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Lloyd Penney
1706-24 Eva Rd.
Etobicoke, ON
Canada M9C 2B2

December 31, 2008

Dear Petréa:

It's the last day of the year, and I finally get a chance to respond to Picofarad #15. Let's see if we can go out with a bang, or at least a whisper.

You've gotten used to producing a regular zine, just as I've gotten used to being in the letter column. Changes are good, but just make sure that they reflect you, and not what you think your readers' expectations might be. I'm glad you'll be at Corflu Zed in March in Seattle. I was at the 2008 Corflu Silver in Las Vegas, but just won't be able to go to to Seattle. Too expensive, and too far away. But, a short drive away for you. Enjoy it, it sounds like it will be a fun weekend.

In The Encounter Log, I see a name I haven't seen in a long time...Marta Randall. I Googled her up, and checked her Wikipedia looks like she took a 20-year sabbatical from writing, and only returned to it a couple of years ago.

A convention based on Stephanie Meyer's novels? Hope it works, the movie was very popular with Meyer's fans, but almost universally panned by reviewers everywhere. Specialty cons seem the way to go these days, so perhaps it will draw a large crowd. I've been to only one Tolkien convention, in Toronto some years ago around the time the second movie came out, and while the con was a financial failure, it was a popular success, for people who knew each other as pseudonyms from around the world finally got to meet each other in the flesh. In some cases, there were tears of joy.

I expect that 2009 will be our last Worldcon, but I wouldn't mind going to Seattle for a Worldcon. I think they may have the inside edge. Reno does sound interesting, too, for Yvonne would like to fly to Las Vegas for a return engagement, and when done, drive from LV to Reno. All of this may be moot, as I doubt we'd be going, but I still think that Seattle is the better choice. With luck, that hotel manager that killed the '98 bid is but a distant memory.

I am pleased that through Worldcons and fanzines, I have been able to meet with and talk to fans from all over the world. Yet, I have to wonder if fandom is dissolving in some countries. I even wonder sometimes at how it is in Canada. Contacts are going away, and there's only a handful of general SF fan organizations left. Fandom was an American phenomenon, and I think it will eventually become a solely American phenomenon as time goes by.

I can understand many of the complaints a new attendee might have about the Worldcon...we have high expectations of people being knowledgeable about the event when they arrive, and if we want to keep new people arriving at Worldcon, we have to make sure they get a complete education. We need a downloadable document available to all Worldcons and Worldcon attendees, especially if they are new, The NeoFan's Guide to Enjoying Your Worldcon, just an idea.

I see that discussion on the SMOFs list have only now improved. I was the wrong kind of fan when I first got involved in least, that's what so many people told me, and

I am determined not to treat new fans today the way I was treated when I arrived. Conventions for 2009...we have planned Ad Astra 2009 in March, Eeriecon 11 in Niagara Falls in April, Polaris 23 in Richmond Hill (north of Toronto) in July, Anticipation/2009 Worldcon in Montreal in August, and Astronomicon in Rochester in November. And, cashwise, that's enough.

Hope your Christmas was an excellent time, and Happy New Year tonight! See you next issue and next year.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

I'm more optimistic than you about the world of fandom. In North America, with the ubiquity of the Internet, perhaps the pendulum is swinging back toward more text-based interaction, but the convention community is still just starting to build itself up in many parts of the world. Zagreb still wants to bid for a Worldcon one of these times, for instance, India just held its first sf convention ever, and there's someone trying to build South African fandom up to the point where it can host Worldcon...

Yours truly has actually volunteered on the SMOFs list to write up a single-page "Welcome to Worldcon" flier suitable for translating into a bunch of languages once and having available at any future Worldcon. Yours truly also needs to get off her butt and actually finish the thing.

It sounds like you're well-supplied with conventions, anyway-- that's more than I'm going to make it to this year!

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