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Opuntia 71.1A - October 2011 [Plus Other Recent Issues]

16 pages, digest size, $3.00 cash for a sample copy, trade for your zine, or letter of comment, Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA T2P 2E7 
If anybody thought Dale was prolific before, what's his output gonna be like now that he's retired from the Parks Dept?
In this issue Dale examines at length the literary output of Canadian action-adventure ("in the style of Tom Clancy") writer Richard Rohmer, ex-Air Force pilot. Early in the piece he makes a very amusing comment about Rohmer, who instead of writing "The plane turned north", writes, "Their VOR receivers were tuned in to a frequency of 117.8 Mhz, and as the aircraft passed over Albany the RMI needles moved from pointing toward the nose of the aircraft through 180 degrees until they pointed to the tail."  To which Dale adds, "Info dumps have always been a problem for authors when trying to educate the reader while keeping the plot moving, especially in science fiction, where the universe has to be explained rather than assumed. Unnecessary info dumps are even worse. It is not essential to the plot that the RMI needles moved 180 degrees, any more than the Lone Ranger ever stopped to say: "As you know, Tonto, the Colt revolver fires six bullets from a rotating cylinder..."
There's also a short piece on early English mail artist W. Reginald Bray [1879-1939] who, along with mailing such items as turnips and dog biscuits, once mailed himself to his father.
The issue winds up with several pages of Dale's trademark concise zine reviews. The shortest one this time round is his review of The New Port News #259: "Apazine with short comments on numerous topics." 

Opuntia 70.5B - August 2011
Calgary's Light Rapid Transport system in words and pictures; plus some travel writings and photos by Dale from his drives around the countryside looking at scenic views such as Rocky Mountains and Gap Lakes, and not-so-scenic views like a wrecked 4WD that went over a cliff on a mountain road with no guard rail.

Opuntia 70.5A - July 2011
Dale writes about his last day working for the Parks Dept along with a reminiscence of his working life there, plus his plans for a busy and productive retirement. Then some photos from his hikes in the Rocky Mountains adjacent to Calgary. Dale visits a rural town called Vulcan (1.5 hours drive south-east of Calgary). In 1995 the town council fabricated a large model of a Federation starship and placed it at the east entrance to the town. Looks like a must-visit for any dedicated Star Trek fan! Next up some letters to the editor. Then Dale's account of how he celebrated the 18th annual World Wide Party - "...invented by Benoit Girard (Quebec) and Franz Miklis (Austria), the idea is to get a wave circulating the world of zinesters, mail artists, and SF fans toasting the Papernet."  The issue ends with a mysterious statement: "...most zinesters still don't get the idea that they should use a horizontal format, not vertical format. But that is another rant for another day." [Dale's zine is one of the very few that is printed in this 'landscape' format.]

Opuntia 70.1F - April 2011
Reviews of Steampunk'd [2010], an anthology of original stories commissioned by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg; The Great Reset [2010] a book that compares the aftermath of the Panic [of 2008] not to the Great Depression as most commentators do, but to the Long Depression of 1873; Polywater [1981] by Felix Franks. Polywater? Dale writes: "Those of us of a certain age who follow the science news will instantly recognize the word polywater." Well, all I will say is that I found the review hard enough to follow, so probably won't be bugging my local public library to track down a copy. There's also a review of Gold: The Once and Future Money [2007] by Nathan Lewis. Whenever I see or hear the word 'gold', the Spandau Ballet song of the same name immediately pops into my head and I have a tough time getting it out again.

Opuntia 70.1G - May 2011
An overview of tsunami/tidal wave movies, including Tidal Wave [2009, Korea]; a 1967 episode of The Man From UNCLE, 'The Yo Ho Ho And A Bottle Of Rum Affair'; Killer Wave [2006]; and Flood [2009 telemovie].
Then some reviews of books about oil, oil rigs, drilling for oil, Black Gold, Texas Tea - Drowning In Oil [2011] by Loren Steffy; Fire On The Horizon [2011] by John Konrad (an oil-rig captain) and Tom Shroder (journalist) and A Hole At The Bottom Of The Sea [2011] by Joel Achenbach. Dale goes on to recommend more books about Peak Oil.
Finally a review of Script and Scribble [2009] by Kitty Burns Florey, "an informal history of handwriting, mixed in with personal anecdotes about learning penmanship in a Catholic school with Sister Mary discipline."
Tags: dale speirs, opuntia, reviews

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