WELCOME to this, the all Japanese Monsters issue of Plokta. With special Japanese binding for John Dallman-san. [Historical note: the paper version of this issue was bound back-to-front, Japanese style.]
Alison, Steven, Marianne and Dr Plokta went off to Seattle for Potlatch & Corflu. The odd picture in this issue (more next time), but the main event for us was the Iron Faned panel at Corflu, based on the weird Japanese game show Iron Chef. This cult TV programme features competing chefs constructing gourmet dishes against the clock, each containing a secret ingredient. The winner is feted in laurels and the loser impales himself on his fabulously sharp Japanese cooking knives. The fannish version offered two teams the challenge of producing a fanzine in an hour. One team -- the challengers -- comprised the four of us and Pam Wells, along with our ritually pierced bovine mascot. The actual theme ingredient was Salmon, and copies of Steelhead, our mostly-produced-in-an-hour fanzine, should be enclosed with this issue of Plokta as a special bonus. But we were given two other possible theme ingredients a week in advance, and we did various preparation. Which is why you may see some articles and illustrations on the topics of alternative history and corflu elsewhere in this issue of Plokta. Well, waste not, want not, as they say. Pam Wells may not be individually credited on these, but you should assume that she was also involved in anything Iron Faned like.
Various happy news this time (for once); Alison and Steven are expecting another baby monster (provisionally titled Ploktemon), sometime in August. Marianne is quite delighted, because she hasn't really worked out the full enormity of it yet.
Alison discovered to her horror that her brother has been getting ideas above his station. It turns out he is shortly to marry the daughter of a baronet. Well, David always was the black sheep of the family. He broke the news in typical fashion -- Alison's parents read his engagement announcement in the Court pages of the Times. Alison is now fretting about what to wear for a posh society wedding when seven months pregnant. "It'll be in Tatler, you know," said a friend, helpfully. "If you wear a tent, it had better be a silk tent," said another. And her Aunt Margaret said, in the understatement of the century, "I think it will probably be a hat do."
And our very best congratulations to SMS and Eira, who will be married by the time you get this Plokta. We were enormously taken with their wedding invitation, and reprint the cover below -- though not, alas, the detailed descriptions of a multitude of different ceremonies in various bits of the beautiful Rochdale countryside.
We hope to have a photographic record for the next issue of Plokta.
Giulia tells us that George has been put on a diet. The vet took one look at him and completely banned double cream, smoked salmon, pork chops and caviar. His tinned catfood rations have been halved, and Giulia has had Words with all the neighbours who'd been giving him titbits. As you can imagine, this has done nothing for George's temperament. He's also been given a more rigorous flea treatment regime, involving regular ministrations with noxious medicines and a fine-toothed comb. Giulia hopes she'll be able to take the bandages off soon.