Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Winter 2005-6


Like an oak weighted with Spanish Moss, Challenger #23 hangs with impressions of New Orleans and the catastrophe of Katrina. (Even Alan White's luminescent cover could depict a Big Easy harlequin.) This issue reels from the destruction of New Orleans, and I'm only sorry I lived to see it happen.

Natives of the Crescent City pitch in with their stories and perspectives. Linda Krawecke tells of witnessing Katrina's fury -from across the ocean. Reading Dennis Dolbear's terrifying first-person account of the hurricane, see if you don't agree that Chall's original associate editor behaved heroically - and check out Charlie Williams' inspired artwork. Peggy Ranson recounts leaving the city in the hurricane's path - and coming home in its wake. Don Markstein's anger at the abuse visited upon his home town sears the page. The pics rescued from John Guidry's drowned photo albums reflect the city's fannish past, and I myself dwell in remembrance of the past, horror at the present, and concern about the future. In addition, N.O. visitors Joe Major and Earl Kemp contribute memories.

But as dominant as the hurricane must be to this issue, Chall #23 is not entirely lost in its nightmare. Joe Green reacquaints us with one of science fiction's guiding geniuses. Mike Resnick's classic "Bathrooms I Have Known" hilariously lives up to its title. Greg Benford's 1985 speech on scientists and science fiction is still compelling. Elst Weinstein discusses cuisine he never sampled in the Big Easy. Alex Gilliland's Morrie the Critic weighs in on Iraq. Rich Dengrove adds words on the Red Planet. Finally, the great Aussie artist Dick Jenssen, a.k.a. "Ditmar", proffers our third installment of Sheryl Birkhead's fan artist self-portraits. Look on-line for an astonishing color portfolio of Ditmar's work.

To these folk, as to Sheryl, Randy Cleary, Mike Estabrook and all the other talents who have leant their wit to Challenger #23, we offer thanks. Their presence in these pages is a necessary reminder that good wishes, generosity, and happiness are the best antidotes to the terrors of the night.

Of course, my most special thanks to la belle Rose-Marie, for her invaluable and unstinting assistance, support, and love.


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Challenger is (c) 2003-2005 by Guy H. Lillian III.
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