Letters of Comment

This time out, many of the locs have a common theme, namely raccoons. My comments, as usual, are in ((double parentheses)).

Elly Freeman writes: No raccoons in Leeds--this is Leeds in England, yes? Yes, they are North American but there's been so much travel, shipping, etc. for so long that who's to say a few haven't emigrated. Or no, I have it! This took place in an alternate universe where there are raccoons in Leeds. ((Jo Walton and Bridget Bradshaw, along the same lines, suggested a zoo escape, and several other people wrote to let me know that there are no raccoons in Britain. Itís nice to know that fandom is not neglecting the study of natural history. I call your attention to the original text, which invited the reader to pretend that the events described were taking place in Leeds.))

Lloyd Penney writes: Not many abandoned houses when and where I grew up, although I do remember one close to one of the public schools I attended. I remember about a dozen of us little hooligans sneaking in the back door of a small abandoned house. As usual, being the smallest, I was usually at the back of the pack. The front of the line kicked a door down in the basement, and I remembered a scream from one of the biggest and toughest kids, and the pack in front turned in terror, and came stampeding towards me. I turned and ran up the stairs and out of the house out of fear...of being trampled. Once everyone was out of the house, I asked those who were scared the most what they saw, and no one would tell me. I have a recollection of a glimpse of a moving rocking chair, and that's all.

Any country outside the United States has the currency problem that makes purchasing US$ and books expensive. Not long ago, one price would cover both the US and Canada. Then came the warning phrase that made life difficult for those of us here with any literary bent...Slightly Higher in Canada, but often no indication of how much higher. As the US$ rose and the Canadian $ sank, books might be $2.95 US, $3.50 Canadian. Today, it's $6.99 US, $8.99 or $9.50 Canadian. If you have any Penguin or Puffin books in your collection, check to see how much worse it is in Australia and New Zealand. As much as I'd like to support the local SF bookshop, new paperbacks are out of the question. That's why on the odd occasion I buy SF, it's from a used book store or a thrift shop, and discover SF from the fifties through to the 70s all over again.

((The exchange rate being what it is, I bought a few new books when I was last in Toronto: the Canadian prices seemed to have been set when the Canadian dollar was stronger. But I generally felt like I was getting away with something on the little shopping I did on that trip; I even bought a box of tea (something I'd meant to get at home, not an exotic novelty) because the price, converted into US dollars, was less than I pay here, and tea is light.

Tamara Vining writes: You know, I never thought of myself as a transvestite, though I have thought of it as cross-dressing, mostly for shows, either rock shows or fundraisers in the Gay community. I like wearing ties a lot (I have over 90), and somehow when I was little, and saw my dad shave and put on a tie, I always thought I'd grow up and do that, and I sort of have. I think of myself as butch, and feel very uncomfortable in clothes deemed appropriate for my sex, unless dyke is another sex. So I guess I'm not into homovestism. First time I've run into that word.

Sherry Thomson writes: I enjoyed your fictitious account of the virtual house in the alternate universe. You sound very much like me--more than willing to do the exploring, but really wishing that there had been a service entrance, overlooked by the local constabulary when they boarded up the place.

Could the lightswitch somehow be used as a way to "turn off" the steam engine? Sort of a Rube Goldberg combination of mechanical links between the switch and the fire-extinguisher would be amusing, and could even be made to seem historically accurate.

Sheryl Birkhead writes: I never did the old building exploration--only once tried to climb up and walk an old split rail fence. Wrong--it was old wood over barbed wire and the wood gave way--the wire did not--torn clothes and torn leg. Oops.

I also heard from: Mae Strelkov, who praised Sheryl's artwork; Buck Coulson (RIP); Kim Huett (whose late loc on Quipus 7 and 8 praised my tattoos); Steve Johnson; Jerry Kaufman; Lyn McConchie (who told some more stories of helpful New Yorkers and passed on farm news); Andy Hickmott; and George Flynn.

Copyright 1999 Vicki Rosenzweig; all rights hereby returned to the contributors.

Letters of comment are welcome, and may be printed unless you say otherwise; please send them to vr@panix.com

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