Despite everyone's earnest efforts, Heliograph refused to die. For completists we summarize the quasi-issues which appeared posthumously, thanks to the sinister offices of (it says here) Chris Suslowicz, Cathryn Easthope, a Macintosh Classic and PageMaker 4.0.
Undead Dog Bulletin
IT IS TUESDAY, the newsletter office is deserted and the equipment has been packed for its eventual return to the mainland. Thog the Mighty has discovered that his transportation (Horde, one, for the use of) has been misbooked for the previous day and is sharpening his sword. (Alex Stewart: 'Thog say, plane for wimps. Thog swim.') Langford has departed for the mainland to avoid the likely bloodshed, pausing briefly to Blu-TackTM 5,271,009 copies of the Dead Dog Memorandum to various walls. 'Stop that man and nail his feet to the floor,' screamed an enraged Martin Easterbrook, engaged in convention poster removal. Too late -- the denuded corridors had been fetchingly redecorated....
HOTEL REDECORATION: Some fans have had to be moved from the old part of the HdF to the new bit, as it appears that the hotel painters apply the stuff with hammers, commencing at 0700 (accompanied by loud sawing noises and, subsequently, interesting piles of sawdust in the corridors).
THE EQUIPMENT TRANSPORT vehicle provoked noises of concern as regards its ground clearance. Mere tons of scaffolding, computers, etc. left it looking oddly low at the back. The techies' eventual decision was that they needed to shift the chocolate further forward.
SIGNS AND PORTENTS. Traditional variation on the 'Do Not Disturb/Please Make Up The Room' sign, sighted on the 6th floor of the new bit: Do Not Disturb -- Because I Definitely Do NOT Have 14 People Crashing On My Floor. Inconceivable, of course....
FOOD CORNER. There are no restaurant reports because with typical selfishness all the reporters are still in the restaurants. There is also an absence of newsroom -- the final wording on the door was 'go away in a huff and never return', so copy is not arriving, and the Alternative Newsroom is making it all up from a secret location. Stay tuned. Heliograph 10-ish, 13/4/93. Wook: Dave Langford. Clattuc: Chris Suslowicz. Chilke: Thog the Mighty. Tamm: Cathryn Easthope. LPFers: BSFA Council. Yips: Ops.
Embalmed Dog Missive
WEDNESDAY: The RSPCA is investigating a suspected case of shark abuse involving the hot tub in the swimming pool, the shark, and several fans. (An ashen-faced and tight-lipped Chris Suslowicz said later: 'They were attempting artificial insemination of the rubber shark using a water pistol. Maybe they'd been talking to Jack Cohen. I heavily cut this story, as Heliograph is nominally a family publication.')
BOOZE ALERT: we have now drunk the hotel out of all bitter -- from here on it's bottled stuff or Lowenbrau (Aaaaargh!TM ... this ejaculation © 1993 Neale Mittenshaw-Hodge, used without permission).
THOG INSANELY JEALOUS! More glasses broken last night than in the whole of Helicon. Most of the damage was caused by a group of 'mundanes' who 'dropped in for a drink'.
MORE SWIMMING POOL FUN. Chris Cooper borrowed the water pistol from the hot tub and amusingly opened fire on the group there ... having first carefuly refilled it from the cold, cold swimming pool.
FINAL FOODIES. Central Park, an 'American Style' restaurant, refused to serve desserts and coffee alone to six of us tonight, insisting that we order a main course. As they were almost empty at the time, we thought this bizarre; no American restaurant would take such an attitude. We ended up at Manhattan -- the restaurant, not the island -- which looks very unprepossessing from outside but does good ice-cream and excellent cappuccino. Alison Scott
DISCO HORROR! I [Chris S. again] requested a room in a quiet area of the hotel and am directly above the Starlight room,. This has a glass roof, and the 'World Book Childcraft' convention that has arrived is running a disco in there. The staff on the HdF desk 'don't know' when it will finish, and I wanted an early night.... Complaints have had no effect: where is Thog the Mighty when the newsletter needs him?
THAT'S ALL, FOLKS: 2355 Wednesday.
OH NO IT WASN'T: having promised the hotel staff he'd finish at midnight, the DJ halted the disco at 0005 and turned on the karaoke machine.... Heliograph 11-ish, 14/4/93. McNulty: Dave Langford. Purser: Chris Suslowicz. Jay Score: Thog the Mighty. Kli Morg: Cathryn Easthope. Crew: Alison Scott, Omega, 1/2 r, Martin Easterbrook. Gobboon: the DJ.
As an act of simple humanity towards those who were not at Helicon ... this is what some of the obscurer references were all about.
After-Dinner Speech. This was D.Langford going on about great and tasteless foodie moments in sf, in an evident attempt to clear the room and fill the toilets.
Iain Banks Crawling Under the Rug. Not a twisted metaphor, not an in-joke, merely a sober record of fact. It has been explained to us as an act of chivalry: Kate Solomon remarked one night that she was bored and had nothing interesting to look at, whereupon Mr Banks gallantly provided something.
Bear in the Box. An ominously placarded box in the Art Show contained a teddy-bear in torment, strung up with hooks à la Hellraiser. The artist responsible for this spectacle was Tom Abba.
Chocolate. If you thought there was too much pandering to Helicon chocoholics in the newsletter, you should have seen some of the stuff we rejected. The closing ceremony went into immense detail about the chocolate sold (238 5kg blocks, so many thousand champagne truffles, etc) while utterly failing to mention the traditional convention index of total bar takings (the hotel was drunk dry of bitter by 2230 Monday night and restocked for the next weekend's SMOFcon). Yes, there really is a chocolate factory in the bowels of the Hotel de France -- hence 'Mr Wonka' and his tours. SF footnote: 'Mr Wonka' is actually Mr Andrew Porter. No doubt he was congratulated on his Hugo nomination at the subsequent SMOFcon.
Competition Corner. No one correctly answered the Asimov quiz question, which was in fact perfectly serious. Our answer: Emperor Daluben IV (see Foundation and Empire, chapter 1).
Credit Lines. The only credits 'theme' nobody seemed able to work out was that in issue 7, despite the huge hint in the last-but-one Vox Pop quote just above that issue's credits box.
Equipment. For those who like to know these things, Heliograph was produced on two IBM computers (loaned by Chris Cooper and Mark Young) running WordPerfect 5.1 with Bitstream FaceLift fonts (i.e. the system used by Dave Langford for Ansible) and driving an HP LaserJet printer (loaned by John Stewart). Laser-printed masters were then processed by the Chris Suslowicz Museum of Industrial Archaeology, comprising a Roneo electrostencil cutter and two Gestetner duplicators of vast antiquity.
'Go to Bed.' Following Brian Aldiss's memorable alleged line in issue 2, this became Heliograph's standard euphemism. Kindly Mr Aldiss slipped a note under our door complaining of 'anti-Aldiss' material and denying ever having used such words. Chris Morgan, conversely, insists that he did indeed say just that but was a trifle too off-sober to recall his epigram next day. Of such stuff is controversy made.
Steve Green Obituary. This appeared in the traditional spoof newsletter, produced by Chris O'Shea and cruelly mocking Heliograph by containing no jokes.
Hawaii. The 'Hawaii Party' was the one that was actually advertised in the programme, cost £1 for a ticket, ran out of booze in less than seven minutes, and was fined £500 corkage when (despite careful bagging for later smuggling away) the vigilant hotel found all its empties. Do fans not have cosmic minds?
HdF. Hotel de France. Helicon Dinner Frenzy. Hot Dog Franchise. Horrible Dearth of Fanzines. It all depends on the context.
Hobbes. See 'If I Ruled the Universe'.
If I Ruled the Universe.... This scabrous election campaign proliferated all over Helicon as well as its newsletter. The eponymous programme item featured various mighty beings attempting to gain the audience vote and become Universal Ruler. Candidates were Sir Edmund Blackadder (Neale Mittenshaw-Hodge), Boadicea/Boudicca (KIM Campbell), Genghis Khan (Mike Cule, whose cheerleaders' chant of 'Yak Fat! Yak Fat!' still haunts us), Tim Illingworth (Chris O'Shea), Ming the Merciless (Alison Scott) and Stupendous Man of Calvin and Hobbes fame (John Richards with mask, cape and of course Hobbes -- a battery-powered growly tiger which remorselessly crept along tables and fell off the end). Helicon was duly plastered with campaign posters, mostly vile lies from 'Blackadder' ('ILLINGWORTH plays with Barbie dolls!') illustrated with grossly libellous Sue Mason cartoons.
Tim Illingworth. We cannot explain Tim Illingworth.
Inconceivable. Traditional name for spoof Eastercon bids, naughtily annexed by the Inconsequential organizers for their next convention.
In-Jokes: typical complaints went like this. Aged Fan: 'Your newsletter is full of in-jokes and I'm not an "in" person.' We: 'But that bit's about the Helicon art show....' AF: 'Never go to art shows.' We: 'And this is all to do with the Read-Me booklet -- ' AF: 'Couldn't be bothered with that.' We: 'And "Tim Illingworth" is the convention chairman -- ' AF: 'Never heard of him.' We: 'And this is actually an sf reference to The Book of the New Sun....' AF: 'Like I said: all in-crowd jokes.'
Language ribbons. A complex system of colour-coded ribbons and little spots on convention badges was supposed to indicate who could interpret between which languages. Fandom soon reduced the system to chaos: 'And that quarter of a tartan spot on my badge stands for how much Gaelic I know,' etc.
Caroline Mullen. Notorious programme-book typo.
National Vulva. The hotel lifts had framed notices proclaiming them to be insured by National Vulcan: guess which letter was half-hidden by the frame?
Pirates. Certain groups of fans were rollicking round crying 'Avast!' and 'Yo-ho-ho!' but never told us why.
Read-Me. What in the days before computers used to be called the Pocket Programme Book.
Garrett Simpson is famous for never being mentioned in Heliograph ... he was the lucky staff member whose first story got spiked, while he never managed to fight his way to the keyboard to type up the second. They also serve who only stand and wait.
Thog the Mighty. Escaping from John Grant's myriad fantasy novels, Thog crept in via interjections in the 'If I Ruled ...' coverage and somehow became the Voice of the Newsroom Group Mind. Grown men found themselves speaking in Thog. 'Stop nitpicking, Paul, and let's print it.' 'Hah! When Thog the Mighty nitpick, nit know it have been picked.' You probably had to be there.
Zombies. Bulletins from this group of punk Finnfans kept arriving, and sometimes even made it into print despite manifest insanity. They also gave us a zombie fanzine which offered the daring statement 'World War II was a shitly thing.' Too right. DL, 27/4/93