TommyWorld Thirty Four

The Thirty Third issue of a sortof letter substitute, kinda thing, maybe weekly, maybe not, from:

40 Deramore Avenue, Belfast, BT7 3ER, Northern Ireland

E-mail: Phone: (01232) 293275

Web Site:

Also available at: Available only via the net at the moment. Thanks to Mark McCann for computer usage and computer advice. Supporting Maureen Kincaid Speller for TAFF and Toronto in ’03 for the 2003 WorldCon. This issue dated, already, 1/3/98 Welcome new readers, please see the colophon for subscription info.

All the print that is fit for news.

Finally I get a decent job. From 9th March I’ll be the Database Co-ordinator for the home distribution department of Northern Ireland’s National Newspaper (well I have to be biased now, don’t I?) The Belfast Telegraph (you can access its website at: This is a full time, permanent position but it doesn’t necessarily mean, as some people seem to think, that I will now be in Belfast for the rest of my natural born days. As I mentioned to one correspondent: if I can sell my home, leave my career of six years with the Inland Revenue and up sticks and move to Canada for over a year, I don't think a few months or even a year or two in the Belfast Telegraph is going to be a major gravitic force for me. Given the IT nature of this job, it may actually be of serious benefit when it comes to moving to America - working in a pub or possibly teaching is all well and good, but doesn't impress immigration people. 'Database Co-ordinator,' now there is a title to be reckoned with! More on this in later issues.

Other news is that the deadline for voting in the FAAn awards has now been extended to 5th March to allow for all those last minute votes. The awards cover five categories: Best fan writer, best fanzine, best artist, best letterhack and best new fan writer. I’m particularly impressed with the last two categories, a new spin put on the awards by Andy Hooper, who is administering them this year. The best letter hack award is especially welcome as it was how I, and many others like me, got into fan writing in the first place. The best new fan writer is the next logical step from letter hack to best fan writer; and the qualifying period here is from 1993 – essentially someone who started writing in the past five years. Of course I wouldn’t be so crass as to urge you to vote for someone in that category, even though she has written for TommyWorld. Oh no, that would be just to much even for me… Further details can be had at Victor Gonzalaez’s website ( or you can email Andy at for more info and a ballot.

I’ve also received a fanzine from Kim Huett (PO Box 679 Woden, ACT 2606, Australia) Converse 3, which details his current project. With laudable intentions this is to scan electronically all the articles that Lucy Huntzinger has published, in her own fanzines and others in Kim’s zine collection. This would then be posted to a site as an anthology with other writers to follow – I get the impression that D. West is up next. He writes: “Once upon a time anthologies of particular fans were far and few between because the task of assembling such collections was extremely labour intensive. With the advance in the nature of technology over the last decade or so the work involved has become a fraction of what it was. Consequently there are no longer any reasons why such collections should not spring up like weeds… you can expect the Huntzinger volume in the next two or three months.” I for one am looking forward to it. Drop him a line if you’re interested.

More details are also forthcoming on the Belfast convention to be held on 18/19th March. MECON. This from Eamon Watters, who is helping out at the con:

“The Northern Irish Science Fiction Convention.

18th - 19th April 1998.

Guest of Honour: James White. (Award-winning author of the Sector General series)

Other guests: David Wingrove (author and chronicler). Graham Joyce (author). Peter Morwood (author). Diane Duane (Star Trek writer ((sic)) and author). Paul J. Holden (comics artist). Katherine Kurtz (world-renowned fantasy author). Scott MacMillan (novelist and screenplay author). Ian MacDonald (local Science Fiction author).

Features include: Celebrity Panels, Debates, Video Shows, Pub Quiz, Comics Workshop, Merchandise Room, Games Room. And for the terminally depressed - there's a large Pub onsite, with a late licence on the Saturday night! More crazy events will be occurring at the con. Entrance fee - £10 (sterling) until 31st March. For more information, please write to - Paul Keenan, 10 Tokio Gardens, Belfast BT15. Cheques made payable to - Paul Keenan.

e-mail - World Wide Web -”

It was quite strange to see Ian McDonald, one of our hottest new writers, given a lowly billing, especially as he will be the Guest of Honour at Intuition, this years Eastercon in Manchester, (which, it so happens, is on the weekend before Mecon.) Like all great Irish writers you have to leave these shores to be fully appreciated, although it didn’t help me in the slightest… Talking of conventions, the latest on the Toronto in 2003 WorldCon bid is as follows (from a post made by Larry Hancock to RASFF):

“The website for the bid is at: site includes a full list of members, list of upcoming meetings, what conventions we will have presence’ s at, what to do in Toronto, calendar of upcoming SF events in Toronto and oodles (oodles?) more. Want to be up to date on what's happening with the bid? We have a mailing list: This list is for announcements about the Toronto in 2003 WorldCon bid, suggestions, and general discussion. Anything to do with Toronto fandom or upcoming WorldCons or WorldCon is welcome. It's not very active at the moment, but will get busier as more people subscribe. To subscribe, send a message to with the body of the message being "subscribe talk". Want to contact us? General inquiries: Membership inquiries: Chair: Larry Hancock, Co-chair, Toronto in 2003 Bid Committee. Direct contact:”

Thanks and praise are due to Alison Scott ( who was first to write in reply to my frustrated plea about Bill gate’s software: “Tommy; what's happening is that your email programme is producing an HTML version of the post as well as a text version. This is an option, which can be turned off somewhere in the options.” It is a classic case of giving a job to a man who needs sixteen thousand tools and four weeks to complete it; give the same job to a woman and she simply turns the machine on. For Alison is completely correct: I went to the options menu on Outlook Express and turned the setting from HTML format, to plain text format. Which is what you are now reading. Modern technology, eh?

To answer a few other queries I have been receiving, I’m still not going to Corflu UK. The new job has made that more than clear, and to be honest if I didn’t have the new job I still wouldn’t be going. I can’t spare the money, or the time and effort involved, and want to keep whatever cash and holidays I have for Lesley Reece’s visit to Ireland in a few months time. I really would like to go to Corflu – there is a whole bunch of people going whom I would dearly love to meet: Ted White and Geri Sullivan to mention just a few. Geri and I thought we might actually get to meet up in Belfast at some stage but I’m going to be working when she has the spare time, so that has been knocked on the head.

Belfast fandom will be at Corflu though, with three of its finest – Eugene Doherty: Chronicler of Belfast fandom with his 35 – yep, go on count ‘em - issues of the fortnightly Belfast zine The Monocle (which I hope to get on-line sometime over the summer.) Mark McCann and James McKee, my co-conspirators in Götterdämmerung (which is available on-line at: with their Cuban tans still intact (bastards…) So say hello to them, buy them a pint and be regaled with nasty vicious rumours about me.

And now, you.

Lesley Reece “I do recall having pointed out to you several gay-oriented bars and restaurants on Capitol Hill. It's true that I normally wouldn't eat/drink in some of them unless I was with a bunch of gay guys (which, I should probably point out, does happen sometimes). I just feel more comfortable when I'm not the only woman in the room -- which means that I'm perfectly okay in a bar or restaurant that caters to a lesbian, or mixed gay and lesbian, clientele. It's the all-boy stuff that makes me feel kinda crunchy.

I moved up here because I'd had enough of all-white, all-hetero, homogenous neighborhoods. Remember I told you about my last landlord, the one that decided I was a "witch" because of my black clothes and (dearly departed) pet python? I mean, I look out the window and there he is, waving a rosary and moaning about demons. Hell yes I moved. I was sick of that kind of intolerance and stupidity, especially since the worst of it always seems to come from people who proclaim themselves "normal".

On Capitol Hill there are plenty of abnormally-pale people with black wardrobes and pierced noses. Nobody ever looks at me twice and I'm old enough that I dig it. So yeah, I guess I want to fit in, or at least not stick out *too* much. Which, I suppose, was the point of your essay in the first place. I admit it. There are places I don't go. Lesley. "I have to go. Somewhere there is a crime happening."—RoboCop”

Joyce Worley “Dear Tommy, Your description of bombed-out Belfast was interesting, if sad. Feeling out of your element isn't limited to just places where you might get your head thumped; even in non-threatening situations, it's uncomfortable to feel an outsider. You can feel as vulnerable in the wrong church as in the wrong neighborhood. Sorta like walking into an N3F Hospitality Suite: I may not get pounded, but I know quickly enough that's I'm out of my depth. Best regards, Joyce Katz.”

Pamela Boal “Dear Tommy, Oh dear! Just when it seemed as if all was well your latest caused the worst problem yet. Every time I tried to open Tommy World 33 my computer froze, it just sat there showing the egg timer and I had to go to ctrl-alt-delete and close down to get out of the situation. It never even got into my main reading off line file. Fortunately I was able to delete your (unread) message and it does not seem to have affected anything else. Sorry love, such problems I can do without. Please take me off of Tommy World mailing list. Though I still hope to hear from you as and when. Warm regards, Pamela.” ((This should work. I hope.))

Steve Jeffrey “Tommy, I don't know how to say this... but it's actually in HTML. Fire up Notepad and take a look... Personally I don't mind this, cos I can read it in the Explorer browser, and it's just as good as RTF in Word 6. And this way at least, those RTF field code errors now come up correctly as loccers' email address. I suspect you have Office 97, and maybe even Explorer 4 installed, and so TommyWorld is becoming a casualty of Bill Gates' "HTML with everything" megalomania. Unfortunately I have no idea how to turn this off once it starts to subvert Windows itself. Steve”

Ned Brooks “Tommy - Thanks for the e-zine, works fine except that some of the punctuation seems to be described rather than appearing in the usual fashion. I see that your correspondent Jim Trash apparently knows what an RTF file is, someone was asking me about it and I haven't a clue. Fascinating account of where you can't go in various cities... I suppose there are places here or in Atlanta where I shouldn't go, but being fairly antisocial anyway I never discovered them. The few restaurants I can stand to eat in seem to cater to a very general clientele, and the only objection I have is to the ghastly noise they play as music - I not only don't want to hear most pop music, I don't want to have to remember having heard it.”

IAHF: Geri Sullivan, Andy Hooper, Alison Scott, Joyce Katz (again!), Eamon Watters (with lots of info), Bridget Wilkinson, Cheryl Morgan (with a nice mention in Emerald City 30), Jim Mallory (who is off to California on a speaking tour but who has left me some info on his “Books That Define A Generation” idea. More on that in next weeks issue.) Garth Spencer, Jack Weaver (with some updates on the fanac TommyWorld archives). Thanks to everyone for writing and all the ideas for the technical end of this. Hopefully the next few issues should see these all resolved. (Yeah, right Tommy…)

This is being distributed to a whole bunch of friends on the net, if you received this and would NOT like to be on the mailing list please accept my apologies for this intrusion and let me know so that you will not be bothered by further ramblings. If you know someone who would like to be on the mailing drop me a line.