gostak index SFN INDEX
The Committee who are carrying out administrative work and planning in 1949 as follows :-
Francis R. Fears
S.F.S. members have been grouped into areas, each with its own Secretary. All commmunications concerning the Society should go to the members appropriate Area Secretary.
Here is the geographical location of the areas and the address of its Secretary.
SOUTHERN AREA All Southen England, with the exception of the 'London Area', south of Gloucester, Oxford, Bucks, Hertford, and Essex inclusive.
Secretary. L.G. Street,
LONDON AREA The Greater London Area, and including all regular visitors to the 'London Circle'.
Secretary. F. Fears
MIDLANDS AREA From the 'Southern Area' to Shropshire, Worcester, Warwick, Leicester, Rutland, Cambridge, and Norfolk inclusive, and including WALES.
Secretary. P.S. Medcalf,
NORTHERN AREA From the 'Midlands Area' to the Scottish border.
Secretary. K. Johnson,
SCOTTISH and NORTHERN IRELAND AREA
Secretary. P.B. Bell.
Enquirers and members should write to the Secretary of the London Area, Francis Fears.
The S.F.S. MANUSCRIPT BUREAU for the distribution of amateur mss. is managed by Kenneth Slater, from whom full details can be obtained. Address:-
Lt. K.F. Slater,
The S.F.S. CONTACT BUREAU will put members of the S.F.S. and british Fantasy Library in contact with American and other overseas fans for the purpose of correspondence and trading magazines and books. Details are available from:-
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS and other SFS publications
FANTASY REVIEW. A printed, bi-monthly publication, giving articles, book-reviews, professional advertisements and news. 1/- per copy from the Editor and Publisher:-
OPERATION FANTAST POSTAL LIBRARY. Contains a large number of recent British and U.S. fantasy books. Not magazines.
BRITISH FANTASY LIBRARY. Contains most of the published s-f magazines, and some books, sn in the process of being split into sections, but details can be obtained from :-
BRITISH FANTASY LIBRARY CURRENT ISSUE DEPT. A mag. library in which current issues (American Editions) are circulated from member to member by means of a 'chain' system.
ALEMBIC. A fanzine containing articles, amateur stories, news and other items of interest, issued with a trading supplement giving adverts of books and magazines for sale
Editor & Publisher:-
WONDER. A fanzine containing articles and fan-fiction. Issued at irregular intervals. For details, apply to Editor and Publisher:-
SLANT. A printed fanzine, containing articles and fiction, Details from Editor and Publisher:-
FANTASY ADVERTISER. A planographed U.S. publication, containing an article, book reviews, and many advertisements of magazines and books, mainly from U.S. fans. 2/3d per annum from the British representative:-
U.S. FANZINE CHAIN. Run on same lines as BFL Current Issue dept., but with a chain of fanzines,
THE LONDON CIRCLE. A weekly meeting of s-f readers, editors, and authors, held every Thursday night in the Saloon Bar of the 'White Horse Tavern', Fetter Lane, E.C. 4. This is not a club, it is quite informal, and visitors are wlcomed.
INTRODUCING THE S.F.S
Fantasy has been known ever since man developed the imagination, but the modern type of science, weird, and fantasy fiction, dating from the novels of such authors as Verne, Wells, Machen, and Blackwood, only began to reach a very large public with the advent of "Weird Tales", (1923), and "Amazing Stories" (1926), in the fertile field of American pulp magazine publication.
As soon as these magazines appeared, so did a following of people who were sufficiently interested in the stories to write to the editors and point out errors in the logic, in science, in the illustrations, and not only to point out errors, but to make suggestions. These people were the original "fans" as known in modern parlance.
But the amazing part is that the editors took note of what these people had to say, either improved or explained, and we finally arrive at the present day position, where editors, authors, and illustrators frequently correct readers. But that applies more in the States....our fan history in the U.K. is no such story of achievement. Instead, it is a record of failure. .. .glorious failure maybe, but still failure.
The earliest fan organisation in this country was the Science Fiction Association. Formed in 1937, it closed down at the outbreak of war, it's guiding members being unable to carry on for various reasons, During its period of activity, meetings were held, mimeographed magazines were produced, and contact established between a number of fans who have since taken an active part in the various projects connected with fantasy fiction in this country.
Co-existent with the S.F.A. was the British Interplanetary Society, not a fan organisation, but a scientific body derived from fane with technical leanings. Commencing with a membership of thirteen it has today a healthy following of well over 600, and public recognition. In that achievement the fan can take some vicarious pleasure at least. It was from the fane that the organisation started.
During the war, two other societies sprung up, one of then originating at the paint Research Station at Teddington. Commencing as a library of magazines and books donated by fan Frank Parker, as being a method of passing time for the N.F.S. members whilst they wore standing by, from it sprung the virile "Cosmos Club". Much, of the club's success was due I think, to the fact that it suffered oppression from "Higher Authority", at least while this oppression existed, the club existed. When its membership spread beyond the confines of the laboratory, and the oppression and the war ceased, the club also ceased. Its ghost remains in the form of the "Cosmos Library", which operates under the aegis of the group known as the "London Circle”.
The other war-tine organisation was the British Fantasy Society, somewhat different in form as its membership was drawn from all over the U.K. The BFS again continued while its operative difficulties were greatest, and went into a decline when most of then were removed!! Again a "ghost" of the Society remains in the form of the British Fantasy Library, which, with the Cosmos Library, fills a great need for those of the fans who know of their existence.
I shall not comment at length on the pre-war British professional magazines, "Fantasy" and "Tales of Wonder", except to say that "T.O.W." night still be running if the war had been a few years shorter. Nor shall I say much of the post-war abortive efforts to publish professionally in this country, "Fantasy” reintroduced, folded after three issues, due to paper shortage and lack of understanding by its publishers.
"Outlands", a semi-professional effort, was a one issue affair. "New Worlds" was produced three times, and then due to publishing difficulties, vanished. But "N.W." will be back with us shortly. Much has already been written on this, and so I shall say no more.
Our "Fanzines', (a wide and varied field of amateur publications produced by the fans, some typed, some duplicated.) are chiefly represented at present by "Fantasy Review”, a semi-professional printed booklet, and "Operation Fantast" a duplicated affair. If you are interested enough in these, or in any of the other natter upon which I have so lightly touched, a few letters and a little investigation will get you all the information you could desire, maybe more!
Now at last I come to to-day and the Science Fantasy Society. This society, springing to life as it does with a membership of more than 50, has a higher opening strength than any of its predecessors. That is a good sign. It also commences when it is obvious that a larger number of .people are interested in science fiction and fantasy than ever before in this country. Witness the production of so many fantasy books by publishing houses, and the large sale of the British Reprint Editions of "Astounding Science Fiction" and "Unknown Worlds".
The S.F.S. combines the good points of both the Cosmos club and the B.F.S in that it has a central organisation which can get together to discuss and do things, but has a nation-wide membership, scattered it is true, but at least each single member in a town is a prospective point of contact for new members.
The Society has come into existence because there appears to be a need for it, and it will continue to grow as more people become aware of it, and what it has to offer.
And what has it to offer?
A seven-point policy has been laid down by a committee, which states fully the objects of the S.F.S. I shall quote it here, and then enlarge upon the points.
(1) The furtherance of all s-f and fantasy matters, both in connection with fans and with the professional field.
(2) The speedy dissemination of news to all fans.
(3) The encouragement of all fanzine editors, artists, authors, etc.
(4) The promotion of international correspondence,
(5) The possible stabilising of magazine prices..
(6) The fostering of local groups, of national fan functions and similar matters which benefit, indirectly, the individual fan.
(7) More publicity for the entire field of s-f and fantasy, and its recognition as a separate form of literature.
To enlarge slightly upon these points, in order. The first is just a good old "general coverage" clause, which will serve as a heading for anything, anyone, any time may think of, not covered, by the other six points.
Point two is an important one. By "News" is meant all items of interest, both personal and professional, and will be covered by the official organ, "Science Fantasy News”. It is hoped to publish this every six or eight weeks, depending on circumstances. The Societies area link-up will be used on matters of urgency.
Point three is also of importance. By "encouragement", we hope that in the future we will be able to offer practical assistance, financial and material, to fanzine publishers. This matter is still under consideration, and further information will be given in the near future.
To aid editors, artists and authors, etc. A manuscript bureau is being set up to which all miscellaneous mss,(i.e. those not directly commissioned or written with reference to any particular fanzine) should be sent, and from which editors nay request material.
In addition, all items will be carefully inspected, and if the author, artist, etc, desires, those that show promise will be placed before a committee who will advise with a view to making the material sellable in the professional field. A small agency to place such material may be arranged at a later date.
Point four is obvious, but all members who desire international correspondents should place details on file, In order that contacts nay be made.
In item five it is not possible for the Society to do more than to quote a list of magazine prices which, they consider fair, and then request all fans to stick to these prices when buying and selling. It is pointed out that anyone paying more than the quoted prices \will be doing so of his or her own free will, and the S.F.S. is not going to bind its members down with any rules about what they may or may not do,, The Committee would welcome the views of the members on this subject.
Number six is largely a question to be dealt with as it occurs, but it is the Society’s intention to arrange the next Convention at about Easter 1949 and to give all fans good warning. Proceeds of an auction etc will naturally go to the funds of the Society.
For local groups the S.F. News will publish lists of names and addresses, and will try to put new fans, (and newly discovered ones), in touch, with others in their locality, and will naturally also help and advise those wishing to form a group in any way possible,. But this is mainly a matter for these fans, and something which the S.F.S. cannot start as a whole….the initial desire must be present in the individuals concerned.
And seven ! The most important, I think. This question of publicity for fantasy and fandom has received as much attention and discussion as any two other matters together. In this brief outline, I cannot do more than to say that the subject will be fully covered in a separate article.
That goes equally for a number of other items such as requesting publishers to print, and reprint, certain books, and many other matters.
I have said enough to give you a brief idea of the aims of the S.F.S. ….now, how it will operate.
In this period, which is still the initial stage, members of the committee are making contact with the 'Area Secretaries', who have been chosen by expressed willingness to help, and, where possible, geographical location.
Each Area Secretary will act as a sort of ‘Liaison Officer', a link between the individual fan and fan-groups in his area, and the Committee. Later, when duties and responsibilities have been allocated as far as possible, members should write to the addresses as published, in 'Science Fantasy News’. At present, the situation is still one in which all points not answerable by the ‘Area Secretary’ will be forwarded to the Committee, who will find the answer. Each area has been allocated a Committee member to whom the Area Secretary will write.
Postage expenses will be remitted to the Area Secretaries, but members wanting a mailed reply from them or from any other branch of the S.F.S must enclose a stamped and addressed envelope.
Financially, the S.F.S. appears to be fairly secure. The subscription has been fixed at 5/- for the first year, ending 31st December 1949. Members have been credited with their initial fee of 2/6d , and the remainder will be asked for during the year, when the Society is on a firm basis and is functioning smoothly.
Funds will be held in a joint account by the Treasurer, Owen D. Plumridge, and Secretary Frank Fears.
This brief resume, will I hope, serve as an introduction to the S.F.S. Please don’t expect too much, too soon. The Committee are going to work hard, and those of the members who can will also be asked to work on the various projects. It will take at least six month to get many of these into workable shape, but as soon as they start taking concrete form, you will be told!
In conclusion, I would like to thank, on behalf of the Committee, all those who have offered advice and help, and to assure all members the S.P.S. will continue to operate with as few 'rules and regulations' as possible, in the belief that a co-ordination of voluntary effort will be of benefit, and give greater pleasure, to all of us.
BRITISH FANTASY PUBLISHING
With the advent of a number of small U.S. publishers whose recent policy consists of putting well-liked magazine s-f and weird fiction 'between hard covers', the old division between fantasy book and fantasy magazine publishing appears to be vanishing. With it vanishes a curious paradox. As Ken Slater points out in his article, British magazine fantasy has had a very hard job in getting started. A pre-war juvenile fantasy paper, 'Scoops', ran for 20 issues, 'Tales of Wonder' for 16, the pre-war Newnes 'Fantasy' for 3, and 'New Worlds' has just reached No. 4.
Apart from them, only a few minor paper-covered booklets have appeared. Yet in the U.S., there are at present 13 regular magazines, and in 1941 the figure was as high as 20! One would naturally expect a similar posiiton to exist in the fantasy books field, and there lies the paradox. The similar position has existed -- in reverse! Until this recent increase in the U.S.A. we led the field -- and not only because of famous 'names' wuch as Wells, H.R. Haggard, Conan Doyle, Lord Dunsany, Blackwood, Machen, Chesterton, James and many others who are known by the general public to have written various kinds of fantasy. The book-collecting fan will, for instance, have half-a-dozen volumes by Doctor Olaf Stapledon on his shelves. S. Fowler Wright has written many s-f books; Neil Bell, John Gloag, Andrew Marvell, C.S Lewis and Dennis Wheatley have all written fantasy books during the last few years, to name only a few.
Prolific authors of earlier years included M.P. Shiel, W.H. Hodgeson, E.F. Benson, J.D. Beresford, G. Griffiths, B. Pain, F. Anstey, etc and of course there are many who have writen only one or two fantasies. There is, then, no lack of support for British fantasy amongst the reading public; none of the adult fantasy magazines have failed for that reason, and once the initial difficulties have been overcome, an intelligently managed and well-written magazine has every chance of success.