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Lloyd Penney
1706-24 Eva Rd.
Etobicoke, ON

December 22, 2009

Dear Petréa:

Many thanks for Picofarad #19. I'm so busy these days, time is carefully managed and used. At least now, the tree is up, and the presents are purchased, wrapped and under the tree. And, that's when I can get some writing done like below...

I have read all the Harry Potter books, and some of the related books by other authors, and I wouldn't be surprised if Joanne Rowling did take ideas from others, but I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. It's difficult to think of anything these days without someone else claiming that idea of their own. Sometimes, it can't be proved, but sometimes it can, and that when the courts get their exercise. Even if some of her ideas were lifted from other sources, she was the one who blended those ideas together for this magical run of juvenile literary success that may have brought some kids back to the world of books. I wish another series would arise to keep the kids reading.

Both Yvonne and I loved the movie Up, and we've got the DVD ready to see for Christmas Day. We got the message that together, you and the one you love can had great adventures, and that's something Yvonne and I have tried to do. The further message is that when your love goes away, through divorce or in this case, death, that shouldn't stop you from having further adventures. I'd rather share those adventures, but I don't think I'd want to shut myself away, remembering those adventures as days gone and past. You've got to get out and have some more, by yourself, but with your fellow adventurer in mind. Yvonne and I are both in out 50s, and the premise behind Up is all too possible. Getting out and exploring is expensive, but we've decided that it's great to reminisce about all the things we've done, but we've got to get out and do more things to reminisce about later.

Virgin Galactic unveiled SpaceShipTwo must have Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites that created it, but Richard Branson has been front and centre, while Rutan has been strangely missing from the whole thing. Maybe Scaled Composites and Burt Rutan didn't build it, but I cannot think of who else might.

Anticipation...that speaker was Marc Garneau, who went up on the Shuttle twice, I believe. Indeed, he was a former director of the Canadian Space Agency, and is now a member of parliament for the district that the Palais de Congres is in. The perfect gig for him...SF and space, and in his riding, too.

If you get back up here, try an Anime North. This Toronto convention attracts now about 14,000 people every year, and after steady rising of attendance, they have become (depending on the year) the third or fourth largest anime convention on the continent. Many of the people who started Anime North have their roots in literary and media SF fandom, so not only have their introduced interactive programming and fan panels, but also non-anime programming to let others know about the other aspects and interests of fandom. Last year, there was a steampunk fashion show, and Yvonne and I participated in it. We are not anime fans, but there was enough there for us to have a good time.

My letter...obviously, we did get to see Up and The Time Traveler's Wife in a local second-run movie house, and definitely enjoyed both. I left one web comic off my list... Menage a 3, partially because it is set in Montréal. The convention in Rochester, NY was some fun, but we had to wonder if it was worth the cost of travelling and money exchange. We have decided that in 2010, we will be staying home for cons, and not travelling. We some family responsibilities coming up, and we also need to save for our proposed trip to Reno for the 2011 Worldcon. I wish I could take credit for the Worldcon having two fanzine lounges, but I don't know where that came from. There's some that like the daytime lounge in the convention centre, and others that like the evening lounge in a private room. I think we got both because the convention didn't realize it was a choice they could make between the two. Bonus for us, but as for the daytime lounge, I did get the feeling that we were an after-thought, and we were stuck wherever they had some extra room. Originally, the space I was told I'd be getting was a lot larger, and I think they just shaved away space until they had what they needed, and we got what was left. I think for Reno, we may offer to do panels, but otherwise, we're there for fun.

Days of Yore... Arnie Katz has written extensively about the fiasco of Collectingchannel. The idea is such a good one, but it just didn't make the money expected. The founders' expectations were pure pie in the sky, unfortunately.

Conventions...I expect that my next convention locally may be the Furnal Equinox furry con that's new to Toronto in March. I'm not a furry, but I may be there to manage our local con's table there. It will be interesting to see how many people travel that far to go to a furry con, and what kinds of costumes will be there.

Ran out of pages, so I guess I am done for right now. Yvonne and I wish you the best Christmas ever, and a very happy 2010, a very SFnal year. Prosperity and peace for us all is my wish. See you in the new year.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

Yes, Burt Rutan is the one behind SpaceShipTwo, but I don't think he minds too much about Virgin handling all the publicity, just as long as he gets to ride it sometime.

I was just saying to someone that anime is the one big sector of fandom that steampunk isn't taking over, but I see now that I spoke too soon.

Good to hear that you're coming to Reno! And I'll give you credit for confusing the convention into giving us both day and night fanzine lounges. Note for whoever's running the next one...

I certainly agree with the message about the importance of having things to reminisce about. In fact... well, see the editorial next issue.

I hope you're having a nice and SFnal year yourself. I've accepted that I can't make it to Australia, but I do plan to make Westercon, NASFiC, and all the Portland-area cons. Speaking of which, it's time to load up and head out for Game Storm...

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