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[page 23] HARRY WARNER, JR. 423 Summit Ave., Hagerstown, Md. 21740 The second issue of HOOM was so fine to read that I feel guilt even before I start this loc. Two pages must be my limit for these things, in view of the critical condition of the growing pile of unloc'd fanzines. It seems criminal to reply to 50 pages with two pages. So I'll skip the empty line between paragraphs, after shoving the left margin control one space further back, and consider those two actions the literary equivalent of the widower's mite. I've been a member of various round robin tapes over the years. Each of them has foundered somewhere, sooner or later. I suspect that you could provide a valuable service by trying to round up a symposium on what makes a round robin tape fun and which pitfalls must be most studiously avoided. There are all sorts of unexpected problems that should be predictable but still catch participants unexpected. I remember vividly the mystery of why some new round robin tapes were vanishing without completing even one round. We discovered a common factor in these disappearances: an extremely ardent collector-type fan. It didn't take long to discover that his collecting instincts just wouldn't allow him to send on anything asaociated with fandom chat he'd acquired, even a round robin tape. The problem of having people with two-track and four-track tape recorders on the same round robin is a trifle more complicated than you suggest. There is no real difficulty if the round robin tape has one section for each participant--that is, four designated areas which are reserved for four participants. The trouble appears when the round robin has one more participant than the number [page 24] of recording areas. This is the most logical way to operate a round robin tape, because nobody really wants to listen to his last contribution the next time it comes around, and you get one more participant for x number of recording areas. But this system causes each recipient to do his recording on the area used by the person just ahead of him on the route. Some quarter-track machines will not erase completely material which was recorded on the same section by a half-track machine, and that section will contain one person's remarks at reduced volume simultaneously with the newest recording. I know of only one way to handle it: run the tape through the machine twice in recording mode, on quarter-track, without recording anything, to erase as much of the half-track recording as possible (remembering that it will require turning around the tape for the second of these erasures), then do the actual recording in the two-track position of the quarter-track taper. A bulk eraser can be used only if each person has a designated section of the tape and records both tracks on it; if this is done, the person with the quarter-track machine can cut out his section, bulk erase it, then splice it back into place again. I enjoyed very much the article by J. P. Strang. My ignorance of the finer details of Tolkien is probably showing here, but I can't help wondering if the hobbits were small because they had short legs, or because they were generally proportioned on an overall smaller scale. If it was a case of short legs, I would imagine that they would have all sorts of trouble carrying swords without tripping, unless they chose weapons small enough to be useful only against enemies of their own size. The first act of Wagner's Siegfried ends with a scene paralleling some of J. P.'s remarks about repariring and purifying swords. Siegfried breaks the sword into powder-size fragments, instead of trying to repair the two broken halves as Mime had attempted, and renames it while singing a chant-like song that gives a strong suggestion of ritual. You'll undoubtedly stir up a lot of nasty remarks by suggesting sacred music converted to Tolkienish purposes. I see nothing wrong with it; after all, a lot of celebrated sacred music was borrowed from secular sources. (I'm pretty sure that one piece of sacred music isn't even borrowed, but secular from start to finish. Everyone considered Ethelbert Nevin's _The Rosary_ to be a devout piece of religious music, and I've never been able to find anything in its words but an almost blasphemous love poem.) I tried my hand at musical settings of some poems from a fantasy novel by Dr. David H. Keller. But I can't very well offer them for your proposed tape. [page 25] because I can't sing and they're much too ambitious for anyone with the folksong-type voice that most fans possess. Tentatively, I'll consider Time of Waiting as a fairly good piece of fiction, subject to change of mind when I see the rest of it. The main criticism of this first section is the long interruption of the course of events for the explanation of what might be possible for preserving the dying woman's mind. This might be all right in a novel which goes on at a more leisurely pace but it's better in a shorter story to try to work in such backsground material discreetly, a little here and a little there, or to relate it at length when there's a clear interruption in the development of the plot. I envy Kate her love for the Oz books. I missed them when I was small and they're among the 365,772 books that I've been trying to get around to now that I'm grown up and know how much fun they can be. I picked up for a dime in the Union Rescue Mission store last week an encyclopedia of Oz, and maybe that will serve as the spur to goad me into buying some of the books themselves. Or maybe I should wait for my second childhood, which is coming fast, in the hope that the discovery would be more appropriate then. Your rundown on the steeds of fantasy was a pleasure to read, until I finished it and suddenly realized that I couldn't think of any more examples, just out of memory. I'm sure I must have read hundreds of stories in which strange mounts were ridden by heroes or villains, and I'll be blessed if I could cite chapter and verse on any of them just now. Maybe that's simply a reflection of the fact that I have gone under my own footpower most of my life and so didn't pay too much attention to how fantasy characters rode. The mailing comments made sense even though I'd seen only two or three of the magazines commented on. One advantage of the gun control laws would be their usefulness as a basis for arrest of criminals who might be connected with their crimes while in custody. Just think how often police have nabbed dangerous men on minor auto law violations, not because the cops recognized the faces or caught them in the act. My particular storage problem right now consists of finding steel shelving with braces at the back and sides. All of a sudden Sears and Montgomery Ward have started to sell only the non-braced type, and despite the claims, they simply aren't able to hold heavy stuff like records without becoming shaky and tilted. Now I've gone and omitted all mention of the art, poetry, and various other things. Please forgive and take for granted that I would have been specific about them if they'd been really bad or objectionable. Yrs., &c., Harry Warner, Jr.