gostak index SFN INDEX
Buck Gordon walked stiff-legged and slightly crouched, hands hovering over his ray-blasters. "This is the Lone Space-Ship Range, pardner”, he husked, "an' I guess them's our meteors yore putting yore brand on".
The other pushed his sombrero back on his space-helmet„ rose with the easy motion of one accustomed to riding a cayuse hell-bent out of Luna City with the Solar Guard hot on his trail, spat a brown stream of Titan-weed at Buck's feet.
"Shore am sorry, pard', but guess I'm getting positive feed-back on my detector. Sure thought. I was a coupla parsecs over-that away.”
Buck snarled, "A rustler's a rustler whatever system's he's in. Reach for yore blasters!”
There was an instant of still, deadly tension. Then, before they could draw, an arrow whistled past, flames jetting from its tail, a fluttering paper tied to its head.
No, friends. Just a way of introducing…………………….
…..AND SOME WERE UNPRINTABLE
James Branch Cabell's 'Jurgen' found the process of being translated into Myth rather upsetting, but members of the 'London Circle' seem quite undisturbed over the prospect of being suddenly obliterated by an Editorial Blue Pencil, Yet, in a new magazine bearing the legend ‘All characters in this story are fictitious and imaginary and bear no relation to any living person', the London Circle..." a small group...met regularly to talk... space flight and astronautics mingled inextricably with the more imaginative type of fiction"…is relegated to the realm of fantasy!
Of course, the 'living person' part confirms a suspicion long held in Belfast and, Bradford, and some of the characters one meets at the 'White Horse' are pretty far removed from reality. Our only consolation is that a myth is as good as a male.
The magazine? 'Authentic Science Fiction', No 16, containing 'The Moon Is Heaven, a novel by Technical Editor H.J. Campbell. Written in the second person, it is a well-written, fast-paced story of the first Lunar voyage, in whose preparation the London Circle play a large part, The details concerning the landing are debatable but as usual the issue is far above all similar paper-backed s-f novels on the British market.
We congratulate Mr Campbell on the standard to which he has raised the magazine, though we must warn him against overstepping the bounds of credibility in his writing. In 'The Moon is Heaven', the chief character is one Atah Kark, a wildly impossible person who apparently lives for astronautics, with few emotions beyond his love of rockets.....an obviously unreal type.
Sounds of revelry were heard from the Belfast group (when they received the news) including a P.C. to the London Circle which we print on the 'Letters' page inside. However, a certain silence has since descended upon them.
They've heard what group No. 17 'Authentic S-F' is going to feature!
(Note: - L.C. members had their faith in the reality of things slightly restored on hearing that the ‘White Horse’ will be featured in a series of article in NEW WORLDS…..non-fictional)
SOME SPACE FOR ARTHUR C. CLARKE
THE SANDS OF MARS by ARTHUR C. CLARKE (Sidgwick and Jackson, 10/6)
Some cameos remain in the memory without benefit of engrams, and one of mine is that of seeing Arthur C. Clarke at the 'White Horse' one summer evening leafing rather unhappily through a 'GALAXY' containing part of 'Mars Child' by ‘Cyril Judd' (Merrill and Kornbluth). The unhappiness, I hasten to add, was only due to the fact that 'Sands of Mars', then at the printers, had the same basic theme…..not unnatural, in view of certain prominent present-day problems.
'SofM.' has now been published, and we can compare the stories in some ways. But the likeness only emphasises the difference, not only in the general technique but in s-f designed for the home and for the U.S. markets, for ‘Mars Child' was nothing if not melodramatic, a whirling clash of personalities and problems, assorted motives for good and evil, and a slick finish over all. ‘Sands of Mars’ keeps melodrama to the minimum, has no 'villain', and is written in ACC’s usual lucid and impeccable style.
It tells of the visit to Mars of Martin Gibson, s-f author on his first interplanetary voyage.
During the journey he is strangely attracted by the youngest member of the small crew, Jimmy Spencer, and finds that the latter is the son of the girl he loved many years before.
The space-ship is mysteriously re-routed to Deimos….the first of several occurrences that make it evident that the Martian colonists are working on a secret project. There is much that appeals to Martin in this colonising of another world, and increasing personal interest when his aircraft crashes in a storm and he finds some native Martians. He also discovers that Jimmy, who has fallen in love with a girl colonist, is actually his own son, and these facts combined with the culmination of the project (" In the ages to come, whole civilisations on worlds of which we've never heard will owe their existence to what we've done tonight'), influence him into deciding to stay on Mars as some sort of inter-world public-relations officer.
After a joyous first chapter, the story slows considerably while a general description of the space-ship and the background of the crew is given, but after the landing things run smoothly enough. Though somewhat restricted by the fatherly viewpoint of his hero, A.C.C. has managed to inject some much needed adult emotion to balance his enthusiastic technical accuracy, and has here produced the perfect antidote for those people who consider s-f consists of semi-nude heroines being chased by semi-humanoid monsters on semi-impossible planets.
The binding and paper used are far too poor for the price of the book….one would think that the publishers of 'Conquest of Space' could do better than this.
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EXPLORATION OF SPACE by ARTHUR C.CLARKE . (Temple Press, 12/6d ) 198pp
Very few first class books, written by men actually taking part in expeditions, convey the breathless scope and impact of Man's vicarious struggles against hostile Nature. Scott's journey to the South Pole, the conquest of Everest, these themes, dramatised after the event are vibrant with living remembrances. In the 'Exploration of Space', Arthur C. Clarke, writing before the occurrence, has managed to convey in remarkably similar terms the immense undertaking facing Man in his next round with the ancient enemy.
It is billed as answering all the questions an intelligent layman asks about the 'new' science of astronautics, and, as we have come to expect from the flowing pen of Mr Clarke, has all the limpid clarity that the exposition of subject must have to appeal with force and feeling to the lay public.
Starting with the well-known story, Mr Clarke adds data and expounds theories that are the fruits of his recent intensive work. Everything is here, details are streamlined into a telling framework that will leave the unbiased reader with the deep-seated conviction that man's next step along the path of progress, the atom-bomb and human nature willing, will be the most glorious chapter of endeavour ever written.
The end-papers are valuable diagrams, the index, although not over-comprehensive, gives adequate coverage from 'Acceleration' to 'Wilkins, Bishop'. Further embellished with 15 plates, many by R.A.Smith and 4 of them in colour by Leslie Carr which alone make this book a magnum opus, the 'Exploration of Space' should stand on the shelf of every lover of the field.
Clarke's quality as a novelist is proven elsewhere. The final pages of this momentous work are well worth preserving in some 'Time Capsule', so that descendants may have the opportunity of comparing today's dreams with that are yet to come.
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In ‘Q’ Lee has a ‘zine that is the envy of fanzine editors…..humourous articles, departments, bright letters from readers.....she even has the Walter Willis writing a regular department (including 13 pages in the ‘Annish', a 100-page anniversary issue.)
Lee’s phenomenal energy not only produces this 30-odd page 'zine once a month, but she's recently issued the first number of ‘Science Fiction Five-Yearly’ through FAPA. A beautifully produced 32 page zine, we are looking forward to the 1956 number, which should contain an account of Lee's visit to this country in '52 or '53.
Meanwhile, a subscription to 'QUANDRY' can be obtained through Walt, who featured Lee in his last 'Fanfile' in SLANT. Unfortunately, a portrait of the Witch of Endor was substituted for Lee's in his article, so we're reproducing an attempt of our own herewith.Wonder if she can cook too?
COLD WAR FANTASY
Sociological s-f writers can look with pride to a utopian future, or view with alarm an Orwellian1984, but the interesting feat of getting the worst of both possible worlds has been left to a non s-f ‘zine. Now reported withdrawn from circulation 'Colliers' dated October 27th devoted an entire issue to a 'Preview of the War We Do Not Want'.
Contributors, including J. B. Priestley, Stuart Chase, Koestler, Sherwood, Winchell, Wylie, and other eminent authors, wrote from the viewpoint of 1960, after Russia has been defeated in atomic war. Articles, stories, cartoons, illustrations, all combined to make a curious mixture of commercialism, (500,000 more copies than usual were printed), fantasy, and what an admittedly biased article in the 'Daily Worker' termed 'America's worst piece of Warmongering yet'.
Chesley Bonestell destroyed another US City (Washington), in another spectacular two-page illo., plus one of Moscow melting under atomic blast, and all through the 'zine are other fantastic and naively horrible probability pics.
Britain is mentioned twice... and you'll be glad to know that Londoners are complimented on their behaviour under the A-bomb which wipes out 27 sq. miles of the city.
It's hard to find words to sum up an opinion of this remarkable s-f, but it's been done for us by Priestley (in an interview concerning the article (in the 'Sunday Pictorial', one of the few British papers that commented) "I received a protest from an association of writers, (including Christopher Fry, the poet-playwright). But they call themselves a peace-group so I mistrust them”.
6000 YEARS TO SIRIUS
Showing at the Chepstow Theatre, between December 15th to 23rd, and from January 2nd to 9th, this play, sub-titled ‘By Rocket Ship Through Space' overcomes the limitations of the stage (and a small one at that) in an astonishing manner in showing a trip to the Moon and to Mars. The scene is the control cabin of the spaceship 'Phobos', and a movable back-drop brings views of space and the planets through a port. Sound effects include the noise of take-off and the continuous background of electrical instruments hum and music from Holst’s Planets Suite heightens the effect of dramatic moments.
The first scene, a largely explanatory one involving a reporter and one of the two members of the crew is technically very accurate, and various bits of 'property', such as special water bottles, etc., are explained in the best s-f manner. The stage is so loaded with electrical equipment that the producer received a severe shook before the play opened, necessitating postponing the opening night for three days.
The plot? You want a lot, don't you? Mostly concerned with the rigours of space-flight, some gloomy philosophising about Man, and a weak end.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
By SFN FILM REPORTER JAMES RATTIGAN
When Producer George Pal made 'Destination Moon' a couple of years ago, no one in Hollywood took much notice. After all, there was always some crank who delighted in making a crazy film.
Then it happened!
John Public paid good hard cash to see it. What's more, he liked it, and said so. "Thars gold in them thar stars" cried producers, and quicker than a publicity handout the little suburb of Los Angeles became science-fiction conscious. In a few months it was jammed with rocket ships, monsters, disintegrating rays and all the paraphernalia of fantasy. The Milky Way was under contract! Ask a typical producer of about three years ago, "What is a star?" and he might have replied “Well, I'd say Lana Turner, or maybe Gregory Peck. Now, I've gotta story lined up for him” etc etc.Today, he'd say - "Stars…Sure, they're kinda round balls of fire like suns floating around in space wit’ nuttin’ in between. Now in my next epic, Cecil Flatiron, (he was sensational in 'Hearts of Sweet Desire!'), he'll land on Venus an' find a race of 10-foot giants who skip out wit' his goil...Boy, whatta story! Whatta we gonna call it? Terrific title! Terrific! ‘Hearts across the Universe’! Ain’t that sumpin’?”
All right, we're kidding...but could be. At any rate, 20 th Century Fox join the Parade with what to my mind is the best since 'Things to Come'. I can see the fans sharpening their knives, but I repeat, the best....and I've seen 'Destination Moon' six times, and will see it another sixty if possible.
'THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL' opens with a space-ship landing in Washington. Within two hours every cop in town has arrived on the scene, plus the military complete with field guns, tanks, etc....to say nothing of a few thousand spectators.
Finally, a man steps from the ship, and on advancing down a ramp is shot by a trigger happy G.I. As he falls, a nine-foot robot appears and opens a private though somewhat one-sided war with the military by reducing their weapons to molten metal, by means of a ray emitted from his face-plate….one of the best scenes in the picture.
The alien, 'Klaatu’ (Michael Rennie) is taken to a heavily guarded hospital, where he tells the President's Secretary that he has come to Earth on a mission of grave importance, and desires an audience with the leaders of all nations at once. As might be expected, this turns out to be impossible, so escaping from the hospital, he mingles with the people in the hope of finding some means of making himself heard by other than the heads of only one nation.
To complicate matters further, the military are now hunting him with orders to kill on sight, but eventually he finds lodgings, where he is befriended by a war-widow (Patricia Neal) and her son (Billy Gray).
This is not much more than the start of a fast-moving motion picture that is both artistic and credible. It is based on the premise that men are not the highly civilised creatures that they consider themselves but merely an egoistical bunch of morons whose sole occupation would appear to an alien to be that of devising deadlier and more unpleasant ways of sending fellowmen to Kingdom Come.
Just as Wells predicted in 'Things To Come' that man might through science rise from the mire to the stars, so Mr North , who wrote this screen-play seems to think that he might just as easily, go the other way, a way hot with the radiation of the H-Bomb.
Any criticism I have of the film is directed at the opening sequence, where the acting is a little stilted. And, if as Klaatu informs us, he learnt our language from monitoring broadcasts, why the devil did he land in America??
NOTES Michael Rennie was chosen for the part of Klaatu because he is relatively unknown to U.S. audiences, and his accent is strange. 'TDTESS' is directed by Robert Wise, produced by Julius Blaustein, and director of the fine trick photography is Fred Sersen. The story of the film is based on 'Farewell to the Master' by Harry Bates (Astounding S-F, 1942). Bears no resemblance to the original, and to me is a definite improvement. Publicity handouts and posters are the worst we've ever seen...or ever want to. The British premiere was on December 13th at the Marble Arch Odeon, London.
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Latest fantasy epic at London news-reel, -cartoon,-serial cinema, the 'Cameo’, 'Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe' reaches an all time publicity low by exhibiting a moving effigy of Mr Gordon plus bug-eyed monster in the vestibule. As our Hero raises his blaster, the BEM grabs at him, whilst the villainous Emperor Ming smiles sardonically in the background.
Despite pessimistic prophecies in the last 'SFN', New York was destroyed in 'King of the Rocket Men'...in the last installment! Finding themselves with cash in hand, the producers had an orgy of destruction...the Empire State building waving back and forth like an up-turned pendulum and the ‘Q. Elizabeth' and 'Q.Mary' playing leap-frog in the middle of New York harbour. Wonder if Chesley Bonestell had a hand in it?
We hear that Howard Hawks' latest movie, ‘The Thing', is in trouble with the censors.... seems that these gentlemen want to give it an 'X' certificate. Whilst this will come as sad news for those fans under 16, it does indicate that the film is not another 'Man From Planet X', and Arthur C. Clarke has summed it up in one word…"Ter-r-r-rific!”
The afore-mentioned 'Planet X’ has been condemned to the outer orbit of the film universe....originally scheduled for the ‘London Pavilion’, it will not now be shown in the West End at all. Mr Clarke (how that man gets around) has been quoted as saying that 'Planet X' makes 'Rocket-Ship XM' look like 'Hamlet'.....Meanwhile the London Pavilion continues to exhibit leanings towards s-f....next film after (fabulous) 'Fabiola' will be ‘Five’, a story of five people, four men and a women, left alive after an atomic catastrophe destroys everyone else.
FUTURE FILMS S-f movies now being made in the U.S. include ‘Miss 2000 A.D' and 'Queen of the Universe', the latter being adapted from Ben Hecht's fantasy of an angel who gets interested in baseball. There is a slight possibility that Bill Temple's '4-Sided Triangle' may eventually be screened, also a 'Startling' yarn by Jack Vance.
From the British studios, news comes of a fantasy comedy, 'Mr. Peek-a-boo’ (who walks through solid objects), and commencement of work on the first full-length cartoon to be made here, 'Animal Farm', based on Orwell’s famous satire.
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Ever wandered what happens to those spectacular scenes from the old films? One apparently hard-up producer has found an answer. 'Two Lost Worlds" combines everything.... sailing ship starts for Australia, battles with pirates, wounded hero landed at Brisbane, falls for local magistrates daughter, pirates attack settlement and kidnap her, there's a magnificent fight in which everything including the anchors are used, and after an ear-shattering ten minutes hero, heroine and assorted characters steal silently away in a long boat.
Not fantasy? Ah….there's suspense in this picture. Comes the dawn, and the intrepid party find themselves on an Unknown Island, somewhere in the East Indies. But enough of all this quietness...let's have some ACTION! So what better than the dinosaur fight from 'Cave Dwellers', the volcanic eruption from the same film, and, with a quick shift into night-time, a blazing volcano from an as yet un-identified remnant? The only thing missing is Lassie chasing a bunch of Red Indians.
'Two Lost Worlds'? Well, they had to cut out the collision…….
*STOP PRESS *
Other films now being made in the US include:-
‘War of the Words’ (Paramount)
FINE LIMITS DEPARTMENT.
‘There are between one and two hundred billion stars in the galaxy’ from Isaac Asimov’s 'Tyrann’ (Galaxy)
DEPARTMENT OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES....ACC NODS TO HOMER SECTION
'...the only reason Homer never sent Odysseus to another planet was because he didn't know such places existed...' from ‘No Apologies for S-F’ (Art. Clarke) WH Smith’s Trade ‘zine.
'Outer Reaches', ed.' Derleth ($3.95) is a puny 384 pp effort, features stories by Anderson, Bond and Pratt, plus some of the off-trail s-f that Derleth has a talent for digging up.
'Best S-F Stories of '51’is the anthology at the moment. Somewhat bigger (352 pp, 18 stories) than earlier annuals, it contains 4 stories from 'Magazine of Fantasy & S-F' (inoluding Bretnor's 'Gnurrs', Kornbluth's 'Mindworm’, 4 stories from 'Galaxy', 2 from ASF, and the rest from scattered 'zines, including Bill Temple's 'Forget-me-not' from 'Other Worlds'. There's a knowledgeable intro., and a questionable change of policy in printing one completely new story (by F. M.Robinson)
Simon and Shuster have re-issued ‘Slan’, A.E.Van Vogt’s famous 40’s serial in ASF which gave a new word to fan vocabulary and put A.E.V.V. into the top-line of s-f authors. Now re-written, with some much-needed tying of loose ends, this story of a mutant boy alone in a city of hostile humans should interest new fans who hear others sigh for the 'Golden Age' of s-f in which this story appeared, and will give older ones a chance to bore with memories of those large-size 'zines.
'Wine of the Dreamers' by J.D. MacDonald (Greenberg, $2.75) is a reasonably recent 'Startling' novel concerning Dreamers of the future who inhabit bodies throughout history, not knowing they are affecting reality.
Co-editor of the first, and perhaps best, of the s-f anthologies, ‘Adventures in Space and Time', Healy has again broken fresh ground with 'New Tales of Space and Time' (Holt, $3.50), which contains ten original stories by top-rank fantasy authors, including Bradbury, Van Vogt, Cartmill, Asimov and Boucher, the latter also contributing an introduction.
‘Great Stories of SF’ are Murray Leinster’s personal choices of good s-f (Random House, $2.95), showing a strange modesty in only using two of his own. The others can generally be classed as good ‘wacky’s-f, including Cartmill's 'Number Nine' from ASF, wrongly attributed here to TWS.
'Grey Lensman' by E.E. Smith (Fantasy Press, $3.00.) has a sort of sentimental interest to British fans, having appeared at the outbreak of war, and being the only serial to be published in BRE's. We note one or two slight changes including one particularly annoying piece of 'author intrusion' ("she explained to your historian" et. seq.), but on the whole this is the old Master of Space Opera at his best. We like 'em…at the rate Smith turns them out.
All recent British publications ('Last Revolution', 'Monster Rally'. etc.) were mentioned in our last News. 'What Mad Universe’, Fredric Brown's fine 'Startling' novel has at last been published here by Boardman at 8/6...this yarn of an s-f editor who wanders into another probability plane where a matter-transmitter was invented in 1908, and Eisenhower is leading the war against the Arcturians, is definitely recommended. Otherwise, only forthcoming book is Francis and Stephen Ashton's 'Wrong Side of the Moon', also by Boardman’s.
MAGAZINES The British Reprint Ed. of ‘Astounding’ is going monthly, and so is the American 'Startling'. Rumour has it that 'Fantastic Adventures' will be having radical changes in format, etc., and once again 'going slick' is forecast….’Galaxy’ will be having a Q & A department by Willy Ley, is running a $1,000 s-f novel competition, has survived change of ownership with poorer grade of paper but all features intact. 'Astounding’s change of cover design has caused some comment…if they’re not careful they'll be mistaken for 'Galaxy'…or perhaps that's the idea.......
EGOBOO Once again SLANT has shaken the natives, appearing with a multi-coloured (White) cover, 58 pages of stories, articles and Willisped puns. An innovation was the inclusion of a duplicated ‘zine in which Sir and his correspondents showed how mutilated the English language can get. They could hardly be fowler.
Ken Bulmer settled down to read Eric Frank Russell's 'Star Watchers', new TWS novelette of mutants and aliens with well developed psi-faculties. He reached the third page and the ceiling fell in.
Casualties included bookcase windows, a plastic dressing-top, and a scraped arm for Ken. Also at least two weeks of utter and complete confusion as hundreds of books, magazines and letters were carted from the debris. Present situation...not so dusty.
Arthur. C. Clarke reviewed s-f films on Film Time programme, Nov. 29th, and his 'Interstellar Passport' was subject of an article by Ronald Bedford in the 'Daily Mirror' that week. Said passport, available to BIS members at enormous cost, is regulation size, appearance, etc., but all references are to interplanetary travel, the whole laced with weakish humour.
'Bookseller’ columnist O.P., commenting on Christina Foyle’s reference to s-f at a publisher's get-together (Quote." the demand for the genre is almost as great as that for Westerns" Unquote) says he was invited to attend a meeting of s-f fans some months ago...and notes with some astonishment that we 'discriminate fiercely between good and bad in this kind’...Ummmmmmmm. O. P. also refers to it as one of 'those undercurrents in the great seas of public taste'.
...or as our rivered Walt might say, 'Old farther times keep rolling along'....
At least two London Circle members, Audrey Lovett and Mike Wilson, will probably be heard in mid-January on the BBC ‘Under-Twenties' programme…subject s-f.
Co-incidence...Australian paper reviewing 'Exploration of Space' (the Melbourne Herald) also carried item concerning engagement of London fan John Knight to Australian ballerina.
SFNews slips up...first edition of Vol 2 No 1 carried news item concerning Derek Pickles’ forthcoming wedding, dated it September 22nd. It should have been December...error was caught, and corrected, but some copies had already been posted. D.P.received corrected pages for distribution at the North West S-F Con., which we hear was very successful. A Bradford group has now started up, run by Derek Pickles, whose address is now: 22, Marshfield Place, Marshfields, Bradford.
John Gunn also announces a change of address, has started a Guest House at No 1, Stratford Square, Off Shakespeare Street, Nottingham. Hot and cold space-warps in every room..... Chuck Harris, from whose letter we will quote if we can squeeze a letter-section in this ish., has moved to 'Carolin’, Lake Avenue, Rainham, Essex.
Interplanetary Flight was subject of two articles in 'Practical Mechanics' (Oct. and Nov.), also of art. entitled 'Fundamental Dynamics of ReactionPowered Space Vehicles' in the 'Proceedings '51’ of the Inst. Mech. Engineers. Written by L.N. Thompson, with comments by Clarke, Cleaver, Burgess, and other BIS worthies. 'Punch', Nov. 21st, featured an article on I.P. and the BIS by J.B. Boothroyd, with an exotic, rocket-ship cartoon by Emmett. Article was quite straight.
Dianetics Handbook has been published here at 30/- by Derrick Ridgway. Sidgewick and Jackson announce price of 'Conquest of Space' rising to 25/- : Readers Union announce a members edition at 10/6 coming in March.
The projected 'zine mentioned in last SFN has been dropped, after an immense amount of work and a four figure sum (all pounds) had been expended on it. No discoverable reason. But other developments are taking place in the under-currents of the publishing world which we hope to report in full in the next SFN. Meanwhile, Kemsley Press have followed their pocket-books with a strip-cartoon of 'Space Cadet' in the Daily Graphic, and the 'Daily Herald' are also doing an s-f strip in the New Year. 'Space Cadet' and similar s-f stories are ousting Westerns from popularity on American television, here only known development at moment is serialisation of 'Dan Dare' on Radio Luxembourg..(7.15pm, 208 metres), where the hiss of ray-guns and the roar of space-ship take-off can be heard nightly.
‘House in the Square', new film starring Tyrone Power, concerns an atomic scientist who slips back into what he hopes are the peaceful days of the past, is glad to return to Life and Lurve of the 20th century. ‘Five’ (see 'Film Reviews) started at London Pavilion December 21st. 'The Thing’ will be out in January.
Kitty Marcuse, 'London Circleite’ for summer, going back to native Canada this winter, wants to start similar institution in Vancouver...Canadian fanzines please copy. Her address will be c/o C.B.C., Vancouver, Canada.
'Best American Short Stories’, '51, features amongst others, 4 s-f stories, all from 'Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction'. Latest ish of latter includes stories by Leiber, Irwin, Wilde, article entitled 'Skiametric Morphology and Behaviourism of Ganymedus Sapiens'.
DIRTY RED PLANET DEPARTMENT
"He thought that the Army was useless, and that an international
police force should be established. But he emphasised that he would
be prepared to fight an invasion from Mars or some other planet."
LIBRARY NEWS BY JIM DONALDSON
By now, most of you know that the Science Fantasy Society is defunct, through lack of supporters of British S-F. Ken and Vince, however, have intimated that they will endeavour from time to time to circulate information of interest to British fandom.
The failure of this Society to carry on is a sad reflection on the interest shown by British fans in furthering their own cause, which in this unique field has greater expectations than in any other. As your librarian, I trust that the Library will not revert to the states of things past, through a similar lack of interest.
I would like now to refer back to a period about two years ago. In an issue of Operation Fantast, Mr.John Gunn appealed for members willing to take over the British Fantasy Library. I answered this appeal, and received a letter from John, informing me that he was sending me the book section of the Library.
Although the exact wording escapes me, in effect, the letter said that the book section was the least used. As most of the books are fairly old this was understandable. However, shortly after taking over the Library Vince Clarke also wrote, asking if I would take over the defunct Cosmos Club Library, and also a number of BRAND NEW BOOKS, donated by American Fandom.
Through the medium of SFN, most of you know that I have these books. This generous gesture on the part of the Cinvention thus enables any fan in Great Britain to enjoy up-to-date American Book editions. Very few fans have in fact taken advantage of this opportunity. Through personal visits to me, which is perhaps the most difficult method, four. A fair number of loans through the mail and at the White Horse bring the totals up, but not to the figure expected in view of the type of book available.
Maybe the fault lies in poor advertising. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that numerous people do know I have the books, and have failed to take advantage of it.
There are between 50 and 60 first class books available. Yet rather than use them, I have seen people pay 1/6d a copy for Vargo Statten type of rubbish. For the same money in post and packing, you could have four weeks reading of, say, ‘First Lensman’, ‘Genus Homo’,’The Moon is Hell', ‘ A Martian Odyssey’…which do you think the better investment of the two?
50 to 60 books, 12 months or so good, sustained reading, but after that what is going to happen? Well, that’s up to you, all of you who want a library service. I must point out that I receive no grants from membership fees; since that postal rates were increased last year, I have been running the library at a personal loss. The people who send for the books still send 1/- for post and packing. The postage on four books is from 11d to 1/1d, and brown paper for packing is 4d a sheet. It will be seen, therefore, that I shall be unable to stand the extra myself if a large number of requests come in. So please, if you want books, allow 1/3d for post and packing.
As to Library service, I have stated that when you have read the books available we will once again be where we started, at a dead end. I want, if possible, to give an efficient and up-to-date library service to you, but you must play your part. I cannot rely on individual members to donate books to the library, so if it is to expand instead of going under, I propose the following:
1) Membership fee 7/6 for the first year, 5/- to be used for the purchase of new books, 2/6d admin costs, writing paper, card index, & filing, publication of booklist, etc. Any cash remaining at the end of the year to be carried over and used to maintain, replace and purchase new books.
2) Membership fee for second and each subsequent year, 2/6.
3) Direct postal service, rather than a chain system.
4) Until the number of books available increase, members to be limited to two volumes at a time.
5) Members pay postage both ways, and are responsible for care of books held by them. Books damaged irreparably or lost, to be replaced by them.
6) Reading time: 1 week per book from time received. For slower readers, 10 days.
7) Members who are interested, let me know your views. All suggestions welcome. Please do not send subscriptions until I have had time to find out and correlate your reactions. You will be notified at the earliest possible moment whether or not the proposals I've put forward are acceptable. I realise that 7/6d is a large sum to find, especially for the younger fans, but I feel sure that most of you could manage this, even by 2/6d per week. Many of you have, before now, subscribed in a chain library, where the sub is used in exactly the same way, i.e. purchase of new books, admin. costs, etc. & to quote John Gunn again, 'the least used section of the library' I want to make the most used. It's up to you!
POSTSCRIPT TO LIBRARY NEWS
A list of books is being prepared with all speed, but here are a selection of the volumes available. Titles only are given here, as most of the books are too well known by name to require further details as to author, etc.
Blueprinted by TERRY JEEVES
Lon Shaney waved farewell to his wife, Denra, lock-doors clanged, hooters wailed, with a mighty whoosh the 'Emperor of Space’ hurtled skyward on its way to Mars. Turning, Lon hastened to his own spacester, the 'Gaumless', and once aboard, his henchman 'Bent' Cranks energised the putter cathodes and they hit space; headed for Sinus Oidal, the radio-relay satellite of Earth.
Bent brought the ship into a floorless landing on the ceiling of the outermost hangar of the two-mile long station (the ceiling was the correct place due to the centrifugal force of the spin that gave Sinus Oidal artificial gravity), and climbing out they made their way to the lab, where the third member of their quartet, Jess Flannel, was working.
“How goes it, Jess?”
“It doesn't. I'm trying the effect of various dognodes on one of those tubes dug out of the Martian desert by Kaler and Barrel. One end makes with the kilowatts – but not the other. Still, dogged does it.” He setter pointer at peke, and a little poodle of radio waves formed from side-band splash.
“How about phasing the mixture with a few volts worth of 501/2 cycles?” suggested Lon.
“Yeah, and scramble one of the diode grids at the same time" put in Bent. Jeff turned to his bench once more, and began to reglue a joint as they left him.
Half-an-hour later they were seated in Rod's Bar on the second level. It was advertised as the best bar to progress within 243 parsecs, and always on the level. Lighting a Zabriskan fantaweed, Lon was struck by a sudden thought. Bent helped him to his feet as he gurgled "We've got to find a way to contact a ship in space! Denra's on the 'Emperor', and I forgot to ask her to pay the mortgage!"
Two heads bent to the problem, two minds began to think as one. They thought as the Emperor shot through space, thought while Jess frantically re-glued joints in his lab, thought while Rod poured liter after liter of caustic potash down their throats. Well it was for our communications today that that those two thought but at last Bent said "Maybe it's wacky, but we could call 'em by radio...vibrate their meteor screen to produce sound waves. Let's calculate."
Grabbing a hammer and cold chisel from the bar, Lon hacked a design on the wall. Rod watched with a tolerant smile. He was used to this. If he'd wanted, he could have sold the walls twice over for scrap steel, even though they were disfigured. “Let’s cut out this circuit and shove in a micro-wave guide" suggested Bent. Lon grabbed an oxyacetylene torch, and not finding a m-w guide handy, shoved a mountain guide into the gap to plug the vacuum. The plates were lugged down to the lab, and with Jess's help they began to form the hookup.
Gradually the chicken-wire contraption began to take shape, and snatches of highly technical jargon filled the air. ".....hand me the slip-stick grease, Jess"…."Where's the prezzle-tooth decimator?"…..."This cell is dry...it's got a grid leak".
At last chaos arose from order, the output from the final umpticator was fed via a wave guide (the pukka article) and a feeding bottle to the Northern end of Sinus Oidal. Lon threw a switch, apologised to Bent, turned on the power, heaters heated, meters indicated indications... suddenly, an out-of-phase anode arced across to a cathode, but before any damage occurred Bent stopped the arc by tapping the tube gently with a hammer. When the glass had been re-blown, Lon grimaced. “We’ll never hit the Emperor direct. We’ll sweep a beam through the space where she’s likely to be and hope it re-acts on their meteor screen.”
Bent sprang to the antenna while Lon cranked up the power, and waved it like a hosepipe, spraying the beam around the Universe.
On board the ‘Emperor’ everything was peaceful. The captain was playing a quiet game of meteor-ball with one of the jet oilers, the second pilot was chewing a wad of crooklamb, that noxious weed of the spaceways. Denra was sleeping peacefully in her cabin...14 gin-and-flayins had seen to that. Amidst this quiet scene, chaos suddenly appeared. The meteor screens re-acted, automatic controls averted the ship around the supposed meteor. No use. They re-acted again and again, but no matter how many times they took evasive action the 'meteor' created by the gear at Sinus Oidal was still in their path.
No-one heard Lon's voice above the clanging warning bell, pleading with Denra to pay the mortgage. Swerve, and swerve again. The ship swerved while the fuel dropped, swerved while it ran out completely. In fact, it kept on swerving from sheer force of habit until the Captain read the gauges and saw that they were out of fuel. The ship had to stop swerving then, and with no fuel soon dropped straight into the Sun. Denra never reached Mars, the mortgage was never paid, and Sinus Oidal was taken over by Chalk Queengirl, the head of Earthly Gaspower. Lon Shaney? Oh, he got a job writing s-f full of high power technical language under the pseudonym of Harry O. Brown........ TERRY JEEVES.
ALL IN GOOD CONDITION UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
Damaged copies half-price
E.C.TUBB, 27, CLARENDON GARDENS, LONDON, W.9. ENGLAND
LAST WORD BY A.V.C
Surviving a series of incidents such as the ceiling falling in, and the typewriter carriage shooting completely off with clatter of ball-bearings, we've finished SFN at last, a mere16 days after deadline. Not good, but it compares favourably with the Summer number of 'WONDER', which came in on December 22nd. We also had a quote lined up ('GLASS. HOUSE REPAIRER WANTED') concerning a crack about the 'erratic' SFN in the latest 'OPERATION FANTAST', dated Ootober, (out Dec.19th), but being in a Xmas mood we’ll forget it. Subscribers will be getting this NEWS on or about Xmas Day, non-subbers before the New Year.
Above ‘WONDER’ contains a partly legible resume of the ‘Shaver Mystery’ and 'OPERATION FANTAST’ contains the sort of articles we’d like to print if we had the space. This lack of space has caused us to hold over comments and results of out first competition, as we want to do a lot of quoting.
Our thanks to Jim Rattigan, whose illos for his film review we’ve botched up, to Terry Jeeves for story and illos and to the numerous people whose letters we're going to answer over the Christmas holiday. Terry writes to say he’s willing to write and draw for fanzines (little does he know what he’s letting himself in for), and, too late for a proper adv., that he wants ASF (U.S.A.) 1939-‘44, will buy or trade. The address is: - B.T. Jeeves, 56, Sharrard Grove, Intake, Sheffield 12.
DUPLICATED AND PUBLISHED AT 84, DRAYTON PARK, HIGHBURY, LONDON, N.5 (The Epicentre)