Taffiles 5


taffile (taf'-il) n. pl. -les
1. A repository, usually a manila folder, containing material related to TAFF.
2. A lover of TAFF-ish things. [Fannish]

This is Taffiles #5 and an Obsessive Press publication #98, the October 1988 issue of the newsletter of the TransAtlantic Fan Fund, and it comes to you from the North American administrator, Jeanne Gomoll, Box 1443, Madison, WI 53701-1443 USA. Telephone number 608-255-9909. The European administrators are (jointly) Lilian Edwards and Christina Lake, whose addresses are: (Lilian) 1 Braehead Road, Thorntonhall, Glasgow, England G74 SAQ, and (Christina) 47 Wessex, Bristol England B57 ODE. Taffiles is generally available to anyone who shows interest in TAFF.

It's Lichtman vs. McGuff!

The new 1989 TAFF race begins...

Look for your ballot in this issue of Taffiles for the new TAFF 1989 election. They will be accepted by the North American or British administrators until January 15, 1989. Robert Lichtman and Luke McGuff are running and the winner will attend the 1989 British Eastercon, Contrivance, on Jersey in the Channel Islands. The convention will take place on March 24-27, 1989.

Copying and distribution of the ballot is encouraged. But remember to duplicate both sides of the ballot, verbatim.

The Third TAFF Candidate

As you can see on the enclosed ballot, there are two candidates for the 1989 race: Robert Lichtman and Luke McGuff. For a while this summer, however, it seemed as if there were going to be three candidates. Charlotte Proctor had already acquired nominators and prepared a platform. Unfortunately, she could not fulfill the third requirement of a TAFF candidate: to promise to attend the convention to which the TAFF winner is invited by the host country. In this year's case, that means the 1989 Eastercon -- Contrivance -- which is going to take place on Jersey in the Channel Islands on March 24-27,1989. All TAFF candidates have promised -- barring acts of gods -- to attend that convention as part of their TAFF trip.

The US Government -- not god -- intervened in Charlotte's case and refused her permission to take more than a week's leave before April 15, 1989. Charlotte is employed by the Internal Revenue Service and will be working on tax forms until that date.

Easter's date changes from year to year and will no doubt be more favorably scheduled (with respect to tax deadlines) in future years. Also, future NA to UK TAFF delegates might travel to different conventions than Eastercon as I did in 1987 (for that year's worldcon, Conspiracy). Or the IRS might eventually be persuaded to give Charlotte a couple more weeks off. I sure hope that she'll find a way to run for TAFF another year.

J.G. Taff Catalog is a Boffo Success
or, The Future of Fan-Fund Raising

Several letter writers confided their worries to me that the catalog sales' proceeds might fail to pay for its production expenses. Ironically, these same fans proceeded to enclose orders that -- individually -- paid half of those worrisome expenses. I'm amazed, I'm really pleased and I am heartily recommending that the tradition of a TAFF mail auction (which was instigated by Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden during their TAFF administration) be carried on by future fan fund administrators.

The mail-order sale extravaganza isn't over yet. There is still time to send in your order. (See the "Deadlines" box.) If you haven't received a copy of the J.G. Taff catalog, just drop a note to me and I'll rush you one.

The catalog project has been surprisingly successful, not only with respect to the money raised, but also with respect to the kind of sales it is attracting. Lots and lots of not-always-acclaimed fanzines are being purchased from the direct sale pages. There are a few items that attracted instantaneous and frequent orders, which confirmed my suspicion that I'd naively underpriced some valuable goodies. On the other hand, I've been informed that I overpriced some relatively easy-to-acquire items. But mostly, I've just been surprised by the enthusiastic response generated by the eclectic range of material in J.G. Taff. ...Oh, I was also amazed about how much time and energy it took to produce the catalog and run the auction, but that's nothing new, is it? My life's motto is "It took longer than I expected."

The influx of cash is very welcome to the North American account of the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, which has been so extensively drawn upon by the double British TAFF delegation. Lilian Edwards and Christina Lake criss-crossed the continent on their recent month-long TAFF trip. But besides this anticipated expense, the TAFF account unexpectedly failed to receive its usual injection of cash from the worldcon auction this year. In fact, both the DUFF and TAFF fund raising efforts were frustrated by Nolacon's auction.

How much should TAFF administrators -- or any fan fund raiser -- rely upon worldcon auctions in the future? Not much, in my opinion. Fanzine fans -- who are the major financial supporters of the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund -- have become a relative minority among other SF fans attending the world science fiction convention. Our numbers may not have changed significantly, but the populations of other interest groups have grown by leaps and Nielsen points. The TAFF auction ranks low in priority for worldcon concoms and convention attendees. Multiple program tracks and the labyrinthine, multiple hotel layouts discourages both auction and fanzine room attendance unless these program items are prominently publicized and supported by the concom. It's true that Nolacon's lax organization provided even worse scenarios for many programming tracks than it did for the fan programming track, whose success is entirely due to the comprehensive planning done during the previous year by Dick and Nicki Lynch. But with no pocket program and difficult-to-find programming space, Nolacon's fanzine room might as well have been located in Atlantis. Programming Expedition Chief, Ross Pavlac -- who was appointed to that post only a week before the convention began and whose job focused on crisis management -- didn't even think that a fan room existed. About 15 fans did find the auction on Saturday afternoon, but only a few of them could be induced to bid on the many fanzine bargains available. It was sad. North American TAFF raised a little more than $125.00. Moshe Feder sharply criticized even those sales, rightly saying that we were selling valuable TAFF inventory too cheaply.

Auctions have recently succeeded at Corflu, which is to be expected since this is a fanzine fan convention. Nearly the entire membership attended Seattle's auction this year since it was scheduled in the same room and immediately following the banquet. It would be naive to expect that under even the best of conditions that a worldcon would provide that sort of priority promotion for the TAFF/DUFF auction, and so I think we'll continue to see Corflu raising more money for the fan funds than the worldcon does.

But I'm beginning to think that given a few other drawbacks of in-person auctions, a mail auction may be the very best way to raise funds. Even a dedicated Corflu audience will sit still for only so long; thus the number of auction items must be limited. Only potential big-ticket items, or generally popular items which encourage enthusiastic bidding can be profitably sold in such situations. The live auctions miss the fan who would like to buy a sample copy of a not very well-known and not very expensive fanzine or the fans who aren't able to travel to Corflu or the worldcon, or -- once there-aren't able to attend the auction. The live auction also misses the fans who have spent all their cash getting to the convention and don't have much to spare. J.G. Taff has given these potential contributors a chance to satisfy their curiosity or to fill in holes in their fanzine collections.

A mail order catalog does not encourage rapid-fire bidding and may not be as entertaining for the audience, so I'm sure we'll continue to run live auctions. But for myself, I've discovered that I'm a not-so-hot, in-person auctioneer, and much prefer in-print auctions.

Some of you who were otherwise occupied at Nolacon during the TAFF/DUFF auction got a chance to bid on some of the interesting left-over items at this year's new fanzine fan's convention, Ditto (Toronto, September 23-25, 1988). Catherine Crockett took over a stack of auction material from me after the Nolacon auction and I'm looking forward to hearing how both Ditto and its auction went.

Final totals on money raised for TAFF by J.G. Taff will be published in the last issue of Taffiles. Details of the winners of the J.G. Taff auction will be published in a special newsletter which will be available only to bidders, or to those who pay ($1 US/$2 foreign) Auction Entry Fee. The newsletter will not be sent to the general TAFF mailing list. Remember, direct sale items will continue to be available from the catalog until January 1, 1989. The first bid deadline on auction items is October 9, 1988. The items already sold or having bids as of September 30, are listed by catalog number in the box below. Anyone interested in joining the auction during the second stage can still send in their bids with an Auction Entry Fee.

Lists of Numbers

As of September 30, 1988, the following list describes the status of J.G. Taff catalog items. All catalog numbers listed have either already been purchased (and no copies remain), or they have had one or more bids place on them.

Direct Sale: These items have been sold: 212, 217A, 218, 219, 243 249, 253, 254, 255, 258, 263, 265, 266, 267, 270, 271, 273, 274, 277, 280, 283, 288, 293, 295, 299, 300, 305, 310, 314, 315, 318, 319, 322, 324, 329, 331, 332, 335, 336, 337, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 351, 352, 356, 357, 360, 361, 362, 363, 365, 366, 367, 370, 378, 399, 403, 407, 408, 414, 424, 427, 436, 437, 441, 442, 443, 446, 448, 451, 457, 484, 485, 501, 513, 521, 522, 525, 526, 529, 533, 535, 540, 551, 553, 557, 558, 559, 560, 561, 562, 568, 573, 576.

Auction: These items have one or more bids placed upon them: 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 19, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 54, 63, 64, 66, 70, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 77, 80, 82, 83, 85, 86, 88, 89, 90,91,92,93,94, 96, 108, 118, 121, 122, 125, 129.

Lilian and Christina's Trip

This is where the 1988 TAFF delegates went: New York for a night, then to Seattle for a few days and a wild party, then to San Francisco fora few days and a wild party, then to New Orleans for a few days and lots of wild parties, then to Dallas and New York for a few more days and -- one assumes -- more wild parties. Lilian left for England at that point and the TAFF trip officially ended, but Christina stayed and met her husband Peter-Fred Thompson and the couple went to Toronto, probably for another wild party. Lilian and Christina said they had a good time.

Catalog Errata

The scattered words that got underlined instead of being italicized, the dangling widows, and similar typos -- which of course I spotted immediately after J.G. Taff came back from the printers -- do bother me. But I won't bother you with them. Instead, the mistakes admitted to here include errors which falsely attribute artwork or writing, misrepresent fan history, or confuse the material enough to influence a buyer's decision.

13. Clarion Fannish -- Richard Brandt pointed out that "'Clarion Fannish' is an entirely different piece than the oft-printed 'Night of the Living Oldfarts,' ... 'Clarion Fannish' was indeed reprinted in Outworlds, but nowhere else...while, 'Night of the Living Oldfarts' was reprinted in the Confederation souvenir book as well as in the sources [J. G. Taf]] mentions." Robert Lichtman phoned me to point out the same error.
28. Hobgoblin 17 -- Robert Lichtman corrects the fanhistory portrayed in the description of this item: It was not the final issue. Instead, #18, which came out in the 101 86 SAPS mailing, was the last, he wrote. 'That issue included the piece that later was reprinted in Trap Door #6 as 'Fandom Triumphant, Alas."'
45. The Big Schlep -- Stu Shiffman points out that the artwork is by Marc Schirmeister, not Stu Shiffman.
49. The Essence -- Patrick Nielsen Hayden points out that the artwork is by Tim Kirk, not George Barr.
203. Algol 27 -- Richard Brandt corrects the authorship of "The Exorcists of IF." James White, not Bob Shaw wrote it.
276. Foolscap 24 -- John Berry, 1/16/77, Apazine for FAPA. This item was accidentally left out of the catalog, and the reason the numbering jumped from 275 to 277. $4.00.
402. Stomach Pump 5 -- Steve Higgins, 8/84. Perzine. Two copies. $2.00. Original description failed to list the price.
441. Alps -- Amateur Long Playing Apa. More than just numbers 1 and 10 are available. Also for sale at $2.00 apiece are numbers 11-15, and 19. (See "For Sale" section.)
...Sorry about that.

For Sale

All items here are offered for direct sale, on a first-come, first serve basis. Please refer to the number when ordering. You can use the J.G. Taff catalog order blank if you have a copy.

441. Alps-Amateur Long-Playing Apa. This item represents a correction of the catalog entry on page 33. Not only did I have issue numbers 1 and 10 available for sale as stated, but I still have numbers 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 19. Someone has already offered to buy #1 and #10, and that person will have dibs on 11-15, and 19; but if he does not want them, the extra issues will be offered for $2.00 each.

650. Official TAFF Button -- designed and colored in 5 beautiful colors by Jeanne Gomoll, 2 1/2" diameter, very chic. $5.00

SF Commentary -- edited by Bruce Gillespie. SF Commentary is a serious fanzine containing serious criticism of science fiction. Donated by Kim Huett.

651. Number 3, 1969, 47 pages. This issue includes Jack Wodham's GoH speech at the 1968 Melbourne Conference, and a transcribed discussion panel from that same conference (with Damien Broderick, Lee Harding, George Turner, Wynne Whiteford, Jack Wodhams, and John Foyster.

652. Number 6,9/1969,45 pages. Stanislaw Lem contributes a list: "The Ten Commandments for Reading the Magazines." "You shall stop reading a work of SF when..." Also included are a series of articles on the theme of "Sex in Science Fiction." $5.00.

653. Number 7, 11/1969,45 pages. This issue is almost entirely devoted to its letter-column, though there are some book reviews too. Topics covered by the letter- writers (mostly SF works) are detailed in an index at the beginning of the zine. $5.00.

654. Number 16, 10/1970,26 pages. Book and film reviews. $5.00.

655. Number 18, 12/1970,24 pages. Book and film reviews. $5.00.

656. Number 19, 1-2-3/1971, 131 pages. Reviews and criticism covering Budrys, Delany, Heinlein, Panshin, Ballard, Sturgeon, and much more. Stanislaw Lem writes, "Robots in Science Fiction." $5.00.

657. Number 20,4/1971,51 pages. This issue includes "Unitas Oppositorum: The Prose of Jorge Luis Borges," by Stanislaw Lem, and other reviews.

658. Number 32,2/1973,40 pages. This issue is about people's attitudes toward SF -- a long essay by Bruce Gillespie. $5.00.

659. Number 35-36-37 (triple issue), 7-8-9/1973, 146 pages. An enormous issue devoted to the writing of Stanislaw Lem, including a 9-page article by Lem, "Science Fiction: A Hopeless Case With Exceptions." $10.00.

660. The Wasp Factory -- by Ian Banks, hardcover, Houghton Mifflin, 1984, signed, re-titled (The Wasp Taff Factory), and rubber-stamped by the author. Donated by Stu Shiffman. $25.00.

661. Poster -- Gene Wolfe's The New Sun. 34 1/2" x 20". $5.00.

662. Poster -- Queensland Resources, 1:3,250,000 scale map published by Wilson & Co. (Members of the Brisbane Stock Exchange), 10/1985. Size: 28" x 27 1/2". Doesn't everyone need to know the hot details of mining in this Australian state? Somehow I think there must be a story that explains how this duotone map ended up in the TAFF inventory. Anyone know? $3.00.

663. Corflu 5 membership button -- hand-colored, enlarged version by Jeanne Gomoll, mounted on a piece of foamcore, 8 1/2" x 10". The button pinned onto the breasts of Corflu S attendees was only a few inches in diameter, but the unreduced original measured about 63/4" across, and that's the size of this hand-colored copy. The button portrays lots of fans crossing the face of the globe in every form of transportation imaginable, making their way toward Seattle, the site of Corflu 5. Another version of this artwork sold for $45.00 at Corflu.

664. A Faan's Pencil -- This unsharpened, yellow, #2 pencil says "ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM" and sports a red and yellow propeller beanie instead of an eraser. The propeller spins. Obviously this goes with your Conspiracy pen for a fannishly chic pen and pencil set. Donated by Julie Shivers. $3.00.

Taff Voting and Catalog Deadlines

October 9, 1988
First bid deadline
November 15, 1988
Second bid deadline
January 1, 1989
Direct sales deadline
January 15, 1989
TAFF voting deadline

J.G. Taff Out-Takes

How can I put all this information into Microsoft Works data bases so we can keep track of orders and bids -- and also transfer it to Pagemaker for laying out the catalog?...We can't. It's impossible. Nevertheless, several days later I am doing it anyway and it works...eventually. The summer is full of these "learning experiences" as Scott and I use the catalog project to get acquainted with our new Macintosh SE computer.

I spend a lot of time reading fanzines. A lot of time. It was important to me that most of the items include some minimal commentary; I wanted to appeal to fans who might know little or nothing about the zines for sale. So I had to tell them about the stuff. Later I get very nice letters praising the "fanzine reviews in J.G. Taff," but to be honest, the catalog reviews no fanzines, it just describes them (or advertises them). Nevertheless I ponder production values and content quality of fanzines late into many a night. After the catalog goes to press, I begin to prepare for a Nolacon panel on fanzine production by scanning some of the past year's fanzines. Well, I intend to scan. But instead, I read and record voluminous notes in the computer and end up printing out 30 dense pages of 9 point type to take down to New Orleans with me. Thus I've got a very rough first draft of Whimsey 7. It will be about fanzines. It should come out early next year, right after I gleefully hand over the administrative reigns of TAFF to the winner of the next election.

I am drawing the catalog's cartoon cover when the telephone rings. "Hi!" says the voice and identifies himself. We talk for a while and then he mentions that he received a fanzine from my friend "Sparkie." "Sparkie...?" I repeat, puzzled. I'm at a loss, I don't know who he's talking about...unless -- "Do you mean Spike?" I ask. "Yes, yes, Spike!" he sputters. After I hang up, I return to the drafting table and finish the cartoon. "Sparkie has a nose for fanzines," I write.

The layout of the catalog's page 21 demands a graphic next to the "What is TAFF?" article by Patrick Nielsen Hayden. The empty space pulses with imbalanced recrimination and so I draw a TAFF logo to make it quit sulking. And then I think, wow, if I color in the logo it would make a really neat button! So I call up Hope Kiefer, Madison's master button-maker, and ask her if she has the time to make up a dozen buttons before Nolacon. "Oh sure," she answers sweetly. "Since it's for TAFF, I will reschedule this week's two hours of sleep for next week, and do the buttons instead!" "Great," I say. And she does them and we hand them out to some of the attending past and current TAFF delegates at Nolacon. (Now for the first time since Rob Hansen lost the official TAFF button, we have our own official badge!) Hope recovers from desperate sleep- deprived fun and it turns out that we have a few extra buttons left over. (See the "For Sale" section.)

Scott Custis hunches over a sheet-draped box on the front lawn of our apartment building, snapping photographs of a pen, a piece of candy, a frizbee, and smurfs. He glances furtively over his shoulder, hoping that no one will notice his bizarre behavior, since he's not sure that he wants to explain that mid-day sunlight is necessary for these photographs, given the limitations of the camera.

"Ohmygod, you didn't really put photo credits in the catalog, did you??! !" says Scott unhappily.

Hope Kiefer and I sit on the living room floor, stuffing J.G. Taff catalogs into envelopes while we watch a videocassette of The Big Easy. We are preparing for the New Orleans worldcon. In mid-stuff, I hesitate and tear my eyes away from the passionate activity on the TV screen. One of the catalogs feels slightly lighter than the others. I check and sure enough, it is missing pages 11-12/25-26. Catalogs in close proximity are OK though; it must have been a fluke we say, and return our attention to the movie's hot love scene. "I can't wait to get to New Orleans," pants Hope. I put the flawed catalog aside and we forget about the problem as we study New Orleans culture. But a few weeks later, when I start receiving notes from people complaining about a certain missing page, I realize that the mis-collated catalog wasn't a fluke after all. And if you are one of the victims of collatio interruptus, rush a note to me and I'll send you a copy of the missing page.

The catalog is endlessly proofread, spell-checked and tuned up. But typos creep in, errors go uncorrected (see "Errata"), and just before the galleys are laser printed, I notice that there is a problem with the order blank. People who send in just the direct sale portion of their order forms might omit their name, address and phone number because that information is requested on the auction side of the order form. Quickly, I type in a sentence on the direct sale side, asking that both sides of the order form be sent to me. Inevitably, this "clarification" causes the most confusion of anything in the catalog and I hear about it.

How Goes the Trip Report?

My original plan was to have it written by Nolacon. I didn't want to get impressions of last year's worldcon mixed up with this year's. But I missed that deadline, mostly because administering TAFF takes more work and more time than I expected. Also, I felt strongly that my platform's promise -- to publish J.G. Taff -- took precedence over the trip report.

It will get done, but life goes on. Scott and I are looking at houses now and lots of other things will probably delay the writing inexcusably. That's the way it goes.

Thank you to those fanzine editors who offered to publish individual chapters, but the way it is shaping up, my trip report cannot easily be published in installments. It's definitely not chronological and may end up reading like a very un-orthodox trip report. That's the way it goes.