Well, here we are producing the fourth issue of Plokta, and it's not even a bank holiday weekend. However, by some strange coincidence it is a mere nine days before Novacon. This has presented us with certain problems. Empirical evidence indicates that it takes the Plokta cabal three days to put together an issue, and this time we only have two. This means that instead of everyone laughing together and having a good time, Alison is standing over the rest of the cabal with whips. "Nonsense," she protests. "I don't order people about! I'm just task-oriented and goal-focused." That's the last time we're letting her go on a management training course.

This issue of Plokta is dedicated to the memory of Alison & Mike's marriage, happily dissipated midway through October.

As the first chill nights of autumn cloak a secret location near Keighley, a strange sinister awakening occurs

And now, a few serious words regarding the contents of this and previous issues. We wish to make it clear that the opinions of our contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Plokta cabal. In particular, Dr Plokta should not be taken to be an editorial voice, as he is a nutter. In reality, the editors are thrilled to receive all your letters and fanzines, including those which are mimeoed, spirit duplicated, hand-written, or even run off on the Critical Wave photocopier. (And yes, Andy, UK copies of Apparatchik are indeed covered with stray toner streaks.) Although we espouse superfluous technology ourselves, we have never noticed a particularly close correlation between state of the art technology and state of the art writing. In fact, sometimes the reverse is the case (cf. Piers Anthony or SFX). Somewhere along the way, however, we seem to have induced paranoia amongst our mailing list, many of whom seem compelled to mention the low tech they're using when writing to us. Honestly, we don't mind. And the fanzine reviews in Issue 2 were not intended as serious criticism, or even as criticism at all. We were assured by Dr Plokta (aka Mike Scott) that the reviews were "funny" and that everyone would be "amused". Obviously we don't hold with this humour nonsense ourselves; every issue of Plokta is as sercon as we can make it and indeed is specially checked with our state-of-the-art anti-joke toolkit, but we didn't see any harm in running the article. We're sorry. We won't do it again. No, honestly, we're sending Dr Plokta on a long holiday, by surface mail. Maybe Mike too...

Anyway, from now on, all jokes in Plokta will be delimited with internationally accepted symbols in HTML:

My mother-in-law is so fat...

and will be highlighted in fluorescent yellow for the technologically impaired.

At this point we would like to remind all our readers that having reached the all-important 4-issue stage, Plokta is of course eligible to be nominated for the Hugo Award. We feel that Dave Langford has suffered enough and that we should all get together, make an effort and save him from having to buy a new mantelpiece. In that spirit of fannish brotherly love for which Plokta is famed, we are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice and give up our mantelpieces for the betterment of fankind. Of course, having seen the LACon 3 Hugo in the flesh, as it were, we're just glad that we didn't make this offer last year...

Dave Langford receiving Hugo from Cheryl Morgan
How would you like me to pose
with this, Mr Mapplethorpe?

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