Issue 14
Volume 4 Number 2
June 1999

In This Issue

 • Contents
 • Cover Illustration
 • Editorial
 • A Beginner's Guide to Self-Mutilation
 • "...And I Would Like To Spank Stephen Baxter..."
 • Gu*nness is Good For You
 • Shopping Habits of the Camiroi
 • Letters of Comment to Plokta
 • Vijay Pulls it Off
 • Everybody's Free (to send us letters)
 • Mind the Gap

Email Plokta
Send us your comments.
The main index to all Plokta web projects.

Plokta Index
List of all issues of Plokta online.

The Plokta News Network. News and views for SF fandom

The Plokta SF convention, from 26-29 May 2000.

[Plokta Online]


The Cabal quaffing champagne WELL, we have big news this issue. Sue has finally lost her technovirginity, and can be reached online at And you will not be surprised to learn that we were all delighted to hear that we'd got a Hugo nomination. We even let Marianne have her first taste of champagne.

You'll note that Mike Scott has been added to the editorial line-up, with responsibility for the web edition of Plokta ( This reflects either Plokta's recognition of the growing importance of the Internet to modern life and SF fandom, or Mike's pathetic desire to make sure he gets to go to the Hugo Loser's party if Plokta is nominated again next year.

Many thanks to SMS for allowing us to use his superb picture But Mum... as the cover for our special Hugo-losing issue. As a professional SF artist, SMS has come to have certain expectations about how magazines will treat his artwork. Wishing to fulfil those expectations, we have been careful to take diabolical liberties without consultation. Dr Plokta just wishes he could take diabolical liberties with SMS's model. And Sue quite fancies the girl.

We need to apologise to people who tried to email us at -- an email address that simply wasn't working for a couple of weeks between the last issue and now. We're now recommending that you use And you may want to resend anything that you're worried we didn't receive (but check the loccol first).

Also having trouble are the alien investigators at SETI@home. This nifty website allows you to harness the power of your ordinary home, dial-up computer to join in with half a million others and search for extraterrestrial life. Their homepage is at As the actual chances of finding aliens are pretty low, morale is being sustained by forming the searchers into teams. One of the teams is Team Plokta, so you can join up with friends of Plokta from around the world in searching for aliens. You will need to search for "team plokta" on their teams search page in order to find us.

Trouble is, demand was so high for the site that they were too busy to make sure the data was going out properly, with the result that all half million users have been analysing the same 115 packets of radio telescope data. Never mind; we're sure they'll sort it out soon.

Marianne running Linux Speaking of Dr Plokta, we finally gave in and allowed him to install Linux on Marianne. He assures us that we will now find that she is fully compliant. We haven't noticed much change yet, though she does seem to be falling over less often. However, her potty training routine is still hogging resources. Dr P has made her source code freely available on the Internet.

We all enjoyed Seccon considerably; a small con with excellent company and all the wonders of Stevenage laid out before us like pearls before swine. It wasn't a very wild con though. Half of the committee confided "When we got the room booking forms back, about 90% of the membership had said 'Quiet Room Please'."

Thankfully, we have no more deaths to report this time, but Robert Lichtman is recovering from a serious car accident and Ted White has broken his hip in a fierce altercation with a marauding gingko. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery to them both.

Dr Plokta cloning wombats

Previous Article
Next Article



The Daily Telegraph's property section on May 1 reported an unfortunate combination of superfluous technology and seabirds. A seafront resident who is using speech recognition software on his PC complains that whenever a seagull squawks outside his window, the word "Aldershot" is inserted into his documents.

Up the Walls of the World

Having trouble finding enough shelf space for all your books? Plokta has the solution for one lucky reader. Follow our advice and you'll never run out of bookshelf again. Yes, Sotheby's will soon be auctioning the Victorian bookshelves from the outside wall of the British Library round reading room. May it rest in peace. The bookshelves come in three sections, form a circle, and provide enough storage for more than a million books. The guide price is 5-10,000 or near offer: surely within the reach of many fans, or at least within the reach of an organisation such as NESFA.

Of course, they weigh about a hundred tonnes each, and require a circular supporting wall or they can't take the weight of the books. Buyer collects, I understand.

Send in the Clones

Plokta was delighted to hear that, following the success of Dolly the Sheep, scientists are turning their attention to the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat. Regular readers of Plokta will remember that the wombat in question lives in Epping Forest, and due to its unfortunate habit of killing off likely mating partners, is due to go extinct sometime next Thursday.

However, at the eleventh hour, Dr Plokta and his crack wombat reproduction division have taken up the fight. Northern Hairy Nosed Wombats are to be cloned, thereby ensuring the survival of the species. Dr P had intended to use the mighty duplicating engines of Folkestone to help with the task, but they've already hit wombat saturation point. So he's resorted to the Critical Wave photocopier. It's worked quite well, but all the wombats have faint grey streaks down their backs.