Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Summer 2004


WAHF: Alexis Gilliland, Cathy Cupitt, Henry Welch, Sheryl Birkhead, Ned Brooks, Tim Marion, Rodney Leighton, Lloyd Penney

Dengrove, Frohvet, Hilton, Kaufman, Kennedy, Major, Mitchison, Slate, Sneyd, Stevens, Wooster, Wright

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE

Joseph Major
Louisville, Kentucky
http://members.iglou.com/jtmajor

I remember the Hugo Losers' Party at Baltimore, where Evelyn Leeper, Bob Devney, and I sat around a table running down the nominees. The Best Novel nominees, that is. The spaceport operator in Blighty on the other hand . . .

Burroughs also had a subtle talent for satire. Or sometimes not so subtle; the Venus Series is properly downgraded for having such a passive hero, but the evisceration of, er, the Zani Party (Maltu Mephis!) is cuttingly insightful; and (the horrific touch is always desirable) contains a prediction of the Holocaust. Reality could be nastier. Consider Burroughs' grim story of life (if you could call it that) in a Sovietized America, Under the Red Flag. Of course, to read it, you have to read The Moon Men and ignore the bit about where the Kalkars came from, not to mention spelling "Tevios" backwards. In spite of the Red Scare, the original work did not sell, but Burroughs could rewrite it as an interplanetary adventure. That didn't come from a dream, it came from a nightmare.

Talking about Lord Kelvin's theory of planetary cooling: in the first sequel to The War of the Worlds, namely Edison's Conquest of Mars, Lord Kelvin was the man who reverse-developed the Martian science so Edison could reverse-engineer their spaceships, flying machine, Heat Ray, etc. (Then Wells did his own sequel: When the Sleeper Wakes.)

Checking IMDB reveals that Peter Cushing only did 43 out of 134 total roles after 1970, so I guess you could say he was retired. He was Abner Perry (to talk about Pellucidar) in the 1976 production of At the Earth's Core.

Driving from Detroit to Toronto was fun. We tried to be good visitors and obey the speed limit. It was same as home, keep the needle on 100 kph and watch everyone blow past us on the left. Not to mention lunch in Kitchener: nice restaurant and evidently either no one saw our car or saw the mess and fled in horror. (We left a door open while eating lunch.) Mike, you looked a lot better after losing that weight, I tell you.

Hey, I have a program item for Noreascon. "What Can We Do with the Torcon Program Committee?" Bring your own rope, tar, feathers ...

Ressler and Douglas seem to have the age-old problem of old partners. I call to mind the crossing of Antarctica by Fiennes and Stroud. Each wrote a book calling the other a disgusting incompetent. I was not the worst hiker in our Scout troop. Though going through rhododendron tangles might have been more than we could stand.

Sure I know what Steve Victor was talking about when he said "Alum be damned!" It dries out things and is used in doing the wash. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The leaf scene in The Harrad Experiment was pretty cool, and the cover with the young couple interesting. If putting a toilet in the middle of the living room (whatever will the plumber say?) bothers you, the desensitization scene in the thrilling sequel, The Premar Experiment will really hit you where it hurts. Actually, I was talking about Robert Kennedy's greatly appreciated - though rather more than I deserve - praise of me.

It's interesting to read Vincent Bugliosi's book on the Simpson case, Outrage, and Dominick Dunne's book with all the essays on the Simpson case, Justice, and note how, coming from such divergent backgrounds with such divergent approaches, they so often make the same points. P.S. both Bugliosi and Dunne think Simpson was guilty.

Then there was the T. Cullen Davis case where a jury even more obtuse than the Simpson one (there were two eyewitnesses to if not the actual murders the aftermath thereof, where he came out shooting) acquitted him. Then his ex-wife (one of the eyewitnesses, mother of one of the victims and lover of the other), sued him for wrongful death - whereupon he conveniently went bankrupt.

One does have to consider the problem of legal harassment. Our local murderous creep Mel Ignatow got off for the murder of his girlfriend in spite of there having been an eyewitness to the murder itself, his other girlfriend. She didn't impress the jury. But when they found pictures of the murder, they started getting him for perjury. He did his time and now they want to imprison him again on another perjury charge. It's never the nice ones who are first to run up against the fringes of civil liberties.

I remember reading The Field Guide to Extraterrestrials by Patrick Huyghe and recommend it; a most interesting book. E.T.'s seem to range from about an inch to nine feet high and until the nineties were most splendidly diverse in appearance.

You ask regarding the creatures on Saturn who had an eye in front and an eye in back, "Who'd sin with them?" Other Saturnians. People with saturnine visages.

Josef Mengele, ex-M.D., ex-Dr.Phil (he was stripped of his degrees after WWII) died on February 7, 1979. The Boys from Brazil movie was released October 5, 1978. He could have read a review of it.

Maximilien Robespierre was the man for imposing virtue on people whether or not they wanted it. His name was originally "Derobespierre". When he first started practicing law he started spelling it "de Robespierre", bogus nobility being almost as good as the real thing. Then acting noble became passe and he became just "Robespierre", that not being the last time something personal of his was abridged.

The CIA was not modifying intelligence reports during the Reagan administration to paint the collapsing Soviet Union as a greater threat than they were. They really believed that that was the case. The CIA believed that East Germany had a higher GNP per capita than West Germany did. Really.

My condolences on the loss of your great-aunt. Lisa still has two great-aunts left; my last one died back in 1987. I should have talked to her more.

[CHALL PALS]

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Jerry Kaufman
Seattle WA

You're probably already sick of hearing about it, but I do have a message for Mr. [Mike] Glicksohn: Let this be a wake-up call - cut your hair, trim your beard, and you will no longer be mistaken for a guy thirty years your senior!

(If you use a magnifying glass on his name badge, you can even see Mike's name.)

Just to keep the record clear, I did not identify the photo of Mike Glicksohn as being one of Rusty Hevelin. I merely mentioned, in a caption near Mike's photo, that I went to the same junior high school as Rusty. It wasn't the clumsy misidentification of a bewildered oaf, it was the clumsy non-sequitur of a bewildered oaf. And may I interest you in a few square acres of swampland on the Louisiana/Texas border?

I enjoyed reading about how Sue Mason received the news about her Hugo, especially because it involved new friend Mary Kay Kare.

I read all of Burroughs' work I could find in high school - reading William Burroughs was more of a college thing - so I was glad to see Greg Benford's appreciation of his Pellucidar work. The ERB stories I thought were the most inventive were his "Land That Time Forgot" trilogy, in which an island's entire ecosystem consisted of one species that went through a life cycle recapitulating all of evolution's history. The books must be read to absorb the full strangeness of this concept. If I still had them, I might reread them just to be able to explain it better.

Even though he writes about interesting subjects, I'm still struggling with Richard Dengrove's writing style. think the idiosyncrasy that gives me the most trouble is his frequent use of sentence fragments. One every so often is okay - it can add a bit of spice. But Rich uses them so often that I have trouble following his thoughts.

In your further notes on your DUFF trip, what excited me the most were your comments on Norman Lindsay. People spoke very highly of his work when I visited, but I didn't get to see much of it. Thanks for reminding me - I can finish this letter and go surfing.

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Milt Stevens
Simi Valley, CA

In Challenger #19, Sue Mason's description of receiving a phone call informing her she had won the Hugo reminded me of something Walt Willis wrote. In his book The Improbable Irish, Willis describes a similar situation with the poet William Butler Yeats receiving a call informing him he had just won the Nobel Prize. After the caller had rambled on for a couple of minutes about the great honor of winning the award, Yeats interrupted with the question "Are you daft man, How Much?" Even for mystical poets, honor isn't everything.

Back when Yeats won the Nobel Prize, it was probably worth something like fifty thousand dollars. Today, I think it's worth over half a million. If the Hugos were ever similarly endowed, the Hugo losers party would make the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem look like a comedy club.

Even before I read this issue of Challenger, I had noticed you were going to be doing the souvenir book for Noreascon. Maybe concoms are getting the idea they should ask fanzine fans to do publications, because I was asked to do the progress reports for L.A.con IV. This surprised me, since I'm not really a graphics person. All I know about graphics I learned by producing some really ugly newspaper pages in high school and college journalism. Back then, we did paste-ups with actual paste. As of the time I was asked to do progress reports, I had never used desktop publishing software.

Fortunately, I can always teach myself how to use another software package, and PageMaker proved to be really neat stuff. Actually doing a progress report led me to think about some aspects of worldcon publications which have always bothered me. Like, why do we publish long lists of names in progress reports and then publish them all again in the souvenir book? Back when worldcons only had a couple hundred members, it might have been reasonable. Publishing five thousand names doesn't seem so reasonable. Of course, I know the official reason: TRADITION. Presuming all of fandom would disintegrate into dust if we didn't publish all those names, why would we want to publish membership numbers? Those seem to have no value whatsoever in publications. I'm still discussing that issue.

Your mention of The Wicker Man reminded me that Craig Miller did some of the promotional work on the film. This led to Craig's then girlfriend Linda Miller (no relation) doing a cartoon cover for Apa L. In the cartoon, Craig is in front of a theater looking up at something just outside the frame. Someone else is slapping Craig on the back and saying "Gee Craig, great idea to have a human sacrifice for the premiere." The obviously evil Craig is thinking to himself "I only hope he's acceptable."

Linda Miller was s great fan artist whose work delighted LASFAPA for many years. Her "Darth Vator" illo ran as the cover to Challenger #18.

Unlike Joseph T. Major, I never wondered why TV detectives couldn't catch the Unabomber. I would find it remarkable if they were able to catch a bus. However, Joseph left out one TV police type, Vic Mackey in The Shield. If Mackey was assigned to the case, he would immediately de-rail a train, commit piracy on the high seas, burn down a pre-school, torture a few nuns, and then decide he didn't give a shit about the Unabomber anyway.

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Richard Dengrove
Alexandria, VA

About Ned Brooks' article on Cavorite, I read somewhere where anti-gravity would mean we would be going backwards in time. Thus things would fall up. With any real Cavorite, we would think we were falling to Earth. Then the field would stop and we would find we were on the Moon.

Just an idea.

Once again I should not mind criticism too much. I find things to criticize in my article on Evil Aliens. For one, the Alien Grey may not have come from Betty Hill's "abduction" in 1961, but, on looking at my source a second time, I found it came from Barney Hill's "abduction."

Some people believe that he must have been watching an Outer Limits, which had recently featured a Grey-like being. However, Barney could have picked one up elsewhere. The being with the large head and small weak body has been a staple of science fiction.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot get my facts 100% straight. Of course, whenever I have investigated, no other researchers have either.

I think Dr. Craig Hilton was being a little harsh on Dr. Watson. Perhaps Watson was a better physician than he was a detective. When you are not geared to do something, you are often completely lost. Dr. Watson might know the diseases of a patient on sight, although not their financial circumstances.

At Mike Resnick's Torcon, good things that were expected did not happen; good things that were unexpected did. The Torcon committee made a complete hash of the scheduling, not acceding to Mike's requests at all. Even then, things scheduled did not take place. Or there was confusion over time and place.

However, by serendipity, Mike met old friends, struck up new friendships, and made new business deals.

I have to be skeptical about one thing J.G. Stinson says. Murderers have dead eyes? I know that is the folklore. However, this may be a case of "If ye look, ye shall find." My mother, while she was doing court sketch work, believed that murderers had dead eyes. Looking at her sketches, I cannot see any difference in their eyes for the life of me.

Guy, after the come-on to your Australian trip, which you have given away for free, is there anything left to sell? Come to think of it, there is a madness in your method. It was so good I would like to find out if there is anything left. You also left me so grateful I might be willing to spend the money anyway.

I plan on combining my DUFF reports, along with Rose-Marie's input and perspective, into a single zine - eventually. In the meantime, Challenger sees chapters.

I know we have been led to believe that the Iraqi War was between democracy and tyranny. Saddam, being a tyrant, working hand in glove with bin Laden. I gather in the Middle East it was seen as the Crusaders vs. Islam. With Saddam as the lesser to two evils; at least he was a Moslem Arab.

Our real war since 9/11 is with Al Qaeda. If we'd been serious about pursuing justice and eliminating bin Laden, we should've done the truly unthinkable - and approached Saddam for help. What better ally in the war against Islamic terror than the world's most powerful Islamic despot? The sleazy monster had already proven himself for sale a hundred times over; it's one reason he was so loathed throughout Islam. What's that? By working with a scumbag like Saddam we'd have been supporting torture and flaunting human rights? Point taken. True Americans don't do such things.

The issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which liberals have spent so much time on, always was a red herring. As I said, it did not move most people here. It did not move most people across the sea. The issue was American imperialism. It was only important to American liberals, many of whom were bamboozled.

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E.B. Frohvet
Ellicott City MD

In correspondence, Ned Brooks joked that perhaps "Alfred", the disappeared policyholder in my insurance article, had been kidnapped by aliens. Of course that was not the issue on the table, and producing the evidence would have been a problem ... In general, commercial insurance companies don't deal in kidnapping. However, on research, I found that there have been cases where American business executives assigned to dangerous parts of the world, have had it in their employment contracts that if they were kidnapped, the company would ransom them. The employing company has then had that put into their corporate insurance.

Joseph Major queries, re: the Pablo vs. Pablo case, "Did the hospital where the real Pablo was born take infant footprints?" Good point, I (or someone gathering initial evidence) did look into that. No. It was not routine custom at the time; I'm not sure if it is universal practice even now ... Milt Stevens questions about the ex-wife not receiving the money even though she was still listed. This is something of a grey area. There are different kinds of policies. There are some policies in which the designation of beneficiary is irrevocable. Such was not the situation in the case I described; in that case there were two sets of claimants for the same money, or to put it another way, the correct beneficiaries were in dispute, in which case it fell to the company (me) to decide who got the money, within the laws, the nature of the policy in question, and general questions of equity.

Striking color cover on Challenger #19; the more striking in its simplicity, the bright colors against the plain white. The lady seems entirely unconcerned over the fact that she is about to lose her dress. Is there a story that goes with the art?

Artist Ned Dameron told me that the piece was a panel from a graphic story, with a scenario too mad to be believed. I suggest Chall's readers compose their own tales to go with it.

I was of course pleased to hear that Sue Mason had won the "Fan Artist" Hugo - an uncharacteristic moment of sanity among voters. And it's appropriate that you two should have been chosen as presenters. This year, Steve Stiles! One would be delighted to see Chall receive the Hugo it deserves, but you and I know, as the debased system stands, that is not likely.

Interesting observation by Gregory Benford, "The 14-year-old was still there" with regard to returning to E.R. Burroughs. In my case, I went straight from Andre Norton and the Heinlein juveniles, to Bradbury and early Moorcock, to Zelazny and Delany; my inner 14-year-old manifests by re-reading some of those early books from time to time, though like Dr. Benford I now have a much clearer view of their deficiencies.

The only note that comes to mind about Ned Brooks' deconstruction of Wells' "Cavorite" is to observe that a five pound bowling ball would be used only in duckpin bowling, a dying sport even here in Maryland which was the epicenter of its popularity. A bowling ball in tenpins, much the more common game today, weighs from 12 up to 18 pounds or so. Upgrade the physics as you will.

Andre Norton anticipated the "Greys" of modern UFO-cultology (and it's a religious cult, or a plethora of related cults) with the "Baldies" of her "Time Trader" series beginning in 1958. They were more humanoid than the "Greys", but had pale skin, bulging skulls, spindly limbs, etc. This may be the true source of the conventional representation.

Mike Resnick says you could do the [Toronto] shoe museum in two hours. I'm left wondering why anyone would spend two hours on such a thing, but of taste there is no disputing ... Best wishes to the newlyweds, Pat and Janis.

Nice pictures from Torcon. Suzanne Murdoch is indeed a cute Hobbit. Who is "fan publisher Anne Murray" and what does she publish?

The beautiful lady publishes MidFanzine from Ann Arbor MI, e-mail
editor "at" midfan.org. And I'm not sure if it's "Murray" or "Murphy."

Guy says, "If I ever run a worldcon ..." Easily solved, dude.

No ... no ... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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Alex Slate
San Antonio, TX

[About Challenger #18:] I'm glad that you and Rose-Marie enjoyed Australia. It's one of the places I would like to get to someday.

I haven't read Vulcan's Heart. I have read some of the ST books, but not most. Frankly most of them don't look interesting. But, my point here is that if you are one of those people who likes continuity of plot, then Saavik marrying Spock isn't blasphemy, it's necessary. If you remember the movie, Search for Spock, Saavik and Spock are handfasted in the sequence where the regenerated Spock is rapidly aging. The handfasting is a reaction to the initial youthful stages of the pon farr. It would seem for the logical Vulcans that marriage is a biological imperative.

I can't believe two grown men are discussing this, but that's not the way I interpret the way Vulcans deal with a boy's first pon farr. Rather than being a sexual or quasi-marital ritual, it is something to be handled - by handfasting - by any adult female, preferably a loved and trusted relative, teaching the boy - for his entire life - that women understand and do not fear his masculine nature; indeed, are his friends. Which would seem to be not only a logical, but humane (dirty word!) perspective on the matter.

Michael Morse (in response to my comments): I both agree and disagree with you. (How's that for my famed consistency.) I disagree that there are two (or at least only two) "things to consider when punishing a criminal: the re-habilitation of the criminal, and restitution for the victims." The philosophical basis for the justice system is neither, it is to defend society. There have been whole civilizations without a jail system. Most of the ancient Judaic legal system was civil in nature. The vast majority of "punishments" dealt with restitution for the victims (which does agree with at least part of your thesis). There was some capital punishment, mostly not used, and the punishment for most truly nasty crimes was exile, not jail and not death. The purpose of that was to make the rest safe from the criminal hurting anyone else, no rehabilitation and no restitution!

Now in reality and modern society, there is something to be said for rehabilitation of the criminal in many cases. But not in the case of murder! (Please note that I differentiate between murder and all forms of homicide.) Insanity is no excuse for murder, frankly in my opinion (although I have rarely been known to be humble) you have to be insane to murder someone. As far as rehabilitation of the criminally insane, you cannot reliably do it, so that's out. Would that we were concerned with the victims (and restitution), but we're not.

That's why you are seeing a whole series of separate civil suits for wrongful death, because the criminal courts don't really concern themselves with restitution, they concern themselves with "justice", a whole different concept, bubbi. As far as people being sorry for what they did. Pardon me for being a cynic, but most aren't sorry for what they do intentionally (unintentional harm is something else), they're sorry they got caught.

Anyway, let me tell you what I've been up to. From August to the 1st of December I had a special assignment. I was the 311 HSW's (that's Human Systems Wing in militarese) CFC loaned executive. CFC is short for Combined Federal Campaign (the government's version of a plus-sized version of the United Way). What that means is that I was loaned out to work with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County for that almost 4 month period. What a great experience! P.S. I volunteered for this...

The function of the loaned execs is to handle the majority of the accounts. That means, go out to the businesses and sell the idea of contributing. This involves working with the businesses campaign coordinators and giving a lot of presentations to people around town. We also worked a lot with representatives of the local UW charities who came out as invited to a lot of these presentations. Well, as I said this was a lot of fun. I enjoyed giving these presentations. I am not a salesman by nature, and even though what I was doing was sales, it was something I could really believe in.

Along the way I met a lot of nice people. We formed some good friendships with the staffers and with our fellow LEs. LE by the way nominally stands for Loaned Executive, but what it really stands for is "Let's Eat!"

I thought it was "Lance Elliot" - i.e., my brother.

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Bill Wright
St. Kilda, Vict., Australia

Thanks for your e-mail of Feb 9th 2004 advising change of your website name to www.challzine.net. The first thing I did was what everyone else undoubtedly did; and that is to activate the new link and access the latest issue, Challenger #19.

Unfair, Guy. The e-mail gave no warning. Alan White's striking but oh so apposite logo sent me spinning into reverie before I could get my bearings. There is a kind of Nordic splendour in the idea of space ship Challenger blasting into the sky with a Valkyrie at the prow that is, by analogy, a fitting tribute to the essential wholesomeness of the literary Challenger and its distinguished editor, Guy H Lillian III.

Loved your editorial, especially the rant about the Hugo Nominees Party at Torcon. You rant with the best of us, Guy.

Keep the DUFF blowtorch going. Need any more outrageous Aussie hats for auction? Or maybe as giveaways to tireless supporters who beaver away at conventions for this most worthy of prestigious fan charities.

I read "Pellucidar Revisited", Gregory Benford's romp through his reading list of yesteryear, with unalloyed pleasure. His rereading of fantasists - "the verve of whose visions," to paraphrase the author, "recedes into the distant glow of the > twentieth century" - is close to my own. Randy Cleary's Tarzan illustration is appreciated. What stays in the memory is Benford's admiration for Edgar Rice Burroughs' mastery of "the language of dreams" juxtaposed with his whimsical expose of the dodgy science in "Pellucidar".

Australians remember Professor Greg Benford as the principal Guest of Honour at Aussiecon Three, the 57th worldcon held in Melbourne in 1999. He is also Guest of Honour at Conflux, the 43rd Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Canberra over the Anzac Day weekend, April 23-26, 2004. The conclusion is unmistakable. Aussies, as do Challenger's discriminating readers, like his style.

Greg resides in California, of course, and there is where I'll always think of him, but his Southern roots recently won him the Phoenix Award at the DeepSouthCon. See photo elsewhere.

Greg Benford is not the only personality that draws me to Canberra in April. Charismatic Nick Stathopoulos, the 1986 DUFF winner and genial host on your visit to Sydney last year, will be toastmaster. FFANZ laureates Maree and Mathew Pavletich will be there. (FFANZ is the Fan Fund of Australia and New Zealand.)

It's a pity the American Lake - after 1942 and the Battle of the Coral Sea, that is what we call the Pacific Ocean - is so wide. Otherwise North Americans could flock to Conflux, which is shaping up to be an event not to be missed by millionaire spendthrifts dismissive of the deleterious effect a free-falling US dollar has on their finances.

Those not in that happy position who find the tyranny of distance insupportable and whose hunger for vicarious participation is all consuming should feel free to visit the website on http://www.conflux.org.au.

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Craig Hilton
Toorak, Victoria, Australia

I was particularly drawn [in Challenger #19] by Jeff Copeland's short piece on Iraq. It's interesting to hear discourse and dissent coming from a country that I only know of from sound-bites of George W. Bush - "Coalition of the Willing", "the freedom-loving people of the world", "Disarm Saddam Hussein!" and the like. Given its momentous impact on the course of world affairs, and for all the fluff of extraneous words in which it was dressed up, the invasion of Iraq was based on simplistic and insular thought processes. With regret, I'm coming to feel this manner of thinking and of viewing the world is commonplace in the United States, and is not necessarily transcended by education, sophistication or high office.

A year after the televised tank race to Baghdad, Iraq is still a dangerous country in turmoil, and it would seem the only way the Coalition can 'finish the job' and get the troops out is first to send more in. Remember the pre-invasion peace rallies around the world? They weren't saying: "Saddam's not all that bad." Millions of people banded together to shout: "If you plan to do what we think you plan to do, in the manner you usually do things, it will end up as a never-ending, smouldering disaster. Isn't it obvious?" Well, the easily-predicted came to pass, and is still happening now. How did the minds in charge of the world's only superpower not foresee it?

And now, the September 11 post-mortem is being held, putting each of the agencies and officials on the stand in turn, to find out who could have stopped the al Quaeda attacks and didn't. De-briefing is a useful process, but in my view, they have gone past the point of catharsis to national breast-beating. The bottom line is simple: It was only after the horrors of that day that the unreal became real and the unthinkable conceivable. To look back and say that an urgent and sustained regime of security measures could seriously have been imposed on all members of the public in guard against a terrorist attack the like of which had never been seen before is just plain silly. Revisionist and silly. But more importantly, it's a focus on process to distract from substance. The far more pressing issue I don't see being tackled is why the USA sees itself as the paragon of societies, to the extent that they are the international Good Guys, admired universally other than by the villains in black hats. Much better is to ask: "What does America look like from the outside? Why are so many people unhappy with what we do?" ("Because they hate our love of freedom" is not an acceptable answer.)

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Robert Kennedy
Camarillo CA

Another outstanding issue.

Your "Christopher Leewards" sent me out to find the movies you mentioned. I was able to rent The Wicker Man at Blockbuster. I found Paths of Glory at Hollywood Video. So far I have been unable to find Dark Places.

Not that good a flick. Watch Paths of Glory a few more times. How about that last scene, eh?

I especially enjoyed Richard Dengrove's "Evil Aliens and H. G. Wells" and Craig Hilton's "John Watson - The Good Doctor". Mike Resnick's report con report, this time on Torcon 3, was appreciated as usual. Isn't there some way in which we can get rid of the perpetual awards to Dozois and Langford?

Vote for other people!

Having voted for Los Angeles in 2006, I am glad that it won. As I have mentioned here or elsewhere, I am not willing to go over about 1,000 miles for a Worldcon. San Antonio and Chicago were exceptions. I may make other exceptions, but probably not.

I attended both of the worldcons you mention - drat the fates that we didn't run into one another at either.

Joe Major's "Why TV Detectives Couldn't Catch the Unabomber" was great. Joe continues to show why he deserves a nomination for Best Fan Writer as well as the Hugo itself.

Amen to that. The only reason people like Joe - or Milt Stevens, or Lloyd Penney, or other sterling voices of the Chorus - aren't perpetual entries on the Hugo ballot is because fanzine fans don't vote! And dammit - they/we should!

J. G. (or is it "N") Stinson's "Stirring the Darkness" was interesting. She has known at least one male about whom she says: "May he rot in hell." Well, I've known a couple of females about whom I could say the same thing.

Gary R. Robe in "Kevin and the Mountain" refers to snipe hunting. I still remember my first snipe hunt. It was really something until a couple of us figured out what was really going on and got us back to camp. It was much more fun in future years when we sent others out on snipe hunts. Sheryl Birkhead's commentary (p. 54) further indicates why I keep nominating her for Best Fan Writer as well as Best Fan Artist.

Wonderful photos. But, did you really have to put yourself in so many of them? We could use less of you and more of Rose-Marie.

No argument there.

One of these years you will win a well-deserved Hugo. Hopefully, you and Rose-Marie will be able to see your way clear to make it to Los Angeles (actually Anaheim) in 2006.

Rosy's wanted to drive west with me since reading my account of my Confrancisco journey,

The Scenic Route, and I've yearned to take her. You know, before our DUFF trip, with its stopovers in L.A., she'd never even been to California?

[CHALL PALS]

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Steven Sneyd
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, U.K.

Thanks for your review supplement (The Zine Dump), and kind words about Data Dump.

Us Dumpers gotta stick together.

Rather neat paradox, in one review you complained of an article's author being uncredited -- potkettle city!

I write all of the reviews in TZD myself. Who else do you know crazy enough to spend all day reading fanzines?

Re the comment about the negative view of Stranger in a Strange Land quoted in Ansible being a view never seen in fanzines -- that may well be true, but I'm sure I wasn't unqiue in my view when I postreviewed SIASL for some anniversary of it in the Brit SF mag Strange Adventures back when, I described it as belonging to that particular group of badly-written books which are nevertheless highly socially influential. the wise old sexguru figure in particular (presumably Heinlein's self-projection) must stand proud among the most tedious know-alls in all of fiction.

Dan Galouye told me that Heinlein had based Jubal Harshaw on their mutual friend Hermann Deutsch, a long-time columnist for Dan's New Orleans newspaper. I'm sure Deutsch was suitably pleased -- and embarassed. You'll find horny old bores like Harshaw all over later Heinlein.

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Martin Morse Wooster
Silver Spring MD

Many thanks for Challenger 19. What an interesting photo of you and "Duffman" on page 42. So balanced, so artfully composed. I wonder who took it *koff* *koff* *koff*

Joseph T. Major reminds me why I don't find the insights of would-be detectives very interesting. In the fall of 2002, I was living in the middle of the "serial sniper" shootings. many many profilers offered their insights about where the killers would strike again. All were wrong. No one guessed that the killers were black. No one guessed that the vehicle used to commit the murders was a beat-up old car that the killers transformed into a mobile platform for shooting. And so many people offered ludcirous theories about where the killers would strike next that a LAPD sergeant, writing in national Review Online, jokingly predicted that the killers were recretaing their favorite Mannix episodes. I doubt that great fictional detectives would do any better. All of this leads me to conclude that if this horrible crime happens again, the last thing I need to do is watch cable news to see "experts" bloviate about what it's like Inside the Killer's Mind.

J.G. Stinson's memoir about a killer she knew in high school was interesting. But I question her assumption that multiple personalities are commonplace. I remember a column by the Straight Dope's Cecil Adams that said that it was true that one or two people a year in the U.S. might have multiple personalities, but that most were fakes. It may be that Garrett Wilson claimed he was suffering from "disassociative disorder," but everything in the article suggests that he was guilty of insurance fraud and manslaughter. I see that a jury agreed.

Mike Resnick's diary of Torcon 3 was enjoyable. I'm sorry that he was shafted by what appears to be an extraordinarily incompetent con committee.. I had a good time at Torcon, but I avoided nearly all programming except for the Hugo Awards. I had much more fun hanging out in the Fan Lounge, watching fen come and go.

Guy Lillian was right to reprint his entertaining account of his encounter with Christopher Lee. It confirms that Lee is a well-read person, with a deep knowledge of fantasy and horror. I read in Cinefantastique that on the set of The Lord of the Rings, Lee entertained other cast members by telling how he met Tolkien. I can also recommend his recording of Tolkien's poetry with the Tolkien Ensemble, a Danish orchestra that has composed original Tolkien music. [You lost me. Do you mean "Tolkien-inspired music"?] But I hope Guy next tells us about what happened when he met Fritz Lang!

It will happen.

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Paul Mitchison
Ontario Canada

I've just found time to respond to your letter in issue #377 of Detective Comics. Sorry it's taken so long. I've just re-read the comic (36 years later ... misleading cover, don't you think? Robin doesn't in fact taunt Batman in the jail cell). I agree that the art in "The Fearsome Foot-fighters" in the February 1968 Detective is superb. Neal indeed produce a great cover and I think he may in fact be one of the best new artists in the business.

Keep up with writing such insightful letters.

(Tongue planted firmly in cheek -- have a great day.)

Coming in the season when I have to say goodbye to the fella who printed that letter, as well as

many many others, and who put me on the road to fandom, your note is not only hilarious but wistful. Thanks for making my day!

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CONTRIBUTORS
to this issue include

Greg Benford

Mike Resnick

c/o Challenger

Sheryl Birkhead
Gaithersburg MD

Randy Cleary
Madison AL

Kurt Erichsen
Toledo OH

Mike Friedrich
Berkeley CA

Alexis Gilliland
Arlington VA

Craig Hilton
Toorak, Victoria, Australia

Mercy van Vlack
New York NY

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Challenger is (c) 2003-2004 by Guy H. Lillian III.
All rights revert to contributors upon initial print and website publication.