Friday, June 03, 2022

LOC for Vita Transplantare #26

The following is a letter of comment sent to John Nielsen Hall, editor of Vita Transplantare, commenting on #26.

Dear Mr. Hall:

I am sorry to hear about your recent personal and information technology-related battles that stood strong between you and the completion of Vita Transplantare #26, my first introduction to your journal of opinion, reviews, and diatribes pertaining to your thought process. I can empathize with the need for a new laptop. My home office was recently burgled, as detailed in my APA-L apazine Telegraphs & Tar Pits #16 (—so I understand how unnerving it can be to be between machines. It was surprisingly uncomfortable.

It strikes me that your perzine is largely composed of a letter column. How wonderful! I enjoyed your and Fred Lerner’s (and later, Graham Charnock’s) dueling commentary on Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, which I haven’t read. I can understand your point of view given that you didn’t have similar experience camping or hiking, but the Eagle Scout and Scout leader in me was intrigued enough by the book to add it to The List (along with Station Eleven and Life After Life). Mr. Lerner’s remark that Ransome’s book didn’t include any characters of African or Indian ancestry reminded me of a recent read of Victor Appleton’s Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle—my first read of Swift. Appleton’s portrayal of the character Eradicate Andrew Jackson Abraham Lincoln Sampson was impressively shocking and inappropriate. While I realize that it was of the time—the book was initially published in 1910—it’s challenging at this late date to imagine that such a portrayal was OK, particularly in children’s fiction. Ernest Hogan offers a thought-provoking take on the book in his 2016 La Bloga blog entry, “Chicanonautica: Tom Swift and His Old-Fashioned Racism.” (

Gary Mattingly’s letter of comment is structured suggestive of apa comments; is Vita Transplantare an apazine, perchance? It seems as though Mattingly was a Scout in Illinois; I participated in Wisconsin as a youth. Our troop also played Capture the Flag, which is different from British Bulldog, during campouts and outdoor activities, and some of my fondest memories are of the wintertime Klondike Derby. That was a day-long outdoors activity during which patrols competed in a number of outdoor events, making their way around a course with a large sled containing all the equipment needed for the day. Each Scout brought a can of soup as part of their participation, and the afternoon meal consisted of a soup comprising all those different cans of soup… perhaps a hundred cans of soup. Sounds like a disgusting mess, but it was hot, and it was delicious—as far as memory serves. One summer, while working as staff at a local Scout camp, I ensconced myself well up a tree during a campwide game of Capture the Flag to read Douglas Adams’s novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. I read the entire book while up that tree, returning to the dining hall well after sunset—and well after the other Scouts. I had not been caught, but I also didn’t win. Surely, I hadn’t been playing correctly. It was a very good book.

The remarks on video blogs brought to mind Rob Imes’s analysis of changes in YouTube over time in Fadeaway #67. In that piece, Imes walks through a wide range of notable fandom-related online video content that might be of interest to you and your readers. Your faint praise of Star Trek: Picard—”It's a good thing to watch just before bed.”—made me chuckle. I’ve yet to watch it, but I’ve been enjoying Star Trek: Discovery in a protracted fashion and quite liked the first 15 minutes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds I watched during lunch a week or so ago. In addition to the multiple book and movie references, I found the music recommendations intriguing. Having just read The Drink Tank #438 (basically a Beatles fanzine) and recently discovering Nic Farey’s “Radio Winston” pieces in This Here…, music in fandom has become front of mind somehow. Soul Glo, Combo Chimbita, Widowspeak, Nia Archives… all playlist bound.

Why would John Thiel buy Facebook? (Just kidding.)

I trust that the last two pages of the letterzine are you and you alone in terms of writing. All in all, a good introduction to your perzine, which is worth returning to. Thank you for publishing. I appreciate the numerous book, movie, and television suggestions, as well as the lively discussion.

Hope this finds you and yours well. Have a good weekend!

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