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Opuntia 70.3

  
16 pages, digest size, $3.00 cash for a one-time sample copy, trade for your zine, or letter of comment, from Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA T2P 2E7 
This issue is for the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (Details from Robert Lichtman, 11037 Broadway Terrace, Oakland CA 994611-1948, USA), and Dale explains what an apa is in his intro. "Apa (amateur press association) members send x number of copies of their zine to a central mailer (also known as the official editor). The zines are collated into bundles, and each member gets back one bundle of everyone's zines. There is an annual fee to cover postage. Apas have a minimum level of activity required, such as publishing 8 pages a year. It must be emphasized that apas are not for passive subscribers; you must commit to the minimum activity level or you will be booted out. FAPA has been going for more than 70 years; the oldest apa is the Nationaol A.P.A., founded 1876."
So what you get here is brief comments from Dale about each zine bundled within FAPA #293. Some of these include Fandom Forever #1 (Danish and Canadian SF fandom), Alphabet Soup #68 ("I don't see the point of giving Fred Pohl the Hugo award for best amateur writer. He's not just a pro writer. He's the most senior pro writer in the field."); Ouroborus #25 (The history of cartoonist Al Williamson (from Tarzan comics in the 1940s to Star Wars comics in the 1980s); Visions Of Paradise #157 (a Hugo Awards travesty where "...Best Fan Writer went to professional author Frederik Pohl because he had a blog, and Best Fanzine went to a podcast of natter. I blame the committee, which should have reclassified or disqualified those nominations."); Lofgeornost #101 (Includes a short story about Earl "Pigg" Foss, the drunken lumberjack SF fan. (I wanna copy of that!)).
Next, a bunch of comments about FAPA #294. Here Dale answers a question about OPUNTIA's publishing system: "Why do you divide them instead of just publishing one big issue?" One of the reasons he gives is that a common reason for zines dying is that they grow too big and the editor gives up under the heavy workload.
There's a piece about Calgary's annual SF convention Con-Version and why it has been "very shaky" in recent years. "The main problem seems to be that Trekkies are thin on the ground nowadays, and certainly not enough of them to pay for five minor actors from the same series. Had there been a diversity, with one for the teenage-vampires-in-love crowd, another for steampunkers, and so on for other currently-airing television shows, the turnout might have been better."
Then comes 'Seen In The Literature', bits and pieces from scientific journals, such as: 'The recent formation of Saturn's moonlets from viscous spreading of the main rings.' [Nature #465]; 'A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry.' [Nature #465]; 'A failure of serendipity: the Square Kilometre Array will struggle to eavesdrop on human-like extraterrestrial intelligence.' [International Journal of Astrobiology #10]; and 'The mathematics in the structures of Stonehenge.' [Archives of the History of the Exact Sciences #65].
A short letter column this time round - only one, from Lloyd Penney. He mentions that Margaret Atwood (in a discussion with Ursula K. LeGuin at an event in Oregon) "...seemed to be comfortable to be labeled a science fiction writer. Perhaps she is tired of Canadian readers not reading her works and may be looking for a more appreciative audience. I think she may regret her talking squids remark."
OK. Look. If you're still reading, either you are already on Dale's mailing list, or you probably should write to him and get on it. I can no longer imagine life without it.

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