From @CUNYVM.CUNY.EDULISTSERV@TCSVM.BITNET Fri Mar 18 123546 1988 Received by NADC.ARPA (5

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

From @CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU:LISTSERV@TCSVM.BITNET Fri Mar 18 12:35:46 1988 Received: by NADC.ARPA (5.51/1.0 ) id AA22186; Fri, 18 Mar 88 12:33:50 EST Message-Id: <8803181733.AA22186@NADC.ARPA> Received: from TCSVM.Tulane.EDU by CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU ; Fri, 18 Mar 88 12:33:46 EST Received: by TCSVM (Mailer X1.25) id 0087; Fri, 18 Mar 88 08:45:13 CST Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1988 08:45 CST From: Revised List Processor (1.5m) Subject: File: "FSFNET VOL01N3" being sent to you To: wyzansky@NADC.ARPA Status: R +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+--+-+--+-+ VOLUME ONE NUMBER THREE | | ========================================== +___________+ FFFFF SSS FFFFF N N EEEEE TTTTT | ++ | F S F NN N E T | ++ | FFF SSS FFF N N N EEE T | | F S F N NN E T |_________| F SSS F N N EEEEE T /___________\ ========================================== | | BITNET Fantasy-Science Fiction Fanzine ___|___________|___ X-Edited by 'Orny' Liscomb (NMCS025@MAINE) <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> CONTENTS Editorial Orny Flyby Fiction by Jim Owens Featured Author: TANITH LEE Orny The Narret Chronicles Fiction by Mari A. Paulson <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Editorial Well, folks, welcome to issue three of FSFnet! After last issue's slump, we have got some real treats for you with some excellent fiction. I must thank Jim Owens (J1O @ PSUVM) for most of this issue - his loyalty and productiveness... well... if only all readers were so avid and so talented... I must again remind you that FSFnet is a fanzine, and that I must have submissions for it to continue. I know that many of you have commented about sending things in, but haven't found the time. Please do... FSFnet needs your support to continue. Also, it has come to my attention that many people are having problems reading FSFnet onto their disks. VAX users want DISK DUMP CLASS N, IBM users want SENDFILE, and so forth. I would like to hear from people as to which format they consider most desirable. And thank you for putting up with any inconvenience due to this problem, past or future. One more thing before I send you off into space... Issue four will be a special tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, famous author of horror, particularly the Cthulhu mythos. If you have anything that might be acceptable, please send it in! As always, letters are welcome, as is almost anything I can get my hands on! But I grow long-winded, and I would not presume to detract from the two wonderful pieces of fiction in this issue, so READ ON! Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> FLYBY The asteroid flashed past, turning slowly. He could feel the power in the twin-spool behind him. He knew, however, that there were more powerful engines in the warship behind him. "Easy run." Elein had said as she pulled him to the booth. "Just lure the ships out to the Belt and they pay our way back!" The Paixites needed ships, he knew. But they needed the men even more. The Paixites were not wimps. They held more power than the rest of space combined. They just weren't takers. They were more likely to give you a planet than to try to take yours. They had a fantastic, outgoing way about them, an attitude unmatched for niceness. Without that, mankind would have been in trouble. Some, however, saw niceness as weakness. Ever since they had appeared in human space they had been the target of many a siege, and were under one now by a group whose sole interest in life was the acqusition of other people's goods. The pay was good, however, and the the assignment easy. Besides, he had wanted to fly the VAS Butterfly for many months now. Ever since it came out all he had heard was how fast and maneuverable it was. And here was the chance. So he signed up, took off within the hour, and now here they were. "Greg, you got ..." The transmission was cut off as he reacted, swinging around and heading for a nearby point of light he knew to be a large asteroid. As he did, he caught sight of the capture ship swinging around in a larger arc in an attempt to keep up with him. The men flying it had one concern: the electronics in the tail of his little ship. If they could get his ship in range of their tractor field... Even as he watched, he saw one of the large vessels slide up behind Elein's ship. Even as he yelled for her to evade, she hit her emergency boosters. They pushed her forward - just far enough for the nose of the Butterfly to escape. But the rest of the ship was still in the capture jaws, which slammed shut, neatly severing the cockpit from the rest of the craft. The life compartment, with Elein in it, drifted off to one side, like the head of a fish out of a shark's mouth. He had little time to reflect on how long Elein could survive on the little bit of emergency air provided in the cockpit, because even as he dove around the asteroid it's surface came alive with sparks and flashes of light. It only took a moment to realize that he was being fired upon. Apparently the pirates had caught all of the other nine craft, and had decided that this last one wasn't worth the effort, and that now all they had to do was eliminate it. He felt like screaming. Instead he hit the emergency thrusters and rounded the asteroid marginally ahead of the pursuit. He flashed past a pinnacle, and then straightened out his flight, hoping to loose his followers. Then, to his surprise, he saw, just ahead, th Paixian transport ship, it's landing bay wide open, it's landing field activated and waiting. All he had to do was reach it, as fast as possible, and he was safe. No weapon could reach him, they would cancel his immense velocity, they would protect him. A little further... 500 meters out the plasma bolt from the pirate ship caught him in the engine. It vaporized it's way through the composite hull, and slammed into the ship's skeleton. Even as it ignited the fuel, the shock wave reached the cockpit and split the canopy. Milliseconds before the heat from the exploding engines could reach him, Greg was blasted out into vacuum by the exploding ejection seat bolts. "Greg..." He opened his eyes. The light was bright. Heaven? "Greg..." He turned his head. If this was heaven they sure had modern landing bays. He was hanging upside down in what could only be a Paixian landing field, staring at a pair of feet that could only belong to one person. "Elein, why aren't I dead?" "You blew it right in front of the landing field. You passed out on the last 100 meters through the void before you hit the field." Greg rolled to his feet. Standing behind Elein at a respectable distance was the Paixian who had hired them. "Congratulations Greg. You survived the longest. In fact, you are the first person in history ever to bring any part of his ship to the delivery point." Greg followed the pointed finger. There lay the assembled wreckage of his ship. "Am I to take it you can salvage that?" "No, of course not. Why would we want to? It's you we really wanted after all, someone who would fulfill his contract without turning back, regardless of what gauntlet they had to run." "And I did it, eh?" There was little left of the ship but shards. "Yes. After all, it's the attitude we want, not merely the product." Jim Owens <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Featured Author: TANITH LEE Tanith Lee is one of the prolific female FSF authors of this age. The London librarian's books are in the vanguard of todays literature. Although she has a devoted following of readers, her books are not the kind often found on neighborhood bookstore shelves. Her style is very unique and mature, and, if I may venture a subjective opinion, among the best writings I have ever read. Lee deals effectively with fantasy, love, horror, ethics, and mystery as well as any author. Her twisting the expected and the traditional can be seen in many of her works. Her Flat Earth series, including "Death's Master," "Delusion's Master," "Night's Master,"and, soon to be released, "Delirium's Mistress" are excellent works of wonder and mystery. Her Birthgrave series, "the Birthgrave," "Vazkor, Son of Vazkor," and "Quest for the White Witch" are masterworks of science fiction, combining sexual sophistication, literary maturity, and unique insights into morality. "Sung in Shadow" retells a famous Shakespearean tale, with Lee's typically atypical twists of plot, as "Red as Blood" retells many well-known childrens yarns. But these works are not for the young at all! Perhaps Lee's master work, "Cyrion," is an enthralling, captivating work, following episodes in the life of a wandering legend. Her tales are never entirely what is expected, and they provide fresh, mature, perceptive insights into the realm of wonder. Although most of Lee's works are published by David Wollheim's DAW Books, Lee has also written two books for the new Tempo MagicQuest series, "the Dragon Hoard" and "East of Midnight." The former is a wondrous tale of fantasy, more simplistic than her other works. The latter is typical Lee, full of unexpected twists and deep thought. The future seems to hold many new developments for Tanith Lee. Scheduled for publication by DAW are: "Delirium's Mistress" and "the Gods are Thirsty," and recently published are "East of Midnight" and "the Gorgon." For those who are interested, there is an excellent interview with the author in Heavy Metal magazine (Nov 84-v8n8). Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> "THE NARRET CHRONICLES" BOOK THE LAST It was a night just like any other night on Amrif, nothing at all out of the ordinary. The sky was dark white, and the stars were all glimmering bright black. High pressure systems over this solitary ocean were the norm for this desert world. Since the desert wasn't conducive to normal life forms, the people of this third planet in the Narret System lived in giant floating cities, and satellite suburbias connected by an intricate system of channelways. Samo Ht was skimming along in his Hydrocar, thinking about the lecture he was going to give to his class, when Cyri, a familiar cons tellation caught his eye. "Oh Cyri, when woulds't thou lower thy head. When woulds't thou drop thy weary DASER, and end thy warring ways." He quoted the famous line from Steadywound the ancient poet. Whatever did Bill Steadywound see in a constellation as old as Cyri? He asked himself True, there was something romantic about the old asterism, but the legend about how Cyri had cut down 400 desert creatures with a single charge fro m his Dark Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation gun gave him shudders. "How disgustingly advanced" Samo thought to himself. "Oh, well, that's what the future's about, as for now: Backward and downward." Samo Ht glanced out the window of his Hydrocar again. This time something else caught his eye. "Ah ha, the Dusty Lane!" Samo exclaimed "My, it's exceptionally clear tonight. Humh, I guess I'll have to close the observatory before class tonight..." " class we have an entire system here: the nucleons, which consist of the neuterons and the negatrons and orbiting shells of particles called positrons. Remember that the atom in its resting state is always balanced in charge, and the total number of positrons always equals the number of negatrons. Any questions? Yes, Lexia?" "Dr. Ht, what happens to the atom if it gets excited? Will the positrons go flying off and leave the atom negatively charged?" "That's exactly right Lexia. The resulting charged atom is called an ion. You'll learn more about ions in the next lower course." Just then the green light on the Vidcom came on. "Well class it looks like your luck ran out again. Class dismissed." Samo knew that when the green light came on, it could mean only one of two things, and both of them spelled trouble. The light meant that there was an incoming wave transmission, and the transmissions always came from one of two sources. Either it was some stupid-ass general, a clerk who messed up and shattered an important document, (since this was a desert world, all records were kept on diamond etched glass plates) usually some of his inreproducible research, or it was a lower ranking private ordering him on an important mission. Fortunately the former didn't happen too often, and something told him that this time it would definitely be the latter. It was only a matter of millicentons before his suspicions were confirmed, and the image of the planet's commanding officer, Private Stark, formed from a solitary centered dot, to a horizontal line, to a circle, and finally a tubular hologram on the Vidcom. Samo saluted. "No time for formalities, Sgt. Ht." the commander bluntly began. "There's an inter-planetary crisis, involving all nine planets of The Narret System. It deals with Trivia-Antitrivia reactions,and we need you to be one of our foremost experts on the subject. There's an emergency conference being held on the Planet Sunaru in one On. We're calling in our lowest minds on this one. Your orders are to report to the Central Sea on Sunaru in exactly 95 centons. Any questions?" "Yes, does this at all concern our counter-planet sir?" "Unfortunately, yes it does. They're playing God again. And you know as well as I do what that could mean. If that's all, you better get going' you now have 94.5 centons." "Yes, that's all. Thank you sir." "Thank ME? Bad luck to YOU, Sergeant. Stark out." "Well, no time to close the observatory now. Got to get going." Mari A. Paulson <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> From @CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU:LISTSERV@TCSVM.BITNET Fri Mar 18 12:38:13 1988 Received: by NADC.ARPA (5.51/1.0 ) id AA22239; Fri, 18 Mar 88 12:36:16 EST Message-Id: <8803181736.AA22239@NADC.ARPA> Received: from TCSVM.Tulane.EDU by CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU ; Fri, 18 Mar 88 12:34:14 EST Received: by TCSVM (Mailer X1.25) id 0093; Fri, 18 Mar 88 08:45:22 CST Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1988 08:45 CST From: Revised List Processor (1.5m) Subject: File: "FSFNET VOL01N5" being sent to you To: wyzansky@NADC.ARPA Status: R +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+--+-+--+-+ VOLUME ONE NUMBER FIVE | | ========================================== +___________+ FFFFF SSS FFFFF N N EEEEE TTTTT | ++ | F S F NN N E T | ++ | FFF SSS FFF N N N EEE T | | F S F N NN E T |_________| F SSS F N N EEEEE T /___________ ========================================== | | BITNET Fantasy-Science Fiction Fanzine ___|___________|___ X-Edited by 'Orny' Liscomb <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> CONTENTS Editorial Orny Narret Chronicles 10 Mari A. Paulson Featured Author: JAMES KAHN Orny Backing Jim Owens FSFnet Survey For you to send to me... <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Editorial Well, here at last is issue 5 of FSFnet. As the summer approaches, a number of userids will be changing, and many numbers which are sent FSFnet will be eliminated. I would ask people who will not be around to remember to cancel their subscription by sending me a mail file or message. FSFnet will continue to be printed throughout the summer, and I would like those people who will be staying throughout the summer to spread the word to others who might be interested in the zine, as many of our subscribers and contributors will be leaving for summer break. Both subscriptions and submissions have slowed to a trickle. I must remind you that FSFnet is more your venture than mine, and that it must receive submissions to continue to work. Please spread the word and encourage others to join the membership list, and try to get something written. I know that many of you are writers of quality... The CSNEWS server at MAINE now supports a bulletin board service which many users might be interested in investigating. For general information on CSNEWS send it a message HELP. For info on the bulletin board service, say SENDME CSBB HELPNET. Files you might wish to request can be requested by sending SENDME COMICS CSNOTICE, SENDME STARTREK CSNOTICE, and/or SENDME SCIFI CSNOTICE. Maine users, of course, can get these files by sharing CSNEWS' 192 disk. Well, enjoy, and spread the word. And remember, contributions are needed! Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> The Narret Chronicles Book The Tenth "With all undue disrespect to His Recruitship, what in the heavens are we all doing here?" "Yes, Yes, what ARE we all doing here?" "Rudemen, rudemen please, come to chaos will you." The voice of the commander of the Narret System's Interplanetary Society boomed over the loudspeakers. "You've all been called here out of an emergency situation which has occured on our counter-planet in the Terran System. But after I get to that, it is unimportant that you remain ignorant of the other Scientists here. Most of them you already won't know, as their infamity follows them . Some of them may be familiar, so allow me to introduce them to you now. To my far right is Cpl. Dr. Zark, an ignorant on counter-universal structure and geography; to my right Cpl. Stado, an ignorant on daytime observation of white-holes; to my far left Sgt. Dr. Guilp, an ignorant on the construction of darktron-wave warp engines and their incorporation into spacecraft; and finally my left hand man on matters of this kind, Sgt. Dr. Samo Ht, the system's foremost ignorant on Trivia-Antitrivia reactions. Sergeant Dr. Ht comes to us from the Institute for Regressive Presearch on Amrif." "Fine, now that we're all ignorant of one another, lets get up to the matter at hand." Said Dr. Zark, wishing to get the blue tape over with. "Alright, rudemen, may I detract your attention to the Vidscreen you see before you. What you are seeing is the product of a bottom secret trans- counter-universal communications presearch project that NSIS has been working on for the last several Losar Cycles. The images which you see are computational composite images of the most probable counter-universal sources for white-body radiation in our universe. Note specifically the chronograph in the lower left corner of the Vidscreen. The sources change from one low energy body to another, and the fluctuation between bodies has an upper limit of no longer than one On. Now note the following: For the last ten Ons, the source has remained constant. An image of it should come up right about..." "Oh no." blurted Zark "Just beautiful!" exclaimed Ht "Sorry rudemen, but the image has been confirmed and I assure you there has been no mistake. The white-body radiation increase in our universe over the last ten Ons has been caused by none other than the build-up and launch readying of enough nuclear weapons on Planet Earth to blow the whole Terran System to the sixth physical dimension." "(Screens down) That's why you men are here. Clearly something must be done to make them realize that if they succeed in blowing themselves off the dimension scan, they will also be blowing us off it with them. Somehow, someway, before this conference is adjourned we must devise a method for letting the Earthlings know that they are not alone." "Yes but how?" Queried Guilp "The humans can't receive darktron wave communications any more than we can receive their photon laser communications." "Yes, and if they could, it would take trillions of Losar Cycles just to get there," added Stado. "Actually, it would take quintillions, 4.57289 quintillions to be a little less exact." said Samo. "I was afraid it would come to this, but then again, it always does." "What in the heavens are you talking about Ht?" asked Zark. "You sound as if you've been there before." "Commander with your permission I would like to raise the security clearance of this meeting to the bottom-most level." "What is he talking about Commander Valtrep? I thought that an Omega Class security clearance WAS the bottom-most class." said Stado. "It is, for Sunaru. But not for NSIS. There are several lower classes in NSIS." The commander explained. "In anticipation of your request, I took the liberty of having that level security check done, merely a formality, of course, and you all passed. Here are your Class Omega-Alpha:Alpha-Omega security passes. Dr. Ht would you please be mean enough to explain the future of these security level passes?" "Sure," said Ht. "This is not the first time the Humans have tried to do away with themselves..." Mari A. Paulson <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Featured Author: JAMES KAHN James Kahn is neither prolific nor well-known in the vast fantasy market. He has written a mystery novel named "Diagnosis: Murder", and has contributed to other works as well. His works of fantasy are limited to a series known as the "New World Trilogy". The first volume is entitled "World Enough, and Time" and is a unique and provocative work set in a more-than-half mythical future California. It is an excellent tale, and Kahn has succeeded in bringing a refreshing newness to old mythical creatures and the typical post- cataclysm Earth stories. The second book of the trilogy, "Time's Dark Laughter", is a much more mature book, with more ominous plots and more involved implications. However, the main characters remain the same, and their honesty and goodness do not change. In "World Enough", the characters are interested only in saving themselves, while in "Laughter" they are forced into action to stop a threat to the entire area. The third book, to the best of my knowledge, has not been released as yet, but, believe me, I'm looking! Kahn's style is very good. The books are excellent for readers who enjoy light (but far from mindless or dull) reading. The books are exceptional in style, as the author brings a new richness to old beasts and situations. Kahn is an excellent fantasist, and these books are well worth the effort to find. Which brings up a point. They may very well prove hard to find. Published by Del Rey in 1980 and 1982, respectively, there are few copies left on bookstore shelves, and Kahn's relative anonymity has hampered volume sales. The books are, nonetheless, excellent works, and are well worth the effort to find. Perhaps when the third volume is issued there will be a renewed interest, and old volumes will again be stocked. Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Backing Greg looked out on the massed faces. The road was rough, and the sheet metal cart he was in bounced and boomed over the potholes. He was often thrown against the sides of the cart, scraping his hands. He would have sat down, but then he wouldn't have been able to avoid the occasional thrown rock. The scene looked so much like the old movies he had seen of the French Revolution that had he not been the one in the tumbrel, he would have laughed. He felt little anxiety over his impending execution. He had been expecting it for some time. In fact, it was almost a relief, after the days of running and hiding, constantly fearing that someone would turn him in. He felt more sorrow for his young companions in the cart. They stood back to back, their arms tied together. They were close friends in life, and their captors had decided that they would be close friends in death. One of them turned to him. "You'd think they were angry with us or something." He had to raise his voice to be heard over the angry sound of the mob. "Yeah, like we'd been trying to change their whole way of life or something." Greg's reply rang true. Even as he said it, Greg thought back to that day when he had first set eyes on this planet. "What!?" He couldn't believe his ears. "I'm going to tell them what!?" "You must tell them that they had better straighten up their act, because the new world order is coming, and it won't tolerate the way they are presently living." "You can't be serious. What is this new world order business? And who's going to be running it?" "We are." Greg couldn't believe his ears. He had been sent to the planet by the Paixians, a group that had suddenly appeared on the galactic scene only five years previously, with technology and power that put everything else in space to shame. Yet they had consistently used their power only to help other planets, to build the new, to repair the old, to help where help was needed. True, they weren't a real major force in the economic market, nor did they enter into any alliances, but they were always on the minds of the major policy makers, as an unknown and possibly influential factor. But in no way did they fit the description of empire builders. Yet, here was one of them,telling him in all seriousness that he had to tell the people of this planet,of all planets, that they were about to become someone else's subjects. That was sheer suicide, by any standards. He was at the time standing on Arelite, the home planet of the Arelites, known galaxy wide for their short tempers and hard hitting shock troops. No people had a greater planetary pride.They had, before the arrival of the Paixians, totally sterilized half of the populated bodies in their system in a war that lasted three days and which had started when their ambassador had been insulted at a state dinner held on their sister planet, Buccus. And he had to tell them... "Right." He had been told to recruit 5,000 Arelites to help with his announcement plans. He was not given ambassadorial status. In fact, the Arelites didn't even know he was on the planet. Fortunately. "But don't worry. You have our full backing." Elein, his traveling mate, stood beside the Paixian. "You'll love it Greg. You always liked public speaking." He hated public speaking. He had been given money, and the names and locations of the major broadcasting facilities, so that was no problem. Recruiting Arelites to, effectively, betray their own planet, was something entirely different, or so he thought. To his surprise, for about 2 weeks solid, every person he talked to, or so it seemed, was discontented, upset with the government, anxious for a better life, or somehow mentally prepared for the concept of a new management, so to speak. They were quickly added to the ranks of his small but growing cadre, and in turn started feeling out prospective members. At first he wondered at the surprising amount of turncoats, but soon realized that it was no coincidence that they had happened to be in the area the same time he was. It seemed that the Paixians were using every means at their well stocked disposal to throw him the best possible combination of recruits. They came from every walk of life, and yet they seemed to fit together like a glove. With the gentle philosophy of the Paixians flowing through the group at the instruction of Greg, they soon had enough people to cover all the bases, the contacts to get into the studios, the men to create the tapes of the broadcasted message, the managers to combine all the efforts. With great anticipation, they set a date, and spun the tapes. The result was spectacular, but predictable. Most of the group had gone underground the week before the broadcast, but Greg and a few hand selected aids stayed behind, so that had the reaction been more favorable there would have been someone readily available to lead the throngs. The throngs came all right, carrying nooses. The only reason Greg et al had not died outright was that the secret police were faster than the raging lynch mobs. A sudden stop brought Greg back to the here and now. He looked around and saw that they were stopped in front of a large white marble building. He and the two others were herded inside, where they were whisked five stories up to where a wide balcony opened out. There the government had, just for them, erected a large steel guillotine, complete with basket. As he stepped into view, the crowd below started a chant. As they were pulling the blade up, he was able to hear the words floating up from the assembled masses. "Kill them! Kill them!" How original. There was no ceremony. He was roughly forced onto the steel table. He saw out of the corner of his eye a gaudily clad general raise his arm. The chanting ceased. The general paused dramatically,and dropped his arm. He heard the sliding of the blade, then there was a blow like a sledgehammer, and everything went blinding white. And stayed that way. He felt no pain. He did, after a moment, get annoyed with the strain of holding his head up. Then he realized that he should no longer have to hold his head up, much less be able to. He realized that his hands were now free. He cautiously raised his body, and found that he was no longer locked in by steel. The light dimmed, and became normal. He opened his eyes, and looked around. "Good job, Greg." "I think I've asked this before. Elein, Why aren't I dead?" Behind Elein stood the Paixian who brought him to Arelite. "What were you worrying about? I told you you had our backing." Greg looked back. The crowd below was running, in every direction but towards the building. The guillotine still stood, from the table top down. Where the blade guides had been there were now two, shining square patches, sliced off flush, polished to a mirror surface. "I blew the rest of it into orbit. That's the flash you saw." The Paixian was grinning widely. "I enjoy grandstanding. Don't get to do it very often. The guys in upstairs said it was one of the greatest starting guns they ever saw." "Actually you blew it further out than just orbit. You might have actually given it escape velocity." Greg looked around. He saw his two companions, grinning and rubbing their bruised wrists. He saw Elein, listening with an amused expression. He saw the Paixian. But none of them had spoken. "Who said that?" "That's Michael. You'll be meeting him soon, after we finish mopping up." "Mopping up?" "Yes. You can relax. The invasion's over. We won. Of course." Jim Owens <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> FSFNET SURVEY Fill in and return Rate authors: (6=best,1=worst,0=haven't read) ( ) Anderson ( ) Clarke ( ) Lee ( ) Niven ( ) Anthony ( ) Donaldson ( ) Lem ( ) Norton ( ) Aspirin ( ) Eddings ( ) Lewis ( ) Pournelle ( ) Bradbury ( ) Heinlein ( ) Lovecraft ( ) Saberhagen ( ) Bradley ( ) Herbert ( ) McCaffrey ( ) Tolkien ( ) Cherryh ( ) LeGuin ( ) Moorcock ( ) Zelazny Are there any other authors you feel are particularly noteworthy? Rate the FSFnet zines (6=best,1=worst,0=did not read) ( ) Vol 1 No 1: Dune, 'Ornathor's Saga', Brisingamen, MAR Barker ( ) Vol 1 No 2: 1984 poem, Larry Niven, 'Close Encounter' ( ) Vol 1 No 3: 'Flyby', Tanith Lee, 'Narret Chronicles' ( ) Vol 1 No 4: Lovecraft, Cthulhu game, 'the Book', Cthulhu Mythos ( ) Vol 1 No 5: Rate the importance of the following in FSFnet. (6=most,1=least) ( ) Roleplaying Games News and Reviews ( ) Science Fiction News and Reviews ( ) Fantasy News and Reviews ( ) Letters of Comment ( ) Original Science Fiction ( ) Fantasy Fiction Is there anything you feel FSFnet has been weak on or needs more of? Have you submitted any articles to FSFnet? (Y/N) ( ) From @CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU:LISTSERV@TCSVM.BITNET Fri Mar 18 12:40:28 1988 Received: by NADC.ARPA (5.51/1.0 ) id AA22275; Fri, 18 Mar 88 12:38:24 EST Message-Id: <8803181738.AA22275@NADC.ARPA> Received: from TCSVM.Tulane.EDU by CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU ; Fri, 18 Mar 88 12:35:01 EST Received: by TCSVM (Mailer X1.25) id 0095; Fri, 18 Mar 88 08:45:26 CST Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1988 08:45 CST From: Revised List Processor (1.5m) Subject: File: "FSFNET VOL01N6" being sent to you To: wyzansky@NADC.ARPA Status: R +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+--+-+--+-+ VOLUME ONE NUMBER SIX | | ========================================== +___________+ FFFFF SSS FFFFF N N EEEEE TTTTT | ++ | F S F NN N E T | ++ | FFF SSS FFF N N N EEE T | | F S F N NN E T |_________| F SSS F N N EEEEE T /___________ ========================================== | | BITNET Fantasy-Science Fiction Fanzine ___|___________|___ X-Edited by 'Orny' Liscomb <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> CONTENTS Editorial Orny Narret Chronicles 9 Mari A. Paulson Featured Author: DAVID EDDINGS Orny Review: the Black Company Trilogy Merlin SciFi Story Alex Williams Paranoia RPG Review Orny Return of Jedi Commentary Merlin <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Editorial Hello, all! Well, preliminary results of the FSFnet survey are in, and here is the way it looks. Favorite authors are Larry Niven and Tolkien, least favorite being C.S. Lewis and Bradbury. Favorite issue was number four, the Lovecraftian issue. Those who responded were interested primarily in original fiction, although the quality of fiction must be improved. The letter column still remains a divided issue. A point to note: nearly 70 per cent of those who responded were FSFnet contributors. If you wish to take part in the survey, it was tagged at the end of issue 5. Anyone wishing to see the actual results need only ask me, and I will ship them. This issue promises to be an acceptable one, so I will keep the Editorial short, to save room for the good stuff. A reminder: we need submissions, especially short quality fiction. Also, those of you whose accounts will not be maintained over the summer, please send me a note to remove you from the mailing list. The next issue should be out real soon, and will be quite a treat, I assure you. All you people who asked for better fiction, watch closely... Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> The Narret Chronicles Book the Ninth "Unwelcome Samo!" Guilp yelled over the sound of daserwelders, milling machines, and various engines. "Let's step out of my office." "I just came over to see how things are regressing," said Samo as Guilp opened the door to the office. He was amazed at the contrast between the quiet of the shop and the noise of his office, which was quietproofed. "Things are going quite horribly, and we're way behind schedule. I'm braved you won't be able to leave at 6 p.m. yesteron as you requested. Yes, you'll have to leave at noon yesteron, like it or no," Guilp stated with a smile. "Horrible, simply horrible," Samo replied. "And I was brave you'd only be half-started by now. And here you tell me you'll be completely started by noon yesteron. Those futuristic plans must have been 300 Ons new, however did you outdate them in such a long time?" queried Samo. "That's a little public knowledge I've been working on for a few Ons now. Here have a look," Guilp said as he flipped a switch on his desk. Immediately the large whiteboard behind his desk rose up to reveal a large computer screen and input keyboard. "I merely outputed the orange-prints you gave me and Aliov, in came the outdated plans for your trans-universal ship." "I'm brave I quite understand you completely," stated Samo. "It's quite allwrong, please worry," said Guilp. "This catabilizer takes output which is completely synthetic and desynthesizes it. Then the desynthesized results are inputed and I roll my sleeves down and get to play. Now does that make less sense?" "Much less, thank you." said Samo. "And this system belongs to NSIS I assume?" "Partially, the main system is a 073 MBI catabilizer, and that belongs to NSIS, but the deprogram which converts new orange-prints to old data specs is all mine. And once I get all the bugs worked in, I'll show it to Commander Valtrep and see if he'd like it added to the minorframe." "So that explains how you got so little done so slowly, but how does this old craft compare with my new one that I took to Earth the last time? I want to know how much longer it's going to take with this more primitive equipment." "Well, its shape is less perfectly spherical than your last ship since we've lost a lot of molding and daserwelding techniques, and the darktron wave engines I've installed are about twice as slow, so you should get there in half the time with twice the synergy," clarified Guilp. "Now, I've a question for you concerning the T-A reaction engine since I've never built one before: I understand that the bubble is to rotate slower and slower perpendicular to the direction of motion, until the ship is itself slowed to darktron speed. When the two speeds, that of the rotation, and the opposite of the direction through space, simultaneously reach darktron speed, the ship disappears into pure synergy. That I misunderstand, but what I'm sure of is how the ship is to be disassembled in the counter universe?" "Well," said Samo, "what happens is this: when the ship leaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaves this universe as pure synergy, it becomes total Anti-trivia in the counter-universe. Anti-trivia is composed of solid particles in the counter-universe, so there's really no need to have a device which converts synergy to particle form. Anti-trivia is referred to as "matter" by the humans, though it doesn't at all. Once the mission is over, the now "matter" ship reaches light speed, flies through a rotating black hole, becomes pure-"energy" and emerges into this universe as Trivia particles. Now is that more nebulous?" "Perfectly. You've lost me completely." Mari A. Paulson <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Featured Author: DAVID EDDINGS Few authors have achieved a master work with their first published work of fantasy, but David Eddings' five-book Belgeriad has proven itself a classic. The work consists of the following books: Pawn of Prophesy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, and Enchanter's End Game. Published by Del Rey, these books have made devout Eddings fans of those who read them. Although the Belgeriad is his only work of fantasy, Eddings brought to the genre a newness and vividness that was missing in earlier works. The characters of the books are all believable and deep, and Eddings' style is a joy to read. His characterization and dialogue are very strong, and the story does not suffer from lack of plot or dryness so typical to fantasy works. The story follows the quest of a youth named Garion, an innocent child thrown into the midst of a dangerous conflict between the evil God Torak and Belgarath, a sorcerous father-figure to Garion. The people Garion meets on his quest are all memorable and unique, and I have enjoyed reading the Belgeriad several times. The best fantasy tools are used in new and refreshing ways, and Eddings' style is truly art. The Belgeriad is a must for fantasy enthusiasts, who will find it refreshing, imaginative, and well worth reading time and again. Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Review: The Black Company Trilogy Glen Cook has recently published a fascinating swords and sorcery trilogy consisting of The_Black_Company, The_Shadows_Linger, and The_ White_Rose, available in paperback from Tor Books. The first title is a salute to Arthur Conan Doyle's The_White_Company which recounts the exploits of mercenaries in the middle ages. Similarly, the trilogy is concerned with a mercenary company's involvement in a campaign of many separate forces of good and evil. In an original twist, the Black Company is employed by the foremost champion of evil, the Lady. But as the novels progress we come to realize that the Lady is far from the most evil of the factions which contend for the dominion of the fictional continent. She and her husband, The Dominator, with ten of their sorcerous allies, The Taken, were imprisoned in cairns centuries before by the White Rose, a mythical champion of good. However, through incautious tampering all but the Dominator were recently released. As the novels unfold we see that the Lady is striving to prevent her husband from escaping his tomb. Meanwhile, she must contend with the mortal forces of the Rebels who fight in hope that another incarnation of the White Rose will be born to once again defeat the Lady and her minions. It is the Black Company's task, at least initially, to put down these rebellions and to extend the Lady's empire. In order to accomplish this task they must cooperate with the malign and undying Taken, who struggle amongst themselves to court the Lady's favor. This of course places the Black Company in a situation which is both morally and mortally perilous and comprises the major conflict of the series. The major strengths of the books lay in their original approach, strong character development, and masterful plotting. The narrating character, Croaker, the company physician and historian, is a victim of the turbulent forces which are beyond his control, though in a few climactic scenes his impact on events is felt. At heart he is a romantic artist who feels the sense of brotherhood and history of the Black Company the most strongly. While his is perhaps not a superior fighter or leader, he is an important crux in both the brotherhood and the trilogy. Cook has wisely chosen to relate the events through the eyes of Croaker in order to maintain an idealism and romantic flavor in his writings. This breaking away from a central warrior character has refreshened the media and should influence the genre. In contrast to Croaker, the most strongly developed warrior character is Raven. Raven is cast in the character of a misguided Aragorn. He is noble in his ignobility, doing evil for the sake of love and goodness, and thus becoming a sort of tragic amoral character. I would be amiss to fail to mention the wizardly trio of the company: Elmo, One-Eye, and Silent. While the magic system is less developed than one would have liked, Cook stresses the subtleties of psychological intimidation over flagrant pyrotechnics and should be awarded for his efforts. In spite of Gary E. Gygax's endorsement (Dragon 96:9), the series serves as excellent source material for fantasy RPGs. Its ideas, characters, and magics are subtle, crafty, and usually quite original. Hence, it strengths are the weaknesses of many RPG campaigns. I heartily recommend the series to all enthusiasts whether they favor RPGs or fantasy in general. Joseph (Merlin) Curwen <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> SciFi Story A hush fell over the huge vaulted hall as High Speaker Vallj held his left hand up. "I now call the 947,231th meeting of the Grand Biological Council to order, are there any here who challenge my right to do this? Fine. Now the first order of business is the Sirius-8 project. Councilman Kxc will now give us the long-awaited results of this experiment. Councilman Kxc?" "Thank you. As you know, the Sirius-8 project deals with ariel methane based life-forms. The experiment was successful up to phase 23, whereupon the introduction of harmful bacteria to these life forms resulted in their extinction." A mumble of dismay circulated around the hall. A lone figure stood up from his seat. "I am Councilman Winj, your Honor," said the lone figure. "Yes, Councilman , what is your question?" rumbled High Speaker Vallj "It concerns the Sirius-8 experiment. Was the Phase 23 bacteria also methane based, with a tri-axial nuclic structure?" "Yes, it was. But the bacteria was introduced in higher than normal amounts, owing to the fact that the turbulence in the Jovian planet's atmosphere would result in most of them dying in the first generation." explained Councilman Kxc. "Oh yes..." mumbled Winj, as he sat back down. "To continue ",said Kxc," the data received was more than adequate. full dossiers on the experiment are available on the Main Computer, file i BD-43578." Kxc seated himself. "Thank you Councilman Kxc. Now to our main business. Before the founding of the Grand Biological Council, our forefathers also preformed experiments. These experiments are the basis of our techniques today. Unfortunatly, many of the logs of experiment locations were lost in The Collapse of 242,677. One such experiment was Carbon-based life around a G class star." Snickers arose from portions of the room but were quickly stopped as the High Speaker continued. "Such life is indeed possible in the very narrow band called the F-zone. This experiment has been running, uncontrolled for roughly 4.6 billion years." Gasps were heard , but died quickly. "Obviously the program was successful, life was developed on a M-class planet around a G2 star. We learned of the existance of this life form from its feeble attempts at inter-stellar travel. Yes, the experiment has developed a rudimentary intellect. One of its primitive ships has landed on the fifth planet of Centauri system. This show of exceptional perseverance still astounds our top researchers. Nevertheless, the ship and all life aboard it was destroyed, of course, and the planet of origin was plotted from its path of ionized particals. The matter has been refered to us. Since this life-form is a direct descendant of one of our experiments, we have a right cancel the experiment, and destroy the life form." "All in favor of canceling this experiment? All against? Motion passed. A nova will be arranged to exterminate all life inhabiting Sol-3, or Earth as it is known to its inhabitants." "In other business..." Alex Williams <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> PARANOIA Game Review The Computer is your friend! Rooting out traitors will make you happy. The Computer tells you so. Of course the Computer is right. Being a Troubleshooter is fun. Troubleshooters get shot at, stabbed, incinerated, stapled, mangled, poisoned, blown to bits, and occasionally accidentally executed. This is so much fun that many Troubleshooters go crazy. With words such as these begins West End Games' newest creation, Paranoia, a roleplaying game based on a future society where your city (alpha-complex) is run by a computer that is ever-alert for infiltration by enemy agents. Having a mutant power is treasonous. All Troubleshooters have mutant powers that they must hide. Being a member of a secret society is treasonous. All Troubleshooters are members, and must hide this fact. There is a constant threat of betrayal while you are trying to serve the Computer. Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy! The game itself is very enjoyable, in a 'darkly humorous' manner. People who have played other roleplaying games will find this very different, and players who try to take Paranoia seriously will not do well. Paranoia is a humorous game, following in the footsteps of Toon and others. Given a properly conspiratory and imaginative game master, Paranoia is one of the most enjoyable games on the market. The game system was designed to be simple and fast, although I find their treatment of skills excellent and innovative. Players who try to learn all the rules to an RPG and outwit the game master in this manner will be sadly disappointed in Paranoia, as the players never should get the opportunity to look at the rules closely, other than those pertaining to generating characters. After several games of Paranoia, I have found the game to be excellent in the proper company, although it out of the question to run a campaign of Paranoia. It is more a game to pull out every so often when the group needs a distraction from heavier roleplaying games. The rule books are excellently written and very humorous. I would highly suggest this game to other gamers. The life of a Troubleshooter is (no matter how brief) very enjoyable. Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Return of the Jedi Comment Well, I had this thought for a long time about an alternate ending to the Return of the Jedi which I think is superior. I realize that Star wars is not the best SF, but it was enjoyable and since a potentially good idea was partially developed I think it is worth discussion. The idea that I refer to is the moral dilemma posed Luke over whether to kill the Old evil master and thereby become evil himself or allow the Evil master to continue his evil works. Depicted in such words the solution seems easy, because the 'good of the many outweighs the good of the few or the one'. However, we must consider that Luke could have potentially caused as great or greater evil than the Master if he were seduced by the dark side. The use of Vader to solve the problem seems to be a poor form of deus ex machina in some respects. Yes, it does solve the problem but only by avoiding it. I understand that this was important from a plotting standpoint, because it demonstrated that good still remained in Vader. But I think that Vader's character was mishandled in the last two movies. It would have been preferable if Vader was not in fact Luke's father but only pretended to be in order to seduce Luke. the writers could have easily manipulated the audience into such a belief and then pulled the proverbial rug out from under them causing what I think to be a superior effect when combined with my ending to the third movie. Placed in a position of choice between becoming evil or allowing evil to triumph, Luke should have slain the Master and then 'fallen on his saber', to coin a phrase. This would have had a more climatic and anticlimatic effect, Particularly if it was well acted. I realize that this plot is hopelessly Byronic in some respects. Good triumphs but only at the expense of Luke's life. Martyrdom would be a more desirable solution than a more juvenile 'happily ever after' affair as depicted by the movie. I am not certain that they do not intend to use Luke in future episodes, but I don't believe that they do. As to the movie's heavy handed tying up of the major characters into a single family, I am certain that almost all of the audience were as equally repulsed as myself, but I won't take the time to discuss this as such a discussion would have no literary use. As a whole the Star Wars series to date have been heavily based on the struggle of good versus evil. Predictably, the writers have chosen to make good triumphant. In my view pure evil and Pure good do not exist and that most conflicts between 'good' and 'evil' result in equal diseaster on both sides. Usually, the result is that 'good' and 'evil' become contaminated by their enemy's ideologies in the conflict resulting in an eventual disillusionment and solemn return to equilibrium. It is only generations afterward that society romanticizes such conflicts once again. Recent American wars and 'police actions' tend to support this theory. Joseph (Merlin) Curwen <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank