Issue 20
Volume 5 Number 4
August 2000

In This Issue

 •  Contents
 •  Cover Illustration
 •  Editorial
 •  The Hills Are Alight
 •  Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft
 •  Your Chance To Predict The Future
 •  Needs A Gantt Chart, Vern
 •  Lokta Plokta
 •  A Few Stills from the Ploktacam

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PEOPLE SEEM to have enjoyed <plokta.con>, but very few of them have answered our plea for them to send us con reports and photos. So we've just had to make various stuff up; you can see it elsewhere in the issue.

fillo by ATom

Alison is incredibly pregnant, and is waddling around like an unusually demanding arthritic penguin [So, no change there, then]. She assures us that she is unlikely to deeble before we finish the fanzine, though her midwife was slightly concerned to hear she was planning to travel as far afield as Reading.

Please say hello to Sue if you spot her on her TAFF trip. She'll be in the US from 18 August to September, and is planning to hit the fannish epicentres of San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. Steve, Giulia and Mike will also be at Chicon, and Alison is sulking.

Last issue's CD-Rom caused great shockwaves to roll through fandom, with no less a personage than Arnie Katz describing it as "a milestone in the history of fanzine fandom" and all manner of people sending us email to explain that they had never realised that you could look for files using Windows Explorer. Sue, for example, accessed the entire thing through Word, causing Dr Plokta to suffer explosive decompression.

Lots of people wrote to us to tell us how much they liked the CD-Rom; almost as many as wrote to say they couldn't make it work on their machine, in fact. Carl Juarez has a tip for Mac owners to help them cope with the long file names: "There is a freeware download at <> that extends the Mac OS to handle the disk correctly. It's pretty small, and all you really need is the extension, called "Joliet Volume Access". Just drop it on your System Folder (or equivalent) and reboot, and the Plokta CD-Rom will be five times as graceful and easier to use."

The CD Rom contains lots of good stuff, including archives of art by ATom and Sue Mason, which are free for use in your fanzine (see left) provided you send copies to Olive Thomson or Sue Mason respectively. (Addresses on the CD Rom).

Team Plokta continues to rack up units at SETI@home, despite the project not having found anything more exciting than the radio equivalent of an old boot. Marcus Rowland provides his take on the entire SETI phenomenon later in the issue. Meanwhile, Dr Plokta, with a good grasp of what is really important, informs us that if we all just gird our loins and pay a bit more attention to Team Plokta's totals, we have a sporting chance of making it into the "Top 200 Clubs" listing. So, if you haven't yet added your units to the Plokta cause, please join in the fun.

We're all a bit interested in the future at the moment. You know, "What sex is the baby going to be?" "Are we going to win the Hugo?" "When's the next paycheck coming in?" Anyway, this issue we're asking you to make fools of yourselves by suggesting dates for when we'll have actually have wacky way-out sci-fi concepts like space travel, electric calculating machines and a left-wing government.

Caroline Mullan and MeriolFinally, some good news for a change. Caroline Mullan managed to avoid going into labour at <plokta.con>, but has now had a baby girl, Meriol Jessie van Ameringen. Like most small babies, she mostly seems to eat and sleep; we wonder whether she ought to join the cabal.

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Tits For Tobes

So, there we were at the Scandinavian room party at <plokta.con>. The yoghurt and rum cocktails were flowing like, well, nasty curdled stuff, and suddenly Tobes announced that he was going to put on a dress. Not for TAFF or anything, but just because he quite fancied wearing a dress. An appeal produced a suitable mini red and black number from Alison Freebairn, and a quick strip saw Tobes follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as Tommy Ferguson and, well, Tommy Ferguson (again).

But there was something missing. We couldn't quite put our finger on it. Tobes seemed to be rather lacking in the cleavage department. Various solutions were suggested, ranging from Wonderbras to gaffer tape. But through the wonders of technology, we've gone for the virtual bust enhancement.

Tobes in a dress

Don't fancy yours much, Anders