Pooka 34
comes from Ruth Berman
for the June 1996 Once Upon a Time apa #34.
(e-mail address.- berma005@maroon.tc.umn.edu)

[This issue of Pooka is reproduced by permission of the author. Several parts have been placed in separate files, with links from this page.]

Publication note:

a bibliographical article, 'Fantasy Fiction and Fantasy Criticism in Some Nineteenth-Century Periodicals (Ainsworth's Magazine, Contemporary Review, Household Words, Macmillan's Magazine, New Monthly Magazine, New Review, Nineteenth Century, Quarterly Review, Temple Bar)," Extrapolation, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Spring) 1996 (The Kent State University Press, OH 44242); also poems, "On Webster Hill, Reflections on Re-Reading City," in Tales of the Unanticipated #16, Spring/ Summer/Fall 1996 (small press sf zine, Box 8036, Lake Str Sta, Mpls 55408); "The Mashgeakh Rejects the Dragon-Slayer,' in Worlds of Fantasy & Horror #3, Summer 1996 (small press sf zine, 1123 Crooked Lane, Ying of Prussia PA 19406-2570); and "With a One-Year-Old in the Wildflower Garden" in Sidewalks #10, Spring/Summer 1996 (literary zine, Box 321, Champlin MN 55316).

mailing comments

Out of the Woods #30, David Bratman: You're right that for strict plausibility historical novels should include reactions that are neither what a modern person would feel nor what is recorded for the period--but I think you're defining an insoluble problem for the author. I can't really see how it could be done. (If you mean that for reasonable plausibility, the author should aim at presenting only the reactions typical of the period, without any use of "modern sensibility"--can you think of many--any?--authors who do that and still manage to be interesting? Even, say, Mary Renault's Greece still has strong "modern" elements, I suspect.)

RR #I, Grace E. Funk: The Guatemalan trip sounds exciting.

[. . . .]

Of Cows and Cats and Sealing Wax, Laura Krentz: I don't really have an opinion one way or the other on eliminating minac requirements for the time being. I don't think I like the idea of having a set topic of discussion for the mailing--I like the variety of so many different ongoing topics.

Young Times From an Old Timer, Barbara J. Bucknall: I suppose the most outrageous German children's book is Slovenly Peter, which reportedly gives many children nightmares. (I haven't read it myself, though).

Tolkien Conference Report

May 2, David Lenander and I drove out the Minnesota River to Mankato, where a group in the MSU English Dept. put on a one-day Tolkien Conference, commemorating the Tolkien Conference held there 30 years ago. (I think I was the only one to attend both.) Steve Deyo gave opening and closing speeches on mythopoeic linguistics, and Gary Hunnewell (who may be repeating it at Mythcon?) gave a talk on Tolkien's use of astronomy, with gorgeous slides of some of Tolkien's art plus some assorted relevant documents. Other enjoyable papers I heard were by Louisa Smith on homely hearths in TLotR and by Joseph Abrahamson on Tolkien's use of a scholarly editor compiling the ms. as a fictional device. I repeated the paper I gave at Rivendell's Mythcon on Andrew Lang and Tolkien. All in all, a pleasant outing.

Book Report, in memory of P.L. Travers & Christopher Robin Milne


April 5-7, 1996

The team of Laura Krentz, Michael Levy, and Jane Yolen did their usual fine job of discussing and displaying recent f/sf picture books. There was also an hour for recent f/sf chapter books (program lists Jan Bogstad as taking part in that one along with Laura K), but it was opposite part of the poetry reading, so I couldn't attend it. And Jane Yolen did another session of bedtime stories with milk and cookies, with her dramatic and comic performances of a variegated mixture of stories of her own invention, folktale, reminiscences, etc.

The guest of honor was Suzette Haden Elgin. I missed most of her program items, through various conflicts of schedule, but bought a pamphlet of her poems and another of songs she wrote set in the world of her 'Ozark Trilogy.'

The con was set up in a sort of decentralized way this time, with various smaller areas being devoted to smaller interest groups, including rooms on the top floor (22nd) for "Krushenko's" (place for sf and literary discussion, run each year by Eric Heideman), "Vista" (new this year, I think - similar to Krushenko's, but without the refreshments), "Fan History" (a traveling group who've been hitting various cons to set up and tape discussions of the local fan history). These pretty much occupied the space that in the past has gone to the con suite. This arrangement made traffic patterns a lot easier - the con suite before always made a terrific crush on the hotel's elevators. This time, the con suite was in a corner of the ground floor, and I suppose traffic was bad in that spot, but I generally stay away from the con suite, not liking the noise and traffic jam. A drawback to the decentralization was that there were a lot of slipups in checking who was supposed to be on which program, and people were fairly often scheduled on two panels at once. Also, of course, it was sometimes hard to get from one program item to another in time for the second one's start, if they were widely separated. Even without the con suite top-side, two of the three elevators broke down Friday evening, and I wound up making the trek up to the 22nd floor a couple of times. (Probably Good Exercise, but a Nuisance.)

I took part in one of the Fan History discussions, on Minnesota fandom in the 60s (when MNSTFS began--although I was out of town during most of the early years of the club, and so talked mostly about the still earlier years, when I was pretty much the only fan in town) and sat in on another one, on the local performances/musicals done or attempted. I also took part in the (now traditional) Minicon poetry reading. This year there was an extra poetry reading, "Poetesses from Hell." Laurel Winter, who has a wholesomely pretty face, often writes horrific poetry, and she thought it would be fun to point up the contrast with an extra genteel background (tablecloth, tea service, and ladylike hats) to a reading. The humor worked well also for Terry Garey, Cassandra O'Malley, and John Rezmerski (Terry reading some of her earthier poems, Cassandra singing some of her song-poems, and Rez channeling for one Grace Lordstoke, a genteely bloodthirsty intimate of Lovecraft and Howard). I didn't think it fit my style of humor, so didn't take part as a reader, but had a good time as part of the audience on it.

One of the not-22nd-floor panels I heard was a discussion of the Care and Feeding of the Creative Process. This was notable for the look on Mike Shepherd's face when Jane Yolen and Gordon Dickson pointed out to him that the book he's writing on a beloved hobby is Business, and makes the sums spent on the hobby into business expenses he can write off on his taxes.

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