Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Summer 2004

EDITORIAL: In This Issue

Now that the DUFF election has passed, and New Zealand's Norman Cates has been anointed the new delegate from the Southern hemisphere, Rosy and I can let our duties towards the Down Under Fan Fund relax ...

Except for such minor matters as providing Norman with spending money while he's in the States, working with TAFF and the worldcon folks to set up a Fan Funds Reception at Noreascon 4, and gathering more material to peddle for the fan fund auction (tentatively scheduled for Sunday at 2). Everyone show up. We have toys and books and zines and Australian stuff and many, many Tuckerizations to exchange for the unimportant contents of your wallet. A Tuckerization, as you know, is a mention of your name in an author's story or novel. We have pledges of such honors from Catherine Asaro, Jack McDevitt, Mike Resnick, Greg Benford, Robert Sawyer and many others.

C'mon, of what value is a bank account next to immortality in print? Remember, Tuckerizations will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no Tuckerizations. Before we even think about Noreascon, though, there is the project on which we labor in its name: the souvenir/program book. I'm the editor, Rosy's the copy editor, and we're in it, up to our jawlines.

In early May, the brilliant faned and book designer Geri Sullivan flew down to Nawlins to hash out some of the vital questions of book-building - fonts, style, final contents, art. We accomplished a lot - but daily there is more to do, more to think about ... many great talents to draw forth and deal with, many disparate styles to meld, many considerations and expectations to juggle. How do we avoid duplicating the contents of NESFA's special books about the Guests of Honor? Do we run bibliographies? Is "worldcon" capitalized? Having begged people I admire and respect for contributions, dare I pester them to get them in on time? A daunting task. Fortunately, Geri and Rosy are well up to it, and together, they're keeping me from blundering into too many walls.

Only thing I can assure you is, it's going to be one beautiful book. The artwork is eclectic, from such disparate geniuses as Jeff Potter, Charlie Williams, Marc Schirmeister, and of course, our cover artist, Bob Eggleton - but it's all superlative. The text is likewise exceptional. And best of all, judging from the mountain of advertising accumulated by Judy Bemis (fan) and Eve Ackerman (pro) - the book may well be paid for.

Come to Noreascon 4 - and pick one up.

 

Hugo nomination

One other special thing about Noreascon 4 - Challenger is nominated for its Hugo as Best Fanzine.

The Hugo means a lot to me. Reading of it in Schuyler Miller's "Reference Column" in Analog forty years was what seduced me from the anonymous comfort of a mere reader of science fiction into the dangerous ecstasy of actual fandom. The Hugo ceremony has been the highlight of almost every worldcon I've ever attended - surpassed only by winning the worldcon as part of the New Orleans bid in 1986, and falling in love with Rose-Marie Donovan at Confederation, that same year. Those were special moments indeed. But the Hugo is a special moment that happens every year.

And for the fifth year running, Challenger is part of it. Thank you, everyone.

I do have some serious endoskeletonic fragments to gnaw at concerning the Hugo awards, and pick those bones I must. Fannish inertia has kept some people and some fanzines from this year's ballot which should, by justice, be there. All I'll say now is that, after seeing the artwork for the Noreascon 4 souvenir book and the art in this Challenger, if fandom doesn't put Charlie Williams and Marc Schirmeister and Randy Cleary and Jeff Potter and Kurt Erichsen on the Hugo ballot next year, then there ain't, repeat ain't, no justice.

Anyway, my repeated humble, amazed, and o'erwhelmed thanks. Challenger will keep trying to deserve your kindness. And someday, maybe we'll win ...

 

This issue

A mess of a mix, as always.

But what a nice mix. Joe Green, author of Gold the Man (a.k.a The Mind Behind the Eye) and co-creator of Rose-Marie Lillian, joins the host of generous Chall pals with a funny piece on his worst - and most enduring - professional mistake. Mike Resnick is once again with us, casting a pained look at the movie screen. Greg Benford considers the future of space exploration. Alexis Gilliland tackles, through Morrie the Critic, some eternal questions. Taral Wayne expounds upon the monstrosities Hollywood will probably wreak upon the Sfnal love that brought him into our ken. Fan friends Albert Hoffman and Tim Marion contribute evocative - and in Albert's case, scary - pieces.

There are photo pages, as always - including a look 'way back at the Nebula ceremonies of 1970, for which I was official west coast photographer. I know the repro on these pages isn't what it should be, so may I suggest that you check out our website, the creation of Rosy's brilliant stepmother, Patrice Green: www.challzine.net. There, the photos are as sharp and clear as if I were handing them to you across a table. (Excuse here to hail Patrice's able and generous work with Chall online, as well as The Zine Dump and the DUFF website, www.DUFF2004.com. And - an exciting development - Patrice has worked up a Challenger blog - http://challpals.blogspot.com. Be one of the first to post!)

Along with me, as you've already seen, Mike Friedrich and Alan Moore remember one of the founders of this fannish feast, Julius Schwartz. The pages from Amazing World of DC Comics which close the issue are copyright DC Comics, 1974, and are reprinted by their generous permission (and the kind intervention of Paul Levitz). If you're wondering, I put the memorials to Julie at the start and finish of this issue for a specific reason. In the interior, I deal with the death of Ronald Reagan and the obscenities in Iraq. Frankly, I hate having to mention Schwartz in the same breath.

Missing from these pages are a chapter from our DUFF trip report and an article on the Symphony Book Fair that I've been working on for months. I apologize - but as you see above, it is a busy summer. Those matters will keep until the fall.

Ah, yes, our art - Frank Wu's epic cover, great interiors from Randy Cleary and Kurt Erichsen and Alexis Gilliland and Taral Wayne and Sheryl Birkhead. I found an illo by Mercy van Vlack, from the golden days of my comics fanac. The brilliance of William Rotsler and Joe Mayhew survives them. As for the work of Sidney Paget, illustrating Craig Hilton's article on "The Resident Patient" ... one of the illos reprinted here originally decorated another Sherlock Holmes story in The Strand. A special No-Prize to the reader who guesses which!

So: enjoy. Twenty issues! Five Hugo nominations! Whoever would've thought it?

 

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