Australia or bust. The master copies of this Plokta will be personally couriered to the Antipodes, and lovingly hand-carved by teams of Aboriginal laser printers. Steve and Giulia will then pass among the natives at Aussiecon strewing fanzines about like pearls before Strine.
Meanwhile, Steven and Alison are trying to move from their tiny cottage to a house suitable for holding Plokta editorial meetings. The new house should be large enough to accommodate their books, fanzines and superfluous technology. Oh yes, and there might be room to fit in their daughter somewhere, too. We'll have a new address by next issue -- but we'll be forwarding anything that comes to the old address.
Proving that we know a good idea when we see one, we have decided to launch a little fannish convention. <plokta.con> is the Plokta convention, being held over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend next year (26-29 May 2000) somewhere in the south of England. We'll tell you our hotel in the next issue, but we're already delighted to be able to announce that our Guest of Honour will be Ken MacLeod. Ken is the author of The Star Fraction, The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division and The Sky Road, four linked novels exploring various political philosophies against the background of a detailed and convincing future history. We should be taking memberships from next issue, and updates on the con will appear in Plokta rather than separate progress reports.
We hope <plokta.con> will have about 100-150 members. Like Seccon, we will have a single stream programme, with both SF and fannish items and lengthy gaps suitable for the partaking of large meals. But we also want to capture some of the light-hearted feeling that was such a success at Year of the Wombat, though preferably without the pump-action water pistols. And we want the con to have the sort of fannish ambience of the Miscons -- not to mention the real ale. We thought the fanzine room at Attitude was splendid, and we hope to have a repro room available for you to produce one-shots during the convention. The plan is that the superfluous technology in this room will spend at least part of the convention hooked up to the Internet, and Dr Plokta is already working on setting up the vat of hecto jelly as a network printer.
We've always hankered after cover-mounting a fannish CD-ROM on Plokta. We hope to produce this marvel as part of the programme book (ie, relevant issue of Plokta), and mail it to Plokta readers who aren't at the con. Please let us have suggestions, or offers of material, for the contents. Ideally, we'd like to hook up with another convention or fannish organisation, because otherwise we'll be buried in a massive heap of the smallest economical CD print run. All good uses for silver platters welcome.
Before we suppressed him, Dr Plokta insisted that we remind you of our other fannish projects. Our website for fannish news, The Plokta News Network, is regularly updated with news, gossip and baseless innuendo. Check out the site at www.plokta.com/pnn/ on 4 September for near-instantaneous news of the Hugo results, assuming that Steve can get the satellite phone working. Alternatively, help Team Plokta search for aliens at setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu. Search for "team plokta" and help us get into the top hundred alien-finding clubs.
Dr P's latest venture is the expanded Dr Plokta's Guide to Science Fiction, now made virtual flesh at www.sfreader.com [Not linked at present to avoid search engines picking it up -- Dr P]. At present we're beta-testing, and there's not much content yet. But the aim will be to give you information about the SF and fantasy you may be thinking about reading. SFreader.com isn't trying to comprehensively list all SF and fantasy. Instead it aims to be quirky, biased and subjective about the stuff we like. And the stuff you like -- again, we're looking for literate articles and reviews from your old fanzines to help provide the content for this site. In the unlikely event that it ever turns a profit, there will be some form of profit-sharing.
You will see from the cover that some of the cabal were privileged to witness a total eclipse of the sun. Admittedly Steven and Alison only saw it through a layer of rather thick cloud. But in much of the UK, the eclipse was a non-event. Luckily, Bracknell had the forethought to import a beach for the summer. At a stroke, this unprepossessing new town fifty miles from the sea was transformed into a delightful tropical paradise, as you can see below.
We've got the sand, but someone's forgotten the sea,
and the dragon Ploktaroth seems to have eaten the sun.