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The Challenger Tribute
Friday, August 25, 2006

Once again, Challenger steps outside the strict boundaries of science fiction and its fandom to find its tributee – this time a genuine patriotic revolutionary, scholar and academic who in the years before Katrina, filled Orleanians’ lives with joy.

We first met Martina when, on the urging of the late S.F.er Zetta Dillie, the Czech professor – devout anti-Communist and friend of Vlacev Havel – came to New Orleans to visit. To the right, her first encounter with Spanish Moss. Martina made even Louisiana’s state fungus beautiful.

On that same trip, Martina posed at Dennis Dolbear’s house with a Confederate cap and one of DD’s gats. That’s a real gun, by the way. Yih

Martina made such a hit with us Orleanians that we begged her not only to extend her visit, but to defect and stay. Indeed, it wasn’t too many years until her country threw out the Reds. And not too long after that, she returned …

Possessing a Ph.D. – and some weird degree above a Ph.D. – Martina is fascinated by culture, and it was inevitable that she should come to a Mardi Gras. Here she is with ye editor and my neighbor, Cynthia Snowden, at a Carnival parade. Cindy adored Martina, who returned her friendship with infinite kindness and patience. No doubt other feelings came to play on Bourbon Street, below …

Every time Martina left our environs, she broke our hearts, but never so much as when she married James Baker in San Francisco. The Bakers live out west, now, but we keep in touch – always hoping Martina will grace us with those three little words … Moose and squirrel Uhhh... 'SEE YOU SOON!'

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