: The Web may not be a permanent fixture. Tomorrow something else could come along. Some of the power is that the person making information available can just say, Here is the address; if you want the information go get it." The information can be obtained at a small, finite cost to the receiver rather than to the sender. That is heavy on phone bandwidth. If we moved away from the Web we would still have something that would over-use the phone lines. We will need to increase telephone bandwidth since phone lines are still a bottleneck.

Audience Member: The Web is not going to make that big a difference. At most worldwide there are only 50M people on the Web, that is only 1% of the total population.

Smith: Not true, already there is internationalization of culture such as we have never had. For my writing I am getting and sharing materials internationally. I am working with other writers internationally and we have met each other over the Net. International conferences and sales are much easier, this has huge implications for government and for culture.

Hecht: I gave example of how fast fax came in replacing mail. The Internet is replacing couriers like Federal Express. Five years ago to get material to a London publisher I would use FedEx. Now when I want to get images to them what will happen is London asks, "Are the images on the Web?", London downloads them and gets printable quality images in minutes. This is a simple way in which the Web has replaced FedEx. Rather than waiting to be sent news we receive it immediately on the Web.

Saul Jaffe (in the audience): The Web is changing world quietly. In the last three months I have counted 40 commercials that include Web information. It is subtle but it is changing the world of advertising.

Hecht: The technology evolves almost organically.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: People are starting to recognize how advertising is affected by the Web. I maintain a Web site for Tor Books, one of the earliest publisher Web sites. For most of that time it has been regarded by Tor as a curiosity. In the last four weeks my phone is ringing off the hook with questions of why are you doing so little to publicize this book or that.

Audience Member: The Web is changing world of advertising and changing how we advertise. It is a great way to change out use of information, but that is not how it is being used. Sturgeon's law applies: 90% of what is going out on the Web is garbage. Most is old-fashioned advertising copy. What the Web is giving us just more advertising.

Smith: The Web will have a leveling effect in advertising. Once if you were a small company you had very little for advertising, and your ads would be little seen. But Web access is cheap, Jackie Lichtenberg can put ads for her books and they are seen by the right audience.

Farber: The Web is a great equalizer. If someone searches for science fiction information on the Web using a search engine he is as likely to find Lichtenberg as Doubleday.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: It is a different form of advertising, and it is not longer necessary to have a big and powerful organization to advertise.

Bobbi Fox (from the audience): Even through advertising only on the Web one chili company has become a big player in the chili market. Nerds seem to like chili. People seem to like the low-key sort of advertising that is on the Web. You don't need screaming Web ad in your face.

Dern: Each user sees a perfectly structured organization of what he is looking for, and each person can put info up and make info easy to get to, Almost everybody can put their information in the Web. Who in the audience owns a newspaper, radio station, etc.?

Smith: We haven't even talked about flattening effect of search engines on access power.

Audience member: But much of what is on the Web is useless garbage.

Audience Member: 90% of what comes over a telephone is garbage, but that is not an indictment of using the telephone.

Dern: Even if much of what is out there is useless, few of us go to read the whole Library of Congress. We can find what we need.

Hecht: One problem is that the Web hurts attention span. The user generally keeps jumping from subject to subject. In the end it is less useful than browsing an encyclopedia.

Farber: You have better editors in CD-ROM encyclopedia. You do not suddenly find yourself off in Australia.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: And if you like browsing encyclopedias you can do that on-line. I have subscribed to the services that allows you to browse the text of the Encyclopedia Britannica,

Hecht: A current problem is that images want to choke the Net. If people want to send out a lot of pictures, we will need to change the telecommunications so there is more bandwidth.

Dern: More applications out there will be needing more bandwidth, especially realaudio, and other audio applications. They sound provides an additional way to get information. It will be increasingly important. I can get news from Europe, asynchronously, when I want to get it, not when it is broadcast as with shortwave.

Farber: And those of us with processors can download video. There will be an increasing need for bandwidth.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: Nobody has gotten rich betting bandwidth will not expand.

Hecht: There is a real bottleneck, however, fiber to wire connections will always be slow.

Dern: The problem with the Web is that there are only 24 hours in a day. If you could find TimeDoubler I would buy two.

Peter Trei (from the audience): Still relatively few people are affected by the Web. In this country fewer than 10% of the population have e-mail addresses.

Farber: China has only 60,000 sites. But that is sufficient to get information in and out.

Trei: But very few people use the Web. Do you think the President surfs the Web? There are a few people in the information industry and that is all. It is a lot to find things through Alta Vista. The world just will not change very fast due to influences of the Web.

Dern: Well, for a system three years old we are not doing badly.

Smith: What is important is not that a high percentage of the population are users. What is important is that the channels of communication are set up. Information can get in and out. When a country overthrows tyranny one of the first things they do is put in phone lines.

Farber: In China the government knows that the Internet is a threat. They are creating the Great Firewall of China. But it still is not clear that with the presence of the Internet if censorship can succeed.

Trei: We currently are finding ways to pierce the firewall, but we need people at other end and to care and to cooperate. You can restrict it for average user, but you cannot stop the communication if there are people at both ends who want it.

Smith: It is very difficult to thoroughly monitor.

Hecht: For short periods you can censor information. You can threaten to throw CompuServe in jail for short while but eventually they get some backbone. But political forces are going to try to shut down or censor whole portions of Web.

Audience Member: Random censorship will be a problem, but Net as a whole is changing the world. Governments are frightened and trying to govern the Internet the way they control radio or television.

Bobbi Fox: The ACLU is warning people that they still may be prosecuted for sending the wrong information over the Internet. But the Internet regards censorship as a fault and routes around it. People outside the United States already have offered places to put up Web sites illegal in the United States.

Hayden: How concerned are you that the big service providers will institute their own censorship?

Hecht: There are enough small Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide competition.

Dern: It is a lot harder to run a big service than a small one. You can open a small ISP and make it self-supporting, I am not ready to trust my e-mail to a company so big I cannot get someone on the phone if there is a problem.

Hecht: I expect the small ISPs will sell out to larger ones for the money.

Audience Member: It may be we will get better service from the smaller ISPs. With AOL it takes six days to get mail across the country.

Smith: The Baby Bells have a nice equity business. Installed cable is a cash cow.

Trei: Once you have a TCP/IP connection you don't really care where your service provider is. Once I am on the Net I don't care where my service come from.

Farber: Indexing into research done is somewhat easier on the Internet. The problem of doing science today is that there are more journals and less time read them. There are whole journals on the Net and one can search for specific topics of interest instead of reading the whole journal.

Hecht: People are publishing science on the Net and looking at it seriously. Whole libraries spring up on the Net. Some way will be determined of giving fractional cents in royalties based on usage.

Trei: There are people working on micropayment schemes.

Dern: The Web is transforming businesses. If you are the only person making goat cheese in Vermont the time was you had to subsist on local business. Advertising on the Web makes the business easier to find. The question of distance is less important.

Smith: There is a famous site in North Alaska that is bringing together Eskimo culture. The Inuit are widely dispersed. Publishing aspects on the Web brings together a very scattered group of people and the new ways are weirdly strengthening the native culture.

Farber: Every virtual community is being extended.

Hecht: Communities can be spread over the world. Time is becoming less important. I can deal with people in different time zones without being inconvenienced. The next time I read my e-mail, the messages are waiting for me.

Hecht: We need to realize with a new technology there is an initial boom and then a stall-out. Some technologies recover, some do not. CB radio is one that never recovered to anywhere near the height of its usage. This will happen with the Web. There is a lot of hype right now and a lot of people will become discouraged with time.

Smith: Much is going to stay and will be profitable. How will cities change when the population working in a business can be distributed all over the country?

Farber: How will world be different when we know what everybody's red-eyed pet looks like?

And with that thought the panel ended.

The (Retro?!) Hugos
Sunday, 12:00N
Evelyn C. Leeper, Mark L. Olson (m), Bruce E. Pelz, Edie Stern

[Thanks to Mark for taking notes for this.]

[The NESFA recommendation lists are appendices to this report, but these do not include additional suggestions made during this hour. There are also recommendations in the Worldcon Progress Reports.]

While many of the panelists commented that they remembered this era fondly, my suspicion is that most of us remember it from elsewhere.

Pelz said that he invented the idea of the Retro Hugos, being curious to see what would have won Hugos had there been any at the Worldcons where there weren't. Olson said that this was only the first time for them, and they will be done in perpetuity, so this is an important year because we are proving the process, but Pelz pointed out that as the rule currently reads, it can be done only eleven times. Olson's response was, "We can change the rule." Of course, even so there are only so many years for which Hugos haven't been awarded that would be reasonable. For example, it would not be very productive to award Hugos for 1724.

I noted that the turnout would probably be low and we may end up with just a few categories. Olson felt in particular that the novel category was very weak, with only two or three books even eligible, and thought Asimov's Foundation and Empire the only thing with a chance of winning--and even that had technical problems (it was not published as a novel until after 1945). Stern asked about Lewis Padgett's "Baldie" stories, which Olson said he remembered as a novel, but I noted they weren't a novel then. Rebecca Brown in the audience pointed out, however, that George Orwell's Animal Farm was a 1945 book, to the great relief and rejoicing of all, since at last there was a novel they could comfortably give a Hugo to. Someone else suggested C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, and Joe Siclari went to the Dealers Room and borrowed a copy of Clute and Nicholls's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction to check all these suggestions out. It turned out that Lewis is also eligible.

Olson though that while the novel category was weak (without even five nominees), the novella and novelette categories are both very strong. Pelz said that since it was difficult for fans to know precisely which stories fall into which categories, fans should make their best guess as to where a story belongs and the administrators with sort it out.

Olson said he could not conceive of us passing by "First Contact" by Murray Leinster, Pelz said that he had nominated "I Remember Lemuria," which was very controversial, and also "Red Star of Danger" (so there would be one "Captain Future" story). Olson said that for something like this, "memory counts for a lot"--stories that one remembers are likely to be good. For example, Olson said that all of George O. Smith's Venus Equilateral is terrible, but he would like to nominate something from it anyway.

Pelz mentioned Padgett's stories, such as "Three Blind Mice" and "Beggars in Velvet." Someone else asked if "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" was 1945, and the suggestion was made that if you want to nominate something, someone else can decide if it's eligible. [It's actually 1943.] Someone else suggested Lester Del Rey's "Into Thy Hands."

One person suggested that how often a story was anthologized might be an indication of its quality. Olson said he looked at that and, "It is what you would expect; 'First Contact' overwhelms everything else." Olson also recommended A. Bertram Chandler's "De Profundis," which he described as "one of the best things Chandler wrote."

For Professional Editor it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that John W. Campbell would win, though it was pointed out that Ray Palmer and Sam Merwin were also eligible.

Pelz thought there weren't really any candidates for best non-fiction book. Though others thought there were fannish references, the fact that they needed to be in book form would eliminate most, if not all, of them. It was not clear whether staples counted.

In the discussion of dramatic presentation, someone mentioned that the Progress Report list didn't include Dead of Night. [Mark Leeper later discovered that another major omission was The Picture of Dorian Gray.] There was also a lack of radio broadcasts listed, but someone noted that identifying what year a show was first broadcast is difficult. Olson noted that if radio broadcasts were included, "I guess we know what is going to win for 1939," until I pointed out that was also the year of The Wizard of Oz.

In the professional artist category, an audience member asked if it was a given that Frank R. Paul would get the Hugo, and Pelz described him as "the 500-pound gorilla" of the category. Then someone else said that Virgil Finlay had done work that year even though he wasn't on the NESFA list, and Pelz agreed that made Paul a smaller gorilla. Gary Farber in the audience suggested Hannes Bok, but Pelz said that he would need to give an example of some professional work Bok did that year. I asked whether, if Bok did one piece in 1945 and Paul did twenty-seven, people would vote for Paul for best for that year, or for Bok as a lifetime achievement award.

Farber said that a lot of the material is available in libraries on microfilm, and there was discussion of putting some of it on the Web. Pelz felt that L.A.Con III couldn't do it without being suspected of favoritism unless they put everything up.

There was much discussion of fanzines, but I suspect this category may be too lightly nominated to work. After all, it's hard enough to get fans to nominate fanzines for the current year, when they are much more available. And the fan artist category has the same problem.

Pelz reminded people that there would be no John W. Campbell Award for 1945, as that is not a Hugo.

Moving on to 1995, I observed that both Twelve Monkeys and The City of Lost Children were eligible for dramatic presentation. Someone said that the Hugo administrators have said that if Apollo 13 is nominated, it will be allowed on the ballot. I recommended The Secret of Roan Inish even though I had the impression hardly anyone else saw it. Several people mentioned Babe, and Olson said that Richard III was alternate history.

I noted that in fiction, 1995 was a weaker year that previous ones, but recommended Stephen Baxter's Time Ships and Ian McDonald's Evolution's Shore for novel. Olson mentioned Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age, and said that Judith Tarr's Pillar of Fire was a possibility, though a long shot.

Farber said that he thought Greg Egan had withdrawn Distress because of its "limited" availability (it came out in Britain, but not in the United States). This seems unlikely, as there is nothing in the constitution that says an author may withdraw a work one year to make it eligible the next.

For novella, I recommended "The Hunger and Ecstasy of Vampires" by Brian Stableford, but realized its appearance in Interzone gave it less chance than novellas which had appeared in magazines such as Analog or Asimov's.

Someone asked if the CD-ROM version of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction was eligible for best non-fiction, and the answer seemed to be no, because it wasn't a book. I suggested maybe it could be nominated as a dramatic presentation, but the consensus seemed to be that the category needs to be broadened in the future. It has also been suggested that non-fiction should be non-fiction, rather than art. This reminded people of all the art books they wanted to recommend. Olson listed Spectrum 2, which he said was very hard to find in stores, and someone else mentioned a second collection of Hannes Bok.

Why Do SF Fans Love Jane Austen?
Sunday, 1:00PM
Rosemary Edghill (Eluki bes Shahar), Esther M. Friesner, Debra Doyle, Teresa Nielsen Hayden (m)

The panel had its share of academics: both Doyle and Friesner have their doctorates. (On the other hand, Nielsen Hayden revealed that a certain editor at Tor is actually a high school drop-out, proving that formal education is not an infallible guide to success or intelligence.) Friesner's degree is in medieval Spanish (that explains her stories set in that milieu, such as "Such a Deal"). Friesner has also written an alternate Austen story ("Jane's Fighting Ships") and a BEM story in Austen's voice ("Pride and Prescience"). She claims that Lope de Vega should be a science fiction author's role model: "It's very difficult to whisper sweet nothings in Anglo-Saxon."

Friesner claimed that many Jane Austen novels can be generated by a simple computer program: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, girl sees boy's real estate, boy gets girl. Still, she says, "The language is such a wonderful escape from Beavis and Butthead." She gave the examples: "We fainted alternately upon the sofa" and "You have delighted us long enough." Also, she added, "They dress cool." Someone commented that no one in Jane Austen does laundry; even the folks who are broke have servants. Nielsen Hayden said that the big effort is to avoid dropping class. The stakes are high in a Jane Austen, but even so, people are not going to die, be turned out of their homes, or even go hungry.

It was pointed out that Austen was down-rated because she wrote about domestic issues; Nielsen Hayden says this attitude is gender-centric. She somehow got sidetracked onto a Mark Twain book on Collie Kibber (whom Nielsen Hayden describes as "the worst Poet Laureate England ever had") in which Twain talks about Suzanna Kibber, who went out to cross-dress and have adventures.

According to the panelists, Rudyard Kipling regarded Austen as the greatest novelist in the English language, and his story, "The Janeites," has World War I soldiers doing a Society for Creative Anachronism sort of group in the trenches based on Austen's period.

Returning to Austen herself, Friesner said, "You've got to love her for the embedded literary criticism," particularly in Northanger Abbey.

Someone said that Jane Austen's world was a civil world, but that it was also difficult and dangerous. However, this person cited dueling, but the panelists pointed out that there were no legal duels after about 1800. One reference to this was in Varney the Vampire, which has a duel circa 1815, but the winner has to arrange to leave the country. Someone noted that Sense and Sensibility has a duel, but it's very unusual and is kept secret, and honor was satisfied between Brandon and Willoughby without anyone being killed.

Someone else noted that the era was dangerous from a health standpoint, but claimed people were safer without a doctor. One of the panelists said that people who wanted to know what the era was like should read John Carey's Eyewitness to History, which had a description of a mastectomy without anaesthesia. (Carey's book is a collection of first-person accounts of events, big and small, throughout the ages.)

Someone talked about the long descriptions of wheeled conveyances. One of the panelists said that high- perched phaetons were the equivalent of Ferraris, fast but dangerous.

There was discussion of the impact of new technology, including the drug problem, the drugs being distilled liquors and sugar. For a feel of the era, Fred Lerner recommended The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova which predates Austen by a few decades. Referring back to health issues, he notes that smallpox is "small" because it is less serious than the pox itself (syphillis). When reading books of the period, "bad blood" is a code phrase for syphillis and "cleansing the blood" refers to cleaning oneself of syphillis. There seems to be a real parallel to AIDS here, according to some.

In talking about what Austen didn't write about, someone mentioned the Enclosure Acts, which sent the peasants into the countryside. In terms of what Austen did and didn't write about, someone suggested a similarity to Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. Also, most novels written between 1966 and 1970 didn't mention Vietnam, which parallels Austen's (and other period novelists') avoidance of the Napoleonic Wars.

Someone quoted Charlotte Bronte regarding Austen's work: "Where is the picturesque? Where is the Romantic?" (Clearly, Bronte didn't like Austen's work.) Someone else said there was a line of descent from Austen to Anne Bronte, which got Nielsen Hayden fired up about the literary canon and which books have progeny and which don't. One critic apparently described the works of the Brontes with the description "Like the mule, they have neither pride of ancestry nor hope of progeny." Nielsen Hayden said that this sort of argument frequently turned the (MLA) Modern Language Association into something resembling a Wild West gunfighter competition.

This led to a big discussion of canon, core curriculum, etc., which I will not relate here. Friesner (I believe) did note that "richness of invention" is academese for "lots of cool stuff in it," and talked about such works as "Come Back to the Raft, Huck Honey" (discussing the homosexual relationships in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn). Luckily, she said, this work was counteracted by Frederick Crews's Pooh Perplex.

Edghill summed up the answer to this panel's question by saying that Austen "describes an alien world compulsively with enormous attention to detail."

Well, that's it. This report is shorter than last year's, but that's partially because I went to fewer panels (in part because of our late arrival). Then again, I may be running out of the energy to do reports the way I could in my youth. :-)

However, with John M. Ford as the Guest of Honor next year, I expect I will be back to my previous level.

1950s SF Films

Destination Moon
Flying Saucer, The
Rocketship XM

Day the Earth Stood Still, The
Flight to Mars
Lost Continent
Man From Planet X, The
Man in the White Suit, The
Mysterious Island
Superman and the Mole Men
Thing From Another World, The
Unknown World
When Worlds Collide

Invasion U.S.A
Red Planet Mars

Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, The
Cat Women of the Moon
Donovan's Brain
Four-Sided Triangle
Invaders from Mars
It Came from Outer Space
Magnetic Monster, The
Neanderthal Man, The
Phantom from Space
Project Moonbase
Robot Monster
Twonky, The
War of the Worlds, The

Atomic Kid, The
Creature from the Black Lagoon, The
Devil Girl From Mars
Killers from Space
Manhunt in Space
Monster from the Ocean Floor
Stranger from Venus
Target Earth
Tobor the Great
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Conquest of Space
Gojira No Gyakushu
It Came from Beneath the Sea
King Dinosaur
Quatermass Xperiment, The
Revenge of the Creature
This Island Earth

Attack of the Crab Monsters
Beast of Hollow Mountain, The
Beast with a Million Eyes, The
Creature Walks Among Us, The
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
Fire Maidens From Outer Space
Forbidden Planet
Gamma People, The
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
It Conquered the World
Mole People, The
Not of this Earth
Phantom from 10,000 Leagues
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Satellite in the Sky
Timeslip (Atomic Man)
Werewolf, The
World Without End
X the Unknown

Amazing Colossal Man, The
Beginning of the End, The
Chikyu Boeigun (The Mysterians)
Curse of Frankenstein, The
Deadly Mantis, The
Giant Claw, The
I Was a Teenage Werewolf
Incredible Shrinking Man, The
Invasion of the Saucer Men
Invisible Boy, The
Land Unknown, The
Monolith Monsters, The
Monster That Challenged the World, The
Night the World Exploded, The
Quatermass II
Radon (Rodan)
She Creature, The
She Devil
Strange World of Planet X (Cosmic Monsters)
20 Million Miles to Earth
27th Day, The
Vampire, The

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Attack of the Puppet People
Bijo to Ekitai Ningen (The H Man)
Blob, The
Brain Eaters, The
Brain from Planet Arous, The
Colossus of New York, The
Earth vs. the Spider
Flame Barrier, The
Fly, The
Frankenstein 1970
From the Earth to the Moon
I Married a Monster from Outer Space
I Was a Teenage Frankenstein
It! The Terror from Beyond Space
Lost Missile, The
Missile to the Moon
Monster from Green Hell
Monster on the Campus
Queen of Outer Space
Revenge of Frankenstein
She Demons
Space Children, The
Space Master X-7
Trollenberg Terror, The (The Crawling Eye)
Vynalex Zkazy (The Fabulous World of Jules Verne)
War of the Colossal Beast
War of the Satellites

Behemoth, the Sea Monster
Black Scorpion, The
Caltiki, il Monstro Immortale
Cosmic Man, The
First Man Into Space
4D Man
Giant Gila Monster, The
Hideous Sun-Demon
Invisible Invaders
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Killer Shrews, The
On the Beach
Return of the Fly, The
Teenagers from Outer Space
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
World, the Flesh, and the Devil, The
Yeux Sans Visage, Les

1945 NESFA Hugo Recommendations


Novella / Novelette

Short Story

Original Artwork

Best Editor

Fanzines [title (# issues), editor (nominators), notes

Key to nominators: ca: Claire Anderson, daa: Dave Anderson, ta: Ted Atwood, rb: Ray Bowie, mab: Michael Burstein, ec: Elisabeth Carey, ged: Gay Ellen Dennett, gf: George Flynn, pf: Pam Fremon, mh: Mark Hertel, cjh: Chip Hitchcock, rk: Rick Katze, arl: Tony Lewis, pal: Paula Lieberman; jam: Jim Mann, mlo: Mark Olson, po: Priscilla Olson, kp: Kelly Persons, jr: Joe Rico, sls: Sharon Sbarsky, jds: Joe Siclari, by: Ben Yalow

1995 NESFA Hugo Recommendations




Short Story


Dramatic Presentation

Original Artwork

Campbell Award

Key to nominators: ca: Claire Anderson, daa: Dave Anderson, jb: Judy Bemis, rb: Ray Bowie, mab: Michael A. Burstein, ec: Elisabeth Carey, ged: Gay Ellen Dennett, gf: George Flynn, pf: Pam Fremon, pg: Paul Giguere, mh: Mark Hertel, cjh: Chip Hitchcock, rk: Rick Katze, ecl: Evelyn Leeper, sl: Suford Lewis, arl: Tony Lewis, pal: Paula Lieberman; jam: Jim Mann, mlo: Mark Olson, po: Priscilla Olson, kp: Kelly Persons, jr: Joe Rico, sls: Sharon Sbarsky, by: Ben Yalow

Evelyn C. Leeper may be reached via e-mail or you may visit her Homepage.