Diane Martin and I have been friends for more than 40 years. We worked together on the feminist SF fanzines,Janusand Auroraand served on the first and several dozen subsequent WisCon convention committees. We worked for many years with the James Tiptree, Jr. Award/Otherwise Award. In 1980, Eileen Gunn gave me a tape recording one of Suzette Haden Suzette’s lessons, titled, “Teach Yourself Alien.” In this lesson Elgin offered advice to Science Fiction authors on how to deal with alien languages in their fiction. It was great. I shared it with Diane, and we immediately decided to contact Suzette and ask permission to reprint the text in our fanzine, Aurora, whole issue #19, Vol. 7, no. 1. In 1982, WisCon invited Suzette to attend WisCon 6 and again in 1986 for WisCon 10 as guest of honor. Diane went on to produce the first and second Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan(1985 and 1988). These books were typed on a Selectric typewriter and published by SF3. They have long gone out of print and since the text was never saved electronically, Diane and I worried that the material would become inaccessible. Diane and I both loved and honored Suzette Haden Elgin as a friend, an advisor, and a brilliant scientist. She died in 2015; We miss her and did not want to let the Láadan dictionary go out of print. So, in 2018, we began talking about reprinting and updating the dictionary and grammar.
It turns out that OCR technology has improved impressively over the year, but not enough to easily scan and translate text written in a heavily accented, invented language. The task of proofreading the scanned text was far more daunting that I imagined. Simply creating the first draft of this book proved to be an enormous project. We enlisted Susanna Sturgis, professional copyeditor, to help us. Susanna ended up basically learning Láadan in the course of her work. In addition to saving the material from the original books, we also were able to incorporate material from the Láadan website—additional vocabulary, lessons, and essays by Suzette Haden Elgin. Finally, Suzette's daughter, Rebecca Haden wrote a lovely preface to the book.
Interest persists in Láadan, the woman’s language Suzette Haden Elgin created in 1982, embodied in her science fiction "Native Tongue" series. Láadan is a feminist constructed language created by Elgin to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that the language one speaks influences the way one thinks, i.e., can a language expressing the views of women shape a culture? Láadan includes morphemes that require speakers to own their own perceptions—words that indicate, for instance, whether a statement comes from personal observation, a trusted source, or an unreliable third party. Nowadays Elgin might argue that accusations of "fake news" would be impossible in Láadan. This language also encodes speakers’ intentions into their sentences, eliminating another form of micro-aggression, the rude comment that is passed off as “just a joke.”
In 1987, I won the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) Race, traveled for 3 weeks in England, Scotland and Ireland, visited with UK science fiction fans and attended the 45th world science fiction convention, Conspiracy 87, in Brighton. This much-belated trip report was written and published 33 years afterward, in 2020, reconstructed from audio tapes and photographs. Highlights include tales of my convention experiences, visits with Chuck Harris, Vincent Clarke, Walt Willis, James White, David Langford and Greg and Linda Pickersgill.
Why the long delay in producing my TAFF report? I tried this rationalization on a few people. I guess it wasn't too convincing.
One of the tragic things about writing a TAFF report is that there are seldom any bad guys involved. The fan fund writer needs to grab the reader’s attention, all the while being handicapped by the fact that most of the characters in their story are really quite wonderful, generous, and delightful people. Seldom do one’s hosts possess the sensitivity to realize that in order to gather material for a well-plotted, interesting trip report, the fan fund winner might well appreciate a minor, near fatal attempt upon their life. The sense of impending doom triggered by the growing awareness of a fandom-wide conspiracy aimed at the fan fund winner’s betrayal would provide a wonderful framework for a gripping tale of intrigue and suspense. What a TAFF report we might have if the winner just managed to narrowly escape from the home of their so-called “host,” by tying together the dozens of T-shirts meant for sale at the TAFF auction and climbing down the rough-hewn stone walls of their terrible prison, fleeing through the night disguised as an Anne McCaffrey fan—a stuffed dragon on her shoulder—and mailed herself back home in a crate marked as “unsold L. Ron Hubbard books.”
Jane Hawkins had an idea: to collect all the lovely stories written around Vonda’s death, and to put them in one place for us all to enjoy. This book is that place. Stephanie A. Smith and I joined forces to edit the book. Vonda’s community—her friends, colleagues, readers, and admirers—shared their fondest memories, stories, praise and love for the dear friend they had recently lost.
Award-winning SFF author Vonda N. McIntyre died April 1, 2019. The world lost a force of nature, a brilliant, kind, and generous, fiercely talented artist. In this volume, friends, colleagues, admirers, fans all pay tribute to a radiant life. McIntyre’s oeuvre includes Dreamsnake(Hugo and Nebula award winner, ’78), The Moon and the Sun(Nebula ’98; a movie based on it is awaiting release); as well as stories, novelizations and tie-ins, including the Star Treknovel The Entropy Effect. She founded the Clarion West workshop and was a “fairy godmother” to hundreds of students; a quiet, tireless feminist, Kentucky-born McIntyre moved to Seattle with her family and became a life-long resident, as well as a prolific creator of crochet topology; McIntyre also collaborated with Ursula K. Le Guin, and was a founding member of the Book View Cafe, an author-owned publishing cooperative. McIntyre both shaped and nurtured the SF/F community; as her friend Jane Hawkins has said “we shall not see her like again.”
Trade paperback (16.00) and pdf ($8.99) (all proceeds go to the Carl Brandon Society, which promotes discussions on race at conventions and conferences, and through its support of the Parallax and Kindred literary awards, and the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund), available here: https://tinyurl.com/CarlBrandon https://tinyurl.com/CarlBrandonPDF
CARL BRANDON book contains: "The Fake Fan: Carl Brandon" by Terry Carr; "The Cacher of the Rye" by Carl Brandon; "Kvetcher on the Racists" by Carl Brandon 2.0; "Racism & Science Fiction," by Samuel R. Delany; and a complete Carl Brandon bibliography.
Terry Carr recounts the invention of an imaginary black science fiction fan named Carl Brandon, one of the field’s most (in)famous hoaxes. In addition to Carl Brandon’s complete history, this volume includes his J.D. Salinger parody, "The Cacher of the Rye;" a more current parody by Carl Brandon 2.0, "The Kvetcher on the Racists;" and an essay by Samuel R. Delany, "Racism and Science Fiction.” To quote Carr: "In the late fifties, several of the fans of the Bay Area…presented fandom with a new fanwriter who was quickly acclaimed as one of the best writers around and who was, not incidentally, the first prominent fan who was black.” Read the book for more of this fascinating tale.
Carl Brandon’s The Cacher of the Ryewas first published as a serial in the fanzine, Innuendo, 1956–1957. SF3 published it again in 1982, within a spiral-bound chapbook that I designed, celebrating Terry Carr, Guest of Honor at WisCon 6. So this newest version is actually the second time I designed this book. The 1982 version was produced using a not-so-state-of the-art photographic Compugraphic typesetter. The operator (me) was able to set only one line at a time, with no opportunity to edit previous text once the line had been set. And needless to say, there was no saving of electronic documents on such a machine. So this reincarnation of Carl Brandon was re-created with the assistance of optical character recognition software. The book has been long out of print. My aim was to revive it in order to preserve its invaluable historical view of SF fandom and race during the 1950s. Terry Carr died in 1987, much too young, and Carol Carr generously granted permission to reprint the book.
My brother Steve is an engineer, a sports enthusiast, a salesman a very athletic guy, and a risk-taker. He downhill skis, preferring the most dangerous black diamond, "expert" trails. He almost broke his neck body surfing in Hawaii. He runs, plays basketball, waterskies, golfs, and probably engages in a dozen other sports I'm not even aware of. And he loves to travel, meet people and party. Where I tend to need to recover from social experiences like conventions or parties, Steve seems to recharge in those situations. I love to submerge myself in solitary projects; Steve likes to be active all the time. For the past many years, while he lived and worked out of Hong Kong, he'd come back to Wisconsin for a month-long visit and would invariably host a party at his house the day after the 22-hour flight from Hong Kong. So there are some pretty significant differences between us.
So it was not an earth-shaking surprise when Steve told us that he was going to make a 15-day journey through Nepal to Everest Base Camp in October 2019. It was one of his life dreams, he said. (He has also said that another one of his life dreams is to visit Antarctica. I expect that he will start working on that one soon after he retires.) Steve trekked up to EBC with three other men whose ages ranged from 57–70. All were pursuing life dreams to trek to EBC. They became brothers and life-long friends as they hiked for 11 days, spent a total of 82 hours on the trail, and climbed (and descended) 9,163 feet during the month of October 2019. Steve appointed himself the team's photographer and took some truly gorgeous photos. I was very happy to spend time with these beautiful images as I laid out the book and communicated back and forth with Steve as we completed the final design. Steve provided a narrative for each day of the trip along with bios of his climbing buddies, guide and Sherpas. This text and a map make the book something more than a simple photo book.
Steve notes in the acknowledgements of this book that our collaboration on this book was not easy: "Initially I was going to tackle this project on my own. It was Jeanne’s idea to help me. As we were working through the process of selecting pictures, placing them in the correct location on specific days, sizing them, putting captions on them, writing the narrations and the bios, there were moments when both of us wondered if, together, we would be able to make this work. We are Gomolls. That means we have strong opinions and get easily frustrated, and we both got frustrated. But we did make it work, and I can’t thank Jeanne enough for what we produced together. Best decision I made was to let Jeanne help me … I love you Jeanne."
All true. And I love you too, Steve.
Like my other family publication, Home Cooking,Our Trip to Everest Base Campwas not created in order to sell to a wide audience. The full-color pages in this large-format photo book make this an expensive publication. Steve goal was to present copies to his climbing buddies and some family members. But you can go to the Blurb.com page for this book and look through the pdf posted there if you'd like to see some of Steve's pictures.