This is SKYRACK number 95 dated 1st May 1968 and published by Captain R.M. Bennett (FARELF) simultaneously at 52 Fairways Drive, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England, and 91 Namly Avenue, Shamrock Park, Singapore 10. 6 issues for 8/- or U.S. $l. American subscriptions may be sent to Robert Coulson, Route 3, Hartford City, Indiana 7348. News of interest to sf fans is not only welcome, but in this fannish outpost eagerly sought. Illustration and heading by Arthur Thomson. Contributions by Thomas Schluck, George Locke, Keith Freeman and Michael Moorcock.
SOUTHEAST ASIA EDITION
The Annual Convention of the British Science Fiction Association, the "ThirdmanCon," Was held over Easter weekend, 12th/15th April, at the St. Ann's Hotel, Buxton, Derbyshire. Registrations hit a 215 peak and the 160 attendees included U.S. TAFF Delegate Steve Stiles, Don Wollheim of Ace Books and Convention Commuter Dave Kyle, as well as a Gerfan contingent of Tom Schluck, Waldemar Kumming, Gary Klupfel, Walter Reinecke, Thea and Hans Auler and Heinrich Arenz.
Organised by the Delta Film Group from Salford, the programme was well weighted towards the cine aspect of sf and the Delta Group showed a number of its own productions. There was also a discussion on horror films. Eric Bentcliffe ran a highly successful fannish slide show and Dave Kyle spoke about the long awaited Arthur Clarke film, 2001-A Space Odyssey, which was due to open in London a fortnight after the Convention. Alan Whittaker gave a lecture on Life in the Solar System and Guest of Honour Kenneth H. Bulmer spoke in his humorous fashion on old and new trends in sf.
The Costume Party saw many ingenious fancy dresses, costumes of particular note being worn by Gavin Shorrock as the Doormouse from Alice, Doreen Parker as the girl from Cordwainer Smith's Ballard of Lost C'Mell and Tony Walsh as The Black Cloud!
The Noble Order of St. Fantony initiated into its ranks three new members, Beryl Mercer, Doreen Parker and Ken McIntyre. Mary Reed won the Doctor Arthur Rose Weir Memorial Award for her services to British fandom.
BRIGHTON ARTS FESTIVAL later this year will have sf as its central theme with Brian Aldiss, Michael Moorcock, John Brunner, Langdon Jones, Charles Platt, Thomas Disch, Judith Merrill and Douglas Hill amongst the official delegates and speakers.
EDITORIAL TIME-BINDER. I'm not really sure exactly what we're doing here in Singapore, but at least I would like to re-establish Skyrack as a fairly frequent newszine. There are of course attendant difficulties. Since our arrival here last September I've had letters from some half-dozen fans, which automatically means that I'm not in the ideal position to gather news. Costs are high, too. Postage alone is costing me some 10d per copy. So, dear readers, the decision rests with you. Do you need Skyrack or have you learnt to live without it? Does Skyrack continue or do I return your subscription money?
And, no, Archie Mercer, I do not intend to change the title to Singaporack.
DEATH OF RON ELLIK. The tragic death in a January car crash of Ron Ellik is still far too close to view impersonally. Good looking and a witty conversationalist, Ron was truly a giant on the international fannish scene. He was connected with numerous conventions during the past twelve years, was a fan of note in FAPA and the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and had been the editor of two highly successful fannish newszines, Starspinkle and the highly acclaimed Fanac which won a Hugo for Ron and his co-editor, Terry Carr. Ron was the 1962 TAFF Delegate to my home-town Convention in Harrogate and was our first house guest after our marriage the previous month. A welcome opponent in any brag or poker school, Ron had also been the co-author of the authoritative Advent book, The Universes of E.E.Smith, had been the author of the long-running fanzine column, The Squirrel Cage, and was such a part and parcel of my own fannish existence that even as I write about the death of this twenty-nine year old Golden Boy I am shaking my head in disbelief.
Our sincere and heartfelt sympathies to Ron’s fiancée, Lois, to Mrs Ellik, and to Ron's many, many friends around the world.
PRO-NEWS. Due to hit the presses later this year is a book titled Pop-Corn, written by James Sallis and Michael Moorcock. Pop-Corn has been described as "a fierce attack on the world of pop culture and the cults that surround it." Tolkien, James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock are just three targets of the way of life some of us hold dear. The book, not yet quite complete, is already scheduled for joint publication by Gollancz and Penguin. It is to be hoped that in attacking superficiality and commercialism the authors do not become entrapped in the slick turn of phrase they themselves decry.
Recently announced were the Science Fiction Writers of America Nebula Awards, won by Michael Moorcock for Behold the Man (novelette), Fritz Leiber for Gonna Roll Them Bones (novella) and Samuel Delany who did a Zelanzy by taking two Nebulae, for Aye and Gomorrah (short story) and Einstein Intersection (novel).
New Worlds hit a different kind of snag in its recent troubled career when leading newsagency W.H.Smith refused to handle the magazine's March issue because of "doubtful" material. Following extensive newspaper support which included a notice in the Times Literary Supplement, Smith’s relented and will continue to distribute the magazine. Support also came from the Arts Council, which, during the period of the Smith ban, renewed their New Worlds grant and noted that they regarded the magazine to be “of extremely high literary merit."
Due in London this summer are Samuel Delany (who should already be a visitor), Robert Sheckley, Judith Merrill, Norman Spinrad, Harlan Ellison, Kate Wilhelm and Damon Knight. Sorry, George Locke, but now that Leeds United won't be at Wembley it's doubtful whether I’ll be visiting the U.K. during 1968.
1968 TRANS-ATLANTIC FAN FUND. This year’s campaign to bring over an American Delegate to the ThirdManCon wound up successfully with Steve Stiles being presented with $600 towards expenses and Steve himself making a notable hit with the Buxton Convention attendees. The voting campaign was especially notable in itself for the exceptionally light European vote, altogether a disgracefully apathetic showing, and for the fact that for the first time since the idea's adoption in 1965 the Australian Ballot, with its automatic run-off, was needed; The first ballot ended in a dead heat as follows:
US Votes European Votes Total
Steve Stiles 45 5 50
Ted Johnstone 49 1 50
Ed Cox 32 8 40
Hold Over Funds 1
Second place votes (where completed) decided the tie, as follows:
Steve Stiles 61 10 71
Ted Johnstone 58 4 62
Congratulations, Steve, on a well-deserved election and Ted - very hard luck indeed. Next time, perhaps?
On the European front voters were: Heinrich Arenz, Alfred Baha, Harry Bell, Ron Bennett, G.P. Cossato, Eddie Jones, Gary Klupfel, Waldemar Kumming, Ethel Lindsay, John Owen, Walter Reinecke, Franz Rottensteiner, Jurgen Thadewald, Wolfgang Thadewald and Arthur Thomson. In addition, Ken Bulmer, Hans Alpers, Walter Ernsting, Archie Mercer and Conrad Schaef contributed without voting and the 1967 Bristol Convention donated £40.
At the time of writing there is some $500 in the TAFF Treasury, virtually - but not quite - sufficient to take a European fan to the 1969 World Convention in the USA. Whilst the nomination period has not yet officially opened, names may be put before the Fund's current administrators, Thomas Schluck, 3 Hannover, Georgswall 5, W.Germany, or Steve Stiles, 1809 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10028, USA.
UN-PAID ADVERT DEPT. In passing, it occurs to me that Skyrack seems to have become a nine-monthly, with number 93 having been published during November 1966, and number 94 during August 1967. Let's hope (or do you?) that the next issue will appear before next February. In last August's issue I mentioned that I had been establishing myself as a book and magazine dealer and that because of my new job out in Singapore I hoped to be in a position whereby I would be able to obtain material not normally freely circulated in the U.K., particularly American pulps and older magazines and pocketbooks. One difficulty always experienced by UK dealers is the obtaining of sufficient US dollars as and when they might be required. Well, having denuded Singapore and Western Malaysia of sf, and having bought extensively from the USA, I can now offer the hoped-for range of items, from prewar Astoundings to the harder-to-obtain Ace doubles. In addition I have a large selection of American comics, particularly precode issues, which might interest collectors. Also, my prices have not risen because of the sterling devaluation. If you would like to be added to my monthly mailing lists please drop me a line. I’m also interested in obtaining older sf and comics and can offer very attractive trade-in rates for these items.
HARRY HARRISON, who used to be mentioned weekly in Skyrack, even when it a monthly, has resigned as editor of Amazing and Fantastic after less than a year with the magazines. Barry Malzberg, late of the Scott Meredith Agency and Escapade magazine, is taking over. Malzberg tends to favour the more experimental type of writing and it is interesting to speculate about the type of stories the magazines will now run if publisher Sol Cohen has a hand in deciding policy, a mixture, perhaps, of 1940 reprint space-opera and far-out "New Wave" material.
SNIPPETS: Many thanks, Tom Schluck, for the very welcome airmailed postcard from Buxton, signed by Heinrich Arenz, Jean Muggoch, John Newnan, Archie & Beryl Mercer, Ted Tubb, Ethel Lindsay, Norman & Ina Shorrock, Peter Mabey, Eric Bentcliffe, Keith & Wendy Freeman, Waldemar Kumming, Norman Weedall, Dave Kyle, Don Wollheim, Steve Stiles, Ken & Pamela Bulmer, Eddie Jones, John Roles (Selamat!), Alex Eistenstein, Joan Newman and some dozen or so worthies whose names were superimposed by a postmark reading, "Buxton - Send For Guide." So it was that kind of con, hmm? ::: Belated congratulations to Brian and Margaret on the birth last summer of a young Aldiss ::: And congratulations, too, editor Waldemar Kumming whose fanzine, Munich Round Up has just reached its hundredth issue. One of the many races Skyrack didn't win ::: Our spy in infiltrated territory, Art Wilson, informs me of the sudden and tragic death of long-time FAPAn and West Coast personality, Lee Jacobs. This is a tenth anniversary of Jackpot Year with a vengeance. ::: And to close on a happy note, belated congratulations (these are Skyrack's specialities), on their marriage to Frank Dietz and Ann Ashe, two worthies to whom we wish loads of lengthy happiness.