STRAIGHT UP - Vol. 1 No. 5 - October 1952
STRAIGHT UP Vol 1 No 5.
Edited by F.J. Robinson,
OF MICE AND MEN
Hello again, long time no see! Well I promised changes, you got 'em, A lot of plans backfired, others didn't come, still more did although I didn't expect them.
Let's talk about this a little. When I produced the first StUpe I was totally green to any form of publishing. I bought a very old typewriter, an even older hand inked flatbed duplicator and some stencils. With grim determination I set out to edit and produce a fanzine. Having no experience of writing I decided to keep to strict news reporting. There were plans at that time of putting out in conjunction with a pal, a more general zine in addition to StUpe - that didn't come off. Well, after sending out StUpe 1 I decided that (a) I needed more correspondents and, (b) I needed more experience of printing. I set to work earnestly on No. 2. This saw the first "Comebacks", the first of Lee Riddle's columns of American news and an article by Forry Ackerman. Also the mag ran to sixteen pages, it took me weeks to print it by hand. With the third ish I was determined to keep it short in order to try and keep to a deadline - I should have known better, the printing had improved a bit now and it had become apparent that it was all the fault of the typewriter - so I sold it. What a difference in the last issue. I had now persuaded my pal Howard Griffiths to give up his spare time to typing the stencils. Printing was still a problem as I could not do it at home. Also the lack of artwork. bothered me, as it still does - I can't put in what I don't have! No-one seems anxious to do artwork on stencils and I can't, so until someone comes along and says "I'll do it", you won't see much artwork.
Now you are reading the last Straight Up - dear old StUpe is no more - but like a somewhat gawky Phoenix comes the end of the year you will be receiving Camber. The fact that I am not on a regular schedule and that kind people are actually giving me material to print means that the news-only policy of' S.U. is ended and now I can take my time and put together a magazine containing a varied contents. There is still news but it is only a part of the whole. This issue is considerably larger than I expected - Camber may well be as long, if not longer - that depends on you - I can't print what I don't have. For the future there are one or two very good short stories, some excellent poetry, and, I hope, some book reviews - how about some of your work?
There seem to be one or two things I must mention. Firstly, the story in the last issue "Forever Endeavour" got hacked off the end of another stencil and in joining up I found that the author's name had to be covered up. It was of course that little atom Ken Potter. Secondly, only one fan attempted the last issue quiz and he got it correct - Sid Gale, of Elland, Yorks, now an LAC in the R.A.F. The answer reads like this
£ s d
Stone - IU LBS. . . . . . '. . . . I k- 0- 0
King- - Sovej?e. -i;:gSv. -. :::"-i''i . , . . =. I-0-0
Singer - Tenor'. . . . . I0-0-0
Haircut - Bo"b. -. ' . I-0
Bicycle - Penny Farthing. I^
Pig - Guinea . •'••, . I-I-0
North & South Poles - Two far-things. : . ________g
£26- 2- I-|
Don't forget Tony Thorne's new quiz column in this ish. As for me, well, now this has to be printed, Then there is a FAPA zine to get out before Nov. Yeah I know!! Fancerely, Fred.
Subscriptions to CAMBER
U.K. 9d each copy. 3/- for 4.
U.K. subs to the editor. U. S. subs to Charles Lee Riddle, 108 Durinam St., Norwich, Connecticut. Existing subs to S.U. will be honoured at old rate.
B. S. A. W.
What's that? - I'll tell you folks. The initials stand for Terra's best up and coming fan club. A club that exists to get fans together socially. The title - "The Bachelors Stf Association of the World". U.S. fen. pay only 25cents membership fee, non stateside fen pay nothing, your dues are paid in the U.S. Come on folks join in the FUN, thats what BSAW stands for, FUN. Send now to S/Sgt Hal Shapiro, 790 AC/W. Sg. U.S.A.F., Kirksville, Missouri. U.S.A
As of the Nov or Dec ish Britain will have a concurrent edition of Galaxy complete from cover to cover. The contract has been signed and production presumably will commence at any time (credit Lee Riddle, from H. L. Gold). Fanzine editors please, copy.
Z-D. Fantastic Adventures dropped. Fantastic (slick) going bi-monthly. Amazing going slick shortly. Rumours of RAP returning to editorship of these mags.
Lester del Rey editor of Space and Rocket Stories to edit two new mags due before end of year.
New Thrilling mag on sale Space Stories adventure type fiction. Rumours of Cap. Future annual.
Both Imagination and If may get companion mags soon. Popular Pubs may revive F.N., S.S.S., Astonishing and Uncanny.
A.S.F. may divide into two mags Astounding Stories and Science-Fiction. Street & Smith may also revive Unknown. Rumours of Astounding change in size and format also.
H. L. Gold considering new mag Tales of Tomorrow co-editor Ted Sturgeon. Galaxy to get better paper.
Nebula S-F reported disappointing. Aussie mag Thrills Inc. has folded.
Going monthly - Mag of F & SF - Imagination - Other Worlds.
Space-Times to go quarterly - next ish colour cover by Terry
Odds and etc.
Aussie Slick mag MAN Senior for Sept. '52 carries A. B. Chandler story with colour illo "The Finishing Touch". This mag is distributed in U. K. by Atlas.
Advance reports on Chicon disappointing; described as a farce by one fan, rumours have it that too many pros gummed up the works. Philadelphia won out for con-site in '53.
New U. K. book published - Professor Challenger Omnibus containing five Challenger stories by Conan Doyle. John Murray 16/-.
WANTED A. S. F. (U. S. ) . Feb '50 URGENT by
Suggested titles for promags.
"Stupor Science Stories".
The surface of Venus is hot and wet said one fan. Humid a mistake said a second. It's hot and dry, I know, Arrid about it!
Heard about the two guys who met in a sewer? Odour you do?
One fan says he's amaized at the corn in this mag.
/I LIKE ME/
COMPLEX CURE. By Tony Thorne
Joe let me in with his right forefinger poised edgewise against
DENIS GIFFORD'S PROJECTIONS.
THE THING. Winchester-RKO. Director; Christian Nyby. . Screenplay; Charles Tederer. Producer; Howard Hawks. (1951) X Cert.
THE THING is the finest example of wasted opportunity to come our way since WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE. After an extremely long period of wait-for-it , when we do catch sight of The Thing - just for a split second - he's not even an It! He's just James Arness - fresh from his star-role in TWO LOST WORLDS, made up like Uncle Boris - only he's more like Karloff as the club-footed executioner of TOWER OF LONDON than the dear old Monster we know and love! All bald and big. No tendrils, no spines, no tentacles, no branches, no roots. Even his hand, torn off by a dog, is shown from a distance, and its twitches never reach the heights of horrid fascination attained by the beautifully-animated BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS.
Take away The Thing himself, the metal fin sticking out of the ice (all we see of the Flying Saucer), and the palpitating pods of his offspring and what's left? Very little fantasy - but a wonderful film-technique which would be a credit to any subject. An amazing aura of naturalness almost surpassing that of THE NEXT VOICE YOU HEAR. And all achieved by the simple trick - which needs a bit of getting used to - of having actors continually talk over each other!
It is this cunning atmosphere of normalcy which makes THE THING such a good film, but having built the audience up to expect something really outlandish, to be fobbed off with a man-shaped man in shabby old trousers and insignia on his shirt, is very, very wrong. The animated rubber octopus from REAP THE WILD WIND would have been more ugh-some.
But, quite definitely, this accentuated normal-ness is the answer to what's wrong with the Horror film. To see a Frankenstein picture written and directed in this manner instead of the stilted novelettes they have always been would really be something.
MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE. Renown. Director; John Gilling. Screenplay; Val Valentine. U Cert.
This artless, witless film is not a comedy, but a tragedy. How dare they do this sort of thing to Bela Lugosi? He plays Von Housen, a very odd vampire. True, he sleeps in a coffin and fattens-up Arthur Lucan on liver because he fancies him (her?) blood-group, but he walks around in daylight all the time, and never turns into a bat. Unfair to the Union. Von Housen is immortal and has been spending his time in his little lab, creating weapons to destroy the world. He plans an army of millions of robots - but so far has only built one! Actually, the robot is rather fun. Much more like the traditional decrees rather than that Outsider, Gort. When Mother Riley knocks against Robot Mark One's aerial and reverses its power, everything else reverses too including all the traffic in Piccadilly! Laugh? I thought I'd never start!
THE HAMMOND MYSTERY. 20th Century Fox. Director; John Brahm. Screenplay; Lillie Hayward & Mike Jacobs. Producer; Bryan Foy (1942).
Currently on Sunday reissue, this most unusual little werewolf
number is artistically directed by the man who later made that fine
ghost picture, THE UNINVITED. The opening sequence, with a
wonderfully mobile camera swinging around an ancient room and alighting
on various objects between the bongs of midnight, is worth sitting
around to see again, as is the hectic night ride in a madly vibrating
carriage. However, the film is marred by the recurring ancient rune:
But the man who really ruined the film was not the poet, but the censor and his ever-ready scissors. Not content with making the film change its title from THE UNDYING MONSTER to the conventional one it now suffers from, he has hacked out every shot in which the werewolf appears, save for one ludicrously speeded sequence of the Wolf-man dashing over the ricks clutching Heather Angel.
At the end, the wolf-man, hanging onto a cliff, is shot by a battery of policemen with rifles. As he dies, his face changes - in close-up - to that of the unsuspected star. The film from the shots to the close-up of the star's normal face, a sequence which probably took longer to make than all the rest of the film, has been completely excised. The whole effect is baffling, to say the least.
Although the film as it now stands is remarkably like any other detective story, plus some rather advanced scientific detection for 1900, it is extremely well done.
Memo to Mr. Fox - Please can't we have an uncut version with an 'X' Certificate?
CONVERSATION WHILE DANCING.
"Well", says Mr. Apex the Distributor, "I need something about forty-five minutes."
"That's not long," says Mr. Delman the Producer.
"No, but its cheap," says Mr. A. And its Quota too! Length means expenth, I always say, and I'm only a Little Distributor."
"Well, now" says Mr. D. "I know where I can lay me hands on a useful bit of footage on pre-war motor racing at Brooklands."
"Sounds useful, says Mr. A. "I've got some old shots of a forest in flood. Bit scratchy, though."
"Make it look like its raining," says Mr. D. "What about a studio?"
"Too expensive, studios," says Mr. A. "I know where there's an old castle. Down in Sussex. In fact I've got a few snaps I took of it."
"Fine," says Mr. D. "We'll use them, blown up, and pop down to your castle on an excursion, if we have to."
"You can always use my office as a set." says Mr. A.
"Ta" says Mr. D., thumbing over an old copy of Prediction. "Ooo, look. Numbers."
"Numerology," says Mr. A. "Very interesting, if you believe that sort of rot."
"The public do," says Mr. D. "Look at astrology."
"Well, there you are then" says Mr. A. "There's your story. Numerology. We'll have this fellow..."
"Which fellow?" says Mr. D.
"Any fellow. Our Star." says Mr. A. "Get a young one. Then he can stick on a mustache to the story in my office, and take it off for pre-war flashbacks to the motor-racing."
"Ah," says Mr. D. "What about costumes?"
"Never mind about costumes," says Mr. A. "No-one will notice a little thing like that."
"How's this, then?" says Mr. D. "We'll have this fellow telling this girl - any girl - this story about this friend of his whose life has been bound up with some number or other - say - nine. Then we can work in the Brooklands footage and have him killed in car number nine."
"Colossal!" says Mr. A. "But not enough. We'll have this bloke the ninth son of some old family - then we can work in the castle. It's all mysterious, see, there's a curse on him. He can meet this gypsy girl who's a ghost, really, and flashback inside the flashback to when the Haunted Wing burned down."
"Tricky", says Mr. D. "But we can cut out a picture of the castle and hold burning paper behind it. How about this ghost though?"
"Easy", says Mr. A., watching his Woodbine smoulder. "We'll blow cigarette smoke about over my blown-up snaps, and then cut out some woman's head from an old etching, and wag it around."
"And we can have the hero giving a commentary on it all. That'll save taking a recorder down to Sussex, and any tricky dubbing" says Mr. D.
"Fair enough", says Mr A. "Get crackingi."
So Mr. D. got cracking and the result is DEATH IS A NUMBER, now on floating release.
Jack Broder Productions, who made BRIDE OF THE GORILLA last year, have just completed a sequel, BELA LUGOSI MEETS THE GORILLA MAN.
WITCH DOCTOR, a short made by the Ritter Young Lerner Associates of New York was chosen for both Edinburgh and Venice Film Festivals. It shows various Voodoo dance rites.
IT GROWS ON TREES, a new fantasy from Universal, shows what happens when Irene Dunne and Dean Jagger discover that their back-yard tree is growing money in 5 and 10 dollar bills.
MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA. Warners' new religious picture, has an angel appearing in a thunderstorm, and telling a 12-year old girl that the world must return to God. She appears on the 13th day of each month for six months, and, to demonstrate that she really means what she says, brings 17,000 witnesses to fervent belief by shifting the sun. In new Warnercolor, too.
UNTAMED WOMEN, United Artists, has Mike Conrad, late of THE FLYING SAUCER, stranded on an odd isle inhabited by Doris Merrick and her tribe of men-hating-but-beautiful women. Mike and his pals defeat The Hairy Men and assorted prehistoric monsters before the islands volcano, just like the volcanoes, in UNKNOWN ISLAND, TWO LOST WORLDS, and LOST CONTINENT, blows its top and kills everyone but the hero, who lives to Tell The World from his hospital bed back in the Good Old U.S.A.
I imagine that Howco Productions are using the same story in their MESA OF LOST WOMEN, originally titled LOST WOMEN OF ZARPA, starring Jackie Coogan and Allan (PREHISTORIC WOMEN) Nixon, but I have been unable to confirm this yet.
I am happy to announce that rumours which have been in the air since 1950 are now confirmed. ABBOTT AND COSTELLO definitely GO TO MARS at last, for Universal.
BLACKHAWK, Columbia's new serial based on the comic strip by Reed Crandall and Charles Guiders, and starring Kirk (SUPERMAN) Alyn as the hero with the private air force, will deal with flying discs.
Mutual Productions have completed MONSTER FROM BENEATH THE SEA.
The other Thursday, browsing through a screen scrapbook compiled by Bill Temple in his wild youth, I came across three German films I had never heard of, reviewed in cuttings from PICTURE SHOW, I think. Pictures too. The films were GOLD (a scientist discovers how to make gold in a monstrous machine, and seeks to acquire great power), THE GHOSTLY ISLE (about an underwater kingdom of peculiar people), and MASTER OF THE WORLD (wherein the 'hero' produces hordes of fighting robots, by whose aid he seeks to dominate the universe). If anyone has further information, pictures, credits etc. on these films, please contact me through this paper.
Just for the record, LIONS OF GULU, Arch (TWONKY) Oboler's full-length, tri-di, is now retitled BWAWA DEVIL, and stars Barbara Britton and Robert Stack, not Howard Duff and Hope Miller, as I announced in the last ish.
Walt Disney's TRUE LIFE ADVENTURES team has started on the under-water sequences for 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, Walt has set a million-dollar budget for the film, with more forthcoming if necessary, and the release date will be some time in 1954.
Stephen McNally and Richard Greene are the stars of Universal's THE BLACK CASTLE, with Boris Karloff featured as a mad scientist.
Lippert's SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN is being released here by Eros as SUPERMAN AND THE STRANGE PEOPLE, a pointless title change. Personally, I'd rather see a Mole Man than a Strange Person any day. This 67 minute fantasy has George Reeves as Superman aiding the little Mole Men, who pop up to the surface from six miles down through an oil-well shaft, just to have a look round. Their visit ignites mob riots and stuff, and finally the little fellows pop back and blow up their exit-entrance, sick of us. Directed by Lee Sholem, who did a TARZAN pic, once.
This here and now,
But such violence is not yet given me.
But here and now is where we find
P. R. W.
A NEW RECRUITS GENERAL VIEW OF FANDOM By Billy Graham
The transition from the sphere of ordinary everyday civilization to the somewhat awe-inspiring realm of fandom is achieved in an exceedingly short space of time. The comparison between the two modes of life is amazing. Fandom is everything that everyday life is not. It is a seething, pulsating thriving mass of humanity (and Huwomanity) which is an eternally potential danger to the remainder of society unless it (Fandom) is permitted to skip blithely through space and time without pressure or hindrance from the outside elements. For the first few weeks following ones introduction to fandom ones restful slumbers are apt to be ruined by ghastly nightmares, the essence of which is almost indescribable, Most prominent of these nightmares are Martian Invasions, Colliding Worlds, and Atomic Destruction, on a scale that even Einstein has never dreamed of. The fact that he is still alive proves this conclusively.
Already I can visualise the raised eyebrows and furtive whispers of my more immediate acquaintances and I am constantly assailed by visions of long white corridors and padded cells. But eventually from out of the appalling devastation of the mind there emerges some revealing facts which are hastily seized upon with a view to solving some immediate problems such as the sanity of fanzine editors for instance. The immensity of such a problem can be appreciated by all non-editors immediately.
However, to start with let us stand well back and view the problem with a mind untainted by prejudice. Q. What is a fanzine editor? A. A fanzine editor is one who, against his better judgement, edits, produces, directs or merely dictates a fanzine. He does this knowingly and willingly without any undue pressure from alien intelligences; Now why is this? Either he's a fool, which is a possibility at least, or else the people who read his creations are fools, which is a possibility worthy of a trifle more thought than the first one. However, be that as it may, the vast network of fanzines is a constant reminder that fandom never sleeps nor apparently do said editors. This sheds a dazzling light of truth on our problem. Lack of sleep is responsible for many unnatural occurences and we can say therefore with reasonable accuracy that fanzine editing is one of them. It is a fact however, that these editors and their associates, responsible for odd articles, art? etc. have a certain sense of humour however revolting it may appear sometimes, This sense of 'Humour' (we'll call it that for want of a more approrpriate term) acts as a safety valve and is indispensable to every editor, for without it he is lost to fandom.
This seems to present a golden opportunity to the Anti-Editor sect but we will not venture into that speculative field at present. Suffice it to say that editors as a rule are good fellows with no muderous intents. Mind mutilation, probably, but not murder, seems to be their order of the day.
We will deal with other aspects of fanzine and fanzines at a later date for the present let us digest this lesson thoroughly.
The Extra Terrestial Research Organization is a newly-formed body dedicated to reseach into the origin and purpose of the so-called 'Flying Saucers'. The scientific attitude of the organization is apparent from the slogan "Research - The Road to Truth."
If you are interested in Saucers, their origin and purpose, then
join ETRO, help to find the truth about this phenomena. The members
of ETRO come from all over the world. There is a mimeod publication
Etron with fifty pages containing stories, articles and features
by members. Further information can be obtained from the Coordinator
WHAT'S WRONG WITH ARKHAM HOUSE !
At one time the weird fan was the most pampered of mortals. Back in those now so distant days of 1939-1944 it was he who was flattered by book publishers. Science fiction in book form was a phenomena so rare as to be unbelievable, whereas the devotee of the macabre was given adequate fare by the general publisher. In particular, however, it was the quintessence of horror as ladled out by Arkham House that really roused the weird fan to enthusiasm. Such rarities as "The Outsider & Others" by H. P. Lovecraft, "Out of Space and Time" by Clark Ashton Smith, "The Eye and the Finger" by Donald Wandrei, etc. were not only superb collections of supernatural fiction, but landmarks in book publications. The rocketing prices for such secondhand copies as exist bear testimony to their unique appeal.
Now, however, the picture has changed. It is the science fiction fan who is inundated by book presentation of favourite stories once languishing between magazine covers: the weird fan the one who is neglected. Horror has given place to the concepts of space - the eerie scream in the night has been replaced by the roar of rockets. In the last two years not one outstanding weird collection has been published, and though some are promised for the future, the follower of the macabre contemplates ruefully the difference of former years.
Primarily the main culprit is Arkham House, and I feel that Derleth owes an explanation to those supporters who have followed its fortunes from the early days. Once a consistent producer of at least three good weird books a year, it is now a startling fact that since 1949 Arkham House has produced only one weird book of fiction - "Something About Cats" by H. P. Lovecraft, and this is made up very largely of essays, notes, etc., that are not strictly the gruesome fare beloved of weird addicts. Apart from "The Throne of Saturn" by S. Fowler Wright, which is science fiction of an old-fashioned variety, and two very small volumes of weird poetry, this is all that up to date the head of Arkham House has seen fit to offer to his long suffering clientele. It is a far cry from the early days of the setting up of Arkham House with its avowed purpose the perpetuating of Lovecraft's fame and his work. The projected "Selected Letters of H. P Lovecraft" is no nearer after a promise of six years standing, and neither are a host of books so tantalisingly outlined in the bulletins issuing from Sauk City. It looks as though those bulletins will contain more fantasy than will appear between stiff covers under Mr. Derleth's auspices.
It is admitted that Mr. Derleth has been fairly busy occupying the editorial chair of other publishing houses, choosing thoir science fiction. And apart from one recent lapse such anthologies have had value. But all this is bitter-sweet to the weird fan, who knows that however suspect may be Mr. Derleth's ideas on science fiction, he does know his weird fiction. And with all its recent outpouring science fiction could well afford to let the head of Arkham House return to his own domain. Perhaps even Mr. Derleth has felt a trifle guilty about the scanty crumbs he has tossed to his weird followers, because recently he has been emphasising the difficulties of book production with special reference to high costs, overheads, etc. Yet when one thinks of the fine books of Fantasy Press, Gnome Press, Shasta, and others who surely have similar problems, one cannot help feeling that Mr. Derleth's words are but camouflage for more suspect reasons. Something has gone from the original spirit of Arkham House. This is regrettable, and all the more so to lovers of the bizarre whose literature has been so severely curtailed in recent years. It is time that those who cherish Arkham House editions and are impatient to see more should gather together and summon Mr. Derleth to account. He may not be the reason for what is wrong with Arkham House, but he is the one, and only one, who can put it in order.
Arthur F. Hillman.
P. S. Since this article was compiled two products of Arkham House have emerged from the chrysalis of inaction which has been spun around it. "Tales from Underwood" by David H. Keller is very welcome containing as it does such macabre gems as "The Thing in the Cellar", "The Literary Corkscrew", "The Doorbell" etc., replete with the unique Keller sense of the horrific. "Night's Yawning Peal", a collection of weirds by Derleth is more suspect. Apart from one or two noteworthy pieces and a novel by Lovecraft "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", which is a long way removed from his best work, there is nothing in it to justify book format. With still a vast mineral lode of weird wealth to delve into, Derleth has come up with a few small nuggets, and the result is still not sufficient for the true connoisseur of the terrible.
BOOKS FOR SALE.
The above books can be had, complete with dustwrappers, and in
mint to excellent condition, from
FANTEASER'S CORNER by Tony (Baffled) Thorne
This is the first of a new series in S.U. devoted to fans who, like myself, just love a good teaser. To maintain the interest, Fred and I are offering the remarkable prize of (at great expense etc.) a whole prozine, for the first correct solution received. Send your entry to:
Tony Thorne, c/o THE MEDWAY SCIENCE & FANTASY CLUB,
Now for this issue's two teasers. The first is a fairly easy one just to give you encouragement:
1. You are looking into a mirror, you see a clock on your mantelpiece. The time appears to be nearly 22 minutes past 4.What actually is the time? (To foil those clever boys, I insist that the clock is dead on with Big. Ben!).
The next and final brain baffler for this issue is not so easy. Still you can't expect a perfectly good prozine for no effort, so see what you make of this;
2. You are given a numberof large spheres made of metal, identically chromium plated. They all have exactly the same weight and size and appear to be absolutely similar to each other. Now here is the catch! One of them is hollow, being made from a heavier metal than the others, but having just enough space inside to enable it to equal their weight. What I want to know is, how can you determine which is the hollow sphere? The answer is not complicated, no apparatus being necessary.
Right fellow fans, that's it! Remember, the first correct answer opened gets the gravy. The solutions and the name of the winner will be given in these hallowed pages next issue, it might be you!
SPACE DIVERSIONS No. 1 June-July. Dave Gardner & Norman Shorrock, The Space Dive, 13a St.Vincent St., Liverpool 3. 2 for 1/-.
This is the first issue of the Liverpool SFS fanzine. It's duplicated 4to, and very neatly turned out. Tom Owens contributes a Short History of the club. One Vargo Espley gives us a column, titled (if I may use the word) 'Sprockets, Missals, and Space Gabble'. Frank Milnes contributes a report on the recent con that is rich in non Willisean humor. There is the first part of a Round Robin story and 'something' called "Henry Lee! Who's he?" by Tom Owens. Dave Gardner rounds off with a straight and legible conreport. A superb first issue. Well done chaps.
SPACE DIVERSIONS No. 2 Aug-Sept. See Above.
From 18 to 32 pages, this gets better & better, and so do the contents. Dave Gardner has an article on Collecting that Tucker would be proud of, had me rolling. Tom Owens completes his History of the LSFS. In "Retrospect" John Roles discusses Haggard's "She". Let's crawl under the next page, maybe it won't see us (it's "Sprockets" again). "Toz" contributes a very workmanlike description of an atomic bomb explosion with full figures and details. Part Two of the Round Robin is contributed by Tom Owens and he makes a superb job of it. Then Carnell comes up with 'Tripewriter in the Sky', a very authentic account of how an issue of NW is born. In order that there won't be too much Science-FANTASY there is a biography of H. J. (Bert) Campbell, who it seems, is more than a character (and a nice guy). Vince Clarke wins a moon map by contributing the second half of "Henry Lee. Who's He?" and well deserved too. All this plus readers letters. At 6d a time they are giving away. Without doubt the most promising fanzine I've seen in years.
ROCKETS The Magazine of Space Flight. April '52. R. L. Farnsworth, 524. Forest Ave., Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Mr. Farnsworth was kind enough to send me a sample copy of the OO of the American Rocket Society. Its 8vo, photo-lithoed and very neatly turned out and has 16 pages in the issue I have. It consists in the main of news of interest to folk seriously interested in rockets, its no small thing either as it boasts 1493 circulation. Sub rates $4 yearly. No British rates quoted.
SHADOWLAND March '52. Sam Martinez. P.O. Box 2032, TULSA (1) Oklahoma. 10cents.
A neat hectoed zine mainly intended for FAPA but available to non-members. A neat and original story by Wm. Clyde opens the issue. Two poems that I enjoyed are by Orma McCormick, the other (and I especially enjoyed this one) by Bob Farnham. The editor reviews stfilms and there is a cypher contest (a good one too). I enjoyed "For Chemists Only" a feature which is on a par with the famous Thiotimaline hoax in aSF some years ago. There is a short tale by Don Womanski and a few pages of readers letters. I recommend it highly.
COSMAG/SF DIGEST May '52.
Rather a let down in apperance after the neat 8vo format of the previous issue. The present issue (s) are 4to and appear to be duplicated on art paper, a somewhat messy looking procedure. Another disappointment too is the non-appearance of the S-F-D half of the duo. Henry explains its absence however and intimates that next ish the combozine will be back to 8vo photolith. The Cosmag half has a neat cover by Burge, one of the best I've seen for some time, to my taste. Story by Ken Slater didn't come up to expectation I'm afraid. A typical Hoffmanian piece comes in next guying Tucker, just the sort of stuff that put Quandry where it is. Bob Silverberg discusses at length a little-known Lewis Carroll fantasy, "Sylvie and Bruno". Pete Ridley has an interesting article on column writing, that is not so serious as it initially appears to be. Plenty of other features make this a very readable issue. It is to be hoped that the next ish the reproduction will again be on a par with the contents.
SPACESHIP 18. July.
There is a very interesting article in thish by Ray Nelson who reviews at length "The Books of Charles Fort". Having once read through this mighty tome I can recommend this article as an excellent introduction to anyone considering reading the book; somehow there's something about Fort, the way he measures you up with some introductory remarks in his own peculiar style and then batters you with a broadside of reports. The world seems a less stable place when Fort starts to stir up little known facts. There is a neat little story about "Little Men" too, that provides a few laughs. I also noted a poem by Orma McCormick as something special. In addition there is a long story, several articles and sundry features plus plenty of art-work. A consistent fanzine as one would expect, after four years of publishing.
THE BOB SHAW APPRECIATION MAGAZINE.
It is probably no secret to most fans that BoSh is now a resident of London (it's certainly a well known fact to London Circleites). On his departure the Belfast Triangle put out this oneshot to commemorate the occasion. Let me just say its on a par with everything else emanating from Belfast. Contributions are from WAW, AVC, and James White, not to mention Bob Shaw himself. There will never be fear of a famine in Ireland again.
QUANDRY 21. Lee Hoffman, 101 Wagner St., Savannah, Georgia. 15 cents or 7 for $1. 6 for 4/- to WAW.
Every issue of Q that arrives, I say to myself - this can't go on, it's too good, but it does - and improves, just keep waving that wand or whatever it is you wave Lee, we serious constructive fans hunger for more - Contrbutions from Tucker, Willis, Silverberg, Joe Fillinger and of course plenty from Lee herself. I don't suppose there are any fans who don't read Q, but if in some deserted backwood there does exist such a character he doesn't know what life is.
QUANDRY 22. see above.
For obvious reasons this one turned me green with envy, In one sense of course I was disappointed, After last years Quannish. the 100 page superzine, I looked forward with great relish to reviewing the SQUish. However, although technically this is the second annish if is now a special issue, merely its usual superb self. Top note of the issue comes from The Harp wherein WAW gives his versions of the '52 Loncon. Then Jack Speer reminisces in The Oppressed Minorities, this is followed by a slightly exaggerated account (I hope) of a recent con in Frisco (Hey over there, do you just have one big con that continually moves each week around the country, like a circus? Surely seems like that from the number of con-reports I've read last few months.) Oh! thanks to some young fan there's a free ad in this column for StUpe. Also one in the editorial - Thanks Lee, I'd toast you in julep if I knew how to make one - say, that's an idea, anyone know the necessary? From thish Q goes irregular but frequent - how Lee has managed it monthly so far I'll never understand, but then she is a genius - the next ish will be a post-Chicon one so DON'T MISS IT.
STAR LANES No, 7, Autumn, 20cents or 6 - $1. To U.K. subbers 3 issues for two U.K. promags.
Star Lanes is one of the top poetry fanzines, and well worth obtaining to all who are interested in this form of expression. Although No. 7 runs to only 12 pages, the quality of both the poems and the considerable amount of artwork is the highest. From No. 8 onward the zine will at least double in size. I recently received a letter from the editress, Orma McCormick of 1558 W. Hazelhurst St. Ferndale 20, Michigan, requesting contributions from British poets for both STAR LANES and the projected ARION. If you are interested send for a sample copy.
THE INVENTION REPORT Free on request to Richard Elsberry, 413 E. 18th St., Minneapolis 4, Minn.
This is an advance edition of an 18 page article to appear in Max Keasler's Opus No 5. When I first picked it up, I thought "hmmm, an interesting hoax, something new anyway", then I read it, "heck", I thought, "this really did happen, but it sure is the maddest con that ever did happen!". Now I read in Peon that it is a hoax after all. My face is red. It is a report on the happenings at the first Stf International Con and when I say that the first item on the agenda was a tour of the local brewery you'll get an idea of the rest of it. Item I liked was the one where Hal Shapiro and John Shay called on Redd Boggs at 1.30 am and got him out of bed to run off a one shot. This is well worth reading if you can get a copy.
OPERATION FANTAST Spring-Summer 1952. No. 12. Capt. K. F Slater, 13 Gp. R.P.C. B.A.O.R. 2 . U.K. 5/- p.a. U.S.A. 75 cents. Australia 6/3d. (A)
The latest ish of OF bears a neat cover design by Pete Ridley. The issue contains rather more fiction than OF has had for some time. Perhaps I am hypercritical but fan fiction generally leaves me cold. Lead story by Vernon McCain titled "Adamant Eve!" (love that title) went on far too long for the weak ending. In contrast "Talking Point" by K. H. Brunner was of perfect length for its theme, however it was strictly fan fiction. Mack Reynolds contributes an interesting article on first stories by intending pro-authors, and Rog Dard discusses 'Monsters' in comic books. Plenty of book reviews and Ken's good old news column "General Chuntering" round of the issue. An interesting advert of individual bookplates designed by Gerard Quinn is worthy of mention. Gerard's address is 3 Ward St. Belfast. Book collectors are recommended to write to Gerard for details. Finally I will mention that OF looks very neat in its smaller photo-litho format.
PEON July '52 Charles Lee Riddle, 108 Dunham St., Norwich, Conn. 10 cents. $1 - 12. 2 for U.K. or Aussie prozine.
Neatest fanzine published - each ish I say it couldn't be neater until the next one comes along! Am amusing story opens the issue and is folowed by a serious article (this is a serious issue but being a serious constructive fan, I should worry!) titled The Robot and the Kommisar. Dave Mason makes some pretty straight remarks and their opinions, not without cause, although I personally belong to the school with says "to heck, why get serious about it", I sometimes do get a bit more sane than usual, interesting and well writen tho'. "Harmony" thish should be titled 'Disharmony', thi is an argumenttative issue, here is Jim Harmon dragging out the Gold on Galaxy controversy, still it's nice to see a fan admit defeat. Lee Hoffman gives a brief (too brief) report on the Indian Lake affair and Horace Gold replies in great detail to fan criticism of his Galaxy policies, the summing up of which seems to indicate that his attitude is "Brother you don't know the half of it!". Terry Carr's new column Fantastuff is newsy and original, more news and comments together with some remarks on fan-hoaxes in KKK Watkins' column. Not forgetting Lee's peonotes which round off the 28 pages, incidentally note the address, Lee has now settled down to a permanent home.
VANATIONS No. 1 Norman G. Browne, 13906 - 101A Ave., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
To say that I'm enthusiastic about this one would be a great understatement. With a beautiful, printed, photo cover the initial appearance is favourable, but the contents - they're funny, damn funny, but they are different - that's the word, different - after reading through it again the word is like a straw to a drowning man, if I may mix my metaphors, if not my drinks, I just lapped it up. It is in every way unique, even the price. For the first time (to my knowledge) a fanzine for which you pay after reading (PAR) and get this - you pay what you think it was worth - if everyone who reads one of the 500 copies thinks as I do Norman will be able to launch a prozine soon! FANEDS TAKE NOTE I have four spare copies of V. I'll send them to the first four people who send me a copy of a British fanmang - preferably recent, so that I can mail them to Norman in return - this is an opportunity NOT to be missed.
S-F NEWSSCOPE No. 17. Larry Campbell, 43 Tremont St., Malden 48, Mass.
Plenty of news literally crammed into 6 pages. It's not pretty but the news is hot and that, I submit, is the purpose of a newszine - newspapers aren't generally pretty either, but they survive if their news coverage and presentation is OK. I like the Report on Fandom series, it gives fen over here a brief idea of fanclubs stateside. Newsscope is, by the way, only 5cents a copy 50cents a year. I understand Larry wants a British agent - anyone interested?
SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS A. Vince Clarke and, H. Ken Bulmer, 16 Wendover Way, Welling, Kent. 6d a copy or 2/6 for 5. One good US prozine for 3.
Vince and Ken with the able assistance of Jim Rattigan have perpetrated another Sniff, for those who have seen one before no more needs be said, for those who are still sane - Come and join us. Of the twelve pages 5 are of letters. "What? Letters in a newszine?" you exclaim. Yeah, this is Sniff and these are no ordinary letters!
SPACE TIMES 2 & 3. Eric Bentcliffe, 47 Alldis St., Woodsmoor, Stockport, Cheshire.
The N'WSFC newsletter. Hectoed by Eric Jones and very neatly done too. It is not purely a news zine, but has notes and news mainly of interest to U.K. fen, but as membership in the N'WSFC is open to fen all ever it will no doubt develop a more international flavour as time goes on. Here's hoping it does anyway.
THE PENDULUM May-June 52. Bill Venable. 15cents a copy, or 10 for $1.
What a ghastly cover! But don't let this, and the heavy duplicating, not to mention the awful paper, put you off - it's great reading. Another conreport, don't you stateside fen do anything but hold cons? This one is of the Bufflocon. There is a nicely illoed poem "Payment" by someone whose name looks like a series of blots in my copy, hand written, but neatly, on the stencil too, very nice, may we have more of the same? Also there's a lengthy serious article by Redd Boggs which I bogged (?) down half way through. One of the most interesting articles is a critique of the prozine "Other Worlds". I hope this will become a series dissecting various prozines. Plenty here for all tastes - but Bill, do something about the appearence - please!
DIRECTORY of ANGLO-FANDOM. John Gunn Esq. "Gunns Guest House", 1 Stratford Square, Nottingham.
This checklist of Anglofen was distributed recently free and is available to all fans on request, however as this sort of thing is expensive, how about sending him something for it, a fanzine for instance. Although it is by no means complete, the checklist will undoubtedly prove useful to many fans. A word of praise is in order for Bob Shaw's doodlings in the margins, they are out of this world, literally!
CONTEMPLATIONS. Part 2.
After having been kept awake half the night by a nearby clock which chimed on a cracked bell every quarter I arose on Saturday morning full of enthusiasm for the week-end's fanning before me. From my experiences at last year's con I knew just about what the scene would be all morning at the Royal Hotel, in whose ballroom the sessions were being held, Informal Sessions is what the programme described them as. I suppose that is the nearest the English language can get to describing them, after all English was evolved long before fandom came along, hence the incomprehensibility of fanguage to those outside the ranks of actifandom, as a side note it is memorable that Forry Ackerman found even Esperanto inadequate and invented Ackermanese, but I digress.
I loaded up my case with flashbulbs and eventually found my way by mechanical worm to Bloomsbury and The Royal. Externally no-one would imagine there was a stfcon going on, no beanies, zap guns (or water pistols) in fact no fun at all. Even the notice in the window of the entrance hall of the con was only half the size of the one used last year. On entering the semi-gloomy anteroom the first sight to meet my eyes was that of Charlie Duncombe with outstretched hand, strange that, he seemed quite surprised when I shook hands. Well after I'd paid for my two day tickets I walked into the conhall and got that old feeling. Imagine the scene, a large, long ballroom, windows all along one of the long walls, all these consisting of small panes of frosted glass, in the centre of each window being the coat of arms of a city or town in Britain. Facing these windows and the speakers table and mike just in front of them, were row upon row of chairs, tidy now for it was early yet and not many fans had arrived. Behind the chairs and along the panelled wall were pinned up original stf drawings of all sizes and a set of photos taken at an Aussie Con. Several stalls were arranged along this wall; the Fantasy Art Society under the able leadership of Alan Hunter and his charming wife, this was one of the most popular stalls at the con as a tremendous amount of artwork, both pro & fan was on display. A large London bookseller had a large stall with literally scores of titles on show, then came several small stalls, Jim Rattigan had some truly magnificent colour paintings on display, Jim should be working for the promags in my opinion, his work is among the very best. Walt Willis had a huge file book full of current fanzines which numerous young fen were seen to be avidly reading through at various times during the con. I'm surprised that there hasn't been an outbreak of fanzines from the younger fen recently, the amount of soaking-up that was going on. In the corner another large selection of current books and mags was on display under the banner of the Fantasy Book Centre, one of Britain's best known suppliers of this type of fiction. On the two short sides of the room were stalls occupied by the Manchester club busy flogging copies of their fanzine Astroneer and the first part of a checklist they have put out, and by Vince Clark & Ken Bulmer with their newszine Science Fantasy News. This stall incidentally drew attention from large crowds by being liberally decorated by stills from "The Thing" and other current movies.
One of the largest stalls at the con was occupied by Tony Thorne of Gillingham who is fast shooting up into the position of one of the top actifans in Britain, in fact as will become apparent later, Tony's name will forever be linked with this convention in the annals of fan history. This stall occupied half the wall space plus several tables and consisted of artwork contributed by members of Tony's Medway SF Club, most of whom seem to be budding Rembrandts. Fantasy Fotos, both monochrome and coloured, model space ships combining table lamps, three dimensional pictures of lunascapes, vast numbers of books and mags and Tony himself who ought to be voted Mr. Fan of '52 for the progress he's made during the year. I must not overlook the stall occupied by that mighty atom from Lancaster, Ken Potter. Ken kept plugging his Junior Fanatics and their projected fanzine 'Peri' on numerous occasions throughout the con. A point I noticed was that Ken had arranged his stall in front of a mirror which made it look as if it was twice as big as it really was. Right down the centre of the hall was a glass roof which let plenty of light in (amongst other things). The informal sessions were in reality a sort of milling contest where everybody tried to get introduced to everybody else, in fact with so many names coming together it was really confusion.
I got so interested in my repeated circular tour of the hall that I forgot to eat any lunch and accordingly before I realised it the clock crept around to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2 pm and the start of the con proper, so at 2 pm (contime) Ted Carnell made the opening speech and introduced fans from all over the country. What a difference to last year's con when every second delegate came from a different country. After the intros, delegates spoke about the state of fandom in their own areas. Speaking for Bradford, Derek Pickles revealed that his club had 23 members with about 15 active ones. The club would appear to be rather similar to the one we have just formed in South Wales in that it has no committee. Derek revealed that the club had organised a successful exhibition at the local library, and had held a film show and are furthermore going to hold another of a Tarzan film, as one of their members is a Tarzan fan. I also seem to remember a few words about an outing to the seaside but this may have got mixed up in my mind with the various sites mentioned in the later debate on where to hold the next convention.
Manchester represented by Taffy Williams has one of the largest clubs in the country, over 50 fans being members, a plug was also put in for the shortly forthcoming Mancon.
There are 22 members of the Liverpool Club reported Les Johnson. In Gillingham, Tony Thorne said, there were 25 members, no less than ten of whom are artists. Ken Potter practically exploded in front of the mike with details of his postal club for teenagers and their projected zine 'Peri'. With Ken's enthusiasm I can see the possibility of zap guns making an appearance at future cons, however knowing the ability of these boys they are liable to be genuine ones. I won't go into the London Circle, they are just unique.
Following this warming up session was the debate on whether London should monopolise future conventions. Delegates were invited to speak, and a vote was suggested, to be held next day.
Eric Bentcliffe speaking for Manchester cited the Mancon as an example of what the North could do and that with the coronation taking place next year, accomodation would be difficult. May I state here however that contrary to reports I did not openly support the North when I spoke, I said if I remember correctly, that if the con were to be held in the North the distance would be very little more so I would turn up but I'd probably go to a convention wherever it was held.. Derek Pickles spoke for Bradford and Les Johnson of Liverpool surprised everyone by plugging London, stating that he didn't think the North could put on such a good show as London - looking back on this convention I disagree, they could do better without trying.
Jim Rattigan spoke for London and made what is probably the dullest speech of all time. The liveliest speech came from Walt Willis who had been hounded down by Ted Carnell. In retaliation Walt put on his Sunday best brogue and threw a spanner into the debate with his now famous "Gay Paree in '53", a slogan which would have been lost to fandom had he not printed it in The Harp later; several neo-fans were reported to have fainted believing that the Martians had landed and their delegate was demanding the capitulation of Earth, in Martian.
Tea followed, for most fans - I think I ate tea - can't remember quite. The next item was a recorded speech by Arthur Clarke, who had at the time just left for his U.S. visit. What a hodge podge it was too. On top of Arthur's speech there were recordings of Arthur reviewing books - with excerpts - Arthur reviewing films - with excerpts - Arthur introducing records of Yma Sumac - with excerpts. It was an exceptionally weak effort, we all missed Bill Temple at this time. I believe he was present in body but not in spirit, no doubt he was keeping a telepathic eye on Arthur.
Now followed one of the high spots of the con. A debate on the motion "That Science Fiction is true to the facts of Human Experience". Sounds dull doesn't it ? And it might have been although worthwhile if serious contributions came from numerous well known, authors and a scientist whose name I can't remember, however, it was Ted Tubb who made one of the only truly fannish contributions to the convention with his livid description of the attempted rape of an innocent maiden by an eight-foot Spider and her rescue by a Captain Future-like hero who flew to Mars in a bamboo rocket in the time of Shakespeare. Later in the con Ted was seen waving an old copy of FFN & FN with a cover picture of an eight foot spider menacing a young maiden whom we assume was innocent, and remarking that this proved his argument. I don't think any decision was ever taken as to whether the motion was approved or not.
Next came the Auction. Now an auction, even an auction of stf is just that, in ordinary hands, but handled by the great Tubb it becomes an experience. Armed with a bottle of something potent (Xeno?) he literally throws himself into it (the auctioning not the bottle!) A notable point of both the auctions was the wad after wad of complete crud that came up for sale, I should imagine a goodly proportion of the BREs of Amazing & Fantastic not to mention pocket books came under the hammer. One item Ted picked up, he held it dramatically; "Five Bob and I'll do anything for you (well not quite)". Again some pocket books, Ted handles them almost reverently, "I'll take the first bid". A voice from the junior section in the front row piped up "Three pence" and he got 'em. By this time the audience had moved in on the table containing the books, they were crammed tight around it. Walt Willis, Vince Clarke, myself with my camera and several others moved around the edge of the crowd enjoying it all. While this auction was going on I looked up and saw to my surprise four obviously feline feet padding around on the glass roof, how important this puss was to be I little realised then.
After supper break when I definately remember getting to the bar came the first film show. By now the con was running about a half hour late. Coming back from the bar I was somewhat awed to find that all the chairs were facing the other way - Great Scott, I thought, that was damn strong whisky - even now I cannot conceive of fans actually working during supper break to turn those chairs. Perhaps the London Circle numbers among some of its more eccentric devotees a few table tilters who gave a demonstration while I was away.
To help matters it was still quite light and there was no means of covering up the glass roof so much of the film show looked like a glorified shadow show. Which was probably just as well considering the stuff that was shown. According to the programme Wells' "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" and a French picture "Paris Qui Dort" were to be shown, however in best convention style we were informed that the French film was not available and that some shorts of SF interest would be shown instead. The films of SF interest turned out to be unmentionable in their awulness, one having a solitary question about rockets mixed up with training sheepdogs, fencing, and other items of 'SF interest'. This was followed by an ancient film on "How Talkies are Made" which would have been better as a silent, and "How Television Works" which I personally found interesting, however I seem to be in the minority there. Finally the main feature came on, Wells' "The Man Who Could Work Miracles", this was not about Ted Tubb selling Curtiss Warren pocket books to fans, but one of the better old time fantasy films. After last year's chaos over a projector and the poorly organised show this year the convention committee next year would do well to do some more organisation on this part of the programme.
So ended the first day's sessions, everybody packed up their stuff, yawned a little and drifted all in ones and twos towards home. Joining forces with Walt, James White, Vince Clarke and Ken Bulmer we drifted to the Underground and took the now almost familiar route back to digs. American fans no doubt wonder why we don't organise any 770s but somehow we never do, I've sometimes wondered what it would be like if we did, then I remember a more recent fan gathering and get an idea - Ghu not that!
The first item on the agenda on Sunday was a repeat of Arthur Clarke's speech - egoboo time two. Most of the actifen arrived first and Ted Carnell informed us that one Sunday paper had a con write-up that Walt Willis had given to a reporter on the previous day. On hearing this great news James White and I set out to find a copy. For some reason there had been a run on that particular paper that morning - no-one seemed to have a copy. However we eventually got a copy each at the tube station. We raced madly through the paper trying to find the item - it got three inches on three columns at the foot of the back page. Headlined "An Egoboo for 200 fen" they even put a star after the 'fen'. Written entirely in fanspeak it was enough to make a fan groan - what the good people of London thought of it I hate to think. Anyway it only appeared in some editions.
On returning to the Convention hall we found things getting organised, and before long the proceedings got under way. The two promag editors in this country, Ted Carnell of New Worlds and Science-Fantasy, and Bert Campbell of Authentic, were to answer questions on their magazines. Somehow tho I received the impression that I was on the wrong time stream for Carnell was answering for Authentic and Campbell for N. W. Judging by some of the answers I'd say that both men had been up all night anticipating questions and preparing answers. This was undoubtedly the funniest and most lively item of the whole con. All good things come to an end however and eventually the two editors sorted themselves out and answered a few serious questions. Several items came up that may be of interest. One that the BRE Astounding (distributed in Australia too) sells 40,000 copies per ish, two that Authentic prints 15,000 copies and sell 13,000. Carnell declined to give figures for N. W. for business reasons.
After dinner there was an Authors' Circle. The question discussed was "Why I write SF". Speakers included Ted Tubb who informed us that "Those cheques are awfully nice", Bert Campbell who enjoys doing so, Dan Morgan likes it too, in fact everyone seemed to divide their reasons into "I write it because I like it"! and "Not only do I like writing it but cash is also nice". Fair enough. Frank Arnold, always a joy to listen to, told us most of his life story. This would have been dull had anyone else been at the mike, but Frank has a hypnotic voice and always manages to paint a perfect word picture of whatever he is describing, he should, I think, have been an actor. Syd Bounds read a paper on "The Future of SF" which although I agree with many of its points sounded insufferably dull being read out after so many excellent and spontaneous speeches. Other speakers at this time were Brian Berry whom I would tip as one of this country's leading authors in the near future, and Dave McIlwain. John Brunner introduced himself as Britain's youngest SF author having had stories published by Curtis Warren under the name Gill Hunt. Arthur Clarke had better watch his reputation! Secretary of the Fantasy Art Society and well known pro and fan artist Allan Hunter told us that he drew science-fiction because apparently he drew better than he wrote it. He also mentioned that he had no Art school training.
What should have been the highlight of the weekend came next, the presentation of the Fantasy Awards. It is probably well known to all readers now that the fiction Award was won by John Collier's superb collection of fantasy shorts "Fancies & Goodnights" and the nonfiction Award went to Arthur Clarke for "The Exploration of Space". As Collier is an American and no Americans were present and as Arthur Clarke was in the States both Awards had to be made by proxy - and very anticlimatic. Several of us took photos of this, then a press photographer turned up and the whole thing happened again. Now I'm all in favour of this Fantasy Award - I sincerely hope that its scope will be extended in years to come. This award could become nearly as well known as the movie Oscar or the mystery stories Edgar (incidentally why not call it "Stella(r)"?), but, and its a big one, cannot something be done to make this presentation a less half hearted affair than it is at present. Also why not put the awards and the books on a special stand of their own in the convention hall - surely they deserve the honour?
The tea break which followed and more Informal Sessions gave everyone the opportunity to meet and chat with one day only visitors or, like me to cram in a few more shots with a camera.
Once again Ted Tubb gathered the fans around him and proceeded to sell them magazines irrespective of whether they wanted them or not. There had been vague rumours that a copy of the Weinbaum Memorial volume was to come up but more rumours indicated that it had mysteriously disappeared, one of the big mysteries of the con this, no-one seemed to know for sure.
As I didn't intend buying anything I kept to the back of the hall taking an odd shot or two of Ted in action. About this time I happened to notice our four-footed prowler of the previous day padding around the glass roof. Suddenly as Ted held up a mag the moggy having apparently heard that "it always rains on Sundays" proceeded to put that axiom into effect; the result was a cataclysm (perhaps Ted was auctioning some Vargo Statten?). Amidst cries in the best van Vogtian tradition of "The Cataaaa", Tony Thorne paddled his way from the table realising that he had been the catspour (?) for, no doubt, this was one of the Belfast cats getting his own back for the water pistol attacks on his kind. This however did not put the damper on the proceedings for the auction continued - at the Mancon I understand Ted is going to wear a spacesuit, for in Manchester I'm told it rains cats AND DOGS.
The vote was then taken, after several more speeches, on where the next con would be held - as was expected London won hands up. There is talk however of a postal vote if the Mancon is a success, for the energetic boys from the North are already making plans for a Supermancon in '53. However I still favour "Bloomsbury in '53".
Followed the second film show. Once again a number of shorts came on before the main feature which was the much boosted old classic "Metropolis". There was one about the atom bomb and its effects accompanied by some very inapropriate music in the background. There was also a French astronomical film consisting mainly of eclipses and close ups of Solar prominences. Now Harry Goulder (I believe) decided somewhat rashly to translate the subtitles into English. He kept referring to Solar Protruberences tho, which was precisely what was on the screen, this film was quite interesting to me. The version of "Metropolis" shown was, I am told, cut. If what was shown was any indication of the rest I am very happy it was cut, the only thing that struck me about it was the way we have travelled along the road of development in movies since this old relic was made, please, I beg the committee, get something a bit more modern (if off trail) next time. As various other conreports have indicated, the comments of the audience during this show were rich in fannish humour.
Came the official close and the start of an unnofficial auction, which succeeded in selling everything but the convention hall, one fan bought Charlie Duncombe twice. As the idea of this was to get rid of all the posters, odd mags, and film stills that had decorated the hall, it was rather amusing to see fan after fan buying up a bunch of stills containing some cheesecake pics and returning the remainder to the table when a few minutes later they would come up again, and again. At this point Tony Thorne presented Ted Tubb with a somewhat symbolic "Fantasy Award" for his recent "Authentic" novel, I got a pic. of this, it's one of the best I took at the con. Before we realised it the convention was all over, the last fans were saying goodbye and all that was left was an empty hall liberally strewn with chairs at all angles, odd bits of paper, and a lot of memories. By virtue of the fact that he held the door open for me, James White had the honour of being the last to leave. Vince, James, Walt and I wandered seemingly miles through London that night talking over the con, future plans, con-reports, and Walt's (then) impending Stateside visit. Finally we split up, and it was all over, for another year.
I can do no better than quote Vince's comment on the con - "Conventional". It lacked life, novelty, sparkle and organisation. If London is to do better next year they had better start planning now. Where was Walter Gillings? Why didn't Bill Temple or Peter Phillips speak although they were present? Why weren't the recordings of Dennis Wheatley's book and the San Diego con given, as promised in the programme? Why didn't the billed French film turn up? Why no playlet by the S-F.S.O.C. as forecast?
With the possibility of many overseas visitors coming to Britain next year I hope that the committee will make a point of getting things organised and things like recordings tried out before hand. Let's have another super con as we had in 1951 - The Con-oration!
ODD RETRIBUTION from The Explorer
Lone victim, still alive, impaled by one
They nursed him tenderly, and wondered how
VANISHING SAMMY from Mezrab (A Little Willie Type Verse)
Sammy tied an A-bomb
S'LATER THAN YOU THINK
Grayson & Grayson bash on regardless. At the time of writing two of their four books for this fear are out, and are well worth the 9/6 a copy you'll have to pay for them. Cover jackets are by an artist new to sf, Mudge Marriott, but he appears to have a very good appreciation of the medium. POSSIBLE WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION (13 tales selected by Groff Conklin) has been reviewed in this zine (I hope) already, and the other title, THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, edited by Bleiler & Dikty (Second Series) gets the treatment now. NOT TO BE OPENED - is the title of the first yarn, by Robert Flint Young. This ASF readers will recall as the neat little time travel yarn, in which no time travel occurs. All about a special package someone is making up as a suprise for another person in the future. Frank M. Robinson's SANTA CLAUS PLANET follows, about a race who duel by the giving of gifts. R. Bretnor' s GNURRS are next, and they COME FROM THE VOODVORK OUT just as fresh and amusingly on this reading as they have on any of the 5 previous occasions I've gone back to read that masterpiece. Cyril Kornbluth's THE MINDWORM, a new twist on the vampire theme; Bill Brown's vaguely amusing - and vaguely disturbing - THE STAR DUCKS; PROGRESS, by vV. All three good yarns. CONTAGION, by Kath Maclean, a biological yarn that takes some beating. Anderson and Dickson combined to present TRESPASS, that neat little legal tangle over time travel; Damon Knight's TO SERVE MAN, with its horrific final note; de Camp's SUMMER WEAR, the lighter touch; that neat horrific item, BORN OF MAN AND WOMAN by Richard Matheson; Bradburyarn THE FOX IN THE FOREST, originally published in Collier's; THE LAST MARTIAN, Fredric Brown's story of a method of usurpation of humanity that makes you wonder; and finally, Frank B. Long's TWO FACE. Well, that is the run of this book, folks. A little bit for everyone, I think. Fork out now.
Comment on Arthur C. Clarke's lecture in Baltimore; "The best positive contribution I can make would be ten minutes of classified silence." Col. J. Halberstadt of the U. S. Army Air Force.
THE MANCON WIL BE HELD ON OCTOBER 5th, 1952.
The Ken Arnold & Ray Palmer book "THE COMING OF THE SAUCERS" has among other stuff what purports to be two photos of formations of flying saucers. Even the most misguided of readers can hardly fail to realise that these are not photos of flying saucers, but are in fact photos of blobs on radar screens, which may, or may NOT have been flying saucers. In actual fact, the USAAF reported that these were in fact flights of geese, who anyone will recall normally fly in arrowhead formation. That is by the by, but to deliberately withhold the essential note that these photos are in fact radar screen pics is obviously an attempt to mislead! Shame on you, Palmer!
The CHICAGO CONVENTION COMMITTEE had trouble getting their MAP OF THE MOON. After sundry airmail letters, a British fan sent a £3 cheque to H. P. Wilkins, F.R.A.S., who was to supply the map. It was then that Mr. Wilkens belatedly recalled he had an agent, Prof. W.H. Haas, in the USA ! Talk about absent-minded professors! .
Henry W. Burwell (CSED) auctioned a Cartier interior at the Indian Lake Con for $28. The highest price yet for an interior. Perhaps the fact the proceeds were going to help the WAW with the Crew '52 campaign had something to do with it.