STRAIGHT UP - Vol. 1 No. 4 - July 1952
THE LISTLESS FANZINE.
Being an object of scorn and/or envy printed with ink in an infernal machine by the combined efforts of The Cymrades - a local stfan club to which all Welsh fans are invited to join. Just contact my fellow slave Howard Griffiths at 8 Vaughan St., Pwllgwaun, Pontypridd.
The responsibility for this publication being borne by yours truly Fred (watch for the Dicky Bird) Robinson at 37 Willows Ave., Tremorfa, Cardiff, Glam., S.Wales, G.B.
VOLUME ONE NUMBER FOUR
THE TIME HAS COME...
...and gone! To say that thish is late would be something of an understatement. The fact that you are getting it at all is due largely to the Herculean efforts of up and coming local actifan Howard Griffiths to whom I pay tribute here - he has done all the stencilling for thish and that, as I know, is no mean effort.
Owing to the fact that I have no typewriter at present and Howard can only do the stencils as time permits the keeping up of a monthly schedule for a fairly long newsmag like SU is almost impossible, therefore we have decided that the best thing to do is to say we'll publish irregularly - just how often will depend on availability of material and the quirks of fate - at least I'm sure that 4 times a year will be a minimum. In the intervals to keep up with hot news we intend to put out a short newsletter as often as occasion demands which will keep our subbers abreast of latest news.
As we shall have more time to play about with StUpe as Vince calls it we intend publishing more general material in the zine. On hand are two good stories and an article, by the time SU-5 appears I hope to have acquired more of the same and some lengthy reviews. This time lag will also, I hope, result in more artwork - this all of course depends on you folk who write and draw - if you have a story, an article, or can draw on stencils then send on your work and let us have a look at it - I don't promise to place it but I'll certainly consider it, but please don't forget that return postage or you may not see your work again. Well there you are folks - the door is open, why not come on in?
Now then to business. The slight uncertainty apparent above has decided me that no more subs for SU and its Satellite will be accepted at present. Those who have subbed so far will continue to receive the mag for as many issues as subbed for, plus the NL free. Any who wish to cancel their subs can of course do so - contact me and I'll return the balance - but I think you'll like the stuff coming up and the rates I think you'll agree are fair.
One more point - any contributors may have an extra copy of SU free on request (when submitting MSS).
This mag should be reaching you immediately prior to my leaving for 15 days with the Army - I leave on the 19th July; straight afterwards I go on holiday for a week, so if you have any news etc. save it for a few weeks as I shan't be around to acknowledge it. On my holidays I hope to visit Belfast and the results of this visit may become apparent in the pages of SU 5 - they may even make someone green - with envy, but anyway that'll all come out in the WAW'sh, or somewhere. Fancerely, Fred.
There was only the cold night of eternal space, and the timeless silence of the boundless gulfs.
The tiny man-made shell moved across the velvet backcloth, heading out into infinity. There was no chance in ten million for a space ship to be deflected from course by a meteorite, to be headed out, away from the sun, towards the cold infinity.
Yet it had happened. Of course, that infitesimal chance of the worst thing that could happen had to come up for Charlie, just his luck.
Charlie contemplated space, and it frightened him. No violent show of emotion escaped him, but that didn't mean he wasn't scared.
He had barely known his fate for 10 minutes, and even now terror was gripping him. No way back!
He could see Sol through the port. No longer a warm friendly sun, but a harsh, cold point of light like the other stars.
It was worse for him than for most, infinitely worse. They could look forward to the merciful release of death, but not Charlie. Robots don't die, ever.
He got to wondering. Could robots go insane?
CONVENTION PROJECTIONS By DENIS GIFFORD
What a brilliant display of mediocrity the LonConCom presented to us - what we could see of the films through the flickering yellow projector beam faded by the bright glowing dusk pouring through the uncurtained windows and skylight. (Thankfully not pouring through literally, after the famous pussy, which had narrowly missed Autioneer Tubb earlier.)
In order to view two minutes of a zooming V2 and a putty model of a smoothly-cratered model moon (Sequence from a 1948 U-I 'ANSWER MAN' short) we had to sit through mile upon mile of dull old celluloid which just happened to be glued up on the same film-spool. This included French-captioned eclipses of the sun, how sheep-dogs dog sheep, an oldie called 'HOW TALKIES TALK', and GB-Instructional schoolroom short about 'HOW TV WORKS'.
The first day's piece de resistance was 'THE MAN WHO COULD WORK MIRACLES' (London - Korda 1936) which was worth waiting for, if only to see young George Sanders as a transparent God! The film sticks closely to Wells' original short story, and. has the same weaknesses, notably the unlikely and over abrupt switch from crazy trick-photographical comedy to the destruction of Earth by the crazed hero, hingeing as it does on a single shot fired by Ralph Richardson's richly comic colonel. The camera tricks by Ned ('THINGS TO COME' - 'THIEF OF BAGDAD' - 'DELUGE') Mann are mostly excellent, but Roland Young is sadly miscast as the young hero. One feels that Ealing could do a brilliant remake with Alec Guinness.
Day two brought us the old but ever awe-inspiring pictures of the A-Bomb in action. However, the horrible sight of its victims to the accompaniment of 'Go To Sleep My Darling, Close Your Pretty Eyes' on the gramophone was not very funny. The 'METROPOLIS' (UFA 1926) we saw was a badly cut, severly shortened edition, but the old film still retained its magic, besides showing us how acting improved in the ten years between the making of MET and MIRACLES. The dainty waltzes were justly switched off and we viewed the picture with a brilliant commentary by whoever could think up suitable gags and puns. It may be an idea to put Willis at the mike in future Con film shows. Lang's appalling ending to the picture was much improved by the wag who compared the bearded representative of the lowly masses, embarrassedly shaking hands with the noble representative of the upper classes, with a merger between bearded Bert Campbell's AUTHENTIC and Ted Carnell's NEW WORLDS !
So much for the Con, except to tell frustrated film fanatics of a little bird who whispered that the ConCom could've got DESTINATION MOON, but rejected it, assuming all the fen would've seen it!
FANTAFILMS TO COME
No space for regular reviews thish, so here's the news from filmland; Barbara Payton on her way to star in Bill Temple's FOUR-SIDED TRIANGLE for Exclusive-Hammer. Bill is supplying the Tone for this pic ... U-I so pleased at success of good old Horror-type pic THE STRANGE DOOR, float released here earlier this year, that Boris Karloff is now playing in THE BLACK CASTLE, costarring with all the torture instruments they could dig up, and Paula Corday too ... ALRAUNE (1928), story of a scientifically-created woman, daughter of a hanged murderer and a prostitute, is to be remade in Germany. Original Alraune was Brigitte Helm, star of METROPOLIS ... BATMAN (1943), Columbia serial with Lewis Wilson as the comic-strip hero and J. Carrol Naish as mad genius-Jap saboteur Dr. Daka, now having run at London's Charing X Road Cameo ... RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON, FLYING DISC MAN FROM MARS and reissue of 1936 UNDERSEA KINGDOM (all serials) now due for release over here by Republic ... Howard Hughes has registered the new title MR JOSEPH YOUNG OF AFRICA, so we may be due for a sequel to MIGHTY JOE YOUNG ... TWO WEEKS TO LIVE (RKO 1942) out on reissue stars U.S. radio comics Lum 'n' Abner, and has one sequence in a crazy rocket ship Mars-bound ... Dave McIlwaine's successful radio play SPACEWAYS bought as film subject by Exclusive ... 3,000 A.D. (RKO-American Pics) stars the PLANET X pair, Robert Clarke and Margaret Field ... Oboler's TWONKY ready for U.S. release. Arch. is now working on three-dimensional jungle pic, LIONS OF GULU, in Natural Vision process, starring Howard Duff, not Cornel Wilde as announced, and Hope Miller ... Moscow is showing TARZAN and TARZAN IN THE WEST (NEW YORK ADVENTURE) with a prolog: "Tarzan was cast ashore in Africa as an infant and raised by apes without the slightest contact with pernicious bourgeois American or English influences."
STOP PRESS on fantafilms: 39" bust TV star Dagmar & stripper Lili StCyr in SPACE GIRL ... Bing, Bob & Dot in ROAD TO THE MOON ... RKO LOST IN SPACE by Edna & Edward Anhalt ... 20,000 L under C by Disney, liveaction & cartoon monster ... Lethal Dosage 100 Britpic ... Richard Widmark in HARD LUCK DIGGINGS by Jack Vance FOX ... Barre (THE LODGER) Lyndon scripts WAR OF WORLDS ... PAL bought AFTER W COLL ... MARS fantasy travelog 15 min 16mm short ... COL, DAY THE EARTH TURNED BACKWARDS, 3 Stooges as Space Cadets ... Paul Tabori scripting 4s/3 angle ... Wisberg-Pollexfen (MAN PL X, 3000 AD) now doing SWORDS OF VENUS.
BOOKS AND MAGS FOR LOAN AND SALE.
LISTS IN PREPARATION. WANTED. FANTASY ARTWORK FOR EXHIBITION. ALSO, FANTASY ITEMS AND NOVELTIES FOR DISPLAY AND SALE.
WRITE c/o A. G. THORNE. THE MEDWAY SCIENCE AND FANTASY CENTRE. 78 CANTERBURY ST. GILLINGHAM, KENT.
you couldn't expect them for less, could you? ... or could you?
BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES; 194-9 & 1950;(US ed) NEW with
dj. each 12s 6d
at 1s 9d each:- Avon FR No. 2; Green Man; Lost Horizon; Lurking Bear; Invasion from Mars; Commissars Over Britain: Galaxy March 1952, Astound Aug. 1944- (pages loose but complete). (All VG exc ASF)
Write first; orders over 10/- post free. Norman Ashfield, 27 Woodland Road, THORNTON HEATH, Surrey.
Owing to lack of interest I am dropping the fanzine competition. Having had only one comment on it, and that critical, I've decided that it's not worth it. However, as the next few pages will prove I am continuing the reviews. A plea to all faneds:- let me know if you will take subs or exchange for prozines with UK fen and I'll publish the fact. SU reaches most British actifen as well as many neofen and if I can publish this info it will be sure to result in a few more subbers for you. So without more ado - the reviews.
SPACE PATROL HANDBOOK DENIS GIFFORD. "SPACE PATROL H.Q". 16 SYDENHAM PARK ROAD, LONDON S.E. 26.
The recent BIS Interplanetary Passport seems to have started something for in this unique booklet are contained not only a ready stamped interplanet passport (London Space Port) but many other items of interest, such as a page of spaceship recognition siliouettes, a diagram of the official spacesuit, a gazeteer (surprisingly detailed) of the Solar System, a future calendar, a glossary of interplanetary languages (Earth-Mars-Venus and Pluto) and 'Space Patrol Official Codes'. In addition there is a very accurate index of stfilms from 1902 to date and many stills from movies printed by half tone blocks. The booklet is a beautiful production professionally printed on semi-art paper with a card cover, and Denis is to be congratulated on producing this most unique of fan publications. He announces that given sufficient support he will form a 'Space Patrol' as a club, we recommend anyone interested to write Denis for full details.
A CHECKLIST OF SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY. PART ONE: MAGAZINES. PRODUCED BY ERIC BENTCLIFFE FOR THE NOR'WEST SFC.
A most comprehensive checklist of all known British magazines in the field and reprints of US mags. The layout is Title-Date-Short Description-Format-number of pages-issue-date. Altogether twelve British mags and twenty one reprints mags are covered. This is the first part of a three part checklist that the Nor'West club are putting out, part two will cover Pocket Books and part three had cover books. The price for the three parts is 5/-, send to Eric Bentcliffe, 47 Alldis Street, Woodsmoor, Stockport, Cheshire.
HYPHEN No. 1. MAY 1952. WALT WILLIS, 170 UPPER NEWTOWNARDS ROAD, BELFAST, N. IRELAND.
For those who are constantly clamouring for the next issue of that king of fan mags, Slant, here is a tit-bit between meals; for those who (Ghu forbid) have never seen Slant here is an eye opener, a hint of things things to come. Walt, with one single issue of his new duplicated fanzine has made nine-tenths of the other fan publications look like amateur magazines. Hyphen is described as a British-American fanmag and is edited by Walt in collaboration with Chuck Harris. I couldn't possibly do justice to it so I'll just mention some of the names on the contents page - Vince Clarke, Pete Ridley, Bill Temple, James White, Bob Shaw and of course WAW himself. If you want to laugh till you ache send 1/6 or a US promag for two issues to Walter right now.
QUANDRY 19 Ed. LEE HOFFMAN, 101 WAGNER ST. SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, U.S.A. U.K. Subs to WAW (see above) at 4 issues for 2/-
The most consistently good mag in the field, and.certainly the most humourous. In thish J.T. Oliver reveals what happens when a mere fan tries to interview the great Tucker. Elsberry tells the real truth behind Proxyboo Ltd. The result of the Q fan poll (given in brief in the last S.U.) WAW plays the Harp on its first anniversary and great fun is had by all in these and numerous other columns. After a short lapse Q is definitely on the upgrade again, congrats Lee.
QUANDRY 20 see above.
They are coming in thick and fast now. The most surprising article I've seen in a fanzine for a long time turns up in thish. F.T. Laney reveals how all faneds (US style) can now acquire Government subsidies for their mags - in fact he offers to handle the whole thing for you - for a small sum. I have a feeling that the letter section of Q in future is going to make mighty fine reading. Tucker's new book 'Long Loud Silence' is reviewed by J. T. Oliver. The Harp as usual, this time containing the revealing second installment of Willis Discovers America, the first part of which appeared in Confusion 8. Silverberg's usual interesting news column, the awful revelation that Tucker is immortal by "anonymous fan". Ditto the remarks on Q 19.
SCIENCE FICTION NEWSSCOPE. APRIL '52 LAURENCE CAMPBELL, 43 TREMONT ST., MALDEN 48 MASS. U.S.A.
I'd heard a lot about Newsscope and have been looking.forward to seeing a copy for sometime. Now that I have done so I can safely say that I like it - its neatness is just what I'd like to produce in SU, and its news is well written up. The only criticism I can hurl at my rival is the paper he uses, give me white every time to green and brown. No UK sub rate is quoted. US rate 5 cents a copy or 50 cents a year.
CURRENT SCIENCE-FICTION MAY 1952. NUMBER 35. INTERGALATIC PUBLICATIONS, BOX 1329. GRAND CENTRAL STATION. NEW YORK 17, N.Y. U.K. Subs to Eric Bentcliffe (see earlier) 9d. a copy. 7/- for 10 issues, 14/- 21 issues.
The weekly newsmag I reviewed last issue has apparently reached its 35th issue already (daily editions?) and now appears in a photo litho format tho sticking to 4TO size. An impressive list of international reporters give a great deal of news. Considering the schedule it's very adequate. If you want your news hot then this is the mag for you.
SCIENCE FICTION NEWSLETTER MAY 1952. Ed. BOB TUCKER.
16 'pages this time, tho seemingly containing more news than of late. Some very good artwork and a highly entertaining question and answer page (Q. Do you read S-F in the Bathtub?) make this an entertaining ish.
TLMA No.3. APRIL 1952 Ed. LYNN HICKMAN. FREE TO MEMBERS OF TLMA IN UK. 25 cents to US FEN.
Following the recent ish of Little Corpuscle the latest TLMA is also multi colored, the cover by Clyne (and very neat too) is a spectrum type, pages 3-4 in green, 5 in black, 6-7 in brown and so on. Apart from usual departments two long features make up the bulk of the 36 pages. The first, and to my taste by far the most interesting is entitled 'The Dip of the Dowsing Rod', by Manly Bannister. And that folks, is just what it's about, - dowsing - or water divining if you like it that way. I found it fascinating reading and wholly convincing. As far as I know there has never been an article on a similar subject, yet it is an account that should be of interest to a great many fans, thanks to Lynn for publishing it and of course to Manly Bannister for writing it - I'm convinced anyway. The other article is titled 'When Fans Collide' and if the multi colored printing is any indication I'd say it was printed on a kaleidoscope! It's by Rick Elsberry and seems to be an extention of an article that appeared last fall in Quandry giving the low down on what happened after the Nolacon in 770 - as the article takes up 15 pages you can guess that plenty went on - or down.
SCIENCE FICTION ADVERTISER MARCH 1952 5/4 a year to Dells 548/550 Leeds Rd. Bradford, Yorks.
A big issue this time, once again with cover by Dollens, 48 pages for ads. Seventeen pages are taken up by an article by Arthur J. Cox, titled Deus ex Machine. A study of A.E. van Vogt. The rest of the ish is as usual taken up by adverts, reviews and more adverts, is notable that many British dealers are now advertising in the mag.
MACABRE INDEX Ed. Mrs. N. Austin. Box 969. 905 3rd AVE. SEATTLE 4, WASH. FAPA and 25 cents non-FAPA, also exchanged for other fanzines.
Quite an unusual, yet fully comprehensive index to the border-line mags, many of which have at times published fantasy, weird and supernatural stories. In its 30 pages it covers 18 titles, listing contents of each issue and giving a checklist of dates of publication. A must for collectors.
STARLANES 6. Ed. ORMA McCORMICK. 1558, W.HAZELEURST ST. FERNDALE 20. MICHIGAN 10 cents to U.S. fen.
The first ish of Starlanes outside of UAPA it is rather longer than previous issues. There is a very good selection of poetry, both fantasy and S.F. in styles to suit all tastes. In addition there is a crossword. If you like poetry, then I think you'll like this one.
MAD No. l. Ed. DICK RYAN. 224 BROAD ST. NEWARK, OHIO.
Having heard a lot about Mad I find it lives up to its reputation, at least what its title says - MAD - but fun. Ever since WAW revealed in SLANT the secret of multi-colored printing everyone is doing it, even a couple of pages in Mad are. I won't attempt to describe the contents - I couldn't ! If you can keep a grip on your sanity, then get a copy. If not, then join those of us on the lunatic fringe. Incidently the next Mad is to be a Willish to help the WAW fund - copies at 25 cents.
SPACESHIP APRIL No. 17 BOB SILVERBERG. 760 MONTGOMERY ST. BROOKLYN 13 N.Y. 10 cents.
I'm getting used to these gigantic 'annishes' of US fanzines now, and after last year's 100 page Quanish nothing can shake me. However this one came through with a resounding smack and proved to contain 40 pages, which, for 10 cents is quite a buy. Just get some of the names too - Sam Moskowitz - Walt Willis - Redd Boggs - Rog Dard - Lee Hoffman - Orma McCormick and of course editor Bob SilverbErg as well as many others. There is a review of a new Keller book, a critical article on Other Worlds, a page of cartoons "Fans we all know", poems, a fanart portfolio, three stories, and reminiscences by the editor on three years of Spaceship. A fine issue, one to be proud of, and one certainly to be read.
PEON MAY 1952 Ed. CHARLES LEE RIDDLE. R.F.D. 7, MOHEGAN HILL, NORWICH. CONN. No. 22. 2 issues For One U.K.Prozine.
Yet another Annish and one that deserves special mention and congratulations for with this, the 22nd ish, it reaches its fourth birthday, a ripe old age for a fanzine, yet Peon is far from being old in style, or stale in content. Probably the neatest production on the fan market, at every stage you can see how proud Lee is of his mag. For this 34 page annish Lee has gathered together quite a wealth of talent both pro and fan - Jerry Bixby on Planet Stories - James Blish - Ed Wood - Larry Saunders etc. Stories, articles, reviews, poems, all of high quality, also a checklist of British reprint Unknowns. Every reader of S.U. is recomended to sub to Peon, a consistently fine zine. Lee is also distributing free a monthly newsletter to subbers. Please note the new address which supercedes all others.
COMEBACKS FROM ERIN
BOB SHAW The world is just getting too unjust, and that's no jest. I come up to Oblique house for an evening of my normal fanning routine, the close teamwork that has made the Belfast Triangle famous, the sheer productivity etc., and now Willis says I have to work! "Write something for Fred," he says.
I have to write, all right! I'll try a train of consciousness effort. I pick up the pencil and stare blankly. I wait for the thoughts. I stare. I stare. I stare ... half an hour has passed and I am still staring. I read somewhere that if you stare for long enough at a thing new thoughts about it will enter your head of their own accord. I stare at an old copy of PLANET. I stare. Now that I look at it - that cover has its good points. Good God ! I never thought anything like that before.
I must discard this system. I stare. I stare more. These stares are getting harder to hold. I can't hold them much longer. I must stop.
I drop them into a staircase.
((Well, well. A flight of fancy. -- WAW))
JAMES WHITE This is not a review of the current NEW WORLDS. My opinions of the stories couldn't possibly interest anyone except Mr Carnell. But the artist in me is crying out for expression, or something, and big bhoys shouldn't blubber like babies. I must mention the illo for the Chandler story 'Finishing Touch' by that superb artist Alan Hunter. It is beautiful! What technique! Never before have I seen such delicacy of touch, such soft, almost pastel shading, such sheer economy of line. And all this in the pitifully cramped space allowed him for the picture.
Hunter, we salute you.
Had the artist's byline not been clearly printed on the title page I could never have believed him capable of such work. And yet I have a sense of unfulfilment, as if I were missing some essential point - like how much he got paid for this particular masterpiece.
WALT WILLIS In case you are one of the wretched band of lost souls who don't get NEW WORLDS maybe I'd better explain that James' sensitive appreciation above is of the illustration on page 86 of the July issue, which appears to my inartistic eye to consist of a line approximately seven-eights of an inch long over the artist's name. I can only think that Ted's artists have gone on strike since he told Gerard Quinn to go easy on the cheesecake and their leader Alan Hunter, feeling he must draw the line somewhere has started working to rule.
/// FANTASTIC ADVENTURES will fold with its October issue, leaving a long unfelt want which has been promptly filled by a newcomer called FANTASTIC SCIENCE FICTION. This new magazine, the first issue of which is just out, takes its place at one bound at the rear of contemporary science fiction. It is terrible. The long standing controversy as to which is the worst prozine ever will now be able sit down. There are several stories by people no-one has ever heard of but who are probably hacks writing under pen names - I can understand this - but the only thing worth reading in the whole dreadful thing is an advertisment for lecherous lingerie. /// John Brunner and Matt Elder, both associated with the new mag NEBULA, reveal that it will be monthly, priced 2/-. First issue, due August, will have a cover by Alan Hunter (probably two dimensional this time) and stories by E. R. James, John Brunner, and Peter Ridley. /// The date of the Mancon has been changed from September 28th to October 5th. The Manchester Group have also started a hectographed fanzine which is very neat and pleasant indeed, though not as substantial as the Liverpool group's promising SPACE DIVERSIONS ./// Copies of John Gunn's attractive DIRECTORY OF ANGLOFANDOM will be distributed to HYPHEN subbers with the next mailing. A nice job, John, E&OE.
Note; FANTASTIC SCIENCE FICTION is not to be confused with the Ziff Davis FANTASTIC.
Science and Fantasy Fotos. This is a new service supplying prints to fans and collectors - all enquiries to Tony Thome at the Medway Science and Fantasy Centre, 78 Canterbury St. Gillingham, Kent.
Loncon Photos Sfanfos can now supply prints taken at the recent Loncon. There are 25 different pictures to choose from and prints can be supplied in all sizes. The smallest are 2x3 and the price is 8d each or 7/6 a dozen - the set 15/-; enlargements to quarter, half or whole plate prices on request. Orders and enquiries to Tony Thorne or the editor of S.U. Here is a list of the subjects in the photos.
STF AND FANTASY HARD COVER BOOKS
THE HAUNTING OF LOW FENNEL. R. HOMER. WEIRD SHORTS. 1st. 1920.
GOOD CONDITION. 1/3d.
SPECIAL OFFER OF AMERICAN FANZINES
33 U.S. FANZINES. 21 DIFFERENT KINDS ... SOME OF THE TITLES ... FANSCIENT, COSMAG, FANTASY TIMES, SPACE MAGAZINE, SPACESHIP, FAN-FARE, IMAGINATIVE COLECTOR. AND MANY MORE. THE LOT ONLY 7/6 or 11 FOR 2/6 - ONLY ONE LOT SO ORDER EARLY 33 - 7/6 OR 11 - 2/6d. FROM THE EDITOR OF STRAIGHT UP.
Around 6 p.m. on Friday 30th May a rather wild looking figure loaded to the eyes with contraptions in bags, cases etc. staggered out of Paddington Station. It was yours truly, determined not to miss the pre-convention ''doings" at the White Horse.
Having safely climbed out from under the load of equipment I was carrying I left my digs with a case containing my camera, accessories and a pile of flashbulbs, and made towards the Underground - only to remember that I still had half a colour film in my camera that needed to be used up, so I walked. After "shooting up" Marble Arch, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square I staggered (literally) to the Underground and eventually arrived at Chancery Lane Station - this was an achievement as the last time I travelled on the tube I went wrong somewhere and spent much valuable time going around Inner Circle getting nowhere.
With visions of the White Horse bar being crammed full of fans from all over the World I dragged my weary feet at a semi-gallop down Fetter Lane, skidded around into Norwich St. and came to a halt outside the entrance to the fan's Mecca, sometimes known as Temple's Bar. Preparing to fight my way through the milling throng of fantastic personalities who inhabit this infamous hostelry, I barged in through the swing door, just in time to fall over the empty space with which the bar was filled - Ghod I thought - they've been told I'm coming - eventually from the deep shadows in one corner I heard voices; making my way through the forest of chairs and tables that somehow kept getting right in front of my shins I discovered some real live fans; thinking back I'm a little hazy as to who was there but I definately remember Mike Rosenblum and Alan Hunter. After introductions I was amazed to find a fan from my area there, just goes to show that you never know where you'll meet fans; as a matter of fact, I believe one or two other provincial fans were "discovered" by clubs from their areas at the Con.
After gorging myself on a pint and a cheese roll I found that all the Circleites had gone to see a preview of The Thing, This gave me ample opportunity to set my camera and as soon as I'd done so the door nearly flew off and the bar was invaded by fans and. more fans. In fact it reminded me of that old movie gag where people start getting out of a taxi and still keep coming one after another till there is a crowd standing on the pavement. Anyway before you could say Fred Robinson the bar was jammed, in fact it was a pinch if any more could have got in. Incidently I have a note here from London. Will the two neo-fen last seen on Friday night humping heavy suitcases in the general direction of Belfast kindly return the souvenir they borrowed as Bill Temple wants something to lean on.
Almost every fan you can think of (and I can't) was present that evening and the Londoners gave a demonstration of a game of great skill and cunning, not to say strength, that they have invented - called Order a Drink at the Bar. I'm told that the local champion is Ted Carnell whose favourite play is to scatter free copies of New Worlds around the tables and then while the Circleites rush to spill beer on them he dashes to the bar and orders. Another champion at this game is Bill Temple who employs a different system. He comes first, leaves last and stays doggedly at the bar at all times between. There is a hollow in the bar at the point where he stays which came about when Galaxy folded and there was a great depression in the bar; as a matter of fact a notice is to be erected over this end of the bar bearing the legend "Bill Temple wept here"!
This has a link with a rather old convention custom when all the fans get together to bury the hatchet and cry into the bier. However, to continue, having frightened the life out of several fans with the flash gun (they'd evidently read Campbell's 'Chaos in Miniature' and remembering what he said about the appearence of the 'Shrink Ray' and about Welshmen, they put two and two together and fortified themselves with a couple of pints).
I met Walt Willis and Vince Clarke again and Walt pointed out a tall character rather sheepishly holding a STRONG DRINK as James White. I had realised this already of course because of his Blanco expression. On enquiry James explained that he was holding it for someone but when I casually enquired about the Bulmer van he had to be forcibly restrained from swallowing it (the drink, not the van). I hear that the London Circle are thinking of erecting a plaque on the stairs with the inscription James White Drank Here or alternatively that the White Horse is to be renamed The Dark Horse.
A word would not be amiss here about Lou Mordecai who is so very much more than a barman - a trade at which he is nevertheless very skilled. Lou has the angelic expression usually associated with Sunday school pastors. However, to hear some of his jokes would convince anyone that he is in reality a retired sailor. I'm told that Lou (who invariably smokes pungent cigars) while not spurning science-fiction, is wont to give one of his smiles and turn to Dostoyevsky.
And so the evening wore on, everyone was in high spirits, talk and the beer flowed freely over the whole field of stf, plans were made for the next two days, the Manchester group with an eye to business were flogging copies of the Checklist they are putting out, together with copies of Astroneer, their new fanzine. I took about 8 or 10 pics.
All too soon the voice of Lou could be heard (barely) above the voices of fen discussing rain on Venus, Giant Spiders chasing innocent females and other such topics of intellectual controversy, calling that is was time - after switching out the lights several times Lou modified this request to one of "Come on you...!" and the preliminary session was over, at a time I suppose when the Stateside fen would just about be getting warmed up for some real fun. However the licensing laws being what they are and Anglo-fen being what they are they drifted slowly in ones and twos toward the tube and home. Here and there along the road, an odd (?) author or two could be seen standing in the gutter looking at the stars, and the stars passed along occasionally throwing an odd coin or second-hand-at-least-beer-stained-prozine their way. Going down the escalator an argument began as to whether if one was to walk the opposite way to the run of the stairs if one would ever reach the other end - the point of whether this knowledge even if obtained would be of any practical use never arose, which goes to prove how pure is the scientific outlook of the fan.
Eventually with promises of meeting on the morrow the late stragglers got lost into side tunnels and I found myself fighting my way onto a train that was, logic told me, going in the right direction. For anyone possessing latent ESP powers I know of no better means of proving the extent of these powers than to travel by London Tube. Feeling somewhat cramped and it being a fine night I decided to got off early and walk back to my digs part way. I feel sure Londoners must have been intrigued at the sight of squads of little men busily running along ahead of me moving Paddington a few miles further West, altering street signs etc. Late that night a tired, footsore and weary looking individual might have been seen staggering along a side street in Paddington breathing prayers that the water had not been turned off in the bathtub - fortunately it hadn't.
And so with my feet sinking slowly in the bathtub I bid farewell for this issue. Read the next installment of this thrilling account of a local fan's experiences in the big city - read about the mystery of the Weinbaum Memorial Volume - The Terrible revelations of Ted Tubb while answering the question "is Science Fiction true to the facts of human experience" - the film show - on "The Miracle that nearly Worked". All this and more in the next StUpendous issue of this magazine.
To be Continued
FANTAFILM STOP PRESS
FOX planning to film WHITE WITCH DOCTOR in Technicolour, Pro - Otto Lang. UA planning VENUS WOMEN in Supercinecolor, pro - Eugene Fromka. REPUBLIC reissuing horror film LADY AND THE MONSTER starring Erich Von Stroheim (based on CURT SIODMAK's noted S.F. yarn, DONOVAN'S BRAIN) made in 1943 under new title TIGER MAN. 1,721 feet have been cut out and the film now runs 60 minutes instead of 86 minutes, and is Certificate A instead of H. RED PLANET renamed MIRACLE FROM MARS now renamed RED PLANET MARS released U.S. by UA. Story from his own play by JOHN L. BALDERSTEN who wrote BERKELEY (HOUSE IN THE) SQUARE, and screenplays of DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY and others. This is neither horror nor true S.F., but deals with the effect on Earth after radio messages recieved from Mars. These are proved to be faked by a Nazi prof., but later a real Mars message is received.
BOOK REVIEW by Capt. K. F. Slater.
POSSIBLE WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION. Edited Groff Conklin. (Grayson & Grayson, 9/6d).
The 256 pages of this British edition of Groff Conklin's POSSIBLE WORLDS contain 13 yarns from the original edition, divided into two sections - THE SOLAR SYSTEM, and THE GALAXY, with Conklin's original editorial.
A non-committal dust jacket by Mudge Marriott sets the book off well, but does not appear to depict anything in particular. It is well drawn, and attractively coloured however.
Gallun' s OPERATION PUMICE starts the book - a trip round the Moon, an effectively emotional piece of writing, in which the older fans will be able to equate themselves with the rocket-pilot, and the younger ones with 'Art Pedulski', the young hero-worshipper who hitch hikes from Long Island to the launching ground just for the take-off. This is followed by van Vogt's several times printed ENCHANTED VILLAGE, which tells of a survivor of the first Martian exposition. From Mars, Malcolm Jameson takes us to Venus, with LILIES OF LIFE, which has always struck me as one of the finest yarns of symbiotic relationships I've ever read. Ray Bradbury invests the asteroids with a rather horrific life form in ASLEEP IN ARMAGEDDON, and then we travel out to Jupiter for the scene of Isaac Asimov's NOT FINAL!, one of Asimov's finest short pieces outside the ROBOT series. A somewhat older yarn is used for Saturn - D.L. James' MOON OF DELIRIUM, an adventure among the weird life forms of little Dione, and a recent yarn by Miss St. Clair illustrates the possible horror of unknown life in THE PILLOWS, the lifeform of Triton, one of Neptune's two moons. Mercury and Pluto are not visited in this collection, it would seem.
In the second section we find Murray Leinster's PROPAGANDIST as the opening item, a work which is the only one I recall where man's best friend, the dog, comes into his own as a good friend to a non-human race. A Magnus Ridolph humour-epic by Jack Vance is the second item, a confusing mixture of mining and intelligent trees in HARD LUCK DIGGINGS. The problem of testing the men who fly ships through the void is the subject of John Berryman's SPACE RATING, a story that has a neat twist in its ending, and a story of conflict between two men that makes fine reading.
Then comes LIMITING FACTOR, by Clifford D. Simak, in which mankind meets the work of a vastly superior civilisation ... the forgotten work of a race who have moved on! A viewpoint we are rather apt to overlook, but one we shall meet when we do move out among the stars.
Sam Merwin's neat and twisty little gem about how to get assistance from folk who might not be willing to help deals with an alien who has a sense of humour, and entitled EXIT LINE, is next but is not the final tale in the book. This place is reserved for Poul Anderson's THE HELPING HAND, which describes the progress made by two humanoid cultures - the one accepting Terran aid, and the other refusing it. Logical, and very well-done, it demonstrates what our own history can teach us.
All in all, a very fine collection, and well worth the price of 9/6d for those fans who cannot afford to be completist magazine collectors. Here they can have a selection of some of the finest yarns - yarns which I'm willing to admit I have read - and enjoyed - two, three, and more times each.
Fantastic Adventures will fold with the Oct.(Out in August) Ish.
Up and coming British Pro author Brian Berry will have three yarns in one ish of a Fiction House Magazine.
A new promag is to be published in Holland from 'Propax'.
Ziff-Davis' new mag Fantastic to go bi-monthly with second ish. which will contain colour interior illos.
The death has been announced of Robert J. Hyatt, an American fan who has been very generous in sending mags to British and Commonwealth fans.
Nebula Science Fiction is the title of a new British prozine to come from Crownpoint Publications of Glasgow. The Editor is Peter Hamilton, and the first ish is to be produced sometime in July and will then appear monthly. The size is 8 and a half" x 5 and a half" and there will be 96 pages. Present policy is to publish one long lead novel backed by several shorts. There will also be an Editorial, Letter Section, Science Articles and a 'Know The Author' Dept. Price is 2/- or 30 cents
From Pete Campbell comes news that a new fanclub has been formed in his area. The Lakeland S-F Organization. Plans include the publishing of a monthly newsletter titled 'Delphi', Good Luck fellas - you'll need it.
The date of the Mancon has been altered owing to unforeseen circumstances from Sept. 28th to Oct. 5th.
From Graham B. Stone comes news of Fandom Down Under. In Australia and New Zealand there are 93 members of the ASFS who pay a 5/- annual sub. Two thirds of this total live in or around Sydney, N.S.W. In Sydney itself there are weekly meetings bringing in about 30 people. The active Sydney Futurians also number about 22 members - this club incidently, was formed in 193. Fanzine publishing is on the upgrade, a monthly newszine is published titled 'Stopgap', a fortnightly newszine called 'Notes & Comment' is now coming out and fannes have put out two ish of 'Vertical Horizons' . The Convention held in March pulled in 58 attendees, 20 of these being newcomers brought in by advertising. As dollar restriction is complete no USTF is imported so if anyone has any mags to spare give a thought to the fans Down Under - they are in the position we were in not so long ago.
Yet another new prozine is to appear in the States - Title, Fantastic S-F, 12 x 9, 96 pp. No further details at present available.
In the NSFC Newsletter 'Space-Times' comes news that a STF Club has been formed in Denmark, centered around a shop dealing in STF. So far there are 20 members.
Remember that grand old fantafilm KING KONG? Fay Wray's comeback has prompted its reissue. Those who have never seen it - don't miss it.
BEWARE THE JABBERWOCK
It was reported recently in the Press that an animal skeleton had been found at Newbliss. Co. Monaghan.The animal must have been about 3 feet tall with two sets of ribs and two tusks. It has been sent to Dublin for investigation.
GHOD - What these Irishmen won't do for a laugh!