Lokta Plokta

[Comments from the editors in italics and square brackets like this]

Can I have more pleaseTeddy Harvia

I happen to like the angster from Leeds. [But which angster? There are so many to choose from. Besides, there's so much angst about, we just wanted to have fun...]

Robert Coulson

The idea of the Energizer Bunny appearing in England is not so much ridiculous as horrifying; can Armageddon be far behind?

I never wore a tie to work. My only work-related tie-wearing came when I was the tech writing department (all of it) for Honeywell's Wabash, IN factory, and was sent to a writers' conference in Minneapolis headquarters. The chief engineer told me this, instructed me to wear a tie, and finished with, "And don't take the tie off as soon as you get on the plane!" So I suffered. Conference itself didn't amount to shit, of course, but I got to meet some Minneapolis fans in the evenings. (Conference organizer apologized for not having anything scheduled in the evening. I told him that was all right; I'd go see this girl. "Have you ever been in Minneapolis before?" "No, but I know this girl who lives here." He was very polite to me for the rest of the conference.) Ties are unfannish. And definitely not me. From the article, I guess I could say not wearing them was a safety measure.

As I recall, Russia fought the First World War under the Julian calendar, which is perhaps why they did so poorly; they didn't fight on the same days as the Germans. They didn't change until the Communists got in -- and immediately did much better in the Second World War. It pays to be up to date.

Ian Gunn

Walter sounds like he might be kin to a few of the fixtures in my office --

There's Henry, known as the Statsman for his habit of meticulously recording cricket statistics. He's so retentive that he presses his pen firmly on anything he writes, going over it several times -- thus making his timesheet (and those beneath it) a curly mess of inscribed numbers.

Then there's Bob, known as The Boring One. His main topic of conversation is the American Civil War, though he will drone on for hours on any other subject from cartoons to Nazi Germany. His dull grey cardigan is moulded to the shape of his body because he wears it every day, even on the weekends (the day he told us how he spent the whole weekend painting the spare room, I noticed paint splatterings on the cardigan... they're still there). The cardigan's fob pockets are where Bob keeps his loose change. They have now stretched down below the hem of the garment and dangle there like some bizarre Masonic regalia resembling twin scrotums (I guess the plural is really "Scrota", yes?).

Bob is a complete technophobe. He is convinced that the Internet is overrun with pornographers and hackers draining bank accounts, I'm sure he believes that if you install a computer in your home, when you turn it on it floods the room with child pornography. He keeps telling me that They're Going To Ban The Internet (whoever "They" are). I tried telling him that this would be the equivalent of closing down every library and publishing house in the world on the grounds that someone, somewhere, once printed a saucy magazine, but the only voice he will listen to is his own. Sigh.

Years ago, when several female fans we knew were writing slash zines, a friend and I decided to put out a pseudonymous hoaxzine full of slash stories based on cartoon characters. It was to be called "Moving Parts" but it only got as far as a cover design, one story based on Inspector Gadget and a vague idea about Thomas The Tank Engine doing some serious shunting with Percy. Frightening isn't it?

[Alison - reminds me of my Mr Benn slash... "Mr. Benn tried on a naughty French maid's outfit. 'I wonder what sort of adventures I'll have wearing this?' he thought. Suddenly, the shopkeeper appeared. 'You'll be needing these,' he said, handing Mr Benn a whip and an orange. Mr Benn found himself in the Palace of Westminster Madam Sin...]

A Clanger and a kangaroo[And while on the subject of cartoon character slash, this also gives us a chance to publish our photo of astonishingly cute Clanger/Kanga slash.]

Steve Jeffrey

Superfluous Technology: My brother works in PC support at AEA. Apparently there was a call out from a guy who complained the cup-holder on the front of his computer had broken off. "What cup holder? Is this some stick-on promotional thing?" "Oh no. It's part of the PC, but it's broken off now" "Can you describe it?" "Well, it's this little tray that slides out. It's got NEC 4x written on it..." Collapse of support party in fits of giggles. Pillock's been using his CD ROM tray as a coffee cup holder...

"Who put the c**t in Scunthorpe?" as the old joke goes. [Cunt, shurely...Ed.][Well, that's this site on CyberSitter's blackist...WebMaster] We may never know now the Grauniards of the Moral Minority at AOL have decreed it too rude to be allowed on the net. Have they noticed a large number of county addresses with the dreaded word s*x embedded towards the end? Will we be a nation remapped through the electronic ether into Essox, Middlesox... What will they do about Beacon's Bottom, Nether Wallop? Thank god they aren't involved in AutoRoute.

Shredded Walt: We had a guy with this sort of tendency in the lab. Only it wasn't an office shredder but a laboratory two-roll mill for compounding plastic and rubber sheet. [Ugh...]

I though the whole thing on the calendar reforms fascinating. I sort of recall there were supposed to have been protests and riots in the street demanding "Give us back our twelve days". Bit of a pisser for anyone with a birthday in the period.

Brilliant picture of Shiva McMurray, God of Wallyphones.

Julian Headlong with a pillow on his head[Yes, we thought so, too; and here's one of Swami Headlong, Guru of biochemistry, bladder abuse and bedlinen.]

A fun zine. I liked it. Thanks a lot.

[Steve, obviously under the mistaken impression that we're neos, has sent us a Care Package of things to help integrate us into fandom; viz. two Ansibles and an ad for a leather and latex emporium in Liverpool.]

Mae Strelkov

So Plokta's "less worthy than Attitude and less informative than Ansible." Never having seen an Ansible I'm no judge, but less worthy than Attitude, aren't we all, somehow? [Ah, never seen an Ansible? Quite by chance, we seem to have two spare copies. We'll send you a Care Package. Hope you like leather and latex, too...]

Can't discuss pinball machines, email, etc. Wanna have a treatise on The Trees And Fauna Of The Wilds Of Jujuy? How many pages should it be? Is book-length okay? [Hmm. Superfluous Ecology... we'll think about it.]

As for holding a Convenient Convention, we just might, realsoonnow. Son Tony (our seventh and last) plunged briefly into fanzine fandom (chiefly in Australia) in his boyhood and had fun. Then in due course marriage and parenthood and raising pigs (up to 200 but they sell faster than we can raise them) filled his time. Tony kept wishing to meet fans face-to-face, have them swarming here. One applicant (in the USA) took us seriously and wanted to come, and I had to warn him, "Bring your own pup-tent".

What's happened is Tony's father-in-law bought a partly finished hotel building cheap in Palma Sola and asked, "Would you like to finish it and run it?"

The hotel will be for small parties of tourists anxious to study the flora and fauna of our wilds above our place in this valley... Do you like bird-watching, perchance? Flower-gazing? Patting tapirs on their snouts as they try to take a bite? We've a pet we rescued from a neighbour's dogs last Christmas. She's a huge tank-like dear, by now. We got her so young she still had her copper stripes and, to comfort her, Vadim used to let her suck his finger. His finger! Please, no wisecracks this once. Now her teeth are huge! People are cautious near these animals who get angry easily.

As for hotels with between-floors servants' quarters and secret stairs? I saw such an archaic rooming house years ago in Buenos Aires. Yes Bob Shaw would have seen the weirdness of such architecture! How we'll all miss him. I loved his books.

Abigail Frost is eldritch? [That's one word for it...]

[Mae also sent us a very nice piece of multi-coloured hecto, but unfortunately our technology is insufficiently superfluous to reproduce it. Of course, if she sends us 250 copies next time, you'll all get one.]

[September 1997: But by the wonders of our increasingly superflous technology, we are now able to bring you Mae's hecto.]

Multicoloured hecto of South American scene

Brad W. Foster

I see that I showed up on your mailing list because a message from Mars told you to open a Chinese fortune cookie that contained my address, plus something about stones or pebbles... gravel?

Oh, grovel!! Hey, I like a good old fashioned grovel as much as the next person! So sure, here are a couple of weird bits of fillo art. Your layout has the look of something done by folks who like to reduce things to fit the space, so I've selected two I think might hold up to reducing, though feel free to run them as close to full size as you wish, okay?

Creature staring at cloudsFillo art heavily reduced to fit the space and slightly skewed to show we're not perfect...

Really fooled me when this first arrived, it doesn't have the "look" I've come to associate with British fanzines. Much more neep-neep desk-top-pub. Nothing wrong with that, of course, just a bit nerve-wracking when zines like this show up. Used to be something that looked this slick came by, you could be pretty assured it might be worth reading, as not everyone had access to the kind of technology to produce that look. Now just about any nimrod can lay their hands on basic formatting programs, so I still have to go through the effort to read the zines, and can't make snap decisions on quality based on purely external design, sigh, the world is getting ssooo difficult to just skim through!

Keep on pubbing, this stuff is wonderful!! [Phew! So that's all right then.]

[Now on Paul Barnett's copy we added a "A member of the Plokta cabal is deeply attracted to your daughter" box. Perhaps the following photo of Jane at Evolution will make things a bit clearer:]

Jane Barnett wearing not very muchJane Barnett

Dear Plokta, please send photo of relevant member of editorial cabal.

[Well, here it is (down, Sue!)]

A slavering cabal

John Dallman

The three-column format is excellent for a newsletter, but doesn't show off longer pieces to best effect. Putting the staples further apart would not have hurt either. [Actually, on reflection, perhaps it has an en-dash.]

Do not take orders from Pam Wells (re back cover). Once you do this, you will find yourself dragged off to strange conventions, volunteering to produce fanzines, re-building her computers, working your scanner to the bone, receiving hundreds of fanzines every week (very few of them edible) and generally Having Your Life Altered. Novas and Hugo nominations are the good side, but I must testify that it would be easier to win a Nova by publishing one two-sided fanzine and buying everyone at Novacon four drinks. It might well be cheaper, too.

David B. Wake

Many thanks for the marvelous missive -- I see it as a blindingly shining example of the strong and ever growing recent resurgence of fanzine fandom climbing, nay soaring, to ever greater heights of splendiferous achievement both broadening and deepening, while at the same time redefining, what it is that fanzines are all about. [Gosh!]

Chris Walton

The story about AOL is so grotesque that it would be funny if it were not tragic. We have only just started to use the Internet, but I've already encountered the blue ribbon and am in total sympathy with the declared aims of that organisation -- not something I had ever really thought about in any detail until the Channel 4 censored season a few years ago and the Rushdie affair. It is very easy -- for me -- to be complacent about these things until they are shoved in my face.

I found Every Office Has One a both vivid and strangely sympathetic portrait of a limited individual. It made me reflect (not terribly fruitfully) on the limits that define and constrain us.

Superflous Chronology: A magnificent piece. Only two comments on it -- the claim to world record status for 46 BC is fairly parochial -- what about the Mayan calendar? Secondly, the description of the difference between the Catholic and Protestant countries is largely accurate, except that for this purpose the USA is regarded as a Catholic country.

Allen Baum

Alison: Congratulations on the baby! I think your timing is a bit wonky though -- you just spent all that time & money on getting a bra that finally fits -- and now you'll have to do it all over again. I'd be talking to horror publishers if I were you & I was doing a birth report to rival Helena's. (Actually, if I were having a baby, I'd being talking to the Weekly World News or something, I expect).

Not being in touch with everybody very well since I've moved back to California, it was a bit unclear to me whether Steve Davies or Steven Cain was marrying Giulia. I think I've got it sussed, but.... [we hope we've got it sussed, but sometimes Alison gets us all confused.]

Steve: "not everybody has a local area network in their study" No? Hmm, I guess things really are different in Silicon Valley...

I'm very impressed that somebody could actually, in a fanzine, in a somewhat coherent manner, explain where 4004BC came from.

I'm now all fired up and ready for some serious con-running now that I have all the ingredients (except for Blu-tac which is nigh impossible to find here) for a Convenient convention -- though I think it might not be so charming if translated into American. Binliners sound classier than trashbags; gaffers tape sounds much higher class than duct-tape, etc. etc. etc.

About those flashing lights -- ask Steve (Cain) about juggling under strobes some time. Verrry weird. I'm not sure you'd be able to tell if you were having an epileptic attack. [Oh, yes you would -- Steve.]

Jim Trash

I'm loccing your zine because:

I thought your zine was:

And As A Result Will Be:


We Also Heard From:

Jackie Duckhawk "Muffin (due 25 July) sends a big kick of good luck to Pod. I wish he wouldn't, I'm sure I've got bruises on my insides, the little sod.", Terry Jeeves "Many thanks for the copy of Plokta (what does it mean?)" [Good question...], Colin Greenland "SCI-FI FANS GET BOMB SECRETS FROM ZINE -- Police quiz two", Nina Watson "Dear Pod, I was surprised to learn of your existence, since I had thought your mother generally favoured children roasted or fried", Harry Andruschak (tales of how hard it is to find alt.sex.masturbation on AOL), and Robert Lichtman "This isn't a letter of comment, and can't turn into one."

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