gostak index SFN INDEX
Science Fantasy News
No. 3 MayJune '49
CONTENTS. Editorial - Page 1, SFS Announcements - Page 3, Loncon '49 - Page 3, Critical Quota - Page 6, Purely Personal - Page 10, News -Page 13, Advertisements - Page 20
THE EDITOR REGRETS---------
Much to our regret, we have to open SFN 3 with a set of phrases familiar to all readers of fanzines. We are horribly overdue. In fact, this issue should have been out a month ago.
A good deal was ready then, but owing to illness, holiday, technical hitches and lack of (a) spare time, (b) assistance ---- well, we'll try and see that it never happens again. Sorry, all!
We might mention here that, owing to the delays, the Editor is about 3 weeks behind on his mail, having put SFN first. All correspondents will be answered in time ---- the letter post may be obsolete by then, but they'll get a reply on the visaphone..... .
The majority of SFS members will be receiving the second 'WONDER' in this mailing, but as slightly less than the required number are available, London Circle members will be lent a copy, these being sent out to the more isolated members at a later date.
We are enclosing the latest BFL Booklist and another SFNMinor to bring things up to date. This 'zine may be irregular, but you can't complain of the quantity of stuff when it does arrive.
We are hoping to include the second SLANT with SFN 4; Walt Willis, editor of this printed fanzine has been ready to produce for some time, but not knowing when this SFN (which sets the date-line for the next) would appear, we have not been able to contact him about it.
As most of our readers will know, it is the custom to issue a souvenir booklet after an s-f Convention, giving details and various personal reports from the fans who attended. It was the intention of the 'LONCON' Committee to publish a 'LONCONZINE' booklet after the event, costs being met from the proceeds of the auction.
Unfortunately, although funds were adequate, there have been so few reports received from the LONCON members (in spite of the time that has elapsed) that the Committee feel that the small amount of material on hand does not justify issuing the 'zine.
The LONCON Committee would like to thank those fans who did co-operate, and to express regret to those who were unable to attend but who would have liked a more personal report than is printed in this issue of SFN, which is being sent to all those LONCON members whose addresses we have.
The Society welcomes the following new members.
(N/74) M. Gourlay (Whitley Bay, Northumberland)
*HINTS ON STENCIL CUTTING*
Amateur Magazine Aid No 1 An Operation Fantast Pub.
SEND NOW FOR THIS INTERESTING AND HELPFUL BOOKLET BY KEN SLATER AND JOHN NEWMAN. FREE TO MEMBERS - 6d TO OTHERS.
* LONCON 1949 *
Owen D. Plumridge
The second post-war British s-f Convention was held at the 'Lord Raglan', in Aldersgate St., the City, on Easter Saturday, April 16th. Over 60 people attended, and all agreed that the meeting was enjoyable and a great success.
The weather was fine and warm, and early arrivals congregated in the Bar. When, after some refreshments, they went up to the large meeting room, they found an attractive display of books, magazines, dust-jackets and fantasy illustrations (most of the last two items being from bibliophile Fred Brown's collection), which were arranged on tables against the walls. There were also fanzines, old and new, and of course, -- a great attraction, -- a large number of magazines and books given for the auction.
At 3-45, the chairman, Walter Gillings, Editor of 'Fantasy Review', opened the proceedings, accompanied on the platform by authors Bill Temple and Arthur Clarke, Secretary of the SFS Frank Fears, Treasurer Plumridge, and SFNews Editor Vincent Clarke, who was also Convention Secretary.
Mr Gillings announced, to the general regret, that Ted Carnell, Editor of 'New Worlds', was unable to attend, owing to illness. He had been vaccinated in preparation for his trip to the World S-F Convention in the US, and had contracted vaccine fever. Their employment had prevented the attendance of Peter Phillips and Bertram Chandler (the latter was on the High Seas somewhere between Aden and this country), and John Beynon had previous commitments. Author Edward Frank Arnold was present, however, and so, he added with a smile, were Geoffrey Giles and Thomas Sheridan, which amused those of the audience who knew the identity behind the names of these 'Fantasy Review' critics.
Mr Gillings then introduced Bill Temple, the Guest of Honour, and went on to give some account of Bill's achievements in science-fiction writing, which included a forthcoming novel. He then proceeded to review the general field of science-fantasy writing, with particular reference to developments in Gt. Britain since the last Convention.
Frank Fears then reported on the foundation and objects of the Science Fantasy Society, and gave general details of the organisation for the benefit of the non-members present. He pointed out that many new members were needed in order that the service and usefulness of the Society might continue to expand.
Owen Plumridge, Treasurer of the SFS, gave a brief statement on the SFS finances, which showed the Society to be healthily solvent. The subscription had been fixed at 5/- per annum, and the balance of 2/6d from founder-members would be asked for later in the year, taking their membership to the end of '49. The subscriptions of new members would date for twelve months from their entry into the Society.
Vincent Clarke reported on the difficulties encountered and progress made in the preparation and publication of the SFNews and other associated fanzines, with a brief survey of what had already been done in this field. Thanks to the generosity of Ken Slater, founder of the SFS, a rotary duplicator had been loaned to the Society, which should lead to a steady improvement in future SFS publications, and greater output. New contributors were always welcome in SFNews and other fanzines.
A discussion followed, questions being asked by Arthur Williams and others in the audience on various aspects of the SFS and the fantasy field in general. After these had been answered from the platform, the Chairman spoke, in place of Ted Carnell, on the advent of 'New Worlds' No 4, the first professional British magazine to be published by a company whose editorial staff, board and shareholders were all s-f devotees.
The Chairman concluded at 5 o'clock, when the bar downstairs opened, and there was an interval for refreshments and general conversation. In addition, a small Market in magazines and books was being conducted in one corner, and it was therefore against strong competition that a game of 20 Questions was started by Laurence (Sandy) Sandfield, who acted as Question Master. The teams, who were volunteers from the audience, had to guess at such fantastic objects as the 'Moon Pool', a 'zwilnik', the Question Master's tie, and 'Count Dracula', the audience being kept informed by large cards held up by young Ronnie Gillings. Miss Daphne Bradley, Derek Pickles and Ted Tubb won small prizes.
The next item was a debate, on the motion that;- "It is the opinion of this Convention that adherence to rigid editorial policies is detrimental to the proper development of fantasy fiction, and it recommends that magazine editors should allow more scope for the free expression of ideas, irrespective of their deviations from traditional taboos."
This was proposed by Bill Temple, seconded by Arthur C. Clarke, and opposed by Harry Kay, seconded by Kerry Gaulder. Starting with a highly humourous and successful speech by Temple the debate produced some excellent impromptu addresses by all concerned, even though the original subject was sometimes neglected, if not totally forgotten. After various members of the audience had spoken, mostly for the opposition, the Chairman summed up and a vote was taken, which showed the motion passed by 27 votes to 10, with some abstentions.
Buffet break followed, and it was not until after 8 o'clock that the last part of the proceedings started --- the Auction. Charles Duncombe opened as Auctioneer, relieved by Ted Tubb, who was followed by Sandy Sandfield. There were more magazines, but not so many books, as at the last Convention, and therefore bidding kept fairly low, but even so a sum of nearly £12 was raised for SFS funds.
Fans attended the Convention from Glasgow, Newport, Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford and many other parts of the country; some dropped in for only a few minutes, just to see how things were going; others stayed until the Convention finally broke up at half past ten, but it is to be hoped that they all enjoyed the proceedings as much as your reporter, who is now looking forward to --- the 'Third Annual'!
THE CRITICAL QUOTA
We have received very few letters commenting upon SFN 2, probably owing to the number of correspondents whose views we received by word of mouth at the Loncon. However, with a deep salaam towards BAOR 23, we present one who was only with us in the spirit:-
KEN SLATER writes -
With great pleasure I acknowledge receipt of issue No 2. In a way, this thing is my baby - altho I passed it on early in its life - and therefore I get a real kick out of seeing that it shows signs of being a really sturdy child. I note that membership of the SFS has remained static for some time now, and I feel I must bring pressure to bear on a few non-member fans that I wot of - even as I brought my heavy pressor beams into action on the original folk - and the committee. That, however, is by the way.
There are two main reasons for this letter. One, my dear fellow ink-spreaders, is that you completely omit to say who publishes the thing, or where one should write - so if the zine gets into the hands of a non-member, interested or no, he's had it before he starts!
Cry shame, esteemed editorial wallahs.
Point two, I must on one matter bring to task John Dee of 'Purely Personal' - the plot he has given away has been used up, by no less a person than Olaf Stapledon, in a side-effort in 'Last Men In London'. In the Last Man's effort to convince the Londoner of his stupidity in love affairs, the Last Man gave him knowledge of a race in Earth's future who did just that thing - eating was a private matter, the mouth ever-covered by a screen, and equally as unmentionable to them as certain parts of the body are in our polite society. Conversely, Stapledon gives these people perfect freedom otherwise, - somewhat confused by the fact that they thought conception caused by kissing!
If I remember correctly, the high-light of their love-life was the eating of a long bean, the two partners starting at each end, and finishing when their mouths met in the middle...try it some time with a piece of grass, or a banana.
((Membership has remained fairly steady because we have preferred to establish as many departments as we could as early as possible, and then we can present newcomers with a (fairly) smooth running organisation. We are now preparing to turn on our own super-pressors. Shame? No 2 was duplicated in the face of a number of technical hitches, and copies were only sent to members and other persons who would know the source. You will find some remarks from John Dee elsewhere concerning Stapledon. Send us a banana and we'll let you know the results. ED))
JOHN WISEMAN of Sidcup, one of the younger generation of fans, gives his views on this, that, and the other, as follows;-
...Reviewing of old books is a helpful idea so long as the reviewer just gives an idea of the nature of the book; for instance, if the story is of time-travel, I , for one, would like to know how far the author has discussed the scientific side of his theme, or whether he had just concentrated the whole book on adventure with the time-travel thrown in to liven things up. I would not, on the other hand, want to know much about the plot of the story.
...I can't think why anyone should deem an SFS badge necessary - any fan would be far more conspicuous carrying a T.W. S. - or, if he'd rather, an 'Astounding'.
Also, what's all this talk about 'light relief for fans' (in No 3), and 'a change from s-f' (in another fanzine)? I always understood science-fiction was a relief and entertainment in itself - primarily for scientists but also very interesting to those with a flair for science, or liking for the 'unusual'. A fan could be defined as one who thought fantasy an excellent form of entertainment. It is inconceivable that some have grown tired of it.
(( We have had several letters expressing approval of re-reviewing. There is however, a basic difficulty which has a bearing on your remarks. A thorough r-r, such as those of Michael Rosenblum which have appeared in various fanzines both here and in the U.S., would occupy at least half a page in SFN; few could be published in each issue, and as a means of aquainting fans with little-known books it would be rather slow. We are preparing a series giving very brief details of the fantasy books that the ordinary fan has a chance of finding in veys local bookshop or library, but will certainly print some longer r-rs.
Identification by T.W.S.? As one of Frank Richards' schoolboy characters might have said - "The conspicuousness would be terrific!"
Some s-f is thought-provoking, and requires a good deal of mental effort on the part of the reader; (we admit this isn't very common); some s-f and most pure fantasy can be read, with Western, Romantic etc. fiction, in a kind of happy stupor; the second class is light relief from the first. Not 'primarily for scientists' - there are not enough of them to warrant the vast output. Comment upon your other points we will leave to the readers. ED))
Contact with other readers can mean quite a lot to the isolated fan. Here is a letter received by our Secretary Frank Fears, from JUSTUS MEYER, of Port Elizabeth, South Africa:-
Since the beginning of last year I have been reading all the science-fiction magazines that I can get. Unfortunately, these magazines have now been banned, and are quite unobtainable, which means that England is - as usual - our only hope. So far I have got into touch with very few fans in this country. Most people here are shockingly orthodox, and refuse to read what they call 'escapist' and 'day-dream' books.
While browsing through the November 'Startling' the other evening, I spotted your letter ((Concerning the 'London Circle' fan group)) in the 'Science Fiction Review' column, and perused it as if it were the proverbial straw (( ? ED)). To say that I am deeply interested would be putting it mildly. What are the odds on my becoming a member and subscribing to your library. But that's only wishful thinking, I suppose.
I would be very grateful if you could put me in touch with any English fans who would be willing to sell me back issues of any s-f magazines published prior to Feb. '48. In doing so they would be putting me under a deep obligation. I should also like details of English s-f mags., and where they are obtainable.
Am I presumptions in hoping you will reply to this letter? 'Totsuns'!
(( Justus is the first overseas member of the SFS, and any member who would like to send him a missive or a mag. can obtain his address from the Contact Bureau. The pre-war 'Amazing' occasionally had letters from S.A. fans, but they are quite a rarity in any publication now ))
We have received several letters from the U.S. arising from some notes on the SFS in the July Amazing.
LESTER L. HUFFMAN of New York was corresponding with an English friend for some years until the latter was killed in a London air-raid. Mr Huffman would very much like to correspond with someone in his own profession of metallurgical chemist, or in a similar line and very kindly offers to send a member back numbers of s-f magazines and such future ones that he obtains, whether the member wants to correspond or not.
WAYNE EVERETT BELL of Dayton, Ohio, offers us late copies of s-f mags., and others as he obtains them.
A. EVERETT WINNE, of Springfield, Mass., would also like a correspondent. He reads all the fantasy magazines, and would be willing to trade for English fantasy.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation of these kindly offers from our American friends The addresses and other details from the first and last are being passed on to our Contact Bureau, and we are sending Wayne Everett Bell the address of the British Fantasy Library, the British fans' 'public library' as the fairest way of accepting his generosity.
AIR YOUR VIEWS *************** IN THE S.F. NEWS !
Still uncertain as to your reaction to my first effort in this direction, your editor has asked me to carry on for the time being. Time will tell, I guess.
I have recently been perusing, with a few nostalgic thoughts, a pile of Transatlantic fanzines of the 1938-'41 period, and have come across a few items of interest, when viewed from this later date.
The first is a short item from Les Croutch's 'News', then a one sheet, hectographed news-letter, with a circulation of 12. His present-day, mimeoed 'Light' , which some of you may know, developed from that, However, the item in question was from Harry Warner Jnr, informing us that Ray Bradbury had just made his first sale, (to Wollheim), after writing at the rate of 3000 words a day for two years. So, we can safely say that he had around 700,000 words filed away before he made that first sale. I suppose we could also say, fairly accurately, that a great portion of that has been and is being, unloaded on the market. (Including 'The Long Years' in the British 'Argosy', with the now familiar Martian theme).
The second resurrected item is a quote from one Theran Raines, in Joquel's 'Fanfile' No 1:- "I am pretty sure of this, though: Campbell is Van Vogt". No comment.
And lastly, from 'Beacon Light, 'S.F. Cynic' (mainly Doc Lowndes), in the December '4l 'Spaceways':- "I'd like to make a prediction or so about the NFFF, based upon observation, and not upon wishful thinking, or what we would advocate. The NFFF is going to flop, mainly because there isn't any real co-ordination of effort."
Seems it was wishful thinking after, all.
Readers of the 'Arkham Sampler', unused as they are to finding STF in that Lovecraft-venerating publication, will no doubt have been very interested in the recent all-STF issue, particularly in the suggestions for a basic science-fiction library. After reading through the varied lists and opinions, I hastily checked back on the section by our friend Van Vogt. Yes, it was still there, glaring at me in black and white, in the V-V list of essentials for the basic library - 'Slan' and 'The World of Null-A' ! No, no signs of an inferiority complex there.... or is it that they are not selling as fast as he would like?
I wonder how many readers shared a sigh of relief with me at the ending of 'Seetee Shock'? I am positively amazed that Campbell should have accepted anything so puerile. One against the Universe ! The number of times that plot has been worked to death! Williamson has done it umpteen times, and far more efficiently, too. The opening was poor, utterly failing to hold the attention; the plot development sluggish; the climax practically non-existent, and the production of the anti-shock serum too, too, simple, expected from the very beginning. Will Stewart? If he can't do better than that, I hope he will not, in future.
'Seetee Shock' ? Shocking, certainly.
I hear from our Editor that I have been taken to task by Ken Slater. Apparently the plot, or theme, would perhaps be a nore accurate word to use, that I 'gave away' in my first column has already been used. I must confess that I was ignorant of that at the time of writing, although the theme that he quotes, from Stapledon's 'Last Man in London' runs remarkably parallel to the one that I suggested. You will probably find his letter elsewhere in this issue, so I shall not quote it here.
Meanwhile, I can only plead ignorance, 'L.M.I.L.' being, I am sure, the only Stapledon opus that I've missed; however, I hasten to the local Library to rectify that fault. Alas! One lifetime is not sufficient time in which to lead a normal life and also read all that has been published under the banner of fantasy.
May I remark that I consider my brain-child in very excellent company!
(( If the library has 'L.M.I.L ', you will be lucky; it's Stapledon's rarest book. For other extra-terrestial views on this indecent act of eating, try Eimar O'Duffy's excellent 'Spacious Adventures of the Man in the Street' and John Palmer's 'Hesperides'. ED.))
Glad to see that Youd and Russell are again present, in the April ASF. I was immensely tickled by Sam's future reference book:- 'Memoirs of Interplanetary Voyages' - Dr. A. C. Clarke. One might observe that many a true word.......
This Month's Recap - 'Robots' Return' ASF Sept' '38, by Robert Moore Williams.
A short story this time, just seven pages of the old size. But those seven pages stand out in my memory over the years far more than many stories a dozen times that length.
Essentially a story of 'atmosphere', again greatly enhanced by one rather rough and indistinct sketch by Chas. Schneeman - what a comparison with the boldly outlined drawings by Elliot Dold during that period!
Again, it is a simple story, that of the return, maybe thousands of years in the future, of three robots to this Earth, searching for some clue to their origin. Their own history only goes back eight thousand years, to the time when the original five awakened to find themselves lying at the edge of a sea on a far-distant planet. They find nothing but desolation and decay; and the evidence that Man created them.
The atmosphere of desolation and hopelessness is very well created, and the nostalgia and wonder that grips the three small metal men is most effective.
I wonder what has happened to R. M. Williams? In this, and in 'Flight of the Dawn Star', he produced, in my estimation, two of the shorter gems of ASF history.
QUOTES, NOTES, NEWS AND REVIEWS
Now that the Loncon is over, London fandom, at least, seems very quiet. Apart from SFS publishers, biggest sign of activity is reported to have been Arthur C Clarke's jump when he saw a headline:, "He was scared of the BEM". It turned out to be the British Empire Medal and not a Bug Eyed Monster that was meant, and no-one had forestalled A.C and the BIS spaceship, in spite of the fact that he had recently told students of the S.W. Essex Technical College that the Moon would be reached by 1960.
Any delay in SFS official business during the last few weeks is due to an unusual amount of trouble in the assembling of the central Committee --- Treasurer Owen Plumridge and Cosmos Librarian Jim Clay have jobs which keep them away; Secretary Frank Fears mysteriously absent ( tho' it's said that he turned up at the White Horse one night when the fans weren't there - with the cause of his absence!); as for Ted Tubb, who's so important that even his contact man has a contact man ---Ted broke his nose with a starting handle, very nearly missed the Loncon because of an operation for varicose veins, and is just back in Town again from the Ipswich area and is looking for another job. He hasn't been asked to do much because of his troubles, but he'll be in SFN 4 if only to justify that vote in Mike Tealby's 'best fanzine author' poll in Wonder. Ken Slater is, of course, still in BAOR, and we are expecting to hear that Joyce has joined him, thus closing down the well-known Wisbech address for a time.
Recent invalids also include Ted Carnell, now out and about again after his vaccine fever; Frank Cooper, of Nova Publications who had a bout of malaria; Author Peter Phillips, (two first places in ASFs Analytical Laboratory with his first two stories for it), who has had bronchitis; our Scottish Area Secretary, Peter Bell, who on returning from the Loncon visited his dentist, and was afterwards on the sicklist for some days, and Vincent Clarke, under Doctors orders (and usually disregarding them ) for eyestrain.
Julian Parr, former Stoke-on-Trent actifan, now in the Control Commission, Germany, visited London when on leave and turned up at the White Horse, unfortunately rather too late to meet many fans.
Also in Germany --- Cpl John Cunningham, American fan who organised the British Science Fiction War Relief Society during the war, and was Honorary Member No 1 of the Cosmos Club, which he helped so much. He received a 'Loncon' leaflet, but was unable to attend. Address was then :-
Cpl .J.Cunningham, 22nd Ftr.Sq. Jet,
Notification has been received from SFS 25, Shivaji Lal, of a change of address which brings him into the London Area (another London Circle-ite?). Mike (Bibliophile) Rosenblum of Leeds expects to be in London at Whitsun --- and if you think this gossip is biased towards London, lets hear what goes on elsewhere!
Peter Medcalf (Midlands Area Sec.) and John Newman both had letters in March '49 'Gorgon', front-rank US fanzine; both boosted the SFS, for which we thank them...space is too short here to comment on the 60 interesting pages of the luxurious 'G' but its definitely recommended.
'Amazing Stories' reprinted Ken Slater's article from SFN 1, with an editorial comment on the difficulties experienced by British fans in obtaining magazines. We have received some very generous offers from US s-f readers. 'Amazing''s overtures to fandom, (or should we say more tolerant attitude?) vide the 'Clubhouse' feature, and the dropping of the Shaver Mystery should soon put an end to the 'feud', which British fans, glad to have even one fantasy mag of their own, have watched with some astonishment.
The U.S. 'Fantasy Advertiser' also carried SFS news, in its Feb '49 issue, which featured an article on Poe and the 'Fantasy Foundation' checklist for '48, as well as its usual book reviews and numerous adverts.
The checklist gives.the number of prozines up to Dec 48 as fifteen, excluding the Ziff-Davis quarterly reprints, and since then 'Super Science' and 'New Worlds' have restarted, two more South American fantasy mags have appeared, and we have the following information from Mike Tealby, via Hank Sprenger, only Dutch fan known to us:- 'Fantasie en Wetenschap' is a new, pocket-sized Dutch fantasy mag, 64 pages hard paper covers, with 3 or 4 shorts, 1 serial instalment and several articles per issue, all by Dutch authors. So far, 4 monthly issues have appeared. Hank says, rather wistfully: "It's a pity that the Dutch people are not very sf minded, and therefore this mag will have a hard time to survive. But this is the first. ..maybe folks will get to like the stuff..."
New Worlds No 4 is reported to be selling well, and very few stay on the newsagents shelves ... congratulations to SFS member James on having a story in it ... curiously uneven quality noted in artist White's interior illustrations - some of it reminiscent of old time Amazing artist Morey --- we like the cover, colourful but not gaudy..and the style of 'John Brophy' is familiar, but not under that surname....For those still slightly at sea on the details of compass courses, etc. as used in Chandler's 'Position Line', we advise a re-reading of his article 'The Perfect Machine' in ASF Jan. '45.
The beautiful shade of Elephant Pink on the cover of the latest ASF (June '49), does not conceal from your eagle-eyed columnist that someone in the art department slipped ... and 'Philip Latham' was overprinted on top of this author's real name. The quality of the ASF shorts appears to be rising again, and the reprinting of comrades Bolkhovitinov and Zakhartchenko's 'World of Nightmare Fantasies' article (See Fantasy Review No 12), may lead to some interesting discussions if a few leading points can be disentangled from the inaccurate, illogical and unsemantic context.
Meanwhile, ASF has been mentioned by the BBC (1st time) through a dramatisation of E.S.Turner's excellent book on boys' papers, 'Boys Will Be Boys' (Joseph, 10/6d), An extract from Leinster's 'First Contact' was read in a heavily nasal, pseudo-American accent. In Turner's rather cursory account of juvenile fantasy (no mention is made of 'Scoops', 'Modern Boy' or 'Modern Wonder/World', which contained so much in this field), there is no acknowledgement of any adult appeal in sf magazine fiction, the context reading:-.
" ----- or it might be necessary to do battle with a Space Emperor. Those who today devour stories of interplanetary adventure in American-style magazines like 'Astounding Science-Fiction' may find the details more plausibly worked out but the basic plots are not neccessarily more ingenious or audacious. The spaceship Llanvabon in one of these stories was introduced ---- etc etc"
Note the 'American-style'.
The hopes of 'Unknown' fans who want this magazine revived fell sharply when the news came that Street & Smith have stopped 'Doc Savage', 'Shadow', 'Detective Story' and 'Western Story', were concentrating on 'slicks' and woman's magazines. 'Time' an American news magazine, reports thats today, the only traces of a man's world around S & S are 'Astounding', 'Air Pictorial' and 'Pictorial Sports Quarterly'.
Current US magazines present the mixture as usual, with few memorable stories. 'Flight into Yesterday', the 'Startling' novelette for May, is credited to Charles L. Harness; but the style is pure Van Vogt -- although we heard one London fan say it was too good for that...no comment. We also note a particularly good example of the 'guy, gal, and goon' type of cover ( by Lawrence) on the second 'Super Science' (April, '49), the contents of which include a story by Van Vogt and a 'Bradburyarn'. Bradbury's 'The Crowd' is reprinted in the April 'Argosy' and he also has stories in the April TWS and the Spring '49 'Planet'. It's a pity that the March 'Startling' and 'Avon F. Reader' No 8 appeared prior to April, or we might have had some kind of a record, (( With the needle stuck? ED.))
Old time 'actifans' in the news...latest 'Doubt', Fortean Society magazine, printed some photos of members, including Sam Youd and wife (nee Joyce Fairbairn) with Eric Hopkins and Doug. Webster in background accompanied by author Benson Herbert. John F.Burke, editor of 'Satellite', famed fanzine of the early '40s, has had his first novel published, a non-fantasy; 'Swift Summer', Werner Laurie 9/6d.. Fairly favourable review, with photo and short biography of JFB appeared in 'John O'Londons' literary review.
Latest book arrivals from the U.S. are Derleth's latest anthology, 'The Other Side of the Moon' (Pellegrini & Cudahy $3.75) and Weinbaum's 'Martian Odyssey(and others)' (Fantasy Press $3.00). The anthology contains another mixture of off-trail s-f such as Derleth collected in 'Strange Ports of Call', and includes shorts by Wells, Lovecraft and Van Vogt, the latters 'Resurrection' being a retitled reprint of his ASF 'The Monster'.
The Weinbaum collection contains the majority of his short stories --- the 'Martian Odyssey' pair, the 'Ham Hammond' and 'Van Manderpootz' trios, and four others. No-one has ever equalled the light touch of Weinbaum in the s-f field and few have done so much to open up new 'angles' in its writing. This volume makes an excellent introduction for a new reader, and will give older fans an entertaining couple of hours, and many memories of the mid '30s, when these stories first appeared. Forthcoming volumes from 'Fantasy Press' now include 'Bridge of Light' by Hyatt Verrill, from the early 'Amazing Quarterly's and 'Genus Homo', by deCamp & Miller.
Latest British books include only one sf --- John Russell Fearn's 'Golden Amazon Returns' (Worlds Work 5/-) continuing the adventurous career of his superwoman in a wild and woolly mixture of ultra-gravity space, ships, hidden cities, German aggression and atomic war. Up to Fearn's usual standard......
'Doctor Faustus' by Thomas Mann, (Secker & Warburg, 15/-) is another adaption of the old legend, this time featuring a composer who sells his soul to the Devil for 24 years of musical inspiration .This is no light fantasy in the 'Unknown' manner but a heavy Germanic allegory.
Louis Golding's 'Honey For The Ghost' (Hutchinson, 12/6d) also features a pact with the Devil, the purpose of which is to enable one of the characters, an unpleasant ex-boxer, to turn himself into a dead RAF officer at intervals, in spite of which it is neither outstandingly funny, frightful, or fantastic.
Every few years an author tries his hand at the theme of the animal world, or some part of it, versus Man; Machen's 'The Terror', Bradford's 'Even a Worm', Orwell's 'Animal Farm', etc. Latest effort in this field is Dacre Balsdon's satire 'The Pheasant Shoots Back, (Jarrolds 10 /6d), a copiously illustrated account of the Birds versus Man, with the victimised Pheasants in the vanguard.
'Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch....and Other Stories' by Dorothy K. Haynes (Methuen, 9/6d), is a well written collection of fantasy and weird shorts, mostly set in Scotland.
The easy way to travel in time is taken by the hero of Pierre Very's 'In What Strange Land' (Wingate, 9/-) who is accidentally stunned, and thereafter finds himself witnessing a strange drama of long ago.
Fantasy plays and films crowd thick upon us. 'Stop Press Girl' features Sally Ann Howe as the girl with the magic power which stops machinery. Some critics think it's a pity the cameras didn't come under the 'fluence.
In 'Contact Man', Ray Milland has the curious part of the Devil in modern guise leading politicians and business men off the straight and narrow path. Well, helping them off, anyway.
'Passport to Pimlico' is a bright, humorous and well made fantasy of the events that follow the discovery that Pimlico is actually part of Burgundy, and the inhabitants wall themselves in with all the paraphanalia of a modern self-governing state, including Customs barriers, elect their own government, etc.
'The Perfect Woman' is more farce than fantasy, with Patricia Roc as the girl who takes the place of a robot which is given a chance to show its paces outside the laboratory. Based on the stage production.
Two musicals that look good for a long run on the London stage are 'Dark of the Moon' at the Ambassadors, and 'Brigadoon' at His Majestys. The first named, a Peter Brooke production, features the struggle between a 'hill-billy' village and the witches from the enchanted Smoky Mountains of Americas mid-West, when a local girl falls in love with a witch-boy. 'Brigadoon' is the story of travellers who find a Scottish village (American-style), that only appears once every hundred years.
Stephen King-Hall's 'No 10, Downing Street', at the little-known Bolton's Theatre, is a melodrama of Occupied England after the Atomic War, romantic complications being supplied by the Prime Minister and the wife of the Resistance leader.
Bernard Shaw is variously reported to be writing (a) a play concerning England after the Atomic War, entitled 'Far Fetched Favours', and (b) a book of short sf and fantasy stories, entitled 'Far Fetched Tales', It looks as though someone has got mixed up........
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