gostak index SFN INDEX
FANTASTIC FICTION FLOODS BRITAIN
QUANTITY OUSTS QUALITY
The Shadow of Shaver
Almost all the stories in 'FSS ' and 'WoP' are adventures in space, all contain a blend of super-science, sex and space-ships and the first issue of each magazine is apparently written by Norman Lazenby, in spite of many different credits. The stories in FSS 2 are not the efforts of Lazenby alone, but the style is indistinguishable. The titles of the stories in FSS 1 ... 'Worlds of Fear', 'Worm of Venus" ', 'Green Ray', 'Stanhope's Moon' and 'Nightmare Planet' are sufficiently indicative of their type. In 'Worm of Venus', followers of Richard S. Shaver will be glad (?) to renew the acquaintance of his Worm, complete with an Evil Priestess, as featured in 'Slaves of the Worm' (Fant. Ad. Feb. '48) Also noteworthy is a typographical curiosity; the increasingly
*SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS NUMBER FIVE *
NEWS...Pages 1 & 2. Phooey, Mr Tubb.'...Page 2. Chemical Nature of Woman....Page 9, Editorial... Page 10, List of Members...Pages 11 and 14, Gulf...Page 13, Cooperation...Page 15, British Fantasy Library News...Page 17, Quotes, Notes, News and Reviews...Page 19.
This publication issued irregularly for the Science Fantasy
Society by A. Vincent Clarke, duplicated by H.Ken Bulmer, both
of whom reside at the Epicentre; the latter being known to the General
Post Office as --- 84, Drayton Park, Highbury, London N.5. The opinions
expressed herein are not official opinions of tlie SFS unless so
Fantastic Fiction Floods Britain (Cont. from front Page)
wide spacing towards the end of each issue.
Our favourite sentence from 'WoF' is -- "Dawn, and Lew Gordon was flying a streamlined turbo-jet into space", but similar gems, such as the rocket that lands by means of a 'crude anti-gravity device' can be found throughout. We were surprised to see adverts from the Operation Fantast Postal Library in FSS2 and WoF1, and heartily commend their missionary like courage.We wait further developments with interest, shared no doubt by Nova Publications, who probably feel that the label 'science-fiction' is being used rather indiscriminately.
The stream of British Reprint Editions-- 'Planet', 'Fantastic Novels', 'T.W.S.', 'A.S.F.', etc., recently enlarged to a flood, with 6 BREs in the course of 5 weeks. The May 'Weird Tales' is the usual complete issue, and includes an interesting Temple yarn, 'Triangle of Terror'. The latest 'Startling' reprint features Kuttner's pseudo-Merritt fantasy, 'The Dark World' which appeared in the US ed. some years ago.
Two new reprints by the Jenson Book Co. are 'Amazing' (April US edition with one story and half the features missing), and 'Fantastic Adventures' (May U.S. issue complete). Both contain 144 pages, are priced at l/6d, neither give dates or indication that they are the first of regular series, but note that Jenson also do the regular Weird Tales, one month after cover date.
P H O O E Y ! Mr. T U B B...
by Bernard Lee
I do not usually participate in fen literature, but Mr. Tubb has managed to overcome my reticence.
You may remember Mr. Tubb's article in the last issue entitled "The Gold Standard"; I shall just refresh your memory, if I may, on the contents of this article.
Mr. Tubb postulates thus:-
1) Intelligence is reflected in adaptability.
2) Modern society demands some measure of adaption and measures the successful effecting of this adaption by the amount of wealth each individual possess.
3) He who adapts, therefore, is intelligent.
4) SF addicts, by their refusal to adapt, prove their lack of intelligence.
5) Therefore SF fans are unadaptive and dumb - a failure in society.
I shall with your permission continue now to examine Mr. Tubb's analysis a little more closely.
Mr Tubb first says - "Man is different", "can conquer his environment", "will not merely survive but will flourish, overcome the necessity for constant endeavour, find time for cultural pursuits".
Can Mr. Tubb tell us then why most business men normally work all hours, drink magnesia, and die early ? On this principle the individual whose working day consists of eight hours only with no worry after this period and no further calls by his work has overcome the necessity for constant endeavour too - even more so than the go-ahead businessman. Economically phrased, the marginal rateof substitution of work for leisure increases rapidly in the case of the non-go-ahead individual.
He continues with another statement - "Leaders of the land ... live on inherited wealth for which they did nothing but wait for a man to die ... we live in a capitalistic society in which money is a standard of progress, of culture and intelligence". Now these two suggestions, written in the same paragraph, are contradictory. I daresay Mr. Tubb had something other than this meaning in mind, but when vagueness of style and slipshod analysis are used he must expect misunderstanding. Intelligence, i.e., money, appears by him to be bequeathable.
He next says - "An intelligent man ... soon sees the need for wealth ... the world's measure of a man."
Frankly, Mr. Tubb, the confusion of 'money' with 'wealth' is to be deprecated. Money is the exchange medium; wealth is the stuff you buy with the exchange medium. From the cradle a man's wants are many, becoming limitless in a short time. So from the cradle he wants to acquire wealth - first rattles, toy guns, cowboy sets, food, books, then houses, automobiles, foreign holidays and the rest. Therefore, man is born with a desire for wealth, as are dogs, cats, monkeys.
Mr. Tubb then is wrong in saying that intelligence is necessary to see need for wealth.
And just as money stands in all our minds from our earliest years as a call on the wealth of Society, so we all recognise the value of possessing the means of exchange for wealth.
Mr. Tubb then continues to describe money as a trap, a vicious circle; "a man works long hours to get it, spends it on the necessities of life and has to work to obtain more".
Now this is the first time I have heard the exchange system described as a vicious circle - it is usually called a beneficial circle, because the concept behind exchange (cf. K.E. Boulding, Economic Analysis, Hamish Hamilton) is that by participating man can procure more wealth by specialising in some product in which he possesses a comparative advantage and exchanging this product for similarly specialised products. Mr. Tubb sets himself up as a super-anarchist, railing against the Division of Labour - intelligent man's most important discovery.
Further, still harping on the wealth-intelligence function, Mr. Tubb writes - "Aside from inherited wealth..... the rich are more intelligent than the poor."
Here Mr. Tubb confuses intelligence and training. Training, by imposing mental discipline can increase "intelligence". Here is the argument for this point:- Brute or original intelligence is by itself of only limited advantage in civilised society. It can be shaped, given direction and depth by correct training, i.e. by education, primary and higher. As society advances the place played by brute intellect decreases. Only 30 years ago the pilot could fly a plane by ear - now he needs specialized mathematics, etc. The spectacle of rich men who could not read, too, is going fast, because mechanised society requires mechanically trained captains.
The rich are more "intelligent" than the poor because of superior - more costly - training. My superiority in Economic Analysis over Mr. Tubb has nothing to do with our relative 'intelligences' - I am merely trained in such analysis - I am really unsupportably stupid - very like Mr. Belvedere.
Money can, therefore, buy intelligence, but they are not the same thing.
Now we continue to the next excerpt. "The majority of us earn a living by selling something we possess," but "the truly intelligent man will not depend on selling the labour of his body or the knowledge of his mind." "If he works then he will see that he works to his own advantage."
Giving Mr, Tubb the benefit of the doubt here we can say he means most of us work for an employer who pays us less than that which we are producing - i.e. work for the employer's advantage. But carrying this crude analysis further; the employer is providing something towards the productive process himself - his skill in employing people, in taking decisions, chances and directing operations. He is also being paid, someone is paying him - this being the consuming public, who only pay if it is to their advantage. He is being paid, like us, a payment called profit.
So we all work for our own advantage and the advantage of the recipient - in the language of Economics, exchange is mutually beneficial.
Mr. Tubb next extols the intelligence of the spiv and the individual who rises above moral scruples, ethics, etc. These people are "intelligent"! He thereby condones law breaking, thieving, even murder, for money as being intelligent acts. I won't argue on this point; I too shall become supra-rational. If Mr. Tubb really believes this last argument - this idea of the unintelligence of morals, ethics and lawful behaviour - he therefore despises society as a whole and should get the hell out of it.
Next Mr. Tubb points out that people who have risen unaided in the world may not be useful, etc. etc.
Whoever pays them if they aren't useful is quite beyond me.
"They are acclaimed wherever they go - fawned on and respected, admired. They have money and with money, brains, culture, nice manners are unnecessary."
"They are wealthy, therefore they are intelligent." even without brains, Mr. Tubb? - which you consider unnecessary to the rich.
May I put a question to Mr. Tubb - would he forego overy bit of his life's training, reading, writing, liking SF, every scrap of acquired knowledge, for a fortune - for being fawned on, etc.? NO! He would not. So we have advanced a long way from his original thesis in recognising there may be other 'ends' to human endeavour than the getting of admiration and respect by the acquisition of money.
Mr. Tubb next makes a startling statement, negating at one blow all progress. "That is the judgment of the majority and the majority must always be right." So when Dalton said matter was composed of atoms he was one against the world - therefore he was wrong. Ask the people of Hiroshima that one, Mr. Tubb!
How we finally reach our own doorstep - fandom.
With much of this part of the analysis I am in agreement; but let us define the true reader of SF. On this ground I am unqualified because I now only read ASF - but in my opinion the rest of the field is not SF at all; merely scientifically propped up sex, violence and horse opera. A person who reads this trash then is not reading SF and is therefore not an SF fan. The addicts, I submit, which one finds in the adherents to all types of fiction, read this simple, direct, basic stuff.
I submit these individuals should not be classed with the real enthusiast - the one who can enjoy and appreciate the profound analysis of the Asimov Foundation series, etc.
The recent enquiry into the status and jobs of readers of Astounding give the answer to Mr. Tubb. I doubt whether any other readership would contain so many "middleclass" category jobs. "Intelligent" jobs in Mr. Tubb's idea.
He asks too whether imagination can only grow at the expense of initiative. It would appear to me that the two are complimentary. Certainly initiative needs imagination.
In ending, and digging myself in for the counter-attack, I put forward the following case :-
1) The real SF fandom is more highly organised than any of the other fields of pulp literature, or of any literature for that matter. This organisation is friendly and yet commercialised. It was not smashed either by six years of isolation and the dearth of magazines. That took quite a bit of trouble.
2) The ascendance of ASF shows the incidence of intelligence of fandom to be quite high.
3) The crop of fan magazines with the amount of work and organisation involved shows no lack of enterprise.
4) The amount of money poured into the organisation and the buying of mags and books shows fans to be no more hard up than other classes of society.
5) The fans I have met have without exception been University students or people under similar training, although the sample may be unrepresentative.
6) I feel that Mr Tubb, for all his bad analysis on what I think is not his subject, has sufficient grasp of English and logic to acquit himself satisfactorily in the world at large. As he associates himself with the norm in fan mentality. I would say fen have, by and large, more than their fair share of money-procuring properties. Remember by "Fen" I mean real Fen, not space opera advocates.
Yours A. S. Fantastically.
HOW GOOD CAN A FANZINE GET ?
The answer is Manly Banister's NEKROMANTIKON, which has shaken every amateur publisher in the world to his foundations. The first issue, consisting of 52 pages of better-than-prozine fiction and articles, with illustrations to match, set an entirely new standard, and one that is unlikely ever to be surpassed, except by Manly Banister, The next issue, with photo-engravings and coloured covers, will show that the new era, long awaited in fan publishing is here to stay. Scheduled for No.3 are coloured interior illustrations and more fiction of the same incredibly high standard.
British fans can subscribe through Walter A. Willis, 170, Upper Newtownards Rd., Belfast, Mr Banister, realizing the difficulties of British fans since devaluation, has generously reduced his subscription rate for them to 1/- per copy, which is less than half the cost of production. The number of copies will be limited and this may be your only chance to obtain the world's top fanzine.
ATTENTION S.F READERS!
The following magazines and pocket-books, all
in good conditioin, are for sale,
From Unknown Worlds (Anthology from 'Unknown'), She - Rider Haggard, Invasion from Mars...Ed. O. Welles.
Astounding Science Fiction
Astounding Science Fiction
Lurking Fear & Others --- Lovecraft DraculA -- Bram Stoker
IT'S PRINTED. IT'S AN S-F FANZINE. IT'S AMATEUR BUT LOOKS PROFESSIONAL. IT CONTAINS STORIES, ARTICLES, NEWS. IT COSTS 2/- OR ONE PROZINE FOR 4 ISSUES. IT'S THE BEST IN IT'S CLASS. IT'S S*L*A*N*T !!!!
WALTER A. WILLIS, 170 UPPER NEWTOWNARDS ROAD, BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND.
THE CHEMICAL NATURE OF WOMAN
(Author Unknown : Contributed by F. N. Reckless)
The element called woman is a member of the human family, and is the symbol WO. The accepted atomic weight is 120, although a number of isotopes have been identified having a number of weights ranging from 95 - 400.
Occurence. It is abundant in nature and is found both free and combined usually in association with man.
Physical Properties. A number of allotropic forms have been observed, their density, transparency, hardness, colour, boiling points, varying within wide limits. The colour exhibited by many specimens is a surface phenomenon, and is usually due to a closely adhering powder. It has been found that an unpolished specimen tends to turn green in the presence of a highly polished one. The B.P. for some varieties is quite high, while others are liable to freeze at any moment. All varieties melt under proper treatment. The taste varies from sweet to very bitter depending upon environment and treatment.
Chemical Properties. W.O. absorbs, without dissolving in, a number of liquids, the activity being greatly increased by alcohol. Seemingly unlimited quantities of expensive food can be absorbed. Some varieties catalyse this food into fat, in accordance with the formula PV = RT.
Atomic Properties. Many naturally occuring varieties are highly magnetic. In general, the magnetism varies inversely with the square of the valency, and inversely with the cube of the age. Some varieties tend to form Anne-ions, others cat-ions. Their ionic migrations vary widely. All varieties exhibit great affinity for Ag, Au, and Pt, and for precious stones both in chain and ring structures. The valency towards those substances is high, and its study is complicated by the fact that the residual valency is never satisfied.
Many stable and unstable unions have been described, the latter in the Daily Press. Some varieties are highly explosive, and are exceedingly dangerous in inexperienced hands. In general, they tend to explode spontaneously when left alone by men. The application of pressure to different specimens of WO produces such a variety of results as to defy the principle of Le Chatelier.
Uses. Highly ornamental, wide application in the Arts and Domestic Sciences. Acts as or - catalyst, as the case may be. Useful as a tonic in the alleviation of pain, suffering, sickness, low spirits, etc. Efficient as a cleansing agent. Is probably the most powerful (income) reducing agent known.
Like a vagrant flying saucer, the 'S.F.News' again emerges from out of the blue to affront the eyes of members of the S.F.S. and other fanatical followers of the faith.
At the time of going to press, this 'zine has a strong resemblance to 'Holiday Inn', which cinema-goers will remember as only opening on public holidays. When the Christmas mailing was sent out, we were confident that a monthly schedule could be started. Unfortunately, outside events caused a severe cut in our leisure time. Result - slight activity over a long period, and a critical mass occuring at Easter, Whitsun, and other holidays. Although we are now getting adapted to these new conditions, the compilation of the events and articles, and the gathering of news recorded herein is no light task, We want some members to cut stencils, or some other member with more time can take over editorial duties, before SFN can make a regular appearance. The actual duplicating can still be carried out at the editorial address.
We regret the willingness of many members to consider it more blessed to receive than to give. Although Ye Ed. is nearly omniscient we find it difficult to keep track of everything that goes on, and the receipt of your news and reviews of new books and magazines at the Epicentre would be very much appreciated. In this respect, our thanks go to John Wiseman, Cedric Walker, Norman Ashfield, Bernard Lee, Tony Klein and other members for help, encouragement, etc. Also our illustrious founder, (Capt.) Ken Slater, who is now on leave and will be at the London Circle meeting in the Saloon Bar of the White Horse, Fetter Lane, EC 4 next Thursday night, 22nd June. Preliminary discussions on next years Convention will be held, and we hope to give more news of it in the next issue of SFN. This will definitely be published in the near future, as we have on hand a good deal of material --- articles by Ted Tubb, John Newman, Slater, etc., book news which has been missed out of the present issue owing to lack of space; full details of the conditions for borrowing the Cinvention Gift books (which have already been lent to a number of neophytes in the fan field with excellent results); etc etc etc.
This issue of SFN will be received by many new readers of s-f, as well as new members of the Society. To them we should explain that the above jeremiad is common to most journals which appear in a official capacity to British fandom --- in this case, as the organ of the Science Fantasy Society. The SFS was formed by extractifan Ken Slater as a focal point of activity in this country, to aid fans wherever possible, to keep them in touch with each and current affairs via the SFN. The active participation of s.f readers who have recently discovered the fan field will be very welcome, and we shall be pleased to receive your comments on s-f in general.
We are glad to record the following new members:-
F.N. Reckless, 85, Birkbeck Avenue, Greenford, Middx. (No. 106)
LIST OF MEMBERS
1. Capt. K. Slater 13 GRP. R.P.C. B.A.O.R. 23.
Being a few thoughts on the ASF Heinlein opus -
by Walter A. Willis.
A new story by Robert A. Heinlein! But is the second part worthy of the welcome we gave the first ? Apart from the fact that the plot turns out to be just about the oldest thing in SF (boy and girl avert world destruction) and ends with a sudden dollop of rather sickening sentimentality, the story contains evidences of three distinct tendencies.
The first is that ASF has followed the pulps on to the anti-Bolshevik band-wagon. Of course, it seems that no-one can get very far in America today without this vehicle, and in Heinlein's case we can blame the corrupting influence of the Saturday Evening Post. (The whining noise so familiar to readers of that magazine is Benjamin Franklin turning in his grave.) But it would have been nice if ASF had kept above the current political racket. Secondly, there is that rather nasty piece of sadism. But the films have been hitting us below the belt like this for years, and it is obviously another part of the American Way of Life.
Thirdly, there is the attack on democracy. Now, this is comparatively new, for most Americans still uphold democracy (for the right people of course) and their brand of it is entirely the best that money can buy. Heinlein's method of attack is interesting in itself, for despite all his talk of reason and logic, it is almost entirely emotional, in that he gains our sympathy for the "supermen" and their opinions by describing their enemy's method of obtaining information by torture. But it is only too obvious that the supermen would feel themselves quite justified in using the same methods, and in fact we are told that they do use them, even that they like it. Morally, there is absolutely nothing to choose between them and Mrs. Kiethley.
Their argument against democracy is that of all intellectual snobs - that the ordinary citizen doesn't know what is good for him. Whether you agree emotionally with this depends largely on whether you consider yourself superior or not, and I suppose everybody does think himself a little better than the average. But whatever your opinion is, remember that if democracy goes, you're more likely to end up in the gas chamber than in the hierarchy. It isn't always your lot of "supermen" that gets to the top.
No, the man to say where the shoe pinches is the man who has to wear it, and the lesson of history is that the shoe wearers have been responsible for the best of what we call civilisation. To take one example - not so long ago an English child could be hanged for stealing five shillings; and this law was defended by the intellectual aristocracy of the day - lawyers, judges, bishops, statesmen - all of whom proved by faultless logic its absolute necessity.
Reform was forced through, in the teeth of bitter opposition, by the common, very ordinary, man we are now told to despise. Time after time, juries valiantly refused to bring in a conviction, no matter what the strength of the evidence, or the power of the law. Those stubborn Englishmen may not have had ESP, or have been able to see nine-digit numerals in a thousandth of a second, but they had common sense and human kindness, and they could see further than the best minds of their time.
Surely the most obvious thing about the world today is that the Great Brains are mad, and that the only person with any sense at all is the common man. The professional scientists invent a bomb which will destroy civilisation, and are quite surprised when the professional soldiers use it. All the ordinary man wants is to live in peace and die of old age, but the professional politicians have him living in poverty so that he can be killed more quickly in their next war. No use to blame the voter, because the propagandists have him completely bewidered with false information.
I'm not advocating the Century of the Mediocre Man, but I do know that aristocracies are fundamentally wrong, that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that this suggestion of Heinlein's is the first step on the road which ends in Belsen.
(We have been informed by Walt Willis that since writing the above he has had some second thoughts, and considers that he may have taken a too harsh view of the story in question.
We have heard similar views expressed by other fans, though, and are therefore printing the article in its original form ---- especially as in Ye. Eds personal opinion the probability of a like critique being published in the ASF 'Brass Tacks' is practically zero. How about having your views on the matter? ED.)
SCIENCE FANTASY SOCIETY MEMBERS (Cont)
101. H.M.Bond, 10, Erw Wen, Rhiwbina, Cardiff.
Will members please keep the Secretary informed of changes in address, so that this Directory can be kept up-to-date in later issues of SFN. And we like to make sure that when SFN does appear, it gets to you without delay.
C O - O P E R A T I O N
by Ken Slater
In these day of devalued pounds and the resultant increase in the sterling cost of magazines and books, the efforts on the part of the American Publishers and their British agents to keep books within the purchasing power of the British fan are an example which fans could do well to follow. The three dollar book costs in the true currency values, 21/4-halfpence; in fact, it is being sold for 19/6, which means a big cut in profits - if there are any profits at all left after such a cut.
Magazine prices, unfortunately, are something over which no similar control can be established. Personally, I had for some time past been supplying current issues of most magazines at 2/- a copy. The actual value at the then rate of exchange was 1/3, but as the method of supply had to be raising a dollar credit and then getting someone to buy and post the magazines to me for re-distribution, the overheads wiped out all the 2/- except for 2d. That odd couple of coppers went a very small way to covering the incidental postage expenses incurred by myself as an acti-fan. The true exchange value of a 25 cent magazine is now approximately 1/10d, and overheads have also risen - for one thing, fewer Americans seem to be interested in buying or swapping for British books, now that prices have gone down! This results in more expense on advertising. As a result I am pricing current issues at 2/9d each...but I don't seem to be able to get them somehow, so the price doesn't really matter - I can't supply half the folk who want them.
This means that what mags we can get must go further - among readers. Let the collector got his mags in perfect condition and file them away in the attic for the mice to eat, or make their nests from pages trimmed out here and there. But let the balance of fans get together and make the copies they secure go round. This is a time of good will and fellowship - let us try and make it that in more than name. Many folks have lists of fans. I have the addresses of some 300 who actually do live and reply to letters and buy books snd mags. Some ten of those, for example, live in Birmingham. Those ten could, by dint of a little co-operation, secure for themselves every copy of every magazine, either by purchasing from dealers here, or by direct co-operation with fans overseas.
That is just one item. The arising the point in a recent (Sept.) BLOOMINGTON NEWS LETTER. Erik Fennel, of Hawaii, writes and says that American fans cannot get British products and why doesn't someone do something? Well, I've written to Erik myself, pointing out that there are plenty of folk over here willing to do something, in fact, practically anything, to get subs to American prozines. If every British fan would take up that sort of letter, when he sees it, and make the offer, he would get his requirements quickly, I am sure. But if the fan who sees such a letter is too busy to take up 'trading' on his own account, let him just write and suggest that the American should contact the SFS or OPERATION FANTAST, or any known and reliable fan-trader on this side.
But the main point is, you can't do it all yourself. There are plenty of schemes that could be worked. None of them are being used to full advantage, purely because the persons working them do not have the time or money to make full use of them. Don't keep them to yourself. Spread them out, tell other people. Offer some other fans the contact you can't use. Bring out those mags you have in the attic and never look at. If they date back to about 1930-1935 they have a good trade value in the USA today. A dozen, or maybe only half a dozen, will very probably secure you a sub to aSF for another year.
Above all, don't be completely and utterly self-sufficient. Try and think of someone else who can work with you and share out the bright idea you have.
Don't ask me why I don't do it myself - I do. Recently I have suggested to well over a dozen folk other methods of getting their stuff than thru O.F. I have approached another dealer who can get items cheaper than I can and offered him my list of regular clients for regular mags - unfortunately he could not offer even as 'regular' a supply as I can, so that fell through. And I have placed with the N3F a stock of books which I hope will secure some cash to renew at least a dozen subscriptions; my profit ? Well, a little goodwill. I hope.
And now, having lectured all and sundry, let me wish you every good wish in your activities and as prosperous a year as Sir Stafford Cripps will permit you.
Thanks, Ken, and the same to you with a big bouquet for being the most acti-fan we know. Incidentally, if there is anyone reading this who hasn't yet sent in a subscription for OPERATIQH FANTAST, why not do it now? Address is:
Captain K.F. Slater, 13, Gp. R.P.C. B.A.O.R. 23. c/o GPO ENGLAND. 3/- for six issues - and you won't regret it!
SPRING CLEANING AT BILLY ROSES
"Go easy on that stuff", I hollered, "I need everything in there."
From the top of the heap, I picked up a magazine. It was the June '34 issue of 'Amazing Stories'.
"Look what you want to throw out", I said to my wife. "The Goose Men of Mars'. I intend to read this first chance I get".
"Into the flames, Junior", said my missus firmly.
(From 'Wine, Women and Words' by Billy Rose. Published by Reinhardt and Evans )
BRITISH FANTASY LIBRARY NEWS
(Jaygee sent this article to us many moons ago, full of enthusiasm for our project for the regular appearance of SFN. As explained elsewhere, circumstances have made it impossible to carry out our original good intentions; we are therefore printing here a precis; as much of the original as possible, but with deletion of a few items that have been outdated in the interim. ED )
News comes to me from A.Vincent Clarke, and from A.V.C. via Jim Donaldson, that the old Cosmos Library, now in the care of the S.F.S, will be split up and divided among the various B.F.L. Section Librarians. The contents will be a marvellous acquisition for the Library......I quote Jim Donaldson...."many of the books and mags. are in first class condition...some of the mags are totally splendid, well kept and with the original covers. The only stipulation asked for them to come into the fold of the BFL is that they are not used for profit, nor sold or disposed of without the consent of the S.F.S. Committee."
This, of course, is in keeping with the policy of the B.F.L., and I personally feel (although it really rests with the section librarians as to whether they have room or not, as I will go into more fully later on) -- that the BFL should accept this very fine gesture on the part of the SFS in the spirit in which it is made, and absorb the Cosmos Library into the BFL, always assuming the SFS have not changed their minds in the meantime. ???
I hope that any Section Librarians who feel that they have not enough room to cope with any additional mags, will contact me at once, so that I can arrange with A.V.C. and enroll further Section Librarians if need be. I am sure that this enlargement of the library will be a big step forward, as many now incomplete serials will be available in their entirety. When all the magazines and books are distributed, a catalogue will be made and sent to all members, and further additions will be listed in this Booklist.
A further important event is the generous gift of books from our American cousins, bought with the $150 voted to fans in Britain and Australia by the Cinvention -- the '49 World Convention. The S.F.S. Committee have already received the majority of these new s-f, fantasy, and weird books, and they are being passed to Jim Donaldson (as BFL book librarian) for the use of BFL and SFS members.
In turn, Jim Donaldson is passing over the BFL fanzines to A.V.C., where they will be at hand for easy reference by the S.F.S. and from whom they can of course still be borrowed. A.V.C. is also keeping the Cosmos Library fanzines, and is adding a number that have been passed on to him at various times, thus building a very representative collection of British amateur s-f zines. I feel sure that the transfer will meet with the approbation of members.
With regard to my mooted idea of a Book Chain to be run on a monthly basis, in view of the receipt of these books from the States I feel sure that those members who have already notified me of their wish to join the chain as soon as started would now prefer to wait and see the new titles as they arrive, so as to avoid duplication. This would also save them money for the time being, as they would be able to borrow a large number of titles from the Library at little cost. When the catalogue is finished, I will again broach the matter, and see if all the original 'joinees' are still desirous of carrying out the project. If so, we will then set the wheels in motion.
Quite a few members have written to me asking me to review mags once again, as I used to in the Supplementary Booklist. I have always had a sneaking idea that no matter what was written in a review of mags., members always had to read and form their opinions themselves; whether the review itself was good or bad did not make the slightest difference. However, if sufficient members desire it, and as the reviews in 'Science Fantasy Review' will no longer be available, I am quite willing to write reviews, provided A.V.C. can spare the space in S.F.N., and that he feels that I am not encroaching too much.
On re-reading what I have written so far, I find that once again the B.F.L. News article has developed into more or less a letter to you members, but that is in fact what I want it to be like. It will not only tell you what is going on, but will cover up my own 'lackadaisicalness' in not being able to find time to write to so many of you. I hope that you will take this as answering some of your long and interesting letters, your queries, news, and what have you.
Having got into the letter stage of affairs, I am happy to inform friends who wrote such sympathetic letters asking after Mrs Gunn's health, that she has now fully recovered from the operation, and is in good health.
BFL members will note that you are receiving your news through the courtesy of the SFS, who are including it in their official news zine, and I should like to take this opportunity of thanking them for their courtesy and kindness. As a matter of fact, they have my solitary copy of the British Directory of Fandom, so that they are able to do the job of distribution of news far better than myself. If A.V.C. is ever stumped for filler material for the news, (which I think is highly improbable), he could always start a supplement of the Directory, and have a couple of pages each issue until completed.
(Or even reprint the Directory ? A.V.C.)
And now for the present I must say goodbye, so with kind regards to all Fen wherever you may be,
I'll say - Yours scientifantastically,
J A Y G E E
QUOTES, NOTES, NEWS AND REVIEWS
With the assorted debris of some four months to explore, and anyone of you who has visited the 'Epicentre' lately will agree that debris is the right word, your reporter is rather at a loss for an appropriate starting point. So we'll start at the biggest beginning of all, and offer belated congratulations to Peter (Dreams are Sacred) Phillips and his wife Barbara, on the birth of a daughter, Ann. We sincerely hope that she will grow up in a world that is slightly more Utopian than the gloomy prognostications of s.f would have it.
Congratulations also to Ron Deacon --- not because of the Shaverian articles with which he has been deluging British fanzines, but on his marriage in February. By some strange miracle he has also managed to obtain a house --- maybe he had some help from the caverns?
Ron contacted a reporter from the "Leader", through a news report that the latter wrote on the Old Boys Book Club, and said reporter spent a Thursday evening at the 'White Horse', gathering material for a similar write-up of s-f and s-f fandom. We hope that this had nothing to do with the forthcoming cessation of the 'Leader' and that the article will get printed before the end. We also note the passing of 'News Review', which has always had a soft spot for astronautics and similar sciences (cybernetics etc) of interest to the fan; whose recent notes on a forthcoming book on Jules Verne characterised him as the 'worlds greatest and most prophetic scientifiction writer'; and whose film reviews were works of acid art.
British Interplanetary Society members were hoping to see pictures of their last meeting this season in 'Picture Post', as newsmen and photographers were present, but at the time of going to press nothing has appeared. A pity, as the front row was filled by modest men, the s-f fan members of the B.I.S. But since Wally (Science Fantasy Review) Gillings was elected to the B.I.S. Council, the s-f element has been rearing its ugly head in this formerly sacrosanct association of escapist technicians. In fact, this last lecture was Arthur C.Clarke's 'Space Travel in Fact and Fiction', with the emphasis on fiction. A.C. illustrated his talk by a series of slides, made by himself, and showing s-f 'zine covers --- mostly from the prehistoric 'Science Wonder' with its heavy Teutonic interplanetary voyages, illustrations by Frank (Red Skies) Paul. The lecture was reported in the last issue of 'Science Fantasy Review'.
We pause here for a minutes sad reflection. 'Science Fantasy Review' has gone, and it seems unlikely that the gap will be filled in this generation of s.f readers. Wally's editorial capabilities, his energy (it is no secret that a large part of the contents were written by him), his determination to publish in spite of little or no material profit of it, are unique qualities not easily found in these days. "Science Fantasy" the forthcoming companion magazine to "New Worlds" will be under Wally's editorship, and there the 'Review' will be continued in part. But the fans to whom SFR was as much a part of the field as ASF, are only a fraction of the total readership, and it is doubtful how much of the SFR detailed reviews, etc. will be wanted by this majority. Our sincere thanks to Wally, our best wishes to 'Science Fantasy', and our regrets for 'S.F.R' ---- the best of its kind.
'S.F.R.' fades from the field when the current popularity of s.f in the States is beginning to interest our own publishers (See Front Page). In the U.S., it is being predicted that s.f will soon rival detective fiction in popularity - whether this is a Good Thing for the fans is an open question. Here, this oncoming tide is breaking into a light surf of juvenile fantasy.
For some reason, Edward Home-Gall forbore to send ''The Human Bat' to the 'Wizard' or 'Adventure', but had it accepted by W.H. Allen as the first of their pocket-size 'Fantasy Library'. Advertised on the cover as a 'science-fiction thriller for all ages', it might have been more fittingly aimed at 'readers in their first and second childhoods'.
Another manifestation --- Jupiter Kane, 'Daily Mirror' Childrens Page hero, is now opposed by Aliens from Outer Space. Curiously enough, the first instalment started with the kidnapping of a scientist named Clarke.
Juvenile fantasy is also prominent in London cinemas, and at least two serials can be recommended for their curiosity value. 'Flash Gordon', at a Holloway cinema, is the original space-opera in 13 thrilling episodes, in which Flash (Buster Crabbe) meets Dr Zarkov and Dale Arden, the team which had so many E.T. villains to combat in the comic strips of the mid-30's. Here they battle the Emperor Ming and his invading planet, and your reporter's last glimpse of Flash showed him in the claws of a gigantic lobster-man. The period of the film is uncertain, as is its time of production, but as we saw its sequel, 'Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars' in '38, it appears to possess some historical value as well.
A 'Brick Bradford' serial, currently showing in at least two London cinemas, has a slightly more adult approach than 'Flash Gordon', but as little science. B.B. tracks a missing atomic scientist through a space-warping machine to the Moon in the early parts, but Episode 7 -- 'Into Another Century' and Ep.9 -- 'Trapped in the Time Top' show it stepping out of the space-opera rut.
Through the kindness of Bill Temple, we were able to pay a visit to a London Film Club showing of the 'Lost World', circa 1925. Differing in some respects from the famous Conan Doyle story, it contains many many examples of early trick-photography, especially in the closing episode, which shows a dinosaur brought back from the L.W. by Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery !) running amok in the streets of London, eventually to break through Tower Bridge and fall into the Thames with a mighty splash.
The British Film Institute has just started a season of film classics, which include the 'Cabinet of Dr Caligari' and 'Metropolis'. Further details can be obtained from the 'Epicentre'.
Also in the news is 'Destination Moon'. This technicoloured version of Heinlein's 'Rocket-Ship Galileo', is, according to all reports, not only well made but adult as well - or should that be reversed. Following write-ups in 'S.F.R.' 18 and 'Other Worlds' 4, which devoted its inside covers to stills from the film, the May 30th 'Illustrated' ran a three-page article on 'The Way to the Moon', plus several stills and a good write-up of astronautical activities, with ample mention of the BIS. The film will be released by Eagle-Lion.
There must have been more mention of astronautics in the Press during recent months than in any similar period hitherto. Chesley Bonestell's illustrations for 'Conquest of Space' have been reproduced in many papers, the 'Daily Express' of Feb. 7th, 8th and 9th carrying what might be described as a garbled synopsis of the book, plus pictures. Bonestell's illos were also televised on May 23rd, when Arthur C. Clarke gave a 30 minute talk on 'Space Flight'. This was Arthur's second appearance in two weeks; on May 4th he gave another short talk on the 'Fourth Dimension', being described by the 'Radio Times' as a 'brilliant mathematician'. Producer of these shows, Robert Barr, is apparently One of Us --- he was also responsible for the 'Time Machine' telecast.
The situation in the magazine field is comparable with '39 and '40, when a new s-f zine seemed to appear every month --- not many of them being seen by the British fan though, owing to more important cargoes crossing the Atlantic. For some years, 'Startling Stories' has been running a 'Hall of Fame' section, reprinting from its companion 'Thrilling Wonder''s earlier days. Now, not only are a number of these stories gathered into an anthology, 'From Off This World' (Merlin $2.95), but two magazines have started for the purpose of reprinting these TWS and STS yarns. 'Wonder Stories Annual' 25 cents, 194 pages, trimmed edges, standard size, reprints no story from a later date than 1934 in its first issue (1950 edition). The feature novel is Fletcher Pratt's 'Onslaught from Rigel' an alien-invasion story from an early 'Wonder Quarterly'.
'Fantastic Stories Quarterly', 25 cents, standard size, from the same firm, will print at least two new stories per issue, as well as the older 'classics'. First issue, Spring 1950, features Hamilton's 'Hidden World', other stories by Weinbaum, Poul Anderson and Dickson, Gallun, Rud, British authors Fearn and Pragnell, illos by Finlay and others. We note that the second issue of 'The Magazine of Fantasy', has added 'and Science Fiction' to its title, is now published by 'Fantasy House' & not 'Mystery House'. Same address though, and same superlative standard. Mourners of 'Unknown' should make this new mags aquaintance, although the trend of the stories is generally grimmer than the sophisticated wackiness of 'Unk.' In No 2, 'The Gnurrs Came From The Voodvork Out' by R.Bretnor (??) is a first-class humourous s-f story. Bradbury has one of his Martiannals 'The Exiles', Damon Knight's 'Not With a Bang' is a nice-twist on the 'Last Man and Woman on Earth' theme, and that usually happy pair Pratt and De Camp start a series of shorts with two rather weak fantasies.
We can foresee some heated commets on the other side of the Atlantic concerning 'Out of This World Adventures', published by Avon. (No 1, July, 25c, 130 pages). Perhaps Don Wollheim, the Editor, and Avon, wanted to strike a balance with their 'Fantasy Reader' --- one for the adult fan, one for the adolescent, but whatever the reason, 'OOTWA' is in a class by itself. The cover and contents page cut are well in the running for the Worst of the Year. The stories, which include a novelet 'Planet Smashers' (Ray Cummings), 'Letter from the Stars' (Van Vogt - a reprint of his 'Arkham Sampler' 'Dear Pen-Pal'), and others by Del Rey, Tenn, Reynolds, Neville, Williams and our own Chandler, range from poor to good, but one's critical faculties are warped by the fact that 37 pages in the middle of the 'zine are given over to comic strips. Certain kinds of oil can mix with water, but we fail to see how good s.f and strips can appeal to the same public .. or be liked by either section in one magazine.
Edited by Robert ('Doc') Lowndes, old-time US fan, 'Future-combined-with-Science-Fiction-Stories' has been revived by Columbia Pubs. No 1, May-June '50, has a typical Bergey cover, feature novel 'Dynasty of the Lost' by G. O. Smith, 'Nobody Saw the Ship', an unusual and well told yarn by Murray Leinster, other stories by Loomis, Blish, Long, and del Rey. The low price of 15 cents probably accounts for the poor quality printing. Editor Lowndes has various ads. throughout asking for readers co-operation, including a questionnaire form. With luck, this 'zine should reach TWS standard within a few issues --- if not, it will probably level off with 'Planet' as interesting space-opera. If Doc has his way it will be the former, and we wish him all the best.
Strangest editorial policy of the current 'zines, if one excepts Campbell's sudden dive into the Hubbard Mystery of dianetics, is Ray Palmer's handling of 'Other Worlds'. For the first time since Hugo Gernsback's 'Wonder Stories', we have an editor who owns the magazine, and is fully conscious of what can be done with that pair of aces. 'Other Worlds' No 4, May '50, contains the following;- 'Dear Devil', by Eric Frank Russell, a very well written novelet which for sheer entertainment ranks among his best; A.E. Van Vogt's 'War of Nerves', fourth of his 'Space Beagle' series with which he started in ASF ('Black Destroyer' etc); 'Colossus,' a sequel to 'Prometheus' by S.J. Byrne, which was a popular 'Amazing' yarn; two competent shorts by Raymond F. Jones and J. Bixby, and a couple of others; an excellently drawn cover; the 'Destination Moon' stills; and personal adverts. These contents are good, but it's in the Editorial and replies to Readers Letters that 'RAP' really goes to town. 'O.W.' has a female Managing Editor and Associate Editor, and according to him the former remarked "You got AS on the brain. You're aiming for circulation instead of satisfied readers". A little later, of 'War of Nerves' (which will be included in 'Voyage of the Space Beagle' to be published by Simon and Shuster) RAP gleefully notes -- "'Astounding' didn't buy this one, because they never got to see it. We got there fustest with the mostest." .
RAP continues in this vein throughout, even more so in the readers letters section, which include one Vernon L. McCain, who cracks - " Editor Palmer, I am beginning to think Richard Shaver must be related to your wife, the way you push his work.....". A startling and praiseworthy innovation is the mention of other 'zines throughout, including recommendations to read certain stories in them. With our hair falling gently back to its scalp, we closed this last issue with the feeling that we'll have to add this mutant mag. to our regular reading list in the near-future........
Science-fiction magazines usually have s-f enthusiasts for editors if not for publishers - the pre-war 'Fantasy', and 'Planet Stories', being notable exceptions. But a purely professional entry into the esoteric field of fantasy is still something for the book. However, Curtis Mitchell, Editor and Publisher (Magabook Inc) has taken the plunge with 'Fantasy Fiction' a 25 cent 'Coronet' sized quarterly, the 1st number being May '50.
Its photographic cover (Lady and Skull) bears some resemblance to the 'M.of F.& S.F.', but its interior contents bear no comparison. With a cautious approach in both editorial and policy which might have been aimed more at the Great British Public than the fantasy-soaked States, Mitchell has assembled a number of authors --- Theodore Roscoe, Max Brand, Cornell Woolrich, Richard Sale etc., whose work, though prominent in the pulps, has not hitherto been noticeable for its fantastic element, (O. A. Kline and Robert Arthur are the only recognized 'fantasts'); they have produced a collection of tales, which although fairly well done, have after the slickness of 'Unk' and the gruesome grotosqueries of 'Weird Tales' a late-Victorian flavour. Mitchell's comment on Roscoe - "He combines a thrilling approach with a twist that is out of this world. Since Poe, no one is his superior" - strikes the prevailing note. Other items worthy of mention --- 'FF' carries no advertising whatsoever, pays $100 for each true fantasy short story it accepts from its readers, $5 for each letter containing details of 'weird or unbelievable adventure.' Don't make it too unbelievable, you dollar credit earners!
T H E S T F - FANS C L I P P I N G S E R V I C E
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F A N T A S Y P O S T C A R D S
Some of you may have seen the Fantasy Postcards issued in the U.S. by PErri Press. Cards are issued in sets, each card depicting a fantastic scene on the face, conventional address and message halves on the back. Our indefatigable Ken Slater suggests that British fans put out a set of cards, and the SFS thinks that it's a good idea -- provided enough fans are interested to make it economically possible. So if you folk are interested in (a) submitting suitable drawings, and/or (b) purchasing same when printed (possible cost... 2/6d per set of ten), drop Ken a line. You should know the address by this time, but if you don't, it's :- Capt K. F. Slater, 13 Gp R.P.C,. B.A.O.R. 23, o/o GPO, England.