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January 27, 2006

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Uzbekistan... they're our friends, right ?

Actually, they kicked us out a while back, when we protested their massacre at Andijan. (iirc.)

hmm. i don't know what's worse, being friends with Uzbekistan, or being dumped by Uzbekistan.

This will work out alright. And let Google China know. People are paid to protect state, ahem, interests there.

Now the Uzbeks owe us another debt: They have forced us to imagine them in furry underwear.

Keep the Uzbeks in bridles, and export the fur lined underware to us.

I had a joke about fantasies and baby panda fur, but I suspect a more appropriate forum might be Unfogged.

And I believe we may be making a presumption that the underwear in question is panties, briefs, or boxers. The article does not go into detail, but my guess is that it is more likely t-shirt-like garments, or possibly longjohns or teddys.

If hilzoy is having trouble imagining, I might recommend a rabbit-fur mitten with or without an assistant masseur.

Boiling in oil, okay.

Fur in your panties, not okay.

Uzbekistan is making Mississippi look good ...

This was one of those domestic wiretaps, neophyte desk, where the fur lining was an inept translation. It is impermissible to report what the regional desk administrator pencilled in the margin instructing the translator to re-examine the trilingual lexicon for words synonymous with fur; as a weekend assignment, one new hire even was given a tome on hair shirts worn by penitents in medieval times in Europe. Then there was the Afghan predilection for reversed pelt yak overcoats, but the weather there is inclement and justifies wearing such gear.

Mention of furry underwear caused me to flashback to scifi conventions back in the 70s, when "barbarian" fur bikinis (accessorized, usually, with a Really Big Sword) were a popular costume item. Don't see that much now; fen generally go in the for S&M-black leather-spiked collar look these days. Or anime-derived outfits, which look like LSD hallucinations on the hoof.

Uzbekistan's government is stupid as well as brutal (not, admittedly, an unusual combination). People with vigorous "unbridled (sexual) fantasies" are much less likely to hit the political barricades. If I were a despotic tyrant, I'd encourage my subjects to devote a lot of their time and energy to sex.

If I were a despotic tyrant, I'd encourage my subjects to devote a lot of their time and energy to sex.

I dunno, it might be better if you outlaw it so that people spend all their time and energy trying to get around the barriers.

"Mention of furry underwear caused me to flashback to scifi conventions back in the 70s, when "barbarian" fur bikinis (accessorized, usually, with a Really Big Sword) were a popular costume item."

I have to ask: which conventions, specifically, were you going to?

Signed, a former 70s Worldcon vice-chair, Director of Operations at another, and so on and so forth.

NASFiC '75; MidAmericon '76; Seattle's old Bug Eyed Monster Ball a couple times, can't remember the exact years; NorWesCon '77, '78, '79; I think at least one WesterCon and OryCon.

I distinctly remember at least one fur-bikini at NASFiC (because a couple of bemused mundanes saw her, saw a couple of kids with serious facial appliances, and wanted to know what was going on) and at the BEMB (because there was at least one couple in 'em, and they were both soooo buff.)

I'm not talking about the Costume Competition, BTW. I'm talking about hall costumes.

"NASFiC '75; MidAmericon '76; Seattle's old Bug Eyed Monster Ball a couple times, can't remember the exact years; NorWesCon '77, '78, '79; I think at least one WesterCon and OryCon."

Huh. I wasn't at Louisville, but I certainly was at Big Mac. Um, there was no "77 Norwescon." The first one was in '78. I'm afraid your memory is faintly off there, which is understandable; I mess up dates all the time, and have one of the world's worst time-sense memories when I can't tie a memory to something specifically identifiable in time.

Not only was I at the '79-85 Norwescons, but the Fan GOH in '78 was my housemate and longtime friend, Loren MacGregor, and the Fan GOHs (Guests of Honor, for anyone else bothering to read this) from '82-85 came from a lengthy six-page memo I wrote the committee at their request after I was, shall we say, critical of the choice of Fred Pohl as lacking focus on contemporary fandom of the time, wonderful and fantastic guy though Fred, of course, was and is. (But he'd last been active in fandom circa 1942.)

My contact with the Norwesconcom and NWSFS was somewhat limited, and purely social, largely consisting of those who came to the monthly "Vanguard Party" I co-founded in 79, and which was hosted at my home from 80-83 at 4227 - 8th Avenue NE, after I was held singularly responsible -- and entirely accurately and correctly so -- for single-handedly eliminating the possibility of the "Seattle in 80" Worldcon bid from any chance of winning after I had spent some time on the committee after moving to Seattle just after the first Norwescon in '78, realized what a looming impossible disaster it would have been due to the complete inexperience of the committee, to the point where they were entirely clueless how incompetent and impossible their plans were, and I simply described various relevant facts and particulars to the rest of smofdom.

(They had no clue as to the scale of a Worldcon; a typical example, when I went over the floor plans and notions for what would go where was that that the "Meet The Pros Party," which would have had ~ 1000 people show up was intended to go in a couple of thousand sq. ft around a pool area; the only way that would have worked was if about 700 stayed in the pool; etc.; aside from anything else, the facilities were about 4 times too small, and they were too clueless/inexperienced to realize that. Only a handful of them had ever even attended a Worldcon, and those that had, like Greg, had been to a grand total of one, MidAmericon. Etc.)

At this point, of course, only you and I have a clue what I'm talking about, but if this conversation goes on too much further, we can always take it to e-mail.

Some years later Greg Bennett, NWSFS and Norwescon founder, and originator of the Seattle bid, profusely thanked me for what I'd done in saving themselves from themselves, much though it made my name mud at NWSFS for some years.

'78 was the Worldcon, Iguanacon (II, technically), that I wound up becoming Director of Operations, and retroactive Vice-Chair of, about six weeks before the con. Long story. Although then I was Director of Ops again in '82, and have a mildly long list of other worldcon credentials from '77, the first year I played a moderately major role in running a Worldcon, through '83, although I took a few shifts as a rover in '86 for nostalgia's sake.

As it happens, I was having e-mail exchanges with Tim Kyger, Iggy Chair, earlier today. We're very old and good friends.

I also went to most of the Westercons and Orycons during my Seattle years of 78-85. Knew plenty of PorFiS folks as well. Etc., etc., etc., etc.

Gafia now, although I happened to have noticed an article by Mike Glyer two issues ago of File 770 on the topic of "Whatever Happened To Gary Farber?" (This issue, actually, although it's a 3.8 meg pdf.)

Turns out he's gafiated and went off to be a blogger. Who knew? (I may have lost you somewhere back there; if so, apologies. But I'm glad I asked.)

Say, this reminds me of the time Alfred Bester threw a chair at me at Norwescon, 1980....

Small world, innit?

At the risk of Reading Something That Gary Didn't Write And Having Him Get Upset, I ask the following.

By position, there was the implication that you didn't believe that fur bikinis were extant at conventions. Am I simply mistaken in this, or do fur bikinis not rise to the level of notice for you?

Thanks for the links to those PDFs, as someone who only read science fiction, it is a bit like an anthropologist observing a culture he has studied, but never had a chance to observe in the wild. (which I hasten to add is not a put down, as I am sure that the opposite would be true for someone viewing any culture that I was involved in)

I also see that Japan is going to host WorldCon 2007. Any ObWi-ers coming? Having never been to a convention like this, and not having read virtually any science fiction for almost the past 20 years, I'm not sure if I will go, but I would love to hear from anyone who is coming.

Currently the best job in Uzbekistan is with the furry undies police. My unbridled fantasy at this moment is to be an Uzbekistan police dog. Woof! I expect to hear from felon and ex-President Slick Willie campaigning for political asylum for the repressed victims. I can imagine ex-executive lust master Jimmie fantasizing "come to papa, you silly rabbits."

"By position, there was the implication that you didn't believe that fur bikinis were extant at conventions."

[scratches head again]

Um, where did I say a word about fur bikinis, or imply anything whatever about them? Could you quote the sentence I wrote that refers to them, please?

I was curious which conventions CaseyL had been to, for reasons which might be rather obvious, given my response.

I wrote, and this is all I wrote: "I have to ask: which conventions, specifically, were you going to?"

Are there invisible references to fur bikinis in there that everyone else can read?

Nah, I'm not terribly interested in fur bikinis, one way or another. Nor even in chain-mail bikinis, although I have seen a great many more of those than fur ones, in my day.

"...s someone who only read science fiction, it is a bit like an anthropologist observing a culture he has studied, but never had a chance to observe in the wild."

If interested, I'd recommend poking further around both efanzines.com, and fanac.org. Tons of material in both places, and in both places there's both a representative spread of the range of sf fandom, and lots of what I might loosely refer to as "core" sf fandom, rather than just the fringes or commercial exploitation pseudo-"conventions" (Creation, and the other vampire-feeders) that more typically get public attention and form the stereotypical view of sf fandom, or as people say nowadays, "sci-fi fandom."

I'll be perfectly happy to answer any questions about sf fandom, from my perspective, that you or anyone might have. (It's not as if this is a terribly serious thread we'd be jacking, I'm inclined to think, though I'd of course take it elsewhere if a blog-owner frowned.)

"Having never been to a convention like this, and not having read virtually any science fiction for almost the past 20 years, I'm not sure if I will go, but I would love to hear from anyone who is coming."

This will be the first Japanese Worldcon ever, although they've had sf cons in Japan for decades, and a small Japanese contingent has been fairly regularly coming to Worldcon for a couple of decades now, as well. It's apt to be a fairly unusual, and somewhat atypical, Worldcon, but nonetheless still a Worldcon, and quite possibly with more of the usual attendees who will attend it no matter where it is, than Japanese, though I really couldn't say, particularly since I'm fairly distant from fandom these days. ("Gafia" is an acronym from "getting away from it all," although its original meaning in the 1940s, briefly, meant into sf fandom, not out, but that usage was blink-of-an-eye, and ever after it has meant "getting away from fandom." At the fanac.org site you can alo find such language-oriented works as the original Fancyclopedia Jack Speer compiled in 1944, and the updated expansion, Fancyclopedia II that Dick Eney put together in 1961, and a great many other such reference works; I could also refer you to Jesse Sheidlower's OED SF project, and many other sources of sf/sf fandom language info, if you were interested, which you probably are not.

Oh, and if you read sf with any enthusiasm, I'd highly recommend going; you're not likely to see a Worldcon in Japan again any time soon, and I think it's unlikely you'd find a lack of interesting, or even fascinating, highly intelligent, people (along with a few twits) to meet and converse with, and things to see and do.

But it's important to note that the membership rate rises steeply as the date of the convention approaches, so I'd recommend buying a membership as quickly as possible, or at least paying attention to the date of the rate changes. It's not cheap, but it's non-profit, and you get an awful lot for it.

Those looking to this year can also keep that in mind in considering whether to got to Los Angeles. (Don't look for me; travel is not in my budget at present.)

Um, where did I say a word about fur bikinis, or imply anything whatever about them? Could you quote the sentence I wrote that refers to them, please?

I said 'by position', in that you quoted CaseyL stating '"barbarian" fur bikinis' and then you wrote

I have to ask: which conventions, specifically, were you going to?

(that was your 12:30)

CaseyL also seemed to take away the notion that you were questioning his memory because he replied with a list of the conventions followed by more specific info about fur bikinis. Not that I'm obsessed with fur bikinis, but Raquel Welch (One Million Years B.C.) and Barbara Bach (Caveman (with Ringo Starr!)) spring to mind.

Also, many thanks for references (though the link you gave has been updated to this, quite fun) I'm just rummaging around with no particular goal in mind, so I really don't have any particular info that I'm asking for, so I'm interested, though I'm not really sure precisely what I am interested in. (this is a recurring meme with me, unfortunately)

And thank you for the advice on Worldcon. I am not sure if I should go, because it might just be to gawk. (Klingon opera, anyone?) but I will sit down with next year's school schedule after our faculty meeting next week to decide if I can go.

The real reason for invading. The Bushies don't need no steenking booze or dope.

One small note: I don't mind being referred to as 'he,' and on some blogs (not this one!) it's been interesting to see people assume I'm male, and make certain correllary judgments about my comments based on thinking I'm male; but the truth is, I'm female.

Re conventions: After nearly non-stop conning in the 70s and 80s, I don't go much anymore; and the last couple times I just daytripped to see some friends in the live-steel groups. Part of the reason is age-associated laziness; part of it is that the 'franchise'-oriented fandoms (gaming and movies), which now dominate the larger cons, simply don't interest me.

But I would still recommend going, esp. to a WorldCon, esp. if you've never gone to a con. My recommendation is to read the program book first, and mark which panels/readings/events you most want to go to. Just jumping in and winging it is lots of fun, but you might miss something you really wanted to see.

The Pacific NW has lots of local and regional cons. Lots and lots: NorWesCon, RustyCon, OryCon, RoseCon, V-Con, WesterCon, Potlatch; you can't swing a cat without hitting a few. And we have lots and lots of writers living here, which means there's no lack of Attending Pros. It's great, because going regularly gives you a chance to really get to know some of the writers - not to mention the chance to meet hundreds, maybe thousands, of people you're instantly sympatico with.

I have many, many wonderful memories and stories from my decades of dedicated conning. (I moved to Seattle as a direct result of making one of those instant friendships-for-life at NASFiC - though, sadly, the friendship wound up not lasting that long.)

Here's one of the funnier stories: At a Seattle convention back in - good heavens, '99, was it really that long ago (pause while Casey feels old), I met a fellow who had written a book in which another species other than humans had evolved into Earth's dominant species; and the adventures of a luckless human who fell through a vortex into that world. To spare the writer any embarrassment (and to spare myself any trouble from him for telling this story) I won't mention his name, or the book's title. Suffice it to say the book was a critical and popular success, and had a lot of fans.

In fact, he had attained Demi-God status among a certain subgenre of scifi fans known as "furries." Now, writers do appreciate their work being appreciated; and the more socially inclined among them will generally enjoy meeting people who really value their work. So this writer was happy to meet some furries - until he found out what their deal is.

"Furries" - how to put this? - are sexually attracted to animals. They like to dress up as animals and have sex with one another, and also keep harems of giant plush toys, which they also have sex with. (They do not, SFAIK, actually practice bestiality with real animals.) (BTW, Vanity Fair magazine ran a story about furries a few years ago. It's a hoot.)

His reaction was absolute, thunderstruck horror. Not dumbstruck, though; and I wish I could remember some of his verbal riff on the revelation, because it was hysterically funny. He was on a couple of panels, and told me he'd been tempted to not show up, for fear there'd be furries laying in wait for him. It's quite possible his decision to not write a sequel to that book (which many people, most of them not furries, were clamoring for) was motivated, at least in part, by sheer aghastment at finding out who some of his most fervent fans were.

There's a very concise term to describe bikinis in role playing games, whether fur-lined or chainmail.

"AC 10."*

*--for the true gamer geek, note that this is compatible for AD&D 1st and 2nd edition *and* D&D 3.0 and 3.5. Rolemaster aficionados may prefer "AT 1," of course.

CaseyL: "it's been interesting to see people assume I'm male, and make certain correllary judgments about my comments based on thinking I'm male"

Welcome to the club! I've lost count of the people who have imagined I'm a guy. (Kleiman, DeLong, all sorts of people.) I find it kind of baffling.

CaseyL, my apologies for making the assumption. I hope this doesn't come off like shifting the blame, but Hil, I think the fact that 'he' is the unmarked English pronoun has a lot to do with it. Though I take full responsibility.

And to underline my apology, I've started a sexual identity thread

"One small note: I don't mind being referred to as 'he,' and on some blogs (not this one!) it's been interesting to see people assume I'm male, and make certain correllary judgments about my comments based on thinking I'm male; but the truth is, I'm female."

I will cough, and note that I've never used a pronoun in reference to you. This is not an accident.

"After nearly non-stop conning in the 70s and 80s, I don't go much anymore...."

The last sf con I was at, assuming I'm not forgetting something, which is always possible, was Noreascon IV in Boston in 1989. (Oh, look, I'm a footnote. Oh, and a litmus test. Hey, I'm famous to 15 people!) There are a variety of reasons. No, wait, it was the 1990 New York Corflu.

"My recommendation is to read the program book first, and mark which panels/readings/events you most want to go to. Just jumping in and winging it is lots of fun, but you might miss something you really wanted to see."

I could give endless advice, but that's one I'd agree with (save to note that the program bok no longer has a program; that's the "pocket program," which is occasionally done well some years, and more often than not a new committee invents new and stunning ways to make in semi-incomprehensible and semi-useless; there are often daily program sheets to update on all the changes, anyway).

Keeping it extremely short, I'd also note that if one is at all inclined -- and one certainly may not be -- that real sf cons are all strictly volunteer run and non-profit, and that choosing to spend a few hours here and there volunteering in some capacity is a great way to meet people.

I'd also recommend taking notes on the public parties, and party-hopping in the evening; I, myself, tend to prefer smaller and quiet gatherings to the big noisy ones, but there are always corners to be found. But one of the primary appeals of real sf cons are the friendships and meeting of interesting people that is possible.

(These are all among, but hardly the end of the list of, crucial distinctions between real sf conventions, which are about people convening and meeting each other enjoying each other's company, and the commercial media so-called "conventions" which are profit-run "shows" all about being in an audience, seeing some tv actor on a stage, and getting endlessly ripped off for charges for anything and everything; of course, if one's primary interest is seeing a tv actor and standing on line to pay $20 for an autograph, that's where you want to be instead. Real sf cons, on the other hand, are pretty much egalitarian affairs, where largely only inexperienced neo-pros delude themselves that they are More Important Than Other People. [There are a handful of exceptions to this understanding, of course.)

But a modern worldcon caters to many sub-interests, and there are always many things going on at once (far too many for me; I prefer smallish literary-oriented conventions, myself, but that's just me). If you poke around a few of the recent worldcon websites, you should (I'd hope) find some program listings, and be able to get an idea of some of the typical fare.

"So this writer was happy to meet some furries - until he found out what their deal is."

Oh, dear. (Note: there are a variety of odd subcultures overlapping with sf fandom these days; we're all tolerant, or try to be and should be -- okay, some of us snicker a bit at others from time to time, but we, or I, anyway, try not to be genuinely cruel about it, since we're all in glass houses one way or another -- anyway, my basic point is that there are plenty of other people than whatever group might possibly wind up putting you off at first glance, as well; that's all.)

I have far too many funny stories about sf fandom to start telling any. Literally hundreds and hundreds; I did once used to be a premier fanhistorian, after all.

"I find it kind of baffling."

The wonderful world of sexist assumptions isn't actually so wonderful. Everyone is "white," also. And mostly Christian.

There is no such thing as a "short" discussion of fandom, or fen. My first con was Big Mac. Kids have mostly fafiated me, but I still make a few every year--and the kids are being indoctrinated.

The fur bikini lives! Scroll to the bottom of the page. Yes, she's of legal age, so those are not illegal thoughts you're having. And there's a real Maurice Sendak/furry thing going on there....

MidAmericon, the Kansas City Worldcon (the first KC one) in 1976 was immensely controversial in its day for a variety of somewhat revolutionary policies it instituted, from using wrist-bracelet IDs (the first and last time a Worldcon ever tried that trick) to jumping the price to a then utterly-unheard-of $50 at the door (the highest price before that was $20 -- this for the entire four-plus days of the convention; up to then the price had gone from $1 to $2 to $5 to $10 to $20, over 37 years since 1939), and most controversially, putting a total attendence cap on of 2000 people.

What are the odds that 30 years later, at least three of them, with no other connection between them (okay, I have no idea if Tully and CaseyL know each other), would show up here?

The wonderful world of sexist assumptions isn't actually so wonderful. Everyone is "white," also. And mostly Christian.

Ursula leGuin had some good rants about that after the attempts to film earthsea if I recall correctly. Appearantly almost all her books are about coloured people. I read that and must admit I always picture the people white too, unless very clearly otherwise specified.

CaseyL on the other hand, had I pictured as female :)

Since this is as close to an open thread as currently exists on ObWi: see Gary call out Josh Marshall, Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, and Glenn Greenwald, all in the same post! Watch them all ignore me! See no one whatever link to me! Watch my post vanish into the ether, read by maybe 20 people!

Feel the power and the awe and the glory!

(Just as a mild whisper of a murmur of an aside of a hint of a mutter, which I don't intend as anything more, there are times I feel a tad taken-for-granted by the blog posters here that I'm going to link to my own posts in comments here, and therefore only in a blue moon is it ever worthwhile for a blog-owner to ever link to me; however, the reality is that I rarely have anything worth linking to, and so that's appropriate, I assume; ok, now I'll try to pretend I never said this.)

"Ursula leGuin had some good rants about that after the attempts to film earthsea if I recall correctly."

She's no relation to Ursula Le Guin, aka Ursula K. Le Guin, the writer, daughter of the Kroebers. "leGuin" is a friend of Professor Tolkein, and Mohandas Ghandi.

Speaking of linking to myself, here are long excerpts from an even longer interview with Ursula, in which she discusses the skin tone issue in the Earthsea movie, as well as other issues, as well as similarly long (but highly amusing) excerpts from an interview with Terry Pratchett, and a bunch of other skiffy-related links, and a bunch of words by me.

"Appearantly almost all her books are about coloured people."

Not exactly. Also, not the best choice of phrasing in English, you might want to be aware. A lot of people started finding the phrase "colored people" offensive after circa 1950 or so in America. I realize that these are cultural stumbling blocks that are opaque from afar, so I thought I might kinda warn you that somewhere else, in an American context, someone might take offensive if they didn't realize you weren't a native American-English speaker. Hope I've not in turn offended by mentioning this. Or by making a point about the spelling of Ursula's name; I'm fussy about spelling people's name's correctly, for some reason.

Oh, the close-to-but-not-quite term-of-art that's been in vogue in recent years is "people of color," while "colored people" is considered quite offensive. Yes, I know it's utterly irrational and makes no sense whatever. I'm just reporting the facts, ma'am. I can't begin to explain this one, because I have absolutely no understanding whatever of why this is, other than accident of history of evolution of usage.

"someone might take offensive "

Should be: "...someone might take offense...."

I was a puppy neo at Big Mac, still in high school.

Yeah, Ken Keller had some radical ideas. Like not losing big piles o' money. Big MAC is still the only KC Worldcon to date, though we have a solid bid going for '09. It won't be $20, though. :-)

Odds? Lemme stretch it one farther for you, Gary. I'm still in regular contact with Bob Tucker, who was toastmaster at Big Mac, and I see Keller a coupla times a year.

Thanks Gary, it is easy to make cultural mistakes like that so I'll try to remember using "of color".

Misspelling Ursual Le Guin's name is a mistake I keep making I'm afraid. The interview you linked too I had not read yet, but I had read other interviews with her. She is nicely outspoken :).

I love SF and Fantasy (used to be mainly SF, nowadays mainly fantasy) but have never been great in fandom. First con I've ever been to was Serenity2 last year :)

" I have no idea if Tully and CaseyL know each other."

Nor do I, since I don't know if Tully is Tully's real name :)

The lovely thing about going to cons when I did was, about 90% of all the people I knew would be there. Great chance to catch up and socialize. Sometimes I'd hardly make it out of the bar to see any programming: another group of friends would walk in as I was leaving after drinking with the first group, and drag me off to their table.

One of the absolute best cons was a V-Con in the late '80s? early 90's? held at the University of British Columbia. About eight of us went as a group and stayed in one of the dorm quads. It was kinda like back when we were all impoverished college students, and slept 3 or 4 to a bed in the same hotel room, except that we weren't impoverished anymore, and the quad could easily accommodate all of us - it even had a living room and a kitchen!

Good times.

"I'm still in regular contact with Bob Tucker, who was toastmaster at Big Mac, and I see Keller a coupla times a year."

Well, tell Ken I say "hi." I'll be hurt, and also a bit surprised, if he doesn't remember me. Quite surprised, actually.

Bob, at this point, might very reasonably not remember me, although we certainly spoke on dozens of occasions; I was sorry to hear that his 90th birthday celebration had to be put off, and I hope he's well enough for it to be on again soon.

I used to have copies of the postcard version of Le Zombie from 1941, amongst dozens and dozens of later Tucker-zines.

"I was a puppy neo at Big Mac, still in high school."

I was just out of high school at Big Mac, but made contact with fandom in 1971, when I was 12, via fanzines, via the mimeographed Locus, which I bought with other fanzines at the original Science Fiction Shop in Greenwich Village, that Baird Searles and Martin Last had recently opened (I was there on opening day). I'm more or less one of the last people to have made contact with fandom first through fanzines, and then didn't make it to a con until the first Star Trek con in 1972 in Manhattan, and then the '73 Lunacon, and by 1974 I was working on staff, and by 1975 on committee, and by 1976, I invented (with a bow to Susan Wood's All Our Yesterday's room at Discon II in 1974) the first dedicated track of programming to fandom at a convention, the first (with bow to Susan, my old friend) fanhistory display, and first fanzine fan lounge, which I then did the first all of at SunCon in '77, where I wore about 9 different committee hats.

I also met Heinlein at his YMHA talk in 1974, which had repercussions both at the time when I sent a dumb write-up to Dick Geis, idiotically not realizing that of course he'd print it, and on Usenet back in the Nineties, when I naively posted about it, and launched a thread that lasted over two years.

I waved goodbye to a bunch of fans driving off in a car to Torcon II in '73, not realizing I should have jumped in the car with them, so Discon II in '74 was my first Worldcon.

I had actually first heard of fandom circa '68, via the various prozine fan columns, and mentions in the few nonfiction books about sf available at the time, which I thoroughly researched at the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library when I was about ten years old. This including at least skimming through every single copy, on microfilm, of Astounding from the first 1930 Clayton issue through the 1933 Street & Smith, and onwards up through the Fifties, as well as Amazing from 1926 through to the Ray Palmer era.

This served me well when I got my first professional editing/reading work as an "Assistant Editor" at Amazing and Fantastic in 1975 under Lou Stathis and Ted White. Slush reading, in other words.

Then Jim Frenkel took me on as a free-lance non-slush reader at Dell in 1977, and then it went on from there with the professional sf work.

I was rather a dedicated little bugger. Founded various apas, did various fanzines, worked on many cons, invented various things, founded various fan groups, did a zillion panels, came to own one of the five largest fanzine collections in private hands in America in those days (more or less Bruce Pelz, Mike Horvat, Moshe Feder, Ted White, me) etc., etc. Lost TAFF in 1980 to my pal Stu Shiffman. Was sent to Britain on a special fan fund as late as 1996 (see Farberday here) (So, I forgot, my last sf con was Novacon in 1996; I was in Britain meeting fans for a month). (Description of special Farber merchandise here.)

Thus Mike Glyer's "Whatever Happened To Gary Farber"," etc. Not that he ever bothered me e-mail me either to ask, or to let me know about the article. Apparently when you gafiate, in fandom's eyes, you actually die.

Anyway, that's the extremely short version, trust me. The full fannish bio runs on and on and on. (Um, there are also an awful lot of untrue stories about me out there, for the record; if you hear one, feel free to ask me for my version before believing it, perhaps. I know this will be absolutely impossible to believe, but I actually pissed a few people off on more than one occasion, sometimes even with good cause, other times not so much. I know this is absolutely incredible.)

The thing I dislike most about having made so many friends over the years in fandom, however, is how many of them are now dead, and how many others keep dropping like flies.

Blockquote close. Damn, I should have previewed. Sorry.

"The lovely thing about going to cons when I did was, about 90% of all the people I knew would be there."

Well, that's real fandom. (I'd say "trufandom," but someone would take offense; that's also trufandom.)

"One of the absolute best cons was a V-Con in the late '80s? early 90's? held at the University of British Columbia."

I started in East Coast fandom, as described. Did the East Coast circuit and Midwest. Lunacon, Boskone, Philcon, Disclave, Midwestcon, etc. Spent about half a year in East Lansing, MI in 1977; also went to many Midwest cons in the mid-late Seventies, particularly most Midwestcons and Confusions, but a number of others. Then moved to Seattle in early 1978, and did the West Coast circuit (Norwescon, V-Con, Orycon, Westercon, bunches of Bay Area trips, a few LA, etc.) up and down until I became extremely ill (I went through a series of misdiagnoses, at least two of which were terminal; that was fun!; I got better) in mid-1986 and well-known friends who are no longer friends took me in in NYC. Was hired fulltime at Avon Books by John Douglas, an old friend, that year; got myself fired in January of 1989, when my father died, and Terry Carr, who was in a number of ways more of a father-figure to me than my real (crazy) father, died, the same week, and my long-term severe recurring clinical depression bit me, and I became dysfunctional (there was also office politics; it's a long story). (I recently decided -- only a few weeks ago -- to finally write all this up in a blog post Real Soon Now, and quit mystifying people as to what happened, though you know what Real Soon Now means, I expect. I expect to get to it sometime in 2006, likely in the first half, but no promises.)

The Nineties were to a very large degree a black hole in my life, although not entirely, of course; I finally was able to afford a modem and an online account in 1995, and then became a Big Name Usenet SF Fan on rec.arts.sf.* and particularly rec.arts.sf.fandom, where you can still use my name as the equivalent of shouting "boo!" to this day, although I quit circa December 2001 and became a blogger instead. Drifted largely out of fanzine fandom during the 90s, as well, although that had started by the late Eighties, or mid-Eighties. Remarkably, I pissed some people off on Usenet and in rasseff. Impossible to believe, I know.

But I do rather enjoy the fact that "to farber" became the rec.arts.sf.fandom synonym for "googled." Also hard to believe, innit?

Moved to Boulder, Colorado, in December, 2001. It was a good time to get out of NYC (actually, I was on Long Island the previous two years; also left out a year in Boston before that). Been more or less gafia since then, though still in contact with a few old pals like Tim, and of course there's Avedon Carol, whom I first introduced to fanzine fandom in 1975. (I introduced a number of people to fandom over the years.)

Garsh, a quick summary of my fannish life (leaving out eighty-bazillion things) in under 600 words or so; didn't know I could do that.

Apologies if this bores everyone else, but I figure you know how to scroll.

Moderation my butt, you are a leftist period

"Moderation my butt, you are a leftist period"

And an excellent example you display of substantive non-leftist exposition and courtesy, sir.

Better than being a leftist comma, though. Hilzoy may be a leftist, in your view, but she's no comma-nist.

Egad ; A fanzine, forsooth ! It's incredible the amount of time that has gone by since I made my first encounter. By way of noting very little, your link takes one to a description of "goatskin loincloths" (also codpieces - medieval attire covers it - shameless pun )

I'm too sexy for Uzbek, too sexy for Uzbek...sorry, just a nod to topic.

Gary, I'll say "Hi" to Ken for you, and I'm happy to say that Bob remains sharp as a tack. His 90th went off right well, it was his 91st last fall he was under the weather for. He still gets around, just by net chat and phone nowadays. Fern keeps him on a short leash. And I got to spend a wonderful evening with his "dad" last May, when we took Rusty Hevelin and Charles Piehl out to dinner in KC.

You might check out the LE ZOMBIE project. Even Bob doesn't have a complete backlist, so if you have any of the missing issues, we're getting them up on the web as we locate them.

I grew up at JSC in Houston (Nassau Bay) during Gemini/Apollo, a NASA brat, so I was Doomed to Fandom. I love working cons but hate running them. Did conchair a few times and just hated it. Worked more than I remember, including a half dozen WC's, two winning bids, one abandoned, one losing, one current. But I always make it clear that come showtime I'm gonna be roving around with a radio or raising money at the charity auction* or bartending the Hugo Loser's party, not stressing out in OPS.

[*--and since the ConQuesT37 charity auction is my baby this year, if there's anything you would care to donate.... :-)]

"[*--and since the ConQuesT37 charity auction is my baby this year, if there's anything you would care to donate.... :-)]"

Unfortunately, I lost some of my best fanzines and stuff in the fire in my apartment building 1991 that burned up half my apartment, and then lost the core best remaining stuff in events that took place a few years later. The remaining bulk is in the possession of Bill Burns; I have nothing here in Colorado, but it was a great tragedy that my core very most rare, and a number of unique, items were destroyed. I was emotionally devastated for many years by this. (Many issues of Harlan's Dimensions, Bob Silverberg's Spaceship, Lee Hoffman's Quandry, a run of Hyphen, a program book from the 1941 Worldcon and similar convention material, private apa material from the Fifties, a hundred or so zines from the Forties, a few dozen zines from the Thirties, various original letters by various BNFs of the Fifties, and on and on and on.)

It's only in the past few years that I'm able to contemplate all this without it triggering me going back into severe clinical depression. But I'm over doing that about those losses. It's nonetheless, a great loss to fandom, and remains one of the deepest regrets of my life (because while there was nothing I could do about the fire, and I barely got out with my life; there's a story there; the other loss in the mid-Nineties was purely my own fault due to my not coping with things, and not realizing what would happen because I was in the depths of cripplingly severe clinical depression.)

Oh, what the hell: what happened was that I couldn't keep up my apartment because I couldn't work because of the depression, and paid to have my stuff put in storage, but was then so utterly dysfunctional from clinical depression that I didn't realize how little time I had to keep up the storage payments or the stuff would be auctioned off, and by the time I found out, it had been gone for a couple of months, and there was nothing to be done.

That was all of the stuff that had been in my apartment, not just the fan stuff, barring that which I had in two suitcases when I moved out, and the stuff at Bill Burns, including the remaining 98% of my personal photos, a Macintosh computer, quite a lot of fine books, some rare and autographed (by Heinlein, Clarke, Isaac, Harlan, and so forth, even though I never was particularly into autographs), and including my own copies of all the books I'd ever worked on, and some original manuscripts. This did not help me be less depressed for the rest of the Nineties.

So that was that. :-(

As I said, all better aboout that now, mostly fine now, but that stuff is forever gone. :-(

Hurts just to hear about it--even more, as one of my businesses is dealing in rare books and such. But rejoice in knowing there are folks like me who scan and photo and archive absolutely everything like that that ever goes through my hands. And folks like John Coker, who bust their butts to do so much more. We've archived thousands of items, and more keep coming.

I roomed with John and Dave Truesdale of TANGENT at LoneStar2, which was odd--Coker got the Evans Memorial Big Heart Award, and DT lost the fanzine Hugo on the last ballot sort. Mixed emotions that night--or early morning, rather.

"We've archived thousands of items, and more keep coming."

This is good.

"-Coker got the Evans Memorial Big Heart Award...."

Which reminds me that I was sorry to hear that Big-hearted Howard didn't make it to his own Worldcon Gohship. As I said, fans keep dropping like flies; some still only in their forties and fifties, too; it makes it painful to check those occasional copies of F770 or other such sources, because they're always filled new news of several more people I know who have dropped dead. (See the left lower bit of the sidebar of my blog for some I was particularly close to or who meant a great deal to me, one way or another; there are innumerable more I just knew casually, of course. Jeez, Linda Ann Moss? She was around my age. And so on and so on. (And, of course, my former sweetie Anna Vargo a year ago, at the age of 54, with about 3 months from first news to gone.)

Of course, this will only get worse.

Sorry for the morbid turn; I just caught up to the latest F770 the day before yesterday, so the phenonomenon is freshly on my mind again.

It's good that you're doing the scanning thing. If any of it are things fannish, I'd urge you to make contact with the folks at fanac.org, and see to having any such fannish material posted on the site.

Currently I have Sprint as my provider and an old samsung n400 as my phone. My contract is up and I am considering switching. I thought I would ask for some advice. I don't get Verizon here unfortunately. What cell provider do you use and why? What phone do you use and why? How much should I expect to pay?

I only need regular phone service, but I am thinking about trying something more exotic, like a high bandwith modem capable cell, or some other fun techno-toy. Thanks

But what will He-Man do?

There used to be a blog at this URL, right? I keep getting some kind of legal notice about Uzbeki underwear ...

Anderson, first, step AWAY from the fur-lined briefs. Slowly. Keep your hands in plain sight....

Gary, fanac will get copies of the archived materials, as will various of the Timebinders and Coker. Our current charity is KaCSFFS Press, for the purpose of subsidizing/publishing older works that can't get commercial backing, like our Frank Robinson release, Through My Glasses Darkly. Our next project is (hopefully) the short fiction of Wilson Tucker. No matter what Wikipedia says, it is NOT all in "The Best of" book. Not even close.

Ken Keller is still in charge of the press. And we're still publishing Bob's Neo-Fan's Guide, now in its 8th edition.

Good to hear, Tully. I was one of the founding members of Timebinders, as well.

Because I'm pretty much gafia (although I do a certain amount of Galactic Observing from afar on the internets), I'd not noticed KaCSFFS Press, and I see there's only the Robinson book so far (excellent start!), but I take it the idea is not greatly dissimilar from NESFA Press?

One development in the field in the last couple of decades that has been very fine has been the development of the small presses (reminiscent of the original small presses begun by fans in the Forties which published many of the early sf hardcovers) taking up the slack as the major publishers drop them of keeping classics in print, putting together new short story collections, and so on.

So: good job.

(I also did a reprint of the 3rd edition of The Enchanted Duplicator in 1981, and was responsible for getting the 1983 edition started, incidentally.)

We also did an original short story anthology to coincide with World Horror when we held it in KC. It's not-quite an offshoot of the old Ursus Press imprint (Keller again) that did the Pat Cadigan limiteds.

Yes, exactly the same idea as the NESFA's Choice series. By definition pretty much a labor of love, not a commercial profit venture.

We love small presses. There's a lot of great writers out there that wouldn't have much success at all if it weren't for the small press revolution.

Switching topics, and at risk of depressing everyone, does anyone give a damn about the Congo, and Sudan?

I am still worried about the unhaltered realists of Uzbekistan, as our host suggests, burning halters at the barricades and the men burning fur-backed voter ID cards in a mock ironic gesture of instantaneous compliance with the new law in effect there.

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