gostak index SFN INDEX
The place stank. A queer mingled stench that only the paper-buried rooms of fans know, compounded of reeking duplicator ink and the heavy spam-like stench of yellowing pulp magazines. An overtone of coffee combated the musty smell of old sherry. The acrid odour of Chinese cooking and the sharp, not-unpleasant smell of ozone from the two tape-recorders hung in the air. Lingering odours of machine oil contrasted sharply with cigarette smoke. Yet, somehow through all that reek of fans and their associates -- human beings, machines and cooking -- came another taint. It was a queer, neck ruffling suggestion of an odour alien among the smells of industry and life. And it came from the thing that lay on the table…
THE WORD-OF-MOUTH CON
SFN here presents the first public news of the progress of preparations for the 1958 S-F convention, one of the most closely kept secrets of modern fandom. Only 50 or so fans with personal contact with the Liverpool group know the Facts but SFN brings you the undercover story NOW:
CYTRICON IV, the fourth convention at Kettering, Northants, will take place on Apl. 4th-7th at the GEORGE HOTEL, previous venue of these highly successful Cons. There is no programme as such, but fans are expected to be arriving from the mid-afternoon on the Easter Friday and departing during the Easter Monday.
The subscription is 8/6d for the whole or part of the weekend, which sum, after deductions for postal expenses, etc., will provide hooch for a Saturday night party in the basket lounge. Any surplus cash will go to TAFF.
The Hall at the GEORGE will not be booked, and it’s suggested that anybody wishing to present an organised ‘turn’ make arrangements with organiser Dave Newman to hold same in the basket Lounge, which has been reserved for the weekend.
The whole hotel has now been modernised and therefore the B&B charge is increased to 25/- per head per day, regardless of whether single or double rooms are occupied.
According to the latest information (Feb.1st) approximately 13 or 14 vacancies in the hotel itself are left. Visitors, can, of course, be booked into other hotels (excluding, SFN hopes, the ROYAL), but due to the interest of the local law in licensing infringements there will have to be a strict understanding that they are barred from the GEORGE after 10pm each evening.
The following have booked:
The above news is based on information received from Dave Newman on Feb. 1st. Bookings should be forwarded to him at 6 Marine Park, West Kirby, Wirral, Cheshire. Subs. should be paid in advance if at all possible. AVC
After devoting their major fannish energies for over a year to the 15th World Con., British fans feel weak but triumphant. They have also has a taste of what really concerted effort can accomplish and signs are that a number of projects will soon be under weigh [sic].
In OMPA, discussion is starting of the pros and cons of setting up a new, nationwide s-f society. Readers who have any marked interest in this should get into touch with Vin¢ Clarke for the preliminary details… for the discussion, not society, blueprints!
In London, London Circle members, having heard glowing accounts of the Liverpool Club’s quarters and listened to accounts by visiting American Con visitors of their own club-rooms, are discussing with new seriousness the possibility of getting a room. The Winnick-sponsored idea has died due to the breakdown of arrangements and the virtual disappearance of Helen, but now plans are being formulated.
BNFS OF TOMORROW TAKE SFN TODAY
BY S.F.N. REPORTER ‘SANDY’ SANDERSON
The latest example of the HELP STAMP OUT GAFIA campaign was sparked by an announcement in the NEW STATESMAN that a lecture was to be given at London’s Conway Hall on ‘Science Fiction -- a New Art Form?’. The speaker was to be I. O. Evans, FRGS, author of a definitive biography of Jules Verne and well-known to pre-war fans for contributions to TALES OF WONDER and his editing of the one and only cigarette card series to feature the World of The Future -- it even used art from s-f prozines.
The notice was picked up at 7 Inchmery, and although the talk was to be sponsored by the Ethical Society we didn’t allow this to upset us. After all, we could bluff our way through if necessary…
Vince Clarke sent postcards to a score of fans in the London area who might have been able to get to the hall, but the response was not too good on this occasion; on the night in question (Jan. 14th) when the Clarkes and I arrived at the hall we met Sid Bounds outside, and later Ron and Daphne Buckmaster turned up. So did Brian Burgess, who had seen the announcement on a placard. Later on we discovered that George Wing, a non-fan collector who had been at the World Con was also present. The remainder of the audience consisted of elderly people, most of them 60 or thereabouts, with a small sprinkling of younger ones. There were about 30 men and 20 women. At first we thought they’d turn out to be rabid bible punchers, but this was not the case. In fact, given that their knowledge of s-f ended by the Edwardian era, they turned out to be a fairly intelligent and interested audience.
Evans was a good lecturer, speaking rapidly with a slight Welsh accent. Out of respect for his audience he kept most of the lecture at the period prior to magazine s-f, but after expertly comparing themes in old and modern s-f he left his audience somewhat behind with a swift survey of present day stories and authors. He recommended Heinlein, Clarke and Bradbury amongst others -- but said that he, personally, didn’t like the latter as an s-f author -- and even threw in a plug for the Fantasy Bookshop only a couple of hundred yards from the Hall.
The question period at the end had members of the audience asking if Frank Reade, Conan Doyle, Olaf Stapledon etc. were s-f writers; Evens mentioned something new to the fans apropos ASF being investigated by the FBI, by remarking that he’d helped spy-thriller writer Bernard Newman in a description of a super-bomb, and had toyed with the idea of calling it an atomic bomb. Unfortunately, he didn’t and was therefore never investigated by MI5.
Most of the fan members of the audience had something to say during the questioning and the general discussion which concluded the evening, though all agreed afterwards that Evans couldn’t be faulted on knowledge of the field. When the meeting broke up the fans had a few words with Evans and Vince lent him ‘Modern Science Fiction’.
F A N Z I N E S
TRIODE 12 (1/- Eric Bentcliffe, 47 Alldiss St., Grt. Moor, Stockport, Ches.) 40 well duplicated pages inc Con report. Usual good standard.
HYPHEN 19 (Walt Willis, 170 Upper Newtownards Rd. Belfast) 1/- the tops for unserious fans, this ish. has James White’s 20 thousand word Con report.
RETRIBUTION 9 (1/- John Berry, 31 Campbell Park Ave., Belmont, Belfast) Official organ of the Goon Defective Agency, stealing laughs a speciality.
OOPSLA 23 (Gregg Calkins, 1068 3rd Avenue, Salt Lake City, 3, Utah) Price varies with size, 15¢ minimum; has some of the best fan writers, is one of the ’zines no self-respecting fan should miss.
A BAS 10 (25¢ Boyd Raeburn, 9, Glenvalley Drive, Toronto 9, Canada.) Contains one of the best satires for years, Carl Brandon’s MY FAIR FEMMEFAN. 45 pages of terrific zest in this issue… another ‘must’.
Was reading the January ‘Woman’s Journal’ the other day and started on a fantasy story about a child who says ‘Oogledeboo’ and whatever she’s oogledebooing disappears. Puzzled by the slick writing for a zine that doesn’t usually know what a good off-trail writer is, I looked at the heading. ‘The Little Terror by W. F. Jenkins. Taste in women’s magazines is looking up.
While on the subject of mundane books, The Exchange & Mart is offering s-f books for sale. Anyone interested can find the ads under Box numbers (London) 5561 and Essex 2090B in the book column of the Jan. 23rd issue.
No. 2 of the BREs of Future and Original Science Fiction Stories are now out while Nova are putting our the first BRE of Larry Shaw’s Science Fiction Adventures on February 14th. These BREs are going to be published six times a year against the American edition’s 9, with selections from all the issues out, so that only the best stories need be published. The American Depts. are out but Editor Carnell is going to use letters from Britons in a column. He's also bringing back the letter column to New Worlds, mainly because he’s now receiving controversial letters. Some are about his new covers as seen on the last two Science Fantasys. These, by Brian Lewis in a style rather similar to Richard Powers (so well known for his Ballantine PB covers) have caused so much interest that even Nova Publications’ staff are split in two factions, for’m and agin’m. Write to Ted and give him your views… he says the new ones due on New Worlds are even better than those already published.
Fans are gluttons, there’s no doubt. One of their passions is Chinese cooking and from sheer desperation (money, y’know) I decided that I’d got to find out how to cook that way, quickly. We’ve now got it to a fine art and we now fish down a meatdish, slice up cabbage sprouts, carrots, onions and mushrooms and cut up some cauliflower into tiny florets. Put some peanut oil into a saucepan, heat, put in the vegetables and stir til crisply tender. That’s it.
Of course, you need fried rice to go with it and to make it really good you need about a tablespoonful of soya sauce. Put cooked cold rice in a saucepan or frying pan with two tablespoonsful of cooking oil, add the soya sauce, and stir till hot. Then with that, the vegetables; all you need are some omelettes and you’ve got a Chinese meal in less than half-an-hour.
We didn’t have much chance to do any special cooking for Ron Bennett when he was down here just after Christmas, as he was so busy having to meet the people in his two days in London, but just wait til we see him have him stay with us again.
Things are beginning to look up in the tape-recording line too: we’ve had a couple from Belle and Frank Dietz since they returned to America after the Con and, once money eases (ha!) we shall be getting some more tape ourselves for corresponding. The fact that we have had a tape of My Fair Lady for nearly a year now has just penetrated to the fan-field with the brilliant fan-satire ‘My Fair Femmefan’ in Boyd Raeburn’s ABAS 10. This take-off is so good, it had us humming the tunes all over again, and, though a line or two and three unneeded songs have been ignored the whole plot hangs together brilliantly. This is one of the best fan-satires I have read in a long time.
This prompted Ethel Lindsay to wonder how much it would cost to transfer the music from tape on to a record and, through our contacts, I found out that altho’ it would be more expensive to make your own record, if anybody wishes to make a record of something personal -- for instance Liverpool’s ‘March of Slime’, the following address might be of interest:
Magnegraph Recording Company Ltd., 1 Hanway Place W.1. Tel: Langham 2156, where you can have a record made at prices varying from 15/- for one 10” side at 78rpm to 42/6d. double sided for a 12” record (18 mins per side) at 33rpm. Tape to tape costs 20/- per hour plus costs of tape.
There were lots of Christmas cards this year, but what’s wrong with fandom? Always, before, there have been dozens of fannish cards around, but this year… oh, dear, only about seven (one of which was ours) and all the rest mundane. Let’s have a resurgence of fannish cards -- for all sorts of occasions.
There have been a number of fanzines around, but I’ve no room to review them and will only mention a few I highly recommend, Vince will review them separately (See, Sandy, a, not e, eh?) Hyphen, Retribution, Oopsla, A Bas and Vinegar Worm have all made a great hit, at least with me.
We’ve not seen many sf films recently. Night of the Demon was the best fantasy one and in spite of the holes we could pick in its partner film, Twenty Million Miles from Earth, the whole programme was most enjoyable. We saw the original ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula’ (with respectively Karloff and Lugosi) and, altho’ it was interesting from a historical point of view, the films themselves were pitiable when compared with a present-day slick presentation. The whole ‘feel’ of Frankenstein was ruined at one period by a ‘forward echo’ on the soundtrack which sounded horribly like a goon show.
Those of you who remember my comments about Cinerama in various fanzines, might be interested to hear that the third show starts in February and you’d better start booking for it now. The film will be titled the Seven Wonders of the World and, besides dealing with the old Seven Wonders, covers what they consider the present day Wonders. Should be interesting. I'm booking anyway. Well, till next issue then -- or if you’re a FAPAn till the next mailing, goodbye.
Old ’Zines for New
Appearing in Feb. ’58 is the first issue of a new ’zine from Nova Publications*. When we first heard of the new ’zine some time ago in the typical 'keep-it-under-your-hat-competitors-may-be-spying-on-us’ atmosphere that surrounds such projects, members of Inchmery Fandom thought that things Were Looking Up. So we kept it under our hats.
AUTHETIC had folded. NEBULA hadn’t been seen for some months and when it did appear over one third was dead loss to the fans because of the reprinting of Russell’s ‘Dear Devil’ (a very good story but already well known to readers of US publications) yet in the middle of all this Nova was planning a new ’zine. We were very pleased about it.
We continued to be pleased and to keep it under our hats under Joy Clarke picked up an advance copy of SCIENCE FANTASY, saw the new title in there, and on phoning Carnell to point out how many times the title had been used found that the NOVA publication was a BRE of the Shaw prozine. After that we kept it under our hats, not because it was a secret anymore, but simply because we didn’t consider the matter as worth passing around.
There are one or two good points worth noting, however; Ted will replace the USA fan features by a letter column, and the letter column in NEW WORLDS will be revived. But is there a big enough market for a reprint mag? And out of Shaw’s two zines, SFA and INFINITY, why pick the space opera one? HPS
*NOVA -- the fan funded company that foundered through distributor indifference, and was taken over by the pros. I guess space opera will sell better than class s-f. Come to think of it, a girlie ’zine would do even better. Anyway, I’m not getting rid of my NOVA shares yet. Partly for sentimental reasons. Partly because I couldn’t sell ’em anyway. AVC
HANK JANSON POCKET BOOKS SOLD 945,811 COPIES IN '57
QUOTES, NOTES, NEWS & REVIEWS
RON BENNETT, one of Britain’s most active fans and candidate for this year’s TAFF award, states that he may have to fold his ’zine PLOY; artist Bill Harry has been holding the stencils which he was supposed to illo for nearly three months now. If PLOY folds fans will know what to say to Harry *** Ron’s ANGLO-FAN DIRECTORY is available in its ’57/’58 Edition, price 1/- from Ron at 7 Southway, Harrogate, or 15¢. from Bob Pavlat in the States. *** Inchmery fandom is considering compiling a WHO’S WHO of fandom, is interested in receiving comments from people as to the sort of information (printable) they’d like to see in one.
Will the successful launching of the US Sputnik and the accompanying splurge cause a revival of British s-f? FUTURISTIC SCIENCE FICTION, prominent during the last boom, is being revived on a bimonthly basis, but that, apart from the NOVAzine covered by HPS above is the only pointer. *** S-F still peeps shyly from the horde of war-adventure pocket-books if you know where to look, though most of the offerings, e.g. Charles Dye’s Prisoner in the Skull, Kornbluth’s Christmas Eve (British title for Not This August) etc. may make you wish you never found ’em. Brighter offerings are coming, though, including Damon Knight’s Hell’s Pavement and H Spencer Jones’s non-fiction Life In Other Worlds.
BOOKS AND BOOKMEN, February number, ran an article by John Wyndham on his early struggles, took care not to mention the title of any of his earlier efforts, or science fiction by name except in the caption to his (20-year old) photo, which was a collector’s piece: ‘Best known for his works of fantasy, which have been dubbed “science-fiction”.’
The 16th Annual S-F Convention will be held over the Labor Day weekend, 1958, at the Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles, California, USA, sez the official handout. For the benefit of ignorant non-Americans, Labor Day weekend this year is the first weekend in September. The first Bulletin has appeared, and those who wish to give the con a boost should send $1 dues to Len J Moffatt, 10202 Belcher, Downey, California, or 7/6d to British rep. Art Thomson, 17 Brockham House, Brockham Drive, London SW2.
A bit further around the world the Aussies are preparing for the 6th Australian S-F Convention on April 5th, in Melbourne (Easter Saturday). Enrolment fees 8/- or $1 should be sent to the Convention Treasurer. The programme consists of addresses on the Saturday afternoon, a full-length s-f film in the evening, and on the Sunday a full day picnic to one of Melbourne’s beauty spots, followed by a barbecue and dance, weather permitting. Should be good… sounds like the script of one of those technicolored ‘plain-folks’ musicals.
Ref. Conventions; Peter West, 15th World Con photographer, who was here, there and everywhere -- and especially in front of your dazzled eyeballs -- now has a job with BBC Television and can be located at 27 Aelfrida Rd., Whitchurch, Cardiff. And re Con photos, Mike Moorcock, young London jazz-s-f fan and editor of TARZAN ADVENTURES, published in his Nov. 2nd ish. photos of White, Silverberg, Atom, Ackerman, and Boyd Raeburn, along with a Con write-up. Atom has also had cartoons in the ’zine, into which Mike is gradually inserting a few fannish features.
This year’s TAFF is shrouded in mystery at the time of writing, and tho’ SFN would have liked to give you full details, we just caint. Out of possible candidates Bobbie Wild, Ron Bennett, Dave Newman, Eric Bentcliffe and John Berry, four have filed with organiser Madle their intention to stand but only one has had the full ‘platform’ forwarded to British arranger Ken Bulmer to date. There seems to be little being done in the way of organising cash, and tho’ it may be fannish to wait for voluntary subs. and the odd donation of spare cash (see Con sub. rates on page 1) SFN can’t see sufficient cash being raise this year at the current rate of progress. Incidentally, details on the voting procedure, which was so strongly criticised last year, were settled in a summit meeting at 7 Inchmery during the Con., in which Willis, Madle and Bulmer settled their differences.
Little news from the entertainment world at the moment… you’re not interested in a review of that sterling film MONOLITH MONSTERS, are you? … but a bright spot on the horizon is a report that Gore Vidal’s Broadway success VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET (see Fantasy and SF March ’57 US Ed) is scheduled for a London showing.
A few words of welcome to the Clacton group and their ’zine PERIHELION, both organised by Bryan Welham, 179 Old Rd., Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. First PERI, Oct. ’58, ran to 38 pages, contained a mixture of humor and sericon stuff , and showed a good deal of promise. Sub. is 1/- per issue, 3 for 2/6d. The group itself consists mostly of youngsters drawn together by an interest in s-f and we sincerely hope that it has better luck than the very similar Medway group which was also off the beaten track in non-fan country. AVC
Personally, I disagree with this.
Then, while working with the Publicity Committee of the World Con (Joy and Vince) I signed the letters that went with a handout to the news agencies and national papers. I was press-ganged into it. The hand-out was quoted in several papers, but there was not a great deal of direct action at the time. Again, immediately after the launching of Sputnik 1 letters arrived from two of the leading (circulation-wise) national newspapers acknowledging the handout and covering letter. Each stated that the Science Editor of the paper concerned would appreciate being kept informed of any future event like a convention.
Naturally they have not been given any information about Kettering in ’58, thus proving that I am occasional capable of constructive inaction of the highest calibre.
However, our last intrusion on the mundane world was accomplished without the aid of Sputnik 1, 2, or 3, and reveals that we can be a Power in the Land, or something. C. A. Lejeune, the film critic of the OBSERVER, happened to make reference in her column one Sunday to the prospectus of the New Shakespeare Memorial Theatre film society. This included the type of film the Society planned to use, and the type it planned not to use. Amongst the latter, right in there with Hollywood-type war films, sexy murder films etc. was the classification ‘science-fiction’. No consideration was given to the fact that there are occasional good s-f films, even if they are very few and far between.
Lejeune’s piece was noted here at 7 Inchmery, and wheels started to turn. Vince Clarke prepared a quick circular to some of the most active fans that came to mind, giving the extract from the column and suggesting that Something Should Be Done. At least 60% of the fans he contacted Did Something. As a result the theatre and Miss Lejeume were bombarded with letters from irate fans. Most of them also sent copies here, and Vin¢ plans to produce a one-shot of Operation Observer, with quotes.*
The theatre must have been somewhat stunned by the force of the response to what they must have looked on as a piece of free advertising in one of the better-class advertising media, especially since said response must have dealt very largely with their unfair attitude towards science fiction.
At the next official meeting of the Society Committee it was ruled that films would be chosen because of their merits, regardless if subject matter, and this decision was notified to the 'protest’ letter writers. Victory was ours!
Mind you, it’s doubtful if they’ll ever actually show an s-f film, even now. HPS
*bet you didn’t guess it was a cunning advertisement all the time; non-OMPA members can receive the one-shot when published for their notification & a 3d stamp. AVC
SCIENCE-FICTION WITH ITS BACK TO THE WALL or
As if the Russian Sputniks, American anti-gravity research and the British Zeta weren’t enough, it was reported at the end of January that a British scientist has found a way of linking the human brain to an artificial limb.
It was discovered that minute electric currents generated in the stump muscles of an amputated arm could be detected and put to work. If a limbless man willed his phantom hand to clench, the electrical forces in his muscles could be amplified and made to clench a mechanical hand.
The perfection of the electric muscle was made possible by research into guided weapon design, and the British scientist responsible resigned his position with the Government after being posted to Washington. The USA will no doubt develop the original idea in their usual way.
What price Bernard Wolfe’s ‘Self-Portrait’ and ‘Limbo 90’?
Even Pohl & Kornbluth’s portrait of a future advertising-slogan-ruled world is looking more real. People obey signs, according to a report in the DAILY MAIL of Feb 1st. A woman leaving a supermarket saw a note over a stack of wire baskets intended for use in the market which read PLEASE TAKE ONE. So she did. She took it home. Arrested while taking another, she was brought before a magistrate who asked why shouldn’t she take one. She went free.
The store has since removed the notice. HPS
Acknowledgement to John W Campbell Jnr. for the SFN introduction this time. It gave us heaven-scent inspiration. AVC
SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS
No. Fifteen, February, 1958
Published by Vince and Joy Clarke and Sandy Sanderson, edited by Vince, from No 7 Inchmery Road, Catford, London SE6.
This extremely irregular publication priced at 6d., but our friends get it for free. The next issue will be published when we feel like it. Letters of comment always welcome, and Big News we can publish even more so. AVC